Monday, April 30, 2012

New Chairs

My hubby shares my frugal tendencies, so when we make a big purchase we tend to put a lot of thought into it first. Being frugal is not the same as being cheap (or so I try to convince my kids). We do want live in a nice house and have nice things, we just don't want to pay more than we have to for such things.

We spotted out a pair of Lane, mission style recliners at Macy's years ago when we were shopping for a couch. At the time, we couldn't afford the chairs, or at least we couldn't justify the expenditure to ourselves. We bought our couch, which we still have, and left the store with our bank accounts more or less intact.

In the ensuing years several things happened. We had two more children; our old, pre-kid, cotton covered furniture wore out and needed replacing; we replaced it with much less expensive mission style chairs; and finally those chairs too, wore out.

Now before you start thinking that we were foolish to buy the less expensive chairs to start with, we knew going into that purchase that they would have a limited 'upstairs' life. We hoped for three years out of them. We got five and a half. Don't worry, we're being eco friendly, and using them in the basement playroom now.

So now, after only waiting ten years, we finally purchased our dream chairs. We even caught them on sale! They're amazing, managing to be both stylish and comfortable. They've given new life to our family room, where they've joined the old couch that we bought when we first saw them. I'm in furniture love!

Now BadDad and I have a problem. We're scared that our kids will wreck them. We're scared other people's kids will wreck them. I'm not kidding when I say that the delivery guys hadn't even brought in the second chair yet when the kids were taking turns sitting in the first one! Yikes!

One thing about having old, worn out furniture is that you just don't care anymore if your offspring are sitting on it while eating greasy popcorn or sticky candy. Now we do. Very much.

If you think I'm being overly paranoid, let me explain a bit about our history with new things. We have two leather couches. With both couches within days of their purchase someone threw up on them. That is why I swear by leather, they cleaned up fine.

At our old house, we had new, Berber carpeting installed in the family room. Sure enough, that first night, K-boy got sick and ran for the bathroom but still ended up spitting up strawberry applesauce all over the new carpet. That is why most of our floors are hardwood.

When we bought a new, black painted kitchen set, a friend's child kneeled on the bench with buckle shoes and scratched deep, white gouges in the paint. That is why we buy extended warranties on this stuff now.

BadDad and I are savoring this time with our new chairs. We're sitting side by side in our recliners, enjoying their newness. Because sooner or later, something will happen to them. It never fails.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Quick and Easy Kielbasa and Cabbage

This is another recipe for which I owe the credit to my grandmother. She got it from a co-worker, and our family has enjoyed it for years as a quick, tasty, weeknight meal. It requires only a few ingredients and is very simple to throw together. It's great for a busy night, and there's usually plenty of leftovers for quick lunches.

Kielbasa and Cabbage

1 medium head of cabbage, chopped into 1" strips
1 large onion, chopped
5 tbsp butter
1 bag Egg Noodles (regular or whole-wheat)
2 packages of Kielbasa (regular or light)

Bring a large pot of water to boil, and cook Egg Noodles according to package directions.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pan on stove top. Add cabbage and onions, and saute until tender.

Slice Kielbasa into 1" slices. Add to cabbage and onions. Cook until heated through.

Add cooked Egg Noodles to cabbage mixture. Cook and stir until noodles are buttery, and cabbage and noodles are well mixed.

Yield: 12-15 main dish servings

Chicken Scratch NY

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Learning Styles in Action

BadDad and I have recently been reading a lot about identifying and working with different learning styles. We feel that as homeschooling parents, it's of benefit to us to tailor our teaching methods as much as possible to bring out the full potential of each of our three children.

Right away we started having discussions about tendencies that we've noticed over the years with each of them, and how they handle learning.

I had to laugh though on Easter morning. The Easter Bunny had brought both M-girl and D-boy new Lego sets; Star Wars for D-boy, and the new, girly, Lego Friends for M-girl.

As I was responding to the pleas of, "Mom, can you help me open this!", I got a good look at the two of them in action. Fascinating!

Five year old D-boy opened his box only long enough to pull out the directions. Then he proceeded to study them meticulously, before he touched a single Lego! He even showed me the illustration that informed him not to open all of the little bags of pieces at once.

About the same time as he was showing me that, eight year old M-girl called out to me, "Mom, can you help me find this piece?" I looked down to her end of the table and discovered that she had already opened the little bags, and dumped the pieces all over. All 300 or so of them.

