Sunday, August 15, 2010


Ok, so, confession! One reason for limited blogging time is that I have been busy PLANNING MY WEDDING TO ZACHARY DAVENPORT!!!

Zach proposed on August 7th (and 14th!). Long story. :) We are getting married on 12/18/2010 - with a 4 month engagement we have our planning work cut out for us!!

Here are some pictures and highlight moments...I am likely to post a little more on fb.

1) Picture at Myrtle Beach, SC - site of the first proposal (and a temporary ring!)!!! We were at his family reunion and it was really neat to be able to celebrate with his family there - since they live in Rhode Island (mostly) it would have otherwise been very tough (or expensive) to have that experience with them. Anyone who is willing to propose to someone who has seaweed in her hair and is sweating from the humidity is DEFINITELY in love.

2) Zach, on the morning of 8/14: He brought over my favorite breakfast! MMM - a starbucks and a whole wheat sesame bagel, toasted, with butter. With my breakfast, I got a note - with a piece of a a blown up photo of us - with clues about the next step in our adventure - a nearby park where we sometimes walk and hang out

3) On the way to the park we realized it was city wide garage sale day and I BEGGED Zach to let me (go back to the house for money) to get these lanterns, for $1 each. So excited about their potential.

(walking to the park, thank you tripod)
4) From the park I got another note with a clue to figure out - we went bowling!

5) Then the beach!
6) Then a walk in Santana Row, then Sushi for dinner! We had what our friends have nicknamed "The Marriage Roll" (yellowtail on a california roll) and a new roll, the Tommy Roll (fish on a spider roll). Both were deemed excellent.

7) With all 6 of my photo pieces now gathered from various notes, I had to assemble them to create the picture and then decode a secret message telling me where the last stop of the day would be...turns out, it was Las Palmas Park, right near Zach's house, where we used to play Ultimate Frisbee and often go for walks. There, he led me to one of the spots we first picnic'ed at, said a bunch of super nice things about loving me and protecting me and promising to take care of me and that I am perfect for him and then I got THIS (which is impossible to photograph, but I'll work on it):
I am super stoked!!! I love this man!!! Dating, in general, has been very scary for me (committment issues) but he has been a ROCK of patience and love through the entire journey. We truly believe God has designed us to complete each other, we desire to reflect God's character to each other, and are willing to further God's kingdom together! (Those were the 3 purposes of marriage we discussed in some recent pre-engagement counseling, which was cool to do.) I am daily blown away by how deeply and honestly Zach loves me and strives to serve me. Such a great example to me of commitment. I am so grateful!
At the end of all of this, my birthday party (which was that night - 30 minutes after the proposal!) was upgraded (to the surprise of our friends) to an engagement party as well!!! It was great seeing a bunch of our friends (including several sets of 2010 newlyweds who have promised to share lots of planning information), our church 20's group pastor, the couple we have had counseling with, a surprise visit from my bff Sarah who shocked me by flying up from a family party in San Diego to come to my party instead!! It was a long but great day!

Friday, July 2, 2010


So last night, before writing that extremely depressed post, I bunched up some test data and sent it to one of my coworkers for some last minute work on a project we have. I think my email (and the quality of the data/scenarios) is a really good example of why one person should not work 7-6 (or 6-6) multiple days in a row and then still try to get back online at 11pm). TOTALLY INCOHERENT. Luckily, she speaks "tired" and was able to translate.

Today I am totally laughing about it. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I really doubt anyone actually read my previous post and prayed for me in the time that has passed, but I really feel relief. PTL! So I'm going to share a few more UK photots I forgot about yesterday.
Cambridge - An Ostrich burger!!!
More Jousting (This one is for the nephews)
Watching the England/USA World Cup game
Great title for a pathway on the Royal Gunpowder Mills campus
Here is what the "Long Walk" looked like: (it got curvier later)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Good night!

