Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pin It and Do It - My Progress Report

Did I mention that May and June are my absolute busiest months at work? And that I've known this for the past five years? Ya--I'm beginning to think I really am insane for these challenges I'm whipping it up. Lisa did remind me yesterday that "Insanity" is in my blog title. I've always wondered why I included that...

So even though I feel that I've only barely chipped the mountain that is my Pinterest collection, when I look back at the things I've done over the course of a month I realize that I kicked this challenge's ass. Take that May!

All of the photos below are my own.

May Photo A Day. Original Pin. From Fat Mum Slim

I've been doing fairly well with this particular pin--though not so great at taking the pictures on the actual assigned days. But still. 

Daily Notecard Journal. Original Pin. From Design Sponge.

 I think that I'm caught up to about the 23rd of May. Bahahaha! But I did find this little wicker box at Hobby Lobby that I plan to wrap a ribbon around to pretty up.

Paint Card Bookmarks. Original Pin. From Bella Carta.

Love these. Scott hammered in the eyelet for me and I did a bit of trimming with the original paint cards and glued two together so there is pattern on each side. The flower is a stamp using StazOn ink.

Frosting Rosettes. Original Pin. From I Am Baker.

If you click on the original link then you'll see that my flowers are a bit softer than the original, which works well for this cake. Definitely need to use a stiffer frosting next time rather than cream cheese frosting, but I think this would look great on cupcakes. Very easy to do!

Banana Cake. Original Pin. From Exclusively Food.

I'll admit that I was surprised when this little cake didn't rise but it was SO good. Very dense but very moist. I brought the leftovers up to work and it was devoured with many compliments. Will definitely make again.

Bacon and Cheese Frittata. Original Pin. From All Recipes.

A coworker gave me this link when I was asking for springform recipes. It was very tasty but I think I like a crust with a dish like this.

Potato au Gratin. Original Pin. From My Recipes.Com (sorta)

This was half pin and half experiment. The original pin has a crust which I really wanted to do but didn't have any pie dough in my freezer/fridge and didn't want to take the time to make it right then. Note to self, make up some pie dough and put in freezer.

Tortilla Pie. Original Pin. From Martha Stewart.

Thanks to JoAnn for introducing me to this recipe! It was very tasty and has endless possibilities for filling. Will definitely make again.

Pride and Prejudice Mug. Original Pin. From Brookish on Etsy.

Yes. I bought this for Mother's Day and my 6 year anniversary. :) I did use Scott's credit card if that counts.

Pinterest Whale Text (my text in blue). Original Pin. From Tumblr.

Need I say more?  ...

I mean really. Kicked this challenge in the butt!

I'd like to attempt a wrap-up post with everyone's progress, so please make sure you link up your own progress! There are already so many great links for you to check out. I bet it will help you get Pinterested.

There has been some interest in continuing on with this challenge. At this juncture I cannot host monthly but I do plan on a Pin It Do It Redux this fall. Tell me--September or October??

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Photo a Day May - Part 3

Hi! Ok, I think by now you know what's going on. If not, I'm participating in Fat Mum Slim's Photo a Day May. No, these pictures were not all taken on the day they were supposed to be. But I did them all! Whew. ;)

Day 16: What You're Reading. (Loving it)

Day 17: Snack. (Atomic Fire Balls. I got the giant bin from Sam's)

Day 18: Something you made. (part of my #PinitDoit challenge!)

Day 19: A Favourite place. 

Day 20: Something you can't live without. (Beauty)

Day 21: Where you stand. (no, I rarely have my toes painted...and desperately need a pedi)

Day 22: Pink. (you knew I couldn't resist...)

Week 1 Photos
Week 2 Photos

I think I'll post the rest next Thursday instead of Wednesday.

If there's a Photo a Day June do you think you'll participate?

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Stand...along - Sign-ups and Meme

It's here, It's here!! I hope you're all as excited as I am. Or nervous. Or scared. Or all of the above.

Can I admit that I'm TERRIFIED of reading The Stand? Horror or even scary(ish) is NOT my genre. Then why am I reading this (Lisa really wants to know)? I have NO idea. But I'm hoping I can rope a few of you in to hold hands with me while I tackle this beast.

