A sweet party for a sweet 12 year-old

If I'm not mistaken, it has rained almost every year on the day that The Pea has had a birthday party.  This year, we finally wised up and realized that the best way to ensure clear skies would be to hold her party in late April instead of early April -- less showers, more flowers.  Here's how we celebrated:

How to Dissect a Cow Eye

Warning: This post contains graphic, gross, gory photos!  If you feel squeamish at the thought of raw body parts, here is the gist of today's post:  3Po and Jammy dissected a cow's eyeball in class today.  No need to read further.

For those of you who like the gore, read on...

What's for lunch this week? Who cares?

Without a doubt, this was a week that sucked.  So far we've had the horrible tragedy at the Boston Marathon on Monday, an earthquake at the Iran-Pakistan border on Tuesday, and a fertilizer plant explosion in Texas on Wednesday.  I actually need a calculator to figure out the total number of dead and injured (I'm lazy at mental math).  The US Senate voted down an already watered-down background check bill for gun purchases (the Manchin-Toomey amendment), which means even more bodies added to future death/injured tolls.

On the shallower side (far shallower, but focusing on the inane helps calm my agitation at the injustices of the world), my favorite soccer team Arsenal tied 0-0 with Everton and Manchester United managed to pull off a last minute goal to tie the score and deny West Ham a well-deserved victory.  To top things off, a virus has entered our home.  I've felt crappy all week and I've infected the rest of the family.  Is it any wonder that I don't feel like making lunch?

This was not my week for homemade lunches with colorful fruit and interesting sandwich fillings.  It was a week for school hot lunches, for bread and cheese, for bagels with cream cheese and PBJ, for Oscar Mayer Lunchables.  It was a week to sit on the sofa and watch the news and explain to the kids the meaning of words like pressure cooker and fertilizer and amputation.  Yes, a healthy, beautifully presented lunch shows your kids that you care, but so does a hug.  This week, I chose hugs.

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Grilled cheese and mushroom sandwich

Today is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, but I didn't find out about it until mid-morning, so I wasn't able to make grilled cheese sandwiches for the kids' lunch. I'm not about to let such a delectable holiday pass by without any fanfare, so naturally I put grilled cheese sandwiches on the menu for dinner.

Tonight's grilled cheese sandwich has two kinds of cheese, brie and cheddar.  It also has sauteed mushrooms, onions and roasted garlic.  I bought roasted garlic from the deli, then sauteed it with the mushrooms and onions for about 10 minutes.  Then I sandwiched the sauteed mixture with the brie and cheddar in a sandwich roll.

To grill the sandwich, I used our panini press, which has rendered our actual grilled cheese sandwich press obsolete ever since Alfie got it for our anniversary in November.  It's so easy to grill any kind of sandwich, of any thickness -- and it marks the sandwich with those pretty grill lines.  Every time we use it, I remember the days we spent in France and Belgium, sitting in chic little sidewalk cafes, munching on paninis.  Our panini press doesn't just serve up great food, it serves up great memories as well :)

Happy National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day! Here's hoping your grilled cheese sandwiches bring back lots of good memories for you.

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Thirty-eight lunches to go....

Honeydew melon, olives, cherry tomatoes, string cheese, Ritz Crackers

Spring Break is over, and after nine days of leisure it's difficult to go back to the daily school schedule.  It makes it even more difficult because the days are getting sunnier, the air is getting warmer, the daylight is lasting longer.

Summer is almost here.... except it actually isn't.  We just say it's almost here because we so badly want it to be.  We still have eight weeks of school left -- or to be more precise, we have 7 weeks plus 4 school days since school lets out on a Thursday.  Plus 3 school days, not 4, since today's school day is pretty much over.  That's thirty-eight more school lunches to pack.  That's 114 servings of fruit for my 3 kids.  And 228 slices of bread, assuming I pack a sandwich every day.

Can you tell I'm ready for the schoolyear to be over?

Celebrating Twelve

Three years ago I wrote a blog post about how sad/scared/sentimental I was about The Pea turning nine.  Ha.  If only I knew how good I had it back then.  Now her younger brothers are nine, and this beautiful creature has turned twelve.  Twelve.

My kid got the honors... but our car won't be getting a bumper sticker

Last week we received some exciting news:  The Pea has made the Honor Roll for the first semester of 6th grade!  Truth be told, we have no idea what being on the Honor Roll signifies: whether only the top 1 or 5 or 10 percent of students get it, or whether everyone with an A or A+ or B+ grade average gets it.  "Honor Roll" definitely has an air of distinction about it, but then again, in this day and age where just completing all your homework for a week can earn a kid a certificate, or just entering a tournament can earn him a medal, it's hard to tell whether this award really means something.  On the other hand, The Pea is a pretty good student, and she has been bringing home mostly perfect scores on assignments.  One of these days I'll get around to asking a teacher exactly what it means, but for now we are assuming it is a Big Deal, and acting accordingly.

As a reward for her accomplishment, we ate out last weekend and The Pea got to choose the restaurant, and we're giving her some money to get her a bit closer to that iPhone she's desperately saving up for.  Apparently that is not enough:  she wants us to get The Bumper Sticker.  You know, the one that says "Proud Parent of an Honor Student at XXX Middle School" or "My kid is an honor student at XXX Middle School".

Hmmm.......um.... maybe we should tone the celebrations down?