The story of my life:

Time for bed! I tell myself! 10:00

I just need to finish this email.
I'll check a few blogs before I go to bed.
I'll put away the things I bought couponing yesterday.
Oh no! My bin is full! Time to reorganize.
Oh! I'm visiting Dad this weekend, and I intended to put together a Fathers's Day assortment of coupon freebies. I'll put those things aside.
I'll give some to Tim, too.
Oh! So much more space in my bin for my other freebies!
Whoops! If I'm celebrating Fathers day this weekend, I need to get in gear for my gift/project. I better paint my canvas tonight.
I'll paint these other wood anchors I found downstairs too. That'll be great for the Rhode Island party.
I'll wrap dads freebies up cute. After all, they have to transport somehow.
I'll wrap Tim's too. Oh man! He graduates from high school next month! I'll need a gift for that! Yikes!
Oops! Wasn't it bedtime?
11:41 pm

*Updated, 2:10am* Before above mention of 10:00 bedtime, said individual consumed 1 pint of iced tea. It was refreshing and delicious. At 12:15am, still wide awake in bed, said individual got up to continue on her many projects. She got MANY things done for the party decorations. This makes her very glad. She knows she is tired, because when she uploaded files to FedExOffice online (prints much nicer than my skewed inkjet), she had to do it THREE TIMES. THREE TIMES, PEOPLE! (4 separate documents). Ok. 2:12. Updating blog and going to bed. (With a hungry rumbly tummy!)


I'm going back to the Yucatan this summer with my church. Did I already say this? Zach is going too. We are having a party to fundraise for his trip costs. (And maybe some of mine?) The party is 100% Rhode Island themed. This is really fun, but a TON!!!! of work. What have I gotten myself into? What is a quahog (I'll remember it for scrabble now) and how the heck do I cook one??!!

Oh dear, oh dear...I may be in over my head...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Frosting: Better than Stroganoff

Last weekend I took a break from the obsessive couponing. I had all these women pictured over to my house! We created 11 10 fantastic frostings and 1 mishap. My goals for the morning were to spend time interacting with all these awesome ladies and know be able to test a bunch of frosting recipes at once. We had mixers running from every plug in the kitchen!!

Now the next time I make brownies, or cake, or cupcakes, or anything that needs frosting...I'll have some great go-to recipes! We dyed each one a different color so we could tell them apart later. We sampled them on graham crackers then decorated cookies and cupcakes to take home. I have the recipes in a .vsd file, as soon as I figure out how

We've already agreed that we have to repeat this idea on both salsa and spaghetti sauce.
It took a lot of organizing to figure out exactly which ingredients we would need for the recipes I planned. These are the ones I was in charge of bringing.

I also hid all of our various kitchen counter clutter and even mopped the floor!

It was CRAZY with so many people in the kitchen at once! But we all had fun!

Notice the double boiler action in this picture. Talk about complicated! Wanda's recipe called for using a handmixer for 7 minutes while double-boiler-ing the frosting. I was skeptical about the results from such a complicated recipe - but it was amazing! So light!
Here is my favorite recipe in the mix: Janelle's Chocolate Cake Frosting. MMMM.
Krista and Christina had the other very complicated recipe. Double Boiling, Kitchen-aid, and an ICE BATH!! Amazing results though!
I can't remember which one this is, but Marian tried 2 easy recipes with cool-whip and marshmallow fluff. They got devoured like the rest!
And for some of the results shots, including decorating:

The pink one is buttercream and that one was my biggest surprise. I loved it! I've always thought store-cake buttercream was awful. This one was even shortenting instead of butter! Next time I'll try butter.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Irish Wheaten Bread - Sweet snack or curse word?

I have Irish Wheaten Bread in my oven. This is my first official attempt at bread. Considering this isn't even a yeast-based recipe, I'm not sure it even counts. But I had leftover buttermilk after making these, so I used it on the bread.

My motivation behind the non-yeast bread is...I'm a little afraid of the process. Warm water over the stove while mixing in yeast...wait XYZ hours for dough to double...etc etc garble result: Christy is confused. So, I gave this a try, even having to learn how to "cut butter into the mixture" and buying a pastry cutter. (Which may be my only take-away of this whole experience!) I did buy some instant yeast to try in my next big baking endeavor.

Did everyone have a nice Easter? He is risen...He is risen indeed!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Egg Decorating - its not too late!

I did this little activity last week and wanted to post it soon so that you have time to craft it as well (if you'd like!)

