Tag Archives: holidays

photo friday: lean in

6 Jan

The holidays are a hectic time for everyone, but I’m pretty sure it was hardest on the dog. Poor Juniper–so many people coming and going and she was shuttled around from house to house as we made merry and bright. She was all sorts of tuckered out after our first stop at Swede’s parents’ house on Christmas Day, hence her using Baby McSwedolish’s car seat to prop up her block head. We weren’t sure how she was going to make it through the rest of the afternoon, especially since stop #2 included playtime with her lab-mix cousin, Olive. And she can’t not play, amirite? 20161225_115001

zooooommmggg, Maaaaahhhmmm…I’m so tired I couldn’t play another inch, I just need to…wait, I’m okay. I’m okay! Zoooooooom!

She soldiered on. Never underestimate the play power of a pitbull.

I’m guessing the turkey and other bits of foodstuffs people gave her probably helped.


photo friday: stocking stuffers

8 Jan

Giving and receiving Christmas presents is all well and good, but some of the most fun on Christmas day is tearing through our stockings. Now that my sisters and I are older, we’ve joined in the fun of filling the stockings with goodies. These little minis were one of my contributions this year.


Merry and bright, indeed.

Interwebers, do you fill stockings? If so, what are the best things you’ve ever had in yours? I’m always looking for ideas! 

four on the 4th

7 Jul

A belated 4th of July post for you, as I was too busy running around Michigan City swigging wine and looking at fireworks to post on the actual 4th. I’m sure our forefathers would approve. 


Happy birthday, America! I was going to make you a cake!

(No, I wasn’t. But if I had, how would I share it, anyway? You are a landmass with no opposable thumbs. Knives and forks are lost on you.)

I do so love the 4th of July, beyond the basic reasons of I Get A Day Off of Work and Hot Dogs. There is so much more to love about the 4th of July in addition to fireworks and ice cream and enjoying the Boston Pops performance of patriotic songs from the comfort of my air conditioned living room. (Except sparklers. These are NOT on my To Love About the 4th list. Sparklers terrify me. They’re just so jumpy and twitchy and flare-y, with bits flying anywhere, just waiting to throw your bangs up in flame.) In fact, I can think of four specific things that fill me up with red, white, and blue love on this happiest of Take That, You Mean Brits Day.*

1)    I get to post this on my Facebook page. And Sam the Eagle, in all his pomposity and righteousness, makes me silly happy.

2)    It feels like summer is now actually happening. June is a crapshoot, weather-wise, and it’s such an, I don’t know, half-finished month. Maybe school is out, maybe it’s not, depending on your district. Perhaps you’re still waffling on your law firm’s softball team name (Scared Hitless or Cases Loaded?). But July, and the fourth of, well. It’s the first full, glorious month of summer, in my opinion, lock, stock, and 95 percent humidity barrel. And the 4th of July is the harbinger of the season.

3)    I can now buy corn with abandon. Obviously I’m thinking of the old adage, “knee high by the 4th of July,” which now that I think about it means that the corn crop still has some time to go and really I should wait until August(ish) to buy corn with abandon, but I probably won’t because I’ve never been one to wait long to eat hot, melted butter on things.

4)    Cymbals. There really is not enough percussion-laden music in this world, particularly that which features cymbals. But the 4th of July, it’s like all the clashing and banging you’ve ever wanted and doubly enhanced by the sweet sound of elephantine tubas. I love a good triangle, too, so really what I’m trying to say is fire up the marching band and John Philip Sousa and your ass over my way.

Happy birthday, USA. God bless you and God bless America. So…you. Again.


*Not that I think the British are on the whole a mean lot. Things were just different back then in Ye Olde England, methinks. 

oh, give thanks

27 Nov

While the first eleven months of this year had its fair share of ups, downs, overs, unders, ins and throughs, I can wholly recognize that I am one lucky mother trucker who has much for which to be thankful.

A short list:

One: Popcorn.

Do I really need to explain why I am thankful for the world’s most perfect snack food? And not that microwave bullshit. I’m talking about the real stuff, made with olive oil and butter and kosher salt. God bless popcorn, and its boon companion, red wine.

Two: Writing groups.

Back in 2012, I put together a group of four ladies, and every week we’d get together online for writing critiques on our Books In Progress. It was magical to be in such an honest, encouraging, sailor-mouthed writing environment. We kept up the group for about a year, but new babies, new jobs, new homes, and general life got in the way, and we’ve been on an indefinite hiatus for about the past eight months.

But even though our original group of unicorns (our nickname for each other) dissipated, I am still incredibly thankful for the awesomeness of these ladies. This month, one of my unicorns and I have been meeting on Wednesday nights for writing blitzes, and in between swapping jokes and catching up, we have actually gotten some writing accomplished. I’m not saying what I’ve written is good, mind you, but at least there are words on a page, and for that I am thankful.

Three: HGTV, Food Network, and Enrique Iglesias.

They are the only reasons I go to the gym/spin class ever. You can run, you can hide, but you can’t escape my love, heart and lung system!

Four: Scented candles.

It’s entirely probable (definite) that I have a serious problem not buying smelly candles. Can you blame me? Do you not want to arrive home to a house that smells like pumpkin pie? Or spiced apples? Or clean laundry? Because a world without scented candles just stinks. And I mean that quite literally. I live in the city, you guys. Things can get pretty rank up in here.

Five: You.

If I know you, even a little bit, even just to pass you on the street once in my entire life, I am so thankful that you are here.

Happy Thanksgiving, Interwebers. Let’s have some pie.

mush(room) ado about everything

28 Nov

Last week for Thanksgiving, Swede and I ate fourteen meals at seven different houses.

