Snow Day

December 20th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

We all react to the snow in different ways. While a Sunday snow day is not a terrible thing, I was a bit disappointed because I had been looking forward to a few weekend activities that had to be reshuffled. The Tweedle Twirp was going to come visit, but that got canceled, which also means we were no shows at our monthly game night last night since we were suddenly babysitter-less. Doodles had a cub scout event today that I thought was going to be fun and interesting.

But my kids? My kids are thrilled. Doodles spent the entire day in his pajamas, playing with new Hanukkah presents. When I went out to shovel, Pie eagerly came along, and did “modern dance in the snow.” She shoveled for a minute or two with me, and then promptly went across the street to help Tab shovel her walk.

Me, I’ve used the day to write about a zillion holiday cards (and yet, I’m still not done!). My apologies to those whose last names begin after the letter L; my handwriting completely deteriorated by that point. I also packaged the last of the boxes to be mailed and doing a little last holiday baking (well, not quite last, but I can dream). I also decided to take down the Hanukkah decorations. A little odd, considering most of the country is still putting up their decorations, but our holiday is over and I never like those things to linger. I left up all the lights and holiday cards, but the menorahs, the dreidel pictures, the Little People Hanukkah toy, the menorah tidbit tray, and all the little Hanukkah knickknacks returned to that great storage in the attic. The kids have spent the entire afternoon glued to the TV, which once in a while, is fine by me (Doodles said, “It’s like when we have a fever and we can watch all we want!”). Yesterday was a hectic day–hockey and then to a friends to make ornaments for her tree and then my in-laws came to celebrate Hanukkah with us. So a rest day is well deserved.

Santa was at hockey, and both my kids wanted to meet him. Santa made chit chat with Doodles first. Asked if he’d been a good boy. If he’ll keep being a good boy. Told him that he (Santa) also ice skated up at the North Pole. And then he asked Doodles what he wanted for Christmas. Doodles merely said, “We don’t celebrate Christmas.” No elaboration. I think he threw Santa for a loop, but Santa finally realized what was going on and said, “That’s fine!” By the time Pie got off the ice to meet him, Santa was a little more prepared for her response.

The one unfortunate about the snow is that it cleared up enough for Adam to be able to get out to head to the airport. He’s off to London for a few days, which always makes me sad. Hanukkah over; the short, dark days; the oppression of the snow; Adam’s trip overseas–this time of year always conspires to make me blue.

But soon enough it will be Christmas, which is a very special day in our house, because that is the day that Santa brings us sun. One of the best parts of being Jewish is being able to fly out on Christmas day for warmer climes.

So now, I just need to plug through the next few days. The light at the end of the tunnel is spa day. I just need to focus on spa day…. Ahhhhh….

Baker, Baker, Bake Me a Treat

December 16th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

If you’re wondering where your holiday card is, it’s right here because I’m supposed to be writing them right now, but instead, here I am on my blog. Oh well! I’m not excited about this year’s cards because Adam was in charge of proofreading and I should know better than to let an MBA proofread; MBAs think “attriting” is a real word and that they can “talk around issues.” So, yes, there’s a typo on the card and it’s way too late for me to put in an asterisks that reads, “Proofread by Adam.”

Life has felt busy lately so I’m just now starting on my holiday baking and I have to say, I’m most excited by the– Oops! I think some of the people I give my goodies to are reading this blog so I won’t spill this year’s concoctions.

Hanukkah so far has been fun, but it’s a bit overwhelming for the kids who have too much sugar, not enough sleep, and total present overload. I’ve made and eaten more latkes than anyone has a right to. I made them Friday in Doodles’s class, Friday night for our Hanukkah/Shabbat dinner, Sunday for our annual Hanukkah party, and Monday in Pie’s class. I’m oozing oil out of my pores and it’s downright gross. I’m actually craving vegetables. Of course, as the family cook, I could make vegetables, but that seems like actual work so I’ll stick with the oily foods for now. And the sugar. Can’t forget the sugar.

