Friday, July 31, 2009

Cookie Day

Lemon Poppy Seed Slices

Bradley and I finally did another cookie day. We have made a couple of different cookies, but didn't stop to take photos. We made Ginger Snaps and White Chocolate Cashew Craisin Cookies for our trip to Oregon. They were delicious! But Bradley has wanted to try the lemon poppy seed cookies for a long time, so we made them yesterday.
Elli doesn't like poppy seed muffins, so I didn't think she'd like these either. Well, she ate about 2 cookies, which is a lot for this little girl!
Here is the recipe:
3/4 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract, optional
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup poppy seeds
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, milk, lemon peel and extracts. Add flour and poppy seeds; mix well. Shape into two 8" rolls; wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm. Unwrap and slice into 1/4" slices. Place 2" apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 5 1/2 dozen.
**I didn't have any lemons for zesting, so I just added a little extra lemon juice.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Spoonful of Sugar

I have had such a long absence from posting that I don't know how to do it anymore. I don't know how to get back in the swing of things. I feel like every post idea I do have is lame, so I don't want to take time away from reading my book (These is My Words by Nancy Turner- you have to read it if you haven't yet!) to write something even I don't want to read ever again, so why would anyone else? But, I've got to post something or I'm never going to get out of this slump. So, here goes nothin'.

A while back I had a moment of motherly inspiration. You know, when the heavens smile upon you and grant you a bit of wisdom telling you exactly how to handle whatever it is you happen to be trying to teach your child in that particular moment. I love those times. They happen to all of us. We just have to be listening, but unfortunatley, I'm not always a very good listener.

This particular moment I was getting ready to do the dishes (Yes, I have a dishwasher, but I like to wash my pots and pans the old fashioned way.). As I was about to start the hot water and pour the bubbles into it, I realized I had never done the dishes with my kids (at least this way- they've emptied the dishwasher with me before). I remember learning how to wash dishes and thinking it was so fun. I figured it was about time Noah washed some dishes.

I knew he would never want to do it if I bluntly asked, "Hey, Noah. You want to help me do the dishes?" The only reply I'd get with that request is, "No."

So, I thought of what else I could say. This is where the inspiration came. I asked Noah, "Would you like to play with bubbles with me?"

His eyes got wide and curious. "Yeah," he said. "Okay," I said, excited that he'd fallen into my trap. I grabbed two chairs, one for Noah and one for Clara, and put them on either side of me. Then I proceeded to teach them about washing dishes in the sink, the old fashioned way.

I told them how you need hot water and soap to get all the food and germs off the dishes. Then you need to scrub them with a rag. The most important lesson they learned, however, is the importance of playing with the bubbles. I scooped up some bubbles in my hand and blew them toward their faces. They laughed and of course wanted more. Noah blew bubbles of his own and Clara splash the soapy water around. By the end of our lesson in dish washing, there was soapy water all over the floor and counter (luckily my pans weren't very dirty, so the water was still pretty clean).

Noah not only loved playing with the soapy water, but he enjoyed using the rag to clean the pots and pans. I think he was so distracted by the fun of it that he didn't realize he was "working." All it took was a little sugar.

Like I said, this was a moment of heavenly inspiration for me. I admit that I don't always slow down and take the time to make everyday life fun. It's not always convenient to work this way. I had a watery, soapy mess to clean up, but that only took a second to wipe up (I think Noah helped with that too). I could have done the dishes myself, but here's how that scenario might have played out:

Noah: "Mom, will you play dinosaurs with me?"

Mom: "Not right now. I need to do these dishes."

Clara: Stands at my feet, bawling to be picked up.

Noah: "Mom, I want some milk."

Mom: "Either wait or you'll have to get it yourself."

Clara: Still bawling because she's being ignored.

Mom: Frazzled at trying to meet the demands of the house and the demands of those darn kids.

I think we've all had moments like this. Thankfully, I avoided this stressful scene by letting my kids work alongside me and having some fun along the way. I learned three things from this experience:
  1. Stop and listen to those inspiring nudges
  2. Have fun with your kids, even when you're "working," and they'll learn that work is fun when we do it together.
  3. Mary Poppins was right.