Tragic Sandwich

Food. Family. Fun.

Archive for the category “Traditions”

Traditions: Blogging, or Happy Anniversary to Me

Webster Anniversary Cake

As of today, I have been blogging for seven years. I think that hyperlinked text may be longer than my first blog post. So how has my blogging evolved?

In fact, (as you may be able to tell from that first post) I started two blogs–one was Cake Batter, and the other was Tragic Sandwich–which I later merged.

At some point I migrated from Blogger to WordPress, and haven’t looked back. (BTW, the “Tragic Sandwich” blog that’s currently on Blogger? Not me. I should have figured out how to keep that URL.)

It took me a while, but I did learn how to embed photos.

Over time, I got better at it.

What I write about has changed.

The structure of my posts has changed (I still like this one about disgusting wine, but I would definitely hyperlink it if I were writing it today).

With more years of marriage (Mr. Sandwich and I had been married for about 14 months when I started blogging), a home purchase, and most importantly the much-desired arrival of Baguette, my life has changed far more than my blogging.

That said, I am beginning to have an idea that I may be at the point where blogging starts to change my life. Fingers crossed.

How long have you been blogging? And what’s changed for you?

Photo by TN Something Special Cakes, via Flickr.


Traditions: What We Did on the Fourth of July

I like to think my Independence Day tradition is watching 1776, but the fact is that I don’t always do that. In fact, I suspect I usually don’t. But I love that movie so much that it feels like it ought to be my tradition.

My second favorite Fourth came when I lived in Austin. It was incredibly hot, as Austin is wont to be, and my apartment air conditioning was working poorly, as my apartment air conditioning was wont to do. On the spur of the moment, I called my brother in San Antonio and said, “What are you doing for the Fourth?” He said, “[Best friend] is coming over, and we’re going to grill.” I said, “Can I join you?” and then did so. We grilled everything but the french fries–burgers, buns, corn, you name it. After dinner we all went up to the second floor and watched fireworks on the horizon. And because my brother was house-sitting for my parents, the air conditioning was much better.

My favorite Fourth doesn’t even feel like the Fourth, because the highlight of the day had nothing to do with American independence. Nine years ago today, Mr. Sandwich proposed in a way that was so perfectly us that I can’t imagine it happening any other way.

In more recent years, we’ve gone to a variety of parties–last year I think we hit four in the 3-day weekend. But none of those materialized for today, so we woke up this morning with no plans. We talked about whether to take Baguette out to see fireworks–would she love them? would she get scared? After deciding that it would probably keep her up (and us out) too late, we opted for a daytime visit to Travel Town.

When my brother and I were kids, he adored Travel Town–after all, you could climb all over the trains and even sit on top of them. On one visit he spotted a birthday party and announced that he wanted his next birthday to be at Travel Town, and it was.

But we moved away and grew up, and I hadn’t been back. Now, with Baguette, it seemed like it might make a nice outing. We decided to head over as soon as they opened, and I began to get ready. As I was packing the diaper bag, I looked up and discovered that Baguette had passed out on the couch. Apparently she was ready for her nap–two and a half hours early. In the interest of letting sleeping babies lie, we moved her to the bed and postponed our departure.

I’m glad that we did, because she loved it. We read about different kinds of train cars, peered into a car that had been used by USPS, examined a variety of engines and box cars and lounge cars, ran around an empty passenger car (now used for parties, but not being used for anything at the moment we were there)–and of course rode the miniature train that circles the grounds.

She fell asleep on the way home, resulting in an unusual second nap. So while we’re still set on grilling later on, the question remains: will we, or will we not, bundle her up in PJs and shoes to watch fireworks?

Regardless, may you all have a happy and safe Fourth of July. And if you don’t celebrate the Fourth of July, just be happy and safe.

Traditions: Mother’s Day

Baguette was born in April, so my first Mother’s Day was, like every other day, filled with New Mommy Exhaustion. But Mr. Sandwich wanted to make it special for me, and gave me all three things that I asked for.

