Daily Archives: January 2, 2008

Want fewer squabbles between your children?

Every afternoon, my children have a quiet time for 1 1/2 hours.  We have done this forever — since they transitioned out of naps, and it has been the saving grace of my stay-at-home, homeschooling motherhood.  Everyone goes to separate rooms and reads, colors, does puzzles, or (sometimes) builds Legos or K’nex.  There’s no talking to anyone, and whoever gets out of quiet time (other than to go to the bathroom) or whoever talks to Mom gets 15 minutes added to their time, which is a successful deterrent. 

No one minds quiet time, but, honestly, it’s probably not my kids’ preference.  It’s Mom’s preference.  😉

After lunch, if the weather cooperates, I usually say, “Time to play outside.  As long as you’re peaceful, you may continue to play.  At the first sign of fighting, whining, tattling, etc., you come in for quiet time.”  As if by magic, this compels my three boys (ages 10, 8 & 6) to play cooperatively together usually at least for an hour.  At times, they’ve played together nearly the whole afternoon in the back yard.  (In those cases, when they come in and it’s nearly dinner time, I just give them a very shortened quiet time — 30 or 45 minutes — as I’m preparing dinner.)

And, I’m true to my word.  As soon as someone flies in the back door proclaiming, “He started wah-wah-wah-ing and hurt me” then all three of them come in for quiet time.

So, my parenting tip for the New Year is, if there’s something that your children would rather not do, tell them that they don’t have to do it as long as they play peacefully together.

I’ve known a few families where love and consideration seems to naturally abound between siblings.  My family would not fall into that category.  I have three rough-and-tumble, competitive boys who need a little encouragement, usually, to get along.  Avoiding (or at least putting off) quiet time is almost always compelling enough to bring out their normally-latent teamwork skills, cooperative problem-solving, and practice in deferring to each other.  That works for me.  

Apple-Fresh Ginger Muffins (GFCF)

Often, when I make muffins, I just search the fridge and pantry for whatever I have available that seems like it would make for a good flavor combination.  Such was the case yesterday, and it worked really well.  These are a little sweeter than my usual muffins, which is perhaps why my four kids (and hubby) gobbled them up.  🙂 

I discovered a while back that chewy dried apples work better in gluten-free baking than fresh apples.  The balance of moisture seems to be a really pivotal issue in the success of GF baked goods, and apples are just too darn wet, leaving the surrounding bread gooey or gummy.  Yuck.  Dried apples work much better.  But, be aware that they expand after absorbing moisture, so mince those dried apple rings really small, or you’ll have giant apple chunks in your muffins.

If you’ve never used fresh ginger, select a “knob” from the produce section that is firm.  Thinly peel the outside skin, then grate the skinless ginger on the small-shred side of a kitchen grater.

Also… you could just leave out the fresh ginger and simply have apple muffins. 

Apple-Fresh Ginger Muffins (GFCF — Gluten-Free/Casein-Free)
Makes 18 muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix, then set aside:

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup cooking oil (I use canola)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup rice milk (or milk of your choosing)
  • 1/2 cup minced dried apple
  • 1 Tbsp loosely packed finely grated fresh ginger

    In a medium bowl, combine well with a whisk:

  • 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
  • 1 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar*
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

    Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing well with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.  Batter will be thick.  Spoon into lined muffin tins, filling each muffin cup mostly full.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 22 minutes, or until nicely browned.  Let cool for just a few minutes before serving (or the muffin liners may stick to the muffins). 

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* Actually, in lieu of sugar, I used some honey powder given to me as a gift, but celiacs need to be especially careful when buying honey powder, as many suppliers combine honey with wheat starch.  On the web, I can’t find the particular brand I have, or I’d link to it.

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