Like any mom, I’ve got a long list of all the (mostly wonderful) ways my kids have changed my life. And one of the biggies is how my husband and I spend New Year’s Eve.
To be fair, we set the bar pretty high: we rung in our first married New Year from our honeymoon on a beach in Antigua. And while neither of us is a Times Square-style reveler, we always enjoyed celebrating with parties, overnight getaways or late dinners with friends.
All that changed, of course, with the arrival of our firstborn. By the time we felt comfortable leaving him past midnight with a sitter, another baby was on the way. And then one more. Fast forward a few years: our children are a little older, and we’re no longer sleep-deprived zombies. We’re ready, willing and up for some New Year’s fun….and there’s not a babysitter to be had at any price. Apparently they’re all out whooping it up like we used to.
And so, we’ve built new, kid-friendly traditions to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Typically we all venture out in the afternoon to catch one of the blockbuster holiday movie releases. Then we challenge one another to a savagely competitive match of laser tag or maybe bowling. The prize: bragging rights for the whole year. (more…)
My brackets are busted.
A couple of upsets and I’ve now got zero shot at this year’s NCAA pool jackpot. But being out of the money isn’t so bad; I still get to watch the hoop dreams unfold with my friends, many of whose teams are still hanging in.
In a sports world defined by lockouts, salary caps, endorsement deals and trade deadlines, the NCAA basketball tourney is a breath of fresh air. Most of these kids aren’t going pro—they’re playing for the love of the game. They’re taking their best shots, and it’s a delight to see. Best of all, the tournament is a great excuse to shake off the dregs of winter and gather with friends to watch and wager.
My buddy Andy is the Grand Master of March Madness. For the past 20 years, he has scheduled his annual “TV Vacation” just in time for the Sweet Sixteen playoffs. He and his pals gather at his place for a day-long marathon of food, drink and basketball on the giant flat screen. Over the years I’ve seen people come early…come late…come with spouses, children, neighbors and even work colleagues in tow…but they all show up for this can’t-miss party. And everyone brings food, typically of the frat house variety.
It’s October, and in my house that means baseball fever is stronger than ever. It makes no difference if “our” teams are out of the race. Every morning we check scores and at night, talk of standings and playoffs dominate the dinner conversation.
Whether your love of the game extends to being part of the crowd at a major league ballpark, enjoying a game on TV or—like me—rooting for an energetic team of Little Leaguers, baseball is best when enjoyed in the company of another wholesome All-American—popcorn. A few weeks ago I was in charge of the team snack so I brought an enormous bag filled with popcorn; the kids couldn’t have been happier and gobbled it up.
And while everybody loves classic popcorn (with just a touch of butter and salt), I score a major home run every time I serve this Easy Oven Caramel Corn. There’s no need for a candy thermometer to make this recipe, and it’s foolproof.