Saturday, June 19, 2010

apparently, i'm the "awesomest mommy EVER!"

so! what started as a crappy kind of day turned into, apparently, the BEST day of blithe's life! and i know bram and asher had a great day, too. and ok, i had a pretty fun day, too.

yes, this morning i was in a funk. not cool. then we went grocery shopping. having learned my lesson last week, i was determined to have a better experience grocery shopping today. so we went in the morning, before the kidley-winks were tired and cranky and out of control their usual selves more active than i prefer. and i put asher in the cart. he wanted to walk, and he cried for the first minute or so, but he adjusted once he realized that i wasn't letting him out. no way was i going to chase him all over the store again. when you're the only adult with three young kids in a crowded grocery store on a saturday, the last thing you need is those three kids running in every imaginable direction at the same time. i refuse to leave my cart to wrangle wayward children. i just. plain. refuse. so, with asher in the cart, and having given blithe and bram very specific warnings instructions, we headed into the store.

apparently, they love fish. who knew! well, ok, i know bram loves fish. whenever we go out to eat (which, granted, is rare), if there is fish and chips on the menu, that's what he wants. he won't even hear of anything else. just fish and chips. and he eats the fish first. he'll leave fries uneaten, but you wouldn't even know there had been fish on his plate at one point. i swear he licks the plate clean when i'm not looking. LOL but the other two?? since when do they like fish?! but, they all wanted it, and there was some marked down, so i grabbed some. we also got our usual items, plus a couple extras.

  • pizza crust. this is in the bread section, and you get two crusts and packets of sauce. and it's only about $3 for the package, so it's great to have on hand. and really, who doesn't love homemade pizza??
  • toaster strudels. i'll admit, i'm not a morning person. i prefer to stay up at night when i have some quiet time to myself, and then i get up in time to do whatever it is we need to do for the day. lunches are made quickly, but they're also pretty basic, and blithe and bram dress themselves, and asher gets dressed when we're home from the bus stop, and that's our weekdays. weekends? with no obligations? please! you're lucky if i'm out of bed before 9! or maybe you're not so lucky. depends on where you are when i get up, and what you've been up to that necessitated my early rising. either way, this is the one meal per day that i want to be as easy as possible. so i like to have easy-peasy brekkies on hand for the kids. usually it's cereal, which they can pour and fix themselves. but once in a while, i splurge and get them a treat, and this week it's toaster strudels, on sale 2 for $4.
  • ice cream. alas, asher needs fat. and it's hot. and the PC ice cream was on sale. so we got Chocolate Crunch and Banana Split. and all i can say is: le drool! yum-tastic! seriously, try them. delicious!
  • ice cream cones. for those days when we don't have clean bowls just need a special little something. so today was the day, gentle readers. we each had 3 cones, i think. LOL
  • 2 cans of whipped cream. nuff said.
  • strawberries were on sale this week, too, so i got some. however, i plan on picking some up from a local farmer later this week. possibly grabbing a flat and dividing them into pre-measured packages and freezing them. much nicer to have local produce than store-bought. but they were there and so was i, so i grabbed some.
  • a package of sponge cake. (see 2 previous listed items.)
and the shopping went well! the kids were even well behaved in the check-out, and that is usually their challenging time. but they survived! see? there is a God!

then we came home, and after an hour or so, the wanderlust in me kicked in and we piled back into the truck and headed out to the Quaker Meeting House near Sparta. i had checked it out earlier this week, and it's absolutely beautiful, and the kids had wanted to check it out ever since they first heard of it, so off we went. they had a blast! it's a beautiful building, about 150 years old, and it's so simple and quiet and peaceful. they asked a lot of questions, and managed to sit quietly in the pews... for about 3 seconds. maybe. but they tried. they also enjoyed exploring the grounds, which are absolutely picturesque. the meeting house is tucked back into a maple grove, so it's surrounded by trees. there's a swing off to one side, and all you can hear is the sound of birds chirping overhead. stunningly beautiful. the kids want to go there one week for service, and i think we just might do that once this summer, and see how it goes (there's a sunday school for the kids, so they don't need to sit through an hour or so of silence).

then back home for a while and they played nicely together. then it was time for supper, so i tried to summon the will to make supper. but alas, the mood didn't strike. haha so i told the kids that we were going to go grad a pizza and come home. we piled in the car, and as i'm driving down the road, a thought occured to me: "they would love a picnic. i'll take them to the park tonight." so that's what we did. i didn't even tell them we were going until i was pulling into the park. we found a table in some shade, the kids each had maybe one piece of pizza and then took off to play. blithe and bram had a blast on the splash pad, getting completely soaked in their clothes (remember, i decided after we'd left home, so they didn't have bathing suits or towels, but who cares!). asher was going to join them, and even took his shirt off and stood at the edge of the chaos pad, but in the end, put his shirt back on and ran over to the playground equipment. there he climbed, slid, ran, swung, rocked and laughed for about 45 minutes. 45 minutes of constant motion, amongst (i swear) every child in town under the age of 17. he only got bumped once, but he didn't get hurt, and it was on his back, so no worries there. he had a great time! needless to say, they didn't want to leave.

but we did. and on the way home, all i heard was what a great day this was, how they loved the park and the quaker church, and how this was the best day of blithe's life. bram dubbed me "the awesomest mommy EVER" and asher told me he had a lot of fun, too. why do i always forget about the park? it's free, it's fun, it's fabulous!! we'll be going there a lot more often this summer. :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Chocolate French Toast. yes, it's just as awesome as it sounds.

