Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Update

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and are planning on a great New Year! I'm sorry I have been away for a while. After my last post, I was given the information that Granny's cancer doubled in size since October, despite 2 nasty chemo treatments. I basically shut down. Also having the 3rd Christmas in a row away from family, I just found it too emotional to write. We did have a wonderful Christmas though and I'm extremely grateful for all the friends who have taken us in over this holiday period. Last week included 4 days of Christmas eating, one just the two of us and the other 3 with friends...I may not be able to eat until Valentine's Day...

Tonight we are taking it easy and will be ringing in the New Year just the two of us. Our house has been empty for over a week, which has been fabulous, and I cleaned our kitchen the day the last housemate left. Now that all of the Christmas dinner cooking is over, I'm planning on tackling the fridge and cleaning the beast today. Our housemate from Botswana was wonderful enough to leave us his key to his room so we could use his big jacuzzi tub, as he's the only room with a tub, and it was fabulous to take a bath for the first time in over a year and a can imagine how smelly we were  ;)

2012 was a good year, and I really don't have anything to complain about. Yes, there are/were some not so fun things going on but there will always be bad and good times, that's just how life goes. I'm just happy that I'm doing just what I know I am supposed to be doing and in the place I'm supposed to be. I do miss my family but after over 2 years of being away from them, it looks like we will be going back to visit in late spring or early summer. And speaking of family, Branden and I made a video for our nephews for Christmas. Since you all like seeing us make fools of ourselves for our precious nephews, here's the video:

And for those of you who would like to hear some real singing and see some real talent, here's a long awaited music video from our friend Noelle back in the States. I shared this song and another music video of hers a long time ago and I'm excited that this music video turned out brilliantly as the song is incredible! Way to go Noelle!

Happy New Year's Eve and I hope to come around and visit all of your blogs soon...after I finish cleaning the house with a toothbrush!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sugar Cookie Baking Diary

Day 1

Armed with my "basic sugar cookie recipe",  I girded my loins with confidence and grabbed my ingredients. My butter was slightly less than room temperature, despite sitting on the counter for a few hours, but I cut it into cubes and hoped for the best. I read my first step, "Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes."

I don't own an electric mixer so I scratched that instruction and made it applicable to me:

"With all the hopes and dreams of a small child, mix your butter, which is way too cold, with your sugar using brute strength and a whisk. Let your whisk get completely clogged with hard butter chunks until it looks deformed and ready to break before realizing that you didn't think this through and you really should look into that whole 'patience' thing as your butter would have been much easier to work with had you actually waited until it was room temperature."

Onto Plan B, my amended first step:

"Put some hot water in the bottom of your sink and place your bowl of cold butter and sugar into it while beating the snot out of it with a wooden spoon to try and 'soften' it up Soprano style. Once the butter is soft, but not melted, take it out and put it on the counter where you laugh at the recipe stating "3 minutes with an electric mixer" and begin the long process of beating, knowing full well that you still have to look forward to doing this again to add your flour!"

Arms feeling the burn, I achieved my first step with minimal sweat and looked onto my next step which read, "Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated." I like the idea of turning my poor arms down to a lower mixing speed, but mentally knew it wouldn't quite work that way.

My next step actually went like this:

"Send a prayer for your arm muscles and throw in an extra hope that they don't fall off. Begin mixing bits of the flour at a time, trying all the while to not curse your lovely husband who wanted sugar cookies in the first place. Take a break halfway through, cry for a little while, think of ways to market 'non-electric baking prep' into a massive workout program, and pray some more for your arms. Continue the sadistic mixing process until the stuff you no longer want to make, resembles dough. You will know you are done when you are confident that your arms won't have the strength to pull up your pants tomorrow, creating a sufficient enough punishment of 'official pants puller-upper' for your lovely sugar cooking loving husband."

Feeling happy that the hard part was over, I read my next 'basic' step of, "Shape the dough into 4 disks and roll each between 2 sheets of wax paper to 1/8 in thick". Onto problem 2: I don't own a rolling pin. This required further amendments to my loathsome "basic sugar cookie recipe".

