Monday, December 31, 2012

Old and New Resolutions

Today is the day to make promises to yourself that you know, deep within your heart, that you don't indeed to keep. Yes, that's right, it is once again New Year's Eve.  Was your year good?  Mine was good.  Much better than last year if only because I didn't have crippling migraines.  I'm looking forward to this next year.  Josh is going to whittle down significantly how much school he has left and that makes me happy.  Also there are a lot of good movies coming out.  Yeah, I know, that was the lamest thing to be excited about in the new year ever.  The things that I'm looking forward to are more ephermeral though and aren't easily put into words so I went with "Yay the second Thor movie is coming out!"

Before I give my resolutions for the upcoming year (I'm already tired of using that word in this post, let's get more creative) anum, let's see how I did last year time I made resolutions.
1.  Have/Find some sort of Bible Study for Josh and me.  We go to church and we each have a devotional but that isn't really study, ya know?  We need more.  Something more in depth.  Did this.  We are almost through reading the Bible in a year.  We were on track to finish early, but then Josh got in school and we got a little behind.  We should finish before he heads back though.

2.  Be more confident.  I find myself saying "if I were really brave I'd...dye my hair, wear red lipstick, tell him what I think, etc."  I'm not talking about doing major things like jumping out/off of tall things or anything crazy, but you only live once so why not wear red lipstick?  Can I get an amen?  Did this. I actually dyed my hair, but I did other things like go to my first con.  Don't judge, that's something I wanted to do, but was anxious about because what if I didn't fit in?  I told someone what I thought and then we both was at was a guy...I blush to think about it. Moving on.  I also volunteered to teach some sign language at the church which was another big step out for me. 

3.  Prepare for the week better over the weekend.  I'd like to have my menu written out.  I did that really well when I first got married, but over the summer it got tossed aside.  I think it will make the week smoother and more organized.  Who doesn't love organization?  Darn, I was on such a roll!  I didn't do this.  At all.  I actually forgot I intended to. 

So two out of three for last year was pretty good I think.  Having it in writing helps.  I can go back and refer to it (Then how did I forget to prepare better over the weekend?  I don't know.)

Here are this year's:

1.  I want to journal.  I like to write and I'd like to improve at it and writing every day (or most every day) is the only way to get better.  Josh got me a nice new journal for Christmas so there is no excuse.

2.  Improve my mind in some way.  I read a lot and that is good for your mind, but I want more.  In the interest of full disclosure, I am a teeny tiny bit quite a bit jealous of Josh being back in school.  I definitely DO NOT miss the homework and test anxiety, but I do miss learning.  I have some little kid French book/movies and I want to work on my French. Josh and I want to go to Europe when he graduates and it would be cool to be a little more fluent.  I want to work on my cake decorating too.  It's silly, but it gives me pleasure.  I want to be capable of making cakes or cupcakes for friends and family without being embarrassed by how they turn out.  I guess that's more of a skill, but let's run with it, mk?

3.  Work on becoming a more Godly woman.  If I were to keel over this year, I would want people to be able to say of me that I demonstrated God's love.  I don't plan on keeling over, but that way I'll be well prepared.  I don't really know how I am going to go about this.  I go to church, I volunteer there, I read my Bible, I pray.  I do all the stuff you are supposed to do, but it feels like there is something more I could be doing.  For moment, I will make it a matter of prayer and try to show Jesus through every day actions, but I'm on the lookout for something bigger, like a mission trip or, more likely, some ministry that I feel I could be helpful in.

I think those are acheivable.  I'll try to look back at them again a few times through the year so I can keep on task.  Do you have any goals you are striving for?  Here's my hint to you, don't make any goals to lose weight until all the Christmas goodies are done. By then it will be almost Valentine's so, let's let the "lose weight" goal pass us by this year.  We both know it was going to kicked by the wayside anyway.  ;)  I know that Can't be just me!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

I Dreamed a Dream

Josh took me to see the new Les Miserables movie that came out on Christmas Day. I was pretty pumped because I am a tiny bit obsessed with this musical. I have seen it live and have the 25th Anniversary live concert version on DVD. I listen to the music constantly on my iPod. Suffice it to say I am a fan.

