Saturday, February 28, 2009

Books Read in February 2009

  1. Dark of Night by Suzanne Brockmann. (Note: This is part of a series. The order in which to read the Troubleshooters series is found here.)
  2. Stud Finders Incorporated by Alexis Fleming. (Note: This is a book in the erotica genre. I will admit that the book is pretty tame considering others in the genre. The title and cover are the steamiest parts of the book. However, the plot was actually cute though the book could have been a little better in my opinion.)
  3. A secret book which I promised not to mention though I wanted to keep track of my total. I very much enjoyed it though. If you're very curious, I will tell you privately but not on the blog.
It was a pretty sad month considering I read the first book last month and finished it the first of this month. The others were quick reads. I will be reading the next book club book by the time you read this blog. So far so good (though I'm only on page 3) so expect more on that next month. I also have a package from Barnes & Noble this week so that should increase my book count next month because I'm looking forward to all of them.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Adventures with Nephew

There isn't a day goes by that Nephew doesn't amuse me to no end. I call my mother everyday. Most afternoons, Nephew is there. Some days, he asks to talk to me. Today was not one of those days. However, today was a day when he was on Mom's last nerve. Nephew starts copying her.

Here is how the conversation went:
Mom/Nanny: Stop copying me!
Nephew (in a sing-song tone): Stop copying me!

After a brief time and some more copying:
Mom/Nanny: You're cranky!
Nephew: No, you're cranky!

There may have been more, but I couldn't stop laughing after this part. Maybe you had to be there to hear his laughing tone and my mother's patience rapidly slipping away. Also, to know how the two of them are completely at odds most afternoon is hilarious. I mean, Nephew goes out of his way to aggravate my mom. He's not mean-spirited, but it's like he's bored and there's nothing else to do. It's like how my sister and I mostly got along, but sometimes, it rained or there was nothing to do, and we'd just start to bicker. It's like that.
Yesterday, Nephew talked to me and wanted to know what I was eating. I told him I was eating Pad Thai. He asked what that was, and I told him they were noodles. I asked him what he ate. He answered grapes and o's (Cheerios) and 5 chocolate chip cookies. Then, he went on to tell me that the cat was not a big boy and pooped in one of the bedrooms the day before. This is only partially true. The truth is that he had two bowls of grapes and o's and, though the cat was a bad cat, it wasn't the day before. I just love that you can have a conversation with him.

Then, I asked to speak to Nanny again, and he told me no. After some begging, he still wouldn't hand the phone over. So, I told him that if he didn't hand the phone over, he couldn't play with his cousin this weekend and, next thing I knew, my mom was back on the phone with Nephew going "Little Miss coming this weekend?" We assured him that she would be there.

Last story, yesterday, my mom was responding to an e-mail and Nephew looked up and said, "that's my name!" He can't read, but he can recognize and spell his name. So, he sat at the computer and typed his own name which is better computer skills than my mom!

He's a funny, funny kid (and brilliant)!

Sexy Friday

Oh, Simon Baker, it was only a matter of time before you got your time to shine in the Sexy Friday spotlight. I do apologize for bumping you off last week's spot. Right now, Simon Baker can be seen on CBS in The Mentalist. I loved him in Something New though he's been in many other tv shows and movies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Presidential Address to Congress

Now, my least favorite thing is when the President interrupts my nightly television. I don't care what President, what political party. Don't enough people have cable to watch on CNN or MSNBC or Fox or all three? I need my network tv during the week. I don't want a night of relaxation ruined by listening to a bunch of blow hards stand and clap or not stand and clap. Still, someone in the apartment was happy to see this tonight.Little Miss didn't stand that close to the television the entire time, but she does stand and pay attention which is more than I can say for our regular tv viewing.Plus, whenever Congress stands and applauds, she stops what she is doing and applauds as well. I wonder if this means she'll be a member of Congress. Oh, I hope she's destined for something greater.

A New Trick!

Starting last week or so, Little Miss has been trying new ways of getting in trouble, er, exploring her skills set. Because I'm short, of course, I have a step stool. Little Miss has used it to stand. Lately, she's been crawling up and sitting on it. Today, she took it another step.

Little Miss starts by crawling up.

Then, she gets up on her knees. (NOTE: I actually couldn't take a photo in time, but she did have to do this step twice. The first time, she fell backwards. She was stunned to be on the floor. It was really cute, but she picked herself up and started again.)

The final stage! She stood up on the step stool! Of course, once standing, she couldn't figure out how to get down so she whined until I helped her. We're trying to teach her that to go down the step stool and stairs, she just has to sit on her bottom and slide, but it's not working. Why would it work if she knows that whining until someone helps her works just as well!

Weekend Update - It's Oscar Time!

Sorry for the late Weekend Update.

