Friday, April 20, 2012

March 3rd - Thumbs Up to Our National Anthem?

Yeah, that title may be a stretch but what else do you say when "What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs? Day" and "National Anthem Day" fall on the same day? Right? I think one of the many things our furry friends would do is give the National Anthem a big ole thumbs up.

So what did our furry friends do with their opposable thumbs for the day? Our cranky old lady cat, Maxi,  wasted no time hitting the pantry...

"That Temptations Treats bag is impossible to open without thumbs and now they are mine, all mine! Not to mention getting the door open. Sheesh."

Sweet, foofy Ellie (yes, foofy is a much used term in this house when it comes to Ellie) surprised us all with her passion for video games.  First she got her XBox on...

She kicked some serious butt on Modern Warfare 3. And then on to some serious gaming...

Angry Birds. Of course.

You may remember that there is another cat in our humble abode, Louie. There are no pictures of Louie. He used his opposable thumbs to open the front door and hitch a ride somewhere...possibly a bird sanctuary, possibly a fishing pier, possibly a cat day spa. Who knows?

And let's not forgot to honor the song that chokes me up on occasion, our national anthem.

I love this sweet land of liberty and I love the Star Spangled Banner. Thank you, Francis Scott Key.

March 2nd - Oh Say Can You Say? It's Theodor Geisel Day!

Who doesn't love Dr. Seuss? If you don't, I will apologize right now for being terribly judgmental but, there is something seriously wrong with you. Consider yourself banished from Whoville (which is a very bad thing). Every time I read a Dr. Seuss book I instantly feel younger. Call me Ponce De Leon but I think that perhaps fountains of youth have been lurking in libraries all over the world. Now that I'm thinking on it, I believe if you read a Dr. Seuss book while at Disney World you will magically un-age, possibly to single digit numbers. That's gonna save me a ton of cash in botox.

Back to the holiday at hand, March 2nd was Dr. Seuss Day which is celebrated in conjunction with Read Across America Day. I have known for quite awhile that his given name was Theodor Seuss Geisel but until I did a google double check I didn't know that I harbored subconscious fantasies that he was an eccentric German marionette maker. Ok, maybe not a marionette maker, but certainly an eccentric German something. But alas, he was born in Massachusetts. This actually works out way better because America needs all the bonus points it can get these days so to realize (perhaps a bit behind the rest of you) that he is all ours is enough bring Lorax tears to my eyes.

So we celebrated as one must on this day - with Seuss-erific hats, green eggs and ham, and the reading of a bedtime Seuss story.


It is absolutely amazing what a little food coloring can do to a person. The second Mark saw the green eggs and ham on the plate he actually did not feel well. It was pretty gross to look at but I calmed the troops by repeating over and over, "It's just food coloring. It will taste exactly the same."

Gnarly looking, right?

Spence chickened out. That's why he looks so happy up there with his waffle. Mark and I, however, went for it...

To be more accurate, I went for it while Mark faked it and tried not to hurl. So I had to take some drastic measures. I used the old "here comes the airplane into the hanger" followed closely by the "here comes the choo choo into the tunnel" trick...

...after which Mark exclaimed, "Why! I DO like green eggs and ham! I WILL eat them in my house and I WILL eat them with my spouse!"

Thank you, Theodor Geisel for being extraordinarily creative and imaginative, and bringing so much joy to so many. I have a feeling we would have gotten along tremendously well.

Friday, March 30, 2012

February 26th - Nuttiness Runs in the Jeans

We celebrated two of my favorite things on Sunday, February 26, nuts and jeans! It was National Pistachio Day and Levi Strauss Day.

Pistachio Day was a raucous event.

We gnashed our teeth and tore into the meaty stachios. We discarded shells with wild abandon. It was KER-A-ZEE!

After snack time we celebrated Levi Strauss Day the only way we knew how - by taking pictures of our tuckus. The cute one first...

My mom warned me about marrying someone with a smaller butt than me. I clearly didn't listen.

Seriously? I could rent out advertising space on that thing. The things I won't do for this project. Oy.

But back to the holiday, we love us some Levi's up in this house except for the skinny mini who can only wear Gap adjustable waist jeans without fear of getting "pants-ed" every day at school. (Fascinating Buehlman fact #243)

So thank you crazy miners of the 1893 California gold rush who couldn't find pants that would stand-up to the riggers of gold hunting and thank you Levi Strauss for bringing "waist overalls" into our lives. (Check out the history here. Interesting stuff.) I can't remember ever not having at least one pair of Levi's in my drawer. I love the rivets and the little red tab, Levi's are right up there with baseball and apple pie in my book.

February 25th - Don't Try This At Home

BLOG WARNING: Some readers may find the following image disturbing. Heaven only knows, I do....

Happy Sword Swallower's Day!

February 24th - Tortilla Chip Day!

Believe it or not, I just don't have much to say about Tortilla Chip Day. I can ramble incessantly about virtually anything but all we had to do today was eat some tortilla chips. (When I say I don't have much to say it usually turns into quite the diatribe. Buckle up.)

Of course I did take the opportunity to kick it up a small notch. I have to make a small admission first. I am addicted to cookbooks. I love to read them.  I live my gourmet wannabe life vicariously through them. I can actually cook a five course dinner in my head. I can feel the food, I can taste it, and I can plate it. I just don't actually cook it. It has become alarmingly apparent over the years that I am all about the idea and not so great on the follow through. So when I make grand statements like, "I made my own guacamole, can you believe it ?!" I know that it is not even a small blip on a lot of folks' excite-o-meter. For me, however, it was freaking awesome! And slightly depressing. I looked at the guacamole and realized it was pretty much the easiest thing in the world to make and how is it I am staring down the big 4-5 without ever having made it before? What else am I missing out on? Time to get off my culinary boo-tocks and get cookin'!

