OK, I will admit the title is a stretch but now that we lack "life-changing TV" ever since Oprah went off the air I figured I needed to fill my days with a new hobby, and that hobby is making homemade artisan bread.
Reason #1 for making my own bread at home: early this spring while picking up a loaf to have with dinner I suffered from some sticker shock when I realized my favorite local bread was now almost $6.00!
Reason #2 for making my own bread at home: I know what is in it.
Reason #3 for making my own bread at home: to see if I could (take that Little Red Hen.)
I started with a book I read rave reviews about on several blogs-
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day:I reserved a copy at our local library so I could try it out for free before I bought it- loved it and waited for a Borders 50% coupon before buying my own copy so my initial investment came to $12 - or the equivilent of 2 loaves of store-bought bread.
To start I needed a 6 quart container with a lid ($6 at Cash-N-Carry, or 1 loaf of bread), yeast ($3 at the same store for a 1 pound package, enough to make dozens of loaves, equal to a 1/2 loaf of bread-and just found a 2 pound bag at Costco for the same price). 5 pounds of organic all-purpose flour came to $4 (an almost loaf), kosher salt and water I have on hand and am not counting in the cost, a pizza paddle ($5 at Ross, we will call that a loaf), and a pizza stone ($12 at Ross, or 2 loaves of bread). So for the initial investment of $42, or roughly 7 loaves of bread, I had everything I needed to make 12 loaves of bread ($48 at the store.) One reason I love making this bread, YOU NEVER HAVE TO KNEAD THE DOUGH! You mix all the ingredients in one large container, let it rise for 2 hours, refrigerate the dough, then pull out a piece of dough when you are ready to bake, let it rise for 40 minutes, then bake for 30 minutes.Fresh bread on the table, any night of the week in about an hour, for around .27 cents per loaf. A house that smells like a bakery. An excuse to use the butter bell. A happy family.
If this is not life changing bread I don't know what is.
Ben's last day of school is today, and like each year before it, from Kindergarten until now, the end of his third grade year, I feel the melancholy that one feels when something ends, a longing to capture back a bit of time that you know won't come again.
But today is not a typical last day of school because our beloved Crest Drive Elementary, at the edge of the city, nestled within this idyllic, natural setting, where on our morning drive we could often see deer and hear the song of more than a dozen different species of birds, will be closed up with no immediate plans for future occupants.
I mourn the closure of his school as deeply as the loss of someone I love, for it indeed is a permanent loss.
Our amazing teachers (many of whom are transitioning on to Adams Elementary), principal, and support staff will be spread out across Eugene. A close-knit community dissolved.
There has been so much talk, and even a little literature, on how best to "speak to our children about this closure". About holding our heads high, keeping our words kind and upbeat to make this time easier for them. And as much as I have tried to take some of that to heart I have also spoken with Ben frankly about my disappointment in our current school superintendent, our school board, and their decision to close his school. I have let him see me cry and be angry about this closure. I have listened to his sadness at leaving the only school he's ever known and encouraged his excitement that he will be part of a new school community in the fall. I've reminded him that although many of his closest friends will not be going with him that those friendships don't have to end.
And today, even though our time at Crest Drive is over, and our wonderful school is closing its doors for the last time, I am trying to hold in my heart the positives.
That my son learned to read at Crest, opening the door to a lifetime love of books.
That my son practiced kindness and respect on a daily basis, something that is reinforced by staff and his peers.
That my son has been taught by so many amazing things (math, art, science, music, social studies, p.e., reading, writing, and more) by a talented, loving staff.
That my son has come out of his shell and tried new things and had so many different, fun experiences.
Thank you is not enough but it is all I have today.
And even though I will be one of the many shedding tears today I will try to hold these words in my heart:
"Don't Cry Because It's Over, Smile Because it Happened"- Dr. Seuss