The adventures of Fall continue in our home. Our recent favorite activity is giving pumpkins baths in our kitchen sink. Seriously, thirty-three minutes of pure bliss. I believe the bubbles make the experience. We scrub the pumpkin, rinse the pumpkin, dry off the pumpkin and then start all over.
It has been heartwarming to see how this little pumpkin is cared for and how I hear my voice through my child. After the final part of the bath, we take our pumpkin for a “magic carpet ride” (a tradition started by my husband to persuade our child out of the bathtub- Seriously, he gets on the towel and we pull him around the house. Magic carpet ride and a little cardio workout) We rock our pumpkin and read a book to this sweet little pumpkin. He becomes a true caregiver over this pumpkin.
And then Halloween fell on the worst day of the week- MONDAY!! We need to look at this concept. It has truly threw us into a complete holiday hangover. And then all the candy. I’m not complaining about the amount of quality candy that entered my home but what do you do with it all.
We created a little chocolate treat with leftover candy to share with friends. Very easy and I think it reduces the calorie intake if more chocolate is added. (whatever, I do!)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt a complete package of chocolate or almond bark. Your package will have microwave directions. Feel free to use your double boiler if you want to get fancy.
Pour the chocolate onto the parchment paper, and using a rubber spatula, spread it into an even layer about 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle your favorite chopped candy and pretzels on top of the chocolate then place the baking sheet in the refrigerator. Chill for one hour or until the chocolate has fully hardened.
Remove the bark from the refrigerator. Using a pizza cutter, cut the bark into irregularly shaped pieces. You can serve immediately or store in an air-tight container in a cool place.
You can get creative with this and use whatever candy makes you happy.
Enjoy the beginning of November!
Happy Christmas Eve, Olives!
It’s not a family gathering without a very special ingredient that sits on our table. Since before I can remember, a beautiful bowl of black olives has always been a part of all family celebrations. You might ask, Black Olives? What’s so special about Black Olives? Well, the story goes a little like this…
My Pop-Pop, my mother’s father, grew up outside of New York City with many brothers and sisters. Their family was very poor and most holiday celebrations were sparse with presents and goodies. My Pop-Pop’s family always received baskets from local churches during the holidays. His mother would use the ingredients to create a feast for the family. There was one item that Grandma Patak would not use and no others in the family wanted… Black Olives. At a young age, Pop-Pop, learned that the jar of black olives went untouched until he unlocked the yumminess of the olives. For years Pop-Pop would look forward to the basket and that one jar that was all his. This was true Christmas.
Well, Pop-Pop met Mom-Mom, they had three children, those children had amazing children. We would all gather at their house on Christmas Eve. The memories are so clear and wonderful. They feel like just yesterday. Every year, under the tree, everyone would have a wrapped can of olives from Pop-Pop. In return, everyone would give Pop-Pop a can of olives. Each year we would hear the story of how even a can of olives can give you the feeling of Christmas. Black Olives are a part of who we are. Each of Pop-Pop’s granddaughters shared a black olive with him before they walked down the aisle to be married. Pop-Pop taught William how to place an olive on the tip of each finger and then eat every one of them off. It’s all about the olives.
As I write this Happy Christmas Eve blog, there are tears and a heart full of love and memories of a man who always had the spirit of Christmas. As a family, this is our first Christmas Eve without our Pop-Pop. I know my Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop are having the Christmas Eve of their lives with Jesus. Tonight as we place the dish of olives on the table, this year in my Mom-Mom’s dish, I will remember how a simple olive can give so much joy.
Happy Christmas Eve to You All!- Amanda (or A.J. as Pop-Pop would say)
Will (age 4) and his Black Olive