Monthly Archives: June 2013

Snapshot Saturday – Road Trip

It’s Snapshot Saturday and this week’s topic, as we continue with our ongoing theme of summer fun, is the almighty Road Trip!

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A quintessential road trip photo!  I love shots like these.  This is Utah, another stop on the Quest to Visit all 50 States from 2009.  I love road trips, and given the restrictions that my family circumstances place on travel, they are the best and most economical form of vacation available to my little family group.  We quite enjoy getting in our car and hitting the road!

We still have 13 states left to visit, mostly in the northwest corner of the country.  I hope to get to make that trip sometime in the Spring of 2014.  Any one have any must see things in that area?  The kitschier the better – giant ball of string, Cadillac Ranch (I know it’s in Texas, but something like that)…


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Filed under bucket board, check-it-off-the-list, self improvement, snapshot saturday, travel

Quest to Read Them All – Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded

As you know, I’m on a quest to read every book I own and this week’s book was quite a departure from my normal reading selections.  I actually couldn’t remember where I got the book when I first started reading it.  I tend to read romance, contemporary fiction, the classics, with a bit of young adult and fantasy thrown in, oh and the occasional mystery to break things up.  This book didn’t fit into any of those categories, but I still enjoyed it.  I should probably mention the title and author of the book before I get any further into my description…

This week’s book is:  Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded by John Scalzi.

I must have picked it up in the every book is a $1 clearance section when Borders was going out of business.  (I bought something like 100 books during the last few days that our local store was open, not just for my own personal library, but as gifts and as donations to one of our local hospitals.  It was a very sad moment for me, I was friends with almost everyone who worked at our local store and would be sad to see my favorite shopping destination empty.)  I can honestly say that the book was well worth the price, and has turned me onto a new blog to follow.  I love “Whatever” – the irreverence, biting whit and apropos social commentary is remarkable.

The book is a compilation of blog entries spanning a decade of Scalzi’s writing.  He takes on everything from Star Wars to Dumbledore, with a helping of politics and parenting thrown in for good measure.  While I don’t agree with all of the author’s sentiments, he and I do side together on some of the more important issue.  One of the points that stood out most to me was his stance on an author’s awareness of their own character’s back story, even if it isn’t overtly included in a book.  He pointed out that the author created the character and they are the only one that has a right to judge the history that was or wasn’t included in the initially published work.  As an English teacher I am in the minority when I say to my students that we can only attempt to interpret what the author meant and the meaning behind what they have written.  The only sure way to know is to ask them and while Shakespeare lives on with us always, you can’t just shot him a text and ask what the subtext of a play within a play was all about.

I am looking forward to following along with Mr. Scalzi, through his blog and perhaps some of his other works, on his continuing adventures.  Hopefully if I should every write he won’t consider my correspondence to trite and will make it to the end of the letter.

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Filed under books-books-books, check-it-off-the-list, read them all

Let’s have a funky flavored drink!!!

This week’s Pinterest Project was a fun change for me…

You see, I don’t drink.  I’m not in AA, or any other form of recovery, but I still don’t consume alcoholic beverages.  That’s not to say I don’t use wine when cooking, because I absolutely do – my red sauce would never be the same if I stopped using wine as an ingredient.

Hmm, now what was I talking about, oh yeah, this week’s project:  Flavored Vodka.  Now, if you clicked on the link, you know that the original recipe is for flavored extracts (I made those at the same time), but if you read all the way to the end it mentions Chambord and Limoncello.  Which were the center of my project, mostly because I already had the bottles on hand.

This was ridiculously easy…  All it took was Vodka, whatever fruit you wanted to flavor the vodka with, a glass bottle, and some patience.

First I gathered my materials, and cleaned my bottles.  Next I washed my fruit (both the rasperries and the lemons).  Then I stuffed the berries in the bottle, and peeled the lemons (8 or them) with a regular vegetable peeler and shoved the peels into the other bottle.


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Once the fruit was in the bottles, I filled them with Vodka.  I chose a nice mid range booze, I didn’t want anything to cheap, because then it would’ve just been junk.  Also nothing to expensive, because then it could’ve ruined the refined flavor of the Vodka.  I used a 2 to 1 ration of vodka to fruit.

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Once It was fully loaded, I topped it off with any of the remaining fruit.  After that, I sealed the bottles and put them to the side for a week.

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I haven’t tried the Lemon one, but we strained the Raspberry one and used it in mixed drinks this weekend, and it was a great success.  The Vodka turned an interesting pink color and the berries were an almost translucent white when I strained them.  It was neat to see what the Vodka did to the fruit.  I’ve been assured that the project was a success, but alas we must return to the not drinking issue…

Can anyone suggest some other flavors to try?

