Monday, December 7, 2009

Important Question: Can you spot the vacuum cleaner in this picture?

The other day it was time to vacuum my room since the dog has decided that he can lay on the floor and shed in here anytime he wants. (Oh, and, because I have long hair and I shed too. I guess it could be partially my fault.)

Ok so cue the fun story: I go to the laundry room to get our big GREEN/BLACK vacuum. Ladies and Gents, this is not a large laundry room by any means. Washer, dryer, rug, vacuum, mop, trash can...thats about it. So I look and I look and I LOOK and I look in the living room and I consider texting my roomies to ask about it but I can't find the big GREEN/BLACK vacuum. Grudgingly, I resort to using our old yellow one. I even have to move some things to pry the old yellor vacuum out of its spot wedged between the washer and the wall.
When I went to put it back, I noticed something in the laundry room. Something big and GREEN/BLACK. Can you see it??

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fake Fotoshop Fun

Hi Gang!

I discovered GIMP, a free photoshop like software, and have been using it to turn photos into coloring pages. Unfortunately I am not kind enough to post each link I used to discover all of this but with a few swift google searches you can find the same and then make this:

Print and color, baby!!! Then I found another website that makes word searhes and crossword puzzules. (Hint: I'm making an activity book!!!) I heart internet!

*Edit: Those with toddlers - how much would Grandma love a picture of her and the kiddo that the kiddo COLORED? So cute.

And lastly, so I don't lose this, I got this recipe from my cousin. I can't wait to make it!

Grasshopper Pie:

22 Large Marshmellows
1/3 cup Creme de Menthe
1 (12) ounce Carton Whipping Cream, Whipped
1 (9inch) prepared Chocolate piecrust
step 1: In Large saucepan, melt marshmellows with Creme de menthe over low heat and cool.
step 2: fold cream into Marshmellow mixture.
step 3: Pour Filling into piecrust and freeze ...untill ready to serve.

That's it! Super easy. Be sure to get the Green cream de menthe so that way the color is green. And just whip the whipping cream til you get soft peaks, don't over whip or it turns out kind of lumpy! (I know from expierence. hehe) you want it nice and smooth! Enjoy!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Thanksgiving: How Grandma almost got run over by a [rein]deer!

So what was your Thanksgiving like?
Mine started out with our annual family fun run. You know, as usual I spent the night before making all of the shirts for the big event:

On the morning of the race, we all gathered around for a pre-run photo:

Then I attempted to line everyone up and get an "at the starting line" photo. Here is last year's champ, Nathan, getting ready to race:

During this time, Tim decides not to wait for the official start and takes off running:

Causing a bunch of mass hysteria as everyone races to follow:

For various medical reasons, Tim, Grandma and I are walking the course:

We got a late start and en route soon encountered the other walk/joggers (returning from their 1/2 distance course) as we approach the 1 mile marker:

A few moments later (at the mile mark) Nathan jogs past effortlessly (returning from the 2.15 mile mark) en route to his 3rd consecutive first place finish:

**cue danger music!**
Then the plot thickens! Grandma and I continue walking along the course, past the halfway mark and up the perilous, hilly, sidewalk-free 2 lane road. As we approach the top of the tallest hill, we see a deer darting in and out of the trees.

editors note: these next 2 photos are re-enactments, because I was in too much shock to photograph live.
The deer began to cross the road. A white car comes up and over the hill.

The deer is about to get hit, and instead jumps super high in an attempt to jump over the car.

The deer doesn'tmake it over the car (after all, the car is driving into the deer) and instead brushes the side of the vehicle, sorta sliding down the side of the car, unhurt. The driver, most likely shocked, drives off. The deer now, having just richocheted off the side of the car, is now facing Grandma and me and still moving very fast in our general direction. I was standing right behind Grandma bracing myself to catch her as I imagined the deer charging both of us. Grandma stood still, shocked:
And luckily the deer grazed past us on the side and continued, terrified, down the road.
Moments later, Tim causually ran up the hill and passed us, oblivious. He mentioned when he finished seeing a deer as he ran on home.
Everyone managed to finish safely, eventually.
And then we took this sweaty faced post-race family picture. (Sorry Grandma the one with you in it is in mom's camera!)
And thus ends the story of how Grandma almost got run over by a reindeer at the 3rd annual family fun run.