Let's see... on Friday night, I went from a hectic work week to visit Sister-in-Law. We went to see
Slumdog Millionaire. I loved it. I really did. I know how it seemed to hijack the awards on Sunday, but because it was the only movie I saw, I didn't care. We had a good dinner of Chinese food, saw the movie, and then I went home.

Over the weekend, Husband had an overnight guest and a weekend-long bachelor party for a friend. So, when I got home on Friday night, I made up the air mattress and set everything up (put sheets and blankets on the "bed" and set out towels). The boys had a poker night on Friday.

On Saturday, I slept as long as I could and made a nice breakfast for myself. I surfed the Internet. Then, I got a manicure/pedicure. It was great. I should mention here that Little Miss stayed with the grandparents all weekend and was completely spoiled. It's going to take all week to de-program her. The In-Laws and Little Miss came over on Saturday to meet Husband's Friend. She flirted heavily. Then, Sister-in-Law came to pick me up so we could go to
Chipotle and to the mall. I ate like a pig and then bought jewelry and shoes for the wedding next month. I previously bought a dress on clearance. We went back to my place to watch Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway. It was, as always, fantastic. We popped popcorn and watched the movie in preparation to seeing the tour in the Spring.

On Sunday, we both slept and then woke up to see Husband's Friend off. Then, we fought with the ever-dying and annoying television. I watched
the Independent Spirit Awards in the afternoon, made dinner and prepared to watch the 81st Annual Academy Awards. Each year, Husband, Mother, and I have a pool to see who can choose the most winners. Most years, Husband wins though I won a couple in there. This year, we let Little Miss have a ballot as well. We lined up Cheerios for her to eat. If she ate the furthest Cheerio, it would be a vote for the first nominee. The second Cheerio would correspond to the second nominee listed and so on and so forth. She did fairly well actually. I may try that tactic next year.

So, that was our busy yet not busy weekend. We're onto a crazy work week. Next weekend is Father-in-Law's birthday dinner and Mother's birthday dinner. So, hopefully, I'll get some photos to post.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscar Menu

The actors going to The 81st Annual Academy Awards will dine on lobster and caviar, but we will not. However, tonight's menu is one of our favorite meals and often a quick and easy pantry meal for us. Our grocery store has 2lb. bags of frozen shrimp on sale all the time so we always have shrimp in the freezer. I thought I'd share the recipe from Everyday Food.

Shrimp, Tomato, and Basil Pasta.


1 ½ pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails removed)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
6 teaspoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
½ pound linguine
1 ½ cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces, plus extra leaves for garnish (optional)

1. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 4 teaspoons oil over high. Add shrimp; cook until opaque throughout, turning occasionally, 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.

2. Make sauce: To the same skillet, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garlic; cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add canned tomatoes and their juice, along with 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have softened and are saucy, about 15 minutes. Remove sauce from heat; stir in cherry tomatoes.

3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain; return pasta to pot. Add tomato sauce, shrimp, and basil; season with salt and pepper, and toss. Serve immediately, garnished with basil leaves, if desired.

Per serving: 483 calories; 10.8 grams fat; 44 grams protein; 52.2 grams carbohydrates; 2.9 grams fiber

NOTE: I almost always double the recipe so we can have it two nights. I make 2 lb. of shrimp and season with garlic salt and pepper instead of regular salt. I also don't add the cherry tomatoes anymore. They're good, but it makes it extra chunky. It does stretch the recipe if you add them though. For a second meal, you can store the leftovers and then add a little water as needed and simmer for leftovers. I don't always add the basil either. Sometimes, I'll put a dash of dried basil or oregano for some extra taste. It's definitely something with which you can experiment.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sexy Friday

Just for Sanna, Hugh Jackman is the subject of today's Sexy Friday. He is this Sunday's host of the 81st Annual Academy Awards. I bumped another perfectly good candidate for Sexy Friday for this Australian and, though there was a bathtub photo of Hugh Jackman to continue with my unintentional theme of the past two weeks, I chose this one. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Great Cookie Caper - The Sequel

The above photo is Little Miss's ideal cookie.

My mom made heart-shaped M&M sugar cookies. Little Miss took a liking to them. I mean, what's not to like? So, my mom packed us up a couple to take home. Tonight, because she finished her entire dinner, we took out the last M&M cookie. She ate some pieces of plain cookie. Then, I gave her a piece with M&M. At that point, she would no longer eat plain cookie. She would scrape off every little bit of cookie and then eat the M&M. At the last bite, she could taste a bit of cookie with her M&M. She put her hand in her mouth, took out the itty, bitty crumb and handed it to me. At that point, she was given no more cookie. Again, Husband just laughed until he turned purple.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Great Cookie Caper

Tonight, Little Miss was being cranky and wouldn't eat dinner. This is not unusual. It is also important to know that it's Girl Scout cookie time, and I received my 3 boxes today. One particular box was opened as I couldn't wait to try it. She manages to grab the box, get the cookies out of the box and take one. At that point, I get up to grab her and the cookie. She didn't eat dinner; she didn't need a cookie. She then drops the box, clutches the cookie harder and takes off to the front door at top speed. Finding the front door shut, she continues to race around with me close at her heels. At various points, she tries to shove the cookie in her mouth with little success. At the end of the journey, she ends up right where she started and she throws the cookie onto the floor to break it into tiny bite-size pieces. Meanwhile, Husband is purple with laughter on the couch. There is some debate in the house whether she deserved a cookie after being so smart to find it, elude authority and figure out how to get a big cookie into her mouth. I say no. I am not rewarding cookie theft.

