navygreen: (Sugar Cookies!)
So there's this movie that came out this weekend. I've even heard it's based on a book or three. "The Starvation Activities," I think... right? (Synonyms provided by my boys, by the way.)


Nah, it's The Hunger Games!

The Hunger Games Logo Cookie.

Actually, I did read the books, after hearing about them for so long. And once I did, then I campaigned all of my closest friends to read them as well. Only some of them did, and the rest I'm "unfriending" shortly. ;-)

Soooooo, that meant that I needed to share these cookies with the world, where I could find even more "Hunger Games Diehards" like myself! And like my "Breaking Dawn" cookies, I wanted to share them with the fans at the movie theatre, too!

74th Annual Hunger Games Cookie.

I had tickets to the midnight premiere on Thursday evening/Friday morning, and it was such a great time! I love the midnight premieres for big "fandom" movies. The crowd is usually super-quiet, as every is a big fan & wants to hear every word. They laugh at all the right moments, and they cry right along with me in the sad parts, too. In my opinion, midnight shows are a MUST!

navygreen: (Default)
It's been such a nice, long, lazy Thanksgiving break. :-)

By sheer luck, Philip had off from Wednesday-Friday, and having him home all the way until Saturday night (he works midnight shifts) almost felt strange. I bet he's only been off on Thursdays for actual Thanksgiving Day maybe three times in the past almost 13 years of our military life. We celebrated with our friends and neighbors - Tanya, Adam, and Emma - as well as one of Philip's troops, Puckett, and old friends of ours Jan and Payton (while J.R. is temporarily stationed at NCO Academy).

We made enough food for an army, though. Even though there was only 10 of us, I asked everyone to bring food for 30 (explaining the reasons beforehand, of course). You see, the best part about the Thanksgiving feast is having easy-peasy leftovers afterward. We had 30 pounds of turkey, almost ten pounds of ham, two sweet potato casseroles, stuffing, cornbread dressing, candied yams, rolls, green bean casserole, corn, peas, jellied cranberry sauce, 15 pounds of mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry salad. Just like last year, it worked out beautifully: we were able to make three full meals of leftovers before we ran out of sides. I still have about 2 pounds of dark meat turkey I'm going to chop and freeze for tacos or chili later on, as well as three recipes' worth of cubed ham.

I also made two pumpkin pies, a Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake, two Chocolate French Silk Pies, a new cake (which I haven't named yet), and about 100 mini decorated cookies in my brand-new dough creation. I made tiny pumpkins with our names on them, and I made sure everyone took a few home as well.

Emma stole the show for most of the get-together. She's now 19 months old, and she's just too adorable for words. She really cuddled up to Puckett (who's a single airman living in the dorms!), and he was so sweet with her. She climbed up on the chair next to me when I was eating, and she ended up stealing away almost all of my cranberry salad - she loved it! And when Jan was scouring the Black Friday ads and writing out her shopping plan-of-attack, she sidled up next to her and pointed out the toys she was interested in. We were all in love!

Jack's friend Payton spent the night with us so that Jan could do all the midnight Black Friday shopping, and we had a large breakfast late the next morning. (They both fell asleep between 3-4am!) Philip pulled all the bins and boxes out of the storage shed in the garage for me to begin the holiday decorating, and we pretty much did that the rest of the day. Jan came to pick up Payton before dinnertime, and then we went back to decorating. The boys finished their tree entirely, and then they constructed the main tree. A.J. and I took a break and watched The Good Son together (a movie I had seen many years ago), too. After that, I felt too distracted to get back to serious decorating. ;-) I did hang the lights on our main tree while watching both Die Hard and Reindeer Games, and then Philip had to run into the squadron around 4am to clean his weapon.

On Saturday, we did more lazing about, and I finished up some more decorating. We all watched Liar Liar together, and the boys loved the class Jim Carry funnies. I made an easy pantry dinner of tuna casserole and green beans, and we finished off a few pies. Philip took a TON of desserts with him to work, and I was glad to have all the space back in my fridge!

It was 45° today (it's been warm all week), and the boys enjoyed hours of playtime outside. They probably have a few more days they can get away with it, so I encourage it! We've had a bit of snow, but it's all melted, and I'm happy for every warm day we get as a treat. Usually, it snows here in October, and we made it all the way to November 15th before our first snow, and it melted anyway. A blessing!

Last week was crazy-busy, but it was so fun! I threw a last-minute get-together with a bunch of gals for the midnight premiere of Twilight: Breaking Dawn, and I made cookies for the event. We all met at Applebee's for dinner, and then we headed to the theatre around 10:30pm to get in line. We had a great time, even despite one part of the movie that made us all snicker in our seats. ;-)

The next night, Friday, my friend Tifany hosted a Girls' Game Night while her husband was gone, and it was a blast. We played Taboo for hours, and we laughed SO HARD. She had great snacks, and I took a quick chocolate chip cheese idp and graham crackers (I had everything on hand already, and my friend Mary had suggested it while we were waiting for the movie to start the night before).