So there you have it. Tortilla chips with some homemade (!!) guac. And it was freak-a-deakin' delicious. Mark was blown away, "YOU made THAT?" I don't think he needed to sound quite that surprised. The recipe is from my culinary guru Mr. Mark Bittman from his if-I-could-only-have-one-cookbook-this-would-be-it cookbook, How To Cook Everything. Check out my recipe page if you too would like some heart healthy homemade guac in your life.

And a little shout out to my favorite new chips, the Snyder's (that would be the Hanover Snyders, to avoid confusion with, say, the Hampton's Snyders) Whole Grain Tortilla Chips with quinoa, flax, sesame and chi-chi-chi-chia seeds. Seriously, you will recognize every ingredient in these bad boys and your digestive tract will thank me (eventually).

Here's to getting your chip on!

February 14th - Love Is In The Air... and Other Valentine's Musings

Ahhhh, yes. Valentine's Day. To this day I find Valentine's Day perplexing. Perhaps it was those bitter years of pining for that special someone to spend the day with. You know those years (and if you don't, I don't want to hear about it). The junior/high school years where you watched the mushy couples drooling over each other while you yearned for that special one, the one you crushed on silently, to magically approach you and declare his/her undying love for you a la Sixteen Candles. {{{Big Sigh}}} Maybe that's what makes me want to love Valentine's Day unrequitedly and I just don't.

Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled when I finally had that special someone to celebrate Valentine's Day with and I am happy to report I still have him 20+ years later. We went through the dating V-Day rituals - dinner, heart shaped boxes of chocolates, dozen red roses. Then we went through the "oh heck it's Valentine's Day again what am I going to do?" years. These years tainted me also. Forced romance? Blech. By this stage of our relationship give me an $8 bouquet of daisies in the middle of April and my heart is yours. Give me a $100 bouquet of hanging-on-for-dear-life roses just because it is February 14? Ridiculous, especially when the garbage disposal just stopped working and I'm pretty sure a mouse chewed through the cable line again.

But now we have settled into a groovy V Day place, one without ceremony or pressure. No cards usually, no dinner date on the 14th (that's a nightmare), a nice dinner cooked at home with a bottle of wine and a heart shaped Nestle crunch bar or two (my certain someone's favorites). I have had some amazing Valentine's Day moments over the years and they had nothing to do with crappy chocolate and overpriced flowers. "Someone" learned to play a song on the piano and wrote his own lyrics, wrote Haikus one year and a sonnet the other. Seriously? Hallmark has got nothing on this man.

And now, of course, we have a collective favorite valentine, the Spence-man. He reignited everything awesome about Valentine's Day. Stuffed monkeys holding hearts, decorated boxes for the quintessential school valentines exchange...

and my Spencer-inspired favorite tradition, heart shaped pancakes for breakfast...

which this year came out looking more like actual, anatomically correct hearts, but they were made with an extra special ingredient so it was ok. You know what that ingredient is, right? You got it...LOVE!

And our nice, family dinner with my two super cute Valentines. Perfect.

Maybe I finally have started to love Valentine's Day quite unrequitedly. What's not to love?

[And, in an effort to avoid more omission accusations, today was also my favorite sister-in-law's wedding anniversary! Happy Anniversary, Linda & Ant!]

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

February 13th - Celebrating the Real Octo-Mom!

Some may think having eight babies is a remarkable undertaking but I think having eighty birthdays is far more extraordinary. As far as "Octo-Moms" go, Mark's mom is the real deal. February 13th was my favorite mother-in-law's 80th birthday! The first big family milestone of the year!

We actually celebrated this a little early this year. We flew up to New York in late January to celebrate with the whole family. We spent a long weekend together on Long Island celebrating with extended family and friends, and spent a day driving around visiting some old haunts (the house they all lived in, their favorite burger joint, the high school, the soccer shop). It was such a cool weekend. Spence was able to see a lot family he didn't know he had, and he had a really cool glimpse at where his dad grew up and the things he did, as well as seeing his Nana with both of her kids (it is a hoot when they are all together). I think it was the first time that Mark, Linda & Hazel were able to do this together. It was a nice birthday bonus.

But onto the celebrating! We had a fantastic birthday dinner for Hazel at Mamma Lombardi's. There is no denying the culinary joy that is New York Italian food and Mamma Lombardi's delivered.

Honestly, I've never seen so much food. Usually extreme quantity means decreased quality - not on Momma Lombardi's watch. The portions were ridiculous and the food was delicious. When I say the portions were huge, I mean the left overs were enough to feed a family of four. No exaggeration.

But back to the birthday girl. She got the full treatment, singing Italian waiters (Happy-a-birthday to yoooo....)

And lots of love...
Hazel with Mark and my favorite sister-in-law, Linda

Hazel with Spence and my favorite nephew-in-high school, Alexander
Visiting their old house
Visiting the town of Massapequa Park and the much-frequented Soccer Shop

Hazel, Mark and Linda knew this place well before it was seen on Food Network or the Travel Channel. Sweet Mother of Murgatroyde (don't ask me, it's just something I say) their cheeseburgers ROCK!

And you may remember this oldie but goodie from Kazoo Day...

Of course we did not leave Hazel hanging on her actual birthday. She had a soiree with her friends from church and we arranged for her to have lunch with her other friends in Arizona.  Her sister, Shirley, flew out to Arizona to celebrate too. The birthday girl definitely got her party on!

Happy Birthday Hazel! We love you!!