Friday, December 22


What was supposed to be two days of vacation turned into two "sick" days as I have a cold and had the worst night of sleep in a looong time last night. While I am very glad I was already scheduled to have off, it kinda stinks that I'm just laying around without much energy to do anything.

My brother Andy & my sister-in-law Erin are arriving today for a few days (they live in San Diego). It'll be good to see them, especially since it might be a pretty long time before I see them again (next summer perhaps).

I watched The Devil Wears Prada last night after I recieved a few recommendations to get it. It was cute and I liked it. I can't see myself wearing the things Anne Hathaway's character wore, but hey, most women love a movie about fashion!

Wednesday, December 20

Carrot Cake and Pepper

I had Danila and Josh over tonight for their birthday dinner (Josh and Danila have birthdays two days apart). Josh requested the carrot cake my my mom has made in the past, so I made it for the first time. My mom's cakes have been taller in the past (she uses 8" pans maybe? I used 9") but I think the taste and turnout was quite similar. Danila and Josh contentedly ate their pieces of cake while I shot some pictures, haha. For dinner, we had Ancho-and-Coffee-Rubbed Filet Mignon with Ancho-Mushroom Sauce. I've made that about 5+ times now and it's always just right. The steaks are cooked in the oven after being browned in a fry pan on the stove, and they are very tender and cooked to the desired doneness. The sauce has a deep flavor that compliments the steak quite well. Some of you like plain steak...that's fine! I also served Confetti Mashed Potatoes, which is mashed potatoes (with milk and butter) combined with cream cheese, an egg, pimentoes and green onions. It's then baked for a little while and is a nice twist on regular mashed potatoes.

Oh yeah, while grinding pepper to add to the sauce only moments before Danila and Josh arrived, the grinder popped open and peppercorns flew everywhere!! I dustbusted them up and spooned about three peppercorns out of the sauce...oops.

I'm off until Wednesday of next week! I am so happy!

What? He's not REALLLLL?

At least that is what some british school kids heard recently about Santa from older students, and their parents were so mad that the magic of Christmas was stolen from these kids and that they couldn't get awa. This bit was funny: "The youngsters were then asked to write a pretend letter from the Post Office to a child explaining why their requests for presents had been refused."

There are way too many statements in this article I could mention ( least 10 or more). I'll just let you read it. I'll add one more: teachers are asked to lie, among other things: "From now on when a child asks if Father Christmas exists the teacher should say, 'I'm not sure. Go home and ask your parents.'"

Monday, December 18

Charlotte's Web

My brother, Adam, and I went to see Charlotte's Web this weekend. It was cute and enjoyable. Wilbur was pretty cute and reminded me of Asher with his playfulness (even though Asher is a dog and Wilbur is a pig).
Oh, and congratulations! YOU are Time Magazine's Person of the Year. Well done, You. Everyone wins this year with Time, including Kim Jong Il, Hillary, murders...anyone who picks up the magazine really. And this reasoning by the magazine's new editor, Richard Stengel, just makes So Much Sense and shows he's really on the right track:

"If you choose an individual, you have to justify how that person affected millions of people. But if you choose millions of people, you don't have to justify it to anyone....I always love it when it's a person - and it is a person, not a computer or something like that. We just felt there wasn't a single person who embodied this phenomenon."

Sunday, December 17

Christmas Myths Debunked

I was led, from Jared's blog, to a fascinating write-up on the seminary website where I am auditing a class called The Gospels. The write-up summarizes seminary professor Dr. Jack Kinnear's response to many Christmas myths that I have believed for years. It's worth a read.

Friday, December 15

Perhaps you have been wanting this....

...I added a link under "Favorite Recipes" for Previously Posted Recipes. I would imagine that it might be a task to sift through the archives to find a recipe I mentioned months they are all collected there, and I will update it as I post new recipes. If there is one you know of that isn't there, let me know. I think I got them all.

This is now my third post of the day! Woah.

Changing my mind........

The reviews coming out today about Eragon don't look very good. It sounds like it's a fairly lame movie and that there were some huge scenes taken out. I am leaning more towards not seeing it at this point and being content with liking the book.

Barack Obama Hussein Odumbo

This is a too-funny piece by Rush Limbaugh regarding the recent incident when Barack Obama scolded Maureen Dowd for making a comment about his ears. The name Rush gave him (in my post title) is hilarious if you have heard the bit by Ted Kennedy when he really botched Obama's name earlier this year.

Thursday, December 14

Out of this World

I was led to these pictures (taken in the last week, mostly by people in Iceland) while browsing my favorite photography forum. Someone mentioned the possible appearance of auroras over Earth as a result of solar winds/a solar flare (astronauts on the shuttle took refuge in the safest parts of the space shuttle due to radiation in space).

Could you imagine actually seeing the sky like that in person? That would be incredible! God never ceases to amaze me. I wonder what the astronauts could see from space.

One of my favorite verses of the vastness of God's might and glory:

"Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing." Isaiah 40:26


Yay for the "short story" Lynne wrote on her blog...please read it!

Grrr for the book that hasn't arrived for the seminary class I am auditing, which was ordered 11/18. I had to order it from another seller yesterday and pay for rush shipping so I don't have to wait two weeks to get it (still cheaper than buying new in store).