And then on Saturday night, I hosted Enchilada Night at our house! Tanya, Janelle, and I had been talking about our different enchiladas for weeks, and we decided to have them all together one night to share. Tanya made red enchiladas, Janelle made green, and I made white (the colors of the sauces, I should say). Tanya brought a big pot of Spanish rice, and we all ate together. It was a tasty night, and Jack loved it so much that he's already planning out our next "community suppers," as Tanya calls them. Samantha came over around bedtime and had some leftover enchiladas, and then we girls all watched Friends With Benefits together.

On Sunday, I was beat! Seriously, I think I napped and dozed all day to make up for three parties with three different groups of friends in three consecutive nights!

This coming week should be busy, too. I've got a bunch of cookies to make, as well as HUNDREDS I should be putting online. I need to make two "foodie" posts, and I'm hosting a huge giveaway on my website tomorrow (well, today!) to celebrate both Cyber Monday and my 1000th 'like' on Facebook. I've got two cookie swaps to mail out, and I want to make a bunch of cookies for the Airman's Cookie Drive again this year.

Oh, oh, oh! Aaaaaaand, my cookies made the Top 10 in the L.A. Times 2nd Annual Cookie Bake-Off! (Gosh, I can't believe it took me so long in this post to remember this!) I figured the "crowd favorites" as far as vote-getters would make the Top 10 even when the staff baked the Top 50, so I had been confident in my cookie so long as I remained high in votes. When the voting stopped, I had a 70+ vote lead on my closest competitor (the last time I saw it before the contest was pulled down), but then I waited for days on pins and needles for the baking and judging to take place. Finally, last Monday, the winners were announced! I was SHOCKED to find that the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th place vote-earners did NOT make the Top 10 at all. It was crazy, and I'm SO glad my cookie held up in the judging! I still can't believe all my friends that voted so much for me - thank you ALL!

I've been invited to Los Angeles by the L.A. Times for a publicity photoshoot and a day tour of the facilities in their test kitchens on Dec. 7th. The recipes will be published in the huge holiday edition of the paper on December 15th. There's also another article on the judging HERE. I do wish so badly that I could go, but I absolutely can't afford the travel *to* L.A., so these articles are the end of the line for me. It was still SO EXCITING, and I was calling friends and *squeeeing* when I found out!

Oh, and we received a Christmas card yesterday from [ profile] ashen_butterfly! She's the first, as usual. I've still only got my cards addressed, but not written, nor an accompanying newsletter even started!

I'm so happy to see so many of my friends returning to LJ lately. I have been reading, and I'm trying to be better at commenting myself. I don't know how much I'll be able to post in December, but I'm glad to have checked in at least a little bit. :-)
navygreen: ('Affairs:' recap)
It's been so long since I've updated, and I really just don't know where to start!

Cookies are just constant at this point, and I couldn't be more grateful. This creative outlet fell into my lap when I never expected it, and I find so much joy in decorating each set. The easy ones are pleasing, but the challenging designs make me reach beyond my abilities, and I feel like I learn something new each time. It's win-win in my book.

Easter has now come and gone, and it was such a busy, busy week! This is the third year that A.J. has decided he's "too old" for Easter egg hunts, and it is such a bittersweet moment for me as a mom. He's growing up so very much, and so quickly lately, it seems, but I realize that he would rather now be an "adult" and watch the "kids" hunt for eggs. He did, however, pitch in and help Jack and me color Easter eggs on Friday night... with a bit of begging on my part. (I wanted it to be a nice thing we could do together on our night at home while Philip was working.) Once he's doing something, he has a good time, and this was no exception.

Still, I can't bear to think that next year might be Jack's last year to hunt eggs before he makes the same proclamation. Then again, Jack so enjoys being "just a kid" and isn't it quite the same hurry to grow up as A.J. I think it has a lot to do with being the older vs. younger brother, as well as a good deal to do with their completely different personalities.

We attended a big party at our friends' house - the Mendezes. Matt and Amber are always such gracious hosts, and we really enjoy our times there. Jack and Bryce are peas-in-a-pod and usually disappear off to Bryce's room. Among all of their other friends, one of A.J.'s classmates was there as well - a fellow 7th-grader named Kendra. The two of them paired off just as quickly, and we were perfectly content to just gab with all the other folks. I had brought Easter Bunny Bread, sugar cookies, and Pineapple Carrot Cake to share, and all were big hits. I've never actually witnessed an entire platter of my cookies disappear in just a few hours (usually folks take the cookies home or tell me, "They're too pretty to eat!"), but I was overjoyed to see it this time! I came home with lots of empty dishes, and that's the sign of a good party in my book!

Philip has been working on his truck with the help of some friends. I sure hope they figure out whatever is wrong with it, and soon. This next month is extremely busy - we've got A.J.'s track season and Jack's outdoor soccer season going at the same time, as well as two major band performances for A.J., and there's lots of traveling involved, as well as activities at the same time. Eek! On Philip's days off, however, we jumped into a new-to-us series, and have been watching 24. We finished the first season in four days, and we're a few episodes into the second season now. We also recently saw both Arthur and Scream 4 on 'Date Nights,' and we're very much looking forward to this weekend for another night out when Fast Five hits theatres!