"Sweetie", I said to her, "D-boy's directions say not to just dump the pieces. What do yours say?"

"Oh", she replied, "I forgot to look at the directions." She dug back into her box, and pulled out the direction booklet.

They've both spent hours playing with their new Legos lately. D-boy painstakingly built his Lego set, step by step. When he was done, it was completely correct. Only then did he add his own touches (he's partial to giving the bad guys Lego mugs, so they can drink cocoa while they're terrorizing the universe).

M-girl finished her Lego Friends tree house quickly. Then, almost as quickly, it fell down. Eventually she deigned to glance through the directions, and made some modifications to her design. She ended up with a solid, slightly customized, tree house.

Truly fascinating. Two entirely different learning styles in action. Two ways to accomplish a similar goal. In the end both ways worked. So, the students instruct the teacher.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

God's World

M-girl's cartography workbook assignment had a blank map that she had to follow the directions to fill in. She was having fun with it, and being slightly goofy. Pretty normal for her.

When the directions asked her to decide where on the map to place a school, she decided to locate it next to a lake. "So the naughty children can get thrown in the lake," she said. "Wow," I commented, "M-girl World is a scary place!" She laughed, as only a girl with all brothers can laugh and said, "Yes. Yes it is!"

Later, at lunch time, M-girl was still in a teasing mood. When D-boy asked for grilled cheese for lunch, M-girl jumped in and said, "In M-girl world, D-boy would only get bread and water for lunch."

D-boy didn't miss a beat. He responded, "Well, it's not M-girl world. It's God's world!"

It's nice when I know the religion lessons are sinking in!

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Healthy Eggplant Parmesan

As far as comfort food goes, Eggplant Parmesan ranks high up for me. Layers of melted cheese, savory sauce, and breaded eggplant combine into a meal that's company worthy. What I don't love about traditional recipes is the extra fat and calories that come from frying the eggplant. Fortunately for tastebuds everywhere, frying is completely unnecessary. Equally delicious results come from baking the breaded eggplant. It's so good, no one will ever guess that it's good for them!

Healthy Eggplant Parmesan

2 medium eggplants
1 cup (or more) pasteurized egg product
2 cups (or more) Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
cooking spray
8 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups pasta sauce (jarred or homemade)
1 tbsp Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel eggplant and slice into 1/2 thick slices. Pour egg product into a small bowl.

Pour breadcrumbs into another small bowl. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and mix well.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray.

Dip each slice of eggplant first into eggs and then into breadcrumb mixture, coating all sides. Place breaded slices on baking sheets.

Spray the finished slices with cooking spray and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Spoon enough pasta sauce in to cover the bottom of the dish.

Add a single layer of breaded eggplant.

Sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella, and 1/3 of the remaining Parmesan cheese.

Repeat layers of sauce, eggplant, cheese until done, ending with cheese. Sprinkle on Italian seasoning.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

About 8-10 main dish servings.

loving this crazy life

Chicken Scratch NY

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tissue Box Puppet Theater

M-girl is always creating things, and often uses recycled materials for her projects. I thought I would showcase her most recent creation, in honor of Earth Day. Using little more than an empty tissue box, she created a tiny, puppet theater. She did the entire project, from initial concept to finish, entirely on her own.

Using an empty tissue box, she turned it into a little theater for stick puppets. M-girl decided that the theatre needed a paint job for the first step.

Then she designed a rolling, scenery-changing background. She cut slits in the tissue box, and glued small sheets of paper together. She drew a different scene on each paper, and finally attached the whole thing to empty toilet paper tubes.

What theater is complete without luxurious, velvet curtains? M-girl re-used the fabric from an old, out-grown skirt. Beautiful, aren't they?

Now it was time for the puppets. M-girl is a perfectionist, and made various attempts before getting her puppet people just right. So far she has made a prairie family, but she has plans to make even more puppets for her new theater.

The final result! M-girl has a new toy, made of recycled materials and her own hard work. Best of all, she had a great time making it!

Ladies and gentlemen take your seats please. It's time for the show!


Friday, April 20, 2012

The Long Distance Long Goodbye

Normally on this blog I try to find something useful or light-hearted to post about. If you've read many of my posts, you know that I'm blessed with a wonderful family, my husband and children whom I love very much. They provide me with plenty of ideas to blog about and make me incredibly happy. But this is a blog about me and my real life, and some parts of life are unavoidably sad.

