Julia’s birthday is rounding the corner. My girl, who was a baby but yesterday, is having her ninth birthday on Sept. 11. Memories flood back. I was completely delighted with a baby girl. There is nothing else in the world I would have wanted more. Now she is in third grade. Can it be real? And once we double the amount of time we have had with her, she’ll be 18.
My sister-in-law recently remarked that if our children leave home as fast as they came, I may have some adjustments ahead! I don’t feel ready for that just yet, though every once in a great while, Daniel will talk of how it’ll be once the children are all married or not living at home anymore, and it’ll just be the two of us to sit down with a cappuccino. Oh sure — I’ll take that, though! Each stage has it’s pros and cons, so we’d might as well enjoy the ride, come what may.
Much to Julia and my delight, we were able to open our parochial school this fall. We got an extra early start, knowing that things could come up with coronavirus or any other events that would require extra vacation. Julia loves school, though she was concerned about how things will go with not being able to see Baby Joshua all day.
We are spoiled with having school only a skip and a hop from our house. Each morning at 8:15, Julia can walk through the woods and be at school in only a few minutes. In fact, at recess, we can hear the happy shouts of children through the maple grove that separates us from our little school with two teachers and 15 students from grades one through eight.
While Julia and I enjoyed homeschooling last year, we are so thankful to have our school in full swing again. She is now the oldest in her classroom with grades one, two, and three. Her teacher is our next-door neighbor and lives in the trailer where Daniel and I lived the first five years we were married. Yes, we were all tickled to have Carolyn for Julia’s teacher, personally knowing Julia’s teacher has been a blessing in so many ways.
Daniel took his turn having morning devotions at school with the teachers and children in the first school morning. It is a highlight for the teachers and children to have one of the school dads or young boys come each morning to share a devotional with them. I was tickled for the chance to go with Daniel and see Julia’s attractively decorated room and listen to the story and prayer Daniel had for them.
Yesterday Julia took some of her birthday cupcakes to school to share with her teacher and children. We had her birthday supper early since we wanted to have it while Daniel’s sister Mary is here from Ohio. You probably remember how we get to pick what we want for dinner on our birthdays at our house. Julia had chosen pizza, chicken nuggets, cupcakes, and ice cream. She was delighted when Mary had volunteered to make three different types of cupcakes. Mary did a fantastic job; they were picture perfect and delicious. They looked like they came straight from a cooking magazine. I was completely impressed. For a different twist, we decided to take the hot dishes from her birthday supper to the neighbor’s lake and have dessert after we come back. It worked out perfectly. After arriving at the neighbors, we ate pizza and chicken nuggets on his boat dock. The children could hardly keep their mind on food long enough to get anything eaten. Their focus was on the water and how they really couldn’t wait any longer to get in it. As soon as supper was cleared away, the real fun began as happy shouts were heard hither and yon as they splashed gaily. I even ended up getting into a kayak with baby Joshua staying right next to the bank; Joshua loves any rides with gentle swaying or rocking motion. I loved every bit of it and want to record it in his baby book of memories.
After swimming for a while, we returned home, where dessert was awaiting us. Julia and her cousin Twila had carefully decorated everything and set the table with pretty dishes.
Her cupcakes were a hit by all, and the girls liked the pink raspberry ones best, they were outstanding though with me being a peppermint fan I thought those were super refreshing. Then there were also those with our old- faithful caramel icing, which everyone likes. Don’t tell Julia. I hid an extra one in the freezer for her lunch on the day of her birthday! I know you couldn’t all be here for the party, so how about having some cupcakes in the ease of your kitchen?
Julia’s Scratch-Made Birthday Cupcakes
1 bowl chocolate cake batter from scratch or cake mix
4 ounces cool whip
⅓ cup instant pudding
a few drops mint flavoring
a few drops green food coloring
After mixing up chocolate cake according to instruction, fill cupcake papers ¾ full with batter. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Whip all icing ingredients together then spread on cooled cupcakes. If desired place a mint candy on top.
Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427