I have a bad attitude. Not my kids, not my husband, not my dog (although my giant cat is definitely not making this list). It’s me.

I’ve been walking around with it all week long, and even most of last week. And it’s because this paper is trying to kill me!

We (two friends and me) are in week 11 of 16 of the most challenging form of torture I can find for myself: the marathon training plan.


This paper rules my life. It tells me when I have to run, how far, and how fast. But more importantly, it tells me how much I have to rearrange my schedule each day, which nights I can’t go out or have a drink, which days I should steer clear of jalapenos and beans, which days I need to wake up early, which days I’ll be switching off watching kids with a friend, which weeks I can reasonably expect to make it to church, and how many nights Scott will be putting all the kids to bed on his own. It’s ruling my life.

I’m going to reiterate that we are in week 11 of 16, mostly for my own benefit, because that tells me two important things. First, I’m two-thirds done. And second, this is the part that hurts the most. We’re in the beginning of the peak stage, which comes with the most mileage and speed challenges. I’m tired. So very tired. This many miles every week can do that to a girl. (Although I have other friends who make this training plan look like a beginner’s guide to pre-school activities and show up at work every morning, chipper as shit.)

Running comes with some ugly stuff. There’s the part of your chest that gets rubbed raw from your sports bra friction after more than three hours of constant movement. There’s the chafing in all the places. (And I do mean, ALL the places.) There are toenails that come off, and there are blisters. I’ve had my fair share of running blisters before, but I’ve never encountered anything like this. It started with some oddly-placed blisters that popped up on the sides of my toes on a long run. I dealt with those blisters, which turned to callouses, which got so big they created new blisters on the sides of new toes. I developed a new post-run ritual of cut, drain, soak, and bandage. Then I’d run the next day, and they’d all fill up again, usually with new ones on top of the old ones. New tape on new toes created new blisters on the next toes. Cut, drain, tape, repeat. Cut, drain, tape, repeat.


It’s so very sexy. And it hurts. A lot. Which makes my runs suck. A lot. Then last Saturday, due to the challenges that come with trying to align the schedules of three busy moms for three hours on a weekend, we ran 18 miles up and down the unforgiving pavement of the Riverwalk in 90 degree heat. It nearly killed us all, physically, and mentally. That run and the shredded feet I had to show for it was the defeating nail in the coffin I needed to secure my bad attitude. Even a rest day Sunday couldn’t cure me of the PTSD from Saturday. Nor was it enough time to heal my feet.

In the meantime, my most reliable running partner is having a two week peak, where every run is the run of her life, exceeding all expectations, and she’s just feeling so good. I hate her. Meanwhile, I’m licking my wounds and counting down the days to when I can throw this packet of paper in the fireplace and watch it burn. Burn like the bourbon I’ll be able to drink any night of the week.

If you’ve made it this far into my whining, you may be asking yourself, “Why in the hell are you doing this?” Many of you have asked me that very question to my face. Honestly, I can’t give you a good answer. It’s obviously not because I’m going to win anything. I don’t have a gift for it, or even a deep love for it. I won’t gain any notoriety, or start handing out business cards with my new PR time on it (if I even achieve it). I won’t earn any money for it. My kids certainly won’t love me any more for it.

I honestly can’t tell you why, except that I just have to. I have to do this, so I know that I can do this, and I have to run every run on this f%*#ing paper, because that’s how I have to do it, battle wounds and all.

In the meantime, I’m seeking newer new shoes, becoming a regular in the first aid section of HEB, buying every kind of sport or first aid tape known to man, and limping around in flip flops like a sad-ass loser most of the day. And I’m sporting that bad attitude like a boss. I’ll get out of it eventually and be a little less self-loathing and pitiful, and hopefully be a little bit stronger for it. After all, this is my ticket to eating all the tacos and butter I want.


A couple weeks ago, I read an article shared by a friend of mine on Facebook. It was about an initiative that encouraged parents to let loose on the reigns a bit, and allow their children to do certain tasks unsupervised and independently. The children are faced with situations of problem solving and decision making, and learn valuable lessons in autonomy and responsibility. Meanwhile, the parents will eventually benefit from no longer feeling the need to hover and supervise so much, and will take pride in raising helpful, self-sufficient individuals.

