Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ken Anachnu Tov!

What an Election Day!!! We kicked the morning off with a late start. Buzz slept all the way until 6:45! Once he was up things started moving. Lemonade, iced tea, the great sock race, finding pants... It's a process to get out of the house. Finally we were all fully attired. Out we went to exercise our democratic rights!
I wore Buzz on my back to the polling station. A couple of funny stares (since we are assigned to the 'kalpi' in RBS B) but our choosing went smoothly. Buzz helped with my tie-breaker, we slipped our choice into the envelope, and into the box it went. 

Do you seal your envelope? I do. I think it's a perfectionist thing, or an OCD thing, but that's kind of one in the same in this scenario.
After a relaxing breakfast at our new local bagel store we made our way home. Buzz was waiting loudly and impatiently for his cousin to arrive. 
At long last the hour arrived. So we piled into the car and made our way to S&S's house where we met The Freddies and enjoyed some quality S&S time and some Pizza Hut pizza. After a couple of hours the kiddos we're going a little bit stir-crazy so we said our goodbyes and headed out to the big park.
Well, to be honest, we detoured to The FamBily House first. We dropped off all of the food-stuffs and checked in on the kitchen situation (which Timmy had well in hand) then most of us decided to be lazy and ended up sending Z and Frank out to the park with the wired toddlers. Suffice it to say, when they got back almost 2 hours later the grown-ups were zonked.
Timmy had done most of the prep work and lit the grills. Freddie and I helped shlep everything out to the backyard then Timmy did the grilling. Freddie prepped the salads and set the table. And pretty soon there was an enormous quantity of amazing smelling food and lots of hungry stomachs ready to feast.
Finally The Mad Man returned from his favorite 'David & Goliath Tour' in Emek HaElah with our 'captive' cousin (here on business, he lucked into a free vacation day thanks to national elections!) so we all washed up, sat down, and tucked in to the bounty. 

And oh my goodness what bounty it was. Deeeeelicious in the extreme. We may have gone a little overboard on quantities, but nobody will be complaining about eating those leftovers. 
Before we knew it the clock struck 9 and the Buzzmonster really needed his bed. So we said our goodbyes and shlepped back up the hill. Thanks to the intense play-session with uncles and cousins, Buzz fell asleep in about two minutes flat. I am mightily impressed at how much energy that kid really has to burn on a daily basis.
Cherry on top of a wonderful day? A super-cute picture of yours truly with her ogre - I mean, significant other... And look! He's even smiling nicely!

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Three Cuckoo Day

Shabbos was nice. Friday night was mostly leftovers, and besides for a pan of super-saucy baked ziti even the quiche for lunch came out of the freezer. We are in full-blown Pesach-is-coming clean-out mode. It's pretty crazy. I'm confident that this year we can actually make the clear-out happen in a neat and timely manner.

Shabbos afternoon we walked over to The FamBily House. Everybody was sleeping. They woke up eventually and Z took Buzz to the park while Phil and I studied for her psychology final. Quite entertaining stuff - all about memory - how we make them, store them, and retrieve them. See? I was listening!
This morning dawned a little too early for some of us. Buzz was bouncing around by 5:40 and I wanted nothing more than to lock him in his bedroom. Z refused claiming that to be child abuse, so I settled for migrating to the guest room to get some more shut-eye. Of course, by the time I was settled in the guest bed I was wide-awake. Thus did my day begin at 5:40am.
I straightened up the living room and dining room since they were general disasters after the shabbos rumpus. I cleared off the mountain of stuff that had accumulated in the coffee table in my bedroom. I pretended to organize some other random things. Then before I knew it 3:30 had rolled around and it was time to head out to pick up Buzz.

Schedules and things being as they are - we are revising our daily-schedule. We won't be crashing down to The FamBily House for a few hours of daily coffee and relaxation every day anymore. I breathed an audibly loud sigh of relief this afternoon when Buzz agreed cheerfully to walk towards home after gan rather than making a beeline in the direction that we usually go in.

I was surprise that he had so much energy, but he happily walked up to the first traffic circle before exhaustion caught up with him. Luckily I had our trusty Tula carrier, so I slung him onto my back. He cackled with glee and I buckled him in and we set off at a good pace.

We arrived at our neighborhood park a mere 35 minutes after my original departure time. Not too bad for a 2.8 kilometer trek (1.2 kg uphill with a 30+ lb kid strapped to my back.) Clearly all this walking is getting me into shape - whatever that means.

