Monday, January 9, 2017

Chanukah in Dallas

This year we celebrated Chanukah in Dallas with my family. My mom, dad, sister, aunt, and uncle all live there, and my grandparents flew in from San Antonio. It was amazing to have the whole family together for such a happy occasion.

Just like they did for Zahara, my parents threw a "meet the baby" party for Asher. It was a great way for all of my parents friends to meet our newest guy. When my parents make friends, they do it for life. Some of them have been friends for more than 50 years! A lot of my parents friends are from their college days and have been around my entire life. It's great that they have such a community.

We spent most of our time in Dallas eating (what else is new?) and just relaxing. My mom was recovering from spinal surgery so it forced us to slow down and just enjoy our time. It was actually pretty nice not having to run around all the time.

We did have one really active evening though. Bradi got a groupon for a trampoline park and we had a blast! At first Zahara was pretty hesitant about it, but by the end she was jumping like a champ. We really loved the kid's zone where we could run the length of the trampoline and bounce against the wall. Dan, Bradi, and I even played dodge ball, which was a hilarious display of our "athleticism."

Spending time with my grandparents was a real highlight. Seeing them with their two great-grandchildren will never get old.

Here are some more highlights from the trip:

Visiting with Family

Seeing Old Friends

Celebrating Chanukah

Cat Pajamas
My mom got us matching pajamas! They are hilarious, adorable, and surprisingly comfortable. It's not the first time we've matched. Hope we continue this tradition!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Snow Day

Yesterday was our first snow of the season. It was little more than a dusting, but it was enough to make a nice snow day with friends.

Though Zahara is in preschool now, she still hangs out with her buddies from day care. Ben, Zoey, and Liana spent every day together for two years. They spent more time together than apart! Ben's sister Claire is like an older sister to them all. 

We headed over to Ben and Claire's house where they have an awesome set up: tree house, soccer net, and a hill to sled on.

It was Asher's first time in the snow, and he did great! He was a bit confused, but he seemed snuggly in his bear suit.

The best part of the day was the apres-snow hot chocolate and fire. It was such a fun day! Let's hope we get a few more snow days this winter!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Comfort Food

It's been cold here lately. Not Vostok Station, Antarctica cold, but cold nonetheless. When the temperature dips below 40 degrees, I crave warm, carb-filled, comfort food. This week we made chili, Russian potato soup (so filling), and homemade tomato soup and white bread.

A few things. First, we hardly ever eat white bread. We eat plenty of challah and some seeded wheat bread, but not white. My mom is kind of a health nut--sorry mom, but it's true--so we weren't allowed white bread growing up. When I do eat it, it feels like a decadent treat.

Second, this soup tastes just like the tomato bisque at La Madeline. It is so creamy! Don't worry about the calories for this meal. We're going for comfort, not fitness.

I recommend turning the white bread into a delicious grilled cheese sandwich and then dipping said sandwich into the homemade soup. You can start making the meal in the morning and have it ready before lunch. It's so easy!

So grab a comfy sweater, curl up by the fire, and get ready for a delicious meal.

White Bread Recipe
(I can't find where this original recipe came from. If you recognize it, please let me know!)

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups flour
  • Place lukewarm water in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and sprinkle yeast on top. Set aside for 5 minutes to proof. After yeast has fermented give a quick stir and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Add remaining sugar, salt, beaten egg, and oil. Mix on low with a dough hook to incorporate.
  • Add flour one cup at a time. Mix on low until ia soft dough forms. 
  • Knead for 8 minutes.
  • Place dough in a greased bowl (or clean and grease the same bowl). Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place until doubled in size  (about an hour).
  • Punch dough down and form into rectangle roughly the size of your loaf pan. Roll from the short edge to form a log. Place log inside greased loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled (about an hour).
  • Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
Rich and Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
Original recipe from here

  • 6 tomatoes (peeled*, seeded and diced)
  • 6 cups tomato juice
  • one bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Place tomatoes in juice in a stock pot over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the tomato mixture along with the basil leaves (I use an immersion blender).
  • Place the pot over medium heat and stir in the heavy cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Heat, stirring until butter is melted. Do not boil.
* To easily peel the tomatoes: cut a small "x" in the bottom of each tomato. Place in boiling water for 30 seconds. Let cool and remove skin.

Monday, January 2, 2017

January Thoughts by Z

New Year,  new thoughts from Z!

Thought 1:
Z: Mummy, you can have this sticker because you're my best friend.

Thought 2:
Z: We should never leave Asher outside on the street. He might get run over by a car, and I don't want anything bad to ever happen to him.

