The rain this week has slowed down life on the farm and I have a little time to breathe, which is NOT always good! I do not know about you, but when I am busy I am focused on the task at hand and quickly move on to the next task. While having this time to breath, I allowed myself to ponder the changes coming to my family’s life. For us on the farm, everything is measured in seasons: planting, growing and harvesting. But as you know, life sometimes does not follow the same seasons.

My oldest daughter is leaving for college in two weeks and I am not sure how I feel about this next season in both our lives. Now, I am not an emotional person. I did not cry at graduation and I have not wept in private about our baby girl leaving. Is there something wrong with me? For me personally, college was one of the best times of my life. After all, I met the love of my life during this time. I am so excited for all of the new experiences before her. I’m even excited for her to experience dorm life—well sharing a hall bathroom sucks, but the rest is pretty great! Even football games and tailgating will differ for her as she meets new people and makes new friends. If given the chance, I might just run back in time for some college fun!

I was fortunate that my parents paid for my education as long as I made good grades, which was rocky at times as I tended to focus more on the good times than my studies! (Hopefully my daughter will skip reading this blog.) Grades were my only real concern, but life is so different now than in the 90’s and I thank god every day there was no social media. My dining room has been taken over as college central and my husband says: “Steph, you know she is coming home in October for fall break, right?” As a mom, I just want to make sure she has everything she needs, even though she is perfectly capable of taking care of herself. In this day and age, that means much more than simply ensuring she maintains her grades.

At age 10, my daughter began cutting the grass and doing her own laundry. I feel as though simple tasks such as mowing the lawn and laundry added up to overly preparing her to leave our nest. I’m proud of that and hopefully I have taught her enough “simple” tasks that she really will only have to stress and worry about grades. However, I must not forget that I am not only trying to send our first born to college, but that our second born starts her junior year of high school next Wednesday! She hasn’t forgotten, and also realizes its her turn to understand what it means to complete the “simple” tasks.

Back to school is a racket! Why is it that the pens, pencils, paper, binders and supplies that you were using just 2 ½ months ago are no longer good? Thank goodness she has her driver’s license and I do not have to revert back to my taxi driving days; so as her need to go back-to-school shopping has grown, her first simple task will be: go source this year's school supplies! Lucky for her, she will get 100% of my attention for the next two years. Is it a crime to padlock her room with her inside? Kidding. I swear. But my attention does ensure that I will prepare my second child to experience the same future success my firstborn will achieve throughout the coming school year.

While I do pride myself on teaching the “simple” tasks to my children, I still make their lunches. There are some things that the changing of seasons cannot force you to give up. I know, I know… my girls are spoiled rotten. I hear your thoughts and, yes, they are! Sometimes, I get asked to fix two lunches so the bestie can have lunch as well. Lunches must be eaten cold because my youngest is not high enough in the food chain to gain first access to the microwave and standing in line for fifteen minutes to use the microwave is NOT cool. While I am down to only fixing one lunch this year, I am going to take it in and enjoy these last two years before we enter our next season: empty nesting.

Day One Lunch Box Menu

Snack: Salted cashews and peanuts with cheese chunks and Craisins

Lunch: Thai Virginia Peanut Pasta Salad and Clementine’s

Thai Virginia Peanut Pasta Salad

4 to 5 boneless chicken breasts grilled

½ lb. linguini pasta (whatever pasta you prefer is fine)

3 green onions sliced thinly

1/3 cup shredded carrots

1/3 cup of Hope & Harmony Salted peanuts chopped

2 tbsp. peanut butter

1/3 cup of soy sauce

¼ cup of green peanut oil

2 tbsp. of rice vinegar

2 tbsp. sugar


1.Slice chicken into strips or chunks.

2.Cooked pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water until pasta is cool.

3.In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, peanut oil, rice vinegar and sugar.

4.Toss noodles with sauce.

5.Toss chicken, carrots and green onions with pasta. ( I sometimes get crazy and add green peas)

6.Chill and serve cold.