No… not together. That, I would have to say is awful. This is not.
I’ve always had inklings that my boys were pack animals, like wolves. When the three of them are in the same space, they are golden. Remove one from the situation and their entire dynamic changes — this can often be a good thing, trust me. But somehow or another they *always* end up on top of each other, and, by extension, me. I’ve grown accustomed to a lack of personal space. Some days it bothers me, and you’ll hear my saying, “I need a ten foot radius” — but for the most part I accept this as their way.
I don’t really know why my boys are like this. Perhaps it’s because the older two are twins and have been smack on top of each other since, well, nine months before Day One. Perhaps it’s because I work from home. Or maybe it’s that we homeschool now. It’s non-stop, all the time, all of us. Bam! You’ve got yourself a pack of wolves.
So last night the boys took their pack mentality to new heights. My youngest hopped into my bed for a bedtime story. Nothing out of the ordinary, this happens all the time. But a few pages into the book, the ‘middle’ kidlet comes in with his book, book light, blanket, and pillow. Um… okay. Sure. He gets comfy on the other side of my bed, next to the youngest. I continue the bedtime story without a word about it, and before I’m done, the last kidlet comes in and does the same. Book. Book light. Pillow. Blanket.
Have I missed something? Did I sign-up for a slumber party? Who knows, but needless to say, we ended up “sleeping” like a bunch of sardines last night. Even though we all started out in our own designated slit of the bed, the passing hours broke down all claims for space. And whether it was simply gravity pushing them to the well-slept side of the bed, a desire for warmth, or perhaps even some instinctive need to be as close to me as possible, I was pushed out of my own bed long before it was light out. So I’m up writing while they’re all warm and snoogly in my bed.
All this togetherness, and me being up *very* early got me thinking on what I could bake the pack of little ones for breakfast this cold, blustery morning. I’m going with their fave, Apple Bread.
I bake this in a springform pan, but you can use anything of a similar size. This recipe is easy, even though you’ve got two things going at once.
Apple Bread ~ Total time: 60-70 minutes / Prep: 15 minutes / Baking: 45-55 minutes
2 C All-purpose flour
1 C Sugar
3 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp All spice
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/3 C Butter – softened
1 Egg – room temperature
1 1/2 C Peeled, chopped apples (3-4 small/med, 2 large)
1/3 C Packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp All-purpose flour
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1. Pre-heat oven to 350° – Grease pan (springform, round, square, whatever your heart desires)
I get started on the apples first so they can cook-down on the stove while I’m preparing the batter. I always peel my apples like Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle — it earns me cool points with the kidlets.
2. Topping/Filling: Peel and chop apples. Place in heavy-bottom pot over low/med heat. Add in sugar and butter. Allow to melt. Stir occasionally. Add in remaining ingredients, stir until combined. Leave to cook while you prepare the batter.
3. Batter: In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Whisk together completely. (Flour should be practically flying at this point.) Make a well in the dry ingredients. Add in all of the remaining ingredients.
4. Mix together the batter. 30 seconds on low, two minutes on medium. The batter will be thick.
5. Decision time: Mixing and topping, or layering for filling. Your choice.
~ Mixing and topping: Take one large scoop of apples and add it into the batter. Mix well for about 10 seconds. Pour all of the batter into your prepared pan. Top the batter with the remaining apples, spread them out evenly. — this is what I do now
~ If layering the apples into the batter, pour half of the batter into the pan. Layer half of the apples evenly across. Pour in the remaining batter, and top with the rest of the apples. — this is what I used to do
6. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes. – Allow to cool slightly before serving. I let it sit in the oven, with the door cracked, for about 10 minutes.
7. Make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy the smells coming from your oven.
And as I sit here in the quiet that comes from waking so early, I realize that even though we were squished together like sardines, there is a peace and comfort that comes from having all my boys within reach. Kind of like tea and apple bread.