26 September 2009

it was there all along

I've found it. Proof that aliens are here on the planet. Compare these two pictures. One is a real alien skull. (Yes, it's real, I found this picture on the internet with the caption "Real Alien Skull." That's all the proof I need.) The other, a profile of Victoria Beckham. Coincidence that they are perfect matches? I don't think so. Go with your gut on this one. You've noticed how Posh Spice isn't "quite normal" haven't you? How she is always a bit too perfect. Like she doesn't ever look like she lives, but that she is just there. Stilettos every second of every day, not one hair out of place, beautifully perfect clothing at all times. She is masquerading as a human to collect information for her distant planet as well as guarding Earth's most treasured possession, David Beckham's right leg.

Let this be a lesson to us all: Those conspiracy nut jobs are right! Aliens are here. And if they are right about that, they're probably right about everything! (Except the moon landing, Mythbusters busted that one.) Denver airport is a New World Order prison facility/underground bunker. Smoking doesn't cause lung cancer, it protects us from airborne radiation. The US did bring down the twin towers with missile-armed airliners and Lee Harvey Oswald didn't act alone, he had helper buddies at the grassy knoll. (Well maybe not the JFK one, that's just crazy.)

What do we do with this information? I'm not quite sure at this point. But if you ever run into Mrs. Beckham treat her with the utmost respect. If I were you I'd give her a knowing look while slowly nodding my head and then submissively bowing. I'm pretty sure aliens are friendly if we just let on that we know they are superior and we're okay with it.

16 July 2009

it's enough to disgust ya...

Just when I get going again, tragedy strikes. My blogging may have a bare spot for a bit. (Not that you're not used to it.) I turned off the computer before I went to bed last night and the computer refuses to light its little blue lights and whir into action. *sniff, sniff* It's not fair! So I'm off to start the day having snuck onto Dug's computer before he gets up for work. That's my update. See you soon! (I hope.)

14 July 2009

an experience only angels have known...

I have a secret. And while you may think revealing it online with the possibility of millions of people learning it will change my circumstances, I would beg to differ. You knowing my secret means nothing unless you are in a position to affect my situation. More than likely you're not. And so revealing it, doesn't necessarily reveal it. Oh! the irony! But onwards...

I'm willing to share this with you because it will improve your life. Drastically. Are you sufficiently curious? Is your appetite whetted? Very well...

I have found that a dried pear from a bag of Mariani Orchard Delight (snagged at Costco) dipped rather generously in God's almost-perfect nut spread, Nutella (we're talking at least a tablespoon, folks), is sinfully heavenly. Only an oxymoron could be used to describe the marriage of these two ingredients. There is no other way to communicate to you the splendor that your mouth experiences when you cram the entire combination in your mouth in one bite. (And yes, I'm aware that Nutella is made with hydrogenation, hence the descriptor "almost-perfect.")

But technically, that's only half of the privileged information that up until now only I knew. Part B being that I consume this delightful treat in my pantry. Never have I eaten it in the full-disclosure of my kitchen. Once, I brought a sample to the Dug, but he was playing LOTRO and while he commented on how good it was, his focus was not entirely centered on his mouth. Obviously. If he had used even a tenth of his powers of concentration he would have been unable to keep his thoughts on the peril his Captain was currently facing, outnumbered by angry, blood-thirsty Uruk-hai.

And while I do not fear my hubbers having full knowledge of the joy that can be had in the confines of my pantry, I can not allow my children this understanding. That could lead only to certain disaster. I've already had to move the Nutella up and out of sight to keep my shelves from obtaining small chocolate-hazelnut flavored fingerprints during the morning hours of which I'm unable to extricate myself from the comfort of my cream-colored, paisley sateen sheets.

So, now you have full disclosure. And in doing so and sharing the deliciousness that I have come to know, I also make myself vulnerable. You have power. If my children are made aware of this hidden pleasure the current amount of elbow grease I own will not be sufficient for the cleaning that will ensue, which will also decrease the available Nutella, bringing on the wrath of the Dug. For to Dug, Nutella is a sacred spread to be savored, slowly. (Ahhh. Alliteration.)

What will you do with this knowledge? In the words of the Templar Knight, "Choose wisely."

As for me, I'm off to my pantry...

11 July 2009

pseudo-insomnia redux

I'm doing it again. Dug had to go to New Jersey for a training thingy and I should have been in bed two hours ago. Why do I do this to myself?

On another note, I did make cinnamon rolls from scratch, with the kids' help. That's what we had for dinner. Cinnamon rolls and milk. I couldn't handle it everyday, but it's definitely a fun switch from the norm. Don't tell Dug. He'll be sad he missed it. Although I do know that he got to go to Outback Steakhouse so I don't feel too bad for him. We saved three for him, but the kids ate them. What can I say? We tried.

