Friday, November 30, 2012

turkey trottin'

getting up early on thanksgiving morning was surprisingly easy, considering the level of activity and excitement of our day before at disneyland.  i think my body knew i had to be motivated for a busy day of cooking and hosting, kicked off by an early morning 5K run a couple of cities over in claremont.

i'm never sure how parking is going to work at these things (despite the fact that i've been to a bazillion races by now), so i always get there early.  plus, i'd missed early packet pick-up because of the disneyland day and still needed to get my bib and t-shirt.  luckily, i found parking pretty easily and headed on up towards the check-in table.



see those super bright neon shirts in that picture?  yeah, those are the ones they gave away to all the runners.  that thing's gonna look awesome in the t-shirt quilt i'm getting ready to make.  heh.  and with lots of time to kill, i wandered back to the car to drop it off since i wasn't about to throw it on over what i was already wearing.

when i got back from the car, i did a nice leisurely stroll to check things out.


at this booth, i picked up a little festive something to wear.  cute, right?


the kids' race was going on, and i wished i could've brought the bean.  each kid who crossed the finish line earned a medal, and it would have been fun to watch her run it.  but she was soundly sleeping when i left the house, and nobody wanted to get up early to come with me anyway.  poo.


finally, it was time to head to the start line.  i know this area fairly well since i worked here for a couple of years, but i didn't really know what our route was going to look like.  i was hoping my running mojo would kick in as the gun went off, signaling the beginning of the race.


happily, my magical shoes came through for me again and i found myself going the entire 3.1 miles without stopping for any walk breaks.  the first part of the route was on a slight incline, which always slows me down, but it wasn't too long before we were turning around and heading back towards the finish - all on a downward slope.  woohoo!  my nike app was whispering sweet nothings in my ear, giving me updates on my pace as i passed the mile markers, and the numbers she was telling me were quite encouraging.  like, REALLY good.  check it out:


do you see that?  that, my friends, is what is known as a PR.  personal record, baby!  that's the fastest 5K i've run yet!  i was so freaking stoked over this, and i'm not even going to acknowledge the fact that the largely downhill course had a single thing to do with it.  nope, nuh-uh.  i pretty much just basically kicked that 5K's ass.  not that i won anything, of course, but the PR is enough for me.

and as i was catching my breath just past the finish line, my friend lisa found me and we got some random lady to take this for us (and yes, i wore that stupid ass hat the whole way):


obviously, this was a sign that thanksgiving 2012 was getting off to a pretty stinking fabulous start, yes?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

introducing pixie

until this year, i was an elf hater.

elf on the shelf, that is.  if you've never heard of it, here you go:


cliff's notes:  the elf was sent to our house by santa to be his eyes and ears, so to speak.  kinda like a little cherub-faced spy.  you get to name your elf (or elfette, since ours is clearly a female), and every night she goes up to the north pole to report to the big boss on the happenings in the house that day.  when she comes back home, she lands in a new spot and it's super fun for the kid(s) to go looking for her in the morning.  and the biggest elfette rule of all:  you can't touch her, or all her magic disappears.

now that i've typed all that out, it is really silly, isn't it?  and as i said before, i was totally anti-elf before.  i thought the little doll looked creepy as hell.  but after watching my friend nanette's antics with buddy the elf last year, it really grew on me.  and when i took a closer look at her, she really isn't creepy at all - in fact, i realized that her face is rather retro, like christmas decorations from the '60s and '70s.  plus, i loved the whole idea of having something fun for the bean (and the teen, though she won't admit it) to motivate her to get out of bed.

so while i was running around like a chicken with my head cut off on thanksgiving day trying to get everything ready, i had the teen sit down with her sister to read her the storybook.


it was really cute to watch, and the hub's gram got a big kick out of hearing the story and watching the girls' excitement over it.  inspired by the bean's number one item on her christmas wish list, i suggested that we name her "pixie."  she loved it.

that night, the bean made sure to say goodnight to pixie before going to bed.


and before i went to bed, pixie was all settled in her first pose of the season:


the next morning, the bean popped right up out of bed and chirped "i wonder where pixie is!"  i followed her around the house and grinned like a fool when she finally found her in the living room.

