In seeking to legitimize and professionalize my hobbies, as I am wont to do, I inadvertently helped create a cross country pie baking club.
We are called the Brooklyn Tarts, because the idea originated with 3 women who know each other from Brooklyn. We then added 3 more from Brooklyn, and a couple more from the new homes some of the ladies now live in. All told, we have members in Brooklyn, Arkansas, Utah, Washington, and California.
Each month one of us is in charge of picking a pie that we all bake. Then we bake it and review it, sharing tips and tricks. January was my month to pick. I chose a savory supper pie from The Hoosier Mama Pie Book I got for my birthday. It was a very involved pie (I did it in several pieces over a week), but it was well worth the time spent.
Februrary’s pie was a pear cardamom pie with almond crust. I anticipated it going wrong at various parts, but it also surpassed my expectations.
Believe it or not, these pies also turned out to be the most photographable pies I’ve made yet. Or maybe I’m just learning something about lighting. Either way, they do taste as good as they look, if not better.
Oliver’s class is working on their community study, learning about urban and suburban and rural communities. After my Grandpa died last month and Ms. Plummer, Oliver’s teacher, asked me to let her know if there was something she could do, I was determined to take her up on the offer and find a way for Oliver to learn more about his Great Grandpa, and the community study seemed like a good in.
So we worked together to find some ways urban and rural communities are similar, and some ways they are different. The hope was that Oliver would be able to see how he and Great Grandpa were alike in a lot of ways, and for him to imagine Great Grandpa as more than the man in the pictures or the person whose funeral we went to.
I was surprised at how excited Oliver was for the the project. I was anticipating doing most of the work, but Oliver really took ownership of it—especially when we got to the classroom. (Elsa was an amazing silent assistant and Felix did us all a favor by letting Ms. Plummer hold him the entire time without so much as a peep.)
Some of the things we talked about were that people in rural communities often work outside—no matter the weather, while people in urban communities often work inside.
We talked about how both urban and rural communities have beautiful views. (Which, Ms. Plummer pointed out, is an opinion question and went right along with their unit on persuasive writing and using evidence to back up your points.)
We also talked about how people in rural and urban communities need to be creative and resourceful—like using a dog to pull your wagon if it’s a far distance, or like building a playground in your bedroom.
But my favorite was this comparison right here:
There are people in both urban and rural communities who will try to fit as many kids on a horse or bike as they can.
Next year, anyway. Or it should be, based on the behavior of certain members of our family this last Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s were given, Valentine’s were lost, siblings were blamed, siblings needed to be PUNISHED. Profuse apologies were offered. Apologies were ignored in the repeated demand for PUNISHMENT. And the lesson of the day was forgiveness. Which, I suppose, is as good a lesson as any. And I suppose Valentine’s is as good a day as any to learn that lesson.
But if it hadn’t been for that unfortunate incident, and the continued crying, complaining, and whining, I would have said this was one of our more successful Valentine’s in one particular way: we are getting very good at coming up with quick and easy Valentine’s that are homemade and not too cutesy, which is exactly where I like to aim my cupid’s arrow.
I made a sheet pan of strawberry flavored marshmallows, cut them into hearts shapes, and slipped them into little bags. The boys added tags with their names on them and we were done. Actually, we had to take some of the scraps and make chocolate covered marshmallows to get the right number, but again, super easy.
Actually, now that I know we can whip up some passable Valentine’s Day treats with not so much effort, maybe I won’t cancel it next year. Forgive and forget, right? Or maybe I would have forgotten anyway, so I may as well forgive while it’s still on my mind.
I never know what a week off from school will be like: lots of fighting? Too cold to go out much? Or loads and loads of activities and fun times? This time we were blessed to have Micah with on on President’s Day, which made the rest of the week feel much less long and much more manageable.
And with Micah having a day off as well, we lived it up and went to the Guggenheim, which we have seen of course but felt like some place not quite for us. Well, we’ve lived in this city nearly 10 years and we can go anywhere we want to go. So we went. Thankfully we got their early enough that it wasn’t super crowded and we took our time exploring the spiral and its off-shoots, including the place where they sell the chocolate croissants. Even if most of the art is modern, there were some pieces I really enjoyed and would have found a place for in my own house if I had the resources the Guggenheims had
Really though, one of my favorite things to see was this:
Felix may not be quite big enough to keep up, but they are good enough to not leave him behind.
The other big accomplishment of the week was to not play video games or watch much tv/movies. I did succumb to strep throat on Thursday afternoon (after we spent the morning at the Botanic Garden with friends) and with the aches and chills and headache . . . well, I wasn’t up for playing anything except a movie. On the one hand, it was beautiful weather Thursday afternoon and Friday, which made it an awful time to be sick. But on the other the kids were out of school so I was actually able to rest instead of taking charge of pickup and such. I guess we’re even.
The good weather/sick combination was also a good reminder that we actually can just go out in front of our building. The kids wanted to draw with sidewalk chalk, but we couldn’t find it, so they resorted to jumping rope and drawing pictures on paper while Felix mastered (more or less) the ups and downs of stair climbing and crawling as quickly down the sidewalk as he could.
Tomorrow, life begins again. I’m sure it will be a good break from our break.