Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Insomnia, Banana Pudding & Movies

I woke up at 4 today, as in 4 in the AM, to the smell of our house burning down. Of course this alarmed me so I got up and lo and behold (and thankfully) the house was NOT on fire. But the burning smell I smelled was coming from the lovely concoction of spices and orange rinds in water that I had simmering on the stove...all night long. Oops. Gone was the homey, cozy, smell of cloves and cinnamon and citrus and in it's place the smell of burnt orange peels which bordered more on the side of disgusting than cozy. I do that sometimes, not the leave the stove on all night, well that too, but put some water in a saucepan and add in leftover orange rinds or apples and spices and let it simmer. It makes the house smell delicious and also puts some humidity into the otherwise dry winter Iowa air. Try it sometime, it's fun, just remember to turn it off when you leave or go to bed. This has been a public service announcement, you're welcome.

Once I put out the alleged fire aka turned off the stove, I went back to bed but instead of going right back to sleep I was wide awake. My mind was racing and all I could think is "I should get up and blog..or read that new book I started...or do laundry..or...clean the bathroom...or...." Wait, what is happening, am I really thinking about getting up and being productive at 4:10 IN THE MORNING?!?!? It's like I don't even know who I am anymore.

After much internal debate, I decided to get up and do something because it was obvious at that point there was no going back to sleep. I thought I'd have a good hour til I had to start getting ready for work and was so excited to use my "free time". Except that I must've internally debated longer than I thought because when I stumbled to the kitchen to start the coffee (4am wakeup=coffee ASAP) it was 5:15, my normal wakeup time. Plan failed. Oh well, while laying there debating I basically wrote this blog post so win...I think. You be the judge.

Some things that were keeping me awake that I feel like I MUST TELL YOU are as follows:

*No matter how tacky and outdated it is, I do plan on doing a National LamKoons Christmas Vacation blog post. It may be February but it must be documented, it was fabulous. And I think by now you should know, I dance to the beat of my own drummer or write posts 2 months after the event happened, whichever. Speaking of outdated posts, yesterday I came across a half written Halloween recap. Uggh, and it was a good one too. I'm so mad at myself for not posting it in a timely manner, like in say, December.  I can't say with certainty that I still won't post it, maybe after the Christmas post because you know, that makes sense.

*A couple weeks ago Man Vs. Food had world's best banana pudding and then the very next day banana pudding was once again mentioned on a blog I read, and those 2 events caused me to think nonstop about making southern style banana pudding. That is how my mind works, a seed is planted and then I obsess about it until it comes to fruition. Sidenote: I've never been a banana pudding fan, I like bananas but I think it was the Nilla wafers that turned me off to it. This could also be that it was always "northerner" banana pudding, instant banana pudding, sliced bananas, cool whip and nilla wafers. In fact, I can't tell you the last time I'd had banana pudding but suddenly I was obsessed with making it, the right way. The power of suggestion works well on me, I'm basically an advertiser's dream girl. After an extensive internet search, I decided to go with Miss Paula Deen's Banana Pudding recipe as seen here. If anyone knows southern food it'd be her so I trusted her. You guys? This was AMAZING. I should've photographed it because not only did it taste delicious but it looked fancy too.  I wanted to take a bath in it. It made a 9x13 pan and the 5 of us polished that pan off within 24 hours and we're not even dessert people. Even if you think you don't like banana pudding, give this a try, I only used 2-3 bananas instead of the 6-8 it called for and I think you could even get by without any bananas if you wanted. It's all about the pudding anyway, oh the pudding. And I love that the Nilla wafers got the boot for something more sophisticated and delicious. And now my mouth is watering, great. 

Besides eating copious amounts of banana pudding, we saw a lot of movies over the holidays and I feel it's my civic duty to share with you my reviews.

"The Muppets"-seriously. Since they first saw the trailer for this last summer, GI Joe and the kids had been counting down days to this movie. Yes, GI Joe, he loves the Muppets and made it his goal in life to pass that love on to his children. He's a walking mystery, that guy. Anyway, the movie was sweet and cute and had that level of absurdity that you expect from a Muppets movie. My favorite character is Miss Piggy (for obvious reasons, one being that according to my family our personalities are strikingly similar) also her hair was phenomenal in this movie. In fact, I loved it so much that when I had a hair appointment for highlights with my Smom the week after the movie, I told her to make me Miss Piggy blonde. Hair color inspired by Miss Piggy? Yes please. Speaking of my Smom and the Muppets, funny story. The weekend we went to see the Muppets, my sister Heidi and her family were in town, and my Dad, Smom and other sister Brandy had planned to come over from Council Bluffs to go to the movie with us. They were to meet us at the theater. Our families got to the theater, bought our tickets, and got situated in the theater and were waiting for Dad, Smom and Brandy. GI Joe waited in the lobby for them and was texting back and forth with them to get an ETA. They didn't show and didn't show even though they had told GI Joe they were pulling into the parking lot, etc, etc. Eventually, GI Joe and my Smom put two and two together and realized they were at the WRONG THEATER! They'd already bought their tickets and movies at both theaters were just starting so the 3 of them, Dad and Smom in their 50's and sister Brandy in her 20's, sat thru the Muppets movie all by their lonesome sans kids. Can you imagine what the other moviegoers (with their children) in their theater thought? "Pedophiles" or "Oh how nice they took their special needs child out to a movie" (she's not actually special needs but why else would parents be taking their 28 year old daughter to the Muppets movie?), it still makes me giggle.

