Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Fragments - Thank Goodness It Is Over

Joining up for another week of fragments with Mrs. 4444

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Well after having an enjoyable birthday I ended up being sick for three days. NOT FUN! I feel like I might be able to work all day today. Yesterday I only made it to noon and that was by sitting in my office staring for awhile.

Our annual report is due in a month. My part is to put together a bunch of charts about funding and demographics. I rely on other people to provide me with some information. Is it too much for them to get it to me by my deadline so I can put them together? I feel for my associate director who has to put together all the written reports. He has so many people not turn stuff in until three days before it is due that it is ridiculous. I almost want to tell them they aren't getting any more money until they are timely but I can't do that.

Whitney is coming home tonight for the long weekend. She decided that she wanted to come home to get some family love. Plus I'm sure we will somehow work in shopping.

But we will have to avoid traffic because tomorrow is the first college football game of the year. And it is going to be a scorcher (100 degrees) and the interstate is under construction so traffic will be a nightmare. The game is on pay per view so we won't be watching. I'll get all sorts of updates online so why pay the money.

Stupid criminals this week are from Washington. Seems that the boys decided to paint their neon green car that they used in a burglary to black after the fact. But a witness got their license plate number and they didn't change that out. So just because the paint color changed, doesn't make you any less guilty guys.

I haven't been able to work out for over a week and I miss it. However being sick made me lose two pounds. I don't recommend that to anyone as a weight loss method.

Anyone getting fired up for the fall tv shows? Revenge posted their promo and man it was a good one.

I read where they had to make six versions on the dress because of the varying states it has to be in.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Today is my birthday and rather than take the day off from work, I decided to work and bake cupcakes to take in to share. I love to bake and I don't do it anymore because really how much can I eat without turning into a blob of sugar.

So I decided to make carrot cake (healthy right...wink wink) into cupcakes so it was easier to transport. I searched high and low for a recipe that didn't have nuts (don't really care for them) and I found this one at Gimme Some Oven. Of course I don't have a food processor so had to grate my carrots by hand, but otherwise I followed it pretty well. It ended up with almost 30 cupcakes.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:
2½ cups (12.5 oz) all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. grated nutmeg
½ tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. salt
1 lb. (6-7 medium) carrots, peeled
1½ cups (10.5 oz) granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1½ cups canola, safflower or vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line cupcake pans with 24 paper liners. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt; whisk together and set aside.

In a food processor fitted with a shredding disk, shred the carrots (you should have about 3 cups). Add the carrots to the bowl with the dry ingredients and set aside. Rinse out the bowl of the food processor and fit with the metal blade. Process the sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. With the machine running, add the oil in a steady stream through the feed tube. Continue to process until the mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 more seconds. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.

Scoop evenly into the prepared cupcake liners, so that each is about 2/3 full. Bake for about 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan at least 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I didn't like her frosting recipe so I just used the one from Kraft.

The cupcakes were moist and flavored delicately. I'm really excited that I made these and everyone loves them.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Fragments

Sorry I missed last week but I took the day off (a ME day!) so I wasn't able to post. But I'll make up for it this week.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Stupid criminal this week was a lady who called 911 because she needed help finding her pen. This was not her first misuse of 911 (in fact she had called 10 times the previous month) so she was arrested. She also had a previous arrest for misuse of 911. Maybe she'll find that pen in a prison cell.

The first week of college is almost over. While the students coming back to school really doesn't affect my job, it certainly increases traffic in town. Whitney seems to like her classes and the benefit of a small school means she knows people in all her classes. I don't remember that at all even in my major classes at OU. 

Dan lost a pair of glasses on his trip so he got his eyes checked out before buying a new pair. They were significantly worse and now he had to get progressive lenses because he can't read through the prescription. Age is finally catching up to him. I'm so glad I had Lasik done years ago and I don't have to deal with that anymore.

Abby just can't quite get used to the new neighbor's dogs. They've lived there for three months and every night she just can't relax. I'm not sure why. She has to lay outside for a couple of hours before coming in and going to bed. And if she hasn't been out long enough (maybe protecting the house) she wants to go back out. Thanks goodness the weather hasn't been oppressively hot.

Did anybody catch So You Think You Can Dance this week? One of my favorite dancers, Mark Kanemura, choreographed for the first time (all the all-stars did their own dances) and it was a WOWSER moment. Seriously one of the best, freshest dances out there. He's Lady Gaga's top dancer. 

Hoping the rumors are true and there will be a 'N Sync reunion on the VMA's this Sunday. Boy bands RULE!  LOL. All you need to know about why we need a reunion was written about here.

