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Friday, February 17, 2023

first photo dump of 2023

january was full of all kinds of random moments.  none of them really warranted a full post on their own, so here's a fun little cornucopia of stuff that i apparently thought was important enough to take a picture of.

like, i did a major closet cleanout that yielded a shitton of bags to donate.  i finally let go of some things i've held on to for years - you know, the old "it'll come back in style AND i'll still fit into it!" well, guess what:  it didn't, and i definitely didn't.  and so into the bags it all went:

homemade mochi waffle with warm syrup, plus milk tea with brown sugar boba.  the recipe for that milk tea made a TON, which the bean was happy to plow through as quickly as they could drink it.



cousin seven had originally planned on coming home for christmas, but was a victim of all those flight cancellations over the holidays.  she sent us this awesome box full of a whole bunch of my favorite things, which was such a fun surprise.


when we heard that the girls' soccer team was hosting a game against the school that was the bean's second choice (and where a good number of their 8th grade classmates went), we decided to go.  it was fun to watch, and our team won.  the bean's school is not really known for sports, but while we were at the game i couldn't help but think that they could really use a cheer team to drum up some school spirit.  they offer all of the typical high school sports - football, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, golf, etc. - but it doesn't seem like it's really encouraged to attend the games.  it's kind of a bummer, because i remember going to all kinds of games at that age not only to support my friends who were playing but to hang out with other friends in the stands.  oh well.


for the january class meeting, i'd volunteered to make cake pops to hand out to the students.  it'd been a long time since i'd made them but i thought, how hard could it be?  i used to make those things all the time.  

yeah.  after dipping the first few i remembered why i stopped...they're a pain in the ass.  heh.


luckily i finally figured out what i was doing wrong, and then it was smooth sailing (which is great because i had 50+ of those damn things to make).  i had two flavors to offer, and laid them out on the table for the students to grab on their way out of the meeting and to their next class.


the bean's BFF's mom and i were invited to a birthday party for one of our fellow class parents, and the invitation asked all of the attendees to dress as pop divas.  "think britney spears, lady gaga, madonna, etc." it said.  

oh.

i came up with a few different ideas and ordered a bunch of stuff from amazon.  i tried the "oops, i did it again" shiny red catsuit that was incredibly ill-fitting and very unflattering.  there was the ringleader costume that could have either been from britney's "circus" era OR taylor swift's red tour - and it could have worked except that the bean pretty much fell over laughing when i tried it on and showed them a picture.  i also found a burgundy hat like the one taylor wore for her red (taylor's version) photoshoot that i figured i could wear with a camel coat - simple but comfortable.  but the hub took one look and asked me why i was dressed like a P.I.  ugh.

this is the one that worked:


i ended up being super relieved that that red catsuit hadn't worked out after all, because not only did the party guest in the car in front of us emerge dressed in a similar outfit but the birthday girl herself greeted us at the door wearing a much higher-quality version of it.  heh.  and even her signature cocktail for the evening was britney-themed:


i didn't know a lot of the ladies at the party, but my friend did and she made sure to introduce me to everyone.  it was nice to meet other school parents, and we had a good time munching on tray-passed appetizers, sipping the signature cocktail and eventually dancing to all the pop diva songs in the room they'd transformed into a club.  it was quite the shindig.


the bean took one of their oldest friends as their date to the winter formal:


and i took the old lady and the old man out to get some dim sum for dinner.


we were really amused at this bunny-shaped pudding dessert thingy:


and even more so at the ad we saw at the tea shop next door.


ever heard of a borzoi?  i hadn't either, until the bean started showing me tiktok videos of this russian breed of hunting dog with a really long snout.  super random, i know.  and then when they showed me that someone had made a crocheted version of one, i found a pattern and stitched one together as a surprise (which went over really well, because my child still adores stuffed animals).


and lastly, i was pretty excited to finally tackle a recipe i've been eyeing forever.  i think i've mentioned before that i fell down the rabbit hole of brewing my own vanilla extract during pandemic - which sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is because all you do is stick the beans in alcohol and leave it alone for a year.  but if you want to make some vanilla goodness that you can use a lot sooner than that, you can use the beans along with a few other ingredients and make vanilla paste.  it's best if you have a really high-powered blender like a vitamix, and you end up with a product that you can keep in the pantry that adds some pretty intense flavor, is shelf-stable and usable almost immediately.  i think measuring the ingredients out almost took longer than the actual processing, and in about 15 minutes i had a full quart of homemade vanilla paste that made my kitchen smell amazing.


i've already tried it out in a batch of chocolate chip cookies and was pretty proud of myself when the bean tried one and said "whoa...you can really taste the vanilla in these!"

most excellent.

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