Like many of you, I am often pressed for time. So I multitask. One Saturday morning, around 11am, I was cooking dinner for guests who would be coming for Bible study that evening. I was also doing miscellaneous household chores. Koah, our then five-year-old comes into the room and says, “I’m bored.”

Okay, let’s give you a quick bath and then you’ll be ready to go out and run errands later. In typical doing too-many-things fashion, while browning ground beef for chili I run upstairs and fill the tub about one-third full of warm water. I reach into the cabinet beneath the sink grab the Mr. Bubble Sensitive Skin and pour in a couple of squirts. “Koah! Come and get into the tub please.” Miss Independent says, “I can do it by myself mom.” So I say “good” to myself and go back downstairs to the sautéing meat.

I’m listening from the kitchen and I had asked our teenage son to listen out for her from the room next to the bathroom. It’s all good. Ten minutes later I think, let me grab Koah’s clothes and get her out and dressed. I knock on the door, open it and see suds everywhere. They’re on the floor. The shower curtain. The walls. The kid. Yikes!

I immediately look behind me. I messed up. I forgot to re-latch the child safety lock on the cabinet doors. Ai-yi-yi… This has happened before, but not to this degree. The last time, Koah was chided for adding soap to the bath water she said “I was so tempted. The Mr. Bubble is so good, so much fun. You better remember to lock those doors, mom.” I vowed to lock them from then on.

This time I am not happy. “Ko-wah. You know that you are not supposed to add more bubble bath to the bath water. I already told you this.” Torn between the glee of 3 feet of bubbles and the guilt of disobedience she says, “I’m sorry.” Then starts to tear up. My guilty parent conscience speaks up, “It’s your own fault. You should have reset the lock.” The regular me thinks, “Thank God there are no heavy-duty cleaning products under the sink, only bath bubbles and bath time crayons, baby wipes, and a few magazines.”

Koah - After the fact...

I catch myself and try to keep this negative parenting moment from becoming worse than it already is. “Did you have fun?” I ask. Koah cracks a smile and says “Yes!” It was obvious she was a having a blast because she was swirling the water around like a washing machine when I opened the door. “It’s okay, I’m not mad. It did look like fun. But what are you going to do when the temptation of something else is that strong? Are you going to do the wrong thing?”

Before she can answer, Mrs. Guilty-Parent-Conscience resurfaces and says “like the temptation of multi-tasking more than you should.” Hmmm. She has a point.

There are times when I suffer so much from the desire to get more and more done, that I end up enjoying life less and less. Rather than cooking on a different floor than Koah, maybe I could have sat on the floor outside of the bathroom with the laptop and worked on my next blog or planned the menu for the upcoming week. I could have folded laundry in her room, which is right down the hall.

Being close by might not have prevented the suds situation, but if I weren’t in such a harried state of mind, I might have remembered to re-lock that child safety device. (Parenthetically I must say, as long as the parent remembers to engage it, the Cabinet Slide Lock by Safety 1st, works really well.)

Safety 1st Cabinet Slide Lock

So, fellow home-istas, we probably have to multi-task sometimes, but we definitely plan our multiple activities carefully and wisely. That way the dual tasking helps us be a few steps ahead, rather than several steps behind.

Hugs-

Home-ista, Kelly

P.S. I never left my kiddos in the bathtub alone when they were young, not even for a minute. That is an absolute no-no, but you already know this, and will behave accordingly.

P.S. P.S. The ground beef came out fine, it was simmering on a very low cooking temperature, throughout the whole bathroom adventure.

Short-Cake

April 11, 2012

I love dessert. I know it is not typically healthy, but I do love a delicious taste of sweetness every now and again.

For the past several weeks, I’ve seen juicy ripe strawberries in all of the groceries stores where I shop – Whole Foods, Jungle Jim’s, Meijer, Kroger, Remke-Biggs… (Okay, I guess it is evident that I am somewhat of a food snob –now that I’ve admitted that I shop at so many places.)

The following is a fairly healthy dessert that features strawberries served over a home-made shortcake that is light and biscuit like rather than spongy like the ones available in the produce aisle.

In addition to the strawberries, I usually offer macerated oranges for an unexpected twist. It is a great dessert for spring and summer dining. I saw the original recipe in Cooking Light Magazine.

