Keeping up with the Joneses (or whoever they are)

This morning, I opened the curtains to admire the view and was greeted by this unusual fellow on the Nameless (We’ll assume, for now, that their lack of neighborliness is due only to the chill in the air. I’m sure we’ll be fast friends come spring….) Neighbors’ front lawn: A challenge, plain as the nose on his (oddly misshapen) face. I gathered the troops and finessed them into their various items of cold-weather gear. Under the guidance of Thing One and Thing Two, the munchkins descended upon the snowy slope outside our front door and tackled the task at hand: reclaiming our snow-sculpting claim to fame. They left me with a sleeping baby (yes!) and a still-disastrous craft-room. I turned a deaf ear to the siren’s song of dirty dishes and a mountain of unwashed laundry, and made my way into my sanctuary. (See that scary-looking pile in the corner? That’s my fabric stash. I promise you, it self-propagates.) Despite the overwhelming amount of work to be done, there’s a happy little vibe in here. Itty-bitty corners of calm are emerging from the madness, and naturally, I’ll share. I went around whacking at things with a hammer (mostly nails, no children, I promise…) and that seems to have had a soothing effect. Meanwhile, the loin-fruit were busily building the coolest snowman on the block. Mission accomplished.

Just desserts

Chevi earned a special ice cream date with the ‘rents this afternoon. (Seven solo sleeps in the top bunk!) Then Mommy came home and neglected to feed her brood while she futzed with the computer till she figured out how to make a Picasa collage. Life is sweet.

Before and After

Subzero temperatures seem to lend themselves to leisurely Shabbos preparations. (So leisurely, in fact, that I almost forgot to make the salmon!) Luckily, this week’s recipe (from Old Bay) was super-quick and foolproof:

Zingy Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup ketchup

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons OLD BAY® Seasoning

Directions
In a small bowl, mix honey, ketchup, lemon juice and OLD BAY until well blended.

I use this on salmon and chicken with equally great results. Brush it on and bake till done.
(No, that’s not the salmon in the photo above. Those would be the chicken stew and the quinoa, respectively, which for some reason proved far more photogenic than the fish.)

After havdallah, it was time for a quick tidy-up. (Denny, if you’re reading this, will you please come install my dishwasher? My dishpan hands are waiting…) Thankfully, the littles have developed an affinity for sweeping, so with their help, things got done in twice the time no time at all.

Say “bubbles!”

The cream of the crop from the almost-annual Bernstein Family Torture Photo Session: