Oh, what a happy day. I am thrilled to share news that our friends recently welcomed their third child into the world – a girl. And so, herein lays the challenge – choosing the perfect welcoming gift for her.
As I was about to pick a cute little onesie off the rack at a local store, I paused and re-considered the wisdom of what I was doing. I thought about how special, unique and momentous a new baby’s arrival into this world really is and I wondered how I could share a little bit of that feeling of awe and wonder with Elf and Giant.
And that is how Giant, Elf and I came to decide on making little Malley a cloud blanket. It’s a simple project – a sheet of sky-blue fleece dotted with perfect white clouds that requires us to cut out small 1” strips down the sides. Then it is up to us to tie off the strips into little decorative fringes. A simple yet ideal project for my kiddos to tackle.
When I asked Giant what he thinks little Malley will like most about our gift he said, “This blanket will help her learn about some things in the world. She’ll see the things that are white and she’ll learn that they’re clouds and she’ll see the blue and learn that it’s the sky.”
We’re hard at work here at the Little Yellow House. So as not to ruin the enthusiasm, every few days or so we mark off a few more strips of fleece. Giant cuts the lines ever so carefully with his scissors and then each of us takes a strand to create a special knot just for Malley — to warm her during her days and to comfort her during her nights.
To our new little friend, Malley, may you be wrapped in love and light all the days of your life. Welcome little one and blessed be.
The saying goes that before I had kids, I was the perfect parent. Since it’s early in the morning, I’ll raise a big cup of coffee to that. Before Elf and Giant entered the picture, I had it all planned out…100% organic food, classical music, wooden and educational toys (i.e., no plastic), no TV unless it was public television and weekly trips to cultural events of every kind. I know, I was barely living in reality! I laugh now, remembering how serious I was about it all. And then Elf and Giant arrived along with diapers, play dates, sickness…real people and the real world. That’s when and where my life, already intertwined with my husband’s, morphed into an even more vibrant tapestry. Our lives really began when Elf and Giant arrived. It’s when my husband and I were forced to begin the process of sorting out the difference between where we thought we stood on certain issues and where we actually stood.
I’m glad to say that some of the pledges have remained in tact, yet most have been modified. The kids listen and move to the rhythms of classical music but they also dance and play to country music and jazz. My kids play with plastic toys…lots and lots of them. We eat as much organic food as we can, but realize that this diet can easily deplete our monthly income if eaten consistently and exclusively. So, some of our pledges have remained while others have slipped away…some a little more quickly than others. Over the years, I’ve learned that the right kind of television is okay and even helpful to explain aspects of our world, the Grandmas’ Pennsylvania Dutch cooking and family recipes are okay in moderation (‘tho I still held the line with those gravy-drenched mashed potatoes when the kids were 6 months old and just starting solids) and ice cream really does wonders to cool you down on a dog-hot day. It’s okay. It’s all good. It’s loving. It really is. It’s that ever-elusive balance we’re all seeking.
So today, when I found a recipe for Breakfast Cookies* and milk, I didn’t put the recipe off to the side for another day. I went ahead and whipped up a bunch to share with the kids over breakfast. They were a hit. The kids smiled at each other. Giant shared his with Elf, without complaint. And she shared back with him. It sure was a nice change from our usual routine. And if the smiles and good will were any indication, we all enjoyed something different for a change.
What new thing did you try or do this week?
*Recipe from Missy Chase Lapine’s book, “The Sneaky Chef”
SNEAKY CHEF’S BREAKFAST COOKIES
Nutrition Highlights: whole grains, calcium, and protein. Rich in vitamins B and E, iron, potassium, folic acid, calcium, tryptophan protein, and fiber.
2 cups whole grain cereal flakes (such as Wheaties or Total)
3/4 cup Flour Blend (1/4 cup white flour, 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, and 1/4 cup wheat germ)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
Cinnamon sugar for dusting*
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray with oil).
2. Using a rolling pin, gently crush the cereal (in a sealed plastic bag) into coarsely crushed flakes. Alternatively, you can quickly pulse the cereal in a food processor.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together Flour Blend, crushed cereal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, oil, vanilla, and ricotta cheese. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just enough to moisten dry ingredients. Drop single tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about an inch between cookies. Flatten cookies with the back of a fork and then sprinkle tops generously with cinnamon sugar (or just sugar if your kids don’t like the cinnamon flavor). Bake about 18 to 20 minutes, or until nicely browned and crispy around the edges.
Makes 16 to 18 large cookies.
*Cinnamon has been found to help stabilize blood-glucose levels, thereby preventing the usual “crash and burn” feeling we all get after eating sweets.
© Missy Chase Lapine, all rights reserved.