My holiday shopping has been done for a while now, except that my local B. Dalton’s is going out of business so I’ve spent two days now scouring its racks for 40% off books (plus my B&N; membership discount). I’ve got presents for the kids for the next three years (seriously–Beetle was in the store with me, and as her kids are 6 and 9, she showed me books Doodles and Pie will like in a couple of years).

I’m off now to get my son, then my daughter, and then off for a coveted H1N1 flu shot for the little one (the big one got his in school). And if I were you, I’d be seriously hoping your one my goodie list. Because these things look pretty good!

Drink Your Gin and Tonica and Smoke Your Marijunica

December 11th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

Tonight begins eight days and nights of greasy, oily skin… I mean Hanukkah! Hanukkah officially began about two hours ago, and I’ve already had latkes three times this season. Ugh. Today I went into Doodles’s class to make latkes, but first I had to experiment and make them last week, because–due to allergies–I needed to make egg-free latkes. I did. It was brilliant. And I couldn’t let the first night of Hanukkah slip by without more oily disks of fat. Mmmm, oily disks of fat!

I’m happy that Pie was pleased with her gift tonight. I had my concerns after listening to her talk to my father on the phone. Pie asked for an American Girl doll for Hanukkah, specifically “the Jewish one.” I passed the request on to one of her grandparents, and I’m sure she’ll be thrilled with the results. But in the meantime, I had a hand-me-down American Girl doll and a stroller for her that I wrapped up. She felt it yesterday before I could yell at her to get her grubby little paws off the gifts. And today, when she was talking with Peter, she said with great excitement, “We get to open presents tonight. I’m pretty sure there’s a stroller in one of them! So that’s mean we’ll be getting a baby!”

Did anyone else just throw up a little bit? Anyway, she was thrilled with her doll, and the kids loved the gifts they got from the Tweedle Twirp. I’m preparing for our annual Hanukkah party (which Pie has apparently mentioned to everyone at school, regardless of whether or not they were invited, making for some lovely, comfortable discussions…Not).

Now it’s time for little people to go to bed and for me to clean the oil off the kitchen walls… although what’s the point? I guess I can just leave it there till Hanukkah’s over. Back to baking, gotta get the holiday cards written, and bask in the peace of the season. “GET YOUR PJS ON ALREADY AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH!” Oh, sorry. I wasn’t talking to you.

Happy Hanukkah!

From the Mouths of Babes

December 2nd, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

Conversation with the Tweedle Twirp and her pregnant friend, kids playing nearby.
Me: And so then I got dressed for the party [my grandfather’s 90th birthday party in Miami in July]. I was eight months pregnant and something just didn’t look right. I called the Tweedle Twirp in and said, “What is wrong with this outfit? The shoes look all wrong. I’ve been wearing them for a year now and they looked fine. Why do they look so weird now?” Tweedles evaluated me for a good long while before she finally said, “Well, they looked better when you still had ankles.” “Ankles!” I said. “That’s it!”
The next night, I overheard Doodles talking to his friend J.
Doodles: Did you know that when women get pregnant, they lose their ankles?

*****

Pie: Mommy, how does Chrysanthemum know who’s Christian and who’s not?
Me: Chrysanthemum?
Pie: Yeah. How does Chrysanthemum know who to bring presents to?
Me: Like in the book?
Pie: Yeah.
Me: The mouse? Who doesn’t like her name?
Pie: Um, I guess.
Me: Do you mean Santa Claus?
Pie: Yes! How does Santathemum Claus know who’s Christian and who’s not?
Me: Remember I told you, Santa Claus isn’t real. Mommies and Daddies buy presents for the kids. Santa is made up, but it’s not something we talk about with our non-Jewish friends. Santa isn’t real.
Pie: I know!
Me: Okay.
Pie: So how does he know? Who’s Christian and who’s not?