I was a little concerned about it because sometimes when things I love become movies, they don't come out the way I picture it in my head. I was pretty pleased. Anne Hathaway far exceeded my expectations. That is probably horrible to say, but I wasn't expecting her voice to have near the quality and depth that it had. Hugh Jackman was good but seemed a hint nasal at moments. Amanda Seyfried makes me smile in any movie she is.  Russell Crowe was one of the best Javert's I've seen. He was really selling it.

I posted on Facebook that I cried about eight times in the movie. Shew, as Josh says "it me right in the feels".  So one of the times I cried was when Anne Hathaway belted out I Dreamed a Dream. This is one of may fav songs of all time. I've seen it sung on stage in front of standing mic and where the sets required standing/sitting still. Because Hathaway didn't have those constraints she was able to bring a lot of emotion. Her facial expressions just broke my heart. I read that they did it in one take. If you do it right the first time don't mess with success!  Because the movie Just came out I can't find an amazing clip, but this shows some of it.

Lea Solonga will always be the person I associate with singing this song and through the prodigious amount of tears I was comparing and contrasting. Solonga definitely has a stage voice and a stage presence.  A certain amount of Hathaway's success comes from the makeup and shorn hair showcasing her completely downtrodden life. They are both amazing, but different.  I'm not sure I can accurately describe it.  They both had emotion, so much emotion, but it was of different types.  Hathaway's was wilder, completely overwhelmed by her life and so scared and unsure where to turn.  Solonga's version is more internal.  It's like her spirit has been broken and the hurt is just welling up and up and up.  In some ways it is almost more raw than Hathaway's.

Listen to both. Get the tissues ready. Then go watch the new movie so you can see all of the wonderfulness for yourself!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday in Review

Have you had Christmas until it came out all of your orifices?  Not that I am complaining At All!  It was a blast, but now I need to rest up, at least until next year.  Of course that could be the virus I got.  Not so fun.  Fortunately I had drunk about 42 oz of grape juice (not an exaggeration) and that helped take some of the edge off so I wasn't as sick as a lot of people who got it.

Here are a couple of recap pictures of the holidays.  I hope yours were merry and bright!

Here is our card.  Please accept this as our card to your family if you didn't actually get one in the mail.  I ran out and I had two that somehow didn't get delivered.  Someone told me I looked very content and I am.  :)

Mom whispering with one of her nieces.  She loves all of her nieces and her one nephew.

Brotherly love.  Or a shared disdain for anyone saying "We're taking a picture, SMILE!"

Josh gets sleepy whenever anyone rubs his head lol!  She loved the feel of his short bristly hair.

Josh will put the strangest things on his head.  I know there is a pun right at my fingertips about bows, but for the life of me I can't get it.  Insert it yourself.

Well I should go back to watching Harry Potter.  While I've been convalescing I have watched almost all of them.  I am on the seventh of eight.  Yeah there's been a lot of laying on the couch.  I will return later this week with resolutions for the new year!  Be thinking of your own! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Blogger Day of Silence

On Tuesday, December 18th, there will be a blogger day of silence. We will post the button and that's it. Please try to not post anything else that day if possible.

 We are also raising money that will go to an organization in the memory of this tragedy. The organization is called The Newtown Family Youth and Family Services. Here is the official description of the support service we are donating to:

"Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.


Please visit THIS PAGE to make your donation.

 We can't imagine how they must be feeling, especially this close to the holidays. We would love for you to spread the word on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Let's make a difference and use blogging in a positive way. Thank you in advance for participating.

The Blog World

p.s. If you would like to, copy-paste and repost any part of this, please do. Share on.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lemon Curd Crepe Cake

I was thumbing through my December edition of Martha Stewart Living when I stumbled across a recipe that captured my attention.  Christmas is notoriously cream cheese laden and this cake was a lemon cake with fluffy crepes.  It looked so light that I thought it might be nice change from the heavier desserts of the season.  I decided to try to make it for the Sunday School gathering.  I looked at the recipe, but I somehow didn't see the entirety of it.  I got a very false impression about the actual amount of time it would take to make this cake.  It took THREE DAYS to make it!  FYI it will take a Minimum of five hours.  I was going to include the recipe but it is incredibly long so here is the link.

