As I've written before, blogging serves first and foremost as an awesome means of recording our parenting experience. It is also a great way of communicating with our friends and family that are on opposite ends of the country. Add to that, it's a whole lot more convenient (and inexpensive) than therapy, which I would ABSOLUTELY need if not for this little outlet of expressing myself.
Along the way, I've heard from so many people that offer me words of encouragement. "Don't abandon them in Mexico. Take them to the Y!" Or, they send heartfelt notes in which they tell me how much inspiration they get from reading this blog. "If you can do it with four, surely I can do it with two."
To which I usually ask ... do what?
The point of this introduction is to say that several months ago, I started writing down my favorite toys that we've discovered for our children. Then, I started writing down some of my favorite activities that we've discovered to keep them busy. Then I started writing down some of my favorite kitchen tools. Then I had so many lists of favorite things, I thought "How am I ever going to communicate this to the world?? How can I incorporate all these things in to a cohesive blog post??"
And I couldn't really think of a way to do it.
So today, and for every Friday for at least the rest of this year, I am going to blog about a favorite thing. Something that I've found or discovered that makes living easier or more enjoyable with children. Something that I feel compelled to share with the world.
Now, without further adieu.
*************Charlie and I have a ton of traditions. We love traditions. One of our favorite traditions is to have a big dinner on Christmas Eve. And during that dinner, we will open English Crackers and wear funny paper hats and be merry. And we will also open one present that is placed on the dinner plate (before dinner is served, of course) for each person to unwrap.
Thirteen and a half years ago ... during our very first Christmas as a married couple, my mother came to spend the holidays in California with us. Before she arrived, I had painstakingly picked out a few gifts that I thought that she would enjoy and use with a big emphasis on the word "USE" because my mother has an extremely practical mind, and is not the kind of person that would appreciate a porcelain figurine.
So I bought her what I thought was a hand held chopper and dicer. This seemed like a great gadget for the kitchen because you could dice various foods and then scoop them up with the wide blade. And since my mother is always cooking up something new, I thought that this was a sure fire hit of a gift for my mom.
Mom unwrapped the gift, smiled and said "Wow, this looks great! Thank you!!" and then she tucked it next to her plate while I rambled on and on about how cool this thing was. She could cut herbs, or fruit, or vegetables, or bread - or whatever her heart desired - and there would be a minimization of food handling while she transferred it to a plate.
On and on I went.
Which I'm sure you can't possibly imagine how I could go on and on (and on and on).
The next morning, Christmas Day, when we sat down to open our gifts, my mother handed me a small box. Once I removed the wrapping paper, I recognized that mom had given to me the same exact gift I had given to her, the night before. And I was shocked and amazed that we had the same line of thought regarding a gift that we thought each other would enjoy and I exclaimed "Wow, what a coincidence!! I bought you the same exact one!!"
And mom laughed and said "Yep. It's the SAME exact one."
Because my mother, in addition to being extremely practical is a RE-GIFTER and the gadget that I lovingly gave to her on Christmas Eve was something that she promptly deemed was not necessary in her small living space and her mind was reeling with who she was going to unload it on. And since I'd made such a big fuss about how GREAT it was, she thought she'd just give it right back to me.
Thirteen and a half years later, this little gadget is probably one of our FAVORITE tools in the kitchen. Now what's really funny - in addition to the fact that my mother re-gifted it back to me - is that I had NO idea what this thing was called, until today. Because when I went on line and Googled "Hand Chopper, Hand Dicer, Scooper" I got a whole bunch of stuff that didn't look anything like this thing which we've always called it the cutter-scooper-thing.
It turns out it's a Pastry Scraper and you can buy one at any store that stocks cooking supplies.
Apparently, people use it for lifting and turning soft breads and pastries. Which, although I've cooked my fair share of breads and pastries, I've never used it for that. So now that I know what this thing is designed for, I love it a little bit more.
We use it for cutting up all kinds of fruits and vegetables and sandwiches and pancakes and waffles and anything that we happen to be dicing and transferring to the children's plates. Since it's not sharp, there is no risk of cutting yourself or little fingers during transfer. And I like it better than transferring food with my hands or from a knife.
Wouldn't you know, now that my mother has seen our cutter-scooper-thing in action, she totally wants one.