This resonated with me, as it’s definitely right in line with my free-range parenting style. While some might think these strategies neglectful or lazy, I think it’s very important to refrain from doing everything for my children. Sure, I want to keep them safe, support them, and meet their needs. But the more I pick their dirty clothes up off the floor, the more I teach them not to. The more I drop everything to make them a mid-afternoon PBJ, the more I reinforce that they never have to learn how to do it themselves. And the more I email their teachers, the less likely they are to feel responsible for their own projects and assignments. If I am always there to remind them of this, and keep them from doing that, how will they ever learn to make wise decisions for themselves?

The original article I’m referencing is here, and it’s an easy read well worth your time.

It got me thinking about what kind of independence projects I could implement for my own three biggest kids. (Dally is excluded from this entire blog, as the only things she’s equipped to do independently right now involve feeding herself cookies for breakfast and “washing” things in the toilet.)

I already let them ride their scooters up and down the street (sidewalk) without my presence being required. They put away their own clean clothes and feed the pets(when they’re told). And they have gotten to where they can even shower on their own (with a few reminders about wasting water!) But this is about more than teaching them to do chores around the house and take simple steps towards simple self-maintenance. This is about teaching them the art of self-reliance and accountability. I want them to understand that when they fail to do A, they will have a consequence of B. (And more importantly, I want them to understand that consequences come in other forms than restricted Kindle time and time outs from Mommy.)

If you read the article, you’ll note that it obviously addresses a wide age range of children, with a wide variety of parental comfort levels. There were kids who walked themselves to the store to buy a few items, kids who baked brownies by themselves, and one who actually took a bus across town to pick up a younger sibling from school. I needed to think about things that would challenge my kids, while ensuring they would (most likely) be safe, and yet check myself for helicopter mom behavior, i.e., “I can’t possibly let this child be responsible for getting himself up and ready for school- he’d never make it!”

I thought about Luke. While he is a pure-hearted boy who, with the right amount of herb will most certainly be a very successful chef or veterinarian someday, if I let him head off to Central Market on his own, he will most surely be struck by a vehicle. And it would happen very close to home. Because, you know. SQUIRREL! There would definitely need to be some element of boundary to his project. Perhaps turning him loose on his bike in the trails of Brackenridge Park would be a safe start. Or even sending him off on his own within the confines of the zoo or botanical gardens with a map and a scavenger hunt-like goal. And maybe the goal involves him bringing me a lemonade. Just kidding. Sort of.

Colt is a very cautious street-crosser, and would probably be my most trusted candidate to take an adventure out into the community. After all, he’s my go-to kid when I need something fetched or taken to a neighbor’s house. But the reality is, in order for him to get anywhere noteworthy, he would have to cross Broadway, which is 7 lanes. I’m just not there yet, nor will I be there anytime soon. As it is, I clench my butt cheeks like nobody’s business when they lunge for the right to push the crosswalk button, which is about six inches from the street. I do think, however, that with a little bit of preparation, he could be taken into the store and turned loose with a short list. I might even add a meal prep element to this challenge for him. Bonus: I don’t have to cook dinner that night! (I mean, clearly I would have a steak stashed in the back of the refrigerator for Scott and me if things went south, but for the kids…)

Even though Lilah already knows everything, and obviously has nothing to gain from this experiment, I considered the brownie baking adventure, but only for a second. It’s not about the mess, the wasted ingredients, or even the idea of letting my five year-old loose in my sanctuary. But, like her oldest brother, Lilah tends to, um, focus on some things while completely forgetting about others. She would surely burn herself during any attempt to get the food in or out of the oven. I could just see the Child Protective Services file now… I’m still thinking on this one.

