There's nothing like a cocktail to kick back and relax at the end of the day. I love these movie star inspired cocktails...just in time for summer.
Glamorous Greta Garbo's 1930 movie, Anna Christie, has one of her most famous lines. She sulks into a bar, plops down and says, "Gimme a whisky with ginger ale on the side and don't be stingy baby." You can see Greta in action here.
Greta has a cocktail named after her (not with whisky). The crème de menthe in this Garbo cocktail gives it a cool refreshing taste that's just right for summer.
The Garbo Cocktail:
Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into a chilled highball glass.
Happy Mother's Day to my mom!
I've learned many things from her...these are just a few.
1. ALWAYS send a thank you note. It will always be appreciated, bring good feelings and never be forgotten.
My Mom has always been able to make me smile. Wishing you the Happiest Mother's Day! xx
May blew in and it feels like Christmas time again with gift season upon us. May brings many gift giving occasions like: teacher appreciation, Mother's Day, Father's Day, wedding season, graduation...May is the month to sing, Chic's "Ah, freak out! Le freak, c'est chic..." My head always spins in May, it's the "freak out" month.
For end of the year gifts for your child's teacher, don't freak out, remember it's supposed to be a gift FROM your child. Why not make sure your child's name is part of the gift? When pregnant with my first baby, I was reading Franny and Zooey and that's how I came up with my daughter's name, Zooey. The same is true for my son Quincy...I was reading about John Quincy Adams. You can find something with your child's name in print and make your gift extra personal and memorable.
I take a lot of pictures and the end results make a spectacular gift for my classroom volunteers...pictures of their children throughout the year. Pinhole Press is one of my favorite places to shop. I would love this accordion brag book as a mom because it's like a parent's version of the yearbook. Aren't you always supposed to give gifts that you would love?
It's almost summer and people always need new beach towels and sunglasses. ASOS has a fashionable and affordable selection.
I combined the ideas and put them in a cute "take-out" box from the container store.
For the graduate, give the inspiration to travel with 36 Hours in Europe. The newly engaged couple should read The New-Fashioned Wedding. You can't go wrong with books. I'm pretty sure my mother is featured in My Mom Style Icon and she would also love Domino, the book of decorating. For my dad, the Grateful Dead Father's Day card is just too cool! The ultimate Mother's Day gift would be Pino's Close to my Heart Giclee canvas.
My son recently had a classmate who had a going away party because his friend was leaving for Taiwan. We made him a personalized t-shirt at Cafe Press with a picture of his class.
Has anyone ever written you an ode? I think of John Keats when I think of odes...romantic, heavy and emotional. Now imagine a child writing you an ode...sweet, innocent and the best gift ever! Those are the best gifts...the one that comes from your heart. One of my former students personally delivered this ode to me last week...what a treasure and again THE best gift ever!
You may remember the original Steve and Eydie. Now there's a new modern version, Steve and Edie. Two dynamite entertainers that come together making simple and beautiful melodies.
Steve Martin, 67, plays tinkling bluegrass sounds on his banjo mixed with Edie Brickell, 47, who has a delicate Texas folk sound. They compliment each other well. Their music is contemporary with an old-fashioned flavor. The new album (released last Tuesday) has Edie's whimsical, poetic lyrics and Martin's genius but understated style.
Edie Brickell was my first musical love. I was so excited to see that she partnered with the legendary Steve Martin (Renaissance man) on their new album, Love Has Come for You. I'm not so excited that they're NOT scheduled to perform in Texas on their concert tour (especially knowing that they were both born in Texas).
When you get to Asheville is one of my favorites but once I have the album playing, I don't stop it...I can play the whole album and love every song. Listen to Steve and Edie perform When you get to Asheville with The Steep Canyon Rangers on the Late Show with David Letterman and you'll be hooked too.
To Steve and Edie I say, "When you get to Dallas, send me an email!" xx
My daughter Zooey is a huge Pinkalicious fan. We've read all the Victoria Kann books and have even seen the play so when the new Pinkalicious book came out, Emeraldaicious, her green eyes flashed with eagerness to read it.
You can see the Emeraldaicious book trailer here.
Pinkalicious and her brother Peter are walking to their favorite park and while walking through the woods and she breaks her wand and tiara. She decides to make an extra-special wand out of a stick and flowers and finds out that the wand is magical. To their horror, they find their favorite park is a junkyard. To their delight, the find the magical wand makes beautiful things out of junk when Pinkalicious makes a rhyming wish.
The wand eventually loses it’s magic but Pinkalicious and Peter find that they can keep making the world Emeraldaicious by loving the Earth. This is the perfect book to read for Earth Day because it teaches recycling and reusing in an imaginative and happy way. I'm borrowing my daughter's copy to read to my second grade class.
The very best field trips are those that are outside with wide open spaces to explore. My love for the Dallas Arboretum continues to grow. Earth Day is the perfect time to talk about trees. The Dallas Arboretum offers a field trip called “Tree Works” that allows children to explore the connection to plants and people. Hands-on activities are always a hit with children...it’s THE best way to learn. Digging in the dirt to make discoveries and looking at “treecookies” were some of my favorite activities during our most recent field trip that our second grade took to the Arboretum.
