"Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one'."

Monday, January 31, 2011

Lady A and Chocolate: A Montage

Is this song about an old flame?
Or is it REALLY about chocolate?

(Picture taken from Cadbury website)
Picture perfect memories,
Scattered all around the floor

It's a quarter after one,
I'm all alone,
And I need you now.

...I lost all control,
and I need you know.

And I don't know how,
I can do without,
I just need you NOW!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Joy of Turning 27

I turned 27 last week.  The big 2 - 7.  Three more years until 30.  Before the big day, I posted on Facebook something like "...is underwhelmed at the idea of turning 27 next week. "Eh." ".  (The Eh was supposed to be interpreted as a shoulder shrug.)  People took this post entirely the wrong way, like I was feeling anxious about the reality of my descent to the grave, suddenly confronted with my own mortality, OH THE AGONY of the idea of turning 27.  Nope.  Nuance and tone are impossible to decode via social networking site.  I was trying to convey that I had no real feelings at all about this particular birthday, not exciting like 16 or 18 or 21, and as a stay at home mom, I knew the day would unfold much like all our other days: breakfast, bath, gym, errands.  So "Eh."  *shoulder shrug*

But it was a great day.  The girls behaved.  I got 70-ish Facebook Happy Birthdays which blew me away.  And I took pictures of almost everything that gave me joy that Friday.  Little feet in the tub, Ashton hosted Regis and Kelly, Dad brought Starbucks!, Linz got me a Happy Book to journal in, the fam took me out to Red Robin and I got my standard (and delicious) Crispy Chicken Salad, Holly slurped noodles, Doug and my parents got me a NatureBright light therapy system for my self-diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder, and Doug took me out to a movie of my choosing (No Strings Attached...Ashton, naturally).  Joy in the little things was the theme for the day. 

27 isn't a big deal.  It's not the year I learned to drive, the year I could buy lottery tickets or win a sweepstakes, the year I could finally have a glass of wine ;), or even the year I could rent a car in most states without putting six million dollars down for a deposit.  But great things are happening this year that I will remember for the rest of my life.  I'm running my first marathon.  Doug and I are celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary.  Our oldest munchkin is going to start kindergarten.  27 isn't a big deal for Hallmark, but it is going to be a spectacular year around here--nothing "Eh." about it.   

Monday, January 24, 2011

Joyeux Kitchen: Brownie Pudding

Barefoot Contessa's Brownie Pudding

Ahhhhh-mazing.  I made it without the framboise (note to self: Google framboise) and ate it hot, even though it says to serve after allowing it to cool.  It was obscenely good while hot.  Another great thing about this dessert is that you probably have everything you need to make it without a trip to the store (well, maybe not everyone keeps vanilla beans lying around... if you don't, the cheapest place to get them is Costco--a two pack of tubes with 6 beans or so in each tube is $11ish).  Also, I didn't have a 2 quart casserole dish but it worked just fine in my 2 1/2 quart.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Twilight Casting Call

Attention Twilight-devotees: Has your sizzling, wolfy, imprinted passion for our beloved series fizzled? Has Edward's razzle-dazzle ceased to flip your switch lately? We're stuck in a bit of a rut, with 18 months between last June's Eclipse release and Breaking Dawn's November 2011 debut, so we thought we'd wet your whistle with a few tantalizing pictures of the cast. Exhibit A:

This shot from the honeymoon scene was featured in Entertainment Weekly last week!

Isle Esme...um...Yes, please!
Oh Twilight...how we miss you!
Today, we decided to cope with the dreadful, unfair, is-it-time-yet, ten-month-long countdown to Breaking Dawn opening in theaters with our own little casting call. The last few months in Twilight news have been filled with buzz about the cast...

SO many vampires!
WHO will play them all?

