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reSLience… a.k.a. resilience

it's what lies within that really matters

Holidays for me have always been about food – as long as I can remember. I think I must be genetically wired for it. My parents have worried about food and planned menus for as long as I can remember. Our lives seemed to revolve around mealtime. “What is for dinner?” and being home by 5:30 because dinner was at 6 pm was key to happiness – more important than any other nighttime curfew.

So yesterday was about food 🙂 Are you surprised? Shouldn’t you have seen that one coming? It was about grilling the burgers with chopped garlic and the potato salad and pasta salad and corn on the cob and baked beans (that are so sweet we joke about them being dessert beans!). It was about all of us sitting around the table laughing and enjoying each other. It was about saying grace – I have to tell you Simon says the cutest grace “Thank you for our ketchup and hotdogs and cars.” But then it was all about the ICE CREAM.

Homemade ice cream has been a staple of my 4th of July FOREVER. I would have been 3 months old for my first ever 4th – and I bet they even had homemade ice cream back then!! I’ll have to ask my parents. I bet they’ll remember. Food things – they remember food 😉 Anyway – we have this family recipe with Instant Carnation Milk in it. Yeah you include all sorts of fattening milk and cream and eggs – but the secret is always in the Instant Carnation Milk. We used to make it so much in Flagstaff (being pregnant and nursing allows you a few more dairy luxuries than day to day life) that I almost knew the recipe by heart. Sadly, though, I hadn’t made the recipe since last 4th and couldn’t find it yesterday. We googled and googled and finally found one that was similar. Cooking the mixture is key – no raw egg – ick, Instant Carnation Milk was key, and then we found a recipe with a new ingredient… Instant French Vanilla Pudding. Mmmmm. The kids all helped – from the cracking of the eggs to the stirring on the stove to the help loading the ice cream maker with ice and rock salt. We have an electric maker though – so loud we put it in the bathtub upstairs and shut the door. When I was a kid it was a hand crank that we all took turns churning and my dad always had the final spins teasing us about the brute strength it took to accomplish.

So… we polished off our meal yesterday with ice cream. So hot here that you had to eat it quick and slurp some up with a straw because even though the ice cream freezer did its work – it melts super fast not having set up in a container in the freezer afterward. We slurped it up – with hot fudge and butterscotch and whipped cream. We all had sugar highs and happy looks on our faces. And then, Dave and I collapsed. The kids ran in circles with big smiles on their faces and Dave and I were exhausted. Something about making holiday meals that really kicks your butt. I had a strong sense of accomplishment, accompanied with exhaustion.

I try hard to not let every day be about food. I try to be less rigid with my kids about what they eat and when they eat it except I always try to make sure we all eat well and small meals. We probably order pizza one too many times in a month. We eat LOTS of cereal. We schedule he-who’s way too many evenings for dinner than necessary (he who’s hungry can eat whatever tonight for dinner because mom and dad aren’t cooking). But honestly, if Simon is happy with leftover cold pizza for breakfast, or like today, a half a leftover hamburger… I’m ok with that. It is a little wierd – but that kid loves meat. There are so many other things to worry about in life, I figure it is ok.

It was a good day. I hope my kids will grow up remembering the giggles and the ice cream and the sugar high with their brothers and sister. I hope they will carry on the tradition that for me is synonomous with the 4th of July.

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