Scenes from Saturday + Pizza Presents

It was a jolting revelation to get an email reminder this week for Cecilia’s upcoming high school information night. As if my birthday wasn’t enough of a nudge that time was clearly accelerating.

By the end of the calendar year, we’ll have a high schooler. Yikes! Michelle then pointed out that we first met when she was just five years older than Ce is now. I put my fingers in my ears and ran out of the room.

After 45 years, if I could go back and give my younger, Cecilia-age self some advice it would be learn these four phrases and use them often: “I was wrong.” “I’m sorry.” “I don’t know.” and “I need help.”

No need to complicate things. Simplicity leads to wisdom.

Here’s my annual birthday list of things I was grateful for last year.

There’s no time to waste. On to Saturday!

Returned from my Saturday run to find Michelle had finished her run and was now doing weights. Can’t stop, won’t stop. I can’t keep up.

I decided reaching for my water bottle counted as stretching and went back upstairs.

Saturday bread this week was a favorite recipe that I hadn’t made in awhile: the harvest bread from Flour Water Salt Yeast. It’s a great recipe to use up bits and bobs of flour or seeds or grains you’ve accumulated in the pantry. It uses a simple overnight poolish and is very hands off, only two folds. A great beginner bread if you’re inclined to try.

FYI – shower caps make excellent re-usable proofing tops for bowls.

Live action Disney show while doing a STEM activity. I’ll call that a mental wash and take a parenting win.

It was district concert band audition day and Michelle was determined to give Ce a solid breakfast.

Ce agreed but also said nail prep was just as important.

Ally was apprenticing as sous chef while Michelle prepped the pasta for today’s birthday dinner.

You’d think we were 75% Italian, not Irish with the arancini, bread, pasta, and (spoiler) pizza that were made yesterday.

As every Nona knows, all homemade pasta making sessions require a kitchen dance break. It’s a required ingredient.

And then you finish up.

And realize with all the flour on her face that Ally looks like a French courtier during the Revolution.

The breads came out looking pretty good. I’m telling you, if you never scratched that pandemic bread baking itch, try Flour Water Salt Yeast. Never let me down.

Many of you have lived through the fraught teenage years. It’s not easy. You often feel like you’re walking on eggshells. Now imagine a teenager with a high-pressure audition walking around your house. Even after a good breakfast, it’s like juggling hand grenades blindfolded.

Once Cece was dropped off, I was unceremoniously kicked out of the house under the auspices of birthday decorating. I spent much of the afternoon at my special place, the library, working on the end of the book.

Meanwhile, the pasta making wasn’t the only thing Ally was apprenticing for yesterday. Michelle threw the leaf blower on her and let her loose.

More on the birthday prep in a moment but the ladies had to skip out later in the afternoon to pick up Cecilia.

Whether she ultimately gets a spot or not, it was a good experience, both the effort to prep and practice for months and to deal with the pressure of auditioning. We are definitely proud.

Also, win or lose, your puppy will always have your back.

I’m not sure what the plan would have been if it had been snowing, but it wasn’t. It was a balmy, late January day and when they told me I could return to the house, I was led out back with my eyes closed to the patio.

And was immediately put to work.

Almost ten years ago I backed one of the original Uuni pizza oven campaigns on Kickstarter. In the past couple years, that original oven started to fall apart.

Phase 2 of the kitchen reno is to upgrade the patio and we had talked about getting a new pizza oven. Phase 2 is a few years away but it turns out Michelle couldn’t wait that long for pizza so I got a new gas-powered Ooni for my birthday.

I plan to work this one just as hard. Last night was a good start.

This did explain the curious reaction earlier in the day when I was searching for the flax seed meal for the bread dough. Turns out hiding a pizza oven and a large table are stressful when the recipient is constantly poking around trying to find things that are still packed from the kitchen renovation

Surprise successful, pizzas cooked, left just dessert, brownies, warmed up in a cooling Ooni, red wine and some Solo stove.

Oh, and, of course, dinner also included a show. You get your money’s worth at our house.

Not a bad way to ease into 46.

Have a great Sunday. Go Eagles!


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