Tag Archives: Martha Stewart

The Reality of Summer With Kids

It’s the last day of school. My last day of a quiet house. Nothing but the noise of the refrigerator running. Me sitting here writing in peace, watching mysterious white vans drive by and making note of it in my dossier. Me contemplating motherhood, life, and what I’ve mucked up recently.

The last day of school fills everyone with high hopes around here. We gear up for adventure and lazy days. Having nowhere we have to be sounds so utterly amazing, I can’t stand it.

This is how I view the summer ahead:

1. Sitting around the kitchen table doing one of the many crafts I’ve picked out, the kids and I laugh, joke, and bond as we cut, glue, and toss dashes of glitter over our magical creations. They look like something Martha Stewart made herself. Heck, they look better.

sequins ready for crafting

Who wouldn’t want to create with this rainbow of shimmering inspiration?

2. Sitting poolside, I watch my kids frolic and play while I read a book, crunch a snack, or dip my toes in for refreshment. I put my time in for many years of having the kids hang on my every limb. We can enjoy a game of catch or I can relax on a noodle and bob around.

3. Thinking a lazy day is in order, I make plans to cook a delicious snack. Cake pops sound fun. They turn out beautifully. I think we could sell them. We eat them as we lounge in our pajamas, snuggle in beanbags, and watch movies all afternoon.

4. I need to get some work done in the office. The kids quietly play so I can edit or write. When I’m done, I reward them with a trip to the park.

In reality:

1. The kids never want to make the cool crafts I suggest, the ones I’ve been clipping from magazines for years. They have “better” ideas. They don’t like my suggestions on how to embellish them. In the end, they look like something Martha Stewart’s dogs made. After the seemingly ten hours it takes me to set up, it takes my kids 3.4 minutes to slap some glue on their craft and say, “I’m done. Can we go play?” Then it takes another ten hours for me to scrape the glue off the chairs and get every speck of glitter off the floor.

sequin collage

I give him five minutes, tops. A piece of art that will never be complete.

2. The minute I sit in a lounge chair, the kids ask me every five minutes when I’m getting in the pool. The minute I get near the water, the kids still hang on my limbs. At least once a season I see a kid puke something into the pool and his mother swish it out. That kind of ruins the rest of it for me. Thanks, rule-breaking mother.

3. The recipe takes way more time than I imagine. The kids fight over whose turn it is for each step. Having the kids help makes the process go twenty times longer than it should. And when it’s all over, the kids don’t even like them. “Can we have popcorn?” “When can we start the movie?”

4. The moment I get on the computer, the kids sit in the office chair behind me and start to wrestle. Someone gets hurt. I send them upstairs. They go upstairs and continue to fight. I still haven’t gotten any work done. I send them to their rooms. Doors slam. I am mad. Tears. Yelling. I haven’t managed to get any paying work done, but I probably got a post out of it.

Summer: The reality is, I look forward to it every year and I still miss it when it’s gone.

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Filed under About Mom, Everyday Life

Somewhat Strange and Tasty Collections I Didn’t Know We Had

My son collects things. He accumulates armies of knobby creatures that he makes scream and knock each other down. He’s obsessed with Legos. If he gets one set, he wants the entire line to complete his collection. He collects erasers. Just the plain ones that sit on top of a pencil. He lines them up, makes patterns with them, battles them, who knows. During his Cars the movie era, I can’t tell you how many times we patrolled the toy aisle searching for the elusive Tex Dinoco.

Now he collects names. Names of Harry Potter characters he reads that he scrawls in third-grade penmanship on lined paper, two columns, three pages front and back, and still going strong. Names of multihued tropical fish he reads about, likes, and dreams of one day owning as pets. Names of planets and their moons. Names of baseball teams and football players.

I have long wondered whether his quirky obsessions are normal, what it means for his future, and where on earth it came from. I can be a bit of a pack rat. My husband is a borderline box hoarder. But for years I’ve had no clues as to where his collecting insanity came from.

Then, as I tried to tame my overgrown pile of torn-out recipes the other day, it hit me like a swarm of cookbooks.

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I like food. And I particularly like the challenge of finding a recipe to match whatever food I’ve recently inhaled and become infatuated with. Consequently, I’m a bit of a recipe hog. One could say I collect recipes.

Want to see my collection?

This vintage box holds my prized recipes that I use almost every day.

Look, there's room to grow!

These are recipes I want to try.

This doesn't begin to show my stack of recipes. Man, there's some good stuff in there.

And these.

Hmm. Forgot about these.

And I still need to go through these magazines to tear out the recipes I want to try because I know I will…or won’t…but just in case.

Some light reading.

I’ve been clipping recipes since around ninth grade. While my friends flipped through Seventeen and YM taking quizzes about kissing and fashion, I pored over Good Housekeeping and Martha Stewart, learning about cake frosting and chicken potpies. It certainly explains a lot about my awkward teen dating years.

Before kids, I used to try three or four new recipes a week. My husband and I like variety, tiring of the same old casseroles and quinoa salad week after week. Then came two kids who like my cooking but not adventure. They prefer comfort foods, the same old thing every week. But it’s OK. It seems there’s plenty in my collection for everyone. Just don’t ask me where anything is.

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Filed under About Mom, Boy Stories