Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter

We talked about Easter in the car with Sylvia today. Because of her age, I didn't want to delve too much into the full Bible story, so we focused on the day as a celebration of God's love, of life, of spring, of new beginnings. I have never felt that sentiment more than this Easter day.

Easter bunnies
From April 4 until April 19, someone in our family has had a stomach virus (we now know it was norovirus). D. was hit the hardest and had a relapse; Sylvia had it the longest and also relapsed (she only went 4 days of 14 with no stomach issues). Thankfully, Amelia and I only had mild, temporary symptoms. But basically, for over two weeks, we've been anti-social, rather inactive, and in low spirits.

On Maundy Thursday, it was clear that things with Sylvia had taken a turn for the worse, as she had basically just given up. Out of energy and just so tired of being sick, she got behind on drinking and eating and just couldn't make up for it. Worried about dehydration, our pediatrician sent us to the hospital -- or first time to ever take one of our children. Two kids had gone in the day before with Sylvia's same symptoms, had been given IVs, and had stayed overnight. So I packed a bag, arranged for Amelia's care, and drove us to our first hospital stay.

Perhaps it was the excitement of going on an adventure of sorts. Perhaps it was fear of the impending needle, which I had tried to describe to her. Or perhaps it was the dull hour we had to kill waiting in the room. In any case, Sylvia quickly downed three glasses of water and Powerade before the first doctor saw us. Though my description of her condition had everyone quite concerned, the examinations showed she was no longer dehydrated. We stayed a few hours for observation, then made the call to come home. She was drinking again, her attitude was vastly improved, and I could see that she was again my bright and lovely child.

She spent Good Friday still sick and having to deal with my endless admonitions to drink. On Easter Saturday, though, she awoke in better spirits than I'd seen in weeks, her body seemed to be working again, and we decided to let her spend the day with cousins. We kept a close watch on her, but it really felt like we were out of the woods. Finally.

So Easter morning was indeed, for us, a new beginning, an end to the darkness*. After two long weeks, we are healthy and well.  After long days of bland meals and cancelled plans, we had feasts and celebrations. After several days of grey rain, it is sunny and beautiful, and we can actually get out to enjoy it.

Easter was indeed joyful in our home. I hope you all were able to experience the joy of Easter as well. Also, remember to wash your hands.



*This blog was a bit hard to write because I sound overly dramatic. Yes, this was a hard time for my family, but relative to the struggles some of my dearest friends are now going through, our hardship was minor at best. That said, I hope my friends are seeing the Easter joy in their lives. One had a baby at just 28 weeks, but that little girl has survived through the most difficult parts and is making healthy strides every day. Another friend, a mother of three, was just diagnosed with cancer, but she found it so early that her prognosis is very positive, and her attitude about it all is amazing.
It's easy to see the suffering around us, but it can be tricky to stop and see the turning points when things get better. Easter reminds us that such turning points exist. So whether the struggles are minor or all-consuming, they will take a turn for the better. And I give thanks for those moments.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Skillet Cookie, aka Skookie

My daughter turned 4 1/2 today (which she'll tell anyone who asks her age). Also, my husband was very kind even after Amelia kept me awake off and on from 3:30-4:30 a.m. before deciding to get up for the day at 5 a.m. Finally, D. capped off his big day by removing five spider egg sacs from our front porch. This day called for a celebration/food reward. I searched Pinterest for something easy and special, and low and behold -- I felt the day had come to try a skillet cookie (known to aficionados, apparently, as a skookie).

Problem: the skillet cookie was so easy, so quick, and so very tasty, I might start making them regularly. This past weekend, I actually Pinned a paleo version (called a pizookie: pizza + cookie) here, but that's not what I made today. Today, it was a full-out treat, and one that will be repeated often.

I'm posting the recipe because I changed it slightly from the one I found online. Next time, I'll add 1/2 cup of toasted walnuts.

Way-Too-Easy, Way-Too-Tasty Chocolate-Chip Skillet Cookie


1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teas vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teas baking soda
1/4 teas kosher salt
1 cup chocolate chips (darker is better)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter in an 8" cast iron skillet set over medium-low heat. Stir in sugars and vanilla and remove from heat. Let the skillet rest until no longer very hot (about 5 minutes). While it's cooling, mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
Crack an egg onto the butter and sugar mixture, and use a fork to whisk it well into the mixture. Add the flour mixture and carefully stir until flour disappears and the dough is dark tan and smooth. Stir in chocolate chunks and spread around pan if needed.
Put skillet in oven and cook for 15 minutes, or until it turns golden on the top and around the edges. Don't overcook -- slightly gooey is best.
For total decadence, serve with vanilla ice cream.