Tag Archives: dining

Thank God for Little Bags of Shut the Heck Up (Parenting with Fruit Snacks)


Teach Them Well and Let Them Lead The Way  

I couldn’t agree more with those lyrics from the late Whitney Houston.  Creating a person is one of the greatest things of all.   As with anything though, eventually the new wears off.  Once all of the awe and splendor of creating human life finally begins to fade into the background you realize that there is a whole lot more to this thing than just keeping them alive long enough for them to be able to actually sleep with a pillow or blanket without risk of SIDS.  The fun part begins when they begin to walk and talk and are basically your very own DNA Play-Doh that you get to shape however you like.

At 20 months old, our youngest daughter is a lot like one of those smart phone apps you say something to and it repeats you in a cute funny voice.  She is learning new words and phrases everyday and it is obvious that no member of our family is passing up the chance to leave a few thumbprints in her molding process.  Last week while driving a squeaky little voice from the back seat piped up and said “WATCH IT DADDY!” followed by an eruption of giggles from her big sister.  Our oldest has come to the conclusion that teaching her little sister new phrases is the funniest thing ever, especially when they are phrases that she doesn’t have the guts to say out loud herself.  Her mom teaches her to say sweet things like “love the baby” and “I am one years old.”  It may not have been until last night though, as she wandered through the house yelling “BACON IS AWESOME” that I realized how sweet this new little game could be.

Yesterday I watched her drag the stool from the bathroom into her room and proceed to climb up onto her changing table and then climb back down.  This newly discovered talent also explains the bowl of apples in the kitchen full of mysterious little bite marks.  When you reach that point of realizing you did your job keeping them alive this long and now it is time to really turn them into someone cool, it is totally sweet.


Armed with Snacks 

Sometimes it is like watching Gizmo turn into a Gremlin.  From adorably cute to little monster in 3.6 seconds.  Most of the time we realize it is part of the gig and take it all in stride.  Other times the cries of our children have the ability to reduce us to begging pleading shadows of our former self.  Often, our transformation can be just as rapid as theirs.

Sunday morning I found myself trying to rationalize with my one year old, “Yes sweetie, your daddy is very handy but even he cannot fix a broken banana or put it back into the peal so please for the love of everything holy just stop crying.”  Yeah, it was like that.  There are times though, when the humane and sensitive options of soothing are exhausted, that parents are forced to go to the silver bullet in the battle against their little weretoddlers.  That’s right.  Fruit snacks.

They may be disgusting little gummy sugar wads but there is no doubt that they have been blessed by some great shaman or created by a wizard.  When readying ourselves for a day out in public with our little ones, I am often reminded of that scene in Rambo when he straps weapons onto his arms and legs and then rises tying the red band around his head.  Usually, I leave with pockets full of goldfish and Cheerios and emergency fruit snacks strapped to my ankle (stuffed in my sock).  I am locked and loaded and ready for battle the grocery store.  It may sound like taking the easy way out but I have found that sometimes, a stern tone or empty threat simply do not have enough fire power and the only way to shut their mouths is to give them something to chew.  Every now and then, I feel like just tearing the bag open with my teeth and lobbing them in her general direction like a little grenade of shut up.  The bonus with that tactic is that it takes extra time for her to wander around finding all of the gelatinous nubs of artificial flavor and strengthens her immune system since she will be eating from the floor.  Kids are one of the best things to ever happen to me but fruit snacks as a silencer is totally weak.

Free Sample?


14 hundred hours, somewhere in metro Atlanta 

How do you know a movie you are watching is going to be good?  Favorite actor?  Good reviews?  Based on a book you liked?  Well for me,there is a litmus test that is tried and true.  Any movie that starts with the sound of a typewriter as courier font populates the screen telling me something like “16:00 hours somewhere in the Indian Ocean” will be a movie I like.   It may be cliché but  the typewriter intro has never let me down and I know when I see it that if all else fails this movie will probably have espionage, a car chase, and at least 3 explosions.  So basically, at bare minimum, not a waste of 2 hours.  I am not saying that all good movies start with the sound of a typewriter, I am saying that any movie that starts with the sound of a typewriter will be a solid investment.  In that same vein, a movie that starts with a montage set to some pop song where you see a person only from the neck down walking in and out of different shops and carrying different bags will probably be something you should just go ahead and stop now and use the next two hours evaluating your decision-making abilities.  To be completely honest, I am a sucker for a good romantic comedy and the great movies that use Christmas as a backdrop are one of my favorite parts of this time of year.  What is your favorite Holiday movie?  (what a cheap way to solicit your comments.)



Now what do I do with this toothpick? 

This past weekend I dined for lunch at a place called the Cajun Cafe.  I ordered “Cajun Chicken” and was then asked if I would like fried rice or Lo mein. What the heck?  You now get one guess on the type of dining establishment I was patronizing.  Correct, a mall food-court.  I am not certain when every place at the food court turned into Mandarin Express but I can tell you why.  The secret, my friend, lies in one small bite of saucy fried chickeny goodness on a toothpick being thrust into your personal space as you walk by.  Who turns down that little guilt free bite of awesome?  It rarely stops me dead in my tracks and causes me to drop everything an order a little styrofoam box of it.  But that sweet and tangy residue will linger on my palate long enough for me to give your eatery some serious consideration when decision time comes.  Inevitably when heaped in a pile into the big section of your to-go container it never has the same wow factor it did when the guy in the silly hat was out in front of the counter peddling his wares to the passer byes.  The thing about the free sample is that it always leaves you wanting more (that and toothpicks are awesome dining utensils).  One tiny piece of delicious chicken is just enough to peak our interest and not so much that we realize how “meh” it really is.  You can try asking for a toothpick and eating your entire meal with it but alas, you cannot capture the magic of a free sample.  Maybe it is a trend but for now, the next time you order a turkey sandwich or a gyro wrap in a food court be ready with your decision on adding an egg-roll for a dollar.  Cajun Cafe Lo mein?  Weak.

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