Thursday, May 16, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} May 16

round button chicken


Spring comes fairly late in our neck of Utah.  We are just now getting blooming tulips.

We planted these last fall and they are doing pretty well, don't ya think?


Baseball season is once again in full swing.  Wingnut Jr. is in little league heaven.  This year he was old enough to join the machine pitch team.


The quality of this photo isn't the best as I zoomed and cropped so you can see how much he loves to make new friends, even with the other team.  Sometimes it goes over well, other times it doesn't.  This opponent seems pretty interested in what Wingnut Jr. has to say.  


I have lens envy.  I wish I had a macro lens.  My birthday is coming up. Hint, hint, Wingnut :)

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Great Gatsby

I have never been a huge fan of Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby.  It is a tale filled with unsympathetic and self-absorbed characters that I could never connect to.  I have always been a fan of director Baz Lurhman, from his frolicking Strictly Ballroom to his nearly universally panned epic Australia, I enjoy his unique perspective and vision in film.

I wasn't sure how I'd feel about Lurhman's interpretation of The Great Gatsby, but happily I ended up truly enjoying it, despite the completely egomaniacal characters of Fitzgerald's novel. It's a lavish period piece that felt modern and allowed the viewer to feel engulfed in the period while still realizing the same themes exist within our current culture.

Well cast and fairly well acted, with DiCaprio being in my opinion the single weak link (he attempted a very strange and affected accent inconsistently throughout the picture).  The real treat in this film is Lurhman's vision of the decadent Jazz Age; from the gorgeous costuming to the sweeping and lavish sets to the over-the-top partying and then scored with popping contemporary hip-hop, rap, pop and jazz (believe it or not, it really works!)

Even if we might have been forced to read the novel in high school, I still don't like to discuss plot in my reviews.  As far as I could recall, the film stays fairly close to the book.  There are the familiar images of the eyeglass billboard, and the green light at the end of the Buchanan's dock that both figure prominently in the movie.  Themes of dishonesty, infidelity, decadence, self-absorption, and cynicism are explored throughout the film.  Gatsby is definitely not a feel good novel, nor is it a feel good movie, even with Lurhman at the helm.  There is no redemption, except possibly for Nick's character in the movie who finds relief from his exhaustion and depression through his telling of the tale.

Because of intense scenes depicting the prevalent immorality of the day, I would recommend this film for adults only.  The USCCB rating for The Great Gatsby is an AIII (adults only).

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Post Surgery, Old Vehicles, New Vehicles, and Homecomings

Oleander had arthoscopic knee surgery just over a week ago.  Everything went well, except they forgot to tell the poor girl about post operative pain.  It was pretty intense and took her by complete surprise.  She spent the first couple days dazed and upset by the pain, that was not eased by the heavy duty pain meds she was sent home with.  On the third day it seemed she had a breakthrough and she is quickly recovering, although still in some significant pain.  Her follow up visit with her surgeon reassured her and us that the continued pain is completely normal and that she will continue to have pain for the duration of recovery but that it will gradually decrease until she is completely healed.

We've had some major issues with the 12 passenger in the last 6 months.  We've replaced the alternator, the battery, and the brakes.  It's been struggling to start for over a year, but as long as it continued to start on the second try, we haven't been too concerned.  Last week I took it in to have the air conditioning serviced for the summer.  It has a leaking line that will cost $575 to splice and fix or $1300 to replace and they couldn't promise that the $575 fix would actually fix the problem.  Ugh.

We were planning to replace the van later this summer.  That time frame was moved up.  On a whim, we posted our 12 passenger van for sale on Craig's list and a local want ad online.  Within two hours we had an interested party who came out and test drove the van and bought it on the spot.  The quick sale of the van necessitated the immediate purchase of our new vehicle.  We have downsized to an 8 passenger Honda Pilot.  Happy Mother's Day!  It is the nicest car I've ever owned and boy does it have all the bells and whistles, including the much needed 4 wheel drive.  I have to go to the dealership and take a class on how to operate all the special functions.  I'm a bit freaked out by having something so nice.  It's one thing for Wingnut, who's never had so much as a fender bender in any of his vehicles, it's a whole different story for me--the dent and scratch queen. Knowing this, Wingnut made sure our extras package had a back-up camera.

In the midst of all the vehicle exchange, Karate Kid returned home from college.  We are so excited to have her home and as an added bonus, Karate Kid has decided to transfer to a college much closer to home this coming school year.  It is going to be awesome having her so close to home and she's going to love being able to come home and ski every weekend. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, May 9, 2013

{P, H, F, R} Spring has Finally Sprung!

round button chicken


I can never get enough of this view from my deck.  You can really capture some dramatic cloud and mountain images here.

Spring has finally sprung here.  This is the first little daffodil.


