Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A New Hue

Due to a couple of things happening around here that were just a bit stressful in the past week, we were able to get some news about a certain Baby Next's gender earlier than expected. No worries, everything is fine, but I am not feeling moved to share the nitty gritty with everyone over the Internet. Here is what you need to know:

While I am perfectly content with blue and red in my life, I am so so excited that I will not be outnumbered and there will be a little pink in our lives! Hooray!

I always find it quite funny when you tell people this news and they ask, "Are you excited?" Does anybody ever say, "Quite frankly, I'm not."

We will not be sharing names ahead of time, so I'll save you the trouble of asking. Last time we didn't even share our possibilities. It's just easier that way so you don't have someone saying, "Well, I hate that name, but that one is okay." Let's just say that if you knew our possible girl names before, they are still in the running, but we feel the need to explore every other name and popularity trend graphs before coming to a final decision. You think I'm kidding, but don't forget that I have a scientific nerdy husband who gets upset whenever we meet someone with the same name as J.

More good news... our bathrooms are textured and painted! With green (earth friendly) paint! I'll post some pictures when we get the new light fixtures and mirrors up (that implies that we have them and we don't yet).

That's about it from here for now. Did I mention it is freezing here? As in last week it was 78 degrees in the afternoon and by 8 pm it was 31? I know that all you northerners are laughing when I say 31, but my blood is thin now and 31 feels like 15 below. The bright side is that it is supposed to be 78 again on Saturday followed by 34 on Sunday. Good luck to the feathernesters on packing for that one.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

I was waiting in line at the Starbucks drive thru a few days ago after picking up our Christmas cards. When I got to the window to pay, I was told that the car that was two in front of me already paid for me. I was totally surprised. The coffee guy wasn't kidding. In the three seconds I had to think about it, I decided it would be wrong to just drive away and not pay this forward, so I said I would pay for the guy behind me. Turned out I was truly paying it forward because he must have ordered a venti mocha with a triple shot of espresso and an extra shot of mocha because his cost way more than mine would have. Oh well. I think I once read on a coffee cup about this happening. It was pretty cool that it happened to me. I wonder if the guy behind me chose to pay for the person behind him.

I took J out for breakfast this morning because we were dressed and ready to start the day. Darn kid has been waking up earlier and earlier each morning and today was the earliest of all at 5:50. We are getting an alarm clock for his room which we will set for something reasonable (like 6:30 or 7) and he will not be allowed to call for us until then. We'll see how it goes.

J was extremely shy with the waitress at breakfast until she brought us the bill. Then he told her, "You're cute." She died in awwws and it was incredibly cute, but I didn't have the heart to tell her that cute is the word of the week. The sweater I'm wearing today is cute (it's a plain Jane white ribbed v-neck), the cats are cute. Even his milk cup is cute.

He has also been learning his fair share of Christmas songs, which all now come with accompanying drum solos. Our favorites are The Muppets Twelve Days of Christmas, also referred to as "The Bird Song." He loves Frosty the Snowman and uses our own broom as his broomstick to lead us around the house as he sings. He really likes Feliz Navidad, but can't quite say it, so it comes out as "Fleece Naddidad." We've also used the lyrics from Santa Claus is Coming to Town as a bit of a threat when he starts to act up and throw a fit over silly stuff. So far, it's been working like a charm. And because we are listening to all of these songs on the 24 hour Christmas station, he also sings the radio station jingle (Magic 95.5!!!) I think that cracks me up most of all.

I have painters in my house right now. This is very exciting, but it seems that all painters have their quirks. Mine likes to take naps in his truck while his assistant does the work. This bugged me a great deal earlier, but he hasn't taken a lunch break, so I guess it's okay. It was just kind of strange to see him passed out in his beat up jillopy of a vehicle with a book in his lap.

That's about all that's new here. I think I'm going to go and get some Christmas decorations out. We are way behind on that compared to our neighbors, who all decorated their homes and trees the day after Thanksgiving. Hopefully everything will be done by this weekend.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Raw and the Overcooked

Die Frau made a special mention that she followed the turkey recipe I gave her last year and had stellar results with it this Thanksgiving. Yay! It's a mighty fine recipe.

I wish I could say I followed the same one.

Upon watching "Dear Food Network Thanksgiving" with Alton Brown, we decided to go with his recipe. The husband loves anything from Uncle Alton. We cooked a fantastic prime rib at Christmas with him, and B often takes notes while watching Good Eats. The recipe looked good enough, so we decided to give it a try. And since we ti-voed (sp?) the show, we went back and forth many times to watch his trussing technique, gravy method, and beautiful, glorious looking turkey.

So imagine our surprise when all of our sides were ready to go on the table at 6:30 and our bird rested to a comfortable 164 degrees that we should cut into it and find a red bird. Raw, people. Raw! Everything went back in the oven. The father in law laughed over his vodka tonic, J nearly lost his shirt as he begged for more and more pumpkin muffins, and I went to the couch feeling dejected and confused. How could this happen? We did everything he said to do. Right?

Well, upon printing out a written recipe for the turkey, we found conflicting evidence. The written recipe says to take the bird out at 161 and let it rest to 165. The tv show said take it out at 151 and let it rest to 165. Easy to check, right? Well, we deleted the show after we jotted down the gravy recipe and put the turkey in the oven. And I can't find a copy of the episode anywhere on the food network website. I can find AB's Good Eats show where he makes a turkey, but there is no evidence of this show anywhere that I can find on the Internet.

So this is where I need your help, people! Did Alton Brown completely let us down and make a huge snafu on his show? Or did B and I incorrectly hear the directions after watching the show both separately and together at least 4 times? I'm dying to know, so if anybody has a copy of this show anywhere on their ti-vo, please help a girl out. Every review of this turkey was outstanding and it totally bummed me out that we screwed it up so badly. I mean, in hindsight, it makes no sense to take a bird out of the oven 15 degrees before it's ready, but we really thought we were doing what we were supposed to!

Needless to say, our raw turkey turned into an overcooked turkey even though it had a beautifully roasted skin. The garlic mashed potatoes became complete garlic after being warmed for an extra hour and a half. I thought they were at least tasty, but B didn't agree. The green beans were inedible. The stuffing was fine, however. And there was, of course, the small incident that involved a full Brita pitcher, a toddler, a cracked Brita pitcher, water all over the floor, and a fallen toddler with a bit tongue and lots of blood coming out of his mouth right before we sat down to dinner. All in all, it was a fabulous Thanksgiving!

To top it off, there was no pie, people! No pie! I will never ever, ever have a holiday that has no pie. I thought I was doing the sensible thing by not making a pie because there were only three of us and one guest would definitely not eat any and B would only eat a sliver. I don't care how pregnant you are; you just can't plan to eat a whole pie. I mean, if it happens, it happens, but you just can't go into making one knowing you are going to eat 9/10 of it. So I poached some pears in white wine and vanilla beans. They were actually quite delicious, but my final words to Brett as I went to bed that night were, "I really, really want pie." I do believe that pie would have made it all better.

It started out as a happy morning...

So to all of you coming to my house on Christmas. There will be cookies. There will be candy. There will be pie. Or some sort of gooey cake that will make it all okay just in case it all goes horribly, horribly wrong again!