One more week until the craziness of college football starts. Always a time to either stay home or go shopping when the game is on!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dobroe Utro

For those of you who don't know Russian, that is supposed to say Good Morning. It seems when I was perusing my Google Stats for my blog, over the last month I have had three times as many visitors from Russia than from the United States. I don't know anyone in Russia. I have no idea what keyword they are searching. But somehow they are finding my blog.

Does anyone out there find that the least bit creepy? I do. I don't want the NSA breathing down my neck thinking I'm sending secret codes to Russia. I really don't have any secret information so there is no risk of me getting it out there. I don't want to even know any secret information. So don't come sniffing around here looking.

Do svidaniya! (Goodbye to all your English speakers)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hodgepodge Time

Another week of hodgepodge questions from Joyce. Anyone can join in.

1. What's your worst food memory? How about one of your best?
I've written before about my worst memory here. But there are several best ones I've never touched on. When we were in Paris we went to a chocolate shop and I thought I was in chocolate heaven. If you haven't had true Parisian chocolate you are missing out. Just one of those little pieces is enough to satisfy anyone's craving for chocolate. WOW!

2. Do you appreciate people telling it like it is, or would you rather a speaker temper his/her words and maybe beat around the bush a little? How about when you're the one communicating...which type are you?
I like it how it is. That's how I write. Blunt and to the point.

3. What's your favorite place to hang out?
My living room.

4. When do you most feel like you're a slave to time?
Getting ready in the morning. I struggle to get out of bed and then feel rushed. It's not that I'm sleeping, I just don't like to get out of bed.

5. What was the last concert you attended? Who'd you go with? Was it any good?
I'm not a big concert attender. I'd rather save the money and listen to the music because I can pick the song order. But I think the last one I went to was a couple of summers ago. Our town has concerts on Sunday nights and I went with Dan. I have no idea who it was though.

6. Reality TV...harmful or harmless? What's your guilty pleasure when it comes to reality TV?
I like some of it. Some of the competition shows that are based on talent. But we often joke that anybody can get a tv show. I don't need to know the details of people's lives and also I really hate the drama and fake drama that gets generated.

7. What's something you think is overrated?
Jack Nicholson. I don't get him.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I'm behind on blogging. Lots happening but back to having Dan home. His trip went fine except for losing his glasses. Good thing he had a pair of prescription sunglasses or that would have been a difficult drive home.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Joining Joyce for another week of questions. 

1. Joyce's daughter earned her Master's Degree this past weekend (CONGRATS TO HER!)...what's something you've 'mastered' in recent weeks or months?
I'm working on "mastering" my new remote control. We got a new cable box with an even bigger DVR hard drive and so many things changed. I'm still working on figuring it out. But the cool thing is I can watch something in the bedroom that I recorded in the living room.

2. What song most reminds you of your childhood?
Copacabana by Barry Manilow. One my first albums and I wore it out. On a record player...with a needle.

Yes I just dated myself and I really don't care!

3. What do you think about single gender groups and/or events? Should everygroup/event be open to both genders? If not, what sort of exceptions do you think are appropriate?
I don't have a problem with single gender groups or events. I think it is good to get together. I go to a women's bible study group that I wouldn't feel as comfortable at if men were there. So I don't think you should have to have everything open to both sexes.

4. What's your favorite spice? Your favorite dish containing your favorite spice?
This is the tough question of the week. I would say salt but that really isn't a spice and really everything needs it. I look at my spice rack and realize a lot of the jars are really dried herbs so that doesn't count. So I'll choose nutmeg. It adds so much flavor (especially if you grate it yourself from the nut). It is the secret ingredient to our alfredo sauce. I seem to not have blogged that recipe yet so next time we make it I'll be sure to put it on here.

5. I saw this question on Marla's facebook page and asked if I could steal borrow it for the Hodgepodge...thanks Marla!

Chevron patterns are everywhere! Do you like it or think its just a little too much? Do you own anything 'chevron'?
I'm not a pattern person at all and all those stripes in various directions make my eyes go buggy.

6. What's something you disliked as a child, but can fully appreciate now?
Spinach. Growing up we always had the canned stuff with vinegar. Now I like it fresh.

7. What can irritate you very quickly?
People not returning my calls. Big pet peeve.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
My husband's birthday was yesterday and he is the same age as me for 13 days! He's off enjoying nature in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. He said he saw the largest moose, beavers and badgers that he's ever seen.

Monday, August 12, 2013

How I Spent My Weekend Alone

I got so much accomplished and yet there is so much more to do.

My plans for cooking fish got derailed a little simply because the store didn't have any mahi mahi. But I was not to be swayed from my seafood adventure. So I just bought a package of prepared honey chipotle salmon that was super delicious. There were two pieces and I liked it to much I ate both of them instead of saving one for the next day. Oh well. Then I made a batch of brownies for dessert.