Special K had her 11th birthday last week and one of her gifts was a rockin' pair of roller blades.


You'd never guess from this particular photo that Special K has a bit of a goofy side to her.

You can definitely see it shine through in this shot, 

and this shot, too!


Last week I posted the before weeding photo of this same flower bed.  This is how much of the weeding I got done last week and I was well on my way to finishing this bed until . . . 

. . . the vegetable beds began demanding attention.

They are overrun with weeds that cannot be tilled under for a very important reason . . .

. . . these tender, lovely, asparagus are what need some loving attention and care and very careful weeding by hand.  I won't even trust the children with this project.  They are not big fans of asparagus and I worry they might engage in asparagus sabotage.

When the vegetable bed is weed free and I've finished my original flower bed, this will be the next weeding project tackled.  There isn't a flower or bush planted in this bed,  just weeds on top of weeds on top of weeds. I'm not even sure what we will plant here when we are finished, but I am determined there will be a flower bed here come next spring!

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Goin' on a Bear Hunt

Lil' Lamb loves to play bear hunt.  I'm happy to oblige because it usually means I get to sit comfortably on the couch and pretend to shoot him as he rushes at me.  It really is a very cute little game, if not a tad violent for a two year old.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My One Last Remaining Piece of Sanity

And like that, poof!  It is gone.  Lil' Lamb has been our only two year old that continued taking a nap after turning two.  That nap is quickly disappearing along with my sanity.  After a period of readjustment, we'll be back to some kind of normal and the once desperately needed nap time will no longer be that desperately needed.  Our schedule will open up to more possibilities because we will no longer be saddled to a nap schedule that really isn't all that convenient .  I just need to survive this transition and then I'll once again appreciate the freedom to do whatever at whatever time of day we like.  Added bonuses to the lost nap will be an earlier bedtime at night and the end of daytime nursing.  So I guess it isn't all bleakness and misery. All good things come to an end. Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sauteed Mushroom Soup

Earthy, wholesome, and delicious!

Sauteed Mushroom Soup

2 TBSP butter
1 large shallot; minced
2 cloves garlic; minced
16 oz fresh mushrooms; roughly chopped (I used baby Bella's, but button would work as well and if you can find wild mushrooms, even better!)
2 TBSP fresh dill; minced or 2 tsp dried dill
Salt and pepper to taste
3 TBSP butter or olive oil
2 TBSP flour
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup milk (I used goat milk)
3 TBSP good light sherry (optional)

In a medium skillet melt butter and add shallots, sauté until translucent and beginning to caramelize.  Add garlic and mushrooms, sauté about 5 minutes.  Add dill and salt and pepper and cook for one more minute.  Set aside.

In a stock pot melt butter and add flour.  Whisk and sauté until a deep golden brown.  While continuously whisking, add broth and milk. Add mushrooms and accumulated juices and sherry.  Cover and simmer 15 -20 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Garnish with chopped dill, and sour cream if desired. Serves 4 at approximately 210 calories per serving.

**Warning** This recipe claims to feed four, but I finished the entire pot off by myself in two days (Sorry Wingnut). Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, May 3, 2013

What Was in the Box

Several weeks ago I had a favorites giveaway here on the blog.  It took a few weeks to get in touch with my winners and then a few more days to mail out their package.  In case you were wondering, here are the favorites I packed away in that box and shipped off to winners Annie and Paul.

I discovered Elizabeth Gaskell several years ago after having read every Jane Austen work I could lay my hands on.  Ruth is by far my favorite novel of Mrs. Gaskell; a beautiful story of motherly love, christian charity, forgiveness and redemption.

It's a good thing these confections are only available during Lent and for a few days after Easter.  My figure would never forgive me if I had these around too often.

I've always loved cooking, but my passion really sky-rocketed when a dear friend introduced me to the Cook's Illustrated family almost 18 years ago.  Their recipes are tried and true and steeped in good food science.

I love, love, love these soaps and lotions!  I have to hide the lotion from my girls because they love them too.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

{P, H, F, R} Am I Back?

round button chicken

It has been a very long time since I last posted to {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}.  I need to get out my camera more often and get snapping!

New shoes :)

A good book and a lovely sunny day

My boys overturned chairs and now use them as "tanks".

Spring hasn't quite sprung, and yet I am already losing the battle against the weeds :(

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Say a Little Prayer . . .

. . . today for my Oleander.  She is having Arthoscopic knee surgery this morning.  She has really been in quite a bit of pain for several months and after physical therapy, rest, and a cortisone shot had no effect, the next logical step for her orthopedic surgeon was surgery to scrape scar tissue that had formed from the side of her knee cap.  Wingnut flew to the East Coast yesterday to be with our girl.  I wish I could have gone :( Print Friendly and PDF