The stars at night are big and bright...so are the lights! Here's a gorgeous photo of the United States in April...perfect for Earth Day! See more photos from NASA.
Wishing you an "Emeraldalicious" Earth Day! xx
There’s a charming German phrase, “Aus dem nähkästchen redden.” It means “out of the little sewing box.” I imagine old ladies knitting and gossiping as they sip tea.
Looking at other people’s personal and intimate letters certainly gives us a reason to use that phrase. Ernest Hemingway, Georgia O’Keeffe and Eleanor Roosevelt were letter writers...the very best kind of letter writers. Their sewing box is open. Is it gossip if they’re dead? Are we snooping by reading the private letters of the three famous Americans? Well, they’re “out of the little sewing box” now so I suppose it’s alright...
Letters have always been something I’ve enjoyed writing and receiving. There is so much more of a person’s character and personality inside their letter versus an email, text…even a phone call. Through the letters of Ernest Hemingway, Georgia O’Keeffe and Eleanor Roosevelt, we get a glimpse of their relationships and inside their heads.
My son Quincy shares the same birthday as Hemingway. I’ve read that Hemingway’s parents taught their children the importance of letter writing at an early age. I hope my children will write to me just as Hemingway did to his parents.
Hemingway holds my attention through his novels like no other writer but reading his letters, I feel I know HIM…the real Hemingway…and he was so caring (and funny). Reading letters to his family takes you into his heart.
Hemingway urged his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald to write to him in Pamplona: "Or dont you like to write letters. I do because it's such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you've done something."
One letter to his mother made me laugh out loud written on September 8, 1914:
I got your card thanks very much. Our Train was 2.25 minutes late!! so no school.
The Program is all changed around lunch at a different time and alot of other changes. There was a report circulated around that I was drowned and some of my pals thot I was a ghost. May I PLEASE have SOME LONG PANTS. Every other Boy in our class has them, Lewie Clarahan Ignatz smith and every other little shrimp. My pants are so small every time I wiggle I think they are going to split. And I have about 8 or Ten inches of wrist below me cuffs thusly.
Please say I can have them long ones.
Your drowned son
P.S. My shirt buttons all fly off when I take a full Breath.
I feel a bit guilty reading Hemingway’s letters after knowing that it was his wish that the letters NOT be published. Hemingway wrote to his executors: “I hereby request and direct you not to publish, or consent to publication by others, of any such letters.”
I’m sorry Hemingway but I’m so happy that your sewing box is open!
Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz exchanged over 5,000 letters. Each letter makes the reader feel like they should not be reading such private details of their romance. That’s what letters do…exude romance.
One letter Georgia wrote to Alfred on July 11, 1916 shares how she feels about letters.
I think letters with so much humanness in them have never come to me before- I have wondered with everyone of them- what it is in them- how you put it in- or is it my imagination- seeing and feeling-finding what I want-
They seem to give me a great big quietness- that relieves the tension that I always seem to be feeling.
Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok (known as her “first friend” and referred to as Hick) became close in 1932 when Hickok, who was a reporter for The Associated Press, began covering Franklin D. Roosevelt's Presidential campaign. They wrote letters to each other for twenty-nine years and dearly, dearly loved each other…and their country.
Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to Lorena Hickok from The White House on March 30, 1934:
Darling, I love you & I have just marked five days off the calendar. May seems so far away & yet I know I’m going to be busy & so are you & it will pass but dear one when I sit here just before dinner I wish the door might open & let you in. I wonder if always I’m not going to feel that a day is incomplete which we don’t start & end it to-gether? Well, I don’t on paper anyway. So much, much love & bless you dearest one.
Letters are treasures. I’m so glad these letters are “Aus dem nähkästchen redden.”
When I told my daughter Zooey that I was coaching her team for Battle of the Books she said, "Mommy, you HAVE to make it FUN!" I think that it was pretty easy to accomplish her wish because the books WERE so much fun.
Battle of the Books is a school program that began in the 1930's to encourage excitement in reading while exposing children to quality literature. During the competition the children are asked eighty questions that all begin "In which book" and the team has twenty seconds to agree on one out of twelve books.
The Battle of the Books is a silent competition. Do you know how hard it is to keep kids under seven silent? I had six wonderful children on my team (grades kindergarten through second grade) and we did not /could not practice silent the whole time. It was a challenge to practice silent even for a little while. This is how we practiced most of the time, but we also practiced silently like this.
Out of the twelve books we read, these four were some of my daughter's favorites.
A favorite book of many teachers to read at the beginning of the year to encourage their class to be happy with who they are and not follow the crowd. Poor Camilla must go through her "case of the stripes" as she worries about impressing her classmates. I think Camilla is a lot like my daughter...She loves lima beans but won't eat them because her friends don't like them. She tries on forty-two outfits before the first day of school. She doesn't want to be embarrassed. "Everyone at school laughed at Camilla. They called her "Camilla Crayon" and "Night of the Living Lollipop."