That’s a lie.


No, actually, since our parents live so close to each other, we were able to celebrate and give thanks to the pumpkin pie gods with both families on Thanksgiving, eating dinner at Casa de Swede, and dessert at House of McPolish. All of which included large quantities of wine, because….wait, do I really need to explain myself about that one?

Anyshoes, I contributed two appetizers to the Swede dinner, because let’s face it: Why SHOULDN’T you eat things before you sit down to eat more things, before moving on to another house to eat YET MORE THINGS? Besides, you need something to soak up the pre-dinner cocktails, or you’ll be drunk by the time the turkey comes out of the oven, which means that your carving job will be seven different kinds of wonky and someone will probably lose a thumb. Happy Thanksgiving! Let’s go to the ER.

Thankfully, none of that happened, and obviously it was because of my saving appetizers. One was a pesto-parmesan-pinwheel recipe that I nabbed from the amazing Washington Post Food section, but the other…

The other, my dear Interwebers, is Dad’s Marinated Mushrooms, a McPolish family recipe that I am about to bestow on the world, because it will make your holiday season merry, bright, and sparkly. You’re welcome in advance.

The great thing about Dad’s Marinated Mushrooms is that you can make a huge batch of these days in advance and then throw them in the fridge, and put them out at cocktail parties throughout the holiday season. Or if you’re not having a cocktail party, just put them in a bowl and eat them your damn self. Either way you can’t go wrong. And they’ll keep in the fridge for at least three weeks. Possibly longer. The longer they sit, the more they marinate, and the better they taste, IMHO.

(Please note, I have no idea how this complies with food safety rules. I’m just going on my own experience. I’m not a professional chef, a professional food safety expert, or a connoisseur of mushrooms.)

(Though I think I just came up with my next career move.)

(Connoisseur of mushrooms, of course.)




Dad’s Marinated Mushrooms 

1 lb. mushrooms, whole

1 cup olive oil

½ cup vinegar (white, though I think I’ve used red wine vinegar in the past, too?)

4 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tsp salt + extra for pan

6 drops onion juice

Soak the mushrooms in cold water for 5 minutes.


In a large frying pan, sprinkle salt and toss in the mushrooms. Cover and let the mushrooms cook until they are just soft and liquid has leeched out of them.


In container with a secure lid, combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and onion juice. Add the cooked mushrooms and give it a swirl. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

The mushrooms are best when they’ve had a chance to marinate for at least 24 hours, and they get better with even more time. If, when you pull them out of the fridge, a layer of oil has solidified, no worries. Just break through and pull out the mushrooms, and the solid chunks will liquefy again as it comes to room temp.

(Also, these mushrooms are delicious when chopped and added to white pizza with sausage and Fontina cheese. Salty, melted deliciousness.)

of all the hallows on all the eves

31 Oct

In my first-ever carving (like, me, I did it myself carving, not here, let me buy a pumpkin and ask someone else really nicely to carve it while I kick back a Diet Pepsi) of a jack-o-lantern, I discovered two things:

A) I did not miss any sort of calling as a surgeon


2) this pumpkin looks not a little demonic. Which is appropriate, I guess, given the holiday.

Happy Halloween, to you and yours from the spooky little McPolish behind the computer screen.

photo friday: and points new year o’clock

31 Dec

I’ve never been one to run around from party to party (well, except maybe in college), particularly on New Year’s Eve (because I like to drink myself into the new year in one place) (lest I forget where I am and what year it is). But for those of you who will be party hopping tonight, please be safe. Don’t drive drunk, and for God’s sake, don’t boat drunk either.

Seriously, if you’re party hopping by ship, watch out for icebergs, salmonella at the buffet, and Leonardo Di Caprio. Though if you see the latter, please tell him I loved him on Growing Pains.


by the chimney with care

24 Dec

Merry Christmas to you and yours from me and mine. May Santa bring you everything your Christmas heart desires, including peace, goodwill toward men, and either a Whirlypop or some new perfume.



photo friday: a regular miracle on 34th street

17 Dec

A couple of the girls had never experienced Baltimore’s Christmas street. Since we had time to kill before eating our faces off at Woodberry Kitchen, we took a quick tour down 34th Street to show them what it’s all about.

Taken from the car window while rolling down the street.

And what it’s all about is every house on the block decked out in mad electrical gaudy awesomeness.

Happy birthday, Baby Jesus.

candles & prayers

13 Dec

Last Friday was our annual Candles & Prayers excursion.

It’s actually Lessons & Carols, but way back when we started going, when it was just something we did that year, before it got to be the yearly event involving massive amounts of food as well, before it got to be five years in a row that we did all of this, my friend J could never remember the name, tripped it up, and always referred to it as Candles & Prayers.

Which makes sense, when you think about it. There are candles. There are prayers. (Both spoken and sung.)

It has since also been referred to as Candles in Paris, as my friend HO misheard me when I said Candles & Prayers.

Pre-concert, as the choir rehearsed

Candles & Prayers, Lessons & Carols, Candles in Paris…whatever. It’s probably my favorite holiday-related tradition I’ve established since moving out to DC.

Other favorite traditions include the Falltacular, Crab Days, Tuesday Night Dinners, Sunday Family Dinners, and shopping at the new Wegman’s.

People have commented to me before that my friends and I seem to do an awful lot of things in the name of “tradition.” I blame J. That girl is always looking for an excuse to throw a party and/or eat food.

Not that I’m against any of that.


Never mind.

All you need to know is that I’ll tell you more about our C&P excursion throughout the week.

And that I cried during the Ave Maria.

It’s not my fault I’m a sap.

Okay maybe it is.

Don’t judge me.