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…are some of the things that make life’s memories. One thing I am grateful for that I think enhances our family is all of our shared meal times. Generally, we eat together in the evening. If possible, we will sit together in the morning for breakfast if our schedule allows it. We talk and learn about each other. We urge Meadow to eat faster and to not talk quite so much. We bond. These are times that I deeply appreciate, and hope to continue for a long time to come.

When I was growing up, I don’t really remember sharing mealtimes with my family.  My dad always worked so early, I never saw him in the morning. My mom often worked late, so I wouldn’t see her until later in the evening. In high school, I could easily go for weeks with only seeing my mother or father in passing. I would skip breakfast, run to school, eat dinner at work (Taco del Mar!), and get home after both my parents were in bed. I don’t remember how our mealtimes were shared before high school, but I don’t have many memories of shared meals at the table. That was more for special occasions, or if we ate at a restaurant.

I have found that our mealtimes with Meadow have evolved into something I am very happy with. We say grace and eat as a family most every night. We talk about our days. We make jokes. We do not turn on the TV.

This is so valuable to me, and is a new tradition for me as well. I always thought it was a little odd when my friends’ families would have a family dinner. ‘How do you have the time?’ I always wondered.

This is something worth making the time for, in my opinion. Study after study has supported the value of family mealtimes and its positive effect on children and families. I hope to continue this little tradition for as long as possible.

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This morning I cruised into Wired Nick’s Espresso on Bothell Way, even though I knew it would make me late for work. I was exhausted from staying up too late, and it was double stamp day! (Can’t miss that!)

I thought their special was a coconut latte, and the gal ran out to check.

“Nope. It’s caramel,” she said.

Hm..”I’ll just get a sugar free vanilla, with nonfat milk. 3 shots, please, and only half the syrup,” I ordered.

After she made and I paid for the latte, double stamps in hand, I drove away. And then I smelled it. The daffy gal gave me a caramel latte anyway! Oh no!

But you know what, it was really good. Now I think I like caramel flavored lattes again. It’s been years.

What a fascinating, riveting story, eh? 😉

Today, my company held their annual picnic at The Farm in Snohomish. They had a great bbq spread, and all sorts of fun activities for the children. They had a small petting zoo, a hay ride, pig show, and hay to play in. Perhaps the most interesting activity of all was Trout Fishing.

Yep, you heard me. Real, honest to goodness, hook on a string fishing of trout in a trough that was about 4 feet wide and 30 feet long. It was practically jumping with fish. I have never seen anything like this in my life! It made me think of those hokey gold mining set ups that some amusement parks have, in which you can “pan for gold,” and come away with a couple flakes of what is probably pyrite. At any rate, I thought this novel idea was pretty neat, and Meadow was into it, too.

We tried a couple times to catch a fish, but as soon as we dropped the hook in the water, the trout just stole the peanut-buttery bait and swam away. Against Dustin’s ethical protests of us basically shooting fish in a barrel, literally, we tried a third time. We hooked it! I had to help Meadow and pull it out of the water for her as it splashed and thrashed about. She stared at it, wide-eyed as it wiggled on the line, trying to breathe. I felt a little guilty, and asked her point blank, “do you want to take this fish home, kill it, cut it up and eat it, or should we put it back in the water?” No response from her. I began to lower the fish back in the water with pity, when she started shreiking, “No! No! No, mommy!” So I pulled it back out, and handed it to the employee who didn’t bump the poor trout on the head, but rather just stuck it in a plastic bag and tied the end, thereby ensuring a slow tragic suffocation death for the fish.

Dustin, fly-fishing and catch-and release enthusiast, is rolling his eyes the entire time. He was concerned that Meadow would freak out about the death of the fish, and about the questionable ethics of killing animals like this. I felt the guilt of PETA on my back like a gorilla, which I quickly shrugged off. Hey, my kid had a blast. (*gulp*)

Meadow began to carry the fish in the bag, proudly. That is until it wiggled in the bag with one of its death throes. She dropped it and screamed, which was absolutely hilarious. She made me carry it to the car, while it wiggled spasmed every few minutes. The whole walk to the car she kept saying “mmm’mm! This is going to taste sooo good!” I told her it would die and we’d cut it up and cook it and eat it, and rather than getting freaked out or scared she kept saying, “yum! I like fish!” (Think I take her to sushi too often?)

We got home, where I proceeded to search youtube for instructions on how to clean and cook a trout. I only ever cook salmon, and I make my dad clean them for me because I truly suck at it. I sort of got the gist of it. Meadow watched curiously as I hacked off the trout’s head, pulled out the guts, and chopped out the bones and fins. (Am I raising a psychopath?) and about an hour later, we had two extremely tiny, mangled, rainbow trout fillets fried and on a plate.

Honestly, I had a hard time eating it. It creeped me out. I peeled off the skin and nibbled at what little flesh was there. Meadow, on the other hand, crammed as much as she could into her mouth – skin and all – and MOUED.

Later that evening I told Meadow, “it is so cool you won that fish and provided supper for us tonight! How neat!” She looked at me earnestly and said, “We were winners, mommy! But the fish wasn’t!”

She could say that again!

I really really really like the Creamy Root Beer soda from Diet Hansen’s. It’s at Trader Joes and 1.99 for a six pack.

Seriously, I didn’t think consumers got breaks like this anymore. Totally yummy, and deliciously affordable.

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