Monday, April 30, 2012

March and April Goal report

Read 2 books:
March - yes, I read 4
April - no, I read 1

Cook more meals:
March - yes
April - no

Lift Weights more:
March - yes
April - no, failed at going to gym at all due to long hours at work and travelling

Lose 5 pounds:
March - still on track
April - complete failed thanks to travelling to Philly and CUU, visiting VP and his consultant, and visiting CEO, VP, and state senator. Gained back all 5 pounds that I had lost this year. Boo.

Work fewer hours:
March - worked almost all 40 hour weeks
April - fail! I worked 50 - 60 hours almost every week. Sigh.  Hopefully, all famous people have made their rounds for a while and I am through with travelling for a while (less France in June).

Saturday, April 28, 2012

If I had children, I would buy one of these t-shirts.  I think the helicopter is my favorite design (it may be because I work on the design of them).  This is a neat shop; they are making these t-shirts from upcycled shirts to raise money to adopt a baby.  Because I sew and bake and a few other crafty things, I have come to realize the value of homemade items.  I try to support people that make home made goods as much as possible.  

Speaking of helicopters, in late March I was able to tour one of the plants that we supply parts to.  It was pretty sweet to walk up and down the production line and actually see things that I have worked on. They allowed us to walk right up to the birds and stick our heads inside and look how all the parts were assembled together.  It was an engineer's dream come true (or course it all came with a cost, getting out of bed at 4am to drive to Philly is not especially my favorite thing to do). Thankfully, it was only a two day trip and I could drive there (driving beats flying).   

How do you find outfits as cute as this in thrift stores? I especially love the plaid jumper (top 2nd from left) and the checkered dress (bottom, second from right)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

If you have a chance, please, vote for my sister:

Click on Kroger.
Bag #8655
Sarah B.

She is entered to win an art contest to be displayed on a reusable Kroger bag!! She is currently in 7th place out of 19,000.  You can vote once each day!! Please, vote.

Thank you!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I sort of want this book just for projects like this.  I know I could figure our how to make these peeps, however, I think this book would give me some fun inspiration.  If I ever see if cheap somewhere I will pick it up.  I am old fashion.  I enjoying flipping through books for inspiration so much more than searching online.  It is more comforting.

Speaking of inpiration... I love this blog.

What a great idea!  I have been really wanting to buy some dye and play around with it.  This has sealed the deal.  I am going to buy some onsies and some dye and start giving them out as showers.  I love this idea.  And I love the bold colors you can get with dye. 

PJ pants for kids tutorial.  I have made similar things with Cindy before.  PJ bottoms are some of the easiest things to sew.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dad, I think we should make one or two of these for the garden.  You can pick your food in this basket, rinse it off, and let it dry. 

Okay, so you know I love Mason jars... if I had a front porch (or even maybe a back porch), I would make these.  So pretty.  These are solar lamps made out of mason jars.  Love love love.  

I really enjoy playing checkers. My Dad taught me when I was pretty young (5 or 6).  Sarah and I used to play on Sundays.  I would like to have one of these for my kids to play in doctor's offices or in other places where we have to wait and need something to do.

I like when stuff is off the floor in its own place.  Baskets for toys are going to be a must when I have kids.  Right now I have two baskets that I store under our table in the living room, one has my library books in it and the other has my sewing supplies.

That last tutorial came from this website that I found recently.  They have a few fun sewing ideas.

These little sandels might be a cute baby shower gift.  I wonder if they would stay on?

Neat paper lamp (Ikea hack with some cupcake holders).  

Monday, April 09, 2012

Strawberry Cake

Doesn't this look amazing?  I made this for my old boss's birthday.  He is one of my favorite people to work with at my plant; he gets things done that I need to be finished and he does it correctly more often than most people I work with.  For that, he gets a cake.  ha. We also talk about food often.  He said he asked his whole family to bring some sort of dish that included fruit for his birthday, but they all refused.  Personally, I thought it was a great idea.  I can think of a lot of dishes that I make that have fruit in it. I make a really awesome stuffing that has pork and apples in it.  I love cranberries and chicken.  Anyhow, that is beside the point.  I wanted to make this cake and I was glad to have a reason to make it.  The end.  

