I have to admit that the blogging has been a bit slow as of late because of, well, life, kids, Faberie. Busy, beautiful, bountiful life that has left not a lot of time for the documentation or retelling of all that living. Alas, having shed our winter coats we made space for our camera and endeavored to capture our everydayness.
Good weather brought us out for the majority of the weekend. First up, Sophia and I picked up on our tradition from last summer when Eliza was just a wee one and took a leisurely walk through the neighborhood to a coffee shop. Over her chocolate bar with a glass of water and my coffee we talked about everything and nothing in particular. We lounged, people watched, discussed the artwork on display, and planned the remainder of our time out. I cannot tell what it was exactly that relaxed and invigorated the both of us except that the fresh air, the quiet humdrum of our neighborhood and our conversation were just what we both needed. I am a firm believer in giving each child individual attention and uninterrupted time.
My parents, as has become the usual, offered to share their time this weekend with us. Giddy with excitement over the prospect of cleaning our entire house and cooking, we gladly accepted. Both Evan and I have grown accustomed to the fact that they offer to come and spend time with us and the kids and aren’t waiting to be invited.
Sunday was the first day since we’ve moved to Philadelphia that we had a chance to clean the entire house from top to bottom without interruptions. Those who know me, know that I like to have a clean home. I love the fresh scented and shiny floors, clean baseboards, polished appliances and sparking counters.
The warm weather helped usher in our spring culinary repertoire. We cooked light and delicious meals both new and old staples that pleased everyone’s tastes. First up were pan-fried eggplant topped with a garlic and dill dressing.
These evoke unbelievable memories. I remember the very smell of our kitchen in Baku, the sound they made as my mom fried them and the amazing garlic aroma that emanated as the cool garlicky dressing hit the hot eggplant slices. They’re so easy, so delicious and so … home for me.
I could have made an entire dinner from these but alas, our little diners weren’t as keen on a one-course meal so we added in a pasta course.
Simple and flavorful this dish took 15 minutes to make from start to finish and ten of those were inactive. Linguine, garlic zest, garlic juice, heavy cream, parmesan, olive oil and basil. Questo! The pasta wasn’t something that my mom cooked growing up, but maybe, one day my daughters will reminisce about playing by the kitchen and smelling the intoxicating lemon aroma while I finished the pasta in the sauce. Hopefully!
I am ready for the weekend and it is too bad that I have to wait five days. Time seems to fly by during the weekends and especially when we are having fun. The weekend sort of started earlier than Friday afternoon but went by at warp speed. Firstly, there was my birthday which fell on Tuesday this year. The day of, I took as, what my job refers to, a floating holiday which is also, what my friends affectionately call, National Sass Day ;-). Among other things, there was a visit to Milk Bar. It was, needless to say, a busy day capped off by some Indian fare together with those truly responsible for the day—my parents. All that activity and it was just Tuesday.
The weekend approached and after a thankfully uneventful Friday evening spent at home, Evan and I headed on a date. This would be our second or third date night since Sophia’s birth (3.5 years ago). Needless to say we were very excited to get to spend an evening together in such gorgeous weather. So excited that I may have put on mascara and even accessorized. A brief stop at a speakeasy and dinner were just what we needed to remind ourselves that after nearly seven years of marriage, we have not run out of things to talk about and, more importantly, still make each other laugh like we did when we first started dating in … 2002. This, of course, would not have been possible had my in-laws & sister not come into town to babysit. Truly grateful.
Speaking of marriage and because the wedding season is fast approaching, on Sunday, I joined Evan’s family in showering a special bride with attention and gifts. I admit that I like weddings but am not always a fan of bridal showers. Mediocre food, terrible yet mandatory games and endless hours of present opening can make for quite a long afternoon. I have been to great showers as well as quite poor ones and this one was one of the best.
