The Crust of the Matter

Ever heard of Smucker’s Uncrustables for kids? These frozen peanut butter sandwiches (of dubious nutritional caliber) come in a variety of flavors, are made from whole wheat or white crustless bread, and are thawed out an hour or two before lunch or snacktime.

I bring this up because earlier this week I read a brief post over at Bargain Briana about a kitchen tool that lets you make your own Uncrustables-style sealed pocket sandwiches. I read the article and promptly left a comment hoping to generate a little discussion on the broader topic of cutting crusts. Frankly, I’m kinda miffed that Briana apparently not only opted to toss out my comment, but didn’t even email me. Okay, fair enough—her blog, her prerogative. Perhaps she just didn’t want to get mired down in the dicey, controversial waters of crust-cutting. So, I thought I’d broach the topic here:

Let’s not mince words: I’m opposed to the idea of cutting crusts off of sandwiches for kids on a number of levels:

  1. Babies don’t come out of the chute with an inbred hatred of bread crusts; parents implant that notion. Why foster the idea that crusts are bad?
  2. Crust-cutting not only creates more work for harried parents, but unnecessary waste as well. Why instill the expectation that someone will always gladly take the time to needlessly trim off and discard an otherwise good portion of a sandwich?
  3. The crust is the most nutritious part of bread, containing 8 times more antioxidants and more dietary fiber, which helps prevent colon cancer! Why wouldn’t you want your kid(s) to have the full benefit of the foods you’ve chosen (and paid hard-earned money) for them to eat?
  4. And lastly, in support of my pro-crust position, I offer the following:

    If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars [and] heavens.
    —English poet, Robert Browning (1812-1889)

  5. But maybe I’m missing something here. Is there a valid reason for crust-cutting that simply eludes me? Am I some kinda retrograde Luddite or just being downright negligent by not trimming the nefarious crusts off of Liam’s otherwise delicious sammiches?

    So, what do you think? Do you cut the crusts off of your kids’ bread?

Mr. Motormouth

We’ve mentioned a few times (most recently on our Labor Day trip to Round Rock) how thankful we are that Liam is such a great traveler and generally loves riding in the car. Even on long rides, he doesn’t usually sleep much, but instead just occupies himself with a book, his doodlepad, a toy or just looking out the window. But regardless of whatever else is going on, he’s always talking.

Don’t get me wrong, Dede & I love how communicative our son is and we’re often outright floored by the very mature way he converses with us. (Dede would probably say that he’s inherited his Dad’s propensity for “big words.”) But y’know, while Liam’s very articulate speech is usually fun & impressive, there is a downside:   he almost never stops yakking!

So, so many times, I’ve flashed back to the old Bugs Bunny cartoon where the loose-lipped rabbit is mistakenly kidnapped by gangsters and ends up driving them batty with his incessant chatter. Sure, we’ve doled out more than a few “hushes!” but more than once I’ve wanted oh so badly to be able to instead just say this (without the gun, of course):

(Naturally, Liam clams up tight when we really want him to say something clever or cute on cue. Oh yeah, then he’s a regular Michigan J. Frog.)

So, what about your kids—are they chatterboxes or as quiet as church mice?

Green Fleas

lamb by Sandra BoyntonLast night Liam was belting out “Mary Had a Little Lamb” all through his bath time. And his version had a lot more to it than I remember the song having. (In fact, according to Wikipedia, the song has 4 verses!) After his bath, we had a long discussion about Mary’s lamb and it turns out that she had 4 of them named Maryolia, Elmolia, Hugolia & Oscarolia.

Oscarolia has green “fleas” because he likes to drink pickle juice. 😉  There’s nothing like the mind of a 4 year old!

A Week of Milestones

Seems like we’re always discovering new turning points that mark Liam’s progression and this week was kind of a biggie since we hit not just one, not two, but three milestones!

The first big event was Liam starting swim classes.  He’s had 2 lessons so far and is progressing well.  Although it doesn’t always seem like he’s listening to his to swim teacher, it’s obvious that he is hearing her because we’ve noticed changes in the way he swims outside of class.  He’s kicking and using his arms much more when he swims.

Liam's first swim class

The second big event was that Liam graduated out of his carseat to a booster seat today.  He had outgrown his old carseat in every direction, so we decided it was time to move up.  I’m finding some challenges with this already though—we had to have a talk today about not unbuckling the seat belt just because the car stopped.

Liam's new booster seat

The third big event is that Liam got a library card and checked out his first 2 books at our county library!

Liam's new library card

This has just been too many milestones in one week for me.  I feel like my little boy is growing up way too fast!