Give up NOW! That should have been my next step, but feeling at the point of no return, I started a small search for a left over cardboard tube from one of the hundreds of partially used cling film boxes all over our kitchen (US translation: Saran Wrap tubes). Tube found, I cracked on with the rolling but without much weight to my cardboard rolling pin, it took a bit of time to get it to 1/8 in thick. In the middle of this process, my lovely husband came home and I made sure to glower at him lovingly, to which he decided the best thing to ask was, "What's wrong?".

I verbally repeated all above steps, including the step of trying not to curse the person I was speaking to! I commanded allowed my lovely husband to clean up while I finished rolling, before moving onto the next step of, "Chill until firm, 30 mins in the refrigerator or 15 mins in the freezer". Of course I had to choose the quickest option as I just wanted to be done and also had to make dinner and leave in an hour but this just froze my loathsome dough and it ended up in the fridge anyway.

Waiting for the dough to become workable, I got to hear my lovely husband tell tales of his sugar cookie making memories: "I don't remember my mom and grandma having to do all this. Are you sure you need to put it in the fridge? I'm pretty sure the kind we made as kids was much easier." Holding back the urge to use my Soprano technique on him with the wooden spoon, I finally just informed him that since he had only been a child making sugar cookies, his mom and grandma would have been nice to him and not make him do the hard bits, thus he was speaking bollocks.

Taking my dough out of the fridge, I found it best to eat the dough while cutting out festive shapes, that way I wouldn't have to keep up this horrible mess of making sugar cookies!

I only completed 2 batches last night and still have a few more to go today. We shall see how it goes...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gangnam style Christmas

Yesterday our church held their carol services, which went really well. I attended the first carol service, which was at noon, and Branden played electric guitar in the band leading the carols. There were the usual adorable little kids singing on stage and there were also some of the younger girls who did a great dance as well. The youth put together a video to be played and it just so happened to be a dance to Gangnam Style! Even with this song being a massive global success, I wondered if we happened to be the only church who managed to have it in their carol service this year! This is the video!

Today I am hoping to make sugar cookies. I spent a good deal of time on Saturday trying to hunt down Christmas cookie cutters, which is no easy feat for someone with social anxiety to do by themselves, and finally found them after popping in to multiple other stores.

The volunteer group that I'm involved with on Saturday nights was featured in an Irish Christian magazine which you can see by clicking HERE. I was able to zoom in and read the article, which gives more of an idea of what we do, and also has some photos. It was a great article, despite the fact that my face looks massive in the top photo for some reason. I was out two Saturdays ago and it was a great, but crazy night. I absolutely love what we do and even though my knees are completely shot the next day from being out in the cold until 4am, I can't wait to go out and do it again the next month (we are on a rotation so I go out every 3-4 weeks). If you have any questions about it, or are curious as to other things that we do, feel free to email me at and I would be more than happy to speak more openly about things. We have 'official spokespeople' for public statements, but I am free to speak privately (while upholding the confidentiality of those people I have helped) to anyone about my experience.

Branden has a Latin exam today and we realized that this should be his last exam EVER! ...even though this class technically is not linked to how he is 'graded' on his PhD and it's basically a free course he can take as an aide to his studies... (and it is just pass or fail) But still, it will be great for him to be totally done with exams, although having to write a PhD isn't easier in the slightest!

One last thing in my ramble of a post, I thought I had shared this photo but I find it anywhere...although I've always been bad at looking for things! This was a banner that I bought in a Pound Store (British version of the Dollar Store) and after struggling to hang it high above the counter in the fireworks store that we worked at in Scotland, the men came in and pointed out a terrible detail that I hadn't paid attention to in my struggle to just hang the darn thing!

It wouldn't have been an easy fix either, so it stayed that way!

Monday, December 3, 2012

How long does your Advent calendar last?

Last week I received a wonderful phone call! My friend Jo had found the homeless man we had been looking for (remember the one that we almost embarrassed ourselves over bad Google Translate) and she could take him into McDonalds for some food to give me time to get into town and give him the coat! My housemate was kind enough to drive me so I didn't have to huff the 25 min walk and the man was very glad to have some food, the coat, and two women for company...even if we didn't speak the same language. We tried to arrange to meet him the next day at a certain time so we could trim his now longer nails but we weren't surprised when he wasn't actually there the next day. I should clarify that he doesn't beg on the streets so that is why he can be so hard to find as he tends to wander. We did some shopping in town and checked back around his usual areas but still didn't find him so his talons will continue to grown for now.

