Spaghetti and Meatballs Anyone?


(They’re not spaghetti and meatballs at all. They’re Jemima’s birthday cupcakes.)

You all are getting a little foretaste of the “joke” that Jemima is going to play on her class today at lunch. Are you making sure to notice the grated “parmesan” that’s actually white chocolate? Huh? Huh? Are ya? I have to say, these are turning out a great deal more spaghetti-like than I first imagined they would. The meatballs are those hazelnut chocolate what-nots, rolled in low-sugar strawberry preserves. (The low sugar preserves give the best color apparently.) The frosting is very wildly squirted out of a ziploc bag with the tip snipped off. Not bad, I have to say.

Jemima has always really reveled in the fact that her birthday is on April Fools, and she’s always dying to try to trick somebody. The absolute rudest one on record so far was entirely my husband’s fault. This was before we moved to England, so Jemima must have been turning 6. That meant that Knox was 7. Are you with me? There were five children, and the oldest was 7 and the youngest was 1. Ben got Jemima to call both of her grandmas in turn, and he had prepped her with this little message: “Hi this is Jemima. Um . . . Mom and Dad left to go get a mocha and they said they would be right back, but that was a really, really long time ago and they’re not home yet and the toilet is clogged and now it’s overflowing and everyone is crying.”

Now, come on. Is that rude, or is that rude? Granny, Ben’s mom, was in town visiting . . . and she was over at Ben’s sister’s house when she received that pitiful little call. She was at our front door in about 45 seconds flat – at which point she was very rightfully peeved at her badly behaved son. When Nana got the call she instantly flew into action with lots of “Stay right where you are, don’t move, I’ll be right there . . . don’t get off the phone, hang on, just a minute while I call Papa on the other line . . . . ” Somewhere in there Ben finally had Jemima say, “April Fools!” and then Nana was very rightfully peeved at her badly behaved son-in-law. I, meanwhile, was very rightfully peeved that anyone actually believed that I would have left my 5 utterly incompetent children unattended while I went off to get a mocha!

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34 thoughts on “Spaghetti and Meatballs Anyone?

  1. HAHA! That’s priceless!

    It reminds me of the year when a conversation at the dinner table about some of the things we’d forgotten to tell our relatives over the years inspired me to get on the computer and email my grandparents to tell them that we had a new little brother…

  2. Loved your story! Our oldest child turns 14 today. Our best April Fool’s joke happened the day she was born. Her due date wasn’t until April 14, so I called Dad to let him know I was at the hospital in labor, I couldn’t resist following that with “April Fools!” (I had an epidural, so I could joke about it). As soon as he started laughing and chiding me for the joke, I yelled “Just kidding — we really *are* at the hospital!” Mom was standing right behind him and didn’t know how to react! ๐Ÿ˜€ We still laugh about that one!

    I love the cupcakes! What a clever idea! I’m getting ready to start the requested the Strawberry Cake. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ve been reading Femina since the beginning and love it, but this is my first time commenting — I couldn’t resist. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. ๐Ÿ˜€ The first thing I thought was “There is not enough sauce on that spaghetti.” Then I found out it was cupcakes! That is hilarious! I just love it! ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Whoa–impressive “cupcakes”!

    Hope Ben has gotten the evil April Fooling out of his system now. Sounds like he learned his lesson.

  5. I say that mocha-call falls under “unforgivable sins”. Hilariously worded though.

    And I was tricked by the meatballs, like a sucker. Good job! White chocolate was a nice touch.

  6. OK, my Noah says that is absolutely hilarious, and he wants us to try it sometime… so…yeah. Thanks. A lot. Really. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Oh and that pitiful little phone call “joke” would have taken about a decade off of my life. When I heard “April Fools” I don’t know whether I would have been furious or too relieved to be furious,lol.

  7. Ahhh, you totally got me!! My first thought was “Bekah does not usually post on last nightโ€™s dinner; there must be something more to this.” And sure enough.

    That is super imaginative mom. Happy Birthday Jemima, and enjoy the relish of fooling your class with such a sweet treat. : )

  8. Hey! Do you realize that you just called a bunch nice church ladies “suckers”? Ouch.

    Really, though, that cake is fabulousโ€”one of the most fun ideas I’ve seen! (And far more entertaining than last night’s dinner.)

