The Kitchen Hour Gets Real. (with two new podcasts and a giveaway!)

The Kitchen Hour

On Monday night I was patting a chicken with paper towels when my son came running into the room. “Mom, I think the dogs ate some chocolate.”

Oh, yes, they had. Not just any chocolate, either – MY Godiva chocolate, which my sons had “borrowed” and left on the sofa. (Note: my children are not allowed to eat chocolate on the sofa due to prior experience.) (Note #2: the chocolate was also the dark, cocoa-rich, dog-killing kind.)

And it wasn’t just our grown-up, pointer-beagle mix, stomach-of-iron pup who’d helped himself, either. No, our 11-pounds-soaking-wet, sensitive-tummy-having, lap-dog puppy had gobbled up his fair share, too.

Hands full of chicken, I hollered to my son Jacob to call the emergency vet line. And after some confusion, some frantic Googling (on the part of my other teen son Isaac), and William, my nine-year-old, making a mad dash to borrow hydrogen peroxide from the neighbor, our little Renly rid his body of the toxic chocolate.

Which is a good thing, ’cause he’s awful cute.


An hour later everything had calmed down and I managed to get dinner on the table, but discovered that in my fluster, I had placed the chicken in the pan upside-down.

That’s how my Kitchen Hour goes sometimes. Tuesday night, after the third night cooking in a row complete with kids running in and out, the dogs tussling over a toy on either side of my legs (why do they DO that?) and at least four sessions scrubbing the same pan, I heaved myself into my chair and made an announcement:

“I will not be cooking again this week.”

“What will we eat tomorrow?” asked Owen.

“I made soup tonight.”

“What about Thursday?”

“Thursday’s your birthday. We’ll order pizza.”

“What about Friday?”

“Leftovers from tonight. Leftover pizza. Leftover soup. And if we run out of leftovers? Ramen.”

Everybody looked satisfied enough with these answers. I guess they just wanted to make sure there’d be something.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that kids have pretty basic wants and needs. Which honestly makes feeding them feel that much less stressful.

Yes, sometimes the time I spend in the kitchen is crazy.

But at the end of a good hour spent cooking, cleaning up, helping with homework or chatting with the kids, I feel a sense of satisfaction, too. I don’t want to do it every day, but making a point of spending serious time in the kitchen 2-3 nights a week really does improve our family life.

If you feel the same way or would like to try out your own Kitchen Hour, my podcasts are a great way to keep you entertained and inspired while you’re getting started. I have two for you to check out today:

  • In Episode 6, I chat with Heather Shumaker, author of It’s OK NOT to Share…And Other Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids. Some of Heather’s ideas about parenting go against the grain, but they also make so much common sense. A must-listen if you ever wonder why “everyone” has certain rules for their kids, or feel less-than-confident about public parenting.
  • In Episode 7, Tsh Oxenreider of Simple Mom and I talk about simplifying the holidays, her experiences living overseas, and the new book she’s working on, Intention. It’s always a pleasure talking with Tsh, though listening to this one I think I may have had too much caffeine that morning! If you’re in the mood for some nearly-breathless rambling from me, by all means, listen to the podcast!
  • I’ve also got an Aldi gift certificate giveaway, along with a bunch of reasons  I’ve made Aldi a regular part of my shopping routine, so check it out before the giveaway closes Sunday.

That’s all for today! I’m so grateful to all of you who’ve followed along with my progress over at The Kitchen Hour. It’s been so much fun bringing it all together, and it’s just going to get better. Remember that you can subscribe by email to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

About The Author


  1. Renee
    • Meagan Francis
  2. Susie
  3. Devon
  4. nicoleandmaggie