I was felled by a severe backache the week of February 14.  This happened once before almost a year ago; a giant knot forms in my lower back/hip area and basically immobilizes me.

I couldn’t pick up Katie, or haul laundry, or drive.  Things that fell on the floor stayed on the floor.  Days were passed lying on the couch, taking large doses of ibuprofen, and rubbing my back with ice packs.  And moaning slightly when Katie got bored and dumped stuff on the floor.

By Valentine’s Day, I was slightly better, but still very sore.  However, I was thoroughly fed up with the whole situation and decided to make my family a fancy meal for the holiday.

Part of this is because we’ve been reading a picture book called Badger’s Fancy Meal. I basically just wanted to see William  lift his fork and repeat the catchphrase from the book “a really fancy meal.”  Which I got in spades.

So, what can you make when it hurts to do anything?  Frozen food from Trader Joe’s!

Yup: they do have cheap frozen beef bourgignon, cheap bottles of sparkling chardonnay grape juice (that come with a cork on the top and everything), and cheap little pastry bites stuffed with spinach/artichoke stuff.  And cheap roses.



The kids were excited to have the nice plates, candles, the whole bit.  While waiting for the beef to bake, I was able to make some mashed potatoes and ice cream.


Please do not be impressed with the ice cream.  Homemade ice cream takes almost no effort.  But please do be impressed that I decided to try one of the more unusual flavors from my cookbook: pine nut and olive oil.


Very elegant with a strawberry and chocolate-almond lace cookie, no?  (Also thanks to Trader Joe’s.)

All consumed with one hand holding an ice pack behind my back.

Oh, and for Grandma Brian’s-Mom: the kids loved the Valentine presents.  Here’s the photo evidence:


Katie insisted that I put the new doll clothes on her baby doll toute-de-suite.


Eleanor and William spent a large chunk of yesterday afternoon putting together giant pipe-cleaner creations.  There are fuzzy dinosaurs all over the house.

And . . . well . . . Jeffrey was so excited about his book that he immediately went to bed so he could stay up late and read it.  That’s right, WENT TO BED. And I didn’t get a picture.  That’s how much he loved it!

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