Jo got out her mini tree and set of white lights for me to borrow, and with the rest of the house onboard, we set it up in the living room window sill with a bunch of decorations I made and a string of colored lights as well. Branden's mom also has given us some things, including some mini vintage glass balls and mini vintage tinsel garland. I think our tree is adorable! We didn't check the tree before I left Jo's house so when I got home and found that only 1 of the 3 stand feet was in the box, I was able to improvise by putting it in a Christmas tin that my dad sent his Christmas candies in last year. It looks better that way I think anyway! Here, you can see for yourselves.

 My mom-in-law made the bottle brush trees at the bottom and gave me the little doe who has a light bulb in her mouth that lights up when you push her tail. I filled the little photo frames and the one on the left is an image out of a Christmas card and the one on the right is just some fun paper with a sticker of a snowflake and a sticker saying "Joy to the World". 

 I needle felted the gingerbread man, the penguin (who has pipe cleaner feet), the Santa hat, and multi colored balls. 

 Near the top is a needle felted reindeer with pipe cleaner antlers, a needle felted snowman head, a needle felted star with red stitching and a button, and mini pipe cleaner candy canes that I made. There is an adorable needle felted snowman in the bottom right of the corner that my mom-in-law made me. He's so cute!

 I twisted a pipe cleaner to spell out "Love" which is at the bottom, I also twisted some old sparkly pipe cleaners into curly loops and stuck them all over. I also needle felted the mitten near the bottom right. 

In our room, we don't have much space to decorate. On top of our dresser we usually have a display of photos from our wedding on top of our cake stand from our wedding. I needle felted a little nativity scene and made a mini Christmas display.

That's the Advent calendar Branden's mom sent us on the left. 

There is a tiny little wooden kitty that Branden bought me at the base of the little bottle brush tree. That tree is only about 3 inches tall so the kitty is so tiny and I love it!

This is on our desk. I replaced some of our normal photos with past Christmas cards and also put out some of our past Christmas cards. 

We have some festive window stickies in our room too that Branden's mom sent but I didn't get a shot of that. The Advent calendar is pretty tasty and I love the vintage image on it. However, having a 'box' of chocolates that has to last me 22 more days is not looking promising...especially since it's the time of the month where all chocolate is sniffed out and consumed within my living space in between the hours spent curled up with a heat pad and wishing death upon myself. Thinking of how menstrual women deal with Advent calendars through the month of December inspired me to create this:

All I want for Christmas is menopause...but I have a feeling that wouldn't be something fun to find in a stocking on Christmas morning!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fingers crossed I didn't kill a kitty...

Branden is starting to feel a lot better and our housemate is scratching less and less so things are looking good for our house. With me being home and taking care of things, I've been able to be quite productive this week as well. We've got a freezer in our laundry room that we all share but there has been so much frost build up over time that the top two racks were unusable...except for the package of beef mince that has been 'snowed in' to the top shelf since before we moved in back in March 2011. Over the weekend, I noticed that the ice buildup became so bad that the freezer door wouldn't shut, causing more frost build up than ever. I hacked away at it with a metal spatula until I could close the door and then plotted the demise of the rest of the ice.

Being at home, and having some men around to help, we tackled defrosting the freezer on Tuesday. Armed with a mini hammer, butter knife, and my metal spatula, the boys brought the freezer into the back garden where I hacked away and the housemate doused it in lukewarm water. It must have taken over an hour until I finally go the nasty beef package chiseled/melted out, and it was nastier than I thought. Placing it on the outside kitchen windowsill, I continued my scourge on the ice and about another hour into it, we finished the job!

It's amazing how much more room is available now, which is good since our bored but itchy housemate drove us to the big grocery store yesterday so we could stock back up on stuff. For his kindness and his time, I made a big pot of beef stew for all of us for dinner. While we were in the kitchen though, we all of a sudden noticed the neighbor's black kitten on our windowsill outside! The calico female has somehow managed to jump into our back garden (8ft walls and all!) but the black one is much more skittish and even though he purrs very loudly when I give him his cheese, he will not let me pet him at all. I couldn't figure out what he was doing and why he wasn't freaking out over 3 of us looking closely at him through the window. Then I saw him pick up a package...the nasty, who knows how old, beef mince package!