  9. Okay that spaghetti-cupcake concoction is freakin’ awesome! — Good job, guys!

    [Okay: Bekah, how are you still laughing (and seemingly mentally sound) with 5 kids so close in age?? — I currently have a 3, 2, and 1 year old and another one due at the end of summer and I am so often in tears…wondering what we’ve (their father and I) have done to them. To make it all the more weird I married and started having children older than most and realize even more acutely how much of a useless-artist-scholar type I am — I see all the awesome projects you do and I totally relate to that excitement and drive and beauty but I feel hamstrung right now — how can I mother these little children with so little creative outlet for anything? Please tell me a little — if you can remember — how you did it? I really do try to happily die to myself daily in this. I know full-well that these little persons — This family — is utterly worth it. I am working so so so so hard physically and constantly pleading for more emotional/mental/spiritual rest and genuine joy in the midst of this and I feel as if I can barely breathe. And it’s all such a good good thing — I love these children and feel so very privileged to be with them every single day…but…Do you have any nuts and bolts wisdom for me about this stage??? — Well, that was a glob of words — all sprung forth from an awesome fake-pasta creation — crazy-lady talk.]

  10. I love the “spaghetti and meatballs,” Jemima is quite a clever lady! I wouldn’t be surprised if the fooling passed through generations–I remember Ben telling Knox (when he was about 2) that broccoli was called “chocolate” and chocolate was called “broccoli.”

  11. Bekah, your cupcakes look fantastic!!

    Sarah, I had my sixth child two months after my oldest was seven (no multiples tyvm), then I went on to have seven more in the next eleven years. My advice is RELAX!! (I think I learned this with number four, so maybe you are ready too!) Take one day at a time and enjoy it. These are busy busy years, but they are such a joy. You really will look back and wonder where those years went. Also remember that God gifted each of us differently, and you probably have many skills that I lack, and vice versa. It makes life more interesting and enjoyable! Bekah wouldn’t need to post all her crazy antics and fantastic projects if we could all do it. Some day we will be like Nancy, and have grandchildren running all over the place – JOY!! (I have told mine that when they drop by with the 144 grandchildren they have promised, please put nametags on them with the child’s name and son or daughter of; I will be too senile to figure it out for myself:-) Blessings on your family!!

  12. Sarah! Good Heavens! I certainly hope I’m not giving the wrong impression . . . I mean, you should see the berserko ridiculous mania that happens around here! I currently have a laundry pile that is literally up to my eyeballs, and I’m running about one and half laps behind on most of my life! I am still laughing however, and am (hopefully!) mentally sound – but it ain’t a breeze, I can tell you that much! When my kids were all pretty much toddlers all at the same time, I remember more than once actually falling asleep at the dinner table . . . it was frequently the first time I had sat down all day! (And if you think I can’t nurse standing up, you got another thing comin’!) The thing is, there are so many absurd moments . . . and you can only either laugh or cry, so whenever possible I try to pick the more fun option! The one moment that I have always felt really summed up about 6 years or so of my life was one day when I was very big pregnant and I had to fish something out from under the bed. I abominate under-the-bed-spaces. They’re so hideously populated with dust-bunny encrusted old socks and things . . . and every single toy in the house always seems to wind up under the bed. Usually I would send kids on missions to pull things out, but for whatever reason I had to do it myself this time. And of course, at 9 months pregnant you can’t lie flat on your stomach. So I was all torqued over sideways, and wriggled under as far as I could get . . . and whatever that mystery object was (I can’t remember now) it remained just out of reach. So I got a coat hanger or something and was trying to hook it with that . . . and then my toddler wandered into the room and got up and sat on the back half of me that was sticking out from underneath the bedspread. I was totally pinned. I was hollering and yelling for him to get off, but since I was shrouded by the bedskirt and bedspread, I was unable to make myself understood. I was trying to fling an arm out behind me to lift the bedskirt, but I couldn’t reach it due to my awkward positioning. Total claustrophobia was beginning to set in as I yodeled and hooted from under the bed with a three-year-old frolicking about on my back, thinking it was all a great joke. Right at the moment when I was really about to lose it – my contact popped out. Yes. Just that little touch of something extra to make life utterly unbearable. It’s at those moments that you can either lose the bubble completely and burst into tears . . . or you can laugh. I remember just laying my head down and laughing myself sick – I just had to wait for the little stinker to take it into his head to get off of me and let me up! I feel like that moment was sort of my defining standard of frantic, absurd, nonsense! When things are nuts, I think to myself that I may be stuck under a bed in a swamp of old dust bunnies, I may be pinned by a three year old, I may be on my belly on the floor at nine months pregnant . . . but has the contact actually popped out yet? The popped contact is the 10 on the Richter Scale for me. Anyway – that’s not super helpful, but it’s all to say that I feel your pain, and it’s crazy and ridiculous . . . but usually it’s pretty funny too.