27 April 2009

I'm a sucker for a good desktop

Found a couple wallpaper sites that aren't cheesy and filled with ads.

Pixelgirl Presents has so many it could take you hours to look at them all. They are all over the board as far as theme goes, but I would find it hard to believe there's not something for everyone.

Kindred doesn't have nearly as many, but they are beautiful and are done by "real" artists.

Have fun looking!

25 April 2009

"It's a girl" thoughts.

So I had a baby. It's still a little hard to believe. In my brain, I only think I have four kids, even though my headcounts always number five now. You'd think since the little bundle of sweetness is three weeks old I'd be somewhat accustomed to it. Wouldn't ya? Surprise! I'm not.

I know it's only one kid, but five children to me is a big family. Four, now that's "normal." But five? Five is pushing the envelope. We've just moved beyond. When we had our little redhead, Dug and I found ourselves outnumbered, three to two. When Tank joined us, bumping the total to four, we had one knee for each kid to sit on, one hand to hold each littler one. Five is more than we are physically able to hold on to. We have to let the oldest hand go in order to keep the tiniest one in our grasp. For us that's not too difficult, Dodge is nine now. But it's a new thing. It's a big change. It's beyond.

But of course, I can't imagine life without her. How did we possibly think our family was finished with four? She is the perfect addition. My little dark-haired beauty. Thank you, God, for not letting me have my own way on this one...

17 March 2009


I need to post something. This site is my home page so I look at it every time I start Firefox. It fills me with guilt and frustration every time I see its ancient last posting. I'm in the last three weeks of my pregnancy and I'm just too tired to do it. I have so many other things to do and this gets dropped by the wayside. Since I've joined facebook, I keep up with my friends through that. Easier and quicker than posting blogs. But much more shallow and I don't get to really write. My blog is something I really love, but at this point I can't fit it in. Priorities are keeping the house in working order, homeschooling, and cooking. The cooking doesn't sound too hard, except that I feel compelled to cook everything from scratch, for health's sake, and that takes time. Everything else (crochet, reading, checking email and facebook, etc) are things that I can fit into little time slots. Blogging, because I'm a perfectionist and I edit and re-edit, takes an hour or two per good post. (not crappy spur-of-the-moment-no-pictures ones like this) It's just not a priority.

This post isn't an explanation or even an excuse. It's a thinking-through-typing exercise. I'm re-evaluating, I guess. What's important? What has enough value in it that I allot some of my precious and very limited time for? Some decisions I make without really thinking it through. (like watching stupid 80's videos for an hour) And when I'm done I usually feel horrible for doing it.

That's all for now. I'm tired and I need, really need, to go to bed early tonight. I probably shouldn't post something that I just typed without forethought in this sleepy state, but oh well...here goes...*click*

02 February 2009

Daring Bakers....Failure!

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

This is my first Daring Baker's Failure. It wasn't a complete failure since it tasted good, but, believe me, it was hideous to look at. Hideous. Luckily, I had all the ingredients (meaning: it wasn't expensive) and it was a quick one (meaning: all my time wasn't wasted).

I won't go into too many details, but I tried the Tuiles recipe (we only had to pick one of the three available recipes) and went gluten- and dairy-free for my little buddy, Nadrew. It didn't work. They never got crisp and they just blobbed into ugly masses. Buuuut...they were really good and Nadrew was happy. (see pic at right for proof!)

One of the requirements was to pair the tuiles with something light. I picked Orange Sorbet which I found on Recipezaar. Thank God I did! It was sooo good. You use fresh squeezed orange juice and it tasted exactly like summer. I don't know how else to describe the icy-cold deliciousness that melted in my mouth. The only downside is that we shared the half-gallon with another family of six. Two quarts divided between four adults and eight children is not enough. Trust me. I'm thinking it might just be enough for me and Duggy. Any less than a quart a piece is cruel and torturous.

Here is Duggy rationing out, with his special brand of meticulosity, the beloved sorbet.

Look at the sad, little tuiles. Poor things.
(esp. when pictured with the ultra-superb orange sorbet!)
Less than pleasing to the eye, but luckily quite delicious to the palate!

25 January 2009

Bumper Sticker Awe

I love reading bumper stickers. They can affect me in different ways: laughter, frustration, confusion, a feeling of sympathy for how stupid the driver is. One thing they don't do though is change my point of view. In general I think bumper stickers say what you think, but do little in the way of changing others' ideas.

For instance, I saw the most in-your-face example the other day. While I agree with their view, it was a definite no-holds-barred approach. After I read it I thought, "Ouch! They're not pulling any punches." And I wonder if it will get through to someone or just offend those who don't already agree. Here it is:

"Getting an abortion doesn't make you unpregnant. It makes you the mother of a dead child."

