Tag Archives: birthday

Flamingos + Pizza + Babies. Now That’s a Party

13 Aug
Someone was bound to get naked.  Oh, also celebrating one of the few pictures where I'm not DROWNING in sweat. Dang Miami.

Someone was bound to get naked. Oh, also celebrating one of the few pictures where I’m not DROWNING in sweat. Dang Miami.

I survived my child’s first birthday. I survived and I thrived. And let’s be honest, the only reason it was a little bit stressed was me. I can’t do ‘simple’. I really can’t. It’s not in my DNA. Gd bless you if you can do simple. I admire and salute you but I just can’t do it. I mean, you should have seen my Bat Mitzvah. Of course there was a theme (Hollywood). Of course there was a color scheme (black, silver and magenta) and of course, there was a DJ who dressed up like Michael Jackson and did an entire choreographed dance to a medley of Michael Jackson through the years. I mean, this was THE Bat Mitzvah to end all Bat Mitzvahs. So you see, the daughter raised by a mother who bought life-size cut-outs of movie stars and a hot pink sequenced top hats and feather boas as decoration for her daughter’s Jewish coming-of-age party wasn’t going to grow up to tread lightly into her own child’s birthday parties. Oh no. Not a chance.

Grain-free peppermint chocolate chip brownies. One of my most requested recipes.

Grain-free peppermint chocolate chip brownies. One of my most requested recipes.

There was a theme (retro-Palm-Springs-tacky-chic). There was kind of a color scheme (pink, yellow, green). I had made all the decorations, from the “Happy Birthday” sign to gluing about 50 individual sea horse cut out onto toothpicks for cupcake toppers. Part of the reason I made everything is because I can’t in good conscience pay $10 for a happy birthday sign when I can pay less to make my own. Same goes with the cupcake toppers. Paying for things I can make hurts my insides a little so, of course I had to make that stuff. And of course, I made the food. Oh the food. The baking/cooking started at 8:45 on Saturday night and didn’t stop until 1:55 on Sunday afternoon (the party started at 2PM). My husband and I went back and forth with what to serve folks for a late afternoon party — I wanted to go dairy so that I could do dairy cupcakes. We settled on homemade pizzas of varying fun flavors coupled with your usual hummus, veggies, fruit, etc. I also made mini strawberry cupcakes using the Sprinkles Cupcakes recipe, which I highly recommend. And since we have a few loved ones with a grain-free diet, I ended up making mini grain-free pizzas using roasted eggplant and zucchinis as the ‘crust’ as well as grain-free, vegan peppermint chocolate chip brownie bites (I used my own brownie bites recipe, found here, and took out the oats and added a few drops of peppermint oil and vegan chocolate chips). All-in-all, I felt really proud of the party we created to celebrate the first year of life of our sweet girl. But honestly, I do love the planning and the arts and crafts and whatnot but that’s not why I do it all. I go through all this big planning because I also want to celebrate the people who helped make her first year of life so frikkin’ wonderful. Yes, I do love a good theme party and yes, I love cooking for people but more than anything, I love showing the people in our lives my ever-lasting appreciation through food and through taking care of them, even if it is for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. My hope is that they walked away knowing that I love them for loving our girl. And if they happened to take a few dozen extra mini cupcakes away with them as well, that’d be OK too.

Below is a photo journal of the party as well as a few recipes I created for our dear friends. I hope you enjoy!

Grain-free Pizzas

Ingredients:

1 large roasted eggplant OR 1 large, thick zucchini cut into 1.5 inch thick rounds
Marinara Sauce
Cheese of choice
Fresh basil
Oil for baking sheet

How:

Cut eggplants into 1.5 inch rounds and dust with coarse kosher salt. Leave on for an hour to draw out moisture. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Pat down with paper towel. Place on greased baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for roughly 30 minutes – keep eye out for over-browning. Once roasted, top with sauce and cheese — I used a standard marinara and topped some with sheep’s milk feta and some with mozzarella. Top with chopped fresh basil.

Out of the oven

Out of the oven

So. Much. Cooking.

So. Much. Cooking.

I made 3 different kinds of pizzas using puffed pastry dough as the crust — I couldn’t make the crust too. I wasn’t that much of a glutton for punishment. Anyway, the toppings were as follows:

1) Tomato sauce with mozzarella, roasted eggplant, roasted garlic and fresh basil

2) Tomato sauce with mozzarella, sheep’s milk feta and corn

3) BBQ Sauce, black peppercorn Monterrey Jack with caramelized purple onions

Roasted eggplant and garlic pizza.

Roasted eggplant and garlic pizza.

My 1 year old

My 1 year old

We still have 30 of these in our refrigerator

We still have 30 of these in our refrigerator

My Queen

My Queen

Just a bunch of moms being awesome by the pool

Just a bunch of moms being awesome by the pool

They really have no clue what's going on

They really have no clue what’s going on

Ice-cold beverage, anyone?

Ice-cold beverage, anyone?

After an hour in the pool, she was ready to party.

After an hour in the pool, she was ready to party.

Aunt Misty was there too! I bet she didn't even know it.

