no longer a baby

My little one is growing up. This June he will be 5 years old and kindergarten is quickly approaching. He has always been independent, but cuddly. Strong willed, but gentle. He has been my sidekick for almost 5 years, and I think that it’s me that is having separation anxiety as the fall approaches.

This week he had kindergarten orientation. This is a new school, so I went and listened, and took copious notes. The children were led away by the teachers to visit the kindergarten classrooms. Off went my baby, and for an hour he played, and colored, and interacted with the teachers and other students. He came back so excited! He ran back to me, gave me a huge hug and exclaimed “I went to kindergarten!”

When Garren was a baby and toddler I worked full-time. With Nathan, I’ve been a stay-at-home mom since before he was born. When Garren goes off to school in the morning, and Nathan doesn’t have pre-school, we spend the day together. This is precious, quality time that is just the two of us. He has started coming over to me when I’m at my desk, smiling at me and saying “I just want to tell you that I love you.”

I push him to be independent. I want him to learn to do things for himself. But I also do not want to lose this special bond that he and I have. Kindergarten is quickly approaching. In a few months, his teachers will see him more than I will. In a few months, he will grow and mature by leaps and bounds. But just for right now, just for this moment, I want to freeze time. I just want to tell him I love him.

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friends are family

Life keeps us all busy. Balancing work, home, and family can make us feel tired and disconnected. We have had a lot going on, and haven’t had a chance to see our friends in a while, so I decided to make dinner plans with some friends on Friday night and Sunday night. We needed a chance to unwind, and be social, but to do it from the comfort of our own home.

Friday night dinners with Andi and Michael are our favorite way to end the work week. We try to see each other as often as we can, and its been a while so we wanted to reconnect. They come over and bring a wonderful, happy energy. We eat a delicious home cooked meal, drink, laugh, and just unwind. What better way is there to show people that you love and care for them than to cook for them? It’s nice to have friends who make it easy. They come over because they want to see you, and you can be relaxed, you can just watch a movie or play some games. We needed a night like that to get us out of our slump.

Sunday night we had some more friends over for dinner. It was an opportunity to catch up with people that we hadn’t seen in months. We picked up right where we left off, had another delicious home cooked meal, and laughter filled the house again.

In the crazy day-to-day hustle it’s easy to forget how important friendships are. The best friendship are the ones that give you energy, that don’t require a lot of energy to maintain. Our best friends are the ones we know will be there when we call… even if it’s been a few months.

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Making Good Memories

Let’s start with the basics. Hubby travels every week. Some weeks are crazier than others, but for the most part, the majority of the school week I am on my own with the boys. Between shuttling them to school, and after school activities, maintaining the house (as best as I can), cooking meals which never really feel like family meals with dad away, and running errands, things can get busy.

I am in love with our boys, and often am amazed at how happy and loving they are. They are each other’s best friends. They know that I am always there for them, but now they are learning that they are there for each other. They stick up for each other (and my heart wants to burst when I see this… even when they are standing up to me).

Then there are those moments that wash away the long day. The boys climb into my bed in their pajamas, cuddle close, and listen as I read to them. They let the day go, unwind, and relax before bed. Even when my husband is home, this is my time with them. This is what we share together because I do not always want to be the one making rules and disciplining them. There is plenty of time for that. I want to make sure that I am creating happy memories with the boys. I decided to read the Harry Potter books aloud to them, and then we watch the movies as we finish reading each book. I go all out on those family movie nights, creating a themed dinner and movie snacks. The boys look forward to it, and this is something that we will all remember forever.IMG_1248

Not Your Everyday Potatoes

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Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year. I look forward to Thanksgiving every fall. I love this time of year and I love that I know exactly what Thanksgiving will be like. We have so many traditions surrounding Thanksgiving. My mom hosts dinner at her house on Thursday. But when we bought our house, about 5 years ago, we started hosting a Thanksgiving dinner at our house on Friday. It’s so nice to be able to share this time with our families and invite everyone over to our house for a special occasion. Everyone is relaxed and happy, and we officially start the holiday season in style. I have some dishes that have become my staples for hosting Thanksgiving dinner, among them my roasted yellow pepper soup with serrano chile cream. My mom makes a fantastic turkey, so she brings the leftovers to my house, and I make a ham to add some variety.

Everyone knows that you have to have potatoes at Thanksgiving. My family isn’t big into sweet potatoes, and since starting this low-carb diet, when we cheat, we want to make it count. I decided to make gnocchi gratin with Gorgonzola dulce from the December issue of Bon Appetit. I have never made pasta from scratch and have definitely never made gnocchi. We all love cheese, and blue cheese is a crowd pleaser, so this recipe sounded like something that I really wanted to make. This required a little work, but was a relatively easy recipe for a first timer. The gnocchi turned out soft and tender. The sauce was creamy and flavorful. Everyone forgot about their diets! I will definitely be making this again.

Приятного аппетита!

L’Shana Tova

Happy Rosh Hashanah! My mother is the consumate hostess. A simple weeknight dinner in her house can require pants with an elastic waistband. Several years ago, I took over hosting Rosh Hashanah. This was a big deal for me, and I felt like I had big shoes to fill. I spent days scouring the internet for good, traditional Jewish recipes. The ones that were the most successful have become my traditional Jewish Holiday dishes. 

This year the highlights of my Rosh Hashanah dinner were baked brie, roasted yellow pepper soup with serrano cream, my brisket, and for dessert I made honey cake.

So to start… what’s not to love about a gooey, yummy, melty cheese in a buttery flaky warm crust? Baked brie is an indulgence. And I never have the patience to let it set! I always cut into it as soon as it’s done baking and all of the melty yummy stuff comes spilling out. Decadence on a plate. The baked brie was served with a greek salad, herring, mixed olives, and goat cheese.

The next course was the roasted yellow pepper soup with seranno cream. This recipe has become my specialty. The soup has a great smooth texture with a wonderful sweet pepper taste. The serrano cream adds the right amount of heat and sour to finish the soup. Beware though, the serrano cream can be pretty spicy!

The final course was my brisket with home made baked parmesan and garlic fries. The brisket was tender, and the fries were crispy. No one was hungry, but everyone had more than one serving of brisket. Even our little man had more than one serving of brisket, and he can be a tough audience to please.

Dessert was honey cake and coffee. Honey cake always makes me think of my grandmother. My dad’s mom always made honey cake; that’s the only cake I remember her making. The recipe is simple, but the sentimental value is priceless. All in all it was a successful New Year’s dinner, and a lovely time ushering in a new year with our family.

Приятного аппетита!

PS – Recipes to follow in another post