Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dinks

We had some friends over last night. Between the four adults in the room there were six kids aged 10 - 15.

Not to brag, but I have cable, with a million channels. I have movie after movie on DVD. I have a Wii and a few dvds full of games for that. Ipods, PSP, and so on.

Every kid in the house ended up making Shrinky Dinks.

The littlest one had gotten really bored - she was the only one who didn't match to another kid her own age. So I opened the cupboard over the dryer where we have some long forgotten art & crafts supplies.

I guess our kids have gotten so far away from the "retro" toys of the 70's and 80's that they are interesting again.

We just let the kids play, and the adults drank all the beer in my house.

It's amazing how enjoyable the most mundane, silly pasttimes can end up being, if you just fill your house up with a few nice people.
Carly(via Blackberry)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ole

It's been a long day of cleaning and squabbling at Casa Carly and so I decided a batch of Margarita fudge is in order. And yes, I drank a wee bit of Tequila that accidentally was left in that bottle.

Ooopsie.

Recipe is simple, one and a half pounds of "white chocolate" chips melted with one can sweetened condensed milk and two "Mixer Stix" brand margarita flavor packets... plus a shot or two of Cuervo. Sprinkle kosher salt all over the top. Salty lemon lime goodness. Chill it. Or eat right out of the mixing bowl after I, I mean YOU, put most of it into a foil pan... to chill. You can thank me later.

Carly(via Blackberry)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quick notes after the music awards last night

Dear Rihanna,
was that a laser cut lace doily you somehow made into a dress?




And how does one actually make venetian blinds into an outfit? Aren't there a lot of sharp edges to worry about?


Dear Janet,
I couldn't decide if you were Peter Pan or a Pirate, but then I decided you already had a treasure chest.

Dear Green Day,
is Tre Cool thinking "I can almost see his belly button?" Because I am.





Dear J-Lo,
Don't... not ever again....




PS: Dear Blogger,
when the EFF will you fix picture uploading for those of us who still use windows IE? I am sooo tired of having to switch over to Safari. Because it reminds me that I *WANT* a mac and can't afford one right now....

Love,
Carly





Friday, November 20, 2009

Wuhu

So my mother is suffering from YuleTide-aphobia (an irrational dislike of Christmas) and has told me to spend X amount on my kids. Okie dokie, and Bah Humbug. But I have :::cough::: all this free time :::cough::: so I have started shopping.

I bought Wii Sports Resort at Tarjaaaaay yesterday for my son.

(here's a quickie description...
Wuhu Island has so many things to do, there's never a dull moment. A dozen activities await visitors: Archery, Frisbee®, Basketball, Cycling, Canoeing, Power Cruising, Table Tennis, Air Sports, Bowling, Swordplay, Golf and Wakeboarding.)


My secret plan is to open the package RIGHT NOW (after I finish this blog entry) and start practicing all of the games every day while the kids are at school. I figure 20-30 minutes of "training" per school day, and I will be able to totally school my kid after he opens his gift, at least until New Year's Eve, on every game.

I will have to go to Michael's and get one of those "shrink wrap" bags (you melt it with a hairdryer) so that the package will have that "new" look. Heh-heh.

PS: I totally want to scream the name of the island over and over. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Truly

I was in Borders today, trying to walk off about four glasses of wine I had with one of my best girlfriends at "lunch". We really did have food, mind you. Fabulous food. Pear / gorgonzola/walnut salad, and shrimps wrapped in bacon and pizza margherita. Yummy. But lots of wine. LOTS. Pino Grigiot, my achillies heel. So, back to Borders.

I saw a woman wearing an honest-to-gosh GAS MASK. Not a blue "I'm in surgery on Grey's Anatomy" mask. A friggin' GAS MASK. In a book store.

It's just NOT that bad, people. It's flu season, the USA is having a swine flu issue this season, yada yada. But. Really. OMG! A gas mask. I wanted to go over and hug her and say "don't be so afraid, just live your life" but 1) I was semi-drunk* and 2) she seemed to be too far gone for someone like me to help; I was afraid I might confirm the very worst of her fears... that there are people OUT THERE who will come up and hug you and put cooties all over you. I feel so sad for her.

*ok, really drunk. Whatever. Gas mask???????!!!!!!

Someone

....In my house REALLY wanted cake.

I am currently in a dillemma of "do I prioritize money, or actually enjoying my job ?"

Don't get me wrong. Money is nice. Vera Bradley bags and Sephora and camera equipment and... But spending 40 hours a week doing something because I feel like I 'have to' ?

But unlike whoever tore into this box, I may not be able to have my cake and eat it too.
Carly(via Blackberry)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday night fun

Torture your 12 year old child by gleefully identifying your favorite Muppet characters in

http://www.nationalpost.com/muppets/index.html

and bringing up select videos on YouTube of classics like "C is for Cookie" and "Rubber Duckie" and singing along.

