Milkshakes at the Cardinal

If you’ve never had a strawberry milkshake from the Cardinal Drive In in Brevard, NC, then you’re missing out on one of the great pleasures of life. For $3 and change, you get a fresh milkshake full of real strawberries that freeze just the right amount while in their cocoon of frozen dairy goodness.

Bonus points if you share one with a pretty awesome kid.

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Saturday Night Pizza Cravings

Having a kid who likes to bake is basically messy and expensive. Sure, it can be heartwarming and all that, too, but mostly, it’s a wreck.

Today, I can offer a glimmer of hope to parents who find themselves in the same sticky boat.

This week was stressful for all of Team Tuckermom. By Saturday afternoon, all I wanted to do was pajama up and watch House of Cards. I did that, then fell asleep only to have the angry rumblings of my stomach wake me up around 8 o’clock. I was sleepy, cranky, and hungry. It wasn’t a good mix when I was 2, and it’s not a good mix at 39.

“Want to grab some dinner?” TuckerDad offered.

“No. No pants,” I whined into my pillow.

“Want me to get you some pants?”

“No, you’re missing the point like you always do and by the time I put on pants and we went to dinner everything would be packed and the wait would be a hundred hours, so going out to eat is a pretty dumb suggestion. Am I right??”

(If, at this point, you wonder why he stays married to me, know that I ask myself that same question on a regular basis. It’s probably a mix of true love, dedication, and inertia, and I’m grateful for all three of them.)

Catie tapped on the door and poked her head in. “I can make you dinner, mommy. I’ll make a white pizza, if you want.”

For real, kid? How can I maintain my temper tantrum when you come in all cute and generous and genuine like that.

So 30 minutes later I had a white pizza with fresh basil pesto and a family who had not disowned me to share it with. I was amazing. It really was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. All of her trial and error in the kitchen totally paid off.

So, fellow parents, when you walk into the kitchen and it’s a wreck, even after they “cleaned” it, or you’re presented with cupcakes that strongly resemble hockey pucks and smell faintly of garlic, take a deep breath (but not near the cupcake). Hold on to the hope that things will improve, and when they do, it may take the form of a perfectly baked pesto white pizza.

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A Revelation

Perhaps revelation is too strong of a word. Maybe it was more of an epiphany. One friend suggested I was just bored and that this would pass when the weather warmed up. Regardless, here we are.

I am too old to not know how to cook.

Having been a parent for nearly a decade, and eating solid foods myself for the quarter century before that, my awkwardness in the kitchen surprises even me. (Though I’ve found that my friends and family are not surprised. For years, they have been kind enough to expect very little of me in terms of culinary skills and rave appropriately when I successfully make instant oatmeal.)

Today, my outlook on cooking changes. I will no longer fear the three working burners on my cooktop or check for microwave directions on a package before purchasing. I will no longer consider that offering Kix, Cheerios, or Chex is the same as giving my family “options” for dinner. (Though breakfast, and the occasional lunch, is still fair game. I’m not completely unrealistic here.) Today, I will prepare real food for my family. Today, I will cook!