Friday, June 28, 2013

This Moment

I'm sorry I have been gone for so long. I have so much to say and to catch you up on, but for now, I'm going to partake in Amanda's Friday ritual of sharing one photo from this week. I'm resolving to blog more often with short and simple posts.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lately, Our Favorite Muffins, and Simple Lives

As much as I try not to, I have expectations about how I'm going to feel in the future, what I'm going to want or not want. And as much as I try not to, I get anxious thinking about how these expectations may or may not measure up to my actual future. In my years on this planet, I've gotten better and better at borrowing trouble.
The good news is that life constantly reminds me that I really have no idea what's going on, and that if I just sit and listen, I will know what's right.
As my daughter becomes a kid and starts to leave babyhood behind, I keep expecting myself to feel the strong pull to be pregnant again, give birth again, have a baby again. But I hold a dear friend's perfect newborn and I don't feel it. I see a very pregnant friend who looks incredible, glowing with child, and feel all the more appreciative of my post-partum body. I stare at the cloth diapers sitting unused in the closet and don't miss them at all.
When we decided to become parents, we just knew. It just felt right, eventually, for both of us, and we are so incredibly thankful that everything worked. It wasn't easy, and it still isn't, but man we lucked out with this kid. Someday we may feel that strong calling to have another child, but when I sit and really listen, I know that now is not that time. I know that my worries about this decision are borrowed trouble, and that I owe it to myself and my family to stay present.
I love being her mother. I love having a toddler. I love this time so much.
It's been raining enough to flood so many places, including the homes of people we love (thinking of you always, Eve) but it's finally starting to lighten up and we're embracing the wet.
The end of last semester brought a potluck, and E loved the sambusas. I couldn't get enough kabsa. This is the first time she's been big enough to sit at the table and share this meal. I am so thankful that international food (and people) will always be a part of her life.
One day I decided it'd be a lot of fun to let her experiment with corn starch and water (because that really is fun) but wasn't smart enough to move the box of corn starch before turning my back. Whoops. 
I made her some lemon-scented playdough recently (I used this method with lemon essential oil and it was super easy) and since then she's made approximately one million worms. 
We're itching to spend more of our days outside, but she has been doing lots of interesting work indoors lately. Here's her current shelf in the living room. She's paying more and more attention to the colors and sizes of the disks on her stacker. You can see the quilt we use as her work mat below the table. 
I made this little set to practice colors and dexterity. We started with just three colors and worked up quickly to all of these. (I found the pots and the beads at my local craft store with other unfinished wood materials.)
Flower arranging is something I've always loved doing so I was happy to let her give it a try, first with flowers from the craft store in a cheese shaker (on the left) and then with a little baby's breath in a small open container.
These animal photos are still holding her interest. She knows all their names and sounds but still enjoys taking the time to match the figure to the photos. Sometimes she gets it outright but often she likes to hold the figure up to the photo and decide. She does the same thing for matching colors and shapes.
I was so excited to finally find one of these trackers at the thrift store. The best part about this one is that it has little chimes at each drop. That and it was $5. Trackers are supposed to help prepare children for reading, but they're also just plain fun.
She's been helping with the kitchen, as usual, and we're still on a muffin kick. We found a recipe that we quite like and have made over and over, so I'd like to share it with you today. It comes from Martha Stewart.
Hearty Muffins 
Martha Stewart

3/4 c. unbleached a.p. flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. toasted wheat germ (we have just used wheat bran because it's what we have on hand)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt
1/2 c. sugar (they recommend brown, we just use organic evaporated cane juice.)
3/4 c. plain yogurt (full fat, if you ask me)
1/4 c. melted coconut oil
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1.5 c. blueberries or dark chocolate chips

Mix the dry ingredients (sugar is technically wet but I still mix it in with the dry) in own bowl, and the wet in another. If you're using blueberries, mix them in with the dry ingredients so they're coated in flour. This way they won't sink.  If you use cold eggs or yogurt, they will make the melted coconut oil resolidify. You can just microwave it for 30 seconds, or be prepared for a thicker batter.
Lightly combine the wet and dry ingredients but don't over-mix.
Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool in the pan for a few minutes, and then cool on a baking rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature with a healthy slab of butter. I love using salted butter with sweet things.
Finally, it's Simple Lives Thursday. Check out the features below and the links after the jump.
How is your spring coming along? Does it already feel like summer where you love, or are you stuck in an endless April like we are?
Thanks as always for stopping by.

 1. How to Make Dandelion Syrup by Mooberry Farm Homesteading Journal. "One thing I am very good at is growing dandelions. It is effort free homestead gardening, really." DSC02084-001-300x225
 2. Potato Tower Tutorial by Purposefully Simple. "What's really wonderful about this idea is that it works for small spaces so if you have a really tiny yard you can still get roughly 25lb of potatoes from just 2 sq ft of land. Not bad!"
 3. Lavender Lemonade with Honey by Small Footprint Family. "Lavender is beginning to bloom now in my garden, not only looking and smelling beautiful, but attracting bees and other pollinators to the rest of my plants. I harvest it for its beauty, and dry it for use as food and medicine."

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