Question: why isn't Animal in the index? or the Swedish Chef? or Beaker? I didn't see the professor who worked with Beaker, either. Are they only in The Muppet Show? But hey, there's Guy Smiley and the Amazing Mumford. And Simon Soundman!

OK, so it's slowwwww here tonight.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sugar coooookies


This is my favorite Christmas cookie recipe... the one my family expects, even if I were to make no other cookies. (Which will NEVER happen, I'm just trying to make a point, that they HAVE to have these. What I normally do if I'm having the whole family over is something like the photo above. See the little trees / stars/ santa boots? this is the recipe.)


Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cup room temp UNSALTED butter*

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 4 cups all purpose flour

Beat the butter & sugar, add the salt, eggs & vanilla, and beat again. Gradually beat in the flour. My mother has always made these with nothing more than a bowl and a wooden spoon, but I think that at least mixing the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer is better. Depending on your mixer's power, you may not be able to use it for all of the flour addition.


Once all of the ingredients are together, you will need to divide the dough into three flat round 1" thick disks (Mine fit well inside of a gallon ziplock bag, but I usually double the recipe and make four disks, so keep that in mind. You want the shape to be pretty close to what you're rolling out so that you don't handle/ warm up the dough too much.... just cut the bag apart when you're ready to roll out the dough)


Refridgerate at least half an hour, until the dough is firm enough to roll but not solid as a brick. Use your favorite cookie cutters (one shape per cookie sheet, so that they all cook evenly) and decorations (I put colored sprinkles or cinnamon and sugar on mine... I am not patient enough to frost each one individually after they're baked.)


I have this marble rolling pan which is great because it's so heavy, (if someone ever breaks into my home while I'm making cookies they WILL be sorry...) and I use that to roll out the dough until it is about 1/4" thick. Use as little flour as possible on your board and your rolling pin.


On an nonstick pan I use a 350* oven for 9 - 10 minutes depending on the size of the cutout. You want the edges golden brown. Cool them on racks so they don't burn.


By the way, when I make a double batch, I plan for 4+ hours of work and about 10 trays worth of cookies. Plus the "ugly scraps" that I get when I gather the leftover pieces and re-chill them a little while. (You don't want to roll this dough over and over because each time you add flour, you make the dough a little tougher. So the scraps become the only cookies my kids are allowed to go after BEFORE Christmas day... they're just straight strips of the rerolled dough, with some sprinkles of whatever, but everybody's happy.)





*Do not use regular butter, and oh please dear lord not margarine of ANY sort. Unsalted butter. Land O'Lakes has it in a blue box. Seriously. Just don't even make these cookies unless you use the type of butter I say to use. My friend didn't, and her husband made her call me because they just didn't taste right. He's lucky to still be able to eat solid foods....

Monday, November 09, 2009

Laugh lines

So, over the weekend I got together with my former college roommate as well as two very good friends that we always got into a lot of trouble with.

We met at a little inn in a town not too far north of me. L got a suite, so we would have a couch, chairs, and a coffee table. This was a very important piece of furniture, because she also brought wine glasses for everyone, and everyone but me brough two bottles of wine. I missed that memo, apparently.

The wine glasses were from Leslie and they were hilarious. I was "Vino Hottie", by the way. Go ahead. Have fun with that.

I was a little ambivalent about going, being gainfully unemployed and all, but I knew it would be worth the money and I definitely would have fun.

L and M looked VERY much like they used to, in a strange sort of way. I mean, we're all 22 years older. But we're not. It was only when S knocked on the door that we all blinked, just for a moment (she said "DO I LOOK THAT DIFFERENT?" and the truth was, she looked great, her hair was just darker and a different style, and we just all paused that ONE beat too long. Ooopsie!)

So for 2 days we pretty much sat in the suite, drank wine, and talked about everything and anything. There were a lot of "remember when we..." stories and we probably could be heard laughing pretty far down the hallway. We talked about babies and divorces and parents and jobs (the question came up, but what do I *REALLY* want to do for work, and I'm still not really sure I know...but I don't want the job where my blackberry is going off at 4 am, that's for sure.)

It's amazing how many people in our yearbook we just couldn't remember. But L still has the same softspoken confidence and S still is very animated and expressive, and M still has the razor sharp wit and the wickedly evil since of humor. It was awesome.

We are planning to get together again in a few months. Mr. Carly said "with husbands?" Oh, hell no. How can we make fun of them if they're with us?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Ding dong

Today my son got out of school at 12...came home on the bus, and we went out briefly for subs.

