Monthly Archives: April 2012

On Monday morning….

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Electronic art experiments

Electronic art experiments (Photo credit: Unlisted Sightings)

…you gave me no warning of what was to be (Mamas and Papas)

This morning, the sun was shining and I was up and out of the house in time to meet the principal at 7:45.  My lunch was made and I was already to hop on my bike and ride to work as soon as the meeting was over.

Didn’t happen.  M woke up in a bad mood.  He ate his breakfast but wouldn’t take his pills.  When I got back at 8:10, he still hadn’t taken his pills and now was refusing to go to school.   I could have left my husband to deal with M himself, but that hardly seemed fair.  This on a morning when I had a long list of things waiting for me at work.

Me:  If you don’t want to go to school, you can come to work with me.  But you’ll have to bring a book, no electronics. 

M:  I’m not going to school.

Me:  I stayed home with you when you were sick last week.  I can’t stay home today – I have too much to do.

M:  There’s a big difference between can’t stay home and won’t.

Me:  I won’t get paid if I don’t go to work.

M:  So don’t get paid for today.

At this point, I decided that explaining the intricacies of my company’s HR policy to a cranky 10-year old was probably not a good use of my time.  

As it turned out, M was upset about seeing his previous Educational Assistant last week.  The EA had surgery recently and his recovery has taken longer than expected..  School Board hiring practices are incredibly complicated but since it is a temporary position, the Principal had to fill it.  The EA will be coming into the school on a part-time basis; on those days, he’ll be with M.  But they have been together since last spring, and M is emotionally attached to him.  So while he was happy to see the EA last week, he was upset about not being with him this week. 

Plus, this is the week of the senior choir performance.  An annual event at M’s school, the senior choir show is a big deal.  The kids practice for months, they have specially designed t-shirts and all the grades attend the event at a near by middle school.  M’s teacher is one of the organizers, so everyone in the class is pretty hyped.  Although the show is several days away, combined with his anxiety about his EA’s absence, M was overwhelmed.  

Of course, we never find this out right away.  We have to go through the dance – defiance and/or refusal to do what he’s asked to do, followed by yelling/door slamming/swearing, which dissolves into crying.  Eventually, a parent will ask what’s wrong he’ll claim “nothing’s wrong,”  and we’ll go back and forth a few time before he spills.  There is usually another round of tears and drama before he’s calmed down. 

I was not happy with M this morning, so my husband dealt him.  By the time, he was settled down and willing to go to school, it was after 9 am.  I abandoned any hope of riding my bike and getting to work on time.

It has been several months since we haven`t had to deal with a Monday morning melt-down.  M seemed fine last night when he went to bed.  Sometimes, inexplicably, we all wake up on the wrong side of the bed.  This was certainly the case for M this am.  Despite his rocky start, he had a relatively good day at both school and daycare.  He was in a good mood tonight and didn`t kick up a fuss when his electronics time was over or when it was time for bed.   Although M`s melt-downs are furious, they don`t to tend last very long and usually blow over relatively quickly.  But like most storms, M leaves a trail of mayhem behind him.  In this case, two bewildered and weary parents.

As hard as these types of mornings are on all of us, they are a good reminder that we have to check in with M regularly.  This is especially important when there is a lot going on or when his routine is interrupted.  When things are going well, as they have for the last number of weeks, we get a bit complacent and forget.  Then we have mornings like today.  Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way.

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Beaded ribbon bracelet

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Beaded ribbon bracelet

Art Bead Scene, one of my favourite blogs, runs a monthly beading challenge.  The inspiration for the challenge is usually a painting but occasionally they select a sculpture or photograph.  The idea is to create a piece of jewelry that is evocative of the painting, using art beads (hand-made artisan beads).  I have never participated – even if I like the painting, I am rarely organized enough to make something within the allotted timeframe.

I was particularly drawn to this month’s selected work, Boreas, by John William Waterhouse (painted in 1903).   Even better, I had the necessary materials on hand.  The predominant colour is my favourite – purple – with different tones of gray.  The painting has lots of depth and movement, which also spoke to me. 

While I give most of my jewelry away as gifts, I decided to make a bracelet for myself.   Instead of starting from scratch, I re-worked a bracelet I made a couple of years ago.  It featured a stunning polymer clay focal from HumbleBeads and purple patined chain from MissFickleMedia.  I wore it from time to time, but more because of the colour than the design.  It was a bit meh; ok, but nothing special.

