Tag: latkes

put on your yarmulke.

Fresh Scratch, Menorah, HanukkahI didn’t grow up celebrating Hanukkah. It’s one of those things I’ve created space for in my life as an adult. I was drawn to it years ago when I noticed on my family tree that my great-oma’s last name was Morowetz. I pieced together a story somehow, and that story led me to purchase the gorgeous menorah in this picture, hand-forged in Vermont by some blacksmith in his barn. Because – come on! – this is my menorah we are talking about. It simply had to be folksy.

Long, long ago, somewhere up my family tree – maybe past what I can see – these eight nights were a big deal. I don’t want to forget that. I want to remember it and honor it. A lot was lost for these celebrations to continue. It feels more right each year that I should make space for these flames.

It’s funny what we come to know about ourselves. Some of it takes so long to rise up to the surface. When my girls and I light these candles at sundown during this season of hustle and bustle, it’s like my soul sighs a sigh of great relief. Everything goes quiet and still inside of me. It is indeed a holy time for a girl whose idea of “holy” is generally pretty unconventional. It feels right.

These candles and this ritual that we hold for just a hair over a week center me somehow. They pull me into myself. They pull me out of myself. The stillness makes me feel a gratitude that moves me. When the shamash is lit each night, I almost feel a memory that is not mine. It exists further back. I feel tethered to something that’s hard to explain. It’s the weird deja vu feeling I get when I am in eastern Europe; it somehow feels connected to the way I love the grittiness of those cities and towns because the grittiness makes the beauty sparkle all the more. It’s kind of like life, isn’t it?

So this is my menorah in my new front window. I think it looks best here of all the homes it’s been in. I will take that as a bit of holiness, as well. Look what happens when we just feel our way through everything – we stumble sometimes into the divine.

The runner-up to lighting these candles every night of Hanukkah? Hanukkah dinner. I do not even know if this is a thing. But I have made it quite the thing, so let’s just go with it. I just finished up the dishes from tonight’s big feast {dish duty was accompanied by a dog at my feet and this! podcast! with! bruce!}. My cousin Evie and her family were over earlier, and kids were running around, we were drinking wine, I burned my hand in the oil… and we still managed to feast on brisket, noodle kugel, and latkes with applesauce. If you could scratch and sniff that photo for the smells all around that menorah, you’d want to write home about it.

There is absolutely zero I change in these recipes when I make them, so we will call them “borrowed.” Just click on the links above – the brisket goes in the crock pot all day and couldn’t be easier, the noodle kugel isn’t much more than mixing some stuff with some par-boiled noodles and throwing it in the oven, and the latkes aren’t too scary to make, even if they are from a Martha recipe.

There’s one more night left, homies. To quote Adam Sandler, “have a happy, happy, happy, happy Hanukkah.”

Or whatever it is that brings you quiet deep down in the places that matter.


ms. fresh scratch




2013 Christmas Parade, III

By golly, it’s been two weeks since my last insta.friday post! There are lots of pictures and things on which to catch you up! I am emerging from some sort of terrible cold and flu and ready to share with you. Ready? Set? Let’s go – just you, me, and my cell phone pics from the past two weeks.

Want to see these before everyone else? Check me out on Instagram where my handle is mrsfreshscratch.

instafridaybuttonI’m linking up with Jeannett at Life Rearranged, as per usual. Thanks, Jeannett! Check out the pics of her “naughty little pork chop!”


The Pioneer FarmBrrr! I thought it was freezing cold in the foothills of Mt. Rainier two weeks ago when we tagged along with Annabelle’s Brownie troop to the Ohop Pioneer Farm and Native American museum. Uh, that wasn’t cold compared to this week’s temperatures that never got above freezing! But I digress…

…Can I just say I am so glad I wasn’t a teacher back in the pioneer days? To have to get to school before everyone else and get that fire going? No thank you.

Lyle Lovett & John HiattMy friend Tracy’s date couldn’t make it to Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt in Tacoma, so guess who she remembered has a little thang for Lyle? Moi.

