Winter break ended in much the same way it started, with a birthday party. I wrap the memories with a bow around all the remembered feelings of gratitude and utter happiness for the bonds of friendship I am so lucky to have. Birthdays are the beads on our malas and rosaries that are shiny and bright; larger than usual size and of a familiar, yet spectacular, texture. They beg to not be passed over without pause and celebration.
This winter break ended and I was honored looking back on all the wonder of these past days, months and realizing ours is the space friends and family chose time and time again to celebrate at. Humbled is a good word too since truly all we provide is cake and some conversation, and yet they keep coming, keep calling, keep wanting to share their most special moments in our presence. So to sum it up... break was good.
Sterling died last year on February 29th. Even though that date was nonexistent this year, I missed her and I got angry at myself for considering the date some sort of "anniversary" and then crying over it. Why do we do such things to ourselves? I do not want to celebrate anniversaries of death, rather memories of life and not on a designated day, but this year my mind had other plans. There was that birthday cake though, and friends remember? You see, my friends have my back as much as I have theirs. Don't be thinking it's any other way.
During our time at home, Bear firmly fell in love with Robin Hood: it nicely complements his developing interest in knights and castles and his aim with the bow is getting better such that the dogs don't cringe if an arrow (dull and without a true tip, but still!) wizes by.
Huckle was neutered. That's all I'll write about that. He also doesn't respond well to Jedi mind tricks since no amount of influence could convince him that standing on the glass roof to see inside the living room was probably not a great idea. A bowl of oatmeal got him back inside and settled comfortably around his stitches.
About that oatmeal!!!! I followed up on all the accolades I was reading online and packed up some homemade instant oatmeal packets. OH WOW! We are oatmeal eaters here, I usually make a big pot of it or use the crock pot, but dear Champ most prefers instant oatmeal and he had taken to buying packets to take to school over the winter. Well, since I perpetually mess with his food choices, it was inevitable I'd tackle oatmeal. The verdict is: even if Champ decides to stick with store bought (it's fine honey darling), the boys and I are going to have some of these packets on hand for quick breakfasts or snacks because they are so darn yummy!
I began with the basic instant oatmeal recipe from here and then tweaked it just a bit with: organic instant oats and by using both brown and coconut sugar. I did go with a version of instant creamer because I wanted to see how the recipe would play out, but in the future I might at least switch to instant milk to keep some of those pesky preservatives out. It made a little over 20 generously filled packets which I then flavored individually. Some ideas came from here, but mostly I just used what I had on hand in my cupboards since all manners of spices and dried fruits will work. In the end, I made:
apple cinnamon (dried apples and a sprinkle of cinnamon)
cinnamon roll (raisins, ground pecans, 1/4t cinnamon per packet, sprinkle of vanilla powder. *If you don't have vanilla powder, you could use vanilla extract or vanilla sugar.*)
cranberry orange (cranberries, orange zest, a drop of fiori di sicilia)
strawberry banana (dried strawberries and bananas, sprinkle of vanilla sugar)
Enjoy the day by having an unbirthday party complete with cake and oatmeal. Be sure to invite your friends.