Close-up of focal by HumbleBead

In re-working the bracelet, I kept the focal, the toggle clasp and the gun-metal chain.  I replaced the purple chain with hand-dyed ribbon from JodyPosey, wrapped in 28 gauge purple wire and amethyst seed beads (size 10/0) . 

Hand-dyed ribbon

To reflect the painting’s colours and add some additional texture, I made a beaded link chain with some dark gray rounds I found in my bead box. 

Gray bead links

I dressed up the focal by wrapping it with purple wire.  It was a bit of an experiment, but I was pleased with the result.  The wire wrapping made the focal pop.   As a final touch, I made a small dangle with a stone from StoneStudiosToo and fire polish beads for a hint of sparkle.

Wire-wrapped focal - underside

I am really happy with the new bracelet.  It has a lot going on, but the elements balance each other out.  It`s fun enough to wear with jeans, but could easily be worn with a jacket or a dressy sweater for work.  I think it is highly reminiscent of the painting.   Best of all, it’s purple, my favourite colour.

Funky new bracelet!

I have linked up to the following: Think Pink Sundays at Flamingo Toes ; Making Monday Marvelous at C.R.A.F.T. ; Made by You Mondays at Skip to My Lou ; Get Your Craft on Tuesday at Today’s Creative Blog; Take-a-Look Tuesdays at Sugar Bee Crafts; Wednesday Wowzers at oopsy daisy; Flaunt It Fridays at Dotted Line Crafts; The Cure for the Common Monday at Lines Across My Face

The week that was

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Monday Monday

Monday Monday (Photo credit: soonerpa)

The last few weeks have passed in a blur.  After a week  of cold, wet weather, the sun is finally shining.  My garden is in a bit of a holding pattern – the tulips and primroses have blooms on them, but the cold has kept them from opening.  Other plants are just starting to appear out of the ground.  Now that we’ve had some rain (and snow), I expect everything will explode once it warms up.

Here’s a quick run-down of the past week –

Monday – M was ill during the night on Sunday.  We woke up, exhausted, to the sight of thick, wet snow, covering the ground.  M and I stayed home, so we didn’t have to worry about digging boots and snow pants out of storage (it’s April!).  By the end of the day, the snow was gone and I had got M’s bug.

Tuesday – M went back to school and I stayed in bed.  At daycare, M got into a bit of a skirmish with a group of boys he has been having problems with for a couple of months.  He caused the rift by insulting several of them, but they are actively bullying him now, egged on by another child.  Despite the incident, M pulled himself together and went to his social skills group, immediately followed by a choir practice at school. 

Wednesday – M had a good day, up until about 8:30, when the aliens invaded his body.  He wanted to go on the computer and we said “no.”  He started hissing and being rude.  His dad finally had to carry him to him room, where he proceeded to yell and try to hit the closest parent.  I tried to get him to toss stuff animals back and forth between us – it worked a couple of weeks ago.  Took a bit longer this time, but eventually he calmed down enough to go to bed.  No idea what set him off – we need to keep working at helping him manage his temper, before he gets to the point of no return.  At some point, he is going to get too big for my husband to carry him upstairs.

Thursday – we watched the hockey playoffs.  M was upset when the home team didn’t prevail, but he was able to calm himself down.  I told him he wasn’t the only person in the city who was disappointed.

Friday – it was cold enough in the morning for Matt to go to school wearing a hat and mitts.  He had a good day and his dad picked him up early from daycare, so he could chill out at home.  He went to karate and we went out for burgers afterwards.  We called my mother to wish her happy birthday – Matt sang to her (without parental prompting).  Had I asked him to sing, he probably would have refused.  The fact that it was his idea made it all that more meaningful and charming for both my mother and I.

Matt is going to a friend’s tomorrow, but we’ll have to find something to keep us busy today.  Despite the sun, it is a bit too cold to go for a bike ride or work outside.  Hopefully, it will start to warm up soon.

Home alone – how old is old enough?

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Home Alone (film)

Home Alone (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A recent conversation with M during breakfast:

M:  How old enough do you have to be to stay home alone?

Me:  It’s up to every parent to decide.

M:  How old do you have to be to stay home alone after school?

Me:  There is no specific rule.  Parents decide based on whether or not they thing their child is mature enough.

M:  But isn’t there a law about when you can stay home by yourself, after a certain age?

