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Lessons my 9-year-old learned after a week of college dining hall meals L. has a stomachache. He also has a headache. He’s lethargic and, not to get too personal or anything, he can’t really recall the last time he, er, acquainted himself with the bathroom. It may have been a couple of days ago. No, my boy’s not sick, though he thinks he is. He’s just got dining hall hangover — the product of a week at a university for camp, with a swipe card for meals and no parental oversight. Before the week started, I tried to warn him. Fruits and vegetables, I reminded him, over and over. Water

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July 2016 Meal Plan

…Because it’s July. Because it’s summer. It’s camp season. It’s… Well, it’s a pretty much regular occurrence by now that I’ll be late with the meal plan. Not with creating it, because otherwise — as we know — I will be lost without it and the family will staaaaarve. But with posting it. Because life just IS that way. Speaking of how life IS sometimes, in the spirit of full honesty and disclosure, I hereby confess that this weekend was the Weekend Mom Officially Lost her _______. (You’ll fill in that blank with whatever best suits your particular vocabulary, I guess.) See, here’s the thing. I have been telling you

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Roasted Veggie Burgers

Now that the kids are old enough to¬† give their input for the monthly meal plan, the question “What do you want for dinner?” is inevitably answered this way by at least one of them: “Burgers!” Yeah, my boys are great eaters, but like most kids, they enjoy their burgers, pizza, and breaded comfort foods. Getting them to think outside that box can sometimes be a challenge. But I’m always working to make sure we’re branching out and continuing to expand their palates, or at least not giving up hard-gained ground. I certainly don’t mind making burgers or pizza once a month; but there has to be more to feeding

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June 2016 meal Plan

I’m not even kidding. So much of this meal plan was created like this: Me: *frowns at notebook, tries to drink more coffee to jog mind, contemplates giving up and moving to a desert island with a good long book* Child or Husband: “Hey! Are you doing the meal plan? Can we have ________?” Me: “FINE SURE WHATEVER YOU WANT.” –fin– No complaints and no glorifying busy, but the simple fact is that there is only so much space in a parent’s brain during the end-of-school-year rush. It’s physics. Fortunately, last month I had the wisdom to start involving the boys in the meal planning process, and they not only

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cold cereal lunch

It’s almost over! The end of the school year is upon us — some of my readers’ kids have less than a week to go, while my own kids are still going to be going on end of year field trips participating in random “fun” activities to fill time learning for another 24 days (not that I’m counting). And even for a lunch-packing pro like me, it’s all getting just a liiiiiittle bit old at this point. Lately, there are more days than not when I feel like I’m pulling lunches from the depths of the pantry and the BOTTOM OF MY VERY SOUL. I can’t be the only one

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May 2016

You may have noticed that there’s been sort of a theme running on RRG lately: the boys are growing older. We’re having to expand everyone’s horizons and ways of doing things. We’re figuring out where to give them more independence, and where to hold our boundaries firm. And I’m thinking, more than ever, about what happens next. Not the immediate “nexts” of tomorrow’s football practice or this week’s rehearsal and concert schedules, and not even the farther-off “nexts” of 4th and 2nd grades (coming sooner than I think). I’m wondering¬† what happens next, when they stop being kids and they start being men. When they move on to college and

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Menu blackboard

My boys are what you’d probably call “good eaters.” They not only have hearty appetites, but they’re relatively adventurous and willing to eat what’s served to them (mostly). I often get frustrated with their particular habits (“Why is P. such a grazer???” “Why won’t L. willingly eat more fruits???” “Why don’t the two of you like Mexican food???”) but the truth is, there are plenty of parents out there who’d love to be in my shoes. The boys’ lists of foods they enjoy are vastly longer than the lists of things they’d prefer not to eat, and aside from the occasional unwelcome commentary from the 7-year-old, dinner is rarely a

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chocolatemilk

I’ve never paid close attention to the cafeteria-related notices at the boys’ school. Both of my kids bring their lunches every day, and that’s the way they like it. Lunch menus come home faithfully each week, only to be chucked directly into the recycle bin without so much as a glance. The “free milk” application comes home in the first-week folders every year, and is subsequently ignored while I handle the rest of the mountain of paperwork that’s required to keep two kids in school these days. Our kids go to a small parochial school near our house, where there’s not a “real” lunch program; instead, a local deli/pizzeria provides

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Sourdough pita

WHY DIDN’T SOMEBODY SAY SOMETHING? Jeez! I finally posted the secret to sourdough starter this summer, and then…I swear I thought I’d posted this follow-up. But I hadn’t. And I realized it today, because I went looking for this post to send to a friend, and it DIDN’T EXIST. You guys! Next time throw something at me to get my attention! Ah well. The good news is, even if you started a wild yeast starter allll that time ago, as long as you put it in the fridge as instructed, it’s STILL FINE. You can (probably — nothing is guaranteed in life) still use it. Amazing, right? The power of

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April 2016 Meal Plan

I’m hungry this month. Hungry for so much. I don’t know why I feel this way. Maybe it’s the fickle weather, the 60-degree days followed by freezing rain and sweaters. The lightness outside, dinners with sunlight coming in through the windows instead of shrouded in darkness. The reappearance of birds and squirrels and buds on the trees when we walk to school. Maybe it’s the sprouting of my boys. Another school year speeding towards its close — 4th quarter beginning already. Another pair of ankles peeping out from the bottom of the pants that were too big in September. Toes trying to pop through the fronts of well-worn sneakers. Teeth

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