Today is a good day for hermits in more ways then one. The blowing snow we went to bed with last night turned to rain as we slept and left a slushy mess on our doorstep this morning. After watching numerous cars slide down our street I decided it would be a good day to stay put indoors.
I will never shun a chocolate chip cookie but I much prefer a “healthy” cookie made with whole wheat flour and spices. Today as I was milling over the index of cookies in the Joy of Cooking it dawned on me that what I was really looking for was posted on the refrigerator. Nanny’s Hermits, ah perfect!
1/2 c. butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
blend until light and fluffy, beat in:
1/2 c. yogurt (or sour cream or butter milk)
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. wheat germ
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. baking soda
mix into butter mixture and stir in:
1/2 c. raisins, candied fruit
1/4 c. chopped nuts
zest of 1 lemon
drop onto cookie sheet and bake for 15 min.
Makes 2 dozen.
I used 1/2 the amount of sugar, added a sprinkling of ginger and used raisins, dried cranberries and chopped dried apricots. I omitted the nuts so Frances could try some. I’m not so crazy about a lot of clove so if I remember the next time I make them I will cut that in half.
Frances turned 15 months old on Saturday. She is so wonderful and amazing and I just love her to bits! Josh and I are having SO MUCH fun with her as she is growing into such a good little person.
A selection of favorite books.
Today we were back to the library. I was on the fence about going as the temperature was a frigid -21, -31 with the windchill. (That’s -5.8, -23.8 for you Americans) Josh’s dad called and offered to drive us, so we gladly accepted and headed down. There were lots of new little babes in the group today which makes Frances seem like such a big girl. It is amazing how just a few months can totally change a baby developmentally. I always find it strange to see babies, so drooly and stunned looking. For the record, Frances NEVER drooled. Not even once! The last time she was teething and four molars came in at once she was so freaked out by the drool that she would hold it in her mouth until Josh or I would have her spit it out into a tissue. I don’t remember her being so stunned looking either but then again would I freely admit to having a stunned child? You spend so much time looking at your own kid, you think they are perfect in every way, the most beautiful creature ever, that when you see other kids you think my goodness that kid has a HUGE head I hope they don’t fall over. Or wow, that kid’s got man hands. Do you ever wonder what people think about your kid? When Frances was a new baby and I spent my days gazing at her small head and tiny features, Josh would come home and I had such a hard time looking at him because his head looked gigantic and weird. I don’t think he’s weird looking but the size difference totally freaked me out!
Book are taking over our small house, we may need to build our own library soon! I have been rediscovering some of my favorite childhood books and discovering wonderful new books that will surely become classics. Illustrations are the main selling point for me, a good story is key as well but when I pick up a book I react first to the illustrations. Ezra Jack Keats for example, The Snowy Day, just beautiful! Simplistic collage relying on color, pattern and texture to tell the story of a boys adventures in the snow. Goggles is another Keats book I fondly remember. In The Baby’s Catalogue, Janet and Allan Ahlberg use softly colored hand drawings to illustrate everyday life in a baby’s world. Frances relates really well to this book. We also like Each Peach Pear Plum. We seem to be acquiring a nice little collection of Jan Brett books. These are new to me and a delight to find. Her most popular book and the one we read frequently is The Mitten. The main story is told in the center of the two pages while a panel on each side tells a back story and a foreshadowing that relates to the next page. While this concept is a little advanced for Frances it is something she will eventually understand. A cleaver way to keep the book interesting!
Maybe I will hold of on telling you about some of our other favorite books for another day. Maybe I should do a book a week. What are some of your favorite childrens books?
I must have jinxed myself last week when I said “oh we’ve only had one major cold in our house since Frances was born and even that didn’t seem so bad.” Yesterday a scratchy throat and runny nose snuck up on Frances and I. I should have known better as I had been a little tired for the past few days and Frances had been a little more needy. It’s inevitable with all the sickness going around this season and when we get together with other kids it’s bound to make the rounds. I’m so glad the day is almost over and we can finally get some rest and hopefully feel better in the morning.
Now onto the evolution of Frances. Walking! She is turning into a walking machine. Still a little wobbly but so good at it and so proud of herself! Penny the music lady will be so impressed if we make it to the library tomorrow. When we were leaving our last library group before Christmas, Penny said “I bet Frances will walk right through that door when you come back.” I was beginning to think that might not happen, but sure enough Penny was right! What else… when we ask Frances “who’s Frances” she pats her chest and says “me!” When she feels like she is finished eating her meal she will put her cup and eating utensil into her bowl and push it away on the table and say “done.” If she wants more of something like mango (her new favorite fruit) she will say “more, more, more.” Words are falling out of her mouth like you’ve won the jackpot from a slot machine. I am constantly amazed by the words she says, if she sees me heading down to the basement she will say “washing machine.” We like to count together, I’ll say one, she’ll say two, I’ll say three, she’ll say four and so on. If we are looking at a book I’ll say something like “Frances, how many birds can you count?” She will take my pointer finger and point it around and say “four, four, four…” So cute! Books continue to be one of her favorite things, all day she will bring me books to read her. I am very happy about this and hope the love of books will always be with her.
