I have a confession: sometimes I miss girlie things. You know I love my boys, but sometimes I wish I could buy the cute pink, sparkly things in the stores. So when we decided to donate some school supplies to Act Together Ministries, I secretly saw this as a chance to indulge in cute things. I had no idea it would turn into a great lesson in compassion.

So we took the boys to Target with a school supply list in hand. Then I told them we were going to buy supplies for a little girl. They were temporarily thrown off kilter, but it was so great hearing them talk about what "she" would like. Would "she" rather have a backpack with Disney Princesses or cute monkeys? "She" would like the notebook with hearts on it. Can "she" keep all of her supplies in this pink pencil case?

The drop-off location for the supplies was an ice cream shop. Every good deed comes with it's reward, right?

In the past, when we've shopped for donated items like this, we always went with the mindset of shopping for a boy the same age as Patriot and Azlan. But here, shopping for someone totally different than them, really seemed to build some empathy and compassion. Great surprise!
Our family has become major Food Network nerds this summer. We love watching "Food Network Challenge," "Iron Chef," and "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives," but "Food Network Star" is our favorite. I think it's great that the boys are learning how good food is made and understanding about quality ingredients. I wish I was a better cook, so we could experience more of this in our kitchen. But I think Patriot might end up being a pretty decent chef.

We had a quiet weekend at home and I dreamed up a Food Network Family Night. Our whole family are big fans of Mexican food, so we looked up some recipes and divided into teams to make dinner.

Team Salsa used Giada's Spicy Tomato Salsa recipe. We were surprised to find a traditionally Italian chef offering a salsa recipe, and the ingredients peeked our curiosity. We don't have a food processor, so they used a blender—worked fine.
Team Guacamole used Alton Brown's Perfect Guacamole recipe. This has become my favorite recipe to snack on—I love it! But I only use about 1/4 of the onion it calls for.

We did a taste test, and I have to admit that Team Salsa was the winner. I think that's because of the green color and onion in the guacamole. They can enjoy the salsa—just means more guacamole for me!

The boys and I worked together to make these beautiful chicken fajitas. I found a package of stoplight bell peppers, so the boys were able to taste the different colors raw and cooked. They both liked the yellow pepper best. We added some seasoned black beans on the side and had a great meal! (And I had help making dinner!)
This news story completely cracks me up. Watch the full video if you have a couple of minutes. The best part is the discussion between the anchors at the end.

I'll summarize: restaurant owner is tired of unruly kids in his restaurant and made a policy that kids under 6 are not allowed. Parents are mad because they're "being discriminated against."

NEWS FLASH TO PARENTS: If your kids can't sit in a restaurant without disturbing the other patrons, they shouldn't be in the restaurant. These parents should be embarrassed, not insulted.

It is the parent's responsibility to address behavior issues in public and teach their children to respect the people around them. I can remember sitting in the lobby of a restaurant (many restaurants, actually) with my misbehaving toddler while the rest of our group enjoyed our dinner. I took responsibility for my child, made myself uncomfortable if necessary, and taught my child how dine in a restaurant.

Now, both boys are pretty good at restaurant dining—able to place their own orders politely and color or work puzzles while they wait for their food. We are still working on volume control during the meal, and try to choose loud restaurants until we get a little more self-control in that area. We take responsibility for choosing a restaurant where our children will not disturb other diners.

My favorite line in the news story: We understand that your child might be the center of your universe, but he is not the center of THE universe.

I might have t-shirts printed with that quote.
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I hope you can handle one more post about our Disney trip. After this, I'll talk about something else. I promise.

Here is our trip in video pics. Please enjoy!