Saturday, November 22, 2008

Meet the Nuns

What do you get when you put 5 thirty-something women in a jam-packed theater with an average audience age of 14, to see the year's hottest teen-flick??

The Feisty Nuns: Twilight Edition!

It was like being at fun, silly, rock concert with girls cheering, screaming and going wild throughout the movie. We bought in to their excitement. Everyone there seemed to be with a group of friends, just out having the best time. And by the end of the movie, despite having not read the book, I picked my side: Go Team Jacob!

The movie itself was so bad we had to laugh to keep from crying. No wait, we laughed so hard we WERE crying. We were also sweating because it was like a sauna in the theater. But how can you have a bad time with these people?

Let me introduce you.

Picky-my longest running friendship
Picky and I go back to first grade and she is, as the name implies, very selective. I guess we share enough of the same taste to make it work. She's a single mom with 2 great boys and manages to do more for them with less time than anyone I know. She's funny, silly, sarcastic...alot like me, just pickier. Picky doesn't realize how strong she is and how far she's come and how much we love her. (She's in stripes.)

Red - so named for her long red locks
Red and Picky have been BFFs since birth. Before book club, Red was the friend of a friend. Since book club, we've become friends in our own right and I am convinced it was meant to be: we grew up around the corner from each other, went to the same college, both worked in the non-profit world...but book club and having babies just weeks apart sealed the deal. Red is the girl who always does things right (Picky pointed this out to me.) She organizes great parties, always looks cute, and has excellent taste in one complains about Red's books. (Sarcastic and witty is a prerequisite for this group.)

M&M - the chocolate connoisseur

M&M is the woman who seems to have it all. (Only after having kids do we realize that's not possible, but...) she juggles it well. M&M is our ambitious and successful, go-getter -- and normally you want to hate someone like that, but you can't because she's so genuinely fun to be around. Her self-deprecating humor makes it work. We go back to high school and M&M has always had game. I don't try to keep up, I just bask in her pretty-popular-girlyness. (That's her with the big purse.)

Girly Stuff - I believe you've met
This is Girly Stuff's book club and she calls the shots. One wrong word and I could be on the outs. So I'll just say this; I am constantly learning how to be a better person by her example. And she's got me reading again. I thought I'd lost the ability, but no, I can still read!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Betty Crocker, I am Not

And I have another tried and true recipe to share.

I don't bake very often because MMA is not in to sweets. I'm also impatient about following directions exactly, which baking tends to require. I'm also burn-prone.

So, I reserve the B-word for the holiday season. Something about the weather and holiday cheer gets me in the mood to do the most home-makerly thing I can muster.

I remember my mom complaining that "its too hot to turn on the oven." Back in the day, we had a small house and an old oven that really did heat up the place. In our modern kitchens, I doubt it matters much. But I recently heard my brother say that he "wouldn't think of turning the oven on in this heat." It made me smile to think of the old days and the hundreds of sheets of cookies, loafs of banana bread and all those birthday cakes that the old war-machine turned out (the oven, not mom.)

She was a fine baker and I'm not yet. But I'm trying and learning little by little. So for all you non-bakers out there, this one's for you.

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins
(Also from and I adapted it over the years)

I only make these babies a couple times a year and when they first comes out of the oven, I always think, "ehh, just OK." But oh, the next day...they get more dense and moist and you'll know you're on to something.

Don't let the ingredients scare you.* I said its tried and true and I meant it.

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (yes, you can use all white if you must)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
2 medium bananas mashed (approx 1 generous cup)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine flours, soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl and stir. In a large bowl, cream sugar and banana. Mix in mayonnaise and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in small batches while mixing on low. Scrape down the sides as you go. Use hand whisk or fork, if needed, to break up any lumps.
Makes about 12 muffins and they take 20-25 minutes to bake.

Optional: stir in or sprinkle on top oatmeal, coconut or nuts.

When I was on a health kick I would add ground flax seed to the batter and I experimented with substituting Splenda for some of the sugar. I never threw a batch away, so I guess you could say this recipe is forgiving.

*I don't know anyone like this, but if you have a special someone who thinks he doesn't like mayo, make him these muffins. It's just oil and eggs afterall and he'll love them!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Girls Night Out!

I get a night out with four of my favorite peeps tomorrow. We decided a few years ago to create an excuse to get together four or five times a year. Now-a-days we have at least as many kid parties between us, but this is our time, just for us girls.

So the Feisty Nuns' book club was born. (And we were without a name until just now.)

A boy from our high school once commented (with a note of disgust) that the girls in my circle acted like "nuns." I'm sure he was just frustrated by hormones and spurned advances. We are all, in fact, nice girls...but, c'mon, "nuns" was a taking it a bit far. I thought that was a funny thing to say, and playing along, I dressed up as a nun that year for Halloween (the habit, the collar and all.) Was that weird of me?

