Saturday, February 28, 2009

Restaurant Review - Applebee's

Tonight my parents came to take me out for my birthday. Since Jim was working, it gave me the opportunity to get out with some extra hands. I picked Applebee's because it isn't somewhere we venture often with the kiddos. I was a little nervous. Phillip had a brief less-than-an-hour nap, and Selah was a napless wonder.

Saturday night at 6 p.m. made me a little nervous too. We did have to wait, but only for a few minutes. The waiting area wasn't crowded and we were able to sit while we waited.

They sat us in their biggest booth. Big points! We were able to sandwich the kiddos in between us big folks so they couldn't escape, but they had room to wiggle and move around.

The kid's menu was decent. They have cheap kid drinks. This is important for me because my kids refuse to drink water. I absolutely hate paying two bucks a head for sodas. Our waiter came around to get our drink order and brought it out right away. Selah ordered mini-cheeseburgers. A bonus to their kid's menu: you can order one or two of the mini-burgers. Perfect if you have a smaller toddler and don't want to pay for two. Selah, of course, ate two. Phillip insisted on grilled cheese. They did not have one on the menu, but the waiter assured us they could make one. Phillip ordered apple sauce instead of fries. Veggies were also a side option. Yay for them.

Our food took awhile. But we had no major meltdowns while waiting. It was very busy and bustling so I didn't worry about my kids making too much noise. All the adults had great food. Selah downed her meal with her usual finesse. Phillip's grilled cheese came out on marble bread and was made with cheddar. Now, this did not pose a problem tonight, but I'll admit I was a little nervous when I first saw his sandwich. Keep this in mind if you have picky eaters. Phillip downed the applesauce and picked at the sandwich. I'll take the applesauce as a win. It's a step up over the simple starches and cheese he normally lives on.

So overall, I'd give this one close to five stars for eating out with kids. It isn't the cheapest place in the world, but you can count on getting your money's worth, good service and a minimal wait.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Celebrating Caregivers - MY MOM!

CVS is promoting a contest to celebrate caregivers. View the details here:

When I think of caregiver, I immediately think of my mother. I will never forget the day I answered the door to see her holding homemade vegetable soup through my post partum delirium. Tears came to my eyes when I thought about someone loving me enough to cut up and cook vegetables just so I could have enough good food to eat while nursing my baby.

I may not be post partum anymore, but my mom often brings tears to my eyes with her selfless care of not only me and my children, but our entire family. Just last night we were over at her house. She and Dad fixed us dinner. It's sad, but we are often motivated to visit by free food. A leftover from my college days I suppose. Mom and Dad left at the same time we did. They had to drive over to my grandparents house. Mom goes once a week and organizes all my grandmother's myriad medications in a massive pill box so she doesn't forget to take her meds. Before my mom did this, there were many missed doses, and even some double doses. Scary!

My kids get hurt and/or sick. A lot. For some reason their rambunctious nature and my relaxed parenting ends up in countless bumps and bruises. Throw in a few ear infections, fevers, the flu, a tonsillectomy and you can imagine the trips to the pediatrician, the E.R., to Scottish Rite, etc. Mom always does whatever is in her power to help me. She'll come to the house and stay with the unhurt kid while I take the sickie to the doctor, hospital, etc. A lot of time she'll come ride with me to doctor appointments. This saves me the torture of having two toddlers in an exam room during the inevitable hour long wait for the doctor. Mom keeps one kid occupied in the waiting room or in the car. Most of the time I can actually read a magazine when I only have one kid to occupy in the waiting room. Bliss!

Mom also has amazing decorating sense. This has proved invaluable in the last four years of my married life. You see, we can't afford diddly squat. But mom has accumulated much in her married years. Enough to decorate most of my house! She has the knack and the stuff! She painted my nursery so I wouldn't smell the paint, and surprised me with a painted bedroom and bathroom when I came home from being out of town. I am in the process of changing Phillip and Selah's room over from nursery to big kid room. Guess who has their knick knacks at their house to paint??? You guessed it! What would we do without Mema!?

Restaurant Review - Chick Fil A

Okay, so I know this is an easy one. But we did just eat there the other day.
Chick Fil A is my go to restaurant. Especially when I want to have a conversation, read a book, or get some work done. 99% of them have indoor play grounds. I find this to be the greatest invention on earth. But to be specific I'll stick to reviewing the Dawsonville restaurant. Mom's - keep this in mind when you're headed to North Georgia Premium Outlets. It's across the street, but worth it for happy monkeys!

