Have you seen this? It's beyond fantastic. Totally gets you in the mood for Chanukah.
And so we're watching it again and again, the kids are loving it, dancing all over the living room, knowing all the words after hearing it twice. And as I am watching these guys sing for the fourteenth time in an hour, I'm thinking, How come I don't know any them?
Oh. Wait. It's cause I'm thirty-two, married with four kids and own a house. They are nineteen, single and have time on their hands. Hmmm.
When did this happen? There was a time (not so long ago, or maybe it is so long ago...) when I would have known these guys and dated these guys. All of them. And now? I'm like their much older and very not cool sister who has added a brother-in-law and some nieces and nephews to their lives.
Do I sound depressed? Cause I'm not. It's not at all a depressing idea. It's great. It's cyclical. It's all the things that life should be. Life keeps moving and we get to experience every stage, but something like watching this makes me realize that it's important - no vital - to revel in each stage because it ain't coming back. Deep. I know.
Seriously though, have you ever thrown a latke in the air? I'm closing my eyes and visualizing it. The little flick of my wrist as I move the frying pan ever so slightly. The latke doing a double axle spin kind of thing in the air. And then I can see the mess, the oil splattering everywhere, the smoke alarm going off when the latke hits the range hood and the ketchup flying all over the kitcen when the kids' jump from the smoke alarm. No, I have never thrown a latke into the air. But I just might need to tomorrow night.
T'was a few nights before Chanukah
and all through the house,
No one was sleeping,
and I really mean, nobody.
Why, oh why, won't these children just sleep? I love sleeping. I just really really love it. It used to be that my favorite thing was to climb into bed with clean fresh sheets, all showered and cozy with a good book and just read till it was time to go to sleep. Now I don't care if the sheets are clean, let alone if I have taken a shower. And I can't even keep my eyes open long enough to read a book, even if I had a book - which I don't, because I have been forbidden to go back to the library. In our world (and by that, I really mean Josh's world), over-due fees at the library are unaccepatble, young lady. And so I wait at the mailbox for Time magazine to come each Friday afternoon so I can hold it while I pass out on the couch after I light Shabbos candles.
So anyway, yeah, it's crunch time. And not as in "Hooray! It's crunch time. It must be time for a crunchy chocolate chip cookie." Although, if I was being honest, it's really always time for a cookie - crunchy, not crunchy, whatever. No, it's Chanukah crunch time. That so-much-pressure-to-buy-gifts-laden holiday will be here in less than 48 hours and I have almost nothing done. Well, nothing done in terms of gifts. That's tonight's project. Hopefully. If everyone goes to sleep on time.
Yesterday's project was a super-quicky and done with both girls (not by both, just with). For the past few years we have been lighting the menorahs on the windowsill in the dining room but this year, with two untrustworthy little people who will try and crawl, climb and/or throw themselves as close as possible to to the candles, we will not be doing that. So the windowsill is out.
So this year, we are moving the whole operation out to the enclosed porch. We'll put on coats and light in our lovely, yet sadly uninsulated porch. And so we need to set up a table out there and of course, that table needs a tablecloth. We don't want the table to get cold.
I moved things around in my tablecloth drawer, looking for an super-stained tablecloth that we could paint on. Sadly, none were stained badly enough that a well-placed serving dish or flower vase wouldn't fixed, so I couldn't use any of those. And then I saw a random white something wrapped in plastic on one of the shelves in the porch. Turns out it was a paper backed plastic dropcloth for painting. And it was still sealed. There was our new fancy menorah-table-cloth (?).
I cut out dreidels and a candle and flame from sponges and we dipped the sponges into purple, pink, green and orange paint. I did not pick the colors. We dipped, sponged and painted the heck out of that droptablecloth (?) and it came out pretty cute. And because we only use washable paint, it's ok that we did this on the dining room table. I hope. I haven't looked under the dreidel-cloth (?) yet. (Aaaargh, I can't decide what to call it.)
It did take a weirdly long time to dry, but maybe that's because it's so cold in the house.
