Tag Archives: bread

Snow Day (Part 1)

I could post pictures of a white-blanketed landscape that undulates with curves where once there were well-defined edges, but that was not what we did on this first of at least two snow days. Although there would not have been school on Saturday, it will still be a snow day because other plans have been snowed out, and there will just be a lot of snow around.

Friday could more easily be described as Carb Day. We baked bread and made pancakes. We even invited our downstairs neighbors up for a pancake dinner. It was lovely to share a meal with them, and it also helped to distract the usual craziness of dinnertime. During bath, I scooped some snow off the windowsills and plopped it in the bath for the kids. This was our snow contact for the day. We did spend hours watching the plows and snow clearing efforts that will be invisible by tomorrow morning.

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Fresh Bread

A few days ago, I decided to load up the bread maker and crank out a loaf. When the final beep sounded, I opened up the lid to see what looked like a volcanic landscape–not the smooth loaf I was expecting. It turns out, after testing again, that the mixer is not mixing. The heater does a fine job of heating the liquid and melting the butter, but there is no mixing, and that makes for a hardened lump of stratified ingredients.

On the second test, I pulled the ingredients after the bread maker did not work, dumped them in a mixer. I let the dough rise, beat it down, let it rise again, and then stuck it in the oven. We all enjoyed fresh, warm bread for dinner.

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Recently, my son started showing severe frustration with the normal eating routine. My brilliant wife handed him the slice of bread from which she was breaking pieces, and he happily attempted to bite off pieces with a fairly good success rate. The issue, however, was that he got way too much bread in his mouth at one time. For the last few days, I have been cutting his bread into strips to limit the volume ingested at any point but to still give him the feeling of control over the process. This seems to have worked out well, for the time being.

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Food for Thought

Making sushi today for kids' snack.

Two very different items that fall under the “Food for Thought” title:

Item 1:

healthful 10 grain bread from Arnold:

whole wheat flour, unbleached enriched wheat flour[flour, malted barley flour, reduced iron, niacin, thiamin mononitrate (Vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid], water, wheat gluten, wheat fiber, yeast, sugar, cellulose fiber, inulin (chickory root fiber), polydextrose, sunflower seeds, wheat, rye, molasses, wheat protein isolate, salt, ground corn, cultured dextrose and maltodextrin (a natural preservative), raisin juice concentrate, buckweat, datem, monoglycerides, brown rice, oats, triticale, citric acid, barley, flaxseed, millet, calcium sulfate, grain vinegar, stevia extract (a natural sweetener), soy lecithin, calcium carbonate, nuts [walnuts and/or hazelnuts(filberts) and/or almonds], rice protein, whey, soy flour, nonfat milk.

Bread I baked today:

Bread flour, water, whole wheat flour, molasses, butter, salt, oats, yeast

I particularly like the cellulose fiber in the first list. Cardboard? Also cultured dextrose and maltodextrin being the natural preservatives.

Item 2:

On another front, I recently passed this article on to faculty at my school. I really liked it not just because it critiqued the massive marketing that is happening around the Lorax movie, but it also critiques the book, something I had not really done before. It jumped out at me again as I bought a new bottle of Seventh Gen dish soap.


Filed under Commercialization, Food

Parent Helper

I had the chance, again, to be the parent helper for the morning at my daughter’s preschool. I love the chance to see her interacting in the school setting even though I am sure my presence affects how she acts. I like getting to know the other kids better. Now my daughter’s stories about her day have much more context having seen and interacted with the children in her class.

I was fairly tired from bowling last night and then helping my wife process an item on her plate. I was jazzed and frazzled, so I frittered many hours just calming down. On short rest, working with twelve 3 year-olds is something of a challenge, but it just reaffirms my appreciation for the teachers who do this day in and day out.

One of the parent helper jobs is to bring and set up the morning snack. Today, I brought cherry tomatoes, green grapes, bananas, carrots, and fresh baked bread from the breadmaker this morning. I thought the trays of food were a beautiful rainbow of colors. There were no complaints about not having crackers or some other more processed food, and the bread was gobbled up quickly. I am really enjoying the recipe with which I am currently playing. Molasses and oatmeal are the main deviations from the original instructions, and the result is a more moist and aromatic loaf.

I am amazingly fortunate to be able to spend such a large amount of time during my children’s early years just being with them. There are times I am more aware of this, and today was one of them.

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Those Are Pliers, and Those Are Channel Locks

This evening, my daughter and I did quite a few chores around the house as my wife, her father, and my son went off to do some grocery shopping. The first thing we did was set up the bread maker to bake a new loaf. She carefully measured out and poured flour, whole wheat flour, a sprinkle of a whole grain hot cereal, salt, yeast, water, butter, and molasses into the bread pan. The only one I had major assistance on was the molasses. We spent quite a bit of time getting the right amount of water. This involved teaching her how to read the two cup liquid measure. She filled it to the brim and then poured out microscopic drops, checking between each one, until she had one cup. I also taught her how to scoop and level the flour. Periodically through the rest of the evening, she asked to look through the breadmaker window to see what was happening; this was especially interesting when the paddle was mixing the dough.

We then worked on fixing the gates that keep my son from wandering into the kitchen unattended and hurting himself on the myriad unchildproofed drawers, tools, and appliances. One gate had become loose from the repeated opening by adults and shaking/swinging upon by children. The gate has never stayed open, so we rigged a magnet attached to a handle that will catch the gate and keep it open when we need it to stay that way. We then turned the other gate around to allow a door to more fully close.

Lastly, we went upstairs and used hex wrenches to tighten all the bolts on her bed and my son’s crib. Both pieces of furniture get their fair share of shaking, pushing, and knocking about. I noticed both were getting a little wobbly, so my daughter identified which size wrench to use, inserted it into the bolt head, and turned it to tighten each bolt. When she grunted and put her effort into it, she got them pretty tight, too.

It is a high priority of mine to have my daughter and my son very comfortable around tools. I want them to know which tools to choose for which projects, how to use those tools safely, and how to take care of the tools, as well.

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Filed under activities, Chores, Gender

Goal Priorities

Today is one of those all-day-with-the-kids kinds of days. My son is working through the cold my daughter had, and I now am feeling it. Some good friends and neighbors had a hospital visit and need some support, so their daughter came over this afternoon and played with my daughter. We made bread, a now regular routine in the house, and even made tacos together. She and my daughter spent a lot of time in the play room having fun and distributing all of the toys evenly on every horizontal surface.

With classical music playing and a cider in hand, I am reflecting on the day. I did a lot of errands and chores. I played with both kids and our neighbor’s kid. The feeling that I did not accomplish anything major is tied to other goals like cleaning up my office, writing a novel, exercising (though we did walk to the grocery store and back), and the many other things that sit and molder on my idealistic to-do list.

The important thing is for me to reframe the day and realize it is the actualization of my most profound goal–being a dad. That was what today was all about, and in that I really succeeded.  

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