Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Walk in the woods

This morning we had a playdate cancel due to illness, which left me wondering what to do. Z asked to go to the park, so we went there, but it was wet from the heavy dew overnight .So wet that our attempts to use the swings made it rain dew onto us from the overhead bar.
My little guy is not a fan of being soaked, so we went for a trail walk instead.
This turned out to be my parenting success for the day
Success: One happy boy, exploring trees, leaves, finding bug habitats and soaking up the sounds of the forest.
His love of "Wild Kratts" had him on the lookout for any place where creatures might have made a home. From a colony of pill bugs crawling in and out from under the bark of a fallen log, to a squirrel's nest high in the trees. He was excited by each new find, though he was also convinced that the tiny bug holes in the trees meant that the forest was suffering from alien beetle invasion (emerald ash borer ).  The rain earlier in the week buried parts of the trail under mud and water, but we didn't mind. It just meant that we took a few less  travelled paths on our way through the forest loop. The fallen leaves were so vibrant, and plentiful in places that I'm not sure we were even on the marked paths the whole time.
It really was a fabulous morning for a walk in the woods, making me wonder-"Why don't we do that more often?"

Monday, October 7, 2013

Baking success.

Success: I let my son help me bake. And I actually let him do it all.
Failure: I ate cream cheese icing without Lactaid first...

There are a lot of days where it doesn't seem like I'm doing anything worthwhile as a parent. I'm sure I raise my voice too much, rush the kids through fun things, take too long doing boring things we have to do, and so on.   But on the weekend, my husband wasn't feeling well and wanted to chill on the couch watching a show on Netflix. ( admittedly this is his favourite thing to do).  Our youngest was feeling restless and it was raining, so I decided to bake and use up the pumpkin I had in my fridge. This led to a parenting success for me.
I normally don't really enjoy when the kids help me in the kitchen. Because I like to just get in there, get my recipe done, and get on with whatever other million things I need to do.
But I thought, two birds with one stone. Amuse our youngest and use up our pumpkin at the same time.
So I asked Z to wash his hands, get a stool and meet me at the cutting board drawer.  You should have seen his face light up. He washed his hands and raced off to get the stool ready.
Then to his delight, I let him put in everything. Every. single. ingredient.
Yes, yes, it did make it take longer to prepare the batter. But he cracked all four eggs with careful concentration, added the other ingredients, and also listened to the instructions when they called for gentle stirring of powdered ingredients, vs the blending of everything else.  And he was proud.
I let him decide on the final ingredient additions, nuts, no raisins- and a handful of chocolate chips. And the pan sizes- he opted for 1 loaf, 12 large muffins and a panful of minis.
 He was so excited, racing out when the timer went off to check for doneness.
I let him have the first taste of a muffin, and he declared them delicious.Though he wanted them with cream cheese icing, and I thank my friend Kim S for tipping me off to the scrumptiousness that is Pioneer Woman's carrot cake icing. (well, it's really her mom's friend Sigrid's if I recall correctly)
This is the recipe we used for the bread:    although I substituted lactose free milk for the evaporated milk, and we pretty much doubled the cinnamon, tossed in some vanilla, allspice and nutmeg, ginger. ( I was missing some of the spices it called for so I subbed in what I could). Last time I made this I added raisins, it was good. This time I chopped up almonds. Also good!
And then we used Pioneer Woman's Cream cheese icing, from "Sigrid's carrot cake" recipe, for people who wanted icing. It's really delicious.  The icing instructions are after the carrot cake instructions. Also tasty.

I'm not going to pretend to be a food photographer,  but here is a snapshot of our final product-