Reading about Gregory had my team giggle like crazy. Gregory likes the kind of food you hope for your children to like...eggs, vegetables, fruit, and fish. Gregory's parents want him to eat like they do...tin cans, boxes, tires, and mostly garbage. His parents take Gregory to see Dr. Ram who advises them to compromise. Mother goat says, "We have your favorite today. Vegetable soup. But there is one condition. You also have to eat the can."
This beautiful book was given to me when I was a child. I used my 1979 copy for our team practices. This is one of those books that is a treasure to be passed down. The story continues to translate and be relevant to today's young readers even though it's more than seventy-two years old (written in 1941). I remember my mom reading it to me...it's one of my favorite children's books. I have fond memories of visiting Boston's Public Garden and seeing the statue of Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings created by Nancy Schön. Barbara Bush gave a copy of the sculpture to Raisa Gorbachev in 1991 that can be seen in Moscow's Novodevichy Park.
Poor Officer Buckle wouldn't have an audience without Gloria who could be on Saturday Night Live. Safety is not interesting, but with Gloria, the children learn while they laugh. This story is in second grade's basil reader and always brings lots of laughs. The children remember all the safety tips. Just the other week in my classroom, I stood on a swivel chair to reach for something in my cabinet and one of my students shouted out, "Mrs. Cooley, safety tip #77! NEVER stand on a swivel chair!" Oops!!
Here were the other eight books in the Battle of the Books K-2 competition:
Spring…Primavera! It’s here and it’s grand. Outside the colors are vibrant and fresh. I’m fantasizing about taking a nap on my back patio and relishing in spring like Botticelli's three dancing Graces.
Spring cleaning on the other hand, is something I dread. I don't imagine Botticelli's three Graces having to do spring cleaning. Over spring break, that’s just what I did. Going through my son and daughter’s room for a few days straight was dreadful. Sifting through the past few years of memories and deciding what to keep was something I’ve been putting off for a long, long time.
I had help. My mom was like Botticelli's cupid, targeting me to focus on uncluttering. She was my second set of eyes and with several boxes we managed to make since of their rooms again…now much more age suitable (and I can close their drawers).
Spring cleaning requires much needed therapy. I found mine in yoga class and at the Dallas Arboretum. My yoga teacher began class by saying, “It’s spring and it’s time to clean out the clutter.” Cleaning out the clutter physically means you clean clutter out of your head too. It feels so good.
Clean the clutter out of your child’s backpack and out of your counter with this must have app artkive. I don't feel guilty about throwing away my child’s art/school work…take a picture of it and then artkive it.
Take some reading material with you before you take that nap in your back yard. There are several websites that help you to unclutter and be more productive Unclutter, Lifehack, Dumblittleman, 43folders and Martha’s spring organizing tips.
Rewarding yourself for your uncluttering is absolutely necessary. I suggest an outing to enjoy the beautiful spring time weather. You could feel like this...
Celebrating La Primavera at the Dallas Arboretum.
Jean-Honore Fragonard’s 1767 painting, The Swing is famous for its Rococo style and flirtatiousness. It has that has that a “love is in the air” springtime flingtime feel. It's fun to know that back in 1767 it caused quite the scandal. I can’t help but sing Melanie Safka’s1971 song in my head…it just works!
“I’ve got a brand new pair of rollerskates
You’ve got a brand new key
I think that we should get together and
Try them on to see"
Flirtatiousness can translate to any century or age but springtime is the time when we feel the most flirtatious. Can't you just hear that French flirty woman singing Melanie's...la la la la la la's as she kicks off her shoe to one of her lovers?
Flirtatious French writer, Colette's 1910 novel The Vagabond (the wanderer) tells the story of a woman, Renée Néré, who becomes a music hall dancer after a divorce and contemplates another marriage with a man who is crazy for her. Colette's character, Renee, is based on her own life which makes The Vagabond even more riveting. Written over one-hundred years ago, it still has relevant charm that just can't be dated.
Neroli (the orange flower) is associated with love and romance and known for it's calming effects. In the 17th century an Italian princess, Anne Marie Orsini (princess of Nerola, Italy) was so fond of orange blossom that her name was given to this flower...neroli. Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, Neroli 36, Neroli, and Fleurs D'Oranger are four top neroli frangrances that will sooth you and all those who come in contact with you.
The Lone Star State's bluebonnets are blooming. Texas ladies like to wear pretty boots with flowy skirts and dresses. These Old Gringo boots would be perfect for a romantic picnic. I like the romance of letter writing and what a special way to personalize your letter with a Texas size return address stamp. Do you wear your heart on your sleeve? What about your state around your neck? What a perfect way to show your pride. GaugeNYC state pendant necklaces give "Deep in the Heart of Texas" a visual meaning. I love the idea of wearing my state close to my heart.
Madeleine Peyroux's new release, The Blue Room, is perfect for springtime flingtime love and afternoon delights. I love her versions on four of Ray Charles' songs but my favorite is her take on the Everly Brother's, Bye Bye Love with her Billie Holiday pitch...it's beautiful.
