Back-to-School, Back to Schedules

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Back-to-School, Back to Schedules

By Brooke Deen

Having children has taught me the value in following schedules—especially when it comes to eating and sleeping. That said, summertime activities and a newborn baby tend to throw a wrench in our best-laid plans. It’s true that Jack has never been a “good sleeper.” It takes him a long time to settle in at night and then he’s up at the first light. It’s like he’s afraid the world is going to have fun without him. And during the day he goes about 100 mph, eating, playing and “working” (his work usually consists of a really creative cooking or craft project that takes over a third of the house). At only 4 months, I can already tell that Matthew is a different boy. He’s a little more easygoing, taking life one toy rattle at a time. He enjoys quiet time to himself, which I suppose is a rare commodity for the second born.

But now that school has started up again, we’re more focused on keeping schedules. There are kids to dress, lunches to pack and carpool lines to get into, all of which is an adventure with a 5-year old and a newborn. Jack was so excited about his first day. The whole drive to school he talked nonstop. When I got back to the house, Matthew looked up at me as if to say, “Why are things suddenly so quiet?”

I expected the boys would be different—most siblings are—but they are very much alike in two ways. One, they both have these incredible smiles. The kind of smiles that you can’t help giving back even when you’re more tired than you ever thought possible. And two, they have huge appetites. From birth, Matthew ate as if every meal might be his last. He’s such a big, healthy baby that I have to remind people he’s only a few months old. Jack’s always been a good eater and when he gets in a growth spurt, you’d better cover your plate (and count your fingers).

I thought Jack would be tired when he came home from school, but instead he’s ready to play and ready to eat. I’ve found that cooking together gives us a moment to reconnect after time apart and also gets something relatively healthy into his belly. He loves my chewy oatmeal raisin cookies. The recipe has quite a bit of oatmeal and I use golden raisins. The other day we made those and he ate five in a row. But I didn’t feel too bad about it. It’s not exactly a healthy recipe, but at least there’s not a ton of sugar or butter. Poor Matthew looks as if he wants nothing more than a bite of that cookie, but his time will come (and I’m going to have to get a bigger pantry when it does).

So that’s my life right now—scheduled chaos. At night I fall into bed profoundly tired, but also deeply satisfied. As a parent, you have to prioritize your day in order to accomplish all that needs to be done, which is why I’ve decided to take a brief hiatus from blogging to pursue some exciting endeavors that I hope to share with you in the near future.

As always, thank you for all your kind words of encouragement and support!

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
yields: 2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats and raisins.

Chill the dough for at least 20 minutes. Scoop the cookies about 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, taking them out when golden around the edges. Let the cookies sit for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool.

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Reader Comments:


Hi Brooke! I am so lovin' Jamie's new show "Home for Dinner." I record it to my DVR every Sat. morning and always look forward to watching Jamie hand over the juice box to Jack in the car and hearing Jack's "thank you Dad" every time. He is sooo adorable and funny; I get such a kick out of him. Love his dancing moves too! You are very blessed with a wonderful husband and family; you and Jamie seem so happy together! Looking forward to being on this incredible ride with you for many years to come. Bless you all.

By Linda L. on September 18, 2012


I am anxiouly awaiting your return to your blog with pictures and stories of your "Boys" Hope everything is going well. Busy, I am quite sure. Hope your Mothers' Day as as special as can be.

By Barbara on May 15, 2012


More pics of the boys please!

By Cathy Cook on March 27, 2012


Hi Brooke: You tell Jamie that you two make some beautiful babies. I am delighted that everything is going well. GOD has Blessed your lives so much and I know that more blessings are in store. Enjoy your Hiatus and I look forward to reading more in the near future. Renee and Kellie (My Beautiful Baby)

By Renee Duncan on February 11, 2012


Hi Brooke, I am so behind on keeping up. My kids are no longer considered "little"...I have 2 in high school and another graduated. I remember (fondly) the scheduled chaos you speak of, what a perfect way to put it! I savor the moments we are together, I am lucky in that nobody has moved away (yet). That being said, my favorite moments are when I'm in the kitchen and one of them joins me to cook/bake/make a mess smile The kitchen is truly our favorite room of the house, if we're not cooking then we're eating - and that means there is an abundance of conversations, smiles, and laughter. It doesn't happen as often as I would like, they have their own schedules with work, school, activities, etc. My husband recently retired so when he sees me in the kitchen and the kids are in their rooms or out and about, he joins me and we have so much fun trying out new recipes, fine-tuning old ones, and just being together. Jamie, Jack, and Matthew are so lucky to have you - bless you and your family! With much love and admiration - Tracey Lopez/Turlock, CA

