Wednesday, October 29, 2008

8th Annual Pumpkin Carving Spook-tacular!

Every year since I moved to Maryland I have carved pumpkins. When I finally bought a house I hosted a party to allow others to join in the fun. Besides the 4th of July I think Halloween is my favorite holiday. You can carve pumpkins, ask strangers for candy, and dress up in funny outfits. Besides all the kid stuff, I just really think it's cool that we can still trust people enough to go around and trick or treat. How sad that this tradition is fading away as we get more suspicious and fearful. I'm trying to keep the flame alive, and not just in the jack-o-lantern.

This year I decided to try to make pumpkin soup. Yeah, not so good. The recipe I tried asked for apple cider and apples in addition to pumpkins. You could taste more of the apples than the pumpkins. I knew it needed something, but couldn't figure out what it was. Oh well, I just added a dollop of sour cream and garnished with chives. Not horrible, but I think it needs to be modified if I try it again. If Mariko was here I'm sure she could have salvaged my poor attempt at soup.

Of course, soup was not the purpose of the party. We carved pumpkins! I provide the pumpkins every year. I even have the tools and templates for everyone to use. I got these cool plastic / cloth disposable table clothes that I spread out on the floor. Everyone goes at it, then I simply roll up the table cloth and throw it away with all the pumpkins guts tucked neatly inside. Brilliant!

This year was, in my opinion, the best. Everyone brought their "A" game for pumpkin carving. The jack-o-lanterns are simply amazing. Peter made a pumpkin with innards coming out of its nose. Janice spent hours working on her dragon, which I think wins this year's prize for best jack-of-lantern. See for yourself. You can also check out more pictures at Dav's blog:

I have already decided what I'll do for next year in Australia. Let's hope they have pumpkins.

Who I am supporting

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Woot... and snap!

A friend told me about this cool website called woot! Basically each day they offer some cool item for a discounted price until they sell out. They also must employ someone with a wacky sense of humor, because the descriptions of the items are pretty off-the-wall.

They've had enough interesting deals to keep me going back for more. If you happen to have a moment go and check them out. Maybe you'll find something you're willing to spend a few hard-earned bucks on.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm an Aunt again :)

My nephew was born this morning @ 9:05. Weighing in at 5lbs 4oz.
His name is Jonhanthan Steven.
Yep his middle name comes from my DH! Steve's sister asked while she was out here for his birthday if it was alright to use his name.

Can't wait to see the newest addition to the family. I think we're going to Disneyland in Dec. If not Christmas time. So 2 months.

Anyway just wanted to fill you all in.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Iron Chef Night

Let me start out by saying that I'd like to dedicate this post to Mariko. I look forward to reading her blog because she makes eating food seem both like an art and an event. I love how she loves food, and more importantly takes the time to enjoy it. Way to go Mariko.

This last Wednesday my friend Dav called me up to say he was in town. I randomly suggested that we have an Iron Chef night. I've done this a couple of times before, but in my version I find something in my kitchen that has been there for a while with no hopes of being used in the near future. Rather than waste food, the challenge is to find something to do with it. Dav agreed to the experiment and we raided the cabinets for the "secret ingredient."

I decided to modify the challenge a bit to further expedite the goal to consume aging food. We had to take an item from each of my shelves and then find a dish that would use all of the ingredients. This is what we came up with: diced tomatoes and peppers, couscous, chicken from a can, craisins, artichoke hearts, and parmesean cheese (from the fridge).

Now, these are pretty normal ingredients. We're not trying to make something from, say, fish eyes or pig hearts. I have two cookbooks that I got for last Christmas (thanks Grandma and Holly), and we have an internet connection. I set Dav and Peter on the internet to find recipes, and Dave and I grabbed the cookbooks to start our search. I found a recipe for a stew and some stuffing. In the end, Peter won with Onion And Wild Garlic Quiche With Parmesan In A Couscous Crust I was intrigued by the innovative use of couscous.

