Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hour-a-Day April: Days 14-18

Phew. What a week.

Day 14 (Monday): I had a doctor's appointment in the morning, and there was an uncharacteristically long wait, which put a crimp in my plans to be productive. Basically, my whole week was centered around preparing a seder for approximately 30-40 people on Thursday. My kitchen was still a mess, and I knew what I *should* do was clean the kitchen, so I could have a clean slate to destroy with my food prep. But I just couldn't make myself do it. So, I decided that accomplishing something was better than accomplishing nothing, so I went back to my bedroom, and assembled some metro shelves so that I could move Jeremy's clothes out of my closet and make some room to start sorting through more boxes of pre-pregnancy clothes. Apparently, you can buy hanger rod attachments, but since I had extra legs, I kludged one on as an extra-long hanger bar. It's a "for-now" fix that will likely become permanent, because I actually like having the extra bit for hanging longer things, like trench coats and dresses. Although if I get a properly-sized bar, I have a zip-on wardrobe cover that can go over the unit. Hmm... decisions, decisions...

Day 15 (Tuesday): Today, I knew I had to start on seder prep. But it was a rainy, horrible day, and I just couldn't get my butt in gear. The middle of HADA month is kinda the worst motivation-wise. I did some stuff, though, mostly admin-type stuff. Gathered my recipes, made my shopping list, pulled out the copies of my haggadah. I needed more copies, but I couldn't find my most up-to-date digital file, so I had to drive a hard copy in to the church secretary to make copies. I waited for a break in the rain, but it ended while I was there, and I ended up driving home in torrential rain. Both kids fell asleep on the way home, so I canceled my stop at the butcher's for chicken and brisket, and sat in the car in the rain and read my book for a bit. It was a nice reprieve, actually.

When Dorothy woke up, she was heartbroken that we hadn't stopped at the market, so we went back and got our brisket and chicken after all. We came home and I started my chicken simmering for broth. One thing checked off my list. Only about 100 more to go...

Day 16 (Wednesday): The younger two and I headed off to Downingtown after Valerie left for school, which is the closest Wegmans (and also the closest Jewish population - none of the stores around here carry things like matzah). Long list in hand, we quickly filled our cart. But I don't go to this store very often, and I don't know the layout, and the last few things on my list took FOREVER to find. I finally found everything, though, and somehow managed to fit it all in the car.

On the way home, I picked up some friends who live nearby but are currently without a vehicle. This ended up being the best decision ever, because the three-year-olds entertained each other while my friend helped me in the kitchen and corralled the babies. I got more done in the next three hours and than pretty much the rest of the week. I cooked the brisket, made the tzimmes and a potato kugel. Then I drove my friends home and picked Valerie up from the bus.

Fun diversion: A mother of middle-schoolers who waits at our bus stop had asked me earlier this week if I wanted some Geo Trax that her kids don't use anymore. I said yes, forgetting to ask the ever-important question, "How much is 'some'?" It took three of us to carry the boxes back to my house. But opening up and dumping out all of the boxes kept the kids occupied while I cooked some more, so it worked out well.

(Geo Trax haul spread out and organized by mama on Thursday)

After the kids were asleep, I enlisted Jeremy's help and we boiled the eggs and made two desserts (a chocolate nut torte and matzah baklava). I forgot to take a picture of the torte (which is very sad, because it was the most beautiful thing I made for the seder), but here is what the baklava looked like:

Day 17 (Thursday): I wished I had a friend to hang out with us today while I worked! But, I trudged through, and got it all done. Finished the charoset, the fruity kalamata glazed chicken, and made a quick trip to the store for candles, horseradish (Wegmans has been sold out), and apricot jelly to glaze my torte.

Got the car loaded up and made it to the church at a little after 4. Unloaded the car, and started up the ovens to reheat everything. Then my helpers started showing up, and I put them to work setting everything up. Everything went well, and everything tasted great.

There were, of course, tons of leftovers, but not a crumb of the chocolate torte remained, and only about 3 small slices of an 8 pound brisket. We got home after 9:30 and all three kids fell asleep in the car. Fortunately, it was cold enough overnight to leave the food in the car and unload in the morning.

Day 18 (Good Friday): Jeremy had the day off, so I slept in. I had told Valerie that she could sleep in, too, and I would drive her to school late when she got up, but I ended up letting her stay home all day. Between Passover and Good Friday, I figured it should count as a religious holiday. (She was originally supposed to have a five-day weekend this weekend, anyhow, but they took it away to make up for snow days.) When I got up, I cleaned out the fridge so I would have room for leftovers, and I unloaded the car and put all the food away. I cleaned off the table and washed a few of the biggest dishes, and put away the empty dishes from the seder that came home clean because I had awesome helpers. Then I reheated the matzah ball soup for lunch. I couldn't wake Jeremy up from his nap, and I couldn't convince either girl to come to the table, so I decided to stop fighting and enjoy a candlelit lunch by myself in peace. It was lovely.

I took a bath in the afternoon, and actually shaved my legs - a rare treat these days! Then I tried an experiment, and made a pie using softened matzot as the crust and charoset as the filling. I also made a mini version of it for us to try with dinner, and it tasted pretty good. I used more oil on the crust of the big pie, though, which I'm hoping resulted in a crispier crust.

I reheated some chicken and we had leftovers for dinner. We talked about Good Friday, and how it ties into Passover and Easter. Then I went to church by myself (another rare treat!)

We're heading to the in-laws' now, and I don't think anything more HADA-related will happen this weekend. I'm okay with that. I had planned on letting Passover take over this entire week, and I need a break. I plan to read a lot this weekend.

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