Saturday, December 24, 2011

Brentwood Busts

Here's your public service blog for any local readers.

The "live nativity" that Brenthaven Christian Church on Franklin Road is not what you might think, and definitely not worth your time.  I told Bradley we would get to see live animals with baby Jesus, counting on some cows and sheep, and hoping for a donkey and a camel.  What we got instead was a group of well- meaning church members dressed in Nikes and shepherds' robes, telling the story of the birth of Jesus in three stations, with wooden stand up animals, a fake fire pit for the shepherds, and a baby doll lying in a kid's crib as the manger.  "Where are the real animals?" Bradley asked.  "I don't know," I answered, thinking that perhaps at the final manger scene there would be the live farm animals.  Alas, it was not to be.

Some of the participants didn't even have their lines memorized, and the whole presentation lasted about 15 or 20 minutes.  I expected more out of a church in Brentwood.  So if any locals know of any live nativities that might be a little more realistic, I'm all ears.

The second Brentwood bust is the upscale Mexican restaurant Sopapilla's.  We went there last night for the first time to get together with some friends for Christmas, and while the food was excellent (albeit spicy) for the adults, this is NOT a kid-friendly restaurant.  The kid's bean & cheese burrito I ordered for Bradley was so spicy it brought him to tears, and after trying it myself, I can see why.  I pointed this out to the server at the end of the meal and told him that this was in no way acceptable for a child's menu item, and he remarked that another family had complained recently that the rice was too spicy, but that it must have been the beans after all.  This place needs to get with the program and alter their recipes if they are even going to bother to offer a children's menu.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pickle Things You Never See

My brother-in-law George wrote a paper a few years ago for college wherein he slightly elaborated our family's St. Nick's Day traditions.  According to him, we ate Pa's homemade cinnamon rolls, put up the tree while listening to Christmas carols, received our stockings, found the pickle on the Christmas tree, sipped hot cocoa by the fire, and watched Christmas Vacation that evening.  Hey, it was a great paper!
B with his ginormous stocking
George & Bradley with their Superman Pez
Dad with his kazoo from the Franklin Main Street toy store
While our St. Nick's Day was not quite that eventful, we still managed to pack it full.  After a long day of work, we congregated for dinner of mom's round steak, mashed potatoes, and sides.  After dinner we opened our stockings, and then George, Laura, and I hunted for the pickle on the tree.  This was the first year George has gotten in on the pickle action, so it was only fair that he should walk away with the itunes gift card prize for finding the pickle.



One of my favorite books as a kid was "Pickle Things," and one of the lines of the book reads, "Pickle things you never see like pickles on a Christmas tree."  I have this book out for B and it's one of the ones he can "read" from memory.  Obviously, the writers of this book were not German though, as they must not have had hidden a pickle ornament on their Christmas trees.

Full from dinner, and sampling treats from our stockings, we did what the Bradleys always do; we stuffed ourselves full by eating dessert of course!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kids' Christmas Concert

Tonight was Bradley's first-ever choir concert, and yes, I was way excited.  He's been attending BBC's KidLife program on Wednesday nights while I'm in choir rehearsal, and tonight was the fruit of a semester's worth of labor.  The 3-through- kindergarten kids performed 5 Christmas songs tonight.  It was a battle to even get out the door since the chosen attire for Bradley did not include comfy pants and t-shirts.  Our video we took was horrible, so the still shots will have to do.

This picture was taken during their practice- it's the closest he got to paying attention and participating all night.

For their performance, the kids wore party hats, in honor of Jesus' birthday.  Bradley used his as a toy/prop the entire time he was up front, most of the time, donning the unicorn look!
... or using it as a megaphone... though he's not the only one!

Where's Bradley?  Can you spot him sitting on the steps?  (the Only child sitting on the steps, I might add!)

