Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunshine in my mouth

It was cold outside today.

 Clouds, a tease of snow drifting through the air, and cool sunshine, the kind that beckons you outside with a friendly promise, only to laugh at you because you are shivering, even in your fleece. Yes. It is for sure late February in the Pacific Northwest.

 These are the months that I struggle and slop through, and promise myself I can't take one more year of, and start perusing sunnier places to live, crunching numbers, and big dreamin'. Ahhh, the beautiful seasons of Southern Oregon. The beaches and temperate region of Northern California. Dare I even go further and fantasize about living like a tropical mama in Hawaii or Costa Rica where we can nosh on fresh fruit, and wear flip flops in December. I bet though, after a few months of living there I'd be craving a big, juicy Washington State apple. A fresh, crisp, juicy apple beats out just about everything in my book, but a fresh mango just might be neck and neck if I were to compare.

These mornings while I robotically move through the gray months and starve for vitamin D, I make something I have nicknamed "Sunshine Pancakes". I don't know why I call them that. I suppose maybe because they have sunflower seeds in them, and sunflowers naturally make me think of blue skies and sunshine. Remember that Blackberry Syrup recipe I gave you back in late summer? This would be a great time to grab that blackberry stash from the freezer and whip up a batch to go with these pancakes. Frozen raspberries can be swapped for the blackberries and will make a very fine syrup too. With winter sun falling through the sky and hitting your kitchen counter, eating these pancakes with the syrup and bathing in the light may make you instinctively open up a window, grab a tank top, and lather your arms in sunscreen. Or, maybe just make you smile and think of the "return of light" coming two weeks from today. I'm counting down the days, and excited to fix and eat dinner in the early evening light, instead of the dark, which makes my kitchen feel cavernous. This recipe has been adapted from a foodie blog called 101 Cookbooks. It makes about 9 mid sized pancakes, so feel free to double the recipe to feed that sunshine hungry family of yours.


                                                Sunshine Pancakes

                        1 Cup unbleached all purpose flour
                        1/2 tsp. baking powder

                        1/4 tsp. baking soda

                        1 Tbsp. sugar

                        1/4 tsp Kosher salt

                         2 Tbsp. poppy seeds

                         2 heaping Tbsp. of sunflower seeds

                         1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

                         1 Cup buttermilk

                         1 egg, lightly beaten

                         1 Tbsp. melted butter

           To make the batter, mix together all the dry ingredients first, then gently add the wet ingredients to the mix and mix them all together in a bowl. Mix until just combined. It may still be lumpy, and that is OK, but be careful not to over mix it.

      Heat up your griddle, and brush it with a little butter or nonstick spray.  Pour your desired sized pancakes, trying not to make them too thick, or they might turn out gooey in the middle. Wait until the bottom is a deep golden color before flipping them, and cook until both sides are golden and the pancake has puffed a little.

 Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with a pat of sunshine colored butter and syrup. Make someone happy. : )

 There. Now you can have your sunshine, and eat it too.  Let's slog through these months as best as we can, shall we? Maybe I should have added a crushed up vitamin D chewable to the batter, I dunno. That may not be such a bad idea.


                                                                   Oh, so February.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


This afternoon I looked out to see where Grace was. I casually glanced out at the usual places, but she was not there. I moved from each window, faster and faster, my eyes skipping along the grey and green backdrop to find her, but she wasn't there. Neither was Daisy. I was about to pull on my boots and get my holler ready, and a red streak caught my eye in the deep-ness of the backyard. Her red jacket darted in between trees, then climbed higher as I spied her running up a big mound of dirt with Daisy underfoot. She was clutching something tightly, as not dare to drop it. It was Moonlight, her American girl doll. I sat back and watched as she so expertly acted her age. She ran up the dirt hill, she ran down the dirt hill, and hugged Moonlight. She wandered with Daisy through the underbrush and was talking the whole time to Daisy or to the doll, or to both. Seven is getting up there, and this was a moment I wanted to breathe in and have it stay there. It won't be too long before I will be begging her to unplug herself from an electronic and lure her outside to play. I am bracing for that day, but for right now, this is what I so desperately want for her. For her to be fully and completely her age. No more, no less.

I grabbed my camera and headed out to take a picture of "Seven". This is how I found her:

Notice the half hearted grin? That's what I get now when I take her picture. I shouldn't complain, at least she's looking at the camera, but that expression of hers flattens, and I can hear her telepathy through her body language. "Take the picture, already.....Mom."

Seven has brought on a bit more of the moodiness, and sass. It has also brought me a reader, and a problem solver.

