41 days of Celebration Surprises

Wow, twenty days…where does the time go? Not only that, but now it’s 36 days until the new year and already 4 days of my ’41 days of Celebration and Surprises’ have passed. I feel like 25 just aren’t enough (the 25 days of Christmas made popular by ABC Family…and Advent and just so many things in general.) Also, by having 41, instead of just 25, there isn’t the…what’s the word? Let down isn’t right, but if you do that 25 it’s like excitement excitement excitement, Christmas hits and then BAM nothing…so instead I’m gonna keep going right through to the new year, and greet 2013 in a way I haven’t greeted the others.

Day 1: Thursday, November 22: Thanksgiving
Although we are thankful to be together, my immediate family doesn’t really do Thanksgiving in a traditional sense anyway, on the day of

As my dad calls us, The Brain Trust had lots to discuss about the various trees. We’re even starting my nephew off early, he’s not even two yet.

. No, instead our family usually goes Christmas Tree hunting. In the past the hunt has been…heated. All three of us siblings can be headstrong with our opinions on which tree is ‘perfect’. The first year it took us over two hours to agree on a tree. However since then it’s been easier and easier to agree. Either we’re growing up, learning to pick our battles, or know/understand the traits we each look for most. After our tree expedition out to the tree farm we returned home to have dinner. Rather than having turkey or ham we had Nachos (why I love my family). Then we did prep and cooking for the big weekend.

Day 2: Friday, November 23: Atkins Thanksgiving
Every year my mom’s family comes to town for Thanksgiving weekend. Two days of nearly 20 adults in my parents house. It’s awesome and usually crazy. Friday is the big traditional meal day. The family starts arriving around noon and spends the time before the meal either helping with the cooking or out shopping (trying to score a couple Black Friday deals). This year two (of the three that would travel to our house) siblings were able to make it. It was weird, for whatever reason with four less people than usual (still leaving us with 17) it seemed like a much smaller crowd. Seriously, that line of thinking seems rather ridiculous. Anyway, Friday is the day we have our typical Thanksgiving meal. After we washed up and ate too many desserts my cousins and I went to my apartment to finish watching the Creighton- Wisconsin game. It was favorable that we left. One of the families are huge Creighton fans while my brother-in-law is a Wisconsin man. My cousins were able to rejoice in the win without punishing him too much.

Day 3: Saturday, November 24: Atkins Thanksgiving continued & Brunch with the Girls
I was fortunate enough to be able to meet up with a couple of my besties since they were in town for the holidays. (This is a major bonus to me staying close to home. I’m always here when they come home to visit their families, so if they have spare time for a cup of coffee or something we can usually meet up. We decided to head to The Cafe for brunch, us and maybe a fourth of the population, but I can taste why. It was sooooo good. Pumpkin pancakes, cranberry-lime scones, parfaits. Perfection. It was fun seeing the two of them and hearing about their shenanigans (one of them just closed on a house, the other is a teacher. There are always shenanigans to discuss). After returning home the day was full of soup, games (like Ticket to Ride which, with many of us being rather cut-throat, means it’s usually a five-way battle of wits. My only goal this year was to get longest route. A goal which I did achieve even though I didn’t win overall) , and a couple episodes of Top Gear. (My uncle is really into car, a passion he has somewhat passed onto his son. He had talked about this show and despite myself I may be hooked on it).