This week, the Little Yellow House has seen its share of lightning and thunder. Giant, at age 5 already an aspiring meteorologist, is simultaneously fascinated and fearful of Nature’s forceful display of heat, sound and wind while Elf watches her big brother’s reactions and then copies exactly what he does…running from window to window, shouting out important-sounding weather words, running to me for comfort and protection with every bang and pop. Off and on, Elf found safety under a well-worn quilt, wishing the storm would just pass. Haven’t we all felt like that at one point or another?
So what’s a parent to do? Some parents share the science of storms while others make up fanciful stories about giants bowling to explain what is happening up there. Well, we’ve done the science thing and I reached a point this week when we started singing. Oh, and sing we have. At the top of our lungs. We’ve got guts and sass and we are loud! Sometimes, if we try really hard, we even drown out the sound of the storm! Here’s our most recent version of the Storm Song.
(Sung to the tune, “Are You Sleeping?”)
I hear thunder.
I see lightning.
Yes, I do.
Yes, I do.
Thunder is loud.
Lightning is bright.
Storms don’t stay long.
I am safe. I am brave.
Giant’s wise and loving teacher, Ms. M, also shared a wonderful book recommendation with us this week: Thundercake by Patricia Polacco. It’s a loving story about a grandmother who helps her granddaughter conquer her fear of thunderstorms, giving her mastery over something loud, large, unpredictable and pretty darn scary. What a wonderful gift.
At ReEnchant, we celebrate those striving to create heaven on earth. Peace, safety and comfort to the heart, soul and body begins at home. As I hold my babies close while the wind shifts tree bodies back and forth like wobbly inflatable balloon people and torrents of rain fall down from the sky, I hope that Elf and Giant feel my love for them. It runs as fierce and electric as the storm that rages outdoors. May they always feel safe, loved and nurtured here at home, here together, regardless of what goes on outside our front door. That is what our family stands for…forever and ever and always.
What gifts have you shared with your children this week?
Lately, life at the yellow house has been moving faster than usual. And that’s pretty fast. We’ve had meetings, school supply shopping trips, the uh-oh, school begins tomorrow emergency trip to the grocery store, Giant’s first official day of kindergarten and various last-chance, let’s cram-‘um-in activities before the school year begins. What a week.
Elf’s favorite saying is, “Look at me, me run perry past!” She loves to run, loves the way it feels to her body and the sheer freedom of it. She wants to move and does with all of her energy. She is life in motion.
I often remind Giant to slow down if he’s hurrying, that hurrying puts one at risk for making mistakes. Today, I got a dose of my own medicine. Trying to hurry, I broke a bowl. And Giant calmly reminded me that this is what happens when a person hurries.
Elf and Giant both have wise words for their ages. It is time to slow down some of the momentum. It’s time to breathe. It’s time to enjoy the comfort of warm little bodies snuggled together reading stories on a cloudy day, time to smile at each other across the supper table, perhaps make some cookies and enjoy each other’s company.
A point in time comes when all of the activity becomes too much. It’s time at the yellow house to round up the crew, hunker down and have some family time before it all begins again on Monday. That’s when we’ll, once again, “…run perry past!”
Best to you and those you love,
Hi, I’m Chris and I’m a mom to two small reenchanters in training, ages 2 and 5. My oldest is a “giant” in many ways…confidant and curious about the world and the way that it works. He envisions intricate building designs and is able to physically create what he imagines. His is complex and fascinating to those who love him. His questions come in waves, one after the next: “Why do we have blood? How is it made? Why is honey sticky? Why are our eyes moist? How did the Earth from? Let it be said that Google has become one of my very good friends. My second child, a girl, is lively and spirited. Her energy is magical, joyful and delightful. Cats, owls, cookies and saying the words “me do it” are some of her favorite things.
I discovered the reenchant planet earth movement a long time ago, but I didn’t have a name for what I knew to be true and right. Once I found Marilyn and the ReEnchant Planet Earth movement, I realized that the principles I abided by in my own life and those that I envisioned teaching my children mirrored the philosophy that Marilyn had taken the time to put into words.
Like all of us, I work hard to teach my children to treat others and the earth with care, concern and respect. Some days, I feel like all of my hard work is paying off. Sometimes, I feel like it’s too hard and want to quit living so consciously and mindful of the consequences of my actions.Yet, all too soon, I remember that everything I do creates a ripple…maybe it’s immediate, perhaps I won’t even be aware of it. And that’s when I take a deep breath and keep teaching.
So I invite you to take a walk with me and my family as we travel the reenchanted path. It may not always be the easy path to take, and I still make mistakes but it’s the right path for us…filled with love, compassion and respect for each other and for the earth.
Stay tuned for my next blog when I talk about how to consciously navigate a child’s temper tantrum.