Fourth of July at The Family Kitchen


We were in the car today for a mere 15 hour trek. After spending a week in Utah with family and a few new favorite EFY counselors and kids, we smooshed our bodies in the minivan and worked our way through the long, grey roads of Cedar City and St. George, across a colorful corner of Arizona, and into the barren wasteland of heat and high winds which stretches from Mesquite, Nevada to Barstow, California. All to get to my beloved sister’s house in sunny SoCal.

With each length of the journey came a new stage of “The Road Trip Moody Blues.” At first, the children were content. Sharing. Giggling gregariously at dainty jokes and the occasional soda-burps escaped from a siblings lips. It was all in good fun. Things were going well.

We then moved from content to getting The Gas-Station Snackies. The Cheeky Hubby isn’t terribly fond on the concept of eating in the car, (a philosophy I was quickly converted to after scrubbing carpet-ground pieces of wet, red licorice from the floor of our former vehicle. Never again, I declared, fingernails stained with the saliva-laced candy hunks. Un.amazing.) But knowing the kids were older and significantly more mature than they were when the licorice event occurred, we tossed back waterbottles and little packages of Zots (retro-candy is cool, but retro-candy on the road? Uber chic.)

Snacks appropriately ingested, it was time for The Napping Stage to rest it’s gentle hand upon the occupants of our car. These first three stages of road travel are tremendously lulling. They get you thinking that you’ve done a terrific job with this whole parenting gig. They make you consider the proud concept that you’ve raised a car full of lovely, mannered lamb-chops.

But then. Stage Four hits. Out goes the three-phase bout of confidence. Because it’s time, my friends, for The Post-Nap Sours.

The Post-Nap Sours begin slowly. They catch you unawares. The kids are groggy. They wipe their cupid eyes and rub themselves slowly from sleep to awake. They look around, survey the surroundings. You peer back from your perch in the front seat, wink and smile. Hiya there buddy, you say. How was your nap?

Bad. The kid responds with a wrinkled nose. I’m bored.

Do you want to listen to music? No. Do you want to play with daddy’s iPod? No. Do you want to read a book? No. Do you want to find the ABC’s on road signs? No comment. Eyes are rolling.

But you see, The Post-Nap Sours don’t last long. No, it’s not enough for just one child to teeter in the backseat with misery rising in his heart. Nay. He has to bring the other children into it. This is the phase of road-tripping with kids, otherwise known as The Mind-Numbing Whine and Compainers. There is a poke. Sometimes a pinch. Today there was a lick. The little kid licked a big kid. The big kid started whining, which made the little girl cover her ears, kick, and complain, which sent the big girl into a tizzy fit of anger.

And me, sitting there in the front seat, arms six inches too short, and voice six volumes too quiet.

Have no worries. This phase ended. At some point between the 106 degree wind in Vegas and the 108 degree heat in Baker, California, everyone stopped crying, whining, poking, prodding, picking, and licking.

Which meant only one thing. Time for the stage of Late-Night, Stir-Crazy Maniacal Laughter.

And, I wish I were talking about the kids.


It’s been a busy week for me. Has it been a busy week for you?

We’ve been busy over at Babble, too!
Be sure to check out my don’t-miss Fourth of July recipes at The Family Kitchen:
Firecracker Potato Salad
Red, White & Blue Pantry Potatoes
Fourth of July Centerpieces You Can Eat
Stars & Stripes Marshmallow Krispie Treats

Plus, stay tuned for tons of incredible summer recipes and stories, the Coach’s Oats prizewinner, and the final, suspenseful chapter of “Meeting The Marvelous Tartelette