Monday, March 21, 2011

Reflections on the Birth of a Boy

My oldest son turned six today...six! I simply can't believe it. When I was pregnant with him, having had a girl first, I couldn't imagine what loving a boy would be like. I'll never forget getting to know him at the hospital during the hours after he was born. Nursing him in the dark while my husband slept in the chair next to me, it happened. I fell in love. I will never forget what he looked like. He was tiny, and his little head popped out of the tightly-wrapped white hospital blanket. That little head was covered in perfectly spiked black hair. I can remember just staring at him; he was just beautiful.

Today we celebrated his birth with a breakfast of cinnamon rolls he requested, a picnic lunch at the park, and dinner out with some friends. There were gifts, but this one had to wait. I'll be finishing it up tomorrow.

I'm so very thankful for this sweet, adventurous boy. His zest for life is inspiring and addictive. What a gift he is!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Girl's Room Before and Afters, Part One

We started a few weeks ago redecorating our girls' room. Then things got complicated. We had homeschool testing, people got sick, and our birthday marathon began. We have four birthdays in our family in less than a month. That drives me crazy. Anyway, now I'm scrambling to get done.

Here are some before shots.

Notice the room also needs a good cleaning. I'm into multi-tasking.

Now for the nice clean, freshly painted and wallpapered version:

You can't really tell in the photo, but the green on the wall is wallpaper. It has a tiny cream dot pattern. I originally wanted something floral, but when we saw this we loved it. Wallpaper was our big splurge, as was the crown molding. I can't imagine wallpapering a whole room; that stuff is really expensive.

We have new bunk beds to bring in, but everything else for the room I'm either sewing or we are bringing in from elsewhere in the house. I "shopped" our garage for some things, and we re-painted a couple of pieces. I think for the girls' name letters, I'm going to just use their initial and hang with ribbon.

Stay tuned for the big reveal!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Permission to Throw in the Towel

Math has always been a difficult thing for me to teach, and it was never my favorite subject in school. In the first grade, I remember having trouble counting by two's. I just didn't understand the point of it all, and the teacher was less than patient. She was standing over me with a mad face, trying to get me to understand. I think about that often when I'm trying to help my little girl with math. She's like I was, good at reading, writing, and spelling. Math is a little tougher for her; and you'd think I'd understand and just be sweet and patient and make her some cookies and milk. But sometimes I get frustrated when she doesn't get it, and I just don't know how to help her.

We were having a rough time one day last week while I was going over some new material in preparation for our homeschool testing this week. She just didn't get it, and I was resembling that teacher from the first grade. I was trying to make her understand something she just wasn't ready for. How unfair. If six year old me was standing there, she would've kicked me in the rear.

Well, we took a break, then I decided to throw in the towel. I left the kitchen in a mess and books all over the table, and we took off- out to lunch and to a pond at a local high school to feed the ducks. It was just the ticket. I like to be real with people, so I'll say that our little trip wasn't without frustrations. I had to tell Maggie to sit down three times during lunch, and Jack stepped in the pond after I warned him many times to be careful. That being said, it was a refreshing time.

From now on, I plan to give myself permission to push the books aside. Math will always be around; it will be here when my little girl is ready to conquer it. She, however, is growing up, and I want to remember to spend precious time with my children now.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Plum Crisp: Y.U.M.M.Y

I've never been a big fan of plums, but when I saw them for fifty cents a pound back in the fall, I wondered if they would make a good crisp. I mean, come on, if you sprinkle something with sugar and roast it, it's bound to taste better right? Right!
I can't believe this fruit I've passed up for years is so good baked into a crisp. I made this a couple times in the fall, and then I couldn't find anymore plums. Last week I found them for fifty cents again, and I wasted no time in bringing them home to be cooked into crisp-y goodness.
You could use your favorite apple crisp recipe to make this, if you have one. For years I tried to follow apple crisp recipes, but I was always changing and adding to get the results I wanted. The topping part was never oat-y enough for me, or it was always too greasy. Also, there was never the right crisp to fruit ratio for me. (I get that I'm picky.) I also don't like to kill fruit with sugar, so I always go easy on the sugar in desserts like this.
Try my topping recipe on plums, or use your own! I just wanted people to know that plums rock in a crisp. And maybe someone has already discovered this...

Plum Crisp

7-8 plums
Slice into wedges, kind of thin, so they will bake quickly. I got about 8 wedges per plum.
Sprinkle with about 2 TBS sugar, toss together and put into a casserole dish.

1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
Stir together the first four ingredients, then cut in your butter.
Spoon over your sugared plums, and bake on 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until golden and your fruit is tender.

I know you'll want to top this with whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.