Last year, all of us were a lot more mobile. But we were also trying to get together with Mr. Sandwich’s mother, since his parents live in the area. So I took a couple of hours to go shopping, but that was pretty much all the time I had to myself.

My solution? Take a day off from work and spend the time doing things that I want to do. I tried it last year, and it worked beautifully. So I’m doing it again today: Breakfast at Panera. Checking how Amazon Prime Streaming works (finally watched Mean Girls). Getting a massage. A two-hour massage. Having an unrushed shower. It’s been a really nice day.

On top of that, Kathy V. of Don’t Forget to Feed the Baby nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award.

So, for the rules:

  1. Add the award to your blog. Done
  2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you and add a link to their blog. Thank you, Kathy V. (See above for link)
  3. Mention 7 random things about yourself. I’ve already been nominated for this award twice, so you can find things here and here. Bonus thing: When people express surprise about learning that I was in a sorority, I say, “Then you’ll really be shocked to find out that in high school, I was in pep squad.” Huh. Maybe that’s two things.
  4. List the rules. You are reading them now.
  5. Nominate 15 other bloggers. I agree with Kathy V. that this can seem spammy. But if you’re looking for new blogs to read, please check out my Links page.

Traditions: Chinese Food

Fortune Cookies - version anglaise

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. She would have been 75. She should be 75. She should be here to see Baguette grow, and hear stories about what we’re doing, and pay long visits in which we’d spend time cooking together (or, given the way things work right now, she’d cook and I’d keep Baguette out of the kitchen).

But she’s not. So we made sure to have Chinese food yesterday in her honor.

Growing up, chow mein was never one of our family’s dishes. But my mom would have been delighted with how absorbed Baguette gets when she eats it. I know I am.

Photo by maza34, via Flickr.

Birthday Fun

I’m a big fan of how I grew up. And I’ve always imagined giving my children the kind of birthdays that I enjoyed when I was young.

But there are alternatives. Today we went to a party for one of Baguette’s friends, held at a local indoor playground. The adults got to talk while keeping an eye on the kids; the kids got to wander from toy to toy.

Also there was pizza. And cake. And coffee.

Baguette loved the slides, and the toddler-sized basketball hoop, and the little cars that rolled on tracks like tiny roller coaster, and her first trip into a bouncer. But none of those were her favorite. What was?

I think we may need to find her a ball-pit bed.

Traditions: Birthdays

I grew up with wonderful birthdays. My parents never rented a pony or bouncy house (the kid across the street had a pony party one year–even at the age of five, I thought that a pony you didn’t get to keep was a terrible birthday gift). But they did put a lot of work into creating a fun experience for me–or my brother, on his birthdays–and our friends.

I remember a pinata so tough my dad had to take a hack saw to it (we made it ourselves–papier mache is strong). I remember square dancing, which most of us enjoyed even while the Mean Girls in my Blue Birds troop (my mom made me invite them) mocked it and refused to participate.* I remember the world’s greatest relay race, in which we had to put on my dad’s clothes and run to a teammate, who would then don the clothes and run back, all of us flopping around in oversized boots and button-down shirts and hats.

And every year, my mom made our cakes from scratch. She used the Four-Egg Cake recipe (although she’d add another egg or two) from the Joy of Cooking, and the frosting was butter blended with powdered sugar. When we were small, she’d cut a sheet cake into shaped segments and then re-assemble them into a duck or a rocket ship or whatever fascinated us that year. Later, she would make flat cakes that she and my dad would decorate by hand. They weren’t ever going to be mistaken for professionally decorated cakes, but they were a far cry from Cake Wrecks. We always had fun working on them, and the love was palpable. And tasty.

So last year, it was really important to make Baguette’s first birthday cake. We had family and a few close friends over for a cookout, and I made the Four-Egg Cake (with another egg or two). The frosting came from a mix, because I have had bad frosting luck for years, and I colored it purple. (Mr. Sandwich’s race color is red, and mine is blue. The symbolism here is magnificent, if I do say so myself.)