I ran outside, causing him to hide behind our shed, and grabbed the disgusting loaf of 'meat' that had fallen out of it's package then swiftly took it out front to the garbage bin. It didn't look like the kitty ate any of it, but then again, I didn't particularly want to analyze a loaf of meat that possibly had been around longer than I had!

Hopefully the kitty hasn't been poisoned by who knows what bacteria lived on that loaf, but when I got my cheese and went back out to the back garden, he and his calico sister seemed to both be fine (and wandering around on the ground which is new!). He still won't let me touch him, but for some reason if I am wearing my glasses when he's on the wall, he will try and bat at them with his paw. Maybe he doesn't thing they look so good on me, but last time he did this, I took my glasses off and let him sniff them. He was intrigued, but I just can't figure out what his deal is with them. Cats can be so weird! ...I just hope I didn't kill one!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dumb Ways to Die

Thanksgiving is done and dusted but I already decorated our room for Christmas two weeks ago so bring on the festivities! Branden and I have been enjoying our first minced pies of the season as well as some yummy mulled wine. We also had some leftover sweet potato casserole, which didn't turn out as well as last year's, but I mashed it all up and mixed it with some light cream cheese to make it taste like sweet potato cheesecake. Then I took some little glass ramekins, filled them about 3/4 up with the warmed up mixture then topped it with little marshmallows (I actually cut big ones in half) and popped them under the grill until the marshmallows were nice and golden. It was so tasty and incredibly easy!

My friend Jo cooked most of the Thanksgiving feast and her pecan pie was out of this world amazing! Jo also was the one to share this video with me that I am sharing with all of you for my Music Monday. It was made by the Melbourne Metro and is hysterically brilliant. This may just be my new favorite comedy song as I've always have a bit of a dark side to my humor.

Their website for this song is really funny and you can check it out by clicking HERE

I have been terrible at getting around to everyone lately which is a combo of being busy and also my blog feed randomly omitting some blogs and bloggers even though I follow them and haven't changed any settings...irg! Branden seems to be getting sick as well so I'll be busy trying to get him better as soon as possible since he has another chapter of his PhD due in a couple of weeks (and a chapter is around 20,000 words). Hopefully I don't get it as then I will be even more behind than I already am! Oh well, at least both of us had chicken pox as kids or else we would have to worry about that since one of our housemates recently broke out in it.

Happy Monday everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

And so it starts...

It's wonderful to visit Blogland and read about everyone's great things that they are thankful for! Today, I am going to share what I am NOT thankful for! Something happened to me so sinister, and so evil, that it's taken me this long to collect myself and tell the tale. This is very difficult for me to open up about and very difficult for me to process.

Last week I was getting ready to walk into town to see Branden after work and do some shopping. I went into the bathroom to fix my hair when I notice how shiny my hair looked and in particular, one specific hair... My mind raced, my heart began to hope against the fear rising inside of me, and I desperately tried to single out the extremely shiny hair. Finally I grasped it and pulled! To my shock and horror, I was holding a silver hair that came from the top of my head! So much went through my brain, "But I don't have children! I'm not even 30! I sleep in till 10am every day and don't have a stressful job! My husband is only 25!!!".

As unforgiving as this bodily uprising is, I do tend to try and find a positive in all negative things. The silver hair had a bit of curl or wave to it so maybe I won't be stuck with stick strait hair forever...but that still doesn't make me feel any better!

I do have a lot to be thankful for, but this is my Padded Cell after all, so I am allowed to be a bit backwards!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Autumn Walks in Cork

Last time I gave you all a feast for your eyes with photos from the area I am from in America. Today I'm sharing a bit of Autumn in the area around our house. Branden and I managed to find a bit of time in our crazy week to go on a walk which was wonderful in the cold, crisp air.

We also found a bit of time to sing together. After discovering this song recently, Branden busted out his ukelele and learned to play this adorable song.

