Saturday, January 20, 2018

Winter Break

There was plenty more time to fill over winter break besides our quick trip to NJ and hamster-sitting for our neighbors.  Joseph went to hist first ever rock climbing birthday party for his friend Tomas.  I would have loved to witness it first hand but all I got was one pic from Tomas' mom.

Joseph's kindergarden teacher was back in town for a holiday visit and invited her former students to visit with her and her daughter, Dylan.

We always have to find time for our annual god brother gift exchange.  Aunt Missy keeps claiming her Harry Potter audio book presents are lame, but she has no idea how many hours upon hours Joseph spends lost in that magical world, and he loves every minute of it. It's also Aunt Missy's birthday right after Christmas, so we make sure to celebrate that too!

One day JT was invited over to his classmate Ethan's house to swim.  I mean, WOW, they have an indoor lap pool!

Most importantly, we all enjoyed an almost week-long visit with Mimi.  My parents had planned to come too for a few days but decided not to after our visit on Christmas.  Mimi helped so much with Joseph when we had to work, but lucky Brent also got to take some time off just to spend with them.

The entirety of our New Year's plans consisted of this: frying a turkey in our backyard with our neighbors for a pseudo-Thanksgiving dinner, and we were all fast asleep before 10pm.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Pet Sitter for Hire

Reliable, enthusiastic, reasonable rates, good references, and awfully cute.

We all enjoyed taking care of Drizzle, our next door neighbor's hamster, over winter break.  What was more exciting was having Arya and Sansa (Game of Thrones House Stark, anyone?), the Deubert's cats, over for 2 days while their floors were being refinished.  It's been over 6 months since we've had a pet.  The time is near for new kitties!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Quick Christmas Trip

Quite at the last minute we decided to drive up to NJ to be with my family for Christmas.  But, we had already bought tickets to see the Nutcracker on the 23rd and had to work on the 26th, so it was up on the 24th and back on the 25th!

It was the first Nutcracker for all of us, inspired when we learned that one of Joseph's new friends from his class this year scored the role of Fritz, Clara's brother.  The Warner is always such a beautiful theater to see any show, and a beautiful touch was having the ballet set locally in Georgetown.

Despite the dreadful weather, we still walked around the city a bit to see the national Christmas tree and the decorations at the Willard, before finally getting drenched in torrential downpours as we headed over to City Center to celebrate Salem's last performance with with family at Fig & Olive.

Johnny Duddle always seems to spend the last night we see him before he heads back to the North Pole perched in our tree - funny how he knew we were leaving a day early.  Once we packed up the car and were ready to head north ourselves, we sent Joseph over to say goodbye to the neighbors and snuck back into the house to help Santa get everything in place for when we returned on Christmas Day.  Although this was the first year Joseph chose to NOT visit and take pictures with Santa (*insert sniffles here*), he still sort of believes so we tried to make the magic happen one last time.

We were in NJ in no time and had plenty of time to visit with Grammy and Grandpa before mass, then our traditional dinner at Aunt Toni's home with Mom's shrimp and lobster sauce.

It was really, really weird not being in our own home on Christmas morning for the first time in so many years, but Joseph went with the flow and just enjoyed the time with his grandparents.

Back to Aunt Toni's for breakfast and presents, plus time with Joseph's only cousins on my side of the family.

It was a happy Christmas on I-95!  Somebody must have put in a good word for us with the traffic gods since we sailed smoothly both up and back home.  Santa DID come while we were away, and Joseph was thrilled with all his presents, including a telescope, slime kits, WWII tanks and planes, books, and many games, as well as special presents from Daddy and Papa too.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Back to Baking!

It must have been not having a kitchen for so many months during our renovation that really sparked my holiday baking bug this year.  I made NINE different things including a few favorites and plenty of new recipes.

Everyone's absolute favorite: chewy ginger cookies.

Peppermint candy cane cookies.  Not my best work, but it was fun trying something new.

Another new one: cherry rugelach.  Filling was way too sweet for me but I have now perfected making and rolling the dough, so that's a win.

I love using my grandmother's cookie press!  This year I tried a new recipe for pistachio Spritz cookies.

No year is complete without some kind of crinkle cookie.  I've done chocolate, red velvet, key lime, but these - lemon - are the BEST!

I haven't made cake pops in forever!

Every year I use a different cookie cutter for my sugar cookies and try to figure out a relatively simple and efficient way to ice them that still looks impressive.   These sparkly red nosed reindeer turned out really cute!

All of Brent's coworkers get a box full of treats.

There's plenty left over for friends, family, and Santa.  Nestled in there but not pictured separately are also Mexican hot chocolate cookies and "confetti" cookies with holiday color sprinkles.

One thing I never make is a gingerbread house.  For that, we rely on our amazing friends, Mallory and David, who host one of the most amazing and memorable parties every year for 30+ families.  It's absolutely the one Joseph looks forward to the most.