Anyway, we (me) started hanging up all our last year's chanukah decorations last night. I'm so proud that, not only did I pack them away in a bin and put it in the basement, but that I actually made a note on the calendar as to where the bin could be found so that I would know for this year. Very unlike me. Once pictures are taken, I will share.
T-minus 31 hours to go.
So what do you get when you take seven loads of laundry, six bad colds, five sleepless nights, four doctor co-pays, three hacking coughs, two days with no heat and one kid with strept and smoosh them all together? I won't make you guess, I wouldn't do that to you. I'll just tell you. You get a very cranky mommy who has not been able to write for days and has all these ideas and crazy run-on sentences swirling around in her head. Let's go back to last Tuesday night when this all started. My eldest came home from school with fever, We motrin-ed him up and put him to bed. Then we turned our attention to the sink which was clogged. Yes, again. Apparently all my baking-soda-and-vinegar bragging has come back to bite me in the plunger. And if you have been following along, all that will have just made sense to you. If you haven't been, you can catch up here. What to do? That sink thinks it can get the best of us, but it hasn't met Josh with a new tool. Sometimes I think he wishes that things like this happen around the house just so he can say that he must take a trip to Lowe's after work. Lowe's for him is kind of like Michael's for me. Except that Michael's has stuff that I want for like a buck and Lowe's does not sell anything for a dollar that Josh wants. Except maybe a soda - and not even that, cause those sodas they sell at the checkout line are cold and cold sodas are always more than a dollar.
Anyway, back to the kitchen, there was no way we were going to call a plumber for a clogged sink. Josh would rather deconstruct the entire pipe that leads from the sink through the cabinet and out the back of the house before he calls a plumber. And you know what, with the fee for just coming to take a look being somewhere around $150, I understand that. So to make a long story into a shorter story, we are now the proud owners of a drum auger. And if the word auger sounds vaguely familiar, it is because the name of the plumber on Curious George is Mr. Auger. Quite clever, if you ask me.
So what the heck is a drum auger? I won't make you guess that either. A drum auger is a very long plastic kind of bendy hose thing with a coil at the end. Except it's not a hose in the sense that anything comes through it. I'm pretty sure it's solid on the inside. Ours is black, it's very slimming. When you hold it, you look ten pounds lighter. How's that for a description. Maybe a picture would help. Here's one:
It took a while, but eventually Josh gave that pipe a colonoscopy. With power tools. Oh, did I mention that this particular drum auger can be attached to a power drill, making it all the more exciting to use. When the power drill is turned on, it rotates the drum auger and kind of forces it through the pipe. Then you (Josh) retract the whole contraption by making the drill spin the other way. I had no idea that was even possible. The magic of power tools. The whole thing was really, so very very disgusting, and yet at the same time, so entertaining. I couldn't leave the kitchen, no matter how much I wanted to run away screaming.
Eventually, everything - and when I say everything, I really really mean everything came out of that pipe and the water ran down the drain without stopping. The dirty water that was inside the pipe and dragged back out by the drum auger was also all over the floor. Josh had placed a catch basin under the open pipe, but it apparently did not work.
I saw the semi-flood on the floor, and well, the conversation went something like this:
Me: What happened?
Josh: The catch basin didn't catch the stuff.
Me: Catch basin. Is that the official term for it?
Josh: No, the official term is s*#t bucket. You wanna get some paper towels?
I retreated from the vicinity of the defective catch basin and brought back some paper towels.
So yes, a wonderful opportunity presented itself for someone (and by someone I do not mean me) to mop the floor at 11pm. Mop, put away the tools and time for bed. The three days worth of dishes that piled up while we were debating the merits of purchasing said drum auger would have to wait till the next day.
And so Josh took his auger (they're close, he doesn't need to call the auger by both names anymore) down to the tool room and introduced him to all his new roomates. I can't say for sure, but I think the auger is happy in his new home.
And just so you know, Josh thoughtfully offered to let his pants ride down a little in the back for the pictures. Just to make his whole role-as-plumber-guy most authentic. You know, just a little something for my fans. And, that's a direct quote.
