Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I hosted a cookie decorating party today for my friends (who also happen to be my neighbors, lucky me!). Lest any of you be tempted to think I've gone Martha on you, allow me to explain just how easy this was. Karis and Elise helped make the gingerbread men, then I filled some muffin tins with candy, threw a red-checkered tablecloth on the dining room table, draped a Santa hat over each chair for wearing, and we all had a festive party.
I originally saw the idea for a gingerbread house-decorating party in a magazine, but since all of the kids in attendance were four and under, I opted for a 'pre-baked gingerbread men decorating party'. It was a hit and oh-so-much-fun to watch the kids decorate the cookies. Each had a hard time getting past the deliciousness of the frosting, stopping often to lick their spoons and cookies. But once the adults demonstrated that the frosting made an excellent adhesive for the candy, they were off to the races, loading their cookies with as much candy as possible. The party was casual, fun, and something we'll definitely make a habit of.
Posted by Alina at 11:34 PM
Monday, December 20, 2010
:: I've missed a few days in the DPP this year. It's unusual for me to do so, but it gives me so much admiration for those bloggers who manage to login and publish every day.
:: I published another article for synconation today. I'm enjoying the writing projects trickling in here and there, but I'm also feeling stretched thin. I forever juggle my desire to write within the limits of my precious duty as a mother. I know which one is more important, but I can't help but dream of a time to come when I can have a little bit of structured writing time mixed in with all of my mommy-ness. Karis is going to start VPK in the fall, and I can't help but want to call it something like "free babysitting where she also learns" or "my future writing time". Then again, we're seriously considering expanding our family soon, so....the juggling act will likely continue.
Posted by Alina at 4:28 PM
Thursday, December 16, 2010
While Karis napped this afternoon, I took advantage of the beautiful moments alone to play with Karis' Christmas presents one last time before I wrap them up. Apparently, it's become a bit of a tradition to play with her gifts before gifting them to her.
I'm thrilled with the gifts we're giving her this year. Among my favorites are a chest full of dolls from the 70's from her Aunt Megan's childhood collection, complete with outfits, shoes, and hangers. She's going to love dressing her new/old 'big girl' dolls.
I'm also loving the Melissa and Doug Fold 'n Go Barn I scored at a garage sale for $0.25. It was missing the animals that originally came with it, but the 'Farm Animals Bucket' from Target for $10 was just the perfect size. The third present worth noting but not pictured here is a puppet stand. While they currently sell for $70 elsewhere, I was so lucky to find it at Tuesday Morning for $30. Given the flare for drama and storytelling that Matt and I are prone to, I figure any and all children born into our home will love and use this gift in the years to come.
And I'm not going to lie. Karis will have to fight Matt and I to use it on Christmas morning.
Posted by Alina at 11:13 PM
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I was glad to see the nativity set being used in the hands-on way I had hoped it would be. But I also learned that Karis has some of her Biblical facts mixed up. Joseph was banished to a basket all by himself because his eyes were closed (the artist's rendering), and she explained he was being punished for not looking at baby Jesus. She also told me one of the wise men was a leper (!). And, in the end, she said the scene was missing something. She ran off into her room for a few seconds, returned to the table with a new toy, and then continued to role play with the characters--Mary, Joseph, an angel, three wise men, the barn animals, baby Jesus, and one Fisher-Price alligator. That's my little Florida girl.
Posted by Alina at 8:55 PM
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
My favorite part, by far, was hearing myself and the other mothers attempt to explain to the children what we were doing. The conversation sounded something like this:
Mothers: We're going to see Jesus, children!
Children: Yay, we're going to see Jesus!
Mothers: Well, he isn't going to be real....no, the baby will be real, of course, but he isn't Jesus...um, because Jesus WAS real...but he lived a long time ago. The baby is just acting like Jesus. Pretending, you know. Uh...Like a reenactment. Yeah, a reenactment like the ones that some people do of the Civil War. (sigh) Have you heard of the Civil War, children?
At this point, the fathers
Posted by Alina at 3:37 PM
Friday, December 10, 2010
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Soon thereafter I became quite overcome with my desire for coffee. I figured if I could just find a way to heat up water in the fire then I could make a nice french press of coffee. I was further motivated to try by the thought of sharing a cup with our neighbor, Mema. So I rustled up a small pan from the kitchen, filled it with water, and placed it gently on a sturdy log in the fire.
The water seemed to be heating up quite nicely and surprisingly quickly when I noticed that bits of ash would periodically fly up from the embers and slowly fall into the water. Call me crazy, but I figured I could strain them out when I was done. But just as things were just about to reach the boiling point, the heat in the house kicked back on. Feeling a little disappointed but like it was the safe thing to do, I backed the pan out of the fire and poured the water (which smelled like a smokey barbecue joint) down the drain.
My hour-long suffering from cold and no coffee reminded me, once again, how hard life must have been before electricity. I'm quite sure life was consumed by the basics, i.e. keeping oneself fed, warm, clothed, etc. In the end, I still made that French Press of coffee...with water heated in my electric kettle. Ah, sweet, modern-day, 'no ash in my water' electricity.
Posted by Alina at 3:56 PM
Monday, December 06, 2010
The other night Matt asked me to make a salad that he had tried at a party a few weeks ago. And when I say he "asked" me I mean he purchased the ingredients, set them on the counter, and kindly requested we dine on it the very next evening. In other words, he was dead serious about eating it again.
Now, I'm a reasonable woman with a deep and abiding love for the man I married, but I realized just how deep and abiding that love really is as I stirred together the ingredients for watergate salad. The ingredient list reads: cool whip, marshmallows, canned crushed pineapple, walnuts, and instant pistachio pudding mix (!).
As I stirred it all together, ribbons of light green pistachio pudding slowly mixed with the cool whip fluff, creating a subtle minty green substance so airy and light that I can only describe it as other-worldly. It's the stuff I imagine martians enjoy for a late night snack.
This was when I learned "salad" is a forgiving term, requiring absolutely nothing fresh in it in order to go by that name. This was when Karis ate and loved marshmallows for the first time. This was also when I knew how much I love Matt. And, as much as I hate to admit it, this was when I discovered I rather like watergate salad. There, I said it.
***In other news, I had two articles published today. One is over at State of the Re:Union. It's a follow up interview with Operation New Hope, a Jacksonville organization that was originally featured in our pilot episode.
Secondly, I've started writing for a new music blog Synconation. I'm excited to be a part of a passionate group of writers, each covering our own musical interests. I'll be covering the genres of foreign music and folk music for children. In my first piece, I reminisce about my childhood and introduce audiences to the soulful sounds of the Cape Verdean singer Cesaria Evora. Check out the article here.***
Posted by Alina at 9:44 PM
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
It's December Photo Project time of year again, and I'm ready for another month of daily photo posts. Many thanks to Rebecca for hosting again. I always enjoy the challenge of taking photos everyday and sharing them online.
For my first photo, I couldn't help but post this photo I took tonight of Karis playing with her windup ladybug toy on the kitchen floor. It reminded me of another photo I took for last year's DPP. Turns out, on the first of December last year, I posted a very similar photo of Karis playing on the kitchen floor. So fun! Enjoy the daily window into our lives, readers.
Posted by Alina at 8:21 PM