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Back To School (Again)

One of the more exciting things about being a parent, to me anyway, is experiencing all the "firsts" that children go through again, but from a new perspective. I can clearly remember crying every single year on the first day of school, and I can clearly remember my mom downplaying the scene every time. When I was a kid I was sure that my mom didn't understand the sense of urgent panic I felt in my chest, but now as a parent I know that without a doubt that she was trying to get my mind to quit focusing on what I was afraid of and to focus on something I could be excited about. Of course she understood! I am not so special as to be the only person to have extreme first day of school jitters and she was just responding in the way that she thought best, exactly the way that now I try and respond in the ways that I think best.

In case you couldn't tell where this is going, this past Monday was the twins' first day of 2nd grade and Charlie's first day of kindergarten. Neither Charlie or Dustin was nervous during drop off, but the twins and I were all nervous in our own ways. They were nervous because they have a new teacher after 2 years with the same one, a new classroom, and new expectations. I was nervous because they were nervous. Patience has grown quite attached to her last teacher and cried when she found out that she wouldn't have her for a 3rd year in a row. Cash is, well Cash, and change is very hard for him and I was worried about him being forced into it and acting out in front of a new teacher who may be less tolerant than his last one.

To my relief there was no crying, but Cash was expressing some nervous energy and Patience's little heart was pounding so much that I could feel it through a hug. I made sure to have a moment with both of them where I got down to their level, gave them each hugs, acknowledged their feelings, let them know that I could relate, and wrapped it up with "everything is going to be ok". And you want to know what? Everything was totally ok. I spent the day at work moping around and telling every one who would stand still long enough to listen that I couldn't believe that I have 2nd graders and wondering out loud where the time is going, and when it was time to pick up it was very clear that I was the only one stressed out all day. Charlie loves her teacher and had some old friends in her class, and the twins were obsessed with their class pet. Which is great! I would much rather that I carry the worries than find out that that my little ones had.

On Friday evening we had a nice family dinner to celebrate making it through the first week of school (we are big into celebrations around here), and had one of my best friends over to hang out as well. She is a mom to 3 much older kids and it is fun to tell her about our little day to day things and then listen to her talk about how different it is with tween and teenagers. Our menu was cajun garlic shrimp with andouille sausage over cauliflower rice, and it was very good if I do say so myself. However, the day that this post is scheduled to go up is known as "Eat an Extra Dessert Day" so what I am going to share with you is the most important part of the meal.

We had some gluten and dairy free spiked milkshakes for dessert. Well, the grownups did, the kids had Trader Joe's mochi (which is also gluten free and delicious). Obviously, spiking a milkshake with a little Maker's isn't too hard to figure out, but I decided to put together a dairy free version since Jeni and I both don't regularly consume large amounts of dairy these days. So if you want a traditional dairy shake, just sub out 1-2 oz of the milk with bourbon... or some other alcohol if you need this to be absolutely "gluten free".

Why the air quotes you ask? Well, bourbon needs to be made of at least 51% corn to actually be bourbon, and the other 49% is usually all gluten grains. Maker's Mark uses 70% corn and much less gluten grains in the mash that they use for their distilling process. The distilling process itself removes the gluten protein, and this corn to gluten grain ratio makes me much more comfortable..BUT if you are celiac and need to absolutely protect yourself just sub out for something that you know is safe. You can read a little bit more about this here and here.

Boozy "Moo Free" Chocolate Vanilla Milkshakes

What you need for 3 servings:

  • 3 big scoops vanilla coconut milk ice cream

  • 4 oz canned coconut milk (don't use light, learn from my mistakes)

  • 4 oz unsweetened cashew milk

  • 4-5 oz bourbon

  • 1 cup ice

  • 5 tbs chocolate syrup (I made my own but don't be crazy just buy one you like)

What to do:

  • Put everything except the syrup into a blender and go to town. I know that you know this.

  • Use the chocolate syrup to drizzle all around the inside of 3 chilled glasses, or jars if you lean towards hipster aesthetic like me.

  • Poor milkshake mixture into the glasses and enjoy your dessert!

Happy Eat (or drink) an Extra Dessert Day everyone! You desert a treat, and remember its better that you cry on the first day of school than your kids!

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