Aunt Misty was there too! I bet she didn’t even know it.

Seriously, Uncle Mo, do my shades make me look too ironic?

Seriously, Uncle Mo, do my shades make me look too ironic?

Cupcake ecstasy

Cupcake ecstasy

I'm not sure what it is, maybe it's the beard, but Siona is captivated by Zak.

I’m not sure what it is, maybe it’s the beard, but Siona is captivated by Zak.

One of those people I hope I can at least make half as happy as she makes me.

One of those people I hope I can at least make half as happy as she makes me.

Reflection Eternal

4 Apr
Paw Paw

Paw Paw

This past week has brought on a lot of reflection.  Sure, it was Passover and I couldn’t help but think that this time last year I was pregnant and now I’ve got an 8 month old and boy, how time flies.  But with Passover comes my grandfather, my mom’s father’s, yarteitz, the anniversary of his death.  Paw Paw passed away on the last day of Passover two years ago.  My mom likes to light-heartedly joke that he passed away on the last day of Passover so no one will forget the anniversary of his death.  But to  live 31 years with grandparents is a blessing so, quite obviously, we would never forget regardless.  When Paw Paw was in hospice, I was able to spend some alone time with him.  He wasn’t conscious and it was near the end but I made a promise to him that my husband and I would name our first born after him, which we did.  Siona, the feminine version of Sion or Tzion (Zion, a term synonymous to Jerusalem.  Paw Paw’s Hebrew name was Yisrael), was born about a year and a half after Paw Paw passed away.  My poor Southern family could not quite wrap their accents around the name, Siona.  So much so that for about an hour, my brother thought her name was Fiona (this story will go down in family folklore).  Oh how my brother and sister-in-law smiled and nodded and indulged me when they thought her name was Fiona.  It was very, “Ohhh, um, how nice” but in their heads I’m pretty sure they were thinking, “What the h*ll!?  What’s a Southern Jewish baby girl doing with the name Fiona?!”.

Paw Paw and my husband embracing on our wedding day

Paw Paw and my husband embracing on our wedding day

My cousin, Ayelet, walking our grandparents down the aisle at our wedding

My cousin, Ayelet, walking our grandparents down the aisle at our wedding

In the mix of Passover and my grandfather’s yarzeit is my birthday.  Talk about a mixture of emotions.  Yowsa.  I’m two days away from 33.   I can’t believe how much time has flown by.  I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since my Bat Mitzvah! I can’t believe Siona is closer to 1 then not.  It’s all so surreal.   But anyway, what I really wanted to do for this post is to share the speech I gave at Siona’s Simchat Bat.  We were blessed to have so many friends and family present to celebrate her birth so I wanted to explain, on the day we celebrated her arrival, my relationship with not only my Paw Paw, but also my father’s father.  I worry that my kid won’t know how lucky she is to come from such a diverse background; that she won’t fully realize how her cultural background shaped who I am and how grateful I am for it.

Getting some love from Paw Paw and Grandma

Getting some love from Paw Paw and Grandma

This is the original speech.  Please excuse typos.  It was written to help with the whole ‘public speaking while emotional’ thing. 

As many of you know, I come from an inter religious background, it’s the only way you could explain a 5’10” Jewish girl named Whitney Dyan Lacefield, now Fisch. As a kid it was a bit hard having one parent who was one religion and the other another but as an adult I’ve come to truly value the dichotomy that is my background and no one quit emphasizes this than my two grandfathers My Ca Ca, my dad’s dad, represents that Southern side of me that I’m so proud of. He was one of the kindest men I’ve ever met. He was always active, whether tending to his tomatoes or making or building something; you couldn’t slow him down. He said thing like “daggumit” and dagnabit when he was upset. When he died my brother inherited his shot guns, like any good Southern grandson would do. He passed in 2005 and if you think a week has gone by since when I haven’t thought of him or his wife, my grandma Viv, you’d be very wrong. The other side of me is quite obviously my Jewish side and no one represents this part of me than my Paw Paw, whom Siona is named after. I don’t know who my paw paw was as a young man or a father but as a grandfather he was lovely. My paw paw is the reason I fell in love with music and theater. He’s the reason my first celebrity crush wasn’t some boy found on teen beat magazine but Mandy Patinkin (he’d shown Sunday in the Park with George in 1987 and I was hooked). He’s the reason I had any connection or interest in Israel way before I finally went when I was 20. He indulged my love of dining out and cultivated by love of live theater. He loved teasing us grandkids with little jokes and then following up with, “would I kid you”? Most importantly, he loved family. When he got into framing and wallpapered the house in Louisville with beautifully frames pictures of relatives—-some lost  in the Holocaust, others still with us today, thank Gd, I think each of us grandchildren learned a lesson in informal education. How could you not want to know the stories of all those people posing in the frame? As much as we joke about paw paw’s talent for telling and retelling a story, I am most grateful for the familial history I now take with me and will share with Siona one day, Gd willing. I was 31 when my paw paw passed.  To get to spend 31 years with a grandparent is a blessing, to get to spend any time with a grandparent is a blessing. It’s an honor to carry on paw paw’s spirit within our little family. Thank you.

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