Tomorrow is a big day for my niece (and her family); it’s the first day of Kindergarten! Earlier today we did things the almost-kindergartener likes to do: make bead crowns, read books, eat bread and jam, play library, shuck corn, pick raspberries, chase butterflies, and draw on the sidewalk. This little wonder has more heart and energy than she knows what to do with, and I am proud to be her aunt. She cannot wait for school, and we cannot wait to see what is in her future.
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Last weekend I was privileged to join a special group of kids to celebrate my nephew’s ninth birthday, Italian soccer style. My sister put together a delicious pasta bar and festive cupcakes to match the theme. The evening ended with backyard soccer and ice cream cones! I became an aunt the morning he was born, and my heart has been growing bigger every day since. I wish so many things for him, including a life that continues to be filled with love and laughter.
On a Sunday afternoon visit to a rural one room schoolhouse, on the opposite end of the county from where my great-grandmother taught a century ago, I thought about how we learn, where we learn, and why we learn. I also thought about how fortunate I was/still am to be surrounded by a family of public educators. That legacy of a lifelong love of learning is not something I take lightly.
Deviled eggs: one tasty dish that I associate with the return of Spring. I first remember eating them at my grandma’s house for Easter dinner, then as part of the potlucks during Memorial Day and Fourth of July cook-outs. It never occurred to me why my deviled eggs never tasted like those that I remembered eating at family gatherings. I had been following, what I thought were, fairly standard deviled egg recipes; they all included some sort of mustard. It turns out that the deviled eggs I grew up to love only had three ingredients — eggs, sugar and “salad dressing” (a sprinkling of smoked paprika was my addition). I learned this fact when I made deviled eggs with my mom this past Easter, her way. She turned to her recipe box and pulled out an index card describing her mom’s recipe. We laughed at the spelling of the title, and she told me, “I typed this recipe card the day before I left for college.” Slightly sweet and simply egg-creamy. Now I look back at these photos and think of the promise of Spring and the comforts of home.
A helpful resource: 5 Secrets to Perfectly Hard-Boiled Eggs – thank you, Design Mom.
A few weeks ago I was in Manhattan for a quick research trip with my mom (though all researchers know that there is no such thing as quick research). It was snowing when we flew into the city at midnight, and despite cool temperatures, there were signs of spring throughout the city. These photos were taken nearby Central Park South. Sculpture by Olaf Breuning.
I’ll admit that I was not thrilled with the idea that my niece chose a prefab Cinderella castle kit from the store for our annual gingerbread session this year. She loves to bake and is now old enough to see the project through from scratch. I was looking forward to designing our own charming chalet or creative candy cottage a la Hansel and Gretel. In the end, the gingerbread castle we put together from the kit still allowed for unique touches. My favorite parts are the mice dancing on the roof and the alien-looking snowmen with the blue eyes (all from the brain of the sweet five-year-old). I need to remember that these activities are, above all, about togetherness and that the outcome will inevitably be as unique and fabulous as the individuals involved.