As we read the fourth book of the saga, we both had visions of vampires dancing in our heads. One we discussed at length (probably because we both enjoyed his character so much) was Garrett. Even though we had very different pictures in our heads, when you line them all up, we were both pretty close to the way Stephenie Meyer saw him:

Other great new additions to the cast include:
Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy). She is only listed on the "Breaking Dawn: Part 2" IMDB page, which fits right into our theory on what will be included in Part 1 and what will be included in Part 2. We think the wedding, honeymoon, pregnancy, and the birth/Edward changing Bella will be included in Part 1 and the rest of the action will be saved for Part 2. The anticipation is killing us!

Here are a couple characters we thought were cast perfectly:

Maggie (Irish Coven)
Marlane Barnes

Benjamin (Egyptian Coven)
Rami Malek

Zafrina (Amazon Coven)
Judith Sheknoi

Tanya (Denali Clan)
Myanna Buring
For a full list of characters, go here.

Characters we thought might have been better cast:
Rosalie's casting is something we have discussed again and again. Rosalie is described as exceptionally beautiful, even for a vampire; she is tall, statuesque, and has long, wavy, blonde hair. While she was human, she was said to be a woman with elegance, class, and eyes the color of violets.

Sarah envisioned someone like Hayden Panettiere. Lindsay considered Blake Lively or maybe Olivia Wilde (when she was blonde). So, Lindsay googled "Rosalie Hale casting" and found site after site offering ideas for a better Rosalie. All three of our ideas were mentioned along with Evan Rachel Wood, Rachel McAdams, and Kristen Bell. We would like to clarify that we are not Nikki Reed haters (there are some people who feel WAY more strongly about this issue than we do.) She just isn't who we pictured when we read it.

Let's talk about Jasper. Catherine Hardwick cast Jackson Rathbone (pictured a few shots below with the other Edward prospects) after he didn't make the cut for Edward (thank God). He's so awkward looking. And what is with that accent? It's certainly not Southern, which he is supposed to be, and it seems to come and go. He is described as tall with honey blond hair, is muscular but lean, and is physically 20 years old. Here's who we might have pictured for Alice's love:

Brooding.  Mmm.
What?  He could be 20...
and he's certainly dangerous.
 And, the best for last...Lindsay thinks Edward was cast perfectly...YUM:

But, Director Catherine Harwicke recently revealed who her OTHER choices were for Edward Cullen. She also stated that she referred to them as Bachelors 1, 2 and 3:

If you're missing Twilight like we are, we highly recommend picking up a book and re-reading the series before November...Or, check out Bree Tanner if you haven't already...Or, re-visit Midnight Sun online. Double yum!
A great shot of the original cast from Vanity Fair magazine!
 And, finally, tantalizing picture Exhibit B:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A January Moment

Last night, after putting Carter to bed, I asked my four-year-old if he wanted to workout with mama (my husband was at a late meeting). Logan replied with an enthusiastic "YES!" mainly because he loves the exercise balls and resistance bands that come along with my workout. I've been doing something called, "Mommy Muscle" by Stroller Fit that is basically pilates, but is designed for women recovering from C-section. It is awesome!

In the past, I have put off my workout until the babies are in bed because, ineveitably, once an adult is on the floor in our house it means wrestle time...and that includes our dog wanting to play, too. For whatever reason, I thought I'd give it a shot. Logan was hilarious! He did the first 3 or 4 exercises right next to me with an incredibly serious look on his face...ball between his feet...feet up in the air...

It started going downhill from there.

Our dog was licking my fingers as I did my V sit. I was in plank position and, all of a sudden, Logan sat right on my butt. OUCH! Immediate belly flop to the floor. Starting to get frustrated now. I put the dog out and asked Logan to give mama some space so I could finish my exercise. He started trying to throw the ball "over mama" (and hit me in the face a couple times). So, here I am holding a side plank on my elbow, wishing I would die and thinking, "I can do this...I CAN'T do this...let's focus on a flat stomach...when will this be over..." A small, ADORABLE, smiling face popped through the hole under my armpit and said, "Go mama!"

I laughed and fell on top of him. He laughed. We wrestled. We played. He gave me a big kiss and said he was proud of me.

