Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nothing to do

Just sitting here relaxing. Visiting Gina, Russell and Ella in Cleveland. Enjoying a little quiet time while Gina and Ella are at a playdate.

Not much else to write about. Work has slowed down to practically nonexistence, school starts on Monday and I'm looking up textbooks for the new classes.

Tried to play the Wii and apparently have not much more luck at that than regular video games. Though, it seems like there is room for improvement whereas with the regular stuff, I suck and that's all there is to it. ;o)

Hope you all are having a wonderful break/holiday.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Picture Post

A few (okay, more than a few because I find my camera addicting) snapshots from the past week or so highlighting life without school during the holidays. Well, mostly highlighting snow, cookies (and other food) and Christmas decorations. I don't have much of a life, so inanimate objects will have to suffice.


Our birdfeeder --after the sudden downpour of ten inches of snow in our backyard.

Yum! Who doesn't love pomegranates?


Making a savory pie crust


Picture's really of no importance (as if any of them are), but I happen to like this one.


Finished Product! Yes, it looks a little lumpy, but I don't really care. I was just happy that it tasted really good! In my defense, it was not your typical pie crust, but a very fluffy almost biscuit-y crust.

B&W of the Christmas Tree!

Swirled Mint Cookies (Actually more like Marbled-Mint Cookies because they wouldn't hold their pattern!)

Pinwheel Prep

The end result. A bit labor intensive, but definitely worth it this time.

Bam! (In honor of Emeril)

Yay, yay, yay! If you are brave enough, now is the time to insert mental picture of Lindsey doing the happy dance which involves the waving of arms and dancing in circles while squealing. Just got the grades and oh-so-happy am I! Definitely a personal best. I deserve an award. Sigh. At least for tonight I am content.

On a completely different note, I made homemade chicken pot pie tonight (crust and all) and it actually turned out alright. Also, baked about 30 chocolate pinwheel cookies. Granted, there were supposed to be 36 in the batch, but Grandma and I had to taste test through the process to make sure the cookies would be edible. Will post pictures of my cookie escapades tomorrow (err, I suppose I should say later today?) --possibly after I make a batch of swirled peppermint cookies.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pictures

So, with the arrival of my much-anticipated holiday break, I've enjoyed trying to get myself into the 'Christmas Spirit' as of late. This has included: a) listening to Christmas music, b) decorating the tree, the house and setting up the miniature village, c) baking and decorating sugar cookies, and d) going to see the lights in Frankenmuth.

It was actually a really fun time today. Whipped out a new sugar cookie recipe (see below), called Mom about icing and set to work on baking un montรณn de galletitas. After a bit of trial and error and a well-timed piece of advice from Sarah, the cookies were a success! We set to decorating and --eight hours later with innumerable breaks and tangents-- the whole batch is baked, decorated and stored for next week.

Decided to go with blue, green and white icing as I'm not a fan of red-and-green (somehow feels too kitschy to me). Definitely your unconventional Christmas cookies. Anyway, here are some pictures of the decorating process.

Grandma decorating Christmas cookies.


Works in Progress


The finished product ready for the freezer!


After cookies, the next order of business was to prepare for the snowstorm forecast for, well, right about now actually. We are supposed to get nine to twelve inches of snow tonight! So, for the first time, Grandma and I attempted what we thought was the impossible: to fit two cars into our little garage. But, behold, it is possible! With a fair bit of finagling and a little patience, we managed to get my poor little red beast inside to safely wait out the inclement weather.


Unfortunately, forgot my camera when we went up to Frankenmuth, so I'll just have to post pictures of that and the village later. Chau!

___________________

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies


Disclaimer: This is the first time I have ever used this recipe, so some changes were made (noted in italics) mostly to preparation and baking rather than ingredients. They're a bit decadent for sugar cookies (four eggs!), but definitely worth a try.

Ingredients:
1.5 c. butter, softened
2 c. white sugar
4 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
5 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, bkaing powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit (200C). Roll out dough on floured surface (I use powdered sugar instead) 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

Cut into shapes with and cookie cutter.
So my dough turned out fairly sticky, even with additional flour I had a little trouble with consistency. So in the end I ended up actually freezing the dough for a couple of hours and then rolling them into logs so that I could simply cut the rounds before baking --thanks for the tip, Sarah!

Place 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheets (They stuck to the pan. Use a greased cookie sheet.)

