Category: food

Losing My Mind

I was at Starbucks treating myself to a Latte. I managed to order above the chatter of my pack of children, then I made a fatal mistake: I added a newspaper. After getting my credit card back, I gathered the gang and walked out of the store with the paper under my

No Such Thing as Too Much Dessert

Sweet Talk

I recently realized that I had been bribing my four year old a bit too much with goodies. In response to my, “I’m so proud of you,” this is what she had to say: “There’s no use in being proud. Just give me a treat.”

One Sweet Plan

At first they just hid their Halloween loot, ostensibly in a place I wouldn’t find it. Those poor, sweet, delusional children of mine.

Then they resorted to taking an inventory and making a detailed list noting each piece of candy — down to the very last, awful, ugly Mary Jane. (As if I’d stoop to steal, much less ingest, one of those. Jeez, kids, give me SOME credit.)

Eventually they landed on a winning solution to keep me from snagging their sweets. Those savvy, sweet, resourceful children of mine…

One Sweet Plan

“Trick or treat!” my kids both yell
as they approach a door.
And when it opens, they recite
A speech not heard before:

Would You Like a Rodent With That?

The other day at dinner, I asked my seven-year-old son if he had thought about what he wanted to do for his next birthday. His eyes grew wide and then he said, “I know! I’ll have a Rodent Dr. Pepper party!”

When I asked what this could possibly mean, he explained that the kids who were allowed to have it could drink Dr. Pepper. We would also buy enough rodents so that each party guest could go home with one. When I asked whether the rodents would be allowed to drink Dr. Pepper, my son gave me an incredulous look. Because, you know, what a silly question.

A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole Basham uses her seven-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown. In Thoreau’s words, her mission is to “suck out all the marrow of life,” or in her son’s words, to cultivate in him a love of “advenchers”.

Parenting Has Made Me a Fraction of What I Was… And I Love It

I love it when busy weekends are capped off with early bath-time and a movie on Sunday nights. That’s exactly where we were headed yesterday when I made (or at least reheated) dinner for my daughters, ages three and five.

As they sat with partitioned plates, using their favorite forks to dip pieces of hamburger into gobs of ketchup larger than their heads, I was excited to rest my feet and join them. But as I sat down with my own burger, dressed properly on a bun, I could practically see the mouth on my youngest begin to water. “I want mine like that”, she said, which was surprising only because she had refused to eat such a thing the night before. Of course, I cut the burger, giving her a quarter.

Only seconds later, my eldest joined the game. “I want mine like that too”, she said. Without hesitation, I cut a second quarter of the burger, and passed it to her. Still yet to take a bite of my own dinner, at least I had a yummy half remaining. That is, until my husband entered the kitchen. “That looks good”, he said, as I cut and handed off yet another quarter.

In the end, I was left with only one fourth of my dinner. Was I annoyed? Maybe slightly, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some of my greatest moments in parenting are those when I am reminded that while very much an individual, I am no longer one. It is the four of us, together, that make me whole.

Karri-Leigh P. Mastrangelo is an established television producer, blogger and mother of two living in Los Angeles. You can read more on her blog, Dirty Laundry & Dirty Diapers, and follow her on Twitter: @karri_leigh.

Waiter, There’s a Kid in My Soup

I love to cook. Actually, let me revise that: I love to cook for adults.

Adults say nice things about your food, even if you can tell that their tastebuds aren’t quite on board. They generally eat what is placed in front of them; they may leave the dry chicken breast on the side of the plate and play “the vegetarian card,” but at least they have the good grace to lie. With the odd exception, food finds it’s way from plate to mouth without going via the floor, the table and the walls. Most adults are pretty adept with cutlery, though some still wield a knife and fork as if they are about to commit first-degree murder on a potato.

Cooking for my little boy is different. It sucks every bit of pleasure out of cooking and leaves me with an unpleasant chore. Why?

Toddlers are the fiercest food

I Steal Chicken Nuggets.

I steal chicken nuggets.

Let me preface this statement by explaining that I have a wonderful mother. My sister and I were always adorably dressed, completely content and felt extremely well loved.

But, there was something she would do that I SWORE I would never do. When we would go to McDonald’s, she would always end up swiping a portion of our Happy Meals. Did we always finish our Happy Meals? Well, no… but it was just the principle of the matter. It got to a point where we would put black pepper on our french fries as soon as we sat down to “mom proof” them (she didn’t like pepper on fries). Up until last year, I would bring up her Happy Meal thievery to tease her.