And beast it is! The book picture above is my first copy of The Stand--a 1978 Book Club edition. But come to find out that the original version of The Stand is "cut." Or rather in 1990 Mr. King decided to publish an "uncut" version of this giant doorstop. At first I waffled and thought, "eh, I can just get by with reading the original version" but then I decided that if I'm going to propose a readalong then I should at least make the effort to read the same version that the participants may. Since work is seasonally busy for me right now I do plan on listening to the audiobook as well (which is a daunting 47 hours by itself!). Please note that you can read whichever version you desire. Doesn't make any difference to me.

My Ginormous new copy is 1150 pages (still hardback--I think trade paperback is around 1400?). You all voted on 8 weeks but since I'll be in Hawaii for a week in July we'll make it an even 9. June 1st through July 27th but feel free to read at any pace that you like.

The Stand...along Basics:

What: Readalong of The Stand by Stephen King. I'm calling it the Standalong. :)

When: June 1st through July 27th.

Where: Sign up on this post. Midway post will go up July 1st. Wrap-up post will go up July 27th. If you are reading the original version, you should be at Chapter 38 for the midway check-in. If you are reading the "uncut" version, you should be at Chapter 48 for the midway check-in. I know, confuses me, too.

How: However you want. Original (shorter) version, Uncut version, Audio version. Post on your blog or don't. You don't have to have a blog (but it does make it fun). Chitchat on Twitter. Think I'll be using #standalong or maybe #thestand. Input?

Why: Why not?? Ok, don't answer that. To have fun!!!

(see meme below before you sign up)

Sign Up:

Standalong Get to Know You (if you're posting about the readalong, which I would loooourve if you did but understand if you don't, answer the questions below so we can all get to know you better and where you stand with The Stand)

1. What makes you want to read The Stand?
2. Describe your preconceived notions of The Stand.
3. What was the last scary(ish) book you read or movie you saw?
4. Which version of the book will you be reading from?
5. What are you previous experiences with Stephen King?
6. Anything else you'd like to add (bonus points for being extra random).

Deep Breath. YAY!!!!!!!  Oh, and don't mind me if I get started a little bit early. Even though I'm a bit apprehensive I'm even more excited!!

Anyway questions, let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

5.19.2012 - Sixth Anniversary

Today Scott and I celebrate six years of marriage. I loved this man six years ago but what I feel for him now is so much more than love. What a blessing our life together has been. It has twisted and turned in ways that I couldn't have imagined and I can't wait to see where the road of life takes us. As long as we're together it will certainly be the best adventure.

What I would give to know what we're thinking in the picture above!

On the Blog:
One Year Ago - 5.19.2011 - Fifth Anniversary
Two Years Ago - 5.19.2010 - Fourth Anniversary
Three Years Ago - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz
Four Years Ago - All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren

Friday, May 18, 2012

Oreo Ice Cream Cake

First, I apologize for the less than stellar picture above. I took three shots of the slice of ice cream cake and by the time I realized my picture was blurry, the entire cake was devoured. Thanks to PicMonkey for helping me salvage. 

Anyway. As soon as I deemed this month Operation Use My Springform Pan, I knew I HAD to make my mom's Oreo Ice Cream Cake. Problem was that I'd buy a package of Oreos and they'd be devoured before I could even melt the ice cream. Does anyone else have that problem with Oreos?

I figured out the solution to my problem--buy the single stuffed oreos rather than the double stuffed ones. They tend to last a bit longer.

But I still had to make this one quick before Scott caught on to my trickery.

Same thing with the ice cream. I'm sorry for you folks who don't have access to the goodness that is Blue Bell Ice Cream. NOTHING beats it. NOTHING.

Oh, and did I mention the use of my Food Processor for this little project? Still the most used appliance in my kitchen!

It took willpower not to eat the Oreo Ice Cream straight from the bowl. Though Elle might have had a lick or two.


½ gallon ice cream (any flavor, but we always use vanilla)
1 package of Oreos (about 450g.)
¼ cup melted butter

1. Soften ice cream - either in fridge or microwave
2. Finely crush a little more than a third of the Oreo cookies (to make about 1 1/2 cups crushed)
3. Pour melted butter into a small bowl and mix well with the Oreo crumbs. Pat crumb mixture into the bottom of a buttered 9" springform pan. Put in freezer until needed again.
4. Crush the remainder of the Oreos--either finely or roughly to your preference and mix with ice cream. Reserve some crumbs if desired for topping.
5. Pour Oreo/Ice Cream mixture into springform pan and top with additional crumbs if desired.
6. Freeze until served.