Shabbos is the Day of Rest. It is also a day filled with family, food and fun - especially fun games. In fact, we played two different games yesterday and fun was had by all.
The first game is called the Tag-Team-Nap Game.
Never played? It's a winner. It goes something like this.
7am: Abba leaves to go to Hashkama to layn
7:01: Mommy and kiddies have breakfast #2.
8:30am Abba comes home.
8:33:Abba and boys go back to shul and, we hope (hope), groups.
9:00: Baby falls asleep.
9:30: Two-year-old, awake since 4am, falls asleep.
9:31: Mommy crawls quietly into bed with magazine.
9:32: Baby wakes up.
9:33: Mommy cries.
9:34: Baby eats and falls back asleep at 10:15am
10:16: Mommy crawls into bed with magazine again.
10:18: Two-year-old wakes up.
10:19: Mommy cries again.
10:20: Two-year-old wails because Mommy hasn't come this instant. 10:21: Baby wakes up from all the wailing.
10:22: Mommy says a potty word, collects everyone and goes downstairs without her magazine to wait for the boy team to come home.
By the time lunch is over,
I am pretty sure I can
hear the dining room floor crying...
Can you tell who the winner is in the game? I'm gonna guess Abba, because right about now he is probably napping in shul. At least one of us is napping.
Finally, finally, like a few years later, the boy team comes home to find the girl team lying on the living room floor. We learn from the weird smile on Abba's face that the boy team apparently didn't work well together this morning either, and so it is time for lunch. By the time that is over, I am pretty sure I can hear the dining room floor crying from all the food dropped under the table.
Where was I? Oh yeah. Okay, so the Tag-Team-Nap Game is over. We will play again next week.
Game number two is called The Shabbos Afternoon Relay Race. It's a new game to us, and like all things new, we are not sure we like it.
Never played this one either? I'll explain the rules. For starters, the game can be played by as many players as needed at one time.
To start the game, you bundle your kids up in their winter coats, go outside and realize that the inside of your house is way colder than the outside of your house. You then come back inside and put all the winter hats away and get laughed at by your husband who, not three minutes before said, "It's a nice autumn day. I think you're overdressing them". That's a direct quote. It's okay to throw the winter hats at his head; it's part of the game. All laugh. Ha. Ha. Ha.
You then spend what feels like many hours, and really is many hours, escorting children from one playdate to another, politely declining invitations from friends to come into their houses for a minute as you drop your child off because at that exact moment you are supposed to be picking up another child and taking him to another friend. Eventually stop at home and ask husband to please walk and pick up the kid at the far house. Swear that, dangit, next Shabbos you will wear sneakers, and you won't care who sees you. (Ma, relax, I'm kidding. Close your eyes for a sec). Everyone else: I am so not kidding. I am totally wearing sneakers next week. Eventually assemble at home with all your kids and hubby and shake your head. Resolve to invite lunch company with little kids your kids' ages, every week, so you don't have to do this again. Make sense?
Swear that, dangit, next Shabbos
you will wear sneakers...
The rules are not that hard, it's just that you can't write anything down on Shabbos - like, for example, what time you dropped off one and need to pick up another - so it makes the game a little tricky. But if you could carry a notebook and pen or you know, drive a car, then the game wouldn't be fun.
To end the game, you feed the kids dinner, hear havdalah and realize with a growing sense of horror that it's only 5:30pm and bedtime is still days away. Realize that you will save money this week as you do not need to buy another magazine to read for next Shabbos as you still have your unread one from this week. Rejoice in found money.
(ps. sorry about the lame-o pictures. It was Shabbos, I had to improvise.)
So for a few weeks now I have been baking challah on Fridays. A lovely little tradition to start - perhaps one better suited for the summer months when Shabbos starts on the later side, say after Ruff Ruffman is over, but nu nu, it's all good. We really like how the house smells on Friday afternoon when the challah is still hot. Okay, all very nice, you might be saying, but still a little crazy. But you see, there's really an ulterior motive in play here - because challah baking is such an event, making the challah on Friday means that everything everything and everything has to be cooked on Thursday night. And I have been pretty good about doing that, until this week.
