We woke up bright and early this morning. Our first stop of the day was at The FamBily House for brunch with The Freddies. Freddie baked up super fluffy bagels and yummy rolls no garlic knots. Served with a whole lot of spreads we were decidedly full when we finally cleared the table. The Freddies had to head off to their next engagement of the day so we said our goodbyes.
Our second stop of the day was out in RBS. We got to spend a couple of hours hanging out with Rik&co. Buzz was kind of zonked by the time we got there but he was excited to see more cousins! We schmoozed and relaxed a bit. The kids played and Buzz tried to conk out on me. Time flew by and Eventually Z declared it time to head to our next phase of the day.
Back to The FamBily House we went. We arrived just in time to watch Dibble play more of his video-game. Then we battled the wind and managed to get the grill going. The Crazy Lady made the first attempt, Phil took the second, I threw in some paper for kindling, and eventually Timmy arrived to show us how it's done. Finally the coals were white and the food was ready to cook.
Timmy did the grilling. A collection of others kept him company. Then we sat down to feast. Delightful dinner. Entirely enjoyable. Wings, burgers, and chicken, with fries on the side. Delicious. After dining we did our usual 'dash' and managed to get Buzz to sleep in a relatively timely manner.
Tomorrow there's lots of cooking and cleaning to be done. Buzz is very excited for it to be Friday because he has been counting down to Shabbat since last Saturday night.
Really I think he's just excited to bake challah in gan.
Aaaaaand I'm back. Sort of? I hope? Anyway... Sorry about that month-long hiatus. All sorts of stuff going on around these parts.
First we had to eat all of the chametz, then we had to clean all of the chametz, then we had to burn all of the chametz, then we had the week of Pesach... A whole lot of cleaning followed by a whole lot of eating. Us Jews really have a food-fixation thing, huh?!
We let Buzz help wash the car. His favorite part of that activity was spraying his uncle with the hose.
As the holiday week began we spent lots of time with The Freddies.
Buzz has taken on the job of keeping the balcony and garden in good working order. He waters the plants, and squeegees the floor. All in all a pretty good deal for me - since it's easy enough to convince him to take a bath when he's done. Then everything is clean.
Buzz helped pack for our trip to the hotel on chol hamoed. He had a hard time fitting all of his friends into the bag - but with much effort and determination he eventually prevailed.
We had a delightful couple of days in the scenic and picturesque grounds of the hotel in the mountains. The air was clear and the sunsets were beautiful. Thankfully Buzz slept through the sunrises - though he still woke up quite early.
Lots of time to catch up with family. Then we were back on the road to The Sun House again. The last days of chag were highly enjoyable and entertaining. We were joined by Ari Krischer and A&A came for the meals. The kiddos went to the park and found quite the willing book-reader and general entertainer in Ari - which was adorable and entirely wonderful since it meant a reprieve from their craziness.
Last week was pretty much back to 'normal' - or whatever passes for that around here. Spent a whole lot of afternoons at The FamBily House.
Sarah Leah joined us for shabbos last week. It kept me entertained. Z and Buzz took a nice long walk in the afternoon then ended up coming home again before shabbos ended. I was quite surprised to say the least.
Friday morning we went out to buy the first installment of the paper-goods for Buzz's upcoming party. Hard to believe that we'll be cutting his hair in just two short weeks. Our plan is to donate the locks to Zichron Menachem - an organization that makes wigs for kids with cancer.
This week is a short but busy one. I spent the first three days baking for the party. Cookies, mini-muffins, and other goodies are starting to pile up in the freezer. It's exciting! This morning we took a ride out to IKEA to price out a kitchen. Things are progressing so we are gathering as much information as we can in order to figure out the best way to proceed. We were in the store for the memorial day siren and it was quite the emotional experience for me. Everyone and everything just stopped. Parents shopping with their kids held their children tight. Respectful silence and like a flashmob activity resumed as the siren tapered off. Such a small country, such a big family.
Tomorrow of course is Independence Day. So decked out in blue and white we will brunch with family, bbq with family, and spend time with family. Noticing a theme? It should be fun. I'll charge the camera tonight so that we're ready to go bright and early. Hopefully the weather will be classically brilliant and cooperative.