My daughter has me hooked on the original CSI (the one that's set in vegas). Luckily for me she has obtained seasons 1-4 already. So I watch them while I eat lunch. *

The doorbell rang and when I opened the door I found two girls from D's class, all laughter and smiles. With a trumpet. D's trumpet.

He was sitting with the one girl - did I mention they are twin sisters? The trumpet was with the other sister, and he wandered off the bus without it...

They called, while we were out at the sub shop. The first of many smiling females to leave messages on my phone for D....

* breakfast... Snacks.... Whatever.
Carly(via Blackberry)

Crummy

So, I guess I'm channeling Oscar the Grouch today. The Today show had this cake today for Cookie, Elmo(I can do a mean impression of him, by the way) and some Abbie ca dabbie girl muppet.

(What? No I don't know her. My kid is 12. Cookie Monster used to still eat cookies, the last time I. watched SS).

Oscar probably wouldn't get out of bed so early. Ahem.

This cake pains me. I hate fondant copouts. I think someone phoned it in. Three-d, people! And the little mounded faces don't really count. I can tell Duff's team was nowhere near this.

Happy Friday, kids!
Carly(via Blackberry)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

When in Rome

...Do as the Romans do. When shopping in Target, think about Christmas. Grrrr. Can I have my birthday before the decorations go up? Geeeez.

At any rate, for $10 I bought a Wilton book, "Cookie Exchange". It's helping me stay awake during tonight's Yankee game (evil grin).

I love making rolled cutout cookies, and my family and friends love my recipe (unsalted butter people, try it and you'll thank me. )

I don't go crazy decorating. A little colored sugar or cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on before baking seems to please the crowd. But I could do more...the book is also fun just to browse through.

Some of the cookie decorating ideas in this magazine/ book are just OUT OF CONTROL. I'm sorry, take every cookie and cover it with tiny piped stars? Paging the reality police!

It's one thing to color flow on cookies. (Outine with a slightly thicker icing, then "flow" in thinner color that will level out smooth and set firm). Suzy does this for special party cookies - like for a baby shower. Beautiful. But you have to be a VERY patient person.

The book shows several variations of color flow techniques. You can pipe into color flow that isn't dried yet, you can drag and swirl colors...

The book goes pretty far beyond that. One tree is color flow PLUS flow for the star (requiring a second color of border and flow icing) PLUS piped pullout branches PLUS sprinkled sugar crystals. Figure ten minutes per cookie, easily. At Christmas, when no one has tons of free time! The good news is that each one is SO SWEET nobody will ask for a second cookie. They'll crash from sugar shock first.

I could see maybe doing a dozen or so cookies with some of the semi-fancy methods, for something special like to put one at each place setting for your holiday dinner. But I worry that this is the kind of book that makes Mommies stay up until 2 am the night before the holiday party....

I will definitely try coloring some cutout cookie dough. So simple and yet I never do it. Also I think this year I will dip some cookies in chocolate melts (and then maybe nuts) and/or drizzle melted candy over them. Another thing I might try is clear or colored gel underneath the sugar sprinkles. (Usually piping gel goes on cakes, as far as Carly goes.)

But color flow, then pipe detail lines and then PAINT THOSE LINES with gold or pearl dust? Noooooo. Crazy. (Okay. Maybe just on one REALLY big single cookie. )


Carly(via Blackberry)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Started my Christmas Shopping

... with a gift for ME. My mother is going to be sending me a check and $x is for me, and Mr. C, and then the (larger) chunks will be for the kids.

I picked the eclectic necklace and I will have a flower with my daughter's name in cursive, the pearl, and a square with my son's name in lowercase print. I have wanted this all spring and summer and was going to wait until I got a job to buy it for myself. I wanted to tell my mom that I had picked something special out, (not just another book or dvd, which although I LOVE THOSE, sometimes people don't want to give as a gift) and I think she'll like this.

So it should be here by Christmas, or maybe even Thanksgiving.... yay! You can click on the button over in my sidebar to go and do some shopping of your own.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Another bad Blackberry photo

If you find yourself sitting on a couch in a funk eating a candy bar like this, fear not. Candy makes it all better. Only once in a while, but still... Highly effective.
Carly(via Blackberry)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sunday art


Today we are having a gathering for a longtime choir member who is moving somewhere warm and sunny. I made this card for her and the entire choir signed an insert sheet. The photo is our choir loft, decorated for Christmas the first year I joined, 2002. (Hey, everyone takes photos of the FRONT of the church...)


The actual quote on the card is a line from a song we always do at the end of our season, and part of it is her solo... ('till we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand...)


I do these things because I'm
a) a frustrated would-be artist
b) hopelessly sentimental
c) a cynic who knows how to make people cry
d) unemployed and have to do SOMETHING....


You decide ;-)