Dealing with the Out of the Box’ Guilt

by Laura on January 30, 2011

in Blog

A few weeks back, while on the phone with my mother, I shared with her my exhaustion over the seemingly never-ending celebrations we were having. I had been planning and preparing for celebration after celebration for what had seemed like months on end. It all began with my father’s 70th birthday party in November, and once that was behind me, we hit Thanksgiving, and before we knew it, we were deep – oh, so deep – into Christmas.

There were cookies, holiday bread, parties, and shopping all piled on top of the already-hectic everyday life.

But it didn’t end there.

The twins celebrated a birthday just a few days after Christmas, and they also requested that we invite some of their friends over for a birthday party. Cake on their birthday, then another for their party.  .  . in addition to some sort of food to feed those hungry little preschoolers. Mom suggested I use a cake mix. “I keep one in my cupboard for those times when I’m really exhausted and just don’t want to fuss too much with making it from scratch,” she explained.  (FYI: I consider my mother a constant baker . . .There is no need for a celebration, she’s always baking something).

Well, despite her suggestion, I ended up making their ‘party’ cake from scratch, because I just didn’t have it in me to use a box cake.

I then took a deep breath before diving head first into Nicole’s birthday, which appeared only a week-and-a-half after the twins’.

“Chocolate cake, but not with the same marshmallow frosting you put on Addie and Keely’s.” requested Nicole. I obliged and before that cake was even finished, she was planning the cake for her party with friends. Chocolate ice cream cake with sprinkles and frosting was the cake she was dreaming . . . and is still dreaming. .  . of.

I made a delicious cake, but truly was at a loss for what to serve to a bunch of kindergarteners. I decided against my usual homemade pizza, simply because the night before was family pizza and movie night. The thought of macaroni and cheese came to mind, but I wasn’t sold on the idea because I didn’t want to spend the time making it for 8 girls, and not have them like it.

My kids enjoy several different mac and cheese recipes I make from scratch from time to time (their favorite being Leek Mac and Cheese made with Manchego . . . minus the ‘green stuff’ – leeks – for the kids), but I knew, more than likely, the girls coming over were reared on boxed mac and cheese. And, if that was what they were used to, my homemade mac and cheese would seem alien to them.

Allowing my exhaustion to take over, I decided boxed macaroni and cheese it was.

But the knowledge that I was assured the party-goers would gobble up the mac and cheese didn’t lessen the guilt I had as I put 3 boxes of it in my cart – even if it was Annie’s – “made with real cheese and 100% organic pasta.”

Back at home, as I poured the powdery cheese contents into a bowl, Keely asked, “what is that?” I hesitated; knowing my simple answer of ‘cheese’ would confuse her.

Once made, I was compelled to taste it. I cringed and shuddered about what I was to serve the kids – knowing I could make something so much tastier.

In the end, the kids enjoyed lunch outside on a beautiful January afternoon. I am happy to say that my guilt didn’t last too long. The girls gobbled up their lunch without a complaint,

The party came and went, and I’m happy to report that my kids are alive after eating boxed macaroni and cheese. Most importantly – because it was a drop-off party, none of the parents saw that I didn’t make my macaroni and cheese from scratch

I think my secret is safe with the kids.

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