Monday, June 28, 2010

Weekend Update - Family Tornado

Last Friday, we were ahead of schedule and finished cleaning for the baby shower for Sister-in-Law. So, for Saturday, we just needed to cook. On Saturday, I woke up early and did all the prep work so all I needed to do was mix ingredients together for an arugula salad, a caprese pasta salad and Cheese Crostini with Proscuitto. The shower went well. It was actually relaxing mostly because there were lots of helpers. Then, after the shower, we went to dinner with everyone to Clyde's. Mother-in-Law came over after dinner to do all the dishes which I very much appreciated.

On Sunday, I slept late which was glorious. Then, Little Miss took a nap. When she woke, we
took a walk so she could walk through the water fountains in the neighborhood. Once she dried off, we went to dinner for my dad's 60th birthday at Dogfish Head Alehouse which was yummy (and provided a yummy lunch today).

So, it was a great weekend full of family, but it was tiring. I'll be looking forward to a relaxing long weekend coming up. Up top is a picture of Little Miss with brother-in-law at dinner on Saturday (where they matched nicely). Down below is a picture of Little Miss running through the fountain on Sunday.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sexy Friday

Sexy Friday has, once again hit a member of the cast of Grey's Anatomy. Jesse Williams was recently promoted and I'm mighty glad. I did not know that I know him from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. I remember his scenes, but I didn't know it was the same actor. The movie seems to always be playing on cable so I'll have to see if I catch an earlier part than the end and check it out again. It was tough competition this week (and the other contender will make an appearance on an upcoming Friday), but I think the best man won.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Purple April - Part 2

I like purple. It's not a big secret. I always have. I can site a 15 year-old t-shirt, amethyst earrings from high school graduation, and countless other items in my wardrobe. I even dabbled with the idea of having purple as my wedding color, but I decided against it (bridesmaids, you can thank me now). Anyway, a couple of months ago, I posted this. Brother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law (and future Nephew) gave me this for my birthday which I wore yesterday. I also received these purple earrings from a friend which I wore on Tuesday (though they come out a little different online than in person - much prettier on my ears). Then, today, I wore this. In addition, I got a package today at work. I received the following items and can't wait to wear them (though not together - that's even too much for me). I bought the long t-shirt below (though have a similar scarf to the photo from the same store). I think it'll be a great layering piece and probably totally nicer on a super tall person but tall people can't have all the fun. I'm wearing it anyway.I also got these pants even though I'm not huge on capris. I do like wearing them around in the summer so it's kind of a love/hate relationship. Oh, and these capris are going to be a little longer than right below the knee on me which makes the length awkward, but they'll still be good at the beach or hanging around in the evenings during the summer. (Both pieces are from Esprit which sells a glorious shade of purple, but the website is kooky so nothing is linked. I try not to buy everything purple there, but it's such a perfect color. The store is a little pricier than I usually shop, but the sales are good and the website has some sales and cheap shipping which I just discovered and could be dangerous for me.) PURPLE RULES!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Picking My Battles

As a parent, you have to learn how to pick your battles. For instance, I fight to get Little Miss to wear shoes that fit everyday, but I will let her pick her own shoes. So, she's worn rain boots a lot in the last few weeks. Yesterday, she wore suede Mary Janes. Today, however, she got more looks than usual and most walked away with a smile on their faces. The photo below is how Little Miss was dressed to leave the apartment.Then, at the last minute (keep in mind we were already running about 5 minutes late), she changed her mind. She wanted a new hat so I told her to hurry while I packed my bag and found my keys. She ran back into her room and ran back out wearing the hat below:Normally, I would have her change, but we didn't have the time, and I already chose my battle and got her to wear her sandals over shoes that are are too big and her baseball jersey over her football shirt. I put the Mets jersey on and all she kept saying was "J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!" I had to explain that this was baseball and the Jets are football, never thought I'd be having that conversation with my daughter (though she is half Husband's daughter).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Chocolate Cake

This was a Bake Off with friends from around the world. There was some confusion on conversions and ingredients, but I crossed my fingers, tried hard and hoped for the best. The photo above is actually my cake. I made the recipe below but excluded the coffee. I also made one error, but it tasted good enough. At the bottom, I'll share my little flub.

