Christmas Carnage: Owen Eating a Christmas Goose


For the past two weeks, I wake up and say to myself: Today I will be a vegan! But find myself with this same desire Owen's showing in the video (taken last year). All I want to do is climb on the table and eat animal products like an animal. No forks, no hands, just rip it apart with my teeth. Perhaps it will be my New Year's resolution. Today's the day! Let the New Year's resolution chatter begin. The worst are people who refuse to make up a few for conversation sake, as if they don't have goals they are working on. I never believe them!


My Gift to You

I know these next few days might be stressful 
so I've put together the Best of Wild Nails 2012 to lighten the mood. 
New to Wild Nails? Read this post to get caught up. 
Merry Christmas.
May your nails be merry and bright and wild.

See more of his best pins and the comments from his earnest followers (over 1600 haha) after the jump . . .


Popovers: The Perfect Christmas Breakfast

One of my favorite local restaurants is Popover Cafe. I didn't even know what a popover was until I went there and they served us those giant warm buttery puffs. You can order it filled with anything from strawberry butter, to eggs Benedict, to an ice cream sundae (here's some other ideas I found). I've tried them all! Delicious. I was thinking I'd pick up a few on Christmas Eve and serve with butter for breakfast the next morning. Sounds simple enough if I plan ahead which I never do so my kids will probably be served candy canes for breakfast but isn't it so fun to fantasize the perfect morning?

I've tried to make popovers myself, but they didn't turn out as big and billowy as the cafes. The founder of Popover Cafe, Carol Baer, gave me two tips. 1.) Preheat the cups/pan. 2.) Let the batter get to room temperature.  Also, I might have discovered why mine weren't as big: I accidentally bought the mini popover pan. Don't make the same mistake! Buy the grand size one for shock value.  Below is the simplest recipe I've found that comes close to the restaurants. If you don't live near Popover Cafe, follow the recipe below to make an impressive breakfast on Christmas morning. Or just forget this whole idea and order candy canes. 

6 Eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups Flour
1 tsp salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly

1. Place popover pan in oven, set to 450 degrees.
2. Measure the eggs, milk, flour, salt, and half the butter (1/4 cup) into the jar of a blender.
3. Mix batter until combined, around 25 seconds. *Let batter get to room temperature.*
4. Remove pan from oven, grease with remaining butter and fill each cup with batter. Anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 full depending how wild your popovers to get!
5. Place back oven, bake for 15 minutes.
6. Rotate tins, lower temp to 350 degrees, bake 10 more minutes.
7. Serve immediately or store.
I bought these popovers from the cafe this morning and brought them to work. they were devoured. Someone even said, "Wow, Sharon! You just made this the best morning ever!" haha work chat.


Capturing Christmas Day

Ella, Rob, and teacups through the lens of a disposable camera. Disneyland '08 
I've decided to buy my kids disposable cameras to use on Christmas day. I was so happy to find this three pack. I realize disposable camera are one of those tired ideas from 90's weddings, but my kids don't know that! Hooray for film and youth. I can't wait to see how they want to remember Christmas 2012.

I hope my boys are thoughtful with their pictures. My friend Joanna got them disposable cameras for their birthday a few months ago. I haven't developed the film yet, but from what I saw, their photos aren't going to be anything profound. I think Oscar took five pictures of his hand without a flash in a restaurant, followed by one of Owen's eye with the flash on. Brilliant. I tried to explain how it works, but whatever. That's what he thought was picture worthy. The potential for something great is within these cameras, so I'm going for it again. Profound or lame, if I ever develop the film, I'll post the pictures here.

As for me, I'll take photographer Keith Pitts suggestion and make sure I start the night before. I always forget to take pictures of Santa’s cookies, my children sleeping, and the stockings hanging. Taking those three pictures would add so much to the story of the holiday. I'll have to see how the night goes, but I hope I can muster up the energy to capture it right. Mainly because this could be the last year all my kids are believers. Ella is in 2nd grade. This is the end, right?

Read more of Keith's Christmas Day tips here.

After the jump, two more pictures for our trip to Disneyland. I'm not putting them on my main page because I look terrible! ha Plus a round up of the best disposable camera pictures from around the web after the jump. Including one of someone's hand!


Remembering the Students of Sandy Hook Elementary School

I can't stop thinking about the parents of Sandy Hook Elementary School, especially the ones who dropped their kids off and said goodbye for the last time. For the most part, school mornings aren't easy or smooth. It's stressful to serve breakfast and find matching socks and get everyone out the door. Everything feels rushed. By this time of the school year, parents have learned the absolute last minute they can leave the house before they are late. They learn exactly what to serve for breakfast, sometimes resorting to a plastic baggie of cheerios to eat along the way. It's no longer new and memorable, like it was the first day of school. By now, the morning rush might even seem routine. 

