Happy Birthday Ho Ho Ho

We spent the weekend with one of my husband’s favorite aunts. I adore her too. She lives in a beautiful home in the Pocono Mountains of PA. She invited us to celebrate both my husband’s birthday (past) and her birthday (coming up). I made my husband’s favorite, carrot cake.

Besides the fresh, cool air – the first thing that hits you when you walk into the house is….well, see for yourselves.

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Notice anything?
Here’s a close-up.

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Have you ever seen a prettier tree…in August?
We teased her about it mercilessly, as any loving family would. She gave us a very rational, reasonable reason for it. But I can’t remember what it was. The twinkling lights were distracting me.
The funniest thing is that by the end of the night, we were all gathered around it and felt completely and utterly normal! Who’s crazy now?
Here’s a pic of the amazingly sane woman with a completely done up Christmas tree in August and her beautiful daughter.

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And here’s a quick pic of the carrot cake I made. I’ll write a detailed post with recipe tomorrow. Again, I can’t focus because there’s a Christmas tree in this house and I love it. I vote for year round trees! I vote for crazy!

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Jump!

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We finally set-up the trampoline that we got the kids got for Christmas.  I won’t tell you how much fun we had setting it up. The sheer joy when we thought we were almost done and then had to completely start from scratch – even though we watched 1,000 YouTube videos on how to put it together. And then, once we restarted, had to undo and start again! Did I mention it was 10 degrees out and my husband was fighting a cold? Good times.

In the end – we did it. Because we had no choice. We couldn’t have a half done, 15 foot trampoline in our backyard. We have neighbors ya know. But the kids love it. It’s what they’ve been begging for since 2008. Literally. We’ve decided that when the kids are done with it – when they’re like 30 – we won’t even bother taking it apart. Again. We’ll just move.

(I just noticed that my girl is still clutching her cell phone. Mid-air. Incase she gets a call. Or tweet. Or text. Sigh.)

checking in…

So whatcha been up to? Hope you’ve been having some Christmas fun.  Here’s what we’ve been doing – non sequitur.

  • Started my Christmas shopping in September hoping to get ahead of the game, but the game won. I am still not done and it’s 2 days after Christmas.
  • Went to the ER the day before Christmas Eve (long scary story with a happy ending, all is good).
  • Made 12 dozen cookies. 12. Dozen. 144 cookies. Know what I learned? Even after making 144 cookies I still want to eat cookies.
  • Headed to NYC on Christmas Eve and came home with tons of great gifts and happy memories (and saw a truly ugly sweater, thanks Aunt Stacy).
  • Hosted a neighborhood gathering at our house a day after finishing my first week at a new job. It sounds stressful but it was so much fun. It was the perfect way to kick off our holiday fun – and I learned how to make eggnog. And I also learned that you can only drink about 2 cups of eggnog before wanting to throw-up!
  • Had some killer Chinese food on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Fa ra ra ra ra, ra, ra,ra ra.
  • Decided to cave in and get the kids a trampoline for Christmas. Look for future posts titled, “Why did we buy a trampoline?” and “Were we nuts when we bought the kids a trampoline? Yes!”.
  • Dropping off my girl for a session of winter camp today, sniff…sniff. It’s only 4 days but I really don’t like it when she’s gone.
  • Went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Don’t listen to all those Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a sweet, visual, musical movie. Does it have anything to do with the short story? Nope. But it does make you want to visit Greenland and Iceland – so there’s that.
  • Only watched A Christmas Story 3 to 8 times, much less than last year.
  • Santa brought our son some more inappropriate Xbox games. What can you do, that Santa is a crazy mofo.
  • My girl wanted a saxophone for Christmas and we decided to go for it. Instead of buying it outright (incase she changes her mind like the guitar. or the ukulele. or the harmonica. or the…) we decided to rent it from a music and arts store. What happened next was a tragedy of errors that resulted in us going to that store 4 times. I have only one thing to say to the 8 dudes that work there,” dudes, wearing a skinny tie and having a hipster beard only makes you look smart if you aren’t completely incompetent and stupid. You morons.” Sorry. That is all.
  • After we drop off my daughter at camp, we head directly to my parents house for Christmas Part Deux. Time to push aside the figgy pudding and make room for the garam masala.

