February Already!!

 

I can’t believe February is here already!  January is always a month of recovery from the craziness that December brings (three birthdays in our house, Christmas and several other family birthdays), but not this year!  This year, I hit the ground running and started another dream team with my fabulous writing teacher, Christina Katz (www.christinakatz.com).

Writing classes started last week and they are stretching me to become a better writer.  In one class, we are currently focusing on memoir writing and that has been incredibly draining.  I see potential there, but it is definitely draining.

The thing I am most excited about is that my work is getting published.  And not just getting published, but CONSISTENTLY.  Last month Oregon Family ran one of my pieces and this month I am featured in both Westchester Parent and Parenting Plus magazine.

I am thrilled to finally see results in my writing again.  I know that hard work pays off and I am working harder than ever to keep it paying off!

Homemade Cream of Crab Soup

cream_of_crab_soupToday was a half day of school for the big girls.  Generally Madison chooses to eat lunch at home on these days so I decided to do something special for her.  I made cream of crab soup.  It was amazing.  I looked around online and saw some recipes, but none of them was what I was looking for.  I combined a few different recipes to make mine and I hope you all will have the opportunity to enjoy it as well!

 

Mama Beth’s Cream of Crab Soup

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 medium onion finely minced
  • ¼ c. butter
  • ½ c. sherry
  • 1 lb crabmeat
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. old bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp. parsley
  • 1 tsp. flour*
  • 4 c. heavy cream and 2 c. milk or 6 c. half and half*

*If you choose to use half and half instead of the cream, increase the amount of flour to 1 ½ tsp.

Instructions:

  1. Add the butter and minced onion to the pan over medium heat.  Stir often to prevent burning.  Cook until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the sherry to the pan and reduce by about half.
  3. Add crab meat to the pan and cook until the meat is warmed through.
  4. Add the salt, pepper, old bay and parsley to the pan.  Add the flour and mix in thoroughly.  Cook until it comes to a simmer.
  5. Pour in the milk and cream (or half and half) and stir.
  6. Simmer on medium low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Serve with bread or crackers.

For a PDF of this recipe visit: Mama Beths Cream of Crab Soup

Taming Entitlement

Grace's "stormcloud" face.

My Gracie girl has tendency to pout when she doesn’t get her way. But she’s learning!

Today, an epidemic threatens American children.  Encouraged by parents who fret over their supposed delicateness more than they challenge their inherent strength, these children may be doomed to remain children forever.  Where sixty years ago, the greatest generation overcame the odds and pulled themselves up by their bootstraps after the Great Depression, kids today show signs of becoming generation “me.”

A few years ago as I sat folding laundry for four for the first time, I woke up to this stark reality.  I realized that I was not empowering my daughters to become the successful adults I know they can be.  Instead, I coddled them in a childlike state where, I realized, I kind of wanted them to remain.  That isn’t REALLY what I wanted for them, but in the moment, it was what felt good.  To care for them and protect them.  To do nice things for them.  To give of myself for the people I love.  These actions in and of themselves are not detrimental, but the day can easily come when, in doing these things, we deprive our children of their independence.

I realized that it was time for me to rethink how I approach parenting.  There are so many things that I want my children to be, do and have but I can’t do it for them.  They need the skills to do it themselves. It starts with being appreciative of what we have so that our children will be appreciative of what they have.  None of us is perfect, but we can all do better.

What is one way you are working to tame entitlement in your children?

Tuesdays with Mama: Recipe Edition Sin-amon Rolls

Cinnamon RollsThese cinnamon rolls are amazing.  In my community, I’m sort of the cinnamon roll queen.  And it’s awesome.

I try not to make them too often.  Otherwise they might not be as special.  I adore these cinnamon rolls and I have made them on multiple occasions for teacher breakfasts, pot luck brunches and other gatherings.

I hope you enjoy!

Mama Beth’s Sin-Amon Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart Whole Milk
  • 1 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 packets Active Dry Yeast
  • 8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • Melted Butter (I usually wind up using more than I should.  Start with 2 sticks.  You’ll get the idea)
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 bag Powdered Sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/4 cup Melted Butter
  • 1- 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt

7-8 disposable aluminum pie pans

 Instructions for Dough: 

For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Set aside and cool to a warm temperature.

Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.

Add 8 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine.

Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (Note: dough is easier to work with if it’s been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.)

 Assembly Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan/bowl. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin.

To make the filling, pour 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter. Don’t be afraid to drizzle on more butter or more sugar! Gooey is the goal.

Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. Don’t worry if the filling oozes as you work; that just means the rolls are going to be divine. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down. When you’re finished, you’ll wind up with one long buttery, cinnamony, sugary, gooey log.

Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife; make 1/2-inch slices. One “log “will produce 20 to 25 rolls.

Pour a couple of teaspoons of melted butter into disposable foil cake pans and swirl to coat. Place the sliced rolls into round pie pans. This recipe makes about 7 pans worth of rolls.  Be careful not to overcrowd. (Each pan will hold 7 to 9 rolls.)

Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans.

Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking.

Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.

While the rolls are baking, make the cream cheese icing:

In a large bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the icing. Whisk until very smooth. Taste and add in more vanilla, sugar, butter, or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. The icing should be somewhat thick but still pourable.

Remove pans from the oven. Immediately drizzle icing over the top. Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top. As they sit, the rolls will absorb some of the icing’s moisture and flavor.

For a pdf of this recipe click here: Sin-Amon Rolls

Turn around twice…

Today already seems to be fraught with emotional time bombs and eggshells that need to be carefully navigated. This morning has already included explosive arguments with two people who are important to my life and couple that with the lack of sleep I’ve had the last few days and anyone would understand why I’m ready to throw in the towel before the clock even strikes 8.

But I can’t. And I won’t.

I have four little people who count on me and they need a Mama who is present physically and emotionally. When they’re grumpy or having a rough day, I stand them up, turn them around twice and tell them that it is time to start the day over. Sometimes it works on the first try, but we keep on going until they chandler their attitude. Generally resulting in laughs and giggles.

So I am going to post this and then I’m going to stand up, turn around twice and start this day over with a better attitude.

Because I can.

Sunday Funday?

ImageToday was the most beautiful  day we have had here in a while.  Since it’s tax season and I’m not brave, I didn’t do what I wanted to do and pack the kids up for a spontaneous trip to the National Zoo.  Instead, we scooped up my nephew and the I took the five kids over to a local park near a beautiful pond.

The day was perfect for playing on the jungle gym, the baby was content and smiling and we had several hours before we had anywhere to be.  Not two minutes after we got to the park, my nephew came over complaining that he was “exhausted” and couldn’t possibly play on the equipment.  My son, trying to be like his big cousin, also joined Bella and me on the bench complaining of being tired.

This wasn’t looking good.  Continue reading

Birthday, Baseball and Me

So I was up until midnight last night. First I couldn’t find my purse and then I was searching high and low for baseball tickets for game I’m not even going to. But Madison is, so they had to be found. Not surprisingly they were in the last place that I would have possibly looked for them.

So at about 10 o’clock last night I was settling in to go to bed when I remembered the birthday party that Gracie and Michael are supposed to be going to today. I had no idea what time it was supposed to start and no clue where the invitation was. It was too late to call the birthday mom, but let’s be real… my pride wasn’t going to let me do that anyway.

After another two hours of searching every bag I own, I found it. The kids will be going to their party and I feel kind of ridiculous.

But you know what? At the end of it all, I’m pretty proud of myself for not giving up. Oh yeah, and my purses are cleaned out too!

And we’re off to buy a gift for the birthday girl.