But today, this morning turned out to be anything but routine for the parents of Sandy Hook who lost a child to a reckless gunman. They will never forget the boring details of their last moments with their kids. Now these details seem more precious than ever. My thoughts and love go out to the families dealing with so much loss right now. I'm searching for ways to help. To honor the kids who won't have a chance to experience a crazy school day morning again, I'm including the mundane details of our Friday morning . . . 

Elizabeth Street is Hiring

Wanted to let you know: Elizabeth Street is hiring a full-time assistant editor. The main focus is editing the work of writers. Additional duties include pitching and writing your own stories(style, living, culture, etc.), managing the ElizabethStMom Twitter account, and uploading content to the CMS. Candidates should have a strong editorial sense, previous experience, and be available to start on January 2nd.
*Please send a cover letter and résumé to Ludo Pellicioli (l.pellicioli@elizabethstreet.com) by Monday, at 6pm.*


Part Five: Owen's Gumption at The Children's Museum of The Arts

Ella's blue robots, Oscar's white horses, and Owen's creature. 
As soon as we enter Children's Museum of the Arts, we put our names on the Clay Bar sign-up sheet. It's my kids favorite thing to do in the whole world. Last week as class started, Owen climbed on the stool and proclaimed, "I'm an artist," and confidently made something mysterious and wonderful. Oscar and Ella, on the other hand, diligently followed all of the teacher's instructions. Their sculptures were really cute. I was impressed that they could do everything the artist suggested.  When the thirty minutes were up, each kid got to bring home two sculptures, one of theirs and the other is the instructor's example. Owen only wanted his own creation.

I have to admit, I'm jealous of Owen. I relate so much to Ella and Oscar when it comes to instructions, rules and boundaries.  I can't wait to see where all this independence takes him. See other examples of Owen doing his own thang at church, at home, on the streets, and crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. I'm looking forward to adding to this series.   
Owen's creation from the front.
And the back.
More eyeballs please.
Here's another post I did about the Children's Museum of the Arts. We love it there! 

Also, Elizabeth Street is hosting this fabulous giveaway: A $500 shopping spree to Stella McCartney Kids. Enter here! 


Last Weeks Dinner Situation

HelloFresh delivered three meals to me last week.  So I did the rational thing and practiced my food style techniques with all the gorgeous food they sent me. Isn't it wonderful? The food, not the styling. I tried to mimic the pictures on their recipe cards. They nailed it. Check out this one and this one food styling lovers. 
Notice how they included the tools I need to have on hand before I start cooking? Loved that. I need all the help I can get in the kitchen. Trader Joes frozen dinners have been on heavy rotation at my house for the past five years. A few weeks ago, my health coach Jared Vaughn encouraged me to start cooking again. The same week I started at Elizabeth Street. The timing couldn't have been worse.

I felt like a person in an infomercials who dramatically struggle to get simple tasks done. You know the shot: It's always in black and white with a person with frazzled hair. That was me at the grocery store looking for soba noodles and ginger. HelloFresh made last week so much easier by sending premeasured food for three meals. Only thing that slowed me down was my food styling attempts.  My kids must think I'm crazy. I could tell Owen was thinking, "What are you doing?! Cook the damn the food mom!"
And I so did.  Each recipe was simple, special and tasty.  I loved it so much, I bought the vegetarian meals this week. It's a little cheaper than their regular boxes and will force me to try new things. The box should arrive today! I can't wait.

HelloFresh is offering my readers a 30% discount off your first box. Use coupon code HF-NYCtaughtme at check out to receive your discount! Good until the end of January 2013. 


Flashback: The Joys of Parenting 2-Year-Old Twins

This is the computer my boys loved to flick the buttons off the keyboard.  The sound of giggles, high fives, jumping, and whatever else 2-year-olds do when they're experiencing pure joy could be heard as they slowly destroyed one of my favorite things I owned. It took about a year to get it to this point. We didn't own a TV, so this was the only way for them to watch shows. As soon as Dora became the slightest bit boring, they found a way to keep entertained.

What good are the letters ZXCVB anyway? Shift/Control/Alt keys? Totally useless!

I kept using that poor keyboard for over a year. With the right amount of pressure, it worked just fine. I earnestly kept all the buttons in a ziplock bag with the hopes of getting it fixed someday. I never did.  I eventually got a new computer and their fascination with popping buttons off it ceased. I'm happy to say I'm writing this on a completely intact keyboard. My screen is cracked (twice!), but that was my fault. I think.

I couldn't help but be reminded of my old computer as I eavesdropped into a conversation the other day. This young guy (around 21) was confessing to another person about the time he lost his dad's watch. It happened last year in a snow storm. He still hasn't told his father because he feels awful. I wanted to chime in and be like, "In the last 20 years, you've already worn down your dad enough. I'm sure by this point, he's completely lost the ability to be attached to any material position he lets you use or be within a 15 foot radius of. I assure you, he won't care." But instead, I kept my mouth shut and let this guy feel soooo guilty for losing his dad's watch.  His dad would be giggling, high fiving, and jumping if he knew what I've done. 
Owen showing Ella the proper flicking technique. 