  13. Well, I have to tell you I cried myself to tears after reading that story!!! The whole household is running over to see what’s so funny. Only a mommy can truly appreciate it, I think. ๐Ÿ™‚ Easter blessings, everyone!

  14. This makes my life sound so easy with only a 3 and 1 year old in the house! But really my life is very simple. Nevertheless, laughter is wonderful advice for every hard situation.

    I love the prank-ness of the cupcakes, but, oh my, they look so icky to me. But great fun nevertheless!! (And I’m so, so much more pro-food pranks where it turns out to be a dessert that the meat loaf cake and such. That’s too mean!)

  15. This is fantastic! We have just one in school so far, and his birthday is in summer, but I can definitely see me wandering into his class on April Fools to celebrate his birthday (NOT) with spagetti (NOT!). This is going to be fun for next year. Thanks!

  16. Like Sarah, I’d love some nuts-and-bolts wisdom too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Bekah, I’m ashamed to say that if I was in the situation you described, I’d probably yell in frustration. But I *want* to learn to laugh! I *want* to learn to season our lives with much more laughter, I *want* to learn to grow in joy. Some situations where there is total chaos some women call ‘fun’ – but my throat starts constricting with panic instead! Some women can cope with a house that’s a total shambles, but somehow when my house is a mess, my head is a mess too – it’s like I can’t think straight! (Not that it’s perfectly tidy or anything, I just need a general sense of order.)

    Somehow, in between all the washing and home duties and church commitments and being a wife and mother, it’s like I lose the big picture and drown in the little things and burst into tears because the toddler’s wet her pants *again*. Or worse, I yell because someone tracked dirt into the house. I want to learn to be more fun-loving (am I doing something wrong when I do something fun but then my daughter gets so hyper that she has no idea that obedience still exists?), I want to enjoy the time I have with my littlies because they are such great kids, I want to teach them to be joyful, but I need to learn it myself! Where’s the 12-step plan for a life more joyful? ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Franci,
    I am going to weigh in on this one, and I’m sure Bekah won’t mind. Remember that God has made each of us with totally unique personalities and gifts, and we have to work with that. We all have different weaknesses and temptations. That’s the way it is. It would take quite a bit to get Bekah to yell at someone. She is much like her father who would rather get a root canal than put someone out. They both have different temptations than you and I do. Though we can and should learn from one another, we can’t be one another. I am happiest with a tidy house, so I do what I can to keep it that way. Like you, my head gets messy if my house is messy, so everyone is happier if I work to keep it together, as long as do so cheerfully. If I become tyrannical about it, well, that’s no fun for anyone. But if I know I’m heading into a time when everything is going to fall apart, I do much better if I pray ahead of time and get to battle stations. Then the mess does not get the better of me. But if I go into it careless of my soul, I’m bound to get whammed. All of us, whatever our personality or strengths, are commanded to be joyful in all things, messes included. The biggest helps to me have been preventative prayer, and a family full of jokers who keep me laughing even when I may not feel like it. And after all these years, it has rubbed off on my soul, much to my benefit. So a tidy house is good, but not at the expense of your joy. Joy is better.

  18. Thank you, women, for your replies, for this discussion. I am glad I needed to wait (Easter festivities and the stomach flu hitting us — yuck!) to respond back so I could hear more. I’ve been trying to look at all the absurdity and see the joke there. And I’ve been trying step back, breathe, and pray more deliberately for joy & peace in the midst of the infant/toddler drama. I was re-listening to Pastor Wilson’s Ecclesiastes series and thinking today how having joy in the midst of all this is a gift straight from God’s hand. I can definitely pray for it, but I can’t muster it up out of my fictitious personal artesian well, right? I also can’t magical with my super-hero will-power alter my personality. I am the daughter of a Puddleglum who has “inherited” many of his strengths & weaknesses. I will diligently pursue sanctification but realize that holiness does not mean I get to be someone else. I think it would be fun (for me AND my family) to be Bekah for a few days, though (-: — I’d love to be a laugh-er. Instead I will pray for God to make me whatever the joyful version of Sarah Jo. looks like. Thank you again for your time & wisdom.

  19. Ooo, I liked this post in the first place, but I think I liked the comments from Nancy and Bekah even better – thank you! Next up, could you set up cameras in your homes so we can all spy on you constantly? I promise to call for help if I see someone stuck under a bed with a toddler on them. Much obliged!

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