Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mark's birthday present

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So, I wanted to get Mark a TV for his birthday.
Because I want a TV.
In keeping with our "gotta be different" mindset, we have one TV in the house. We got it six years ago from someone who was upgrading to a flatscreen, and they'd had it four or five years, at least. TVs are aging at about the same rate as computers, so our TV is the equivalent of a computer with a floppy drive.
It's enormous. It weighs more than 400 pounds. It's big enough to kill all of our children at once if it falls over. And it sticks out three feet into our play room.
I know, I know. These are not only first-world problems, but whiny, spoiled, elitist problems. But I still have a vision of a flat-screen, fancy, hung-on-the-wall, big-in-a-good-way TV.
However, I also have a vision of a house with no TV in it at all. One where the kids get up in the morning and don't watch Elmo. Where they build forts and play games.
I also have a vision of Mark's face when he realizes that I spent $500 on a "birthday present" for him that he doesn't want, we don't need and we can't afford.
So. Better judgement prevailed. A once-in-a-lifetime thing; too bad, as I could have used my better judgement to get me out of way worse scenarios than this one, you know?
So, what to get Mark?
He doesn't want anything, and if he ever does, he goes and buys it. He has no hobbies except his wife and kids and fixing the house and Boy Scouts. Yeah, I know. He's perfect. I'll get to the blog post at some point about how much fun it is to live with a perfect husband when you, in fact, are decidedly not, and the kinds of therapy you need to deal with it.
In the meantime, Mr. Perfect needs a gift.
So I stole one, shamelessly, from the Internet.
It's free, clever, creative, easy to make, endlessly adaptive and I might get some time alone in bed with my husband out of it. I mean really, what more can you ask for in a present?
Stealing with no compunction at all from Pinterest, but taking away all the cute and finesse and nice touches, and stealing from dating websites where the couples were still in their first year of marital bliss and didn't have to deal with toddlers and babysitters, I came up with a date night jar.
Yep. For my beloved husband's birthday, I gave him a bunch of craft sticks stuck in a Solo cup.
But not just any craft sticks, mind you. These were colored. And cheerful. And they have sharpie written on them.
Red sticks have ideas for stay-at-home dates. Because we even though we have "Get the hell out and I'll see you 2 a.m." tween, we also have Anxiety Boy and Clinging Toddler Girl. And nothing kills romance faster than a hot date where your phone goes off every four minutes with a  seven-year-old crying on the other end because he's convinced you're never coming back.
So, for stay-at-home dates, we have ideas like ""1,000 piece puzzle and pizza," or "Foreign movie and back rubs," or "Fondue night" or "Sit outside on blanket and drink wine."
And lest you people laugh at the mundanity of it all, a typical Saturday night without said craft stick would be, "Put kids to bed. One of you watches Saturday Night Live and drinks wine. The other plays on the computer. At some point, watch the SNL news together. One of you thinks this is plenty of foreplay and chat to make up for a week of not finishing up a sentence. The other gets annoyed and needs ten full minutes of conversation before you fall into bed. Probably to sleep."
So you know what? "Sports and nachos" or "Fondue and a chick flick" sounds pretty good. So does "Candle light dinner" and "Backrubs, massage oil and candles."
Then I threw in a bunch of green sticks, for nights when we do get a babysitter, so we don't drive around, looking at each other, and end up at Bookpeople reading magazines and drinking coffee again. Not that it's a bad date. It's just not enough to, you know, help make it through another week.
So these include "Go see the bats," Drive-in movie," "Fancy Hotel Bar," "Whatever Groupon says," "Moonlight swim at Barton Springs" and "Mark picks the movie," among others.
And you know the funny thing? The kids had a fit when I was making these. They demanded their own jar.
No one was going to have fondue night, movie night or God forbid, video game night without them!!
We've got slumber parties, cooking dessert, reading books together, a Harry Potter marathon, taking the dog to the lake, a blanket under the stars, going for ice cream, a moonlight swim, playing board games outside and going to the dog park in their cup. They had a blast coming up with things to do, and they can't wait to start choosing. We did yellow for stuff we can do at home, like rent a classic movie they've never seen, and blue for going out -- a pajama ride or  a trip to the arcade.
Are these contrived, silly and not necessary if I were a better planner/organizer/more together mom? You bet. In a perfect world, we'd be doing all of these things anyway.
But this is the real world. And in the real world, we're so excited that we made it to Tuesday night or Wednesday night that we just want to get through dinner and bed time, and we sometimes forget that this will be gone before we know it.
And we should be going to Barton Springs to howl at the full moon with out kids. And we should be playing board games on the deck, and we should be having campouts in out playroom, and taking the dog for a swim in the lake. And if it takes a few craft sticks to remind me that I really like my husband, and hey, making dessert with him might be fun, or if it makes Mark and me wake up and remember that our kids are only little once?
Yep. I'm all about the craft sticks in the Solo cup.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Weird, annoying homeschooled kids