What a little man! And, what a moment.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Joyeux Kitchen: Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits

So I shared this recipe on Facebook the other day because they looked amazing and I've always wanted to replicate this recipe.  Well, I tried it out and the verdict is in.... they ARE amazing.  Just like the restaurant, and so easy.  Now I need the books (Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 1& 2).  Enjoy them with whatever you're cookin' up for dinner this week!

Joyeux Kitchen: Bre's Soft Pretzels

I've tried, on Doug's request, to make soft pretzels in the past, but the result was always dense, tough, sort of crumbly, nothing like Auntie Anne's yummy mall treats.  And then a friend from Kansas sent me this recipe so I had to give it a try.  YUM.  They're super-soft and chewy and easy to make.

You'll need:
  • 4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt (for topping)
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tsp sugar in the warm water (yeast and sugar in the bowl first, pour water in).  Let stand until creamy, 10 minutes.  In a large bowl, mix the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt.  Make a well in the center, add the oil and yeast mixture.  Mix and form into a dough using the paddle attachment of your mixer.  If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water (**I actually had to add 7 tbsp of water so I think it really depends on your flour and elevation).  Switch to the bread hook attachment of your mixer.  Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes.  Spray a large bowl with cooking spray, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about one hour. 

Preheat oven to 450 (**mine bake better at 425, know your oven).  In a large bowl dissolve baking soda in hot water.  When dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface **or parchment paper to save yourself the mess** and divide into 12 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a thin rope and twist into a pretzel shape (it took me five minutes and a trip to the pantry to get a crunchy pretzel example to figure out the twist--I felt like an idiot).  Once all of the dough is shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and placed on a greased baking sheet (or, again, parchment paper on a baking sheet and save the mess).  Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.  Bake in a preheated oven for 8 minutes, or until browned. 

They're great just like that but here are some other ideas for toppings if you're feeling creative: cinnamon and sugar, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice, shredded sweetened coconut, red pepper flakes and jarred jalapenos with shredded pepper jack cheese, or go Greek with sun dried tomato and feta. 

Thanks for the recipe tip Bre! 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Five Favorites [In My House]

My small-ish collection of Fiesta dinnerware. I registered for random vases and platters in three colors when we got married and have picked up several pieces from garage sales and as gifts over the years. We use it for parties and big family dinners.

Found these AMAZING vintage tin ceiling tiles in a shop in Aurora, Oregon (adorable little antiques town you should definitely visit sometime) called Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage. The tiles are about 24x24 inches and reside in our formal dining (which is currently masquerading as a playroom).

This was my husband's gift to me after the birth of our second son! I suppose he knew there were lots of grass stains in my future. LOVING the red, which is outside the realm of typical Lindsay color choice. Maybe I was feeling sassy? And, they sing a little song when the load is finished. (LG Brand)

Our family photo collage now features two adorable little men! So happy with how this came together. Thanks, again, to my husband for his measuring/mathematical skills. Favorite item: matching Pottery Barn Silver Leaf First Year Frames.
*The pillow covers were $2.50 each on clearance at Target. Always watch the end caps. For $12.50, I added the pop of color our family room so desperately needed!

Pottery Barn again. If I am being honest, I can't afford to decorate my whole house in Pottery Barn and that is probably why the few items I have splurged on made the five favorites cut! This 'Daily System' is fabulous (and they have added several more options since we purchased it a couple years ago). Keeps us all organized and sits above the family computer in the den.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Joyeux Kitchen: Blueberry Boy Bait

Blueberry Boy Bait
Funny name, excellent dessert/breakfast, Doug's finished half of it already.  My cousin Becky recommended this recipe, and she's quite a kitchen aficionado, so I went for it.  I don't think Deb at Smitten Kitchen makes anything that isn't heavenly.  You'll love her blog, check it out if you have a minute.  A couple of recipe notes: on her suggestion, I used buttermilk instead of whole milk, and I also doubled the amount of blueberries because I'm a firm believer that more is better.  Make this for someone special today! :) xo