There are no process pictures so I am including a few here with some notes for anyone who has an incredible amount of time on their hands and wants to attempt this cake.  I will never be making this cake again because I didn't think it was good and it took forever!

Here is what it should look like.  Mine looked nothing like that because I severely overwhipped the topping.

Okay, you need to make the lemon curd and the batter in advance.  I'm not just randomly sticking my finger in this, it is to show you the consistency.  It is very custard like.  Firm, but not like jello.  I would use one less egg yolk than is called for, the whole thing was a bit too eggy (two yolks instead of three).

Here is the batter.  Again I would decrease the number of eggs.  We ended up having to make two batches of batter because it took us (and I do mean US, Josh helped a bunch) several crepes worth of experimentation.  With the second batter we used half the number of eggs and half of the called for amount of cornmeal and the resultant crepes had a much better consistency and a much much better flavor.  Stir the batter before dipping out each crepe.  There are definitely two different viscosities and you need to get everything thoroughly emulsified.

Crepes are very thin pancakes basically (you probably knew that but just in case).  The recipe says use two tablespoons of batter in a ten inch pan.  In my opinion, that is a horrible plan.  Yeah it makes it very thin, but it makes the crepe nearly impossible to flip.  We used a very small ladle to just barely cover the pan.

Here is the stack of crepes, about 20 of them.  They are heavy and adding the curd will make it even heavier, so make sure you have the serving platter or cake stand ready so you don't have to move it or anything.  It will be jiggly and after all the work you don't want to risk losing it.

Spread the curd mixture in between layers.  Don't spread to the very edge of the crepes because it will ooze as you can see on the bottom layer.  Then don't take a picture of the product because you  were running late.

I'm so glad that I didn't make it for Christmas when my in-laws come down.  I would have been stressed and it doesn't taste amazing!  Still, there are my thoughts.  Give it your best shot and I'm sure it will turn out better than mine!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

In Which I Toot My Own Horn a Bit

Josh is a very relaxed person.  He doesn't get excited about anything really.  I had planned something cool (in my opinion) for part of Josh's Christmas present.  It came in which was a pretty big surprise in the first place and it came in early.  Josh saw the return address and started questioning me so I broke down and gave him the present early.

I got this book by Mike Holmes.  Now, if you don't know who that is, let me enlighten you.  He has a tv show called Holmes on Homes that Josh absolutely adores.  When we first got married, before we had a DVR, everything stopped on Sunday night to watch it.  TMI warning, but night we were making out pretty heavily on the couch in the first two months we were married when all of a sudden Josh nearly pushed me off the couch and said "Oh!  I forgot!  It's nine o'clock, time for Holmes on Homes!"  Killed the mood a little bit haha.

Anyway, I sent this book to Mike Holmes' company up in Canada with a letter saying how much Josh likes the show and asking him to sign the book.  I also included return postage which FYI doesn't work because it was outside the US.  I got a nice letter back from Mike Holmes' secretary (thanking me for the unnecessary postage) and HE SIGNED THE BOOK!

Josh was about beside himself!  I have Never seen him that excited about anything.  I think he hugged me three times.  Now I hate that I gave it to him early because it would have been so great on Christmas morning.  He said it was the most thoughtful gift he had ever gotten and that I can never top it which made me smile like crazy.  Yep, I pretty much killed that gift giving ;)  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bekah's Bachelorette Party

Friday night was Bekah’s bachelorette party.  I didn’t get a ton of pictures because I was busy hosting.  It was really fun!  Naturally, I spent the better part of the week Freaking out that about fifteen people were coming to my house.  I think Josh was considering a tranquilizer gun haha!  In the end, though, everyone liked the house and the food didn’t burn and all was well.
I made Cheddar Tailgating Bread with a recipe that I think I got from  It looked pretty much like this and was tasty!  My only advice on modifying the recipe is to melt some butter and add garlic and really work that melted butter down in the cracks.  I poured melted butter over mine and the top parts of the bread were great, but the bottom was a little more blah. 