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Well, I was ready to be really irritated when I read an article with the title, "Why are homeschooled kids so annoying?"
And then I read the article, and they're right.
I spend a lot of time trying to "sell" homeschooling to my family and some skeptical friends.
I emphasize the freedom, the opportunity to explore passions, the ability to go deeper into learning with each child, and how much my kids are thriving.
And I play up how wonderful my kids are. And they *are* wonderful: Bright, funny, well-behaved (most of the time,) cheerful, helpful, kind. My 11-year-old son changes diapers, empties the dishwasher, cooks dinner, does laundry and begs for more history lessons.
My 7-year-old son loves to play with his sister, is charming, engaging, crazy about his pets and can be reluctantly talked into doing occasional chores.
But you know what?
Homeschooled kids, including my own, can also be annoying. And weird.
And instead of denying it and saying, "But homeschoolers aren't weird! They're normal!," I might as well embrace it.
We've been homeschooling since Sawyer was born; we've never done a single day of "regular" school.
And, despite the fact that people worry about "socialization," we know a ton of kids. And many, if not all of them, are either weird, annoying, or both.
There are kids who never, every shut up. Mine is one of them. Sawyer wants to talk to you. About Dr. Who, about Minecraft, about World of Warcraft, about the Peloponnesian War and why it was important. He wants to discuss politics, science fiction, and Calvin and Hobbes. Mostly, though, he just wants to talk.
Which is why I'm glad there are other, equally weird kids, sprinkled throughout our homeschool group. He can go to Park Day and find someone who will listen, and they can chatter away, non-stop, about which one of them is Sparta.
That's how he describes a girl in one of his classes: "She's Sparta, and I'm Athens, and that's why we don't get along."
As if I'm supposed to know what that means; I'm not the one who just studied the Greeks, and I have no idea what the hell he's talking about.
But the kids he's friends with do. They have games that involve vampires, Dr. Who, the Greeks and Spiderman all rolled into one. His friends are just as quirky, just as passionate. Some about skating, some about math, some about game playing. But if you ask any of them what they're interested in, what their hobbies and likes are, you'll never, ever get a shrug or an "I dunno." You'll get a torrent of information that you have to back away from slowly.
Then, of course, we have Platypus Boy.
Sander's been obsessed with platypuses since he was three. I know that the plural of platypus is either platypus or platypuses because I've looked them up so often. I know that they make Vitamin C in their liver, not in their kidneys, unlike other mammals, or maybe it's the other way around. In fact, that's all I hear about. That and poop. That's his other favorite word.
And Sander can go hang out with his friends and talk and play and he's not "the weird kid." He's just Sander. And everyone knows that if you want to find Sander, you have to look up. He's in the tallest tree, barefoot, hanging out, talking to people about animals.
And Scout, our almost-two-year-old, now says, "poop," and "platypus," and fits right in.
My kids are not the only weird homeschoolers.
They have friends who are obsessed with Legos, or Minecraft, or dragons, and some who have no manners at all, and some who obviously have a screw slightly loose and might be more than just a little bit weird.
But you know what? Good for them.
Good for them for following their passions, exploring what interests them and finding people who have similar interests.
Because you know what my kids don't talk about? Justin Bieber.
Kim Kardashian.
What they wear.
What's "cool."
What "everybody else does."
What "they have to have, right now, because otherwise everyone will think they can't afford it."
And I'm good with that.
They don't know what the cool haircuts are, and neither do I, though I ask the lady at the haircutting place to give them a "normal kid's" haircut.
They have no idea what their "style" is. They have never read a fashion magazine, seen a show about Snooki or listened to pop music.
I just looked up the top ten songs this week.
I think I've heard the first one, "Somebody That I Used to Know," and so my kids might have heard it. I don't know any of the others, though I've heard of Justin Bieber and Kelly Clarkson, and I read about someone making fun of Niki Minaj.
My kids have no clue who any of them are. They will soon, I'm sure; Sawyer's turning 12 this summer and in the next year or so he'll discover music and I'll be an old person who doesn't know anything.
I hope he discovers some great bands, some new, and some old. I hope he loves Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin and at least gives the Beatles a chance. And I hope for my own sake that he hates hip-hop, so I don't have to hear it.
But Sawyer will choose his own style, and if his friends don't like his music, and he doesn't like theirs, it won't be a big deal -- they've all grown up knowing that they have different interests and different taste.
I'm sure if Sawyer had to walk into a sixth-grade classroom tomorrow and start school, he'd be considered a weird kid.
He thinks he knows everything. He likes to tell you you're wrong, and that he knows more about it than you do. He likes to use the word, "expert" about himself, no matter how many times I tell him that he's not, really, an expert, not even a little (although I'd say Sander is close to being a platypus expert among 7-year-olds.)
And yeah, it's kind of annoying.
But I will take annoying and weird over mainstream and dumbed-down any day.
Sawyer will learn to temper his tongue. He will. He will learn that no matter how exciting it is to share his thoughts with other people, it's exciting to hear what others think, too.
But you can't learn enthusiasm, eagerness, and passion by following the crowd.
And a kid who thinks the platypus represents everything about him isn't ever going to blend in with the crowd anyway. He's going to be a little weird, no matter what.
I might as well embrace it and go along for the ride.
Sure, my kids are weird and annoying. But that's the least of their traits. And honestly, if that's the worst thing you can say about my kids? I'll take it as a compliment.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The middle ages. And history co-ops