What you don't know about me yet is that my dad, who to this day still holds his status as one of the smartest people that I've ever met, has Alzheimer's. As I am writing this, he has just returned home to die. He is 74 years old, which in one way means that he had a nice, long life, and in another way means that he was robbed of his golden years.

My father was is a good man. He was a faithful husband and a loving father. He worked hard and made sacrifices so that each of his three children could have a comfortable childhood and attend good colleges. I was the first of us kids to get married, and he cried private tears before he walked me down the aisle. I saw him wiping them away.

When the grandchildren started to arrive, he showed a goofier side of himself than he had when his own kids were young. He relished getting to be the silly grandad. He was content with his life.

About six years ago, after he was officially retired, he was still doing consulting work for his old company. When the work became too difficult, everyone chalked it up to an older person being confused by new technology. The real reason became apparent all too soon. Alzheimer's Disease was ravaging his brain.

Many people would have crumbled under such a diagnosis. Not my dad. He faced everyday with the same calm, bravery that he always had. He signed up for a study at Yale University, in the hopes that doctors could use his suffering for good, to help them help others someday. He gave us, his family, every bit of himself for as long as he could, remaining cheerful and loving even as his inner world was shrinking.

When his nightmares became for him a waking reality, and he could no longer function in the everyday world, he somehow summoned up a moment of clarity to tell my mother that he needed to go into a nursing home. True to the man he had always been, he put the welfare of his loved ones first.

Now he is returning to my mother's house, frailer and sicker. Hospice and an aide will help to care for him. Nobody knows how long he has left. It could be days, or it could be weeks or months.

Their house is a four hour drive from mine. I find myself in the painful position of trying to manage my full life here at home, and wanting to be there for him. I know that I am not alone in living far from my aging parents. I know that he is well cared for. It is just...hard.

I've reconciled myself to the fact that when he does take his last breath, I likely won't be at his side. I may be, but I might just as easily be driving down to see him, or teaching my children, or grocery shopping, or doing laundry. I just don't know.

I cry when my children aren't looking. Sometimes they catch me. They know that Grandad is sick, and my oldest knows how serious it is, but they're young. They don't know.

My faith is of great comfort now. As a Catholic, I believe that at the moment of death his soul will be free of his broken body. He will be at peace, which he has not been for a very long time. I want that for him, and I pray for his quick release from suffering. Yet, I will miss him everyday. I already do.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Twelve Year Olds

It seems like wherever I go lately my mom friends are talking about one thing- twelve year olds. K-boy is my oldest, so this is my first experience having a creature of this sort in the house. Yes, I said creature. I love my son dearly, but overnight is seems he has morphed into someone familiar and yet mysterious to me. To hear my mom friends talk about their offspring of his age, he is not alone.

What is it about twelve that sends children into this odd journey into the unknown? K-boy can be described most accurately now not as a child, but as a half-grown man. He's nearly matched me in height, he shaves, and he's rapidly developing a funny, cynical view of life.

He's ultra sincere, passionate in his beliefs, and amazingly interesting to converse with.

On the negative side, he tends to think he already knows everything. Trust me... he doesn't. He tests us lately, staying up too long, sleeping late, and grumbling when asked to do chores.

Most humorously, I've got to find the humor in this, he experiences what I call 'teen moments'. The latest of these was last night, when he locked the keys in BadDad's car after his Jeet Kune Do lesson. He later sheepishly admitted that he was thinking about the book he is reading (Lord of the Rings) when he absentmindedly locked the car.

The list goes on though. Since he turned twelve back in the fall, K-boy has: put a stainless steel teakettle in the microwave, performed jumping-jacks in the living room with a bottle of A-1 sauce in his hands (with the expected results), and somehow overnight he's become obsessed with personal grooming...yet he still leaves his dirty socks on the floor. None of his mishaps were intentional, they were just side effects of his emerging teen brain.

He's full of surprises too. We've caught him taking it upon himself to change the channel if a show comes on that he feels is inappropriate for his two younger siblings. He also helps out unexpectedly sometimes. Just yesterday, I found him in the backyard, moving a huge pile of dirt that BadDad had slated for one of his own weekend projects. I saw K-boy out there and asked him why he was working so hard. He said, "Well, it helps me to think, and it seems to aggravate some people less if I think in the yard instead of doing it in the bathroom." This by the way, is word for word. We're hanging onto the first part of his quote.

