wan-na find something?

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

soccer mom no more

as much as i am a huge disney fan, i'd not really seen a whole lot of marvel movies.  i think until a few months ago i'd only ever watched the first iron man movie, which i remember really enjoying but never really followed up with the sequels.  and the girls and i actually went to the theater to see the last two avengers movies - which, looking back, was really kind of bizarre considering we hadn't seen most of the other movies that led up to them.  

and then when disney+ debuted, offering up almost every marvel movie aside from the hulk and the spiderman movies (due to licensing issues or something i haven't really bothered to look up), i decided that i wanted to watch all of them in order.  i wanted to see all of the origin stories for the characters and finish up my marathon with another viewing of avengers:endgame that would make more sense to me having seen all of the backstories.

i dream big, people.  serious goals here.

did i ever mention that the original reason why we even started talking about remodeling the house stemmed from a discussion about how cool it would be to drive a tesla?  it started there and moved on to how it would be awesome to convert the house to solar so that we could harness the power of the sun to fuel the car.  and of course, that meant that we needed to replace the roof...and while we were at it, might as well rip out the carpet and replace it with hardwood, or tile, or something cool.  but then if we were going to do all that, it seemed like the best time to go ahead and reconfigure the rooms the way we'd always talked about since we moved into the house ten years prior.  and then we stumbled upon a screaming deal on the stove/oven that ended up sitting in the garage for two years before we finally got our shit together and designed a kitchen around it.  craziness, right?

with the house mostly done (which i should probably recap here one of these days too, huh?), a couple of weeks ago we finally started looking at the options for the tesla.  we put down the deposit and placed the order, and then we sat back to wait the 4-11 weeks that was quoted as our timeline for delivery.

but then last week, while i was getting ready for a rare date night with the hub, he texted me with pictures of a used tesla at a dealership that was close to the restaurant we had dinner reservations at.  "let's go test drive it before dinner," he said.  it was a year old with low mileage, and was pretty much exactly what we'd ordered online the week before.  but because it was used, the sticker price was considerably less than the new one we were waiting for.  


we took it for a couple of loops around the block and then took the salesman's card and headed off to dinner.  i knew we were both pretty much sold on the car, but we went home to sleep on it and by the next morning we'd made the decision to head back out and bring it home.  the only bummer was that when we got there, they hadn't had time to charge it up for us and so we had just enough juice in the battery to get it home.  i plugged it in the second i got it into the garage, and that's when i realized that there was a whole lot i needed to learn about this car...with the cable that came with it, it was charging at the glacial pace of 4 miles per hour.  yikes.


the bean was bummed when i told her that we'd still have to take the old car when it was time for her math tutoring session, so i promised her that when i came back to pick her up for cheer practice i'd take the new car.  by that time we'd added a whopping 15 miles to the range.

we got to the gym a little early and had some time to browse through all of the menus on the gigantic screen display, and we were both really amused to find that not only did we have access to netflix, hulu and youtube but a decent selection of video games PLUS "caraoke."



oh!  the marvel movie marathon story did have a point...because when i went to download the tesla app onto my phone i found that i had the option to give the car a name.  with all of those movies (plus the wandavision series on disney+) still fresh in my mind, it seemed only natural to choose "jarvis."  the old lady and the hub both liked it, and the bean just rolled her eyes in typical teenage fashion.

"jarvis" is, of course, unavailable for a personalized plate.  bummer.  but i don't care.  i love my new car, and i'm pretty excited to break free from the soccer mom mobile!  and the best part?  no more gas stations!

WOOHOO!!  

Thursday, March 25, 2021

doing a little recipe surfing

we've been having fun making all sorts of stuff to eat around here lately.  i guess that's not really anything new though, is it?  we have tons of free time and all kinds of recipes that we find on social media - but i still haven't fallen into the trap of homemade sourdough.  and it's not even like i don't have the ingredients for it, i just haven't really been that interested in it.  huh.

you know what i AM always interested in, though?  cake!  one day, we just got hit with a craving for some shitty strawberry cake mix cake and so that's exactly what we made.  i did make some cream cheese frosting from scratch for it though, so that makes it okay right?  and i busted out some tools to play with some basic decorating, which was really fun.  watching instagram reels on cake decorating is always inspiring even though we all know i really suck at it.  see?  whatever.  it tasted pretty dang good.

