Log In or Sign Up
Category: Keeping It Simple

The Perfect Easy Hamburger. Bren’s Burgers.

by bkhoury on July 03, 2014

The Perfect Hamburger. Bren's Burgers
I wouldn’t want to suggest growing up on a cattle ranch in Nebraska has made me an expert on burgers, but since I was 12 years old it was my job to “throw the burgers on the grill” for many a hungry boy. I have had quite a lot of time to perfect my technique! Read More

Spaghetti Oh Oh’s and Mac and Crack

by bkhoury on November 15, 2012

We were walking through Trader Joes and Hunter picked up a can of what looked like knock-off classic Spaghetti O’s. He asked, “Mommy, what’s this? Can I put it in my cart?” It dawned on me my kids had never experienced the 1980’s staple in kids’ diets. An irrational thought flashed across my mommy brain, “Oh my gosh, my kids haven’t even had Spaghetti O’s! What kind of parent am I?” The can did say organic and it was from Trader Joe’s so I said, “Yes, you can put it in your cart.” Read More

Teaching Children to Combat Instant Gratification

by bkhoury on October 11, 2012

You know the routine. The phone rings and suddenly chaos breaks out in the house throwing any appearance that I might actually have my kids under control out the window. Or contending with dinner-time fits as a sudden burst of hunger engulfs little tummies unable to hold it together while dinner is prepared. We are a society of instant gratification. First call. No answer? E-mail. Text. Call again. Is this demanding (to be polite) behavior being passed on to the next generation? Read More

Flavor Embrace

by bkhoury on October 04, 2012

One of my favorite things to do is see how my kids respond to new flavors. I’m not sure why I get such a kick out of it, but it delights me to no end when Will comes home from school raving about how much he loves salad (apparently they had salad for snack –yes I love his school!). Or when something initially seems slightly spicy and he nibbles a bite, takes a big gulp of milk, and then nibbles more, becoming use to the tanginess and craving more of it. Read More

Table Talk for Boys

by bkhoury on September 20, 2012

I do love those moments when the kids are calm enough at dinner to actually have a conversation. As the boys get a little more articulate it’s so fun to hear what is on a toddler’s mind. The other day I stepped away from the room while they were happily eating their lunch and conversing amongst one another. I hesitated before walking back into the kitchen to listen in on this seemingly perfectly civilized table talk, only to hear two little boys talking like only little boys can. Read More

School Bus, Take Them Away!

by bkhoury on August 30, 2012

I set out on a morning run this past week at just the right time to spot the first school bus whizzing by. Around the corner there was electricity in the air. The perfectly groomed and starched (from clothes never worn before) kids bounced from leg to leg. Meanwhile the heli-parents were poised with cameras, video recorders and coffee in hand waiting for the yellow “freedom” bus. Read More

The Art of Being Busy

by bkhoury on July 26, 2012

“What did you do this weekend?”

“Oh, we were just so busy.”

How many times have you had this frankly, very boring exchange? I catch myself saying it all the time. A go-to filler. What exactly was I really busy doing? Was I busy having meaningful quality time with my kids or was I busy running all over town? We wear the status like a badge of honor though. Is it possible we are so busy being busy we get nothing done?
Read More

Summertime Downtime

by bkhoury on July 05, 2012

This past week we were hit hard by storms whipping across the country. On Sunday, we learned there would be no camp the next day due to the power being out. Every day I checked to see if power was restored, and every day camp was cancelled. Every day my “fine-tuned” schedule was interrupted by suddenly having to entertain two busy boys all day. Read More

Grandpa’s In Charge of Dinner

by bkhoury on June 07, 2012

When we recently visited our family, there came a night when Grandpa had to feed the boys dinner by himself. Now, some might call Grandpa a baby boomer who hasn’t taken care of two little boys for a very very long time. He doesn’t really have contact with small children and tends to speak to them like a perfectly capable adult employee. I thought Grandpa could get some good, quality alone time with the boys, so I put on some boiling water for the macaroni as I ran out the door. Read More

Postcard From the Heartland

by bkhoury on May 31, 2012

The boys are enjoying the wide-open spaces of the countryside. They fill their time making dirt roads along Grandma’s garden, swimming and giving the birds a run for their money when it comes to snatching the mulberries off the trees. Read More

Memorial Day Weekend

by bkhoury on May 24, 2012

Every year growing up we would faithfully go to the cemetery where my grandfather, who served in World War II, is buried. This year we have the honor of going back. We will also be going to my other Grandparent’s graves this year since my Grandfather recently passed away. Grandma was the original Rosie the Riveter. All gave so much.

