Christmas Menus & Dubious Capitalization

Christmas Eve Morning:

Mini Morning Buns (Trader Joes)


Mini Ham and Cheese Paninis


Orange Juice and Coffee

Christmas Eve:

7,000 Frozen Appetizers I Just Purchased At Trader Joes (Assorted Box of Frozen Appetizers, Mushroom Turnovers, Pastry Pups, and Ham and Cheese In Puff Pastry)

Black Olives

Crackers with Cream Cheese and Green Tomato Salsa and Salami

Sweet red pepper filled with Herbed Cheese on a skewer

Beef Tenderloin Crostini with Horseradish Cream Cheese

Jicama, Avocado and Jalapeno on a skewer

Bocconcini, Prosciutto and Red Pepper Flakes on a skewer

Rustic Bread, Basil, and Prosciutto on a skewer

Smoked Salmon on Potato Chips

Eclairs and Piroulines for dessert

Christmas  Day:  Dim Sum

New Year’s Eve:

Nigella’s Tagliata, Shrimp and Ginger, and Fennel Orange Pomegranate Salad

House Projects 2011

1. Find a pile of money

2. Refinish the hardwood floors FTLOG.

3. Replace the front screen door and regular door, paint red.

4. Find a cheapish wrought iron bench for the front yard.

5. Find some loungy furniture for the backyard.

6. Buy a bed for our room and a bedside table.

7. Buy a new crib.  Spray paint high gloss hot pink. (Kidding. Sort of).

8. Buy another mattress for the trundle bed and add handles to make it easier to open.

9.  Kitchen.  Raise the cabinets, paint them white, add crown molding and cabinet pulls. Find a patch for the floor.  Paint the walls and ceiling, and add subway tile backsplash.  Add new lightning. Add in a tiny drawer next to the dishwasher. Add a shelf below the cabinets.    Have someone look at the stove and fix it.

10.  Dining room:  Framed art.

11.  Add cladding to the front porch pillars.

12.  Fix the leaky front window.

13.  Add a thresh hold to the floor in the kitchen.

14.  Living Room Redecorating:  new gray chair, new couch, new shag rug (move the old rug to the kids room), add bamboo blinds to the front window,build a desk with pipes and plywood, spray paint the file cabinet black high gloss, and if we win the lottery add the two side windows back in and buy filmy white curtains for them at IKEA.  Green and blue pillows, and a new lamp.  Paint blanket chest white.  Frame Smokey Posters, and buy a velvet ottoman and one more bookshelf.

15. Shutters, front of house

16. Stain or paint the front window boxes and maintain with spring and summer plants.

17. Replace the terrible edging next to the roses.

18.  Find someplace to swim or buy an above ground pool.

19.  Build garden boxes.

20.  Plant a cutting garden or border.


I am very very tired.  Wonder Baby doesn’t sleep any more!

Have I mentioned I am very very tired?

Because Kate Face is now awake from 7-10 PM instead of asleep in her bed like she belongs, I have NO time to myself.  This might actually be worse for my mental health than never getting any sleep.

We are going to try to transition her to sleeping in Eli’s room in January.  Let’s hope it doesn’t result in two kids lying awake screaming all night while I frantically peruse real estate listings in the living room.

We have to buy a new crib or I’d start her in the bedroom now, and the December budget does not stretch to buying new furniture we already own but have to replace due to shoddy crib manufacturing practices.

I’d write a maudlin post about the old crib and how Mr. E and I spent months refinishing it because I couldn’t find a brown crib anywhere except Pottery Barn Kids and I’ll be damned if I was going to spend more money on a crib than I spent on our couch, and then I could go on about how absolutely gorgeous our crib is and how it’s finished in food grade shellac and how I used to polish it all the time with furniture wax and then rearrange the stack of receiving blankets and how wow apparently I had a lot of time on my hands and how I was planning on handing this crib down to my grandchildren and my great grandchildren and how now I apparently I have to leave it on the curb but not before destroying it so no gets hurt in it, and how that breaks my heart.  I know there are large problems in the world.  But it really makes me sad to have to get rid of this crib.

But I’m too tired to write about all of that in any kind of coherent or even compelling way.  Obviously.

Also, I am sort of…annoyed that four years ago when I was shopping for nursery furniture there was just NOTHING.  Nothing affordable in dark brown, nothing nothing nothing.  And now it takes thirty seconds and three clicks of a buy it now button and a mere $145 dollars and one will arrive at my front door in two days.  Which just proves that I’m a trend setter of the highest order and someone should pay me big bucks to tell them that I bet if you started making old fashioned looking cribs in hot pink gloss, they’d sell.   I’d buy one.

But then again I am so tired I can’t really see straight, so my judgment might be questionable.

Ideas To Survive the Next Four I Mean Five I Mean Six Days of Non Stop Rain

This weekend we were SUPPOSED to go take a horse drawn carriage ride and go see the light show in Old Sacramento.  Instead, it’s pouring rain, so I’ve been brainstorming ideas of things we can do to keep us from slowly losing our minds.

