Family Giving :: Episode Three

My littlest is, undoubtedly, my best and most willing baking apprentice, and giver.

John Ronan is now five and a half, and he likes to move his body, and have guests over, and sing all the songs the big kids are singing (like U2 and Taylor Swift, and The Script, oh, my…). I’d say his very favorite activity is either filling and throwing water balloons, or building water pipeways with the set of PVC irrigation pipes we purchased for him from the hardware store.

So here’s how Episode Three played out.


We didn’t get to this question first. I asked, but there was no answer. Then I asked again, and he said he didn’t want to give the loaves to ANYONE. That he could easily eat both loaves of pumpkin bread. There was a lot of haggling and prompting and prying and even sermonizing at that point from yours truly… But we did negotiate a recipient: Mia and Noe, two of the cutest girls on the block.

Good thinking, my little man…


PUMPKIN BREAD! (My kids are certainly enthusiastic about what they like.)


Around the corner to our cute neighbors… who have chickens, and guinea pigs and clown fish and figs, and little meandering pathways that take you under trees hung with glass lanterns.


I want to bake the pumpkin bread, NOW!


What’s not to like about Mia and Noe? Plus, when they’re away, we get to walk over to their house at night with flashlights and lock the chickens in their coop. That is so cool–not to mention so fun! Who wouldn’t want to give the owners of these chickens pumpkin bread?!!!


John Ronan likes to get all the ingredients out and measure. He only likes to crack the eggs, though, then I get to split them and put them into the bowl.  He likes to stir things around, for approximately three nano seconds, and then I do the rest. It’s a pretty fair partnership.

Pumpkin bread is so easy. We whipped it all together in no time, though I realized I had very little canola oil, so had to replace it with grapeseed oil. Did you know that grapeseed oil is a beautiful green color?

While the bread was baking, John Ronan and Madeleine wrestled.

And then we set off to Mia, and Noe’s house. I already told you about their sweet yard. They also have quince, and an enormous avocado tree, and grapes growing from an arbor. It’s like a mini wonderland.

But John Ronan was grumpy because I made him wear his rainboots instead of going barefoot.

Love that face, grumpy and all. He is so very smoochable!

I coaxed the grumps out of him by the time we got around the corner,

and then he set off at a run.

We visited for a few moments, even went back and said hello to the chickens, and John Ronan made the amazing discovery that they like to eat grass! Oh, the simple discoveries!!! He was thrilled. We ended up heading home with two fresh eggs…

That’s Episode Three. One installment to go–and it’ll be my husband, who has been working on his baking and giving plan for two weeks now.

More soon!

Family Giving :: Episode Two

Andrew is 16, going on 17. He’s my first born–the first child we sang to sleep, and taught to swim, and marveled at as his voice changed. We love him so terribly much it’s crazy.

He’s a studious sort of fellow. I’ll find him late at night peering through some history book, and when I ask him if he’s getting his homework done he’ll say, “Oh, already did that. I was just curious about…”

Anyway, it’d take forever to really introduce you to that boy. Like any child, like any young man, he’s filled with dreams, and hopes, and talents, and stories. Especially stories. He wants to be a writer.

And he and his sister (the sister from Episode One) are exactly opposite in so many ways, except for this. When I asked Andrew what he wanted to bake with me–to then give away–he shouted, (quite loudly) CINNAMON ROLLS! Wow, my cinnamon rolls must be good. So, we decided which night to begin the process and you know what happened? Too much homework.

He, however, didn’t want to settle for scones, and I, again, wasn’t about to bail him out and mix sweet dough on my own. So we waited.

The next night, right after dinner, we cleaned the dishes together and got to work. Music goes hand in hand with manual labor in our home, so I told him to choose a playlist. He blasted some of his moody music, hefted ingredients out of the cupboard, and I started measuring. He cracked the eggs, and almost put in three tablespoons of yeast–but I yelled loudly over the music and we got that fixed. I heated the milk, he measured out the salt., etc… Good times.

The dough was rising and we made our plan.


Give to first period classmates and teacher, all who have to endure pre-calculus early in the morning!






Mix them Wednesday night, bake them Thursday morning. Give them fresh out of the oven–maybe even share with the carpool kids since they’ll have to sit and smell them all the way to school…


School’s almost out and he won’t see these folks for months. Plus, in order to survive pre-calculus, you have to form a certain cinnamon-roll-kind-of-bond…


Measure, mix, sing, knead, sing, wait. Flatten, sing, roll, sing, cut,

sing, put in the fridge.

Sleep. Wake up. Turn on the music, sing, heat the oven, sing, bake.

And out the door he went, a whole pan of cinnamon rolls in his possession, still singing on the way out.

And did he come home with the pan? Nope.

But, he did say that the cinnamon rolls were well received. That he enjoyed baking with me so much, that he’d even do it again!

So, that’s a miracle,


that’s Episode Two.

Only two more family members to go (since the fish doesn’t count).