Me:  When a child is 10 or older, they can stay alone without a caregiver, but it is still up to the parents. 

M was quiet for a couple of minutes.

Me:  Are you thinking that you would like to stay home by yourself after school?

M nods.

Me:  How come?

M:  I don’t like daycare anymore.  It isn’t fun.

Me:  I’m not sure that you are old enough to stay home by yourself for 3 hours every afternoon.  Would you do anything but play on the computer and your iPod?

M (shrugging):  Probably not.

Me:  I’m not sure you are old enough to stay by yourself (and just in case he missed the point) – it’s something Mom and Dad, as your parents, would have to talk about.

At this point, M changed the subject.  He hasn’t brought it up again, but I expect it is a matter of time.

A number of my friends with 10 year olds are dealing with the same question from their kids.  Daycare is a bit too structured and perhaps just a bit babyish when you are almost 11 years old and nearly in grade 6.  In M’s case, how much he wants to stay home may vary according to how he is getting along with other children at the daycare.

But I expect the real issue is independence.  M and his friends all want to do more things on their own.  For M, it started with walking to school by himself.  We only live 3 minutes from the school and the route is well-travelled, so the risk factor is low.  Nonetheless, it took me several weeks to be entirely comfortable with him going the entire way without a parent.  His dad had no such qualms – he actively encourages M’s independence and often laments the fact that M doesn’t take more responsibility to do things for himself.  But I struggled with letting M go off by himself.  Part of this was probably the age-old maternal reticence to cut the apron cords.  But M is also impulsive and doesn’t always make the best choices.  The fact that his meds haven’t fully kicked in by the time he leaves for school just increases the potential for M to get into trouble before he reaches the school yard.

We eventually worked out a transition plan that worked for everyone:  for a few days, one of us walked M as far as the school parking lot; for a few more days,  just to the bottom of the cul-de-sac that leads to the school; and then just across the street.  It took about 3 weeks, but eventually he went by himself.   

That was last year.  He walks (or runs, depending on the time) on his own most days.   As much as I struggled with the need to keep him in view to ensure his safety, M also needed to be able to walk to school by himself.  He needed to develop the confidence that he could do it.  He also needed me to trust that he could get to school safely, on his own.  We’ve never received a call from the school, so I know he makes it every morning.

But staying home alone after school is a much bigger responsibility.  Even his father agrees that M may not be ready for this.  I’m sure he could walk home by himself.  I’m less sure he could always remember his house key but we could leave a key somewhere for him, just in case.  I am definitely unconvinced that he would do anything but play games on the computer and/or his iPod.  He doesn’t get a lot of homework, so that’s not an issue.  But after three hours of straight electronics, his brain cells would be pretty fried, which wouldn’t be good for any of us.  He would probably be surly and cranky by the time one of his parents got home – we’d be competing to see who could stay later at work.  At daycare, M gets a fair amount of outdoor exercise at the daycare; much better for him than playing hours of electronic games.  Plus, he is interacting with other children which is always a good thing, even if there are conflicts from time to time. 

The home alone question is the tip of the iceberg.  As he gets older, M’s increasingly going to want to assert his independence by doing things on his own.  Regrettably, I don’t think this includes cleaning his room or helping out around the house.  Intellectually, I know this need for greater independence is part of growing up.  We all went through it.  Emotionally, it is harder because the less he needs me, the less he is my little boy.  The reality is that he does still need me – after all, I was the one he woke up the other night when he was up repeatedly with a stomach bug.  But in addition to doing things for him, M also needs me to give him room to try things on his own. 

Of course, he would like more freedom.  But it is also up to me, as the parent, to decide when he is capable of handling additional responsibilities.  I can’t discount the fact that he has ADHD which can make it harder for him to make good choices.  Part of him may want to escape the organized chaos structure of the daycare, but what if being on his own everyday after school actually makes him more anxious?  

For the moment, M seems content to stay where he is after school.   I expect this will be the first of many similar discussions we’ll have going forward.  Some of them will probably be more like arguments.

However,  we’ll continue to inch slowly towards M’s emancipation from parental oversight.  I fully expect that from time to time, he will chafe at our limits.  Sometimes we will want him to take on more responsibility than he is willing to do at the time, such as homework and chores.  I will undoubtably continue to wrestle with my own need to protect him versus letting his stand on his own two feet.  But eventually we will get there.  I just can’t put an exact age on when.