My kids love "Chickilway". The funny thing is they won't eat the chicken there. Go figure. But our lovely Chick Fil A will make grilled cheese sandwiches. I found this out one day standing in line and I heard another mom order one. Glory hallelujah. So, I always order my guys kid's meals with grilled cheese and fruit. Phillip eats only the mandarin oranges and Selah eats the strawberries. They both chew up the apples and spit them out. I don't know why. Maybe because they still have peel on them. This particular restaurant makes their grilled cheese using two bottom bun pieces turned inside out. It works really well. Some restaurants use the wheat berry bread. Most places will let you request either. But if your kids doesn't eat wheat bread, ask first!

Jim has a county employee discount card, so he orders a value size combo and gets a free chicken sandwich. I just order an extra drink for me and I eat the free sandwich. I have never EVER been to Chick Fil A and not enjoyed the food. There are things on the menu that I like better than others, but no matter what's ordered, it's done well.

Some other fast food places in town charge you for packets of sauce. Not here. Super friendly. Super clean. Most weekdays at lunch they have a hostess who helps busy moms get seated, brings a high chair, offers table toppers, and fetches refills. Diaper deck in the bathroom. Hands free bathroom too! Lots of hand sanitizer available. This is especially convenient post-playground.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Restaurant Review - Rooster's Cafe in Dahlonega

I have decided that to help justify our seemingly insatiable appetite for eating out, I would throw out reviews of restaurants where we go. I plan to do this in a kid-centric way, hopefully steering parents in the right direction when eating out with kiddos in tow. This review won't include pics, but I plan on the future ones having appropriate photos.

Roosters Cafe
(706) 867-024489
Long Branch Rd
Dahlonega, GA 30533

We've been meaning to eat here for awhile. We don't get to that end of 400 often, so we decided to drop in when we hit up the Home Depot the other day. This was last Sunday night, early into the dinner hours. Our kids, Selah (2) and Phillip (3) were in decent moods. Selah had had a brief nap just prior to eating. Phillip was a napless wonder.

There were a fair number of people eating, but we didn't have to wait and were seated right away. There isn't a lot of waiting room available, so that might be something to keep in mind during peak hours.

We asked for and got a booth. My guys refuse to sit in high chairs at this point, so the easiest way to eat with them is to put them in on the inside of a booth and pin them in with our bodies.

I asked about kids drinks. They are the same price as an adult drink. I declined and said they could sip out of ours. The waiter slipped us a Sprite for Phillip. Selah is perfectly happy drinking out of whatever drink is closest to her.

Phillip is post-tonsillectomy and still eating weird stuff. He was mad they didn't have pizza. Jim promised him they would. But he was happy to order garlic bread and ranch dressing. I asked the waiter to put his order in and to bring it ASAP. He did so, which forestalled a no-pizza meltdown. We did experience a brief embarrassing moment when I was explaining the menu to Phillip - he yelled at the top of his lungs, "PIZZA!!!" A testament to the kid-friendly nature of the restaurant, hardly anyone blinked. Those who did notice didn't miss a beat going back to their food, conversation, or NASCAR viewing.

Selah ordered a cheeseburger at the same time Jim ordered his burger and I ordered a salad. The food came out in a decent amount of time. Phillip shared a piece of bread with Sis and that kept her happy til her food came.

I'd give her burger 3 out of 5 stars in kid world. Selah is not picky and ate her burger heartily. But I know if it had been me as a kid eating that burger I would have turned my nose up at the overly grilled outside. I would have called it "burnt" as a kid. The fries were great to me and Jim, but Selah wouldn't touch them. They were fresh cut "homemade" looking and heavily seasoned. They did not resemble McD's fries at all. I think restaurants that serve tasty homemade fries on grownup plates should keep a food service bag of plain white potatoes sticks to fry for the little guys - and hold off the seasoning too. My kids are not big fry eaters, so I am always appreciative for an alternative side like applesauce or oranges.

Jim enjoyed his burger and fries. I had a chicken finger salad, and it was decent. I was disappointed in what I got for my eight and a quarter bucks though. Three strips, iceberg lettuce and two tomato quarters. Even McD's five dollar chicken bacon ranch salad has several kinds of lettuce and veggies!

So there you have it. I'd give it 4 out 5 stars. For what it might lack in inspired cuisine, the loudish environment and accommodating staff make this a good place to take your little guys for a night out.

Friday, February 13, 2009

No More Giant Tonsills!

Phillip handled his minor surgery like a pro. We talked at length about them putting on the mask, him going to sleep, waking up with an i.v., etc. He handled it all exceptionally well. We spent one night in observation as a precaution because we lived

so far away. He slept some. Rested some. We enjoyed the room service and the toy room at the hospital. We were ready to come home when it was time. He's been struggling a little more with his pain and not eating as well, but is still drinking plenty of fluids so we're good for now. We've had lots of thoughts, prayers, and FOOD from church friends and family. Thanks!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

All our Pictures