For now, we’re starting easy. They were responsible for distributing flyers to all our neighbors for this week’s Neighbor’s Night Out party. They’re doing more for Dally, such as reading to her, dressing her, and when we’re running late, buckling her into her car seat. And on October 31st, we’re letting the boys (and some neighbor buddies) do a couple of blocks worth of trick-or-treating without us. I say this is starting easy, because there will be hundreds of other parents, many of whom I know, who will be out an about on the streets with them, semi-supervising them, and there will likely be a parental check-in after each street.

While I am in no way spending my days contemplating ways in which I can set my children up for failure (because THAT would make me a crappy mom), I know they will make mistakes, and it will be a hard thing to watch. But isn’t that how they learn? Isn’t it how we all learned our most valuable lessons?

What do you encourage your kids to do on their own? Do you have any more suggestions for a 9, almost 7, and 5 year old? Bonus points when the tasks have an element that make my life easier!😉

Today is Wednesday, which is bible study day, and shopping day for Dally and me. We are usually dressed and out of the house by 8:00, heading to HEB for our own groceries and some for a client, and then we head off to our bible study. Usually after that, we head home for Dally’s nap and my very late breakfast, but today, I had a couple of stops I needed to make on the way home. Those stops turned out to be just epic enough to share.

First, I ran into Ross, in an attempt to quickly find a few little things the boys were in need of. It was mildly successful, thanks to YouTube and my ever-growing data plan. Dally mostly stayed in the basket, watching videos of The Wheels on the Bus while I shopped, until we got to the checkout line and she decided she’d like to pretend to be asleep… sideways in my arms. Fair enough; it was past naptime at this point. And so I appeased her, and we went on to our next and final stop: JoAnn Fabrics.

I’ll start by saying that for someone who can’t even sew on a button, I find myself in this tragically awful place way too often. I have been in there on Saturdays, and it’s busy. I’ve been in there on Tuesday mornings, and it’s busy. And now I’ve been in there on Wednesday afternoon, and can confirm that at this time, JoAnn’s is also busy. I suppose the primary demographic includes a lot of retired women, but still.

At any rate, I had several things to try to find, and so I started by taking a number for the cutting line, because it was that long. I found the flannel for some little girls’ nightgowns that my mom is planning to sew. I found the burlap for Colt’s Halloween costume. I found the tote strap for my client, and then I found a piece of fabric that wasn’t five million dollars to fashion (AKA, tie) into a very primitive cape for my own Halloween costume. All the while, I was wrestling Dally, and working up quite a sweat. I sang her favorite songs, offered up my phone, carried her on my hip, carried her on my back, carried her on my front, and carried her sideways. I stuffed a paci in her mouth, distracted, begged, and pleaded.

We waited at the counter, in what felt like a mosh pit of retirees and super domestic young mothers, in what can only be described as the sixth circle of hell. And just as Dally was really starting to hit the wall, my number was called.

Sweet relief! We were nearly through! …Or so I thought.

Have you ever noticed that no one in JoAnn seems to have ANY sense of urgency? Like, none at all? I wrestled, coddled, shushed, and nearly cried, as I watched this fabric cutter painstakingly remove a thread from the burlap before cutting it. This maneuver alone took several minutes. Minutes are like years when you’re dealing with a tired toddler in public. She used the same school-zone-esque speed to measure my strap, and then my cape. The cape fabric happened to have an extra foot than I had asked for on the bolt, and she offered to include it at a discount. I foolishly thought this would hurry up the process, since it saved her a cut. But I was very, very wrong. Apparently, this would require a laborious effort on her hand held fabric calculator that made me wonder if she wasn’t launching a rocket from NASA. Finally, we got to the flannel, and after unrolling four and a half yards of flannel from the bolt, ever so slowly, we discovered that it was exactly four and a half yards, at which time she celebrated this momentous occasion, and then slowly, slowly, ever so slowly, rolled all four and a half yards back up on the original bolt. Pain. Full. It was like watching life in slow motion.

By this time Dally had squirmed out of my arms and on to the floor, alternating among a whole variety of personalities, including but not limited to: delusional and happy, delusional and sad, angry, exasperated, maniacal, really angry, and screamy.

