It wasn't all empty flattery, though. Despite its lack of aesthetic appeal, the casserole WAS pretty darn tasty. We made a big dent in it that evening, and then Ethan and Allyson fought over the leftovers the next afternoon.
After he'd carried his plate to the sink--well, set it on the cabinet near the sink--Ethan said, "Thank you for making yellow rice and chicken, Mom."
"Yes, thank you, Mommy!" Allyson called out.
"You're very welcome," I replied. "And thank YOU for being so sweet to me."
My cup runneth over!