The verses are perfectly us even if the chorus isn't quite as much. Sure it would be nice to buy our parents homes in the South of France but getting rich isn't exactly something we look at as a goal. Yes we would love to have a house some day but we don't want a big one...someone has to clean it! Money can't buy you happiness, give you freedom, or make your marriage better. We've gone our entire marriage with hardly any of it and I think it's removed the clutter of unimportant stuff and kept us focused on what really matters, each other. We've never fought about money and it is true that some things would be a bit easier if we had a bit more at times, but I feel extremely blessed by our situation and how strong it's made our marriage. I may have loved Branden with all that I could on the day I married him, but it seems minuscule in comparison to how much I love him now, over 3 years later.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Living in Beauty

I am very grateful to live in such a beautiful country. Ireland is truly gorgeous but I also was spoiled by incredible landscape where I grew up in Washington State. I grew up in a house with an unspoiled panoramic view of the Olympic Mountains on my back doorstep. Recently I looked back on some of my photos from when I lived in my tiny little hometown and some of the gorgeous sites that I used to visit. Some of these are in Canada which was fairly close.

Olympic Mountains from Hurricane Ridge 

 Hurricane Ridge

A park in Victoria, BC 

The Botanical Gardens in Vancouver, BC 

Railroad Bridge Park 

Railroad Bridge Park 

The beach at Kalaloch along the Pacific Ocean

Ruby Beach 

My favorite place in my hometown and where I wrote my vows, a cemetery

Fiery clouds above the mountains at sunset

I am very grateful to be in Ireland since I was so spoiled to grow up surrounded by such fantastic landscape. Since I was so close to mountains and ocean, I could never live landlocked or on flat plains. Thankfully Ireland has a good mix of landscape and I love that my future children will grow up surrounded by gorgeous geography like I did...even if it's different.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Circus Cats

Last week is done and dusted and I survived! It was a good week but there were a lot of things going on, I was an emotional wreck, and I had to wake up before 10am almost every day!!! Don't worry, I'm making up for it, starting with this morning when I woke up at 11:40am.

My head is still a bit thrashed so it may take me a bit to get my writing groove back so I'm just going to throw a video at you and hope it keeps you entertained for a while (see, I have mothering instincts!). When I saw this video, I dubbed it "The most patient animal trainers in the world!" and I think you will agree!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Translation or Proposition?

This morning found me wandering the streets with my friend Jo, looking for a homeless man that we were trying to give a manicure to. I suppose that sentence needs some explanation and background information.

Yesterday Jo saw one of the homeless guys that we used to regularly see when we were doing our homeless run (which we're trying to start back up). He's from Poland and he's tugged at all of our heart strings as he is such a gracious man who just wants to find work. Jo took him to lunch and tried talking to him with the 5 words of English he seems to know and she noticed his fingernails were extremely long and needed to be trimmed. She tried to communicate to him that she wanted to trim his nails but it wasn't getting through and it came down to him saying that he would be at 'his spot' tomorrow if she wanted to see him again.

She had phoned me to see if I would go with her and I was happy to go and see him again. Branden also just bought his new winter coat so we decided to give the man his old waterproof Colombia coat. Before I left for Jo's, she sent me a text saying, " I am using google translate to explain to *homeless guy's name* what Maggie and I want to do (cut his nails). Thank goodness I re-translated back into English. First time had "temptations with hand cream". Got to get the word "temptations" outta there. No fantasies with hand cream. Second time had me applying the cream for cancer! (how did hand cream become so deadly) Oh Lord, please let the right message go out. Has me in stitches anyway."

I was in tears reading this to Branden! The homeless guy has always been respectful to us women so I could imagine him blushing terribly and being very embarrassed if we handed him a note, our faces beaming with smiles, and him reading that we have temptations with hand cream! We loaded Jo's bike trailer with some apples, hot chocolate, hot water, bowl, towel, soap, and Mary Kay's Satin Hands. Jo and I ended up going to 'his spot' and he wasn't there so we wandered around the typical places in town we have seen him or would expect him to be, but still no sign. We did managed to give two guys begging on the streets some hot chocolate and being such a cold day, we at least felt like we helped someone. As we headed back home, we ran into an old friend of Jo's who is Polish and he read our note...and told us to never use google translate! I gave him a pen and he edited the note for us. Apparently the word used for 'cutting his nails' needed to be changed to 'trimmed' as the word on the note meant to cut off completely, or sever! Maybe it was a good thing we didn't find him!