I'll try to be better about popping in more regularly. I was so good at the beginning of this year, and now I'm slacking so terribly! *hangs head in shame*
navygreen: (Eeyore)
Philip took the boys downtown to the arena last night for the Monster Truck Rally. I think they had a good time - they came home talking about mud, spinning tires, people getting stuck, rollbars crashing off, etc. Not only that, but next year, the boys want to ride in Philip's truck as he races through the mud at the event!

I'm glad they had a good ol' time, but that is sooooo not my kind of thing. I had a quiet girls' evening with my friend Tanya, and we watched Letters to Juliet and snuggled with kitties. It was my second time seeing it, but it was still just as cute.

Still, we didn't take pics of our night, but Philip did snap a few at the arena in downtown Minot:

A.J. and Jack at the Minot Monster Truck Rally.
A.J. and Jack at the Minot Monster Truck Rally.

Two more pictures. )

I had spent the afternoon baking chocolate chip cookies per Philip's request, and then we delivered them to neighbors and friends. I have a full week of sugar cookies ahead of me this week, but I wanted to pop in. I did so well posting at the beginning of the year, but I've been too quiet the last two weeks... so much so that [ profile] gardenmama even had to LJ "nudge" me! Thank you for that, C! :-)
navygreen: (Popcorn)
Oh, last night was so wonderful! I can't believe so many turned out (10 ladies!), but I just had the best time with all my girlies. :-)

The eleven of us made a ruckus upstairs while the boys tore it up with their friend Payton downstairs. Tanya was on-top-of-things and thought to bring her blender over, too - it was much-needed and well-appreciated! Once everyone arrived, the two of us set to work making milkshakes for a crowd. We made vanilla, chocolate, "light" chocolate, and "Elvis" milkshakes between our two blenders. We used about six quarts of ice cream!

Since this was a "Girls' Popcorn Night," I had planned snacks accordingly. I made two large batches of caramel popcorn yesterday. I served one plain, but I drizzled the second batch with both dark and white chocolates. I made a batch of "Poppy Chow," substituting popcorn for the Chex cereal (the chocolate-peanut butter-powdered sugar mix), and I also served cheddar cheese popcorn (from this year's Boy Scout buy). We were all snacking so much I forgot to pop the regular buttered popcorn, even!

My friend Amber brought an amazing spinach-and-bacon dip, as well as homemade green salsa and chips. Jennie brought over some fabulous rice krispie treats, too. And two nights before, Tanya had helped me to make some popcorn-themed cake pops. We used my leftover crumbled Swiss chocolate cake and candy bar cream cheese frosting to combine them, and then we shaped them into tiny "buckets." I dipped them in in red candy melts, then painted white candy melt stripes on, and then topped them with a bunch of marshmallow popcorn that we made together as well.

They were very tasty, but they weren't so pretty, and we decided against a photoshoot! ;-)

Rebecca and Felecia ended up having to leave before we even got the movie queued up, but I was glad they both made it out for at least a couple hours. We watched Love & Other Drugs, and it was very, very good. It had a lot of really funny moments (I hadn't been expecting that), and of course, a lot of really great "eye candy" moments (I had definitely been expecting that!). We all enjoyed it a lot! Lynn, Victoria, Valeen had to leave at the halfway point (about midnight or so), and then Serina ended up leaving about thirty minutes later (her 5-month-old baby boy was beginning to get fussy, and she wanted to get him to bed). After the movie, Tanya had to split to wake early this morning for work, but Jan, Jennie, and Amber stayed and chatted for a while longer. They left close to 2am, and then I cleaned things up afterward. I was finally done at almost 2:30am!

It was so fun, and I'm so glad my friends ventured out in the cold/wind to come. I sure hope to plan another fun night in the future!
navygreen: (Office: Dwight - Dwigt?)
It's been a relatively lazy day around here. I went to bed at almost 7:30 this morning, when Philip came home from work. (Yes, I was awake all night. It's the new routine I'd gotten into over Christmas break, I think.) We both slept until 2pm, about the time A.J. was to be home. I showered and Philip shoveled snow. By the time we were finished, Jack was also home from school!

We headed to the commissary for a short list to round out the rest of this meal plan, and I also grabbed all the things for a craving: Italian noodle salad. I had it over the summer at a party, and I fell in love! I don't really remember exactly what was in it, so I did my best tonight trying to make it. I boiled pasta, chopped up a small jar of black olives and a tomato, diced 1/4 of a white onion, then bathed it all in Italian dressing. I put it in the fridge to marinade overnight, and I can't wait to dig in tomorrow for lunch.

