Friday, November 14, 2008

World Series

We aren't the biggest fans, but like many Philadelphians, we were very excited when the Phillies won the World Series a few weeks ago. We let the kids stay up late and watch, even though they fell asleep before the end. And then I watched the parade with them on Friday, and that was pretty much the end of it. It was a different story for some friends of ours. Before the parade started, I got a call from my sister, Cara, who said she was going down with her friend Heather, and her little boy Will. I made some remark like "Wow, you guys are crazy! It's going to be insane down there, and I can't believe you're taking a toddler!" Cara agreed and laughed, saying that Heather wanted to make sure that her son was there so that 20 years from now, he could say he was there. Well, he can say a lot more than that.

That evening Cara came over to go trick-or-treating with us, and relayed this story to us. Apparently they were waiting for the parade to start, so they decided to take pictures of Will on Broad St. with City Hall in the background. They put him in the median and then Heather asked Will how big he was so that he would raise his arms in the picture. Well, as he was doing this, the crowd took note of this tiny boy in the middle of the street repeatedly raising his arms, and they started to cheer with each lift, and then grew quiet when he lowered his arms. This happened about 10 times before he ran to the safety of his mother's knees. Fortunately Heather got a quick clip of it, and posted it on YouTube. Since then it has gone viral, and it was played on GMA yesterday, and they were interviewed in their home for the 5:00 news last night. Today they are on the 10 show, and they even got a requests from the Ellen Show. Now Heather can not only tell Will that he was at the parade, she can show him-- in lots of different ways. Makes me kind of wish that I had gone down with Cara so that I could have witnessed it in person!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thanksgiving Recipes

The older I get, the more I appreciate Thanksgiving, and it has become one of my favorite holidays. I wonder if that is because there is no stress of shopping, no controversy, just a great meal spent with loved ones, with time for reflection on what we are thankful for. Part of what makes the meal great is the recipes that have been in our family for years. It brings back flavors of childhood, as well as memories of Thanksgivings past when certain dear faces were still seen seated around the table. One of the hardest things for me about being a newlywed was taking turns, and sharing Thanksgiving with Ed's family. I missed the hustle and bustle of our large (30+) family, the traditions, and most of all the food. I have grown accustomed to the every-other year aspect of our system, but in the off years I still miss certain dishes (even though I do bring a couple with me). This is a year with my family, and I am gong to be bringing pumpkin to the meal as well as an apple and sweet potato dish that I always seem to make, no matter which family we eat with. Among many other delicious offerings, there will be "Yai's mashed potatoes", a family favorite that my grandmother used to make in huge batches each year. I will share both of these recipes below, but I would like to know- what are your tried-and-true favorites for Thanksgiving? Post the recipe on your blog, then come back here and leave a link in the comments. I will post your links below as well.

Sweet Potatoes and Apples

4 med. cooking apples
5 med. sweet potatoes/yams
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c pecans
1/2 c melted butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

Boil potatoes until tender, cool, peel, and slice in 1/4 inch rings. Peel and core apples, slice into 1'4 inch pieces. Use 9 x 11 inch dish or 2 1/2 qt casserole dish. Lay half the sweet potatoes across the bottom in rows, then apples on top in the next layer, and finishing with the remainder of potatoes. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over the potatoes and apples. Bake at 350 for an hour.

"Yai's" Garlic Mashed Potatoes

14 medium potatoes, peeled
8 0z cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp salt
1-3 cloves of garlic, depending on taste
1 Tbsp butter

Boil potatoes, and then mash in a mixer. Add cream cheese and sour cream, and then salt and garlic. Beat until smooth and light. Spoon into a 2-3 qt. casserole dish. Sprinkle with paprika and dot with butter. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350.
(Can be prepared, frozen, and then baked when needed)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Reflections

Whew!! It has been an exciting election- from the fight to win the primaries, to the conventions and debates, and then the final stretch in which each party did their best to squeeze out every possible vote. And of course the comic relief of SNL skits that brought a little levity to the whole race (even if some skits did go too far). It has been a great time to be an American, and to play a part, however minor, in history.