Yay for the three vacation days I'm using over Christmas!

Grrr for the person who forgot her lunch at home today (me...I was going to "grr" at my lunch...but my lunch didn't do anything!).

Yay for a fun weekend coming up with Adam and the dogs while my parents go to a dog show in Ohio. We might go see Eragon.

Wednesday, December 13

Presents, Spreadsheets and Anne with an 'e'

I wrapped all my Christmas presents last night, though I am waiting for a couple items to arrive in the mail (fear not, I didn't wrap the items that aren't yet in my could be read that way).

I don't know what your method of shopping is, but looking at my spreadsheet (yes, dear Readers, I have a spreadsheet...some of you are not surprised in the least) and doing quick count, out of 29 items purchased, only four were purchased when I was physically in a store! Five were purchased with mail order, and the rest were purchased online. Some of the items are only available online, and some I bought online for price &/or convenience. It would be interesting to see what I paid overall in shipping for those 20 items. Most of me can't be bothered with the parking, traffic and crowds unless I'm with a friend or in a leisurely mood.

So, back to my spreadsheet. I keep track of the gifts I am waiting to receive in the mail and mark it when it has arrived. There are other uses as well that make for wonderful reasons to use spreadsheets!
Don't forget, I am an accountant. Some of my friends could, in between fits of laughter, tell you the kinds of things I have tracked in spreadsheets. Some of those I have perhaps conveniently forgotten in the last minute or two and as a result, cannot share here for your reading pleasure. Rest assured, once they return to my memory, I will share them here immediately to make myself available to be mocked. :: snicker ::

What is your shopping style? Or, if I dare you keep spreadsheets for anything? If so, then we are kindred spirits.

Anne: "I've always dreamed of having a 'bosom' friend...a true kindred spirit."

Tuesday, December 12

Travel Coffee Mugs

Cook's Illustrated reviewed travel coffee mugs recently. The full review may be found here, and the summary is below. I naturally don't know your particular grievances, if any, with past experiences with coffee mugs (spillage, leakage, not the right thickness of rim for drinking or not enough room for a long nose to comfortably get the idea), but I do know there are general frustrations out there. I typically don't take coffee to work or other places, but hopefully I have Made Someone's Day by posting this review and providing the answer for which you have been seeking, but did not want to bother with trying out many mugs.

In another review, I was happy to see that the lemon squeezer I have, love and use for juicing limes and lemons won hands down in the equipment tests.

These caramels sound intriguing and rich, recommended by Cook's Illustrated. Pricey though, eh?

Summary of Travel Coffee Mug Test

First recommended product - Thermos Travel Mug
Also recommended - OXO Click N Seal Travel Mug

...we ordered 11 mugs of different materials, shapes, and sipping structures and organized a battery of tests designed to define the ideal mug, which left us feeling a little like test drivers as we careened around corners trying to spill the coffee or dislodge the mugs."

It's a funny thing to imagine the cooks taking driving tests just to see if coffee spills! Haha. On with the review...they measured how varoius products came out in the following areas (perhaps you have had issues with some of these):
  • Heat retention
  • Spill proof
  • Clean taste (flavors not transfering from one use to the next with different beverages)
  • Handles
  • Sippability/Drainage (easy to drink, excess liquid draining quickly back into mug)
  • Cleaning
  • Fit (into cup holders)
  • Stability (not top heavy or prone to tip
What they said about the two that came out on top:

The Thermos Stainless Steel Travel Mug with TherMax has a twist-on lid that clicks into 3 locations—for closed holes, open holes, and lid removal—and can also be turned to open the sip holes to different sizes. We found the lid to be secure; even a little resistant to turning when wet. It has sip holes all around the rim, so users can drink from any location. The cup provided good insulation, and the rubberized band that covered almost the entire base earned a rating of "most comfortable to hold." And with almost no moving parts, the mug was a cinch to clean. We had only two problems—excess liquid could take a few seconds to drain back in...and with the rubberized grip, the mug didn’t fit comfortably into two wire-style dashboard cup holders.

The OXO Click LiquiSeal Travel Stainless Mug is comfortable to hold and has excellent insulation (we also tested the plastic version, which is not recommended). A button in the middle of the lid lowers and locks an inner plastic lid, opening a space large enough to allow the liquid to flow through the sipping hole at a good speed. The hole itself is located in a little trench that provides excellent drainage. Our complaint was cleaning—liquid can get trapped in the inner layer and around the button. We recommend rinsing the lid as soon as possible after drinking.
The review mentions the products not recommended based on their tests.

Sunday, December 10

Photo Quiz #9 Answers

Quiz 9 Answers

1. A Hazelnut. Many of you thought it was a macadamia nut...which is similar in appearance, though less shaped than a hazelnut. Stacey guessed this one correctly, and Mom was also right.
2. The end of an electrical plug...I thought no one was going to get this, but Rebecca just posted her dad's correct guess on this one! Nice job. Here is a less-cropped picture:

I had a Christmas party last night, and it was great fun and lotttttttttttttts of food. There were about 14 of us, and my Korean neighbor also came. My parents and Adam came over today to eat some of the leftovers. I never took any pictures of anything, though I should have. We had, among many other things, the truffles and cookies which I posted about recently. Thanks to all who came, if you read this!