Crafty Holiday

November 29th, 2009 § Comments Off on Crafty Holiday § permalink

Speaking of holiday projects, I make these ornament gift tags for my non-Jewish friends; I’m trying to think what I could do with them so I could give them to Jewish friends. Someone suggested putting a magnet on them, but I’m not sure that would work well. Any ideas? I can’t show you the cutest one, because it’s for someone who might read this blog (I really have no idea who reads this blog anymore, but better safe than sorry).

Let the Holiday Season Commence

November 29th, 2009 § Comments Off on Let the Holiday Season Commence § permalink

Our weekend of butter winds down as we prepare for a week of oil.

Dust covers the floor of the basement exercise room. A set of tools is in the middle of the upstairs bathroom. A flashlight is lying on the bedroom floor. A random set of shelves is in the hallway. Lumber is scattered everywhere. Storm doors are leaning against the exercise equipment. Doodles is randomly running from room to room carrying odd tools. Yes, that’s right. Adam’s gone handy on us. He’s decided to not only tackle the to-do list, but to expand on it. And the best thing one can do at this time is just stand out of the way. So far both the bathroom sinks no longer leak. The storm doors have been painted, as has the upstairs linen closet door. A new workbench is sitting in the utility closet. He’s currently off to the hardware store for more provisions.

And me? I’m just compounding the mess, with boxes of Hanukkah decorations waiting to be put up. Piles of presents that need to be wrapped. Half-done craft projects litter the house, waiting to be finished (oh, sewing machine! How much longer till you return from the great repair shop in Somerville?) Basically, our house is a minefield of ribbons, needles, and nails. Enter at your own risk.

I’m sorry that Thanksgiving weekend is coming to an end. It’s my favorite weekend of the year. Don’t get me wrong–I’m an absolute sucker for the Hanukkah/Christmas/New Year’s season. I’m starting to work on the holiday cards. I’m figuring out fun craft projects for the kids to do at our Hanukkah party. I’m planning menus. Spending too much money. Getting out my Martha.

But there’s something about the coziness of Thanksgiving weekend–just hanging out, watching too much TV, reading books (we made an emergency run to Barnes & Noble yesterday for its last copy of Pippi on Board; we finished the first Pippi and Doodles couldn’t wait to start the next one), playing games. Nice and mellow. We had friends over for brunch on Friday morning. Friday night was a lovely Shabbat at Jasmine’s house. Saturday was hockey, the B&N; run, and then an evening watching Up (which I loved! It was a little intense for the kids, but Doodles managed nicely and seemed to like it; too many late nights for Pie had her asleep about 2/3 of the way through it). Today has been the getting things done day. I love the feel of this long weekend. I love the food, the parade on TV, the chill in the air. I love an excuse to make hot chocolate and popcorn. But alas, it’s just about over. Now I’ll put up those Hanukkah decorations and move on to holiday projects.

And I’ll console myself that Thanksgiving will be back again next year. I already can’t wait!

Tis the Night Before Thanksgiving

November 25th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. I love turkey and pumpkins and cranberry sauce. I love having a holiday that I celebrate the same as everyone else. I love the holiday cheer and the start of the full-fledged holiday season. I love the parade and the fall weather. I love Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving also brings out the difference in my kids. Pie was so excited about her preschool’s Thanksgiving feast. She insisted on wearing her summery party dress. I volunteered to come in to help out, and she said to me as we were leaving, “Maybe you should put on some lipstick.” For what it’s worth, I didn’t. She loved the feast–the stone soup, the pumpkin bread, the apple crisp. Pie made a card at school for us. It read, “I’m thankful for Momma, Daddy, Doodles, and me!”

