Our Cheesy New Year's Eve

Did you do anything fun for New Year's Eve?  I remember going to the occasional party, wearing cute dresses and drinking, but I can't even remember the last year this happened.  Kids came along, and who is going to watch them that late on a holiday?  At least, that is the boat we are in.  Throw in the fact that Mr. B works odd hours, and more often than not, it is just the girls and me.

Several years ago, my mother and company were up visiting over New Year's Eve, and they inadvertently started a tradition in our house.  The big grocery store has a huge fancy cheese department, and they sprung for some Brie and Maytag Blue, among a couple other varieties.  It turned out that both daughters of mine are total cheese nuts.  Not normal cheeses like cheddar, but strong cheeses.  Expensive cheeses.  Stuff I probably wouldn't buy on a regular basis.  A tradition, however, was born.  Every New Year's Eve, we pick out some fine cheeses.  Usually, we just have them as a little snack or dessert, but last night, I decided that we needed a party spread!  I used my big wooden pizza peel as a cheese board, baked some spinach-artichoke dip, roasted some garlic, sauteed some grapes, and laid out a fine snacky party table for three. This was pretty much our dinner, but why not?  It was New Year's Eve!

It was also a time to hit the olive bar at the store.  I also introduced the girls to kumquats!  Big Sis liked them.  Little Sis?  Nope.

My cheese board plan:  one cheddar, one flavored, one goat, one blue, and one soft and creamy cheese.  The cheese lady at the store had samples of an amazingly creamy smoked cheddar, so we jumped on that one.  We also followed her recommendation for a blue, a delicious Spanish blue.  It was mild, but flavorful.  Joan of Arc brie and goat cheese won based on price, and for our flavored cheese, we hunted down our favorite:  rosemary-olive oil asiago.

We also had a small tomato caprese salad (more cheese!), red pepper hummus, lots of raw veggies, apple slices, cold grapes, and warm slices of baguette.  If you're wondering about the sauteed grapes, here is the deal.  One of my favorite treats ever served at a party involved sauteed grapes (olive oil and sea salt), goat cheese, and toasted baguette.  It is an amazing combination of flavors!  

We continued the "cheese" theme by watching Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest, beginning with the whole "30 Greatest Women" countdown thing that started at 7 Central.  Okay, we also played games and did other things, because it wasn't the most exciting entertainment, but when I was a kid, I always watched the Dick Clark show, especially after the 1987 NYE, when The Bangles performed.  I was a member of the Bangles 'N Mash International Fan Club, what can I say?

Fergie was the west coast host this year.  Not really a fan, but back in the '80s, she was on Kids' Incorporated, which I loved to watch on Saturday mornings as a kid, before it moved to the Disney Channel.  (We didn't have cable at that point.)  Here is your cheesy video for the day.  If you're afraid of clowns, I'm sorry (not really).

Mr. B made it home by 11:30, so I got to ring in the new year with him.  There was still plenty of yumminess on the table, and he came home with chocolate wine.  Ever had chocolate wine?  Oooooo...

Today, there are roofers hammering over our heads.  We will have black-eyed peas for lunch.  It was a yogurt parfait kind of morning.  Tired of my dorky food pictures yet?

I would be lying if I said I never make resolutions, but as always, I will not share them.  They are mine.  I wish each and every one of you a magical 2014.  May all your dreams and plans come true, or at least, let nothing fall apart.  Love, light, peace, and hope.

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Our Christmas, and Goodbye, 2013

Happy New Years' Eve!  Happy Seventh Day of Christmas!  

I could give you all a glorious look back at 2013 here at Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes, but I never even wrote a proper Christmas Day post.  Why?  I was too tired.  Why?  Because my precious monsters daughters decided to secretly set their alarm for THREE AM that day.  Big Sis tells me they checked out all their Santa presents, then turned the radio on and danced to Christmas music for a while.  Big Sis got a start on a potholder with her new metal loom.  At some point, they watched Despicable Me 2.  Once in a while, they came into our bedroom to keep us updated.  Finally, someone crept in next to my very sleepy head and shook a box of macaroni and cheese next to my ear.  "Mommy, can we have macaroni for breakfast?"  "Huh?  Well..."  I remember looking at the clock and exclaiming, "No!  I'm not making mac and cheese at five o'clock in the morning!  Go back to bed!  Give Mommy and Daddy another hour or two."  Then the kiddo went to Mr. B's side of the bed.  He woke up and said, "Well, what the hey, it's Christmas."  He says he got up, made the macaroni and cheese, then as he brought it to them, he noticed it was still completely dark outside.  