Held at the Philmont Country Club, the shower was styled beautifully. Each table was accented with a gorgeous arrangement that would befit a wedding table scape in lovely greens and lavenders. The food and company were outstanding and even though I was joining Evan’s family for the event, I felt quite at home and part of the family. That got me thinking about families and marriage. I believe that you don’t just marry a person but that you also marry their family. In the case of Evan’s cousin who is marrying a beautiful girl (who also happens to be Russian), I can, with absolute certainty, say that she is marrying into a wonderful family.
Capping the weekend off was a beautiful Boston Cream Pie, Candy Land and various shenanigans from the tiniest of mischiefs that will melt your heart.
A photo posted by Nadya (@growingupsavvy) on
Kids’ musical voices and all the commotion
Bowlfuls of matzo ball soup and kugel
Macaroons and chocolate matzo bark
Afikoman and a glass of port wine
These are a few of my favorite things
The city is in bloom, the weather has turned, it is Passover and we are deliriously happy to celebrate. Friday and Saturday were our first Seders with our families in three years. We didn’t have the luxury to head home from Maryland and longed for the day when heading to a Seder meant just a half an hour drive. That day has come and, equipped with our home-made macaroons and chocolate-caramel matzo bark, we headed to my parents’ home on Friday and then to Evan’s on Saturday.
The adults talked, the kids hunted for afikomen and together, we retold the story of Passover. My in-laws spoiled me with a home-made, kosher for Passover (a few days early) birthday cake.
And even though I am almost, but not yet, a year older, I can honestly say that I don’t feel older or wiser for that matter. I simply feel content. A special thank you to my mother-in-law for thinking of me and baking a delicious flour-less chocolate cake with a cream cheese swirl.
We have found that as kids get older, their activities and toys, thankfully, get more compact. While Eliza’s most favorite toys and activities are big and bulky, Sophia’s favorites can fit in a basket or two. She loves to craft and we keep a steady supply of crayons, markers, papers, stickers and the likes at home. She likes puzzles and can do the likes of these and has recently begun to play board games. We love the tea party game and also have a ladybug game that is great. Sophia is learning about taking turns, following directions, winning and, of course, loosing. This list is not all-inclusive but presents a good snapshot of a morning’s worth of activities for Sophia. I’ll likely create a separate list for her crafts.
*Images courtesy of Amazon and Community playthings.
I shouldn’t admit this, but until this past Saturday the last time we went out with friends was well over 3½ years ago. We lined up babysitters, cooked a home-made dinner, baked a chocolate babka, and
ran ventured out on a very blustery end-of-March evening to spend some time with old friends. And after a few minutes figuring out what to do with ourselves since we didn’t have to entertain, hold, feed, or play with anyone for an entire evening, we were back to our old selves—just catching up and having a good time over good food & drinks.
Back home, Sophia shared her all-time favorite cartoon (My Neighbor Totoro) with my nephew and they played together, chased each other, and even helped with Eliza. Later that evening while getting dressed for bed, Sophia declared that she wants “Alex to stay here ALL the time!” and so do we!
And as the expression goes, “when it rains, it pours,” and we continued our friend-themed weekend by hosting another set of dear friends on Sunday evening for a get-together and a playdate for our kids. Get-togethers used to be simple: wine, cheese, good bread, some appetizers. They still are relatively simple: hummus, veggies, pita chips, pizza, beer, wine, and mocktails. Except that, as I found out, playdates are like children: they require a a third, sweet course. Our friends offered to bring dessert and I couldn’t, and frankly wouldn’t, say no to dessert. Fully expecting brownies or some other one-mixing-bowl wonder, I was astonished to discover that homemade dessert was ice cream and not one, but two flavors.
The highlight of the evening was seeing Sophia interact with her new friend. It was pure joy seeing their happiness in playing together, learning to share, understanding one another, and communicating. Though they started out shy, the girls were fast friends by the time everyone said their goodbyes. And once again, Sophia said that she wants her new friend to be here “all of the time.” I think we will have to schedule another playdate soon and maybe this time it will be our turn to make dessert. It will be difficult to match two ice-creams!