Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween Party-ness

Sean and me in our costumes

The full Rainbow Brite getup complete with her horse, Starlite

Sunday, 2:45 p.m: I've only been awake for a few hours. Man alive, I gave myself a big scare in the mirror this morning! Makeup was smeared everywhere, stale breath, dirty hair...I looked just like an old fashioned hooker. This can only mean one thing: It must have been a good party! We have a lot of beer left over, so y'all come on down and help us kill it before we have to return the keg.

Many many thanks to my very best friends who helped coordinate the whole thing. And thanks to everyone who came out for a night of silly fun. I hope everyone enjoyed it. The costumes were fabulous! Every single person in attendance was wearing a costume, and each one was impressive.

Some highlights from the evening include: Dancing to Soulja Boy, getting a visit from a creepy opossum (no, seriously - it was a REAL opossum - not a costume!), Keith's "Wendy's Man" braids bobbling on his head whenever he yelled, and Sean accidentally stabbing Story with the fire poker...even though I'm pretty sure she deserved it.

***Special Addition*** My favorite recipe from the party was Nikki's homemade cheese ball. Y'all must make this - it's delicious! Nikki says it's really easy to make, too. Just mix up some dried beef (you know those little beef things that come in a jar?), some scallions, pimentos, green and black olives, cream cheese and garlic salt. Probably mix the dry ingredients in a food processor to get them all chopped up real good. Meanwhile, let your cream cheese be softening. Once the cheese is good and ready, start folding in all the copped up bits of stuff and form it into a ball.

Paul and Sarah as Dwight and Angela from "The Office"

Story and Richard as Judy and Elroy Jetson

Some girls I don't know dressed as a Lego and bottle of Cherry Coke - she made the whole Coke bottle herself!

Chad and Sherri as Lil John and a geisha

Our decorations

Jolene, Crystal, Kate and me doing the Soulja Boy dance

Crystal and Bobby as Strawberry Shortcake and The Geico Caveman

Keith as The Wendy's Guy

Me as Rainbow Brite...bein' all sassy!

Sean and Me - he makes a cute doctor!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sean Turns 29!!!

Sean turned 29 on Sunday, and we made this weekend one heck of a birthday celebration! After all, this is his last year of being young so he had to do something wild and crazy. (Ok, maybe it wasn't the most wild and crazy time ever, but it was a lot more than we usually do...)

Sherri and Keith met us for dinner Saturday night for a bit of an early celebration. Sean got a birthday shot of Single Barrel Jack Daniels from Keith, and I think that's when all the fun began...Unfortunately, Sherri and Keith had another party to attend, so they bailed on us. Sean and I headed off by ourselves to Big Bang, a new bar on Broadway right across from all the Honkey Tonks. Big Bang is a dueling piano bar, and it really is the neatest thing since sliced bread. The piano players encourage audience participation and singing along, so there's no way you could ever get bored here. We sang our fair share of "oldies but goodies," my favorites being the Journey tunes, And we also snuck in a few dances. I really wish I had a video to share with you because I'm not doing this place justice. There's just no way for me to capture all the excitement and energy you find when you visit in person.

Just know we had so much fun that we had to take a cab home.

Sunday morning was a Birthday Brunch with Sean's mom, stepdad, and brother Trevor. We ate an amazing spread of food at Ellendale's ranging from waffles to omlets to eggplant Parmesan to pizza. We were in hog heaven, and after stuffing ourselves it was time for Sean to open his presents. I was so nervous that he wouldn't like his new guitar, but thankfully he seemed to be really excited about it. Sean has quite an ear for music, and he can harmonize without ever being trained. I think he's going learn quickly - he's already been practicing "Ode to Joy" every day. I love hearing the chords ring out through the house (even if they aren't always perfect). His favorite chord so far is must be an easy one. The guitar is an acoustic Epiphone, and it's really beautiful and has a great tone. I found a picture even though it may not be the exact model.