To go with the bullets that make no linear sense – here’s some random photos from the past few days! I’m sorry the boy has no shirt on – but that’s how he rolls in the house. Just keepin’ it real. xoxo

 

Here’s me wrapped up in a blanket reading my new cookbook (Pioneer Woman!) and my son looking like an angel playing a killing game. I have guilt. Can you tell?

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Can you guess which plate of food is mine? Hint: it’s the one that burns going down.

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Even in her “ugly” sweater she looks beautiful!

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Here’s my two favorite men. I think next year they can switch places in the picture :-).

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She loved her saxophone, no thanks to the dopes at the music store. Sorry.

 

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This is my kids exchanging gifts they bought for each other. Is there anything better than that?

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Awkward.

That moment after you lay everything out to make Christmas cookies and you think to yourself… I coulda been watching a cheesy holiday movie. Sigh.

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It’s like a slap in Thanksgiving’s face

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It’s sad when you pine for a blow-up turkey on the lawn. This is a house in a nearby ‘hood.
Can we take it one holiday at a time people? Can we? Please? Put up a light of two, but don’t break out snowmen.

I’m riding my pumpkins out until the very last day of November. Whether my pumpkins like it or not.

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Only Boring People Get Bored

Here’s a random list of all the things I’ve been doing/seeing/eating/buying/worrying about/disliking/loving/wanting in the last few weeks:

  • Every year, in prep for the Oscars, my husband and I try to see all the nominated movies (we’re crazy like that).  This year we’re almost there – minus his absolute resolve to NOT see Le Mis.  I saw it. I started crying during the first scene and haven’t stopped since. 
  • I’ve wanted a nutmeg grinder for a long time. Many a day I strolled into Williams Sonoma, coveted and then walked out. It’s not expensive. But then you start thinking about how much nutmeg you actually use in real life and how absurd it is to have a special little grinder for it – and then the $30 may as well be $3,000.  Long grinder story short – my secret santa gave me the damn grinder for Christmas. And I haven’t used it once. And I probably won’t touch it until next November. But I LOVE it and it makes me insanely happy. Insane being the key word. Picture below.
  • My sister-in-law hurt her leg and spent some quality time with us in the begining of January.  She was trapped on our couch with a giant bag of ice  and looking for a new show to watch – we asked if she had ever seen Breaking Bad – she hadn’t. You know what’s better than finding a good show to watch on Netflix? Watching a good show again with someone who hasn’t ever watched it. It’s like tv philanthropy.
  • Downton Abbey started again – oh happy day! Recent favorite Maggie Smith line, “Don’t mistake vulgarity for wit.” I vote for a Lady Grantham spin-off, who’s in?
  • I went formal dress shopping with my teenage daughter. This should be the name of a new horror movie. Just kiddin’…anyhoo.
  • Tried a new hummus recently. Bobbi’s Hummus. It’s basically 3 parts garlic to 1 part chickpea. Lots of lemon and freshly ground pepper. I love you Bobbi, and your heavy garlic hand.
  • I got a pedicure last week for the first time since hurting my foot – which is still a bit sore.  I went to my favorite nail place. Esther runs it. She’s a nice Korean woman who I’ve gotten to know well enough for her to tell me that her real name isn’t Esther and the other two girls aren’t Anna and Tina. Last summer her son came to work in the shop. We call him Tom but you get the point. Tom does all the pedicures. Just thought you should know.
  • I tried giving up bread for 2.5 seconds on Thursday, January 3rd. Epic fail.
  • Legos are the devil.
  • The end.

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Faux Baking

It’s not really faux.
You do turn an oven on.
Our wonderful neighbors make this every year and I promptly stole the recipe.
Actually it’s more of a trick than a recipe.
But it’s so good and it’s so easy.
Here’s what you need 3 ingredients:
Small pretzels, Hershey kisses, and M&Ms.

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Preheat your oven to 175. See, told you it was baking.
Then spread your pretzels out on a sheet and put a kiss on top.

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Bake for 4 minutes and take out.
Add an M&M and smush down. Smushing is a technical baking term. Let them cool and done!

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Trust me, your people will be happy. Your people will love you. More. Finally.

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