Day 4: Sunday, November 25: Cooking and a Classic
My darling sister likes to do some of her Thanksgiving baking weeks ahead and then freeze it (like the amazing rolls/breads we usually have just laying about on Saturday). This has lead me to try an experiment this year. I’m going to start cooking holiday goodies now for our Christmas festivities. That was the plan anyway. Yesterday I tried 4 recipes: Honey-Almond Fudge, Honey Cakes, Pumpkin ‘Fluff’, and Pumpkin Poppers. I had a 75 percent success rating. Care to guess which one didn’t work out?
The Honey Cakes, although more biscuit like, turned out just fine. They are these dense tough cookie-like baked goods that taste really good with some jam. (Sadly I didn’t bring my camera from my parent’s house after the other weekend activities so I don’t have any photos. I even told my mother I wouldn’t be needing it, once again, mother knows best. However since I’ll have the goods for a while, I’ll post a follow up post with both the pictures and the successful recipes when I get it back). I don’t usually bake from scratch, and part of the reason is obvious: I don’t have the proper materials. I had to use a cup to roll out my dough since I didn’t have a proper roller, nor did I have a round cookie cutter. Then I realized I had mason jars and the lids were the perfect size, so that worked out rather well.
Pumpkin Poppers are delicious. They are meant to be more doughnut hole-esque though and I didn’t have the right materials for them either. You’re suppose to cook them in mini-cupcake tins. I only have normal sized ones. Once I had filled them up I decided to just make a shallow loaf/cake with the rest of that batter. It worked shockingly well…except for when I dumped it out and broke it. Even then I just cut it up into various shapes (based on how it had fractured) and it worked out just fine. The ones that I had cooked in pumpkin tins I finished the way the recipe intended (brushing/rolling them in butter then in cinnamon-sugar). The loaf I combined with the Pumpkin Fluff.
Pumpkin Fluff is cool-whip with instant pudding and pumpkin added and is a bit addicting. It made a lovely ‘frosting’ for the Pumpkin loaf-cake and will taste amazing with graham crackers. (This last bit is an extrapolation, but it tasted good with the pumpkin loaf and on it’s own.)
This leaves the fudge being a fail. I don’t have a candy thermometer, so perhaps that was my downfall, but I’ve made fudge without it before. The directions were just poor. I was trying a new recipe and after heating the mixture to soft-ball stage I was instructed to cool it until it reached 100 something degrees (which was suppose to take 50-60 minutes). After 40 I checked it and had a hard mess stuck to the bottom of the pot. The poor pot will never be the same…it still has hardened sugar stuck to it. I’m going to have loads of fun trying to fix that situation. Rather than trying the fudge again I decided to pass on it. I’ll be making more fudge in the next couple of weeks. We don’t need this batch of fudge.
To finish up the day I watched a classic movie. Oh perhaps I should take this time to explain the ‘surprise’ part of the next month. Earlier this month I put a handful of movies in two separate opaque bags. On Friday/Sunday I will close my eyes (for good measure) and pull one out to watch. The ones on Sunday are suppose to be older movies (I honestly can’t recall what I set aside for either night). Yesterday it was The Court Jester starring Danny Kaye. (Also Basil Rathbone who, of course, voiced Sherlock Holmes for so many years)

I love old movies, particularly this one. The writing, although decades old, is still funny and witty. The large ensembles are amusing and add a sense of grandeur that just isn’t the same nowadays.  Which makes it highly re-watchable. If you’ve never seen the movie and are looking for a comedy set in the days of lords and vassals pick this sucker up, you wont be disappointed.

Must dash – plenty of fun to come though, let the holiday festivities begin!
Until next time ~ Q

Letters to myself: Part 1 – 10 years ago

I am a terrible blogger. I neglect to look at other blogs (except those that are part of the League really), even the ones I subscribe to. That would be why I have yet to participate in any of the writing prompts put out by The Daily Post. However the other day I was actually looking at my reader and saw this prompt “Write a letter to your 14 year old self. Tomorrow write one to yourself in 20 years.” I’ve decided to tweak it just a bit. So a letter to myself 10 years ago and a letter/bucket list for myself in 20 years tomorrow (or sometime this week). Here goes nothing.

Dear Juvenile Jamie (sometimes I actually refer to myself as this),

First off congratulations on completing your first high school play! The Stuck Pot was a lot of laughs and if memory serves you had way too much fun sneezing water onto David Cox. How’s cooking going? The nutrition half of the class is now over, so I imagine you’ve upgraded to cooking vegetables by now.

