Turning Lemons Into Lemondae… Or Tea?

The past week was one that we had been dreading.  I chose to ignore it as much as I could, but it crept up on me and I had to deal with the fact that there was nothing I could do to halt its coming.  My husband had to fly to the other side of the country and stay there for 4 days for a work project.  Everyone was in a funk. At lunch time I didn’t  have an appetite, as the normal routine of having my husband home for a lunch date and interacting with him was put on hold. The Big Girl had nobody to read her stories and talk about “school stuff” before bed.  I filled in, but I certainly have a different style than her Daddy.  The Little Girl ended up snuggling me in bed one morning, not due to any nighttime accidents, but simply because she was, “Sad that Daddy wasn’t home.”  The weather was dark and cold, and I was feeling very sorry for myself, having to manage two grumpy storm clouds while Mr. Man got to feel a sea breeze and see the sun (in all actuality, he was stuck in very long meetings and had little time for fun, but I tend to be a bit dramatic when having a pity party for myself).

As I was commenting  to my brother about my lack of dinner ideas and lack of motivation, he gave me quite an idea.  Take advantage of the all-female household, and have a tea party.  “Of course!”, I thought.  “What a great way to distract everyone from the very empty seat at the dinner table, and even better, what a great excuse to try out our new serving trays recently acquired from freecycle!”

I invited a neighbor and her daughter to join us, and what a time we had!  Note: this was a traditional tea event, and there was no liberal bashing involved.  We ate cucumber sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and my new favorite Potatoes.

Some heavenly cheesey bread, lunch meat,  and a lovely selection of fruits and cheeses were also served.

Dinner was served later than usual, and while my children are normally ravenous and trying to eat anything they can sneak from the kitchen when eating so late, they were quite content trying on fancy tea party outfits and helping to prep the table with our smorgasboard.  Our guests arrived and we enjoyed tea from my lovely cast iron Japanese teapot and cups, and had a feast!

The kids enjoyed dressing up, and drinking heavily sweetened tea.   I refrained from tainting my cup of perfection with the overpowering taste of sugar.

Is that a “sugar smile” or what?

My only complaint is that the kids didn’t actually eat much.  They were too busy talking or dancing, or giggling, but I suppose that is what parties are all about.  It turned out well, and I was quite impressed with myself, because organizing and actually following through with a dinner party is a rare occasion at our house.

Such lovely “dahlings” with their feather boas, don’t you think?

Sometimes we need a nudge in the right direction from somebody.  We get so stuck in the middle of things that we forget to see the possibilities right in front of us.  Thanks, Bro, for the nudge!  I needed to see the brighter side of things, and make some lemonade out of the lemon-filled week.

Posted in Events, Food, Parenting, Perspective | 10 Comments

Unexpected Gratitude

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present!–Eleanor Roosevelt

Yesterday began with an early morning call with a recorded message regarding our school district’s decision to delay classes by 2 hours.  While I was in the midst of a shoveling frenzy, I received another call, announcing that school was closed for the day.  My kids cheered, and I braced for the onslaught of cabin fever woes  which usually set in a few hours after the novelty of no school wears off.

My first plan of action was to wear the children out.  This is the best line of defense when parenting two rowdy children.  I set up a play date with a friend across town, and once she arrived at our place, we went outside to frolic in the white stuff.  I am not sure if I can convey how much work this actually took, as my Little Girl, the 5 year old, was decidedly NOT going outisde.  I don’t think she had any logical reason for her position, but it was a long battle of wits to successfully dress the child in appropriate snow clothing, and I had to be slick, as she is an expert in ripping off the outerwear  just as soon as I’ve made some headway.    Of course, once I got her outside, she was great!  I asked her why she put up such a fuss inside, and she simply responded with, “I don’t know, Mama.”  Well I don’t know either.

We spent roughly an hour constructing and destructing snow mounds while giggling and running after one another.   I was hoping to create a whole snowman family, complete with a cat, but this is all we have to show:

We upgraded the typical snowman with some lovely spiky twig hair, which unfortunately is very hard to see in the picture.  I do admit that this picture truly saddens me.  Yes, sure, it is a great momento of a spontaneous winter day, but when I look at this picture, all I see are two children that are entirely too big for my liking.  I took a picture of my girls after we built a snowman way back in the olden days (2007) when my Big Girl was not even close to being my height.  (Now she threatens to grow taller than I  in only a few months!)  And in the old picture, my Little Girl still had the look of a toddler.  See?

My babies are gone, and there’s no way to get them back.  I am floored by how much they have grown in such a short amount of time.

After we conquered the snow, some hot chocolate was due.  We rushed inside and somehow managed to hang up all of our wet snow gear by the door (quite the feat, I must admit!), and I made the specialty drink from scratch.  One thing I love about making hot chocolate from scratch is mixing the cocoa powder with the milk.   I don’t know why, but they seem to repel each other and  vigorous whisking is the only way to incorporate the two.  The whisking produces very interesting bubbles.

What a great desktop image for chocoholics worldwide!

Some lunch  accompanied the steaming drinks, and the kids enjoyed some wii sports games in the cozy house afterward.  As I was cleaning the kitchen, I realized that the snow day  was a success.  We had been outside and enjoyed the snow, we had full bellies, and the house was filled with laughter.

When I got the news that school was cancelled, I really wasn’t thrilled.  Monday is my day of sanity, my “Get-the-kids-out-of-the-house-and-get-things-back-to-normal” day.  I may sound selfish, but sometimes I need a break from being “mommed.” I need to have some space of my own, and I have a feeling that I am not the only mom that feels this way.  But in the end, it was a great day and I felt very fortunate to have some extra time with my girls.  Time pushes us forward whether we like it or not, but for the time being, I will do my best to relish in the present, because it is truly a gift.

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Perfect Snow

For those of you that do not deal with snow for a fairly large chunk of the year, you won’t have the foggiest as to what I’m talking about.   Perfect Snow.   Isn’t that an oxymoron?  Well, not for me.  I am the type that would gladly go sledriding instead of crisping at the beach.  Dealing with sunburn for days does not appeal to me, yet warming up inside with a cup of hot cocoa after my nose gets chilly sounds absolutely perfect.  This winter season, we have had our share of snow, of course not actually on Christmas, but from the beginning of the new year, “old man winter” has made his presence known, and it has been beautiful.  Waking up to a world blanketed in white, sparkly snow is a real positive during a usually dark and dismal season.   But I do have one complaint: the snow was just not good to work with.  Just as the master sandcastle builders at the beach would know, the mixture of sand to water has to be just right for the buildings to achieve architectural integrity.  Snow is the same way.  The snow we’ve had recently has been a powdery substance,  like granulated sugar.  It was simply too dry to work with.  The up-side of powder snow is that shovelling the driveway and sidewalks is a breeze.  What we have on the ground now is more like brown sugar–it is denser and sticks together even when it plops out of the measuring cup and into a bowl of cookie dough.  Today’s snow wasn’t easy to move, but I am drooling at the possibilites it holds in the architectural world of front yard decor.

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