The above photo is staged with the cookie box (though empty of actual cookies to the great disappointment of Little Miss).

Weekend Update 2 - More Stories about the Kids

Husband wanted me to add two more stories about Nephew from last weekend.

First, Nephew has become more spontaneous in declaring his love. He's always said he loves people when prompted, but now he'll say it whenever he wants. So, he crawled up into Husband's lap and said, "Uncle, I love you." This, of course, melted Husband into a pile of mush. I've yet to be the recipient of his declaration of love, but then again his uncle is one of his favorite people. I'm much further down the list.

Second, Nephew, Sister, and I were having a conversation on the chairlift that resulted in the following conversation:

Sister (to Nephew): Do you want a brother or sister one day?
Nephew: A sister.
Sister (to Nephew): Really?
Nephew: I want (Little Miss) to be my sister.

It was too cute. The kids are really adorable together. I know it seems he's really rough with her, but he's just enthusiastic when hugging her. I think it's great that it doesn't scare her. She just kind of braces herself. As they both get older, she really looks up to him a lot, too.

As for a Little Miss story, she had her 15-month Well Baby visit last Friday as well. She was super cranky the entire afternoon, but she slept as soon as we got home which helped. She was healthy and growing at the same rate she always has been. The doctor said we'll see a big leap in her speech this year. She already babbles a lot and is SO CLOSE to saying real words. Right now, we're just guessing at what she's saying, but it'll be great to have a conversation with her.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekend Update - (Finally) A Winter Wonderland!

It was a long weekend which was a long time coming! On Friday, I saw Avenue Q. I loved it. I had been waiting a long time to see the play and was so excited when it came to town again.

Then, on Saturday, we drove to Maryland to my parents' vacation house. We saw flurries as soon as we left Virginia, and the snow just got heavier and heavier as we headed west. The kids played in the snow a little. Little Miss only had a brief nap in the car so she was a little cranky, but I think she was a little fascinated with the snow, too.

On Sunday, Mom, Brother-in-Law, Sister, Nephew and I went skiing/snowboarding. Husband stayed inside with Little Miss. It was fun especially watching Nephew ski. He took to skiing very quickly. At one point, I told him I'd race him. The next run, he shouted, "Auntie April, stop!" so I came to a quick stop to see him ski right by me. While he passed me, I heard him say "I won!" Stinker.

This morning, we went swimming before heading home. Nephew loves the pool. Little Miss was ok with me, but she
wasn't really loving the pool. I think she would have rather a morning nap. We were hoping to keep her awake so she'd sleep on the way home which she did.

Nephew and Little Miss really get along well. When Little Miss was cranky at dinner, he offered her his ice cream to cheer her up. When Nephew got in trouble for rough housing a little too hard, she went over to him and kissed his leg. This morning, while I was getting ready, Nephew watched Little Miss to keep her out of mischief and away from the stairs.

Below is a video of the kids sledding:

And it's time to start another week...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sexy Friday

Now, I'm not the biggest Johnny Depp fan, but he does have his appeal. I loved him in Finding Neverland and absolutely adored him in Chocolat. I mean, it's Johnny Depp playing the guitar, having a role where he's super nice and charming and there's chocolate. Anyway, this wasn't the sexiest photo I could find, but I liked it. Plus, you can't see it, but I'm on the other side of the tub just out of view. You know how make up runs in the bath. I was way too embarrassed to show my face with eyeliner running down my cheeks.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

No Mr. Darcy for Me

I'm always a sucker for online quizzes even if I think they're a load of hooey. I actually like the results to this one though I believe I've taken this quiz a couple of times and, each time, received a different result. I'm copying Sanna.

This result says: You are Anne Elliot of Persuasion! Let's face it; you're easily persuaded, particularly when friends and relatives try to use "the Elliot way" against you. But this doesn't mean that you don't have conviction. Actually, your sense of duty is overwhelming. And though you won't stick your neck out too often, you have learned to speak up when it counts. To boot, you know how to handle sticky situations. You love deeply and constantly.

I am Anne Elliot!

Take the Quiz here!

My friends are still talented!

