7 Quick Takes: Backpacks and Lunchboxes, Sawbones, Two Dots, Waffles

1. Summer is going rather well over here. I have not found myself overcome with a feeling of OH NO, OH NO, IT’S TOO HOT even once! It’s been sticky, sure, but it hasn’t been awful. (Yet.) We have kept very busy. We did VBS for one week and that was great. We were all tired by Friday, but it was fun and it chewed up a whole week for almost free. Claire went to Grammie Camp for two weeks.

We went to Houston and toured the Johnson Space Center. (Unless you hear about some kind of multi-million dollar renovation, you don’t need to visit unless you want to see Mission Control, which is an four-minute stop on a half-day visit.) We lit some sparklers. We have made the most of an open gym pass. We have been to gymnastics class. We have been to the pool. We have collapsed into hysterics when we get too tired from too much fun.

2. We have been trying to plan a vacation all year and it’s just not working out and it’s so damn annoying. Part of it is trying to use points, part of it is Claire being in school, part of it is “where in the hell do we want to take Preston AND the girls? No, really, WHERE COULD WE GO that would actually be FUN and not WORK?” We keep saying that if we give ourselves just a year and a half Preston will be where Charlotte is right now, which is pretty talky and independent and a lot of destinations will seem more do-able. For now, we are spending a lot of time near home.

3. School starts in five weeks! Claire will be carrying a Texas A&M Jansport bag (expensive at $47, but I had a coupon for 20% off and it was Texas A&M, which I knew she would love and I dig that nobody in her class will have this so it will be easy for her to find it every day) with a blue LL Bean lunchbox and Charlotte has a pink LL Bean bag (and matching lunchbox).

Lunchboxes were $16 each and the only reason I bought these is because they look like they will fit my favorite Ziploc containers PERFECTLY. I have purchased Land’s End lunchboxes before and they’re great. We still have (and use) the one Claire used as a toddler in daycare.

Char’s backpack was $27 with a positively pathetic 10% off coupon (which was good to the lunchboxes too), but I am told that’s the best LL Bean does, so I bought these back in June. I was not exactly bargain shopping here; this was mostly about aesthetics. I’m happy with what we’ve got, which is really all that matters since I will be the one picking all of this up off the floor and really, if I enjoy looking at the junk on my floor that makes it KIND OF better, right?


Wait, don’t answer that.


I am really hoping to get several years out of each backpack before I send them back to the manufacturer for new versions. The packs come with robust lifetime guarantees (and maybe the lunchboxes? I wonder if the lunchboxes have a magic warranty?) and even if my kids don’t carry these backpacks forever  I AM KEEPING THOSE BAGS (OR THEIR DESCENDANTS) FOREVER because that’s the kind of point I enjoy making. (To myself.)

4. I have most of Claire’s school supplies purchased (post forthcoming on The List and What It Cost) and I bought some fun lunchbox stuff, even though I am not really a Fun Lunchbox Mom.


Now that I am looking at that selection of sandwich cutters it looks like I might be on my way to becoming a Fun Lunchbox Mom. Huh. Well, I am not committing to anything, okay? I refreshed Claire’s supply of shorts and shirts in a new size 6 (!) since those items are about to disappear from store shelves in favor of sweaters, which I have never understood since summer lasts until OCTOBER here in Texas and my kids have always needed two summer wardrobes because shorts season spans eight months.

5. Shall we have a podcast update? We shall! (Previous favorite podcast posts are here and here.) My new favorite is Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine. It’s a husband/wife (the wife is a Doc) and the shows are about an hour long and they discuss all of the “dumb, bad, gross, weird and wrong ways we’ve tried to fix people.” (The proverbial “we.” Not the hosts.)

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 7.09.32 PM

I started with the episode on vaccines and even though I have read A LOT (no, really, A WHOLE LOT) of things about vaccines since becoming a parent, there was new information here! And isn’t that so much fun when you get new information on a subject as tired as that? IT IS.

Like, when the idea for inoculation against smallpox was first circulating there were a lot of MOTHERS who said “Try it on me. I am tired of seeing my children die. I will do anything to save my children.” And to hear that (which, to be quite clear the procedure was something like, “cut my arm and put some pus/scabs from someone else’s smallpox pustules in my body and then see if I die”) (OMG) and contrast it with some of today’s parents who are intentionally WITHHOLDING vaccinations and it’s just like….sigh. Many commentaries on the regression of society and Idiocracy. (WE WORKED SO HARD FOR VACCINES AND PEOPLE ARE JUST IGNORING THEM OMGGGG.) Anyway, it was quite interesting, highly recommend. I am just getting into this one. I thought the c-section one was interesting (another topic I’ve read a lot about, but this podcast had lots of new information).