Well, look at my circle, now. And may I say that for a few pious women who get together to discuss books, we manage to have a little fun, too.

We were suppose to discuss Love in the Time of Cholera, but because Queen Bee (Girly Stuff) didn't like the book, we got "told" we would see Twilight instead. I'm really only in this thing for the get-togethers, so I won't be too upset if we drop the books and just become club.

Well, I seem to have broken the first rule of book club...

I'll report back if I think this movie is a must-see.

MMA has already punched in his two cents...according to him all vampire movies are gay allegories and to be avoided at all cost.

By, the way, we took Only Child to see Madagascar 2 over the weekend and we all LOVED IT!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nonsensical Ramblings on Music

I don't stay up on pop music unless its from (at least) 5 years ago. So, like I said, I don't stay up on music.

MMA, who is into music, introduces me to much of the new stuff that comes into our house. He is DJ extraordinaire for those famous happy hours and to say he does a brilliant job...that's like saying the sun is cool. Huh? Yeah.

Only Child loves to dance! So it has finally come to pass that I have the dance partner I always wanted. MMA's contribution is the music and the music always seems to compliment the feeling of the night. He even does last call music, which tells me when its time to start wrapping it up and putting a sleepy child to bed.

What happened to the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens? (Now known as Yusuf Islam.) How did such a beautiful voice get attached to such a weird guy? I just love that wind song of his.

I am also a Gordon Lightfoot fan. What is this stuff called? Folk music? It's so mellow and easy. It's easy like Sunday morning. If I had an easy listening folder on my MP3, it would definitely include these guys and the Indigo Girls and Wings. Maybe some Kenny Rogers.

I'm also a sucker for cheesy sounds of the 70s and 80s like the music from the Big Chill, Bee Gees, Donna Summer, Air Supply...Blondie reminds me of riding home on the school bus in elementary. And here's a little family nugget for you, my SIL and I both ended up mysteriously pregnant a few weeks after having a dance-off to ABBA. The resulting little cousins are 3 weeks apart. (Mine's the goof ball.)

Hmm, time for another dance off?

Speaking of music, if my husband doesn't pick up Josh Groban's Christmas CD for my birthday that I asked for last year he will have thrice dissed me. Putting it on my MP3 is an acceptable option...

There's a song in my heart and the words are usually a little off. I get this from my mom and now I'm passing it on to my son. I heard the little guy singing American Boy to himself yesterday when he was playing with his trains (which I've been kind of humming and singing.) I was listening hard because there's this part I don't know the words to, so I wanted to see what he was putting in. It was all cute, nonsensical gibberish until the words kicked back in. His grandmother, watching us from Heaven, and I take full credit.

And, oh man, you should see his/our dance moves...

**Coming up in December, I am going to introduce you to the original Superstar of the family whom I just learned has been cast in a school play! We are so excited!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Binkie update

On Friday we went to HEB and Only Child picked out the most expensive Lightning McQueen ever. This is the new one that walks, dances, shimmies and shakes.

Totally out of character for me to readily part with plenty-a-bucks, but I couldn't refuse him this indulgence. This bribe, I figure, is a whole lot cheaper than braces will be. Even with M&M's friends and family discount (that we've never discussed but I'm sure exists.)

M&M, by the way, is my old friend from high school and you'll be meeting her soon along with some other special girls.

So Only Child's last binkie was bartered out of his sweet little hands with a present that he would later rue wholeheartedly.

For our last hurrah, we decided on a picnic of kolaches and donuts the next morning at the lake to finish what we started. He went right to sleep after Happy Hour. (No we didn't spike his drinks.) He only asked for the binkie once and didn't argue when I tucked-in the new car instead.

In hindsight, we should have had the exorcism before opening the toy. Because...

The power went out at about 1:30 am. This is a major deal in our house because the kid only sleeps to the white noise of a box fan and requires a night light. We should have learned our lesson during Ike and acquired battery-operated whatnots. What can I say? We are slow learners.

And on the very night he gave up his precious!

I spent what seemed like forever trying to comfort him in our bed. He was lobbying hard for it by then and the new car was trash. Finally, fatigued and having exhausted every argument he could manage, he announced, "I'm so sad because I want my binkie!" and broke down in full-body sobs.

Then he begged and pleaded because he knew it was still in the house.

God gave me strength for two, because the fight was long over for MMA. If Only Child had sensed a hint of the discord that was in our bed, the jig would have been up. I think I saw dad's emotion overflowing on to the pillow. I'm not sure, it was dark.

The nasty cold front winds finally blew through and the electricity eventually came back on. We made it through our first night, barely. And now we've made it through a second night. It really was like losing a dear friend for him and that was sad to watch.

Is anyone hearing me who has older kids? Is it easier to tell a teenager "no"?

Because the road is long and I've but little gas left in the tank.