I've mentioned before that Sanna is totally talented, and she has a lot of contests. Continuing in my theory that you can't lose if you don't play, here is my entry. Who doesn't want chocolate and a mug of something yummy for two on Valentine's Day? Good luck!

Time to Retire?

I read this morning a segment that suggested ten celebrities need to retire. We've seen their best, they've peaked, they need to go. This is inspired by Joaquin Phoenix's decision to retire. I don't know if I agree with the list, but what do you think? Who do you think should retire?

The list is as follows:
1. Tom Cruise , 2. Al Pacino , 3. Will Smith , 4. Mickey Rourke , 5. Russell Crowe , 6. Kate Winslet , 7. Steve Martin , 8. Jennifer Aniston , 9. Sean Astin , 10. Miley Cyrus

Anyone you think is underrated as an actor, that should have been a superstar? I was thinking this about Liam Neeson. He's always a solid actor and pops up every now and then and a leading man. There are plenty of underrated actors who are character actors or non-leading men.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Very Quiet Cricket

As I've mentioned before, Little Miss's favorite book is The Very Quiet Cricket. This photo is the fourth time she asked for the book to be read to her tonight. She will sit through the entire book being read most nights. A lot of the time, she'll go to the little drawer where we keep the book, pull it out and bring it to us. She'll hit the book and yell if we don't stop what we're doing and read it. Tonight, Husband's hand was blocking a picture and she moved it so she could see the little cricket underneath. Leave it to my kid to like a book about a bug.

Weekend Update - The Temperature is Rising

On Friday, I cleaned the bathrooms and tidied up a little. We had a bit of cleaning to do before the In-Laws came over on Saturday. Unfortunately, the Internet kidnapped me and I wasn't able to do much cleaning.

On Saturday, we finished cleaning and went grocery shopping. Husband cooked a huge meal of meat sauce with meatballs and sausage, cavatelli and raviolis, chicken cutlets and sour cream coffee cake. I did a cheese and cracker platter and baked chocolate chip cookies. We had a nice meal and hung out.

On Sunday, we slept late. Little Miss slept until 11:30AM. Around 1PM, Sister and Nephew came over. We went to the park and ran around. (Note: I'm kind of weirded out by the fact I'm not wearing any make up at all in the photo - rare day without even moisturizer or lip gloss, nothing!) Little Miss loved being on the slide and playing with a ball she stole from someone else. After a little while, we headed back home and went to the pool. Unfortunately, the pool was freezing so only Nephew and Husband went in. Little Miss walked around the entire pool three times or so to amuse herself. Sister and Nephew stayed for dinner and now we're just hanging out and hoping Little Miss goes to sleep soon. She hasn't napped all day and is exhausted (and so am I!). So, as soon as she goes to sleep, I'll be right behind her.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sexy Friday

Sorry for the delay in Sexy Friday. Last week, it was actually going to be Christian Bale, but I thought, in light of recent events, I would choose a different sexy star. So, today's Sexy Friday belongs to David Boreanaz of Bones. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Staring Contest

Tonight, Little Miss was getting into mischief of one kind... and another. Husband spoke firmly with her and stared her down. Little Miss stood her ground and stared right back with her hands on her hips. This is the part where I have to admit that, unfortunately, Husband lost the staring contest and started to laugh. Little Miss went on her way as victor continuing to make her mischief.

Not Fade Away

Today was the day the music died, the day that the plane went down carrying, along with the pilot, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. I, obviously, wasn't alive yet, but I'm familiar with their music. So, I thought I'd do my part to keep the legacy alive.

Is That Your Final Answer?

Last night, Husband and I were watching Chuck. He enjoys the show more than I do, but I'll watch. I think it's gotten better this season. At one point in the show, Yvonne Strahovski, who plays Sarah, is in this little nightie thing, and Husband remarks that she's "the most beautiful woman in the world." IN. THE. WORLD.

See below:She's been shown in less on the show, but the Wienerlicious outfit is one of his favorites. She no longer wears it much to many men's disappointment. Anyway, at his statement, I turned quickly around in my seat and said, "In the world?" He's about to say yes when he realizes he's looking at his wife, the love of his life and then backtracks, "Well, of course, you know, after you..."

Don't get me wrong, she is a really beautiful woman, but seriously, how dumb you gotta be to forget you're talking to your wife who just wants to hear lies about how beautiful she is? I mean, in his case, it's not a lie, of course.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Weekend Update - Superbowl Sunday

Yesterday, it was a slow day. Little Miss woke up. I fed her breakfast and we watched a little television. At 10:30AM, we took a 3-hour nap. We woke up, had lunch, and lounged around. Husband fixed us a nice dinner for Superbowl Sunday, a surf and turf meal. We watched the game. I may have read a book during the game and then peeked at some of the commercials. Then, Little Miss went to bed. We watched a little more tv and followed shortly after. Lazy Sunday... my favorite.