Monday, December 4

Lime-Glazed Coconut Snowballs

I had a good turnout of a new cookie recipe from Cook's Illustrated (a very trusted source). Their Lime-Glazed Coconut Snowballs were easy to make and went according to the directions. They are essentially like a shortbread cookie with lime. My neighbor and friend, Amy, helped me roll the cookies, and we had a good time talking while we baked.

I am currently enjoying the Christmas album by Sarah MacLachlan, which Shannon reviewed and Catherine posted about (which is how I learned of the album and immediately downloaded it from I'm easy to sway, I guess. Don't forget about the quiz below! There is a lower turnout this time. Tsk tsk, perhaps I waited too long to post a new quiz.

Galison Stationery

For a few years, I have liked stationery from Galison. They have notecards, journals, address books and more. The only thing I own is this striped notebook. They have a nice selection of Asian art as well and cool New York items. They also have e-cards which are simple but with pretty pictures.

In other news, I am reading and enjoying Eragon, which was reviewed by Jared about one year ago.

Having read and presumably thoroughly enjoyed this post, guess on the below quiz! Ta, ta!

Saturday, December 2

Photo Quiz #9

After much anticipation and delay!! What are they?

Thursday, November 30

True Beauty?

This is a fascinating, short video. She looked beautiful before any makeup.

This is a fascinating, short video. She looked beautiful before any makeup.

Wednesday, November 29

I made Truffles tonight.....

...and I am pleased with the results. These are chocolate truffles, mind you, not mushrooms! This was my first attempt at truffles.

Total time to make them was probably 5-6 hours, which included chopping chocolate, toasting hazelnuts and coconut, making raspberry puree, mixing chocolate and heated heavy cream (did that on lunch break), piping, rolling, coating, chilling, "enrobing" in the coconut, cocoa or nuts. Danila came over tonight and helped with a key part where you really need two people (this is the recipe I used, by the way). We rolled the ganache with rubber gloves after I piped them out on trays in mounds and chilled them for a bit. We had to place our hands on an ice pack to cool them down periodically so as to not make the chocolate too soft.

I then coated the truffles in plain, melted bittersweet chocolate (not mixed with any heavy cream) with bare, clean hands (ran out of gloves). The coating will form a hard shell around the truffle.
Before the coating solidified, Danila rolled them in the various toppings. I tasted a couple of the truffles, and the slight "crack" of the shell is quite delightful, then you reach the creamy, rich middle. I believe my favorite is the coconut covered variety (shown in the back of the photo).

Oh, I didn't get any chocolate on my clothes or the carpet! Mom will be proud and will think back to all the times I got grated cheese all over the counter and floor as a wee lass at home (or a teen, really). Danila was pretty tidy too. Now for some more clean-up.....

Tuesday, November 28


Karen, one of my best friends, was here this weekend in Pittsburgh. It's an understatement to say that it was good to see her and spend quality time together. We never know when we'll see each other next, but the Lord has been pleased to work it out so that we see each other once, maybe twice a year. We've been friends for six and a half years, ever since we were on the RP Missions trip to Airdrie, Scotland in 2000. My, how we and our lives have changed since then! (picture taken with tripod and remote shutter release)

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens the countenance of his friend." Proverbs 27:17

24 Trailer

You can watch an extended trailer to Season 6 of 24. It looks intense...hopefully not too far out! (haha, like other seasons of 24 haven't been far out.)

My friend Joanne sent me this trailer link. I did not find it of my own accord or skill. Please direct all praise and commendation to her in your comments, and she will blush accordingly (Hi Jo! Is this satisfactory?).

Friday, November 24

Now It's Christmas Time!

Thanksgiving was fun and is now over (pics here). What a year it has been. I've never been more thankful than I have been this year. I've thought on Psalm 66 quite a few times in the last few weeks as I have looked back on this year. The whole Psalm is perfect (I encourage you to read it), and I think on verses 10-12 most often,
"For You, O God, have tested us;
You have refined us as silver is refined.
You brought us into the net;
You laid affliction on our backs.
You have caused men to ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment."
Indeed He has. "Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul." (vs. 16). And because He has, I delight in the life He's given me, in simple things such as decorating for Christmas. I put up three trees today in my apartment dressed with old and new ornaments. Some are from my childhood and some are as recent as last week's purchase at Pottery Barn (with some surprisingly reasonable prices).

Some of my favorite ornaments are (you can see me reflected in the first one):

From my parents (found in Oregon):

Lastly, an old one from when I was a little girl:

Saturday, November 18

I am around and am learning

I haven't posted a new quiz this week. I am still alive! Just now, I am at the close of one of the first free and quiet evenings I have had in quite some time.

Miscellaneous bits:
1. I am well under way with Christmas shopping. I could possibly be halfway done at this point. What about you? My hope is to decorate my apartment for Christmas on Friday.
2. I made some chili tonight that I looooove. I posted the recipe in the entry below and look forward to lunches and dinners and lunches and dinners of chili in the near future.
3. I am now one of Those People who purchase dog clothing for their (family) dogs. See evidence below. Micah and Asher look quite funny. Too cute! It was a one-time purchase though! I promise. hehe.

