Home > Recommendations, Sanity Savers > *NEW SERIES* Sanity Saver #1: Put a freeze on the after-dinner meltdown period

*NEW SERIES* Sanity Saver #1: Put a freeze on the after-dinner meltdown period

I got off the subway last week with my usual entourage – Margaret in the stroller, Adam in the ergo on my back and Ian in the bjorn on the front – when a man grabbed my elbow. “I want whatever it is that you have,” he said, smiling. “Pardon?” I asked, taking a step back (a big one). “Sorry,” he apologized, recognizing my alarm. “I just see you on the train all the time and wish I could show you to my wife. We only have two kids and bringing them on the subway is usually a nightmare. You’re always singing and playing games with your kids – it’s amazing. You should be very proud.” Smiling (and feeling relieved that I wasn’t being mugged), I thanked him and hurried on my way, not bothering to tell him that I had just threatened Adam with the ‘police officer taking his granola bar if he put his mouth on the subway window one more time.’

Some mornings I do feel proud – on my best days even clever. But my husband works long hours, only predictable in that he usually misses dinner and often bedtime on weekdays, and regularly puts in additional time on the weekends. Add 4 children and a sprinkle of sleep deprivation and what you have is a recipe for Mommy-threatening-her-whining-ungrateful-children-with-the-breakfast-snatching-police-by-nine-in-the-morning. I’ll be the first to admit that during the first few months of  Ryan’s job, life in the city with just 2 kids was a bit bumpy. But 5 years and 2 more kids later I have collected quite the assortment of tricks up my sleeve, songs in my head and snacks in my bag. So really, Sanity Savers is just the catchy title for “how I stop whining and make the most out of the life I’ve chosen.” Because at the bottom of it all, my crazy, chaotic, noisy, jam-packed life is completely made of my choices – even the choices that are lying on the sidewalk in front of my house, crying that they can’t walk another step.

Sanity Savers is pretty much the opposite of the Monday Minute (though the direct result of some of them). This new series is basically recommendations – products, places, recipes, habits, tricks – on how to not lose your cool in front of everyone in line at Dunkin Donuts when your 4 year old keeps lifting her shirt up, shrieking “these pants are too smallllll!” because they don’t quite pull up to her chest. No? Don’t worry, the series will address other issues too.

Sanity Savers promises to be as random as the Monday Minute, and what it lacks in entertainment value will (hopefully) be made up for in usefulness. So without further adieu, Sanity Saver #1:

You know that infamous unstructured after-dinner period in a family’s life? You know, the one that falls in between leaving the table without asking and “brushing teeth right now or there will be no reading at all tonight!?” I am forever brainstorming ways to get through that period that do NOT involve my kids gleefully throwing the damn Wiggly Giggly ball up and down the stairs to each other. And the other night, I found an activity that bears repeating. It’s a high-fun, low-maintenance, craft/dessert/magic trick/educational activity that has been immediately inducted into the weekly lineup. Ice cream. Not impressed? How is ice cream a craft? you are probably thinking. When the kids make it themselves. In 5 minutes. With little-to-no mess and only 5 ingredients. Magic, right?

Materials needed (per person):

1 gallon-sized ziploc bag

1 sandwich-sized ziploc bag

3/4 cup of milk, we use whole milk for this but any kind will do

1-2 TBSP sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups of ice

3-4 TBsp of coarse salt (sea or kosher)

——————————————————————–

Let the fun begin:

1. Hand each child an open sandwich bag – have them hold it open with two hands. Tell them to “FREEZE.”

2. Pour 3/4 cup of milk into the baggies.

3. Add vanilla and sugar, sealing each bag as ingredients are added (I go youngest to oldest to avoid spills).

4. Put around 2 cups of ice and the coarse salt into a gallon ziploc bag (for each child). Add the sealed sandwich bag to the gallon bag and seal the larger bag as well.

5. Shake both bags together for about 5 minutes. Click here to see my kids in action.

6. Take the smaller bag out of the big bag and voila – you have ice cream! You can eat it right out of the bag with a spoon or do what we did (below) and pour it into a bowl with chocolate chips.

IMG_0697

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IMG_0698The man on the subway would be impressed, no?

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