my friend nanette posted about a mochi cake mix she'd found at trader joe's, which caught my attention because we have a nice supply of sweet rice flour in the house.  i turned to my other friend google to find a recipe, and as i read through the first few hits it occurred to me that the ingredients sounded very familiar.  most of the recipes were pretty much the same, and so i just picked one and made it.  it was pretty simple - the sweet rice flour, sugar, eggs, coconut milk, a few other basics.  then bake at 350 for an hour and cool completely before slicing and serving.  and when i took my first bite i realized why it seemed so familiar...this mochi cake is basically the same thing as filipino bibingka.  i was never a huge fan of bibingka growing up, but i can tell you that i love it now.  i don't even have a decent picture of it because we were so busy gobbling it down.  

the bean has been joining a small group of girls in her class for a weekly session led by one of her friends' moms, where they talk about things like friends and confidence and bullying and self care.  it's been a really nice thing for them since they've been apart for a year now, and every time i go to pick her up at the end of the session i get a few minutes to chat with their parents as well.  we decided to make some homemade treats for her to share, which gave me the chance to try out a couple of recipes i'd had bookmarked.  the sugar cookie bars looked and tasted a lot like those frosted cookies you find in the bakery section at the grocery store, and the brownies are a copycat recipe for ones served at disneyland (which i don't actually remember seeing, but whatevs).  both turned out delicious.


a trip to the japanese grocery store yielded the makings for a simple shabu shabu, which we were excited to try.  i dug out our old fondue pot, poured in the soup base and tossed in some fresh asparagus.  a little swish-swish with the chopsticks and we had ourselves a fun little meal on a cold rainy night.

of course, st. patrick's day was all about corned beef and cabbage.


and check out these glamping-themed cookies!  these were really fun to make.


we had a birthday parade to attend, so i'd thrown in a couple of extra cookies to attach to the birthday girl's gift.


next we have a cereal-and-milk pie recipe that we've been dying to try.  there's a local bakery that serves a "cereal killer" pie that sounds delicious...basically a fruit loops-infused cheesecake with a nilla wafer crust, and it's next on our list of treats.  i hope it's as good as it sounds - i'll be sure to report back.  hopefully with pictures.  we'll see.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

now it's time to say goodbye...

it's no secret that we adore all things disney.  disneyland has always been our favorite place, and the old lady still has great memories of her first trip to disney world when she was about four.  and in between visits to the parks, we would head over to the mall to browse through the disney store.  the closest one to us was in montclair, and it was a really big store that even had a little quick-serve restaurant in the back.  she doesn't remember that part because they closed it sometime in the mid-90s, but i used to love heading out there to grab a mickey-shaped PB&J on my lunch break.

the montclair store was one of the few that never got that magical disney remodel, and it was like a fun disney time capsule every time we walked in there.  the news came a couple of weeks ago that a whole bunch of disney stores were on the chopping block - likely due to covid, like everything else - and of course, our beloved retro store was on the list.  before they closed down for good, we decided to head over for one last visit.


it was a friday afternoon, but there was still a pretty considerable line of folks waiting to get in.  but in typical disney style, it moved pretty quickly and before we knew it, we were next to enter.

i have to admit, i hadn't actually looked at all of the decorations and things inside the store in a very long time.  it's usually a quick visit to peruse the merchandise for sale, sometimes in search of something specific, and we're in and out in minutes.  and so this time, i stopped to take in all of my surroundings - starting with the front cashier that was shaped like a box office.

just as i remembered, the characters that adorned the tops of the shelves and racks were super dated.  it was like walking through the disney channel line-up from about 1993.





aside from the fab five, mostly classic disney movie characters were there with nothing newer than "the little mermaid."  i think that came out in, like, 1989.











and the section of the store that held the most memories for any of us was already blocked off - you know, where they would place the mountain of soft plush toys.  both girls adored going back there to hug the stuffed animals of their favorite characters, and the bean remembered actually jumping into the pile a couple of times before we were gently admonished by one of the cast members.  heh.


what was left in the store was all 30% off, and we'd found a few things to take home.  after we paid, we took one last look and then snagged a quick selfie in front.





they're also closing the disney store in the other mall we frequent most often, and so now we have just one option left within a 10-mile radius.  but with the parks at the disneyland resort finally planning to reopen at the end of next month, we'll be able to get our dose of disney magic again.  i'm not sure when we'll get to go, with annual passes now a thing of the past and a reservation system coming that'll allow maybe 25% capacity plus a whole lot of fellow disneyland fans just itching to get back  to the parks.  but we're patient.  we've waited a whole year already...what's a few more months?

