Babysaurus in the Kitchen :: Apple Cinnamon Crescent Rolls

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At our house, the best way to celebrate the rare mid-week work holiday is with a slow morning and a special breakfast treat.

Norah A. Babysaurus loves to “cook” and she never wastes an opportunity to push a chair up to the counter so she can stand next to me and help with whatever I’m trying to whip up, generally by swiping ingredients for her own concoctions, dancing on the counter, or putting all the cooking utensils in her mouth. And also telling me to stop whatever it is I’m doing because it’s all wrong. Today was no exception.

But unlike, say, a veggie stir fry, Apple Cinnamon Crescent Rolls are a perfect baking project for the two-year-olds among us. As long as you or someone you love do/does not have an irrational fear of opening pop-open biscuits, this recipe really doesn’t get much simpler. Or nummier.

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APPLE CINNAMON CRESCENT ROLLS

You’ll need:

1 can pop-open crescent rolls
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon, or however much the toddler wishes to dump in
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 large apple, sliced thin

You’ll do:

* denotes Little Kid-friendly steps

1. Preheat the oven according to the crescent roll package directions.

*2. Combine 1/4 cup softened butter or margarine, 1/4 cup light brown sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves in a small bowl. Mix well.

3. Open the crescent roll package, or have someone you love do it for you while you dash out of the room plugging your ears with your fingers and also holding your breath for some inexplicable reason. Roll out the crescent roll dough on a clean surface and separate the triangles.

*4. Drop about 1/2 tablespoon worth of the butter mixture onto each triangle and spread evenly.

*5. Lay two or three slices of apple across the width of each triangle, about 1/2 inch from the wide end. Norah A. Babysaurus particularly enjoyed this step, and made sure to do it again and again and again.

*6. Eventually, you will be ready to roll up the dough. Beginning from the wide end, wrap the end of the dough over the apples and roll toward the narrow end.

*7. Place rolls on an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving a few inches of space between them so that they will get evenly crisp and golden and delicious.

8. Have the little one(s) stand far away from the oven while you open it to put the cookie sheet in. Bake according to package directions, until the crescent rolls are deeply golden.

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Election Day!

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I happen to be one of those people who gets really excited about the act of voting, grinning like the Cheshire Cat on my way from the car to the firehouse as if it’s Christmas. This year, however, I realized that it probably doesn’t actually have anything to do with freedom and democracy so much as that it’s the one day every two years that actually glorifies the act of checking things off lists. This year was particularly exciting because Marylanders had seven (seven!) questions to vote on. I nearly squealed with glee when I opened the sample ballot. SO! MANY! CHECKMARKS!

So it would follow that I was anxious to have Norah A. Babysaurus join us at the polls because I want us to be one big, happy voting family. She even got her own “I Voted” sticker because no one on the planet can resist a cute little babbling baby in a puffy coat, not even election volunteers. And she’s really the brains behind this whole operation, after all.

Most importantly, this week Vanilla Bean has added consonant-vowel combinations to her vocabulary, and she’s happily joining in with our everyday conversations. Why, just yesterday, my dad and I were having a lively discussion about the elections:

G-Bob: Blah blah Democrats bleh blip! Blahblah blah blabbety bloip!

Me: Blippety blee ethics blah blah morality bleh bloop. Blip bleep blop blah!

Norah A. Babysaurus: BAH BAH BAH! Behbeh! Beh! Dah! Da! Bah! Bahbah bah bah bah!

Now that I think about it, she’s almost ready to start campaigning for the U.S. Senate. She already knows how to win every room.

Dear Babysaurus: Out of many shattered pieces

Dear Babysaurus,

Eleven years ago, I went to an early morning drawing class and when I left, the world had changed.

When I started my sophomore year of college in September 2001, not many of my peers thought about national pride. We were comfortable. We were secure. But then, only a few weeks later, there were American flags hanging in residence hall windows and printed on bumper stickers. People were a little kinder. We all felt a little closer. Many of us had parents, friends, or siblings who worked at the Pentagon, in DC, or at some military or government facility. Shanksville, Pennsylvania, was only thirty miles or so from our campus. We were stunned. We were scared. And we knew exactly how lucky we all were, in so many ways.

Looking back from today, it seems like that short time was the moment — that almost invisible fraction of a second — when a glass shatters and the water inside holds together before gravity takes over, and it finally loses form and splashes all over the kitchen floor. Because there was war and protest and injuries and death. There was politics and there was economics and science and religious zeal. Today, We The People feels more like We The Hot Tangled Mess, and it’s not always easy to know what to think about the world that we’ve brought you into.

It has occurred to me that in my lifetime, one that seems perfectly ordinary in the spectrum of individual lifetimes, extraordinary change has happened.

When I was six or seven, at the tail end of the Cold War era, my second grade teacher asked the class if we thought we’d ever live to see a black or female President of the United States. It was a hard question. The very idea was so alien to the world that existed at the time. But of course, now I know the answer.

Frankly, I’m glad you’ll never have to face the same question.

Instead, maybe your second grade teacher will ask you a different question that will force you to reflect hard on your perception and optimism about the world. About what it is. About what it could be. And maybe you won’t know how to answer, because what she’s asking you to imagine can only happen in a world that’s vastly different from the one we live in now. A world where we all zip around in flying cars and wear white jumpsuits and sensible shoes and use luminous touch-screen, voice-activated computers the size of an adult hand. (OH! WAIT!)

Which is why I want you to know something. Something vitally important:

Anything can happen. Anything good. Anything bad. Anything.

I know this is true because I’ve already lived through more Anythings than I could have ever possibly imagined in only thirty years. You’ll be going about your ordinary life one day, and then out of nowhere — BLAM! — an Anything will blindside you with one world-shattering blow. But it won’t knock you down, at least not for long. You’ll pick up the pieces, hug the people you love a little tighter, and carry on.

You’ll see.

Love,

Mama