How's that for in-your-face?

I don't really know how to end this post, so I'll do what I normally do: throw in something silly.

My favorite bumper sticker of all time:
"There are no lesbians. Only women who haven't met Chuck Norris."
Sure it's offensive, but gosh darn it, it's also just plain funny.

23 January 2009

For the Dug-Mania sweeping the nation...

I made this wallpaper for everyone of you who can't get enough Dug. After I made it and placed it on my desktop I called over to the Big Man himself, "Hey Duggy, check out what I just did!" He turned from his computer and, after only a moment, responded with, "That is just plain scary!"

All you do is click on the pic, and it will take you to the full-size version. Once there, right-click your mouse and then choose "Set As Desktop Background." At that moment, all your dreams will be fulfilled and you'll have Dug in abundance. (And no comments about his ear, okay? I only noticed it once I had finished, past the Point of No Return.)

(non-disclaimer: I do not have permission to post this. he he he)

21 January 2009

Example of when you shouldn't name your company after yourself...

We pass this business on our way to church every week. It's juvenile, I know, but we laugh every time we drive by. (The kids keep asking us why and we keep ignoring/avoiding their questions.) Unfortunately, the stinking power pole is in the picture, but that's what you get when you have a few seconds to snap a picture driving 55 mph. (In case you aren't very good at Wheel of Fortune, it reads: BJ Services Company.)

Seriously, who would purposefully name their business that? I don't know what this company does, but I assume their name doesn't explain it all. There are two possibilities in my book:
1.) It's been around for a very, very long time, long before the current slang came into being.
2.) The Founder had a very good, albeit perverse sense of humor.

Enjoy it. This is my gift to you...

08 January 2009

Another short fave post.

Baking Obsession is one of the most beautiful baking blogs I've seen. This lady is super talented. (Just look at her white chocolate rose and you'll understand what I mean.) I've tried her gingersnaps and they are the epitome of gingersnap-dom. Absolutely delicious. Seriously, the best ginger cookie that has ever touched my lips. Go to her site. Stare. Drool. Print out some recipes. Bake them.

You will thank me.

07 January 2009

Quick little fave.

Go to Pandora and make yourself a station from the artist Feist. That is the sound that Tricia is liking right now. A lot.

05 January 2009

A pine needle isn't that big...until it invites its friends.

As always: click on any picture to enlarge.

Upon buying our new home, we knew that our walk-behind mower was not going to hack our 1-acre property. We left it in Oregon with our renters. Once here, though, Dug was constantly in Philadelphia until Christmas break. Dug's friend, Chris, heroically stepped up and with his riding lawnmower, took on our post-Ike lawn. As their family and ours cleared tree limbs and anything too big to mow, Chris drove around our slightly wooded lot. Three hours later, our lawn was at the "HOA-approved height."

Stinkin' HOA. By the way, we got our first non-compliance letter! Every house in our neighborhood has a rather large lighted address number sign beside the road. (about 6' wide x 4' tall) The previous owners, for whatever reason, had decided to plant little shrubs at the base of theirs. It must have looked cute in the beginning, but they failed to check the "Mature Height" for these bushes. Yaupon Holly grow to 15-30 feet! They were having to prune them back into a ridiculous shape. (To understand, try this: put both hands in front of you like you're trying to get someone to stop their car, palms facing away from you, fingers held together but your thumbs are sticking out making "L" shapes. Now imagine in the middle of this shape is our house number and your hands are the shrubs.) Why would someone create work for themselves like that? It was ridiculous. The shrubs weren't happy. They wanted to grow tall, but half of their shape was pruned into a right angle. Luckily, at this point they had only achieved four foot in height. The non-compliance was that the address sign wasn't visible from the street. Our solution: rip the dang stuff out. No more pruning, no more worrying, no more visibility issues. Problem solved!

Back to my original post:
Dug knew that in the summer he would have to mow the lawn about once a week. Three hours every weekend to mow the lawn? Not going to happen. He did his research and found the Beast. I'm serious. It is as wide as a small car. The Turf Tiger by Scag. Rowr!! (Notice the tiger stripes on the wheel well. Methinks this takes the "tiger" theme a bit too far.) This baby has a six-foot deck (That's the mowing width. Don't feel bad, I didn't know either.) and can achieve 12 mph. It's a zero-turn, which means that he can do pirouettes in place atop his grass-eating monster. With this baby, our lawn only takes an hour. We even found a nice place for the kids to get a ride. (See Princess Cutie Pops, there?) Behind him is the sweeper. It's picking up the pine needles that fell between the first mow and now. Which brings me to the real point of this post, beyond the introduction of our Turf Tiger!