Thought 3:
Me: Zahara, you missed your chance.
Z: No, you're  Mr. Chance!

Thought 4:
Me: I saw a deer in someone's lawn by your school today
Z: Was it Santa's reindeer?
(So glad we're in Jewish day school...haha!)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Dear Asher: 5 Months

Dear Asher,

Happy five-month birthday! What a big month this has been for you. You have two teeth!! I can't believe it! After weeks of intense drooling, bright rosy cheeks, and shoving everything in your mouth, you are now the proud owner of two tiny little bottom teeth. You've been such a champ though. You're still our happy little chap.

Another big milestone for this month is that you now sleep in your own room. You've been doing great with that and we're all sleeping better. You still get up a couple of times a night, but you generally fall right back asleep. Sadly, you will still only nap in the car seat, swing, or on me. You're so little (relatively, ha!) that I'm just enjoying the snuggles for now.

You're not rolling yet, but you're showing some signs of interest and ability. With my help you can turn to your side. Then you get the best proud look on your face. You're also starting to sit on your own a bit. It's still kind of floppy, but you're getting close. You are so strong--daddy likes to take you for a "walk."

You are ticklish (especially under your arms) and love laughing. You smile at everyone you see, but save your biggest smiles for daddy and Zahara. You really love when we have bath time with Z. You are just the happiest baby and we couldn't be happier with you. Happy 5 months!

Read about Zahara at this age:
Dear Zahara: 5 Months

Monday, December 19, 2016

What We've Been Up To: Winter 2016

It's been a while since I've updated the blog, but that doesn't mean we've just been sitting at home. Here's a look at some of the fun things we've been up to these past couple of months:

Thanksgiving in Florida
We spent Thanksgiving with my in-laws in sunny Florida. It had all the makings of a great holiday, except for the fact that both Zahara and Asher were sick. Z had 102.6 fever on the day we flew there, and Asher had a terrible barking cough that forced us to keep him sleeping upright. After a few days with Z's fever going strong, we took both kids to urgent care. Asher just had a nasty cold, but Zahara had a double ear infection. Poor girl. Thankfully we were able to get her on some antibiotics and she felt better in time for our flight back.

I have to say though, both kids were troopers even while they were sick. We went to the beach one day and to Jungle Island another day. I've never been to Jungle Island before, but it was much better than I expected. There were tons of animals and you could interact with a lot of them. We really liked all the monkeys, apes, and kangaroos.

Zahara's First Ballet Recital
Zahara has been taking ballet classes this semester at school and a couple of weeks ago she had her first recital. It was amazing and everything you'd expect from a bunch of three- and four-year olds. They all looked adorable. One kid was sitting on the floor during the performance, one kid shouted that she had to go potty, and Zahara's head was in the clouds. It was great. You can watch the video here.

Zahara's Chanukah Recital
One of the things I love most about Z's new school is how she comes home singing songs in Hebrew and teaching us new words. Last week the school put on a chanukah play. Each class sang a song and performed a dance. I loved watching the proud parents filming their kids almost as much as I loved watching the kids themselves. Here's the video.

Visit with Friends
We had a full house last weekend! Our friends Kyle and Sarah came to visit with their two kids. It is so fun because they have a daughter who is only a couple of weeks younger than Zahara, and a son who is a few weeks older than Asher.

Sarah and Kyle live in New York now, but we first met in England. We traveled the world together (see here and here), and now there's a new generation of buddies. Zahara and Pearl got along a lot better than the last time they saw each other. They LOVED having a sleepover and were hilarious as they were jumping and giggling all hours of the night.

Trans Siberian Orchestra Concert
Dan and I went to an awesome concert the other night! I have always loved their music and it was incredible to see them at the Verizon Center. Our seats could not be further from the stage--serious nosebleeds!--but the show was designed to be seen from any angle and distance. Their stage presence was intense and the fireworks and lasers were incredible. If you ever get the opportunity to see them, grab your chance!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December Thoughts by Z

More from the mouth of babes:

Thought 1:
Z: I'm going to make this delicious, like a salad!

Thought 2:
Z: Mummy, you can have this sticker because it is huge and you are huge.

Thought 3:
 Seeing Dan's mouth guard in the bathroom:
Z: When I'm big, are my teeth going to be in a jar?

And an extra thought from me, about Zahara:

Bonus Thought:
Me: I thought Zahara was so advanced that she got her "threenager" year out of the way at age 2.
Dan: Yeah, she's so advanced that she still poops her pants.
Asher: <laughs>
Calli: Asher, not sure why you're laughing. You poop your pants too.