All right, people, it's that time year again. 
The time where I write in a panic, not sure what we're going to do next year, and I over think everything, obsess and re-work everything in my head until it's all a complete muddle and I scream for help.
So, here I am, screaming for help.
Background: Sawyer will be 12 in the fall. I'm going to call him 7th grade, but he could be 6th or 7th according to his birthday.
He's a verbal, story-oriented, history-oriented kid and always has been. We both like school years structured around a history theme with literature, writing, hands-on stuff and field trips woven in around that theme. This year has been ancient history/mythology and we've just kind of been winging it; I've been in baby mode for two years and haven't gotten back to a full stride with school. He's doing "enough" but it's not fun, tied-together and as cool as it could be. And really, if we're homeschooling, why not make it as cool as we can?
So next year, we're going all in on the middle ages.
I'd like to do the middle ages in the fall and the renaissance/Elizabethan England/Shakespeare in the spring.
That sets him up for American History in eighth grade, and then in high school I'm betting he's not going to want to do as many hands-on projects and cool stuff and he's going to want to more on his own, so I'd like to do a lot of fun stuff these next two years.
Sander will be along for the ride. He's NOT a history kid. He wants to learn about animals, and that's all he wants to learn about. History is not interesting unless it's mammoths and dinosaurs, and while knights might hold his interest for a while, Henry VIII's six wives are not going to be something he's into. Though Anne Boleyn's headless ghost might be OK.
So for my Sander, I've been obsessed since a friend mentioned Winter Promise, and I ordered this:
It's a year-long themed study of animals and their habitats, with a different animal each week to focus on, a study of woods, deserts, swamps and oceans, anatomy and structure and how to observe nature. So Sander's set. We'll do a little on that every day while Sawyer does math, typing and violin, and then Sander can sit in on the middle ages stuff with us and maybe some will rub off.
So, here's the stuff I want to know for middle ages.
There are two amazing, fabulous, wonderful resources to study the middle ages: 
They're both also so Christian and Bible-centered it hurts. And the Tapestry of Grace has such a political agenda that's SO different than mine that I hate to even think about how hard it will be to secularize it. Honestly, they invite you to have a "Tea Party" with your friends to discuss their curriculum and how wonderful it is and how it fits in with God's plan for your children.
Um, no. I'm not going to have a tea party with all of you. I'm going to write to you, instead, and ask how I take these great resources and use them and make sense of them.
My plan, I guess, is to take the weekly planners, throw out the weeks I'm not interested in, re-work it to use the books and resources I have, and schedule it.
Should I do a co-op with this?
Here's my experience with co-ops: Someone, very gung-ho, starts one. Everyone else gloms on, full of great ideas. There's a great plan, full of great parents and great kids.
The first month is awesome.
The second month, three kids drop out because they didn't realize how far it was, and soccer started, and one of the kids doesn't like all the writing and another doesn't like the playground where you're having the co-op.
So the other moms now have double the work and instead of planning one or two great lesson each semester, they're having to throw together a lesson every two or three weeks, which they didn't plan on.
So one or two of them get overwhelmed and quit.
By January, it's three moms and four or five kids, struggling along, and the moms are throwing coloring pads and crayons at the kids while saying, "Did you read the book this week? Let's just read out loud." And by May everyone is completely over it and vows to never do another co-op.
This has happened every single year. So yeah, I'd love to do a history co-op making sundials, exploring alchemy, going to a Shakespeare play, watching videos on the black plague.
But half the kids don't do the reading/set-up required to understand the lesson plan, and the other half are annoyed that they put in the work and the other kids are just sitting there and can't discuss what's going on!
So how do I implement this great lesson plan I'm working on? It seems like such a waste to have all these resources and materials and use them on one kid, and honestly, half the stuff we won't do unless we have three or four kids at least to work on it.
So, I guess the ultimate question is: How do I run a co-op where people are involved, engaged, stay active and are make sure their kid is prepared for the group and interested in the activities?
If I open up a co-op like this to all of the homeschooling lists, I end up getting a lot of parents who don't want to teach history and see this as an easy way to get a history "check" for the semester. Or worse, parents who know their kids don't like history and who think this will be the way to get them to like it.
I'm looking for the opposite: Kids who love history, parents who are engaged and who want to teach and who know that this is the "spine" of the whole year, not a throwaway "arty" class.
What I really want to do is charge everyone $100 a semester to make sure they're committed. Or hire a teacher/facilitator to run to the thing, so they can be mean about making sure the material's covered.
Has anyone run a successful co-op with older kids that actually lasted the entire 36 weeks?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jalepeno bacon