Tonight's dinner was an easy one: BBQ Chicken Pitas, mixed vegetables, and pears. I sprinkled a tiny bit of mozzarella cheese over the succotash (sufferin'!) before serving, and it was a neat change. I already have tomorrow's main entree ready, too - a smaller lasagna that I made on Christmas Day with the larger one that I took to our dinner hosts. I had frozen the small one (unbaked), and I'll make a loaf of fresh garlic french bread to go with it tomorrow. It should be an easy dinner for Philip to handle on his own.

I put out the word last night for an impromptu girls' night to several friends. I'd been wanting to catch Burlesque, and it will be showing at the base theatre. I invited some gal pals to watch the movie with me, then head to J.R. Rockers for appetizers and drinks afterward. It should be fun, and there's a few of us lined up now, plus two more that will be joining just for the food later. I'm excited for a night of chit-chat!

I've been watching tons of chick flicks lately on Philip's nights of work. Last night, I watched Sweet November and The Truth About Love. He's home tonight, and we're about to finish up Repo Men (we watched half of it a few weeks ago, but the movie was messed up and we received a replacement disc today). Here's to the last bits of Friday night!
navygreen: (Popcorn)
Philip and I watched two movies last night. The first was Dinner for Schmucks, and while it had some enjoyable moments, I somehow was expecting it to be even funnier than it turned out to be. High expectations from Steve Carell, maybe? Then again, I'm been a fan of Paul Rudd since Clueless ages and ages ago... *wink*

I picked the second movie while Philip was on a bathroom break: Precious. I really only intended to watch a bit of it, having heard that the first several minutes were quite intense. I thought I'd whet my interest, then finish it later without Philip. Wrong! The movie is heartbreaking and infuriating in every way, and it was impossible to stop, even though I just felt like looking away from the screen. It's one of those heavy movies that just weighs on your mind long after the credits roll.

There was a school shooting in a neighboring town from where we lived in Nebraska. One of my old coworkers at Runza, Joann, lives in Millard, and I feared that her children might be at the school when I heard of the tragedy just 30 minutes after onset. Her oldest was indeed at the school, in lockdown. How terribly frightening for everyone scarred by the events, and how devastating for both the victims' (the Principal and Assistant Principal), as well as the shooter's families. The Assistant Principal died this evening from her injuries.

Moments like these make you hug those around you a little tighter, a little longer, and make you give praise for the blessings in your life, as well as each day that you are blessed to live with them!
navygreen: (Popcorn)
Well, I've finally seen Elf. Seriously, I think it was almost non-stop chatter about this movie this whole month, and none of us had seen it. Philip recorded it about two weeks ago, and we sat down last night to watch it. Halfway through, the boys fizzled and wanted to continue playing with new Christmas toys, so Philip and I stopped it as well. (Truth be told, I didn't mind the break either!)

Tonight, the boys and I finished it at their request. We saved it in the DVR for Philip to finish on his next night off, too. My thoughts? It was okay. Nothing great, nothing terrible. Just a movie to have watched for the sake of watching, I suppose. I don't think I expected a whole lot more, despite the hype. I'm just not a great Will Ferrell fan.

In other movie news, Philip introduced the boys to A Christmas Story last night while I cleaned house. I think they enjoyed it, but I enjoyed cleaning more. I've just got NO interest in watching that one, thank you!
navygreen: (CSI: Wolfe - button)
Philip's friend just called and asked me to walk him through recipes and ingredient lists for making duck in a crockpot. He hunted one last week, and it's been in his freezer (he's a young airman and lives in the dorms). He'll be stopping by tomorrow for me to help him assemble everything, plus use a couple spices and whatnot. It just seemed silly to make him buy poultry seasoning, bouillon cubes, and Worcestershire sauce when he needs such small amounts, and I already have them on hand. I hope it turns out tasty for him!

We made Philip's favorite dish for dinner tonight - Orechiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe (though it was made with Farfalle instead). It was the first time in over a year that we've had it, and it was so, so, so good! After all this time searching, we finally found a market that carries just a small amount of the star vegetable. (Even in Nebraska, it was only carried seasonally, and the last time we had it was mid-summer 2009.) We like pairing it with icy cold cherry tomatoes, and it is delish! We are all stuffed, and we shared some with our neighbors, too. It reheats well, so I think they'll love it tomorrow.

Meanwhile, my friend Jennifer just called and asked for my help tomorrow. She sold a bed on Craigslist, and will be delivering it. The buyers live up north about 20 more miles, but her husband is gone, and she doesn't feel comfortable traveling to a stranger's house alone. I don't blame her one bit, and we'll have a nice chat-chat while going. It'll be fun. :-)

Philip and I had tentative plans to see Paranormal Activity 2 with friends at midnight tomorrow night, but it's actually not showing at our theatre then (despite the website stating there is a midnight premiere. We'll probably try to catch the earliest matinee on Friday before he heads to work later in the afternoon. Unfortunately, our friends can't make it then. I think we're still on tap to see Saw 3D with them next week, though.
navygreen: (Shakespeare: quill)
Isn't it funny how you see a person in a movie, and you've never heard of them before... but then in quick order, you see them in something else? Last night, while Philip headed to the gym, I watched a "girl movie" I've had for years but never seen: Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel and Lawrence. I'm sure I originally snagged it for my boy Joe Fiennes (*points to icon*), but it was really a neat, cute movie! Monica Potter was adorable and sweet, but the man I'd never seen before was Ray Winstone.