I know geometry is a bit killer, and (spoiler alert) you’ll be grounded for the weekend due to your poor standing rather soon but it’s probably for the best. You’ll miss the snowball fight where Weber accidentally throws ice balls. Jamie will get hit in the eye, which is not good, so yeah, for the best. Also you’ll totally understand geometry…next year. (Kind of like how algebra is clicking for you now, a year late). On the actual good news front dad doesn’t make us take math senior year. I wont spoil anymore of it than I have, but you are going to love our schedule senior year.

Continue to take as many classes with Mrs. Schloerke as you can, they’ll lead you down the right path for a career. I should probably warn you about all the mistakes you will make/are making but we need to make them. I’m a firm believer in mistakes, or rather the learning experiences we go through contribute to who we become. Although we may not be rich and famous now I can tell you we’re happy, which is better. So make mistakes, be a bit of a fool, just don’t forget to try to learn something from absolutely everything.

What does the future hold for you? Well you’ll ‘end up’ not far from home (at least right now), although where you live would be unimaginable to who you are now. Those pesky school rivalries. You’ll rise to great heights (literally) and fall a lot. Seriously, watch out in PE at the end of this year. You’re going to have a beautiful fall that will land you in a cast. (Sorry, we are still clumsy) Don’t believe me? Just you wait.

Lets see, what else? Wow, you’re not driving yet, weird. Don’t worry, we’ll never really have to drive a manual. However the theory andthe action will finally click in your head. Just be patient. Also I know you don’t have a cell phone, but 10 years later you still don’t really use it a whole lot. Especially not compared to hipsters with their smart phones. Weird to think how you have no clue what a hipster is and wow George W. Bush is still in office (it’s election day here for me). As is our way this has turned into a ramble rather quickly. So I shall say farewell for now. Good luck at districts (don’t freak, just breath and you’ll be fine). It’ll be close but you and the team will squeak through, nerves are seriously evil. You’ll overcome them as a group though and be little rock stars (in your own heads at least).

Your future self

Movie Double Feature: Scream 3 & Sleepy Hallow

Yesterday conspired against me to make it so I couldn’t get this posted. Mainly in the fact that my alarm didn’t go off until 15 minutes before I was due at work. Safe to say I didn’t make it on time.

Anyway the last of the halloween double features! It’s been fun but 3 double features in 4 days is too much. I almost couldn’t watch the third scream movie because during trick-or-treat the night before a kid had walked in with the ghost face outfit. It honestly made my heart skip a beat before me remembering 1) it’s a movie 2) the human in that outfit is about 4 feet nothing 3) i could totally take him out. So I went ahead with the plan.

Scream 3 had some interesting twists and turns. As trite as it is to have Randy ‘come back’ via video he had made I do like hearing him spell out the rules of movies. Too bad he didn’t do that for all movie types. However we can extrapolate. Romantic Comedies: person A meets person B | person A is hiding something | person B eventually finds out | person A tries to win B back | person B leaves anyway | something intense happens to B showing them that A really does love them | A & B live happily ever after. It may not be exact but a lot of movies can fit in that mold. Which is why we sometimes like them. The reassurance that A & B will end up in the end.

Wow I digressed pretty hard. I countered Scream 3 with Sleepy Hallow. I love the stark imagery that Tim Burton movies have. The blacks/whites/dark colors juxtaposed the vivid red makes for interesting dreams if you aren’t careful. The thing I admire every time about this movie is the costuming. The patterns are amazing. I always love Mrs. Van Tassel’s dress the first time we see her, it’s an orange dress with black swirls and screams Halloween. Although Johnny Depp doesn’t take on the typical Ichabod appearance (see video below) he does capture his more cowardly essence, so in that, is true to character.

