Yesterday we said good-bye to Grandma Shelly and Grandpa Neal, who were here for a visit. I was not surprised this morning when 'A' said, "When are we going to see Grandma and Grandpa today?" and then got upset when I explained that we said good-bye yesterday and she would have to wait until May.

Her birthday party for friends was on Sunday morning and after she got over her discomfort with the idea of listening to people sing "Happy Birthday" in her honor, she got excited and had a very good time. Ever since she decided to collect pajamas and toothpaste and toothbrushes for the kids at the shelter, I have been quietly checking in with her to see how she feels about getting those items instead of presents at her party. She was fine, fine, fine with it right up until that morning, and still fine with it during her party, and I checked in after it was over and she was happy about it and then said that she would like to open a present too. I totally understand that. Doing something good for someone else feels really, really good, but it's fun to open something special for yourself too. That's why I set up her family present-opening extravaganza for that evening, to give her a time to open presents just for her.

I'm excited to take her to the shelter to drop off the presents - I think then it will click with her that these gifts are going somewhere specific, and she can visualize where the kids will be when they get them.

Her party was a lot of fun and I am so happy Jeff's parents were here to help us out! We had a lot of "getting ready" to do. The kids got to make kites out of paper bags, and we spent some time getting the kites and the string ready to go. And of course there were other party-related tasks that were attended to by all of us. It worked out really well, and I can totally see why the extended family living situation works better than the single-family household world we live in.

Anyway, the kites do get up in the air on a blustery day, although not terribly high. They're more like wind socks. I cut the bottom out of the bag and threaded cotton string through one open end. With a few tails stapled on, it works and is a really neat way to watch the wind blow!

I rediscovered a very happy ritual today, and it reminds me that everything I do - the good and the really dumb - is probably for a reason. My microwave is temporarily out of service (more on that in a minute) and this afternoon I wanted a cup of hot coffee. I had some leftover in the pot from this morning, and it just needed a shot of heat to bring it to life. Lacking a microwave, I put it in a pan on the stove and waited for it to get hot. Back when I was in Paris I would make an espresso every day with my Bialetti stove top espresso maker (it makes the best espresso ever and I have to say, I make really great coffee with it). Now, I cannot drink my coffee without milk and sugar (some say that I can't drink milk and sugar without a little coffee...), so in Paris I would always heat up the milk and sugar together in a pan on the stove. Ahhh, have you ever done that? There is something about the chemistry of sugar warmed in milk on direct heat that makes it all so sweet and frothy and just delightful. I forgot all of this. And today when I warmed the coffee and the sugar and the milk in one pan, it all came back to me.

My microwave is out of commission because I threw my dish sponge in it yesterday to kill the germs. I set it for five minutes and walked away. Don't do that! The sponge is now a charred fragment of its former self and my microwave is out under the gazebo, door wide open, airing out.

The title of this post is cooking and now I don't even feel like talking about it, I just want to go and do it. I've had take-in and eat-out meals these past few days and today I'm getting reacquainted with my kitchen. On one hand, I've been spoiled with all of those ready-made meals, but at the same time, it feels good to cook again. It's nice to have a break, and therapeutic to be back, I guess. Today I'm cleaning out the fridge and I used up the basil and walnuts in a creamy pesto sauce that we'll use tonight over angel hair pasta with some roasted "getting-old" grape tomatoes.

And I'm making a new recipe of whole wheat bread to try as I write this. I've got a leftover old loaf that is looking forward to finding a home in two soups this week: french onion and pappa al pomodoro.

Have a great day!


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About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!