Hope your day was eventful as well!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Excessive Grocery Supplies

Dear Self,
Please stop buying powdered sugar. You have an excessive amount of powdered sugar in your kitchen cabinet. You do not, however, have any brown sugar and are running low on flour. If you absolutely must brave the baking section of the grocery store and must make a purchase, please select one of the items you actually need. If you ever decide to make more fondant, then you can use your powdered sugar and maybe even buy more.
Your kitchen cupboard

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lower fat pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

Hey gang! I enjoyed making these delicious cookies yesterday so much that I posted the recipe and picture online at, my most-used online recipe source. I called them "lower fat" because I modified an existing recipe to replace half the butter with applesauce, half the white sugar with brown sugar, and half the flour with whole wheat flour. They were super soft and chewy and not dry at all. DELICIOUS! No one could even tell they were (slightly) healthier than the normal kind. And by cutting out some of the overall sugar content (doubling the vanilla as a replacement for flavor) they aren't as sweet as normal cookies.

YUM. Go check out the reciple!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

2009 Office Knock-off Fun Run!

Ok Folks...the 2009 fun run details ARE HERE!!! This is my preliminary logo idea for:


Do not feed your pet fatty foods, bones, or chocolate! Fatty foods (gravy, butter, fatty meats can cause a potentially fatal inflamed pancreas. Also, turkey bones can cause intestinal perforation and chocolate causes an increased heart rate. Protect your pet by protecting your plate!

Don't know what I am talking about? Check out last year's race (pre and post posts) or the original Office "Fun Run" episode.

PS: If you are running this year (doubtful many readers are) I need to know your t-shirt size!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pinesol is the best cleaner ever

I am head over heels. For Pinesol. Starting last week. Let me explain why.
Last wednesday night I got all sugard up (Chex Muddy Buddy late night binge) and begun SCRUBBING my kitchen floor. It was beyond saving with just the mop, so I purchased a scrubber brush to do the trick. I looked under the sink at our trove of random cleaners and found a bottle of lysol and a bottle of pinesol. I randomly selected the Pinesol, added it to my bucket, added warm water (zero regard for dilution factor, but, there was a good amount of water in there) and got to scrubbing.
Man oh man, did my floor look great! However, since it was late at night and I actually used up all the Pinesol, I did about 1/3rd of the floor and went to bed. The next morning, the floor still looked great! Especially side by side the unclean portion. I got back to work (on my lunch break this time) and since I ran out of pinesol I used the Lysol multi surface cleaner (note: the lime green color of this cleaner reminds me of cancer in a bottle. Just a terrible color.) I added about the same ratio of cleaner/water to my bucket and continued my attack on the kitchen floor.
Much to my dismay...the lyson did NOT even come close to the pinesol cleaning quality. So I scrubbed harder. Still not a big improvement. However, at this point, I was pretty committed to finishing the floor and in no condition to run to the store for Pinesol so I rationalized to myself that it was bad lighting (and absence of Muddy Buddies) and that I should just finish.
Well...I got the rest of the floor clean, but it is still obvious (if you look for the line) which section of the floor is nicer. I haven't had the energy yet to re-scrub with Pinesol.
Do you have any cleaning tips? Discoveries?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

So much cooking! Fresh pumpkin bread

Ok, so, I apologize for the string of food posts. Actually, I don't. Maybe you will try and love one of these recipes! I haven't been posting about work, because, it is too dramatic and career limiting to write about on the web. I haven't been writing about super personal stuff, because, I'd prefer to keep it that way! (Seriously - ask me and I'll tell, I just don't want the random googler to find out.) I could post about my neck, but I'll try to get a photo of me in head traction first for your amusement.

So to tide you over: Pumpkins. I learned something about pumpkins - Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins are not ideal for baking. Sugar Pie pumpkins are. I found some at P.W. Market, an upscale market, for 3x the price of regular Jack-O pumpkins, but I was determined to give this a try. Sugar Pie pumpkins are smaller and darker than their counterpart(s). You can substitute fresh pumpkin for canned (same amount) in any recipe.

Here, the inside of a sugar pie pumpkin. Much easier to deal with than the stringy mess.
All done, after about an hour in the oven at 375. (Until tender)

My "harvested" fresh pumpkin - puree (I didn't have to) and refrigerate (if using within 3 days) or freeze.

Don't forget to roast the seeds!!!

Next post...the pumpkin bread!!!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Something with pictures!

So, unlike my first pictureless post of today, I actually have some photos to share.