A Buzz Story to leave you off with:
Buzz ended gan at noon today. Back at home he was excited to spend some mid-week hours with his toys. He was playing happily so I made myself comfortable and relaxed. A little while later Buzz came running to my side shouting excitedly and waving his hand around in a gesture that indicated that he had something magnificent to share with me.
He reached my side, shoved his hand in my face and babbled excitedly about how he found a new friend. Well it took a minute for my eyes to adjust to the sight so up close but when the image came into focus I realized that what held clutched gingerly in his fingers was a real-live squirming freaking-out jumping spider.
I shrieked and told him to drop it. Then I picked up a shoe, but panicked because 'spiders are our friends!!! and I couldn't bring myself to hurt it. I gently pushed it under the bed with a fervent prayer that it would find its way out the other side.
Buzz was devastated by the loss of his new little buddy. He ran and grabbed his flashlight, got down on the floor by the bed, and started searching for it.
Sadly/thankfully the spider was nowhere to be found and Buzz seemed content with my observation that the spider had probably gone to find some other bugs to eat for snack.
We had a talk about how it is unadvisable to pick up any creepy crawlers or animals in general without the express permission of a grown-up. With that the saga of the spider ended and Buzz went off to find some snacks of his own.
At least I hope the saga of the spider is over. I really don't want to wake up with it crawling in my bed...
What an Election Day!!! We kicked the morning off with a late start. Buzz slept all the way until 6:45! Once he was up things started moving. Lemonade, iced tea, the great sock race, finding pants... It's a process to get out of the house. Finally we were all fully attired. Out we went to exercise our democratic rights!
I wore Buzz on my back to the polling station. A couple of funny stares (since we are assigned to the 'kalpi' in RBS B) but our choosing went smoothly. Buzz helped with my tie-breaker, we slipped our choice into the envelope, and into the box it went.
Do you seal your envelope? I do. I think it's a perfectionist thing, or an OCD thing, but that's kind of one in the same in this scenario.
After a relaxing breakfast at our new local bagel store we made our way home. Buzz was waiting loudly and impatiently for his cousin to arrive.
At long last the hour arrived. So we piled into the car and made our way to S&S's house where we met The Freddies and enjoyed some quality S&S time and some Pizza Hut pizza. After a couple of hours the kiddos we're going a little bit stir-crazy so we said our goodbyes and headed out to the big park.
Well, to be honest, we detoured to The FamBily House first. We dropped off all of the food-stuffs and checked in on the kitchen situation (which Timmy had well in hand) then most of us decided to be lazy and ended up sending Z and Frank out to the park with the wired toddlers. Suffice it to say, when they got back almost 2 hours later the grown-ups were zonked.
Timmy had done most of the prep work and lit the grills. Freddie and I helped shlep everything out to the backyard then Timmy did the grilling. Freddie prepped the salads and set the table. And pretty soon there was an enormous quantity of amazing smelling food and lots of hungry stomachs ready to feast.
Finally The Mad Man returned from his favorite 'David & Goliath Tour' in Emek HaElah with our 'captive' cousin (here on business, he lucked into a free vacation day thanks to national elections!) so we all washed up, sat down, and tucked in to the bounty.
And oh my goodness what bounty it was. Deeeeelicious in the extreme. We may have gone a little overboard on quantities, but nobody will be complaining about eating those leftovers.
Before we knew it the clock struck 9 and the Buzzmonster really needed his bed. So we said our goodbyes and shlepped back up the hill. Thanks to the intense play-session with uncles and cousins, Buzz fell asleep in about two minutes flat. I am mightily impressed at how much energy that kid really has to burn on a daily basis.
Cherry on top of a wonderful day? A super-cute picture of yours truly with her ogre - I mean, significant other... And look! He's even smiling nicely!
Shabbos was nice. Friday night was mostly leftovers, and besides for a pan of super-saucy baked ziti even the quiche for lunch came out of the freezer. We are in full-blown Pesach-is-coming clean-out mode. It's pretty crazy. I'm confident that this year we can actually make the clear-out happen in a neat and timely manner.
