February 19th, 2014
I’m a sucker for a good teen TV drama. Well, that is, a teen drama that doesn’t involve obscenely rich Manhattanite royalty-wannabes or were-vamp-warlock love triangles. So when I saw previews for the CW’s newest soapy offering for the under 18 set, I figured I’d check it out. I’m kind of glad I did because Star-Crossed, the love child of Roswell and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (with a good hunk of District 9 thrown into the mix) looks to have all of the tropes I love most in a TV program.
September, 2014, brings about the day that an alien ship crashes to Earth, filled with Atrians looking for refuge after their home planet becomes uninhabitable. They had hoped to find at least a lukewarm welcome from us humans rather than the open hostility shown them in the form of armed soldiers and violent shoot-outs. Six-year-old Emery finds a terrified Atrian boy hiding in her family’s backyard shed and offers him kindness in the form of a blanket and a bowl of cold spaghetti. But alien-sniffing dogs suss out the poor lad who suffers a blaster shot when he throws his tiny body in front of Emery in a heroic attempt to save her.
Cut forward ten years and Emery has grown into the beautiful Aimee Teegarden (hello, Julie Taylor!). Read the rest of this entry »
February 13th, 2014
I live in the normally warm state of North Carolina but yesterday a severe storm blew in and shut the Tar Heel state down. (It took my son four hours to get home from work.)
Every school around sent out “no school tomorrow” videos, but this one, the one from my kids’ school is hands down the best. It’s so good, it’s gone viral. It’s been retweeted by Vanilla Ice (to whom it pays homage), Buzzfeed, CNN, Gawker, and the hits on YouTube are rising every minute.
It’s written and performed by our head of school and head of the Upper School.
Check it out! I promise it will crack you up.
February 9th, 2014
With this week’s episode, The Locomotive Manipulation, The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler officially became one of my favorite couples ever.
I’ve been a fan of The Big Bang Theory from episode one, appreciating the quirky characters and silly humor supplied by producer Chuck Lorre, the amazing writing staff, and the hugely talented cast of actors. But it was the introduction of Mayim Bialik’s Amy Farrah Fowler as a romantic foil for the seemingly asexual Sheldon Cooper (played by the exquisite Jim Parsons) that really kicked the show up a notch, if you ask my opinion. The evolving relationship between these two characters has proven an absolute delight, and I would say it is one of the best examples ever of the will-they-or-won’t-they tease ever depicted on a TV program. Read the rest of this entry »
December 28th, 2013
I’ve so loved reading all of the Winter Warmer recipes shared by everyone at AAR. I plan to try out a number of them over the next few months (first up, Melanie’s potato soup). But I find I’m now in the need of a very different type of winter warmer.
A little over a week ago my apartment complex came through and installed a lot of energy saving devices in all of the apartments. As someone who tries to be energy efficient, I was very enthusiastic. I came home one evening to discover a new “low flow” shower head, new pipes (wrapped with some kind of insulated stuff) under the cabinets, energy-efficient light bulbs, and a programmable thermostat. Having only dealt with an old dial thermostat before, this programmable thermostat was a revelation. It came pre-programmed for optimal energy savings, set for cooler when people are assumed to be at work or sleeping.
Read the rest of this entry »
December 12th, 2013
I have a love affair with potatoes. And cheese. And anything that I can put in a crock pot and not have to deal with all day. This recipe is one I found a while back and have made multiple times over the years – it usually gets fixed at least once each winter. Actually, I might have to make it this weekend…
You will need:
- about 4 lbs of potatoes (I prefer golden potatoes, but russets also work well)
- 1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 to 1.5 cups)
- 5 ¼ cups chicken broth (42 oz)
- about 1 tbsp garlic
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 ½ tsp salt
- 1 ¼ tsp ground pepper
- 1 cup whipping cream or half and half
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh chives
- 8 oz (1 container) of sour cream (optional)
- about ¼ cup cooked and crumbled bacon or bacon bits (optional)
- Extra shredded cheddar cheese (optional) Read the rest of this entry »
December 10th, 2013
On Christmas Eve of 1818 the young priest of St. Nicholas parish church in Obendorf faced disaster. The organ had been incapacitated by mice. The chance of fixing the instrument before the evening service was nil. Father Joseph Mohr was not a man to just give up however. He pulled out a poem he had written several years before called “Stille Nacht”. Mohr took his poem to the schoolmaster and organist of a nearby town, Franz Xaver Gruber. He asked that Gruber write a melody to accompany the poem on guitar. In several hours, Gruber had the music done and the carol was played for the first time that night at the Christmas Eve service.
The song was not translated into English for another 50 years. Episcopalian bishop John Freeman Young published the English translation that is most frequently sung today in 1859. The writing of the song is unique enough but one other interesting factoid makes this carol special. In 1914, during the Christmas truce, the song was sung in French, English and German simultaneously. It was apparently the one song that all the soldiers on both sides knew.
What are your favorite Christmas Carols? Do you know the story behind them?
- Maggie AAR
December 7th, 2013
Sometimes I become obsessed with the strangest things, and at the moment it’s infinity scarves. Do I own any? No, not a single one. But I’m considering. In fact, I’ve been looking at so many online that wherever I go on the web my “pop-up” ads all now feature infinity scarves in a variety of colors and fabrics.
Read the rest of this entry »
December 6th, 2013
A month ago my youngest children, seniors in high school, came home raving about a school assembly they’d attended. “Mom, this guy was amazing,” my daughter said. “Cool,” I replied and then the talk moved on to our family’s upcoming Thanksgiving.
I should have paid more attention.
This past Monday, at their school, something extraordinary happened; the sort of thing that makes you believe in the wonder of “living, loving, and trying” even as you accept the implacability of loss.
Here’s the story. It’s worth reading. Be prepared to cry.
December 5th, 2013
My dear mother-in-law, now 83 years old, is simply the best cook I have ever known. Cooking wonderful food for others remains one of her greatest joys in life and she continues to cook or bake for hours upon hours each week. Although she can compete with the chefs that rule today’s Food Channel, her upbringing in the hills of southeastern Oklahoma means she’s an expert with old Southern favorites as well. Our family has enjoyed many a cold winter day savoring her Chicken and Dumplings. This recipe is from her cookbook she penned for family and friends more than twenty-five years ago.
Chicken and Dumplings
Boil one fat chicken or use chicken pieces. Cover with water. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until tender. Remove chicken from broth and take out 2/3 cup of broth for the dumplings. Read the rest of this entry »
November 28th, 2013
With the holidays upon us, in addition to turkeys on every table many of us will be cooking large hams to feed our loved ones. After you have eaten as many ham sandwiches from the leftovers as humanly possible, please do not throw out that bone!! The ham bone makes an excellent soup (especially if you leave some meat on the bone).
Ham Bone Soup
- 1 ham bone with meat still clinging to bone (you can also include some leftover ham slices)
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3-4 stalks of celery chopped
- 4 large carrots diced
- 2-3 potatoes cubed
- 1 can of tomatoes diced (fresh tomatoes can be used as well)
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- 2 TBSP of ketchup
- 1-2 bay leaves
- ½ to 1 tsp of garlic salt
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in large double boiler or in your crock pot. Add enough water to cover the bone. Cook until vegetables are soft. Serve with cornbread.
- Mary AAR