The Nutcracker

I’ve been busy.  I know, we all have.  Just a busy time of year.

Did you know I dance a bit?  Mostly to stay in shape.  Adult ballet.  It’s my thing.

The studio I attend, also puts on a community theater production of the Nutcracker.  And they needed adults.  So I volunteered.  Technically, I’m on stage for about half an hour.  But I mostly stand around and smile.  Nevertheless, it was actually a very fun way to spend the holidays and gets you in the mood for Christmas.

As a child – and even when I was older – I would attend the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s version of the Nutcracker.  If you are in the Seattle area, I highly recommend you take some time and go see it.  It’s still one of my faves.  The sets are amazing and the dancers are brilliant.

Way to go, Valley Dance Theatre!  It was a fun run!

My costume.  Not exactly my favorite.  But it serves the purpose.  Did I mention my son was taller than me?  And that’s my cute friend, Dawnell.  She’s very pregnant.

My friends and husband came to see me perform.  And yes, they are all tall.

Then they told me to do a ballet move.

Shoesniper.com

Did you know that Nick has a shoe website?

Shoesniper.com

He just posted an infographic on the Shoesniper blog and I thought I’d share it.

I’m a sucker for an infographic and an even bigger sucker for anything shoes related (and I like to support Nick from time to time).

Nick says I’m not an average shoe owner.  He is probably correct.  How many do you own?

If you have guilt about your shoe buying habit and or want to give back, Shoesniper (aka, the husband) recommends:

Soles for Souls

You could also buy a pair of Toms – 1 pair of glittery shoes for you and 1 for someone less fortunate (win win?).

California Academy of Sciences

Science is fun!

Nick and I visited the California Academy of Science in SF last Friday. We do this kind of thing often – you know, learn about science.

First stop, the albino gator.  About 3 dozen 2nd graders were eager to point out the albino to anyone new to the exhibit.

Then it was off the to rainforest.  Three stories of various flora, fauna, buggies, birds and butterflies.

The butterflies were not as photogenic as the brussel sprouts.

But I eventually got an ok one.

From the rainforest, you can look down into the aquarium.  Which was our next stop.

Did you notice the stroller and babies?  Yeah, there was totally a tunnel underneath part of the aquarium.

There were the obligatory jellyfish against the blue background and some crazy eels and whatnot.
They have a pendulum.

And a green roof.

And also a planetarium – which is basically an IMAX screen that curves up and onto the ceiling.  The movie was only medium-good, but the idea was cool.

 

Brussel Sprouts

 

They get a bad rap.  But I find them quite photogenic!

1 bag of brussel sprouts from trader joes + a few tablespoons of olive oil + kosher salt + fresh ground pepper

Roast them on a jelly roll pan, or anything with a sidewalls.  390 degrees for around 40 minutes.  Shake the pan periodically to get them evenly roasted.  Not too shabby….if you like brussel sprouts.  If you don’t like them, look for a recip that involves bacon.  Bacon usually makes anything taste better.  Happy Monday!

 

Camera?

Ok, so looking for thoughts/advice.

I’ve got a really good point and shoot camera right now.  It lets me shoot in manual and all that fun stuff.  I love it, but am now progressing to the point where I need/want better lenses for certain shots.  I’ll still keep the point and shoot because it’s so stinkin’ compact BUT I’m thinking of making the DSLR leap.

I’ve talked to lots of people about their preferences, but because I need ALL the information before I can make a decision, I thought I’d put it out there and see what people think.

Here is where I’m at:

Nikon D3100

Nikon D90

Nikon D7000

Nikon D5100

Canon T3i

I’m sort of leaning towards the Nikons, but the T3i sounds pretty good.  Sort of overwhelmed by all the Nikon possibilities.  But have heard better things about the Nikon lenses.

Help?

Treadmill workout

Oh man, is it December already?  When did that happen?

I got a workout last night.  Not running on the treadmill.  Carrying it into the house and up the stairs.

Nick decided he wants a treadmill desk.  He found a nice lady in Livermore willing to sell him her old one for fractions of the original cost.  It also weighs about 200 lbs and is horribly awkward, kinda like that kid in high school everyone made fun of (not nice, you should be ashamed of yourself).

The directions indicate that you should not try and move it unless you can carry at least 45 lbs.  That math doesn’t add up.

It was by far the most awkward thing we’ve moved upstairs – and that includes a futon mattress aka a heavy wet noodle.