This is how my cake turned out:

This is how it was supposed to look, but I changed the frosting:

REVIEW:  The icing is INCREDIBLE!!! The batter tasted amazing too.  I had to keep reminding myself that there was raw egg in the batter... someday I am going to have a bad case of food poisening and I will stop eating raw egg ... for a few months.  :)   Ha.  I found the recipe to be TOO sweet and strawberryish.  So I added the extra drizzle of chocolate icing to give it just a hint of something else.  I think chocolate chips baked in the cake next time would be delicious.  I will definitely make this cake again.

Strawberry Layer Cake with Whipped Strawberry Frosting

Strawberry Layer Cake
Yield: 3 x 8" round layers
1 cup whole milk, room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup strawberry puree made from frozen strawberries (puree itself should be closer to room temp, not frozen or icy)

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 package strawberry flavored gelatin (such as Jell-O)
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs (room temperature)

3 cups sifted cake & pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

1.  To make your own strawberry puree, place in blender and puree until smooth. Measure out 1/4 cup for cake and 3 tablespoons for frosting, and make a strawberry smoothie with the rest (add a banana and some yogurt if you need a bigger smoothie).
2.Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour three round 9-inch pans (the recipe calls for 8", but I only have 9").
3. Combine milk, strawberry puree, and the vanilla.
4. Sift dry ingredients together.
5. Cream the sugar, gelatin, and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy--about 5 minutes.
6. Add the eggs. Scrap sides of bowl with spatula.
7. Add the wet & dry ingredients. Do not overmix.
8. Divide the batter in three.
9. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Be so careful to not overbake. Check cakes at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it's almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.

Whipped Strawberry Frosting
2 cups heavy whipping cream + 1 package vanilla pudding (recipe calls for 3 sticks + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes + 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract + 1 T milk)
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar 
pinch of salt
5 - 7 tablespoons strawberry puree

1. Whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use "4" on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy or whip heavy whipping cream for 4 to 7 minutes.
2. Add remaining ingredients, except strawberry puree, and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.
3. Add strawberry puree (can be cool, but not frozen or icy) and mix until incorporated.
4. Best used right away, but can be covered in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so.

Chocolate Icing
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water
pinch salt
1 T flour
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix (whisk) everything, but the vanilla, on top of the stove until it thickens.  Remove from heat. Add vanilla.  Drizzle on top of cake. Strawberry Layer Cake Assembly
1. Place a cake layer face-up on cake plate or 8" round thin cake board.
2. Place 1 cup of frosting on top, and spread evenly with a small offset palette knife.
3. Repeat step 1-2.
4. Place final layer, frost, and chill. With the whipped topping you will not be able to frost the sides. 
5. Drizzle with chocloate icing.

adapted from source

Friday, April 06, 2012

Jesus paid it all.

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim,
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

And now complete in Him
My robe His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.

When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down
All down at Jesus’ feet.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Mexico Part II

