Wicked Awesome Media Wednesday #2: Stephenie Meyer’s The Host

Good morning, dear readers!  I came downstairs this morning, and my husband was watching movie trailers on the iPad, which was kind of a Twilight Zone thing to do, since he is usually militant about not watching trailers before he sees a movie.  Anyway, he started watching the latest trailer for The Host, and, unbeknownst to him, I had just brought down my hardback copy of the same!  I took it as a sign that I simply *must* write about it…which I was planning to do anyway, since it was the reason I had brought the book downstairs and all.  😉

I have a confession to make about Stephenie Meyer.  I think she is a super talented author, but DUDE, what the heck happened to the movies??  I know I risk the wrath of Twihards and Twilight-obsessed mommies everywhere, but I really didn’t care for the movies that much.  And I should say here that I have read all of her books and totally immersed myself in the Twilight world and *loved* it.  Here are my problems with the movies: I didn’t really agree with the casting.  Actually, the only casting I agreed with was Alice, because she embodied the character so well.  The vampires are supposed to be the most beautiful people anyone has ever seen, not pasty-white, depressed, sulking people who look way older than high-schoolers and speak in monotones!  Also, sometimes you can dye someone’s hair a color that is not natural to them and have it work out, but this is not the case with Carlisle…he just looks silly with blonde hair!   Another problem I had was the general hokiness of the movie.  Many parts were just silly and actually laugh-out-loud funny when they were supposed to be serious.  That’s generally something you want to avoid in your movie, methinks.

ANYway…getting back to The Host.  As I said previously, I’m a big fan of Stephenie’s written work.  So I was excited when The Host came out in 2008 (side note: I looked up the date it was published, and I was like, “whaaaaa??”….where did the last four years go?).  Unfortunately, everyone else with access to my public library system was also stoked to read it, and there were a TON of requests for the book, as you might imagine.  So I waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  Then it finally came into my grubby little hands!  I devoured it.  It is a great story!  If you haven’t read it yet, it’s set in the future when the Earth has been almost completely overtaken by parasitic aliens who use the Earthlings as hosts.  Melanie is a young woman who gets captured and an alien, Wanderer, is put inside her brain.  However, Melanie has a very strong personality, and so she and Wanderer fight for control over her body.  We learn about Melanie’s life through flashbacks and memories.  I highly recommend the book, and if you’re interested, get it now before interest in it goes way up next spring when the movie comes out.

(image belongs to Stephenie Meyer; I do not claim ownership)

I really, really, super-duper hope that the movie doesn’t suck.  Please don’t suck, movie.  Take a look at the newest trailer below and tell me what you think.  Would you be interested in seeing it based on the trailer?

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Luscious Lunes #3: Easy Tomato Salad

This lovely lunes I would like to introduce you to a very easy Italian appetizer.  I got this idea from my aunt, who served a similar recipe when I was visiting her a few months ago, although I have tweaked the ingredients a bit.  She used balsamic vinegar, which I have omitted, since my husband is not a fan, and why am I going to buy a huge bottle of it if I’m the only one using it?  Yeah, not happening.

Easy Tomato Salad – inspired by Aunt Anne

14-15 cherry tomatoes, sliced (I actually used a roma-juliet hybrid that I grew myself, but cherry is the closest in size to what I used.)
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil, to taste
4 string cheese sticks (low-fat mozzarella), sliced into rounds
Handful of fresh basil leaves or basil paste in a tube (I used the latter….Gourmet Gardens Basil, which I LOVE)

Directions:

  1. Arrange tomato slices onto a serving plate.
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper on them to taste.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes, also to taste.  Be careful with that big ol’ bottle, or you’ll have a lot more than you wanted on there!  Not that I know from experience, or anything…
  4. Place string cheese rounds on each tomato slice.
  5. Either tear pieces of basil and place on the cheese or squeeze a little dab of basil paste onto the cheese.

Enjoy your easy masterpiece!  You can always use bigger tomatoes, but I like the cherry ones because they are easy for little fingers to pick up, plus my tomato plant has been a master procreater, and I’ve had to get creative in my uses of its crop.  Woman can only have so much tomato soup, you know what I mean?