And then today I noticed him in Sweeney Todd. Coincidence!

I remember having that feeling when I was younger, learning vocabulary words and such. It always seemed that, as soon as I learned a new, unheard-of-to-me word, then I heard the word in regularity after. Education results in recognition - neat!
navygreen: (HP: Harry - OotP)
I just watched the full preview for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and... GUH. It looks to be so, so good!

The cinematography looks beautiful, the landscapes (whether real or graphic) breathtaking. It made me both giddy and sad just to watch it: excited for the last installment of the story, but nostalgic for the story itself.

Watch it here for yourself:
navygreen: (Popcorn)
I had all these plans and errands for what we were going to accomplish today, but then Philip told me last night about an appointment he had this morning. It was smack in the middle of all the things I had planned, so there went the blueprints for the day.

Instead, I slept in until 10, got up, took a long shower, and he arrived back home. Then we scratched the entire day's errands for the one fun thing: a movie. We grabbed some lunch on the way, then plopped ourselves down to an early matinee of Date Night.

Liz Lemon & Michael Scott? It had to be good, and it definitely was! We both really enjoyed the movie, and it was a nice, easy afternoon. We strolled out of the theatre/mall by 2:30, and we made it back to the base and home almost half an hour before the boys arrived from school.

When we pulled in the driveway, Philip noticed a big ol' box on the front step - all my Pampered Chef® goodies had arrived from Heather's show! He brought it in, and I pounced into the box, showing him all my new lovelies. He appropriately nodded, oooh'd and ahhh'd over egg separators, decorating bottles, cake towers, and microfiber towels with me. Seriously, it was Christmas in my kitchen! (I'd been waiting forever to order these certain items, just waiting on someone to have a show.)

Tomorrow we'll run as many errands as possible to make up for today, and then Jack has another birthday party to attend at the base pool (he was just there last Saturday for another classmate's party). Sunday night and Monday night both have plans, so I don't think we'll slow down any time soon!
navygreen: (PotC: Quote - pieces of eight)
How much yeast is in a "packet," I wonder? See, I use enough yeast that I buy it in little brown-glass bottles, but I'm going to have to figure this out before tomorrow. I'm making Refrigerator Rolls, and the recipe calls for 2 packets. ETA: 2-1/4 tsp. = 1 packet. Thank you, Google.

I made the prettiest cookies today. Well, I actually made the sugar cookies yesterday, but I iced them this afternoon. My cutter was a bit larger than I realized it to be, so I didn't get as many cookies as I'd imagined (and I made two batches of dough to start with). I'm toying with the idea of making another batch early tomorrow, but we'll see. I already do have a lovely dessert planned for Wednesday anyway.

Also, my neighbor and friend asked if I'd be willing to make either a cake or cupcakes for her baby shower this weekend. I'm waiting on one gift in the mail, but I have the others ready and have the perfect wrapping papers to match. I'd already RSVP'ed and was very excited for her shower... to now be asked to craft some goodies is just, well, icing on the cake! (Forgive the intended pun, as it is rather late.)

I received a cute package in the mail yesterday from [ profile] sdaisyk. She sent me a handful of Coke caps, but she included TONS of little goodies, too. Everything is so sweet and thoughtful - thank you, Sarah!

The boys were out of school this past Thursday and Friday for a break, and it has thrown me all off schedule. It just seemed like yesterday should really have been Monday, you know? As we were passing the base theatre last night, I saw the marquee and read, The Toothfairy, getting all excited. On our way back, I told the boys to try and read for the showtime, but right as we passed it, I realized that it the showing was for Saturday night... and it *was* Saturday night. (The base theatre only shows each movie once.) Gah. In my head, it had felt like Friday all day. Bummer, too, as that's one I had really wanted to see in the theatres.

Speaking of theatres, Philip took the boys last weekend to see Percy Jackson & The Olympians, and they all really enjoyed it. A.J. had received the first two books of the series for Christmas, so when he mentioned wanting to see the movie, I told him he needed to read his book first. He then read it in two days, and then he read the second book in three days. We'll have to look for the other books for him to finish, and now Jack wants to read them, too. I wanted to read the book before seeing the film, and I hadn't gotten a chance, so I told Philip to take them instead. I'll catch it on DVD later. :-)

And then Diary of a Wimpy Kid comes out this coming Friday, and both boys have been stoked about that one for a few months. They both love the book series, and I'm sure the movie will be fun. I can get behind that heartily, especially as I'm hoping it will direct their interest completely away from Alice in Wonderland. Jack wants to see it, but I think it just looks... off? I love most of J. Depp's movies, but I have no desire to see this one (though I've previewed the soundtrack, and it is lovely). In this case, Jack's just going to have to "keep wanting," and that's as close as he'll get. *wink*

The boys used their monies a few weeks ago to reserve copies of the two new Pokemon games at GameStop, and they've been reminding us for the past several days that today was the pick-up date. I thought that was odd; don't games usually come out on Tuesdays, like music and movies? At any rate, we got an automated reminder call yesterday even, and I took them to the BX GameStop today to pay for the rest and pick-up their games. One bought the silver, and one bought the gold (that's as far as this Mom goes into the "geek-speak," heh!), and they both received little boxes with commemorative figurines, too. It was hard for them to buckle up seatbelts a few minutes later, due to how over-the-moon they were feeling. Ha!