The fragrance of peonies harvested from the local gardens, not a flower shop, will permeate the air. The few Greatest Generation veterans and new generation veterans will give the chilling 21-gun salute. And maybe we will gain a sense of perspective, and we will all leave a little more humble.
Read More

Just Desserts

by bkhoury on May 17, 2012

Lately I have tried to limit the concept of dessert in our house. Not because I’m opposed to it in any way. It simply drives me crazy to have the entire meal focused on it. Will and Hunter increase their outrageous antics to reach that Holy Grail of dessert! Desserts in our house are pretty lame anyway, generally consisting of fresh fruit, yogurt or occasionally some ice cream. It doesn’t matter if I’m offering up a plain ol’ apple though, call it dessert and our entire meal is focused on the silly apple. So when I made the mistake of dangling the prospect of blueberry sherbet in front of the boys I had no idea Will would show his true colors. Read More

A Mother’s Day Tribute to My Wife (From Mr. Small Helpings)

by bkhoury on May 10, 2012

It is easy to take for granted the mundane daily activities such as eating dinner. This is especially true for me. After a long day at the office and a less-than-pleasant drive home with thousands of other tired, grumpy workers, I am apt to walk inside, sit down, and begin eating without fully appreciating the effort that went into preparing that meal. This becomes painfully obvious to me on Saturdays when it’s my turn to handle our boys - and feed them. Fortunately, my wife’s enthusiasm, drive, and hard work with Small Helpings guides this at-times clueless dad; without fail, I am able to serve something quickly (and very tasty) that keeps our natives from getting restless. It’s truly enjoyable. Read More

Fill Your Tank

by bkhoury on May 03, 2012

Do the laundry… AGAIN. Sweep the floor….AGAIN. “Mommy I’m really hungry.” “Mommy I want the yellow cup, not the green cup.” “I want to pour the milk myself!”

It’s not even 8:00 am and I feel like I’ve run a marathon already. The good news is the ten times up and down the stairs are great for my gluteus maximus. Wait, then why is it still so maximus? Oops one more time up after remembering I forgot to brush my own teeth. The monotony of motherhood is getting to me, not to mention cleaning up after these monkeys is really boring.
Read More

Take A Deep Breath. Repeat Three Times: It is just a phase. It is just a phase. It is just a phase.

by bkhoury on April 27, 2012

I felt for a while that I have been a dreadful parent when it comes to the enforcement of table manners. To be honest I have just been so happy that, for the most part, my boys are such great eaters. I haven’t really cared how they get the food from plate to mouth. And the stares I have received from time to time from people in my extended family, have confirmed I am clearly an unworthy mother when it comes to this arena. Read More

Tip #6: How to Get Your Kids to Eat Meat—Resort to Desperate Mind Games

by bkhoury on April 19, 2012

I served up this week’s delicious recipe of steak with sweet chili sauce. Two year old, Hunter took one look and threw his usual fit (see previous blog). I think he was milking it because daddy was home, but he really let loose this time. I’m sure the neighbors thought something sinister was going on with the screeches coming from our house. I stuck to my guns and did my usual “Hunter you don’t have to eat it.” I think at this point this routine is ticking him off because lately he’s been screaming even more when I say this. Read More

The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

by bkhoury on April 05, 2012

As I was making dozens of hard boiled eggs this week, I realized how easy it is to either botch up this simple staple or make it perfectly. You can either end up with gross green rings surrounding a brownish yolk or crack open beautiful perfectly yellow hard boiled eggs. I personally think the perfectly yellow ones taste better! Read More

The Consequences of Yelling

by bkhoury on March 29, 2012

The other day I made an honest mistake and I truly didn’t even think I had done anything wrong. This infuriated my husband. And when I say infuriated I mean infuriated. You see when Ryan get’s angry at me (which isn’t often) he likes to lecture. I had to submit to at least 20 minutes of him repeating why I shouldn’t have done something before he can move on. This particular argument escalated into him shouting at me trying to make me understand his point of view. It made me feel so horrible on the inside. Being yelled at really tore me down and made me too sad to even cry. Read More

