Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Jewish Christmas

Happy holidays everyone! Of course, being Jews, Hanukkah has already come and gone for us...

Wolfie was a bit apprehensive about his first Hanukkah (you can probably tell by the way he is tentatively staring at the lights on the menorah). But then he got a squeaky dreidel rope toy and he was sold on the holiday!

Every year at Hanukkah I make traditional latkes (potato pancakes) for dinner at least one of the nights. Although homemade latkes are certainly the best, I wasn't in the mood to peel and shred potatoes, so I went the lazy route this year and made Trader Joe's baked latkes, along with some BBQ chicken drumsticks and roasted brussels sprouts.

I like my latkes with applesauce AND sour cream (I know, I live on the edge!) My husband is a latke purist and likes them plain. 

A week before Hanukkah was Thanksgiving, and hubs and I went back east to celebrate with family. My mom was so excited to buy Hanukkah presents for my niece and nephew, and they were definitely excited to open them!

So, Hanukkah has been over for a couple of weeks. Now everyone wants to know: What do you do on Christmas?

As a kid, my family would typically go to the movies and then out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve with other members of the tribe. On Christmas day, our Christmas-celebrating friends would have us over for Christmas lunch.

I've discovered that many of the fine people of Orange County are unfamiliar with the old "Jews and Chinese Food" tradition. Still, that won't hinder our plans for tomorrow-- there are several excellent Chinese restaurants that will be open! Hubby and I will be dining at Capital Dim Sum tomorrow evening, and Friday we will most likely hit up the movies to see The Big Short or Joy. 

Even though I don't celebrate Christmas, I still enjoy all of the spirit of the holiday season. I may even try to make these egg nog pancakes  on Friday morning to enjoy while watching one of the various Christmas movies on my DVR!

I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday weekend, whether or not you are celebrating! And happy belated Hanukkah to all my peeps!!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Winter Break Bucket List

Ahh. Big sigh. It's almost time for winter break!

I had been feeling very stressed over the past few months. And not just with the move cross-country and figuring out how to raise and train a new puppy! When we first got out to California from Philly, I was very nervous that I wouldn't find a teaching job. I was offered a great part-time position in a project-based charter school, which I love and wish were full time!

To fill in the gaps on the days I didn't teach, I began working at a tutoring center. I had some doubts about what was expected of me as a tutor. After about a month at the tutoring center, I realized it wasn't the right fit for me. I decided that it was in my own best interest to resign. Soon after I resigned, I asked a few wonderful parents from the charter school if they wouldn't mind posting my services for independent tutoring on their various neighborhood list-serves, and within days I was booked with new tutoring gigs! I now have a much more manageable tutoring schedule and am having a blast working with my new students :)

 That immediately lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders. But the emotional stress I felt during that time at the tutoring center definitely did a number on me, so I am looking forward to spending the break vegging out and catching up on all of the fun things!

WINTER BREAK BUCKET LIST (In no particular order):

1. Watch Christmas movies (every year I stock my DVR with the classics-- Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Elf, Love Actually, The Holiday, Miracle on 34th Street...)
2. Bake something-- this looks appealing!
3. Go to IN-N-OUT Burger-- apparently I'm not a true Californian until I do

4. Write more blog posts (yeaaaa...sorry about the 2 month hiatus!)
5. Deep clean our apartment (new puppy, new stains!)
6.  Spend New Year's in Santa Barbara (we booked a very cute B&B that allows pups!), and get there by driving the PCH.

7. Buy patio furniture--our terrace is currently a dumping ground for all of the extra stuff we don't know where to put (a garage of sorts) but I actually want to enjoy it and know that I will if I put some effort into making it a special space! I love this look:

Love the colors!:
image via

That's just the short list. I'm sure there will be more I want to accomplish over the vacation, but right now I'm just too darn tired to remember! Like I said, I definitely need a vacation!

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