Tuesday, 18 February 2014

On The Occasion Of Turning Fifteen

I spent two hours yesterday morning, baking a cake for Mr. A.'s birthday supper. 

Dean took a photo and I was so proud - IT LOOKS SO GOOD!!!

A few hours later, we dug into the cake.



Not that good.

......dry......tough......pass the water......

How could I have messed this up so badly?  I followed instructions.  It looked easy, even.

My kind and wise mother-in-law (who bravely ate this cake) told me that I should freeze it and taste it again another day...sometimes cakes need to sit and age and, with time, they soften and moisten and improve.

I reluctantly had a piece this afternoon.  Yup.  It's better.  The flavors have blended.  It's moister.  I think it has avoided a trip to the garbage can.

Sorta makes me think about parenting.

All of a sudden, you're pregnant and you read all of the
 "What To Do When You're Expecting" books
and parenting seems so EASY!!!

It doesn't take long to realize that, as a parent, you suck.  ;)    I mean, let's be honest - parenting doesn't always bring out the best in us.  We realize that children now, and forevermore, come first and we come second or third or fifth and they don't always do what we want them to do and they embarrass us and disappoint us and sometimes we can roll with it and sometimes it's cause for a giant sized mother-fit and ......

....it ain't always pretty.
But, like this silly cake that I made, becoming a good parent takes time.  You learn to mellow out a bit and relax and lighten up and, like the cake, after some time, you find that this whole parent/kid relationship improves with age.  Your kid improves.  YOU improve.  Your kid and you together improve.  And it's sweet.
This kid!
The worst part of birthday parties for him when he was little?
The song.
He hated the song.
It never failed, singing "Happy birthday" was cause for him to cover his ears.  Every.  Year.
Or cry.
Or hide under the table. 

This year he complimented me on the beautiful cake,
marvelled at the colored flames on the candles,
and told us to "sing it again, and do a better job this time" after version 1.0 was a little lackluster.
(Surprising, I know, for a Dynna party)
And, he sat and smiled the whole time.

He loves his brother and puts up with his quirky sense of humor.
"Ben, sign the card, and write his name on the envelope."

And he reads every verse and every written word on each and every card.
(apologies for the blurry pic)

He thinks that hanging out with family is a perfectly acceptable way to celebrate his 15th birthday.

And he's even willing to smile while doing so!

He passionately pursues his dreams.

And confidently.....
......marches to the beat of his own drum.

On the occasion of his 15th, I do think that all things have ......
.....and most certainly.....
improved with age.
Especially - him!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Things I'll Be Doing During The 2014 Winter Olympics

I love the Winter Olympics.  There aren't a lot of sports that catch my interest and hold my attention but Winter Olympics do both plus manage to yank a few tears (....daily....) from me as well.  I am a sucker for happy endings, hero moments, Canada flags and the national anthem.  To quote my dad "they seem like such nice people".  Hard to say how we can tell that based on 0:00:23 seconds of tv/sports fame but ya just kinda get sucked into the success and the joy and before you know it you have made yourself a new best friend. 

I am so un-athletic it's not even funny.  There was a reason, I'm telling you, why I was picked last during elementary gym periods and first during spelling class.  It's, therefore, hard for me to relate to the drive and passion required to complete at an Olympic level.  My, my. 

But I'm an excellent cheer-er.

In fact, I'm usually the loudest cheer-er during Ben's basketball games.

......Sometimes I'm the only cheer-er at Ben's basketball games.......

So here are a couple of things I'll be doing during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics:

Yeah, um, mostly this.
Watching the Olympics.

Okay, okay, smart mouth now closed.

Luckily, and I do mean 'luckily', I'll get to do this!

This is now a joy because I have been without a washer since the FIRST WEEK OF JANUARY people!!!
Nothing was wrong with my washer, but the floor drain needed something-something-something and they finally game to fix it today which means hello laundry first thing tomorrow and I'm pretty excited! 

Big thanks to my wonderful Mother-in-law for coming to our rescue a couple of weeks back when we got clean-laundry-desperate.

This book.
Oh my.

I've been reading it all through January and will have it finished by the end of the day.
I've had one chapter left for quite a few days.
 I didn't want to read it because that meant that the book was over.
I don't want the book to be over.
I think I will have to read it again.

I've been faithful with my 1000 Gifts journal, am currently on #159.
If you were to read it, you'd find yourself already listed on my list.....
#47 - "the loving community of Make Again"
It's making me think about daily moments and how to be thankful in them. 

Some days are harder - her challenge to be thankful for the "ugly beautiful" - well, I have plenty of 'ugly' some days and it's hard to find 'beautiful' in disagreements and misunderstandings and plain old stubbornness in my corner.
But moments of beauty are there still.  You gotta look.

My sister sent me this challenge.
Let's be clear right off the top - SHE IS GOING TO WIN.

But I'm going to read and cross off as many of these squares as I can.
I'm currently making a list of books that fit the categories.
Some will be fun.
Some will be a change!
And some, ugh, "A book with more than 500 pages"????
Oh dear.

And this, well, this ball of yarn is getting lonely.
For those of you who are my Facebook friends, you probably have blocked this silly accusation from your memory
you might have forgotten the extraordinarily important piece of information - but my folder of crochet hooks is still missing!!

I have to confess that I had initially assumed that a robber had broken into my house and stolen them.

Now, I'm more convinced that they were a figment of my imagination and I never really owned them because surely they'd show up by now??!! 

Maybe one of the boys is secretly crocheting me an afghan for Mother's Day?
There.  Is.  No.  Reasonable.  Explanation.

I do have extras.  But the ol' brain just can't accept the fact that they're missing and relax enough to start crocheting with a second class  different hook.

Now that I've got 'it' figured out, I might do this again....
.....and again.....
That was too easy.

I've made homemade pizzas many times but was pretty dissatisfied with my crust.

In retrospect, this was my problem:  "I don't like this thin crust."
In retrospect, THIS was also my problem - recipe title:  "Thin Crust Pizza"

Allrecipes posted this recipe:

2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 cup warm water

Mix and let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir together:
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
Yeast mixture

Mix with a big/wooden spoon until well combined.  No need to knead, dough will be sticky and shaggy.  Put in a greased bowl, cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Press onto a pizza stone, add favorite toppings and bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes.

I've made 2 varieties:
1.  Pulled pork pizza - inspiration came for that one from a pizza flyer.  I used some leftover pulled pork, added a few sautéed onions and peppers, mozza cheese to cover.  (First I brushed the pizza crust with a bit of bbq sauce).  It was really tasty and was a good way to use up the pulled pork.  I find that I have too many leftovers with pulled pork.....

2.  Last night, I turned this into a cheesy bread.  On to the pizza dough, I spread 2 Tbsp softened butter mixed with 2 minced cloves of garlic.  Covered that with 1-2 cups of mozza cheese and a bit of parmesan cheese.  Not an original idea either - Dean found that combination on Pinterest.

(....you do realize that I never create any of these recipes.....I hope......I'm not creative or original, just like sharing recipes that I've found to be good).

Anyway, the cheesy bread was great, too, although I should have pulled it from the oven sooner as I thought the cheese got over-done.  AM SO WILLING TO TRY AGAIN.

This pizza dough recipe is fool-proof.  I'm convinced.  I'm made it twice, successfully!!!