I’m short on time so to end this post a didly by Mr. Bing Crosby

Until next time ~ Q

  • I did not remember that the movie began with Cotton
  • “There’s no reason to presume that Cotton’s death had anything to do with this movie, is there?”
    “He was making a movie called Stab. He was stabbed.”
    I just fell in love with you character
  • Again with the crazy colored suits Gale?
  • Dewey knows her waaaay to well. “You bought me this purse, didn’t you?”
  • “Psychos can’t kill what they can’t find.” Way to throw the gauntlet
  • Closet full of scream costumes – creepiest thing ever
  • “ten more murders and we can publish a calendar” – seriously, love this character “this is the scene where you come with us”
  • Patrick Warbruton!
  • aaaaand the psycho found you Sid, sorry
  • Dewdrop….so cute
  • I love the faxing…it’s so creative
  • “when it’s a threat you’ll know it” so tough”
  • The Randy thing, just seems so trite
  • “What are you doing”
    “Being Gale Weathers, what are you doing”
    “I am Gale Weathers”
  • Is him grabbing you from your bedroom window not instil the fact that it’s a fake house? The front door is NOT secure.
  • “Oh I forgot, happy birthday Roman!”
    “Yes, life isn’t tragic enough”
  • Oh Detective McDreamy, how insightful you are
  • Way to check under the mask Roman, smart guy…of course you have nothing to fear
  • Leaving the voice mimicker out of your sight is just dumb
  • I never noticed Sidney wearing her college boyfriend’s greek letters before. I like that touch.
  • Head shots people, you must learn to take head shots
  • They are taking their sibling rivalry a little too far
  • I like Gale and Dewey’s oddly magnified voices…totally makes him trip out
  • Third movie in the trilogy (well quadilogy or whatever they call it since there were four) and the hero finally actually stabs someone
  • Why do they insist on dragging in the Gale-Dewey love story?!?

Sleepy Hallow

  • I sympathize with your desire to flee, but perhaps staying in a driver-less coach is preferable than discovering what made the driver headless. The horses aren’t going to run themselves off the road, they (unlike you) have an ounce of self-preservation
  • “We have not yet determined the cause of death”
    “When they are found in the river the cause of death is drowning” – thank you captain obvious
  • You are not welcomed to Sleepy Hallow
  • Perhaps if you don’t wish to get caught, don’t make out by the front door
  • Wouldn’t you just go around the circling men who are clearly playing a game
  • “We have not heard your name”
    “I have not given it” – rude Ichabod. You interrupted the party in the first place
  • Out go the torches, out goes your life
  • If you see the lookout post leveled, wouldn’t you think there was a murder (or something a foot) long before the next morning?
  • “You have moved the body”
    “you must never move the body”
    “because” – yes, clearly you win that battle of wits
  • “We are dealing with a madman” please ignore the fact that I’m covered in blood. I’m no madman.
  • your talisman did not protect you…sorry magistrate
  • I want to pit myself against a murdering ghost, perhaps I’ll find one in the creepy basement at work.
  • Ichabod Crane is equal parts courageous and cowardly…okay maybe not equal parts. A dash or two more coward perhaps
  • “To the Hallow and back he rides. I see him, I smell the blood on him.”
    “Do you.” – so conversational. like they are having tea.
  • I hate to break this to you Ichabod but that red stuff squirting on you from the tree is not sap.
  • Did you not read the sign? It said to knock before entry. Then again you don’t have eyes, perhaps you didn’t see it?
  • “Perhaps you are a witch…because you have bewitched me.” – smooth character
  • “Spider! Kill it, no stomp it!” – how I feel around all spiders and insects
  • “There is something under the bed.”
    “Here help me move it.”
    “No, I mustn’t, you do it.” Once again, so mature
  • “Then you are bewitched by reason” –
    “and am beaten down by it!”
  • “It is a hard lesson for a hard world and you best learn it”
  • Villainy wears many masks, none so as dangerous as virtue.”
  • “Return the coach”
    “Turn around now!” (just speak plainly silly Ichabod)
  • Worst step-mom ever
  • Christopher Walken you are a gem
  • How do I get a part where I only yell ‘hya’ and scream? Best gig ever (reminds me of a play I did in high school where I had a monologue in Elizabethan English. every night right before I went on stage I’d have to rehearse it like 50 times to make sure I could say it right on stage. Def. didn’t memorize those lines.)
  • And our three heroes lived happily ever after, while Masbath carries all of the bags. He’s a sturdy little thing.