Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Colorado Thanksgiving

We spent our Thanksgiving holiday in Colorado at my brother's house.  Wednesday we drove the 12.5 windy hours and made it just in time for dinner- Mom's green chile chicken soup, mmm mmm!  All of Thursday was spent cooking and eating of course.  My brother made an amazing turkey completely on his own.  He used a brine made of apple juice and other good stuff and then smoked it all day.  It turned out soooo good!

We had the traditional dinner- mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, deviled eggs, rolls, gravy, etc.  For desert we had chocolate cream pie, banana cream pie, apple-cranberry pie, pumpkin roll, no-bake cookies and cinnamon rolls.  Dessert also became breakfast for the next several days!
The pies

Titus could be found in his usual spot waiting for any scraps that might come his way.

My brother's new table all set for dinner

Cooking, eating, and football pretty much sums up Thursday.  SHOPPING sums up Friday!  Mom and I headed out at 2:30am to be at Kohl's at 3am.  We spent about 9 hours hitting Black Friday sales, a tradition that I look forward to every year. 
Saturday we did a little more shopping and went to see my brother's office.  He has an amazing view of the Rockies out his office window- rough, I know.  I didn't take a picture because mountain range pictures never seem to do justice to the real thing.  You'll just have to use your imagination.
Sunday we hit the road again dropping Mom off at the airport as we left Denver.  Another 12 windy hours later, we were back home soon to be back at work.  The time went by way too quickly as usual, but we had a great time.
Oh, you haven't seen a good Titus video lately?  We can fix that!  My brother is a Florida Gators fan, so he collects some gator stuff.  One thing he has is this real baby alligator head.  Titus didn't like it too much...
Titus vs. Gator, take 1
Titus vs. Gator, take 2

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Some favorite websites

Today I just felt like sharing my top 10 favorite websites (other than the blogs listed to the right) with you and the reasons why I love them.  I'm sure you know about most of them, but maybe I'll get you hooked on something new.  Please feel free to share your favorites with me too!
1.  The Pioneer Woman- hilarious stories of ranch life, great recipes, fun photo contests, gift ideas, decorating ideas (also homeschooling ideas for those of you who are so brave)
2.  Tasty Kitchen- An extension of #1, tons of amazing recipes from PW and all of her followers
3.  Young House Love-  A young couple (and their baby and dog) who DIY everything, fun house ideas and all kinds of tips and instructions for all the projects they tackle.
4.  Sew4home-  A sewing site full of tips, techniques, projects, and product reviews.
5.  Knock-off Wood-  Project ideas and detailed plans for all kinds of furniture.  I've never made any items from this site, but everything looks amazing and the directions are super easy.  If you don't want to spend tons of money on kids furniture (or adult furniture) check this stuff out!  This lady does everything from shelves and chairs to beds and armoires, even doll furniture.  You might find some easy Christmas projects here.  The plans are all FREE too!
6. Ruffwear-  Of course there has to be a dog site.  This site has some fun ideas for dog activities and tips for making things safe.
7.  BibleGateway-  My go-to website for finding Bible passages quickly.
8.  Better Homes and Gardens-  Exactly what you would expect: ideas for your home and garden.  I get tons of inspiration from this site.  Definitely worth exploring for easy decorating and organizing ideas, also tons of recipes.
9.  New Dress A Day-  This girl has taken $1 thrift store tragedies and turned them into decent clothes.  She challenged herself to do this everyday for a year.  She only has a few days left, but you might enjoy looking back over some of the things she has created.  This site definitely makes you rethink the clothes you get rid of.
10.  Amazon-  No explanation needed I'm sure.  I shop for everything here and buy lots of gifts on this site.

So there you have it.  In looking back over this list, the dominant theme seems to be DIY projects.  I wish I had more time to tackle all the ideas that I love from these talented people.  Maybe someday...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Family gathering at the farm

Every November for the past several years, Josh's Mom's side of the family gets together somewhere in TX.  This year was our first year that we were able to attend, and we met at Uncle Joe and Aunt Susan's farm.  We were able to camp and bring Titus which was really nice.  Here are a few pictures from our weekend.
Josh playing with our nephew Benjamin
Boys and tractor- enough said
Some of the Brahman and their calves
This was the head momma Brahman.  Everyone followed her lead.  She was friendly to people but not to Titus.  I love her huge ears!
Titus hanging out with the lone Hereford on the farm
This young Brahman wanted to check Titus out more closely.
A bright, sunny shot of the family
The close-up interactions with cows were new to Titus.  The Hereford couldn't care less if Titus was around.  They shared the water trough and got along swell.  The Brahman were a different story.  They were very curious about Titus and didn't like him in their pasture.  The head momma chased him out several times.  Here are some cow videos for those of you with any interest.
Video 1- The cows see Titus in their pasture.  Head momma heads for Titus and the others slowly follow.  Does Titus escape?  You have to watch to find out.
Video 2- Who doesn't love a cute little calf?
Video 3- Head momma checks out the camera.  Shelly, this snoot is totally for you!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Family recipe