What a fun night! It’s such a lovely theatre, the Pantages. It was just Lyle and John on the stage, sitting down with two guitars apiece. They swapped songs and stories, with Lyle ribbing John endlessly and getting all the dirt on his songs, but John never doing the same back to Lyle.

Lyle Lovett is a very private – and funny! – guy. You’d never expect him to be like that with that hair and that too-small suit that screams, “I’m quirky!”

But he is.

Colorful AnnabelleAnnabelle’s cute little pixie cut is not long for this world; today she’s getting it trimmed and ready to turn into a bob over the rest of the school year. I have never met a more fickle kid! And that outfit?! She was so dang colorful when we went to Target that I had to stop and snap a picture. She sure loves fashion.

Wreaths at CostcoThe girls and I hit up Costco for some December stocking-up. I love the moments where I ask them to stop what they’re doing – even in crazy Costco – and soak something up. Case in point? “Girls! Come stick your heads in this bin of wreaths and take a deep sniff!”

I love the smell of Christmas.

"Matthews" wineLast summer I found “Clementine” rose’, and now I just found “Matthews” red wine. It’s a matter of time before the universe shows me she’s with me and makes a “Kelli” vintage, I just know it!Granny SmithsGranny Smiths. The night before we left for Thanksgiving at the beach. Because making flat-apple pie is what all moms stay up way past bedtime doing, right? Right?

Long View Frying PanOur trip to Long Beach with the mister’s family for Thanksgiving was lots of fun. Can’t wait to do a longer post on it. Meanwhile, how about this frying pan? It used to be the world’s largest! Because you need one that’s really big sometimes, right??

Long View Cranberry BogThe coast near Long Beach has a thriving cranberry industry. Yes – they grow outside of New England! Isn’t the color gorgeous? I wanted to stick my hands into that bog.

All the cranberry bogs made me think of a book I absolutely adored reading in my chilly upstairs bedroom in the Adirondack Mountains as a little girl, Cranberry Christmas. Have you heard of it? When I found it at my mom’s place after I became a parent and asked to take it home, I got the sad news that it was my older brother’s first and could I please give it to him? I did. Sigh. Guess who’s going to have fun ordering herself that book on Amazon tonight?!

Reading at Adelaide's in Ocean ParkMy favorite find while we were at the beach was this coffee shop and bookstore in Ocean Park, Adelaide’s. It’s owned by a couple my age and is everything I’d want if I had a business like that: old, spacious, clean, and spare, with the smell of cookies.

I’m so excited that my BFF Shara from college has a family place there so I can go back soon! I could’ve spent all afternoon in that place if it weren’t for a certain 4-year-old daughter who can’t seem to sit still and enjoy the finer things in life {like her big sis here} yet…..

2013 Christmas Parade, IThe Sunday following Thanksgiving is our local Christmas parade each year. This year, Grandma had the hook-up for us all to ride with Santa.

This is the REAL Santa. The one in your parade was not. Sad, but true.

When I told Santa I’d been really good this year, he looked and me, pinched his thumb and pointer-finger together a little, and said, “Just a liiiiiiittttle naughty.” Dangit.

2013 Christmas Parade, IIThis girl sat as far from the big man as she could. I have apparently made too many threats to “call Santa” when she’s being naughty. I’m not proud. Apparently there is lasting damage.

2013 Christmas Parade, III

"Grease" sing-a-longFollowing the parade was the “Grease” sing-a-long. Thankfully most of it went over my girls’ heads. Ever really listened to the words of “Grease Lightening”?!

Sing-a-longs are awesome, for the record. You can really belt it out.

I did.

MenorahLet’s leave you with a peaceful image: my menorah. It was hand-forged in a barn by a blacksmith in Vermont. No joke. It think it’s probably more stunning than anyone else’s. Just being honest.

latkesWe had a nice little Hanukkah around here, complete with some dang-good latkes. My husband’s not the least bit Jewish, but he sure can fry those bad boys up perfectly.

And now for the great tree hunt tomorrow, up in the Olympic Mountains. It’s not supposed to get above thirty, so it’s going to be chilly!

Hope you’re having fun decking those halls and all that stuff,

Mrs. Fresh Scratch