Scenes from Saturday + Birthdays & Bonfires

We’ve been lucky, in one sense, during this pandemic that both Michelle and I like to cook, but we hit a wall this week. Through convenience or curiosity, we gave up and just threw everything in the borrowed air fryer. It became a challenge by the end of the week.

Here’s the list of things we loaded up and answered the question: “Will it air fry?”

Chickpeas (perfect and crunchy), pickles (eh), grilled cheese (yup), apple fritters (so good), salmon and broccoli together (yes, excellent sheet pan-style dinner), arancinis (italian riceball croquettes – pretty good), chicken nuggets (duh), tofu (not bad), fries (of course), sweet potatoes (double cooked worked best), s’mores (surprisingly good), tots (made for this), burritos, Brussel sprouts, chicken tenders, and cod.

You do what you got to do to get through 2020.

After a few weeks where the only agenda item was a three-pronged attack on the leaves, this past Saturday we had a full slate of activities all focusing on Ally. She had her first reconciliation and a dual birthday party.

But first, some Sound of Music on the couch. Michelle and Cecilia are reading A Night Divided (YA lit tackles some heavy topics) and she has lots of questions about Nazis. She also has no time for Rolf’s antics.

Ally declared her birthday theme this year to Rose Gold and in a sign that there might be a higher power out there somewhere, on Friday night, Michelle stumbled across a Facebook post of someone giving away old balloons for free just a few miles from our house. Rose Gold balloons.

So after the couch, Cecilia and Michelle went off on their secret mission.

It was a success. Who says having Facebook constantly listening to you doesn’t sometimes bring beneficial joy?

After securing the garland balloons (happy it wasn’t a windy or rainy day), we headed off to church for some drive-through sacraments. Ally was nervous and pretty much wanted to tell anyone in earshot her sins, keeping things to herself is not her strong suit, but she eventually made it to the priest and got the job done.

After the reconciliation service, it was time for a few last minute errands. Including the transfer station, of course. However we forgot to get a picture there and we already get some strange looks when photographing the community compost pile, so we didn’t want to go back. Instead, we got the girl’s a quick lunch at the hot dog guy’s cart near the turn for the transfer station.

Pretty sure the girls had no idea you could “cook” a hot dog outside the microwave.

Crazy Aaron is a genius. I’ve rarely seen Cecilia study something this intently.

It wouldn’t be a Saturday in November without some time beating back the leaves. It’s an itch she has to scratch.

After dealing with the leaves, it was all about Ally.

While her actual birthday isn’t actually until the first week of December, her good friend had her birthday last week and we decided to jointly celebrate to amp it up a little since there would be few other guests (just one).

To her credit she didn’t let the virus restrictions or a mask dampen her enthusiasm for her party or opening presents.

A pinata filled with sugar, plus cake, and s’mores probably didn’t hurt either. I was gratified that she requested my pizza for the party and not Papa Gino’s this year. Feels like a milestone. Or just her way of trying to butter me up for a better present.

No pictures of the resulting sugar crash, but it was also intense.

And we made it through Saturday without using the air fryer.