Chocolate Cake
Ingredients
8.81oz (or ½ pound) butter, cut into cubes
8.81oz (or ½ pound) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 tbsp instant coffee powder (or granules)
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
¼ cup extra-light olive oil (or vegetable oil)
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup plain flour
½ cup cocoa
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 cups caster sugar

Ganache
2 cups thickened cream
17.1oz (or 1 pound) dark chocolate (extra), roughly chopped

1 Preheat oven to 320F. Grease and line a 8.7inches round cake pan with baking paper. Put butter, chocolate, coffee, vanilla and ¾ cup hot water in a saucepan and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

2 Combine eggs, oil and buttermilk in a large jug. Sift flours, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Add sugar and stir until well combined. Make a well in centre of flour mixture and add egg mixture. Stir slowly to combine. Add chocolate mixture, stirring constantly until well combined.

3 Pour mixture into prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool cake in pan.

4 To make ganache, put cream and chocolate (extra) in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and well combined. Pour into a bowl. Cool at room temperature or refrigerate until ganache is spreadable. Decorate cake with ganache.

Measurement conversions for grams to pounds were obtained by using the calculators
here.

For converting cooking measurements, this website seems good. It lists UK, US and Aust measurement for everything and indicates that the cup measurements and even the teaspoon (tsp) and tablespoon (tbsp) measurements are also slightly different in each country, but I haven't converted tsp/tbsp in the above recipe. You can read more
here.

SIDENOTE: I had a bowl with my dry ingredients, wet ingredients and chocolate sauce to make the cake. I put the oil in with the chocolate sauce instead of with the wet ingredients. I don't feel it affected things too much. I'd be willing to make the cake again. I will warn that it is a very heavy cake. I didn't cook mine the entire time. I cooked mine is an 8x8 baking pan and took it out around an hour in when it was done. It puffed a lot, but it tasted done to me. However, I know some who did cook the entire time. Someone said they cut the cake in half and did a layer of ganache in the middle, and I don't see how that's bad at all.

Baked French Toast

Here is the recipe for Baked French Toast - the breakfast I made for book club. It is from The Pioneer Woman blog. The photograph is hers as well. I would love to add fruit next time. I thought blueberries, but I bet diced apple would be FANTASTIC with the cinnamon goodness. I would also bake it longer than I did because mine didn't get as dark as the photo, but it did taste good enough. I also forgot to offer maple syrup which I have in the fridge, too. Enjoy!

Ingredients
FRENCH TOAST
1 loaf Crusty Sourdough Or French Bread
8 whole Eggs
2 cups Whole Milk
½ cups Whipping (heavy) Cream
¾ cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

Topping
½ cups All-purpose Flour
½ cups Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoons Salt
1 stick Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces
Fresh Fruit (optional)

Preparation Instructions
Grease 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter. Tear bread into chunks (or cut into cubes) and evenly distribute in the pan.

Mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. Cover tightly and store in the fridge several hours or overnight.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add nutmeg if desired. Add butter pieces and but into the dry mixture until mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a Ziploc in the fridge.

When you’re ready to bake the casserole, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove casserole from oven and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top. (If you’re using fruit, sprinkle on before the crumb mixture.) Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture. Bake 1 hour or more for a firmer, less liquid texture.
Scoop out individual portions. Top with butter and drizzle with maple syrup.

Weekend Update - Father's Day

Last weekend went by in a blur. On Saturday, Husband went out all day to play and watch golf. So, Little Miss and I woke early and met Sister, Nephew and Brother-in-Law at the mall. We had lunch and then Little Miss and I walked the entire length of the mall window shopping and actual shopping. I won't say what I actually bought because seeing it all in print may be too much, but Little Miss got 2 books and a stuffed animal plus a little backpack for all her things and a new cup. She was a trooper. She walked everywhere and then, she fell asleep on the way home and took a 3 hour nap. When she woke up, we went to the grocery store for a few things, ate dinner and then she went to bed.