Recycling bin inspiration – gift wrap

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International Recycling Symbol 32px|alt=W3C|li...

Whenever I make a card or another craft project, I save the bits of left over paper, ribbon, etc.  I hate throwing it away and sometimes those little pieces come in handy.   The only bits that go in the recycling bin are usually fragments that are too small to be useful. 

 I am also pretty obsessive about saving gift bags, tissue paper, ribbon and, as much paper as possible.  But yesterday, instead of using conventional wrapping materials to wrap a couple of birthday gifts for a friend, I decided to see what I could reuse from the recycling bin.  I knew I had tossed a fashion magazine onto the pile of newspapers an flyers waiting to go outside into the curbside bin earlier in the week – I figured I could find a page or two that would work to wrap a small box containing a pair of earrings.

I liberated the magazine (temporarily), and after flipping through it a few times, I settled on a page that displayed a number of spring blouses.  The blouses were laid out in rows – I wrapped the box so a couple of the blouses were visible on top and a minimum of the text was showing.  Instead of ribbon, I used a piece of hemp coloured twine I originally bought to use in a beading project.  For a tag, I cut out a blouse from the leftover page, glued it to another piece of paper I pulled from the blue bin, punch a hole in the top and attached to the box with a piece of excess twine.  Cute and sustainable.

Wrapping paper and tag from discarded magazine

The second gift was a book.  I was going put it into a gift bag and call it a day, but I went back to the recycling bin and found a glossy flyer about a dance series coming to town.  The photos were in full colour and quite stunning.  My colleague, Julie, who is currently in California making fabulous mosaics, is also the Queen of Recycle and Reuse (check out her blog, Poubelle  Chic) –  a couple of months ago, she made a bunch of envelopes from old calendars.  Following her example, I decided to try to make an envelope/pouch for the book, using full-page photos of dancers.

I started by trimming one of pages so it was about 1/4 – 1/2 inch smaller than the other page on three sides. 

Step 1 - fold over edges on 3 sides

Then I folded the edges of the larger page over on the sides and bottom, leaving the top open.  If I had a bone folder, it would have made a cleaner fold, but I ran over the edges with the handle of my scissors a couple of times to smooth it out. 

I cut a small notch out of each corner on the lower edge and glued down all three sides to the smaller page.   

Step 2 - notch edges on bottom fold

Step 3 - glue both sides of envelope together

To close the envelope, I folded down the top of the larger piece of the paper to make a flap. 

Step 4 - fold down top edge to make envelope flap

I then inserted a couple of coloured brads into the flap and wrapped lengths of embroidery thread around the envelope (with the book inside) and tied them off at the top, around the brads. 

Step 5 - wrap thread around envelope and tie off at brads

At one point, one of the brads tore out, but I fixed it with a small piece of tape.  I poked a hole through the tape with my trusty hole-making tool ( a little silver stick with a pointy end used to get nuts out of the shell).  The brad went back in without any trouble and held.

I slipped the card (also handmade) in between the threads.  Next time, I would ensure that the flap at the top was a bit wider to make it easier to close the envelope.  Even after wrapping the thread around the package, I still had to stick small pieces of tape in a couple of strategic places to get the flap to stay down.  But I was pleased with the overall result.

Gift envelope with birthday card

My final recycling bin project was a plant stick.  I had purchased some tulips for my neighbour who is ill and decided to jazz it up with a decorative pot I found in the basement (I really don’t throw anything out).  Earlier in the day, my husband had found a stack of wooden sticks (coffee stirrers?) that had probably come home with my son.  I decided to keep them to use to mark plants.  For my neighbour’s plant, I made a plant stick with a die-cut flower, a couple of circles punched out of the dance flyer and a brad.  I attached the flower to one of the circles with the brad, glued the wooden stick to one of the circles and glued the circles together, using my glue gun.  For a final touch, I created a bit more visual interest, by curling the petals of the flower up slightly with my fingers.  Voila!  A cheery little addition to a pot of grocery store tulips in about the time it took the glue gun to heat up. 

Decorative plant stick made from recycled materials

I force Amaryllis bulbs to give as Christmas gifts every year and I will definitely be adding some seasonally themed sticks to the pots next year.  I will also be making recycled paper envelopes to wrap flat gifts.  I may even save the dance program to use again.  My husband will love that – he would like me to keep less and toss more.  But, as I like to tell him, you just never know when you can put spare paper and other little bits and pieces to good use.

