Friday, January 30, 2015

Sweet Words after Icy Sweat

“Kind words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24 NLT).

Healing to the bones. We are enjoying our ice rink, Sheff's huge creation and hours of flooding have produced back yard play in zero degree temperatures this winter. The ice is not healing to the bones. The kids fall, I slip getting gear on and off, have cut my hands on skates, sticks have left bruises on shins and feeling have been hurt by opposing teams intimidation tactics. A quote by Nate to Mark I will unplug the night-light tonight if you do that again!

But overall the opportunity for a physical outlet has given way to more kindness than combat.  Shared high fives, laughter at face plants over the low boards, hot cocoa and re telling the latest match outside. I have learned that by working out at night (the 9 pm treadmill whir in our household) it saves me from the time of night I loose my patience. It is the time of night I yell for bedtime to happen or homework isn't done yet, really? 

Breaking a sweat is healing to the bones. Putting energy onto the ice this winter for Sheff and the kids, or into the small basement workout room at bedtime for me, gives way to kind words. 

Knowing the limitations of ourselves and finding an outlet is not ignoring anger or frustration, but embracing, allowing it to fuel our movement. Allowing darkness in the gloomy days of winter to become fresh, like rosy cheeks after sledding, the perspiration under a wool hat.

Kindness, choosing to let negativity go dripping into the freezing air, allows for sweet family time. 

Making the rink 2014

Winter walk, Mom & little girls
Dad's ideal moment in winter

A tiny Daisy happy to be in the cold

Mick & John boot Hockey

The year before we stared rinks still driving to skate with the crew

Dad bringing a kid with skates laced from the car to the rink

Nate & Ann

An early Dad workout pulling kids on sleds while he skates

Skating James, amazing we do not have Hockey players!

Uncle Ty on our small rink!

Evergreen's rink

Monday, January 19, 2015

Basic White & Cinnamon Bread

Basic Soft White Pull Apart Bread

1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. salt 
2 pkg. yeast
2 c. flour
Combine first 5 ingredients in your mixer with bread hook attachment on slow speed, cut ingredients in with a butter knife. Turn off mixer and continue to mix. I hand the bowl to my youngest kitchen helper to get all the dry mixed up with a fork.
2 eggs beat in 2 c. measuring cup, then fill cup to 2 cup mark 
with hot water. Pour over dry mixture. 
Slowly add: 
3 c. flour
Cover. Let Rise 20 min. in warm oven. 
(I use this time to tidy up the first part of baking, or unload the dishwasher)
Pour onto floured surface.
Flatten with hands and cut with pizza cutter into squares. Place in greased pans leaving space for rolls to double in size. Cover. Let rise in warm oven at least 20 min. 
Remove from oven. Preheat oven. Preheat oven to 375. Bake 15 - 20min. depending on how dark you prefer. Immediately brush with small amount (1/4 cup arox for two pans) melted melted butter. 

You can keep pieces separated for rolls, I like the easy tear and place on places for our big gang. To make it a basic white bread knead into two loaves and up bake time by about 10 min each loaf, no need to add butter on top, for softer bread add a shallow pan of water on a rack below baking bread.

Cinnamon Bread

Use Basic Soft White Pull Apart Bread recipe OR 2 Loaves Frozen bread dough, thawed
cinnamon & sugar (equal parts mixed, 1/2 cup aprox)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

~After cutting dough into pieces above (or cut into small 2'2 inch aprox squares) roll pieces in cinnamon sugar mixture and place in greased pans. I use two large bread pans you could also use one bundt pan.
~melt butter in a saucepan, add brown sugar & cinnamon, bring to a boil, pour over dough pieces
~Bake at 350 for 30 min. IF using a Bundt pan invert onto a large place for serving. I use the stone large pans because I usually double the recipe and keep the pans to serve for breakfast during the week. ENJOY!

Nate cutting pears to can & make pear tart, baby Lucy looks on, 2012

 We often bake food to honor bible stories & Christian celebrations during the year
this was in honor of Mary, 2008
A mix of everyday and sweet breads
Mickey holding baby Daisy on the kitchen floor
so mom could..make bread! 2007
Marky eating the cinnamon, more of an eater than a baker 2007
Daisy checking out what to make next 2009
Bread pans from Pampered Chef we have been using for a decade!
Lucy making Banana Bread at the cabin 2014

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Highschool...Really? I think I just graduated.

Our oldest starts High School this fall. This can't be right but I am looking at a 9th Grade Registration booklet on my desk so it appears to be the real deal.

Tonight sitting in a High School for Jr, I felt that pressure of classes and choices as if they were my own choices. I thought about the process of time and identity and how the kids choices mean more to me now than my own.

What does Jr care most about right now? I would guess he would say basketball, girls, computers and girls. Choices about English 9 or English AP and electives, and how to connect what he does now with his future are as much in my court as his. Part of my job now is to be an advocate, to learn the system to help him make these choices.

He was sweet and easy in tonight's orientation. Some of his friends sat by us, and a good friend of mine with her daughter. As my other daughters and sons enter, they'll think about high school really differently. Our conversations, how we as parents need to support the kids, will be child specific for sure.

This feels profound, being a mother of a 14 year old, a totally new phase of both parenting and self perspective. He talked about being able to take classes that counted for college credits, not because of ambition but because of "getting it done."  He hugged me on the way out, rubbed my back when I said I was worried about the kids at home and joked that I could choose his classes. It hit me how grateful I was for this kid who loves me so much. Regardless of the challenges the next four years of navigating high school bring, I am game to figure it out.

James ~ Kindergarden