Have you ever caught the show Cake Boss or one of those other fancy cake decorating show? I think they are awesome - more a feat of engineering, sometimes, than baking. So I have been waiting for the right birthday to come around where I could try my hand at fondant. I had also just discovered these miniature cake pans in my cupboard which also inspired a cake obsession.

I wasn't ready to dive into the fondant decorating aisle at Michaels quite yet ($$$!!!!) so this was a DIY project. I scoured the web for fondant recipes, first being horrified by their complexity, then discovering an equally difficult marshmallow one, then finally finding something simple. Its not like I'm making a wedding cake so perfection wasn't really my goal.

Early stages of the frosting, which had to be kneaded by hand. I was wondering what I got myself into:

But, I had no choice, because the cakes were already made! The idea of these little shortcake style cakes is to put filling in the little cup area of two of them and then merge them together for a tall little cake! So cute!

After WAYYYYY more sugar than the recipe called for, the fondant started to take shape!

here it is all rolled out, ready to top the cake! I used a juice bottle for a roller. I got my ideas for decorating the cake by going to Michaels, reading the book they sell there about fondant, and then putting it back and walking out of the store. After all, this is a really tiny cake!

And here is the final product! I tore the frosting a little when we put it on top, who cares! It was a delicious cake and Bill was more touched by getting a cake than it being perfect. And yeah, I know the decorations aren't pristine, but hey - I was using a plastic knife and a chopstick.

Bill requested a strawberry-ish filling (the homemade whipped cream didn't happen - no time - but cool whip was a substitute, in a pinch) and underneath the fondant is another layer of yummy fudgy frosting, which helps the fondant stick to the cake and lay down more smoothly. (Some people complain fondant has a bad taste - like the wedding cake type - so I pilied on the fudgy frosting for good measure).

Happy Birthday Bill! This was so fun to make! Maybe I'll find some cheaper supplies on ebay!

Rigatoni Carbonara!

Again I make a yummy dinner and AGAIN I forget to take a picture. How am I ever supposed to make my own cookbook if I can't photograph the results?! Oh well, seeing that I did not measure the ingredients, either, I suppose I will be making it again. This is a combination of a few recipes plus the addition of leftover veggies.
Here's a first draft:
1 lb rigatoni pasta
3 eggs
1 cup parmesean cheese
4oz pancetta (Italian style bacon, avail at Trader joes, although I've subbed for bacon and even chicken)
2 cups sliced mushrooms (this amoung is a total guess. I think I chopped 8 mushrooms. You can ALWAYS use more mushrooms.) Maybe 3 cups.
1/4-1/2 cup whipping cream

Prepare the rigatoni pasta according to directions. While the pasta is cooking, brown the pancetta and mushrooms in a medium-high saucepan with a little EVOO. (I threw in some sliced zucchinni at this stage also). I like my mushrooms to be REALLY cooked. Once you've got all that sufficiently cooked (may require modification/reduction of fats depending on what meat you use), add 1/4 to 1/2 cup (or more) of the cream and reduce the heat to a simmer. Oh and add salt/pepper/garlic to taste. [This is going into a pound of pasta, so be generous]. The cream will thicken a little.
Beat the eggs and parmesean cheese in a large serving bowl. When pasta is fully cooked, drain (reserve 1 cup of water) and then dump the pasta on top of the uncooked egg mix. Stir well to cook the eggs with the hot pasta. Add the meat/cream sauce. Add a little of the reserved water if you want to make it a little more liquid-y (I don't usually do this)
The end! Yum yum.
I rate this meal as "medium cleanup" because it takes 2 stovetop pans and 1 serving dish to prepare. (Plus cutting board and drainer.) Try it and let me know what you think!!

On another note, Trader Joes has a fantastic frozen pasta in a red pepper sauce. It is amazing. If you know how to make a red pepper sauce puh-leeze tell me!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Coaches Huddle Time:
Me: So girls, do you have any questions for me or Coach Katie? You can ask us anything you want. My shoe size is 8.5. I know you were thinking about asking that, so I thought I would throw it out there.
**dead silence**
Me: Are you sure? No questions at all?
S: When is your birthday?
--we all answer and huddle time ends slightly awkwardly –

SNACK time
Me: Hey girls, you get enough for snack?
R: Do you read the Bible in order?
Me: Um, what?
R: Do you read the Bible in order?
Me: Oh. Well, yes, sometimes. I’m not doing that right now but sometimes I do.
R: What page are you on?
Me: What page? Um…(racking my mind for what I last read; mostly lately I’ve been only reading our camp bible stories and translating favorite verses)
R: How do you decide what to read?
Me: Well, you know how there are 30 or 31 days in 1 month? My dad taught me that there are 31 chapters in Proverbs. So sometimes, whatever day it is, like today is the 18th, I will read the 18th chapter. If you do that every day you can read the whole book in one month.
R: Oh.
Me: What page are you on in your Bible?
R: Numbers 20. *groan*
Me: Numbers? Numbers is a little bit boring, right?
R: Yes!!! Its all “he is the son of this guy, is the son of this guy, is the son of this guy”
Me: How about you, N? What page are you on?
N: I’m on page 30.

