Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Mini Vacay

Nate's mom came out to visit this past Saturday, and we decided to take advantage of having a babysitter in the house and went on a mini vacation. It wasn't a big trip- just to the Sheraton in Uptown Albuquerque, but after 5 months of no alone time for us it could have been on the moon. We spent the last three days relaxing, watching lots of episodes of 24 from previous seasons, going to the movies (more on that in a bit), and eating terrific food. Last night we had an Indian feast, and it was so incredibly delicious. I have not had Indian food since we moved here, and it was great to discover a terrific restaurant where I can indulge my love of Indian cuisine whenever I want.

Yesterday we went and saw "Watchmen" at the theater. Yes, Nathan worked on this movie for a couple of years, which was the reason why I wanted to go see it. Honestly, I was expecting a sort of campy, cheesey super hero film that tried really hard to be bad-ass and as gory as possible. What we saw, though, was an intense, gritty, dark, and very human movie about love, life, and personal motivations for how people choose to live their lives. It was gorgeously directed and produced, and I was enthralled from the opening credits to the end. Yes, it has super heros in it. Yes, it was violent, and deserved it's R rating. But it would not have been the same movie if they went for the PG-13 rating- it would have lost a lot of it's punch and realism. I highly recommend this movie, and look forward to seeing it again.

Considering how often we get out for dates, I am assuming I will be seeing the movie again once it is out on Blu-Ray.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I'm Back, With Caramel Popcorn!

So, I've been MIA for a month and a half. I have to blame it all on my friend J, since she was the one that wore me down and convinced me to join Facebook. I joined the day after my last post on here, and as you can see it has sort of kept me away from my blog. Oops. Facebook is so much fun, though, and I highly recommend it to everyone. It is Crackbook, as my friend M calls it.

Anyhow, things have been the usual topsy turvy around here. My Dad came out to visit last month right after we all took turns with the stomach flu, the week after he left my pygmy hedgehog gave birth to 5 babies that I was not expecting, and then the following week several of us came down with the flu. It's been, you know, busy.

So tonight after the two little ones went to bed, I searched around and found a recipe for making caramel popcorn in the microwave. Those of you that have made it the old fashioned way know it can be a bit laborious- making the caramel on the stove, popping the popcorn, coating it, baking it, etc. This recipe cut down on time and resulted in the best caramel popcorn I have ever had, bar none. It is so tasty, so easy, and so yummy! Here's the recipe, followed by a couple of tips.

Microwave Caramel Popcorn

4 quarts popped popcorn
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Place the popped popcorn into a large brown paper bag. Set aside.

In a 2 quart casserole dish, or other heat-proof glass dish, combine the brown sugar, margarine, corn syrup, salt and vanilla. Heat for 3 minutes in the microwave, then take out and stir until well blended. Return to the microwave, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from microwave, and stir in the baking soda.

Pour syrup over the popcorn in the bag. Roll down the top once or twice to close the bag, and shake to coat the corn. Place bag into the microwave, and cook for 1 minute and 10 seconds. Remove, shake, flip the bag over, and return it to the microwave. Cook for another 1 minute and 10 seconds. Dump the popcorn out onto waxed paper, and let cool until coating is set. Store in an airtight container.

Notes- Since microwave ovens vary, start with less time than the directions call for. I nuked the syrup for 3 1/2 minutes total, then the covered popcorn for 2 minutes total. I also used 1/2 cup kernels in my hot air popper to make the popcorn, but you can do two batches of 1/4 cup kernels in brown paper lunch bags for the popcorn. You can also use *gasp* microwave popcorn from two bags, but I don't recommend that. See my other post about microwave popcorn!

Enjoy this recipe with someone you love, even if it is just yourself. ;)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happy Birthday My Girl!

Nine years ago today this amazing child came into my life as a small bundle of pink joy. Her birth date, time of birth, even size were all good, lucky numbers, and I knew in my heart that I was blessed to have that child.