I was doing all I could, and clearly, so was the fabric cutting lady. (Insert eye roll emoji here.) But Dally was just past her limit. I glanced around me, and expected to  see a bunch of mothers who sympathized with my situation, offering encouraging smiles. Not so. I know I just came from bible study and all, but I’m sorry. JoAnn Fabrics was full of a bunch of cranky bitches today. There were women glaring at me, rolling their eyes, shaking their heads, and whispering to one another. I suppose I’m spoiled to typically be surrounded by a more supportive village than this, but nonetheless, I was unpleasantly surprised at the response. What did they expect me to do? Reason with her? (Bahahaha!) Spank her? (I’m sure that would stop a screaming two year old!) Abandon all my carefully selected purchases and leave? (I may as well also quit the marathon at mile 25.)

After aging about five or six years, our fabric was finally cut, and I headed past all those sweet and caring ladies to the check out line.

Ah, the check out line. It’s where you think you’re done, but you’re not. This, my friends is the seventh circle of hell.

Again, JoAnn is always busy. And yet, it never seems to occur to anyone to have any more than two check out counters open.

We waited in the line of temptation, where all the candy goes to live, just in case the wait itself wasn’t punishment enough. I found a partial package of peanut butter crackers in the bottom of my purse, and thankfully, this was enough to occupy Dally’s mouth for a few minutes. We were next in line. I began to calculate Dally’s chewing speed with the average time per transaction, and pray that we might actually make it.

It was then that God chuckled at my petty wish, and decided to teach me a lesson. One lane was waiting for the mythical unicorn that is the manager, to come and type in a magical code which would resume progress. The other lane had this going on:

“Well, I had my coupon here somewhere…. Hmmm…. I hope it’s not in my car. Ha, my car seems to be a bottomless pit, haha! Hmm. Oh, here it is. Now, can I use this one with this other one? Why not? Well, what if I buy this other thing, too? Or what if we divide it up into two purchases? Well, I guess I could go back and grab that ribbon. Oh, there are different coupons that come in the mail? Oh, you mean I can get coupons e-mailed to me, too? Oh, well sign me up! That’s M-A-R…G-E-R…I-E, dot, F-I-T-Z…P-A-T…R-I-C-K, at, oh, gosh, it is yahoo, or gmail? I never can remember, can you? Haha! Well, let’s try yahoo and see what happens. Did that work? Haha!”

Oh. My. I seriously thought we might just die, right there in the line of ever-so-supportive people.

But it gets worse. At the end of it all, as the receipt printed out, I swear to you the cashier said to Margerie, “You saved $1.73 today with your coupons!”

Oh, Margerie. I hope you’re enjoying something truly magical with that $1.73.

The punishment finally ended, we finally paid, and I carried a tired two year old out to the parking lot, strapped her into the car, and drove home to the sounds and physically painful sensations of her visceral screams. It was enough to make me strongly consider a few fingers of bourbon on my front porch steps for lunch, but I chose blog therapy instead.

Oh, and if you happen to know of the magical time to shop at JoAnn’s, do me a favor and let me know when you’re going. I’ll send you my list!


It’s that time of year again, when my partner in crime leaves me for three days and two nights to venture into the wilderness with a bunch of teenagers for Outdoor School. As such, it is also the time of year again when I give thanks for the fact that my husband doesn’t have to travel often for his job, and remember why I refused to date the fly boys in Corpus. I don’t love the single parenting.

I don’t mean to paint a picture of total distress. We’re really doing just fine. But it does seem like every time Scott leaves town, we have at least one day like yesterday…

My alarm went off as the sun started to peek through our windows, and I set to work waking all the kids, getting everyone dressed, fed, and lunches packed to shoo them out the door for their ride to school by 7:30. As I carried Lilah to the bathroom, I felt that unmistakable warmth of a fever.

