Easter

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Easter is by far my favorite holiday. 

All of Holy Week is actually rather special to me and though I don’t go to a high church that celebrates Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and good Friday, I acknowledge them in my own way. Easter is really just the crown on a week of sacrificial love shown to us.

This year my husband and I were able to host Easter Day at our house. We had family from both sides and a handful of friends gathered in our backyard for corn hole, koob (apparently a Viking yard game I’ve only recently been introduced to), and egg decorating. My family was introduced to pisanki egg dying many years ago by friends of ours, it’s an elaborate method of melting wax in a special pen like tool and writing on eggs before putting them into strong dyes. At the end you melt the wax off and you can see the layers of color hidden beneath the wax. This was the first year I’ve been able to do pisanki eggs at my own place and it was fun to share it with so many new people, it is a practice in patience.

The best part was gathering around the food, having my husband and brother in law slice up ham and lamb, dishing up mashed potatoes, delicious squash, and pulling off chunks of challah bread. For dessert we had cheesecake, meringue baskets with vanilla custard and fruit, and both a cherry and a pecan pie! It was overkill and it was delicious!

   
 Since I didn’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all day I did as much prep before hand as I could, the breads and desserts were made in advance, dishes were started early and then finished off just before dinner, and kitchen areas were zoned off, one counter for appetizers, one for dinner, and the third for dessert. First the clean serving dishes were stacked there ready to be used and then, once done, the dirty dishes were put back on that counter ready to be taken care of the next day but forgotten for the time being.

  
It was a success for me, time spent not stressing out about what plate to put the lamb on during the rush of getting everyone served and the organization of knowing where exactly we were going to put the stacks of dirty wishes was helpful for my easily stressed out brain. And gave me time to decorate my own egg and hold my nephew.

Wedding Parties

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I have three siblings and all four of us are now married! I’m guessing this is a celebration of sorts for our parents, we are now out of the house, building our own lives in different states and buying and renovating our own homes, moving our stuff, slowly but surely, out of their basement and barn, etc.

My sister was the first to get married and I wasn’t there to help much, I was traveling through New Zealand and Australia when she got engaged and for all but a couple of weeks of her engagement, I wasn’t able to throw her a bridal shower or help with the planning and crafting etc. we did as much as we could when we got home, baking pies, throwing an emotional bachelorette party, and helping to set up decorations the day of but it was hard to miss so much of the “wedding process.”

My brother was next and I lived in a different state when they got married, I was able to be there for the wedding but didn’t help my sister in law or brother much, except for making a pie for their dessert bar and making a beer run. It was a casual backyard affair that turned out beautifully but again I threw no parties for it.

I was next and my sisters and mother did so much to contribute to my wedding even from their different states, helping me choose a gown, sending gifts to bridal showers, hosting my bachelorette party the week they arrived in town, throwing me a bridal brunch the day of my wedding, and basically keeping me sane. I also got a mother in law and sister in law who contributed greatly to my wedding, hosting a beautiful bridal shower for me, throwing a fantastic rehearsal dinner, not to mention housing me before our wedding!

Most recently my oldest sister got married. She lived out of state but planned to get married in my home state as we see much warmer weather in February when they got married (outside with a week of fun camping beforehand!) and during her engagement they learned that they would be moving to my hometowns shortly after their wedding!

It was an awesome wedding and my sister and brother in law threw a weeklong party that had one awesome event after another and I was thrilled to be a part of it! Most exciting for me I was able to host a bridal shower for my sister before the wedding, not just celebrating her engagement and the crazy big step she was taking in her life but welcoming her to our town as well. She’s lived here and spent time here before and has a good bunch of friends here, it was fun to see them gather in my new home. To sit down to our favorite of breakfast for dinner with quiches and French toast bakes, mimosas and spiked coffees, and talk about her coming life changes and dream of what all it would be like with her.

  Weddings are the start of so much and sometimes the parties and events beforehand can get overwhelming and seem insignificant to those around the couple to be. These parties are always, I have found, ten times better with something tasty to eat and something cold to drink. It seems good to remember that there is more to these events than stocking the kitchen with pots and pans and the linen closet with towels, that we are there to to celebrate what is happening in their lives and how things will change, grow, and develop in new ways for them now. By all means, stock the kitchen and the linen closet, but also feed them, sit and eat with them, and make a happy toast!

So, here is to parties shared, be they emotionally laden or light and happy, momentous occasions celebrated, food enjoyed together, and drinks that help us get to know each other! And may this party inspire another!

Molly Wizenberg – On death and food

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“When someone in the neighborhood is dying, no one really knows what to do. The very brave come to sit and visit. Others, more tentative, keep their sympathies to the phone. When my father was dying, we had a little bit of both, we had friends who came by and friends who called. But mainly, we had friends who cooked.

If there was anything to good about that time, anything to be missed after the fact, it was the constant influx of soups, stews, roasts, cookies, and pies. I never knew how many friends my parents had until the food started arriving.”

–Molly Wizenberg

 A Homemade Life, stories and recipes from my kitchen table

Baby Meals

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I haven’t yet had any children but I’ve heard a lot about it from friends and I can tell you the idea of people showing up with meals to my house sounds just about right!  

 Of course you can tell I haven’t had children because I don’t think to factor in things like not yet having any schedule, still being unsure of feeding said baby, let alone deciding thoughts about doing it in front of strangers and friends. I have a hard time imagining things like sleepless nights and eating meals knowing that what you eat may upset or pacify your newborn child in a couple hours when you have to nurse and all the other things that come with new parenthood.

But I do know that new parents have to eat wether they have slept or not, that they should eat meals that include more than one food group and that there should be some flavor and variety because their lives are a little bit harder now than seems right. So I continue to sign up to take my friends meals when they have newborns because while I might not be the right person for them to talk to about nursing issues, scheduling naps, or sleep deprivation, I do love to feed people. If I can make it so that family can enjoy an extra hour of time together not worrying about grocery shopping, meal planning, kitchen prep or cooking, it seems like I am probably doing the right thing.

So I encourage us all to feed the new parents of the world. (And encourage the new parents to be patient with us dummies who show up late and forget sides or the all important dessert or don’t know what to do while you feed the baby and who act like they have never gone a sleepless night in their lives- try not to hate us too much and remember that one day we might be in your shoes and you’ll get to laugh when we curse at the dummies who rang the doorbell when they brought us a meal.)