Amarillo Crew Brings the Fun

Bonnie and David went out for their anniversary so we partied without parents one night. 😊 Emery and Grandpa made a pot pie and strawberry tarts for dinner from Emery’s cookbook. We all rated both 10/10! Emery also wanted to learn chess so she and Grandpa played games most days we were there. He said she caught on really fast. I took Luke to soccer practice where he smoked everyone in a footrace–he was flying! We painted rocks, read books, danced, watched part of “Hamilton,” and had some snacks before bed. And there was a blizzard forecast for the next day, even though the kids had been out in the yard in shorts throwing water balloons earlier! Crazy weather!

Road Tripping to Amarillo: Spring Break 2

Bonnie and David were supposed to go on a trip with some friends to celebrate Bonnie’s upcoming 40th birthday. They were leaving on the weekend when we still had the other kids but we told them we’d come and relieve the babysitter, then stay through their Spring Break. Unfortunately their friend’s grandpa died so the trip was cancelled but Bonnie said they weren’t going to do anything else so we should come on anyway and visit.

Emery spent her own money on a kids’ cookbook so she could cook with Grandpa. How cute is that? And we played games and did some arts and crafts.

Sous Chef Emery

Emery loved looking at a bunch of pictures of food Grandpa had prepared in the past when he worked as a chef in Alaska. She said she really wished she could help him “cook something fancy.” We said she could certainly help him cook but he was a little concerned that she and her siblings would not actually eat anything “fancy” based on experience about what they will and won’t eat! We looked through his pix again and had her make a list of the things she thought looked good. After looking at the list, we realized her main interest was in the desserts. 🙂 We figured that would work! After some perusal, she settled on tacos and tostadas for the main meal followed by lemon glitter cookies. The cookies took some prep so she and Grandpa were in the kitchen most of the afternoon. Cookies first, then they started on the entrees.

Ada insisted that we wear our dresses, high heels, and lipstick. I showed her the dress I was going to wear and she pulled out several pair of shoes and short booties to go with it. We finally narrowed that down and she approved my final choice. She has some cute winterish looking booties that she wears with everything, including her summer dress. 🙂 She wanted me to use the curling iron on our hair. I have not done this in years but I did manage to find my old curling iron. I am not good at it at all but we made do and stuck a barrette in her hair to hold it back. She then wanted lipstick so I pulled one tube out of my drawer and we put it on. It was not very dark and she was somewhat disappointed. I dug around some more and found another tube of lipstick which I had apparently bought on sale and never opened (can you tell I am not a girly girl?). We opened up the box, pulled out the tube, and WOWIE! it was much darker in color! She was thrilled! The next few days she went in and secretly applied some again. 🙂

Menus were created by Emery. We put candles and placemats on the table. Rich wanted to put the fixings out and let everyone make their own tacos and tostadas but Emery really really wanted to “take orders” and serve our plates. She came out to the table with her little tablet and we all told her what we wanted, then she and Rich plated our meals up. It was super cute to see her so involved and having fun. Rich said she was a big help and he enjoyed their time in the kitchen. She was funny and complained about the “diners” who were kind of demanding and wanted refills and seconds before she even got everyone’s first order done. Rich told her this is how it is in a restaurant kitchen, not as much fun as you might think!

Luke said he would give the restaurant “10 stars,” though he did state that the taco shells and lettuce could have been better. These were balanced out, however, by the exceptional lemonade and cookies. Dinner conversation included hopes that we live to be 100. 

The cookies really were delicious! We saved some to take home to Amarillo so their parents could enjoy, though secretly I wanted to sneak another one.

Five Days of Babysitting

Sarah and Miles went to California for their 18th wedding anniversary so Gigi and Grandpa were on duty with the kids. I am not used to the “getting up early/fixing lunches/getting everyone ready and out the door in time” schedule any more but I have to pat myself on the back and say I did pretty well.  Beck even told me, “Gigi, you are really good at getting me to school on time!” I took Jack to PreK on Thursday and told his teacher that she could use my phone number between then and Monday if she needed to reach someone, because we had the kids. She looked at me a little puzzled and said, “Oh, don’t bring him on Monday! We don’t have school!”  What?! 🙂  She informed me that their preschool and “all of RISD” were off Monday for “Fair Day.”  “All of RISD” also meant Elle. Beck goes to a private school so I had no idea about his schedule. I texted Sarah and said, “Hey, did you know at least two of your kids don’t have school on Monday?!”  She was just as surprised as I was. LOL When I picked Beck up, I asked if they were off and the teacher told me no, they would be at school. Poor Beck was a little bummed about that.

