Brian smoked our turkey, I made pumpkin pies (with a very messy first attempt at butter crust. Tasted fine. Kind of a disaster to make.) and we had all the delicious sides that Thanksgiving needs. So no cranberry sauce, because nobody needs that. Everything was EXCELLENT, so obviously the big hit of the meal were the pillsbury croissants. Whatever, more leftovers for me! (Will wouldn’t even eat pumpkin pie. That he asked for. Only the whipped cream.)
I kind of hate grocery shopping. I used to like it! When we were first married, Brian and I would go grocery shopping together every Saturday, and it was very nice. These days I go alone, because we aren’t crazy. And I have to go on Saturdays because I can’t take the kids. I mean, theoretically I could, but both Daniel and Lydia still have to ride in the cart if I have any chance of accomplishing anything, and that leaves zero room for actual food. I can generally get away with shopping every other weekend, although I usually have to go to at least 3 stores.
Anyway, today was a grocery shopping day. I was extra prepared with a list (usually I don’t make a list, I just wing it based on what we have in the house and what I know the kids eat) since I didn’t want to forget anything for Thanksgiving! But as I shopped I discovered that the store was out of green beans (for green bean casserole) and mini marshmallows (for stringing with cranberries for the tree) and disposable roasting pans (for turkey, obvs) and canned pumpkin. And listen, I could maybe have lived without the other stuff, but WE ARE HAVING PUMPKIN PIE.
Back to the store on Monday.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before (and if I know you in person, likely complained about it to you extensively) but we’ve had a long-running issue with Daniel throwing food. Not just, dump-his-plate-at-the-end-of-a-meal throwing, but can’t-put-more-than-one-bite-on-his-tray throwing. He would also throw his plate, cup, or silverware, if HEAVEN FORBID you try to set that on his tray. It’s been A THING. I can’t remember if it started when we moved out here, or if it started before that, but it’s been going on for a long time. I talked to his PT and his speech therapist when he was in early intervention. They made some suggestions, but nothing helped. I’ve talked to his speech therapist and his preschool teacher now that he’s in preschool. Again, nothing helped. But then! Last month he had an appointment at the Down syndrome clinic here at Children’s (because they like to see kids once a year to check in) and you know what? They have a behavioral psychologist! Who specializes in kids with Down syndrome!
Y’all. He was so helpful. (I mean, OF COURSE, but I don’t know that it would have occurred to me to seek out a behavioral psychologist on my own.) Anyway, he asked what the problem was and how we respond to it (pretty much just saying “don’t throw stuff”). And when he learned that it had gotten bad enough that we’ve just been straight up feeding him (because he would throw LITERALLY ANYTHING) he said, well, you know he’s got you trained, right? I laughed because OH YES, I’M AWARE. But then he said that he could tell Daniel is very socially motivated. Which, YEP. He loves people, and loves for them to pay attention to him. So what we needed to do was to make it so that the undesired behavior gets no attention. None. Here’s the strategy he gave me. At each meal, sit facing Daniel, focused completely on him. Put food on a spoon/fork and hand it to him. Give him lots of praise for feeding that to himself and giving back the silverware. Lots of interaction. Then any time he throws something, turn away, and don’t interact with him at all for 30 seconds. After the 30 seconds, start again as if nothing happened. He recommended doing this for each of the 3 meals, plus having 3 “practice sessions” per day. (Now, I don’t know if you know this, but we also have 3 other kids and our days are kind of busy sooooooo, I never actually did any practice sessions.)
First of all, do you know how hard it is to not react AT ALL when your kid throws food on the floor? Harder than I thought. Also, 30 seconds is kind of a long time. But, IT WORKED. He’s certainly not perfect but it is SO MUCH BETTER than it used to be! We’ve graduated to being able to set his plate on his tray, at which point he’ll feed himself 2 or 3 bites and then either point at the table or pick up his plate to hand it to you. (I don’t know why he dislikes having it there, but WHATEVER I DON’T EVEN CARE.) He’ll feed himself an entire meal! This is huge for us. So. It’s been awesome.
We’re having Thanksgiving with a group of families from church this year. My sisters are hosting most of my immediate family, but they live 11 1/2 hours away soooo, that’s not happening. Anyway, I figured Thanksgiving with a group would be less stressful, right? Less cooking, less prep work, etc. And it WOULD HAVE BEEN less stressful had events gone differently!
Let me back up. I offered to bring stuffing and candied carrots and to make the turkey cookies for the kids to decorate. And then our lovely host sent out an e-mail with a few food gaps that needed filled and I offered to bring apple pie. Last Tuesday I figured I’d bake the cookies and freeze them, make the pie over the weekend and freeze it, then Thursday morning it’d be no problem to do up the stuffing and carrots. Except then I couldn’t find the cookie cutter. I figured that was okay, because I could do the cookies AND the pie over the weekend. Except then I got sick. And spent all weekend in bed. I should have made the cookies today, except I wasn’t in the mood to bake (and we all know that’s what I should be focused on right now, right? Whether or not I’m in the mood to bake?) Anyway, I didn’t. And I have appointments during the middle of the day tomorrow AND Wednesday which leaves me all AAHHHH!! When am I going to make all this stuff?!
Answer: probably tomorrow afternoon.
Of course, I could be doing it RIGHT NOW, but I’m not. Because I’m super smart. Okay, actually it’s because when I’m in the mood to bake it find it relaxing and when I’m not I just get annoyed and when I’m annoyed and baking I do things like burn stuff.
Have you ever thought, “Oh, I’ll just run out and get [fill in the blank]” and then quickly discovered that while you THOUGHT [fill in the blank] was a basic thing and would be easy to find, it’s actually nowhere in existence? I’m having one of those experiences.
