Monday, May 15, 2017
Do you ever watch The Great British Baking Show? It’s on PBS and Netflix and we love it. The best part about it is that inspires us to get in the kitchen and make something special.
The kids decided that special thing should be brownies. Nobody felt like making them from scratch (I don’t think I have EVER made brownies from scratch), so we divided up a box of Duncan Hines and told everyone to make their brownies unique and tasty.
Elle oversaw the operations in the kitchen while the bakers got to work.
Alyx decided her secret ingredient would be sugar. Lots of it. In the form of candy sprinkles of all varieties.
Anna and Djeryd both went for the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter. Anna mixed hers up in the bowl,
while Djeryd chose to add his in situ.
They stirred and scraped and prepared their pans. Alyx continued to add copious amounts of sugar sprinkles to her little portion of batter.
They finally loaded the batter into the pans and popped their chocolate experiments into the oven.
Sadly, I do not have any shots of the finished products. It was all great fun, but we did learn one valuable lesson in baking: too much sugar is not a good thing. Alyx’s sugar saturated creation never finished baking. It was burning, but still liquid and quite raw looking. She basically made burned molten chocolate candy. Not so tasty from what I understand. But it was a fun little evening.
My sweet little Alyx turned seven! We had a lovely little tea party for her with an Alice in Wonderland theme. I would have loved to throw it outside in our woods with clocks and lanterns and tea cups hanging all about and lots of velvet, but March in the Pacific Northwest is cold and wet. Bleh.
Maybe we can move to California before Elle is too old for a party like this. Or maybe I can talk Anna into a big-girl Mad Hatter party some year. Or maybe I can use it as the theme for my Midsummer Night’s Eve party. (Hmmm . . . the possibilities are endless!)
Alyx had lots of friends over to make hats and snap pictures and make necklaces and eat peanut-butter and jelly finger sandwiches.
They ran around. A lot.
Anna and her friend Grace got to oversee some of the activities which made things nice for me.
And, of course, Grandma and Grandpa were there to help, too.
I think the best thing we did with this party, the one I will do again, is we took pictures of the whole group and pictures of each girl, and then had them printed at a one-hour photo place and slipped them into Dollar Tree frames for their goodie bags. It made for such a fun momento!
Sweet Lu, I’m so glad you’re you and I’m so glad you’re mine! Happy birthday!!
Friday, April 28, 2017
This week has a been a pretty hard week around here. We are settling in fine; had a few parties, made some great memories. But life is not all sunshine and roses. There are bad times, too. It is a part of life – at least that’s what everyone keeps telling me – death is a part of life. Well, this week we are in the middle of the realities that sobering truth.
On Wednesday I arrived home after picking up the girls from school to a startled Great Blue Heron swooping up from the side of my pond. The girls and I ran to the pond to assess the damage. ALL the fish were gone – all my beautiful koi – gone. Later that night Sean said he found six tiny baby ones hiding in the reeds. They are still hiding. I’m not entirely convinced they are alive or even exist – the mind plays tricks, you know. Djeryd is livid (the fish are his responsibility) and wants me to let him buy a gun so he can shoot every heron he ever sees for the rest of his life. For the first 24 hours I found myself looking out my kitchen window sincerely wishing it was all just a bad dream – that my fishies would be swimming around, fat and happy and content. But it wasn’t a dream. It’s real. They’re dead and in some stupid bird’s belly.
So the fish were bad enough, but then, this morning Anna found our beloved cat dead in the pasture. Apparently she ingested some rat poison – we do not use any, but we have neighbors who must, and our little Coco had only recently become a mouser. Oh, the tears that have been shed this morning. This whole death thing - this whole raising our children in the country so they can learn the facts of life and build resiliency – yeah, that whole thing – I hate it. She was the best kitty. We all loved her so much. Everyone did. She was pure black and mellow and gorgeous and we loved her.
Anna cried all morning and I expect more tears after school. She’s at a field trip today so I’m hoping that has eased the blow a bit. I don’t think Alyx understands. Djeryd will be so angry when he finds out and I don’t know how to soften it for him. I’ve been a mess all week, so this just feels completely overwhelming. And Sean is hurting too. It’s all just so sad. And I know it’s just a little pet, not one of my children or anything, but it still hurts. I told Anna this morning we’ll see Coco again. She’s up in Heaven and we’ll get to be with her again. But right here and now . . . there’s a hole in our family.
Monday, March 6, 2017
My mom often comes for lunch during the week. She works near our home so if the day is not too crazy for her, we get a special treat around noon. Elle loves it when Grandma comes over. She loves to “hide” (curled up in a ball in plain sight on the couch) and giggle while Grandma tries to find her. Usually we just talk over lunch, but the other day Elle asked Grandma to read a story to her. Look at those two lucky people! How blessed they are to have each other in their lives! And how blessed I am to be a witness of their love and friendship, and to be able to enjoy a little piece of it myself.