I’ll back up a little here. For those who don’t already know, Lilah has PFAPA, a recurrent fever syndrome, which results in a very high fever about every 21 days. After finally getting this diagnosis, we learned that a single dose of steroid at the onset of fever would fix it within a few hours, and get her back in business. Fantastic. But in recent months, the steroid has become less effective. Not wanting to expose Lilah to the side effects of prolonged steroid use, (and being so over the more immediate side effects of living with our precious angel under the influence of steroids), we’re finally giving in to the doctor’s recommendation for a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. I had just filled out her pre-op papers a few days ago in regard to her date of last steroid use, and wasn’t sure if dosing her again would change anything. Furthermore, it’s the time of year when all the kids start coming home with illnesses from school, and so I wondered (hopefully) if maybe this was something other than PFAPA, gave her some ibuprofen instead of the steroid, and sent her on her way. Because staying home from school is for sissies.

I never heard anything from school, and assumed she was fine, until I picked them all up at carpool and the first words out of her mouth were about being cold. Bummer. Worse, I couldn’t take her straight home, because we were already late for her appointment for pre-op lab work. And so we all went to the lab, backpacks and bananas in tow, to see what all we could accomplish in the waiting room.

While we were waiting, Lilah had to go to the bathroom, so I walked her and Dally down the hall of the medical building we were in to do her thing. She poked her head into the first stall, and backed out right away, saying someone had left something in there. I figured it was a tampon that needed flushed, or maybe a TP clog, so I poked my head in to check. Imagine my surprise when I saw, wedged into the toilet, the giant blister packaging for Big Harry, a very large dildo. I can’t make this stuff up. The package was so big it barely fit, and the plastic was perfectly formed in the shape of a mammoth penis and balls. I’m not sure what all kind of doctors are in this medical building, but one has to wonder why on earth this was in the bathroom!

After our Big Harry encounter, we got through the blood draw, got everyone home, homeworked, and fed, and enjoyed a very rare weeknight movie together on the couch. I was rocking this single parent thing! All the teeth were brushed, all the prayers were said, and all the kids were tucked into bed. (Look at me rhyming!) I settled in to my own bed for a little date with Dateline, and managed ten minutes before I heard the crying. I made my way down the hall, opened the door to Lilah’s room, and stepped in… to a puddle of puke. She was covered in it, as was her bed, the floor, and now, my foot. We immediately dove into the post-puke protocol, and got Lilah into the shower while I stripped her bed, started a load of laundry, and cleaned the floor. (And my foot.)

It was at precisely this moment, in between puke laundry, and a sad little girl calling out from the shower, that my client texted to say she was three minutes away from my house to pick up her groceries for the week. It just doesn’t get any better than this. I wrapped Lilah up in two towels, set her on her naked bed, ran groceries out the front door, and made her new bed.

After all the excitement, and a dose of steroids, Lilah wasn’t really into the idea of sleeping, so we had a late night slumber party in my bed, where I’m pretty sure my episode of Dateline set the stage for nothing short of a peaceful slumber for her.

She’s fine today, and really, despite a little slide in some vomit last night, I can’t complain a bit about these last 48 hours. These little people of mine are growing up to be pretty okay, and while I know they miss their daddy (and their daddy misses them), it’s nice to know we’ve got things under control when he’s gone.


It’s not what you think. My kids didn’t have to shout a warning at me as while I was driving to watch out for a bus, lest I get us all into a terrible accident. It’s what is shouted at my from behind my driver’s seat in the form of an entertainment request.

That’s right. Dally’s into songs now.

I’m not sure where she’s made this discovery, because the only music playing in my car has less to do with buses and more to do with trucks, dogs, whiskey, and creek beds. But somewhere in her journeys through life, she’s picked up a few children’s songs that she likes to have sung to her throughout the day.

Her very favorite is “The Wheels on the Bus”. I have had to sing this song about four hundred and thirty nine times this week, and not always in the most opportune situations.

I could be heard singing, “The wheels on the bus go round and round…” in the aisles of my favorite haunts, HEB, Costco, and Tarjay.

I could be heard singing, “The babies on the bus go wah, wah, wah…” while working the carpool line at school.

I could be heard singing, “The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep…” while breathlessly trying to complete various runs this week with Dally in the stroller, once during the zoo run race with many other audience members who certainly appreciated my amazing run-singing.

And I could be heard singing, “The driver on the bus says shh, shh, shh…” at The Pigpen last week where Scott and I tried unsuccessfully to have a little happy hour with our precious children in tow.