We had a scavenger hunt planned for the activity (we also planned to do crafts, but we didn’t get time).  We split up into groups of Church Friends, High School Friends, and Grad School Friends.  I was in the High School Friends group.  That was nice because I got to talk to two girls I hadn’t seen in a long time.  Part of the challenge was to taste the hottest sauce Buffalo Wild Wings has to offer.  Here I am considering the taste.  I look displeased, but it was actually pretty good.

While we were there we got this very nice waitress to carry me over the “threshold” such as it was.  We were both laughing so hard she nearly dropped me.

After we got back and had some cake, Bekah opened presents.  I thought the flannel nightshirt looked the most comfortable, but then I guess that wasn’t really the goal of most of the items ;)

That was Friday night.  Saturday we planned to go out, but I felt like death warmed over from sinus-y junk.  Sunday I went shopping with my home church’s ladies group.  We got a TON of toys for kids that the church is helping out.  So many fun things I wanted to give out and then play with!  I’m already gearing up for this weekend which includes Eli’s graduation party and the Sunday School Christmas Party.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fence Post People

It's a stroll down memory lane tonight, courtesy of a very bad quality picture.  It's fine if you still have your work shoes on.  It's a stroll, not a run.

When I was about nine years old my dad, Eli, and I made the above fence post people.  I don't remember where the fence posts actually came from, but I know we had the green and red paint around the house.  I remember working on it upstairs with Dad.  We measured closely for the arms so they would be straight (measure twice, cut once).  Dad made different noses for Mom and Eli than he did for him and me.  He painted on feminine lips very carefully, he bent wires into glasses frames for the two of us, he cut up a leather belt to cinch around his waist; the whole process took the better part of the day.  Eli and I weren't much help, we danced around him while he worked and painted the arms and shirts.  We were so little!  I was almost the same size as my fence post person!  Then we popped blue marbles in for eyeballs (there were no green ones for Mom and me), perched jaunty Santa hats on their bald heads and called it a craft.

They have been displayed on and off for nearly 15 Christmases.  Eli and I have long since grown taller than our people, but they still make me smile whenever I see their open mouths poised in the middle of a carol.  It's such a fun memory and a cute little craft to boot!  I hope your Christmas memories are sweet tonight!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

There has been much Christmas decorating this weekend.  My halls have been almost fully decked.    We need a few more strands of lights of outside.  Mom came over to help me clean for the party next weekend and Dad came with her.  I set him and Josh to setting up the tree.  Dad won't even decorate the tree at his house, but here he is, fluffy boughs at mine!  Haha!

Here it is all done.  It looks so much better against the chocolate colored wall than the mustard one of last year.  The new tree skirt I got for my birthday looks good as well.  Very snow like.

Mom sent over a couple of ornaments and the library of her village.  She is slowly getting rid of her village and half of it is showing up on my mantle.  :)  Aww, it's baby's first Christmas ornament.

Then Josh and I went to put up Christmas light outside.  I tried to get a good shot of Josh, but he turned around and kind of looks undead here lol.  The lights look pretty good.  Mom didn't put up lights outside at our house so I was in awe of the beauty at my own.  A waste of electricity perhaps, but such a pretty waste!  I'll show you the final picture when it gets done.

Then I came inside and made this wreath.  I'm pretty sure I am going to get tetanus from stabbing my fingers so many times and die.  However, when you come to drop off a casserole, this wreath will great you happily to my previous home.  I think I tried about five different methods of attaching the balls to the wreaths before I finally found ornament hooks and secured one end to the ornament and the other to the branches.  The hooks have very sharp ends and securing them was a time consuming and painful process.  The result looks great though!  I can't wait to hang it!

Also, presents were wrapped.  Josh is a better wrapper than I am!  His is the one of the left, mine is the write.  His paper is as taunt as sheets on a hospital bed.  He is now chief in charge of wrapping.  The first hot chocolate of the season has been had!  It was delicious!

It was a festive weekend!  I can't wait to see everyone else's decorations!