I'm completely obsessed with this "clean meat" version of jalepeno bacon.
Bacon's too expensive to eat on its own, and it's too rich, too bad for you, too fatty, too indulgent, just TOO. We've got five people, and we only eat WOC meat (which is what we call meat Without Crap,) and you only get ten ounces when you buy good meat. Ten ounces of bacon, cooked up, is two slices each, for about $6. Not worth it as a regular purchase.
But a little bacon... crumbled here and there, added to a salad, or in soup... totally and completely worth it.
I discovered it last week, and we've had it on burgers, on salad, on corn chowder and tonight's offering is potato-leek soup with a little corn, salsa and crumbled bacon on top.
Gluten-free, cruelty-free, dairy-free and completely delicious.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Austin Food and Wine Festival

Guess who's going to the Austin Food and Wine Festival?
Yep. And I'm going without children! Well, technically, children aren't allowed in, so it's not really an option. Which is actually really nice!
I'm going on a media pass, which should make it even more interesting, because I'm going to be able to really talk to some of the people behind the food scene in Austin.
And you all know what I'm going to mention to anyone I can find, right? Gluten-free food. We in the GF community are stunned by how many wonderful GF things there are to eat now. At how many restaurants have GF menus, and at how easy it is to eat amazing gluten-free food in some restaurants.
And you know what? We're still greedy for more. This is not a fad, and it's not a dietary choice for us -- it's a medical necessity. And if I have to live GF forever, and my kids have to live GF forever, then I might as well be a champion of the cause and spread that word that yes, you can be a foodie and be gluten free.
And on a completely non-food related note: Lucinda Williams is performing Friday night! Haven't been this excited about an event in a long time!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My latest project