I have linked up to the following: Think Pink Sundays at Flamingo Toes ; Making Monday Marvelous at C.R.A.F.T. ; Made by You Mondays at Skip to My Lou ; Get Your Craft on Tuesday at Today’s Creative Blog; Take-a-Look Tuesdays at Sugar Bee Crafts; Wednesday Wowzers at oopsy daisy; Flaunt It Fridays at Dotted Line Crafts; The Cure for the Common Monday at Lines Across My Face

Invasion of the body snatchers…is that really my child?

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Cover of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers&...

Cover of Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Yesterday afternoon my husband and I picked M up at the daycare around 4:30 to go to the school’s film festival.  All the classes have spent the last several months putting short films together and yesterday was the big screening.  The school rented a theatre and held two showings – one during the day and one after school for parents and others.  The tickets went on sale weeks ago and we checked with M before we sent in our $15 ($5 per ticket).  We reminded him several times during the week, including yesterday am.

Except Thursday is a special activity day at the daycare.  Whatever they were doing, M did not want to leave.  Didn’t matter that he had committed to going.  He had seen the films earlier in the day and they were “dumb.”

I could tell by the expression on M’s face as we got in the car that he was angry.  He’s always had trouble with transitions from one activity to the next.  As his psychologist reminded us when we met with her earlier this week, when he doesn’t want to do something, it is almost impossible to get him to do it.  He was upset about missing the activity at the daycare and did not want to go the school event. 

My husband suggested we go home and M yelled his agreement from the backseat.  But we made a committment to go – we paid for the tickets (only $15 but it was the principal), plus my husband and I had both left work early.  Since he didn’t want to go to the event, going home would have put the control in M’s hands.  Not to mention setting a precedent for the future – if I make a big enough fuss, I will get my own way.  So I said we were going.

I tried reasoning with him, but M was well past the stage where any rational conversation was possible.  He sat in the back seat and told me I was stupid.  When I didn’t respond, he started poking me over the seat.  I adjusted my position so he couldn’t get to me but at one point he grabbed my hair.  Luckily, he wasn’t able to maintain his grip.  I told him he was going to lose electronics for the rest of the day:  “I don’t care, you’re stupid!”

We continued to ignore him.  His language got progressively worse as we got closer to our destination.  At one point, my husband, who was driving, had to break suddenly to avoid slamming into the car in front of us who had stopped with no warning to let someone cross the street.  We all got jostled and M said “what the hell.”  My husband, who looked like his head was going to pop off, told M to watch his language.  M relied:  “I can say what I want” and then proceeded to say “hell, hell, hell” over and over.  After about the 10th repetition, I heard my husband mutter “…is being with you.”  Totally inappropriate but understandable, given he was trying to navigate through rush hour traffic with a raging beast in the back. 

When we got to the theatre, M refused to get out of the car. 

M:  I’m staying here.

Me:  Fine.

M:  Can I have my iPod?

Me:  No, you’ve lost it for the day.

M:  Then I’ll destroy the inside of the car.

Me:  Fine, but you will pay for the damages from your bank account.

M:  No, I won’t.

Me:  Yes, you will.

M:  Fine, I’ll come in (gets out of the car and slams the door).

We got into the theatre and M made a bee-line for a couple of his buddies.  He sat with them for a couple of minutes and poof! evil alien disappears and M returns.

The film was great – the kids had all worked very hard.  M’s group’s firm was very funny.  By the time it was over, M was calm.  My husband and I were still in a bit of a state of a shock but we had regained enough of our equilibrium to talk to M in full sentences.  At his request, we swung by the library on our way home so M could pick up some books – “no electronics” also precluded watching tv. 

M was contrite.  When I talked to him later, I asked him if he liked himself when he behaved like that – he shook his head no.  I told him that I loved him, but I did not like that behaviour.  I also told him that we would need to work together to figure out how he could better manage his reaction when he gets angry – ask for 5 minutes to pull himself together; stop for something to eat, etc.  As a final point, I indicated that beyond losing electronics for the day, he would have to come up with a second consequence, something he could do to help around the house.

While M was in his temper, I kept thinking to myself, “is this what he will be like as a teenager”?It was as if M had been possessed by an evil alien – he looked like the same child but he sounded and acted like a completely different creature.  He didn’t care what he said or did at the time,  nor about the consequences.  This was not the first time he’s acted this way, but the first time we’ve been out of the house.   What worries me is that when he is in the “anger zone,” he is completely lacking in judgement and can be incredibly impulsive.  What if he did something in that 15 minute window that had long-term consequences?

