Sunday, July 20, 2014

Stars


A couple of years ago--well, precisely 4 years ago--I took DD to see Ramona and Beezus on the big screen. I remember walking out of the theater with all the feels. You see, I had read Beezus and Ramona, by Beverly Cleary, to DD the summer after her kindergarten year. Then she proceeded to read the rest of the 8-book series on her own over the next year. The movie was not a cinematic masterpiece, by any means; it was rather a girly, feel-good movie that appealed to a small, mostly young and feminine part of the population. But it got to me, because it was the first movie that I had watched alone with DD.




I remember feeling excited and calling it a Mother-Daughter Movie Date. We settled in with our popcorn and beverage, and watched the characters laugh, cry, falter, grow, and triumph on the big screen. I laughed and cried (can't help it--I'm a sentimental schmuck) and my heart swelled, willingly accepting the spot-on manipulations of Hollywood and its cheese. It didn't matter, because inside that dark, cavernous theater, I felt like a little girl all over again. I curled up my feet and munched on popcorn, much like the little seven-year-old next to me. My little girl.


Source: Wikipedia


Fast forward four years.


Two months ago, I had finally relented and gave the book The Fault in Our Stars to DD. She is a voracious reader, and is constantly seeking new books to read. I read this wildly popular John Green book earlier this year, and I noted that it was recommended for grade 9 and above. Probably because it's a love story, about cancer and dying, and portrays some tender, intimate moments between young adults. But it wasn't so much the themes of dying and sex that held me back from letting DD read this. (Okay, well, it was, to a degree.) It was more that she hadn't reached the adolescent stage of developing romantic relationships or experienced the emotions of falling in love. I wasn't sure how much she would get out of reading this book.


Source: Amazon


But I had it on my Kindle and she was asking for a new book. Again. 


So I decided to let her have a go. She could always read it again later and may be able to relate to it on a deeper level. Not surprisingly, she really liked the book, and we talked about many aspects of it afterwards, just so I'm sure she didn't have any questions about the intimate moments or about cancer and dying.


Yesterday, we had another Mother-Daughter Movie Date.


This time, some things remained the same, and some things were different.


Source: Wikipedia


We got our popcorn and beverage, watched a few movie trailers of dystopian books that we/I have read (namely, The Giver and The Maze Runner, and they both looked good--I sense more Mother-Daughter Movie Dates soon), and began watching the movie. Halfway through, I leaned over and said to DD, "Um, get ready for my waterfall, cuz it's coming." She chuckled and handed me a wad of popcorn napkins. I gave one back to her, just in case.


Then I cried my ugly cry during the second half of the movie.


Because Hazel Grace and her big, huge watery eyes. Augustus Waters and his dashing, boyish smile. Oh. My. Heart.


I cried the feels of my forty-some-odd years of life experience on love and loss thus far and what is to come. I cried for the journey that lies ahead for DD--what love and loss she will come to know and live. I cried for the meaningless injustice of cancer--the lives it took and what Life have been robbed of those that are left behind. I cried for the privilege of having been able to love and having been loved. I cried for the fortune of my blessed, rich life.


That pathetic wad of napkins had no chance.


I knew that this was another one of my very special moments shared with DD, even though it was just the two of us watching a movie. And when Hazel and her mom embraced after a heart-to-heart shouting match, my mama bear heart exploded and I cursed at the wad of wet napkins--unrecognizable because it had been torn into mushy pieces many times over--too weak to handle the weight casted upon these fragile apron strings.




After the movie, I thought back to the time DD and I watched Ramona and Beezus, when her defined cheekbones were still masked under her round, bouncy cheeks--when she was just a young tendril unfurling and reaching for anchor. Now, she is a woman child, about to fully grasp and support her Self, on the cusp of adolescence, teetering between a girlhood of silly giggles and a young adulthood of delicate modesty.


Oh, how Time slays me.


As for DD, who watched the movie with a book critic's eye, used her age-appropriate analytical brain rather than the cognitive emotional brain of an older adolescent. My little girl, who claimed that she almost cried, didn't need that single napkin after all. Like I said, she's not quite there yet. But she will be. She's just starting out and there's a long road of feels ahead. And if she's anything like her mama, one day, she will cry Niagara Falls, too.


But I know that some things will never change, even when the movie titles do. We'll always have our movie dates, and there will always be movies that stand out for us. Most importantly, no matter how tall she gets or how mature she becomes, she'll still be my little girl and my Star upon shiny Stars.




<Sniff>.



Friday, July 11, 2014

Three


Summer school is over and my summer has officially begun. Like a little kid who has all the time in the world and no obligations whatsoever, I've been indulging in Summer Bliss.


Not surprisingly, I've been busy in the kitchen. I've reacquainted myself with my oven, oven mitts, measuring cups and spoons, stand mixer, stove, cookware, and the pantry, and I even have fresh ingredients in the fridge and from the backyard The Farm to work with.


Bliss, I tell ya. Bliss.


Today I will share three recipes with you (because three is my favorite number). Three recipes that only require three ingredients each. It doesn't get any easier, but you'll also be surprised at how good they are with only three ingredients.


First up, if you have these three things in your pantry, you are ready to make healthful Banana Oatmeal Cookies:
  • bananas
  • oatmeal
  • chocolate chips



All you need to do in three easy steps:
  1. Mash up 2 dead ripe bananas, add a cup of oatmeal, and stir in a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. 
  2. Drop by spoonfuls on a GREASED cookie sheet or a Silpat. 
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until slightly browned. 



If YOU can't help YOURSELF and eat all 15 cookies in one day (ahem), YOU will have eaten 2 bananas, a cup of oatmeal, and a handful of chocolate chips. How healthful are YOU?


(I got this recipe originally from a friend who shared this post on Facebook, and I've made it as many times as I've had dead bananas falling off my banana stand.)




Next up is Blueberry Coconut Ice Cream. All you need is:
  • coconut milk (full fat version)
  • blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • agave syrup



To make (again, in three easy steps):
  1. Blend 2 cans of coconut milk, 3 cups of blueberries, and 1/4 cup of agave syrup in a blender. 
  2. Churn mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. 
  3. Freeze for a few hours and voila! 



And because I had some extra mixture, and I COULDN'T WAIT for all the freezing hours, I got a quick version in my Zoku slushy maker. And it tastes like summer on the beach. And I love the beautiful purple color studded with seeds. It is high in antioxidants, naturally sweet, and best of all, lactose-free! My kind of ice cream!




(This recipe is a hybrid of many homemade ice cream recipes online. A trial-and-error success, if you will.)


Finally, my third recipe is named Summer Bliss, and these are the three ingredients:
  • bake/cook
  • read/write
  • eat/sleep

Procedures:
  1. Make a Playlist named "Summer Bliss" with ingredients.
  2. Press "shuffle".
  3. Press "repeat".

Because right now, EVERYDAY IS FRIDAY.