This age is , I know, just a precursor to the teen years to come. As frustrating as certain moments can be, I treasure this time. Yes, he is half-grown, but if the glimpses that I see of the man he may become prove true, he will grow to be a man of worth. That is what I hope someday to see.

You're Invited to Party Here!

linking this post to Pour Your Heart Out

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Neighborhood DeForestation

When we bought our current house a couple of years ago, one thing that pleased us about the neighborhood was the trees. It's located in the foothills of the Adirondacks. We could have bought further up the Northway, in real forest, but then my hubby would have had a longer commute. We've had enough of long commutes.

Instead we choose a neighborhood that is old and established, and covered with ancient trees. At least it was.

Just months after we moved in we awoke to the sound of chainsaws. A peek out the window revealed that our next door neighbor had hired a tree company that was already hard at work in their backyard. OK, a part of home ownership is maintaining the property. Sometimes loose branches or entire trees have to go.

They spent the next three days cutting down almost every tree in the neighbor's yard. We watched much of the carnage from our schoolroom window. M-girl, then six, asked sadly, "Don't they know that they're making the earth warmer?" Apparently not.

Fast forward two years. Recently we had to have the tree guys come and take down a couple of our old giants. Only a couple, most of them are still standing proudly.

The next morning we awoke again to the sound of chainsaws. This time they were in the yard of the house behind us. We've never met them. By the time they were done, two days later, we had an entirely new view of their yard.

Sigh! It should be an interesting summer. If there's nothing on TV, we can just stare out the back windows at the neighbors.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Practical Mapreading Skills

Yesterday, during M-girl's cartography lesson she was learning about map grids. The lesson in her book showed two very small maps, identical except for the fact that only one had a grid. It was supposed to show how map grids make finding places on a map much easier. It didn't. The maps were much too simple, and it was painfully easy to find their symbols for school, church and fire station.

I explained to M-girl the importance of knowing how to use a map grid. I pulled out our world atlas, and together we looked at larger maps. Soon I was able to challenge her to find oddly named places just by finding the coordinates. She enjoyed that far more than her lesson book. Still, she didn't seem to accept that this was a necessary life skill to master.

I told her that back in the old days (before the invention of the GPS) everyone had to use road maps to navigate their way around. She still looked sceptical that she would ever really need this out-dated skill.

Finally inspiration struck. I reminded her about what the dastardly dog did just a couple of weeks ago. Yep, Trinket chewed the GPS wire right in two while we were in the car with her! Thankfully Radio Shack sells replacement wires!

Don't let her innocent, puppy face fool you for a minute. She's a tiny, tornado of destruction. Lucky for her, just as I was about cut off her supply of scooby snacks I was able to turn the whole episode into a teachable moment.

"M-girl", I said, "what if you grow up and have a little, bad dog like Trinket who eats your GPS?"

She decided that knowing how to use map grids is still indeed a useful skill.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chocolate Mint Delight Cookies

When we were out shopping the other day, the kids begged me to buy some chocolate mint bits. Of course at our house it didn't take us long to come up with a cookie to put them in.

The results? A chewy, chocolaty, minty delight that just may have you pretending not to be home the next time the neighborhood scout comes around peddling cookies. Yeah, they're that good.

As a bonus, these cookies pack in some nutrition along with the sugar rush. Wheat flour, canola oil and flax meal provide everything from fiber to omega-3s. It's sweet when you can reap some health benefits out of dessert!

Chocolate Mint Delight Cookies

1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup canola oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup pasteurized egg product
1 cup all-purpose flour
1&1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 cup flax meal
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate mint bits (I used Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In large bowl mix butter, oil, sugars, vanilla and egg.

Add dry ingredients. Mix well.

Add mint bits and chocolate chips.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack or plate.

Yields about 5 dozen cookies

loving this crazy life


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ultimate Blog Party

Newbie blogger that I am, I've only just learned about the Ultimate Blog Party at 5 Minutes for Mom, that is starting tonight and going on through next week. It sounds like a great opportunity to meet other bloggers that share the same interests. So I'm going to give it a try.

I'm supposed to use this post to tell a bit about myself to help others at the blog party get to know me.

Let's see... I'm Patricia, and my blog is Worst Mom Ever. I've been happily married to my husband (also known as BadDad) for almost 16 years. Time really does fly when you're having fun! We have three amazing children: K-boy (12), M-girl (8), and D-boy (5).  Well I think three, my youngest just informed me about an imaginary other brother who's been hanging around.