I sent Peter and Dave out to get a few ingredients we didn't have (i.e. onions, garlic, cilantro) and also some salad to go along with our dish. I made the couscous, and then the crust. Dav mixed together the rest of the ingredients, and BAM! We had a dinner. Dav was quick to point out that some of our ingredients, such as the mustard, were a little bit out of date. Come on, who hasn't used mustard that expired over a year ago. Does anyone check the expiration date on condiments anyway? Serious. Of course he had to post about it on his blog as well.

Here are a few extra pictures of the process:

The couscous crust (I doubled the recipe since there were 6 GUYS eating this:

The final product just prior to putting it in the oven:

The final product after cooking:

Dav commented that we could have done without the craisins. Peter also suggested that we minimize the use of onions, which after eating this was a bad choice. Chicken, couscous, and eggs don't have much flavor... so the onions would have helped it not be so bland. I didn't add nearly enough seasonings to make this work. More salt, more onions, and perhaps a nice sauce would have made this superb. I liked using couscous as a crust though, but be careful not to make it so thick it becomes the main part of the dish. I also thought salad went very well with the quiche.

Here is a side-by-side of our final plating of the Iron Chef attempt with the picture from the recipe. Notice the picture from the recipe shows way more onions and also tomatoes on top. I think more veggies in the quiche would definitely make a nice touch.

Sharks Win in OT

So went to Sharks game tonight. They've had to play 2 back to back games in the last 2 weeks. So I am proud of them for coming back from this one & winning! Hopefully their back to back games are over with.

Hubby was getting upset at how they were playing but I was hopeful. They had a ton of shots on goal. More then the Flyers.
We doubled their shots every period. The Sharks are having trouble scoring on THEIR power play. This needs to turn around too.
Was a very exciting game to watch, there were a lot of confrontations. (fights/scuffles/just plain ol' pushing & shoving) In hockey though its usually called roughing unless its like really good long fight.

So anyway I had bought some peanuts & cashews. They were so super sweet though because they were covered with a sugar coating. I was thinking after eating a wonder america is overweight. We have junk like this everywhere. I don't think there is a healthy food item served in the arena.
I've been struggling lately with WW's. Its been hard for me to get back into the total swing of things coming back from vacation.
I've learned a lot from WW's and I know what to do. I need to stop eating things that are making me crave more fat & sweet!
Anyway its not like I stopped going or anything just been very lax in what I've been eating for the last week.
Tomorrow is a new day and I already told my DH that I am cleaning the cupboards out and the fridge so if there is anything he wants to eat then it better be gone.
Going shopping for all my fruits & veggies...whole wheat couscous and rice.
Need to get back to what I know is good and healthy for me.

Oh the Sharks won 5-4 in OT if you wanted to know

Friday, October 17, 2008


For you Tim :)

I am: by myself
I know: my kids will be up soon
I want: to have a fun day
I Have: lots of stuff to do
I dislike: mud
I miss: my daddy
I feel: contemplative
I hear: the fan
I smell: cold
I crave: cough drops
I cry: at movies
I search: the scriptures
I wonder: when my cough will go away
I regret: getting sick
I love: CW
I care: too much about what others think
I worry: about the future
I remember: almost nothing
I believe: in Jesus
I dance: with the kids
I don't: keep in touch
I argue: when I am tired
I write: often
I win: at gin rummy
I lose: most other games
I wish: for happiness
I listen: to weird music
I can usually be found: at the computer
I am scared: of not being prepared
I need: more time
I forget: to enjoy what I have
I am happy: mostly

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm into quizzies right now...

Your Political Profile:

Overall: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Social Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Monday, October 13, 2008

Life score 7.8!!! Above average :)

This Is My Life, Rated
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

I'm a puppy???

You Are A: Puppy!

puppy dogBeloved by all, puppies are energetic, playful, and loving. Your playful and outgoing nature is part of what makes you a puppy. Known for their loyalty, puppies make great pets for young and old alike. And an innocent puppy face can melt anyone's heart!

You were almost a: Pony or a Lamb
You are least like a: Chipmunk or a TurtleWhat Cute Animal Are You?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

3-0 SHARKS!!!

SO the Hockey Season has started on a big bang of goals! The home opener was a win 4-1, Saturday game was another win for my Sharks 3-1..too bad Steve could have had 4 pizzas this week hehehe.
Then tonight's game was 1-0 in L.A. was a well played game though. 2 "goals" were waved off because of interference & a kick in on the Kings side which made one of them mad enough to break glass.

