Dahoo Dores

We slept in Christmas jammies last night and woke up today ready to decorate. Holiday stuff has always been fun for me, but now it’s even more so. The kids, for example, have been wearing last year’s Santa socks for a full 24 hours.

But as every year, we get out the holiday bins only to find key light bulbs have burnt out and all the ornament hooks have tangled up and we are out of the tiny, battery-powered LED tea lights. Just for example. So apparently we’re going to have to go pick up some replacement items this weekend. Hold me.

As a counterpoint: the Hanna gnome PJs are a bit faded but they’re still rocking and rolling on their third year of wear:

2017
2018
2019. The only picture so far this year, to keep it real, entails cranky, reluctant morning snugs and reaching for my phone.

Like the pajamas, I also have this amazing candle that I only burn when we have the tree up (it’s there to create the illusion of having a real tree in the house, just because I want to) and it cost what felt like an absurd amount at the time but I’ve had it for three or four years at this point and it’s still going strong and smells incredible. Recommended.

Pictures tomorrow, maybe?

Thankful

A cozy home

A safe and happy family

Neighbors who welcome us to their houses and celebrate with us

A little red wagon for transporting hot food when you only have to carry it next door

An abundance of pie, symbolic of other abundances

Children who had a busy day and fall asleep right after bedtime

A snuggly old hound dog, a fuzzy blanket, a programmable coffee maker, and so many small comforts

Again?

Hi, I’m up late (“late”) making pie again. Tonight I’m doing a pear, red wine, and rosemary pie from Bon Appetit. Somehow it is after 10:00 pm and this pie is still not done.

Can we talk about recipes and their alleged prep times? Reducing 12oz of red wine to 6-8oz? Well, let’s say it takes a little bit longer than five minutes. Twenty-five minutes would be a safer estimate. Between this and the fact that I basically used up all of my Big Crust Energy on the apple pie from last week, I decided to do a simple crust for this one.

Before I got it in to bake, though, my nose alerted me to an errant piece of broccoli that had fallen to the bottom of the oven. Honestly, if my nose notices something? It’s not good. I’m generally hard of smelling.

ANYWAY. I hope it tastes more like pears than burnt broccoli after all this — sorry, friends and family.

Gift Giving

I feel like we are woefully unprepared for the kids’ birthday, which is coming up a week from tomorrow. It’s just that it’s Thanksgiving this week and Christmas is coming up and it’s the end of the semester and I’m full of excuses! I’m terrible!

We do have a slew of gift ideas in mind that we’ve been talking about forever, but which ones are for their birthday and which are for Christmas and which are from us and which are from Santa and which ideas can be grudgingly shared with family members for them to execute? Huh? WHICH ONES?

Phew, I think my blood pressure is a little high thinking about it all. I’m just not a natural gift giver. I love to receive gifts, being a selfish human as i obviously am, but I never feel confident in giving them, even to four-year-olds.

Anyway, here are some ideas that may or may not happen, at some point next month, from us, Santa, or relatives:

  • An art-cart filled with new supplies. I have an IKEA cart that I’m currently using for books in my bedroom, but wouldn’t they love it if it were filled with all new crayons, markers, pencils, paper, stickers, activity books, and so on?
  • An Our Generation doll for E (it’s a Target knock off of American Girl dolls). She has been asking for a new one and spent some time really enjoying playing with a friend’s dolls recently.
  • A kid-friendly digital camera for L, who is obsessed with taking pictures.
  • New hats, gloves, pajamas, and socks, which they need anyway.
  • They both mentioned wanting new shoes, so maybe that as well? They don’t especially need them but that’s okay.
  • Some new books — I was thinking of the illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but I think they may not quite be ready. So, something else.
  • CW feels like they are ready for new bikes (they can both glide on their balance bikes without putting their feet down; E is especially proficient at this point) but I’m not sure.
  • New bike helmets are definitely in order.
  • We’ve also been talking about re-doing their room as a “big kid” room with twin beds that can be stacked into bunk beds in the future. They are 100% Danger Babies and not to be trusted with bunks yet, but the toddler beds are getting small at this point so an upgrade is needed. In addition, they could use a book shelf and some stuffie storage and maybe some updated wall art.

Tomorrow is the last day of preschool this week, so CW and I have a date planned to go out to lunch and then plan and shop for some of this stuff. We shall see. We also need to figure out a time for a low-key party with a few of their friends if there is ever a window of time available without any other social events any time in the next couple of weeks, which is a lot to ask, frankly.

At any rate, if you have any thoughts or suggestions on any of the above, leave a comment or @ me!

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Couldn’t everything and everyone please just operate around my specific schedule and preferences? Please? I mean honestly, it would make my life so much easier.

First of all, I’m going to need the rec center and powerlifting rooms on campus to be open regular hours even during school breaks. I can’t be coming in at lunch time to work out just because they aren’t open until 11:00 am. What are we, a bunch of reprobate layabouts?