We also have two cats and one dog with whom I have a love/hate relationship.

We started homeschooling after our oldest had attended public school through second grade. Let me tell you, teaching your kids can really test your knowledge and patience at times! But we love it. It works for our family.

As my regular readers know, I love to cook and bake. I try to make healthy changes to existing recipes and sometimes I just make up my own.

The kids and I are bookworms, and we're pretty much fixtures at our local library.

Like any mom, I find myself constantly juggling the demands on my time. Between homeschooling, cooking, driving kids to activities, and now blogging, my life is crazy and busy. I wouldn't change a thing about it though, it's just right for me.

Cactus Soup Review and Recipe

We're on Spring Break this week, and our schedule is much more relaxed than normal. Yesterday before lunch, we sat down and worked our way through a stack of library books. Just as hunger struck, we read the book ,Cactus Soup, by Eric A. Kimmel, and we were inspired to create our own version for lunch.

This picture book is a re-telling of the old folk tale, 'Stone Soup'. This particular version is set in Mexico during the time of the Mexican Revolution. As in most versions, the villagers hide their supplies of food when they hear soldiers coming. Then the hungry soldier asks for food and is turned down. The twist here is that instead of claiming to be able to make soup out of a stone or a nail, the soldier asks for a cactus needle to make his soup with.

Soon enough, the hungry villagers are offering hidden tidbits to add to the soup. By the end of the story, there is enough food brought forth for the entire town and the soldiers to have a feast, or rather in this version, a fiesta.

The kids and I enjoyed reading this version. We sort of have a fascination with folktales and how they change a bit with time and geographical location.

It was a great day to attempt this soup at our house. A grocery shopping trip will soon be in order here, and the pickings were pretty slim. We had to substitute a few ingredients mentioned in the story (most notably ham in place of chicken) and sadly we had no cactus needle, but the end result was pretty tasty.

Cactus Soup

1/4 cup diced onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp canola oil
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
4 cups water
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup diced, cooked ham
2 cups frozen corn
2 carrots, diced
5 or 6 mushrooms, diced
1 large sweet potato, diced
4 medium potatoes, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp chives

In large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and simmer until softened and slightly golden.

Add canned tomatoes, water, and bouillon cubes and stir well.

Add remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Serve with tortillas or cheese quesadillas.

12 servings


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Other Brother

The other night after BadDad and I had put the kids to bed, we were sitting in the family room enjoying a glass of wine when D-boy came in. Naturally I asked him what he was doing out of bed.

He broke into a big grin and said, "I'm pretending that I have a brother, and that I'm him!"

"Um," I said, "D-boy, you already have a brother -  K-boy." I started to feel his head to see if he had a raging fever and was hallucinating or something.

"I mean if I had an other brother!" he exclaimed, with all the logic of a five-year-old. "His name is Johnson," he added. "He's just like me, and people get us confused sometimes."

OK, that cleared things up.

"Good night, Johnson," BadDad and I said, exchanging smiles. I gave Johnson a kiss. After all I'd only kissed D-boy goodnight earlier - not Johnson.

Sometimes I want to be five years old again.

Bassgiraffe's Thoughts Canadian Mommy Blog Reviews and Giveaways

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ham and Broccoli Bread

We're trying to use up the Easter leftovers around here. Last night I made a family favorite for dinner, Ham and Broccoli Bread. I make the dough in my bread machine, but it could easily be made with purchased dough. It makes a nice, light meal along with a salad.

My pictures are from a time when I made Cheddar and Broccoli Bread without ham, but the idea is the same.

Ham and Broccoli Bread

1 lb. pizza dough (I use whole wheat)
2 cups chopped, cooked ham
2 cups frozen broccoli cuts (cooked and cooled)
1/4 cup diced onion
1&1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 tbsp Sea Salt
Pizza Sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Shape dough into a ball. On floured surface, roll out into a rectangle, approximately 10x15. The measurements don't have to be exact.

Sprinkle dough evenly with ham, broccoli, onion, and cheese - leaving about 1 inch around the edges.

Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning.

Working from the longer side, roll dough gently like a jelly-roll. Seal the edge by pinching. Fold the sides down to seal.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.*

Spray bread with cooking spray. Sprinkle with Sea Salt. Cut 5 or 6slits in the top of loaf for steam to escape.