I feel even more blessed today, as E is turning into a wonderful, amazing human being that I am thrilled every day to know. Her light in my life is one of constant joy and happiness, and I am so happy to be her mommy. Happy birthday baby girl!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Can't Believe I Am Doing This

I am going to complain about my house. Yes, my beloved dream home, with room enough for my large family and all of our things. I still love my home- I love the layout, the space, the colors, everything. Well, everything except one thing- my carpet. I have cut berber carpet throughout the house, and it is gorgeous carpet. Light beige with little spots of dark color here and there that is perfect for kids. It's also neutral enough that it goes with all of the many colors on our walls, and is chameleon-like in it's ability to be cool or warm toned based on the colors around it.

So what could I possibly not like about it? It is rough on my socks. The fibers are rather "grabby" and as I go about the house during the day in my sock feet, it wears through them rather quickly. I think I get maybe a half dozen wears from each pair of socks before the carpet wears a hole in them. Hubby suggested house slippers, which I did purchase, but I forget to put them on and end up ruining my socks. It's too cold this time of year to go barefoot, and we don't wear shoes in the house. What's a girl to do? I guess buy her socks in bulk at Wal*Mart.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah, Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah, Hey Hey Hey, GOODBYE

The last puppy has left the nest! I am so thrilled to have all of them out and in their new homes, and I get to have my kitchen back. And Hadrian went to the Cavalier Rescue group today too, so we are down to one dog. Hooray! I am so happy and so relieved to have all of this taken care of, and I feel like I can get back to my old life. Only better, because Hadrian will not be stressing me out anymore.

Time to break out the ice wine and celebrate!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

I turned 34 today, woohoo! It was an excellent birthday that I thoroughly enjoyed. I did laundry, washed dishes, finished painting one of the bathrooms, and ran errands. I know, I do most all of that every day. But the simple fact that it was my birthday made all of these things extra special. I also spent a couple hours on the phone with my oldest sister, another half hour with the middle sister, and had a nice chat with my Dad.

As for presents, Nate bought me an amazing gift- a Vitamix blender. I have lusted after one of these for years, and will be receiving mine on Saturday. I am really looking forward to trying out some Green Smoothies, and making fabulous salad dressings and sauces in it. Considering that I use my blender at least twice a day, and often 3 or 4 times, this is a good investment for me.

One really cool thing I have noticed about getting older is that my life keeps getting better and better. Or maybe it's more that I like myself better and better, or feel more comfortable in my skin. I'm not exactly sure what it is, but I do know that my 30's have been more satisfying for me than my 20's. I have heard that this tends to be true for women- their quality of life goes up as they age, and they report more satisfaction with their lives as time goes by. It's not so bad getting older- especially since I got carded the other day! I must look halfway decent for a 30-something.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sucks and Supers About ABQ

Time for another review of our new city. Don't you all love these? Let's start with my newest contender for What Sucks the Most About ABQ. As you all know, at one point it was the lack of a Sephora store that was in first place, but that was quickly remedied. Since then I have been toying with several candidates for the Suckiest part of ABQ, and I think I have hit upon a very good one. It's the food. Not that the food itself is bad, oh no- it's that it is too freakin' hot for me to eat! People like it super-spicy here and smother everything in green or red chile, or both, and happily gulp it down. I thought that a few months of training and practicing would get my taste buds used to be ignited every time a took a bite, yet I have found that I can not handle the inferno. Which leaves me rather sad when we go out to eat and I see things like green chile enchiladas or breakfast burritos with chopped chile and cheese in them. I know that if I do get them, after two bites I will regret it, and after three I will be frantically looking for an ambulance because surely all of the skin on my tongue has been burned off. Then I don't eat my food and look dejectedly at my almost full plate, wishing I had stuck with something safe.

Another suck? Sundays. I like Sunday a lot, especially now that Nate is working 6 days a week. Sunday is one day when we get to be together and I can go do some shopping. But there is this little niggling law here that bugs- no alcohol sales before noon on Sunday. What's the big deal, you ask? Well, I usually go grocery shopping on Sunday morning while lots Querquians are in church, and I can't pick up a bottle of wine for dinner while I am there. And lots of other stores are not open on Sundays either. Evidently a few people in this town take the Sabbath seriously.

On to a Super! The weather here is fantastic. It is not bitterly cold here in the winter, but cold enough to merit sweaters and jeans all day, coats and scarves at night. The sky is gorgeous, the stars amazing, and the occasional snow flurry is a treat. I love the scenery and the clean air and the mountains, it makes me glad to live here.