Thursday, March 18, 2021

ah, picture day

for last year's school portraits, the bean had asked to add the retouching option because - well, tween skin.  i told her "oh, we don't need that!  i have photoshop and i can do it for you and probably better."  

OMG.  such a typical pennypinching mom thing to say, amirite?  total facepalm moment.  especially when it was pointed out to me later that photoshopping it myself, regardless of my mad skillz, wouldn't really help much for yearbook purposes.  GAH.  mom of the year award, yet again.

picture day is usually in october-ish, but with the weirdness of this school year somehow our school didn't get it together until much later.  i think we were almost done with the second trimester by the time we finally did ours.  of course, with covid, it was done by appointment only with specific time slots made available for each grade.  i have to say though that it was really well done and super efficient, with social distancing in place and masks on everyone until it was time to take the photo.  i dropped off the bean at the front door and by the time i made my way around the building to the back where the kids were exiting, she was already walking out.

did we add the retouching?  hell yeah we did!  but when the finished product arrived i couldn't help but cackle a little, because it seriously looks like they just took it into instagram and added a filter to it.  the bean is beautiful as always, and in this photo she's extra...uh, glowy.

i still think my photoshopping is better, but whatever.  

i'm also super curious as to what the 2020-2021 yearbook will look like.  the TK-6th graders went back to on-campus classes last week, but i'm pretty sure the deadline to submit the yearbook would've already come and gone by then.  is it going to be an itty-bitty little thing filled completely with the official portraits and 8th grade promotion dedications?  i can't imagine what else they could possibly have unless they asked families to submit photos from distance learning.  i didn't get that memo, if that's the case.

these are the things that fill my head these days, people.  wow.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

busting out the yarnicorn

so i still don't have a whole lot to talk about these days, really.  as i look through my camera roll, i just see a bunch of photos of random stuff that i don't even think i can cobble together into a decent non-rambling post.  ugh.  and it's so hard to believe that it's been a whole year now since the world went batshit crazy and lockdown began.  this time last year, we were getting ready to head to disney world for cheer competition...with no idea of what was coming our way.

but hey!  i've been knitting and crocheting, which is one of the best things to come out of quarantine for me.  this time last year, i had no interest in yarn and needles and crochet hooks.  and now i can't seem to get enough of it.  like, i learned that i could take a ball of fluffy velvety yarn like this:

and turn a basic hair tie into a fun squishy scrunchie in less than ten minutes.



and this yarn - i've been hoarding it for a few months, waiting for the right time to start a beginner-level pattern for a pullover sweater.  i pored over the pattern, watching videos to learn how to do the parts i had never tried, and then finally during one of our road trips i decided to jump in and get started.  the yarn is so pretty - a fun pastel concoction appropriately named "yarnicorn."


i was feeling really good about it and got pretty far.  i even breezed past the parts that i'd been so unsure about, and i thought i was doing a good job until i stopped to grab another ball of yarn - and then i turned it right side out to check it out and realized that i'd definitely done something wrong.


i figured out too late that i'd been doing the stitches on the body completely wrong.  and then i thought that maybe i could just pull those stitches out and pick up where the stitches were perfectly fine - but the neck had the same incorrect stitching.  in all honesty, it didn't look terrible and could probably have passed for an intentional design element.  but i knew i would never be satisfied if i didn't just suck it up and start over.  sigh.

working on it the second time around went a lot faster since i knew what to expect.  and i was determined to get it done and do it right.  so in about a day's time i managed to get caught back up and even finished one of the sleeves.


of course, every time i stopped to take a break one of the dogs would come over and make themselves comfy.  



and when it was done, i completed the last step, another task i'd never done before:  blocking.  i used some rustproof pins and placed the sweater on a set of foam pads, stretching it slightly before spraying it with water.  this process is supposed to set the knit fabric into the finished size and even out the stitches.


i still need to put it back on and take an "after" photo, but i'm pretty stinking proud of finishing my first pullover sweater and that it's actually something that i want to wear.  and the success of this project only makes me want to just keep on knitting.  

OMG.  what a nerd.  if my march 2020 self could see me now...

saying hello to the animals

our next stop around the walt disney world resort was animal kingdom park.  and we were all pretty delighted when we got outside and found t...