Last Friday morn dawned beautiful and bright — another of these perfect summer days we’ve been blessed with this season and just right for ringing in our daughter’s 13th birthday. Thanks to “Camp Rose,” her cross country team’s annual running/pizza/pool party, being scheduled in the late morning hours, Molly was able to sleep in and linger in the dining room with her requested breakfast: steamy chai and raspberry ricotta scones. I plucked a few of her dahlias to add to the serving box. She was elated to see such a pretty set-up, just as I had hoped! IMG_6516

After our morning at Mahomet, we showered and then, while the boys hung out at home, Molly and I visited a salon for pedicures — Molly’s first. She totally deserved the relaxing treatment. She’s been doing so well at cross country practice, hoping for a chance to be on the varsity team and bring home some ribbons this fall. Meanwhile, she’s been gracefully managing chronic pain and swelling in both her feet, for which we’ve recently discovered the source: an extra bone near the arch of each foot, resulting in bone rubbing on bone and simultaneously grating against tendons. (She’ll most likely have these “navicular accessories” cut out surgically later this fall.) Thus, soaking her feet in a warm whirlpool, plus having her lower legs scrubbed, massaged, and slathered with lotion, was pure bliss. We came home with some funky colors on our toes!IMG_6526

That great morning workout helped stir up an appetite for more sweets in the afternoon, and I delivered. Molly’s chocolate cake with whipped mascarpone and cream frosting, sprinkled with (edible) dried rose petals, was yummy. (Finn was a little salty about it, noting that his most recent birthday cake was half the height of Molly’s and lacked frosting.)IMG_6519 IMG_6518IMG_6521Time to open presents! Molly and Finn picked out new bikes for their birthdays this year — big gifts that we hope will last a very long time. So, there was not much to open, but we had been holding onto a couple things Molly had selected from the antique store down the road months ago. You can tell how imperious she feels in her satin kimono robe! The unique Miss M is also now the proud owner of a brass and crystal duel inkwell/fountain pen holder. And then there’s the requisite book.  🙂

While Finn attended a friend’s birthday party sleepover, Shane, Molly, and I went to Sushi Kame for dinner, then returned home to sit outside on the patio under the stars. We spoiled our girl all day! 

Molly measured a quarter of an inch taller (less short?) than me at the doctor’s office today. It is an odd feeling to have one’s child surpass one in height. It’s been a long time since I could comfortably carry around my girl, but I know I could and would if she were hurt or in jeopardy. Her adult stature represents a growing maturity in many other regards, too, and brings with it the realization that her pool of knowledge and experience is also deepening. When our kids are little, we frequently use our advantage in size and wisdom to swoop in to protect, guide, and override. With the loss of that advantage, I think we do lose some of that power, but hopefully by the time we’re looking eye-to-eye with our progeny, we have cultivated a shared outlook and mutual respect. I know there’s much refinement to practice, but I believe we’re on that road.
IMG_6530Happy birthday, dear baby girl! We love you so, through and through.

Molly’s Favorite Raspberry Ricotta Scones (from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 cup fresh raspberries
3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
1/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bottom of a large, wide-ish bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, sugar and salt together.

With a pastry blender, add the butter (no need to chop it first) and use the blender to both cut the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas. Toss in raspberries and use the blender again to break them into halves and quarter berry sized chunks.

Add the ricotta and heavy cream together and stir them in to form a dough with a flexible spatula.Using your hands, gently knead dough into an even mass, right in the bottom of the bowl. Don’t fret if the raspberries get muddled and smudge up the dough. This is a pretty thing.

With as few movements as possible, transfer the dough to a well-floured counter, flour the top of the dough and pat it into a 7-inch square about 1-inch tall. With a large knife, divide the dough into 9 even squares. Transfer the scones to prepared baking sheet with a spatula. Bake the scones for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges. Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.


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