Some Helpful Hints:
1. I used a food processor to chop the Oreos but if you don't have one put the cookies in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Or hammer. Ha!
2. To pat the crust into the bottom of the pan, use back of a spoon or a flat measuring cup.
3. To help cut through the ice cream cake, run your knife under hot water. The bottom crust will be pretty tough to cut but in my opinion is the best part. ;)

I'm kicking myself for not getting a picture of the cake without the springform pan, but there you have it. If you like Oreos and Ice Cream it doesn't get any better than this. Seriously.

All of the compliments I received from the partakers? Had to tell them that I learned it from the best. Thanks  Mom for letting me share this.


Every weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  "Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs."  Hope you'll join the fun!

On the Blog:
One Year Ago - 5.19.2011 - Fifth Anniversary
Two Years Ago - 5.19.2010 - Fourth Anniversary
Three Years Ago - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz
Four Years Ago - All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Photo a Day May - Part 2

Wednesday, what?! Every summer we have what's referred to as "busy season" at work and guess what--it started this week. On the one hand I love it because I'm really really busy but on the other it means getting to work much earlier and sacrificing part (or all) of my lunch. My fingers are crossed that this year will continue to be smooth but if I disappear for a few days here and there...that's why. 

Anyway, Photo a Day!   Join the fun--get the prompt from Fat Mum Slim.  See my Part 1 photos.

Day 9: Something you do everyday. 

Day 10: A favorite word.

Day 11: Kitchen (very floury flour canister)

Day 12: Something that makes you happy. Decompressing.

Day 13: Mum. 

 Day 14: Grass. 

Day 15: Love.

Today's photo is for "What You're Reading." :) I'm currently reading Wild. What are you reading?

What would you have taken for these shots? Especially curious about favorite word!

On the Blog:
One Year Ago - Memity Meme Meme Meme
Two Years Ago - Wuthering Heights: Chapters 4-14
Three Years Ago - Sunday Salon 7 - Outside Looking In
Four Years Ago - FINE!!!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday Salon 62: Bookish Babble

Good Morning! Happy Mother's Day!

I think it was last week that Unfinished Person mentioned it's been a while since I wrote a Sunday Salon post. I looked and sure enough it's been a month since I posted about the double shelves. Huh. Not really sure where all that time went!

Maybe to reading. Because I've been rockin' it on the reading front lately. And by "rockin' it" I mean that I actually finished three paper books last month! Half of my entire year's number. Wahoo Waterloo indeed. Without looking at my list I think I also finished three audiobooks and my total for the year is steadily creeping up to my yearly goal of 24 books. Set the bar low people--makes you feel really good when you surpass that low mark. ;)

Maybe I'm getting my brain back after a mushy year of new motherhood? Or maybe I just feel like reading? (I haven't done any sewing lately and have kind of sucked on the blogging front, so maybe time has just been reallocated). Right now I'm reading The Fault in Our Stars. I'm about 30 pages left and haven't decided yet if I'll even review it. I like it but I don't love it. Definitely not my favorite John Green--by far. I'm hoping I can finish it tonight (being Saturday when I'm drafting this post) so that I can start Wild for my new face-to-face book club at my indie bookstore (A Real's that for an awesome name?)

And what's even better? To date I've either posted or drafted reviews for all of the books I've read in 2012. Conversely I've only posted about one of the twelve audiobooks I've listened to. I just can't seem to figure out how to write about them. Does anyone else have that problem? How do you get over it?

THE STAND!!!!  Many many of you guys have told me that you're interested in reading The Stand (Stephen King) with me--hand holding is how I like to think of it. I'm going to start the readalong June 1 (will put up intro with linky soon) but I wanted to get your feedback on structure. My copy (hardcover) is 825 pages. I just ordered the "uncut" hardcover copy which comes in around 1100+ pages.  Think the mass market paperback I saw on Amazon is 14something pages (gulp).
So my questions (majority wins so speak up!!!):
1. How long do you want to take to read this bad boy? 8 weeks? Or longer?
2. How many check-ins do you want? Beginning, halfway, end? Weekly? Every other week? You tell me what you prefer!

Okie doke.

What are you up to today? What book is on your nightstand?

On the Blog:
One Year Ago - Memity Meme Meme Meme
Two Years Ago - In the Garden - Spring 2010
Three Years Ago - Sunday Salon 6 - Influence
Four Years Ago - Wicked - Gregory Maguire

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School - Kathleen Flinn

Title: The Kitchen Counter Cooking School
Author: Kathleen Flinn
Published: 2011 Pages: 274
Genre: Non-Fiction; Cooking
Rating: 5/5

In Short: Struggling to find use for her culinary know-how, author and chef Kathleen Flinn gathers nine ametuer cooks and teaches them simple yet helpful lessons in the kitchen—everything from knowledge of knives to making soup to roasting a chicken.