It's been hours, and I am still SO stuffed from dinner. I made Pineapple Veggie Chicken (a favorite of ours for years), but I tossed in tons of extra amounts of veggies. I only put in half as much chicken as usual, so we gorged ourselves on mushrooms, snow peas, red and green peppers, and onions. Afterward, the boys made tonight's dessert: Tutti-Frutti Smoothies, and those were full of strawberries, bananas, and orange juice. Jack drained his large glass in seconds, I swear. I feel like I'm going to float away on fruits and veggies in my dreams!
navygreen: (Me: Nicole - egg)
I truly could get lost all day long in cookbooks and cooking blogs. Watching Julie & Julia for the second time last night has done nothing to help with this; rather, I could only do it longer now.

I love that movie.

I'm currently reading a book on chocolate. I say 'reading' because it is less recipes, but more tips and tricks for working with chocolates. I've gotten lots of great ideas, but there are still so many techniques that are just either too tedious or too time-consuming I know I won't be likely to try myself anytime soon.

Lotsa TV.

Feb. 23rd, 2010 02:01 pm
navygreen: (Twilight: Jacob's eskimo kiss)
Since the first night of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, I feel like I've been glued to my TV. I've watched the events all day long, and then we all cuddle around for the primetime footage each evening. It's awesome to hear the boys cheering on their favorites to win too, I should add. *grin*

After they've gone to bed, we've been watching movies. Well, at least, *I* have been. Philip and I watched The Informant! a few nights ago, but in the last two days that he's been at work, I've watched seven additional movies myself. I was trying to knock out several of the girly flicks or documentaries that I know he's got no interest in seeing. I've watched all of these in the past two nights:

- A Very British Sex Scandal (BBC documentary)
- My Blueberry Nights (Jude Law and Norah Jones)
- St. Trinian's (Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, and a million girls)
- Shanghai Kiss (Hayden Panettiere)
- The Queen (Helen Mirren and Michael Sheen)
- Swing Vote (Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper, Kelsey Grammer + TONS more)
- In the Company of Men (Aaron Eckhart)

I would recommend nearly all of these, but I wouldn't rec In the Company of Men to ANYONE. What a horrible, disgusting movie. I love Aaron Eckhart, but his character was so despicable that it was actually upsetting at the cruel 'surprise' ending. Spare yourself. Also, St. Trinian's is definitely not fare for everyone - it's modern British humor, and not everyone enjoys that, but I liked it okay.

The whole time I was watching The Queen, I kept thinking to myself, "Dang, that 'Tony Blair' guy looks *so* familiar... what else is he from?" I just couldn't place him, but for as long as I struggled, the more I watched his acting. He was phenomenal in his role (as was Helen Mirren, but I think I always love her!), and I was entranced. Somewhere in the last 15 minutes, it hit me - Aro, from New Moon! I love when I figure that out on my own without resorting to IMDB, as it gives me a sense of accomplishment. Once I did place him, however, then I understood why so many reviews had said that it was almost a crime he was chosen for a character with such little 'screen time' as in New Moon. He really was wonderful.

Speaking of British humor, over Philip's last break, I got him to watch the entire series of Coupling. I had watched Season One a few years back, and I had gotten into a few episodes of Season Two. However, we watched the entire thing, and he really enjoyed it as well. There were times when we were both laughing so hard, and I was sure I was going to pee on the couch! It was so much fun. However, I must say that I did NOT like the ending of the final episode. To me, it felt very "Mabel-esque" from Mad About You (another show I loved back in the day). :-/

Since I've been bumming in front of the TV for hours and hours (and hours!) on end, I've accomplished nearly an entire piece of tatting. I no longer have a blocking board, however, so I'm going to have to look for something similar before I can finish that step. (My last 'blocking board' was the cardboard insert inside a ream of fabric - nice and sturdy.) Still, I'm excited to get this piece into the mail, but I won't post pictures until that time.
navygreen: (GLEE: Rachel - omg)
Two nights ago, I puttered around in the office, knocking out a couple of chick flicks while Philip was at work. I watched The Women and The Prince & Me 3: The Royal Honeymoon (I *know*. It went direct to DVD, I think, if that's any indication. Still, I'm a sucker for that movie series, and it was total fluff.)