Bake 6-8 minutes.
______________

Icing: a little more haphazard as all measurements are approximate. Here's the recipe I got from Mom. As a forewarning, this recipe is not for those who are watching their waistlines.

2 T. butter, softened
1 t. almond extract
2 c. powdered sugar
1-2 T. of cream cheese.
1-? t. of milk

Alright, so combine basic amounts in a bowl and mix. Cream cheese is optional, just use butter instead. Can use Crisco (instead of butter and cream cheese) for a really clean white, but the taste is more bland and waxy. Milk is to thin it out. The important thing is to remember to add the milk one teaspoon at a time as a little goes a very long way.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reflections on a Wednesday Afternoon

I woke up today and did nothing. WHAT?! Nothing --no papers, no exams, no projects. I woke up today and almost freaked out because I didn't have to get anything done before work...

Had a similar moment in the library yesterday. Had already finished my literature review and was waiting on a friend to finish hers before we went to turn them in. And waiting for her I suddenly realized that as I was sitting doing absolutely nothing, I should be more productive. Why wasn't I studying? Surely I had several hundred pages to read or a paper to write? But no. It was over.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with next semester...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

An odd sense of peace...

An odd sense of peace has descended on my world. The semester's over (with an hour to spare), I've got a stack of books to read over the holiday, and internet access in my house. Ah, all is right in the world.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tempus Fugit...

...Even when you're not having fun!

All right, so the semester was fun (most of the time). It's just the end that has me going bonkers. Haven't had the chance to write much because the end has really caught up with me. Seriously. Classes are over and all have is three papers and a final left. I will be done by Tuesday, December 16th. Craziness.

So, as I have a few minutes now to take a breather, just thought I'd sit down and update.

Work has slowed down considerably (conveniently timed with the end of the semester, but unconveniently timed with Christmas present-buying and travel) and that's allowed me to not go completely insane. Have come to the realization that I will need to find a second job next semester.

School. Sigh. School is going well --so far. If my final papers turn out as well as the rest of the semester has I believe I may actually be able to pull off my highest GPA yet. Quite a feat for the former straight-B student. :) Definitely something to smile about as a boost to the gradepoint is always welcome.

Life in general: Well, as life consists of school and work for me, I'm not sure there is a lot to update on. Granted, I spent a great Thanksgiving with my aunt, uncle and cousins and am looking forward to Christmas spent with friends or family in the area. Also, with holiday break, I have a list of books and movies about three miles long to get through (pretty sure that's not actually going to happen but it's worth a try).

Next semester will be fun. I'll be taking four classes (Forensic Anthropology, Sex & Gender or Sex, Work and International Capital; Culture & Personality, and Social & Cultural Change) plus my senior thesis (basically directed readings and a big paper). Then, get to walk in May and finish up classes in spring semester (June-July). I can't believe the end is so near. Now if I can only not screw this up!

Of course though, once school's done then it's a whole different kettle of fish. Most importantly, where to find a full-time job while taking a year or two off and making some decisions... Anybody looking for a diligent, honest, hardworker with a BA in Anthropology? Throw in minimal German and decent Spanish for bonuses? ... Help.

Not even going to think about that yet.

Well, must away. Have mountains of books to read (for research paper - anyone know anything about the archaeology at Jamestown?) and a job to get to.

Chau, chicos!

PS: I finally broke down and bought a coat. Now aren't you proud?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Visionary

by Emily Bronte

Silent is the house: all are laid asleep:
One alone looks out o'er the snow-wreaths deep,
Watching every cloud, dreading every breeze
That whirls the wildering drift, and bends the groaning trees.

Cheerful is the hearth, soft the matted floor;
Not one shivering gust creeps through pane or door;
The little lamp burns straight, its rays shoot strong and far:
I trim it well, to be the wanderer's guiding-star.

Frown, my haughty sire! chide, my angry dame!
Set your slaves to spy; threaten me with shame:
But neither sire nor dame, nor prying serf shall know,
What angel nightly tracks that waste of frozen snow.

What I love shall come like visitant of air,
Safe in secret power from lurking human snare;
What loves me, no word of mine shall e'er betray,
Though for faith unstained my life must forfeit pay

Burn, then, little lamp; glimmer straight and clear--
Hush! a rustling wing stirs, methinks, the air:
He for whom I wait, thus ever comes to me;
Strange Power! I trust thy might; trust thou my constancy.