Monday, February 22, 2010

Line Jumper

This guy...

...i.e., my younger brother Colt, has jumped in line!

Everything was all neat and orderly in my family; just the way I like it. Oldest sis Christy had her two children, Vince and Seth:
Next up, older sis Joy had her two children, Lindsay and Lori:

So logically, since I'm the next in birth order, I would be the next in birthing order. Right? Well, Colt had other plans.

He jumped in line!

(In other news, I'm going to be an aunt again! For the 5th time! Congratulations Colt and Racheal!)

So naturally, as sibling rivalry usually goes, I would want to get him back. But unfortunately, unless I plan on giving birth to a monkey (5 1/2 month pregnancy), a goat (5 month pregnancy) or a reindeer (7 month pregnancy), I cannot think of a way to beat him before September 19th. Hmph.

On second thought, a live reindeer of my very own sure would do wonders for my Christmas decorating...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Snow Bunny

It doesn't snow much in Charlotte, North Carolina. Usually when it does, it's mainly ice and rarely the fun fluffy white stuff. But every once in a while, we'll get enough snow to cover the grass and it's pretty exciting. I love snow!

Last weekend we got the biggest snow we've seen all winter. Around 4.5 inches at my house. At the beginning, the cats were very intrigued by it all and were dying to go out and play. The main reason they like to go outside is to eat grass, and at the beginning the grass wasn't completely covered yet so they were really enjoying themselves.

They came in for a while after that to warm up their little pawsies. After another couple of hours, they decided they wanted to go out again and told me this by incessantly meowing at me while longingly staring outside. I obliged and they both ran out into the winter wonderland.

Reese, who is usually more of an outside lover than Tuna, decided he did not like this cold wet stuff on his paws and ran back in almost as quickly as he had run out. Don't want to be an outside cat after all, huh Reese??

Tuna, on the other hand, found something he did like. He didn't like stepping in the snow too much, and he didn't like the snow falling on him, but he found a way to stay outside.

Do you see him?

How about now?
He walked along side the house and motorcycle where there wasn't any snow, until he had just a few steps through the snow to get underneath the fire pit.

I wasn't going out there in the cold to get him, but ended up luring him back inside with the promise of treats. I'm not above bribery if it comes down to it. Just don't tell that to my future kids!

Happy Valentine's Day!

For Valentine's Day each year I require that John go all out and give me gifts, love, candy and flowers galore because this is the only day we show each other love.

Just kidding.

We actually didn't even buy each other a card this year. Or presents. And I bet the only times we said the 3 very important "Valentine" words (you know, the I love yous) were at the end of phone calls and as before we went to sleep. Because we really do love each other, and we don't feel it's necessary to scream it louder on one day than any other day. Instead, we'll just spread out the love to the other 364 days too. But I'm going off on a tangent again.

The only thing I did do to celebrate Valentine's Day is the same thing I do every year. I made something (hopefully) yummy for everyone in my family. This year: sugar cookies and brownie ice cream sandwiches.

I made the sugar cookies Saturday night. It was a brand new recipe that I got from her, and I was excited to use my new mixer again to make them.

I made the dough pretty seamlessly. It called for 7 (SEVEN!!) to 8 (EIGHT!!!) cups of flour, but by cup 6.5 or so, my dough was getting pretty doughy and I called it quits. I refrigerated the dough for the required 3 hours, and then got to rolling and cookie cutting.

At first, this was a one woman show. But John happened to stroll through the kitchen at some point in the beginning and pretty much took over because my heart shaped cookies were looking rather heartbroken. He made it look so much easier than what I was doing. I don't understand how I can be so incompetent with anything food related. My mama keeps telling me that the more I practice the better I'll get, but at this rate I'll be cooking up great dishes for my roommates in the retirement home.

After we baked and cooled way too many cookies, we got ready to decorate. And it took quite some time to bake/cool that many cookies, because I insisted on using my one and only Pampered Chef stoneware bar pan, which could only hold 8 hearts at one time. BUT I HAD TO USE THAT PAN BECAUSE I JUST SPENT $31 ON IT!

I made the glaze suggested and used my Pampered Chef coating trays for the dipping.

In the end, I think they came out pretty good:

So I bagged those up the next morning,

and started preparing my next yummy: brownie ice cream sandwiches that I got from here. I knew I could wait until the last minute to make these because they would be super easy. Brownies from a box, ice cream, and cookie cutters. How could I possibly screw that up?

Well I did. Turns out, you can leave out the entire 3/4 cup of vegetable oil and still make decent tasting brownies. Sure, the brownies at the edge of the pan will come out so crispy you won't even be able to get a knife through them, but the middle will still be salvageable! Just in case someone else can manage to leave out one of the THREE ingredients that the brownie box calls for. Because I'm sure I'm not the only one, right?? Righhhhtttt.

Sadly, there are no pictures of these. But if you clicked on the link and saw the ones on the blog that I got the idea from, they looked just like those. But vanilla ice cream instead of strawberry. And a little more crumbier. And maybe a tad more, shall we say, disheveled. But pretty much just like those.

One thing I did get tons of practice doing after a weekend of baking like this one: Doing the dishes.