The next night, Tuesday, the boys and I worked non-stop for HOURS on their valentine boxes for school. When they arrived off the bus, I took them straight to the BX to pick out supplies. From there, we rushed to Jack's soccer practice, and then back to the BX for the actual valentines (how did we forget those the first time? Honestly!) We came home, and got down to business. Between coats of paint, they wrote out all their valentines, then bagged them up with candy. We'd not been able to find treat bags of any sort, so they used sandwich baggies that they decorated with valentine stickers. Seriously, they went to bed sooooo late that night, and even then, the boxes were only 1/3 finished, but no more could be done until the paint dried more. Later, I felt more tired, and I headed to bed at the early time of 1am, taking with me my new book. Hang on - I haven't written about that here...

Marissa and I first saw the trailer for Dear John several months back, while at the midnight premiere of New Moon. We saw it before subsequent viewings too, and each time, we remarked on how good it looked. She read the book a while back. The weekend before last, we were talking about it again over the phone, and she asked me if I read the book. I told her I still hadn't, and she asked me if I'd like her to mail me her copy. "Sure!" I replied. The next afternoon, she called to let me know that the book would be here Saturday or Monday.

On Monday, I received a package from I'd been expecting one myself for some things I'd ordered, so I didn't open it until much, much later in the evening. When I finally did, I was thinking, "I don't think this is a big enough mailer..." But it was! It was because it was my own brand-new copy of Dear John, and Marissa had ordered it and had Amazon send it straight to me! Such a sneaky gal, she was!

So... since I was felt more tired, I decided to curl up in bed and read just a chapter or two to "wet my whistle" for reading it the next day. Wrong-O! At 5:30am, I closed the book, having finished it in its entirety instead. It was a good read, and I've got some thoughts swirling on it. I think I'll probably put those down in my paper journal, though.

So I slept for a bit, then got the boys off to school, and then I went back to bed. I got up for the day around 12:45, intending to head to the commissary for our bi-weekly grocery shopping (Philip had gotten home after PT around 9am, crawling straight into bed). While I was in the bathroom, the doorbell rang. (I didn't hear it, as the bathroom heater runs too loudly.) Philip did, and he threw on clothes and answered the door. It was a neighbor woman that I'd not met when delivering treats to the block a few weeks back, as only her husband had answered the door (he'd told me they were all down with the flu, and after I handed him the baked goodies, I came home and scrubbed LAYERS of skin off my hands, just to be safe!). I had told her husband to have her come by sometime when she felt better to chat, and that's exactly what she was doing. Philip ran upstairs to let me know, and I hurriedly dressed in the bathroom and came down.

It was an awkward start, and she saw my house in a state of disarray. There were painted objects all across the table, wire bits littering around them, and the entire "craft bin" was open and picked through on the bench in the dining room (we'd used markers, pens, wire cutters, paper, paintbrushes, tape, staples, etc). In the living room, both of the fluffy blankets we use for cuddling on the couches to stay warm were still out, having not been folded and put in the end table at the close of the evening. I had dishes in the sink - oh, it was just awful! Despite that, she and her 14-month-old were very, very kind, and we chatted for about three hours in the living room - even a little past the time that the boys arrived home on the school bus! Her little one conked out for a nap on the couch for a few hours of that, just so sweet. I was SO glad she stopped by, too. I mean, you tell people to drop by anytime, but it seems like they hardly ever do, you know? Especially when you've not yet met them!

I love how great the response has been since the boys and I delivered all those goodies. I baked for four days straight (I called it my "delayed holiday baking," since it was in January), and then the boys and I spent an entire afternoon delivering big trays of goodies to every single inhabited house on our block (eleven total). It was very, very cold and windy, and we had to come back after every third house to grab more trays, but it was so fun. Included with each tray, I had written our names, address, and telephone numbers on a card, and I let each family know to call if they ever needed anything. Everyone was so welcoming, and we were invited into so many homes for a bit of chatting. The boys took off their shoes in each house and immediately disappeared with the kids of that family. I'd been nervous about it being a Saturday afternoon, but since it was so very cold, every single family was home - amazing! I also learned that our entire block is new, as the earliest family here only just moved in at the end of October. We're all newbies, so we ALL needed welcoming. :-)

Once the boys were settled from school, we dug straight back into our crafting. We finished more "steps" yesterday, as there wasn't so much painting to do. Still, it's not a crafting afternoon until I have to clean wet, red paint (A.J.) off my wooden dining room floors, right? We worked for hours, stopping only to head into town to try a new Chinese restaurant for dinner (we were missing fresh lettuce and tomato for the planned meal, and the commissary had already closed). The food was great, and we were all stuffed when we returned home, going back to work.

I took pictures of the finished boxes this morning, and then I drove the boys to school. We didn't want to risk anything being crushed on the bus, and now they're good for tomorrow's valentine parties. :-)

Meanwhile, I ended up not grocery-shopping yesterday, so I'm headed to the commissary in a little bit. Philip is testing today, and then he may have weapons firing later this afternoon. Jack's got another game tonight, and it's his day to bring refreshments. I'm going to be so ready to curl up for a movie tonight with Philip - I need to relax! We watched The Taking of Pelham 123 (the newer one) a few nights ago, but tonight, I'm feeling more like a rom-com. :-)
navygreen: (HP: Snape - worst memory)
Where are you in the movie?