The series between these two hockey teams is going to get intense as the year goes on. I know its crazy to be so excited we have a LONG season to go. But so far the team is coming along well. We have some puck handling issues and passing that needs to be worked on but over all ok for this point.

Cheecho excited over goal in 1st game!!!

Setoguchi waiting in crease to make plays happen...

Excitement after scoring 1st @ game in LA tonight! Score came from Kaspar. Who Steve and I aren't sure if we like yet. In the first two games he's made some mistakes that made us think "what the heck is he doing on the ice with the big boys?"
But he did a great job tonight. With slapping the puck towards the goal-tender which made it go in. Good for him. 1st NHL goal. Sure he's excited.

Steve and I are so excited to see how things progress this season. Hopefully we'll get further in the playoffs. Its soooo time!

Been over a month....

Hello to all my fans or whatever. Its been way over a month since I put anything on my blog which is "BAD MARLENE" huh?

I know you all want to know what I've been up to. Especially since Steve and I just got back from Jamaica. SO let me post some pics from our trip.
Ok where to start hmmmm. How about the reason I gained 10lbs while I was on vacation:

Yea those are just some of the food items I had to contend with. I still haven't gotten a handle on taking it easy. I so know this struggling with my weight will be an ongoing life thing. I know I didn't have to eat as much as I did. But everything was pretty good. I tried almost everything which is part of my problem. Although I went to the gym 3 mornings and also did a lot of walking + went snorkeling twice it still wasn't enough. Boy if I really would have stuck to being on plan I think I could have lost 5-6 pounds.

Next let me show you all the scenery of where we were included!

This was a room with a private swimming pool in the courtyard between bedroom & the sitting room area. We went on a tour of our resort side and our driver showed us this room in was fabulous! Not sure its worth like $700 a night though.

Next I want to show you some pictures of things we did...

This is me @ Dunne River Falls we actually walked up the falls!!! Its was fun but kind of crazy. Its a huge Ocho Rios attraction. Mother nature at its most beautiful.
This is me horse back riding...on the beach. One reason I was trying to lose weight all year. Wanted to go horse back riding in the ocean. Was exhilarating!!!

Me going down waterslide in one of the pools on our side of the resort.

Steve climbing up the pole to go zip-lining. He really enjoyed this...I however did not participate in that activity my fear of heights kind of got to me.

This was our favorite employee of the week, Jackie. She was the head of activities or something. She snuck us into a private buffet dinner for a convention that was going on there. That was kind of fun. There was a steel drum pretty good food.
This picture was actually of our last night. Norman, Lisa, Steve and I dressed up fancy and went to the nicest restaurant at the resort property in Ocho Rios. See Sandals has this shuttle that will bring you to any of their properties in the same area. SO we could go to Dunne's River Inn. Nice place but a lot smaller then our resort.

Trying to think of what else to show you...oh I loved that they raked the beach every morning & night that I took pictures.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ghetto Popeye's

My roommate told me to blog about this, so here I go. Tonight I picked up Dav from his house so we could hang out. He's not in Baltimore all that often and it's nice to see him when he's here. I decided that we should go play duck pin bowling in Towson. However, the first order of bui-ness was to get dinner. Dav said he had been craving Popeye's spicy chicken all day, so I was happy to oblige. We still had the Transmorphers movie we rented for my birthday shindig anyway and the Blockbuster was right next door.

When we finally pulled up to Popeye's there was note attached to the order kiosk that said the speakers were broken and to drive to the window to place the order. I had sat at the kiosk for about a minute or two before I realized there was a note with instructions for customers. I drove forward having decided on the chicken strips, and Dav opted for a 3 piece meal without the drink. We waited behind a truck for another couple of minutes before a female employee walked past the car to deliver food to another car waiting in the parking lot. She then stopped at our car to take our order.

We gave the nice lady our order, when she quickly interrupted me to inform me that they didn't have chicken strips. I counter-offered with chicken nuggets. Nope, none of those either. She then recited off a list of what else they didn't have. Pretty much no soda, and anything else I had wanted. They had Dav's 3 piece meal. I reluctantly agreed to get chicken with bones.