This year? I had plans. I made a test cake, which was unsuccessful due to what I’m pretty sure was a failure to put in enough baking powder. We invited family over (we’ll probably have Baguette’s friends over next year, but right now she doesn’t know what birthdays are; in fact, she’s slept through much of this year’s and last year’s). But between work and car problems, it became clear that this was not the week to make a cake.

So I agonized very briefly and ordered a couple of dozen cupcakes from Susiecakes, my favorite baker. They’re not cheap, but they’re delicious–and all I have to do is pick them up. And while I may not be doing it the way my mother did, the love is the same. Plus, it’s still cake. Delicious, delicious cake.


*I just found out that Blue Birds is no more; it has been replaced by the co-ed Starflight level. Alas, my childhood is obsolete!

Photo of Susiecakes cupcakes by Susan Lavoie.

Traditions: Easter Parade

What are your Easter traditions? Growing up, we would hunt eggs and go to Mass. I don’t remember a specific Easter dinner, but I do somehow associate ham with the holiday. So at some point we must have had ham. Presumably at more than one point.

As it turns out, I did not get up earlier than everyone to hide eggs. Baguette woke up squirmy and snuggly, and began her usual morning ritual of bringing things into our bedroom to hand to us. Normally, these tend to be highly portable items, like Fisher Price giraffes and horses, or books. Yesterday morning, though, I could hear her laughing as she came back toward us. And when she rounded the corner, I could see why: she was bringing us a broom. And she was right, when you’re expecting a Fisher Price giraffe, a broom is kind of hilarious.

So we all got up, and I threw on some clothes so that I could run out front and hide eggs without scandalizing the neighbors. Then we got her into a springtime dress and shoes, because after all, it’s really about the photo ops.

Baguette had very little interest in the “hidden” eggs–we had to point them out to her and urge her to collect them. And then she had even less interest in the basket; she point-blank refused to put the eggs into it. What she did want to do was throw them over the fence onto the sidewalk. (Note to self: teach Baguette that eggs are not basketballs.)

Easter egg hunt

Then she went around to our next-door neighbor’s house and climbed over the fence back into our yard. Dress, shoes, and all.

The rest of the day was spent on a snowshoeing outing. Mr. Sandwich had built Baguette a sled, and we figured that–given the dry, warm winter we’ve had–this was probably our last weekend to find snow and test it out. And we did find a little, resulting in successful sled testing.

home made sled

And then we got home and passed out on the sofa bed. Which we still need to replace.

So which parts of this are traditional for us? No idea. The eggs, most likely, but there’s no predicting the future of April snowshoeing.

In Your Easter Bonnet, With All the Frills Upon It

Easter Eggs

That PAAS kit has gotten more complicated. I can’t just follow the instructions–I have to choose which instructions to follow! Do I want pastel shades? Vibrant? “Traditional”? I’m not sure it really matters, though; the intensity didn’t seem to change much. And I’m still no good at creating designs with that little crayon. Can you tell which eggs have names or designs on them? Me, neither.

But it doesn’t matter to me in the slightest, because tomorrow I’ll get out of bed early, no matter how much I don’t want to, and get dressed enough to go into the yard and “hide” these eggs for Baguette’s first Easter egg hunt. I can’t wait.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Traditions: Happy Valentine’s Day

I read this post about Valentine’s Day requirements at some schools. And I totally agree. Valentine’s Day is ridiculous for toddlers.

Mr. Sandwich and I have never paid particular attention to Valentine’s Day. The first year we were dating, the day passed while I was on a cruise with my parents. Another year, we bought each other gifts: I got him a cycling jersey, and he got me a DVD of The Princess Bride. Once we went out to dinner. Once, in January, we passed a store window that said, “Fall in love on Valentine’s Day!” I mustered up all the sarcasm I could (a considerable amount), and said, “Oh, honey, look! We did it wrong!” That was pretty much that.

When we got married (possibly before), I told him, “Don’t buy me flowers for Valentine’s Day. They just increase the price because of the date.”