I slept a couple more hours, but I was pretty bleary-eyed all day.  Mr. B and Big Sis took naps, but Little Sis was gung-ho for playing, and I needed to make lasagna for Christmas dinner.  (By the way, much love and appreciation for the Walgreen's employees who had to work on Christmas Day.  Mr. B had to make five or six trips, because we kept finding things we'd forgotten or ran out of.  It was just that kind of day.) However, by the time family arrived - my dad, my grandma, and my sister, her husband, and her daughters - I had two lasagnas, a salad, and a gingerbread loaf ready to go.  We ate, we opened presents, and we sang "Happy Birthday" to my grandma, a Christmas baby.  My dad got her a most unusual cake this year:  a box of cherry cordials with candles poked through the plastic.  This was a very, very casual Christmas.

Big Sis has promised me that next year, they won't get up until at least seven.  She actually felt bad that Mom and Dad missed seeing them find their Santa presents.

As for books...

Above are the books Big Sis received for Christmas.  Mr. B and I got her The Betsy-Tacy Treasury.  My dad got her The Snow Queen, Thumbelina, and The Terrible Troll-Bird.

Little Sis received a set of Junie B. Jones books from the parents (thank you, Scholastic order form!), along with her own copy of Sophie's Squash.  My dad got her Dream Animals by Emily Winfield Martin (swoon).

My dad got me an Emily Winfield Martin book, too!  He also got me this glorious Mary Pickford coffee table book.  Big Sis was as excited about that one as she was her own presents.

Since Christmas Eve, we've been treated to visits from two of my friends who have moved to New York, my mom, stepdad, and brother from Oklahoma, and we babysat Little Sis's best friend and her brother for a day. 

My friend Amy brought the girls ornaments from the Russian store near her office building in New York.

 We have't begun a big clean-up or purge yet.  I'm trying to relax and just try to enjoy Christmas and the fact the girls are home.  It's hard.  I did have to devote all of Saturday to the massive piles of laundry.  My external hard drive is still "at the doctor's," and the first attempt to recover all my data, years of pictures, music, and video files, was unsuccessful.  Whiny whine whine.

But the good things:  Little Sis is thrilled to lie around the house, watching TV and making art as much as possible. Big Sis and I have become loom bracelet-making fools. Yesterday, we shook off the world and went to see Frozen again.  Mr. B got to see it with us this time.  He loved it, too!

No big plans tonight.  Mr. B has to work, although he will probably make it home by midnight.  The girls and I will do a little housework, then we'll do something cheesy.  I mean that literally, too.  Until tomorrow...

Happy New Years' Eve!  Hope 2013 was good to you.  See you next year!

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The Snow Queen, in Pop-Up Form

Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen: A Tale in Seven Stories.
A Pop-Up Adaptation of a Classic Fairy Tale by Yevgeniya Yeretskaya.
Jumping Jack Press (A Division of Up With Paper), 2013.

Now that the presents have been opened at our house, I must share this beautiful book we gave to my sister. We share a love for Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" (thanks, Faerie Tale Theatre), and when I found this spectacular book at a lovely shop in Lindsborg, KS, I knew I had to get it.  Truth be told, I'd have loved it for myself, but I thought my sister would love it, too.

This book is stunningly beautiful.  The complete fairy tale is here, with gorgeous pop-ups and pull-outs.

The same paper engineer and company also published Snowflakes: A Pop-Up Book, which I have seen on many blogs and websites this holiday season.

I'll leave you with this video from Up With Paper.  They show off the book much better than I can.

By the way, Big Sis got another version of "The Snow Queen" for Christmas - remember this one?  We do love our fairy tales...

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