I think this week's Shoprite Adventure took place on Tuesday. Part of this week's saga (and if you have been following along, that would mean the milk in the seltzer bottles) was getting a free turkey - lord knows we spent way more than the $300 needed to get that free turkey. But of course, the kosher turkeys are no longer free. Last year Josh made a big thing about that in Shoprite and walked out with a free turkey. This year, he just didn't have it in him. It was late at night, the shrimp-guy-announcer-man-manager wasn't there and he isn't on a first name basis with the other managers. He also didn't want to be too greedy because the manager that was there let him have half off all the meat that was there because it was expiring the next day. Perfectly good for the freezer. Josh took some of it and a chasid standing around heard the conversation and said, "whatever he doesn't take, I'll take." Josh and his fellow Jew got to talking and this chassidish guy is from Manalapin. Why he was hanging around Shoprite, very far from his home, at 10:30pm is still a mystery.
Anyway, so the free turkey rules are all very complicated, evidenced by the fact that it takes half a page to print them in the circular each week. And so at the end of the day, the rule that was in effect that night (and I'm pretty sure it's all about who you ask) was that a percentage of the price of each pound of turkey was deducted from the price. Got that? I'm just happy my math guy was at the supermarket and I wasn't because I probably would have just left the turkey there. After scanning everything, the turkey wound up costing only $7. Free, $7, it's all the same.
Why am I talking about this turkey when I was just talking about challah? Excellent question. You see, I was so distracted by leaking milk (the container, not me) on Tuesday night that I negelected to freeze the turkey when it came home. It had just been sitting in the basement fridge so at this point I had no choice but to cook it for Shabbos. Which is fine, except that turkeys monopolize the oven for like forever, so I could not cook that turkey on Thursday night. And so the turkey is now in the oven, doing its thing. And I still need to bake challah, which does its own monopolizing of the oven.
The turkey has about an hour or so to go and the challah dough should be done rising about the same time the turkey comes out of the oven. Oh, and the boys should be home from school at the exact same time that all that will be taking place. I guess challah baking will be a group activity today. Fun for all.
Here is the challah recipe that we have been using.
My cousin, Chani, gave it to me months ago and we have been loving it ever since. I promised to post it here before Succot and I forgot, so with apologies, here goes nothing:
2 packets of dry yeast
2.5 cups of warm to hot water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp salt
7 cups of flour
(Notice that the recipe has no eggs. It's not a mistake. It really doesn't have any. I'm not messing with you by leaving out an ingredient like some relatives I have like to do).
Dissolve the yeast in warm water. Once it has proofed, add sugar and oil and salt and mix in the mixer. Add flour 2 cups at a time and mix all for about 6 minutes, until a dough has formed. At this point just stop the mixer, cover the bowl with a towel and let it sit someplace warm for 2-3 hours, until it has doubled in size. Shape challahs and let them sit out just until the oven has preheated to 350 degrees. Do the egg wash thing and you're good.
Bake for about 20 minutes and then check them because the whole thing really depends on what size challahs you make. I find that I can get 4 very nice size challahs from one recipe, but I have also made 8 smaller challahs from one recipe. Many times I double the recipe so that I can take challah with a bracha. One batch does not allow for this, although taking challah without a bracha is a good idea. But I am not a local orthodox rabbi and it's always a good idea to consult one about these kinds of things.
Ooh, I hear the timer. I must rotate my turkey. Oh, and here's the recipe for the turkey. I didn't play around with it, I followed all the directions so my commentary is not needed. Well, except for the fact that I did not sew the turkey as Martha suggests. Nor did I make stuffing. But we are having sweet potato kugel this Shabbos if that helps. If it comes out pretty, there will be a picture here. If not, not.
Day One of the 30-Day Shred is done.
You can read about it by clicking on The Skinny Crumb Blog on top of the page - at least I'm thinking about documenting it.
It won't be a new blog, just a different kind of blog.
I mean, I didn't want to mess up my nice mommy crafty blog with tales of hard work, healthy food and exercise.