On Sunday, Little Miss woke up with Husband. Then, I woke up and got
ready and we took a nap around the neighborhood. Little Miss played in the spitting fountains around the corner. Then, we came home, ate lunch and she took an early nap. Then, we went back to the grocery store for a few things. All in all, it was a good Father's Day. Mostly relaxing. Monday came too fast!

I did get my new camera that I bought for my birthday and have been playing around with it - taking many pictures of Little Miss, making the photos black and white, changing the photo settings. All sorts of fun. Can't wait to see what I can do with the photos from this summer.

Weekend Update - Birthday #2

The second weekend in June was my birthday. Yes, it does irk me that I need to share my birthday month with Husband. I took the day off of work and spent the morning at Elizabeth Arden and then met my co-workers at Bertucci's for lunch. Then, I took a lovely nap before meeting friends at Bailey's. We had some drinks and dinner and then went to see The A-Team which had Bradley Cooper shirtless.

On Saturday, I'm not sure what we did. I thought we went to the pool again, but I can't remember the evening. I know I watched a DVD. I think the boy went to a work social event if I remember correctly.

On Sunday, I hosted book club and we had a mini baby shower for Sister-in-Law. We had enough food for probably double the amount of people. I'll post my recipes later perhaps, but I made French Toast casserole and chocolate cake. Others brought wine, mimosa ingredients, blueberry muffins, berries, quiche and cheese. So, a true feast. The photo on the left is Little Miss getting ready for the guests. She had to wear her rain boots. The photo on the right is Little Miss halfway through bookclub. It's a lot of work entertaining so many women! I know, she deserves a real pillow, but she likes the firm throw pillows so that's what she uses. Dora fades in and out of her favor, but she is in the rotation. Plus, because we have a lazy kid, she never climbs out of her crib so she's in the crib for a little longer until we can mentally accept the fact that she's a big girl.

Weekend Update - Birthday #1

This is an old one so it may be short because my memory is a little fuzzy. I'm doing 3 Weekend Updates today.

The first weekend of June was the weekend closest to Husband's birthday. We had dinner with his family at
Vapiano and then went to his parents' house for ice cream cupcakes. The photo to the left is Little Miss with her aunt and uncle. She's being a total ham for the camera.

On Saturday, we babysat Nephew and then I met a friend for some book talk. It was a great day
despite the fact that Little Miss was very jealous of Nephew and didn't want to share any of her toys. She was very good in the bookstore and with meeting new people.

The next day we went to the pool where Little Miss took immediately to the water so we hope to spend more time at the pools this summer now that she can enjoy it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to the fathers in my life!

Dads are funny fellows. They aren't always in front of the camera. So, sometimes, there aren't many recent photos. Therefore, I've taken photos of our dads from our wedding. They look the same but a little older (but, hey, don't we all?).

Below is my dad and I in the limo on the way to the church. It's one of the few photos where he doesn't look scared to death which is why it's one of my favorites. I wish him a Happy Father's Day! Below is Husband's dad without whom there would be no Husband so obviously I wish him a Happy Father's Day.Last, but not least, I wish Husband a Happy Father's Day because he's an awesome father. It's not every father who can make his Little Miss make the happy squishy face. I had to specify because Little Miss also has an unhappy squishy face.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rant

Now, the song is kind of annoying, but it's darned catchy. I'll sing it in the car, sometimes even with the windows rolled down (ok, at that point, I'll car dance, but I won't sing). However, it bugs me that the lyric is: You and me could write write a bad romance. It's not like the "you and me" has to rhyme with anything. It should be "You and I could write a bad romance." Anyway, it's been bugging me. I thought it should bug you, too. Below, if you haven't heard the song, is the Glee version because that's the version I listened to in the car. I linked Lady Gaga's version below that.

Sexy Father's Day Friday

You totally knew these two were going to make Sexy Friday eventually so why not be the Father's Day edition? These two have been in my life for a very long time. I think they were what took up a good 80% of my time as a teenager. I know Kyle Chandler and I go way back. He doesn't know this, but it's true. Chris O'Donnell and I probably didn't make it official until college, but I definitely made up for lost time. Both have have worked on projects that I'd rather not admit to seeing, but what kind of fan would I be if I didn't? Also, both were in season two of Grey's Anatomy which is why it's the only season of the show I own (and I hate owning a solo season of a show - if I'm going to commit to purchasing, I'm buying them all). This weekend is a big weekend for both as Kyle Chandler has 2 girls and Chris O'Donnell has 5 kids. So, on the zero chance either is reading, Happy Father's Day!