Spring is the perfect time to mix and match patterns and colors. I can't get enough of Sferra's Piccadilly country pattern. It's just right for a picnic and Easter brunch. The kind of girl that wears the Clover Canyon Turquoise Valley Neoprene dress is a girl who wears rollerskates AND kicks them off in a swing. I'm so excited that it's time to think about swimsuits. I love these pretty feminine springtime patterns of one-piece suits by Camilla and Marc and Madewell.
It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
It's spring...time for a brand new pair of rollerskates! And make sure you bring the key! xx
Top Ten Irish "must do" list for St. Patrick's Day
May you always walk in sunshine. May you never want for more. May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.
|Family fun...what it's all about! Happy St. Patrick's Day!! xx|
|Two of my friends whose birthday's I love to celebrate|
BIRTHDAYS are so much fun to celebrate, especially when you're celebrating for someone else. My friend Margot just celebrated her Geburtstag and I made her a Chocolate Coffee Whiskey Spice Birthday Cake with Mascarpone Icing.
Margot makes a BIG deal out of saying "DON'T make a deal about my birthday." Well my Austrian friend, I simply cannot say mir Wurst (it's all sausage...it doesn't matter) about your birthday because birthdays should be celebrated BIG...they are not all sausage but rather chocolate spiked with a little alcohol!
If you're a Sex and the City fan you might do what I do and relate all things in life to an SATC episode (like most people do with Seinfeld). I was recently remembering the episode when Carrie had to pay for her own birthday cake because nobody showed up to her party and then walking home alone she drops the cake in an NYC construction site...awful!
Friends should always make their friend's birthdays better than they expect it will be. How do you make it special? Easy, you remember it!
Make your friend's birthday a happy one and say, Alles Gute zum Geburtstag und prost!
TEA has a soothing, relaxing quality that has always set me right. I first started drinking tea when I was in the seventh grade. My parents took a trip to England and when they returned my mom served us tea just like they had experienced in Great Britain…on a tray with sugar, milk and toast. I was hooked. I still prefer my tea the British way, with milk and sugar.
When I wake up in the morning, I’m anticipating my first sip. Making tea is a happy ritual. Listening to the water hiss, selecting my tea, the delicate aroma when the hot water touches the tea, the heat of the cup in my hand…everything about tea is comforting. Taking the time to prepare tea in the morning allows me to slowly wrap my head around the day.
My favorite accompaniment with tea is sourdough bread toasted with strawberry jam and the Dallas Morning News.
Tea has a cultural individuality. No two teas are exactly alike and each has its own trademark flavor…like wine, tea has a terroir (where the roots of a plant nestle into the ground and the tea takes on the sense of the place).
I like to start the day with Tazo Awake tea. It’s bold, black and smells heavenly! Later, I switch to Twinings chai to spice up the mid-morning. Then in the afternoon I enjoy a peppermint tisane to calm down the day and smooth away the rough edges.
|Wouldn't you love to drink tea from this Italian Hybrid Collection?|
It is contentment times two to share a cuppa with a friend...just like the song Tea for Two. Some of the very best conversations take place with tea. Sharing a cup of tea with a friend is the perfect recipe for a lasting friendship. If tea cups could talk they’d spill all kinds of warm secrets.
My daughter likes to drink tea with me. It’s a delight to share tea with her. I like to prepare for her a chamomile tea with honey. Making tea for someone you love and sharing sips together is high up on my list of best moments.
When I sip my tea, I feel warm and cozy inside. I’m content and everything is right. Tea makes the world a better place.
Put the kettle on, it’s always a good time for a cuppa.
If you are cold, tea will warm you;
If you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are exhausted, it will calm you.
Happy birthday to my Grandmother!!
Fervent Bridge Master, Frequent cocktail maker and Faithful Irish Catholic
If there were a trophy for having the most fun in life, my grandmother, Patricia Ann Shaughnessy Stricklin would win! She was like a magnet...people loved to be in her company and she was always the life of the party.
My grandmother (who liked to be called Pat, I called her Mema) simply had what it took to be très chic and glamorous without even thinking about it. Even after five children she managed to keep her girlish figure and ALWAYS wore red lipstick. She had many friends…some were life-long like the girls above that she shared most of her school days with.
Pat was the baby of eight siblings, the mother of five children, grandmother of ten grandchildren AND great-grandmother of three!
As a young girl, one of her favorite subjects was French. She went to a Catholic boarding school in New Orleans for a short time and St Matthews in Monroe. She also studied French at the University of Louisiana in Monroe.
My grandmother always had music playing in the kitchen. She worked at a music store when she was in high school and became familiar with many genres. Louis Prima, Johnny Mathis, Billy Joel, and Madonna were some of what I remember her listening to (among many others).
She was a Gold Life Master Bridge player (not many points away from Diamond Life Master Bridge player). She also played scrabble, backgammon and poker. She was quick and witty on top of that.
I remember her taking me to the fancy casino boats in Shreveport to gamble and being so impressed at how she made friends with the whole blackjack table...calling people by their first names, having the table in stitches, and teaching them how the game should be played…the fun way!