4. I have become a fan of Michael Buble's music. Listen to one of my favorites here.
5. What a wonderful time I had last weekend meeting and having lunch with Catherine and Hannah! Catherine made a beautiful lunch for the two of us, and it was a true delight to see them (and Josh) in person after being blog friends for some time. Yes, Reader, that was the very first time we met!

On a more serious note, God pricked my heart this week to consider prayerfully how I can best use my time (evenings, weekends, etc) at this stage of my life. I have been verrry busy the last couple of months and have enjoyed many things. However, that pace can only continue for so long. God has given me direction already in the last few days to be purposeful about what I do in the evenings as I consider my calendar the next couple of months. I've been compelled to remember that while activity and fellowship is great, I personally need a slower pace than having all or nearly all of my evenings booked with something outside of my home, as wonderful as those things might be. I need to pace my self and be at home more than I have been. God lead me as I thought through specific things that I do want to give my time to and also considered what kind of regular down time I need. I have generally been good in my life at not feeling like I have to say 'yes' to everything as is the tendancy, I think, in the church, whether it's related to church or not.

To sum up, below are the items that I have considered so far to be where I primarily want my time during the week to reside:

1. Developing more prayer time (serious weakness, great desire)
2. Auditing a seminary class on the Gospels
3. Seeing my family once a week outside of church
4. Exercising
5. Two evenings a week at home

I really enjoy having people over on the weekend for dinner and prepare as much as I can ahead of time so as to not be rushed that day.

I have benefited greatly from Sabbath rest for seven years (especially while studying for the CPA Exam). It is a haven for me to slow down and enjoy rest in the Lord. However, I don't want to go into the Sabbath worn out and desparate for that rest. I will welcome it either way, but some slowness interspersed in my week would allow me to skip a nap here and there if I am, say, having someone for lunch after church and want to use the afternoon for fellowship. It is a purposeful way for me to honor the Lord on the Sabbath by preparing for the Sabbath. If I run all week and collapse in a fit of nappiness after I get home church and am then too groggy to go to evening church, I am not resting purposefully but out of necessity.
Does that make sense?

Have you yet needed to pray and think through something like that before? Do you need to now?

All-American Chili

This is a blend of Cooking Light, Cook's Illustrated, Charlotte Deibert and me:

All-American Chili

2 cups chopped onion
1 chopped red bell pepper
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 chipotle pepper, chopped (2 if you like it spicy)
2 tablespoons chili powder (I use Ancho chili powder)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
1 pound ground sirloin
8 ounces hot or sweet turkey Italian sausage
1 1/4 cups Merlot or other fruity red wine
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, to taste
extra brown sugar to taste

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onions and red pepper 5 minutes. Add seasonings and cook 5 minutes. Add meats and cook 8 minutes or until sausage and beef are browned, stirring to crumble. Stir in wine, tomatoes, and kidney beans; bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.Uncover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard the bay leaves.

Note: Like most chilis, this version tastes even better the next day. This is due to the chilling and reheating of the chili.

Thursday, November 9

Quiz #8 Answers

The photos in Quiz #8 were pictures of:

Salt-water taffy and coal! Both were taken in Colorado. The coal photo wasn't cropped or enlarged, but the photo above is another one I took which gives context. Anonymous guessed taffy right (com'mon, just write your name. Or else I might not recognize anymore you if you win!), and no one got the coal picture.

Wednesday, November 8

Bird landing

This picture sequence is fascinating! Take a look; it's from a photography forum I visit. Once you get there, click 'New Window' at the beginning of each photo to view full images.

I'll be posting the answer to Quiz #8 tomorrow; get your guesses in while you can!

Tuesday, November 7


I fairly vocal about politics in person, but not really on here. I am, however, sorely disappointed that Rick Santorum lost the seat for PA and that things are shifting toward the Democrats for the Senate. I know I can't fully grasp the consequences of this change in power.

I often read Heart Aflame, which are daily readings from Calvin on the Psalms. A reading from last week was encouraging to me, and it applies to this time with elections:

On Psalm 118:22, "The stone the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone."

David proceeds to repeat, at some length, that it is erroneous to estimate the kingdom of Christ by the sentiments and opinions of men, because, in spite of the opposition of the world, it is erected in an astonishing manner by the invisible power of God. In the meantime, we ought to remember, that all that was accomplished in the person of Christ extends to the gradual development of His kingdom, even until the end of the world. When Christ dwelt on the earth, He was despised by the chief priests; and now, those who call themselves the successors of Peter and Paul, but who are truly Ananiases and Caiaphases, giant-like wage war against the Gospel and the Holy Ghost. Not that this furious rebellion ought to give us any uneasiness: let us rather humbly adore that wonderful power of God which reverses the perverse decisions of the world. If our limited understandings could comprehend the course which God follows for the protection and preservation of His Church, there would be no mention made of a miracle. From this we conclude, that His mode of working is incomprehensible, baffling the understandings of men. But if we call to mind this prophecy, our faith will not fail, but will be more and more confirmed; because, from these things it will the better appear that the kingdom of Christ does not depend upon the favor of men, and that it does not derive its strength from earthly supports, even as He has not attained it by the suffrages of men. If, however, the master-builders build well, the perverseness of those who will not permit themselves to be appropriated to the sacred edifice will be so much the less excusable. Moreover, as often as we shall, by this species of temptation, be put to the trial, let us not forget that it is unreasonable to expect that the Church must be governed according to our understanding of matters, but that we are ignorant of the government of it, inasmuch as that which is miraculous surpasses our comprehension.
God is building His kingdom in ways seen and unseen by us. We are not left without responsibility to honor and proclaim His name, and while we await the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can rest knowing that it is God who builds His church and is not twarted by legislation or earthly judgments. I'm so thankful that, as Calvin said, the kingdom of Christ does not depend on the favor of men!