By Tracey Lopez on November 16, 2011


Brooke, you are a true inspirational Momma! I, like you have to "regroup" when summer "fun" ends and school time starts. I have a 12 yr. old in middle school, 2 girls (1st grade and 3rd grade) and a 4 month old baby boy (like Matthew, Brantley is a "big" boy and I have to do the same and tell people he's only 4 months old - strange, but my son weighed exactly the same as Matthew and exact same length). I am a Registered Nurse but like you, I have the privilege to be able to be a stay-at-home Momma and I find myself feeling lucky to be able to do this. I see Jack seems to be a "bookworm" (my 1st grader, she is reading on a 4th grade level and I bet Jack is like my Lauren, loves to read to his brother--Lauren reads to Brantley every day, several books). You, like myself, are a very dedicated Momma and the things we are doing to love, nurture, provide and teach our kids now will pay off in a VERY GOOD way. Us taking the extra time ( and it does take a little longer) to connect with our kids by cooking with them lets them not only know how much their work/effort is appreciated but it teaches them so much more in many ways (following directions, math & reading skills, doing things in order, patience, makes them have confidence in themselves, teaches them that everyone makes mistakes and that is OK, and teaches them to ask questions and ask for help) and the BEST thing I love is, to see that smile and look of proudness- to me that is what's great! They learn to feel that if they try something and it does not always turn out the way it maybe should have then, it's OK. I CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE WHAT YOU HAVE PLANNED--I WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOU COME OUT WITH A COOKBOOK OF YOUR OWN. My husband read your blog over my shoulder and he said that you and I remind him of the same person (definitely not in looks, you are absolutely a very beautiful woman-I would love to have someone style and color my hair like yours but where I live, no one seems to know how!). GOOD LUCK TO YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!! (your mother-in-law is my guardian angel, she is the one I pay FULL credit to for me being alive today and not allowing my husbands affair to be the death of me. I LOVE LOVE Paula and to been able to watch her on TV reminded me of my beautiful Mom I lost to a stroke in 2007. It is like I could imagine myself cooking with my Mom like I used to. WHAT I WOULD GIVE TO BE ABLE TO SEE PAULA AND ASK HER TO COOK WITH ME IN HER KITCHEN JUST SO I COULD HAVE THAT FEELING ONE MORE TIME OF HOW WONDERFUL IT WAS TO COOK WITH MY MOM! She is precious to me and my life saver! WISHES FOR ONLY THE BEST TO YOU,JAMIE,JACK,MATTHEW AND YOUR FAMILY AND JAMIE'S FAMILY! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! P.S. If you read this, please tell Paula that my girls (especially my 7 year old Lauren Grace), has cooked out of her 2 kids cookbooks so many times that I pick fun at them and ask them how can they see the recipes from all the greasy finger prints and food spills! THESE COOKBOOKS ARE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, BY ME FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, FOR PARENTS TO BUY FOR THEIR KIDS --I CAN'T WAIT FOR A 3RD ONE!!!

By Jamie on November 15, 2011


Brooke, You are truly blessed with 2 beautiful, healthy children, a wonderful husband and extended family. I hope you continue to take time to enjoy those children because in no time at all, they will be grown up and gone from your home. I enjoy you blog. Jane

By Jane L on November 08, 2011


Brooke, You have a beautiful family! Matthew looks like Jack! They are just beautiful! God Bless! Lori

By Lori Blevins on October 26, 2011


That is a really good picture of your boys! Jack is getting so big. I haven't seen him on TV in awhile. I cannot believe how big he is getting. The baby is beautiful!!

By Karen Elberskirch on October 13, 2011


By Anonymous on September 19, 2011


What a beautiful, wonderful picture of your boys Brooke! So happy for and Jamie! and like always loved the blog! and can't wait to hear back from you. Hope to be able meet you and the family in October! Best of luck and love!

By andrea lepinske on September 17, 2011


Loved the cookies!!

By Dan Jones1 on September 13, 2011


Dear Brooke, I know this is a very busy time for you I remember.It's hard to even get to go to the bathroom without someone standing at the door knocking and wanting to know what you are doing.Those precious little boys will be well worth it though.My kids are married now with children of their own. Time sure flies so just enjoy them now ,they will be grown before you know it.I hope Jack and Matthew enjoyed the pillowcases and the blanket.If you have anyone that you'd like me to make one for just let me know.Blessings to you and your family.Mary

By MARY2711 on September 12, 2011


Sounds like you got everything running so smoothly, you could add gorgeous smiles number 3, 4, and 5 soon! heehee. smile Precious children, and I love reading your posts. I'll be trying that recipe out soon too. Thanks for sharing!

By Martha on September 12, 2011


Hey Brooke, Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us all! Good luck in your future plans. Many more blessings to y'all always! Shelia Key

By Shelia Key on September 10, 2011


Hi Brooke! You have such a lovely family,so happy for you! Being that you married into a "well known family", I love your down to earth values that you are bringing up your boys with. I'm sure Paula is absolutely thrilled that Jack is following in her footsteps for the love of the kitchen!She is such a lovely lady! Hope Jack enjoys school this year, and you enjoy your quiet time with Matthew.

By Linda Swick on September 09, 2011



By Wabda on September 09, 2011


Boys are soooo cute !! You & Jamie are doing a great job ! The cookies are very tasty I know Paula must be "over the moon" with those kids. Good luck with whatever project you are doing. Your family is so beautiful !!

By Nancy Dennis on September 09, 2011


I just so enjoy your blogs. You are such a good mother! Enjoy this time in your life. I'm a grandma and 61 so these writings remind of years gone by. smile Linda

By Linda Minier on September 09, 2011


Such cute little boys. They grow so fast!

By Debbie Middleton on September 09, 2011

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