My grandmother had a “sweep the kitchen” attitude with cooking. If you’ve got it, use it! She taught me how to add things to my pasta for flavor and now I can’t put steak in my spaghetti without thinking of her! If she were to order a pizza, she’d really say “sweep the kitchen!”
She was of the generation of cocktails at five and her favorite drink was W.L. Weller bourbon with Tab. My mom remembers my grandmother cooking when she was a child. Mom says, “She’d have a cocktail and cigarette in one hand, a novel in the other and be cooking at the same time.” Being full of energy and quick to move from one thing to the next, that was just the kind of thing she could do.
My grandmother would have celebrated her eighty-first birthday today. She passed away last week. She will be missed every day. I love you Mema!
Four generations together
Her favorite Madonna song:
Take a bow, the night is over
This masquerade is getting older
Lights are low, the curtains down
There’s no one here…
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach. ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning
It's time to say, "Love, Love Me Do" to the ones you love and seal your affection with a Valentine's Day gift.
Send your love with these Valentine's Day cards:
Je t'aime cards by Sugar Paper for Goop come in pretty pastels in a set of ten.
You're My Lobster also by Sugar Paper is the way they say I love you in Rhode Island.
Sending You My Love by Rifle Paper Co is perfect for everyone on your mailing list.
Classroom Valentine's for the kids will add a personal touch that will bring lots of smiles. You can find a card to match every personality then add their photos. I couldn't have found better cards for my little construction worker and ballerina.
Valentine's for Her:
Jennifer Zeuner's love necklace is made with rose gold...all you need is love!
XO earrings make the perfect gift for your Valentine.
Heart tights will add a sweetness to her outfit and her day.
Eberjay camisole and tap pants are so romantic in pretty purple and scalloped in lace but made comfortable in jersey.
Lollia luminary is decorated in a romantic Chinoiserie style and smells of mandarin orange, tangerine, ripe peach, mango, creamy vanilla, and smooth musk.
Valentine's for Him:
Tumi earbuds are the ultimate in sound and comfort.
La Maison Du Chocolate Assorted Chocolates will tickle his taste buds with various samples of quality chocolate.
Four cheese ravioli is what you should make for him. The way to your man's heart is through pasta!
Valentine's for the Children:
Haba Doll Pram would make the sweetest Valentine for a little girl who loves her baby dolls. I love everything made by Haba. Wooden toys have a warmth that can't be beat. I also love this wooden top toy for my son.
This heart apron is sure to inspire baking with love with your little one.
A Charlie Brown Valentine is an absolute must to own. My children love to watch it even when it's not Valentine's Day.
My husband Derek recently had a dream that I was going to leave him for Robert Plant (singer for Led Zeppelin). In Derek's dream, Robert Plant told him, "Dude, you can't win! I can buy her all the shoes she wants!" Honey, I love you and out of all the shoes in the world you'll always be my perfect fit.
Derek bought these heart shoe clips for his favorite Valentine's...pink for our daughter and red for me.
It's true that flowers, chocolate and gifts are nice but "all you need is love" Happy Valentine's Day! xx
One of the top dance companies in the world, The Joffrey Ballet graced Dallas this past weekend for the first time in twenty years. The program in Dallas’ Winspear Opera House included Edwaard Liang’s, Age of Innocence (2008), Christopher Wheeldon’s, After the Rain (2005) and Vaslav Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (1913). The three performances gave the audience a mix of emotion, romance, and history all in one night.
Liang’s Age of Innocence left me spellbound and floating...my favorite piece of the evening. It was breathtakingly beautiful and I didn’t want it to end. Watching the dancers I felt like I could have floated down from the mezzanine and joined the Joffrey. The dancers took in the audience like the gravity of the moon takes in the tide. I could feel myself breathing with them, sliding with them…it’s how I imagine flying would be.
Age of Innocence was inspired by the novels of Jane Austen and Edith Wharton and captures the time of arranged marriages and the roles of women. Imagine the annual season of balls where daughters might be able to select a suitor. I loved the way Liang captured the romantic courtship and was reminded of the dance scene in Jane Austen’s Emma. It was dreamy and the dancers made everything looks so effortless as they lovingly melted into each other…truly beautiful!
Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain began as a pas de six with dancers dressed in steel gray. There were many memorable images but the dancers extensions were what left me gasping for air. There was a coquettishness that the steel gray woman possessed over the men as they manipulated them en pointe. The second part of After the Rain was a gentle and graceful pas de deux danced to Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror in Mirror). It felt like an underwater Romeo and Juliet…so lovingly tender. There was an endless lyrical quality of Wheeldon’s adagio that was left you wanting to linger in the dancer’s timelessness. It was poetry in motion. Here is a version from the Australian Ballet.
One-hundred years ago at the premiere of Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) in Paris, a riot broke out in response to the violent fertility rite that Ballet Russes performed. There was no riot in Dallas as the Joffrey Ballet performed the re-creation of Vaslav Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps to Igor Stravinsky’s powerful score.