1.  Go to the post office and pick out a letter for Operation Santa

2.  Bake Raisin Bread

3.  Go to Old Navy and ogle the winter coat I want.

4.  Take Eli to see Tangled

5.  Go to Blockbuster and rent a Christmas movie

6.  Go get some hot chocolate at our hipster local coffee house.

7.  Go to Target and check out the sale on electric blankets.

8.  Take a walk and look for worms.

9.  Visit Art Beast.

10.  Go to the Farmer’s Market (it’s covered) and buy more tangerines.

11.  Make a fort.

12.  Make a potato battery.

13.  Make an electro magnet (after a visit to the hardware store).

14. Make pretzels

15.  Draw our own story/comic strip and then act it out.

16.  Make pancakes

17.  Make a popcorn garland (this was suggested by Erik. I remain dubious.)

18.  Buy birdseed.  Also suggested by Mr. E, and um, considering that Ratopia 2010 was kicked off by the giant bag of birdseed he left in the garage, well, I hate to say it but this is totally not happening.




My Morning So Far

Katherine had her six month doctor appointment this morning, and Eli woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  He was just absolutely horrible and I eventually got sick of dealing with it and I put him in the crib with all his clothes and told him to get dressed. He was in there forever screaming and crying but eventually I came back in to yell at him reason calmly in dulcet tones and he was dressed! Excellent. He only had one clean pair of pants, so he was wearing those and they are the ones that are huge around the waist and fall down all the time.  So we are walking into the doctors office, it’s pouring rain, I have Katherine and my huge purse and a blanket and a hat and I am trying to hold Eli’s hand because we’re in the parking lot and his pants are falling down as he is walking and I have no free hand to help him hold them up, and lo and behold, HE’S NOT WEARING UNDERWEAR.

The Roller Skates Behind the Television

I was six or seven years old, I think, that year.  I know I still believed in Santa Claus.  The funny thing is that I remember almost none of the presents I got under the tree or for Christmas when I was a kid, but I can remember this like it was yesterday – the week after Christmas, it must have been, and all the candy canes were stale and the presents were put away, sorted out back into every day life.  And then there is my father walking into the living room and messing around behind the television, and then an exclamation “Hey, you guys! I think Santa Claus hid an extra present!”

Santa Claus had left us two pairs of roller skates.   Just the right sizes for me and my brother, hidden right there.  That moment was one of the great moments of my childhood, the day we found the roller skates behind the television, and all of a sudden, on a day when Christmas was just long enough over that you knew you’d never have anything fun to look forward to ever again and life had returned to gray and ordinary, there they were!  Roller skates!

(It took me a long long time, until waaaaaaaay after I no longer believed in Santa, to arrive at the realization that Santa himself had not, in fact, hidden two pairs of roller skates behind our television.)

They were red leather, with double yellow stripes down the back, and they had silver metal wheels, and my brother and I spent the good part of several summers hurling down the sidewalks of our neighborhood in those roller skates.  The wheels were dinged and chipped, towards the end, and eventually I’d have to cram my feet in and my toes would get sore because they really too small, but you could get going at a lightning fast clip, especially downhill, and I can still hear the noise they made as I flew over bumps in the sidewalk. Ker chunk, ker chunk, ker chunk, and then back up the other way again.

It is always so tempting to see Christmas the way the world tells us that we should.  I mourn the loss of myself because I am now someone who gives a three year old a stack of toys rather than someone who picks out diamonds in the mall for my husband to surprise me with.  I complain about all the pieces and the legoes and the storage and I am crabby because there are things we need and things we don’t need and sometimes it’s hard to find grace while faced with a stack of things we don’t need when the stack of things we do need is large.

But the roller skates behind the television remind me that this is someone I have always been, and it’s been handed down to me as surely as if someone had wrapped it and left it for me in a box – I simply love to give people presents.  It’s one of my favorite things to do, and it always will be, and my father loved it and my grandmother loved it and perhaps this is why I can’t remember ever watching either one of my parents open gifts under the tree, and why it wasn’t a good Christmas at our house unless the stacks of presents set before the children leaned and tipped under their own weight and why one year when my aunt and uncle celebrated with us and gifted each other with jewelry, we eyed them suspiciously as though they had brought strange and unusual customs from a foreign land.

It is important to me that I do not substitute gifts for affection.  I never want to be one of those moms who doesn’t say I Love You. I will always kiss back when sticky three year old lips are pursed in my direction, even when I have to wipe off the extra love.  But I think it’s time I stop feeling like I have done something wrong because I am quick to add just one more thing to the cart, one more thing I know Eli will love or that Katherine will look adorable in.  I am , simply put, a gift giver through and through, and I come from a long line of gift givers, people who loved giving gifts to kids at Christmas time so much that they couldn’t stop, even after Christmas was over, and because I am this person, there’s going to be a big  tall stack of gifts in front of my kids this  year and then, a week or so after everything’s been opened and put away and life has returned to normal, to gray and ordinary, I do believe Pants might find one last gift, bright red, hidden right there behind the television.

Christmas Card 2010

I wanted to use this one, but Erik said it looked like we were divorced because I am not in it.  Let me just say that if we were divorced, which we’re not, everyone who knows us would know that there is NO WAY IN HECKFIRE that Erik would be able to get it together to send out such a cute Christmas card on his own, but whatever.  I added in some helpful narrative, but apparently this card still would not do.  Humph.


Anyway, this is the one we actually sent out.  Next year remind me to order 90, instead of the 80 I got this year.  Also, this is the apex of my abilities regarding “coordinated but not the dreaded everyone wearing a white turtleneck effect” so please let me assure you that next year, we won’t be looking this good.  Or this color coordinated.