Don't Be Late, You're Gonna Be Eight!

I recently read that many authors say to use exclamation points very, very sparingly, or not even at all. If you can't find a way to eloquently express emotion without resorting to exclamation points, then you shouldn't be writing. With Facebook, emails, text messages, etc., exclamation points are everywhere. Individuals are worried they will come across as not enthusiastic or mad if they don't use exclamation points in every! single! sentence! I am also guilty of this sometimes (ok, often), especially if I'm communicating with someone I don't know that well and want to seem lighthearted and upbeat.

Over Labor Day weekend my dear sister Megan and her eldest, Lyndley, came for a much anticipated visit. I realized that there is a time in life when one should be free to to use exclamation points with abandon, and that is at the age of seven-going-on-eight. Oh, the exclamations! Oh, the amazing excitement! Some examples to illustrate:

"You have chickens!! Can I collect the eggs? Oh I love farm fresh eggs!" (Me: "Actually, they're more like backyard fresh eggs.") "Backyard fresh eggs! Yay!"

"What's that? Figs? A fig tree? Can I help collect the figs?!"

"I've never made ice cream before! Can I help!? I love ice cream!"

"Little Cat! Want to play? Come on, Little Cat!!"

We had such fun. Lyndley made me earrings out of paper she colored with a light blue sparkly pen. Later, she asked, "Aunt Becky, do you still have the magic coin earrings?" She gathered eggs and begged to hard boil one. One morning we had eggs over easy, which she calls "egg juice eggs." It's interesting peeking into the food mind of a 7 year old. Any food she helped prepare, she was excited about. Any food that was prepared and served to her, she did her duty and ate some but was not excited about it. Note to self: Involve Evelyn in all the food prep.

Megan and I got all caught up on mommy talk, fashion, blogs, food, you name it. Justin mostly stayed out of the way. Evelyn was delighted with Lyndley and all the attention.

On Saturday we got coffee and went shopping. Sunday had us at the beach (along with everyone else) and then Megan and Lyndley explored Annapolis while the rest of us went to a friend's wedding.

Here is what's been cooking in my kitchen. How about you?

Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Vietnamese Iced Coffee Ice Cream, Honey Lavender Ice Cream, and Fresh Fig Ice Cream, all from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop

Fresh Corn Cakes

Peanut Butter Bran Muffins (Added banana, too)

Summer Vegetable Lasagna* from The Frugal Foodie Cookbook

Avocado Salad from 101 Cookbooks

Fudge Brownies (minus the peppermint)

*I hate making lasagna. I love eating it, but it is such a process to make. So I was feeling pretty good after roasting summer veggies to perfection, assembling two (!) casseroles, and having a glass of wine afterward. Here is the accompanying photo of me with my lasagna and wine, husband at the computer, and diapered baby playing on the floor. I make it look easy, don't I? (It's not).

Have a great week, everyone. Let me know what's cooking in your kitchen, and if you try any of these linked recipes.