Me dad’s a muggle; mum’s a witch. Bit of a nasty shock for him when he found out…

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In fact I just had my dad take the Pottermore Quiz and as it turns out he’s a Hufflepuff too!  Mum’s a Ravenclaw; I always thought maybe my dad was too or Slytherin. Anyways its been awhile because I’ve been adulting (“in the muggle world”).  Oddly I do a lot of what I do here with pictures and documenting things I do and my kids do so I haven’t felt like doing more on my free time during the past month.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping it magical here.  We’ve had a Harry Potter Weekend and as I had to work a close shift I couldn’t be there for the Hogwarts Express Leaving at 3 in the afternoon Friday so it has been designated Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them night

…and then get up at 7 on Saturday and watch Harry, makes sense to me…

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Anyways I did not feel up to taking myself on a baking adventure and I really wanted to take it easy and enjoy the movie, so this is what I came up with:

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I got mini hot dogs and pre-made crescent roll dough as an homage to our messy hot dog eater, Nina, in the beginning:

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I hunted down apple toaster strudel… I was going to try to make this because it just felt like a sin to get something so processed for something that Queenie made but I was exhausted and I can be funny about apples in baked goods so if I didn’t like it I didn’t want to spend too much money or effort.  I’m sure they were nothing compared to Queenie or Jacob’s baking:

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Finally, we absconded with potions and brews in favor of a simple but decadent hot chocolate:

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It seems like lots of people focus on the 1920’s speakeasy when cooking/celebrating for this movie and I might do that too for maybe a specific night or when there are more movies or something but this was a good way to relax and get ready for a big weekend (…of sitting around/cooking/baking/laughing with friends).

Harry Potter universe aside (or maybe not…) Baby Bat and I have been busy.  I was originally going to take her to a Fairy and Gnome Festival at the Buffalo Botanical Gardens but that very week I heard that Peppa Pig was coming to the Eastman Theater!  I take her to enough fairy and fantasy stuff I wanted to do something that was her specific. So we got tickets and made a day of it.  We went early and had lunch at Java’s right next door which is a really groovy-artsy coffee house in downtown Rochester.  The Eastman school of music is right there too so it’s real bohemian like and covered in all sorts of art.

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After a Panini and lemonade we went and saw the show.  The theater is beautiful and we both admired the zodiac ceiling decoration around the chandelier.

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Its been awhile since I’ve been to a kids show of this sort but I was a little let down.  Peppa Pig is a British television series and the cast for the show was decidedly American, so no British kid accents.  There were also puppeteers for the child characters which would not have been so weird if they hadn’t been all dressed in black and in no way blended in with the sets…maybe kids don’t care and its still magical for them but I was a little perplexed (they could be shadows?). The theater also treated it like a regular event so the crowd had lots of gaps which I believe contributed to the lack of audience involvement. But we went we had fun and came home with a light up fan with George on it.

The ay before the show I also found out that the University of Brockport was having their first ever Harry Potter Festival (!!!).  Most of it was happening around the time of the show so we didn’t really go but we did make it out for a Quidditch demonstration.  Baby Bat got to play Beater!

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Mother’s Day also just happened and I get really stumped when gift giving is mandatory, not that I don’t like giving gifts its just that I better with random giving (would make an excellent gifter if I waited with the random gifts and didn’t spaz out and get overly excited and give the gift upon acquiring).  That being said I chose to make my mum brunch for Mother’s Day.  I’ve had brunch on the brain for awhile (pinterest board upon board dedicated to themes and menus) so I finally settled on vegetarian (as my mum is a devote vegetarian) and Fall flavors because I read up on Apple Cider Mimosas and had to try them, I also make awesome Cinnamon Rolls.

About these Apple Cider Mimosas.  When I saw them I naturally thought “oh, yum…okay”  but really this shouldn’t be a seasonal thing, more like all the times because as good as it already sounds it tastes amazing!  It’s simple but my taste buds were kind of like “we haven’t lived until now!…Except for that one time at the speakeasy bar downtown, but other than that we haven’t lived until now!”

