Homemade Microwave Popcorn (In A Brown Bag)

I was going to follow-up with my hair saga. But I got distracted by a craving for popcorn.

It started at work. I was tempted by the stale bags of emergency popcorn in my drawer, but I was able to stave it. Then it came back again with a vengeance, this time for movie theatre popcorn. I fantasised a bit, figuring that technically, I could  run in the closest movie theatre around and get a tub of unbuttered popcorn to bring home.  I have done it before. I mean, why pay for movie tickets when all you really want is the popcorn? Let’s be real here.

Reality set in somewhere and I forgot about the craving… until I got home. Sometimes the best choice doesn’t happen, and at that point you have to go to the alternate better choice.


Overwhelming craving for movie theatre popcorn. Best choice: ignore craving, munch a veggie, or make air-popped corn and eat that. The BEST choice didn’t sit so well with me. I was either going to sink or come to a middle ground. I chose the middle ground: homemade popcorn with butter and salt. It wasn’t the BEST, but it wasn’t the WORST. I met things half-way.

Which leads me to the whole reason for this post, which is to share the semi-newfound love of microwaved popcorn in a brown bag. As I snapped my pictures, I couldn’t for the life of me remember where this idea came from, but I certainly didn’t pull it out of my own imagination. On a whim I checked my history and found it: squawkfox. I think that’s it. There might be other sources, but that’s what popped up for me. Get it? Popped up?

At any rate, I generally make popcorn on the stove in my iron pot with some oil. But, that’s not something I want really the kids to do by themselves right now. They are more likely to reach for a bag of microwavable corn than to grab my iron pot, oil, hot pad  anyway. I rarely eat the microwaved kind, though, so when I buy it, it is only for the kid’s sake. With two kids that LOVE popcorn (with hot sauce). I was happy to find the brown bag method. This is cheaper, and renders just as good results. I would say better because you can make it and add what you like.

All you need is 1/3 cup of popcorn, a brown bag (lunchbag) and a microwave.

Look mom! I took pictures this time!

1/3 cup of popcorn goes in bag:

Does that make you feel claustrophobic? It does me.

Bag goes in microwave. You can put it upright or sideways with the top folded a couple times. I like it upright (yeah, my microwave could use a cleaning I see):

I have a “popcorn” setting on my microwave (picture of that didn’t turn out so well). I set it to the 3.5 setting and it was perfect when setting the bag upright, and don’t fold it over. If I lay the bag on its side folded over on the top I have to set it to a shorter setting and push +30 to add more time. Every microwave probably has its happy spot for popped corn, and you’ll have to find yours.

Out comes this:


Do you use popcorn salt?

Generally I don’t. I just take my salt grinder and grind some salt into my mortar and pestle, then go at it a bit to make a finer salt. Buying it in a little shaker is convenient. To each their own.

Butter. Yum, yum and yum.

I really, really love popcorn.

No human being should have this many pictures of their popcorn.

But that’s how much I love thee.

Going Curly Again (Haircut)

I really don’t like to go to the salon. I did, sort of. A long (long) time ago. Generally, though, it’s just a measure of pain.

In the past 10 years I’ve gone from my natural curls to relaxed, and now back to my natural curls. I like both. Having curls is cheaper, though, and easier to manage. I can still, if I want to, flat-iron my hair. As it is when I go to get my hair relaxed it doesn’t attain the amount of “relaxation” that I would like. It is stubborn. Very difficult to get the curl out of. I usually go home with chemical burns up and down my scalp, and sometimes my ears, and a gaping hole in my bank account.

Which leads me to wonder why I buy into the process.

My last relaxer was sometime last year, I think. Maybe longer. My new curly growth is at a place where I feel like I can do a (semi) “big chop” (cutting off all chemically treated hair, leaving the natural, new growth) without having a mini-fro. I’ve taken some off on my own here at home, but I’m starting to feel like I’m wearing the Emperor’s New Clothes on my head and I’m the only one who thinks I look sort of OK. It was time. I was sensitive, though, to the fact that all of my boys twist their face in fear when I’ve threatened to cut my hair really short.

I went to my posts from a few years back to see if I could scrounge up a picture to bring with me to this new salon and found my post, Why I Hate to Get My Hair Cut. That was my first adult curly cut with a “Master Designer” at an expensive salon. This sums it up:

The Master looked like any other stylist. I don’t know if I expected her shears and supplies to be holstered to her belt with a spotlight for a backdrop, or what. But the moment she took my hair in her hands I knew. She ain’t never touched hair like mine before.

Part II shows a picture of the massacre that took place that day. It doesn’t help my salon aversion. Finally, there is the pro bono cut I received and was happy with. Based on my satisfaction with that cut, I continued to see the stylist that fixed my hair for the past 5 years, getting my hair relaxed and cut. But still, I’m not a salon person. The less time (and money) I have to spend there, the better. I have no standing appointment and I generally don’t really look forward to going there. I think it boils down to not feeling like anyone really understands and/or is capable of doing my hair. Once in a blue moon I leave and am happy. The rest of the times I hold my tears back, waiting to get out, go home, and wash my hair.