Saturday I started my day with a workout. I went to the mall (which I avoid like the plague) and bought a few things. Then I hit Academy to return some of the camping stuff Dan didn't want and then of course I went to Kohl's because I had a coupon. I ended up doing well there and got some Kohl's cash to use next week. I even went to the casino to practice for my Las Vegas trip in October. I played penny slots and came out $14 ahead. I figured that was a victory. I ended the evening ironing a huge stack of clothes. Because if I didn't iron I would have had just a few clothes to wear this week. It is amazing how all my summer clothes need to be ironed but none of my winter clothes.

Sunday I volunteered at church for two services. We are really hurting for usher volunteers and the attendance is skyrocketing. We have a new volunteer coordinator so hopefully we can get more ushers. The last two weeks I haven't even been able to hear the message because I've spent all my time taking care of others. I've heard they have been very good so I guess I'll need to catch up with them on youtube. I tried out my new grill pan and learned that I need to let it heat up for a long time before I start cooking on it. I had a code for a free rental from Redbox so I got a movie that I knew Dan would never watch...Rock of Ages. It was horrible but I sang along with all the 80's rock music. Of course I knew all the words. I can see where a whole audience would sing along.

I got Whitney's room all cleaned and dusted. So it looks presentable again. My next project is to deep clean the bathrooms. I'm hoping to get that done before Dan gets home.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Fragments

And we are back with Mrs. 4444 for Friday Fragments. I hope she had a good summer vacation.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Stupid criminal this week is from Florida. A woman was pulled over for not having her seat belt buckled. Nothing unusual about that. However her reaction was not what most people do. She called 911 to report a police officer pulling her over and that she didn't like it. Needless to say in addition to the ticket for no seat belt she received one for inappropriate use of 911.

Now to counter the stupid criminal, how about a criminal with a conscious. Robbers took computers and candy from a non-profit. When they realized that it was a group that helped victims of sexual abuse, they returned everything in a shopping cart outside the doors with a note that they were sorry that they didn't know what they did and to please keep up the good work. They ended with "God Bless". 

Our city changed our recycling program going from once a week to once every two weeks. We got another huge polycart (this one in blue) and a schedule of pickup. We are week A but the city decided to start with the group B people. This was not a smart move because not only do people not read instructions they can't read the map. (We got the carts a month ago and were specifically told not to start using them until August 5. Guess how many weeks people kept putting them out?)

Dan left on his big camping adventure yesterday morning so I truly have the house to myself. I've got so many lists in my head of things I want to cook, things to do around the house and shopping trips that I don't think I can get them all done in a week. But I'm sure going to try.

First thing on my list is to cook some fish. I've only done it once and I really like fish. So I am going to get a piece of mahi mahi and I found a simple recipe that uses some wine and will have fish tonight. Crossing my fingers that I can do it.

Here's the difference between Dan and me packing for a trip. I go to China for 10 days and it took me about 2 hours to pack. He is going camping for a week in his own car and it took him 1 1/2 days. Plus countless hours trying to decide on a sleeping bag and tent. Literally we had four sleeping bags and three tents in the house with him trying to figure it out. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hodgepodge - Wow Am I Late Today

Things are crazy so I'm super late in posting my answers to Joyce's hodgepodge questions.

1. The first week of August is National Simplify Your Life Week...what's one thing you could do this week to qualify as a participant?
I'll have an empty house that's what. Whitney moved back to college yesterday and Dan's leaving to go on a vacation to meet his sister. Empty house will simplify a lot of stuff.

2. It's also National Peach Month...peach pie, peach cobbler, or please pour me aBellini? What's your peach pleasure?
Bellini. We've tried to make them and they never turn out as good as they do in a restaurant.

3. Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote, "Do one thing every day that scares you." Agree or disagree...explain.
I don't want to do something that scare me every day. That sounds like torture.

4. What's your favorite household chore? Yes-you have to name one.
I like to vacuum. Ever since I got my bagless vacuum I like to see how much dust/dog hair I pick up. And then I feel like I'm cleaner.

5. Fodors recently listed (what they've dubbed) the ten most beautiful sunset spots in America. Click here to read more and see the pretty pictures, but this is their list:

Butterfly Beach in Santa Barbara CA, Mount Haleakala in Maui HI, Old Fort Marcy Park in Santa Fe NM, Laguna Beach CA, Hopi Point in Grand Canyon AZ, Four Seasons in Miami FL, Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica CA, Gay Head in Martha's Vineyard MA, Ensign Peak in Salt Lake City UT, and Mallory Square in Key West Florida.

Have you seen the sun set from any of these spots? If you could choose to watch the sun set this weekend from one spot on the Fodors List, which would you choose? Where was the prettiest sunset you've ever seen?