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The rest of my menu was a delicious Frittata (because Frittata is synonymous with Brunch in my opinion) made with shallots, mushrooms and butternut squash.  The only thing I would do differently is shred some smoky gouda or something in it (recipe didn’t call for it, they were trying to avoid milk). I also set up a mini yogurt parfait bar.  I originally set out to do a fruit salad (also synonymous with Brunch, IMO) but honestly I don’t like most fruit.  The apple fruit salad was nice and Autumn-y but called for Neufchatel cheese and sour cream.  “Why bother?”  I said to myself, and got a few single serving cups of plain Greek yogurt; mixed up the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla for people to sweeten as they desire and mixed up a bowl of walnuts and cranberries and set out another bowl of chopped apples (granny smith and pink lady).  Ta-da!  And then Paula Deen’s Cinnamon Rolls of course.  For garnish around the champagne glass rims I dipped them in vanilla extract and then again in a mixture of brown and white sugar and pumpkin pie spice (I felt particularly brilliant after that first sip).

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Next thing I really need to do is get down to it and put our cloaks together for Ithaca Wizarding Weekend but I hope to have a few more adventures throughout the summer.  “Until our next meeting!”, Keep it magical!

Is thy sweet heart now grown so cold, that loving breast of thine; that thou canst never once reflect on auld lang syne.

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I’ve been putting this post off, waiting until I plateaued or something but here it is:

…When last we left our hero, she was devastated over the inevitable change that was about to occur in her life.  She turned out resume after resume after resume…and then, in some cases, had to fill out the regular application online which the resume itself would have already answered and indicated (why do they do that???).  Our mild mannered heroine received a call back!  An interview was arranged! Heaven and Earth was moved…and a local strip club was visited to retrieve her diploma from on old roommate (funny story actually) only an hour before the interview took place!  Avid reader, I would love to tell you that the miracle of Christmas shown through and all is now well but apparently they have given the job to another candidate…though they appreciate my willingness to go through their interview process (which included a comprehensive assessment…you go in and act like you already have the job and they evaluate their conduct).

The good news is that I have another (possibly two) interviews in the next two days, the better news is that I’ve arranged daycare and hours with my coffee house friend.  I want to be excited but there feels like there is so much at stake.

I have tried to carry on as best I can and not let this little caveat ruin one of my favorite times of the year.  Baby Bat and I celebrated Yule…not once, but twice.  The first was at an annual get together amongst friends and friends who are like family.  Which was nice, and very much needed.  My candles in the Yule Log were especially significant this year.

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My own personal observance was small and short lived, I’ve heard of people staying up all night in observance of the night but alas I needed to work the next day.  Still Baby Bat and I prepared our Yule Log by wrapping it up in Snowman wrapping paper and garnishing it with silver ribbon:

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Baby Bat was particularly impatient for the marshmallows so we broke into those early.  This was our first bout of roasting chestnuts (in the oven) and they were heavenly!  You hear about them in Christmas Carols and in books but you need to have the real thing they were delicious! Buy a bunch cut an “x” into them (which isn’t as heard as I had anticipated) and bake them for 15-20 minutes.  They are soft and sweet and worth all the praise they are given.

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The mulled wine I’d like to retry.  I bought a local bottle, pre-spiced, all you need to do is heat it up…but I think I could do better.  The burning of my Yule Log turned out to be a bit of a conundrum.  We had a real tree last year. I had this great idea that we would save it until Midsummer and burn it very ceremoniously. This didn’t happen as we went to Faery Fest and it was a ways and packing etc. etc.  Baby Bats birthday is in July and all the family was coming over and the tree carcass was still on our back porch so I decided to burn it the night before.  BIG MISTAKE!  Evergreen trees smoke like it is no ones business so I abandoned the effort and settled for keeping the lower part to burn for Yule as is traditional.  It really was a small log and I didn’t realize it might take forever to burn it…which I didn’t have as afore mentioned.  So we dowsed the log, popped in The Lord of the Rings and made quick work of our snacks and drinks before it was time to turn in for bed. My pagan parenting is still a work in progress and I look forward to learning from my mistakes nest year.