Tornado Sustenance

by bkhoury on March 22, 2012

The other night we had the adventure of camping out in our basement while a tornado blew over. I had just finished making dinner and the boys were outside enjoying an unseasonably warm sunny day playing with their dad. Suddenly the temperature dropped drastically and the tornado sirens started blaring. We hustled everyone and the dog down to our tornado shelter. Then, as if on cue, everyone started shouting, “Mommy, I’m hungry, I’m hungry.” And then the electricity went out. Read More

We Can Do Better Than This

by bkhoury on March 08, 2012

My neighbor asked me the other day if I had seen the article in the New York Times about horrible tooth decay in toddlers. Apparently, they are putting two and three year old kids under general anesthesia to fill all the cavities they have in their mouths. We’re talking twelve at a time. The article goes on to “mention” snacking as a problem but seems to put more emphasis on parents not thoroughly brushing and not having fluoride in water (using bottled water). Uhh, did my parent’s brush my teeth thoroughly when I was little?? Read More

Performance Art at the Table

by bkhoury on March 01, 2012

My two year old has a dinner table M.O. that is quickly becoming tiresome. When we come to the dinner table he promptly looks at whatever we may be having, and puts on a performance worthy of an Oscar. He puts his hands on his head and proclaims in his most dramatic voice, “NO, I don’t want that either!”

Read More

Out With the Sippy Cups

by bkhoury on February 16, 2012

When Will was a baby, we lived around the corner from Land of Nod and I got sucked into purchasing a $21.00 sippy cup. This was during the BPA scare before the chemical was taken out of most plastics for children. When that one leaked all over and, by the way, also contained at least 10 parts which felt like you needed an engineering degree to put together, I moved onto a similar yet, still expensive contraption. That one was equally disappointing. By kid number two we were on to the two for 5 bucks models. It feels like we have tried them all in the quest for the leak proof sippy cup (which I have yet to find). I’m pretty sure all that money would have been better spent towards our kid’s college fund. Read More

A Birthday Dinner to Remember (by Jennifer Davis)

by bkhoury on February 09, 2012

My kids arrived home from school, took one look at the kitchen and, horrified, gasped, “Mom what happened?”

I’ve never been the tidiest of cooks so my kids aren’t strangers to the sight of a well-used kitchen, but this scene left them gobsmacked. Piles of dishes in the sink teetered precariously high above their little blond heads, powdered sugar footprints covered the floor, chocolate frosting dotted the walls while blobs of vanilla frosting covered the countertop. And that was just dessert -- I’m getting ahead of myself.
Read More

The Spice of Life

by bkhoury on January 19, 2012

Over the holidays we had a wonderful family ski trip. Of course after a long day on the slopes the chips and salsa came out as everyone made their way home and congregated in the kitchen. Hunter and Will, along with their 18 month old cousin, loved being the center of attention of their extended family. And they also loved this phenomenon of chips appearing prior to dinnertime. Hunter was sitting at the kitchen bar next to his much revered uncle munching on chips and decided to have some “dip” just like Uncle Neil. Of course this wasn’t the mild stuff I’ve taken to purchasing post kids. This salsa had a little spice. Read More

Kitchen De-Clutter

by bkhoury on January 12, 2012

Prior to the holidays, I tried to cull our toy room of toys which the boys had either outgrown, broken or simply weren’t enamored with to make room for the new. How fortunate we are to so quickly find ourselves overloaded with so many toys. But I find the reality is that less is more. If they have fewer toys, they make better use of the ones they have – using them in creative ways and really utilizing their learning potential. I also thought it would be a great time to take the same philosophy in the kitchen. Read More

Giving The Gift of Food

by bkhoury on December 22, 2011

As we prepare to travel over the holidays, we decided to celebrate the “coming of Santa” a little early this year. And yes, it was the best year yet with my three year old in awe over the fact that he timidly had asked Santa just a few weeks prior for a train roundhouse and some troublesome trucks. (Ryan and I both expressed slight relief that our son when confronted with a strange guy in a red suit found him creepy enough to have major reservations about getting too close.) And when Santa came, he actually LEFT them under the tree (thank you grandma and grandpa). Read More

The Great Negotiation

by bkhoury on December 01, 2011

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. This year it feels like the table wasn’t even cleared before the Christmas craziness kicked in. Will has finally reached the age where I can lord over him the fact that Santa doesn’t bring toys to naughty boys and he had better be good. I do admit I feel a tinge of guilt propagating this fantasy.

