I don’t know why I’m choosing the busiest time of year to post again. Actually, I’m a glutton for punishment so it makes perfect sense. I have to start posting again; I must. The kids are growing like weeds and the boys have me in stitches daily with their crazy kid ways and I’m positive that if I don’t write it all down somewhere it will be lost forever.
Nora, my love
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!
I love baking with this little man.
Gingerbread Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon ground Ginger
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1/3 cup molasses
3 tablespoons water
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil. Spray foil with no stick cooking spray. Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; set aside.
2. Beat butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well blended. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well mixed. Stir in molasses and water just until blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
3. Beat cream cheese in large bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in remaining 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Reserve 1/2 cup of the icing; refrigerate remaining icing. Spoon dollops (about 1 teaspoon each) of the reserved icing over batter in pan. With knife or spatula, swirl icing through batter to marbleize.
4. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Lift out of pan using foil. Cool completely on wire rack. Invert and peel off foil. Spread refrigerated icing over bars. Cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.
Back in August ( I think) I asked Manu what he wanted to be for Halloween. I thought I’d do the nice thing and ask first. Then once he’d forgotten what he told me he wanted, I’d just ahead and make him whatever I wanted. I’m a good parent like that. “Monkey!”, he said. And he didn’t forget it. By mid September I realized I was going to have to come up with a monkey costume. For some reason I’m opposed to buying pre-made costumes. I don’t have a good reason. I just don’t like it. But an entire monkey costume was going to be a lot of sewing . Of course I would need two of these ( I like them to coordinate too) unless I was willing to torture Zeems by making him into a banana and I wasn’t. So two monkeys. Then my sister suggested to save time I make Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. Make the headpieces, the tails, put them in pajamas and call it a day. Brilliant. Done. The monkey hats took a little time. The actual hat was easy but I’m crazy and decided I needed to hand-embroider the face. I hammered those out in two days. The tails were another day. Not too bad. Much better than a full body costume.
A pre-Halloween fitting. Zeems celebrating his half-nakedness. Baby bump in full effect. Monkey in a box. The weekend before Halloween our little borough had a costume and puppet parade for the kiddos. It was adorable.
Afterward we met all our neighborhood friends at the local coffee shop for treats.
It was then I decided I didn’t want to leave New Haven. I love our school. I love our new friends. I love that I can walk into my favorite cafe and the owner will play with my children so I have two minutes of peace to drink my coffee. Riz said I could forget it. He reminded me of the public school situation and made it clear that private school was not an option. Later I got online to check out tuition prices to build my case for staying. Blah. $20,000/ year times 3 kids (at the same time) times 13 years (K-12). Hmmmm. The math is easy, even for a public school grad like me, but don’t do it. It’ll make you sick. And that’s before college. Whatevs. Back to Halloween. Monkeys jumping on the bed!
The monkeys made out very well trick-or-treating. It was a bit chilly so Azeem and I hit up our street and then headed back home to hand out candy. Arman was determined to fill his bucket and he did. For the safety of my youngest, I took it upon myself to consume any and all candy containing peanuts (I told you I was a good mom) which is pretty much all the good stuff. Everyone wins here.
Now that that’s all said and done, we are eagerly anticipating the holiday season. Turkeys, trees and oodles of treats. So much more fun ahead!
We’re back from a extended trip to visit the grandparents in Horseheads, NY. Trips with kids are exhausting. It’s good to be home.
Arman sprung out of bed on Monday morning with: “Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Where’s my Valentine’s Day card?”
Card?! What the—-? Where does he learn this stuff? I assumed I had at least another year before he’d begin to expect gifts on holidays. Good thing he was only asking for a card.
Me: ” Happy Valentine’s Day, Manu! Uhhh….the card comes after nap-time!”
(Mental note to make a card during nap-time)
After music class I put the kiddos down for their nap, pulled out Manu’s water colors, and set out to fancy-up a plain white paper bag. I tossed in a caramel lollipop, a gummy worm, and a hand-made card. It was definitely a very modest gift, but he seemed thrilled.
Simple and sweet, just as it should be.
Love Thanksgiving. It’s been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember and I don’t see that ever changing.
My sister Aziza really pulls out all the stops for the dinner held at my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Glastonbury, CT (40 minute drive this year, ya’ll!). Highlights from this year’s menu included corn fritters, baked brie, Suvir Saran’s cornbread stuffing (thanks for the intro, S!), a pumpkin trifle, caramel cupcakes—well, let’s just say it was a decadently delicious, calorie-filled feast.
We added a sweet little game this year which I think should be part of the festivities every year. Each of the ~25 family members wrote down on slips of paper two things they were thankful for. To keep it from getting too mushy, we were instructed to come up with 1 material and 1 non-material item. The anonymous notes went into a bin. Each one was then read aloud and as a group, we tried to guess who they belonged to. Fun, sweet and easy.
Loved seeing all of you again. We’re thankful for each and every one of you; especially those of you that watch the grandchildren so that Mom and Dad can go shopping on Black Friday for themselves.
Halloween is one of those situations where more is more. With two kids to
torture dress up, this year proved to be the most fun yet. I made the costumes again this year but kept them simple. The most time-consuming was sewing Zeemu’s top which really only took 2 naps to complete. ( I measure time in naps) A little duct tape and reflective tape and Manu’s costume was done in one evening. Very easy and so inexpensive.
Our fireman and his dalmatian:
Manu had a blast. He really got the concept of trick or treating this year and of course was totally into it. We let him stay up past his bed time to make his way around the neighborhood collecting treats in his little plastic pumpkin. And while he now understands the ritual of ringing doorbells and collecting candy, he’s not sure why we’re not trick-or-treating EVERY single evening. That’s a hard one to explain; doing things only once a year. For him, next Halloween is pretty much a life time away….but we already have a costumes planned : )