Below, you'll see various needle/leaf piles dumped by the sweeper. What do we do with them? No yard debris bins here. You either throw them in bags and put them on the curb or...burn 'em! Back in Oregon we could only burn three days in April each year. Here in Texas, living in the county, we get to burn whenever we want! Woohoo! Bring on the bonfire!

Here's Dug, feeling that special feeling that men do when they are staring at something that they have lit on fire. Look at those boys. You know in their heads they're thinking, "What else can we burn?"

What we didn't realize is how long it takes an acre's worth of pine needles to burn. Three hours later, the piles were finally reduced to one glowing, smoldering heap. Periodically, until we went to bed, Dug and I would go out and turn the pile and it would catch aflame all over again. We would stand and stare, there is something almost mesmerizing about fire, especially at night, and then go back in.

I'm liking Texas...

02 January 2009

Book Challenge Results

This past year I took part in two book challenges: The Year of Reading Dangerously and Orbis Terrarum.

The Year of Reading Dangerously was all about taking on books that you have been avoiding. Books that you deemed too difficult, not your preferred genre, or, as it turned out in my case, didn't interest you at all. While I didn't finish this challenge I did get through a few books that I wouldn't have otherwise, plus I have a few that are now on my "To Read" list.

  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (loved it)
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (hated it)
  • Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (not my usual pick, but enjoyed it mostly)
  • Transformations by Anne Sexton (strange, don't know why it was published, interesting)
  • Maus I and II by Art Spiegelman (excellent)
  • The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (long, but good read)
Didn't Read:
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (not going to)
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (tried the first few chapters and have no interest)
  • Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote (started it, became overdue, will probably try again some day)
  • The Secret Lives of People in Love by Simon Van Booy (have to buy it since our library doesn't have it, "To Read")
  • The Human Stain by Philip Roth (want to try it)
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (need to read it for Great American Literature's sake)
Orbis Terrarum challenged me to read books from authors around the world. Highly interesting to me and the only reason I didn't finish is because I had to buy some of the books (which didn't happen) and the last half of the year was entirely not reading conducive. Every book on the list that I didn't read, I will get to as soon as possible. (Some books doubled for both challenges, I've only listed the ones specific to the OT challenge.)

  • Dubliners by James Joyce (okay read the first time, want to read it again to understand it better)
  • The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (the most impacting book I read this year, hands down)
  • Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (sad, heart-wrenching, inspiring, makes you want to help change the world)
Didn't Read (but really, really want to):
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino
  • A Personal Matter by Kenzaburo Oe
  • The Old Gringo by Carlos Fuentes

So what did I learn? I'm a very "of the moment" reader. What I mean is that I'll only read what interests me at the time. If I can pick out the books, then I'm more excited to read them. If I have a chosen-for-me list, I'm not. I am not going to read a book that I don't like when the only reason is to mark another down on the "Finished" column. Life's too short to read crappy books. (and by that I mean crappy to me)

And that is my reflection on my undertaking of these two challenges.

The End.

01 January 2009

A Tardy French Yule Log

It's Daring Bakers time! (This was supposed to post between the 25th and 28th of Dec, but you know...)

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux. They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.

While it's called the seemingly benign French Yule Log, I think it would be more aptly named, "What Happens When the Indecisive are Forced to Answer the Question 'What is your favorite dessert?'"

Seriously. This baby is four desserts that could completely stand on their own, but noooooo, someone thought it would be best to combine them. From a work standpoint: whine, whine. From the standpoint of eating said dessert : brilliant!

I could try to explain it, but I know, and you know, that it wouldn't make as much sense without a picture. So for your viewing enjoyment and french dessert knowledge enrichment: here she is in all her multi-dessert layer glory. (Just click the picture at right to enlarge.)

What you need to know if you want to make this:

  1. The recipe is here.
  2. Double the icing recipe.
  3. If you sub the rice-krispies, only use about 1/2 cup.
  4. The creme brulee cooked between an hour and a half and two hours, not the one hour they "suggested."
The best part was that the entire thing was written in metric! I got to use my scale for every measurement. It was awesome. No dirty measuring cups (because there were enough pots to clean, let me tell you) and no guessing on anything. I think I'm going to try more European recipes from now on.

Remember when you were taught metric in school and everything was divisible by the beautiful and super-easy ten and you asked your teacher, "Why don't we use metric? It's so much easier." and she gave you some lame-butt answer about how expensive it would be to change, blah blah blah, etc.? Cooking with metric will bring you back to that same question, "Why?!?" Believe you me, it was heaven. (Well, if you're the nerdy, love-efficiency type like me, that is.)

To end I'll leave you with the label-less version of the cross-section. Because I know you want one last look...