Holiday Traditions

The holidays make me wish I was 5 again. This could be because, in my Mom’s eyes, we still are 5. The woman puts a lot of stock in tradition, and she has a very hard time coming to terms with the fact that my brother and I are 19 and 25 years old respectively. I’m not complaining. I’m a sucker for decorating the tree and making Christmas cookies, but sometimes it gets awkward. For example, I believed in Santa for longer than the vast majority of my peers.  All the other kids in my class would be like, “Santa is not real.” Of course, I would agree with them so I would look cool, but in my mind I was like, “IDIOTS. Jokes on you people, Santa is totally real. Who else but elves could put this kind of craftsmanship into TY beanie babies?” I think it was 5th grade when I had to come to terms with the fact that maybe something was up.  Santa’s handwriting looked an awful lot like Mom’s. Not to mention I was learning about gravity, and time zones, and science, and stuff. Now my brother and I play along with her as best we can. We put out cookies for Santa (Mom) and Rudolph (Still Mom.) And we pretend to be really surprised to find them gone the next morning. The crumbs are a convincing touch. It’s fun to act like a kid for the holidays.

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My Masterpiece 🙂

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In Florida this is what our Snowmen and women look like.

Our Christmas morning traditions have remained pretty consistent. Early Christmas morning, before presents, we gather around the manger (the same manger my Dad made in his garage “workshop” over 20 years ago) and sing happy birthday to Jesus. (I’m not kidding.) Each of us then reads a paragraph from the Nativity story. I have to stifle laughter when it’s Dad’s turn to read. Picture Dad in his robe with no coffee in his system yet trying to read without his reading glasses. Never gets old.

When it’s time to open presents, my brother and I assume our positions as “present-passer-outers” -a phrase we coined years ago. My brother does not take this role too seriously. He gets distracted when the first present he picks up is for himself, and consequently forgoes his present distributing duties for the remainder of Christmas morning. Mom never opens any of her presents because she is taking pictures of us opening up every. single. present. Once all of the presents and stockings are opened we get to my favorite part of the morning: the Breakfast FEAST.

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The spread. See if you can spot my Christmas morning favorite: Sausage balls.

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The year Mom got really ambitious and made her own X-mas candy.

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Another year she made a beautiful Christmas tree cake

While we’re on the subject of Holiday traditions, I would like to speak about my Mom’s interior design skills that really shine throughout the Holiday season. To be frank, our house looks like it was decorated by a bunch of kindergartners. This is because, in fact, it is. Every decoration my brother and I ever created is brought out of the vault and put on display. Mom doesn’t throw anything away.  She cannot bear to part with our little glitter and macaroni covered faces.

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Exhibit A: Every ornament we made as children.

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Exhibit B: My brother and I looking THRILLED to decorate cookies with our grade school Noel signs hanging on the windows in the background. One of us had a tough time with our “L”s in kindergarten. She shall remain nameless.

I wouldn’t trade these traditions for anything, and I can’t wait to get back home for Christmas to spend it with the family I love the most. Happy Holidays everyone!

#TBT to Thanksgiving Pies

I’m sorry, I know everyone is over Thanksgiving. It’s Christmas time, and I promise I got the memo. I’m just finding it increasingly difficult during the holiday season to keep up with the ole blog! Thank goodness for #TBT. I’m throwing it all the way back to Thanksgiving 2014, or as we like to call it up in Brooklyn, “Friendsgiving 2014.” I didn’t get a chance to make it down to Florida this year for Thanksgiving, so for the second year in a row, I met up with the Brooklyn Framily I’ve been adopted into for a Thanksgiving Feast. Dress code: PJs.

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Polaroids to capture the night

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The neighborhood Thanksgiving Turkey was gracious enough to stop buy. With a six pack of Miller High Life, obviously.

At home Mom and Dad had a more low key Thanksgiving this year with immediate family. Usually we’re with upwards of 30 extended family members with a feast that consists of 4 different turkeys, ham, and pork, countless sides, and about 5 different of Mom’s famous pies. This year it was just my Mom, Dad, Brother and Grandparents, so they just stuck with a turkey and a ham. (my brother can’t have Thanksgiving without ham for some reason.) Mom made a couple of homemade pies along with her apricot curry cheese dip.