Liam’s First Theatrical Experience

Liam had his first movie theater experience this week!  We’d been holding out for the release of Toy Story 3 and for Nanny Karen to get here to join us for the big event.

Liam at Toy Story 3

Liam was so psyched about being in the big theater he could barely contain himself through the previews.   After each of the previews, he’d ask me if it was time for Buzz now.  All was going well once the movie started until the toys found themselves in peril.  I won’t spoil the movie for those who haven’t seen it yet, but some of the content was quite intense for a 4 year old.  Liam climbed into my lap and told me he wanted to go. Eventually Rob had to take him, with big tears streaming down his little face, out to the safety and calm of the theater lobby. They returned once the toys were out of danger for the final 10-15 minutes of the movie.

Liam's 1st movie

He finished watching the movie and the experience ended on a positive note, so I’m sure he will be wanting to go to another movie soon.  Even days later, he still brings up some of the scenes where the toys faced “peril” when he’s playing with his Buzz & Woody plushies, so unfortunately, I think that kind of stuck with him.  I wish the movie would’ve been more like the other ones and not had been so intense and at times frightening for him.

I’m curious to know what you thought of it. Please post a comment and let me know how your little one(s) did with the movie!

Mother’s Day #3

Today I celebrated my 3rd Mother’s Day and I received this special card that Liam made me for me at his daycare last week.

Mother's Day Card 2010

What a great day and have I mentioned how much I love being a Mom?

I hope all you other Moms out there had a great day too!

First Christmas Concert

I’m a little late getting this posted but Liam performed at his first Christmas program last week.   He sang with all of the 3 year old’s at his daycare in front of their families.   After the program was over, the children joined their parents for lunch.

(For those of you reading this who’re still working on your adoption paperwork or are in the waiting stage, don’t give up, these sort of payoffs are countless!)

Needless to say, our little songbird was thrilled to see us in the audience and kept waving and saying "Hi Momma!" during the concert and my heart just melted seeing him up there so happy.   Check out his performance in the video below (he’s on the front row, on the far right in the blue vest):

2 Years Ago Today…

Today (December 3rd) marks our 2nd “Metcha” anniversary. That is, it was two years ago today that we met our precious son for the first time in Podolsk, Russia. I had no idea at the time how much that moment would change me forever and, just like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes that day and hasn’t stopped growing since.

In the past two years, we’ve really become a family and our baby that we brought home is becoming an independent, rambunctious, not-so-little boy. I’m so proud of him and thankful every day that God chose us to be his parents.

Metcha Day 2007

"Metcha Day" 2007

Family Xmas 2009

"Metcha Day" 2009

Food For Thought: Kids Cuisine

Inspiring & passionate, Chef Ann Cooper (a.k.a. the Renegade Lunch Lady) has spearheaded a dramatic overhaul in the school lunch programs in Berkley, CA. She’s on a mission to change the way children eat and transform cafeterias into culinary classrooms. Don’t be put off by her intensity—she’s just very outraged and committed to getting the word out about how our children’s’ nutritional needs are being so poorly addressed in school.


Check out Ann Cooper’s blog and also follow Ann Cooper on Twitter to keep up with all of her latest happenings.

Of course, some of Ann’s ideas may not work universally. Sure, fresh regional veggies & fruits are abundant in California, but locally-grown, organic produce isn’t necessarily so readily available in other parts of the country. Still, consider the benefits for children of applying even a few of Ann’s progressive changes.

What are your thoughts on school lunches and kids’ nutritional needs? Do you believe schools are doing enough already? To be entered in the book drawing at the end of this Food For Thought week, just leave a comment!

Big Boy Bed

Liam made the transition from his baby bed to a "big boy" bed this past weekend.   He was so excited when they delivered the bed on Saturday morning!   We temporarily moved the baby bed to other side of his room (just in case) but he kept insisting that we get it out of there because he’s a big boy now.

He did really well with his nap Saturday afternoon and then slept all that night (with only one roll-off mishap).   Luckily his giant, fluffy bear Hugo "caught" him when he rolled off the bed at 5:30 on Sunday morning.   Rob bought a couple of swimming pool foam noodles that we put under the fitted sheet on each side of the bed to create bumpers for the sides and that seems to have solved the rolling off problem.

twin-size bed

After naptime yesterday, we decided to take the old crib apart and Liam even helped remove screws with the cordless drill and bag up the little pieces.

The headboard is still in transit and we haven’t installed the bedskirt yet so I’ll update this post with another picture when all of that’s in place.

Update:   The ready-to-assemble headboard finally arrived so here’s the completed bed with headboard, noodles and bedskirt all in place:

twin-size bed

We’ve also finally updated the Liam’s bedroom page with some photos and details of his room.   Be sure to take a peek!