We’re going to be having Thanksgiving with a group of families here, and since the group includes 18 children (ages 8 months to 14 I think) the host asked us for ideas for activities to keep them busy. I offered to bring sugar cookies and stuff for them to decorate. Because hey! What kid doesn’t like decorating cookies, right? Totally fun. Anyway, I figured I’d be ahead of the game and make the cookies yesterday and freeze them. Except when I went to get my turkey cookie cutter I discovered that WHOOPS, I don’t actually have one. I would have SWORN I had a turkey, but no. (I even called my mom to see if I’d left any cookie cutters there. I mean, I have one of those 100 cookie cutter sets. But also no.) I have a pumpkin, and I know that’s fall-ish, but I really wanted a turkey. I figured that was no problem though, because I’d just run out and get one.
You know where this is going, right? Walmart had ZERO fall cookie cutters. No leaves. No pumpkins. And definitely no turkeys. So I thought, okay, I’ll go to Hobby Lobby. They have a whole aisle of Wilton stuff, surely a turkey cookie cutter is one of those things. But again, NOPE. And on and on. Nothing at Target. Nothing at Bed Bath & Beyond. And obviously it’s too late for me to order one online.
Fortunately, internet to the rescue anyway. My googling informs me that the Crate and Barrel closest to me has one. On clearance even, because who wants Thanksgiving stuff when it’s only a week away AMIRITE?! Anyway. Cookie decorating is saved! Good thing I was actually on top of things for once. This would have been bad if I’d waited until the night before to make them.
I’ve been making an effort to actually make the things I pin on pinterest. (Because otherwise what’s the point, right?) As it turns out, most of the stuff I make from pinterest is food. And I KNOW you guys want to hear all about it so here you go!
I feel like I should organize these somehow, but I don’t know how, so here they are in no particular order.
Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups These were easy to make and delicious. Everybody liked them except Kalena, who is in a phase of not liking ANYTHING AT ALL. I changed them a little; I used 16 oz of frozen spinach in the filling and only half a box of lasagna noodles. I liked the filling to noodle ratio with just half a box. RECOMMEND.
Broccoli Chicken Cheddar Crescent Braid Also delicious. And again, everyone liked this except Kalena. I didn’t use as much cheese as the recipe calls for (and I probably used more broccoli, I didn’t measure) but I think that’s a personal preference. Next time I’d definitely use crescent dough sheets though. Using perforated crescent roll dough meant it tore apart every time I pulled on it to “braid” despite my pressing the seams together. Despite tearing dough, RECOMMEND.
Dijon Ham and Asparagus Roll-Ups I guess we like stuff wrapped up in crescent roll dough. YUM. We didn’t actually have dijon (whoops) so we left the mustard (whatever we had) on the side. Some of us used it, some didn’t. These were awesome and super easy. RECOMMEND.
Buffalo Chicken Rolls Eh, these were fine. Everybody ate, but nobody asked to have them again. INDIFFERENT.
Avocado BLTs (with a fried egg) What’s not to love here? Egg, bacon, avocado. Once again easy and delicious. (Seems to be a theme.) We ate ours open faced, and they were excellent. RECOMMEND.
Ham and Egg Cups These looked cute. Fun, single serving brunch-y things. But they were a pain to make and I prefer the texture of eggs in omelets or breakfast casseroles. So these were fine but I wouldn’t make them again. SKIP IT.
Garlicky White Bean and Kale Soup This was good. All the adults liked it. I think the kids just ate crackers. (So, normal night for them.) I didn’t think it was anything amazing, but RECOMMEND anyway.
Zucchini Tots I won’t lie, I mostly pinned these because I have a bunch of grated zucchini in the freezer and I need to use it. Turns out they’re yummy! I’ll definitely make them again, although I think I’ll only fill the mini-muffin cups half full because we liked the crispy edges best. RECOMMEND.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust Have I mentioned this here before? If not I should have. It’s yummy and the kids completely accept this as pizza. No idea it’s actually good for them. RECOMMEND.
Chicken Chickpea Chopped Salad I eat a lot of salads, so I’m always looking for variety. This was fine. INDIFFERENT.
Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas I messed up the enchilada sauce and it ended up really runny, but these were still good. RECOMMEND.
Chicken and Mushrooms in Garlic White Wine Sauce Yum. Kalena especially liked these, because she loves mushrooms. RECOMMEND.
Pepperoni Avocado Grilled Cheese Uh, pepperoni and avocado in a grilled cheese sandwich? Yes please! RECOMMEND.
Spinach Manicotti I love manicotti, and this is a lighter than the stuff I usually make (this is a weight watchers recipe actually) but still a big hit. Not *quite* as popular as the spinach lasagna roll ups, but still RECOMMEND.
Spinach Artichoke Pasta I made sort of a cheater version of this for my lunch one day and it was delicious. Even though I didn’t use nearly as much butter. And also cooked everything together instead of one ingredient at a time (see: cheater.) RECOMMEND.
Tomato Broccoli Mozzarella Pasta Casserole Fine but very pasta-y (I’d like more vegetables.) INDIFFERENT.
Chicken Francese Liked this a lot. RECOMMEND.
Donut Hole Fruit Skewers I feel a little silly even putting these on here because it’s just fruit and donut holes on kabob sticks. But we made these for a party and they were very popular and our favorite health food nut just took the donut holes off hers and left them on the plate. And they got eaten by other people. Everyone wins! Also, obviously super easy. RECOMMEND.
Cinnabunnies We made these for the kids on Easter morning, but nobody pointed out to them that the cinnamon rolls were bunnies so they didn’t notice. So I probably had more fun with these than the kids. Eh. INDIFFERENT.
Anything you want to recommend to ME?