Happy World Baking Day!

Colorful Baking Cupcakes Celebration Cupcake Cases

I love to bake and was surprised to find out that there’s a day to celebrate it! Who knew?! What a great excuse to spend the day creating yummy tasties… except that it’s supposed to be 30-something-degrees today and the thought of the oven on all day is rather unappealing. (Author’s note: World Baking Day was actually on May 17th, but things have been so chaotic this past week, I haven’t been able to get around to editing this post until today…. Oops. Enjoy it anyways!)

So if not a whole day of baking, at least an hour. Bean’s request for banana bread will have to wait for another day, because I have plans for that thing vegetable? growing in my backyard. You know, the perfect plant for me: one that grows no matter how much I neglect it, haha. (Confession: Sadly, I did not inherit the green thumb that runs in my family. It has taken me a lot of dead house plants to figure that one out.) Actually, the thing in question is rhubarb. I have fond memories of eating delicious strawberry-rhubarb-crumble and other such desserts while growing up. When my parents downsized to a smaller house, I jumped at the chance to transplant some of my mum’s rhubarb into my garden. (My mum did the transplanting… see my earlier comment about dead house plants.) That was three years ago. I decided it was finally time I do something with it. I might not have a green thumb, but I am rather gifted at baking, and so why not use the skills I have to make a tasty treat?

I found a great recipe online (orange-rhubarb muffins) and decided to try it. I wanted to get started while El was sleeping, so I chose to forgo the shower for the moment and bake in my pyjamas. Of course, this also meant that I was out in the backyard picking rhubarb in my pyjamas, but I doubt any of the neighbours noticed… and if they did, oh well.

The results are delicious! I will definitely be making these orange-rhubarb muffins again. Whatever you decide to bake today, I hope that it turns out perfectly too. And if you’re not the baking type, then stop by a local bakery later today and pick up a treat for you and your family. Happy World Baking Day everyone!

 

Orange-rhubarb-muffins-mai2017

I had to taste one to make sure they were good before recommending the recipe. 😉

 

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Mothers Day “surprises”

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Bean loves surprises. She loves giving them just as much as she loves receiving them (for which I am thankful). While playing, she’ll often come up to me with her arms behind her back. “Mummy, I have a present for you. Surprise!” (And then produces one of her toys). Other times, the “present” is something imaginary that she’ll throw to me across the room (this can be anything from an ice cream cone to magic powers), which I catch and then exclaim my thanks over. Sometimes she doesn’t tell me what it is before I catch it… once I popped the imaginary surprise in my mouth to eat it (as the previous few had all been edible), only to see Bean’s shocked look. “Mummy, you can’t eat that. It’s a plate.” Hahaha… oops. Right. I “spat out” the plate, to a look of relief from Bean.

She also loves the idea of making surprises for other people, but doesn’t get that in order for it to be a surprise, she has to keep it a secret. However, luckily for the receiver, her hints are often slightly cryptic. All week Bean has been talking to me about the surprise she was making for me for Mothers Day.

Monday: “Mummy, when you come for the Mothers Day picnic, you have to drive fast, ok? Don’t drive slow. If you drive slow, I won’t give you a teabag.”

Tuesday: “For the Mothers Day Party someone is going to put big chairs outside for the mummies to sit on. I don’t know who, but someone is going to do that.”

Wednesday: “Mummy, today I glued flowers on your teabag. It’s a surprise.”

Thursday: “Mummy, I made you a surprise. It has Elsa and Anna on it.”

Friday: The day of the Mothers’ Day picnic at Bean’s preschool. Hubby has graciously taken the afternoon off of work in order to look after El so that I can have some much-needed one-on-one time with Bean.

I arrive to be greeted with one of the biggest, best hugs Bean can give — the kind that is usually reserved for the rare days that Daddy picks her up from preschool. (Since I pick her up almost daily, I usually just get a normal hug.) That hug alone makes my day. The preschool has various games and stations set up around the yard, so Bean and I play bean-bag-toss (she’s actually pretty good), make a necklace for her (think coloured bits of pasta on string), and visit the face-paint station (she decides to paint her own face, which just cracks me up). Afterwards, she looks in the hand mirror at the streaks of blue and green paint that appear to be haphazardly strewn across her face and declares that she is beautiful. I can’t help but smile.

