Monday
Apr102017

Mission Accomplished

It seems like a good idea to let your kids do the things they love, but sometimes that lands you at a dance competition for six hours.

Six. Hours.

Six hours can pass in a blink, but it can also feel like eternity when you're surrounded by people you don't understand. That is to say, Alexis loves dance. A lot. But if even a tiny little crack were to show in that love, I'd shove a doorstop in that gap and then plow through that gap faster than you can say "SEE YA, SUCKERS!" Thus, I do not understand the parents who are all in on the dance craziness.

Six hours is a long time to spend hanging around. You end up overhearing things like a six or seven-year old girl sobbing. One thing leads to another, and suddenly you find yourself paying attention to a train wreck. "But I just want to eat!" Briella whined. I know her name was "Briella" because her mom's sparkly shirt said so. "Briella's Mom" was spelled out in rhinestones across the back.

"You have seven more dances to do," Briella's mom replied. "You better pull it together right now," she continued sternly. That conversation escalated to a full-on screaming match.

I mean, if Alexis were to say she just wanted to eat instead of dance, I'd buy her a Whole Foods and and a McDonald's of her very own. It would be cheaper than paying for dance. Which, the entry fee for the dance competition was $45/dance, so "seven more dances?" HOLY COW.

I don't understand.

I also don't understand girls half Alexis' age standing on a stage in their underwear and a bra while twerking as if their lives depend on it. See also: I AM OLD. Give me a nice classical ballet, please. And fully clothed kindergarteners.

ANYWAY.

Alexis successfully navigated yet another dance competition, and she did it with a smile on her face the whole time.

I may not be all in on the dance thing, but I'm all in on the kid doing what she loves thing.

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Sunday
Apr092017

Cate's Cookies

The problem with seeking out recipes that have been handed down from immigrants is that they always come with stories. Most of the stories are fantastic history lessons, but some are ...

You guys.

I've known Cate for a few years and when I asked her for the recipe for the cookies that she makes every Christmas, I knew there was a story. I knew Cate's grandparents were immigrants. I just didn't realize that their story was one of perseverance and, well, the very definition of the American Story.

Comfort.

War.

Fear.

Escape.

Hard work.

Success.

More hard work.

Cate's Grandma was the bread winner of the family when they first settled in the United States. She brought with her an incredible work ethic and a willingness to do things others wouldn't. She went from being a grade school teacher to cleaning houses under the table. She worked and she worked and she worked. She sacrificed so that her kids would have a better life and never once looked back.

There's more to her story, but we're here to talk about cookies.

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This recipe was passed down from Cate's Grandma to Cate years ago. There's nothing particularly Slovakian about them, which led Cate and I to wonder how the recipe found its way into her family. The story that explains it is gone, but the cookies live on.

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Cate's Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 cups sifted flour
1 cup finely chopped walnuts (I put mine through a food processor to chop them up extra finely)
1/2 cup powdered sugar (Yes, more powdered sugar)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the butter and vanilla together with an electric mixer on high speed until creamy.

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Slowly add in the powdered sugar and flour and then stir in the walnuts.

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Roll into little balls that are about one inch across and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Once the cookies have cooled, roll them in powdered sugar a few times or until they look like little snowballs.

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Saturday
Apr082017

Out for a Stroll

elephantl