The Evolution of Normal, a Story of Smoothies

James and I have a smoothie for breakfast pretty much every morning. It is a great protein/fruit/veggie option for us and it is relatively fast, so you can’t beat it. Unless someone is making french toast, but pretty much no one ever is.

This school year, James is the main smoothie maker. I get the girls dressed and presentable looking (while they are cute kids, this is seriously the hardest job of the day. At least besides homework and dinner and bedtime. Why, why do I have to give explicit step-by-step instructions for getting dressed every #%$#^*@ morning?! “Take off your pajamas. No, they don’t go on the floor. Now put on your shirt. That is backwards. Now get your pants. No! You cannot lay back down. Socks! You must wear socks.” EVERY DAY. While I tackle this nearly impossible task, James makes breakfast (peacefully alone downstairs, reading the paper and humming to himself.)

And so he makes the smoothies. I don’t even know what is in them anymore, really. I know that when he took over, there was a cost calculation of the value of fresh vs. frozen spinach and he updated my shopping list (frozen now, which doubles its value by never rotting into a pile of slime in the back of the fridge or making me feel like I should make a salad when I don’t want one.)

When we first started, we made Jamba Juice-style smoothies. Raspberries and orange juice and sunshine. They were bright red and sweet and delicious. The girls even loved them and would drink them in the car on the way to daycare (note, if your kid ever spills a smoothie into the seat during the summer, clean it up right away or that shit bakes in.)

They start out as a pretty rainbow…

Then we started adding protein powder to make them more filling. And then some spinach for veggie power. Once I switched over to kale, though, we lost our child smoothie fans and I had to buy a nicer blender so that no chewing was required to consume them. But we pressed on, adding carrots and extra fiber and swapping juice for milk for water. Once I tried adding broccoli stems, but James told me I’d taken it a step too far.

This year, we switched to pea- and rice-based protein powder instead of whey (As I age, my body has begun not-so-politely declining dairy.) When we first started using it, I noticed that it tasted like… peas? But worse? This website says, politely: “With a distinct taste, pea protein can sometimes be a tough ingredient for any smoothie.”

But the blending ruins the rainbow.

Combine that taste with the fact that we use red and blue and orange fruit, and green spinach, and brown protein powder and it comes out a brackish green-brown.   Not the cheery, commericalizable red of years past, or the clear, healthy-looking green of smoothies in health cookbooks. The color of your local pond after rain.

But I love it.  I drink it happily every day.  I am drinking one right now. Even though it looks like poison and I am not sure if it objectively tastes good.

And that is how I know you can get used to anything.

Except, maybe, getting my kids ready for school.


Lauren and James’s bog smoothie

  • 1 cup of water per person.
  • Protein. We like Orgain plant-based protein in chocolate from Costco. Follow serving size suggestions from the brand.
  • Extra fiber, like wheat bran or psyllium husk. I found a nice, inexpensive one at Trader Joe’s (always Trader Joe’s <3).
  • Chia seeds. They are the hotness.  Add to everything.
  • Handful of greens like spinach or kale. Never romaine lettuce or arugula. 😉
  • Carrot if you’re feeling super veg. Probably not broccoli, though.
  • Banana, fresh or frozen.
  • Frozen fruit. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries (my personal, though most expensive favorite.) Some of the multi-berry blends are great.

Put it all in your blender, liquid first, then blend.

Tip: If you don’t have much frozen stuff, add some ice to keep it cold. Warm smoothies are the worst.

Enjoy. And if you don’t enjoy, keep making it and drinking it anyways. You’ll come around eventually.

To my future internet-savvy children

Dear future Ella and D2,

The year is, I guess, 20…20? (I don’t know, actually. I think this guess is influenced by my having just gone to the optometrist.) and you are *on the Internet.*

Maybe its after school. You idolize me still, and want to read the blog you’ve seen me work on over the years, to love and understand me even better. And there you’ll find all of my parenting secrets from your early years. I knew this day would come. Now, you are ready for:

A list of things that I suppose I should tell you now that you can read my blog.

[[Aside to present day readers: The use of “sneaky code names” was at first a bit silly to me. Most of the people who come to this site at present know who I am (except that mystery reader in Qatar. Marhaba, Qatarian fan!) At least until I make it big in the blogging world, which I think mostly happened to people like five years ago. So, I worried that perhaps monikers are more confusing than helpful.

But, I recently read an article about cyber bullying that made me realize the value of code names in minimizing the material easily searchable about my children. I suppose they’ll leave their own internet trail, but I will try not to add to it. After all, I would hate for their friends in high school to know that they spent several years mis-using markers and failing to clear the table.]]

  1. The batteries in musical toys given to you by relatives didn’t really last for one magical day. That was just my patience for them.
  2. The store pretty much always has marshmallows.
  3. I put kale in the milkshakes.peeps on a stick
  4. Yes, you had enough allowance money to buy peeps-on-a-stick. And a small bounce-y ball. But I wanted to help you learn about saving and those were terrible purchase ideas.
  5. Sometimes I *did* have a quarter. But those are for parking, not artificially-flavored blue raspberry gumballs that one of you will swallow and one of you will lose in the car.
  6. The cleaners never threw your art in the trash. You made an unsustainable volume of art, some of which was just off-brand pasta glued to green paper. Our house is small. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
  7. Eating candy has never made teeth fall out, that I am aware of. I have actually found (from my friend) that if you eat it consistently, you build up immunity and it cannot make you sick, even if you eat it on an otherwise empty stomach. Try not to overdo it.
  8. I put carrots in the smoothies.smoothie in blender
  9. When you demanded medicinal cream for extremely minor or imagined injuries, I gave you Vaseline. It worked, though: check your hand!  Healed, right?
  10. They did have your size of light-up mock-glass slippers at Target. I just could not own them.
  11. I was not really going to call your teacher/the neighbor/your dad/Santa to confirm your story. I could tell you were lying to me. You would crumble under pressure. Or Santa would actually know about it.
  12. Soap isn’t that expensive. I just drives me crazy that I have to replace it weekly in thesoapy seashell bathroom because D2 avoids cleaning time by creating Aerial’s under-the-sea bubble kingdom in the sink and painstakingly filling decorative seashells with soap.
  13. Putting the Kit-Kat under Ella’s pillow from the Tooth Fairy was actually my (in retrospect, poorly thought-out) idea. We were out of dollar bills and I was not going to give you a five. And now you know about how I save quarters. When you gave me the melted part to throw away, I ate it.

Phew, I am glad to get that off my chest. Maybe I’ll make regular installments in this series. I know you’ll still love and seek to understand me. Except when you’re a teenager, which I am already working to make peace with.

Make good choices!