But now we’re entering a new stage: Valentine’s Day with a child. I have somewhat vague memories of exchanging valentines in class, with decorated paper bags taped to the back each chair. Did I buy cards for everyone in class? Did I get cards from everyone? I don’t remember. It’s been a while.

Baguette’s day care, thankfully, does not require handmade valentines from each child. As far as I can tell, the main thing is that they sent home a pink slip of paper. Mr. Sandwich and I wrote a message on it to Baguette. Then I took it back, used one of the (provided) pink ribbons to tie a (provided) pink lollipop to the note, and dropped it in the basket so that someone can “deliver” it to her today.

I’m not sure I’m crazy about her having a lollipop. She’s not even two–does she need candy? I think this may be her first piece. But I also realize that she is now of an age where she will notice if everyone else gets a candygram and she doesn’t. And I don’t want her to feel left out–or, worse, try to swipe some other child’s lollipop.

We’ll just do a little extra toothbrushing tonight. Maybe that will be our Valentine’s Day tradition.

candy heart cake

Photo by bunchofpants, via Flickr.

Holiday Traditions: Roundup

I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas–unless you don’t celebrate it, in which case I hope you had a very nice day. We can all use nice days.

When I was a child (and a teen, and an adult), I was famous in my family for what we called my “Christmas nap.” I’ve never been one for naps, unless I’m sick. Or it’s Christmas. Apparently this dates back to my infancy, when I got tired partway through opening presents and decided to take a nap. This happened. I’ve seen a photo.

So yesterday we woke up for what was our first Christmas morning in our own home (normally we alternate between Mr. Sandwich’s parents, who are local, and traveling to my side of the family, who are not. We had prepared by pulling out the sofa bed; we already have a developing tradition called “Saturday Night Sofa Bed,” and we decided to extend it to “Christmas Morning Sofa Bed.” I got up a little ahead of everyone to cut up ham (I had made a ham on Friday) for scrambled eggs, and we ate eggs with ham, and apple bread. Then we piled onto the sofa bed to open presents.

Next up: Elmo. A lot of Elmo. Baguette has a cold and clearly feels terrible, so we’re letting her watch more TV than usual. Maybe this isn’t perfect, but, hey, what do you want to do when you have a cold? Curl up in bed and watch TV. She’s no different.

After a while, though, it became clear that she was exhausted and sad (she would cry at the end of each “Elmo’s World”), so we bundled her into the car and drove about 10 feet before she fell asleep. We kept driving for a couple of miles in the hope that it would help her stay asleep. And it worked! When we got home, I piled up sofa cushions and laid her down between me and them. The dog snuggled up on my other side, and we all had a nice, relaxing afternoon as she slept for several hours and I read The Hunger Games.

It’s worth noting here that what this means is that Baguette stole my Christmas nap. But when was the last time I got to read for two hours straight? I don’t know, either.

Once she was up and fed and bathed and changed (into another fleecy sleeper–sick babies don’t have to dress for dinner, IMO), we headed over to Mr. Sandwich’s parents’ house for dinner. After a meal of tri-tip, mashed potatoes, carrots, and brussels sprouts, we opened more gifts and watched a renewed (if still fussy) Baguette run around the house.

I’d like to keep the family, food, and Sofa Bed. Baguette and I both vote to skip the colds next time. But to wind everything up, here are a couple of holiday exchanges from the House of Sandwich:

When Mr. Sandwich got home from his bike ride, I told him how crazy the process of undoing the Fisher Price Noah’s Ark packaging was making me. A moment later, he’s tossing plastic zebras over to me.

Me: How did you do that?

Mr. Sandwich: I think three-dimensionally.

Me: Thanks, Captain Kirk. Now, HOW DID YOU DO THAT?


On whether or not it’s worth making another trip out for gifts on Christmas Eve:

Me: You know I’m very materialistic and not all about the love.

Mr. Sandwich: I give you my love.

Me: I want the thing, dammit.

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