half birthdays

Monday, January 30, 2012

5 1/2 birthday

This time of the year is proving to be a birthday celebration time. In addition to Little Miss' birthday, and Mike's birthday, it is also Mini Mister's half birthday. Mini Mister's school celebrates half birthdays for those who were born during the summer months. It really is quite a wonderful and very special celebration at school.

Parents and siblings are invited into the classroom. We created a poster displaying photos for each year, and one extra at birth. For each year, parents describe to the class what Mini Mister was like. He was a very active baby, always deconstructing his environment. He picked the scholarly pencil at his Tol, traditional Korean first birthday. He liked to play with cars when he was two and started pre-school when he was three years old. At four years old he started to play with friends, read books, and he got a new baby brother when he turned five.

After each year, the birthday child takes the planet earth and walks once around the sun, symbolizing all the days he has been alive. At the end we light the candle in the sun, sing happy birthday and he blows out the candle. Then he gets to pick two friends to share his birthday snack with and his little sister got to share too.

After a late-night cupcake making session, a middle-of-the-night baby waking, and an early rise, I was still able to enjoy the celebration, even if a bit still asleep.

Fairy Tea Party!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Party Color Palette

If you are four years old, or are going to be four, you might want a tea-party! Fashioned by this mama, it means, vintage linens, tiny tea-cups small enough for those dainty four-year-old fingers, fairy-wings and wands, and an extra special sweet menu.

If you are a mama out there with car-pooling issues, school activities, summer-camp director duties, and three other family birthdays to worry about all in the same week...you might ask, how? Take is slow. And start planning before Santa even thinks about venturing south of his polar abode.

A couple peeks. Here and more later. So that I can remember what I am planning since my "can't-think-because-7-month-old-is-teething-and-waking-during-the-night" brain isn't working well at the moment.

If you love it, if designing, creating, baking, and crafting is your passion, there is always time in the day, in the busy schedule to sneak in a bit of creativity.

Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gluten Free Linzer Cookies

Finally, some headway in this gluten-free kitchen!
This linzer cookie recipe is adapted to be gluten-free. (It also is nut free as linzer heart cookies typically have almond flour in them and these do not.) These cookies are crisp and they stay crisp. The dough is super floppy and needs to be very well chilled before rolling out and cutting. But for someone who can never again eat the real thing, these are pretty good. 

I like mine with tea.

Gluten Free Linzer Cookies
Whisk together:
2 1/2 C gluten-free flour mix (recipe below.)
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t xanthan gum
1/4 t salt
Beat on medium speed in stand mixer with paddle attachment until well blended:
6 T unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
Add and beat until well combined:
1/2 C light corn syrup
2 t vanilla extract

Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until well blended and smooth. Dough will be rather stiff. Divide the dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic and chill for 1 hour or more. 

Preheat oven 350 degrees F. 
Lightly dust parchment paper cut to size of cookie tray, or a silapad with gluten-free flour mix and roll out chilled dough to 1/4". Cut with cutters, and cut smaller window shapes in half of the cookies. Peel away the surrounding dough to leave the cut outs remain on the paper or pad. Slide paper or pad onto cookie tray and bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned. Slide paper or pad off tray and let cookies cool on paper or pad on a wire rack.  Roll out and cut remaining dough, dusting lightly with gluten-free flour to prevent sticking and returning dough to the refrigerator as needed if the mixture becomes too soft for cutting.

Assemble cookies when they are completely cooled. 
1/4 C strawberry jelly
10x sugar (optional)
Warm strawberry jelly in microwave for 10 seconds or until just warm. Mix with spoon or spatula until all lumps dissolve and mixture is smooth. Apply to large round cookie and top with "window" cookie so that the jam peeks through. Dust lightly with 10x sugar (powdered sugar) if desired. 

Makes...don't know...about 2 doz or so...depends on how large you make them. Store in air tight container for up to three days at room temperature.

Flour mixture is from Living Without:
Whisk together:
2 1/4 C brown rice flour
1/4 C potato starch
2/3 C tapioca starch
3/4 C sweet rice flour
1/3 C cornstarch

Keep floating to the top

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Letting go is all that I seem to do these days. Let go of perfection. Let go of deadlines, and cleanliness. Let go of nerves, let go of dinner, and let go of me-time. Let go of self, let go of sleep. Power on, power in, and power up.

It is a balance I tell you. A balance, I hope to keep a journal of here. For me. And a bit for you. I am inspired by so much. I am turned off by even more. Perhaps in an ideal world that will turn around. I have so many dreams, wishes and desires. And I also have so many fears, anxieties, and feelings of doubt.

Maybe mulling them over. Keeping track of the good ones here on this blog is a good idea. You know, the ones that keep rising to the top of the pot, like pasta done cooking. I think those are bound to be the ones to keep close. To remember. To reflect upon. To tweak, and to make my own. That is life. Letting go. Examining closely. Picking carefully. And sometimes, not so carefully. And keeping the ones that keep floating to the top. Go with those and hopefully, we'll all get to that place we were always meant to be.
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