So now I know: During coaches huddle, talk about candy and video games, tickle a little bit, TRY and review the theme and the memory verse and maybe a discussion question…and save all the rest of the talking for snack time!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A shocker to us all.

I am going to be a coach at my church kids sports camp this week. I am coaching CHEER. I know. Me. Cheerleading. When I told my family I was met with looks of shock, disbelief, and stifled snickers. But the girls are only 7 (in my “huddle”) and I was promised it will be easy and cute! Would it have been easier to coach basketball? Heck yes! Will I still faithfully serve my Lord and have a great time and serve kids with cheer? Yes! So, I’m stoked about it, although already *slightly* humiliated by the camp songs and arm gestures. Once the kids are there, though, it’ll be all for them and I’ll be super into it. (I hope.) So, if you think to pray for me this week I would really appreciate it!

On another note, it is only 3 weeks til I leave for the Yucatan! I have been gathering up all things “missions trip” (Spanish bible, pepto bismol, mosquito repellant, craft supplies) over the weekend and I am really looking forward to the trip. I feel 1000 hours behind on some preparations (…sports camp this will will *really* help me feel less stressed right?) but I guess I will just have some busy weekends to come. I am looking forward to serving the village we are going to, meeting the women there, trying to use broken Spanish, and being Jesus to people.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mystery Person

Yesterday I subbed in Sunday School for the 1-2nd grade kiddos again. Those kids CRACK ME UP. They have a weekly tradition of "Mystery Person." Each of the kids has filled out a little survey about themselves, their siblings, where they were born, favorite food, etc. All the kids stand up and as the teacher reads off facts, the kids sit down if it doesn't apply to them until only one person is left standing.
So here is how the game went on Sunday:
1) All the kids stand up (and teachers).
2) Teacher Kurt reads off the first fact, something like, "This weeks mystery person was born in California"
3) All the kids who weren't born in CA sit down.
4) Teacher Kurt reads off a second fact, "This persons' favorite thing about Sunday School is learning about God."
5) One of the darling girls standing by me says, "Oh, darn it!" and sits down, along with about a third of the other kids.
6) Teacher Christy and a second Unnamed teacher laugh nearly uncontrollably.
I couldn't decide what was funnier - the fact that 1st graders already have the "sunday school church answer" thing down, or the fact that several kids were very particular about their favorite thing about church NOT being learning about God.

Anyhow, it was fun.

Friday, March 20, 2009


To my 7 loyal readers and the 200 people that viewed/hit my page last friday after I posted the PI math problem, I have your answer. Let me say that this is a pretty good way to solve the problem but I don't really agree with the problem definition of "alphabetic shift cipher" and the way the actual answer played out. On the other hand, I KNEW "mathmovesu" had to be part of the answer but I thought it was at the beginning. Oh well. I did love some of the comments the original post got -both relating to the math AND/OR the pudding! Quite randomly addictive!

“The digits of p can be obtained from the internet. The most common digit can also be found by doing a search on Google. One way is to load the 100,000 digits into Word. Use the find and replace functions to take out any carriage returns or other non-digits. Then use the find and replace to change each digit to another character, like an “x”. The find and replace will tell you how many it removed. Doing this you can see that the digit “1” is the most common. I also used Word to find the longest monotonic continuous integer sequence. In Word, I used the find function to look for sequences of “12345” etc. Each time it found one I looked to see what the number preceding and following was to see if there was a longer sequence. It turns out that “12345” is the longest sequence in the first 100,000 digits. So that becomes the key for decrypting the message. There are 15 characters. The first is shifted backwards 1 letter in the alphabet, the second 2, the third 3, the fourth 4, the fifth 5 and then it repeats, the sixth 1 and so on. This turns JNRZJNCWLRPXHWZ into ILOVEMATHMOVESU which is the answer!”