Doodles did not want to go to school. Not today nor yesterday. In fact he got downright upset about it. I couldn’t figure it out. His class was doing a little “reader’s theater” and he’d been practicing his lines for two weeks now (“I am a Native American bold. About me, many tales are told. I taught the pilgrims to plant and fish. Our three-day meal was delish!”). Turns out, he was completely stressed out by the idea of cranberries. The first graders were going to be making cranberry relish and doing activities with cranberries, and he despises cranberries. Not that he’s ever had one. But he throws up at the smell of blueberries and strawberries, so I was willing to back him up on this. So I spoke to his teacher and he was excused from all fruit activities. And he was happy. Doodles also did a worksheet on which he had to draw pictures of what he was thankful for. Can you guess? I didn’t think so. “My toys. My circuit boards. My inventions.”

My cooking for the night is done. My in-laws are at friends in Nantucket, my brother-in-law and his wife are in Belize, my parents are in Miami for Art Basel, so it’s a small affair. We have friends coming over and my sister is here, so it’s a mere party of ten, which is just perfect. Although I keep trying to add more dishes to the menu, only to be reminded that we don’t need more food on the menu.

Desserts are made. My pumpkin cake is cooling. Pumpkin made with fresh pumpkin, mind you. None of this canned stuff for us. My pilgrim hats are chilling in the fridge. (When I explained to my sister what I was making, she said, “Wow, when you decided to not be Mom, you really took it to an extreme.”)

Tweedle Twirp made the apple pie.

This year we decided to brine the turkey. I don’t eat much meat, so I definitely have a little guilt over the turkey. It looks so… turkey-ish. I told the turkey it was at the turkey spa, getting a special herbal bath.

We then put the turkey in an isolation chamber for a soothing night of introspection. It’s also the only place in the house with the proper temperature for a turkey in a ziplock in a cooler: The old entrance to the basement, unheated, cold, and just right. Originally I said to just leave it out on the side steps, but that was quickly nixed when Adam told me that my little cooler wouldn’t keep out the neighborhood raccoons and coyote.

What else have we done? I’ve spiced the pecans for the salad. The bread is on the counter drying out for stuffing. I made the crescent dough. The once-a-year crescent rolls that are made of butter. And a touch of flour. But really, butter. Mmmm, butter. Apple cider is in the fridge. I have all the stuff for kids’ appetizers and grown-up appetizers. Tomorrow I make the thyme rolls, the sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, the stuffing. Toss together the salad. Obviously I need to roast the turkey and prepare the gravy. Our friends are bringing the cranberry sauce and the green beans. A complete meal! Of which Pie will eat the potatoes and Doodles will eat the turkey.

In the morning I hope to make muffins with more of my fresh pumpkin puree, but I do have a Turkey Trot to run, so I’m not sure I’ll have the time. Ah, Thanksgiving. Have I mentioned I love Thanksgiving?

Boo

November 2nd, 2009 § Comments Off on Boo § permalink

What happens when you make apple muffins in the shape of pumpkins? You confuse the hell out of six-year-old boys.

Halloween is not my favorite holiday. My childhood memories are not to be relied upon, but I remember it feeling very stressful, this whole dressing up. It always seemed to be some last minute scramble and I’d end up as a ghost (with the entire face cut out so I could see) or a gypsy, anything that could be made from things we already had in the house.

As an adult, I haven’t been able to embrace it. Dressing up in costume just bores me. I mean, it’s not any different than regular dressing up and I hate that too.

This year, though, I decided to embrace a different aspect of it. I do like decorating the house. And I like cooking. So this year, we had a couple of kids over for dinner, and for them I made fingers (mozzarella cheese with green peppers), mouths (apples with almonds), and (work with me on this one) a monster brain (I know–I really need to work on that one). And of course the main dish was mummy dogs, a popular dish around here. For the grown-ups I made blood drinks (sangria), eyeballs (marinated mozzarella with olives), and spider dip (just seven-layer dip with a really lame spider web drawn on it).

After dinner the kids went trick or treating. They enjoyed themselves, but were quite happy to turn their candy over to the Switch Witch. I gorged myself silly on Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and Heath Bars. I still feel sick from it.