"But the Lord will scorn them all; He will laugh who sits on high." (Psalm 2)

Saturday, November 4


The circus was great fun! Pictures can be found here. Have you ever gone to a circus?

Thursday, November 2

Wednesday, November 1

Playing around and other ramblings

I bought and arranged some flowers tonight and took out my tripod, remote shutter release and of course my camera and "wasted" about an hour whilst I could have been doing some other productive things. See? You get to benefit from it! For those who have a mild interest in photography, the first picture was exposed for 15 seconds and second picture for 3.2 seconds. And for the VERY few who have an interest in accounting, that is indeed an old book called Accounting Concepts at the bottom of the stack which I have not read and do not plan to read. The first is Frankenstein, one of my favorite novels, and the middle is Mrs. Mike, which I greatly enjoyed as did my mom. Now I know you wanted to know those particulars! Look, this turned into a book recommendation post.

On a more exciting note, I just got back from a trip to Colorado the other night. I had a great time seeing the many beauties of the state (including sunshine. Yay for being back in dreary PA!) and eating several meals of marinated chicken, rice, salsa, sour cream, black beans, and guacamole. I was quite content. Pictures are in my albums link to the left.

One last recommendation is a fun board game called "Loaded Questions". I have played it with several different groups recently
(5-6 people each) and have received rave reviews of how much the game was enjoyed. It was most recently played at our Reformation Day Pizza & Game night at church yesterday evening.

Oh! One more thing. The random comments have yet to end. I am going to the Ringling Brothers circus tomorrow with my family! I am really excited, particularly since I thought they might have moved by now to Oregon and we would never get to go again together. I grew up going to the circus and only missed a couple of years. Our tradition has been to get Chinese food before the show, so we're doing that too. Yay!

Thursday, October 26

Photo Quiz #7 Answers

1. Wadded up packing tape

2. The silver bolt on a paring knife

Winners: Josh and Stacey on #2. Many were close on #1 with guessing cellophane/plastic wrap.

I'm going to Denver today! I can't wait to see the mountians. If only I had an extra memory card for my camera...

Sunday, October 22

Daylight savings time ends this change your clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night! We gain an hour, yay!
 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 19

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

I made three loaves tonight (here are two). I used a mini tripod and my new remote shutter release. For those of you who have any interest in photography, the shutter speed on this shot was one second (very much requiring a tripod). I was able to take this picture without touching the camera (thus no camera shake).

Photo Quiz #7

After much delay....

What are these photos?

 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 11

It's like Timmy and Lassie

Kind of.

Below is the text of an actual "instant message" conversation I had with a friend yesterday online. It was super funny to me because I was there. Since you were not, think of it in light of those situations on TV (only on TV, yes, and not real life) where a dog is barking madly, and the boy says "What is it Lassie? Is something wrong?" Bark barkbarkBARK!bark!! "A boy fell into the lake and is drowning?" Barkbark!!bark. "Ok, lets go help!" barkbarkwoof.

Friend: hey
Friend: C643d y64 he3- 0e
Alicia: not really haha
Friend: 6h 0an!
Friend: th5n2 there 5s a 36c2 6f s60e b4tt6n 5 need t6 -ress
Alicia: your buttons don't work?
Friend: they w6r2 s6rt 6f
Friend: 14st n40bers s60eth5ng
Alicia: are you on a laptop?
Friend: yes
Friend: n5ght0are!
Alicia: you probably have a key locked in for a secondary function
Friend: any 5deas/
Alicia: i think it's your numlock
Friend: 5 -ressed 5t b4t n6 change/
Alicia: you should have a colored key that has an abbreviation of "function"
Alicia: then on another part of the key board, in the same color, will be a numlock key
Alicia: hold down both at the same time, and it should take numlock off
Friend: jaldkjfaoijtriajtliajgl
Friend: thank you you are the girl!!!
Alicia: hahah!!!!!
Alicia: so funny, you got it
Friend: got it
Friend: thanks soooo much!

Sunday, October 8

New Pictures

I went to an Apple Festival on Saturday, and here is the fruit of my camera. I also stopped by a local orchard for more pictures after getting back with my friends. The weather was P.E.R.F.E.C.T. - sunny and cool. What a wonderful fall day it was!

Wednesday, October 4

Oh Boy These Look So Good

I skimmed the recent Martha Stewart Living magazine at the library today and found a recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes. I am craving them! I want to try! But not until a Saturday that affords me a good long workout afterwards. Photo from

Keeping with the pumpkin theme, I am excited to make Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread again this fall or around Thanksgiving (this is my dessert link to the left). It has been a hit at various functions in the past, and a bit of cream cheese spread on a slice makes for a decadent blend of flavors.