Then it’s time for the picnic — guacamole and tortilla chips, wraps (3 flavours!), followed by fruit and cake for dessert. The wraps look surprisingly good. Bean tells me that she helped to make the egg wraps, so we make sure to take one of those (actually, we take one of each flavour). Listening to her tell me about making the egg salad wraps is wonderful. I take a bite… it is delicious! I make sure to let her know how good it tastes, meanwhile thinking that the next time we make egg salad, I’ll have her help make it. Just before leaving, she goes to get her present for me: a cute little jar (decorated with paper flowers), inside of which are 2 loose-leaf teabags. Ah… NOW I understand the hints. Lots of thanks and lots of hugs. It was such a special day and a big thank-you to the preschool for organizing it.

(Of course, Hubby spoiled me too. I will, however, spare you the details… I’m sure that your husbands were just as wonderful!) Whether it was your spouse or your kids, on the actual Mothers Day or on another day that worked better for you and your family, I hope that you were all showered with love. For you ALL deserve it. Happy Mothers Day everyone!

 

Mothers day craft 2017

Bean’s Mother’s Day gift to me. And in case you were wondering how Elsa & Anna figure in, they were on the card that Hubby helped her to make.

 

 

Happy May Day!

In many countries around the world, May 1st is a day to celebrate the arrival of spring (source). To me, May Day conjures up images of children dancing around the Maypole with ribbons in their hands (one end of which is attached to the top of the Maypole) and flowers in their hair. I’m picturing sunshine, warmth, good food and drink, and fun times with family and friends.

The reality? I look out my window at the grey day, the rain hitting the windowpane. My husband is out of the country at a conference, Bean is at school, and El is napping. I don’t mind a little quiet time, but I would have loved to have spent it in the garden, possibly even in sandals! Sigh. That is not-to-be this May Day. Yesterday was cold enough to need a winter coat, and although today is indeed warmer, it’s not exactly sandal weather.

So I’m on the hunt for a creative way to celebrate May Day that doesn’t involve spring-cleaning the garden, or going for a walk to appreciate nature, or even simply having a cup of tea on the deck. On a cold, rainy day this momma needs to find another way to celebrate.

One idea is to buy some fresh flowers for inside the house. On the weekend, Bean picked some flowers (with permission) from my in-laws’ garden. When she brought them home, I let her do the flower-arranging herself. She loved it!!! (And for those of you who are perfectionists, find a way to resist the urge to fix it. The pride they feel every time they see their flower arrangement on the table is worth it.) So I’ve already got that covered. Check!

 

Bean's May Day flowers

Bean’s May Day flower arrangement

 

Another idea is to do a random act of kindness. Traditionally, this involves making a May-day basket of flowers and leaving it on a neighbour’s doorknob/doorstep to surprise them. Again, in this weather, I don’t really want to leave anything sitting on someone’s doorstep or it’s sure to be soaked in minutes (if it’s not blown away by the wind). Bean and I have already planned a random act of kindness to do after school. Check! Yesterday she unexpectedly got a smurf toy from a random stranger while we were out for lunch. (Bean’s not into smurfs — she initially thought it was one of the trolls from Frozen, haha.)
– Mummy, I don’t need this.
– Ok, that’s fine. You don’t need to keep the toy. Can you think of someone you’d like to give it to?
– E. (a friend at school)
– Ok, that’s a nice idea. I’ll bring it when I pick you up after school and you can give it to her as a surprise.
(Bean saw the toy on the counter this morning and made sure to remind me to bring it after school.)

BS AL FLOWER BASKETS

May Day in Annapolis, 2009” Photo by Susan Reimer

There are a ton of May-day crafts and activities suitable for preschoolers on the internet (check out the good ideas over at Preschool Express), one of which is a paper-May-day-crown. Bean loves crowns and I think she would love this idea too! It’ll have to wait until she gets home from school, but that’s ok. There is enough spring-cleaning (or, if I’m being honest, regular cleaning) to do inside the house in the meantime. And maybe, if I’m feeling up for it, I’ll make a little May day basket to put her afterschool snack in. Just a little something special to mark the day.

So as it turns out, I am celebrating May Day; just not in the traditional sense. Flowers and a random act of kindness (plus a craft or two) seem like a great way to brighten up this rainy May Day. However you choose to celebrate (or even if you don’t), Happy May Day everyone!