Shabbos afternoon we walked over to The FamBily House. Everybody was sleeping. They woke up eventually and Z took Buzz to the park while Phil and I studied for her psychology final. Quite entertaining stuff - all about memory - how we make them, store them, and retrieve them. See? I was listening!
This morning dawned a little too early for some of us. Buzz was bouncing around by 5:40 and I wanted nothing more than to lock him in his bedroom. Z refused claiming that to be child abuse, so I settled for migrating to the guest room to get some more shut-eye. Of course, by the time I was settled in the guest bed I was wide-awake. Thus did my day begin at 5:40am.
I straightened up the living room and dining room since they were general disasters after the shabbos rumpus. I cleared off the mountain of stuff that had accumulated in the coffee table in my bedroom. I pretended to organize some other random things. Then before I knew it 3:30 had rolled around and it was time to head out to pick up Buzz.
Schedules and things being as they are - we are revising our daily-schedule. We won't be crashing down to The FamBily House for a few hours of daily coffee and relaxation every day anymore. I breathed an audibly loud sigh of relief this afternoon when Buzz agreed cheerfully to walk towards home after gan rather than making a beeline in the direction that we usually go in.
I was surprise that he had so much energy, but he happily walked up to the first traffic circle before exhaustion caught up with him. Luckily I had our trusty Tula carrier, so I slung him onto my back. He cackled with glee and I buckled him in and we set off at a good pace.
We arrived at our neighborhood park a mere 35 minutes after my original departure time. Not too bad for a 2.8 kilometer trek (1.2 kg uphill with a 30+ lb kid strapped to my back.) Clearly all this walking is getting me into shape - whatever that means.
Buzz was so excited to play at the park. We worked our way down from the top - which meant the swings were our first stop. Then we shot straight down to the play-structure at the bottom. Excitingly (for me) it was a regular afternoon and lots of people were there so I actually got to socialize and see a bunch of my neighbors and friends. It's been a long time since I've gotten a chance to shmooze and hang out because we are usually not in the neighborhood. It was actually really nice!
After a while at the park we made our way home. Buzz requested that our afternoon activity be 'baking a pink cake'. With 3 cups of homemade strawberry in the fridge I figured it wouldn't be too tall of an order. I used my usual yellow-cake recipe but cut down on the sugar (by 1/4) and used strawberry syrup instead of orange juice. I added a drop of neon-pink food coloring to the batter just to make the pink-ness 'pop'. Buzz was thrilled. Personally I was just amazed that the cupcakes turned out at all - but they did. They rose really beautifully and came out of the oven smelling the strawberry heaven. Buzz happily gobbled one up as soon as they were cool enough to handle.
Before I knew it, Z walked in the door. I guess this change-in-routine isn't so terrible. Tomorrow I should probably stretch before heading out - but by the end of the next four months, my shapely calves are going to be the envy of everyone in town.
Timmy and I had an extremely successful bread baking day. Our bounty was incredible. They made really cute baskets too - but I forgot to get a picture in the rush of getting them out to deliver them.
Buzz is very into tents lately. Here's his mini-house at The FamBily House the other day. We built him another one at our place today. He likes to take his flashlight into the tent to keep it all illuminated.
I was very nervous about whether I'd manage to get a meal together for this afternoon. I woke up this morning and baked three batches of cookies. Then by the time the shalach manot run was done I was pretty much freaking out.
I had a bunch of leftovers from last shabbos. Sneakily I decided to use them up today. Of course they had to be repurposed. I turned the leftover chicken into 12 chicken-pot-pie knishes. The last of the roasted garlic mashed potatoes turned into 8 really awesome knishes too. Did I mention that knishes were FF?! Yup, 100% barley flour. It was super exciting and delicious. Of course the meatballs, rice pilaf, and steak salad were the perfect mishmash of accompanying dishes.
Phil joined us for the meal, since the rest of The FamBily had gone out to The Shomron for a great gathering. Our meal was delicious, then we capped off the evening with a movie. The parentals made it home in perfect time to pick Phil up as Z put Buzz to bed.
Tomorrow is erev-shabbos. We have our menu, and it's minimal prep since I did so much today. We owe Buzz a trip to the mall to play, so that'll happen. Hopefully the floor will get cleaned at some point before candle-lighting.