A few random thrown together notes:
* On a lighter note, so far they have fed me pizza and chicken nuggets... So much for getting to try great Mexican food.
* Having no car while travelling is worthless. I can't go anywhere without anyone else and I have under the mercy of the driver as to how late I have to stay out (I learned this last week when I was in Philly too).
* One of the guys that I am travelling with had an allergic reaction to the sheets in the hotel.  I was really thankful that I am not allergic to the bedsheets.
* Dramamine is one of the greatest drug ever invented.  I am so thankful for that.  I still feel somewhat sick after the flight for a day or two, but it is SO much better.
* On my way from IWD (Dullas) to DFW (Dallas) I sat next to the most talkative man in the world.  He was an actuary from Australia that grew up in South Africa. He worked for the World Bank.  His mother was from Poland and his father from Argentina.  We chatted the entire flight about all sorts of mathy things, food, homeschooling, parents and children, when to have kids, DC, how bad smoking is for you, greek yogurt, genetics (and how they play into gender and intelligent), and statistics.  It was wonderfully distracting to my fear of flying; we were in Dallas before I realized it. 
* Thankfully, I slept on most of the flight from Dallas to CUU.  Not, thankfully, I missed the passing out of the custom's papers and got stuck in customs while the rest of my group waited for me outside.  Thankfully, they waited.
* We have been piling 4 largely build guys (not fat) and me into a little car (Jetta) with no seat belts.  It is the true Mexican experience.
* From 6 - 8 every night the hotel has a free happy hour and they serve free beer and all sorts of liquor, as well as taquitos, wings, and chicken nuggets.  It is one of the weirdest things I have seen.
* I have been going to bed at 7:30 or 8:00 and getting up at 4:30.  Time changes to the West are not cool.  I would rather change in the other direction and be forced to get up earlier.  I don't like everything being pushed back three hours.  By the time I leave the plant here, it is 7pm at home.  My brain is dead after 4ish. 
* I am going to be so happy to be home!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Mexico Update

Mexico makes me sad. However, I highly suggest that everyone should take a trip outside of America to a country that is more poor (NOT England or France or Italy...etc.). It puts the world into perspective, just a bit. Every where I turn there are older women and young children begging for money.  They run out at the stop lights and wait outside of restaurants. 

I came here feeling a bit scared (it could have something to do with our creepy taxi driver that picked us up at the airport late at night and drove us through some sketchy looking streets on the way to the hotel... or the security briefing that I skipped, but the 3 guys that I travelled with were telling me about).  The longer I am here I just start to feel more sad for the people that are so downtrodden.  I see the higher class people from Mexico that I am travelling with and their indifference and scorn for the lower class.  It is very convicting. 

This city is HUGE!
Song by Caedmon's Call:
High above the valley of Quito

An old man and his bride grow roses
Red and yellow, white and golden,
To him they are precious as children
Their daughter, she moved to America
One more break in the Tower of Babel
She has a son that they've never seen at all
They're praying that they raised her well

On the mountain high
They will live and die
As time just slips away
And the children grow
In the God they know
As time just slips away
A man, his bride, his children, and his roses
Planted in faith
And watered in tears
Honey, that's all they have
And they're happier here
Than any of my friends back home
They met Jesus and they really know Him

Now I'm back at home
All alone
And I'm trying to find my thoughts
Of that old man so inspiring
And the TV's always on
And the phone, it won't stop ringing
These bills, they keep on screaming
I'm paying for the things
We never really need
Wonder what he's doing right now?
Maybe walking through his simple field
Thinking about how
God has blessed him so
A man, his bride, his children, and his roses

Parts of other Caedmon Call songs:
She bragged about her boys

How they're growin' into men
How they learned to praise the Lord
Old Style Ecuadorian
To buy the new guitar
They had to sell the swine
Said, "My boys go to school on a foreign angel's dime.
This world calls me poor
I bore my babies on this floor
He always provides
Sure as the sun will rise.
So I'll sing Him songs of praise
'Cause I know He'll keep me in His gaze."

Rain poured from the sky
We raced back to the van
There were tears in the eyes
Of this poor, forgetful man
Mother of eight sons
She knows the peace of God
Lord, help me learn to lean
On thy staff and thy rod
Jesus is all I need
Jesus is all I need

Share the well
Share with your brother
Share the well, my friend
It takes a deeper well
To love one another
Share the well, my friend

You know I've heard good people say

There's nothing I can do
That's half a world away
Well maybe you've got money
Maybe you've got time
Maybe you've got the Living Well
That ain't ever running dry