December 29, 2023

Up for Air

While we haven't been doing much of anything around here, it's been nice not feeling the self-induced pressure to post something here.  I'm sipping a bit of coffee at the moment, thankful for the desire to drink my favorite beverage again. Yea for the quick approach of my second trimester next week!

Our Christmas was quiet and uneventful, with the traditional feast at my parents' on Christmas eve.
Thankfully, my family held back a bit when it came to spoiling Soren with gifts, well, except for what one of my brothers and his wife got him.
Yep, we're the owners of one of THOSE things now!  To be fair, S loves this, and it's small enough to fit in our living room, providing a great outlet for him to get some indoor cardio after dinner each night.  His little cheeks get all red from all the jumping and tossing himself around in there.
(the spoliers, I mean, his new favorite uncle and aunt)
Our Christmas at home was nice too, with some tasty oatmeal and stewed apples and the opening of a few gifts.
Santa brought a Playmobil fire and rescue set and police car for Soren, which he enjoys playing with.  My brothers had Playmobil toys growing up, and they seemed to withstand the wear and tear that boys wreak on playthings.
He is a bit young for all the little pieces, but I ended up just putting them away until he's older and is not so prone to chewing them.
The best gift for us? The silence that accompanies a child engrossed in new toys!
In case I don't get back to this space in the next few days, I wish you a very happy, healthy New Year! Any fun plans for New Year's Eve?

December 23, 2023

Wishing You...

...a wonderful, peaceful, relaxing Christmas and a very happy, healthy new year!
I'll be away from the screen for a while, or maybe sooner, if inspiration strikes.  We're just celebrating a quiet little Christmas, visiting some family and trying our best to fight off these nagging colds! 

Until the next post, travel well, give lots of hugs and kisses, and spend the week with those you love.  Cheers!

December 22, 2023

Grandma's Pierogis Revisited

Last year, I shared with you my recipe and process for making my Grandma's pierogies, something she made with love and care every Christmas Eve.

I remember that in the Polish Catholic tradition, we always had fish, pierogies, some sort of cabbage dish, a million kinds of cookies, and of course the communion wafer printed with a Christmas image that we'd pass around the table, each of us breaking off a piece and mindfully thanking God for family and health (or toys, in the kids' minds).

I'm planning on making them again on Thursday, but wanted to revisit last year's post, where I made them for the very first time. 

I dug out her recipe, which she wrote down for me before she died.  I really should frame it, or at least make photocopies for my cousins to have.
I'm always amazed at how beautiful her handwriting was, and how much pride she took in it. I guess that was typical of women of her generation, as Chris' great aunt is the same way.  A lost art...

But I digress.  I made pierogies once or twice with her, and she was always very particular about getting the dough thin enough.  Mine of course were quite thick, but her dough was so thin that it was nearly translucent.  While my brothers and I preferred the potato/cheddar-filled pierogies, she often made versions with prunes, farmer's cheese, and cabbage inside.

So now that I've fogged up the kitchen windows with steam from the boiling pot of water, I'll sit down and share the recipe with you.  The first part is her recipe, while the second are my steps and photos for making it.

Pierogi with Sour Cream Dough
~~6 cups flour
~~3 eggs
~~3/4 cup water
~~1 pint sour cream
~~1/2 tsp. salt~~

Potato Filling

~~4lbs. cooked potatoes mashed with butter
~~1/2 lb. American or sharp cheddar cheese

For Serving
~~2 onions sauteed in butter

~~rolling pin
~~large bowl
~~juice glass or round cookie cutter
~~pot of boiling water
~~slotted spoon