Warning:  You are not going to like me very much by the end of this post.  You can't get too mad- you've been warned.
A few weeks ago, my Mom and I got to make a quick visit to my grandparent's house.  One of the main goals of this trip was to make cinnamon rolls with my Grandma.  My Dad's side of the family has this recipe that goes back 5 generations (including mine) that we know of.  I know nearly every family has a version of cinnamon rolls that is special, but this one is the yummiest EVER!  I don't think anybody in my Dad's generation is making this recipe, so it is even more important that I carry it forward.
Anyway, I made these cinnamon rolls a couple of times while we lived in WA, but something just wasn't right.  I vowed not to make them again until I could make them with my Grandma, the pro.  She agreed to make them with me but wanted to wait until the weather was cooler so the kitchen wouldn't seem so hot.  We had a great time baking together and the results were wonderful.  I learned a few tricks and realized a few things I was doing wrong.  I'll give them another try on my own soon to make sure I have improved.  Thanks to my Mom for taking pictures.
I need to apologize ahead of time for my appearance in the photos.  We started baking at 6:30am and finished about 9 hours later.  I stayed in my pjs all day long, didn't do my hair, didn't put my contacts in, no make-up, etc.  Don't you just love days like that (unless a camera is present)?
Making the dough
Getting messy is half the fun!

Grandma being goofy

The dough is starting to come together


Rolling out 1/3 of the dough

Smearing on the wonderful filling
You can also spell out words with the filling.  You'll see why I spelled FISHER in a minute.

Rolling up the dough

Slicing the dough- I'm not very good at this step, it's very messy!  Grandma just laughed at me when I tried.

This is when you start getting hungry

We also made a small pan of regular dinner rolls

After the rolls rise and bake, you thin the filling and drizzle more on top and bake a few more minutes.

The finished product- YUMMO!

So here's where you're going to get mad.  I'm not going to share the recipe with you, well, not all of it anyway.  I will make them for you if you come to see me though!  I will leave you with this- my Grandma gave me the handwritten copy that my Great-grandma Fisher wrote many years ago (this is where the FISHER comes in).  My version of this recipe is 2 pages, typed, so I don't mind sharing the shortened version.  I dare you to make the recipe from these instructions.  Never mind that several ingredients and amounts are missing and there is never any mention of oven temperature or baking time.  I plan on framing this recipe and hanging it in my kitchen.  It is one of those family treasures that I will cherish forever.   
Great-grandma Fisher's handwritten recipe

Thanks, Grandma, for a great day of baking!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lab Quote Friday #10

I can't believe we've actually been doing this for 10 weeks now!  This semester has just zipped by!  I think this will be the last Lab Quote Friday of the year unless something totally hilarious happens in the 1 lab that meets next week :(
So there are many, many reasons why I'm a lab rat and not a professor.  One of those reasons has to do with stupid questions- YES, there IS such a thing as a stupid question.  You want proof?  You got it-

"What is the difference between water and H2O?"  (The lab manual uses the terms interchangeably, but some people cannot adapt so easily)
"What should we do for the experiment that we are supposed to design ourselves?"  (Um, perhaps, design it yourself?)
"Will this (chemical) kill me if it gets on my skin?" or "I accidentally touched that (chemical)- am I going to die?" (Do they really think we would use deadly chemicals in a lab full of freshmen?)
"Can I eat this?"  (We don't even let you drink water in here and you think we'll let you eat the experiment?)

Thanks for following me through Lab Quotes Fall 2010!  It's been fun making fun of students laughing about my job with you.  I've enjoyed all of your comments both here and on facebook.  Stayed tuned for Lab Quotes Spring 2011...

Monday, November 1, 2010

First Fire

No, it's not actually cold enough to need a fire yet.  The new insert said to leave windows and doors open during the first fire because the paint would be "curing" and would produce fumes (and it did).  We figured we better do this before it gets too cold.  The day after this, we had 90 degree weather!  Now we're 20 degrees cooler again.  Maybe we'll actually need the fireplace in the next month sometime, but for now we'll just enjoy the beautiful fall weather here in TX.
Enjoying the first fire in our new fireplace.