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Holidays

Family, Holidays

My Big Fat Egg-free, Dairy-free, Meat-free, Pie-free, Gluten-free Thanksgiving!

I do not eat turkey. My husband does not eat apple pie. My nephew is allergic to eggs. My brother-in-law doesn’t do dairy. Betty eats gluten-free. Michael won’t touch tofu with a ten-foot fork. My sister-in-law is allergic to several foods, ibuprofen and dogs. Hey, wanna have us over?Thanksgiving 2013_1

My 86-year-old father-in-law is the only one without any allergies or aversions. He also gifted me a large sum of cash on Thanksgiving day. I’m not one to pick favorites, but…

Despite our challenges, we managed to have quite a bit of yummy on the Thanksgiving table. There was something for everyone. Continue Reading…

Holidays, Recipes

Kiki’s Latkes

Five years ago my friend Kiki shared her family latke recipe with me. I’ve been making them ever since.Potato Latkes_1

Thank you, Kiki. This insanely easy recipe makes the best latkes. It’s now a staple in our family and I’ll be passing it down to my grandkids just as your grandma Olga passed it down to you. Continue Reading…

Crafts, Holidays

Halloween Boo-ling Pins!

Pumpkins, check. Scarecrow, check. IMA Goner Gravestones, check. Aren’t you getting a little bored? The same staples every year. Don’t you wanna try something different? Let’s grab Halloween by the gourd and strike it down again and again!Halloween Booling Pins_1

Let’s make Halloween BOO-ling pins from recycled bottles!  

Most mornings I find myself up way too early, pouring my favorite almond milk into a bowl of granola. As I slowly come to life, I stare at the bottle. How gorgeous is Califia Farms’ design and packaging? These are just too pretty to throw away, so I’ve been saving them for the right project. Continue Reading…

Holidays, Recipes

Nine-Layer Halloween Kitty Cake

When considering how to make a Black Cat Halloween Cake, I arrived at the following conclusion:Nine-Layer Halloween Kitty Cake_1

Cats have nine lives. Their cakes should have nine layers. Duh!  

The only reason I pulled this together is because “May May” arrived yesterday. May is my cousin, but we say “sister” in Thai. As second-generation Thai-Americans, it’s never been clear to us what my kids are supposed to call her. Thais add prefixes to names based on the age of the parent of the person– it can get very confusing. But what is clear is that it’s not respectful to call an elder by her first name. So to address this issue we just added another “May” to “May” making her May May. Cute, right? Respectful. Asian. See, we’re so crafty we be makin’ names up. Continue Reading…

Family, Holidays, Things To Do In L.A.

Chasing Independence

Look at this picture. That’s my daughter in the middle there. The short one. Blue sneakers. The one who politely but determinedly pushed her way to the starting line of the annual July Fourth Kid’s Fun Run.

The one with her fingers crossed.Chasing Independence_1

Now I don’t know why she’s crossed her fingers. Maybe she wants to win the race. Maybe she’s hoping for a rainbow shave ice when she’s through. Maybe she’s thinking what I was thinking– that those other kids are huge and hopefully they won’t trample her. Continue Reading…

Family, Holidays

Orchid Easter Eggs

My grandmother died yesterday. She had many visitors the day before, including a goodbye visit from my mom and me via iPad. Then, in the peace of early morning with my super-hero grandfather by her side, she passed.  Yupadee lived a long, rich life:  60 plus years of marriage, 5 children, 5 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.Orchid Easter Eggs_1

These Easter eggs are in her honor.My grandmother’s English wasn’t great (OK, it was terrible) and my Thai isn’t great (OK, it’s terrible) so we didn’t have long meaningful conversations about life.  When I wanted her to teach me how to sew she’d shake her head and say, “Go be doctor.”  When my weight pleased her she’d say, “Good shape” and if not, “Shape no good.”  Still, what she liked to communicate to me over and over and over was how much I was loved.  “You mother love you.  You father love you. I love you.” Rinse, lather, repeat. She also liked to tell you how you felt, “You love you mother. You love you auntie. You love you cousin.”  Sometimes it was more of a command, sometimes it was in the form of a question—like she was just checking to make sure I did.  It was annoying.  I was annoyed by the repetition, and I was annoyed that these mantras were the extent of our relationship.  I was annoyed that we didn’t have anything in common. Continue Reading…

Family, Holidays

Passover

When my sister-in-law Luann called and said she (and my brother-in-law Dave and nephew Moses) were coming I did a little dance. I did. I was in the middle of the 3rd Street Promenade and I did a little two-step. It’s a rare and beautiful thing to feel this way about a visit from in-laws, I know.  But Luann is not like thosein-laws.  She’s smart and crafty. With knitting needles in hand she cannot be stopped.  Let her into your kitchen and she’ll whip up a delicious pie customized to your specific allergies and preferences.Passover_1

Well, OK, maybe she’s annoying in a she-always-does-everything-so-perfectly-and-effortlessly kind of way. Here she is knitting an egg for the seder plate. (Moses is allergic to real ones.)

A month ago Dave accepted a job in Silicon Valley. ‘Hams East as we once called them, packed up their life in Massachusetts and moved cross country to Northern California. Just like that we went from being ‘Hams East and West to ‘Hams North and South. We’d been in the same state for a month already so we were due for a family playdate. Continue Reading…