I’m running out of onomatopoeia options to keep this song going, and I think I’m starting to make an ass of myself in public. But the alternative is Dally screaming (not yelling, I mean SCREAMING), “Mommy! BUUUUSSSS!!!!” wherever we happen to be in public.

Last night, I was able to get her to eat the first real food (as in, not a cookie, muffin, or doughnut) in literally days, by distracting her with a iPad video of a bunch of crazy adults singing, “Daddy finger, daddy finger, where are you?” I definitely fell asleep singing that song in my head, but if it got a little protein in her, I’m all for it.

The main problem I have at this moment is, she has a very limited vocabulary. So while she likes to hear these songs, and can do a lot of the hand movements along to them, and sometimes get a word or two in among the humming, she can’t sing to herself. So I’m her personal Pandora station. I know there are actual Pandora stations that cater to this very demographic, along with CD’s that can be played in the car, but what about my trucks and whiskey and creek beds? Do they make toddler headphones? Should I wire her bedroom for sound and just lock her in there with her songs? Can I hire the “Daddy Finger” song people to come and follow her around all day?

Ok, I’m mostly kidding about all of those ideas. But in the meantime, if you see me out and about, singing random children’s songs loudly, you’ll understand that I’m protecting your ears from the wrath that lives inside that adorable little girl, and you’ll thank me, rather than ask me if I’ve lost my mind.



For some reason, this week I have been inundated with the concept of people going to have lunch with their kids at school. My Facebook feed is flooded with pictures of mommies and daddies sitting at lunch with their child at school. My friends are scheduling their days around making it across town to their kids’ schools to have lunch. Our children’s school Facebook pages have parents constantly asking what time lunch is for each grade level so they or the grandparents can come eat lunch with their kids at school. My own children get in the car after school and tell me about whose parents came to eat lunch with them that day, and occasionally ask if I will ever do that.

And the answer is, probably not (except for maybe the occasional delivery of cupcakes on a birthday, Because I’m not totally heartless. Just mostly heartless.)

I know. You think I’m a callous, awful human being. And maybe I am, but hear me out.

For the record, I don’t think this is a bad thing, and I’m not about to hate on all the people who do this. Each to their own. It just doesn’t happen to be a priority of mine, and it’s not something I lose sleep over every night.

First and foremost, I get to eat plenty of meals with my kids- breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and multiple made-up snack times in between. And they’re all awful. Meal time with my kids is painful. It is something I dread, loathe, and even hide from. And I have to suffer through that crap enough without having to drive over to their school for a third time that day to watch them not eat another meal.

Second, this is their time with their friends. They spend seven hours at school, and less than one hour of that is spent in recreation with their friends. Who am I to take that time away from them, when I get to spend the whole evening with them at home? (And then the whole weekend, and all the holidays…) They don’t need me to sit there and chat them through lunch when there are perfectly good peers sitting right among them to keep them company for twenty-two minutes.

And it’s not just that they can talk to their classmates at lunch- I want them to talk to their classmates at lunch. I want them to make friends, and have an outlet for talking about whatever it is that five, or six, or nine year-old kids want to talk about. Because, while I have and will continue to do it, I don’t particularly want to talk about the ins and outs of Minecraft, or split hairs on the rules of Punch Buggy, or discuss the myriad of possibilities for Lego creations for hours on end. Let them discuss these things with other people who want to discuss these things, just like I want to spend time when I have it chatting with other moms who want to talk about the things I want to talk about. You see, I can do this occasionally during the time I may otherwise spend in the school cafeteria. Everybody wins!

This is the paragraph when you’re really going to start to hate me and think I am an awful parent. I have better things to do. GASP! I know, I heard you. You just freaked out because I openly admitted that my children aren’t my number one priority for every moment of every day, and I have better things to do than cherish each and every second of their precious little lives. The thing is, they are my priority. And they will be my priority from 2:50 every afternoon until 8:30 or 9:00 or whenever the hell they finally succumb to exhaustion and go to sleep every night. So that leaves me with a finite period of time during the school day (and outside of Dally’s nap time when I’m stuck at home) to get everything else in my life done. This way, I’m not trying (unsuccessfully) to focus on contract work, or making menus, or emailing clients, or cleaning the house, or doing laundry, or running millions of errands, or whatever while they are in my care. I’m not saying it always all gets done, and that they never spend a second in a grocery cart. But trust me when I say that it’s better for all of us if I can limit that to a minimum, and allow them to be where they want to be after a long day of school.