Second of all — and on a similar topic! — aI’m going to need the 10K race this weekend to start at a decent hour as well. For example, 7:00 am, like any normal race. Not the insane start time of two o’clock in the afternoon. What even is that about? I don’t need to be running at race effort with breakfast and lunch both in my stomach. Not to mention that 2:00 pm is the hour at which my energy levels hit their absolute nadir.

And finally, if my car insurance did not have to renew during the same month as my kids’ birthday, my own birthday, and effing Christmas, that would be great.

Meal Plan Sunday

Sunday night! This is a nice Sunday night in particular because I don’t have to get ready for work tomorrow. The kids have preschool but I am “off work” or working at home for the week. Mostly reading novels, I hope. Before I get into the plan for this week, here are a couple of things from this past week:

Vegetarian lettuce wraps
Leftover filling turned into a rice bowl. Add yum yum sauce and sambal oelek.
Two very good helpers who are getting too big for the shopping cart.

Sunday: burst cherry tomato and shrimp linguine from Run Fast Eat Slow. We love carbs in this house! (CW)

Monday: baked Thai tofu bowl. Kale and quinoa base, roasted vegetables, peanut sauce.

Tuesday: some kind of vegetable soup. (CW)

Wednesday: some kind of big salad, likely with roasted garbanzos as the protein and kale as the base.

Thursday: Thanksgiving! We’ll be eating at our neighbors’ house and we are responsible for mashed potatoes, a roasted assortment of fall root vegetables, and a pie. I might do a pumpkin pecan pie?

Friday: TBD and/or leftovers. Not sure how the leftover situation will shake out if we don’t eat at home?

What do y’all have planned?

Pie Night

Somehow, out of the desire for a Friendsgiving of sorts, my cul-de-sac neighbors and I wound up having an entirely pie-based party tonight. It was a magical confluence of ideas and timing and one of the most fun things that has ever happened at my house. We wound up eating a meal that consisted of seven different pies. Let me tell you about them.

Everyone went with one sweet dessert pie and one savory entrée pie:

My next-door neighbors brought a classic pumpkin pie (with fresh whipped cream!); individual hand pies made with sausage, potatoes, and apples; and (!) a bonus banana cream pie.

My across-the-street neighbors brought a sour cherry pie and a zucchini pie (with egg and cheese).

I made an apple pie and a butternut squash galette.

Listen, y’all. Every single pie was fucking delicious. Here are some pie awards of great distinguishment:

1) best handful of nutrition and buttery flaky deliciousness: the sausage hand pie

2) most rustic French and beautifully seasonal pie: the squash galette

3) prettiest vegetable pie: the zucchini and egg

4) my favorite dessert pie: the sour cherry

5) the most classic and flawless fall pie: the pumpkin with whipped cream

6) the beat surprise bonus pie, and so decadent: the banana cream pie

7) the classic American pie: the latticed apple pie

Y’all. Somehow it was one of those rare occasions where the six children wound up playing (mostly nicely) together the entire night — I mean, granted, the two older girls (6 and 8) undoubtedly got annoyed with the four younger kids (aged 3.5-4) at various points, but they all did great. And! The grown ups got to be grown ups and talk about grown up shit like bookstores and fantasy kitchen renos and the return of bootcut jeans. I mean, thank god.

I finally even got to open up the giant bottle of red wine that’s been sitting in my kitchen forever because I can never imagine disposing of that much red wine. But friends, I think we did it.

ugh

The dog is currently whining outside my bedroom door because i don’t want him to come in here and get in the bed.

The children are currently whining in their bedroom because they “need something.”

I am currently whining here on this blog. I’m tired and my feet hurt and I feel like shoveling candy into my face with an actual literal shovel but I don’t even have any.

WOW I AM IN A BAD MOOD.

K

Pie Season

I love fall baking, especially pies. I mean, one can bake pies any time during the year, of course, but fall is when I tend to bake the most pies. Apple and pumpkin are my favorites for Thanksgiving — I love doing decorative crusts on the apple, especially. Here are a few inspiration images I’ve saved over the years:

Mine are never quite this elaborate, but it’s so much fun to try!

This weekend, I get the chance to bake a couple of early Thanksgiving pies for a neighbor-friend get-together, so I think I’m going to do a double-crust apple and a savory vegetable galette. Lots of folks on Twitter recommended the butternut squash and caramelized onion from Smitten Kitchen, which looks right up my alley. I love butternut squash for fall dishes (a fun gourd that sometimes gets forgotten due to all the pumpkin), but do you know what I really love? Caramelized onions. Cooked in butter, in particular. That smell is one of the most heavenly cooking smells I CAN’T EVEN STAND IT. So this recipe seems perfect. I think I’ll make the crust doughs tomorrow night, bake the apple Friday night, and then do the galette Saturday morning.

In other pie news, tonight I made the dough for Friday night’s pizza (this recipe is pretty much flawless every time) which will be resting and slowly rising in the fridge for the next couple of days. Pizza, apple pie, squash galette– pie season truly is upon us and I. AM. HERE. FOR. IT.