Oh, my. Where to begin? The seders seem like aeons ago!
We had Doda S. here, and she brought not only herself but several haggadahs (we somehow managed to have misplaced quite a few!), seven pounds of my favorite cheddar cheese (Tillamook, yes!), little presents for the kids, and her wonderful company. It was really nice to have our first Portland visitor. We had just us the first night, than more company the second night. During the first seder, we were definitely all a bit wiped out, but the second seder was much more lively with puppets, jokes, and lots of good discussion. And we still finished up by 1:00 a.m.! Raizel was the last one standing on the first night, and Avi was the last one standing on the second one. :)
For shabbos and the last two days, we also had wonderful overnight guests that livened up our days and provided non-stop playtime. The kids were happy. Dean and I got to take a lovely, lovely long walk around the neighborhood and admiring other people's gardens. Saw jasmine climbing 80 feet up in an oak tree, a bunch of wild bees on the corner of a house (and the owner was grandma to 14 homeschooled grandkids!), and lots of inspiration. Lovely.
Cooking on the yamim tovim was a bit tricky. The oven that came with the house doesn't have a shabbos (yom tov!) mode. We haven't been able to replace it yet. So, I made do with the stove. The last two days I forgot to light two burners, so it was REALLY tricky, but we managed. Keeping things warm until serving time involved keeping things on top of boiling pots of water. It actually worked pretty well!
I don't really remember what we ate when, but some of the highlights were:
lemon chicken (just coated in matzo meal, pan fried, then baked with equal parts lemon juice, brown sugar, and water; WOW!)
orange chicken (same thing; just had to try it with orange; not quite as good)
butternut squash soup
matzo ball soup (I really only make it 2x/year since the grownups in the house are the only ones that like it!)
red snapper w/aioli sauce
vegetable soup (YUM!!! tomato base with some eggs stirred in and lots of great veggies)
meatballs with loquat jam (ridiculously good)
hamburgers on passover rolls (tasted like real hamburgers!)
latkes (with the hamburgers)
lots of fresh veggies from the farmers markets
strawberry and raspberry/strawberry sorbets
lemon sponge cake w/pareve whipped cream and strawberries
lemon curd and homemade yogurt (note to self: a gallon was sufficient, but barely...)
walnut nougat (which we also enjoyed as a chocolate mousse topping)
Other things too. I did make a menu, but I'm not good at following those. I like inspiration!
Got the kitchen turned back over last night and this morning. LOVE having pesach cupboards 10 feet from the kitchen. It makes the whole process that much easier. We're leaving the covered counters for now (contact paper). It looks WAY better than the real counters. Kind of silly, but it really is so much better. I don't know if it will last very long! I keep fantasizing about clearing the whole thing out, installing restaurant counters/sinks (kasherable!), shelving, and freestanding cupboards. Not sure if it would look nice or crazy. :)
This year, the pesach prep went very well since I canceled learning time the week before pesach. I would love to do that every year, but this year since I hadn't planned to do that in advance we didn't get quite as much pesach learning done as I would have liked. Next year, we really need to start that the day after purim.
I think that pretty much covers it. We're looking forward to getting back to our regular schedule, until savta arrives on May 12, that is! We need to squeeze a lot of learning in during the 10 weekdays before then. Math (for Amirah) is the only subject we really need to push; the rest we're doing fine on.