Nijinsky choreographed Le Sacre du Printemps on Ballet Russes in 1913 and rocked the dance world. The Paris audience was expecting tutus, tiaras and pointe shoes and instead got the primitive and shocking first modern ballet created. Nijinsky's ballet started a riot in the Theatre des Champs-Elysees with audience members hitting each other, stripping and being carried off by the police.
One-hundred years later, Le Sacre du Printemps may not be considered as avant-garde as it was then, but it is still stirring.
In 1987, with no record of choreography, Millicent Hodson (dance historian) and the Joffrey Ballet reconstructed Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps using interviews, reviews, photographs and sketches to follow Nijinsky’s ideas.
Forty of the Joffrey Ballet dancers in vivid colors of native Russian tribes formed circular groups against a beautifully painted countryside. Ballet dancers that are usually turned out and en pointe were pigeon-toed and flat footed. Their feet were stomping, arms flinging, sharp angles were executed, long braids whipping…it was not at all what you imagine ballet to be.
Simple movements became more dramatic and primal as Stravinsky’s music would build. The main event was the sacrificing of the “Chosen One” who is to dance herself to death in order to make the sun return. Watching the “Chosen One” (Elizabeth Hansen) start to tremble with fear as the six men wearing bear skins continue to circle her, the audience is scared for her and you can imagine the scandal it caused in 1913.
LAST weekend when my husband told our children that we were going to be making pizza, it sounded something like this, "YESSSS! I wanna help. Where's my apron? Can I pull up a chair to stand on? Can I snack on the cheese? I wanna put on the green olives!"
The house was buzzing with excitement and we had not even begun to prep.
My husband, Derek, is our pizza maker, we are his sous chefs.
Derek has adapted a pizza dough recipe from Julia Child after I personally consulted Bobby Flay. It’s in the water and the cheese. You can read about the pizza conversation I had with Bobby here.
Cooley Family Pizza Dough for two 16 inch disks
The yeast mixture:
1 package dry-active yeast
1 C tepid water
1/8 t sugar
Additions to the yeast mixture
¼ C cold milk
¼ C olive oil
The dry ingredients:
3 C flour
1 ½ t salt
Whisk the yeast ingredients in a measure and let bubble up five minutes. Measure dry ingredients into a kitchen aid stand mixer with the dough hook and mix until the dough forms a ball. Let it rest five minutes and knead by hand. Then let the dough rise in a covered bowl until doubled in bulk (about 1 ½ hours). If you are not ready to bake, punch the dough down and set the covered bowl in a cooler place where it will keep safely for an hour or more.
For the sauce, we like to use: 1 can crushed tomato, 2 T oregano, 2 T thyme, 1 crushed garlic clove, heavy pinch of red pepper flakes and drizzle the top with 1 T olive oil for cheese (mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and provolone) to brown. Oven should be preheated to 500 degrees. It takes approximately ten minutes per pizza. You must watch it! When the cheese is brown, the pizza is ready. (Let your kids have fun with the toppings).
If you think cooking with two children is fun, imagine one-hundred-twenty children. I had the pleasure of choreographing a science lab “dance” to go along with our lesson of how matter changes. We made muffins and created an irreversible change.
I honestly think my own two children were louder than the one-hundred-twenty second graders because I said, "I'm only picking the most quiet children to help cook." They all really wanted to crack the eggs! Children love to break, squeeze and cut things…they’re not afraid to get messy.
I notice with both my children and all the second graders that when they are responsible for preparing the meal, their five senses are more aware and they better appreciate the food because they helped to make it. All the more reason that children should be involved in the kitchen.
Mrs. Cooley's Banana Muffins
3 C flour
1 t baking soda (mixed with 4 T sour cream)
1 t salt
½ t baking powder
½ t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
2 C sugar
1C vegetable oil
1 T vanilla
4 ripe bananas, mashed
Line muffin cups with paper liners. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix wet ingredients: start with sour cream mixed with baking soda, add three eggs and sugar, oil, and vanilla then fold in mashed bananas. Use an ice cream scoop to evenly divide batter in muffin cups. Bake on the middle rack until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick tester comes out clean (about 20 minutes). Transfer to a rack to cool.
Cooking with children is a lot like choreographing a dance. The choreographer has to be quick and interesting so they don’t lose a child’s attention.
My friend Craig Alderson, from Cooking with Class, is a chef and a dad, has the perfect and hilarious example of why you need to be quick in the kitchen with children.
"There was this one time when I had my daughter Hannah, who was two at the time, on the kitchen counter one morning helping daddy cook. We were making eggs in the skillet, and we had a can of powdered carpet cleaner nearby. It was vanilla scented. She picked it up and shook all over the eggs thinking she was seasoning them! Smelled awful! We joke about till this day."
Be brave, be patient and have fun cooking with your children. Whether it is a cooking success or mishap, the experience makes for great lessons and the memories are priceless! When you share the kitchen with your children, cooking is even more of a pleasure.
What do you do on a snow day? Play in the snow of course but then what do you do to prevent cabin fever? How about watching an old movie, using your extra Christmas candy canes to make a cocktail and ice cream (most people have a burgeoning supply of candy canes after Christmas), and playing the game scavenger hunt.