Why I read it: I first paid attention to this one when Lisa of Lit and Life reviewed it and then Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness read it. And then when Peppermint PhD reviewed it I immediately decided to recommend this one to my mom and sisters for our 2012 group read.

Thoughts in General: I loved this book. I think that the timing was perfectly right for me to read The Kitchen Counter Cooking School. I’ve been thinking about my own eating, especially as I’ve been really paying attention to Elle’s eating, and I started it around the same time that Scott and I started our Eat it Real challenge. I’m fairly confident in the kitchen but I don’t have a lot of skills—I’m eager to learn (thank you Ms. Beth Fish for letting me question your ear off) and am willing to make the mistakes to get the best end product. In that way I feel as though I differ from the other women in the book who didn’t have a lot of kitchen confidence and didn’t enjoy cooking. I may not be the best cook but I love cooking and experimenting.

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School is divided into chapters by different Lessons. These range everywhere from the correct way to hold and use a knife to knowing the taste of your ingredients to making use of what’s in your fridge to understanding just what’s in that box you’re using. Each chapter contains anecdotes from the individual lessons, progress reports from the various participants, a bit of history or background, and then a recipe or two. I read this book rather slowly—maybe over two months—and the individual lessons made the book easy to pick up and put down. Honestly I’m not sure that this is one you would want to read really quickly!

Even though not all of the material was new material for me, I had so many Aha! moments while reading this book. Keeping a bowl next to your chopping board for discard scraps? Duh! Different spice and oil parings for flavor inspired meals? Awesome! Hand holding while I work up the courage to roast a whole chicken for the first time? Thank you! And many many more. While very seasoned cooks might not get as much out of this book as I did, I think that there is something for everyone. My only wish is that there would be more diagrams and pictures to go along with some of the instruction. For example, I had to actually pick up a knife so I could visualize how Flinn was describing the correct way to hold.

And...I didn't think that this review could be complete without attempting to roast a whole chicken for the first time (roasting a whole chicken is a big deal in the book). Overall it turned out great! Except, I think I need to review my chicken anatomy as I roasted it breast down with all the spices on the backbone. Oops!

Bottom Line: This is a book that I will refer to time and time again and know that I could re-read it and pick up so many more tips. While it would be impossible for my cooking methods to change overnight based on this book, I found it very eye opening and I am much more aware now of how fresh my spices are, the best way to cut that onion, how simple it is to whip up a tasty and healthy meal. I recommend this book to anyone who would love a few little lessons in the kitchen—there is something for everyone to take away. Personally I'll keep this one right next to the rest of my cook books!

Are you confident in the kitchen? How did you learn to cook?

Every weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  "Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs."  Hope you'll join the fun!

On the Blog:
One Year Ago - Memity Meme Meme Meme
Two Years Ago - In the Garden - Spring 2010
Three Years Ago - Sunday Salon 6 - Influence
Four Years Ago - The Innocent Man - John Grisham

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Photo a Day May - Part 1

One of my "Things" for 2012 was to work on my photography. Taking one picture a day doesn't work for me and most of my shots are taken on the fly. But thanks to some of you folks, I decided that I'd bite the bullet and work from photo prompts given by Fat Mum Slim.  For the rest of the month I'll post the previous week's photos on Wednesday in lieu of Wordless Wednesday.

Day 1: Peace   (taken in the pitch dark with the external flash. Blurring is my edit in Picasa)

Day 2: Skyline (at twilight)

Day 3: Something You Wore Today (my "T" necklace. love)

Day 4: Fun!

Day 5: Bird  (baby bird was blown from nest during a storm. Mama was watching over him)

Day 6: You (unedited and in my "weekend" mode)

 Day 7: Someone That Inspires You (My grandma--taken in 1943 age 17 or 18)

Day 8: A Smell You Adore (tough! but I do adore the smell of coffee)

(in case you're curious--I believe most of these were taken with my 50mm prime lens).

What would you have taken pictures of for these prompts?

On the Blog:
One Year Ago - Introducing Baby Girl - April 25th, 2011
Two Years Ago - Top 10 Best Workout Songs
Three Years Ago - Sunday Salon 5 - Back to Basics
Four Years Ago - Six Random Things About Me
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