Scenes from Saturday + Crystals & Candyland

Even as the days blend together, we are settling into something resembling a routine and trying to make the best of it. With both Michelle and I on a lot of calls, we are letting serendipity and curiosity play a large part in the homeschooling effort. Yup, fancy way of saying we’re locking the girls in their rooms for a couple hours in the morning and afternoon. We make sure they are fed and watered first. I think they’ll be okay in the short-term.

We’re doing our best to follow the school’s suggestions but if they want to go down a three hour rabbit hole about how to make your own Cheetos or M&Ms (thanks Bon Appetit YouTube channel)…who am I to argue? I don’t think a parent should force their child to master anything but I do think it’s their job to help them discover the possibilities in life. After that it’s up to them.

Though if it’s going to involve the trombone, maybe wait for Dad to get off the phone. Continue Reading

Getting Started with Homebaked Bread & Pizza

If my text messages or website traffic are any indication, people are rediscovering, or at least trying, the joys (and some frustrations!) of baking homemade bread and pizza during the quarantine. Nothing could make me happier. I’m filling up my freezer with lots of anxiety baking. It might not help my waistline but it is helping my mental health during these strange times.

As a veteran home baker, here are my favorite links and resources to help you succeed in making your own homebaked bread or pizza. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + A Cul-de-Sac Concert

Was that Saturday? Time has become a little elastic. We took a break from all academics and work conference calls. Michelle might have snuck a few emails in, I can’t watch her 24/7. We needed it. The last week almost broke all of us. I believe it will get better. Humans are remarkably resilient but no amount of hot glue, glitter, or Netflix was going to help last week. As a person that really likes routines and daily goals, I had to get very comfortable that things were just not going to get done.

I will say I am happy that the girls get to see Michelle up close and personal at work. At this point, they are used to me working from home and I don’t really do much except push pixels around and occasionally raise my voice to developers that stray out of their lane and think they are designers. Michelle is way more important and I think it’s good for them to see her in this other role.

Kids are always watching and we should let them see us work, to show them what it takes to thrive in this world. We should want them to see us on the phone, sleeves pushed up, (virtually) surrounded by people who respect and depend on us. They see us at our private worst, they should also get to see us at our public best.

Just make sure you know how to work the mute button. Continue Reading

6 Common Types of Sugar & What They Do

Essential for baking, sugar goes way beyond just making things sweet. In combination with other recipe ingredients it performs many other essential functions in producing great tasting cookies, cakes, and other baked goods.

In its most basic form, sugar, refined from sugar beets and sugar cane, is almost 100% sucrose, a combination of two simple sugars: fructose and glucose.

When you understand the different types of sugar and how they behave in a recipe, you’ll become a better baker. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Day 2

Strange and interesting times, huh? That’s how we’re trying to pitch it to the girls after Ally woke up Thursday morning in a panic over not having Purell to take to school.

I sometimes worry that I complain too much about the kids here or what it costs (physically, mentally, emotionally) to try to be a good parent. But of course it’s totally worth the cost.

We pay a high price for these little monsters but we get so much in return.

And it’s not the vacation memories. Or the holidays. Or the dance recitals. Or any of the ‘big’ moments. It’s the ordinary moments: TV on the couch, playing in the yard, eating dinner together, even attending the (endless) shows.

And yes this is absolutely a pep talk for when the wine runs out on Thursday. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Cuts & Costumues

This week Cecilia created a set of flashcards to study for a social studies assessment. Not sure if I’m allowed to call it a test. Regardless, it might have been one of my proudest moments as a Dad and proof that the slow drip parenting method might pay off. I lived and breathed flash cards in school. If Michelle hasn’t found them yet and taken them to the transfer station, I’m sure there is at least one box of dog-eared index cards in the basement. I’ve been trying to get Ce to use them for years.

It would be nice if our kids just accepted our advice and could avoid all the pain and mistakes that led us to learn it in the first place but you quickly realize as a parent that this is not how it works. And, frustrating as it may be to watch them run head first into the wall, it’s probably for the best. To really learn, you have to really screw up. Best to do it when you’re young. A good parent lets them touch the hot stove. Rhetorically, of course.

But honestly, it would be easier if she had just made flash cards in the first place. Continue Reading