Buzz was so excited to play at the park. We worked our way down from the top - which meant the swings were our first stop. Then we shot straight down to the play-structure at the bottom. Excitingly (for me) it was a regular afternoon and lots of people were there so I actually got to socialize and see a bunch of my neighbors and friends. It's been a long time since I've gotten a chance to shmooze and hang out because we are usually not in the neighborhood. It was actually really nice! 
After a while at the park we made our way home. Buzz requested that our afternoon activity be 'baking a pink cake'. With 3 cups of homemade strawberry in the fridge I figured it wouldn't be too tall of an order. I used my usual yellow-cake recipe but cut down on the sugar (by 1/4) and used strawberry syrup instead of orange juice. I added a drop of neon-pink food coloring to the batter just to make the pink-ness 'pop'. Buzz was thrilled. Personally I was just amazed that the cupcakes turned out at all - but they did. They rose really beautifully and came out of the oven smelling the strawberry heaven. Buzz happily gobbled one up as soon as they were cool enough to handle.

Before I knew it, Z walked in the door. I guess this change-in-routine isn't so terrible. Tomorrow I should probably stretch before heading out - but by the end of the next four months, my shapely calves are going to be the envy of everyone in town.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Fish and Eggsbert

Purim in photos...
Shalach manot for gan and an M&M...
Timmy and I had an extremely successful bread baking day. Our bounty was incredible. They made really cute baskets too - but I forgot to get a picture in the rush of getting them out to deliver them.
Buzz is very into tents lately. Here's his mini-house at The FamBily House the other day. We built him another one at our place today. He likes to take his flashlight into the tent to keep it all illuminated.
I was very nervous about whether I'd manage to get a meal together for this afternoon. I woke up this morning and baked three batches of cookies. Then by the time the shalach manot run was done I was pretty much freaking out. 

I had a bunch of leftovers from last shabbos. Sneakily I decided to use them up today. Of course they had to be repurposed. I turned the leftover chicken into 12 chicken-pot-pie knishes. The last of the roasted garlic mashed potatoes turned into 8 really awesome knishes too. Did I mention that knishes were FF?! Yup, 100% barley flour. It was super exciting and delicious. Of course the meatballs, rice pilaf, and steak salad were the perfect mishmash of accompanying dishes.
Phil joined us for the meal, since the rest of The FamBily had gone out to The Shomron for a great gathering. Our meal was delicious, then we capped off the evening with a movie. The parentals made it home in perfect time to pick Phil up as Z put Buzz to bed.
Tomorrow is erev-shabbos. We have our menu, and it's minimal prep since I did so much today. We owe Buzz a trip to the mall to play, so that'll happen. Hopefully the floor will get cleaned at some point before candle-lighting. 

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

People, moon, ani!

I've been off the grid for almost a month - so figured it's about time to check in with you all.

What has been going on? Let's see...

I kicked off February by turning a whole bunch of family photos into digital copies with the help of my trusty-dusty scanner. I also baked what I hope to be the last batch of challah until after Pesach. We survived the winter dust-apocalypse in style - even though nobody could breathe and the dog refused to leave the house. A not so sick-day with Buzz - ending with a trip to the dr who pronounced him completely healthy. A lot of homemade waffles and homemade pizza. Finalized bathroom layouts and electrical plans for the house. A complete overhaul of the guest room. The Crazy Lady's extended birthday weekend - complete with Friday bagel brunch on a Sun House snow-day. 60 lbs of goodies from Amerryca via Moscow and Givat Shmuel. And finally Papa arrived!

We spent a very busy but fun filled week filling moments with everything from touristy destinations to feeding our guest everything that we could! (All a ploy to empty the freezers out. Probably would've been more effective if I hadn't kept making new things...) On Shabbos we spent a couple of hours at The FamBily House. Sunday we watched Buzz run amok at the park then the grocery store. Then we said our goodbyes and Z did the airport run. 

Monday morning was so sad as Buzz popped out of bed and asked, "Papa, store? Park?" We had to remind him that he had said goodbye the night before and that Papa had gone home. He was sad to be reminded but cheered up when we told him that Papa would be back soon.

Today was Purim party in gan day. We dressed Buzz as a blue M&M- which nobody in gan recognized. Thankfully Buzz was not fazed in the least bit. He was just happy to be dressed as chocolate. Gan ended at noon, so I picked him up.

I actually went over to The FamBily House bright and early with half of my kitchen in tow. Timmy and I had scheduled a bread baking day. We made four different types of breads and we plan to give them out for shalach manot. Honey oatmeal, tomato basil, golden brioche, and no-knead loaves slashed and baked to perfection. I knew the no-kneads had come out well when Dibble begged to be allowed to eat one for dinner. I happily left one for him. We came home and devoured one with thickly sliced white English cheddar and the rest of a bottle of merlot petite sirah.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to make a second batch of caramel popcorn and maybe another batch of hamentashen. Yesterday I cooked up a batch of pareve dulce de leche (yay almond milk) so In thinking that would go pretty well in chocolate hamentashen. I've also got to make a batch of potato knights with some leftover roasted garlic mashed potatoes from last shabbos. I'd better get on that!!!

So much to do! Be back soon(ish)!