Bake for 18- 20 minutes, until golden brown.

yields 10 - 12 hearty slices

*At this point the bread can be refrigerated until ready to bake.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Muffin Mom

So this morning I woke up feeling energetic. Thinking to give the family a treat, I whipped up two batches of muffins before everyone else was up. Orange yogurt muffins and banana nut. I popped the pans side by side into the oven, and then had my first cup of coffee. A stupid mistake, that I would quickly come to regret.

You see, the orange yogurt muffins were supposed to be drizzled with a powdered sugar glaze after they came out of the oven. My problem was that in my caffeine deprived state, I had neglected to pay attention to which pan was on what side of the oven. The muffins all looked alike.

The kids settled my dilemma by waking up and suggesting that I just glaze all of the muffins. So that's what I did. You know, because I really wanted to give them extra sugar. They don't get enough of it.

Now I just have to make sure they don't hide the coffee on me.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Jellybean Counters

I have a vivid memory from when I was a teenager, probably about fourteen or fifteen. It was very late at night, on the night before Easter, and the house was dark and quiet. Something awakened me, and I realized that there was a light shining up the stairs from the kitchen.

I got out of bed and crept down the stairs to find my mother sitting at the kitchen table, dressed in her night clothes. She had our Easter baskets on the table before her, along with an assortment of candies and plastic eggs. She looked exhausted.

On observing her for a moment, I realized that she was actually sorting the jellybeans by color, and counting them before she filled each plastic egg.

I must have laughed. She looked up at me in despair and said, "I don't want anyone to feel left out. I have to make sure everything is equal."

Now that I'm a mother myself, I understand more what she was trying to do. My own method of dividing the Easter candy is more of a quick stuff and snap, rather than counting and color coding each individual jellybean. I do carefully make sure that everyone has an equal number of plastic eggs, filled with equivalent amounts of chocolates, jellybeans , etc.

Why do I do this? Because as a mother, I want all of my children to feel equally loved, as they are. I never want any of them to feel as if they are cherished less than the others. Something as simple as an Easter basket is a tangible and easy way to show this.

The everyday reality is harder to demonstrate. On a given day, I may need to give more of myself to one of my children and less to the others. If someone is sick, or struggling in math, or simply wants to curl up and read together, I might end up spending more time with that child than with the others.

With possessions too, things sometimes might look unequal. One child might be on a growth spurt and need new clothes or shoes, when a sibling doesn't. If just one child  really needs a new bike, it doesn't mean that the others will receive new bikes then too.

My kids, being kids, are apt to point out these discrepancies in an attempt to guilt me into giving them what their siblings have received. "It's not fair!" is a battle cry that children learn early in life.

I've already admitted here that I'm just as prone to attacks of mom guilt as anyone. But I remind myself, and my children, that love doesn't work that way. I love each of my children equally, each of them with all of my heart. I treasure them though, as individuals, and that is the way that they are treated. Each of them will receive from my husband and I, what they need at the time. What doesn't come their way today will surely come tomorrow, or whenever it should.

This weekend will find me spending some time behind a locked door dividing up candy. I will try not to stress out if it's impossible to split the peanut butter eggs three ways. It's not my love that I'm dividing, but only candy. Besides, I can always eat the extra egg myself! Happy Easter to all of you fellow jellybean counters out there.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Carrot Shaped Scones

I still had some buttermilk left over from St. Patrick's Day, and here it is nearly Easter. The idea for making scones that look like carrots popped into my head. The kids and I headed for the kitchen. Using the family scone recipe and a little food coloring, we came up with this.

These were fun for the kids to help with, and quick to make. I served these with a salad for dinner last night. Some bunnies around here were very happy!

Carrot Shaped Scones

1-Make your favorite scone recipe. (See my recipe for Irish Scones, link is below)

2-Divide dough into one large ball and one small ball.

3-Tint the large ball orange, with red and yellow food coloring.

4-Tint the small ball green.

5- Flatten each ball slightly. On a floured surface, use a knife to cut each ball into 12 triangles.

6-Use a knife to mark lines in the orange dough to resemble the ridges on carrots. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

7-Use a knife to mark lines in the green dough to resemble carrot tops.

8-Place green triangles on cookie sheet above and slightly under each orange triangle. Pinch together slightly.

9-Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet. Serve warm or cool.