Despite my lectures about everything we have to be thankful about, the boys didn’t quite get Thanksgiving other than the fact that it was a party where there is “fire” on the table and they get to eat pie! Oh and did Will eat pie. He has also reached the age where dessert has taken on a new importance in his life. And as a mom, I have shamefully taken full advantage of this fact. Read More

Let Them Eat Cake?  With Red Die #3

by bkhoury on November 17, 2011

Recently for my two year old’s birthday, I decided, with the strong prodding from my mother in law, to be an overachieving mom and indulge my son in a homemade Thomas the Train cake. I always feel like my younger boy is getting the short end of the stick on stuff like homemade cakes, new clothes and birthday parties. Like many of you with boys, we are all about trains all the time in our house. I decided to really splash out and make him a James cake (Thomas is so last year). For those of you who aren’t familiar with James, he is a gallant bright red train engine. Read More

Sounds of satisfaction

by bkhoury on August 11, 2011

Sometimes amidst all of life’s chaos there is simply cuteness. The challenge is to notice it. Last week my husband had come home from a horribly stressful week at work. On Saturday morning as we all sat around the breakfast table rehashing, Ryan detected something peculiar. “Hunter, what are you doing?” Hunter looked up at his Daddy with his big blue eyes as if to say, “What on earth are you talking about?” Read More

The Dinner Dance

by bkhoury on July 27, 2011

My 1 ½ year old has recently discovered FREEDOM when sitting down to eat a meal. He has started climbing down from his chair, taking a bite of food, doing a dance, and climbing back up into his chair making sure he somehow rubs his hands or face all over my clothes before beginning the process again. Read More

In-Flight Chaos

by bkhoury on July 14, 2011

We thought we were being clever. We booked ourselves on the 6:55 am flight direct to Minneapolis. Two hours and twenty minutes. Piece of cake. We would wake the boys, bring bananas to fill them up on the car ride to the airport, and they would be back asleep upon take-off. Not quite so fast perky parents. First we got cocky and underestimated the time required to park the car, check and pay for luggage, and get two kids, a dog (yes the dog), a double stroller and ourselves through security. By the time we reached the gate, the plane was boarding. We again thought we were being smart by pre-boarding the plane so as to not disturb anyone – and to get away from the stares at our very own three-ring circus. I didn’t realize how LONG boarding takes! 20 minutes later Will and Hunter started jumping on the seats and I realized that was the first indication of trouble with a capital T. Read More

Mommy See, Mommy Do

by bkhoury on June 30, 2011

Yesterday we were enjoying a beautiful afternoon in the backyard. We had the baby pool with it’s ice cold water filled up, the hose on full speed and the unsteady blow-up slide positioned just so. Will, always so helpful, was in charge of the hose. I was multi-tasking on my iphone while keeping one eye on the boys. And then the tri-fecta happened. I answered a call, Will sprayed Hunter full-on with water and mommy had a blow up, resulting in Will immediately being sent to time-out. Read More

Let’s Picnic!

by bkhoury on June 22, 2011

I can’t believe how a little act like having a picnic can change the entire eating dynamic. The other day I surprised the boys when I picked Will up from his morning summer camp and said, “Come on! We’re going on a picnic!” I packed a very simple menu of vegetables and hummus, chicken salad and crackers, and watermelon feta salad. Read More

Ready-Made Rice in a Bag?

by bkhoury on March 03, 2011

I love trying new food that offers a time-saving solution, but I have to admit I have been a slow mover on the ready-made rice in a bag concept. I first saw this curious looking bag of brown mush at Trader Joe’s a few years ago (which by the way is my favorite store and they have since improved the packaging of the brown mush). The concept of pre-cooked rice sitting in a vacuum sealed bag just did not appeal to my sense of good food. I immediately categorized it as ready-made food with all the nutrients sapped out of it and salt and preservatives added. Read More