We stayed really busy including soccer practice for Elle, play practice for Beck, soccer games for all three, gym class for Jack, Rack-o, Sushi Go, favorite TV shows, looking under a microscope that was Sarah’s when she was a kid, making pesto with Grandpa, dog walking, swimming, 7-11 snacks after school, homework, chores, Beck lost a tooth, Elle had a “lazy day of fun” on her day off from school including Starbucks strawberry acai lemonade and bagel bites in bed, hanging out and chit-chatting, telling jokes and riddles, reading books, snuggling in bed and singing songs, and getting the house cleaned up for Mommy and Daddy.  It was all good and we love these kids to pieces. At the same time, I can see why 65 year olds don’t have small children.  🙂



More Baking with Elle

Elle spent a day with us and wanted to do some more baking. She really wanted to make a cheesecake but Chef Grandpa had done some research and it looked like they are supposed to cool, then go into the fridge over night. We didn’t think she’d want to wait that long and we were right! We picked her up at her house and explained the dilemma. She decided she wanted to try to make fudge instead. We took off for the grocery store and on the way, she mentioned seeing some “cheesecakes in a jar” somewhere and thought they looked cool. Rich looked those up on his phone and thought they’d work, and, hey, why not try to do both?  We always bite off more than we can chew!

We bought the ingredients we needed and came back to our house. We started on the fudge and had some trouble getting it up to temperature.  We are not master fudge makers by any means. Rich thought maybe his thermometer was not working correctly and “it’s probably fine.” So we finished the fudge and poured it into a pan and, of course, it never hardened up.  Meanwhile, we had started on the cheesecakes.  Elle smashed graham crackers into the bottom of the jars and she and Rich whipped up the cream cheese mixture.  At the same time, I was researching “what to do if your fudge doesn’t set.”  Yes, the primary problem is not getting it up to temp.  The general consensus seemed to be “pour it back in the pan, add some water, and try again to get it up to temp.”  Carrying on, Elle added the cheesecake mixture to the jars.  Those then had to be cooked in a water bath for at least an hour.  Whew! The clock was ticking! With a lot of heat and a lot of stirring, we finally got the fudge to thicken.  Woo-hoo! Then it had to set for awhile before we added some melted caramel on top. The cheesecakes came out of the water bath and were nice and firm, hurray.  They had to cool and then Elle added a fresh raspberry topping.  It was a long day in the kitchen but we had a lot of fun and everything tasted GREAT!  Good job, Elle!

Kids “Cook”

Last week I picked up Elle and Beck after school and they were both literally jumping for joy that they were given a small paperback kids’ cookbook by their teachers that day.  It was sponsored by a local hospital and was full of “healthy snacks.”  They couldn’t wait to make some! So we told them to pick a couple they liked, pick a day, and we’d get together to prepare them.

Monday they were off school for Martin Luther King Day and Sarah asked if we could babysit in the afternoon so she and Miles could go to a movie.  Perfect timing!  The kids picked two recipes each and Sarah texted us the ingredients that she had on hand. We brought some other ingredients to their house, then Rich and Beck went to the store to get the remaining items while Elle and I began prepping.

First up, a berry smoothie, which ended up being the fave of the day.  They had fun fixing it and enjoyed the taste.  Next, a “bubble fish,” which was basically a clementine arranged in the shape of a fish with a fanned tail, finished off with a slice of grape for the mouth, a chocolate chip for the eye, and some blueberries for bubbles.  They also liked this one and ate it up.  Third, “someone” had picked a tortilla roll up containing cooked sweet potato with banana slices and some seasoning.  The kids didn’t even want to taste it and both denied picking it.  Beck even tried to blame his Daddy.  Elle said it was Beck’s pick (which I think it was).  Rich and I ate a little bit of it–it wasn’t bad.  Elle barely took a tiny taste and threw it away.  Beck wouldn’t even try it. Thumbs down! The final pick was spiced pears.  We mixed up some honey, cinnamon and nutmeg.  The kids enjoyed making the sauce and pouring it over the sliced pears.  We warmed them up in the microwave.  Nope, not a success. They didn’t like those either. Meanwhile, their friends kept coming to the door and wanting to play so I made them help clean up the kitchen and off they went.

In summary:
Smoothie:  YES!  So cool to put everything in the food processor!  And it tasted great!

Bubble Fish: YES!  Cute and delicious!

Tortilla Roll Ups: NO WAY!!  Who wanted those?? Not me!! Not me, either!! Daddy did!!  Daddy’s not even home!

Spiced Pears: NOT SO MUCH.  But it was awesome making the sauce!

Chef Grandpa:  These were lame and we could have come up with better stuff ourselves!

Still a fun time!