video

the words in pixie's little note are easy enough for her to sound out letter by letter, and she read it easily.


then she decided to flip it over and write a message of her own.


so, okay, i admit it:  i'm having a ball with this.  it could be that it's still new and very, very early in the season and by about mid-december i'll be kicking myself in the morning when i inevitably forget to move her, but so far this is really fun.  and our little effete elfette (damn you, autocorrect!) is having a good time, too, i think.  although the hub is rather bemused by it all.  he totally side-eyes me every night as i scurry to get pixie into position before we go to bed.  psh, whatever.  the bean loves to get up and look for her, and the teen usually finds her when she gets home from school.

look, she made a friend!  and they're enjoying a little treat!


here, she's playing a fun game with even more new buddies.


getting her yoga on with jillian michaels.  i tried to get her into downward dog, but her head is super heavy and i couldn't get her legs to stay up.  heh.


heading up to the north pole every night works up quite an appetite.


i know, i know.  you totally can't wait to see what pixie gets herself into every day from now until christmas, huh?  yeah, me too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

family bonding at the house of mouse

next on the agenda for thanksgiving fun week was a family trip to the happiest place on earth.  although he rarely goes with us, the hub does indeed have his very own annual pass.  while he only goes a handful of times during the year, it still pays for itself since he opts for the least expensive (read: most blackout dates) pass.  and the bean was stoked to show him around and take him on all of her favorite rides.

this meant that i got to spend lots of quality time on those rides with the teen.  first:  mater's junkyard jamboree.  see how excited she was?


the teen and i were excited to bring the hub to carthay circle, the fancy restaurant we'd visited with MIL this summer.  blue bayou is his usual go-to for a nice meal at the parks, but we knew this place would live up to his standards easily.  i didn't take any pictures as there really wasn't anything different from our first time there, but i can tell you that we were right - he loved the place.  and who wouldn't?  it's gorgeous, inside and out.


since the bean really didn't love the radiator springs racers ride, we sent the hub and the teen off to join the single riders line while she and i went to see the disney junior stage show.  yes, the very same show that we've seen a bazillion times.  i kid you not, i've sat through that thing so many times i could totally host it myself by now.  i sat there and cackled to myself as i recited all of the lines and made all of the hand gestures along with the cast member up on stage.


outside, we got a good look at the gigantic tree all decorated and ready for christmas.



because we still had time to kill, we headed over to a bug's land for some kiddie rides.  the bean loves sitting in the chinese takeout box on the flik's flyers ride.


across the way on the disneyland side, the girls decided to take a ride in the teacups.


and then before we met the hub for dinner in downtown disney, we snuck over to toontown to say hi to mickey.  the bean had remembered to bring her "photograph" book (as many times as we corrected her, she still calls it that), and she was excited to have mickey sign it.


i was slightly disappointed to see that he wasn't dressed up in festive holiday gear, but that's okay.  i'm sure we'll find him all gussied up another time.


silly girls.


after a full day of disneyland fun on her own two feet with no stroller to sit in, the bean was plum tuckered out.  we didn't even stay long enough for fireworks.  but it was a fun day spent with the hub at our most favoritest place in the whole world.  not to mention, i had a super busy day ahead of me with a turkey trot 5K first thing in the morning followed by a whole lotta cooking for the thanksgiving feast.

whew.  i'm tired again just thinking about it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

who doesn't love cheese?

when we decided to host thanksgiving at the house of wan, i turned to the most obvious source for fun recipes to use - my pinterest boards.  although i ended up going with the always-reliable martha stewart for most of what i served up (more on that later), i did come across a bunch of other things that i wanted to try out.

like this shredded brussels sprout/kale/bacon salad.  i'd never actually had brussels sprouts before, but it's one of the hub's favorite vegetables.  wife of the year, i am.  and when i pulled the bag of these things out of the fridge, i totally had to google to find out exactly how one is supposed to prep them for consumption.  luckily, it was easy enough.


while the bacon sizzled in the pan (one of my very favorite sounds and smells, duh), i chopped and shredded and prepped my happy ass off.


once everything was ready, it was a snap to throw it all together and serve.