Bonnie and Ed gave him a Home Depot gift card, and he got a squirrel-proof bird feeder from Trevor. For those of you who don't already know, our back yard is somewhat of a squirrel playground. They must love that we don't have dogs, so they frolic and play, and sometimes take naps on our deck. We really do enjoy them (except for when they ate all my tulip bulbs), and it will be fun trying to watch them hack into that bird feeder. Sean also got a gift card from my mom and Jimmy, and a new CD from Amanda.

Oh, and GOOD NEWS - Sean bought a new camera with his birthday money. Rest assured, I will steal it often and take pictures for the blog.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Roll Tide

Mimi, Jimmy, Mom, Papa and Sean hangin' out in the living room
Jimmy and Mimi watching the game
Just Papa
Mimi and me
Sean gets an early birthday present!
Sean, me, and Bandit
Emily, here are pictures of our clean upstairs! We set up Clint's dresser in our guest room.

"I wonder if the Asians' diet has something to do with their brains?" - Mimi

My Mimi sure is a special woman. I wish you could all be here with me today to meet her.

Having family over for Saturday lunch is quite a chore...They've been here going on 3 hours now, and I'm just about spent. I'm glad that Mimi and Papa (even though he won't remember) got a chance to finally see our house. We've lived here almost 2 years now - I can't believe it. But our family isn't big on gatherings, which is why it's taken me so long to extend an invitation to them. We're strictly a 'holidays' family; only see each other on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And you know what? That's just about enough for me.

After checking our calendars, we decided that today would work best. Then I realized it was the Tennesse-Alabama game, so I invited mom and Jimmy to come over, too. We watched the game and enjoyed a spread of white beans, cornbread and BBQ. Ok, some of us watched the game. (I confess, I only saw a couple of plays and that was purely accidental.) Mom tried to make a coconut pie for dessert. I say "tried" because it's the saddest lookin' pie I ever saw. When we served it up on the plates, it was so runny that Sean offered straws to everyone. It was still good -- runny sugar doesn't taset any different.

I'm all caught up on the family gossip now, and all I want to do is take a nap. It's perfect weather outside, the windows are open, and football is on in the background. Something about this combination makes me incredibly sleepy. Well, that and all the cornbread and beans.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Worst Recipe Ever

I should have known better than to trust one of Robin Miller's recipes. She's hardly a chef, and it's obvious that she's just Food Network filler. Anthony Bourdain would be so disappointed in me if he ever found out about this...But Sean and I were desperate for something to watch on TV last weekend, and we came across her stupid show and her stupid recipe: Roasted Miso Salmon with Lemon and Cilantro with Rosemary Roasted Yukons.

I'm always looking for ways to jazz up the same ole entrees. Salmon is one of our favorite fish (probably because it's more fatty), but I haven't been very creative with the tastes. I don't like dill, so usually my salmon is pan seared with some Spanish flavors, a little caynne and chili powder for heat, and served over a black bean and corn salsa. It's good, but it's getting old. Robin had a creative twist on salmon that seemed like something we would enjoy. Sean asked me to put the dish down on our weekly menu, and so I did.

Roasted Miso Salmon with Lemon and Cilantro with Rosemary Roasted Yukons
Cooking spray
6 salmon fillets (about 5 ounces each)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice wine (mirin)
1 tablespoon miso paste
4 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a large roasting pan with cooking spray. Season salmon with salt and black pepper and place in roasting pan. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, rice wine and miso paste. Brush mixture all over salmon in pan.

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, oil, garlic, rosemary, and salt and black pepper to taste. Toss to coat potatoes. Arrange potatoes alongside salmon (or on a separate baking sheet if there's not enough room).
Roast salmon and potatoes 20 to 25 minutes, until fish and potatoes are fork-tender.
Serve 4 of the salmon fillets with the cilantro sprinkled over top and all of the potatoes on the side. Reserve remaining salmon for salad.