Thanksgiving is coming, so the Holiday of The Fried Foods can't be far behind. We love love (love) Chanukah in our house, and I am not embarrassed to say that we give our kids something small as a gift each night. My parents did that for me and my brother when we were growing up and it's such a nice little tradition that we continued it. Four kids later, it's getting a little expensive. I am generally much more on the ball than this - I have not yet purchased one gift. I usually buy stuff on sale months in advance - I don't know what my problem is this year. Oh wait, maybe, and I can't be sure, but maybe it's because they don't sell gifts at Shoprite and that's the only place I ever go by myself. Hmm, I wonder.
With less than three weeks to go, I like to have my super-secret hiding place in the attic filled with gifts - wrapped gifts (and I can say that because none of my kids know how to read). Anyway, this year, nothing doing in the present department. Time to panic? Maybe. But I think we'll be okay. And just think, three weeks from today (tomorrow), I will, (please G-d!) Be On Day 21 Of The 30 Day Shred. Yes, those words need to be capitalized.
Today's project of the day is the first of hopefully much Chanukah related fun. We colored, cut, punched holes, sewed and stuffed and came out with these cute-ish latkes made from cardstock (really, just a thicker paper). My kids loved them, they have been frying them at their little kitchen all night - and serving them to the baby every three minutes. Fun for all.
There were several steps involved here, and if you had ten minutes to yourself you could make a bunch of these and just give them to the kids to play with. But if I had ten minutes to myself I would probably just take a shower, so instead, I made them with my girls this afternoon, and yes, it took all afternoon. Just as well, it was way too windy to go for a walk, tree branches falling everywhere.
So we gathered our cardstock (2 pieces, they were white, although if you have brown you could probably save yourself twenty minutes), brown crayons, brown markers, safety scissors, hole puncher, yarn and a plastic needle with a big enough eye to thread the yarn. I had to make a special AC Moore run for those last two - I possess no sewing knowledge and do not own anything that involves darning or crocheting.
We sat, we colored, we licked crayons (and when I say "we", I do not mean "me"), and we drew latkes on one of the sheets of cardstock.
Then we stacked the two sheets of paper so that the colored side faced out on both sides of the paper sandwich. Cut out the latke shapes while holding both sheets of paper so you wind up with two sides of one latke. They should be a mirror image of each other. Hold each pair together, back to back, and punch holes around the perimeter.
Thread your needle with yarn (in retrospect, my choice of color might have not been the best one) and sew up your latke, using the same stitch one might use in kindergarten when sewing one of those cards with a shoelace (fine motor skills, people). I won't even pretend to know what that stitch is called. Just don't sew it all the way closed because next we stuffed a tissue inside it, kind of like how one might stuff a tissue in one's bra in the eighth grade. I realize most people would reach for a cotton ball to stuff their latkes, but we were downstairs and cotton balls don't live in the downstairs bathroom. Anyway, sew it shut (I'm talking about the latkes) and tie the yarn with a knot. They don't have to be beautiful, they just have to fit into the pots that come with the little kitchen.
Serve warm, on a plate.
And then sit back, listen to how your delicious four-year-old teaches his two-year-old sister what bracha to make on latkes and then shake your head when your five-year-old informs your four-year-old that you aren't supposed to say amen at the end of your own bracha. Then smile and know that your tuition dollars are going to good(?) use.
So I bought Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD, let's see now, about 7 months ago and did it for about a week. And then, I don't know what happened, maybe I was still too postpartumy to really commit to anything, maybe I was too hungry to stop eating for 20 minutes and exercise, or maybe it just hurt too darn much. But either way, I am starting it again and I am saying this here so that the three people who read this faithfully (and you know who you are) will hold me accountable and clean my house and bathe my kids so I can exercise. I'm kidding about those last two. Just holding me accountable is enough.
"Other people embrace
a little stress in their lives
and bam, they're skinny. Not me."