Tuesday, October 3

Winning Weekend

My dad and Micah have continued to compete in rally trials, and this past weekend, they secured their Advanced Title (2nd of 3 levels of competition for Rally) with a qualifying score and they won 2nd place. On Saturday, they went on to get the first of three legs of the Excellent level, taking first place for the day. Yay for Dad and Micah! Two more legs to go with Excellent and the Rally competing will be complete. My mom has started to show Asher in confirmation and he will be eligible for agility once he is a year old (December).

And just for fun, here is an old picture of Micah practicing agility in the backyard. His two back feet just seem to be floating along with the rest of him.

And best of all, I have a new nephew :-). I enjoyed Jared's post (pics here) about his new son, Elias, and I'm excited for this new life.

Monday, October 2

Photo Quiz #6 Answers

The answers for Quiz #6 are:

1. Tassel from my college graduation
2. Wooden spoons

No one got the second one exactly right, but Mr. TW Anonymous was fairly close. Mom was the most right on #1 and was pretty funny too.

Thursday, September 28

Product Pickiness

Are there any products that you are very particular about, that you simply must use? For lip balm, I have been using Lush Lip Service exclusively for over six years. It wasn't referred or gifted to me originally for me to start using it. I was in the Lush shop for the first time in Glasgow, Scotland in 2000, and their lip balm was on the counter by the register. I was purchasing something else and saw their Lip Service and grabbed one. A total Spontaneous Buy. The thing stores like you to do. I became hooked. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how much I liked it until I arrived home; thus, I couldn't stock up on it. The stuff stays on a really long time and isn't too neosporin-like or slippery in its consistency. My supply has typically come from my own visits to Scotland or the UK or other friends buying it for me and bringing it over. There is a US website, (linked above) but the shipping makes the product cost even more.

Had I considered the actual $US amount that the first purchase amounted to for one Little Jar of lip balm, I might have reconsidered that very first purchase. But now I gladly spend $7 per container on it.

So, call me a lip balm snob. Readers, please tell me. Is there something you are particular about? A certain store? Brand? Flavor? Do tell!

Lip Balm Snob

Sunday, September 24

Photo Quiz #6

What are they?

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Tuesday, September 19

Answers to Quiz #5

Answers from the most recent quiz are:
1. Pineapple top
2. Airplane wing

Many got these right, nice job! I was hoping to make these harder. I may slack on posting the next quiz, but it will come in this lifetime, unless Christ returns.

Sunday, September 17

Orzo Salad & Jerk Chicken

I added a Cooking Light recipe to my 'Salads' cookbook to the left, called Orzo Salad. It has full flavor since it uses balsamic vinegar and feta cheese. I found it easy to make and delicious to eat. I will probably make for a future fellowship dinner at church as it should be made ahead.

I am currently grilling jerk chicken kebabs using the marinade from this recipe, and it smells incredible. I'll let you know how it turns out. I finally purchases some skewers yesterday!

Tuesday, September 12

Ladies! This post is for you.

What, for you, warrants a bowl of ice cream or other desperate, fatty indulgence? A proven equation for me is:

One developing cold + one jar of peanut butter that went MIA between my grocery basket and my house + one trip out to store to get new PB for recipe + one parchment paper roll that flips out of the box onto the floor, unrolling + one glump (is that a word?) of peanut butter which falls off rickety scale and face down on counter* = a spoonful of peanut butter for me

What about you ladies? (men, I single out the ladies because we tend to cave nutritionally in situations like this; feel free to answer) Or, what is your favorite fatty indulgence? Now, I do see a slight pattern of peanut butter being involved in this mischief. I'll look into it.

* just like my old PB open-faced sandwiches used to do, all by themselves. Yet Dad (hi Dad!) would ground me from eating them for a while.

Quiz #5

What are they?

Monday, September 11

I love my car, I hate my car. I love my car, I hate my car. I love....

All this just to be able to drive a nifty SUV for a few days? (Picture here)

And, my new best friend is How [Auto] Stuff Works.

As some of you know, my check engine light came on a couple weeks ago. This is a major event in my life (not really, well sort of. Actually, no). I hoped it was just the gas cap not being on quite tight enough. While hoping that was the case yet starting to realize it was probably something else considering I've had 17 drives after tightening the cap (and the manual says the light will clear after 3 if it's the cap), my car got my attention by Not Starting on Friday night. I arrived home from working out and was going to leave again to shoot some photos of the nice evening light. Turn key. Nothing. No [insert sound of car trying to start]. Just the radio. Turn key again. Same. An hour later, I was back home after I eventually got the car started (well, I didn't do anything was all the car) and my friend Joanne (hi Joanne!) met me at Honda so I could leave my car for repair over the weekend and get back home.

Honda calls today. Not the actual Honda, mind you, but a man from Honda, and we'll just call him "Honda" (very original, I know). Honda says the check engine light went on because my catalytic converter and O2 sensor need to be replaced. Uh-huh. That means nothing to me right now. What are those things again? I have heard of that particular item before.The PRICE however, means much, much, much more to me. O.n.e.cough.t.h.o.u.s.a.n.d.
cough.d.o.l.l.a.r.s. Yes, sir.