Well, I stopped teasing her because I… (gulp) I steal chicken nuggets. Occasionally I take my son to McDonalds for lunch. OK, I admit we went several times when they had minion toys from Despicable Me 2.

I watch those chicken nuggets like a hawk. I confiscate a nugget as soon as I feel like my son’s eating pace is slowing down. They are just too tasty to waste, especially while I’m sitting there with my grilled chicken caesar salad trying to be healthy. I guess I could order my own chicken nuggets, as I’ve suggested to my own Mom for decades, but who wants to do that? Besides, the stolen ones taste better.

I’m sorry Mom. You were right. I probably wasn’t going to finish my Happy Meal anyway.

Meredith Therrien grew up in a “girls rule and boys drool” household in Arkansas. In 2010, she became the mother of her own little Man in Training. Since the birth of her son, she has embraced rock throwing, jumping in puddles and bathroom humor.

Last Call

“Stop eating dairy,” the pediatrician said, no wiggle room included.

My infant son had acid reflux caused by dairy. We made the discovery after a Beschamel-laden lasagna I ate put him over the edge. Hanging up the phone with the doctor, my first thought was, “Seriously?” I was in overwhelm, recovering from both a Caesarian and the infection that ensued, and from being my child’s sole sustenance.

Then I thought of my baby’s tiny legs recoiling from gas pain. Dedicated to nursing, I had to try. And so I entered dairyless territory.

Breaking up with dairy was hard to do. There were no attempts to reconcile, no couples counseling, no getting back together. Just a cold-turkey sea of deprivation.

Dairy was EVERYWHERE. The “Got Milk?” ads were on every page of every magazine, with their quirky copy and milk-mustached celebrities. Meeting a mom at Starbuck’s was torture. The condiments counter teased me with

Game On: Feeding a Toddler

Like any average toddler, my son is a picky eater. I don’t even know why you would qualify a toddler’s eating habits as “picky”—it’s just understood. Sure, there’s the occasional hipster-type who’s little lamb has been vegan/organic/locally-fed from the womb. Don’t you just wanna slap those parents with a cold fish stick?

One of my son’s favorite snacks are gummies. For a long time he ate only the Gerber ones, which seemed all fruit-filled and healthy. Then he got seduced by the Dark Side, and now joneses for Spider-Man, Batman or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gummies. I can only imagine what manor of chemical imbalance is found in them. I’ve all but convinced myself they’re still fruit-adjacent, and certainly better than soda, hard candy or Doritos. (Hands off, those are Daddy’s.)

We were in Connecticut visiting family over the July 4th holiday, and I ran into a Whole Foods to look for

A Simple Trick: One Divides/One Chooses

A regular lifesaver in our family is the common Solomonic solution to having only one piece of gum (or any other treat) and two (or more) children. This one is called “One Divides and One Chooses.”
One child, knowing that the other will ultimately get to choose his or her piece, divides the


You Know You Have A Boy When…

You know you have a boy when you have guests over for dinner and he challenges them to a burping contest. You know you have good friends when they accept and let him win.

Birthday Dinner

Yesterday my identical twin boys turned four years old, so I asked them what they wanted me to cook for their birthday dinner. Without hesitation my boys said, “Steak!” They have never had trouble eating. In fact, they eat so much that I fear for when they are teens–I’m going

Twin Treats

They Eat Vegetarians, Don’t They?

We are one of those much-maligned families where everybody eats something different for dinner. My six-year-old son is a vegetarian. He has been ever since he was three and asked me whether the turkey we were having for Thanksgiving dinner was “real” and “had to be dead” in order to

What’s For Dinner?

Tonight my three year old was helping me make chicken fajitas for dinner. As I threw the chicken tenderloins into the skillet, he asked, as he does whenever we are cooking meat, “Is it dead?”

“Yes, it’s dead.”
“What was it?”


Looking very somber, he says, “I think the baby misses

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

My father passed away last month, so we’ve been having a lot of “circle of life” conversations with my 3-year-old. Before Pop Pop got sick, she had no idea about the concept of death, so we worked hard to explain it to her in a very factual way. The general story we