cooking · · monday

Some Monday Magic

Today is gray.   That steely misty kind of gray that makes you think it’s only about 40 degrees outside and the day is demanding scarves and hot lattes.  Except it’s 65 and humid.  That’s just a yucky kind of gray.

So liven up your Monday with this.  Those muffins are magical with a caramel latte, I promise.

I had some of my fellow MOPS moms over the other morning to drink coffee and sample new recipes and delay the laundry just a little longer.  There’s nothing like spending the morning in the company of others who know the woes of cloth diapering, potty training, nursing, and bribing toddlers.  I have a friend who told the funniest story about how she tells her son she’ll give him a dollar if he goes potty.  So he does and she does, but then he sets that dollar down and runs off to play.  So she picks up the dollar and uses it for the next time.  Isn’t it great three year olds are so easily fooled?

Anyway, here’s what you really need to know.  Those muffins?  Cranberry-Orange Coffee Cakes with an Orange Glaze adapted from this month’s Better Homes and Gardens.  I think they might be my favorite muffins ever.   At least until I make the Pumpkin Cream Cheese muffin recipe I found the other day.

Cranberry-Orange Coffee Cakes

2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 c butter, softened
1/2 c each packed brown and granulated sugars
1 c plain yogurt (original uses ricotta cheese)
1 egg
1 Tbsp. finely shredded orange peel
1 Tbsp. orange juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped (about half a bag and don’t use dried)
1/2 tsp ground ginger (original uses 2 Tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger but I can’t afford that)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease muffin tins (I made 12 regular muffins and 12 mini muffins, orignal calls for 15 2-inch muffin cups).  Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt.  In a large bowl beat butter and sugars with electric mixer until fluffy.  Beat in yogurt, egg, orange peel, orange juice, and vanilla.  (Note: I zested my orange and then squeezed it for the juice.) Stir in flour mixture until just combined.  Fold in cranberries and ginger.

2.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.  Bake 20-25 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove and cool slightly.  Place on plate and glaze.  If you want, you can add some chopped walnuts or pecans, but I kind of abhor nuts in my bread, so that’s your call.

Orange Glaze: Combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. orange juice, and 1/2 tsp vanilla.  Stir in 2 Tbsp. melted butter and 1/2 tsp. shredded orange peel.  If too thin, add more sugar.  I like to pour it over the warm muffins.  Store leftovers in fridge and reheat for ten seconds in the microwave.

If you don’t want muffins, let me recommend the Caramel-Apple Coffee Cake from Southern Living.  It’s on page 112 if you still get pages you actually turn like I do.  It’s incredible.  You can also click here for the recipe.  Just know it makes way more than enough streusel and caramel toppings, so plan another use for those leftovers!

So here’s a picture of one thing we did today.  Gus is a really good junk sorter.  Pretty much everything behind him except that riding toy whose tail is sticking out and our hiking backpack will be donated somewhere soon.  And by “junk” I really mean perfectly useful items others will want and use but I don’t need.

Linked up with Carissa today.

miscellany monday at lowercase letters
31 Days to Embracing Motherhood · · monday · ramblings

31 Days Embracing Motherhood: the good, the bad, the ugly…

motherhood moments I embraced this weekend….and moments when Jesus embraced me and met our momentary needs….
knowing the ER doc at one in the morning on a friday night
impromptu alone time (well, just one baby) with my husband all weekend

when my mama buys my daughter shoes i really can’t afford right now
 and calls it early christmas
three half-pecks of apples waiting for apple butter, apple pie, apple cake and girls’ lunches
who knew they could go so far?
all the ingredients for dinner in the freezer or the pantry 
when the baby finally takes a nap that lasts longer than 45 minutes
homemade buttermilk biscuits and pear preserves

ibuprofen/tylenol/ibuprofen/tylenol every.4.hours.for.two.days
but it worked.
accidents in amelia’s panties…but at least she’s wearing panties

maybe someday i will be as cool as my mama and take my grandchildren
backpacking on the AT

so many g-diapers and i didn’t spend a dime (thanks Amy!)
the guilty feeling when i realize that i have elderly relatives right here who need me
and children who love to visit their greats so we will go more often

Leave a comment and tell me some moments you’ve embraced lately; let me know my words aren’t just going into the abyss 🙂

Linking up with  lowercase letters.
this post is part of my 31 Days series.  For all the other posts, go here.
1000 gifts · amelia · gus · · madelynne · monday · motherhood

When 365 Makes a 180

One year ago, I was trapped by the daunting realization of motherhood times four.
Today I gave up my early morning sleep to listen to that baby boy squeal all up and down his tenor range while attacking the bumper in his cradle.

One year ago, I forced joy at my daughter’s seventh birthday, and then cried in her daddy’s arms because now I would forever mark the day I first became a mother with the day I realized I didn’t think I could do it again.
Today we’re five days into being eight and a whole year into mothering four (because it all starts at conception) and she’s still the greatest teacher of grace I have.