I have no idea what M will be like as a teenager.  Given his temperament, I expect he will be challenging at times.  At the moment, access to electronics is the most effective carrot that we have, but that may not work forever.  Rationally, I know we are doing everything we can to equip M to manage his reactions to certain situations.  But an incident like yesterday afternoon plants a little seed of doubt in my mind.  It usually doesn’t grow very big; I’ve gotten pretty good at shutting down the negative thoughts and focusing on the positive.  So while we had a rough 15 minutes yesterday, M did pull himself together and apologized afterward.  He was very polite and affectionate today.

Still, I’ll be keeping an eye out, just in case the alien bodysnatcher puts in another appearance.

Gingerbread – vegan version

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I don’t eat dairy or refined sugar.  For this reason, I rarely have dessert.   I don’t miss it, except on holidays and on special occasions.   For big family events, my mother will often make me an extra pie crust and I will make a fruit crumble with vegan margarine (most contain whey which is a by-product of cheese production) and maple syrup and/or honey .  But sometimes a girl just wants cake.  And most cakes require butter and sugar.  

After flipping through the myriad cook books in my collection and blog hopping various recipe website, I discovered that vegan recipes use no dairy and many don’t use refined sugar.  Even though I was a vegetarian for over 20 years, I wasn’t really familiar with vegan cooking.  When I first became a vegetarian, it was much harder to find basic ingredients.  One of the first natural food stores I shopped at had sawdust on the floor.  The tofu was kept in big buckets – you would reach in and pull out a slab and throw it in a plastic bag.  So while vegetarianism was a bit outside the mainstream, veganism was beyond way.

However, as I discovered, vegan cooking is much more accessible these days.  There are a ton of different vegan cookbooks and most recipes are easy to put together.  Even better, nearly all the ingredients are easily found at the supermarket or natural food store. 

I have tried a few different vegan cake recipes but my hands-down favourite is adapted from The Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld:  gingerbread with blood orange sauce.  I have never made it with the sauce – blood oranges are one fruit that is not easy to find where I live.  And who needs sauce when you have rich yummy gingerbread.  I have made this for family dinners, school bake sales and work events – everyone is surprised when I tell them it is vegan.

The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of canola oil as well as 1 cup of maple syrup and 12 cup of molasses.  I have cut the oil in half and replaced the remaining 1/4 with unsweetened applesauce.  Since cutting out refined sugar, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth – 1 and 1/2 cup of maple syrup/molasses is way too much for me.  Plus the applesauce adds a bit of sweetness too.  So I use the amount of molasses called for in the recipe, but only half the amount of maple syrup.  Sometimes I use a mixture of maple syrup, honey and agave, up to half a cup.

Ingredients:

1 cup plus 2 teaspoons whole wheat flour

1 cup white flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp freshly grated ginger (you can also use dried, but fresh adds nice zing)

1/2 tsp each ground cloves and ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp each ground nutmeg and allspice

1/4 c. canola oil (I use safflower oil)

1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup maple syrup (or a combination of maple syrup and/or honey/agave)

1/2 molasses

1 c unsweetened soy milk

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp vanilla (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/  Oil a 9-inch spring form pan, cake pan or loaf pan.  Line with parchment paper (this may seem a bit fiddly, but it makes getting the cake out of the pan much easier).

In a medium bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices (except fresh ginger, if using).  In another medium bowl, combine the remaining wet ingredients and fresh ginger.  Whisk well, until fully emulsified (if you prefer, you could use a hand blender).

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients; mix until combined and batter is relatively smooth.  The batter will be quite wet.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the middle rack in the oven.  Bake for about 55 minutes, or until the cake is springy to the touch.  I rely on the tried-and-true toothpick/wooden skewer method – cake is done when the toothpick/skewer comes out clean.

Let cool and remove from the pan.  The cake freezes really well.  The last time I made it I used 2 small loaf pans, appropriately called “Fat Daddies.”  I divided the batter equally between the 2 pans and baked them for about 45 minutes (will depend on your oven).  I ended up with 2 cute little gingerbread loaves – I ate one over several days (no, I didn’t share) and put one in the freezer for another time when I need a piece of cake.  You just never know.

Ready to eat!

I love these little pans!