Rhubarb Muffins

I made some very yummy rhubarb muffins today. The kids even liked them. The recipe is an altered version of a recipe in Muffins by Elizabeth Alston:

1 1/2 cups diced fresh rhubarb
2 cups flour ( I used part all purpose and part stone ground whole wheat)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons Strawberry Jam (or a little more if you want)
1 cup milk
4 Tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 375. Greece or line muffin cups, the recipe makes about 14 regular size muffins. I use one mini-muffin pan, and then put the rest of the batter in a little loaf pan.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. In another bowl whisk egg, sugar and jelly until smooth. Whisk in milk, butter and vanilla. Then stir in rhubarb. then poor wet over dry and fold together. Fill muffin cups and cook for 20-30 minutes and turn out on a rack to cool.

Yum.

Mary’s First Day of School

She walks away...

She walks away...

 

Mary listening to her teacher

Mary listening to her teacher

Mary lining up to go in to school

Mary lining up to go in to school

My little girl started school today.  She was so excited to start school and could hardly wait.  She enjoyed the whole first week and is excited to go back next week for week number two.   Anya, Stephen and I will miss her a lot but I think Mary will really enjoy herself.   I am glad she is only going for three days a week though.  After going round and round and round we picked a school and so far I feel we made the right decision. Her teacher did a wonderful job at helping the kids get used to school this week and has worked at communicating with us nervous parents as well.   I was so thankful to see the e-mails she sent home and that she took the time to write a letter explaining how things worked in the classroom. Mary did great but Anya and I were sad to see Mary go.   Grandma (my mom) came along to help and gave Anya two rocks which helped cheer Anya up a bit.   Anya cried when Mary went into school and said “I want to just go tell her one thing. Who is going to play games with me.”  It was sad but really sweet too.   I feel so happy that they have such a close relationship.

Anya after Mary went into school with her rocks

Anya after Mary went into school with her rocks

Stephen just because he is cute

Stephen just because he is cute

Stephen can Slide

Our CSA

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. We have been trying to buy more local foods. We joined a CSA and we get a basket of vegetables each week. Sometimes I have to get creative to use everything and I have been learning about different vegetables. We got the biggest head of lettuce I had ever seen one week.

Anya with lettuce

Anya with lettuce

Pillowcase dresses

I am a novice seamstress, but I found a tutorial on-line of how to make pillowcase dresses.  I had made them before from fabric but this was my first attempt actually making them out of pillowcases.  I had some pillowcases that were “reversible” and so I made some matching sun dresses for the girls.

Our Vacation

 Seems I have been so busy enjoying the summer that I have not had time to write about it.  The month of August is flying by.  We started it off by going on vacation at Harold’s Resort on Spider Lake up near Traverse City.  Well lets just say “Resort” was a bit of a stretch.  Spider lake was beautiful and the girls loved the beach but it was a bit more rustic than expected.  That said we did enjoy ourselves overall and we were blown away by the beauty of the area.  Most of the pictures are on my dear husbands camera so I’ll have to wait to get those.  We met a very nice family who were staying in cabin number one.  They invited us out on the boat they rented.  They also let me use some of their cleaning wipes to clean up the cabin when we first arrived.  I think both of our families where a little in shock upon seeing our cabins.  OK, just the parents were a bit in shock the kids were happy as clams, except for Stephen.  He was a bit sad the whole trip as he slept poorly and had just learned to walk but given where we were he could not really practice his new walking as much as he would have liked.  He also had a bit of a fall on our first day there so that is why he has a cut under his nose.  The girls on the other hand had so much fun.  At one point Mary commented they were having “too much fun”.

Independence Day in the Midwest

Yesterday I experienced my first fourth of July in the midwest. It was great. We had a really fun day with the children. At one point Anya commented it was “the best day in the world”. We started out with the Ada parade, the kids got free face painting and were so excited that people threw candy at them. Then we went to the festivities on the village green. They had free rides and things for the kids. Also some arts and crafts. On our way to the parade we stopped to chat with a woman and she told us her home is always open if we needed anything for the kids.

Later we drove to another nearby town, East Grand Rapids and looked out on our beautiful Reeds lake, watched the boats and the girls got to jump in the blow up jump things as part of their fourth of July celebration. The weather was so beautiful and the family friendliness of the area never ceases to amaze me. We went to get ice cream at our favorite little soft serve place attached to a gas station.

Today we went out to swim at a lake near Rockford. Mary and Anya had a lot of fun and little Stephen stayed on shore and had fun with Daddy. I tried to swim a few laps out to the buoy and back but realized my triathlon days are a distant memory.  However,  I have hopes of getting fit again someday soon bit by bit and I did manage to swim three laps without drowning.

So maybe, western Michigan is not as “progressive” as some places.  Maybe, some even think of it as a backward place.  However, I think it really is a great place and a pretty laid back place.  I think more companies should consider relocating to Grand Rapids as it has a great art scene, cheap housing costs, great neighborhoods and is a great place to live overall.