Skip to main content

Late Night Noodles

"Hey Mom, can you come here and tell me if the water is boiling?

I had just spent the last forty-five minutes reading Mara: Daughter of the Nile to the kids. When we came to the end of the chapter they got up and wandered off. It's a great book. I couldn't put it down and so remained on the couch and read on. I was in the middle of Egyptian intrigue and espionage when John's words shocked me into closing my book.

"What do you mean come and tell you if the water is boiling? Are there bubbles?"

"Yes. The whole bottom of the pan is covered with bubbles."

It occurs to me that we might want to focus a little less on algebra and a little more on survival skills with this child.

"The bubbles need to be coming to the surface. The whole pan needs to be full of bubbles." I get up to check why John needs to know how to boil water at ten o'clock at night.

John has a package of Ramen Noodles laying on the counter. He is reading the directions. The water in the pan is boiling. He opens the package, puts the noodles in and turns off the stove.

"Buddy, you need to turn the burner back on and let the noodles boil for about three minutes."

"Oh." He turns the stove back on and checks the clock ...10:07. He opens the package of seasoning and tastes it. "Wow! This stuff is spicy!" He stirs the noodles and takes them off the burner at exactly 10:10.

After he has stirred in the seasoning, he pours most of the soup in a bowl, grabs a salad-serving fork and sits down at the kitchen table. I notice that there is a little soup left in the pan. I pour the remainder in another bowl, grab another salad-serving fork and join him. For a few minutes there is only the sound of John slurping his soup. And then there is the sound of laughter. We crack up when we notice we are both eating with silverware fit for a giant's table.

"Mom, what has been the best day of your whole life?"

I have to think on this for a while. I tend to be future oriented. The past slips easily out of memory. "It was the day that your Papa said that he loved me for the first time. We were sitting on a rock down by the lake."

John steers past the mush and focuses on the rock, "Was the rock out in the water? Was it near land? Was it round or flat on top?"

"Well, we didn't fall in the water so it must have been pretty flat."

It's quiet again. The slurping continues. "Ow! Noodle lash!" A noodle slaps John's face on the way into his mouth.

"Hey Mom, remember when I made heart-shaped coffee cake?"

I do remember. John's forays into the kitchen have been infrequent and, with the exception of a fabulous apple crisp that he made with his sister, disastrous. Years ago, when he read the directions for the coffee cake, he mistook 3t. for 3T. Three tablespoons of yeast made that dough come to life! I came in from working in the garden to find a dough monster climbing out of the bowl and crawling across the counter. Scary. We dumped it into the garbage, took the garbage out of the house and laugh about it to this day.

Our bowls are empty. John clears the table and puts the dishes in the sink. I'm full of plans for teaching him the basics. Tomorrow we'll tackle boxed macaroni and cheese.

Posted by Picasa


Popular posts from this blog

Spelling Wisdom

One day while skipping around the internet, I came across these:

And when I clicked on the sample, I knew we had to change spelling curriculums. Again. Goodbye Spelling Power and MacMillan and Sequential Spelling! We've found our true love.

The problem with the afore mentioned curricula is sheer boredom. Memorizing lists of words is mind numbing and as my children don't like their school work to lull them to sleep, they often push spelling to the side in favor of more exciting lessons.

When I found Spelling Wisdom, I realized what has been missing: an idea, something to engage the mind so that learning the difference between than and then occurs almost incidentally.

Sandra Shaffer uses the writings of famous men and women (Helen Keller, Beethoven, Winston Churchill...), Bible passages and quotes from quality literature...poems and novels (Robinson Crusoe, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, All the World's a Stage...) to teach more than six thousand frequently used word…


My sister-in-law lugs a heavy bucket of water around her herb garden, gives each plant a long sip. "It's been three weeks since we've had rain," she sighs looking out over the dusty vegetable garden and the shriveled brown grass in the pasture beyond. We help my brother pick beans and pull the weeds around them. The dry ground pulls back and some of the weeds snap off above the roots. We give up in the strawberry plants, sit on the porch, listen to the dogs pant.

We travel home in an air conditioned bubble. The whole length of the Shenandoah valley is crispy brown, the corn stunted. We pull into our Amish county driveway, greener here but the grass is short and the air hot. We breathe shallow breaths, unpack, crank the air conditioning. No rain in the forecast, three weeks and counting.

Saturday there will be a wedding, an outdoor wedding, and finally rain threatens. Stuart is on the phone with the bride. "Pray that the rain holds off," she says. Saturday w…

Until Death...

Kindred spirits, Anne would call them.  Two who complete each other, two who are together,  soul mates one cannot imagine apart.  I can count the kindred marriages I know on a couple of fingers and after last week, that count is down by one.

"You look so happy," Dave says as Stuart and I stand awkward and wordless before him.  I bend down to wrap my arms around him and wonder, Where is the good in this?  Where? A week before we bumped into Dave and his wife, Deb, down at the Famous Brands.  Deb glowed with good health and good news and for the remainder of the day we basked in the unexpected good fortune of meeting these old friends.  And now there is Dave minus Deb.  How can this be?
"It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man, all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live."  Mark Twain's Own Autobiography
"You look so happy." We do not look happy but somehow this remark makes sense because Dave has loved with …