I’m going to share a memory with you. When I was a kid, and we’d be in the car for a family drive I remember my mom would, without warning, reach her hand into the backseat and briefly hold my foot, give it a little squeeze, and then move on to my siblings’ feet. I don’t think I’ve ever told her this, but I loved when she did that. It was nothing, and it was everything. I do it now to my own kids, and it usually goes along with me asking, “Where’s my Cammie? Where’s my Wessie?” Sometimes Cameron doesn’t want me to hold his foot because he’s fiery and a redhead. Wesley will always because he’s 3. He has even started requesting it, and if I’m driving on the highway I usually say no and then have to listen to his screams until I’m able to reach back and make it right. I know they probably see this as nothing, just a simple squeeze that might make them smile or giggle, but in time I hope that one day they’ll see it for what it really is–everything. Here, I made you some pumpkin whoopie pies. Continue reading →
I come from a family of gardeners. Each member was born with a green thumb except for me.
My parents have created a beautiful, floral oasis in their backyard in which they work laboriously on during the spring, summer, and fall months. It’s a place where the squirrels, chipmunks, and birds are well fed, the grass is never parched, and the grand kids are always loud.
On one Thanksgiving morning, my brother enthusiastically tried to show me how I could fix up my lawn. I stuck around for five minutes and then snuck away while he continued to happily work for the next 3 hours. I was happy too—happy not to be out there raking.
My sister grows beautiful vegetables in her garden (I’m talking supermarket quality here), and uses them to create fresh, vibrant colored salads. She also teaches a dirt class to children at her local farm, she keeps compost (I don’t know what that means), and once received a large container of live worms as a Christmas present and seemed ecstatic about it. She gave me an aloe plant once because she said aloe plants are hard to kill. I killed it.
When I started to bake my own bread I began to understand the satisfaction a gardener must feel when growing and tending to their garden. Bread baking involves feeding yeast, using your hands, watching dough grow, practicing patience, and enjoying the rewards from your labor. Best of all, you’ll never have to come across a weird, earthy bug during the process. Let’s bake honey and lemon wheat bread. Continue reading →
My Summer Vacation
By Liz W.
My summer vacation was the best summer vacation since 1986. There was so much fun to be had and I had it. I watched an amazing 4th of July fireworks display in the pouring rain. I danced late into the night with my girlfriend while wearing neon sunglasses. I watched in horror and awe as my 6 year old son jumped from a 10 foot high dive. I counted new freckles on my arms, and watch old freckles darken each day on my face. I worried about skin cancer. I read one book after another. The last one being Amor Towels’ Rules of Civility, which left me in tears. I emailed Amor Towels about being his number one fan. I never heard back from Amor Towels. I put my tiny, 3 year old son on a school bus to camp every morning, and waved furiously as it drove away. I drank vodka martinis, and Kir. I watched my house get messier and messier. I went to the New Jersey State Fair and waved furiously as the Corn Princess rode past me in a Cinderella-inspired carriage. I jogged so much that I got shin splints. I celebrated being married to Aron for 10 years. I told my kids we’d have a kick-ass lemonade stand, but never got around to it. I vacationed with my entire family on a lake in the Poconos, and we talked about politics so loudly every morning that our neighbors heard us, and I suspect, disagreed with our views. I got a reading from a psychic and she told me to start meditating, and so I’ve started meditating because she told me to. And finally, a friend and I went through a secret door in a payphone to drink my first, but not last, Old Fashioned. The summer of ’86 has nothing on you, summer of ’16! I’m going to make you chocolate bowls filled with Nutella cake and Kahlua whipped cream. Continue reading →
Last month a friend of mine asked me if I could make a dozen Oreo cupcakes for her daughter’s 10th birthday. I said yes immediately because I’ve never eaten an Oreo cupcake before, and imagined how pretty spectacular it could taste. That particular weekend was a busy one with a big “Family Day” celebration (a weekend-long, awesome block party of sorts), so before I put my party dress on, and shined up my wine glass I set out with determination to bake the yummiest Oreo Cupcakes ever. Long story short, it was a damn good cupcake (a moist vanilla cake baked over a whole Oreo cookie, and topped with Oreo buttercream), but that is not what stands out in my mind from that weekend. It was my friend’s daughter who left an impact on me. She was the one who answered the door when I was dropping off the cupcakes. She looked down at them in silence, and then looked me right in the eyes and said squarely, “You’re talented.” The baker in me felt instant relief, and the middle-schooler in me screamed with giddiness, “I’ve been accepted!” The next thing I know we were fist-bumping each other as if it were a completely normal occurrence between the two of us. I did make an explosion sound when our hands made contact, which is unfortunate (stay back, goofy mom! I’m climbing the ranks of preteen society here!). I asked her what her birthday plans were, and she told me that she and her friends were going to see the new Ghostbusters film and then head home to celebrate being 10. As soon as I found myself wishing I were invited to this party I quickly made my exit. Later that night while I drank wine and chatted with my adult friends I thought about that very confident, and very kind 10 year old girl. I hoped that she was having wonderful birthday party, I hoped she enjoyed her Oreo Cupcakes as much as I enjoyed baking them, and I hoped that one day I would grow up to become as cool as she is. Continue reading →