And this little moment gets played out every single evening in our house, although occasionally one or both of those big guys on the ends may be missing because they have other obligations. I love these people, this moment. To me, it is the stuff of life.
Poor Djeryd misses so many yummy breakfasts. He gets up before the crack of dawn and heads off to Seminary and school while the rest of us slumber for a bit longer.
Most days are cold cereal, but every once in a while a special breakfast comes along – spicy-sweet oatmeal or eggs and toast. And every once in a very blue moon, perhaps if it’s a heart-filled holiday, a weekday breakfast will be comprised of pink pancakes and fancy dishes.
It is special
I’m not very good at traditions, but I am diligently trying to make special days feel a little more special. I have to force myself to take the time to make the memory, in some small way.
Oh, and, happy birthday to me!
We’ve been doing a bit of creating around here. Nothing too exciting, but the wheels are turning and that’s what I love. Because of when we moved Valentine’s were anything but original this year. But that’s okay. We always have next year. The girls still enjoyed picking out which little saying went to which little friend. As we sorted through the Valentine bags after school I was so pleased to find a decent number of homemade simple Valentines; no candy, just tos and froms and hearts. Very simple and very sweet.
Anna decided to create a reusable Family Home Evening agenda. With a little bit of help from her big brother she whipped up this very professional looking agenda and laminated it so we could reuse it each week. She never ceases to amaze me!
We also finally finished her tote bag. The houses were leftover blocks from a quilt I made. We added a few borders to expand the size of the finished bag, and then Anna went to town machine quilting fun little patterns and lines all over the bag. With a little bit of direction from me she made the strap, the lining and fully assembled the bag. Again, totally impressed. I’m afraid I won’t be able to keep up with her pretty soon.
Djeryd has been creating food, not as much as I would like, but we are eeking some meals out of him. The push for cooking is two-fold:
1. He has to finish his cooking merit badge so he can earn his Eagle (the clock is ticking!!)
2. This boy is leaving home in a little over a year. I want him to be able to feed himself wholesome, delicious, economical meals.
We’re getting there.
The other morning I decided to whip up a little skirt for Elle. I wanted to see how fast I could get it done, start to finish, and still be a patient and nice mommy. This took my a little under an hour (which made me feel pretty good, considering a mis-measured for the yoke and had to do some tweaking). It needs a bit of black and white trim to spice up ease the transition from the flower print to the gingham. Maybe I’ll do that today.
Alyx has been making lots of books and writing lots of stories. I need to snap a picture of that, I think. I love watching the creative process touch each of my children. It makes me so happy inside.
:: I get to slather my walls with this most delicious of all paints
:: wildlife out my back windows
:: watching my children explore the wonders of the natural world
:: my boy having space and freedom to be very creative with fire and metal
:: oh, how we have longed for a place to shoot a few hoops on a whim
:: the hope and promise of homesteading dreams in our near future
:: and last, but certainly not least, the library is only a few minutes away
Sunday, March 5, 2017
The other day was one of those where I had two different places to be at the exact same time. I made a plan, you know those plans where you show up a little early at one event and then show up a little late at the next so you can squeak it all in. I also needed to hit Costco and feed my family after piano lessons. Why not do them at the same time? Brilliant!
As we were getting ready to check out, with just enough time to grab dinner (we had to eat it in the car and make it into a hyper-fast check out line – but still, we could make it, darn it), my son informs me he has a National Honor Society induction ceremony in twenty minutes, he thinks. “And, oh yeah, I think it’s a big deal. I think I’m supposed to dress up. And I think parents are supposed to be there, too.” Oh, my. After quizzing him a bit on how long he’s known about this, etc., he informs me, “I don’t really want to go anyway.”
We tell him we can race, we can do this, we can pull this off. We can skip the other two commitments. We can divide and conquer. We can DO THIS! Before we know it social pressure starts pouring in from relatives via Sean’s cell phone. That clinches it. Djeryd digs in his heels, holds to his argument to not go, and we all decide to dine in at Costco to eliminate any possibility of even being in the right town for all three of the evening’s commitments. Procrastination at its yummiest.
I’m sure some people think we should have insisted, but I just think if my seventeen year old son, who is just about the finest young man I have ever met, says he doesn’t want to do something pomp and circumstance-y – ‘nuf said.
Blogging has been challenging for me over the past several years. Time just feels too precious to spend it on a computer instead of enjoying my children. And I really don’t need one more thing to stress about.
But then I find my girls like this, curled up in the library with big books on their laps – my big books. My books that have recorded the life of our family on this blog. Sean takes my pictures and my prose and creates the most beautiful books, and my kids LOVE to look at them and read them and ask me questions about them.
Today Sean woke up from a nap to find us in the library reliving 2009 page by page – making a memory of memories. And I thought I better get back on this blogging stick, because this is it – this is the good stuff – and I don’t want to miss the memories.