Now, I, being a 1) woman and 2) mostly uneducated in the realm of cars, immediately jump, in my mind, to paying for it. And if I should put that much money into my car or put a brick on the gas pedal at the edge of a cliff (sorry car), believing the guy (mostly) that it's a life or death repair. Of course I wouldn't go to that extreme, but you get the point. Now, men, tell me, do you first think, in reponse to Honda, "Well,what about this and that and this, and I know this and that and this, and you are a this and that and this, and I'm not going to be taken in by this and that and this and so on"? You see, this is mostly the only time I don't particularly like being a woman because I know so little about cars, I don't like sounding dumb, and I don't like being dependent on someone else's knowledge with whom I have no prior relationship, when it has to do with my money and possessions. I told him that I would wait on the repairs, thankyouverymuch. Now what? I certainly don't want to contribute to global warming with poor emissions (rolling eyes).

Well, I learned more about these two parts, thanks to another mechanic, two co-workers and my new best friend (per above). I talked to Honda again, and the O2 sensor is bad and the catalytic converter is cracked. It is not clogged (worse to be clogged). It's not an urgent repair (though looming in my superb). I would rather not go too long though with it like this, because according to my new best friend, "When the oxygen sensor fails, the computer can no longer sense the air/fuel ratio, so it ends up guessing. Your car performs poorly and uses more fuel than it needs to."

At least, despite the handicaps I mentioned above with regard to cars and me, I didn't believe the non-starting issue had anything to do with the emissions issues. As a result, I asked Honda to test for other problems, nothing is coming up for that...the car has to be in a state of Not Working in order for it to show up on the diagnostic test.

So, the moral of this story is a question and not a lesson: How do you handle car repairs? (and what would you do in my situation)

One last very final thing: After arriving back home on Friday night, I noticed my cute little flash card still in the card reader by my computer. I wouldn't have been able to take any pictures anyway, had I made it to my destination! I had a good chuckle at that one. The Lord is always good to His people.

and yes, a new photo quiz will be coming this week.

I Remember, Too.

Some of my friends have been posting their remembrance of September 11, 2001. I wasn't in a prominant place that day (while some were). I was just at college my senior year, and it was a sunny, chilly morning. I was near the mail room in the Student Center when someone came in and said something about a plane hitting one of the WTC towers. I went upstairs to study, thinking it was a freak accident. After a few minutes, I kept thinking about it, so I left the table where my roommate, Kim, was also studying. I went downstairs to watch the TV where many were gathered and silent, and I was completely thrown by what I saw on TV. I was due in class but couldn't leave the TV except to go back upstairs and get Kim. I stayed for about two hours (classes were cancelled) and just watched and watched and watched, in near disbelief as to what was going on. I just could not fathom that those towers were collasping I as I watched and that so many perished as I watched. I'm used to hearing about tragedy after the fact. This happened as I watched. Later, I called my mom, and we cried. My mom thought my dad, who worked for the judicial branch of the government at the time and was in Erie that day, would have to Shanksville (where Flight 93 crashed) to help out at the crash site. I was so sad that he would potentially have to witness that scene (thankfully he did not have to do that).

The rest of the day, I watched the news with my friends. I remember how quiet the skies were. While, I don't remember many particulars of the days following, I do rememeber all the footage of people praying and caring for each other. With sadness, I realized that many of the people praying were not praying because they acknowledged God for who He is or because they trusted in Him for their salvation and comfort. It was simply because they were needy, hurting, and prayed to "someone up there". I also realized that we tend to think an awful lot of ourselves as a country and many say "God Bless America". God has done and will do as He pleases with this country, and my heart doesn't really echo the sentiment of God blessing America. He blesses His people alone for His own name, whether American or not.

Wednesday, September 6

Grill Grill Grill Grill Grill Grill Grill Grill

My grill is functional again! This is a momentous occasion. It has been 9 months since I last used my grill. Like a new baby! Haha, not really. I bought a new propane tank and grilled some pineapple tonight (in the dark) for Grilled Pineapple Salsa to go with pork tenderloin tomorrow. The tank, not the regulator, was the problem.

One of my favorite desserts ::clapping hands::

eek!! I just discovered that one of my favorite desserts is available online from Real Simple. The recipe for Individual Chocolate Melting Cakes was originally found in the magazine about five years ago (by my mom, I think, Hi Mom!). Real Simple is connected to Cooking Light, so I've successfully added it to my desserts link to the side. I'm making this tomorrow for some friends and particularly like to serve it with Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream. Note that I use ramekins instead of muffin tins, and I serve the cakes in the ramkens placed on a plate (for spillage). Also, I've never used the caramel sauce it calls for.

I am quite excited that I can share it with you all and have it as an item in my online cookbook to the side. If you like chocolately-velvety-richness, this is the recipe for you.

What does it mean that I am so giddy about this? Doctor, please?

Free Music! From Someone Talented!

I'd like to plug, as Josh did, Derek Webb's new album called Mockingbird, and it is available as a free download here. I haven't listened to his solo music before today, but Caedmon's Call is one of my favorite bands. I've nearly listened to the whole album and am really enjoying it. I don't have any intriguing artistic critiques or reviews on the music...I just like listening to it.

Tuesday, September 5

Quiz #4 Answers & The Smallest State

The answers to Quiz #4 are:
1) Toothpicks
2) Avocado pit

Congrats to Josh and Anonymous for guessing the second picture right! I don't believe anyone guessed toothpicks from those who guess via email, comments or in person. Next quiz coming soon.