Ashley’s Candy Cane Ice Cream
6 large eggs (separated)
6-8 crushed candy canes
1 ½ C egg nog
1 ½ C heavy cream
1 t vanilla
Crush candy canes using a mallet (little boys are excellent helpers). Separate the eggs in a bowl, add egg nog, 1 cup of cream, and sugar to a saucepan. Add remaining ½ C cream to the bowl with the egg yolks (save the egg whites for breakfast). Whisk the yolks and cream. Temper the egg yolks (add about ¼ C of the hot egg nog mixture to the egg mixture so they don't scramble). Then add it all to the milk mixture. Stir on medium low heat until the back of a wooden spoon is coated. Strain custard into a separate bowl and add vanilla. Cool in the freezer or over ice, and then churn. Towards the end of the churning, add crushed candy canes.
My sister and brother gave us two different Scavenger Hunt board games for Christmas and my children love them! It is the perfect game for a snow day because children search for objects in the house. It keeps kids moving and the good news is that a messy house is a precursor.
Buck Privates is a 1941 musical with the Andrews Sisters that will make you smile and feel nostalgic. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello have enlisted in the army in order to escape being hauled off to jail for peddling ties on the street, and soon find themselves in boot camp. To their surprise, the company's drill instructor is none other than the cop who was about to put them in jail! Bud and Lou turn the military upside down...laughing all the way! There are hilarious bits and dreamy musical numbers by the Andrews Sisters (including Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy).
Chocolate Candy Cane Cocktail
1 chocolate candy cane, crushed, for garnish (I used Hershey's chocolate candy canes)
2 ounces chocolate vodka
2 ounces of Bailey’s chocolate mint crème
Small scoop of candy cane ice cream (see above)
Dash of chocolate syrup
Place crushed candy canes on a small plate or saucer. Wet the outside rim of a chilled martini glass with water. Holding the glass by the stem, rotate the rim to coat with candy.
In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, Baileys, ice cream, and syrup; shake until well combined. Strain into prepared glass; serve immediately.
Chocolate and peppermint are two of the most natural accompaniments made by God. ~Derek Cooley (my husband and my bartender)
Glamorous Bottle Stoppers
These colorful jewels will make cocktails feel glamorous and girly and go perfectly while listening to the Andrews Sisters sing in Buck Privates.
Be prepared for your snow day. Keep your bar well stocked, eggs in the fridge and games and movies ready to play. I love snow days...probably because I live in Texas and we don't see them that often. Stay inside where it's warm because baby it's cold outside. You can find more ideas on snow days here.
Happy Birthday Paige!!
Little sister, musician and merrymaker!
My little sister Paige is my favorite person to laugh with. Earlier this year I called her laughing so hysterically that I couldn't even speak. She patiently waited (while laughing with me) until stopped giggling hard enough to share with her what was so funny. If I know something funny, she's the first person I want to share it with.
When my husband and I watch a funny movie together with Paige, she always makes the movie more hysterical with her goofy character voices. My Mom and Dad always beg us to do our pretend Saturday Night Live skit of "Chinese Cheerleading" that we've been practicing since elementary school...it gets funnier with wine!
When Paige comes in town, we stock the pantry with kettle corn and my husband is sure to make her favorite dinner, sticky chicken wings.
Paige is one of those extroverts who knows everyone everywhere. When my sister lived in New York City my mom and I visited her. I remember the three of us walking down fifth avenue and someone across the street shouted, "PAAAIGE!" It happened again with a different person when we were shopping for her apartment in Gracious Home. That same day, Katharine Hepburn hugged her after she had waited on her in the restaurant she worked at, Brother Jimmy's BBQ. There's always someone somewhere who knows my sister and if they don't know her, they want too!
|My sister Paige on an Easter egg hunt, dressed as Betty Boop for Halloween and silly sibling pics from the 80's.|
After I had my first child, my sister helped out so much. I don't mean she did the dishes and laundry, but she just knew how to make life happy and easy going! I was so tired and was trying to finish the book "The Baby Whisper" when she told me to close my eyes and she read it out loud to me.
Growing up, Paige and I used to share a room then later, the upstairs of my parents house. She's a very heavy sleeper and when her alarm would go off for school, she would KEEP SLEEPING! She was smart to move her alarm away from her bed so she'd have to get out and walk to it and try to wake herself up.
Something I admire about my sister is that she doesn't seem to need anything material. I think of her a little like a nomad, moving from Texas to Montana to New York to California and she just goes...not holding on to material things. I also admire her confidence and spirit. She's a talented singer/songwriter. Her band is called The Peach Kings and she just keeps getting better. My favorite song she sings is Fisherman. It's like a Lay's potato chip...you can't listen to it just once!
|Aunt Paige making my children laugh!|
My little sister is a beloved Aunt! She creates scavenger hunt games for the kids, plays endless games of hide and seek and is not afraid to be loud playing "marching band" while my little ones follow her around the house banging on drums.
|Three sisters saying serefe! (our sister-in-law Jeyhan, me and Paige)|
Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply...~Jane Austen
Many happy returns ma petite soeur!
