Albums, Snacks, Jerry Stiller

Good morning! Another unseasonably cold one in New York, but the sun is out, so I will take it. Yesterday I crossed something off my to-do list that I think might hold the world record for Longest Time Ever Spent on a To-Do List: I sent ten first-day-of-school photos to Shutterfly to make prints. Like a lot of parents out there, I started a First Day of School Album when Phoebe entered kindergarten (in 2004), taking a photo of her, and later her sister, every year on our front doorstep. I was pretty good about keeping up with it until, of course, we went 100% digital. The blank pages following 2009’s front-step photo have been haunting me for a decade — and especially this past year, Phoebe’s last. So I spent about 30 minutes sleuthing around my photo library and Facebook yesterday, and managed to scrape up every single image except 2014’s. (Curses!) Anyway, the prints will ship later this week and I will make a big show of it when I slide them into that album, that is, if I’m not crumbled on the floor having a happy-sad breakdown. I’m calling that today’s Project — here are the other two P’s in your daily Pantry, Purpose, Project…

Pantry: Snacks

A couple of you have asked about healthy snack ideas, so I thought I’d share the two munchies that have the power to (almost) quash the 4:00-potato-and-baked-good-sometimes-at-the-same-time craving. One winner? Popcorn! (I know what you’re thinking: Is she um, actually giving us a recipe for popcorn? YES I AM.) Right at the beginning of quarantine, we picked up some good kernels from a farm market, and I’ve recently gotten into popping up a batch in the late afternoon. It makes the house smell good and I always remember Mark Bittman singing its praises as the ultimate healthy whole grain snack. Unless you decide to turn it into Kettle Corn, of course, which we’ve definitely been guilty of doing.

The other thing we’ve been really into — and by “really into” I mean 100% addicted to — are these Wonderful chili roasted pistachios. I might like them so much because I tried them for the first time in Seattle, and they remind me of a great long weekend with my college friends right before the world upended. I’ve taken to hiding the bag in the basement to make it last longer, especially because they are pricey.

Purpose: RIP Jerry Stiller

Damn he was so funny. A lot of people on social media were sharing a blooper version of the iconic “You Want a Piece of MeSeinfeld video yesterday, and I think I watched it every time it showed up. We are all Jason Alexander literally falling on the floor laughing with him. What a gift. What a life.

Stay safe. Stay home.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and especially how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at

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I wish your daughter would write a guest post about what it’s been like to be a senior during the pandemic…had she chosen her college pre-pandemic…will she go to college in the fall or take a gap year b/c of the pandemic…will she opt out if the college is online only in the fall? So many questions and thinking of all the families like yours with seniors. And for a real extra-fun afternoon treat: popcorn, an ice-cold martini, and a game of Scrabble. My husband and I like to do that every once in awhile. Especially if dinner is leftovers and minimal prep.


Hi, I’ve been loving your PPP series. We’ve made so much from your posts. Thank you! My question – What popcorn maker do you use? I’ve been trying to find the right one, but have found so many mixed reviews. Recently I came across the Whirley Pop stovetop maker and that looked promising.


I love my whirleypop! It of course violates the rule against single use kitchen gadgets, but I promise it is worth it.


i love my whirly pop, too!! i hate to clean it, but it’s really worthwhile. stove top popcorn > microwave any day of the week!


I should have read the comments before I posted. Add another to the “whirly pop is the best” list. We’ve been using ours pretty much daily since early 2014.


I’m wondering if the brand of popcorn kernels makes a difference ?? I typically buy generic or Orville? But maybe I need to step up my game here –
How do you season yours?


I thought you were gong to suggest putting the pistachios IN the popcorn—which I think you be delicious! FWIW I use the beloved Dutch oven for our afternoon popcorn treats.


Ahhhhh…we make stovetop popcorn almost every day! Our whirly pop sits on the cooktop the way some people keep a tea kettle out. No sense in putting it away if it’s just coming back out tomorrow, right?

I love these daily posts – thank you for doing them!

Melissa Tilley

Love these posts! I’m a popcorn enthusiast (is that a thing?? I think so). My last popcorn popper popped its last kernel several months ago. Which one do you use? And where is your gorgeous bowl from? Waving hello from east of Seattle.

Kristin Krebs


Thank you for the posts!! My kids are just beginning elementary school and I have been wanting to find a way to display or make a keepsake out of their 1st day of school photos. I LOVE your spiral album. Do you know where I could find one?