...is the process by which we create, discover, learn and grow with those we cherish most.


it's a sweet sweet world out there...

One cup of reeses please

Something sweet happened today. I gave Noah, not one, but two mini-mouthwatering Reese's pieces butter cups. That's right - I did. I just peeled back the wrapper, extended my arm and watched him devour the entire cup in one gulp.


The instant his lips pressed closed, I wondered if I would regret this moment and corrupt his taste buds. When he looked at me with his new found love, he probably wondered, "who are you and please don't tell my mother."

more please

Chocolate is not an everyday love affair in our home. When they were accidentally discovered on my desk [Aaron surprised me with a bag for our movie-night together and I stashed what I couldn't finish. The things we do for love...] I felt compelled - no obligated - to share this explosion of yumminess with them.

The irony - isn't there always one with parenting? - is that I have always stood my ground on not buying or feeding my kids junk. My intention is to awaken their sweet tooth's with fresh fruits like strawberries, pineapples, mangos and oranges... just how nature intended it. But the truth is - we don't live in the Garden of Eden - anymore. Instead, we're raising our kids in a time where a good marketing campaign is more influential than a Sunday sermon.

My efforts to direct Ava and Noah on the path to make good healthy food choices almost always get trumped by food so devilishly wrapped in shiny paper. In fact, t
rips to Mom & Dad's usually end in conflict over such sinful indulgences. If I'm lucky and catch them in the act, I'll confiscate the drugs from their tightly-squeezed fists, distract them with something from across the room, and then give my parents the stink eye - for 5 seconds.

I've come to realize that I was fighting a battle with no clear mission. After lots of trial and error, dealing with stomach aches and diaper changes by the hour - I ruled out chocolate for good. But then I can't forget about those moments of insane joy over powdered sugar on pancakes in the morning, cold fruit pops by the pool or chocolate milk after a long nap. I am realizing that children, like us - will have to learn how to balance a good thing.

And sweets can be a good thing. In addition to being a staple for bribery - they are in fact, what make many childhood moments. I remember summers growing up where my sister and I shared many sweet moments together... Like hearing the ice-cream truck from our 5th story window and trampling over each other to get downstairs first.... or raiding Dad's pockets the second he stepped in the door from work in search of the softest, most chewiest brownies in the world...[To this day, I can still taste those brownies.]

Enjoying something sweet with someone you love is like having a delicious fleeting moment of childhood. And I do want Ava & Noah to have oh so much of that. But of course - in moderation... and mommy-approved.

After the second piece, I put the bag away and smiled. I was expecting him to fling himself backwards in defiance - but he simply smiled back - as if thanking me for this gooey chocolate bliss we just shared together.


Our Sweet List
Homemade fluffy pancakes made with fresh sweet potato puree. We use organic potatoes and maple syrup to sweeten the deal for us.

Homemade frozen fruit-pops. I started making these at home to end Ava & Noah's constant craving for a brain freeze. Use fresh raspberries, strawberries and blueberries, blend it with low-fat milk [I don't add any sugar] and freeze them inside plastic molds.

Cookies - we're crazy about Soft Baked Snickerdoodle Cookies we discovered thanks to my nephew Humzah. These yummy cookies are nut and gluten free! And occasionally, when we are in the twisty-milk-dipping mood, we'll have Late July Organic Vanilla Bean with Green Tea Sandwich Cookies. This family-owned company [who also makes Cape Cod potato chips] gets the idea of childhood summers and family-style snacking.

Tell us about your sweet [but good] childhood indulgences...


  1. Oh, Zarlacht! It seems that our lives are connected somehow. This very sunday we had a birthday party, and Zoe tried coke and a candy for the first time. I don't know yet how we managed to keep her COMPLETELY away from these things, and chocolate too, all this time. Almost three years now! Well, I think we did a good job. Mainly possible because I am ALWAYS by her side. But that can't be good always, and for sure it won't be possible anymore. So I'll have to make a deal (with her?... With myself maybe): she can eat those things, but with control and in very special occasions. And in exchange, we will always try to make homemade meals, organic fresh baked bread, and such...
    She has such a good taste for food! Really, she prefers fish and vegetables to something fried or junk food. We are lucky, but it has also a lot to do with the fact that we provide her a wide variety of food since she started eating, and we don't negotiate: she eats what's served, and if she doesn't want it we never ever force her; but we don't fix a new meal either.
    Anyway... it's tough but at the same time it's nice to know you are helping your kids to develop a good sense of taste and appreciation.
    (By the way, I didn't eat much candies or sweets when I was little. Just a little chocolate or cookies my grandma used to keep for us, or celebration desserts. Or... ok, also the chocolate milk on summers).

