oatmeal muffins plus

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I used this recipe for oatmeal muffins from the 101 Cookbooks blog, with the following changes. Almost 2 sticks of butter sounded outrageous, so I did one stick plus one mashed banana which was nice for moisture and flavor. Also, I had some fresh blueberries, so those went in also. Oh and some almond meal was kicking around in my cupboard, so it went into the streusel topping instead of flour.

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~muffin-induced comas~

Heidi says get the muffins out of the pan as soon as you get them out of the oven so as not to continue cooking/steaming them.Word to the wise: getting them out quickly without losing all of that yummy streusel topping is not for the impatient or under-creative, but Heidi offered no tips. My pro tip is use a knife to first encircle the muffin, freeing it a little from the sides, then use the knife to pry them out a little bit, and finally, use your fingers pluck those hot baddies out of the muffin pan.

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We balance out our muffin-induced comas with plenty of action. This was a energetic hour of multi-sporting with some friends that included frisbee, tennis, skateboarding, basketball, swinging, spinning, and some racing around.

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Oh! And I would like to introduce you to my friend Con Forza, who is blogging for her 8th grade project at the Ashwood Waldorf School. I am fortunate to be her blogging mentor—she is a good writer and is using the blog to record her many creative interests. It has been a pleasure to offer what little advice I can to such a natural talent.

~dd~

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Let me tell you about this funny twisty rainbow thing. It’s going to be a skirt someday. And I say someday because it’s on size 4 needles with sock-weight yarn. But it has a really great story that goes with it. I had glimpsed this pattern via a friend, online, the work of a local designer. Suddenly, inexplicably, within the last 24 hours of my deadline for writing my last paper, I became obsessed with the pattern. The idea of a new celebratory knitted *something beautiful* at the end of a very long road of education consumed me when I should have been focused on the finish. I emailed my friend and just begged her to let me take a look at the pattern—I’m a good girl about pattern copyright and all that—but I just wanted to see it to confirm whether I wanted to move forward with my obsession.

She totally got it, like the obsession part. She scanned it within about ten minutes and I promised I would purchase my own legit copy. But the next day she emailed me back and said she’d gone ahead and paid up in the yarn store for “my” copy, that I could pay-it-forward in support of the Ashwood Waldorf School or an investment in coffee for a “grouchy person.” Now this project has ratcheted up its level of awesome in terms of the good connections and support that exist in this world. Beauty all around.

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~dd~ is the keyboard shorthand for the gesture that you make with both hands, kind of dusting them off, when you are DONE with something. Like it’s over, you’re done with it, you’ve had it, washing my hands of that, it’s enough already, no more, quit it, that kind of done. The kind of done that I am right now, with my master’s degree.

I am still a little bit in shock. Sort of floating in a sense of spaciousness… Having the freedom to say YES to a spontaneous lunch date with girlfriends. Or YES to staying an extra day while visiting family because we’re having a good time. It’s my first April vacation in about seven years (!) when I get to vacate with the rest of my family and not have a school assignment or the end of the semester looming over me.

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~still life with reading material~

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Sometimes the hardest moments of parenting are when I know I can’t/shouldn’t “fix it” for my children. They need to strive, to struggle, to wallow, to face their own challenges in their own way. My job is to be there: to listen and love, to support and encourage. Magda Gerber had some wonderful ideas about this in her book Your Self-Confident Baby, but they apply here also. What does your baby learn if you see that she’s reaching for a toy and just hand it to her? She needs to try and strive and stretch that little arm out and miss and try again and get frustrated, etc., until she’s built up her own muscles and coordination to get there herself.

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I will be there as a loving witness to the striving and frustration (gulping down my “fix-it” tendencies), and I’ll be there when it’s time to celebrate my boys’ successes and triumphs. On their own terms.

we still eat beautiful food sometimes

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I felt like a slacker mom when I went to the store for an egg-dyeing kit THE DAY BEFORE EASTER and they were all sold out. Oh wait, I was sick last week. And also finishing, so so so so close to finishing the final, culminating project of my masters degree. Thanks to something I read on the Internet, I knew I could detour from the holiday aisle and right to the KoolAid section, because you can dye eggs (and wool, and your hair, and presumably, if you drink it, your insides) with KoolAid. Word to the wise: Grape KoolAid makes brown eggs, even if you add a little blue like the instructions say. Which was fine, interesting, really: the egg was brown with tiny speckles of blue.

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this taco duo was obviously saying *cheese* to me

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Easter salad, below, all dressed up for the party. Can you see the tiny mouse radish in the center of those beautiful beets?

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