All in all, an okay time on my not-favorite holiday. Maybe I’ll figure out some more fun recipes for next year. In the meantime, we now move on to my absolute favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! Turkey and parades and races and football and hot mulled cider. Does it get any better than that?

Pass the Matzah

April 12th, 2009 § 3 comments § permalink

Why was that night different from all other nights? Because it was the first night I was able to host a dinner for 18 people and not stress about it! There was plenty of room in our house, the fridge amply held all the food, I had plenty of burners for cooking, and I could relax knowing that with 8 adults and 10 kids, it didn’t really matter what I did because the night would be such complete chaos that no one would know what the heck I did. The only downer of it was that Doodles has some sort of weird something that’s been going around, where during the day he seems pretty fine, but he tends to run a fever at night, so he’s been homebound and lethargic for a while.

So I was pleased with the way the seder went–I went a little cheesy at points (the Pharaoh called in the middle to demand the kids build pyramids; I messed up the story of the Exodus and had to give the kids prizes); Pie complained about my singing (she covered my mouth and whined, “No, Mommy! No!”) although she executed one of the four questions beautifully, if through tears {she had been injured in rough Passover play); I had to simply yell the end of the seder to be heard over the kids (“NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!”); but the food was eaten, the wine was drunk, conversations seemed to flow, and we made it through the (homemade) haggadah. What else can you ask for?

But now we are in the middle of Passover, and all I can do is despair that my diet is normally absolutely, completely, and totally carb based. Sushi on Saturdays. Spaghetti once or twice a week. Rice, tortillas, bread. Snacks are popcorn, veggie chips, snap pea crisps. Passover isn’t a big deal in the sense of “Oh my gosh, how will I make it!” because really, it’s a freakin’ week. I can eat this way for a week (although Doodles is another story–that kid may starve before the week is over; the kids are eating about a dozen eggs a day. Pie woke up yesterday morning crying, “I want Cheerios! I want Mighty Bites!”). But it’s a big deal in, “Oh my God, what is my diet?” Every Passover I swear I’ll eat better. And for one week, I generally do. More fruit. More veggies. This is the way we’re supposed to be eating. All year. Not just at Passover.

Of course, it might all be negated by how much matzah and jelly and matzah and cheese and matzah and cream cheese I eat. And the candy fruit slices. I do eat a lot of candy fruit slices. And the Passover brownies. They’re actually better than normal brownies. I mean, how can you go wrong with any recipe that starts with two sticks of butter (and every Passover recipe starts with two sticks of butter and a dozen eggs).

Tonight’s dinner is a veggie lasagna (zucchini instead of noodles). It’ll be nice and healthy. Which is good, because I just got another box of fruit slices. The yellow ones are the best!

Ten… Nine… Eight…

December 31st, 2008 § 1 comment § permalink

The problem with keeping a blog is there’s this feeling of obligation to post something significant on the last day of the year. To do some sort of witty, or at the least, poignant, wrap up of the previous year. To ponder on what the coming year will bring.

You know that’s not going to happen, right? Even if I wasn’t still wrapping presents and getting dressed and trying to wrangle children to get to our New Year’s Eve party, I still wouldn’t have anything to say. Because 2008, as lovely as it was, was just another year in a long line of years (I hope).

The most and the least I can say is that 2008 was the year of Facebook and Twitter for me. Hockey and kindergarten for Doodles. Ballet and potty training for Pie. And Adam–well, he’s still here, so that’s something. We had marathons and house tear downs and a week in Vermont. We had trips to New York and lots of martinis. We turned 40 and 36 and 5 and 3. It was a year. Different from the others. But not so much.

And 2009, well, it’ll be 2009. I’m looking forward to more marathons and a trip to Israel. Moving back to our house. And who knows what else it’ll bring.

Happy New Year everyone. I’ll see you in 2009.

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