6. I have been spending a lot of time playing Two Dots. The fire is horrible. HORRIBLE. It’s worse than the Candy Crush chocolate and THAT IS SAYING SOMETHING because the chocolate made me quit Candy Crush about a year ago. I am on level 110 (of Two Dots, not Candy Crush) and every time I play I find myself ANGRY and WORN OUT and no I’m not QUITTING. Do I look like a quitter? LEVEL 110! I just need that one lucky board…

7. I posted about wanting a waffle maker and my mom gave me her waffle maker, which was really my grandmother’s waffle maker, which SHE got as a wedding gift in 1953. Still works! Make GREAT waffles.


I have made two batches so far (both Pioneer Woman) and they were good but I am not wild about the part in the recipe where I have to beat four egg whites in my mixer. That just seems like a liiiiittle too much work in the morning for breakfast. So if you have a waffle recipe you like (no pre-made mixes, no vegetable oil) then I definitely want to hear about it because I am in the waffle making business now.


  1. Roberta
    July 23, 2014 11:25 am

    Now I want waffles! I use a Mark Bittman recipe from How To Cook Everything that uses a cup of sour cream or yogurt or buttermilk or whatever you have around. The waffles are pretty good. He has you separate the egg & white & beat them separately (just by hand), which is a little fiddly, and you can do that or not. They turn out well either way. It also usually needs a little more moisture (extra milk) than what the recipe calls for. Here’s a link! http://www.culinate.com/content/2770/rich_buttermilk_waffles

  2. Pseudostoops
    July 23, 2014 11:57 am

    I love the Cooks illustrated yeasted waffles. Yes, you have to mix it the night before, but no bearing of whites, it just does it’s thing in the fridge overnight, no steps in the morning. Highly recommend.

  3. Angela (@Aferg22)
    July 23, 2014 12:34 pm

    I have no waffle recipe to share, since my husband is the waffle chef of the house, and he is in Camp Box Mix.

    However, I just wanted to comment that I really love reading your posts. I get very excited when I see a new one pop up in my reader. I am so envious of how organized you are, and I respect your opinions and reviews of products (such as gel nails at home, dryer balls and the chocolate ice cream recipe.) I am just a big fan! I know that is totally cheesey, but I have started to try and tell people nice things when I think of them, so here you go.

    • A'Dell
      July 25, 2014 8:11 am

      Thank you! I have come back and read this comment about a hundred times and it makes me so happy each time! And I am not really that organized. I like to THINK about organizing and planning but a lot of it doesn’t get finished. :)

  4. Amy
    July 23, 2014 1:03 pm

    I LOVE LL Bean backpacks and lunch boxes! Just this summer I retired my 20+ year old high school back pack because the lining is starting to break down. I buy my girls new backpacks every 2 or 3 years (they’re in 5th and 8th grades) and new lunch boxes every year and now have a huge supply of perfectly good backpacks and lunch boxes. The lunch boxes tend to gather crumbs in the seams but I don’t see any way around that.
    We used to live in Houston and I felt the same about NASA. Meh. My kids like the climbing thing at the front best.
    Like your blog! Good luck with the waffles. I’m too impatient for anything more than Eggos.

  5. Salome Ellen
    July 23, 2014 1:43 pm

    I have my 21-year-old’s kindergarten/elementary school LLBean backpack hanging in my laundry room. He got a bigger one for for middle and high school. As far as I know, both of them are still fully functional.

  6. Jesabes
    July 23, 2014 3:16 pm

    It’s too bad we don’t live closer. So many things to talk about.

    I saw you mention Sawbones on facebook last night so I’ve already subscribed and listened to a few:)

    My favorite right now is the Ted Radio Hour podcast – the Why We Lie episode recently was great.

    I’ve just gotten to the fire levels on Two Dots and ugh. After Marianne mentioned re-rolling I’m now doing it over and over on every level.

    I’ve made Smitten Kitchen’s essential raised waffles and they’re a good workhorse recipe. Not crazy special but GOOD. My mom also just gave me her really old waffle maker!

  7. Mikal
    July 23, 2014 3:23 pm

    My Mom has a waffle maker from the ’50’s, or 60’s maybe, and I can’t wait to get my hands on that thing. It is heavy and fantastic and heats up so hot and I love the size waffles it makes and OMG I WANT IT. I have never found a comparable new waffle maker. But my Mom loves it too and uses it all the time, so hopefully it’ll still be kicking around in another 30 years for me to inherit.

  8. sarah
    July 23, 2014 9:57 pm

    Now I want a backpack! F & I both had lands end ones that were kickin after 10 years,but we ended up donating them because we thought we were too grown up, but then we had Joe, and I want one for all the museum & library trips and bike rides. I do use my camelbak for outings with him, because then we can have cold water, but no water bottles.
    I use a pancake recipe for my waffles. It’s amalah’s oatmeal pancake recipe, and you dump everything in a food processor, then straight to the griddle/waffle iron. Just thin it a little to make waffles. They freeze well, just pop them in the toaster (or if you are my son, enjoy them frozen).

  9. sarah
    July 23, 2014 10:07 pm

    Oh! And I use coconut oil in my waffles/pancakes. Sometimes add cinnamon, or penzey’s cake spice. Mmmm.

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