One year ago, I was overwhelmed by the “I don’t haves” of financially-strapped stay-at-home life.
Today I revel in the moments I’m present for because I’m not heading out our door at breakneck speed to continue a life that gave us less than what we have now.

One year ago, either daddy or I read bedtime stories each night.
Last night, Madelynne read Jesus to him, Annabelle read Hop on Pop (my favorite Dr. Seuss) to anyone who was listening, and Amelia brought me Cat in the Hat to read to her and nursing Gus.

One year ago, I was finding joy in the small, silly moments of life with three daughters.
Now, I’m seeking joy everyday in the random, grace-filled moments of motherhood.

….baby Gus chewing his blankets
….the way his face lights up when I come in the room
….Amelia’s swirly hair that is the envy of all her aunts even when I haven’t brushed it in a couple of days
….Madelynne’s delight in having her own space
….the way Annabelle talks about her teachers, this year Mrs. B is the authority on everything
….trying to teach selflessness and failing and realizing that perhaps the best teacher will be the act itself, so today I’ll be calling the local soup kitchen and setting up to take the big girls to volunteer
….trying to get the Word into their heart and realizing I need to put more of it into my own first
….is it irony that the best view of the pre-dawn sky is out my bathroom window?
….regretting that I was so negative for so much of my pregnancy, but thankful that despite all my shortcomings, being honest and open about that struggle has blessed others whose story is similar
….so much joy in hearing of so many friends who are walking this journey of parenthood right along side us…especially my dear friend who isn’t facing a NICU on this go round but should deliver a healthy full-term baby boy soon!

Linking up with Miscellany Monday and A Holy Experience this morning.  Now it’s off to pour some cereal and tag some consignment.  Blessings!

monday · motherhood · school

What Three Weeks Can Bring

Three weeks is long enough.  Or short enough as the case may be.

I just spent three weeks as a sub over on the other side of the county at the middle school that was the arch rival for the place where I used to spend most hours of my day.

And after only three weeks, I am learning to embrace new notions about myself as an educator…but mostly I have discovered new ideas about myself as a mom.

Days move more quickly when you’re out the door with the sun and begging for bed instead of lingering over one more blog, one more episode on Netflix, one more cup of coffee.

Days are long enough, however, for those babies I left at home to change and grow and become when I’m not there to see it.

Did you know it only takes six days of preschool for a two year old to learn to sing the ABC song and that age-old classic about the bumblebee?

It only takes three weeks for a baby boy to outgrow my favorite sleeper with the zipper.

Over three weeks that same baby boy might cut a tooth.  Or two, prompting this mama to rummage for baby books to confirm that, yes, he is three months ahead of his sisters’ chomping timelines.

In three weeks sixth graders come to believe that the sub is their teacher and they look at me a little skeptically when I announce she’ll be back on Monday.

Three weeks can drain a checkbook when mama is too tired to cook and AWANA starts in less than an hour and dance got out late and McDonald’s is just too easy.

But not too good unless it’s a mocha frappe after a hard day’s work.

Three weeks taught this mama that planning is essential, menus are a necessity, and hands-free pumping can be achieved.

But it’s pumping nevertheless, and I’d rather just nurse.

Because three weeks taught me ultimately that I’d rather stay home than have a fancy house or a new car or a mocha frappe everyday.

Some things aren’t worth missing, even for only three weeks.

linking up with Carissa today…

miscellany monday at lowercase letters · monday

today’s monday again

amelia and kayden have emptied the toybox and put all the stuffed animals to sleep all over the house~there are dishes in the sink and too many loads of laundry for a monday~i still need to clean out the dress up trunk that’s been repurposed and figure out how the girls’ old dresser is going to fit in the nursery~in amelia’s room really because we don’t have a nursery~baby gus is getting a cradle in my room and a closet full of clothes~and diapers and wipes and personalized items from special friends
now there’s chalk dust all over my clean carpets~we ate at Zaxby’s last night because daddy is gone and i didn’t want to clean the kitchen again~as soon as we got home amelia dumped a glass of lemonade all over the floor~annabelle cleaned it up because she loves the swiffer with a wet cloth~amelia has started counting 1-2-3 and it’s the cutest thing~she also consented for the first time this weekend that gus was coming to live with us~hopefully he is coming soon~i’ve been crying uncontrollably for days because once i start i can’t stop~sometimes there’s a reason but usually not~i think i’m just overwhelmed with the idea that it’s almost over~too many mixed emotions for a monday~the garden has tiny green shoots of carrots and crisp lettuce leaves and maybe the frost didn’t kill all the tomatoes~we watered it from the girls’ kiddie pool today which makes me feel good about reuse of resources~over and over He reminds me that i am not in control~that messy is okay~that small is cozy~that love is unconditional~that kids aren’t perfect and neither am i~and now it’s naptime.
Linking up with Carissa too
because I love her Mondays
Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters