Sunday, February 22, 2015

Good New, Bad News

Andrew finished reading the Harry Potter Series to Daniel last week.*

The good news: Daniel and Lily are still very interested in "playing wands"... every long, thin object in our home is now a magic wand.

The bad news: Every long, thin object in our home is now a magic wand. I'm subjected to the killing curse about every 6 minutes.

The good news: Reading this challenging series has helped Daniel learn lots of vocabulary and grown his interest in literature.

The bad news: It's a very challenging series, and so he's constantly asking me to explain the finer points of plot. Especially when I'm driving.

The good news: Even Daniel admits that the movies are not as good as the books.

The bad news: We let Lily watch the movies too, and even though she SWORE she was not going to have nightmares, she did. So we both spent a restless night in my bed tormented by Voldemort's evil face.

*Andrew is the one who did most of the reading aloud, because I cannot (even after multiple re-readings) get through those books without crying.

Dumbledore: "Even now, after all these years?"
Snape: "Always."

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pumpkin Bread

It's snowing again.

Those of us living in the NorthEast of America have pretty much given in the shovel. Thankfully, we are already on a school vacation, so no need to anxiously wait for the news to tell me to stay in my pajamas. The kids have Netflix and a new set of Legos, so they are all set..

The enforced stay-at-home ness of this Winter has given me some time to bake bread*.  I grew up baking bread at my mother's elbow. She used to make little teddy bear loaves, with eyes and belly buttons made of raisins. I've tried many bread recipes over the years, and a couple of bread making gadgets.  The bread maker broke in one of our moves.  A few loaves had to be tossed out- never risen, hardened lumps of flour and hours of work... Sigh.  But, I kept on, because homemade bread is so worth a few tearful mistakes. Right now I've settled on my trusty stand mixer and a couple of wonderful recipes.

There are three reasons I love to bake bread. The first is that it makes our house smell like heaven. Forget homemade cookies, real estate agents should put a loaf of bread in the oven to sell houses. Baking bread is the best smell in the world- right up there with the top of a newborn baby's head and a garden after a Spring rain.

And then of course, home made bread is the most delicious bread you can eat... hot, slathered in butter and jam.  Yum, um, um... There is nothing better.
his original

But the reason I keep baking bread (because honestly, it is hours of work, and requires muscle, patience, timing and some luck) is because it connects me to people I loved who are gone, but for some handwritten notes on their recipes. My great-grandmother baked bread, my great-grandfather baked bread, my god-father baked bread. I have my great grandmother's cookbook, with its quaint measurements for lard. I have my god-father's pumpkin bread recipe, which he baked nearly every week, by hand because that is how hard work is done. (He would scoff at my electric stand mixer.)

my update
Time for me to go shovel again... but my reward awaits, bread, warm and beautiful from the oven and the generations before me...

* Obviously our family is not gluten-free. If I told my kids we were no longer eating bread they would start packing their bags immediately. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Catching Up...

Happy Valentine's Day!

(Or, if you are like I was about 10 years ago... Happy I HATE Valentines just leave me alone day)

I'm not really sure where the last month went... it's all kind of a blur. I know I went to work. I know that dinners were served and activities and church attended. There was snow, and shoveling, and lots and lots of layers that needed to be put on-off-on-off-wash-on- (where is your other glove!!!???) off.

I working hard on not hating Winter this year. I'm doing mostly okay with this; I have a warm house and a warm classroom to spend my time in. But we are going a bit stir crazy. We are in desperate need of Vitamin D. We're all looking a bit budgy around the middle (there has been a lot of baking going on.)

Next week we are on vacation, and we will spending our time running around the city having fun adventures and NOT sitting around on the couch whining for more snacks. Gosh darn it.

I'm also hoping to catch my breath after the breakneck speed of the past couple of weeks.  Maybe tackle a few of the piles of things that are starting to grow in the corners of the house. Maybe read a book...