Childhood in December

Yesterday when my kids were driving me nuts, I remembered I'm dealing with people who believe an Elf travels from our apartment to the North Pole every night. They believe this regular doll comes to life, like in the movies, and has a brain and a voice!

And beyond all this, they see brown shipping boxes around the house. I'm so careless about hiding them. And yet, they still believe Santa is bringing them gifts, not Amazon. One of the packages even had the label on the outside, completely giving the present inside away. Ella read it and said, "Oh! The boy's scooters!" I shrugged it off. Later when she confronted me about it, I told her it's the box for my new Christmas scooter. It was, but she didn't question whether the box also contained the boy's too. It's so adorable.

So I'm trying to give my kids a little slack when they wake up at 6:30am asking for donuts. Or when they walk so slow down the sidewalk. Or get so silly they can't sleep at night. I'm trying to remember, the world, to them, is filled with magic.
Photos by the talented Mark Abernathy. So lucky to have him as a friend! Another amazing portrait he took of my boys here.  


Pinterest Boards Make-Over

This is what I did while I catching up on The Voice last night.
Love that show and Pinterest and taking myself too seriously. 


The Rockefeller Christmas Tree: Best Night EVER!!!!!!

Last Sunday we made a pilgrimage to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. I really wanted to go. My family? Not at all.  It was such a disaster, with our personalities clashing the whole time. When we started walking around the finally loop around the ice skating rink, I daydreamed about my forties.  I found myself doing the calculation in my head again. 43-31=12. By the time I'm 43, my kids will be 20 and 18. Twelve more years of this nonsense! Have you ever done the calculation? It's terrible, I know, but some days I can't help do the math! It works both ways though. The next morning I heard the kids whispering about the toilet paper, Sally (our The Elf on the Shelf), put all over the Christmas tree and my heart melted. It's a magical trying time with these stinks.
i love this image. captures the night perfectly. 
what i came to see.
can we go ice skating? no. can we go ice skating? no. can we go ice skating? no. 


Breaking Tradition: Buying a Christmas ONLINE

This year I broke tradition. I ordered my Christmas tree online from Tyler's Trees.  It took me around a minute to order and schedule a delivery. That night a beautiful, real Christmas tree was delivered to my apartment. They did everything, even bringing a stand and a tree skirt! 

While we waited for the delivery, my kids put on Christmas music and arranged a spot for the tree. The anticipation of it's arrival was intense. We speculated what it was going to look like, it's size and it's color. We couldn't wait to meet our tree! As soon as we buzzed Tyler's Tree it into my building, my kids cheered and ran to the hallway to greet our tree at the elevator. As the door opened, my kids eyes widened. They were speechless. It was humongous. We've never had one this big. This is really our Christmas tree?! 

Once he set it up, Tyler suggested we wait a day to decorate it, but we couldn't resist throwing tons of tinsel at it. I thought the retro decoration was a good choice for a modern-online-Christmas-tree-family like ourselves. Just trying to keep balanced! 

While they worked hard to put the tree up . . . 
we did some gangnam style dancing of course. goes great with Christmas carols. 
next week i'll show the tree after I got my hands on it!! 
Since my experience this year was so different from years past, I was curious to find out how everyone was getting their Christmas tree into their house this year. I loved learning how families chopp it down themselves, and others are going to corner lot, and some (gasp!) are going fake. I gathered some of my favorite stories in a post I wrote for Elizabeth Street here.


Urban Camping Checklist

To my kids, nothing is better than when we book a hotel with an indoor swimming pool in the middle of winter. All we have to do is drive to New Jersey or Westchester and BAM! We're on vacation in a totally new environment. We've done it a few times in the past with so much success.

The next time I'm tempted buying tickets to see Disneyland or Africa or even Matilda, I have to remind myself that this is all my kids want to do: swim, sleep in a new bed, and eat junk food. Someday I know I'll forget and plan a so-called dream vacation, only to be annoyed as they whine constantly. These lines are too long! It's too hot! I want a stupid toy from the lobby! It's really so simple to make them happy: hotel, indoor pool, and french fries. Actually, if I'm honest, that's pretty much happiness for me, too.
Owen taking every precaution not to ruin his good hair day. 
Oscar enjoying the unlimited free sour apples on the pool deck. Score. He ate two. Owen ate three.  
Guilty pleasure: Hot Tub Time Machine. Tell me I'm not the only one. 
He opens his eyes this wide underwater. After a few minutes they were completely bloodshot. I felt awful that I forgot his goggles. 
The hotel we were staying at also included an intense hiking trail next to a freeway no less. Hooray for nature. Pictures after the jump.
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