Oh well, we tried, and I'll carry Branden's old coat with me in case I run into him sometime. I would just advise all of you to be careful trusting online translation programs as you may find yourself in quite the blush worthy scenario!

As promised yesterday, here is the video we made for Hunter's birthday. Branden did pretty much everything to make the robot head...and he had way too much fun making it! Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Savoring the Silliness

Branden's preparing to start writing his next big chapter in his PhD which means his vocabulary will become unintelligible intellectual beyond all reason. He usually has me read over his stuff to edit it, but my editing is basically limited to inserting commas and making sure his tense is consistent. Half the time, I think he's just making up big sounding words which he totally is and the words slip out over our conversations while he's doing his writings. Because of this, I am taking every silly things he says and savoring it! Like this brief conversation the other day:

Me: Oh, Adele apparently had her baby.

Branden: Well that was fast!

Me:, I'm pretty sure it was 9 months, like most pregnancies...

*we both crack up laughing

I love that Branden is intellectual but also very down to earth and weird...if he wasn't weird then our bizarre family birthday videos would be a lot more boring! Today we are making one for our oldest nephew, my first baby, and it should be fun! We've got some costume construction to do but I should be able to share the video tomorrow.

And now for a big announcement:

We weren't going to put it on blogger as we were trying to keep it quiet as long as possible but we figured most people have already worked it out themselves so to clear up all rumors & make it official yes we are expecting. 8 weeks from today. I'm shocked too!! I can't believe it myself. I mean who would have guessed that were expecting SANTA 8 weeks from now!?!

Hehehe, Branden saw that on a friend's Facebook status and I just HAD to steal it! ...I may have had a few people up in arms after posting it  ;)  But in all seriousness, what would our kids be like??

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Date Day & Taking Birthdays on the Chin

With a busy weekend behind us, yesterday was our 'weekend'. Branden and I slept in and then made one of my favorite breakfasts, cornbread pancakes. My mom has sent me Jiffy cornbread mix (which I love and miss!) and we made the pancake recipe that's right on the side of the box...with the exception that I always add about 2 big table spoons of honey to the batter! Then we headed to the cinema and saw Frankenweenie, which was cute, funny and my kind of 'scary' movie!

After enjoying the film, we headed to a nearby pub that brews it's own beer and had just hosted a beerfest over the weekend. They didn't have any beers from the festival left but we still enjoyed a pint of their regular stuff, which was a bit of a big deal as my tastebuds are only just warming up to the taste of beer. We ran into some friends of ours when we headed back into town and had a bit of a walk and chat with them. Then we headed to another pub that was supposed to have a live band playing. The Jazz Festival was in town this weekend so we were hoping to listen to a bit of music on the last day of the festival. When we arrived at the pub, it was packed and the band wasn't so great, so we left and noticed a new store across the street. It was an 'outlet' outdoor store but their prices seemed pretty dang expensive. Branden did need a new winter coat and we did find one that was priced alright, but we headed to the nearby TK Max (UK and Irish version of TJ Max) and actually found a nicer coat for over 20 Euros cheaper!

It started to get dark and we started to get hungry, so we headed home to make dinner, stopping briefly to pick up a cheap white wine to use in the fish pie I was going to make. After using some of the wine for the white sauce I put in my fish pie, we drank the rest while we nibbled on crackers and cheese with dates and capers (we didn't mix the dates and capers!). Dinner was the best fish pie I've made yet and I suppose I'll have to post a recipe sometime as it's super easy to make.

Branden and I had a great time together and enjoyed every bit of our relaxing meanderings together. It looks like we have another busy week ahead so yesterday was a perfect way to prepare.

Now to tickle your funny bones! This is the last in our recent series of birthday videos, although Hunter will have a birthday in a couple of days so we'll be making a new one soon. The video below is the video we made for my Mom's birthday. It was a bit tricky to make as trying to get both of us to fit into the video was really tough and I do sort of move out of the shot a bit at the end.

For those of you who don't know, Sasquatch is also "Big Foot" or "Yeti", and more sightings of Big Foot are reported in Washington State (where we are from) than any other State in America...but I don't think Branden's chin contributed to any of the sightings   ;)

Friday, October 26, 2012

You found me from what???

