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 One

Typically I don’t involve my kids or husband too much in my baking or giving. Sure, I’ll mix a batch of chocolate chip cookies with the little one, or cry out for extra help when my hands are full of flour and the phone rings, but for this next round of giving I thought I’d get the whole gang fully involved. I am asking each person in this sweet family what bread they love. Then, we’ll bake it together, and they get to choose who to give it to–plus they do the giving. It’s the end of the school year, with summer just days away, and this change brings a little fun and laughter into an intense finishing-up time.

My daughter’s enthusiastic about most good things in life. She loves sweets, so when I asked what she’d like to bake, she didn’t say rosemary rolls. She said, “CINNAMON ROLLS.” She shouted soooo loudly I had to cover my ears. That happens with her.

We made a plan.


Give to Providence Hall teachers–the school where she now sings with the choir, and where she’ll be a freshman next year




At the school–one of the teacher’s room–not sure which one


Mix them Wednesday night, bake them Thursday morning. Give them fresh out of the oven at the staff meeting, 8am sharp


Cause she loves that school and all the teachers, and can’t wait to be there full time!


Bake first, drive second, run up the stairs third, figure out which room fourth, smile and hand over the goodies fifth

Problem was, being the extrovert that she is, she over-scheduled herself and the nighttime mix of the cinnamon rolls didn’t happen. I wasn’t about to bail her out and do it myself, so I didn’t.

Since I do like to schedule, I had already informed the recipients that the cinnamon rolls would be at the meeting. So, we had a problem. People hoping for cinnamon rolls, and no CINNAMON ROLLS!

A problem easily solved by her second favorite morning sweet,


We mixed up one batch of scones together at 7am, and she almost started to cry when she realized we were giving the whole batch away. (It was early…) She said, The whole point was so I could have CINNAMON ROLLS, and ….then…give some away!

She brightened up when I told her we were making another batch for the family when we returned.

We raced over to the school, and she sprinted inside and found the right room (Mr. Elwood’s). She said she felt EVERY adult eye on her when she walked in. And since she’s a stage-happy sort of girl, that’s something.

Then, we raced back home and made that second batch. They were good.

So, that’s it. Episode One.

Stay tuned…