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First World Problem Friday #3: The Ill-timed Toddler Poop

Hmm…my post title could be expanded to include babies as well, for babies are just as guilty of this offense.  By “this offense”, I of course am referring to those of our young charges who choose (and I’m convinced that it’s quite on purpose) to defecate at the exact moment that you pick them up to put them in the car so you can go somewhere.  This only happens when you a) are running extremely late, b) are the only adult to be found in the entire house and c) actually have to be somewhere.  Just going out with a casual plan that can be changed (ha, again!) doesn’t count, and the toddler knows it.  He knows all too well when his loaded diaper will be most effective and has a diabolical plan that he sets into motion as soon as shoes make their appearance.  He thinks, “Oh!!  Shoes!!  We’re going somewhere!  Hmm…let’s see if I can muster up some kind of waste from breakfast or the night before.  I know I have it in me!”  You will never catch him LOOKING like he’s thinking this, because he is a master of deception.  This boy may have been very obvious about his stinky deeds when he was a baby (the grunting and the red face…you know the drill), but now, OH, now, he can run and play and jump on the trampoline, all while he lets loose.  He will even wait for you to check his diaper about 10 minutes before you have to leave, and *then*, and only then, he will make his move.  It doesn’t work if you actually have TIME to change him!  Oh, no.  That just won’t do.  Mommy must be absolutely ready to go before discovering that he is all of a sudden a “leetle bit” heavier than he was 15 minutes ago!

Good thing he’s so dang cute!

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Thursday’s Treasures and Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, all!  I have been invited by my new blog friend Christie from Food Done Light to link up to her Thursday’s Treasures link party, also hosted by Debi from Recipes For My Boys and Joan from Chocolate, Chocolate And More.  The more, the merrier, I say!  Be sure to stop by their awesome blogs and say hello.

A little background for my “treasure” today: I went into my daughter’s room this morning and found her crying.  While I comforted her, I asked her what was wrong.  It turns out that my big kindergartner is really missing school and her teacher.  😦  Poor thing.  She has ten whole days off of school all told, so this is the longest vacation she has had from school so far, and she LOVES school (The cynic in me wonders how long that will last, but I will take it).  So I told her that we would draw some special drawings that she could put in her backpack and give to her teacher next week when she returns to school.  She was pretty excited about that!

A few weeks ago, I told Lacey that since she was a big girl in school, she could get a library card!  She was over the moon.  This is a BIG deal…we are a reading family, and I come from a family of readers, as well.  Lacey is right on the edge of being able to read by herself, and she is all about books and showing off her mad skillz.  So we traipsed (read: I drove mommy van) on over to the local library and got out a few books.  I encouraged her to get some art books as well; I am artistically-inclined, and I know the kids love to draw.  I thought that maybe we could draw together!  Well, life…and school got in the way of my good intentions, and we hadn’t done it yet.  So today was the inaugural art project!  A more perfect day I cannot imagine, as we give thanks for little moments like these with our families.  🙂

Lacey was insistent that we draw a kangaroo, or, to be precise, a joey, since we were drawing from a baby animal book.  And so we did.  I’m impressed with Lacey’s work…she is only five and a half, after all!  I took my time drawing my joey (lack of time is one of the main reasons I haven’t drawn in a while, but I’ve been feeling like I should get back into it).  Lacey then decided she would also draw a horse.  Her teacher will be thrilled!  Here are our masterpieces!

Betcha can’t guess which one I did!  😉  Enjoy your time with your families!

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Wicked Awesome Workout Wednesday #2: Workout: One-On-One Training With Jackie

So, dear readers, I have something to confess.  I am not much of a “follow this plan for 8-12 weeks” person.  I wish I were.  However, I find myself getting bored after a couple of weeks.  I crave variety in my workouts, or I know I won’t do them.  I need to work on sticking to certain programs for longer than that, I know!  I will try to improve.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you one of my old standbys when it comes to workout DVDs.  I had seen commercials for Workout! on Bravo starring Jackie Warner back in 2008 (when we still had cable), and I knew enough about her to know that she was a very in-demand celebrity trainer.  So when I saw that she had come out (ha!) with a workout DVD that was actually affordable, I took a chance and bought it in early 2009.

Ladies and gents, I’m here to tell you that Workout: One-On-One Training With Jackie singlehandedly helped me lose the baby weight after Elise, my second, was born.  When Lacey was born, I was blessed to not have to do anything at all, and the weight just came off.  I still don’t know how that happened, but I was grateful for it!  A couple of months after my second was born, I realized that the weight was NOT going to come by itself, and that I needed to get my rear in gear!  Enter Jackie, stage left.  I started doing her workout a few times a week, eventually getting a buddy to do it with me sometimes, and it was just a few months before I was back down to my pre-baby weight.  I was hooked!  I have all of her other DVDs, but I still come back to this one time and time again.