Inspired by my mom’s choice in dishes, I decided I would also make the cheese-dip as well as a pumpkin pie for the Friendsgiving festivities. The pie turned out pretty well in my opinion (you can’t really mess up a pumpkin pie.)

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Chocolate Pecan, Pumpkin, and Pear Pie

My mom then texted me the picture below of her apricot curry cheese dip.

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I can’t compete with this.

My attempt to mimic  my mom’s presentation rivaled many of the amusing Pinterest fails you find on Buzzfeed. I should have taken a picture to document the failure that was my turkey cheese ball. It was bad. My friends can attest. Although it did not look as pretty, it tasted delicious! The recipe is super easy. It is perfect for Thanksgiving and tailgating. Mom has turned this cheese ball into a football and a turkey so I can’t wait to see what’s next. Check out the recipe below!

Ingredients

-2 packages of cream cheese

-4 TBSP Chunky Apricot Jam

-2 TSP Fresh Curry Powder

-1 10 oz pkg chopped almonds

-3 TBSP butter or margerine

Directions

Prehead oven to 350 degrees. Brown almonds with butter for about 10 minutes. Careful not to let them burn! Drain on paper towel. Mix together room temperature cream cheese, jam, and curry powder. Let chill overnight. (4-8 hours.) After chilled, roll into a ball, and roll with almonds to make a crust. Feel free to be festive with details! (As mom always is.)

I’m excited to be home for the holidays soon to share more festive holiday treats and stories. 🙂

CakesMyOfficeMakes

As I have mentioned before, I live pretty far away from my family. Around this time of year, the homesickness starts to kick in to high gear. Thankfully, I am lucky enough to be part of not just one, but a few different families of my own up here. I’ve got an NYC family, a Brooklyn family, and then I have my Hoboken family. They are my work family.

There are 7 of us in the office, and everyone has an integral part to play.

In my work family we’ve got a Golden Boy Big Brother, a sarcastic middle child, a free spirited sister, a quirky aunt who always shows us pictures of her cats, a baby brother who can’t stop smiling, and then me-the nerdy older sister who laughs at her own jokes.

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Don’t be thrown off by the mustaches. The guys participated in Movember to raise awareness for prostate cancer. They don’t usually look that creepy.

The Patriarch of our zany crew is our boss, Jordan. Picture someone with the positive outlook of a Michael Scott, the jokes of a Phil Dunphy, and (he’s going to love this one) the dance moves of a Justin Timberlake. I was inspired to write about my work family, and Jordan in particular, because we celebrated his 31st birthday a few weeks ago (I apologize for the delayed post! I’ve been too busy with all the hard work to blog 😉 ) Anyhoo, for office birthdays we usually just throw in $20 or so and give each other gift cards, but this year we had an idea to all pitch in for a surprise birthday bowling bash for Jordan.

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Happy Birthday Jordan!

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The ladies were in charge of the cake, and one of my co-workers had the idea of making alien themed cupcakes for his birthday. The alien theme was solely inspired by a picture taken of Jordan that legitimately looks like an alien.

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“Take me to your leader.”

We were in a bar with a green laser that just happened to shine on Jordan’s face at the time this picture was taken. I don’t know how to describe the look on his face, but I can tell you there is no one in our office who can look at this picture without cracking up laughing. This picture was the inspiration for our alien themed cupcakes. Unbeknownst to us all, Jordan has a secret (not anymore) obsession with aliens, specifically the show Ancient Aliens on the history channel.

Needless to say Jordan’s birthday bowling alien party was a success. I don’t know a better time than bowling, pizza, chicken tenders, an open bar, and alien cupcakes.

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Look closely to spot the Alien Krista mixed in with the Alien Jordans.

The day after his surprise birthday, at our morning meeting in between discussing the future of our office and my long term goals at our company, my boss confessed to me that he believed he actually could be an alien. I don’t think he was kidding.

Yes, this is the zany, crazy work family, and I am very proud to work with all of these alien weirdos. They are…out of this world. (I wasn’t lying when I called myself the dorky one who laughs at her own jokes.)