The problem here is that the cook times are WAY off. I should have known better just from looking at it. I feel like I've been duped, like I've fallen into some kind of Food Network trap. But like I said, I knew better than to believe that potatoes would roast at 400F for 20 minutes. I'm not very happy with the network or with Robin Miller right now. Robin failed to mention that, once completed, the salmon will be overcooked and the potatoes will still be crunchy. Even after putting the potatoes back into the oven (sans salmon) and cooking them for an extra 20 minutes, they still weren't "roasted."She pretty much ruined our dinner last night.

I threw the recipe away this morning. Next time I'll use my own skillz when making Asian-inspired Salmon.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Carroll Family Reunion - July 2007

As I was looking through old pictures, I came across our folder of the Carroll Family Reunion.

This past July we flew up to the North East to spend a week with The Carrolls in New Jersey. Not just my in-laws, but the entire exteded family -- grandparents, cousins, and all. It was such a treat to see all of them together, and to really feel like I was a part of their clan. The Carrolls are a fun, crazy bunch, and their New Jersey accents are so cute! They know how to have a good time together, and they have been so hospitiable towards me (despite the distance between us). Here are some pictures from our trip. Unfortunately, we didn't take any pictures of our group outing to the casinos in Atlantic City, but don't worry...I'm sure you can visualize the look on my face after I lost all my money. It wasn't pretty.

Before my first trip to South Jersey (in 2005), I had no idea what to expect from the landscape or weather. Turns out, it's rather sleepy and quaint in South Jersey. There are quiet little beach towns all along the shore, and the weather is extremely hot! (Much warmer than I ever imagined.) The Atlantic Coast isn't the type of beach I grew up with, meaning there are no palm trees and no white sand. The water was also a lot cooler than what I expected, but it's still the beach afterall.

Droves of tourists come down from Philly to spend their vacations on "The Shore." To the locals, these vacationers are known as "Shoobies." And to the Carroll Family, Shoobies are the worst. They crowd up the streets and they don't know how to drive. According to my in-laws, the Shoobies act like they own the town. (I might act like I own the town if I paid an arm and a leg to stay there...) Anyhow, back in the Victorian days, when South Jersey was first becoming a popular vacation spot, these out-of-towners would take the train down to The Shore on the weekend, and they'd bring their lunch in shoe boxes. Thusly, the name Shoobies was given to them.

South Jersey is also a hot vacationing spot for Canadians, and it's pretty common to hear several French conversations going on around you. Not being a big fan of the French accent, this causes me to stare. It's like watching a silly cartoon -- I don't really enjoy it, but I'm still drawn to it for some strange reason. I am terrible at spotting the Canadians if they aren't talking, but The Carrolls can point them out from a mile away. They must be able to smell them or something.

Anyhow, I really enjoy my time in South Jersey...probably because it feels a lot like home.

Sean and I at The Lobster House

The Carrolls enjoying local wine at the Cape May Vinyards

Alissa and Dave gettin' their sip on

Our second tasting of the day - Turdo Vinyards

Emily and PopPop

All of us together

Mom Mom whoops everyone at Skittles

Mom Mom and Pop Pop with all the Grandkids - Kirsten, Tory, Sean, Emily, and Alissa

Sean, Emily, and their dad Tom enjoying Kohr's Brothers ice cream on the Boardwalk

Sean and me at the Phillies game

Who wants a cheese steak? WE DO!!!

Chowing down on Pat's Cheese Steak before we flew out - yummo!

Just Call Me Granny

At 25 years old, I don't think it's right for me to be falling asleep at 8:00 p.m., but that's sure what happened last night. I think because it was Friday night, I was worn out from the week. I also think I was trying to fight off some sort of cold. Some people (like my husband) force themselves to stay awake until a specific hour; one that isn't "too early." But me? I just go with it. I don't try to fight my drowsiness...never have. Today my mom was sharing the story with everyone about how much I slept as a new born - 12 hours a night. And old habits die hard. I love to sleep, which is one reason (out of many) why I'm not ready to have a kid. I fell asleep watching our Netflix of the week, Unforgiven starring Clint Eastwood. I decided that I'm not too fond of westersns...even though, I must say, Clint Eastwood's character Will Munny was a badass.

