Elaina and I Cooking her Favorite Meal Together

Elaina’s favorite meal is lasagna. She loves it so much in fact, that she has consumed an entire large size microwave lasagna in a single sitting on multiple occasions. But since I am lukewarm on the dish and it seems a little difficult to make, I have never cooked it in my life. One of Elaina’s homework assignments this month was to cook a meal with her parents. She chose lasagna, which put me in quite the quandary: Cook a meal with her that I have been putting off since I was able to pick up a wooden spoon or try to convince her to do something easier (with the possibility of disappointing her)? Spoiler alert: It was a pretty easy choice.

Why could you have not picked something easy like waffles or quesadillas?
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The Calkins Family has been Busy

It has been almost a month since I last posted and for good reason: Team Calkins has been very busy. Ever since the girls got back to Arizona after New Year’s, our weeknight and weekend schedules have been full of activities. As I have stated before, when it comes to prioritizing whether I spend more time with the girls or write about what we have done, I am always going to choose the former. So needless to say, I am pretty far behind right now with what I want to write about. Hopefully, this post catches you all up to what the Calkins Family has been up to for the past month, even though almost each topic could warrant their own post.

Do you wanna build a snowman?
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The 2021 Cooking Plan

I love cookbooks and can never have enough of them. Particularly themed cookbooks. But I never use them as much as I should. That changed about five years ago when I went through them all, recipe by recipe, and wrote down every entrée, side, dessert, or drink that I was interested in trying. While knocking out new recipes got a little sidetracked a few years ago, we are finally getting back to it, adding new cookbooks, jotting down new recipes, and trying new things (as you could have guessed, The Disney Princess Cookbook got used the most this year).

“Please do not worry, Tiana; we will get to your Baked Caramel French Toast sometime this year.”
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Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo Magic Wands – Take II

Earlier in the year, we brought out the fabled Disney Princess Cookbook to test out a few of the recipes. One that we tried was the Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo Magic Wands (Cinderella). While we had fun making them, the recipe involved sprinkles on flour tortillas, so it was not particularly appetizing. I have been thinking about ways to improve on the recipe to make them more appealing for the girls, so that is what we tried to do last weekend.

I mean, what kind of kid wouldn’t like sugar cookies with sprinkles?

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Single Dadding in the Time of COVID

So by now, most of us are probably bored out of our minds being stuck at home.  While I still have to go in to work (being mission-essential and all), the girls are definitely getting tired of being cooped up in the house most of the weekend.  But, pandemic or not, good parenting never stops and we are still driving on with our routine (albeit a safer one).

Swimming, Trampolining, and Cookies are where it’s at!

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Princess Baking

While we were eating dinner the other night, Gabriella was thumbing through one of last year’s Christmas gifts: The Disney Princess Cookbook.  While debating on making Bull’s-Eye Pizza (Brave) or Ham and Cheese Biscuit Braids (Tangled) in the future, the girls simultaneously saw something that they both wanted to make.  Since it was easy and we had all the ingredients, it looked like after dinner the Calkins Family would be making Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo Magic Wands.

They love any baking that involves sprinkles

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Play Dates

A couple weeks ago, Elaina’s best friend, Elora, invited Elaina and Gabriella over for a play date with her and her sister, Emma.  Since we had not already planned our activity for that Saturday, the girls gladly took them up on the offer, “scheduling” a home-and-home (for all you college football fans) with her parents for this and the following weekend.

From this perspective, I just realized how expensive this activity looks (it is not)

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Elaina’s 6th Birthday Party

From the second that I picked up the girls from their summer with their Mom in Texas, the only thing that Elaina has wanted to talk about has been her birthday party (Gabriella had her birthday party at her Mom’s house in July).  Little did she know, I had already been planning it all summer, and thankfully, she did not change the theme.  So it was just time for me to bear down on the finishing touches to ensure that I stuck the landing, because this was the first of their birthday parties where I was going in as the primary planner.

She obviously rejected my Star Wars-themed party suggestion…

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Halloween Cookie Decorating Party

It is really funny how fast things can get out of hand.  When the girls came home from Texas on Sunday, I had Halloween sugar cookies waiting for them.  This led Elaina to ask if we could bake and decorate cookies next weekend.  Sounded like a plan, one that would be fun and fairly easy.  While we were eating on the patio on Monday, my neighbor let me know that this was going to be their last weekend in Arizona before the Army shipped his family to Italy for three years, so it seemed right to invite them over for some cookies (and because their household goods are already packed up, their house is pretty much empty).  As we were leaving for school, the girls spotted our other neighbor (whose son is in Elaina’s kindergarten class) and begged that they could come too.  It still seemed to be manageable, so I did and they accepted.  Elaina then told her best friend at school that she was having a cookie party, after which her friend begged to be invited.  After I told Elaina that we could do that the Saturday after, her friend wrote a handwritten card to Elaina asking to please come to her cookie party.  Like I was going to say no after that.  So, I started planning for a Halloween cookie decorating party… for 17 (Note: One of the families cancelled the day before, so while it did not change the spread, the event itself was a lot more manageable).

“We lost a lot of good sprinkles today…”

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