Wednesday, September 12, 2012

9/11 According to Claire

"So Mom," said Claire as we arrived at her school this morning. "Mrs. Cram told us yesterday about something."
"Oh, yeah?"
"Yeah, it happened 20 years ago..."
"Well, sweetie, it actually happened 11 years ago."
"Okay, 11 years ago. There were these two towers, and some bad guys crashed a plane into them. The bad guys took over the plane and crashed it into the towers. And this happened in St. Paul."
"No, honey, it happened in New York City and in Washington, D.C."
"Washington, D.C.? That's near where I was born."
"That's right."
We were at school by then, and so the conversation had to end. I'm interested to know what else she learned about 9/11, and how she interprets what she's learned. I'll have to remember to tell her to ask her dad to show her and Natalie his piece of rubble from the attack on the Pentagon. I'm sure the girls will find that fascinating, if not really understand the whole meaning of it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

School, Muffins, and Natalie's Stories

Claire started school this past Tuesday. She is the only kindergartner at Trinity Lutheran School, North Morristown, but she doesn't care in the slightest. She was so excited to start school, so she could learn things like Alair.
For the first day of school, I decided to do like Anna (the housekeeper) in the Betsy-Tacy series, who always makes muffins for breakfast on the first day. I made King Arthur Flour's Chocolate Breakfast Muffins

2/3 cup (2 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa
1 3/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 cups (9 3/8 ounces) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/2 cup (4 ounces, 1 stick) butter, melted
coarse pearl sugar, for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. Set aside.

In a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and vinegar. Add the wet ingredients, along with the melted butter, to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend; there's no need to beat these muffins, just make sure everything is well-combined.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin; the cups will be heaped with batter, and the muffin will bake into a "mushroom" shape. Sprinkle with pearl sugar, if desired.

Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven, and after 5 minutes remove them from the pan, allowing them to cool for about 15 minutes on a rack before peeling off the muffin papers or silicone cups. Yield: 12 muffins.
We've enjoyed the muffins each day this week, and I do want to make first-day muffins a yearly tradition.

I was somewhat concerned about Natalie's reaction to being left at day care while Claire started school. That was a waste of energy. Natalie is doing just great. She's now able to come out from her sister's shadow and let her own personality come out. She is an enthusiastic storyteller who has a 3-year-old's tendency to blend fantasy and reality. She chatters to anyone who will listen (fortunately for her, almost all of the adults in her life DO listen) about all her doings each day. My dad will chuckle and tell me that she's the most fascinating child. 

We now have bedtime on school nights at 7:30. Growing (and learning) girls need lots of sleep, and so far, Claire can't be bothered to have her quiet time in the afternoon. There's too much to do! Evenings are still kind of tricky, with tired and cranky girls adjusting to our new routine, but I figure that will improve over the next few weeks.