There are three sections, and you can select all of them or mix and match, however you want to switch up your workout.  Each segment is 20 minutes, so if you only have a short amount of time, you can always fit in 20 minutes and still get your sweat on!  The sections are for arms, legs and core.  If you’re feeling ambitious, you can do all three at once, and, if you’re especially advanced, you can also use heavier weights.  What I especially liked about this DVD when I first started it was that even if I couldn’t do all of the exercises, I was able to see progress pretty soon after starting.  Some of the progress didn’t come until much later, but it will come if you stick with it!  An example of this is the side plank.  When I first tried to do it, I was like, “WOMAN, YOU CRAY-CRAY!!”  I seriously thought it could not be done (by me, at least…obviously the people on the DVD were doing it just fine!).  Well, it took a long time, but I can finally do a side plank and have my knee off the ground!  People, you should have seen me trying to do it at first.  Jackie would have laughed her head off.  I have now triumphed, however!  People may still be laughing at me at the gym, but I don’t see them doing it, so who cares!  🙂

As always, feel free to share your workout plans this week!

Posted in Recipes, Wicked Awesome Workout Wednesday | 5 Comments

Luscious Lunes #2: Garlic Bread Fantastique

Hello readers!  Or reader, whichever the case may be.  Or cat playing around on the keyboard, I welcome you, too.  I am no discriminator of species when it comes to blog traffic.  In fact, interplanetary contact is okay by me as well.  So, E.T., since you figured out the whole “phone home” thing back in the early 80s, I assume you have enough mad skillz to browse the internet and find this blog.  I expect comments, E.T.!  I totally would have helped you get back to your spaceship, and I would NOT have given you up, like Drew Barrymore, so, you know.  I got your back.

I digress.  As usual.  I have an oh-so-yummy recipe for ya’ll this fine lunes, courtesy of an Allrecipes user who goes by the name of JSWHAN.  Since I had some Texas Toast and had already recently made french toast, I thought, “a-HA! Garlic bread is in the house!”  Without further ado, here it is:

Garlic Bread Fantastique (recipe adapted from JSWHAN from Allrecipes.com)

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon sage
3 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 slices Texas Toast-style bread
shredded cheese, to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to broil.
  2. In a medium bowl combine butter, mayonnaise, sage, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Spread mixture evenly on bread and sprinkle with cheese, if desired.
  3. Place bread under broil for 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted.


This was excellent with tomato salad, which is slated for the next Luscious Lunes!  Be sure to head back and check it out next Monday!

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First World Problem Friday #2: Annoying Children’s Shows

If you’re new to First World Problem Friday, I explain it at the top of this post.  Basically, assume that I’m joking around, and you’ll probably be right.  😉

My darling children are the apples of my eye, to be sure.  However, sometimes a mama’s gotta get her “me-time” and/or “stuff” done (read: all these Pinterest boards ain’t gettin’ browsed by themselves, people!!).  At times like these, desperate times call for desperate measures, and I call upon my leetle friend Netflix.  Netflix, I’m a fan of you.  However, you do have some options for children’s shows that I cannot sneak past my children as I am browsing, and then I have to endure lameness in the form of 24 minutes of sub-par programming.  And this….this is decidedly uncool.  You may say to yourself, “Why doesn’t she just say that they can’t watch certain shows?”  And you would be right in asking that, just as I am right in actually doing that.  There are some shows that are banned in this here household.  For example, Yo Gabba Gabba is right out.  I haven’t even seen an episode, either; all I had to do was see short commercials for it with that weird guy in the skintight orange suit and his even weirder friends waving their freakishly-long arms around in some kind of alien tribal mating dance, and I was so outy.  Then there’s the fact that they have annoying songs with no more than two lines that get stuck in your head for days.  That’s where The Wiggles and Barney go wrong, and it’s a very large part of why they are also banned.  Plus, it kind of goes without saying that four grown men dressing only in primary colors and singing children’s songs…that’s kind of odd, and not in a good way.  And Barney….  Oh, Barney, what can I say about you?  I don’t think I know a single person who is not extremely annoyed with you if forced to sit through your show.

Now on to a show that I let them watch, but really, truth be told, I don’t care for all that much.  The Backyardigans, I’m looking at you.  My kids just got into this yesterday, and they wanted to watch another episode of it today, and I ever-so-(un)graciously acquiesced.  There are worse shows out there, to be sure, but, I don’t know…this one just gets on my nerves.  It’s like Rita and Runt from Animaniacs minus the ever-so-paltry comedic elements (at least compared to other Animaniacs’ sketches), which leaves a lot of grating ditties.  The Backyardigans have 24 minute episodes, like unto most half-hour shows that are not actually half-hours.  Approximately 22 of these minutes are some form of singing about inane things.  Enough with the singing, peeps!  Plus, there’s one “girl” character who is often just plain bratty.  There are plenty of other shows with non-annoying girl characters, and a prime example is Pinky Dinky Doo, which, sadly, is no longer being made.  However, the existing episodes are on Netflix!  I think I will steer my children toward that show next time….

(image courtesy of my t.v., but it belongs to Cartoon Pizza, Inc and Sesame Workshop)

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