Half + half cookies = whole lot of awesome

Remember that time I gave you the recipe for the world’s best egg free cookies?

We just did a fun thing with it. Divided the dough in half and added cocoa to one bowl.

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The original idea was to recreate some striped cookies a certain elf made for them at Christmas, but then we sort of decided it was more fun to just dive in with bare hands and see what we could make.

And when you hand half and half dough to two four year olds, this is what you get:

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I think they look super cool, and they smell divine. They’re just cooling, and then we are going to have a party in the ‘bakery.’ Many soft toys are currently being brought in to help celebrate, but I hope we don’t have to share.

Yum!

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Spring has sprung!

spring

Today was one of those accidentally perfect days that reminds you how great your life actually is. There was nothing extra special or out of the ordinary; just a lot of nice moments strung together.

So much of the niceness in our life lately is bare feet, sunshine, playing out for hours even though it is still chilly when the wind blows. Even though we got caught in a hailstorm yesterday, even though one minute you’re in a t shirt and the next you shrug a sweater on.

There is mud, and there is that creeping fullness of summer, the feeling that days are long, lazy, full of whatever you want them to be. Everything feels a bit cheerier, a bit more possible.

I sit here just now, home after being out all day. One kid is upstairs waiting for pictures to print so they can be coloured and added to our treasure hunt. The other is sitting outside in the front garden, chattering away in what seems to be an exciting narrative. We spent all early morning outside, running in socks on the damp grass. Then the biggest chunk of the day at a friend’s house, and the late afternoon outside at a farm playground with friends. It was all sorts of casual, I had a chance to really talk with my friends (the kids and the grown ups!), M and S got to spend some good time with their friends, and I spent the afternoon laughing with the sun in my eyes rather than sitting indoors eyeing the clock. We went out for a ‘sneaky dinner,’ and came back to this resumption of individual projects and peace.

See? Perfect.

Bargains! Bristol and otherwise.

Two great bargains I had to share.

First, the Bristol Zoo is offering entrance for five pounds to children who bring fruit or veg for the animals. It’s advertised as ‘Five a day February,’ but I’m not clear if it is only for half term or the whole month. A friend has advised me this is also the price for home educators in general, so it is worth checking it out…we have membership and were told there was no HE discount. But perhaps there is for day entries!

We love this zoo and have spent many, many hours there. Will do a proper post, but definitely recommend checking it out.

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Next, an unexpected bargain. While we were waiting for passport pictures to be printed, we had a wander round Keynsham. Of course we ended up in the Entertainer, and decided to get each kid a Lego mini figure. Imagine our joy at the till to find out that if you spend five or more pounds on Lego, you get a free Lego set! The lady at the till kindly slipped us TWO sets, a helicopter for each child.

This was the kids’ first time properly following the instructions and building a set mostly on their own. They have been playing with the helicopters since we got home! Totally chuffed to get unexpected free Lego. Assume this is happening at Entertainers across the country in relation to the release of the movie. It wasn’t promoted in the shop at all, so we were pleasantly surprised to get free stuff. Might just be a half term thing, so check out your local shop quickly!

If you know of other local or national bargains, tweet me or leave a comment so I can share them with other families. Thanks!

One love, and what a big love it is.

A few weeks ago I went ahead and clicked the link I was seeing again and again in my Facebook feed: Macklemore at the Grammys, where a good number of couples were married. Women and women, men and men, women and men. White and black, Asian and white, etc etc. Lots of combinations of beautiful people in love.

It made me cry.

It seems like change is cascading, rolling faster and faster down the hill. I see the easy words flowing out of other people’s mouths – it’s ‘no big deal’ to be gay. Equal rights are de facto. It doesn’t seem that way to me.

I remember being a child and hearing homophobic comments and abuse from family members. I remember my classmates playing a game called Smear the Queer. I remember crying so many nights in university about the hell of coming out to my own family, and the particularly cruel response I got. I remember a nurse during pregnancy refusing to recognize Suzy as my wife and referring to her as ‘your friend, or colleague, or whatever she is.’ These are not the distant past.

It feels like a BIG DEAL to me that straight people are stepping up to fight for equality. It’s not just a handful of marginalized minority people fighting, it’s becoming everyone’s fight. And I looked at my little girl and thought, ‘The world is different for you.’

It is. It is full of people who are accepting and loving. She is being raised with the opportunity to figure out who she is and be loved for that. She is less likely to face discrimination than the generation before her. She asked why I was crying.

I told her.

‘We know people can love whoever they love. But a long time ago, black people couldn’t marry white people. And not so long ago, a girl couldn’t marry a girl, and a boy couldn’t marry a boy. Some places are still like that. We know it’s wrong. People can love whoever they want to love and it is okay. White people can love black, girls can love girls, girls can love boys, people should just be with who they love.’

‘And lots of people, all the good, brave people, have fought for people to love and marry who they want to. They stood up, they said it wasn’t right or fair to not let people get married, and they changed the world.’

I looked her dead in the eye. ‘We can change the world. It is important to fight to change things, to make the world better.’

This has led to further and deeper discussions with both kids, who have been shocked to discover that some people didn’t/don’t think black and white people should get married. We’ve had lots of discussion about Suzy and me loving each other, about who they want to marry (M says me, bless him), about civil rights.

I hope our home is growing a culture where the kids learn that it is everyone’s responsibility to do what we can to make sure life is fair for all people, whether we share a skin colour, a religion, a love. That our children know we accept them from the get go – their gender, sexuality, career, or whatever else are things we celebrate. I want them to be fighters, to stand up to be counted – both in big battles and small. If another child is being picked on, if someone is hurt, we will endeavor to be their friends and champions.

Both kids have deep empathy for other people, questioning minds, critical thinking, open hearts. How my life has changed and been impacted when I think about family members one generation older than myself, and this new generation. Almost thirty one years separate me from my children, and what a thirty one years they have been. How far we still have to go, but how many people are willing to stand with us in love and pride.

I’d like to thank those people. I’d like to count my children among them.