Get your helper, and clear a work surface.
Make your mashed potatoes, using peeled potatoes, butter and either the cheddar or American cheese.
I like to run my mash through a hand mixer to get a smooth consistency.
Set aside your potatoes, and make your dough.  Before you make it, get out a big pot, fill it with water and a tablespoon of oil, and start boiling the water for cooking the pierogies.
Mix eggs, sour cream, water and salt thoroughly.Add in the flour, 1 cup at a time.
I had to knead mine on the counter to incorporate all of the flour.
Let dough rest for 5 minutes.  Roll out thinly, flouring the surface lightly to prevent sticking.
Using your juice glass or circular cookie cutter, cut circles out of the dough.
Alternatively, you could cut squares if you don't want circles.  Then fill them with a teaspoon of the mashed potatoes
Fold over the dough and press it together along the edges, making sure there are no holes for the filling to leak out.
Once you have them made, take them over to the pot of boiling water and drop in about 10 of them.  They're ready when they float to the surface
Pull them out with a slotted spoon, and lay them on a plate or in a baking dish to cool.
When you've made them all, saute 2 onions in butter (I used 1 stick, but you could use more or less) and toss the pierogies in it.
If you want, you could also serve them with sour cream.  Not necessarily health food, but tis the season.
I miss my grandma, and I'm glad to carry on her Christmas tradition.  Biting into these delicious carb-laden pierogies is certainly bittersweet.

December 21, 2023

Happy Solstice!

We spent some time outdoors in the cold today, taking in the shortest day of the year.
 Naturally, this involved a boy and his truck and frozen dirt.
Here's hoping that the home fires are burning warm and bright inside for you tonight. 

December 16, 2023

Time Saving Tips from Bank of America {Giveaway}

One of our credit cards is though Bank of America, and I must say that we've been pleased with their services--particularly their fraud prevention initiatives.  We've had our card number stolen on 2 occasions, and both times Bank of America made it extremely simple and hassle-free to have the fraudulent charges canceled.

That being said, I was eager to share some of their time saving tips for this holiday season.
Bank of America has come up with a few ideas to help us get back some time this holiday to spend with our family and friends, all while keeping us on track with our daily routines.
1.  Receive instant account balance alerts: Don't worry about making an extra stop to the bank during all of your holiday shopping.  Keep track of your spending by using Bank of America's Online and Mobile Banking and receive instant alerts if your balance is running low. (online banking was what alerted us immediately to our stolen credit card number).

2.  Babysitting or playdate exchange: Gain kid-free time to make your way through your holiday to-do list by coordinating a playdate exchange with another family.  (I LOVE this idea).

3.  Find a holiday helper: Save time and relieve stress by finding a holiday helper to assist with household chores and last-minute errands.  Don't hesitate to ask your normal sitter, cleaning person or a neighborhood college student who is home for the holiday stretch.  And don't be afraid to delegate household chores to your own children home for winter break!

4.  No more backtracking!: A lesser-known "route planner" feature on MapQuest helps you save both time and money by mapping out an entire journey - with multiple stops - all in one convenient step.  You can add up to 25 destinations along any route, and the tool gives you the fastest route.

These are great tips, and can certainly help free up some of your precious time.

Need a little extra cash this time of year?  I have a
$50 Bank of America gift card 
for one lucky Katydid and Kid reader!
To Enter
Leave a comment telling me your best time savings tip for the holidays (or any time of year, for that matter).
Extra Entries (you must complete the first mandatory entry before doing the extras.  Also, leave a separate comment for each one):
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link (2 entries)
  • Subscribe to my updates
  • If you're a Fan of Katydid and Kid on Facebook leave a comment letting me know
  • Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect
  • Follow @katydidandkid and tweet this giveaway, leaving a link to your tweet in the comments. You can tweet once per day (leave a comment each day). You can copy and paste my tweet if you'd like: Win A $50 Bank of America gift card from @katydidandkid Ends 12/26

You must do the first entry in order to enter ("I want to win, thanks!" comments will NOT be considered). You will have until Sunday December 26th at 11:59pm EST to enter. The winner will be chosen via random number generator the next day and notified by email. I'll also post the winners on my blog HERE. If I don't hear back from the winner within 72 hours, I'll pick another. 
Disclosure: This contest is hosted and fulfilled solely by Katydid and Kid. I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Bank of America and received a Bank of America preloaded gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

December 15, 2023

Wordless Wednesday: Great Wolf Lodge

Our big Christmas gift this year was our second visit to Great Wolf Lodge--I love this place!
The lodge was decorated spectacularly with Christmas lights and decor, and after the pajama storytime each evening, snow magically fell from the ceiling in the lobby.  It was so cool!
Yep, me in a swimsuit.  Frightening! :)

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

December 13, 2023

The Joy of Scissors

There are times as a parent where I secretly give myself a big pat on the back, usually when I stumble upon something that occupies my child's attention for a long span of time.  As you know, parents, that certain something is hardly ever a toy (wouldn't we all spend hundreds of dollars for that perfect thing that will entertain our kids for hours? Well, TV and video games excluded).