Sadly, my final appointment with that stylist ended on a bad note. I’ll try to keep it simple. I had an appointment. They called to move it to a different time slot. I said that was fine, as long as there was enough time to do my hair (this is based on past appointments and seeming to “run out of time” quite often). They assured me there was, and I should have known they were mistaken. I went in to get my hair cut and it was entirely rushed. I felt like I was at a cheap-o salon where they treat you like meat. After my trim, my hair was nice and man-handled. Anyone who is curly know you really can’t style half dry, disheveled hair into anything pleasing to look at. So there I sat, waiting for her to re-wet me or blow it out and she asked if I wanted it in a braid before I left. “Uh, no, I want it blowed out.” Duh. I’m paying you up the wazoo to cut and style, so… yeah. Style it. She looked to the waiting room and said, “Honey, my next client is here, I don’t have time for that.”

I left with my hair looking like a child was playing Pretend Salon Day all up in it. It was another instance where I thought I was either going to cry myself, or make someone else cry from my wrath. Neither was appealing. Halfway home I called and complained (cried) to the receptionist, too embarrassed and dumbstruck to have made my feelings known on the spot. Leaving the salon looking gawjuss is a confidence-booster, leaving worse than when you walked in has the opposite effect. Thankfully the receptionist totally understood and said she could understand my misery. In the end, they sent me a gift card for half of the service price, called and left and apologetic email, and told me they hoped I’d return.

I will not return, thankyouverymuch.  I felt decent about my relationship with my stylist, but do not feel valued as a customer. I won’t be back.

Hence my search for a new place to chop my locks. I found a Salon Finder through a site I frequent. The place I chose had good reviews. They got me an appointment within 24 hours.

Wish me well.




Bet’cha Didn’t Know

Hello. I’m revisiting something (I think) I’ve touched on before.

Here are a few of weird things (or maybe not) about me:

1.) I put double exclamation points on everything!! (See?) Ever since I’ve been pregnant with the twins, I’ve done it. Religiously, OCD-ishly, like a freak. Up until I landed my desk job and had to create publications where double exclamation points would be weird(er). Then, I’d write my double points by “cutting” one and “pasteing” it on top of the other one. Yeah. It’s like that! (Cut/Paste) My twins are 13. Run and tell that.

2.) I haven’t typed a swear word in years. Years. Maybe almost a decade? I don’t know for sure, but probably. Yes, probably. Maybe as long as the double exclamation points have been going on. Believe me, I’ve been tempted, tingling fingers. Especially in the last couple years. Frank stopped swearing for a while and it pushed me to try and curb my own words a bit. Typing was a test, my mouth is a whole new beast. I swear like a sailor. I’m not proud or ashamed, but there it is. Occasionally my kids correct me, but more often than not they… well, they have the same affliction.

3.) Bees tend to get caught in my hair. Maybe it is the curls.


OK, on that note, I lead to the photo of the hot dog, which has got to be one of my favorites. Iron skillet, cute doggie… perfection.

The REAL First Day of School

OK, so today was the real deal, at least for us. Like I said, Dante had school yesterday, but he’s in college and staying in a dorm. This is different. The house has been buzzing since about 7pm last night while we were watching a Brewer’s game and a quite impressive storm rolled in. Lightening was abundant, flashing through the sky relentlessly, barely giving it time to go black before lighting it up again. This brought us to a closer huddle where we continued to watch the game, watch the sky, text Dante and, for a minute, feel like we were all together still.

The boys went to bed around 9:30pm, all of them, which was uncommon. But, having the next day be an “event day” helped. Naturally, Lootie started digging for his backpack, and other things that should have been done long (longlong) ago. Franny did a find job pointing that out to him. I didn’t have to say anything. OK I said a little, but not much. “See, that’s why I started planning my clothes and packing supplies loooooooong ago.”

To bed they went, tucked in and cozy, surrounded by muffled thunder. Once, thunder shook the house with a booming cry, and Carlito called out to ask if I had heard it. Yeah, yeah, I did.

This morning I set my alarm a little earlier just to get up and be of support to my new sophomore and 8th graders. They’re pretty self-sufficient in the morning, which is really nice. They had packed a lunch last night, set out their clothes and were putting on the last-minute touches when I made my appearance. Lootie was still in bed, since he takes a later bus.

I didn’t know if the twins would really want a picture, but they happily obliged. Both were a bit overdressed with the sweaters today (high of 82), but the first day of school feels like it should be a cool autumn day, I guess.

(L-R: Sal, Franny)


These are Franny’s shoes. I like them a lot. Not just because they are a sharp shade of red. But because I found them, on sale, while picking up some shoes for Dante. What I love is that they were half the price I was hoping to spend on shoes, just happened to be the right size, and Franny loves them. It just doesn’t work out that way very often.

Lootie didn’t have the air of excitement that the twins had, but what can I expect? Last night he told me he felt like he was already in college. I don’t know what that means, really. Maybe it is because, while Dante is not here, he is the oldest boy, instead of the middle child stuffed between the one and only girl, and older brother, and a set of twins. Who knows. As long as it doesn’t mean he wants to drop out of high school, I’ll just go with the flow.

