Mom & J Quality Time

For Memorial Day Weekend, M had a soccer tournament out of town, so Cute W took her and J and I were left on our own. It was lovely, actually.

On Friday night we were lazy, staying in and mining the freezer for dinner, then popping some popcorn and watching Queen of Katwe, which is on Instant Netflix right now.

On Saturday morning we puttered around the house. Before I’d even eaten breakfast, J had noticed that our front container was infested.

Through the splendors of the internet, we figured out that these are lily beetles, an invasive species that would dine on our plants’ leaves and produce bunches of larvae to spread the horror to our neighbors. J went into red alert mode, and since we try to avoid poisons at our house, we went into manual removal mode.

But then, you guys, it was super-gross. There were teensy red eggs on the underside of so many leaves. We were vastly outnumbered. We gave up and just yanked the plants. Plus the first couple of inches of soil, where they apparently like to hang out, too. Yuck.

After that, I was hungry and ready to try a recipe I’d seen on Facebook, for these Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Mini Blender Muffins. First, I usually hate it when I see recipe videos on Facebook. I’m not sure what it is. I don’t have the attention span, maybe? I’m like, “I don’t actually need to see you pouring one-third cup of chopped walnuts into a bowl. I know how to do that.” I’d rather just see. the. damn. recipe. Like, I’ve forgotten the first two steps by the time you’re on step 6, and now I’ve lost interest. But this recipe was so fast that even the video didn’t annoy me.

I’ve had a bit of a bee in my bonnet lately about trying to come up with more nutritious snacks that my kids can take with them to school or wherever. For years and years I had a good thing going, with the kids eating leftovers for lunch. But they never want to bother re-heating, so that limits my options. Why this bee is in my bonnet now, when school is practically over, is a mystery. I’m a complicated woman, I guess. Perhaps I’m starting to freak out and think that my children might actually turn into Kashi bars.

Anyway, at first I under-baked the muffins, which I realized after I tried to shake them out of the tin and they went splat.

But then I baked them–well, the rest of them–for a bit more, and they ended up pretty tasty.

J liked them, but she hasn’t been scarfing them down with wild abandon, so I’m reserving judgement to see what M and Cute W think.

By that time it was late morning, and J had settled in front of the tv, but you’ll recall that Saturday was bee-you-tee-full outside, so I decided we should squeeze in an outing before our evening plans.

Luckily, Michael at Mountain Ridge Adventure had invited me to come check out their newest course. You might remember that I wrote a Review of Mountain Ridge Adventure for KidsOutAndAbout and then I did a little rant on this blog about Mountain Ridge Adventures. Well, and alligators. And assholes. Whatever; if you don’t remember, you can read it now. When I suggested to J that she might like to help test out the course, she leaped at the chance. She was feeling a bit at loose ends because Saturday usually involves a four-hour (!) gymnastics practice, so it was great for her to have something else physical to do.

We had fun. Actually, we missed the rest of our family, but it was still fun. I was really, really bad at the “pipe organ” element, and for a little while I was wondering if I’d get through it. Afterwards I watched J zip through it. Apparently my weird foot placement had been the cause of all of my woes. Also, possibly, that I am not at the peak athletic form of my 12-year-old.

She particularly kicked my butt on the “pipe organ,” where I managed to place my feet in such a manner that I would spin every time I made it to a new pipe. Two-thirds of the way through I was clinging onto each pipe for dear life. There are more pictures on the KidsOutAndAbout Facebook page, which you should totally just go ahead and “like.”

By the time we were done, we were a little pressed for time. We’d spent almost three hours there, and now we had to run home, rinse off (why yes, I’d been schvitzing), grab some dinner, and meet friends for a movie at 7:30 pm.

We ended up going to Taj Mahal Restaurant in downtown Schenectady for dinner. It was our first time dining in there, although we’d gotten take-out before. It turns out that it’s actually really convenient, because it’s only a couple of doors down from the parking lot on Clinton Street, and then it’s just around the corner to Proctors and the movies. Plus, they were lovely. Both the gentleman and his wife separately decided that J was a princess. And the food is tasty! Plus they managed to get it to us pretty fast, which was great because we were pressed for time at that point.

The one kind of sad thing is that I realized, several minutes after I’d ordered, that I’d accidentally ordered Channa Masala when I’d meant to order Malai Kofta. This was a bummer. We’d ordered from Taj Mahal for Mother’s Day, and the surprise of that meal was that the girls decided that they liked the Malai Kofta and Saag Paneer more than Chicken Tikka Masala. That pretty much rocked our world, because the girls have been obsessed with Chicken Tikka Masala since they were toddlers. So J was excited to eat Malai Kofta and Saag Paneer again, and then I’d screwed it up. When I realized, it was too late to change the order, and then, when I broke the news to J, she said, “I feel like that lady on the tv.”

That had us both cracking up, because the lady on the tv was one of those quintessential Bollywood heroines whose life has been shattered by tragedy, but she’s totally bearing it with as much courage as she can, one tear tracking slowly down her cheek.

That J! The girl is funny!

She bravely soldiered on, and all of the food was deliciousness, even though we mourned missing out on the Malai Kofta.

Meanwhile, the owner noticed our interest in the Bollywood video, and he kindly wrote down the title so we could watch it on Youtube later.

We thanked him and rushed off to watch Everything, Everything, a movie based on the book of the same name that J and one of her friends love-love-love, so they were super-excited to see it together. We all liked the movie but agreed that the book was better, but hey, what else is new?

When we got home we were so tired that J basically dropped onto the living room rug and fell asleep.

Now we’re having a lazy Sunday, and J really misses her M and Cute W, who are due home soon. A minute ago she thought that they’d arrived and ran out of the house to greet them, only to learn it was a neighbor. J keeps saying that she’d excited for M to go off to college, but judging by how much she missed her after only about 36 hours, it’s gonna be rough!


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