with the exception of the bean, who refuses to even allow anything remotely green or vegetable-like on her plate, this was a huge hit.  the hub was over the moon for his beloved sprouts, the teen liked the tang of the fresh lemon juice, and as for my favorite part...well, i'm sure you can guess.  this is definitely a keeper, and one i'll be happy to serve up again.  and again, and again, and again.

while picking up groceries at target, i came across a 3-pound pork butt roast that was all by itself in the meat case, sporting a lovely $3-off coupon.  so i scooped it up without any idea as to what i was going to do with it and hit up the google when i got home.  it turned into something pretty delicious:  char siu pork, aka chinese bbq pulled pork.  although i didn't have any hoisin sauce sitting around, i managed to find a recipe using ingredients that i did have in the pantry, and so i had that pig butt in the crock pot in no time.  the aroma that wafted through the house all that day was mouthwatering, and i was really pleased with the results.  plated with some steamed asparagus and jasmine rice, it looked and smelled pretty darn good.


we love us some asparagus in this house.  if it didn't make pee smell so godawful, i would totally have asparagus like every single day.  and when i came across this recipe for a simple-looking asparagus gratin, i knew i had to give it a shot.


the cheese sauce was really easy to make.  i happily tossed in gobs and gobs of monterey jack and parmesan and stirred it in, making it nice and gooey.


i realized a little too late that i only had half as much asparagus as the recipe called for.  bummer.  so when i poured the sauce on top of the steamed veggies, i totally said "would you like some asparagus with your cheese?  oh yes, please."  to myself.  yeah.


while i devoured the lion's share of this quite happily, i was stunned to note that the hub and the teen were a little less enthusiastic about it than i was.  come on!  it's asparagus!  and cheese!  steamed and broiled to perfection!  gah.  whatever.  more for me.

and so now that thanksgiving is over, i'm on the hunt for something spectacular to serve for christmas dinner.  we've done the prime rib roast thing, lamb chops are so 2011, and turkey and ham are definitely out.  what to make?

such a dilemma.

Monday, November 26, 2012

every day i'm shuttlin'

with both girls out of school for the week of thanksgiving, the hub and i decided to head out to l.a. to check out the recently-parked space shuttle at the california science center.  ordering our tickets online was easy, and we got there with plenty of time to spare.



of course, there was an assload of people there with the same idea.  there were giant groups of kids on field trips with their schools (turns out not every district is lucky enough to have the whole week off), tons of out-of-towners, and locals like us looking for something to do.  while we were happy to avoid that long line for tickets outside, once we entered the building it was clear we'd still have a lot of waiting around to do.  despite the fact that our reserved time was already displayed on the entrance sign, we still had to join the super long line of folks with timed tickets in their hot little hands.


so while the hub stood there working from his virtual office (i.e., his iPhone), we checked out all the space-y stuff around us.








he hadn't moved but about a foot ahead of where we'd left him, so we headed off into other sections of the museum.




then when i checked my phone to make sure the hub wasn't trying to reach us to come back in line, i realized we had pretty much zero reception in there.  oops.  luckily, he hadn't gone on ahead without us.  we finally got to the front of the line, where we were given black poker chips in exchange for our paper tickets.


after we trotted our happy asses into the building, we came upon an exhibit of shuttle-related memorabilia.  the bean was drawn to this...the space potty.


stuff that astronauts have brought on their space travels.


a faux command center.  actually, i think this is part of a real one that was dismantled and brought here for display.


a cool shot from when the shuttle was driven through local streets to the museum.  i'd really wanted to go and see it for myself, but we never made it.  besides, crowds pretty much suck.


at the door that led to where we'd finally get to see the shuttle, we exchanged our black chips for purple ones.  kind of a fun way to make sure people were really where they were supposed to be, i suppose.


and then, finally...ta-da!



this dude brought some serious equipment.  geez.


guess what?  shuttle butt!


this shot of the bean gazing up at the shuttle in awe would've been so much more effective without the grumpy-looking lady in the background.


of course, there was plenty of nasa-themed souvenir stuff available for sale.




we grabbed a little lunch before heading back inside to check out the rest of the exhibits.


wind machine!


more silliness.




checking out the sea critters and the divers inside the tank.



wall o'ice.


all done.



you know you wanna go now, don'tcha?
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