What kind of crazy chicken place doesn't have boneless chickens? You might think I am getting worked up over something not worth the effort. Nay, this is the 2nd time this has happened! I was at another Popeye's in Woodlawn when they told me they had no chicken! WHAT? I may be a bit simple minded here, but how does a chicken place not have chicken?

We quickly got our nasty bone-filled greasy chickens and headed home to fill our stomachs. I was disappointed to say the least. The buttery biscuits were quite good.

I know times are tough, but come on Popeye's... get some chicken!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Transmorphers: The best bad-movie birthday movie ever

I recently had another birthday. I seem to have them every year around this time. These last few years, though, I've made something of tradition of the annual celebration. I rally up the friends and head over to the nearest Fuddrucker's. In my family, the kid celebrating the birthday got to choose where to have dinner. I remember several times asking for the Fudd, mostly because they have diced onions. I'm not sure why I love diced onions so much, but I do. Enough questions already. Since moving to Maryland I have gone to Fuddrucker's for my birthday at least 5 or 6 times. I'd say the tradition is getting pretty well entrenched.

Several years ago I added another layer to the festivities. After consuming the tasty meat sandwiches we head to the homestead to watch a bad movie. Bad, in the sense that it has to be something you would not normally choose to watch (not porn, or anything you'd have to talk to a priest / bishop about.) Here's a list of what I can remember watching so far:

2002 - Killer Klowns from Outer Space
2003 - Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
2004 - Night of the Lepus
2005 - Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story
2006 - No movie
2007 - No movie
2008 - Transmorphers

So this year, after Fuddrucker's we took the trip over to Blockbuster Video to pick out a movie. On the spot I decided to let the others in the party join in the fun of the movie selection. We made a game of it. Everyone had to choose the one movie they thought was the worst in the store. After 5 - 10 minutes we would meet up again and determine which movie was worthy of the honor.

I selected A Day Without a Mexican, and Fronterz. Since it was my birthday I felt I got to pick two. Peter picked Son of Kong. Tommy picked some kind of biker chick movie. Dave picked one of the Thomas the Train series. All rightful contenders... but when Carlos presented Transmorphers, we knew we had a winner.

I can honestly say this was the worst movie I have ever seen. Had I not had the peanut gallery to make comments in MST 3000 fashion, I would have shriveled away in despair. About 20 minutes into the movie the soundtrack messes up, so the dialog is 5-10 seconds off. Add in a society of lesbian commanders and missing special effects and you get more of an idea what kind of quality movie this is. Some of the special effects (i.e. the radar graphics) were like watching some games I used to play on the Atari 2600. Not only that, but most of the acting was worse than a porno made by high school drama drop-outs. Uhm, I mean what I hear the acting in a porno would be like. I'm telling you, this was bad.

Of course, I had to own it. Today I was at the mall taking back some pants that were too tight, and getting some film developed. (What is this the 1980's?) I wandered over to the FYE to see if there was anything worth buying. Having seen Ironman twice, I knew I was going to buy it. Luckily, the movie was marked down to $19.99, and came with a $7 rebate. Not bad. I then thought, "If I'm going to get one movie I might as well buy Transmorphers." I looked around the store to see if they had it, and wouldn't you know it, they did. Tucked away behind the orphaned stacks of Transformers were two copies of this abysmal cinematic event. One was new, for $12.99, and one was used for $5.99. I obviously opted for the used version. I'm almost positive it wasn't viewed more than once.

What I didn't know, until I got to the check out counter, is that if anyone bought a sci-fi movie with Ironman they also got $5 off that movie. YES! You read that right. I got Transmorphers for $0.99. If you count in the rebate I'm getting, they actually paid me $6 to take the movie from them. How cool is that? I'll post a picture of the receipt as soon as I can get one on here.

When I was checking out the guy told me he had watched it as well. He said, "You know it's going to be bad when it is written, directed, and edited by the same person."

So if you can spare 85 minutes of your life to throw away on a good laugh, go check out Transmorphers... but please, watch it with your wittiest friends. After you do, make sure to join the Facebook group called "The Few, The Proud, Those who have survived Transmorphers"