Thursday, July 24, 2014

the finish line!

The night I finish a project, you can tell by looking at me.  My eyes are droopy.  Well, really, my whole face is droopy.  My head cocks to the side when I sit still, and all I want to do is eat a treat and watch TV in bed.  I don't talk or feel like smiling - too worn out.  The kitchen is dirty and my clothes are usually covered in tiny pieces of thread I tried to get off but missed.  Sometimes I'm not even wearing all my clothes, if I've been trying on a skirt over and over and finally got it right and pushed through to the finish line...without stopping to put the originals back on.


Things look interesting on the outside,
but on the inside, I feel awesome.


because check out this sweet bag I just finished making for my sister!
Complete with zipper pocket invisible from the outside (other than by the zipper),


recessed zipper and gusset,


lining, and other goodies!


Try not to be toooooooo impressed. :)





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“It’s far worse for me than for you.  You aren’t going to be educated… 
Education and all sorts of horrible things are going to happen to me.”
The Horse and His Boy

Thursday, July 17, 2014

enemies


Being so surrounded by other people's ideas that, when it's time to think of your own, theirs are all that come to mind.

I think we're seeing this more and more with people (not just kids) who spend all their time with technology or toys that only do one thing, and no time outside or with a pencil.  

It's like with Legos.  There's nothing wrong with doing what the instructions say, but what happens if you lose the instructions?  Are you incapacitated, or can you still make something?

Also,
lack of practice (whether by choice or necessity).





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“And as for who’s going to look after Ron and Ginny if you and Arthur died,” said Lupin, smiling slightly, “what do you think we’d do, let them starve?”
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Monday, July 14, 2014

shopping


I read this question two ways:
1) What will you never buy because you'd never use it or don't believe in it?
and
2) What will you never buy because it's not worth the money or you'd always make it instead of buy it?

Thus, I'll answer it both ways.
(I'm sticking with answers that could potentially be probable.  I could make up a ton of stuff I'd never buy, like a lifetime supply of charcoal briquettes or a season pass to a bowling alley in Spearfish, North Dakota, but we're going to stick with things that could actually happen.)

What will you never buy because you'd never use it or don't believe in it?
Cigarettes.
I also don't drink alcohol, but I can't rule that out totally from my purchasing future.  I'd never buy it to drink, but I'm leaving my options open in case I acquire a recipe for food or bug killer that uses it.
But I would never. buy cigarettes.  I can't think of any purpose you could accomplish with them other than smoking, and since smoking's out of the question, so are cigarettes.

What will you never buy because it's not worth the money or you'd always make it instead?
I can't think of anything that I make so easily I'd never buy it, besides garbage.
...which leaves something I don't ever think is worth the money...
Ahh.
An extended warranty.




___________________________________________

“I don’t believe it!  I don’t believe it!  Oh, Ron, how wonderful!  A prefect!  That’s everyone in the family!”
“What are Fred and I, next-door neighbors?” said George indignantly…”
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Thursday, July 10, 2014

my great-grandma knew how to fiesta!

I bet none of you have pictures of your great-grandma hitting a piƱata.  Try not to be toooo jealous.  :)





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"...also a heavy locket that none of them could open;"
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Monday, July 7, 2014

wannabe

Remember how I said my grandparents were models?

I also had an uncle who wished he were.  :)

on the right.  Check out that pose!  Work those hips!
I like to call this pose "Smooooth Stefan."
Okay, okay, I guess he was pretty cute.


And this picture of him does look like it should be in a magazine.


Let's just say, I come from a family of good-lookin' folks.


 I guess my good looks had to come from somewhere!

(not pictured: my dad's family, from which I also inherited half of my good looks.
We just didn't happen to be cleaning out boxes of his old things this summer.)

(Sorry, Stef, I couldn't resist! :)
If any other uncles or aunts would also like to be teased with old pictures of themselves,
feel free to comment!)




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"Ah," said Fudge, who looked thoroughly disconcerted.  "Dumbledore.  Yes.  You - er - got our - er - message that the time and - er - place of the hearing had been changed, then?"
"I must have missed it," said Dumbledore cheerfully.  "However, due to a lucky mistake I arrived at the Ministry three hours early, so no harm done."
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Also, my grandparents were models.

Can all of my daughters look exactly like her please?



This picture was sent to my grandpa. Love.


Gramps's turn!

I mean, come on.

He was 19.




And together!



This is actually one of my favorite pictures in the whole world.
Everyone just looks so genuinely happy!  I love it.
I've looked at it about 100 times today.




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“Severus, please fetch me the strongest Truth Potion you possess, and then go down to the kitchens and bring up the house-elf called Winky.  Minerva, kindly go down to Hagrid’s house, where you will find a large black dog sitting in the pumpkin patch.  Take the dog up to my office, tell him I will be with him shortly, then come back here.”
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Johnson-style Nanaimo Bars

Yesterday was Canada Day, so Joel and I celebrated like we always do - poutine for dinner, Nanaimo Bars for dessert, and watching a show that teases about the differences between Canadians and Americans.  To my dismay, however, I learned that most of my friends had never tried a Nanaimo Bar and / or didn't know what they were!  So here, friends, is the recipe I use.  I've never tried an authentic Nanaimo Bar, but I've made so many substitutions, I'm sure they no longer taste authentic.  :)  They do taste delicious, though.  

This is a refrigerated no-bake bar-style cookie... kind of.  The actual prep time for each layer is very short, but there's about an hour and a half of setting time.  The tiny parenthetical asides are my personal notes, learned in the process of making these. :)

Start with a pan (I use 9" round) lined with foil or plastic wrap.  It's much easier to cut and serve these if you can remove the whole thing from the pan.

Please don't judge me.  I am NOT a food photographer.
Bottom layer:
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature (Salted butter works, too.  Also, since you're melting it, it doesn't need to be room temp.)
1/4 c. sugar
5 T cocoa powder
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers or most of a store-bought graham cracker crust:) (For gluten-free, I'd sub in quick oats. This ingredient is mostly for texture anyway.)
1/2 c. finely chopped almonds (If your almonds have freezer burn, finely chopped pecans are also delicious.)
1 c. coconut (We don't like coconut, so we use quick oats instead.)

Melt butter, sugar, and cocoa powder together.  Slowly add to beaten egg.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients.  (I do that step with a spatula in the pan I'm going to use.)  Press firmly into ungreased pan.  (Eat a forkful.)  Refrigerate.  

Hm.  It looks like I snuck some Heath bars into the bottom layer last year.  Yum!
Middle layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (Again, salted is fine.)
3 T whipping cream (I couldn't tell any difference when I used milk.)
2 T custard powder (or vanilla pudding powder)
2 c. powdered sugar

Cream all ingredients together and spread onto the bottom layer.  Refrigerate 30-60 minutes (so it stays separate from the top layer.)


I cover it with plastic wrap during setting time so it doesn't absorb any funky fridge odors.
Top layer:
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate (2/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips) (REALLY USE SEMI-SWEET, even if you're a slave to milk chocolate when baking.)
2 T unsalted butter (Salted is good.)

Melt together.  When cool but still liquid, pour over other two layers.  Refrigerate at least one hour.



Enjoy!  Really - I think it's impossible not to.

(I told you I made a lot of substitutions:)