Grace is desperate for a brother or sister, and begs for this on a daily basis. For Christmas, she received a lemonade stand that she has wild plans for selling cupcakes from so she can save up the money and buy us a baby. We had a casual discussion at the dinner table about what it means to adopt a child a couple weeks ago, and I saw the light bulb fly on when I told her how not only does it take a very special family to adopt, it also costs money. So, she is determined to buy us a baby, she is. So if you see her little stand this summer on the side of the road, feel free to stop and buy a cupcake from her. : )

For now, her dollies have to be the babies of the house, as I secretly ache for another child. As her age is getting up there, so is mine. I originally gave myself to the age of thirty-five to close that door. That age has come and gone, and I swear, that foot of mine slides in and stops that door every time I try to shut it. I know I should be so very grateful for the healthy child I have, and with every part of my being I am, but I never envisioned my life growing older with only one living child. Then again, I had never envisioned spending the latter part of my twenties in a depression so dark, it would take away the early part of my thirties to climb out of it. Wasted years. All those prime baby making years lost to darkness.

Thinking of future holidays is what scares me the most. In my head I see Jeremy and I, grey hair, huddled over a bland meal on Christmas Eve in a quiet, tidy house, watching reruns of who-knows-what. Grace calls to wish us a Merry Christmas Eve from her In-Laws, because it's their turn to have them this year. We go to bed by nine as we listen to the rain and talk about what we are going to fix that has the least amount of dishes for Christmas breakfast in the morning because neither of us likes to do dishes. We settle on toast and poached eggs. One pan, two plates. We pop out our dentures, which leaves us in silence because we can't understand what the other is saying without them in, and we fall asleep.  What I really want, is loud holidays full of grandchildren and more grandchildren, arguing and hugs, traditions and laughter, holiday spreads that will feed an army, yelling at the kiddos not to chase each other in socks on the hardwood floors, setting up air beds for people to sleep on, kissing boo-boos, and having a house full of people I love, all under one roof. Quiet, tidy house scares me.

It is hard for me not to look into the future. I am a planner, and that is my problem. I think I have control of it, and I really, really don't. There is definitely something to living in the moment, and I plan to focus more on that.  I just said," I plan"...Sheesh!

Today, it was watching Grace be Seven. Tomorrow I'm going to take the plunge and not plan out dinner. Dinner on the fly.
 Be in the moment.
 Risk taker, I tell 'ya!

 Watch out world! ; )

Sunday, February 12, 2012

It's Kissy, Kissy time

I love to take kissy pictures.


My clients ask me, what should we do????? And I say, Kiss...


                     I love to catch the first handful of kisses during the beginnings of a new life together...

                                 And catching a kiss that nearly knocks you off your feet.....

And little ones, they love kisses too. Especially from one of the ones they love the most...

I do hope on this Valentines day, you get to kiss the one you love the most.

Or, if kissing is not an option, just be around the one's you adore.

Happy Valentines Day 2012 to you all. I hope you get the love you deserve and more!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


This weekend was spent chasing and entertaining this:

Seven shriek-ey, fast footed, giggly girls.
 What do you do now that birthday parties age with your children?  As soon as the girls arrived, they disappeared as quick as they could into Gracie's room, and the door closed immediately, leaving Jeremy and I in the dust, munching on appetizers by our lonesome selves. We drank coffee silently, raising our eyebrows as we listened, discerning the sounds and thumps that came from the floor above us. Good scream? Bad scream? Was that crying? Nope...just a rumpus about to start.

The girls were really good. Loud, but really good. A half hour into the party, I grabbed my lasso and gathered the herd and moved them on the deck to explain the Balloon Hunt.

This is year number three for Balloon Hunt. Ten balloons are hidden in the yard and at each balloon there is a bag with a party favor for them to gather. Each kid is given a color coded balloon map that they are supposed to follow in order from 1 to 10. Each map is different, so it doesn't turn into a race, just a hunt where everyone gets a prize at each balloon. The kids dig it, and by golly this year was the best one ever, because one surprise guest shone down sweetly and warmly as the girls ran and searched in the 60 degree sunshine. In February. On Balloon Hunt day. Totally unheard of, and it was glorious.


The girls were panting and the hunt ended in a slow jog. Ditching the sun, they collapsed onto the shady deck to rummage through their new treasures. Only one close call with the favors: that is not lip gloss, honey, it's glitter glue, so pleeeze don't put it on your lips! eek!

And what do us country folk do at a birthday party?? We feed them chickens, that's what we do.

Then we go ride tractors and race the old John Deere with our gap toothed smiles, MmmmHmm.

Racin' tractors sure makes a girl hungry. How 'bout we go on in and have everyone decorate their own cupcakes?

And after the girls were all good and sugared up they were released into the arms of their parents to let the Rumpus continue at home. So long, Rumpus, until we meet again next year.
 This mama's tired.   : )