*"Chipwrecked"-I never claimed that we had sophisticated tastes in movies. We loved the first two Chipmunks movies. In them, the music was awesome (I bought the soundtracks!) and the writing was hilarious. This one was just ok. I didn't think there was enough music, I definitely won't be buying the soundtrack, and it didn't have as many great quotable lines like the last two. Whaaaat, you don't quote Chipmunks in your house? Have you never met "the Looooooooove doctor?"

*"We Bought a Zoo"-When I saw the previews and movie posters for this movie I thought it was basically made for me. I mean, zebras? A zoo? Someone who has no idea what they're doing with the aforementioned zoo? Fughettaboutit. It was a good movie with a solid, heartwarming plot BUT I wanted to see a little more of the animals and a lot less forced romance between a 13 & 14 YEAR OLD. While it was total G rated romance, (they used the "L" word and hugged) that whole storyline was awkward and weird. Also, about those zebras shown on every movie poster plastered in the theater? FALSE ADVERTISING. You only see a glimpse of a whole zebra and then their feet one other time. So if you're going to see this movie for the animals, rent Zookeeper instead. But if you're going to see a heartwarming story wherein buying an abandoned zoo helps a family heal, go for it. 3.5 stars. Final answer.

Wow, that was quite a post I my 4am. I have much more to talk to you about but this is a start. Talk amongst yourselves and to me, what movies have you seen lately? Also, what are your thoughts on banana pudding? These are the pressing questions that keep me awake at night, or 4am. That and the smell of burnt orange peels.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What's In Your Washer?

I abhor laundry, I really do.  Except for the putting stuff in the washer and then switching it to the dryer and the smells of laundry soap, those parts I enjoy.  But the folding and putting away?  Fughettaboutit.  But lately, as in for about the past 8 years lately, the laundry is like a scavenger hunt or a box of chocolates, you just never know what you're gonna get.

I've found some very interesting things when I switch a load over from the washer to the dryer.  Take for example, THE ONCE-LIVE FROG I found one summer's day or the apple slices or the BANANA PEEL.  These kids?  Apparently, they have magician's pockets.

But tonight, I hit the motherlode.  Tonight I found the following, that's right ALL of this:  a fishing lure (ummm we haven't exactly been fishing lately so either this lure has been snagged in a pants pocket since summer and survived many washes or someone was trying a little ice fishing sans the ice),   an M&M's candy wrapper (at least it wasn't a full one...THIS time), a nickel (my payment, i'm totally underpaid), a plastic frog (I was almost happy to see a PLASTIC one instead of the real thing), a DS game (surprisingly, it still works), a bullet casing (GI Joe got a new gun and was doing some target practice but he claims it was Ryder collecting the casings not him..uh huh sure), and finally...a SPOON.  Because who doesn't walk around with a spoon in their pocket?  You know, just in case you find yourself in an emergency yogurt situation. 

Yeah, I probably should check pants pockets before putting them in the wash but who has time for that?!?!? 

Your turn, what's the weirdest thing you've found in your washer or dryer?  Speaking of odd things in dryers, have I ever told you about the time I *accidentally* dried GI Joe's (ancient) cat that he'd had since before long before I was in the picture?  Oops, still haven't lived that one down.  In my defense, she jumped in there herself when I went to answer the phone AND was only in there for half a cycle until I realized that the thumping I kept hearing was not the straps on my shortalls (do you remember the days of the shortalls? those were dark fashion times) and opened the door to discover a very dazed cat who was now missing a few teeth staring back at me. She survived but oddly enough, was never the same.  And GI Joe?  It's a long road to forgiveness he's had to travel on but he's getting there.  But he still reserves the right to bring it up randomly in conversation, "Hey, remember that one time YOU DRIED MY CAT?!?"

Time to move on dude, and while you're at it TAKE THE BULLET CASINGS OUT OF YOUR POCKETS!!!