I've seen the sunset from Mallory Square in Key West. But if I had to pick one off the list I would go to Maui.

6. What's your favorite or most used app? If you don't use apps how about your favorite or most visited website?

I have Facebook and Twitter open 24/7 on my ipad. If I have to choose between the two I'll go with Facebook.

7. We've recently passed the halfway mark for 2013...write a seven word sentence that sums up your year thus far.

Exciting things have happened, mundane to come.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Yesterday's move went super smooth. It helped that we knew what to expect from the room and that we had packed boxes according to where they went. Took 1 1/2 hours to unload the cars and then another 2 hours to unpack. So we were done by 1:30pm. I took her grocery shopping and then came home.

See her room is all decorated and the bed is made. She even has storage space left and drawers that aren't filled.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Fragments

Another Friday brings another round of fragments. Last week for Unknown Mami to have the reins and then back to Mrs. 4444. Thanks Mami for your work this summer.

Unknown Mami

There are two stupid criminals this week. A pair of young men in Canada set fire to a police station and wanted to be caught. The reason...they wanted to see a friend of theirs already in prison...for arson. They got their wish. Guess they hadn't heard of visiting hours before.

I found out this morning that Women of Faith was in OKC this weekend. I wish I had known earlier because the lineup looks great but I already have plans for Saturday.

Time to take all of Whitney's stuff out of the attic and pack up all the stuff she's had all summer. Move in day will be Tuesday for her. And the weather will not be cooperating with us this time. Forecasted to be 102 with heat index of 108. Good thing we are going first thing in the morning. Not that it really helps a lot.

I've been working on proposals and spreadsheets all week. Stressful in the sense that I would get something done and then a big change would happen so I would have to start from scratch. But in the end we will end up with a lot of money from it so I guess it is worth it.

When I go to the gym to work out they have 15 tv stations on. You would think I could find something to watch in primetime but some nights it is difficult. There is a lot of junk on during the summer and some of the series you just can't pick up in the middle of them. Looking forward to the fall to see what is on then. But just because there isn't anything on tv won't stop me from going. I really am enjoying the walks on the treadmill. And my body is liking them too.

I had someone say that they are having a hard time posting comments on my blog through bloglovin'. Has anyone had problems with my blog or anyone else's blog posting comments? Of course if you have a problem I won't know because you can't post a comment. :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Finishing Up China

So just a few more pictures from China. So many of the places do look alike because the architecture was all done around the same time.

Here I am in front of the entrance to the Forbidden City. Of course it has the famous photo of Mao on it. This is Tiannamin Square where they had the protests in the 80's. I figured out it was because it is right across the street from the government buildings and also because Mao's tomb is there.

This is inside the Forbidden City. It is quite large and impressive. Eventhough it was very busy, you could go along the outside and avoid a lot of the crowds who seemed to all congregate in specific buildings.

The wall of the seven dragons.

The Temple of Heaven. This was after we had a delicious lunch with the most fabulous chicken that I didn't take any pictures of.

I learned about tea while I was there and figured out I've never liked it because I was making it wrong. I came back with a lot of tea and a tea set.

I rode in a rickshaw through the Hutong, which is the old part of Beijing. That is my tour guide Christina with me. She spent three days with me interpreting and ordering meals. I highly recommend a personal tour guide when in a country where you don't speak the language and have no idea how to read anything.

Noodles was the one dish I had problems using my chopsticks with. But by the end of this meal I could do a pretty good job.

This is my last day of touring at the Summer Palace. Yes it was that smoggy. Most of my pictures have a gray cast to them.

You could take a ride on the dragon boat on the big lake that is at the palace. We didn't do that because it was so smoggy I doubt you would have seen much.

The Summer Palace is extremely busy and full of tourist stops the entire way. This was the main place where I noticed the big difference between the United States and China. Most of the "historical" places in the U.S. don't have as many tourist shacks within the property. Outside of the property sure, but on the property no. And this is also where the noise of the crowds go to me. The tours through here use bullhorns to talk to their group and that was just loud and I of course didn't understand a word. Several times my guide would have to stop talking because I couldn't hear her right next to me.

My hotel on the sunny day I left Beijing. Blue skies make everything look better.

The Beijing airport is the largest one I've ever been too. The International Terminal was massive. Once I got checked in (I was quite proud I figured that part out on my own) I had to take a little video of the entrance. I don't know if you can see the massiveness of the building from this clip.

But the airport was really nice. Lots of things to look at. I wish I had stopped for something to eat before going all the way out to the actual terminal because it is a shopping/eating mecca at the main part.

So there you have it. My trip to China was interesting. I'm very glad I went but I was super glad to get home.