Don’t Rush Me Mommy

by bkhoury on February 17, 2011

My younger son Hunter has surprisingly large hands for a little man. I mean at 6 months he could palm a small ball! Even today when he holds my hand I feel like I’m holding my 3 year olds hand. Because of this, he had less fine motor skills as he began eating solid foods. He was also slower to eat solid foods than my first son. Read More

Mommy Madness

by bkhoury on February 11, 2011

The past few days I have become caught up in what I like to call the All-or-Nothing Syndrome. Somehow I convinced myself I need to make Thomas the Train cupcakes for school for Will’s birthday, have a huge party with all the trappings on the weekend, plan a trip to the children’s museum and make elaborate homemade valentines for V-day. I’m getting heart palpitations again just writing this! Read More

Happy Mother’s Day

by bkhoury on May 29, 2010

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day. One of my gifts --besides the 5 o’clock wake-up call by my seven month old and my two year olds hug while on the toilet -- was to get to work on Small Helpings in serenity. Read More

The Simple Life

by bkhoury on April 25, 2010

I haven’t shared much of the details of our life for the past six months because we have been in a state of flux. But here is goes. Six months ago with our house on the market, and as we saw real estate prices literally plummeting around us, we decided to rent our home. Unfortunately, this left us mildly homeless. I say mildly, because we were lucky enough to have a vacant fully furnished family home available for us to live in. The one downside? The house is outside (15 miles) the village I grew up in... when I say village we’re talking 250 people here. This was meant to be a short stop over --two months tops, but here we are six months later. Read More

Feeding the Strong Willed Child

by bkhoury on March 21, 2010

Our son, although brilliant (or course), is not the most articulate child for his age. So we had him evaluated to make sure that nothing was developmentally wrong. He is ok, but the speech therapist determined that “I think he is extremely strong-willed.” So basically, the bigger deal we make out of him not talking, the more he digs in his heals. It started me thinking how this can affect many behaviors including eating.
Read More

Food Inspired by Books (by Guest Blogger, Jennifer Davis)

by bkhoury on February 24, 2010

When trying to decide what to feed your child, oftentimes you can turn to your nearest bookshelf for inspiration. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about Mastering the Art of French Cooking or the latest issue of Gourmet magazine. Instead, your kids’ stash of books may be just the resource you need. Read More

Out With The Resolutions!

by bkhoury on January 20, 2010

So it is mid-January and once again I made all the cliche resolutions to myself. Get in better shape, eat healthy, spend wisely. I was thinking, isn't it better to focus on the little impacts you can make day to day? The best way I have found to do that is simply organization. When it comes to feeding kids (old and young alike) there are a few things I have found to help me-- especially now that I am even more pressed for time. Read More

Fresh Baked Cookies (by Guest Blogger Jennifer Davis)

by bkhoury on October 17, 2009

Remember the way cartoons would depict the aroma of food cooking as a tangible object? A hazy shape would emerge from the oven, waft over to the nearest person (or cat or mouse), form into the shape of a hand and slowly beckon, “this way- follow me to something good.” That’s the scene in my house this afternoon as the kids walk into the kitchen and ask if I’ve been baking cookies. Read More

Cooking Motivation

by bkhoury on August 07, 2009

Maybe it's the lazy, hazy days of August, or maybe it's the fact that I am pregnant and getting bigger by the day, but sometimes my cooking motivation just goes down the tubes. Inevitably though, my laziness backfires. We don't eat as healthfully and the whole family always seems slightly unsatisfied, requiring more snacks and "searching for something" in the fridge. Even William doesn't eat as well as usual. We also end up spending a lot more money by running to the grocery store for a last minute meal,or worse, the take-out joint.
Read More

Rejecting Vegetables

by bkhoury on July 31, 2009

I was thinking back to when William ate only baby food and how pureed carrots were as sweet as candy for him. I'm hesitant to mention this, but I'm very lucky in that he absolutely still loves almost all vegetables. If I give him a cheese and spinach pizza, he will pick off the spinach first. Is my child just weird? Read More

Get Social!

  • twitter
  • facebook
  • rss