The baby weight has just not fallen off after baby #4 like it did after the other ones. Ha! Are you laughing? Cause I am. The weight never falls off of me. Some people I know just think about dieting and all of a sudden, the next day, they are skinny. Other people embrace a little stress in their lives and bam, they're skinny. Not me. When I think about dieting or embrace my inner stressful goddess, I gain weight. I also do that when I am pregnant, but not being that right now (Ma, I can see you smiling at your computer), I have no real excuse for gaining weight.
Truth be told, I have not lost one darn pound since having this baby in February. Of last year. That's right, she turned 9 months old yesterday and I am still wearing the same maternity shirts and stretchy black skirt that is fraying on the bottom that I have been wearing, for oh, the past five years, since this journey of mommying began. It's time for a change. I am not Barak Obama. I did not vote for him (well, for anyone really, I never bothered to register to vote in NJ - (Jess/Stu, if you're reading this, I'm sorry!)) but I will use his slogan, "It's about Time. It's about Change". Profound, huh? Yeah, not really, I know. But if it worked for him, it might just work for me.
30 days from now - okay, from tomorrow - I need another day to mentally prepare for this - is December 17th. Woohoo, Asara B'tevet, it's a fast day! That should help, right?
I'm almost too embarrassed to admit what my kids eat for breakfast. Almost. It's crackers and cream cheese. A lot of them. A while back, we downsized from their much beloved "circle crackers", the tasty but saturated fat laden Ritz crackers to "square crackers", or as is known to the rest of the world, Saltines. And chocolate milk. It's terrible, it's disgusting and yes, oddly delicious.
For a while now, I have been sitting with this new recipe for bran muffins, like the super-fiber kind, not the pretend kind you get at Dunkin Donuts.
I have been putting off trying this recipe because bran muffins have burned me many times before. Each time I try and introduce one of these guys for breakfast, the kids run away screaming. But the rate of cream cheese consumption is really getting out hand so I decided that today was the day to jump in and try a bran recipe one more time.
And you know what? These were actually very good. I almost didn't want to taste them because I know what the other ones tasted like, but these were actually more than okay. Even Josh tasted one. And liked it. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's not like he came home from work and I said, "here honey, have a bran muffin". He came home and I said something like, "there's a cupcake on the counter for you". Cupcakes. Always call 'em cupcakes - that's half the battle. Because really, anytime anyone says they baked cupcakes, the other person's response is always, "ooh, cupcakes". You know it's true.
So the original recipe (and there's always an original, because I can't help but fool around with a recipe) can be found here on the Martha Stewart website. The original says that the recipe makes 6 muffins. I don't know what size muffin tins Martha uses, but I used regular sized cupcake tins and I got 11 cupcakes out of it. Anyway, this is my version:
1 1/2 cups bran flakes
3/4 cup soy milk*
1 egg 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup oil
1 cup flour (I didn't have the whole wheat, I would have used it) 2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt
a big handful of chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and put cupcake liners in the pan. Crush the bran flakes, but not so much that they are crumbs. Add the soy milk and let it sit for a while, until somewhat mushy. Add oil, sugar and egg and mix well. (I did it by hand, so no washing of the kitchenaid). Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Add in the chocolate chips and mix. Fill the cupcake pan with about 2 tablespoons per cupcake section. Bake for about 17 minutes, checking after 15 minutes to see if a toothpick comes out clean. After they cool off, store them in a ziploc bag.
* I think these would come out even better with regular milk. So why did I use soymilk? I'm so glad you asked, because there's a story behind the soymilk and things like this only seem to happen to us.
We went to Shoprite last night, (and when I say we, I mean Josh), and came home with four gallons of milk (we only use Lactaid, one of the kids has some issues and these Lactaid ones last forever and were on sale). Anyway, we were now the proud owners of four gallons of Lactaid milk, one of which decided to spring a leak in one the extremely flimsy, yet lovely yellow shopping bags. It was a small, slow leak, so almost all of the milk was still in the container when we found the problem. So what to do? We didn't wanna throw away a perfectly good container of milk. But where, oh where to put it? In the flower vase? In the cowboy hat? Nooo and besides, where would the bottle caps live if we put the milk in the cowboy hat?
