Kids? Chaos? Mom must be fixing dinner.

Set thank-you cards and colored pencils on the kitchen table. Ask daughters to write thank-you notes to Pops for the snail racing game and in-line skates.

Heat iron skillet.

Settle argument over which side of the cards each girl writes on. Older daughter writes on right inside flap, younger daughter draws pictures on left inside flap.

Dice two onions.

Younger daughter requests her teddy bear teapot and cups.

Clean out curdled milk from teapot. Pour in fresh water.

Heat two tablespoons virgin olive oil in iron skillet.

Younger girl demands fizzy water – now!

Pour out water from teapot. Pour in fizzy water.

Sauté onions in olive oil.

Remind younger girl to color on her side only.

Chop a cup of fresh porcini mushrooms.

Move completed thank-you cards to desk as a reminder to address and mail.

Thank daughters for writing to Pops.

Add mushrooms to olive oil.

Ask older daughter to clean hamster cage. Remind her to share hamster with sister.

Stir mushrooms.

Find blocks. Encourage younger daughter to create hamster castle.

Cook mushrooms until liquid is released.

Place blocks on counter away from food preparation.

Season mushrooms with dried thyme and rosemary.

Console younger daughter when hamster flees castle.

Thaw homemade frozen soup stock.

Help younger girl with hamster hotel.

Tell older girl to stop playing computer games and clean hamster cage.

Add one cup soup stock to mushrooms.

Boil water for rice.

Help older daughter to lift hamster cage over trash can to dump cedar chips.

Wash hands thoroughly before returning to stove.

Place one cup white long grain rice in boiling water.

Give hamster celery leaf and place it in apron pocket as younger daughter draws picture of hamster on recipe card. Ask older daughter to set table.

Insist younger daughter put hamster in the cage if she is not going to watch him.

Slice bread. Pour milk.

Ask girls to wash hands and wake baby brother.

Spoon Mushroom Ragout and rice into serving dish. Place on table.

Serves four. Whew!

Mushroom Ragout

2 cups cooked long grain white rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
1 cup fresh porcini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary
1 cup vegetable broth (chicken or beef may be substituted)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Prepare rice according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet. Add onions. Cook over medium heat until golden brown. Add mushrooms. Sauté for 10 minutes or until they release their liquid. Add thyme and rosemary. Stir in broth. Cover pan and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Uncover and raise heat to high; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add salt and pepper and stir well.

Serve over rice.

Serves 4.

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