As he left I grabbed my camera. “First day of school picture?” I asked him. He made that groaning noise that commonly comes from a teenagers throat, but he turned long enough to roll his eyes and give me the opportunity to snap ONE picture.

I can’t help it, I always feel a bit sad. Lonely. I relish the house to myself (as I think we all do in our family since it is small and there’s so many people in it) for short periods of time, but I also take great comfort in a busy, stuffed full home, loud with my freaks, rooms alive with energy.

It’s strange having Dante off in another town, doing his thing, and not being a daily part of the circle. It feels not normal. I’m accustomed to Sophia being gone because she’s been gone for years. Even as a teenager when she was here, she wasn’t really here. She was always trying to get away. As a mom, I wonder when it starts to feel normal not putting a kid on a yellow bus to elementary school. Ever? Those days are so crisp in my head, while others are blurry.

I had grand plans for today, but am fairly certain 90 percent of that will not come to fruition. At best I’d like to freeze the black beans I have simmering in the pot since last night, take a shower, make a couple calls. Possibly go grab some notebooks, get dinner ready, freeze a couple meals. It is also double coupon day at Copps. I’d like to hit that.

Or shower, lounge in a chair, read a book.

First Day of School

Yesterday’s breakfast: oatmeal pancakes, parmesan garlic eggs, sausages.

Well. Technically today’s breakfast as well, since I just chowed down on some leftovers before the boys devoured them all. Everything was good, except for the eggs. They weren’t so good second day. I put a little dollop of plain yogurt and some maple syrup on my pancakes (like my mom used to do). Yummy.

Today is (technically) the first day of school, though it feels nearly like any other, since nobody in this house is going to school today. Lootie is a sophomore, and only freshmen go the first day. The twins are in 8th grade, and only the 6th graders attend the first day. So the boys are still stuffed under their comforters, cozy as can be. Which is why I was puzzled at the knots of worry and excitement in my tummy. Spring and fall always do this to me. Anxieties. Weirdness. It is a reminder of the passage of time, something I nearly always want to slow down.

We dropped Dante off for college yesterday, just Frank and I. This time it was “for real” – the others were just trial runs, really. We moved him in last week, but we knew he was coming home the following weekend for the holiday, to see his girlfriend off, and to pick up things he might have forgotten. This time, though, this was the real deal. We don’t have any set plans of when we’ll pick him up. He’s starting school today. He’s officially a college student.

I am incredibly happy, proud, excited (for him), and have a million flutters of great joy. It is all overshadowed by sadness. Not true sadness. Just greif. Maybe how people feel when their daughters go off and get married. Or.. sort of. I’m not sure. But I know I just have to work through this to get to the other side, because this experience is an amazing one for him. But I miss my little boy. You turn a corner when you send them to kindergarten, and then you turn another one when you send them to college. It’s a big milestone.

Franny slept in Dante’s bed last night. I kind of felt like doing the same thing. I didn’t, though. Really! But I did look around the room, stifled back a sniff. Took a deep breath. That coupled with this being the last year for my youngest before high school. OY. I’m feeling it. Feeling it a lot. Reminding myself to focus on the small moments, stretch time. Be present. All those good phrases that pop out of magazines, books and websites about savoring the moment, yanno.





Painting Your Nails Before Work… Bad Idea

I take a long time to get ready in the morning. Not because I’m all jazzed up and dressed to the nines. Just because my hair is difficult, I have a routine that I stick to, and deviance from that sets me off in an irritated spiral.

The main components that are a necessity when readying for a work day are: hair, filled water bottle, filled coffee mug, lunch packed. And, naturally, getting dressed. Everything else in between is gravy. Generally I will leave the house early so I can get to work early to finish any make-up I need applied, or hair fidgeting.

Yesterday I opted for a liquid breakfast, which left me a nice “spare” of 10 minutes. I don’t know what possessed me, but during that time I ended up painting my nails. I rarely have time to paint my nails, and when I do, the paint lasts for such a little time before chipping that I wonder what the point was.

Mission nails done completed. They weren’t too messy either. However, I hadn’t had my coffee, and wasn’t thinking clearly. When you go to a salon, before they apply your color, they have you take your keys out of your purse. Smart, right? I skipped that step. I skipped a LOT of steps. Like getting keys out (work keys, car keys), putting cellphone in purse, lunch in backpack… on and on. Thankfully I had already put my hair net on (to keep my hair in place for a short time during the initial air-dry). What a good idea to paint my nails while I have that on, right?

Needless to say, I arrived with my hair net on. You can see in the picture above that my hair looks about half done. Nail polish and make-up intact, ready to start the day.

My hair dried well, by the way. I’m growing it out curly again and transitioning is a… difficult process. But I’m determined to make it through to the other side. I’ve had some hair fun over the summer, and I’ll share that once the kiddos are in school and life settles a bit (as if).

Today I’ll be picking up some odds and ends for my college student, trying to meal plan and stock my fridge and pantry. We’ve done a pretty good job with eating a lot of stocked pantry food and items from the freezer, but I do think the kids would enjoy opening up a nice bounty of fridge food. It’s been pretty bare.

Enjoy your last days of summer!