Friday, January 27, 2017

The reopened breakfast for dinner cafe

When I take breaks, I never know whether to start from the present and work backwards, pick out a few highlights, or try and cover what's been missed. Regardless, there will surely be big spaces of time left uncovered, and that's unfortunate because those times are probably the most important to me - but I'm too busy doing other things to blog at night.


Connor and Helen love having breakfast for dinner. And truth be told, because breakfast foods can be cooked fast, come with simple clean-up, and the kids like them - I like it, too. But it is not lost on me that Ed basically groans every time he comes home to find I've reopened the kids' cafe (which only serves breakfast). He knows it means I've pretty much given up on dinner, but he also knows he can't complain because the kids are so happy about it (and they like taking the orders, helping with food prep, etc).

We had breakfast for dinner a few nights ago.

It was awesome.

This time, it made sense not just because I am lazy, but because February is National Hot Breakfast Month, celebrated by none other than the folks at USDA (though whether they'll be able to talk about it remains to be seen - I'm only kind of kidding about that). So here, for your February breakfast inspiration are the kitchen scenes from our breakfast for dinner night.

(And yes, I am already planning on having a repeat in February when Ed is out of town and he won't be around to roll his eyes when he see the waffle maker out at night!)

Thanks, Krusteaz!

We had leftover waffles the next morning - still yummy!


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Book Two!

Helen has been playing violin for a couple of years at this point - and a few weeks before Christmas, she graduated to Book 2 in the Suzuki method. This, for the uninitiated, is a big deal. Studios differ on how the move from Book 1 to Book 2 will be celebrated. In Helen's studio, the choice is to play most of the book at a group lesson, or to hold a recital. In order to be considered a recital, there should be ten people attending.

Now, I'm not saying it's not lovely to hear Helen play. And I assure you, because I am the practice parent in the house, there is nobody who has heard Helen play for more hours. But still, asking others to come to a 30 minute recital of beginning violin is a stretch.

My parents decided to come visit (phew) and wow, did we pack a lot of performing into that weekend. I knew Ed and Connor would attend, so now we were at five guests. My friend Helen has three children that play violin, and I actually have been to non-violin performances of them, so I didn't feel too guilty asking her to attend. She skied up with herself and her three children (and her husband would've even come if he'd been able!). That brought us to nine attendees, which I was pretty comfortable with. Her music teacher said she'd love to attend,  but in the end, was unable. And then there was Lulu. Lulu is the girl that Helen walks to school with most days. Lulu mentioned that she'd like to attend (awesome!) and she even brought her mother with her.

I laid out a lovely table of snacks and Helen played her heart out. My friend, Lulu's mother, had no idea what she was getting into, I am sure. Yet, she delivered the absolute best line on the video. After Helen had finished playing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", my friend commented "wow - she nailed that one". I'm guessing her enthusiasm was waning by the 15th song on the performance, but she endured - I can never repay her. Helen was so thrilled to have her good friend watching.

Helen played in our back room, which had the most beautiful Christmas tree in it that I have ever owned in my life. I'm still a little sad we took it to the curb a few days after Epiphany, but Ed seemed pretty convinced it was going to spontaneously combust on us.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Run Streak? with Strength?

I have still not come up with an adequate New Year's resolution. I like to stack the deck on these things so I know I can succeed (e.g. Drink more champagne! my all-time winning resolution). I'm toying with the idea of completing a big run streak - like at least three months long. To count as a run, I need to put running shoes on and run at least 1 mile. That's not too hard, so I'm adding in another element: strength training.

When I started running a few years ago, I was in great shape. I'd worked with a personal trainer and felt strong. I'm guessing this had a lot to do with not suffering any early running injuries. But fast forward to today, and I'm a mess. the muscles I use for running are in good shape, but everything else just sort of tags along with me.

I have tried to strength train for at least a year, but just never got into it. This time around, I purchased "Quick Strength for Runners" and I've been treating in like it's holy. Of course, it's January 4 and I am still in the relatively easy "week 1" phase of the book. So on top of my run streak, I'm adding the strength workout - and on days when I'm not doing an official workout from the book, I'm challenging myself to 25 sit-ups or the New York Times 7 minute workout. That way, I spend some time each day getting stronger.

Three days in, I can report that I am killing it. Any bets on whether I can go the three months?