My super-quick, easy project of creating a library out of a laundry room is finally complete, and guess what? It wasn't super-quick, and it wasn't easy.
But I'm beginning to see that it was worth it, in at least a dozen different ways.
We took our laundry room, moved our washer and dryer to the garage, and took out the sink, cabinets and shelves.
Then I hired Tex, the slowest, most pitiful carpenter on the planet, and waited endlessly while he sprained his ankle, wrecked his truck, had two episodes where he thought he was having a heart attack, got stung by a bee and finally, slowly, shelves were put up in the space.
And then I took all of my bins of books, which I've been accumulating for years and years, sorted them by category, labeled them, re-sorted them, re-labeled them, and let the kids at it.
To answer questions: The reason books are in bins and not on shelves is because it saves space, is much less messy and is 3,000 times more kid-friendly.
Bins mean that all books are facing forward. A small child who can't read, or even a bigger kid who could never read the spine of a book, can flip through a bin of books and look at the cover and choose the one she wants.
In one bin, 12 inches wide, I can fit 30-60 books, depending on whether they're softcover or hardcover. In that same 12-inch space, if I put books on the shelf, I could fit about 12-15 books standing on edge.
Also, kids have a hard time putting books back on a shelf if they're on edge. Frankly, I do, too.
It's much easier to replace a book into a bin than it is to find the spot on a shelf where it belongs, shove other books out of the way and replace it. And if it's hard, little kids won't do it.
So they'll take out 20 books looking for the one they want and leave them in a pile on the floor.
This way, they flip through the bin, grab the book they want, and sit down to read.
We have them sorted into categories that make sense to us, and each bin has a label with a picture on it, so even non-readers or beginning readers can see what's in the bins.
We have two huge bins of books on the floor, labeled "Kid's readers."
These are our favorite books that kids like to look at and read to themselves -- everything from "Red Fish, Blue Fish," to "Goodnight Moon," "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble" and "The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig."
One of my kids is a beginning reader, and he likes to sit and read these to himself. My little one is not yet two, and she likes to beg anyone within grabbing reach to read them to her. She also has a huge box of board books just for her, but she's almost at the point where she's ready to move on from those -- she knows she gets more story time from the "real" books.
For homeschooling, we have all sorts of bins. "Romans and Greeks," "Mythology,""Pirates, Knights, Vikings, King Arthur and Robin Hood," "Middle Ages," "Egyptians," "General History, reference," "General History, readers," "Science readers," "American history, non-fiction," "American History, readers and fiction," "General History that's not Egyptian or Greek or Romans or Pirates or King Arthur," "Shakespeare," and others.
Then I have bins for curriculum, workbooks and planning materials -- math, science, writing and grammar, phonics, reading, and a bin for parenting/homeschooling/planning books.
The next part of the plan, and this is going to be a lot longer process than I anticipated, too, is to catalog all of the books.
There's a great website called The whole purpose of it is to catalog your books online, whether to sell them, keep track of what you have, use it as a lending library or just to count your books.
They have a scanner they sell for $5 that lets you import each book by scanning the ISBN code. It's not as quick and easy as it sounds -- you still have to scan each book, label it with which bin it's in, add tags so you can search for it, etc.
However: The upside of this is that when Sawyer's studying the Romans, as he's doing now, I know what we have. When I go to a curriculum sale or hit Half-Price Books and I see a bunch of stuff about the middle ages, which we're doing next year, I can look to see if we already have the books. I can have friends log in and see if they need to borrow anything for their year, and I can mark books checked out if they're gone.
I've entered in about 500 books so far, and I'm sure I have about 2,000 more to go. I'm doing one bin a day, and there are 48 bins. It's going to be a while.
However: I've been homeschooling for ten years. When I first started, my nephew was 11, I'd never taught anyone to do anything except blow a bubble or ride a bike, and I was terrified. I went and bought a textbook, handed it to him, and said, "Read this and answer questions."
I would have been so much better off if I'd told him to go read some of the books I had on the shelf!
I've been collecting books about things we love or things my kids should know about since then, and my youngest daughter will be two in June, and if all goes well, I have another 16 years homeschooling her.
So I figured I'd get organized now and save myself the trouble later!
And the best part about the library, and a complete unforeseen benefit? The kids, on their own, went and got pillows and blankets, lined the floor, and made a reading nook. They go in, grab a book, and settle in for hours. I'm going to have to put a light in there and make it permanent, I think.
What a great place to read -- I wish I had something like that when I was little! 

