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?