I love you!
My friend Jen and I have spent many New Year's Eve nights together...starting in the early 90's. It's changed a bit since we've had children, but we have double the fun with NYE energy times four!
Jen lived several years after college in Boston where she met her husband. My husband grew up in Rhode Island so that makes lobster a perfect New Year's Eve dinner...our children love it too!
New Year's Eve celebrations are often thought of as being adult-only parties but the kids get just as excited about saying, "Happy New Year" as the adults.
The kid's table is where it's happening! Like any party avec les enfants, the kid's table is the one with all the noise makers, party hats, English party crackers, and M&M's sprinkled like confetti!
Families with young children might as well entertain at home with friends. I promise, it's loads of fun and you're making happy memories for your children. Who knows? Maybe our children will continue the "Jen and Ashley New Year's tradition" of ringing in the New Year together! For now, we're perfectly happy celebrating the New Year a little bit early with good food and the best of friends.
Glamorous glasses are the only way to go for New Year's Eve. The coupe is my favorite glass to drink champagne from but I also love these dainty and ever so feminine champagne flutes from Olive and Cocoa. My daughter would call these "Fancy Nancy" glasses. The kids will be tickled pink to have their white grape juice in this glass.
As for the adults...we'll be drinking Kir Royal champagne cocktails. A little splash of blackcurrant liqueur makes for a delicious start to the New Year. It's called a "Kir" after a priest in Northern France, Canon Felix Kir. The priest was tired of drinking poor quality wine during WWII and found that a little creme de cassis, made the wine drinkable. When mixed with a proper bottle of champagne or white wine, it's amazing good and goes well with lobster!
Something else you might need for your New Year's Eve fête is the Corkcicle...the newest and "coolest" wine gadget and New Year's Eve is the perfect time to use it. Imagine eliminating the ice bucket and keeping your wine/champagne chilled for an hour right on the table...fabulous!
The kid version of the corkcicle is a glitter wand. This makes the perfect party favor! Don't you remember being memorized by glitter wands when you were a child.
However you celebrate, cheers to tradition on New Year's Eve and singing Auld Lang Syne with the best of friends because that's what singing Auld Lang Syne is for...a tribute to friendships that have endured.
Should old acquaintance be forgot,and old lang syne?
Wishing you a very Happy New Year!
We are only weeks away from Christmas day! Here are some ideas to help you check off everyone on your list. Think personalized and thoughtful gifts that make your loved ones feel extra special. Chop! Chop! Time is almost up. Need more ideas? Check gift guides from 2011. Happy Shopping!!
Gifts for the Kids
Geomag Young builders will have fun with magnetic construction. This is one of my little boy's favorite things to play with. It doesn't break, teaches problem solving and creativity. starting at $19.95
Paris in a box Play with wooden landmarks of Paris. $17.95
HABA Wonderful World Wooden Animal Blocks Children can create scenes with wooden animals, figures and trees. $31.04
Tegu I love the click-clack sound of the Tegu magnetic blocks and the feel of the hardwood. These are one of my favorite toys my little boy has and plays with more than his Legos. starting at $12.00
Doll Party Pillow My little girl loves to play with dolls and dress up. I thought this would be the perfect gift for her. $59.95
Lego Big Ben For kids of all ages! You're never too old for Legos! $39.95
Gifts for Everyone
Stickygram magnets with photos from instagram that can decorate your fridge or a Christmas present. These will bring lots of smiles...and so will the price. $14.99
Wax Seals Seal your card with a xo and make your letters oh so special! $16.00
Silicon Ice Ball Maker Imagine the smile you'll get from your husband when you serve him his favorite cocktail with a giant ice ball!
Talavera Platters Give the gift of color in the kitchen with a beautiful Mexican platter. $76.46
Kaleido Trays stackable and versatile, these trays make organization colorful. starting at $16.00
Feed Projects I have such love for Feed Projects. Give a gift that gives in return. starting at $5.00
Gifts for Mom, Sister, Best Friend...
Priceless Prints A kit that lets you take your child's fingerprint and turn it into jewelry. $75.99
Wire wrapped personalized bracelet delicate cursive that's personal and unique. $99.95
Gold Initial Earrings These earrings will become your best friend's signature piece. $132.00
Ten Thousand Things You will find beautiful and colorful jewelry here that looks like it could have been heirloom. starting at $65.00
Gifts for Dad, Brother, Best Friend...
Glow in the Dark Bocce Ball Everyone loves a game and anything outside in the dark is fun! $68.95
New York Times Subscription Make his weekend happier with his favorite newspaper.starting at $3.90
Brooks Brothers Boxers I always give my husband boxers for Christmas. Brooks Brothers are his favorite.
3 for $59.00
Shirt Pocket Magnifier This might be of some assistance at his desk and he will thank you! $6.99
When I asked my husband for ideas on what a man wants, his first response was for everyone to be happy. I did get out of him that he appreciates a custom made shirt. Good luck with that one!
I always think this Bo Derek quote at Christmas time...Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping. It's all about the smiles