Monday, February 8, 2010

Mid-Month Update

Ok, so January was not a great blogging month. However, I am vowing to get back with it this month (what's that, February is halfway over already?! Hmmm.) with a few more posts.

Around the House: A busy week this week. Embry's class is spending an evening at the Magic House on Thursday and I am both baking treats and helping to organize and serve them at the museum. This year will be slightly different than last, since we are taking Matthew. We agreed that he is old enough to enjoy the museum now, and old enough not to get tired and cranky at 6pm. We'll see. Embry is off of school Friday, her birthday is Sunday, and she is off of school again on Monday. So, a very long weekend for the birthday girl... lucky her! We are having a very small party at home on Sunday afternoon with me, J, Mattie, Grandma and Pawpaw, and one friend from school of Embry's choosing. I have a feeling that having a friend over to play will be the only thing she remembers from this birthday.

In the Kitchen: We are not football watchers in this house. So, the only part of Superbowl Sunday that we celebrate is the food. I picked up a couple of frozen appetizer things from Trader Joe's, including mushroom turnovers and arancini balls with bruschetta. I made this yummy hot cheese and red pepper dip from my new fave recipe blog, Our Best Bites, and of course, little smokies. Because you can't watch football without little smokies, right? Ok, so we didn't watch any football. We watched Big Love instead, which is absolutely great this season!

Last week I also made Cheesy Rice and Broccoli Casserole.

Amazingly it is one of my favorite foods to eat at Thanksgiving or Christmas, but I have never made it myself. I was inspired by the recipe in my Cook's Illustrated weekly email where you make it (get this) from scratch. No cream-of-something soup, no frozen broccoli, no instant rice. The whole thing from scratch. It took me nearly an hour, and dirtied up a sink full of dishes, but it turned out SO GOOD! It had way more broccoli in it than usual (2 1/2 pounds), so I didn't feel guilty having it for lunch 4 days in a row. That same afternoon I whipped up these Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars.

So easy and delicious, and the crust tastes just like those peanut butter sandwich Girl Scout cookies. (Hmm? I wonder if my Girl Scout cookie order is in yet? Anyway...) Try this recipe from Angie at Half-Assed Kitchen; it takes about 10 minutes and is just as satisfying as the casserole that took much longer.

New with Embry: On the verge of turning 5, Embry is excelling at school, more than I ever thought she would. She loves to write in cursive now, she's reading everything, and a pro at adding and subtracting really huge numbers. The most shocking thing to me? Geography. Montessori schools like to brag that before kids enter the Elementary class (around age 6) they are able to name and locate on a map, every country in the world. "Yeah, right," I always thought. Alex Trebek can't even do that. But so far, Embry has learned the countries in North and Central America, South America and Asia, as well as all of the provinces in Australia. She is currently working on Europe. Wow! I don't think anyone ever attempted to teach me the provinces in Australia. I'm certainly impressed. And I know that she did not inherit this particular talent from me. I got a D (my only D ever) in Freshman Geography in high school. Ok, so some of that was because the teacher hated me, but still.

New with Matthew: Since I can't think of anything for Matthew, and since I haven't posted and pics of the kids of the kids for a while, I'll just do that instead.

I am Grateful For: Not living on the East coast. For lots of reasons, but mostly because of the recent weather. The news said that D.C. got 32 inches of snow last week. I like snow, but not that much.

The Weather Outside: We got between 1 and 2 inches of snow out of that same storm that hit the the eastern U.S. And it was finally the kind that you can make a snowman out of! The kids were very happy.

I am Obsessed With: Nothing at the moment, so I'll talk about movies instead. My husband and I both had the opportunity to go to the movies this weekend. (Not together, of course.) I went to see The Lovely Bones. J went to see Avatar. Now, although the film I saw was not perfect, it was beautifully shot and directed, and had a good story. The ending left me very unsatisfied, but I was entertained nonetheless. And that is the key concept to a good movie. Was I entertained? Or was I checking my watch half-way through thinking, "Wow has it only been two hours?" I am not one of those people who only like serious, meaningful movies. I love a good slapstick comedy or action flick, too. But, sorry to all you Avatar fans out there (especially Susan who has at last count seen it 5? times)... I will not waste $10, plus $3 for the 3-D and 3 hours of my precious freetime on this movie, because I do not think it will keep me entertained. I'm sure it really is visually spectacular, and I'm sure it will win 11 Oscars. But looking good can only get you so far. So, if you haven't seen Avatar yet, don't. Save your $13 for the Lovely Bones, or Young Victoria (very good), or rent Funny People, or Yes Man. Those are just a few of the highly entertaining films I have watched recently.

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