I remember sitting at lunch in elementary school and seeing other kids’ parents bring them lunch from Chick-fil-a or McDonald’s and think how nice that must be, and how they must feel really special. But I don’t recall thinking that my parents must love me less because they never came to have lunch with me. Because that wasn’t the case. And it isn’t the case with my kids, and I’m confident they know that. I love my children just as much as the parents who come have lunch with their kids love them. For me, publicly sharing a crappy meal in a loud cafeteria in a very limited amount of time just isn’t the way I need to show that love.It is, however, a way to encourage me to day drink.

Besides, everybody knows I show my love with bacon and butter.


As a parent, you learn to be good at many things. Multi-tasking like a boss, entertaining and disciplining from the bathroom, working off of no sleep, and coming up with awesome excuses for not touching the mountain of dishes in my sink for days are just a some of the skills I have mastered in the last nine and a half years. But something I have really honed, to the point where I think I could teach a class on the subject, is making something out of nothing.

Perhaps this is a byproduct of being raised by waste-nots. Maybe this is something that goes along with cooking all the time and learning to be creative in the kitchen. Or maybe it’s just a survival tactic for moms of many children on a budget. It’s probably mostly due to my incredible disdain for eating leftovers myself, and doing my best to use them all up on the kids to ensure I don’t have to eat them. But when the need arises, I can make a complete meal for my kids in a matter of minutes, even when it seems there is nothing in the fridge to make it with.

Now, I’m not going to proceed by giving you the recipes to my homemade healthy pop tarts or magical chia surprise that my kids just gobble up like crazy. These meals I speak of are not always guaranteed to be the healthiest. But lets just say my kids have never had to eat anything with a title that ends in “surprise” or “roll up”. At the beginning of the week, when I’ve got an insanely random assortment of Kitchen Koncierge leftovers, I can always find a piece of chicken in the fridge to go with any assortment of fresh vegetables. By Wednesday, I might have to start getting a little more creative, and there may be some more unusual combinations, or some plates that wouldn’t exactly hit all the levels of the food pyramid. By Friday, if I’m not ordering pizza, I’m whipping up an all-time Dow kid favorite, Mac and cheese and wienies. Boom.

As for the KK leftovers, Luke will eat anything, but I usually have to kid it down for Lilah and Colt. What was once beef tips in mushroom wine gravy over rice can be de-gravied under the faucet in my hand (I’m super fancy) and turned into steak and cheese quesadillas. What was presented to my clients as a variety of proteins and vegetables in various forms can be transformed into a pot pie. Because kids eat stuff when it has the word “pie” in it. Using that same trusty hand sieve again, what were Boracho beans for clients can be un-boracho for Dally, the Mean Bean Eating Machine. And finally, my chip enthusiast of a husband can take anything, and I do mean ANYthing (enter the aforementioned beef tip gravy), and turn it into a righteous platter full of nachos to be consumed at any time of the day. He really is a wizard with leftover pork butt or brisket and a big bag of tortilla chips.

I’ve made pizzas out of leftover Pita bread, I’ll stuff pretty much anything into a tortilla with cheese and call it a burrito, and when all else fails, I’m not above the last resort frozen corn dogs (which I’m usually kind enough to nuke before serving) with a side of frozen corn. My friend, Rosanna, who is not exactly known for her careful planning in regards to stocking up on groceries, has even made school lunches out of frozen waffles, cheese, and pepperoni. Her kids still talk about those awesome waffle pizzas.

So the next time you look in the refrigerator and pantry at 6:15 after a long day of work with children losing their marbles in front of your very eyes, take heart. You can always make something out of nothing!