The start of November and this weekend Mother Nature thought it was Spring. Only for a short while though - she has well and truly conjured up Autumn today. But back to the weekend, and what an incredible two days it was. Whole days spent outside, golden leaves raining down, the warmth of the sun on our faces. It was wonderful.
But before the weekend came along it was Friday. Friday morning is the one time in the week that gives me a quiet, empty house all to myself. A quiet, empty house in which I can sit down at my computer and WRITE. Last Friday morning, however, was also the annual open morning at the children's school, so that threw a spanner in the works writing-wise. No matter, though. I enjoy watching S and N doing their thing, so I forfeited my writing morning and went to their school instead.
My first stop was daughter N's class, where I watched beloved Miss. C start the day with morning prayer, songs, and talk about the days of the week and months of the year. Next, she addressed the seasons. "What season are we in now, children?" she asked, to which she received an enthusiastic show of hands. Everyone agreed it was Autumn (you can tell because the trees are shedding their leaves, and there are loads of fat spiders in huge webs and beautiful conkers to be found). This lead to Miss. C's magic box. It turns out Miss C has a magic box from which she conjures up some mystery object every Friday. This time she opened it to reveal a (crochet, hand puppet) snail which she slipped on her finger. "Now how did this little fellow get in there?" she asked mysteriously, wiggling her snail finger at the class.
"It crawled in there!" one child exclaimed.
"It was put there by magic!" another one called out.
Then N put up her hand. "I think you put it there," she said matter-of-factly, whilst I shifted awkwardly in my seat wishing she would play along.
"Yeees, I suppose I did put it there," Miss C replied somewhat sheepishly. After allowing Snail to slither to parts of her body which the children had to name, it was time to discuss a picture on the Smart Board. It showed two children sheltering from the rain under an umbrella. The picture led to the theme of protection.
"The umbrella is protecting the children from the rain," Miss C said, after which she invited one of the boys to come and stand next to her.
"In what way do you sometimes feel protected?" she asked him.
"Well, like this," he said, wrapping his arms around himself, to which he added, "N does that. She protects me when I'm not feeling well."
"N protects me sometimes too, when I've hurt myself or when I'm feeling sad," another child added excitedly.
"Yes, N is good at that, isn't she," Miss C said kindly.
There was no shifting awkwardly in my seat this time. This time I was beaming. My daughter the caretaker, the nurturer. Just like her brother.
Speaking of which: S had his first ever evening party. A Halloween party, organised by our tennis club. After playing tennis dressed up as ghouls, the kids ate pancakes and played games. They were given a funny looking lollypop to take home, attached to the foot in the picture below. He came home at 8 p.m., grinning from ear to ear.
"You must be very tired," I said as I was helping him to bed.
"What about me?!" N called from her bedroom rather exasperatedly. "Do you know how tired I am after a long day of school with eighteen children in my class to look after?!"
Now that's my girl.
One of the nicest comfort foods is a good old brownie. I don't make them too often because I can't keep my hands off them. Last week, however, I couldn't resist making a batch, this time using coconut flour. They turned out surprisingly well, though I must say they are cakey rather than fudgy. There's also a slight crunch to them due to the high level of fibre in coconut flour, which some may like and others may not. (I like.)
adapted from The Healthy Coconut Flour Cookbook by Erica Kerwien
55g coconut flour, sifted
40g unsweetened cocoa powder
0,5 teaspoon (fine sea) salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
160ml maple syrup
75g butter, melted
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- preheat oven 180 degrees Celsius
- line a brownie pan (about 20cm by 20cm) with parchment paper
- whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda
- in a separate bowl mix eggs, maple syrup, butter, milk, and vanilla until well blended
- add the wet to the dry and blend well (I use a hand mixer)
- bake 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean; be careful not to overbake