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Dear Santa,

Please please please please can I have Harry Potter 4? I’m his biggest fan. I know what his name is! It’s Daniel. Like my dad. If no one sees you my little cousin Jake will cry, because everybody likes Santa. Everyone would have a sad Christmas. Some people are already decorated, like a lot of people. Like all the people in the world. Everybody already has their Christmas trees. No one will set a fire in the fireplace on Christmas because if you come down then you’d get your bottom burnt.

Can you deliver every present to every child every Christmas? What do you elves look like? Do your reindeer need coats? How many? Can you send me a picture of them?

Do you deliver presents to animals if they’ve been good? Do you drop fish upon the lakes so bigger fish can eat them? How pretty is the moon when you fly by it? Would you send me a picture? Can you eat it? Is it really cheese or is it just moon with a lot of water in it? I would like to know.

Thank you Santa. I was just wondering those questions.

Love, Katie

ps:  Just in case you were wondering, my family members are Jackie, Daniel, ANYA.

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Elf-tastic

Yes, it’s that time of year again… makes me laugh every time.

 

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

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Easter

Dear Easter Bunny

I would like you to hide the eggs outside and hard for us to find because it would be funner.

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Jake O-K!

My kids have a saying for foods that are safe for their dairy-and egg-allergic cousin to eat… Jake OK!

As much of Christmas dinner as possible will be Jake-OK but I was struggling with the baked squash and pesto gratin. As it is Winter Wonderland-ing outside to the tune of 8-20″ (YAY for SNOW, SKIING, SNOWSHOEING, and SLEDDING!) I’m here doing a lot of cooking prep for the holiday this week. For those not blessed with either being born Italian or a Foodie, Pesto is a basil-garlic-nut-cheese paste that is often used as a sauce for pasta. Anyway – after combing the net and my own recipes for ideas I created this one and is is YUMMY *and* Jake O-K, and I wanted to write it down before I forgot it. Since Christmas is the season of giving, I’m giving it to you, too. I intended it to be all parsley but I mistakenly grabbed cilantro instead of parsley at the store this morning and just went with it.

Parsley-Cilantro Pesto

1/2 bunch of flat leaf Italian parsley leaves, washed and picked over

1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, washed and picked over

3 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered

1/2-3/4 cup shelled walnuts

kosher salt

1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 slice of good-quality bread (1/2 a slice it they are large slices), crust removed and bread crumbled

good quality extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process for a few seconds. With processor running, pour in the oil in a slow, steady stream until a smooth paste forms. You’ll need to scrape the sides down a few times. I’d guess I used about 2-3 tablestoons of oil but I go by look/taste/feel more than precise measurements.


p.s.: You’re on your own, kid, with your daddy’s scalloped potatoes…there’s only so much I can do.

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And because I can’t get it to embed here, you have to do it hte old fashioned way and click the link. Go ahead – it’s worth it.

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Fall is Here

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…to Great-Grandmother’s House we went…it’s Easter in South Bend!!

Yessiree, Bob – that’s 11 hours one-way for 48-hours in paradise! Totally worth it, of course, to see D’s beloved grandparents. It really was a nice weekend. And all things considered, the kids were fabulous in the car, especially since I am the Meanest Mother Ever and didn’t provide distractions like Gameboys or DVD players…no, no, we did it the old fashioned way…games of I Spy, Animal/Vegetable/Mineral, coloring books, stickers, etc.

Still, at Hour 10 on Friday…about an hour after the kids usually eat dinner (no food in sight, of course)…snowstorm in full force on the Indiana Turnpike…A had clearly had enough. See for yourself:

A: I AM SO SICK OF BEING IN A CAR!!!!!!!! I hate this, Daddy!
Daddy: Hang in there kiddo – only a little while longer.
A: I AM STARVING. I WANT DINNER. I TOLD YOU WE SHOULD HAVE STOPPED AT THAT LAST PLACE!!!
A: Why do we have to drive anyway?!?!?!
Daddy: It’s an adventure!
A: Mommy says we have to drive BECAUSE YOU ARE CHEAP.

<mommy practically suffocates from trying not to laugh out loud>

Daddy: I’m not cheap. I’m frugal.
A: I don’t want frugal! I want my dinner!
K: I’ll have a fruit bowl!