As promised earlier this week, I have a new list of Search Engine Hits to share with you! Thankfully they aren't as creepy as some past lists, but I still think I have a "healthy" dose of questionable characters running through my appropriate I suppose.

short arms men
Odd fetish?? Attempted self diagnosis?? How the heck did you end up here? If you are trying to diagnose yourself as a short armed man then I'm pretty sure that if you can look in a mirror and still don't know so you have to look it up online, you are normal.

sexy woman smiling eating breakfast
Flatterer! And the reason I'm smiling is because Branden still brings me breakfast in bed almost every day. *cue "Awwww!" now

watercolor paintings of unicorns
Ummmm, my watercolor painting looked nothing like a unicorn and heaven forbid you'd find it what I panted as a unicorn horn!

coconut milk farts
Unofficially the worst kind ever (besides dog farts) and if your canned coconut smells like a fart, don't eat it!

padded cell straight jacket quiz
Are you hinting that I should start having crazy quizzes? What type of questions would I ask? Maybe something like, "How many concussions have I had?" or "What irrational fear do I have while swimming in pools and lakes?"
(Answers: 3 & sharks)

homemade sexy girls
The store bought ones always look cheap and usually fall apart easily  ;)

bavarian decor
I'm glad you came to me for guidance. As far as I know, having "Hamsters Cry" on a banner above your bed is very Bavarian.

hairs like lady gaga how to make
I had no idea Yoda was a Lady GaGa fan and had enough hair to style in a bow!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

You may not want to ride this bus...

Our youngest nephew turned two at the end of last month so in typical, crazy Auntie Moo and Uncle B fashion, we made him a silly birthday video! Now, I am being extremely nice to all of you to let you even see this as I look like more than worse for wear. I had been out on the streets with my volunteer group until 4am, so only had a few hours of sleep and had on no makeup whatsoever.

I hope you liked it as much as he did (which he apparently cried when my sis had to tell him that he couldn't watch it over, and over, and over again!).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Not your average pancake

Since I have to meet Branden in town when he gets off work and go grocery shopping, I've got food on the brain. I know some of you don't cook, but for those of you who do, I'm sharing a recipe that is a favorite of ours for lazy morning breakfasts. Branden's mom likes to make this and was the one who introduced me to it, a German Pancake. If you have kids, this is a fun one to make as it is oven baked and puffs up to a monstrous size before your eyes. So on with the recipe!

German Pancake

6 eggs

1 cup of flour

1 cup of milk

1 cap full of vanilla extract (so 1/2 teaspoon?)

good pinch of salt

a few good sized knobs of butter (to be melted in your dish)

For this quantity I make mine in 9" x 13" pyrex dish.

Preheat your oven to 400 F or 200 C and put your dish in to warm up with the oven. (don't add the butter yet)

In a mixing bowl, whisk up your eggs, flour, milk, vanilla, and salt.

Mix it until the flour lumps are gone and the mix is bubbly. I find the more I whisk it up, the bigger it grows in the oven.

When your oven reaches temperature, take your dish out and add your knobs of butter. They should sizzle and melt quickly.

Make sure you melted butter is all over the bottom of your dish and then pour in your mix.

Pop it into the hot oven for 20-25 mins and watch it grow!

...and grow...

...and grow!

Since my oven cooks very unevenly, I have to flip my pancake over halfway into the baking. If you have to do this, do it fast so the pancake doesn't fall flat on you.

Then watch it grow some more!

When it's lovely and golden, take it out. You can put a butter knife in the middle and see if it comes out clean.

The pancake will fall pretty quickly and then you can put whatever you want on it! The traditional way is to dust it with powdered sugar then squeeze lemon over the top (it's my favorite way to eat it) but you can also eat it with maple syrup, jam, yogurt, nutella (one of Branden's favorites), and pretty much anything you can think of!

We made this for lazy breakfast yesterday and I actually put about 2 cups of frozen berries into the mix before I baked it, then made a berry syrup with the rest of the frozen berries I had. Fresh berries would be better but since they are insanely expensive, frozen seemed to work fairly well.

If you don't want to make such a massive quantity, then it would be simple to just half this recipe and cook it up in a smaller round dish or the traditional cast iron skillet. Leftovers actually keep well also. I find German Pancakes incredibly tasty and super easy to make. Plus I love watching it balloon up in the oven!