But along with the challenges posed by communication with my five sons comes the incredible payoff. Gut-busting, belly-aching laughter is the daily compensation.
When my husband called us to check in while on a business trip we had the following exchange:
Mom (covering one ear in order to hear): "Have fun at the rewards banquet, honey."
Liam (shocked!): "Dad's getting a reward? They'd better give him a statue."
Ty (excited): "Yeah! Maybe they'll give him an Oscar."
Leif (growling angrily): "And I don't like Hannah Montana!"
Rowan (with enthusiastic thumbs up): "Houp!"
Aidan (feeling full weight of worldly knowledge): "No Ty! Oscars are what they give to good golfers. And tennis players."
There is one time other than sickness that these wildcats are quiet: dinner time. The difference is quite dramatic and lasts only as long as their favorite entrees. What follows is a recipe that keeps them quiet for approximately 15 minutes. That may not sound like much, but it's gold, I tell you. Gold.
Crispy Black Bean Tacos
2 cans black beans, drained
2 t. ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 t. garlic powder)
3 T. olive oil
8 corn tortillas
Grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, optional
Salsa, optional, for serving
Sour cream, optional, for serving
Place black beans, garlic and cumin in a medium bowl. Squash with a potato masher or the bottom of a heavy jar just until you've mashed about 1/3 of the beans. Stir well and set aside.
Put olive oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Working in batches, place two or three tortillas (as many as can fit in your pan in a single layer) in the oil. Divide the bean mixture into eighths and spoon each serving onto one side of each tortilla. Cook for one minute and then fold in two. If you are using cheese, sprinkle over the beans. Continue cooking for one minute, flip to other side and cook for one more minute. Remove to plates and serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired, and Southwestern Slaw (recipe below). Makes 8 servings.