Good thing I have strong legs.  But we were sweating up a storm just to get it up the stairs.  EIther way, it was a good workout and now I get to put my engineering skills to use and build some sort of desk to interface with the treadmill.  I’m looking forward to it :-)

Veggie Salad

We just finished off our Thanksgiving leftovers.  Mostly mashed potatoes and stuffing leftover.  You know, the healthy stuff.

I saw a recipe for a detox salad here and originally posted here.  Apparently it’s a Whole Foods salad.  I was in desperate need of a food detox, so I whipped some up last night for dinner (along with some turkey soup).

Verdict?  Not bad.  I’d probably prefer a caesar or cobb, but for a salad composed of raw cauliflower, broccoli and carrots, it was pretty good.  Did I mention we didn’t douse it in ranch either?  Nick kept telling me what awesome superfoods (broccoli and cauliflower) we were eating (nerd alert).

 

Want to make it yourself?  Here’s the recipe, adapted from the 2 snazzy girls above.

1 Head of Cauliflower
1 Head of Broccoli
2 large handfulls of baby carrots (my hands, not nick’s)
1 large orange, diced into bite size pieces
1 bunch of italian or flat leaf parsley – we got the TJs pack and it was a good amount
3/4 cups golden raisins (I hate the regular raisins, but I can tolerate the golden)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup syrup (I used safeway brand….nothing fancy and it was fine)
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds (we toasted them ourselves)

1.  Put the cauliflower, broccoli and carrots in the food processor and pulse a few times.  I did the broccoli and carrots together and then the cauliflower because it wouldn’t all fit at once.

2.  Cut orange into bite size pieces and finely chop the parsley.  Add this, plus the raisins and seeds to the mix.

3.  Mix the lemon juice and maple syrup and add to the salad.

4.  You can salt and pepper it if you want, but we didn’t.

I’m not a huge fan of raw broccoli and cauliflower, but thought it tasted pretty good like this.

Mochi’s new bling

I won!

I subscribe to a lot of blogs and one of them, Que Sera Sera,  held a contest last week.  The winner received a festive, holiday dog collar from Seamingly Sweet.  And you better believe I was the lucky girl, and Mochi was the lucky dog!

We received it in the mail, but I couldn’t put it on Mochi quite yet.  He was sporting his Washington Huskies collar and the Apple Cup was coming up.

It proved to be good luck and the Huskies were victorious!

After the win, I felt confident that we could swap out the UW collar for his new holiday collar.

Black with snowmen.  The black says manly, the snowmen say festive!

He liked it.

During the game (while Mochi was sporting his UW collar), we needed to child-proof a cabinet.  Turns out that a dog collar will do the trick!  Multi-functional.  My kind of collar!

Thanks again, Nikki!

 

Thanksgiving Recap

I gained a solid 5lbs.  You?

We don’t go home for Thanksgiving.  Too much traveling in a short period of time and it’s always all sorts of hectic.  Instead, we stay in {sunny & warm} California and spend it with our other friends who also don’t go home to {freezing & snowy} Michigan.

We started this tradition 5 years ago.  Nobody was willing to give up their favorite Thanksgiving dish, so we make them all.  More than enough food to feed 12 people.  We serve 5.

I make the turkey.  This year it was two 10 pound birds.  Why?  Well, I do this thing called “spatchcocking” – yes, it sounds dirty – but it makes the bird cook in record time and tends to make it more delicious.  When you spatchcock a bird, you have to cut out its backbone.  Cutting out the backbone of an 18 lb. bird is horribly difficult.  Instead, I decided that cutting out the backbone of two 10 lb. birds would be easier.  And it was.  WAAAAYYYYY easier.

Oh, you were wondering why we had two 10 lb birds in stead of just 1?  Silly reader.  We love leftovers.

Here’s the first turkey getting washed.

Mochi wants nothing to do with an uncooked turkey.

We brined the turkey overnight.  And in the morning it was spatchcocking time!  Here’s Nick.  Cutting out the Turkey’s backbone.

And here are the 2 finished turkeys.  I had to play turkey tetris so they would fit on this platter.  Good times.  And me making some gravy.

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We packed up all the food and headed to Caresse and Tyler’s.  We took a group shot with the original 4.  Then we thought we should throw up 5′s to commemorate the 5th year.  Then we thought it would look like 20, so we each held up 1 finger and Nick held up 2.  But then it looked like 3 #1s and a peace sign.  Sigh.  Then Nick said I should have thrown up the “peace” sign.  We’re models of political correctness.

And then the obligatory dinner table + group shot.

Don’t be fooled.  There is a large table behind us with the majority of the food.

Happy Thanksgiving!