The other day, I decided to give Soren a pair of scissors and let him go to work on a large piece of paper.
And boy, did that kid keep busy for nearly an hour!  Enough time for me to do dishes and work on a craft project of my own.  Who saw it coming? Not me!
Why are you so happy, mama?
Now before any of you go calling children and youth services over those non-safety scissors, let me be frank.  I hate those things! As an art teacher, I've seen more accidents with those because those buggers just don't cut anything, leading kids to squeeze them harder and take more risks.  So with proper supervision, I recommend using a small pair of "real" scissors.
He's got the same tongue-thing going that I do when I'm focusing on some project.  Genetics, or learned behavior? Who knows.

We then broke out the glue stick for more fun.
That didn't seem to keep his attention as long though.

Now if only his love of scissors would translate into letting me cut his hair without complaint and without the avoidance ninja moves.  He's currently living with an unfinished cut, where I was able to trim all but the top of his head due to his freaking out over the hair clippers.  I hope to catch and trim that rooster plume one of these days.  Man, I wish my hair grew so fast!

December 6, 2023

Homemade Peppermint Bark

Sometimes I'm stumped as to what to make or give people during the holidays, especially casual acquaintances like neighbors and co-workers.  Rather than toiling away in the kitchen, getting flour all over while making cookies, I decided to go the quicker route--making homemade peppermint bark.
Yes, I know Williams-Sonoma has the best, but at $26 a lb. that's way out of my price range for the mail carrier.  This recipe is a good knock-off, and much cheaper to boot.  Plus you can get all the items in your local grocery store, or even Target.

Here's what you'll need, and note--buy the best quality ingredients that you can afford or find: 
  • 24 oz. milk chocolate chips 
  • 36 oz. white chocolate chips
  • Peppermint oil or extract
  • 2 boxes of candy canes
  • aluminum foil
  • cooking spray
  • large baking pan (mine was 12"x18")
  • Double boiler (or a 2 bowls that can fit over a pot of simmering water)
Ready your assembly area by lining your baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure that it covers the sides too.  Spritz with cooking spray.
Unwrap your candy canes, and place them in a heavy-duty ziplock bag, then crush with a rolling pin.  Little helpers love this part!
Place your double boiler or pot of water on the stove to simmer.
Put the bowl on top, and add the milk chocolate chips.
Stir until melted,
then pour into your prepared pan, and spread to the edges with the back of a spoon.
In another bowl, add the white chocolate chips.  I wish I had been able to find better quality ones, especially where cocoa butter is a main ingredient, but this is all I came up with.  It still tasted good in the end.
Put these over the simmering water, and stir until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat, add half of the smashed candy canes and 1 1/2 tsp. of the peppermint oil or extract.  Stir well, then pour on top of the milk chocolate, which should be a little firm.
Carefully spread with the back of the spoon to cover the sides of the pan.  While it's still warm, sprinkle the rest of the candy cane bits on top.
And then the torturous waiting begins.  He sooooo wants those candy canes, the little peppermint addict.
I stuck the pan in the freezer to firm up before cutting.  Just be sure if you end up freezing it that you bring it back to room temperature before cutting, or you just might break a finger or cut yourself.

When firm, lift the foil and peppermint bark out of the pan, and find a chef's knife to go to work with cutting.
You're really kind of scoring then breaking it into large pieces.
 It's so easy and so delicious, and will impress anyone who gets some, especially when packaged in a cute little tin.
Just be sure to save some for yourself!
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