Saturday, March 17, 2012

Conversations with Kids

One of the most wonderful things about having Tinies around is that their presence, their conversations bring SO MUCH LAUGHTER. Perhaps the best description of the joy that little people bring is "more delight than you ever thought possible." It's true, isn't it? Grown ups can be clever and funny. But kids, in their transparency and honest reflections outdo even the most skilled comedian! As of late, I've been trying to quickly journal some of the things that Jake and Joshua say that fill our home with laughter. I fear that if I don't record it somewhere, I will just be left with this somewhat hazy recollection that they amused us, but I'll never be able to actually remember specifically what was said. So here goes:

While I'm putting Josh to sleep, hugging him, kissing him, I whisper these words to him: "I am so thankful for you, my son." He grabs my face with his hands, pulls me close and whispers in return "I am so thankful for my brown blanket." Yes... the brown blanket. Jake never had blanket (or even a stuffed animal) that he was particularly affectionate towards, nothing that garnered his commitment, so Josh's love and attachment for this little brown blanket, well this is a new thing for me. It's been so fun to see and be a part of. Justin calls him 'Linus' and I pretend that I understand the context, even though I don't really. I just know that Linus is somehow connected to a story about a blanket or something. I should google 'linus + blanket' so that I'm not being deceptive the next time I pretend to laugh understandingly.

Google. This brings me to another conversation that I'd like to tuck away. Jake and I are driving and talking, and we wind up on the topic of helicopters and airplanes. I'll admit right up front that I don't know very much about either of these, but at the time that this conversation was unfolding, I assumed that I would know more than my four-year-old. Well, Jake and I find ourselves disagreeing about whether helicopters have wings or not. I'm SURE I've seen wings on helicopters... I mean, I've never really looked carefully. And come to think of it, I've never even really thought about it... but of course they have wings, right? Why wouldn't they? Jake, on the other hand, HAS thought about this before, and has talked at length with Justin about the difference between helicopters and airplanes. I should have known. And I should have had the humility to back down sooner... but I find myself trying to defend my position, explain why 'of course helicopters would need wings', when Jake concludes our disagreement by saying "Well Mom, why don't we Google it? I KNOW that I am right, but let's Google it."

I'll admit, I wasn't expecting a four-year-old to play the 'Google it' card. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that toddlers know how to use the threat of Google in a debate... Anyway, he was right. And in case you're wondering, for the next time you're in a debate with a pre-schooler, helicopters don't have real wings, they just have a tail with tiny little wings on it. Jake was right.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread. One of the simple but super tasty desserts. It has that no - nonsense, country farmhouse look to it. Make a double batch, throw in some extra grated vegetables and nuts, and you've got some healthy muffins as well, with almost no extra time being added.

When I'm baking for our family, and I know it's primarily going to be my own kids eating what I'm making, I almost always substitue whole wheat flour for white flour. Sometimes this dramatically changes the taste, but more often than not, it simply boosts the dense and moist factor, which is generally a bonus in baked goods anyhow.

I begin with an average Zucchini Bread recipe, and then double it. Any zucchini bread recipe will do, as long as it is standard. Something along the lines of this

3 cups all-purpose flour (6)
1 teaspoon salt (2)
1 teaspoon baking soda (2)
1 teaspoon baking powder (2)
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon (6)
3 eggs (6)
1 cup vegetable oil (2)
2 1/4 cups white sugar (4)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract (6)
2 cups grated zucchini (4)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Once this is mixed, I will put roughly half of the mixture into two greased and floured loaf pans. With about half the mixture left, I will throw in some extra healthy stuff. In this case I grated a couple more carrots, threw in three large handfuls of sunflowers seeds, and put in about a cup of raisins.

Mix in in the new additions. Fill some medium paper-lined muffin tins about 2/3rds full. Bake the muffins in a pre-heated (325 degrees) oven for about 20 minutes, the loaves for about 50 minutes. And in almost no extra time, with no extra dishes to wash, using the same base ingredients, you've got twice the amount of baking done.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Josh and the Butter

There are so many things about two-year-old Joshua that bring laughter and delight. He’s one of those kids with a charming, funny way about him. Often, after he’s done something particularly naughty (and this is no rare occurrence) I find myself having to turn my face away or bury it in my hands so that Josh can’t see the huge smile that I’m desperately trying to keep from escalating into a laugh.

The combination of his gigantic eyes, crazy long eye lashes, chubby cheeks, raspy voice, and unabashed honesty about his little wrongdoings make it hard to remain appropriately serious and firm. And he’s also tremendously penitent. I doubt that his sorrow runs very deep, and I KNOW that it doesn’t lead to angelic behaviour, and yet whenever he’s caught in the act of some form of misbehaving or another, he’ll gesture towards me with his fat little hands, palms up as though pushing against the coming reprimand, and his raspy voice will testify to his remorse. “I’m sorry! I’m SO sorry! Are you going to show me grace, Mama?” (Yes. He really asks that. At two-years-old. The reason why he asks this is clearly the topic of another post.)

Justin told me that yesterday he walked into the kitchen and Josh had climbed up onto the counter, found the butter dish (softened to room temperature like true Canadians!), and smeared it all over his eyes. When Justin asked him, incredulous, why he had done it, Josh responded “Because I like it.” We both got a good chuckle about it last night, never imagining for a moment that this might be an issue that would need to be dealt with ever again. Today we’re all playing in the living room, Josh saunters into the kitchen, all is VERY quiet… When I go to check on him mere moments later, there he sits, big grin, butter coating his left eye. “Why, Josh? Why would you do this?” Same response. Because he likes to. I don’t know, maybe we’ll start keeping the butter in the fridge or something.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

More Valentine's Day Pictures

Valentine's Day 2012

Heart Day. I know it's a commercial holiday and all that... but why not celebrate a day full of hearts, when we can so naturally talk about how to love and why we love. And then there's the chocolate.