Sidenote: I was actually trying to find the picture of Kyle Chandler and his daughters at the beach for a little symmetry. It was so cute, but it made the inner Mommy in me cringe to see the girls in their party dresses filthy from the sand. I know it's only clothes, but messes drive me batty (you should have seen me last weekend when Little Miss had marker all over her party dress - inwardly cringing all day).

Friday, June 11, 2010

My Birthday!

It's my birthday today! Plus, I've been really digging this song. It gets me through the morning commute and gets me all car-dancing (come on, you know you do it, too). However, because it's my birthday and it's a Friday, I took the day off. I have an appointment at the spa and then I'm hanging with my friends. Enjoy my party song!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

National Doughnut Day


Tomorrow is
National Doughnut Day! Click on the link to find out where you can get free doughnuts. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Husband!

Happy birthday, Husband! I know you're happiest when you're with your girls. Plus, it's a special man who can be secure in himself while carrying a balloon flower. I hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sunscreen

This is why sunscreen is important. First, burning your feet is never a good idea. Second, unless you wear the same strappy shoes all summer, I would suggest not going around with this tan.

Movies Watched in May 2010

  1. The Day the Earth Stood Still
  2. Sex and the City 2
  3. The Informant!

All of the movies were watched in the last week of May. The first was not really my cup of tea, but as I've mentioned, I watched for Kyle Chandler. Seriously, if Kyle Chandler blows up one more time, I will freak out. I'm tired of it! I saw Sex and the City 2 in the theater with friends. We had a lot of fun. I was never a huge fan of the franchise so I was probably the most unamused by the film, but if you liked the first movie, you'll like this movie. It was cute in parts. If you didn't like the first movie, you won't like this one. The Informant! was a rental, and it wasn't bad. It was kind of quirky and left you wondering. It wasn't perfect, but I did make it to the end. I'm starting fresh with Netflix so hopefully my movie watching will start to increase. I've got one at home that I've been waiting patiently to see.

Books Read in May 2010

  1. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (NOTE: This is Book 1 of the Percy Jackson series. The book order can be found here.)
  2. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (NOTE: This is Book 2 of the Percy Jackson series. The book order can be found here.)
  3. The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan (NOTE: This is Book 3 of the Percy Jackson series. The book order can be found here.)
  4. Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts (NOTE: This is Book 3 in athe Bride Quartet. The order of which can be found here.)
  5. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan (NOTE: This is Book 4 of the Percy Jackson series. The book order can be found here.)
  6. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (NOTE: This is Book 5 of the Percy Jackson series. The book order can be found here.)
  7. Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
This was almost an entire Percy Jackson month, but I found the books very enjoyable. As always, the books that link to an ebook were read on my nook and the books that link to a physical book were read on paper. It was a good book month. I enjoyed each and every one of them. Also, don't tell my dad I read the last book. I had to preview the book before gifting to him. If he ever opens it, I think he'll find it absolutely hysterical.

Weekend Update - Memorial Day

Last weekend, my office closed early so I met up with friends for Happy Hour at La Sandia and then we went to see Sex and the City 2.

On Saturday, we got up normal time and got ready to go to Deep Creek Lake. Little Miss had a ton of strawberries and Cheerios for breakfast. Then, we drove to Deep Creek Lake and met the family at
Wisp for the K-9 Tunes and Brews. It was a lot of fun. The kids did the jumping castle, played games, ate ice cream. The adults (Husband, Sister and Dad) drank beer, a lot of beer. After, we all ate dinner and went to bed.

On Sunday, Husband woke up early to golf while we all went to the top of the mountain so the kids could play in the water. Once they were thoroughly soaked, we went home so they could eat lunch and, for some, take
a nap. Then, there was dinner and movie night (though not all made it to the end).

On Monday, we mostly got up and got ready to head back home. The weekend was fast, but it was fun.