Confessions of a Former Addict

birthday cakeI admit it. I’m a junkie. Not on drugs or alcohol nor really anything that’s bad for me (unless you consider aging and self-indulgence vices). I’m addicted to birthdays. And not just anyone’s birthdays…MY birthdays.

I don’t doubt that there are people out there who suffer this addiction far worse than I—in fact, I’m sure Pintrist will prove me right—but hey, I’m a Scorpio and my kind are notorious for basking in the limelight. Just ask any of the former Scorpio Fest members from the late ‘90s (Dani Ghiradella, Ari Kambas, you know who you are).

But you don’t need to worry about me, I’m in recovery. More

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It’s (Not) Beginning to Feel a lot Like…

…Christmas. I feel a bit Ebineezer-ish saying so but something’s just off this year and I can’t quite put my finger on what it is.

Since our kids are young —one just grasping the concept of Santa Clause, the other yet untainted by the truth—we’re still working out the details of Christmas in our house: how much is too much, what’s too little. We’re figuring out the finances of Christmas, establishing a dollar amount to spend on the kids and being creative with how Santa uses his portion (because filling a stocking gets expensive!) and what Mom and Dad do with the remainder.

Also because they’re young, or perhaps because we’ve sheltered them from commercialism, they don’t have many wants. Our daughter has asked Santa for just two things: a Sticky Mosaic More

Kindergarten Eve

I made it! I’m the mom of a kindergartener!! I don’t know where the time has gone…no seriously, you’d think you’d be able visibly to see time oozing out of my closets and dangling from my drawers; from anywhere one might try to shove something she was trying to hide, like piles of dirty of laundry.

Over the past five years, there have been many days that dragged on without end in sight. At times, it seemed the clock stood still. In those time-intensive, patience-testing, full-on-attention-demanding days of early childhood, time felt more like a wounded sparrow; it was hard to imagine that she actually might fly again some day. Yet fly she does.

Back in the spring, during a momentary lapse of sanity, I wondered if perhaps I should homeschool my More

Dear Santa…I need another week!

Though my DH would beg to differ, I’m really not that organized. Sure, I have some great ideas way in advance–and sometimes I am even savvy enough to share them with people who might actually put them into action–and I have great visions about how things should look in my life: where they should be stored, how they should be hung, when they should be sent; it’s just the execution of all these swimmingly great ideas is slow to happen.

Take thank you notes for example. When someone gives me a gift or does something really nice for me, almost immediately, I compose a heartfelt thank you note…in my head. Somehow, the mere act of thinking about what I want to say to them creates an artificial grace period that considerably postpones my actual writing and mailing of said note.

I think you’re starting to get the picture.

This past summer, my mom gave us the extremely generous Christmas gift of a week together (DH, the kids, me, my mom and her husband) in Mexico. Since my kids aren’t really in school yet (preschool and playschool don’t count), we immediately began making plans to maximize her offer by traveling outside of the peak holiday periods.

It is with both joy and dread that I inform you, we leave this Saturday.

And regardless of the fact that–since having our first child 4-and-a-half years ago–we have made a “year in review” wall calendar every Christmas, I still wait until AFTER Thanksgiving to begin reviewing and editing the 4,000+ pictures from the past year. And regardless of the fact that–since getting engaged seven years ago–we have composed and compiled holiday cards every year, I still wait until AFTER Thanksgiving to start “thinking” about them. And regardless of the fact that I have two small children and 12 other family members to buy gifts for, I still wait until AFTER Thanksgiving to start buying them (though in some cases, at least I thought about their gifts way in advance).

I’ve known about our trip for the better part of 4 months but 18 days just isn’t enough time to get everything done! At this point, even if Santa’s elves figured out a way to give me another week to get it all done, I don’t think it would help me much but it’s sure nice thinking about it. Maybe I’ll just get everyone a pinata…

 

Outstanding Leek & Wild Mushroom Stuffing

Back in my late 20’s, when I had more time and less money, I was always looking for new ways to spend less and make more. Nothing helps you spend less money than having less free time so, since DH (before he was my DH) was juggling two jobs, I figured I should too. There was a fabulous gourmet grocer a la prepared food purveyor called Zathmary’s, with a shop in both Needham Heights and Brookline’s Coolidge Corner, where we were living at the time. Sadly, though Zathmary’s was terrific at managing food, they were TERRIBLE at managing money and their accounts payable so both have since gone under. However, I did take away one fabulous and regular installment from my days there, their amazing Leek & Wild Mushroom stuffing.

I’m sorry if you’re sitting down to read this after putting the last bag of Thanksgiving groceries in the fridge but if you’re as behind as I am, here’s hoping this will save you a tireless web search (Rocks in the Dryer, this one’s for you!)

Zathmary’s Leek & Wild Mushroom Stuffing (serves: 8-10)

  • 1 1/2 c. hot water
  • 1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb fresh button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4-6 links, sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped leek (white & light green part only)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 c. dry white wine
  • 1 T. fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 baguette, rough cut in 1″ cubes (or 4 ficelle)

Soak porcini in water for 30 min then remove and chop (reserve liquid); in a saute pan, melt butter; add leeks and garlic, when softened, set aside. Next, removing sausage from casings, crumble and cook until no more pink shows; add all mushrooms and cook until softened; add leek & garlic mixture; add wine, thyme and porcini liquid; cook until liquid is nearly evaporated. Add cubed bread and egg; stir gently until all ingredients are combined and transfer to a buttered casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until top is lightly golden.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

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