But the milk was leaking and I was panicking. We spotted two empty seltzer bottles and carefully poured the milk into said bottles and put them away. By then, it was almost 11pm and we were falling on our faces so we kind of just sat around on the little blue Ikea chairs at the kiddie table in the kitchen, looking at the other thousand bags that needed to be unpacked.
And then, and I don't remember who said it first, we decided to put chocolate syrup in the seltzer bottles and have the chocolate milk ready for the morning. Genius. We figured it would save a good ten seconds in the morning, what with not having to mix the milk and chocolate together in individual cups. Needless to say, the kids balked at the whole idea that the milk was in the seltzer bottles and why was it already chocolatey and eww, it tastes funny and how come you went to Shoprite without us. And on and on.
Will we ever learn our lesson? No. And you know how I know that we never will - because tomorrow morning we will attempt to pass off these bran muffins as chocolate chips cupcakes, a replacement for their beloved cream cheese and crackers. I hope the cupcakes don't get hard over night because I'm willing to bet one of us will be getting one in the head at around 6:30 tomorrow morning.
Oh, and back to why I used soymilk when I clearly had three gallons of undoctored milk in the fridge. They were in the basement fridge and I was too darn lazy to go down and get one. I briefly contemplated using the chocolate milk that was rejected just because it was a different bottle, but I don't know, it just didn't seem right. Passing off bran muffins as cupcakes is one thing, playing around with their beloved chocolate milk is just wrong. "And if loving chocolate milk is wrong, then I don't wanna be right" - or something like that, from some country song from the '70's. Why do I even know that? I think that means it's time for bed.
Sundays used to be a relatively calm day in our house. There were many Sundays where the farthest we would venture outside of our living room would be the kitchen. Maybe the basement if we were feeling crazy. And then my oldest turned five and my Sundays got turned on their heads. Birthday parties (multiple ones on the same day), homework, playdates. It's never ending. And I'm not sure I'm loving it. I kinda liked feeling like my family was living in a cozy little bunker with a TV and a fridge and no social obligations one day a week.
And then there's now.
For starters, Josh left to shul at 8:30am and didn't come back until 10:30am because he now gives a shiur every once in a while and loves loves loves doing it. And from what I understand, he is pretty good at it too. So I entertained the kids for those two hours by changing the channel on the TV every once in a while. Other than that, I sat on the couch and read Parents magazine. I have to wonder what the good people who write for Parents would think of that.
Once Josh was home, the fun started. My parents came over (hooray, we don't have to pay the toll going to their house) with donuts and bagels for the kiddies. As I was cutting the bagels open I happened to notice the picture of the huge fish on my bulletin board that my primer-going son needed to decorate for tomorrow. Decorate a fish? Yup. And not just decorate it, but turn it into your favorite character from your favorite book. I gotta tell you, I am loving these primer teachers, but if you ask me, that sounds very much like mommy homework and not so much like kiddie sized homework - but as Josh pointed out, nobody asked me. So I turn to the five-year-old and ask him what his favorite book is and he stops what he is doing, looks around and sees a book on the floor that we have not read more than once, ever, and I dont think we even finished it that time, picks it up and declares this to be his favorite book in the whole wide world. Uh-huh.
In the end, after much negotiation, we went with a Curious George book. And with some cardboard from an almost empty Triscuit cracker box, some yellow tissue paper, black construction paper and glue, we turned that baby into The Man With The Yellow Hat. Now, I will digress for a second and ask a question that has been bothering me since we started watching Curious George religiously, about five years ago. Here goes: For a man who has no discernable job or inheritance and seems to be not very bright (I mean really, does he not see trouble coming every time he leaves George alone), how can he afford a house in the country and an apartment in the city? I really have given this a lot of thought and after much time, I have been forced to conclude that Dr. Wiseman is his sugar-mama. Maybe not very nice of me, but what else could it be? Aside from Chef Pisgetti - and how he keeps that restaurant open is beyond me - The Man and George are the only customers - Dr. Wiseman is the only one on that show with a real job and there is clearly some sexual tension between The Man and Dr. Wiseman. I'm just saying.