I went to Rhode Island this weekend and had a great time with Maureen, Alastair and their bubbly baby boy.
On Saturday, the sea was choppy and rough with large waves . It was spectacular to watch. On Sunday, I was blessed to visit the RP church plant in Providence and meet a great group of committed church planters. We left at 6 am Monday for the beach (very ambitious of me, I know) and the weather was clear and beautiful for the 5 hours we spent with the sand, waves and gulls. I'll post some pictures later this week.

This was my first time going to Rhode Island, and I loved the New England homes, like these (courtesy

The first home is listed for over $3 million. The second two were around $700k. Whatever. Who needs money, right?

Friday, September 1

Women Where?

I appreciated a recent post by Jared regarding a woman's "place". I very much agree with what he said and encourage you to take a look at it. I commented over there, so I won't add anything here.

A friend emailed me saddening info related to Walmart and their recent, blatant endorsement of homosexual marriage (and thus destruction of true marriage), and you can read about it here. The cycle of man seeking to serve himself goes 'round and 'round and 'round.

Thursday, August 31

Rest, Riposo, Descanso, отдых, De rust

At biblestudy this week, we looked at the meaning of rest as we started Hebrews 4. There are many kinds of rest (ie earthly, eternal, physical, spiritual, etc). We were asked to define rest.

My short answer was "ceasing".

My long answer was: "Ceasing from work, effort, responsibility, burdens, activity or movement. Rest can be purposeful or physically, mentally, or emotionally necessary."

We often think of rest (in this life) as taking a breather physically. We run, then we rest. We madly clean up, then we rest. That is true, though I believe it can go much further than that. Because of some certain Circumstances in my life
this year, I have learned how valuable and necessary rest is for one's heart. The Lord has also used a dear friend to teach me more about rest. I thank God that He has given my heart great rest in the last 8 weeks or so. I sense it greatly and it's so refreshing. I think of people who face sorrow and grief, and when that time of sorrow has passed, one's heart may rest again (and sometimes God gives rest in the midst of sorrow). Joy often accompanies the rest that follows sorrow. A verse that often comes to mind when taking a "heart breather" is "Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." Psalm 116:7. Rest is offered from our God not only in the time to come but also while we are on this earth.

Rest sometimes involves the lack of being burdened. If I have a particular week that feels overly hectic for me, I crave a free evening. And I purposely plan free evenings (or Saturdays) regularly in order to cease from busyness, even if it is good busyness. That is good for where I am in my life now. I know people who are fatigued have learned through their own mistakes and successes what it means to rest, to cease. If you are a naturally busy, on-the-go-person, your first reaction to the idea of rest might also include thoughts of laziness. Stopping, ceasing, taking quiet time to rest may leave you feeling guilty that you ought to be doing something. However, I also can imagine how hard it is to rest when you are a parent or have many responsibilities.

What do you think of when you think of rest? How do you rest?

I wanted to add that rest on the Sabbath is a given for me....and the rest I refer to above is rest that I have to be more purposeful about. Thanks to Noah for his comment which reminded me to clarify that.

Wednesday, August 30

A Poll I Made Up

:: Ahem ::

:: rustling of papers ::

:: blink, blink ::


1. What kind of physical activity did you do today? Pilates
2. Have you ever rotated a Queen mattress by yourself? Why yes, just last night, in fact. Funny you should ask.
3. Do you always cross your legs like you are doing now? Quite often, yes
4. Are you happy that the smokers in the apartment below you appear to be moving out? Very much so.
5. Have you finally done what is necessary to have your grill working again? Yes and no. I know that I need to try a new tank. It took me long enough to simply look at the back of the grill to find the model number (10 months). Anyone have a guess as to how long it'll take to take the tank to be replaced now that I know the tank is the issue (yes and even though your parents told you that several times already)?
6. How many times have you been to Starbucks in the last 2 weeks? Um, I think... :: counting :: ...four?
7. Do you think the triple shot of espresso in your drink will affect your sleep tonight? Probably not, though it could be affecting the content of this post
8. Why do you think the check engine light went on in your car again tonight? Hopefully because I didn't twist the gas cap enough yesterday. I will find out tomorrow (do you ask these questions of everyone Mr., I mean, Miss Pollster?).
9. How long did it take you to come up with this question? About a minute. You mean THIS question, right? Yes, about a minute.
10. Do you want your readers to comment and make up their own poll? Why certainly! That is a brilliant idea.
11. Last question, I had to throw this in. Did you really look up in an online thesaurus a synonym for "splendid"? And did you, in fact, decide to use the word brilliant instead? Yes, I did. I have always admired those who have a more creative vocabulary than me (Hi Catherine!).

Tuesday, August 29

Monday, August 28

Quiz #3 Answers

Answers to Quiz #3:
#1 A portion of orange-handled scissors
#2 Q-tips

Many got Q-tips right, but Auntie Chris was the only one to get scissors right with her revised answer. Nice job, everyone!

Quiz #4 will be posted this week!

Don't Play With Your Food (or, How to Make Guacamole)

I was playing with my food yesterday, being a Cooking Light photographer-food-stylist wanna-be. I would rather have had better tortilla chips to work with, but, eh, you do what you can, right?

The progress of guacamole (can you identify the ingredients in the second picture?):