Today Frances and I went to the art gallery for a baby art workshop. It was the perfect activity for a wintry day and one I had been looking forward to all weekend. Brown paper covered the floor where we started out clean and worked into messy. The gal who facilitated the workshop was great, she gave all the kids some salt dough to get them started then she gradually introduced different mediums. We used crayons, markers, finger paint, and paint with brushes and sponges. There was also some corn starch goop that was fun to play in.
All the kids dove in with gusto and were completely covered from head to toe. Not our Frances. Oh she is her mothers daughter alright. She took it all in at first then slowly and daintily got her hands a little messy. She stayed in the same spot the entire time and probably could have stayed there all day. Just as things started wrapping up we were really getting into it.
I’m never quite sure what would be appropriate for a child of Franny’s age, so it was really good to see what aspect of the workshop she was interested in. Also good to go somewhere where mess doesn’t really matter. We have already tried markers with great success and crayons seem like a good and less messy alternative. I’ll have to find or make some that are big and easy to hold on to. Frances also seemed to enjoy the paint brush. Our friend Rebecca (Miss Knit) gave us some nice big sketch books yesterday that will come in very handy as we explore more art and mark making.
Snow, snow snow! Another snowy day. Is it just me or do we seem to be getting a fair amount of snow this winter? I don’t remember having as many snowy days last year but then again I was in la la land with baby bliss. I guess we won’t be traveling over to the homestead for Sunday dinner tonight. Shucks, it’s something we all look forward to. I like to eat my mothers food, Josh likes to drink Coca Cola and eat goldfish while vegging out in front of the tv (that’s too dark to even watch) with my dad and Frances likes to play the peananno.
Well, I believe we finally have a walker! Yesterday and today Frances seems to have taken off and lost all inhibition. I think she may have seen one of her little buddies running around so well the other day and decided she could do the same in the comfort of her own home. She’s a funny girl and so proud of herself. As she should be!
The only bottle this little lady would take was that of a single malt.
Ah Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year. I find it so anticlimactic. Sure it’s great in the thick of things, we all had a marvelous time. Up at 7, excitedly tearing into our stalkings filled with treasures. Frances would have been happy if the only things she got were the traditional orange and apple, no surprise there, but she did enjoy the paper (Paper, Paper, Paper!!!) A nice family breakfast of scrambled eggs and bagels. Oh and coffee for mom and dad. Then on to more presents from under the tree. With a little guidance Frances lead and we followed, trying to get as much out of each present as possible before moving on. I think the whole operation moved along nice and smoothly with no melt downs what so ever. Wanting to stay as close as possible to the tracks of our daily schedule, I was anxious for some of the grandparents to pay their visits. With Lucy the dog in tow(antlers and all), my parents showed up with more surprises. I guess Santa left some stuff for Frances at their house as well. More paper, paper, paper and she got all the things her mother had wished for. A Wheely Bug to ride around on and some new Robeez boots. Have I ever told you how much I love Robeez? I absolutely love these shoes, they’re made in Canada eh! Franny even got her very own Lucy. Soon Josh’s dad arrived with more goodies. Poor Frances was fading fast. We had a nice visit with everyone, ate some lunch and finally down for a good long nap.
Now time for mother to move on to making dessert for the big Christmas feast. Poached pears stuffed with raisins, walnuts and honey and a custard sauce. With no double boiler a little improvisation was called for, which seemed to take a little longer. Note to self: ask Santa for one next Christmas. Just as I had finished cooking, Frances awoke as bright and cheerful as usual. Now on to dinner. We all made our way over to my parents house for the recreation of a family classic 1970’s James Beard inspired Christmas dinner. After a brief discussion a few months back it was decided that my mother would make the Christmas “pie” we had when I was a child. My fond memories of Christmas past were stirred up with the excitement of tasting this treat. I love how food can take you back to a favorite time or place in the past. It was everything I remembered it to be and better. I stuffed myself to capacity, saving room for dessert of course and when we were all through I couldn’t move.
Frances was the perfect child all day. She loved her dinner as much as I and couldn’t get enough of the pie. Mmm… she said! When we had all finished eating Nanny sprang her from the table and took her to the piano (peananno) for a little play. She loves this and waits with anticipation every time we have dinner over there. A jolly end to a wonderful day. We all crashed when we returned home and spent the following day unwrapping more surprises and playing with all the new toys.
On a whim Josh and I decided to splurge and get each other a Flip camera for Christmas. As every day ticks by I am constantly kicking myself for not capturing each one of Franny’s new skills on video. Now we will catch it all and sharing it here with friends and family (maybe even strangers) will be easy with this fun little device. I’m working on figuring out the best and easiest way to add video to this here blog. So for your viewing pleasure may I present one of the first movies made.