1 cup milk
4 eggs
2/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 slices of bread

  1. beat together milk, eggs, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
  2. heat a lightly buttered skillet or griddle over medium heat.
  3. dip each slice of bread into egg mixture until well soaked. place in pan, and cook on both sides until they are no longer gooey or shiny in the middle when cut in half, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
so, the kids have dubbed this "Mommy's Masterpiece" and were begging me to make this more often. i served it with strawberry sauce (homemade, of course; see "recipe" below), icing sugar and syrup. it was, in a word, fabulous! honestly, it's my new favourite comfort food, and i will definitely be making this again and again.

but a word about the cocoa, and some adjustments i made. first, the cocoa doesn't mix well with the milk. probably using chocolate milk would work better. but, since i was lacking choco milk, and because it doesn't have enough fat, i used the cocoa. i also added some vanilla (i just drizzled some into the mixture, so i have no idea how much), because sometimes straight cocoa can be a little strong, and vanilla heightens the flavour while also "mellowing" it somewhat. it turned out really well like that.

also, given that asher is currently on a high-fat diet, i didn't use milk for this recipe. i used table cream, with 18% fat. it worked just as well, though probably in the future i'll use regular milk, and just make his pieces last, adding polycose (fat/carb additive) to the mixture.

but honestly, it was amazing. seriously. you have to try this!!

Strawberry Sauce
4 cups frozen strawberries, cut up
some white sugar
some vanilla

toss it all into the slow cooker, and cook on high until it's done. there's no magic to it. just keep an eye on it, sampling every now and then to check temp and taste. if it needs more sugar, add more sugar. more vanilla? no prob; just add some more. you will have to stir it occasionally, anyway, since the strawberries have a tendency to stick to the side of the pot and burn a bit, so just make sure everyone is floating around the way they should be.

and in case you're wondering how i know it was 4 cups i used...

a while back (last summer?), i picked up a flat of jam strawberries, and my mom and i made freezer jam. it was fab. but i didn't have enough jars to use up the entire flat. so we cut up all the berries anyway, and since the recipe called for 4 cups, we measured out 4 cups and put that into freezer bags, so that when i did make the jam, i could just toss in the berries and not have to worry about cutting and measuring. brilliant, no? i'm hoping to do this again this summer, along with other freezables like zucchini, green peppers, various berries, and so forth. it's the same idea as what i did with stew at one point, which i plan on doing again. sure, it's more work up front, but when all you want in the entire world is stew or freezer jam or strawberry sauce or whatever, all you have to do is pull it out of the freezer and the hard part is already done! i've also done this with those big bags of frozen berries that you can get at the grocery store; i divided it into the amount of berries i need for smoothies, and froze that instead of having to just guess every time. honestly, this process really works!

so, that's that. a couple "recipes" and some time- and sanity-saving tips. have a great weekend! :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

because i *clearly* don't have enough going on... ;)

so, tomorrow morning marks my return to teaching sunday school. i can't wait to get there and see all those young faces and get right in there with them and have some fun... i just love grade 5 kids!! ok, granted, they're not my all-time fave. that would be grade 6. then grades 7&8 are a very close second. then grade 5. and i'm hoping that after tomorrow, i can add grade 4 to that list, since it's a grade 4/5 class. LOL

and i know, i know, there are some of you out there reading this going, "is she insane??? the younger kids are where it's at!!" ah, gentle reader, how so very wrong you are. i think anyone who works with young kids is certifiable. yes, mom, that means you, who spent your entire career (and a fair chunk of your retirement) teaching kindergarten. i just think that's crazy. nope. put me in a room like that and, well, let's just say it wouldn't be pretty. BUT!! gimme a room full of grade 6's and i'm a happy woman!! :) anyhoo....

so the lesson plan inspired me, and i decided to make some play-doh, based on one of the activities. the kids are gonna test-drive it for me and let me know how it works out. but to do this,i looked up play-dough recipes on and found a few there, but i wasn't entirely satisfied with them. so i googled it, and checked out another website called because they have a play-doh recipe. so!!! so here's the recipe:

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups salt
3 cups water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp cream of tartar
food colouring

Mix ALL of the ingredients in a large saucepan.
Cook over medium low heat, until the dough comes away from the edges of the pan and it becomes difficult to move the spoon. Remove from heat. Cool until it can be handled.
Place on counter or wax paper knead 3-4 times.
Store in an air tight container.

awesome!!! i am sooooooo excited about this!! i'll post later and let you know how it all turned out.

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