On Grace and Cookies

Not long ago I sat and waited for my then 12 year old son to finish up with an assignment.  His tablet kept dropping the wifi connection and in a blink, all of his work would disappear.  After what seemed like hours of frustrated groans and pencils slamming on the table, we plugged in the laptop and he set to work.  By this point though, finicky technology and the overwhelming crush of what had become Middle School homework reality had combined with the exhaustion and constant state of hunger that comes with growing 6 inches in 6 months to.  Growling, over-reacting, and stalking like an underfed lion, our sweet boy was over the top.  Off the chain.  Cranky.

It would have been easy to respond in kind, to the testy responses and literal groaning.  The response would have been swift, frustrated, and angry.  In fact, I was gearing up for it, when a tiny thought began to grow in my mind.  He's probably just hungry.  Feed him.  And just like when he was a tiny babe in arms, I sought to …

She Is Amazing

My daughter's bedroom is like a personality capsule, a glimpse into what is truly important to her 10, almost 11, year old heart.

Pictures of our family...a wedding photo of just her father and myself...a picture of her cousins, her sister and brother.  A toy horse her little sister bought her for Christmas holds a cherished spot on her window sill and an old merry-go-round toy of mine, handmade by a cousin, now gone quietly gathers dust in the corner.  
A few years ago her godmother, my sister, gave her an old painting palette of hers, still covered in smears of paint.  A piece of art in its own right, it now hangs, somewhat precariously, next to the pencil drawing created just for her by that same aunt.  A place of honor on her lavender wall. 
Which will be green by the end of the summer if she has anything to say about it, by the way.
Her books, an odd mixture of Nail Art, Anne of Green Gables, and her dad's old Zoo Books, are stacked messily on the bookshelf-clearly not th…

Think before you speak

The other day somebody at my church complemented me on my hair. Her exact words? "Have you done something different with your hair? It looks so good, kind of glowing."

Full disclosure here, I'm not an inherently vain person. In fact, my husband has more fashion sense in his left ankle bone than I do in my entire body. I go to him for fashion advice and honest answers about a new hair color or style I'm trying out.

 However, after having carried and birthed three children, when somebody pays me a compliment of any kind on my appearance I am deeply grateful. Embarrassingly grateful. Like I-might-hug-you-and-call-you-best-friend-for-life grateful.

And then I answered her question with, "I don't wash my hair anymore." She smiled bravely, mumbled something about it seeming to work for me, and then took off out of the room leaving a wake of swirling paper and leaves behind her. What I meant to say was "I don't use as much shampoo as I used to …

Invest In a Good Pot Holder

Whether I'm baking, ironing, or grilling; if there's high heat, I'll find a way to burn some part of my body. And for somebody who finds food creation therapeutic, that's a lot.  I've burned my hands more times than I can count. I keep aloe vera with lidocaine in the fridge just for that.  My forearms are covered in slowly fading burn scars. Even the back of my leg has been fried a time or two (don't ask, because I have no idea). Personally, I blame it on my swirling, frenetic prowess in the kitchen.  I don't have time to be bothered with things like potholders when I'm in the heat of creating my food masterpieces.

 My mom, on the other hand would blame it on my in-explicable non-use of potholders and my lack of attention to potentially dangerous situations.  She might be right.

For years my mother has been trying to teach me to use potholders. In truth, at one point in time I did own several very nice ones.  Sage green to match my wedding registry ki…

7)Not all good food is pretty.

My mother's voice is forever ingrained in my head, "Make sure you grease the pan....and don't forget the corners." The other day, I forgot the corners. I've been on a bread making kick, having discovered that it's impossible to find bread that isn't full of sixty ingredients, half of which are impossible to pronounce much less eat. After reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, for my book club, I've been working at eating fewer processed foods. Not overly difficult, since we already avoid processed as much as possible.

Back to my bread loaves...they were beautiful, aromatic, high golden loaves. So beautiful and enticing that Will, my six year old was calling dibs on the first slice as before I had even taken them out of oven. Ten minutes later, as he waited, rather patiently I might add, for me to un-pan the bread, my mother's words began swirling in my head. You see lovely bread was not going to give up the cozy corners of it's p…

6)Moving to Austrailia Isn't Really an Option

My mother introduced me to my all time favorite book: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. If you've never read the book, I highly recommend it.

Poor Alexander's day starts out bad and gets worse. He keeps threatening to move to Australia. And his mother's very wise advice, which comes at the very end of this very bad day is simply, "Some days are just like that."

I cannot tell you how many times I heard my mom say that. Some days are just like that. One day as I complained to my mother about my extremely strong willed two year old testing the limits of my abilities as a sane human being, rather than pull out her familiar "Some days..." line, she matter of factly informed me that moving to Australia wasn't really an I'd better just figure it out. I did and that strong willed 2 year old is now a strong willed six year old, who is fully aware of who holds the reins. Thanks Mom.

5)Get on With It...

2009 is upon us and my Christmas decorations have been packed away since the 29th of December, our Christmas tree has has been unceremoniously dumped in the garden, awaiting the guy with the wood chipper, and the wrapping paper and Christmas goodies were hauled off to the dump weeks ago.

Why the hurry to rid the house of the remnants of Christmas? My mother always had our Christmas stuff put away within a few days of the last Christmas celebration. She always commented on how the house looked so much bigger and had a fresh appearance. As a child, I remember the let-down, the lag that seemed to occur as the boredom and the normal-ness of the non-holiday months loomed large on the horizon. But Mom insisted on there being something wonderful about starting the New Year right, with a clean house, and I believe more importantly, a clear mind. Thanks Mom.