Then came my interview. It was for a day care position and they asked me to bring either a copy of my transcripts or my diploma.  I thought I had my transcripts but apparently the sock fairy has upgraded to paper.  Luckily I had just been to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with a friend who had my old roommate’s new phone number (because I am horribly disorganized he has had my diploma and kept it safe for a number of years since we parted ways) and I was able to swing by his work (cleaning/maintenance at a local strip joint) and retrieve said diploma shortly before my interview (I brought him a tin of Harry Potter treats as well because it is all I had and I desperately wanted to express my gratitude for being there in my hour of need).

Christmas was another debacle.  A bit of car trouble made us late but also afforded us the opportunity to spend the night and morning with my folks.  Baby Bat and I went to sleep while watching A Christmas Story (she loved the big pink bunny pajamas and kept expecting them to make a reappearance) and the soft glow of an oversized Christmas Light necklace.  From Thursday through Sunday I made Paula Dean Cinnamon Rolls for all the “respective” families (in other words: if you have a spouse and children you got cinnamon rolls, if you and your spouse are retired you got cinnamon rolls, if you live alone and have a cat…or even if you don’t have an animal companion you got cinnamon rolls…in short I made a lot of cinnamon rolls and they were a hit).

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This past week I had my comprehensive interview and I thought I had it in the bag but got a very disappointing email on Friday morning.  Luckily it is a Harry Potter weekend again so that has helped to lift my spirits and keep my sails billowed.  I had anticipated that they would do another of these in January but expected it to be later in the month.  I had planned on mixing Wolfsbane Potion as January is known as the Wolf Moon but since it is also New Years I opted to stick with the old stand by of Felix Felicis to keep down expenses.

My great culinary adventure began yesterday morning.  I had done all of my research, fed my pudding with great care, the only thing left to do was execute the dressing of my treasured goose and light my master piece on fire(!!).  Being the lover of literature that I am, my favorite holiday tradition is to read  Charles Dickens  A Christmas Carol and in these pages Dickens states that Bob Cratchit’s Christmas Goose is prepared with Sage and Onion and so I found this recipe and some sage and onion stuffing at Walmart to recreate the meal.

20161231_093257I started early in the morning in case things didn’t work out and I had to go to a plan B…which admittedly I did not have at the time so it is a very good thing this worked out.

I had never dressed a bird before, so I had viewed as many YouTube Videos as I could find on that particular art and was very nervous about the actual disemboweling of my goose. Fortunately when I opened him and stuck my latex-ed glove into his lower cavity I was delighted to find that the meat packers had done the hard work for me and the only thing I really needed to do (besides remove their thoughtful baggies) was remove a bit of fat from his behind (yay!).  The rest was just following the directions and basting:

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Meanwhile I made hard sauce for my pudding, a side dish of peas with onion, garlic and bacon and some mashed potatoes.  I also tried to make a gravy with the drippings but it was very greasy…I added more onion and garlic and seasonings and it still tasted like  mouthful of grease (which is why I kept a jar of turkey gravy on hand, just in case).  The meal went off without a hitch and I set my pudding on fire without incident:

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There are many things I would do differently after this experience, but I have appreciated my learning process and the sheer delight of “the first time”.  I am also very humbled by the amount of love and friendship I have received in my life outside of the kitchen, with Baby Bat and my employment dilemmas.  2016 has been emotionally and spiritually hard for many of us but if there is one thing I can take from this past year it is the importance of love and friendship.  Being there for people no matter how much time has passed or how many words unsaid, you never know what someone is going through or what path they have been on.  The most important part of life is just showing up…to your job, to your children’s interests and events, to your family and friends celebrations,  in the words of Mister Magorium’s Wonder Emporium “Your life is an occasion, rise to it!”

Happy New Year to you all, whoever you are, wherever you are and whoever you are with!

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