Sara and Kate definitely explain WAY better than I can (and with better results) how to do this here.

I started with these 100% Silk ties from Goodwill:

And created these eggs:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

More Running Treasures!!

Maybe this is a sign I need to run more often. After coming back earlier this month with dozens of lemons, todays run yielded more "treasures." (aka, other people's trash.) March is the month when the Santa Clara area dumps all their big trash on the curb, no holds barred. I've checked out a few piles (one had a scrabble game box, but no tiles) and saw an AMAZING desk I was not brave enough to look at more closely, plus a TON of nasty matresses, wood, and quite a random assortment of items.

Today was a no different. I committed to carrying a picture frame home (why always so far from home??!!) which is 18x20 or larger, just the frame, to potentially be used for artistic purposes. (Tabitha, this means you.) Then I found a spot where a house had been forclosed and someone just put EVERYTHING in the garage out here. So I scored some new pillow cases, a little crafting fabric, LEFT a lot of nasty fabric and hand-knitted blankets there, and...this Moo Cow Creamer. It was so tacky, it looked vintage. I was right! Its from the 1960's! These sell from $1 to $15 on ebay! Not bad for free. It seems to be in pretty good condition. I'm not sure how I'll use it yet, but it seems awesome!
Now the other thing I did today...I will post about when I upload the pictures!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Leftover February Pictures

These are the roses that Zach bought me for Valentine's Day. At first I was surprised by the yellow color, then he reminded me that the first flower he bought me (a gerbera daisy) was the same color! What a thoughtful guy. These roses were beautiful for DAYS (just grocery store variety!) and they opend up really big. I couldn't stop taking artsy pictures of them.
My friend Beth and I decorated sugar cookie pops for Valenties day. Mostly because I saw the idea on a blog and REALLY wanted to make sugar cookies on sticks. Next goal - find a more tasty frosting. (H.B.K. = Happy Birthday Kristie, roommate)
Beth's cookies were far more beautiful than mine, case in point:
Another rose picture. I actually just submitted this one to Capital One and it is going to be the picture on my credit card! Cool, huh?
Disappearing Chips! Why is that bowl empty? Oh yeah - because I made salsa! 1 part pureed bell pepper, 2 parts tomato, some garlic powder and salt...MMM, very fresh tasting. I love red bell pepper!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Not your typical Craft Tutorial

A few weeks ago, a young man who is dear to my heart was in desparate need.

Of a fireman costume.

What good auntie can resist a charmng boy in need of a fireman costume? Not this auntie.

So I purchased the birthday costume items in a nice combo pack - hat, axe, belt, etc etc. Missing: a fire coat!! Now, said boy lives in SoCal where it is HOT. So no long sleeves here. I had an idea to use a big T-shirt and make it look like a firecoat. (This idea based on the fact that the boy on the costume package was wearing a yellow shirt. Inspiring people, INSPIRING.)

So I got to work pre-washing a bright yellow tee and ribbons for decorating. Then I flew across the country to finish my work in a hotel room. This limited my crafting ability to: imported glue (brought tacky glue from home - bad idea - should have bought fabric glue) and tape.
I started by attempting cutting the middle open and then highlighting the edges of the front and sleeves with ribbon. At some point I rejected the glue option for the sleeves and called the front desk for a sewing kit. The angels brought TWO, both of which I used.
This sewing job on the sleeves was no rocket science or pretty task, as shown below. My primary goal was for the costume to last multiple washes and two boys fighting over it as they eagerly put out big, scary fires. Obviously the inside seams were not much to look at:

Then I wrote a sentimental "SLO FD" on the back as a SLO shout-out. (Seriously, who DOESN'T miss that place??!!)

I wanted to add another ribbon accent across the top and big buttons, but I ran out of time.
My smiling model doesn't seem to notice the missing parts: (notice he is so tall this is almost too small for him already!)
Good thing he has a little brother to hand it down to:

Monday, March 8, 2010

When life gives you lemons...make lemondade...literally

Last week I went running and passed a home where some gardeners were trimming a lemon tree. I thought to, why not ask for a couple lemons? I could use them in the kitchen, right? They obliged (en espanol) and I was glad I had worn Zach's XL Army long sleeve shirt over my running outfit to keep warm. I tied the sleeves up and started harvesting. Somewhere in that process I got the idea of lemon chicken, lemonade...and wasn't sure how many lemons I needed. (After all, it was me or the dumpster!) I filled the shirt up and walked the mile home.

