Saturday, July 28, 2012

Canadian Sunset

We've been touring to various local nature spots almost every evening this past month or so. Here's the sunset over the Ottawa River from last night's adventure.
Who needs to get away when home is so beautiful?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Microwave Coffee Cake

I believe this recipe originated in an old cookbook on microwave cooking (likely titled Microwave Cooking). From what I remember of it, I believe the book must have come out when microwaves were first becoming popular and its whole thrust seemed to be to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that a microwave can cook anything better. Period. This is the only recipe that I thought was good enough to write down but I think it was worth looking through the book to find it. I think, at least in this recipe, it made a pretty good effort towards serving a microwave's strong-points while hiding its short-comings. One major problem with baking in a microwave, to me, is in the final appearance of the baked goods. Because of the manner of its heat-source there is no lovely golden-brown crust formed. The cookbook in this recipe at least overcomes this aesthetic difficulty by compensating with a delicious sugar and cinnamon (and cocao. mmm) crumble topping. I wouldn't say that this is the greatest coffee cake recipe out there but it does work well when I want to make a passable one quickly and conveniently. For the past few months our oven has not been working. However, when the urge to bake came over me a few days ago I thankfully remembered this recipe and decided to try it out again. I actually halved the recipe and baked it in a margarine container and it turned out pretty well. I think I should have reduced the cooking time a little more than I did because the middle was a little over-done but it was still quite enjoyable and satisfied my cravings. Sorry the picture and presentation are both sub-par but I will assure you that my over-all rating of the recipe is rather high.
Microwave Coffee Cake: Mix: 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 Tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt. Make a well in centre of dry ingredients. Mix 2 eggs (beaten), 1/2 cup cooking oil, 1/2 cup milk. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until moist. Pour into greased 8" dish (not metal!). Mix 2 Tablespoons flour, 1 Tablespoon cinnamon, 1 Tablespoon cocao, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter and sprinkle on top of batter. Microwave high 5-7 minutes (turning half-way if you have no turn-table). Cool 15 minutes (it's molten hot when it comes out and also needs to sit to finish cooking through). (optionally) Mix 3/4 cup icing sugar and 1 Tablespoon milk and drizzle over the top. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Birdsfoot Trefoil

Usually one can expect Trefoil to be a uniform lemon-yellow flower but occasionally I have seen it with tinges of red and orange.
I came across a whole clump this colour and had to take a picture. I wonder if the drought conditions and stress have something to do with the change. The strange thing was that the one darker clump was surrounded by other clumps that were all the usual bright yellow. Whatever the reason for it, I think it's beautiful.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A summer evening's cleaning

"Hey Dad! What's that?"
"May I help?"
"Ahh. Now that's more like it."
*note how not even underwear will stay at his waist

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Evening light may spoil pictures but it can also make them more interesting. We've been heading down fairly regularly to see the ducks after James gets home from work and finally, a few nights ago,
I brought the camera.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Puddin' Face Logan

Well, to be accurate it isn't chocolate pudding but fudge sauce from a sundae that's all over his face. He got it on his forehead by stuffing his face in the cup in which it was served to attempt to drink the last little bits of melted ice cream and sauce. Yes, he takes after me in his love of chocolate and of ice cream. I also plead guilty to being the one to blame when he tries to lick out his plate or bowl. If there is one bad habit to pass down I actually don't mind that being it. I'm sure that isn't the only bad habit or trait he will (more likely already has) get from me but it's the one to which I most freely admit.

free-range children

As soon as I think I have anything to do with raising my child, he jumps far ahead of where I figured he would be all on his own. For example: every night I had been putting him to bed by lying down with him until he fell asleep. I knew I would have to change this in the next half-year or so but was not looking forward to figuring out how to make the break. We have very thin walls (technically speaking it's the ceiling) so I have tried never to have Logan cry in the bedroom because I don't want to disturb our neighbours. So letting him figure out how to sleep on his own (as is often the advice given these days) seemed out of the question. Then one day about a month ago now, I believe, he simply wanted to go in his own bed when it was time to sleep. I put him in it expecting him to be up and wanting back with me but all he did was touch my hand a few times and went straight to sleep all on his own! From then on he has always gone to sleep in his own bed and there have been no problems at all! So much for 'sleep training'! The second example has been happening over the past couple weeks. For a while now Logan has shown various signs of awareness and control concerning his bodily functions so we got a potty and informally set it up and talked about it a bit and let him roam around without a diaper for bits of time. A few days after getting the potty he actually peed in it but it was hard to tell if it was intentional or a fluke. So we kept up the conversation about it but didn't push anything. He has also, like most kids, I believe, enjoyed accompanying us into the bathroom and observed with interest what goes on. So one Saturday morning after a particularly stinky diaper I let him run around without a diaper for a while to air out. He then accompanied James into to bathroom and I could see him standing beside the toilet just watching at first but then changing his stance to copy his Dad. I thought this was cute but thought nothing more of it. However, about ten minutes later James called me softly to come look at something and there was Logan standing over his potty and peeing into it! His aim was a little off but he was certainly trying to get it in! Maybe we're just weird or maybe we're just parents (or maybe that comes to the same thing) but we took a picture of the resulting success and over-spray. I think it's cute, anyway. Since then he has been completely successful at running around here and going when he needs to. I have never had to ask him if he needs to or remind him to go.
I know that these things are steps and that there will be steps backwards also but what both these things point to in my mind is a reminder that although I may think that certain things are the result of good parenting, I am not in control of nearly as much as I may think I am. Broadening the idea a little, I think this can work both ways: we can take too much credit or we can blame ourselves too much over so many details of life. But that's all I have time to write for now because my independent free-range child also wants to be cuddled some times!