So here I am again, another Saturday and another football game on television. I wish that I had pictures to share with you, but unfortunately our camera is still broken. Maybe I will dig up some old ones just for fun...

This past week brought a lot of excitement as we began to prepare for the Halloween party. Two of my very best friends - Crystal and Sherri - came over Wednesday night for a party planning session. They will be splitting the hosting duties with me. The three of us divied up the responsiblities, decided on how to spend the party funds, and discussed decorations and logistics. I'm so looking forward to having all our friends over for an evening of silly celebration. The costumes are my favorite part, which is why we'll be awarding prizes for the best one. My only concern at this point is the noise level. The last Halloween party I hosted was broken up by the police. I expect that it's going to happen since we live in a densly populated residential area. I'd rather not have a visit from the cops because it kills the mood. But still, having the police come is the mark of a truly good party, so I'm trying to embrace it.

The weather has been SOOOO nice lately. I sure hope it stays this way for the next month so we can have the party outside. Sean and I wanted to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine today, so we joined a group of family and friends for tailgating at Vanderbilt. We don't have tickets to the games like everyone else, but we like visiting with them for the afternoon. Other than my mom talking my ear off the whole time, I enjoyed it.

Quick update on the grass seed: IT'S GROWING! Yes, we have little bright green grass sprouting throughout the yard. I'm so glad our hard work is paying off. We're about to have the sexiest lawn on Timmons Street.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Chairs and such

This weekend has been so busy that I almost forgot to post!

Friday was payday - a great way to start the weekend! I hit the gym, and then waited for Sean to get home. We decided to have a date at the Yellow Porch -- an awesome little restaurant near our home -- and the meal was muy delicioso. I was so in love with my dinner that I wanted to ask for a job there. I would love to be able to created dishes like the ones they serve at Yellow Porch. It blows my mind...Quick, someone write me a check for cullinary school!

Sean and I chilled for the rest of the night, reading and watching TV. It was a good thing we got our rest in because Saturday was ball-busting busy. Saturday became known as "chair day." My boss is relocating and offered to sell me a chair. Actually, it's a "chair and 1/2," and it's leopard print. I love it! (But I'm not so sure about Sean...) Anyway, my plan is to put the chair upstairs in the bonus room.....or rather, the room that will be the bonus room when all of my sister's furniture has been removed. This is where the work comes in...

See, we had to re-organize our entire upstiars in order to make room for this chair. And unfortunately, there's no AC upstairs (yet), and it's still hotter 'n blazes outside so we were sweltering!!! And then we had to pick up a truck from someone across town, drive even further across town, load the chair, deliver the chair to our house, move the chair upstairs, drive the truck back, and then drive home. PHEW!!!! We were pooped. Buying a chair from your boss can be a lot more work that it seems...

But somehow we managed to squeeze in a bit of yardwork before the sun went down. And by that time, I had no interest in cooking dinner whatsoever so we orderd pizza and watched our Netflix -- Shaun of the Dead.

Sunday morning brought lots of laundry, and then we headed off to the mall to shop for Halloween costumes and decorations. I'm such a goober -- I was so giddy about my costume all day. I found most of the pieces, and I cannot wait until it's complete! The giant Halloween tent outside the mall was AMAZING. I could have stayed there all day -- ok, maybe not all day. It was still burnin' up hot outside and I thought I was going to melt.

Another exciting thing about today was that I read an e-mail from my sister Amanda. She's studying in Australia this semester, and although we didn't see each other all too often at home, it's been weird with her away. It's strange not knowing much about her life or being able to visualize her surroundings when we talk. It's almost like she's lost in a black hole...or stuck somewhere in the television like in Poltergeist. Come home, Amanda! This house is clear! She'll be home sometime around the begining of the year...I'm not sure exactly when. But you can all check out her blog here if you wish.

Now that it's 10:15 p.m. my eyes are getting very heavy. Sean is already in bed, so I'd better join him. Off to another week of work...