Here are some of my lemons, with my previously store-bought ones on the counter:
And here I am with my OTHER bowl of lemons, and pomegranate lemondade that Zach made. (I ended up with 35 lemons!)
Here is Zach posing with his lemondae...ignore the Apple Cider container! Ha! I'm using our one and only pitcher to hold excess kitchen items.
What do you have lemonade with? A new recipe! This is from the 2009 Holiday Costco cookbook. Basic elements include: pan cooked sausage, steamed broccoli, 1/2 cup of water all simmered and mashed together over pasta with some cheese on top. Easy and tasty!!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Janelle's Chocolate Cake

Growing up in San Leandro, a couple from our church "adopted" our family by choosing to invest in our lives, get to know us "kids" and babysit for my parents to have date nights. They lived just a few blocks away and we built essentially grandchild/grandparent relationships with them. They have been really amazing to our family.

Janelle would make this chocolate cake. One mention of "Janelle's cake" would leave ANY family member drooling. Its been at least 10 years since we had this cake, since our family moved, aged, they moved, etc. Since I've been wanting to amp up my culinary skills and because the cake is just so delicious, I've been hoping for an opportunity (excuse) to make this cake. It’s really decadent so the excuse had to be really good. And then it was my youngest brother's birthday! #18! Happy Birthday Tim! (back in February.) So I texted him, asking if he wanted the cake for his birthday. Usually he never texts me back. This time I got an immediate yes. In fact I got the "oooohhhhhhhhh" gasp from each family member when I mentioned it.

So I drove up. Tim, Amy and I were going to make the cake together. (I have forced Zach to watch the TV show Cake Boss with me. Zach had "Cake Boss" suggestions for the cake, like strawberries in the whipped cream, etc, but I rejected them. Our first time recreating the famous "Janelle Cake" had to be the original recipe.)

The exciting part of this cake is the layers. There are 4 layers of cake. Between each one is homemade whipped cream. (As you know, I am not a super pro at making this, but I'm trying.) But the frosting is truly the kicker. I've been looking at frosting recipes for a while now trying to find one I like and this one is completely different than what I’ve seen online, which explains why it is the most awesome. It uses evaporated milk, which I didn’t see much of online.

The assembly of the cake is simple. Our whipped cream was a little soft (being a newbie at whipped cream still, I'm afraid I'll make butter) and the cake layers a little thin (would have preferred to have 8inch round pans instead of 9, or maybe next time I'll have to make more cake). But, as usual the frosting held it all together for the approximately 18 hours that the cake lasted in the refrigerator. There were NO (Null. Zero. Nada.) complaints about the soft whipped cream, messy frosting, or thin cake layers.

MMM. When can I make this again??!!! I wonder if I could try a little cupcake version! Hm...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Room Redocoating This site is amazing! I was able to turn this kind of layout planning: ...Into this: !!!
Ok now for the tough part: I'm switching rooms in my house to one about 2 feet wider! Although it is in the front of the house and one wall is almost entirely window! [single paned :( ... side note, if you put a layer of bubble wrap on it, its like intant sound and temperature insulation...or so I hope the worldwideweb is correct on this!]
Can you help me pick which layout to use? I'm not a huge fan of the desk (big white square) or the bed right under the window (red square shown in example B) but I'll do what I have to do.
In picture E, I took one of the small black squares (acually a tall narrow bookshelf and layed it on its side, stacking the "brown couch" bookshelf on top of it (its designed to do that) which is why those pieces aren't shown in that layout. The tan square is my dresser. The bottom right corner is the entry door (right side) and close door (bottom side).
And, I just noticed, the 3-box black/brown "couch" (my bookshelf) is designed in all these shots as if it is laying long-ways on the ground (looks nice under the window). It can stand upright (as it is in my current room) and only take up about 1/2 the length.