The link works by you giving your birthdate, selecting a psychic death age, and then choosing from a select handful of films.

At 30, I would currently be in these parts of the movies of my life:

- Titanic: singing hymns in the ship's chapel
- The Princess Bride: explaining to Wesley that I do love forever, and I will never forget my true love
- The Wizard of Oz: pickin' apples with the Scarecrow
- Ghostbusters: watching the news as Sigourney Weaver
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off: I'd be listening to Cameron talk about how much his parents hate each other

Cool. :-)
navygreen: (Popcorn)
I made these cupcakes back in November as one of the treats I took to a friend's house for the New Moon midnight premiere party. They were received very well, and I was glad - I put a lot of work into them!

Buckets o' Popcorn Cupcakes

Even having Philip help me for an hour or so, as well as my friend Liz for a few hours too, the "popcorn" still took FOREVER to make. I estimated that, over five days, I spent eleven hours making enough "popcorn" to decorate 22 regular-sized cupcakes. Holy!

The cupcakes were a dark chocolate mix, and I made them a week before the party, then froze them. I thawed them the night before the event, and I iced them with cream cheese frosting in the afternoon hours before the party. Immediately, I decorated them with the "popcorn," making sure it was still very sticky. I let them dry a few hours while I got ready for the party.

I made the "popcorn" using mini marshmallows. I ripped each one in half, then smushed the pieces together tightly in groups of two or three to make the popcorn shapes. I then used a knitting needle to indent holes on each marshmallow end to make them look like real kernels. I used a tiny paintbrush to "paint" bronze pearl sugar dust into each kernel. Once all the popcorn pieces were finished, I spread them over two large cookie sheets and "buttered" them, using a small paintbrush to apply yellow pearl sugar dust.

They turned out PERFECT!

In fact, they were even a little too perfect. I took a plate of four cupcakes into work to share, and the next morning when I arrived, three were still leftover. I was disappointed, and when my coworkers arrived for the day, I asked them why they hadn't eaten a cupcake. Ryan, my boss, gently explained, "Well Nicole, you know I don't really like popcorn." (And I do know that he doesn't.) "Besides that, we talked about it last night, and we all decided that salty popcorn sounded really disgusting on a cupcake. No offense, though. It just didn't sound good enough to try." He looked really apologetic, and then I burst out laughing, explaining to him that it wasn't real popcorn. I showed him up-close on one of the cupcakes, and he was amazed! Then he gladly ate one. :-)

Buckets o' Popcorn Cupcake

More pictures. )
navygreen: (Popcorn)
My friend [ profile] cupcaked posted earlier, and her post reminded me of something.

Gerard Butler.

Yeah, I don't really get the hype. Philip and I watched The Ugly Truth last night, and while the movie was good (if not nearly as funny as I thought it would be), Gerard Butler was kinda irritating me. His character was fine, but I just couldn't really take him, and I can't exactly explain why.

So. I'll give him another shot in something else, but if I still have such a lukewarm feeling afterwards, I probably won't go out of my way to watch anything else he's in.

On the other hand... I'll take some Clive Owen eye-candy any day. *wink*

In other non-headline news, the Mint Chocolate Cookies I made yesterday are phenom-nom-nom-nomenal. Really, the chocolate cookie batter just came out perfectly fudgy, yet still cookie-like. I love them. Too bad I only had one bag of the mint chips, and I think they were only a seasonal item, or I would make more for sure.
navygreen: (Default)
Let me be the millionth person to wish you happiness as we sashay into this new decade!

I was VERY excited for the New Year's Eve blue moon last night, but alas... the clouds were much too thick, and we couldn't really make it out. You could see where it was, to be sure, but there was definitely no photographing the bugger. Shucks.

I spent NYE with my family. If you'd asked me before I left Nebraska, I would have told you I'd loved to have a big party with oodles and oodles of friends (and I'd have flown Heather and her family in for the occasion). But I have a small frame that hangs in my bedroom, and it reads: "I have learned that being with those I love is enough."

And it is so true.

We spent the evening eating together, and then we saw our "reward movie" for unpacking the house - Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. We came home and spent the last half-hour or so waiting on that big ol' ball to drop, and then we headed to bed. We kissed, and Jack noticed that everyone was kissing on TV. "Why are y'all kissing?"

"Because it's what you do on New Year's Eve. It's fun!" Philip said.

And now it's 2010. Or 'Twenty-Ten.' Or just '10. Whatever you want to call it, it's the beginning of a brand-new year, a brand-new decade, and a chance at a clean slate. For us, it's still the beginning of a brand-new life in a brand-new place...

My friend [ profile] 1grl_revolution likes to adopt a word for the year, and I think it's a neat-o idea. I'm taking a cue from my angel-friend Isaac and his family, and I'm going to keep "HOPE" as my word this year.

But I'm happy to share HOPE, too. *wink*


navygreen: (Default)

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