Musings on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is particularly poignant this year as I’m basking in the warm rays of new motherhood. Clara still carries the newborn look about her, and utters those precious little squeaks while fast asleep and produces content coos when engaged face to face.

The wonder of her birth and arrival is still fresh in my memory, but fresher still is loss, as last Friday, at the age of 91, my grandmother passed away peacefully.

Today my mum will be marking her first Mother’s Day without her own mother, Baba to us grandchildren, and Babka to Clara. This isn’t meant to be sad (I believe it was my Baba’s time, however difficult it was to hear of her passing),  but more of an observation of the passing of generations. It’s only natural to contemplate the seasons of motherhood when the eldest in the family tree leaves this earth within weeks of the arrival of the youngest little girl.

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Easter Brunch Recipe Round-Up

Easter brunch around my table usually means warm madeleines or scones, freshly-made fruit juice, and platters of eggs, potatoes and new asparagus. Young tulips are a must for dressing up the table, and if we can afford to splurge on a bottle of Prosecco to splash in the juice, we do.

It is my one chance to entertain on the long weekend, as we always head to the in-laws for the official Easter dinner, and I relish the opportunity to serve up a casual meal that gives a nod to spring. If I’m lucky, it will be warm enough this year to eat al fresco and the children can run around the yard while we kick back after the meal with coffees.

My brunch menu typically leans more toward breakfast fare than lunch simply because I’m a mother to young children – and they’ll eat anything doused in maple syrup. Okay, I’m kidding a bit, but if you’re a mother, you’ll probably agree that it is a lot easier to get a table of picky palates revved up over pancakes and scrambled eggs than a mushroom tart or asparagus soufflé.

These menu ideas are a mixture of dead simple and slightly more elaborate recipes. Hopefully you’ll find inspiration to take a risk and plan your own Easter (or spring) brunch.

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Easter Pavlovas with Lemon Whipped Cream and Vanilla-Rhubarb Compote

Written by Cheri of Kitchen Simplicity.

Pavlovas are a perfect Easter dessert for so many reasons. 1) The majority of the work can be done a couple of days before serving. 2) You can make individual servings or one large dessert. 3) You can top it with whatever variety of toppings you like – or even serve it buffet style with a variety of toppings and everyone can customize their own.

For these Easter pavlovas I decided to embrace spring head on. I spread the mini pavlovas into egg shapes and topped them with a bright lemon whipped cream and a tart vanilla-rhubarb compote. If you prefer something more traditional you can form these into a round shape to resemble an Easter basket instead.

Pavlovas might look and sound intimidating but they’re really quite simple to make. Follow the tips below for extra assurance of success.

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Tips for a Simple Birthday Party for Kids

Seeing I’m at the 9-month pregnancy mark, I had no choice but to keep my Mateo’s birthday party very simple this year. Skipping a party was out of the question, as he was turning 4 and very much aware that his big day was coming up. He’s also our leap year baby, so the fact that this was his first ‘official’ birthday made it all the more special.

Birthday parties can be fun, inexpensive, and not overly complicated – an approach that fit the bill for me on this particular birthday. There were a few steps I took to simplifying the party, which I’ll share below. (A quick poll I took on Facebook showed that many of you were interested to hear how it went, so, voila!)

Just a quick note first, though. I seldom write about my children’s birthday parties because I find them a bit of a ‘hot topic’. Everyone has an opinion on the subject: must-have’s, do’s and don’ts, and the many expectations.

If you ask me, there are no cut and dried rules on how much sugar to serve, if there will be gifts or no gifts, goodie bags, Disney themes or hired clowns. I think just as every child is unique (and every budget, for that matter), no one should tell you how to customize your child’s party. So, no judging. Zilch!

In my home, I try to make the day as memorable as possible for the birthday boy, even if it means bending the whole foods/sustainable living/seasonal eating rules a bit. The parties are homemade, thoughtful, and we have a great time. What more is there?

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Ringing in the New Year with Kids (Recipe: Pomegranate Sparklers)

The standard New Year’s Eve depiction features fancy parties, champagne toasts, and fretting about who is going to pucker up with you. But for those of us with small children, ringing in the new year often comes long before midnight. However, despite early bedtimes, you can still make the turning of the calendar a special event at home.

On Monday, Aimée shared many ideas for entertaining on New Year’s with ease. Those parties can easily be adapted for a family event, but for a more kid-focused bash, it’s the perfect opportunity to create a special evening interwoven with learning and discovery.

From ocean to ocean, each country celebrates the coming new year in a different way. Incorporating traditions from other cultures will amp up the fun and spark curiosity – and who knows, perhaps you’ll decide to continue a few of those traditions next year! [Read more…]