Monday, February 20, 2012

Love in a loaf pan

Today, being a holiday, Jeremy and I were both at home. Jeremy took Jack to Chicago's Chinatown for an adventure (dim sum at Triple Crown, a very child-friendly restaurant), while I took Jossie to her first-ever class, a music class at Bubbles Academy. I was pleasantly surprised to see we had the same teacher Jack and I had four years ago.  My baby girl was so serious - she quietly watched the other crawlers, their parents and the teacher strumming her guitar. She even sighed at one point. When one little boy got too close, I assured his mother that Jossie would be fine - she has a big brother at home, after all. And...then Jossie dissolved into tears.

But eventually, she got into it, especially when they blasted recorded music from the speakers. She literally shook her diapered booty as she crawled across the carpeted room toward the kiddie maracas. And I know she's mine, but she is a sweetie little charmer, smiling at the other parents and the teacher (the kids have no interest to her, currently).

I ate up the experience. I'm pretty sure I was the only non-first-time mom in the room, and I looked back fondly at my early parenting days there four years ago, with an infant Jack, trying to figure out which end was up...if I needed to be friends with the fellow moms and if Jack was getting out of the class what he needed to learn. Now, it's all good - whatever works. I sang out-of-tune to Jossie, and we played gleefully with toys during the open play time. I laughed with the teacher at the end when she admitted she forgot the words to one of the songs - I don't think anyone - diapered or not - noticed.

I did a supermarket sweep at Whole Foods afterwards. My shopping trips are usually confined to the evenings once the kids are in bed, so it was nice to have Jossie with me. I knew our time was short since Jossie was nearing naptime, so I hustled. Though at one point, I just stopped and looked at my girl. I don't mean to paint her as so serious, but there she sat in her little light-pink, puffy coat zipped up, with her seat belt around her in the grocery cart seat. She was quiet, intently looking at me, her brow furrowed and her arms slightly out because her coat was so puffy. It was a mothering moment - I could have laughed or cried - I love her with every inch of my being.


I love being at home with my kids. I also love knowing that I'll be going to work tomorrow to a job I care about. I put a tired Jossie down for her nap at home, put away the groceries and took over Jack duties from Jeremy, who needed to go into the office. Jack and I baked one of our favorite quick breads - zucchini bread, my hallmark - the stuff of blue ribbons at the Ohio State Fair.

This recipe comes from my mom's beloved Aunt Shirley. My mom made a pretty big tweak to it (adding in the salt) and I added the applesauce. This recipe is why food is so special - it's love on a plate, passed down through the family tree.

Zucchini bread
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
2 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Grated by hand.
Beat eggs.  Add sugar and blend well. Add oil, applesauce and vanilla.  Add zucchini. Mix together.  Sift together dry ingredients.  Gradually add to wet ingredients.  Stir in nuts.

Bake in 2 greased and floured medium loaf pans at 350 degrees F for 55 to 60 minutes.

If I bake you one of these, it's because I love you
or I want something from you.

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