I'm at a loss of what to do now.  I promised him an orange hat and gloves (his favorite color) if he sang "loud and proud," but since he didn't really do that, should I still reward him for just participating?  I mean, he did sing, it was just into and behind his party hat!  And anyways, I am proud of him for his performance tonight no matter what.  I look forward to many, many more of these concerts down the road.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

I don't like the Santa at Cool Springs Galleria, and I hate having to pay an arm and a leg for those pictures, so I resolved to find a free photo op this year for Bradley.  Look no further than mom & dad's neighborhood "Cookies with Santa" event this past weekend.  It was held at the clubhouse and was a BYOC event (bring your own cookies) while little cups of milk were provided.  There were also holiday-themed crafts, a guy making balloon animals, and of course, Santa Claus.

Just like the past two years, this was our first attempt at a picture with Santa:

And then after some cookies, a baloon laser gun, and making a candy cane ornament, we tried for round 2.  Bradley wanted to know where Santa's sleigh was, so we figured that a second attempt at a good picture with Santa would give B a chance to ask the Big Guy his pressing question.  
Much better!  Now these are photos I can live with, plus they were FREE.
And THIS is my money shot.  It fits perfectly with the song lyric of Jolly Old Saint Nicholas- "whisper what you'll bring to me, tell me if you can."
Oh yeah, and Santa's answer about the sleigh?  He left it at Walmart, he said! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Baking Day

After a brief hiatus from blogging, I've got plenty to post.  First up:  Baking Day.
 
On Saturday, mom, Laura & I spent ALL DAY in the kitchen making all kinds of Christmas cookies.  Every time mom lamented about how long she personally had been in the kitchen... 8 a.m., 7, 6:30 a.m.,  the time got earlier and earlier.  She has a flair for the dramatic- I don't know where on earth I get it from.

Here's me and B modeling our matching Elf aprons from St. Nick
 
Rolling out sugar cookies with Grandma B
Laura & I rolling out the Oreo truffles.  (Thank you Emily Borders- we still make these every year thanks to you!)
 
Look at this mess!  These are all our supplies.
Chef Laura making George's grandmother's spice cookie recipe.

Spice cookies and peanut butter cookies
 
A sampling of the finished product:  painted sugar cookies, spice cookies, peanut butter cookies, chocolate caramels, lemon bars, chocolate chip cookie bars, 7 layer cookies, pecan tartlets, Grandma Huber's sugar cookies (these were made last week), iced sugar cookies, Oreo truffles.  (not pictured:  chocolate covered pretzels.  We ran out of time before my choir concert and didn't make that many so I couldn't bear to part with any of them!). 

This plate went to my coworkers today and was gone in bout 15 minutes.  Another tray is going to daycare tomorrow, where, after doing the same thing last year, some of the ladies there have asked mom and me for an entire year when we're going to bake again!  They are going to be so excited, I think. 

I know I personally started in the kitchen around 9 a.m. on Saturday, and after my choir concert, I was back in the kitchen cleaning up til almost 10:30 p.m. on Saturday night.  It was well worth it though.  I'm a good sous chef if I do say so myself.  And you know what they say:  the family that bakes together stays gets fat together!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Name that Soprano

Whilst decorating the Christmas tree this week in our monogrammed Santa hats, and listening to the Traditional Christmas music station through our cable provider, a grandiose Christmas carol orchestration, sung by my musical idol, Julie Andrews, came on the TV.  We asked Bradley to go listen and tell us who was singing.  This was primarily done to distract him while we hung ornaments, since his short attention span cared nothing for hanging ornaments, and more towards innately scouting out the breakable ornaments from the boxes and playing with them.  Imagine how my heart swelled with pride when B shouted "Mary Poppins!" a few seconds later.  I scooped him up and covered his cheeks with kisses, so elated was I that he could recognize her soprano timbre, especially after not having watched that movie in a long, long time.
 
He also thought the "I'm Gettin' Nuttin' For Christmas" child's singing voice was Annie, which I found amusingly accurate.
 
*I hope you've enjoyed reading the (almost) daily blog posts during the NaBloPoMo.  Now I can relax a little more at night and make more time for reading The Omnivore's Dilemma without the self-inflicted pressure of blogging every day.  I know that several other readers of this blog have read this book too, so I can't wait to finish it and discuss it with you!