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Filed under check-it-off-the-list, projecty type stuff, tasty tuesday

Tasty Tuesday – Dessert Nachos

Last week’s entry was all about the taco, this week we’ve moved on to the Nacho!  Not just any nacho, the dessert nacho!  This is my take on a recipe I found on Pinterest (as usual).  I’m really bad at sticking to a recipe exactly, and there are a bunch of creative and slightly picky people whom I share meals with these days, so I gave this one my own spin.

First I made the nachos… I cut up the tortillas like the recipe said, but I used a different sugar to cinnamon ratio (I guessed based on color – and the level of sweet teeth that abound around here) and I also handled the butter basting differently.  I cut the tortillas before I painted them with the melted butter, and really I should’ve painted then cut.  Next time I will totally reverse the order on that…

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Once the chips were prepped, I backed them for 10 minutes, but mine never really puffed up.  They did get crispy, but never really took on the nacho chip appearance I was hoping for.

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While they were baking, I cut up the fruit (the recipe called for strawberries and bananas, I added kiwi to the list – we had about a dozen left from a fruit basket we received last week).  I also put out the hot fudge, caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.  Once the oven timer sounded the gang was off and running to build their own bowl of Dessert Nachos!  Here’s what I came away with:

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They were quite yummy and not very hard to make.  I may have to add them to our expanding Taco Fiesta repertoire.


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Filed under check-it-off-the-list, self improvement, tasty tuesday

I’m feeling pretty sappy again today…

So, I sorta completed a Pinterest project a while back and I wasn’t really satisfied with how it came out.  It was a canvas print of 20 Things We Love About Each Other, but there was a large gap in the middle of the picture that I wasn’t really crazy about.

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So I mulled it over and decided that I needed to add something to fill the empty space.  I toyed with putting our anniversary date, or just some filligree type scroll work, but then I remembered Gwen’s portfolio full of discarded drawings and such!  Haha I found my answer!  It took some digging (you know everything’s burried in storage) but I found the piece I was going to use…

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Once I had made my choice, I measured the gap (it was 4 inches wide) and marked off the picture to cut it.  I used a quilter’s measuring square and a yard stick along with an exacto knife to cut the size strip I wanted (3 inches).  Once I had the strip cut, I laid it out on the canvas, and secured it to the back of the print with glue.

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And it looks sooooo much better!

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Filed under check-it-off-the-list, projecty type stuff, self improvement

Tasty Tuesday – Tacos

Yeah, yeah, yeah… It’s Saturday, not Tuesday and I’ve missed a couple installments, but I have a really good reason for the delay on posting this particular type of entry.  I do the Tasty Tuesday entries in a real time setup and the other posts I try to keep about 2 weeks ahead of, and let’s just say that reality intruded and I wasn’t cooking anything…  But, I’m trying to step back into the regular swing of things, and catch up on my stuff, so here’s this week’s Tasty Tuesday recipe, better late than never, right?

This week I didn’t get the dinner recipe from Pinterest, but we did try something new with an old standby meal!  We made Tacos!

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Less Full Soft Shell Taco

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Fully Loaded Hard Shell Taco

My family loves tacos, next to homemade pasta sauce, it is by and large our favorite meal and a pretty easy go to choice.  I keep Homemade Taco Seasoning on hand (next time I make some I’ll do a crafty entry on it, because hello kitchen time can totally be crafty time).  This time we made our own guacamole!  It worked pretty well, judging by the fact that it was gone so fast I didn’t even get to take a picture!  We used fresh ingredients so it was bright and flavorful.  It had 3 avocados, 1/4 of a red onion, a bunch of cilantro, the juice of 1 lime, and salt & pepper.  The hardest part?  The wayward lime juice shooting every which way!  This will now become a staple of our family’s Taco Bar right along side the 2 kinds of tortilla chips, salsa (the next thing I’m going to try a fresh version of), naco cheese sauce, black olives, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese, hard shells, soft shells, ground beef taco filling and chicken taco filling.

They can’t wait for next time and I’m glad the dinner went so well after these last 2 weeks, sometimes normal is just what the doctor ordered…

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Filed under family drama, mixed up crazy world, self improvement, tasty tuesday

Snapshot Saturday – Beach

It’s Snapshot Saturday!  I love these entries, they give me the chance to go through some of my photos and choose one that makes me smile and fits in with the week’s chosen theme.  This week’s theme is the beach…

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running in the surf

I went with another photo from the road trip Gwen and I took in 2009.  This is a shot of the beach in Biloxi, Mississippi just East of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino there.  It was amazing to see the changes in the shoreline that the hurricanes had caused.  If you notice the boat off shore in this photo, you will see that it is actually a shipwreck.  It’s a boat that got stranded on the off shore sandbar where the edge of the beach used to be.  This was a great stop on our wonderful family quest to visit all 50 States.

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Filed under bucket board, check-it-off-the-list, snapshot saturday, travel