Shortcake Ingredients:

1/3 Cup “Softened” Butter (Equals 51/3 Tablespoons/pats)

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour

1/2 Cup Oat Flour or Brown Rice Flour (It you don’t have either, use All Purpose)

1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon Salt

3/4 Cup Milk

1/4 teaspoon Almond Abstract

2 Egg Whites

1/8 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1 Tablespoon of Turbinado Sugar or Sugar in the Raw

Fruit:

2 Quarts Sliced Fresh Strawberries

2/3 Cup Sugar

4 Large Oranges, Peeled and Sectioned

1/2 Cup Sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.

Next wash two quarts of fresh ripe strawberries. Remove the hulls and then slice each strawberry into thin sections. Gently place the thin slices into a non-metal bowl. Pour the 2/3 cup of sugar over the strawberries and gently stir. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and let sit for at least 30 minutes. The strawberries and sugar will become a delicious syrupy topping.  (You can add more or less sugar depending on your taste and the sweetness of the berries.)

Start sectioning each unpeeled orange by slicing the top and bottom off. Then following the curve of the fruit, remove the peel with a knife from top to bottom, a couple of inches at a time. Once the peel is off, place the orange on its side and cut between the membranes to get a juicy wedge. Go around the orange doing the same for each section. Whenever I do this, I feel like a real chef, because it really does make the orange wedges easier to eat and they look prettier too. Place the oranges in a non-reactive bowl and stir in the sugar, just like you did for the strawberries. Let them sit for at least a half an hour.

Place the butter that you have allowed to sit until soft into a stand mixer or large bowl. Mix on medium for a few minutes, then add 1/2 cup sugar and cream together until light and fluffy.

Stir the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) together in a medium bowl. To create a smooth cake, alternately add and mix in the dry ingredients and milk. I usually add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar. Mix for two minutes. Then add and mix in half of the milk. I repeat by add one-third of the flour mixture, then the balance of the milk, followed by the last third of the flour mixture. Stir in the almond extract. The extract really adds a unique flavor that taste like cherries to me.

In a small bowl beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and 2 tablespoons of sugar until the eggs form stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Pour the finished batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the pan with the tablespoon of raw sugar. This will give a sparkle to the short-cake when it is done.

Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

I serve this as a pie wedged slice topped with strawberries or oranges. And of course a dollop of fresh whipped cream makes everything taste better.

Yummeh!

Home-ista Kelly

P.S. I typically add a whole grain flour to my all-purpose flour. I’ve been told this can increase the nutrition and most people think the desserts, cookies, pancakes etc, actually taste better.

For many people around the world, the week leading up to Easter is a time of reflection and great meaning. Last year, I felt of bit of conviction that I didn’t have any noticeable displays to herald the season, like I typically do for CHRISTmas.

Hmmm… didn’t the birth that we celebrate at CHRISTmas happen specifically to enable the Resurrection commemorated at Easter?

I almost felt a sense of lament that I did nothing to acknowledge Easter.

And then God gave me a simple idea that gave me peace and joy. A few days before Good Friday, I bought several yards of tulle netting. I arranged it along our staircase like garland the Thursday night before Good Friday. I choose red to symbolize the sacrifice that Jesus had made on cross. It was a reminder of His love and His obedience, even unto death.

It was simple, inexpensive, and easy to do. Yet, it was immensely important to me. My kids asked why I did it and I explained that I just wanted to acknowledge Christ and His meaning our lives. They said they liked it.

So at the risk of sounding like I have it all together, because you and I both know that I DON’T – I am praying to start a revolution of people who do “Holy Week” decorating for their homes and businesses.

“Dear Lord, we praise You because You are gracious and kind and merciful. We are thankful for countless blessings. We are most grateful for the incredible gift of salvation. During this upcoming week, may the hearts of your people be more closely knitted to Yours and may we glorify You in all we do, even in decorating our homes to celebrate this season. In the Name of the Risen Christ we pray. Amen.

May you feel the gravity and joy of this season…

Home-ista Kelly

P.S. Bunny rabbits of any kind are NOT what I’m talking about.

P.S.P.S. You could use white tulle, to represent the purity believers have because of Christ’s work on the cross, or purple silk on a door wreath to show allegiance to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Reader Becky Keating shared how she adorned her dining area for Passion week. Thanks for sharing.

Becky’s Adornment for Easter