I could have sworn there were three children living in this house. But for the past month, my middle child appears to have vanished. If I want to have a chat, give him a hug or even lay eyes on this kid, I need to report to the nearest ball field.
For the third summer running, my 11-year-old is playing All-Star baseball. It’s getting pretty intense. There are several games a week, plus practices on almost every off night. We’ll hardly see him until mid-August.
Back when I was a parenting expert—that is, before I had children of my own—I swore I’d never do this. I’d read all about the crazed competition and the pitfalls of elite kiddie sports, and was wary of the toll it could take on families. Also, being somewhat uncoordinated (and I’m being generous with myself here), I found it hard to believe that any child of mine would play— much less excel at— a competitive sport. Unless Chess counted as a sport.
It appears that Owen, who made his first overhand throw at 10 months old, wasn’t informed of my plans. From the time he could talk, this boy has been in love with baseball. When he’s not playing, he’s watching it on TV; when he’s not watching, he’s outside throwing the ball with a friend or batting with his dad; when he’s not doing that, he’s taking a clinic or reading up on the sport.
That focus and dedication is why we’ve always supported Owen’s playing, even if it making a few sacrifices. We try to attend games together as a family, sometimes even eating dinner in the stands. He leaves camp early to rest up. We’ve also postponed our summer vacation until after the season ends.
One thing I refuse to compromise, though, is healthful eating. The baseball schedule often dictates a late dinner, which means my guy needs a nutrition-packed snack on the way. Power Packed Popcorn Cookies have the right combination of whole-grain popcorn, oats, raisins and sunflower seeds to power him through six long innings. It’s become a home run in the dugout!
Power Packed Popcorn Cookies
Yield: 4 dozen cookies
- 1/4 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup toasted wheat germ
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- 1/2 cup flaked coconut
- 3 cups popped popcorn
- 1 cup raisins, dried cranberries or other dried fruit, chopped
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds or chopped nuts, optional
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Lightly spray baking sheets with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, soda and salt; set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar together and add egg and vanilla; mix well.
- Stir in flour mixture and wheat germ and oatmeal until well blended.
- Add coconut, popcorn, raisins and sunflower seeds, if desired, and mix until well blended.
- Drop by rounded teaspoons onto baking sheet, allowing 2 inches between cookies to allow for spreading.
- Bake 7-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
- Allow cookies to cool on pan 5 minutes before removing to racks to cool completely.