The Holidays


We spent Christmas in t-shirts and shorts in tropical Princeton, NJ. The kids loved hanging out with their cousins. Such a fine looking bunch, don’t you think?!

Santa did not forget Daisy:

…whose workload dramatically increased with everyone’s arrival at her house:

We had our annual Talentpalooza:

When my daughter started playing her violin, Daisy began howling along. We howled right along with her:

New Year’s Eve

We were back home in Charlottesville to celebrate New Year’s Eve with our old friends with whom we have celebrated so many New Year’s Eves in the past.

They’ll be moving from Virginia later this year, so it seemed especially important to do things for auld lang syne…

Our dinner was wildly eclectic…the kind of weird dinner you could only impose on really good friends with whom you have serious history. The kind of friends who’ll stick with you despite whatever crazy thing you dish up.

We had Korean New Year’s soup as a starter. We had lasagna and pizza as our main courses. For dessert Round 1, my husband borrowed his dad’s recipe for Bakewell tart, an English dessert:

When we first began celebrating New Year’s Eve together, our kids were so young that we would have sleepover parties. Since this was such a special occasion, we decided to reproduce our earliest New Year’s Eve parties, sleepover and all. The kids humored us by posing as we tried to recreate some of the New Year’s Eve photos from years past, though as you’ll see, my second son was not at all happy to be up so far past his usual bedtime:



We released my early-to-bed, early-to-rise second son from the torture of staying up and the rest of us got ready for the countdown with dessert, Round 2: A galette des rois.

At the stroke of midnight, a new queen was crowned. We all stumbled to our beds shortly thereafter, with visions of New Year’s Eves past, present, and future dancing in our heads.

We’re going to miss these friends of ours, but I know we’ll take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne…

Wishing everyone health, happiness, and harmony in the new year.

New Year’s Soup

We spent the New Year in Arlington with my parents, my sister, and my cousin Tina.

On New Year’s Eve we had an epic Monopoly game. It may be the first time we’ve ever played an entire game all the way through.

One by one players were knocked out. In the final moments, it was down to my sister and daughter…After some ruthless wheeling and dealing that included making puppy eyes at my sister to induce her to trade her Park Place for some inferior property, and then bankrupting everyone with her hotel on Boardwalk, my daughter emerged as the world’s youngest real estate tycoon and the 2012 Monopoly Champion!

The next day we had traditional Korean New Year’s Soup, or  “Dduk Gook.”

Koreans believe that when you eat a bowl of New Year Soup, it marks another year of your life and you become one year older. The white rice cakes represent purity and possibly the moon (for the lunar new year).

It’s hard to find the ingredients for this soup unless you happen to live near a Korean grocery store, but here’s a recipe for my favorite food of all time:

Korean New Year’s Soup

1 package (about a pound) of dduk (chewy oval rice cakes)

8 cups broth (this can be beef, chicken, anchovy broth, etc.)

4 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 tbsps. soy sauce

2-3 scallions cut into 2 inch long pieces

1/3 lb. lean beef sliced into thin slivers, marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper and minced garlic and sautéed

4 eggs

Mandu (frozen dumplings)

Salt and pepper

Sesame oil

Toasted seaweed julienned

1. Soak rice cakes in cold water for 20 minutes

2. Heat broth, add garlic, soy sauce, scallions, salt & pepper. Simmer 10 minutes.

3. Add dumplings and rice cakes to broth and simmer until rice cakes are soft, about ten more minutes.

4. Lightly beat eggs, then stir slowly into simmering soup. (As you’ll see in the photo, my mom separated the yolks and whites of eggs and fried them separately to use as garnish).

5. Stir in 1-2 tsps. sesame oil.

6. Ladle into large bowls and garnish with beef and seaweed strips.

“Saehae bok mah nee bah duh sae yo!” (May your New Year be filled with many blessings).
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