“Mom! It’s the first star of the night! Make a wish!” my daughter whispered for the third night in a row. The first night, we were sitting at a baseball game, surrounded by an end of summer breeze, the smell of hot dogs and popcorn floating on the edges of the night air. I wished for a million more perfect summer nights at the baseball park. I tried not to be greedy. I really wanted to wish for a million and one of them.
The second time she prompted me to wish on a star was the very next night. The boys were riding scooters in the driveway, my daughter sucking her left thumb, leaning lazily on my arm. “Mom! Make a wish!” she squealed, pointing at a pinhole of light in the blackening sky. I wished for a million more moments with my seven-year-old leaning lazily on my arm, sucking her thumb, watching the boys slide their scooters across the driveway. As far as I can figure, it’s not too much to ask that little girl of mine to stay seven for another 2,739.2 years. Really. That’s a perfectly reasonable request.
I was tucking the kids into bed the very next night, when my daughter asked me to close the window. “It’s too cold,” she shivered, “can you get me an extra blanket, too?” I walked to the window and started to close the pane, then saw the evening’s first star. “Lyssy,” I whispered, “Look what I see.”
“Mom! It’s the first star of the night! Make a wish!”
And so, I did. As the chill autumn breeze wisped it’s way into the room, I wished for the strength to let go of my wishes. To let myself move through all the seasons of my life with grace and peace, knowing that I’ll be ready to say goodbye to the summer sun, to ballpark greens, to scooters in the driveway when the time comes. Trusting that I’ll be ready for autumn just as the first leaf falls. I closed the window and kissed the summer goodnight.
As I turned to smooch my Lyss to sleep, she whispered excitedly, “Mom! I made a wish for my birthday! I’m going to be eight soon, you know.”
Yes, punkin. I know. But for now, you are seven. It is summer. Let’s not wish these precious days away.
And I kissed her seven-year-old cheeks goodnight. Three times.
Chicken & Veggie Nuggets
These are so simple to make, they truly don’t take much longer than pulling a bunch of frozen nuggets out of the freezer and cooking them for 18-20 minutes. Because all this recipe requires is blending the veggies, mixing them into ground chicken, and coating them in bread crumbs, before baking, you’ll be tremendously surprised when you get dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. Better yet, it’s a dinner that your kids will absolutely adore. I just so happened to like these light tasting nuggest, too. And, I am not a chicken nugget fan, so that is say a LOT. if you’re short on time, try cutting the nuggets into diamond shapes, rather than stars. No matter how you slice them, these veggie chicken nuggets are a win-win dinner for everyone at your kitchen table!
1 (14 oz.) package California Veggies, thawed
½ lb. ground chicken
1 tsp. onion salt
2 c. panko bread crumbs
Salt & pepper to taste
Put the veggies and egg in a blender. Blend until pureed. Pour puree into a large bowl. Add the ground chicken and onion salt. Mix together with a fork until well mixed. On a large cutting board, spread a thin layer of the panko crumbs, salt and pepper them lightly. Spread chicken mixture on top of the crumb mixture until it’s about ½″ thick. Sprinkle more panko crumbs, salt, and pepper on top of the chicken mixture. Use a cookie cutter to cut the chicken into star shapes.
Transfer to a cookie sheet which has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 14-16 minutes, or just until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with ranch dressing or barbecue sauce.