Saturday, January 4, 2014


With a husband whose job requires shift work, I'm often left to fly solo on the holidays. Thanksgiving I woke up early and literally didn't leave the kitchen until I put 'dinner' on the table at 11:30am, so we could eat together.  The meal lasted approximately ten minutes, during which I heard a lot of 'this is gross' and 'I don't like like my (fill in the blank) like this.'

I roasted my first turkey, including the overnight brine, made the smitten kitchen green bean casserole which had amazing thin-sliced (home-fried) crispy onions atop a bed of blanched green beans in a from-scratch mushroom sauce. It was delicious. Or disgusting. Which depended on whether or not you were in the over or under 8-years-old set. Jack ate everything, like the gracious baby he is, and the big kids were excused from the table. After clearing the table and glumly accepting my husband's praise and gratitude for the meal, I did what any strong-willed, self-respecting grown-up does. I went into my bedroom and cried. Seriously, I didn't even take any photos of my food that day-that's saying something! Next year I'll be sticking to my original idea to have Thanksgiving brunch. Although the layered Pumpkin Pie Toffee Cheesecake was ahhh-mazing. But you can totally eat cheesecake for brunch.

Christmas was spent at our house with my mother and father-in-law and I made my first prime rib, which turned out fabulously (we'll be doing that every year!) with all the trimmings of a steak dinner; horseradish and jus, twice baked sweet potatoes, green beans and salad. The kids all loved their deliveries from the jolly guy (including the KidKraft play kitchen that took a certain elf until 3:30 in the morning to build...) Sweet baby, Jesus, maybe next year she should start before 11:30 on Christmas Eve, but there were a lotta pieces! We had friends over for dessert a few hours after dinner, and it was the perfect meld of food and fellowship. Thanksgiving's sadness was erased.

Any day spent playing blocks with Grandma is a good day.

Tiny Pliny in the kitchen
Fast forward to New Year's, where J worked the afternoon shift which ends shortly before midnight, so I decided to host a small New York New Year's Eve with friends (read: we shuttle the littles to bed when the ball drops in Times 9pm.). Living on the left coast definitely has its perks. After a search of pinterest for ideas, I knew I wanted to keep it simple, so I put together little bags of dollar store finds for random times throughout the evening. The first was mini tubs of play-doh to occupy kids that were feeling left out, or tired of playing with legos, while the adults ate dinner. The second was about an hour later, a bundle of bead necklaces to wear while watching a movie. The third was blowers (not noise makers) to 'get your second wind' at about 8:15, then it was mini bottles of bubbles to 'break out the bubbles' at 8:45. For the New Year's toast, I did Shirley Temples with a cotton candy float. All of the supplies (including the cotton candy, but excluding the drink fixin's) were purchased at the dollar store for less than $10. I just put them in brown paper lunch bags I already had, and labeled them with labels printed in shades of the same tone and attached with washi tape. Simple, but fun. Just like our evening. I hope you had a great night and that 2014 is treating you well!

Nothing says party boy like skinny jeans and a sweatervest

Luckily J got home in time for an actual kiss at midnight. But this would have been a close second.


Sherri said...

Oh Sara, I loved this post, and wish we could have been in the kitchen together on Thanksgiving...
Love you!

Anonymous said...

A great post! You are so creative with the NYE items and it looks like the holidays were awesome!

Maggie said...

Holidays can be so tough! I've had Thanksgivings, and Christmases, that have ended like yours and I haven't had to do it all on my own!! Looks things turned around though, and I'm sure next year will be better :)