As you know, my vote was for Mc Cain, but I have to admit I am a little bit relieved that Obama won. After being on the defensive for so many years, listening to the insults, as well as the ranting and complaining of those who have been so unhappy with Bush, it is kind of nice to get out of the hot seat. I think it is great we have two choices, and that one party doesn't run it all, or has to carry the burden itself. It's what having a democracy is all about, and like we teach our kids, it's nice to take turns. I realize I am being a bit simplistic here, but I also think there is truth in that. The USA isn't made up of all republicans or democrats, and it is healthy that both sides get a chance at being in charge, so that all the citizens get heard.

It will be interesting to watch what happens these next four years, and if all the hopes and dreams pinned on Obama are fulfilled. If nothing else, at least one will be- the dream to get the first black man elected to President. I sincerely think that is awesome, and am happy for him, and what this historic election did for our country.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting Day

Early this morning (7:30 am) we all went to the polls...

N went in with Ed, and the girls went in with me.

Here are the kids in their voting garb--

K in her elephant shirt,

E and N in their RED (republican-red) shirts,

And E with her elephant necklace

And some patriotic boys today at playgroup

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween 08

This year was the first that I decided to brave the parade at E's school. I had heard that it is crazy, you can't see your kid, and so in years past I thought it wasn't worth the hassle to try to park and jostle my kids through the crowds. This year I figured I would give it a shot. So we went and actually, it was a really fun time. The weather was perfect, in the mid- 60's, we got a really close parking spot, and it wasn't too crowded- we got a front row view. The school has a sound system set up, and one of the teacher MC's the event, announcing each class, as well as playing the music. I had a fun time talking with neighbors while watching the kids walk by, and E was pleasantly surprised to see me there.

Afterwards we headed up to the classroom for the party where the kids did crafts and ate. I then took E and her friend Lexi home with us. The kids played for a little while after school, and then my mom, dad and Cara joined us for dinner.

Of course the kids were too excited to eat much, and immediately put on their costumes when they were released from the table. Our neighbors joined us, as normal, and we all made our way out into the darkening neighborhood to collect the treats.

I had a wagon to pull K around in, and about halfway through N decided that he wanted to join her. It was no joke hauling those two around- my arms were seriously sore the next day! I am hoping that next year he will be able to make it the whole way on his own steam.

K realized early on what the deal was, and insisted on getting out of the wagon at every house to get her share of the loot. Actually, she got more than her share as she would grab two fistfuls of candy at every house that offered the bowl to her, fortunately no one seemed to mind a cute little piglet taking all their candy. Near the end when I was getting tired of carrying her up to each house and told her that we were waiting in the wagon, she would stand up in her seat, clutching her pumpkin in one hand, squealing and pointing at the front door, determined not to be left out. In between houses she munched on cookies, pretzels and m&m's.

Once we got home (an hour and a half later) the kids poured their candy on the floor to separate and count. We probably visited about 30 houses, and they got around 80 pieces each, which is plenty, but it also made me miss my old neighborhood, where I grew up.

We lived in Cheltenham Village where all the houses are twins, and very close together. In the same amount of time we would hit around 200 houses, and have so much candy that it would fill an entire gift box, neatly stacked. Those boxes then would find a place under our beds where we would eat away at our hoards until Thanksgiving, my mom's deadline for getting rid of any remaining rock hard Mary-Janes and Good N' Plenties that had been shoved to the bottom of the pile. Halloween was the one time of the year that my mom's rules on candy intake and sugar became more lax. That first night we were allowed to eat as much as we wanted, and we took full advantage, stuffing ourselves. Following that, we were encouraged to take several pieces to school in our lunch , in an attempt to get it out of the house. My dad also helped in the effort, as he would admit when we discovered a snickers bar missing from the carefully inventoried stash under our beds. We didn't care too much, since 200 pieces of candy is a lot for one little kid to eat in a month.

My own children get the Halloween night free-for-all as well, but after about a week their personal pile of candy is dumped into a community bag, from which we all partake. This would have infuriated me as a child, but they don't seem to mind (yet). At this point they are just happy to have a couple of pieces a day, and haven't gotten too possessive about their favorites. Thank goodness, because I already have my eye on those Twix bars!!