So fish project done, we moved on to the kindergarten homework. It's kind of the same homework every week - find three pictures that start with whatever letter they are learning this coming week. It's a cute little assignment and the kids love cutting out the pictures. Last year, when my oldest was in kindergarten, he let me show him which pictures to cut out and the whole thing took three minutes and we had the rest of the day to play. This year, my kindergartener will have none of that. I guess I should admire that in him, his need to be his own person and all that, but I have things to do. And so, like every week, he parked himself at the dining room table with the Shoprite circular and his safety scissors, ready to go. This week's letter is C. He looks and looks and well, this is how it went down:
Me: No, soda starts with an S.
Him: Oh, I like soda.
Me: I know.
Me: No, popcorn starts with a P. Last week was P week.
Him: Oh Yeah. P week. Hahahahhaha, you said P week!
Me: Keep going.
Me: Also P.
Me: Donuts start with a D.
Him: I want a donut.
Me: I know you do.
And on and on the world turns. Of course, we don't see the world passing by because we are looking at the Shoprite circular. Finally (finally), we wind up with Cheese Crackers, CheeseCake and potato Chips. I really really hope the potato chips count for C because I'm pretty sure we sent in a picture of potato chips last week. Oh well.
We all stop for lunch. My parents leave. And the kitchen sink clogs up. I knew the sink was draining kind of slowly, but still, like everytime this happens, I was taken by surprise. The last time this happened I was six months pregnant and Josh had the flu. In bed. Hmmm, should I call a plumber or try to fix it myself, pregnant me said to myself. I decided to go it alone and after googling "clogged sink, no draino", I knew what to do. And I'm willing to bet that you did not know this, but if you partner me up with some baking soda, vinegar, a plunger (so gross, I know) and a lot of boiling water, I can fix a sink. And so I tried it again - but this time the boys wanted to help. Yay.
One of them ran to get the plunger (why does he know what it is?) and the other screamed cause he wanted to be the one to get the plunger. So I had to promise that he could be the first one to hold it after I poured boiling water over it in the bathroom sink before bringing it anywhere near my kitchen sink.
So we poured baking soda down the drain, chased it with a cup of vinegar and watched the chemistry work. Josh could explain it a lot better than I could so I'll just say that this stuff sizzles and bubbles and makes weird noises when you combine them. Then I poured boiling water down the drain and watched as the drain was still clogged. Hmm. What happened? And why do I remember using a plunger last time? So back to the internet because I clearly was not remembering all the steps here. Ahh, so it's pour baking soda, vinegar, stop up the drain in the other sink, then pour boiling water and plunge. Rinse and repeat. Got that? It's good to know.
And that what's we did. Several times, with everyone having the exact same number of turns using the plunger in the sink. And haha, the sink is unclogged, all the dishes are washed and this part of the story is over.
It was definitely time for a snack now, so we broke out the pudding and the pretzels. See, it's still P week in our house! Then Josh said it was time to go outside and do the leaves. Do what to them you might ask. Well, if you ask the kids, it's drive your bikes right through the leaves that your Abba is raking and laugh your head off. Fun for all. And yes, if you have been following along from last week, you might be saying, hey, wait a sec, you guys already put away all the toys in the garage for the winter! And you'd be right, we did. But apparently Josh is better at this garage thing than I am. He is able to take the bikes out without having the sukkah crash down on the his head, so go Josh! Not so good with the cleaning up though because I just looked outside and the bikes and trikes are still sitting in the backyard a day later, almost totally covered in leaves (it's windy today).
Long story slightly less long, a while later our cousins came for dinner and brought chinese food with them. Leftovers for tonight, yahoo!
Sundays are busy now - and kinda fun. But I still wish we could just lock the front door, stay in pajamas and snuggle on the couch with the kids, their bottles and watch Everyday Food, This Old House and America's Test Kitchen all day without anyone bothering us. Ahh, a day with the Sunday schedule on PBS. Made possible by viewers like you.