I've been off the grid for almost a month - so figured it's about time to check in with you all.
What has been going on? Let's see...
I kicked off February by turning a whole bunch of family photos into digital copies with the help of my trusty-dusty scanner. I also baked what I hope to be the last batch of challah until after Pesach. We survived the winter dust-apocalypse in style - even though nobody could breathe and the dog refused to leave the house. A not so sick-day with Buzz - ending with a trip to the dr who pronounced him completely healthy. A lot of homemade waffles and homemade pizza. Finalized bathroom layouts and electrical plans for the house. A complete overhaul of the guest room. The Crazy Lady's extended birthday weekend - complete with Friday bagel brunch on a Sun House snow-day. 60 lbs of goodies from Amerryca via Moscow and Givat Shmuel. And finally Papa arrived!
We spent a very busy but fun filled week filling moments with everything from touristy destinations to feeding our guest everything that we could! (All a ploy to empty the freezers out. Probably would've been more effective if I hadn't kept making new things...) On Shabbos we spent a couple of hours at The FamBily House. Sunday we watched Buzz run amok at the park then the grocery store. Then we said our goodbyes and Z did the airport run.
Monday morning was so sad as Buzz popped out of bed and asked, "Papa, store? Park?" We had to remind him that he had said goodbye the night before and that Papa had gone home. He was sad to be reminded but cheered up when we told him that Papa would be back soon.
Today was Purim party in gan day. We dressed Buzz as a blue M&M- which nobody in gan recognized. Thankfully Buzz was not fazed in the least bit. He was just happy to be dressed as chocolate. Gan ended at noon, so I picked him up.
I actually went over to The FamBily House bright and early with half of my kitchen in tow. Timmy and I had scheduled a bread baking day. We made four different types of breads and we plan to give them out for shalach manot. Honey oatmeal, tomato basil, golden brioche, and no-knead loaves slashed and baked to perfection. I knew the no-kneads had come out well when Dibble begged to be allowed to eat one for dinner. I happily left one for him. We came home and devoured one with thickly sliced white English cheddar and the rest of a bottle of merlot petite sirah.
Tomorrow I'm hoping to make a second batch of caramel popcorn and maybe another batch of hamentashen. Yesterday I cooked up a batch of pareve dulce de leche (yay almond milk) so In thinking that would go pretty well in chocolate hamentashen. I've also got to make a batch of potato knights with some leftover roasted garlic mashed potatoes from last shabbos. I'd better get on that!!!
Well, our baked creations went over splendidly at gan. The teacher was overjoyed with the adorableness, her chief complaint being that it was so delicious that nobody wanted to eat lunch when lunchtime rolled around. Buzz has talked about cake non-stop for two days. It's pretty amusing.
I've been getting really into the whole 'fake potato pancake for breakfast' thing. Yesterday I went a little crazy and used a white potato and a sweet potato just to shake things up a bit. It didn't hold together as well as the all-white ones do, and it burnt a little quicker, but it was delicious nonetheless.
When we got to The FamBily House yesterday, Timmy was in the process of making pizza for a couple of friends who were visiting. Ever happy to get my hands into dough, I rolled out a nice looking pie.
Today I did a minimal amount of housework. I've been assigned the task of scanning a whole bunch of old family photos and documents. We picked up the first batch last night and I got started today. 2.5 hours of sheer amazingness. My grandfather's infectious smile, my mom as as little girl, and even some shots of me as a kiddo. Quite the appropriate activity for a throwbackthursday.
After gan pickup Timmy taught Buzz how to direct home-movies. Then Buzz helped The Crazy Lady mix up a batch of Mrs. Goodman cake.
At home Buzz was excited to see that a shufersol order had come. Shufersol orders mean boxes and boxes mean hours and hours of fun for Buzz!
While Buzz played in his box, Z settled into a groove and washed approximately a zillion meat dishes.
While Z washed dishes, I attempted to organize the kitchen cabinets. Hard to believe but they do actually look better now than when I began. Pesach is coming so. It's time to start using stuff up. Eeeek!!!
Buzz protested our call for bedtime but eventually conked out. (In his bed, not on that mountain of dirty laundry...) I guess now you know what one thing I'll be doing tomorrow is...