This time of year always gets me thinking about friends.
The school year is drawing to a close for the Sassy Lassy. She is definitely ready to put the school year (and second grade) behind her and is very much looking forward to attending summer camp. Many of the kids she will be attending with are kids she saw daily in daycare and preschool and who have now moved on to different schools. She is a funny kid. She loves people but gives her heart over to friendship very carefully. And then, of course, you are a friend of hers for life.
Mr. Mister is in transition. In just a couple of short weeks he moves to his new classroom and they have been making daily visits to get to know his new teachers. He will be there for the summer and then he starts preschool in the fall. We recently broke the news that his best buddy will be moving into a different classroom. And he took the news in stride. For Mr. Mister meeting someone new is always an opportunity to make new friends. And as a bonus. he also has an imaginary friend, named Mason, to keep him entertained.
And for me? My 25th high school reunion is coming up this year. I am still trying to decide if I will attend the reunion of the high school I did not graduate from in addition to the one I did. I have many friends from grade school and junior high that I would enjoy catching up with. And I have already been to all the other reunions my high school has had. And since I am, and always have been, a “the-more-the-merrier” kind of gal maybe I will go to both of them.
Friendships are an important part of our lives. In some ways, even more so today than ever before. In this ever-advancing techno age, I think those personal connections go a long towards teaching lessons, building memories and having fun.
Our Wacky Wednesday meal will honor friends by combining foods you simply CAN’T imagine without the other. You know, like cereal & milk. But friendships are often more than just two people so we’ll also combine a bunch of foods that are perfectly yummy on their own but are even better when they are combined. You know, like Chilli.
Black Bean/Corn Quesedillas
Chips & Dip (guacamole)
Carrots & Ranch Dressing
Ice Cream & Cone
And we will continue the ongoing conversations about friends: about treasuring old ones and making new ones.
The other day Sophie asked me what my favorite number was. “Eleven” I replied without even thinking about it. I have had the same favorite number since I was a little kid. But it got me thinking about numbers. I use them a lot in my work life but in my home life the one number that seems really consistent is the number four. Especially when it comes to feeding everyone.
I am not sure how it evolved? Thinking back I wondered if it was the container that I packed for years for Sophie to take to daycare/preschool that had little compartments? Nope, it had 3. Perhaps it is trying to come up with well-rounded meals with a protein-starch-fruit-veggie combo? Or maybe it evolved as a part of the effort to make good eaters out of my kids? I kind of consciously remember always giving them a couple of sure-fire winners that I knew they’d eat, along with something that they might eat and something new to try, too. Who knows. All I know is that now when I make breakfast or lunch or dinner I unconsciously always give everyone four things. And if someone else is feeding the kids and gives them less than that? They’ll usually get a “I need more things than this.”
So, last night for Wacky Wednesday we had four things for dinner:
- Chips and guacamole
It sparked a lively dinnertime conversation about number and favorite foods and the kids even got creative by building a tower. It eventually had four things before it toppled over:
Usually the kids don’t get to play at the dinner table like that. But it was Wednesday…
I forgot to share last week’s revelry:
I was”hearing” the voice of a barker as I wrote that headline. You know, the seasoned veterans who shout out trying to grab your attention at outdoor festivals, carnivals and baseball games?
Last Wednesday was National Cotton Candy Day. An odd time of year for it if you ask me but it suited my purposes just fine for Wacky Wednesday. We celebrated cotton candy by enjoying a meal of our summertime carnival/fesival favorites:
- Hot Dogs/Corn Dogs
- French Fries
- Peanuts & Crackerjacks
- Cotton Candy
But here is the wacky part: Have you ever tried to find cotton candy an a run-of-the-mill Decmber workday in Minnesota? Forget that packaged stuff. Honestly, it tastes as much like Fairy Floss (the original name for Cotton Candy when the machine to make it was patented in 1899) as packing peanuts do. Well, I DID find it. At the Mall of America, of course. But it was green. Yes, green. Granted, I am hardly a cotton candy connoisseur but I didn’t even know they made green cotton candy. Ewwww…. I loathe anything with any green artificial color/flavoring. Oh well, more for everyone else.
Fortunately for the kids, I haven’t settled on a theme yet for this week as December 14th is National Bouillabaisse Day. Somehow I don’t think fish stew is their idea of Wacky… Still mulling around a game of dinnertime bingo or all foods that start with D…
Yep, that’s right. As the green of summer is fading and the beautiful fall colors are just getting started, we’re going to celebrate Wacky Wednesday by eating the colors of the rainbow!
I am going to make baked chicken and the rest of the menu:
- Red: Apples (& honey for Rosh Hashanah)
- Orange: Carrots from the garden
- Yellow: Tomatoes from the garden
- Green: Cucumbers from the garden
- BIV/Blue-Indigo-Violet: Homemade blueberry-yogurt pops. They are lovely blue/purple hue.
It’s also Rosh Hashanah and I cannot think of a better way to start the New Year – sweet, colorful and bountiful (by harvesting the rest of last year’s harvest from our backyard garden.)
Hooray! It’s Wacky Wednesday!
I was thinking about Sophie’s friend joining us for dinner tonight. They have literally known each other since they were babies. And even though they don’t go to school together they still see each other at their afterschool program and for playdates. As I was thinking about them, and some of my own childhood friends, a song popped into my head. If you were a Daisy/Brownie/Girl Scout or went to summer camp you are probably familiar with “Make New Friends“. This is my favorite part:
A circle is round,
it has no end.
That’s how long,
I will be your friend.
So, for Wacky Wednesday this week everything we eat will be circular:
- Pita Pizza’s
- Sliced Carrots
- Strawberry Shortcake
When I think back on my childhood, a lot of my happiest memories came from when I lived in Chicago. We lived in Naperville back when our backyard bordered a cornfield, everyone who lived there was from “somewhere else” and our block had a handful of girls all the same age. My friend’s names still roll of my tongue: Dava, Michelle, Emily, Sharon, Kim, Jennifer… We sang along to Shawn Cassidy and learned to ride bikes and explored our neighborhood while it was being transformed from a small town into a suburb. It’s idyllic when I think back on it. Many of our mom’s stayed home and our dad’s commuted into the “city.” There were outdoor BBQ’s and backyard games at twilight. And I can still remember running into the house late in the day to ask my mom if a friend could eat dinner with us or, better yet, the absolute thrill of being invited over to someone else’s house to eat.
Our neighborhood was a melting pot! Our immediate neighbors were Columbian and I had friends on our block that were Indian and Vietnamese American. How I loved being invited to eat with them just as much as they adored eating my mom’s own “American” cooking.
Dinnertime is different for my kids; our days have different patterns and living in the city hasn’t yielded the same large gaggle of kids running from house to house trying to stir up an impromptu dinner invite.
Still it is one of my favorite parts of my own childhood so I am thrilled that we get to have a playmate of Sophie’s over for several meals in the upcoming weeks. Better yet her visits will all fall on Wednesday nights!
Now, I just need to come up with some good ideas!
We’ve been meaning to make this Marshmallow S’mores dessert ever since we saw it featured in an article somewhere. And that is partly why I love Wacky Wednesday. It gives me a little nudge to try something a little outside what we normally have for weeknight dinner fare.
This pie got raves from everyone! It’s especially perfect if you have little ones who are safer away from a campfire. Not to mention that you can totally control how perfectly golden your marshmallows get.
Here’s the easy as pie recipe:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line pie plate with tin foil.
- Mix in marshmallows, graham cracker pieces and chocolate chips to your liking.
- Pop in the oven for a few minutes until marshmallows/chips are melty and look done enough to your liking.