Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's all about the hot chocolate

Yay, more snow! We were all excited about the snow on Friday night. How much would there be? I just hoped it would be enough for the noodle to play in (you know they talk it up on the news). Well, let's just say there was plenty. It's yet another winter wonderland in Richmond.

Meet our new snow fort. Blink, and you'll miss it (but we love it just the same).

It snowed all day Saturday, but that didn't keep us inside.

Sweeping the snow was popular (see the cat in the window? she is constantly plotting her escape).

So was warming up with a cup of hot chocolate. I've never seen anything like it. Let's just go with this - the noodle is a big, big fan.

Nobody comes between me and my hot chocolate.

But it's tricky, too, because now she asks for hot chocolate after every trip outdoors. We've had the talk about how it is a "sometimes" treat, but that hasn't resonated yet. Darn two year-olds and their memory/verbal skills.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's thematic

Dude, if you are a dude, you will probably want to run and hide from this post. In fact, maybe you should too, cool chick. Because I am so not cool (that maybe I AM cool!) that one of my big things is creating variations on a theme. Example: paintings that are identical in composition but a different color. Or themed parties. Or themed menus. Or a themed party with a themed menu.

Don't go calling me Martha, though. Martha I am not.

I guess it all started with my first Superbowl party (easy theme) which had a menu featuring flavors from both team's cities. We did this until Pittsburgh started going to the big game every year and then stopped because (I hope not to offend you) there is no good cuisine native to Pittsburgh. There. I said it.

Actually we stopped hosting Superbowl parties altogether, and now we just go to my friend SweetWonderfulMama's house for her party. Her theme: dip contest. I was excited about the contest when we were first introduced to it last year. I researched dips for weeks beforehand and finally found the perfect dip. Then I busted out the fondue pot (hey, if you're married you know you have one) and even bought fancy schmancy spices for it. Then we arrived at the party, I lit sterno underneath the fondue pot, and I burned the whole thing. Oops.

So, this year is all about redemption, and I'm going back to my roots: theme dip! Nothing spectacular came to mind when I considered New York as a genre (New York Strip dip?) so I'm going with the obvious good stuff: Creole! I think I found just the recipe, too. Isn't it pretty?

Creole crab dip with a cornbread crumb crust. I'm excited. I don't expect to win though because the competition is fierce. The guy who won last year had his dip in a football crock pot. I can't compete with that. I would be tempted to buy such a crock pot, except I won't have room to store it unless I get rid of all of the specialty drink ware from my Fiji party. Gotta love a theme!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What a day!

It was the best day. I slept in. I got to go out for my favorite brunch, and the noodle behaved like a normal person. Then I went shopping and got lots of great new clothes. The most exciting thing is that they fit right AND were in fashion. After that I spent the afternoon at the spa. By myself. In the quiet. I came home and played with the noodle for a while (didn't want her to forget what I looked like) before going out for drinks and dinner with Mac and some friends. Followed by more drinks. And loud, adult music. Then I fell into a deep slumber and woke up feeling perfectly refreshed and ready to tackle the world.

Okay, maybe some of that didn't happen. Oh, alright, none of it happened. But I am willing it to happen in a few weeks on my 33rd birthday. 33! You see, Mac introduced the notion of turning double-digit birthdays into big celebrations a while back, and it struck a chord with me. So, rather than our recent habit of picking up carry-out sushi and champagne (not that there's anything wrong with that), I'm casting this wish out into the universe. Let 33 be big, and I will not ask for too much again until 44. Maybe.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A sweet resolution

Did you make a New Year's resolution this year? I didn't. The thought didn't even occur to me. Not that I'm perfect (but you could call me that if you really wanted to make me smile - especially you Mrs. Von Deak!) I digress. It's just that 2009 was so not what I wanted it to be and at the stroke of midnight that welcomed 2010, all I cared about was that it felt like I was starting fresh. A clean slate. A new address. A working spouse. You name it. It was all good.

So, we're three weeks in and maybe it's not *all* good, but it is definitely improving. I'm happier. But I want to be even more happy. I want to do the things (within reason and my budget) that make me happy. And, as I sat chowing down on Skittles while babysitting last night, it occurred to me that maybe my New Year's resolution was going to be to eat more candy. Not chocolate. Candy. I love candy. It makes me happy, and I deserve that feeling - we all do. I can't remember a precise time when I stopped eating candy, but I've sure noticed in the past six months of moonlighting as a babysitter that I am so happy when I go to a house that has it (and they all do, by the way). So, maybe I'll start keeping some on hand. Why not? Eating an entire bag of candy really isn't much of a caloric setback. And if the worst case scenario means gaining a couple of pounds, then I'll take my chances.

Juicy Pear Jelly Belly's, gummy peaches, Starbursts, Twizzlers, LEMONHEADS! Oh boy. This could be the start of something really special. So, here it is, for the record: I resolve to eat more candy in 2010. Perhaps it would be better stated to resolve to seek happiness, but I think the candy eating will greatly help achieve that goal. Now I've just got to find a good hiding place from the little noodle...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Oh no she di-in't

Oh yes. She did. Who did what, you ask? The noodle's favorite author (Rosemary Wells) issued a world-class cut-down that has had us all cracking up for the last two weeks. The book is called Shy Charles, and as you might imagine, it's about a shy boy named Charles. He gets into a lot of trouble from his parents for being so introverted and is threatened with a spanking by his mom and then gets the ultimate verbal lashing from his dad. Sounds bad, but I can't stop smiling when I think of it (as un-pc as that may be). So, since we had to return the book to the library today and I don't want to forget, here it is:

Charles, you're a jelly roll. You're just a cowardly custard. You're like a sandwich without the bread, not to mention the ham and the mustard.

Now picture Eminem rattling that off in 8-Mile. Are you cracking up yet? Is it just me, or is that some good material?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Movin' on up

Greetings from Park Avenue. Yes, Park Avenue. We moved over the weekend. Kinda felt like it was never going to happen. But it did. And while our new house is certainly no "Cube", I am smitten. We downsized, but we gained an extra room. We left modern, but we brought modern stuff with us. And, we are on the brink of bidding a fond farewell to the "joys" of homeownership while ushering in a new year as renters!

Here's my Top 10 list of favorite things about the new digs:

10. Gas fireplace. The wood-burning fireplace in our old house had a huge room to heat and was pretty much worthless. This one is up and running in about a second and keeps us toasty warm.

9. Backyard. Yes, we lived on an acre before, but it was woodland with poison ivy where grass should be. Now we have a nice, tiny backyard with GRASS ... and a peach tree!

8. Guest bedroom that is neither the office nor with a shared bath next to the noodle's room.

7. Location. Since moving in on Sunday, I haven't traveled more than seven minutes to get anywhere. Mac's office, the noodle's school and music class, the grocery store, gym, Target and Chipotle are all just a few miles away. And, really, what more do you need?

6. Pretty little things. There is scalloped trim in the den. It's so "not me" that it just IS me. I can't get enough of that trim!

5. Properly functioning washer and dryer... enough said.

4. Magnolia tree. While it is larger than the actual house and does block much-coveted sunlight, I love magnolias... and their flowers (a little Jamie trivia tidbit for ya!)

3. We're renters! Now, if the front of the house starts falling off a la The Cube circa 2008, it's not my problem!

2. It's just the right size for the noodle. The rooms, the stairs, and even the toilets and bathtub are all just right for her. And she loves it!

1. Did I mention it's a rental?!