Our summer roadtrip is always made better when we can meet up with friends along the way. Last summer, we made a side trip to Washington to see my college roommate and her family. This summer, they drove from Washington to see us in Idaho.
We planned a day together (which my kids claimed was not enough and I totally agree) and we enjoyed every last minute until it started to get dark and it was time to head home.
We sat at a picnic table while our kids ran around and we talked and talked. Before long we realized it was well past dinner time and no one was complaining because they were all happily entertained with eachother.
We never tire of our time with them. We never run out of things to discuss – and our conversations have depth and laughter. The best of both worlds. Every time we see them we lament the fact they live so far away – we would spend weeks with them if we could. Some years we have to settle for a single day – a day well spent.
When the Pothiers get together for a birthday or holiday celebration it is a big crowd. Typically the easiest way to treat so many people to dessert is to make a sheet cake. Depending on the RSVPs it may be one or possibly two sheet cakes. Most everyone is familiar with the traditional chocolate “Texas Sheet Cake”, and it’s a family staple. But last year my SIL Laurel decided to mix things up and bring a “Montana Sheet Cake” to a gathering. It has since been lovingly renamed sugar cookie cake (thanks to the almond extract) by our family and it is delicious. Two weeks ago I decided to make one while visiting my family in Idaho and just 5 days after it was devoured, my SIL had purchased the ingredients for me to make it again. It’s addicting if you like sugar cookies.
Here is the recipe from Laurel, from her friend, from her niece, from her monkey’s uncle. I love how recipes float around!
SUGAR COOKIE CAKE
2 1/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cubes butter
1 cup water
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sour cream
Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Heat butter and water in a saucepan until butter melts and pour over dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. Add eggs, soda, extract and sour cream, mixing after each addition. Bake in a half sheet pan (18×13) at 350 for 20 minutes.
2 cubes of butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
5-6 cups powdered sugar
Heat all ingredients except sugar until butter melts. Remove from heat and add sugar gradually. Let cake cool before topping with frosting.
I make the frosting thick. I like it to resemble sugar cookie frosting but you can alter it to your preference.
With Briggs starting preschool, I decided to take a trip down memory lane. 5 kids – 5 first days of preschool.
Happy back to school!
As expected, I held it together just fine as I dropped off Briggs today at his first day of preschool. Briggs, however, did not keep it together.
He was so excited all morning long. He was talking and dancing and being totally silly with excitement. Even in the car we were jamming out to his favorite song and he was all smiles. I opened up the car door to get him out. He gave me a panicked look and the minute his foot stepped out of the car he was in tears. Not even his very best buddies could cheer him up as we walked into the house.
I passed him off to the teacher and she reminded Briggs that Hunter and Bennett and Cannon all sat in those chairs and loved her class. She put her arm around him and pulled him in a for a hug and the crying stopped. And lucky for the teacher it didn’t start back up again. He was a happy camper the rest of the time and he’s already talking about going back.
His teacher goes to sooo much effort for these little kiddos – she makes them each a personalized backpack every year. This year’s theme is the jungle – hence the monkey backpack. He absolutely loves it.
She also packs it full of fun things and he loved exploring all his new supplies.
I’m not much for getting emotional as my kids grow and move on to new stages. However, I do like to recognize the shift in life that happens during these milestones.
Tomorrow is one of those milestones: Briggs starts preschool. This may not seem like a major milestone, but I assure you, IT IS! I have been a mother for almost 14 years. During those 14 years, I have always had kids at home with me. There has never been a gap large enough between kids that would leave me kidless in all those years.
Starting tomorrow, three days a week, for 2 1/2 hours each day I will be on my own. 7.5 hours every week! I can run errands. I can volunteer in the classroom. I can shower in private. I can build. I can work. The possibilities are endless!
If you know me at all, you know I won’t be crying. It’s not that I’m heartless, I just really like to celebrate each stage and this stage is no different. Briggs is going to our very favorite teacher (the same as the rest of the kids) and he’ll be with his friends – he is going to be in heaven. I love having him at home and I’ll love having him in school some time. And by the time kindergarten rolls around I’ll be happy to send him.
They say if you blink you’ll miss it. That’s always been hard to hear as I’ve had young kids hanging off of me. For me the baby/toddler years are long (cheers to all the moms with young kids that demand so much from you!) but I’m noticing Hallie’s time continues to speed up on me. The older she gets, the faster the time goes. Wasn’t she just starting kindergarten?!
With Briggs spending some time away from home I recognize that this is where the time will likely speed up for him, just as it has for the other kids.
As Steve and I have said, we are in the golden years of our family right now. We are going to try the make the most of it!
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