Gluten-free dinners

Originally published February 9, 2009

Our weird dietary restrictions, this week:
Sawyer’s celiac. Can’t have gluten, ever. Not even a crumb. No dairy, either, and yeah, no soy. 
I cheat and let him have fries and such that are fried with soybean oil once in a while or we’d never be able to eat out. But “real” soy, like tofu or fake sour cream, is off the menu. It does disturbing, odd things to him, best saved for a later story.
Sander’s gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, too. He’s not celiac. Don’t know what he is. He was autistic, now he isn’t. But if you take him off of this diet, he starts getting all weird again. Not going to do a trial and error thing with him -- my kids are not something where I want the word “error” to be applied...

So, for now, no gluten, dairy, or soy.
Mark wants to stay away from nightshades and sugar, too.

I love Mark, but screw any new dietary restrictions right now. I’m sorry, but I’m going to eat tomatoes and sugar. He can deal.

This, in no particular order, is the kind of stuff we have for dinner on a regular basis.

Keep in mind that we don't eat a lot of meat.  So I've had to get very creative. 
Here goes: I'm trying to have a soup, a pizza and a pasta each week. This covers a lot and prevents me from having to constantly worry about what's for dinner. It's also NOT boring.

Soups can be lentil, bean, gumbo, tomato, chicken tortilla (one of our favorites) or 
French onion (without cheese... Sigh.) 
Vegetable soup (no noodles or barley -- we substitute rice, rice noodles or just put in lots of corn and potatoes.) And corn chowder. Yum. Add coconut milk to make it creamy.
Oh, and potato soup, if you make it without cream. You can use coconut milk here, too.

Pasta -- try Tinkyada or Mrs. Leeper's. It's really not bad -- we like Mrs. Leeper's corn pasta. We don't use a lot of meat, so we just do chopped up tomatoes, summer squash, onions and peppers, but you can do meatballs, sausage, whatever you like. Pasta can be elbows or spaghetti or spirals, with all sorts of sauces and meats.

Pizza is, well, pizza, and it's pretty good. Not as good as "real" pizza, but my kids like it and it's easy. If you’re in Austin, you can buy a good one from Gluten-Free Kneads at Whole Foods. Gluten-free, dairy-free and it tastes good! You can make it with Chebe bread or a store-bought GF crust, topped with tomato sauce and veggies. My son likes the fake cheese sauce that I make on top of it -- you can put on soy cheese if you like it. I think it's pretty disgusting, and the pizza tastes pretty good without it.

So, that's three nights down.

Then there's meat one night, fish one night, sausage one night: For meat, there's hamburgers or veggie burgers (hard to find GF veggie burgers, but they're out there, or make your own), steak, pork loin, BBQ pork chops, and every kind of chicken you can imagine. The only thing you can't do is open a can of soup and dump it over the top.

And, of course, there's sausage. My son loves it, so we have it about once a week. We get soy-free "clean" sausage from Whole Foods, with no nitrites or garbage in it. Cut it up and sauteed with veggies over rice, make jambalaya, have kebabs on the grill, cut it up and mix with peppers and onions on chebe bread rolls. That's four dinners from sausage right there!

Chili. Straight from the package, it's gluten-free. Just make it yourself and read the ingredients. At least two or three brands are gluten-free, and it's an EASY dinner.

Leftovers can include Frito Pie, chili in a baked potato, chili omelettes and chili dogs. OK, I actually try to eat a lot healthier than that, and my kids have no idea what a Frito Pie is, but it's an option if you like stuff like that.

Other than that, meat night is easy. Make the same things you've always made, just modify them a little to be GF, and forget the bread. Have rice instead of pasta, and add lots of veggies.

Fish night's the same. Salmon, any kind of white fish -- make a quick sauce from wheat-free soy sauce, if you can have soy, and from soy-free mayo if you can't, and you're set. But PLEASE buy "clean" fish. There's all sorts of garbage our kids shouldn't be eating in most fish. Buy from Whole Foods, know what you're buying, or skip the fish altogether.

Some nights we do breakfast for dinner: Scrambled eggs, waffles, pancakes.

Some nights we do leftovers.

And some nights we just have almond butter and jelly sandwiches.

This doesn't have to be as complicated as it sounds! If you need more specifics on any of the above, just email me - that's what I’m here for!

Oh, other things I just remembered that we like: Fish tacos, chicken or veggie enchiladas (most canned sauce is GF, but check), and King Ranch chicken (but it's hard to make without dairy... maybe just a chicken and tortilla casserole, if you're new to this.) Barbecue pork chops, Rudy's barbecue... The list goes on!