  2. This is a very sweet entry, Zarlacht! And you're absolutely right about shiny packaging directed toward kids, in researching questions for our game, I came across multiple companies that changed their packaging over the years to target kids. The book I found most of the advertising toward kids is called "The Corporation" by Joel Bakan. Some interesting tidbits:
    -physicians believe that advertising to children is a direct result in the rise of obese children
    -the average child sees 30,000 commercials a year
    -a child doesn't start discerning between tv shows and commercials until they're around 8 years old
    -advertisers specifically target parents that by products for their children simply because of guilt for not spending as much time with them as they feel they should, advertisers call this parent target group indulgers
    -advertisers also have a strategy in place, which targets children to get their parents to buy them products, advertisers call it The Nag Factor

    So, whenever I see or hear a child in a store crying for something, I know there are two victims: the child and the parent and most times neither know it's the corporations manipulating each of them and creating this negative situation.

    Corbin and I are so glad to see the path you and Aaron have taken with Ava and Noah. And we're so thankful that you both have the opportunity to stay home and enjoy LIFE with them. You've unknowingly given us parenting to look up to and a healthy, happy lifestyle to follow. THANK YOU!

    Nostalgic sweets growing up:
    -orange danish rolls (usually eaten the morning after a slumber party)
    -black liquorish (the best was the real stuff I would get in Anson, TX, my grandparents small town, at their local five and dime)
    -homemade donuts (we'd make them as a family using cheap biscuits topped with a sugar and milk glaze concoction)

    A nostalgic sweet Corbin and I've made together: banana pancakes with peanut butter and real syrup

    May life always taste as sweet,

  3. Mmmmm, sweets! As you know, I have a serious sweet tooth, teeth really, and always trying to find new things to satisfy them without totally going over board. I loved your "good for you" snack suggestions and I have one for you guys. Annie's Howegrown Bunny Grahams (chocolate and honey). They're made with organic wheat, have 0 trans fat, the company encourages recycling and best of all, they're super yummy. The kids will love their cute bunny shapes too. They're on sale 2 for $5 at Kroger, so I've been stocking up.
    As far as my favorite nostalgic sweet I cherished as a kid, it's gotta be Almond Roca. It was one of my Dad's favorite candies and it quickly became mine too. The pink tin and shiny gold wrapper made it even more inticing!

  4. I always found that the best way to handle a sugar craving when i was a kid was to eat an entire can of frozen orange juice concentrate. Either that, or eating entire sleeves or Oreo cookies.

    Times certainly have changed.

  5. Julie - Zoe had Coke! Oh my- what did she think? Coke is my biggest weakness in life - and so far, Ava hasn't asked to try some. She pours me a cup, but she'd rather stick to her juice. Maybe that's because I've threatened to give her water instead of juice. I tell her it's not good for her, and it'll give her a stomach-ache. I know this excuse won't last long and I will have to give it up myself eventually. But a little here and a little there won't hurt. I mean - how can we eat pizza without coke? or hamburgers? that fizz.... that oh so sweet gulp of carbon tastes so good with a new york style pizza slice.

    I think you've got it made - giving Zoe such a variety of foods really is the trick. She's great for noticing and appreciating the wonderful tastes we get from all foods. And it has a lot to do with the way we cook them too... ;)

  6. Dave - orange danish rolls after a slumber party? What a sweet memory! It makes me smile - one, for a guy to remember having slumber parties, and two - for having danish rolls for breakfast. i can really picture it in my head from the way you describe it - and it sounds fantastic. I would love to start a tradition like that with the kids - of having that association of an event followed by a sweet meal/treat.

    Did I ever tell you guys that the only time we were allowed to go to Burger King/McDonalds was on the last day of school? Mom would pick us up and take us there - and I'd have a hamburger, fries and coke. And play inside the hamburger heads on the playground. We thought it was an amusement park!

    We've taken Ava to Chuck e Cheese 3 times already - and it wasn't until this last time that she kept asking to go back that I realized, it's not special anymore. So it's been 4 months now.. and I'm waiting to go back on a "special occassion" - I think children' should have that - extra something - to look forward to.

    Thank you so much for your sweet words of encouragement - and compliments!

  7. Corbin - 2 for $5? I knoe exactly which ones you are talking about - and I am going to get these at the store next time. Annie's makes lots of good organic alternatives - which we love. Have you tried their frozen pizzas?

    Almond Rocas - I've seen that box at my parents house. Mom takes it out when they have guest over. I never tried one. If I do - I might get hooked.

    Darn beautiful packaging!

  8. Yes, she had her first Coke. I love Coke, but never really drink it, just in some special occations when I eat outside, for example. So, we don't have it at home. That's one of the reasons she didn't ask for it earlier. And OK, she's almost three, she IS going to have lots of more birthday parties from now on, and I am not always going to be available to tell her NO. But come on...: Coke? For a kid? I really don't like to allow it... But you have to make little concessions as a parent, such as this.
    And you are right: the way you cook for them and introduce them to new flavors and such IS what makes the difference and the whole point of it.
    We are so lucky that she is always eager to try something new.

  9. I forgot to tell you that Zoe made that face one does when trying something new and strange, maybe not very pleasant. All this fizzy thing in her mouth, maybe it was that.
    She doesn't even drink juice, except for the daily hand-extracted one in the middle of the morning. So maybe she found the Coke too sweet also.


Thanks for sharing - I will respond to your comment here as well so check back! xo


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