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Playing Catchup

What a whirlwind 2 weeks! Most important things first – K is all better – she came off the nebulizer the Friday after Christmas. 🙂

We spent Christmas Day having “Jewish Christmas” with Wreke and her family. BC, Jools, Beans and Muppet had a fantabulous time at the movies (Alvin and the Chipmunks, God help us all) and then with Chinese take-out back at Chez Wreke. Many thanks, my darlings, for the invitation!

That Friday and Saturday we had fun, impromptu neighborhood dinners with several friends at our house. Sunday we welcomed our dear friends and their “almost 4” daughter (let’s call her LG) to our house for several days of fun. They are temporarily living overseas (though these days she and LG are generally there and he is generally here – don’t ask…it’s complicated and no one is happy) so it’s always a huge treat when they are home in the states together as a family – we called in the troops and had a little party Sunday night with The Gang (aka the guys they went to high school with.)

Beans graciously shared her room with LG and Muppet, and Muppet graciously surrendered her room to the grownups. The kids got along wonderfully as they always do – especially the little ones. They are about 10 weeks apart and have been fast friends ever since they bonded in utero on a park bench in the Tuileries Gardens.

New Years Eve – an over-rated holiday imho, and known as Amateur Night by my friend Ann Marie – was just as it should be…filled with friends, family, laughter and love.

New Years Day was part recovery, part preparations for the long-awaited, much-anticipated trip in honor of Birthday Boy’s 40th birthday…VEGAS, BABY!

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The Long Winter

I can see it coming — it’s going to be a LONG winter. It’s barely winter now, and already K’s had a double ear infection and the lovely bronchiolitis that seems to have reached out and touched many. No one was more surprised than me when at the routine follow-up to see if her ears had cleared, her wonderful CRNP — who has cared for my kids for 8.5 years — said “nope not clear yet. And that chest infection needs some help…here are some uber-antibiotics, oral steroids, and an inhaler.”

!!!

OK, not cancer but still…not what you want to hear 8 days before Christmas, especially the Christmas that you’re supposed to make the tri-annual 10 hour pilgrimage to Indiana. So we start our medicine regime and alert the families that K is sick that we might not be able to travel that far. At the follow-up to the follow-up on Thursday, the chest infection is a little better but not enough better (she is still slightly wheezy and her chest is pretty rattly) so we swap the inhaler for a nebulizer. We email our families that on the advice of the Dr. we definitely aren’t traveling. I aimed for just enough detail to convey seriousness without panicking anyone…HA. Most interesting to me is that my mother and my MIL had totally opposite reactions to that email — my mother reacted as if K were dying and huge drama ensued (I’d describe, but at some point I might share the existence of this blog with family beyond my brother and SIL who have been in the know for awhile – and then you’d really see some trouble…) MIL emailed back that great-grandma was SO disappointed that we decided not to come and we should just send the kids with them and they’d return them by New Years.

So here we are, home and just the four of us for Christmas for the first time ever! K seems a lot better already (Murphy’s Law, of course) and we’re all looking forward to Santa visiting us here instead of Indiana, Florida, New Jersey or New York. Being Italian though I am having a hard time adjusting to holiday cooking that wouldn’t feed casts of thousands. I’m telling myself to think of these meals as I would a special birthday dinner…we’ll see if that works.

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Ho Ho Ho

We had our 4th annual Progressive Dinner last night. Amy had cocktails and appetizers – the hit of that course was Pear and Cranberry cocktails. I had the salad course this year which was easy-peasy (fuji apple salad with cider emulsion – quite yummy and very different.) Chris had the main course, which was a HUGE Asian feast – fresh sushi (both nigiri and maki), steamed and fried homemade hong kong and shanghai style dumplings (which I helped make – fun!), authentic fried rice, pickled cucumbers (funny DH moment…”don’t we just call those…pickles?”), stir fried broccoli, cabbage, sesame noodles…YUM YUM YUM. His mom is Japanese so he’s had years and years to perfect and experiment – it’s SO good. I swear he made enough food for 20 people – we’re having a group lunch today to finish up the leftovers. Debbie brought us home with a pear tart and individual triple-chocolate tortes with molten chocolate centers. WOW.

Before the dinner, I picked up my Christmas present — $1800 worth of new air flow sensors, brakes, and a timing belt. 😦 We also got the Christmas tree and raked and bagged 28 bags of leaves.

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