Do me a favor and say “por favor”

Joseph is a very polite boy. From a small age he has always said “thank you” and “you’re welcome” (in two languages).

But he also he can be very stubborn. For a long time, Joseph has said “por favor” only using sign language. He simply would not speak “please.”

This morning we had a little showdown. He wanted a second helping of cereal. I wanted him to speak “please” or “por favor” aloud. At first he would only give me signs, over and over. I kept repeating to him that I wanted him to speak the words. Then he started saying “I can’t!” (a phrase he learned from his sisters)

After a while I went back to my newspaper as he sat there sucking his two fingers. Yoli was talking to me, then she said “Did you hear that?”

And there was Joseph saying “por favor.”

Amid exclamations of “good job” and “bravo,” Joseph got his second helping of cereal.

Baking bread in the new kitchen

This is why Yoli was so insistent on having one long, uninterrupted countertop space — even though it may have violated the sacred “kitchen triangle” principle.

Baking with the kids.

Ludi and Josie each had plenty of room to work on their own dough balls. They had fun shaping them however they liked (mostly abstract).

And we all had fun eating them this morning! (I had mine with honey)

Syllabub

Today Yoli made a concoction called ‘syllabub’. It’s heavy cream with juice from 2 lemons and 1 orange, white grape juice and a half cup sugar. You whip the cream and add the other stuff.

This recipe came from the American Girls Felicity cookbook.

It was tasty!

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A menu fit for a princess

Jadzia’s most recent Scholastic book order form included a title called “Disney Princess: Royal Recipe Collection.” Just as the Disney marketing machine hoped, Jadzia was immediately intrigued.

Rather than purchase this book, Yoli checked to see if the library had a copy. They did, so we requested it.

This morning we began cooking our first recipes from it. Our breakfast was “Fairy Godmother Wands” (aka sliced French toast). The girls were eager to help prepare it, but quickly became “tired” once they started assisting. The toast was accompanied by an orange dipping sauce.

Later for “dinner” (our meals were way off their normal times today) we had “Get Your Work Done Smoothies” (a reference to Cinderella’s stepmother). We followed those with one of my recipes — black jewel popcorn topped with butter and freshly-grated parmesan.

The princess recipes we had today were decent, but overall I’m not especially enthusiastic about this book.

In contrast, tonight at the library I found a Felicity cookbook, from the colonial-era character in the “American Girls” series. The recipes are far more authentic and the book is more educational. We’ll probably try a few in a few days.

When cakes don’t come out right

Yoli wants everyone to know that her cakes don’t always come out right. Usually it’s because she forgets to add a key ingredient. Such was the case last night as she was baking a special cake for Valentine’s Day.

Yoli forgot to add sugar, but didn’t realize it until after she pulled the cake out of the oven and saw it had not risen very much. So she had to bake another one, this time with all the ingredients.

You can see a comparison of the good cake (left) and the messed-up one (right) in the photo above.

Fortunately, we have girls whose palates are not particularly discerning, especially when it comes to pastries.

Yoli offered them some of her “bread” and they have been happily chowing down on it ever since.

A cupful of yogurt (or two) helps the shopping trip go down

Groceries + girls = grumpy (me).

Well, at times. I enjoy shopping, but I like to do it quickly and peacefully. It’s when the girls act up and get silly that I become upset.

In recent weeks, though, I have seen the power of a special something.

That something is The Sample.

We have traditionally avoided grocery shopping on Friday and Saturday mornings for a few reasons. It’s busy, first of all. But also our schedule is usually tighter on those days because I go in to work a little bit earlier.

But we’ve had three recent excursions to Schnuck’s and Dierberg’s where samples were plentiful. Boy did the girls enjoy that.

A few “raw milk” cheese cubes here, a couple cups of yogurt there, a sip of sugar-free white honeysuckle tea here, a nibble of bread there = girls occupied, not bored.

The only downside I can see is that just like with toys, the girls can quickly become jaded. Thankfulness can be replaced by a sense of entitlement and expectation.

One of the ways we try to combat stuff like that is to deprive the girls. You know, spread out visits to restaurants, or limit the time and type of movies they watch.

So maybe just a sample day once a month will help the medicine go down. We’ll see.