Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Weather's Here!

So in October we thought winter might be coming here in's a picture of our first snow on October 12. We probably got an inch, and it was gone by the end of the day. A couple days later my brother and I went on a walk, enjoying some nice warm, sunny weather.

This was pretty much the only snow for a long time. Things were getting colder, but it was still brown outside - we were starting to wonder if we would have a white Christmas this year. Then, a few days ago - almost 2 months after the first snow - I looked out my window in the morning to see this:

Normally you can see a few buildings! I believe this was actually classified as a blizzard - my roommate was so excited. =) Here's a closer view of the trees. I think they look almost like a pencil sketch.

Anyway, now it's white outside, and very cold. Be careful what you wish for! =)

The semester's almost over...just final exams are left, so I'll be heading home on Thursday. Hopefully then I'll have time to update my blog a little more often.

Have a great weekend - enjoy the snow!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Something Yummy...

Last week I got one of my favorite care packages ever. It contained 6 cookies and 2 coffee toffees - made my by own darling mother. That first bite of Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookie was exquisite. Northland's food is good, but it can't compare to homemade cookies! I don't have the recipe for the cookies on my computer, but my sister sent me the Coffee Toffee recipe. See the photo and recipe below.

Coffee Toffee Bars

Cream 1 C soft butter
1 C brown sugar
Blend in 1 tsp. almond extract
1-2 T instant coffee
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Add 2-2 1/2 C flour to make stiff dough.

Press into well-greased 9x13 pan, sprinkle choc. chips on top.
Bake @ 350*F for 20-25 min.

Notes: I think we usually use a jelly roll pan. Use however many chocolate chips you need to fulfill your soul's desire...probably 1-2 cups would be plenty.

This is a yummy treat - you can tell because the recipe card is so worn that you can hardly read it anymore! It's a unique alternative to chocolate chip cookies, with an interesting texture and just a hint of coffee flavoring - not strong enough to turn off non-coffee people like me. =)

Feel free to leave feedback if you give this a try!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Surprise

I have fun roommates. Last night when I got back from Wednesday evening service, I found this waiting for me over my bed:

In case you can't read it, it says "You been had. P.S. We love you. -Roomies."

Thanks, roomies! Love ya too! =)

Ah, the randomness of if you'll excuse me, I need to go get more toilet paper from the supply closet.

Friday, October 9, 2009


So there's a lot one can do with the simple letter "s" - especially if it's on the top of every page in a note-taking journal. Mind you, I do my best to pay attention and take good notes, but now and then you just need to doodle a little. Here's the culprit that draws my pen to itself:

Some embellishments are pretty simple:

Sometimes they build on what's already there:

Then one day things started to get a little wilder:

That started a trend. I love this little guy!

This is one of my favorite doodles of all time. I love how he looks like he just discovered that he has hands.

Always remember and never forget this one thing: if you stop by my blog, you're sure to see something totally random! Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Friday, everyone!

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Miss My Kitchen!

Well...three weeks of college are done. It's kind of hard to believe! It's been a good time of learning and growth, meeting new friends and settling back into the routine of things. I really enjoy it here...but I do miss cooking at home. I work in the bakery here, and that's fun, but it's definitely not the same. I try, though - I really do. You may have seen my post on Applesauce Bread; well, here's another step-by-step recipe that I highly recommend. It's delicious and very easy - and best of all, there are only three ingredients!
Here we go: grab yourself some PB, some J, and For "Ritz." Or you could go with "C" for crackers. Anyway...
So you take your crackers and slather one liberally with peanut butter and the other with jelly (I think mine is actually "Raspberry Preserves"). Naturally you need to spread onto the flat part of the cracker so the nicer side is on the outside for the next step. Be sure to make them pretty - this is a gourmet delight here!

Now take the crackers and press them together into a sandwich (see below). Note that the nicer side of the cracker is facing upward. This is important. If you're not going to do something right, don't do it at all! =)
Behold! A snack fit for a king...or for a stressed college student in between memorizing Greek charts and practicing piano and dashing off to class - well, you know how crazy life can be. That's why we need PB&J Cracker Sandwiches. They just help. Trust me on this.

Current and former college students, what got you through those tough times? Chocolate is a given for most of us; what little things, creative or conventional, were there for you when you needed them most? Feel free to comment so I know I'm not talking into empty cyberspace - and so I can use some of your ideas! =)
I hope everyone has a fantabulous weekend!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

One Week

One week of classes down, about 13 to go! It's been a busy few days, but it looks like it'll be a great semester. My classes are Greek, Fundamentalism, Women of the Bible, Hebrew, Systematic Theology I and Biblical Womanhood. I'm also taking piano lessons and working in the kitchen 9-10 hours a week.

I have three very nice roommates. We totally reorganized the room, and I got to have my bed tucked in a corner. I really like it - I don't know how long it's been since I had anything other than a stilt bed or the top bunk of a bunkbed!

Well, I've been thinking, a week at school is far different than a week at home. Here are a few of the things that have stood out to me: learning to write the Greek alphabet, transferring about 15 gallons of blueberries to freezer bags, listening to my younger brother speak with our Hebrew professor and not having a clue what they were talking about, going on walks with my brother...

What are some highlights from your past week? Did you experience something exciting, something alarming, something that really stretched your faith, or something just plain fun? Feel free to comment - it's amazing how much can happen in a week!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I'm Here!

Well, my brother and I arrived on campus yesterday at Northland. He's had all kinds of freshman orientation sessions and I've been busy unpacking. We got up at 3 am yesterday to catch our flight and then I had to stay up till about 11:30 to get my bedding out of storage. It was a long day! It's good to be here, though - I'm enjoying introducing my brother to all my friends.
Here's the view out my bedroom window:

On the left you can see Northland's own water tower. The brick buildings hold offices and classroom space. The white chapel is on the right. I kind of miss being in the trailers, but it is nice being closer to the center of things. I'm sure I'll especially appreciate the shorter walk in the middle of January!

I'll try to post more pictures from my room and around campus over time. Sadly, there will be no more gardening pictures for a while, but I do have a recipe or two stored in my files that I can share over the semester.

Well, I need to get ready to go watch volleyball and basketball tournaments in a few minutes - it's a beautiful day for it!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Woes of a Lazy Gardener - After, #4

Well, I'm progressing with the garden...slowly. I only got a little work done this week; we'll see if I can finish it before I leave for college on Wednesday! Here's the "Before" picture of Vegetable Bay #3. This year I don't have any veggies in it, though - just two dwarf sweetcherry trees.
See? There they are! On the right-hand side. They're much happier now that they have some breathing room.

I did also get some work done on one of the big bays - it's about halfway cleared. If I can find a time of day when the bumblebees aren't hanging out around there (I think they have a nest under the barn) I'll finish that up and let you see the miracle! Thanks for stopping by - I'll try to get another post or two up before school! There should be more recipes in the near future as well. =)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Delicious Diversion

Well, it's a rainy Sunday afternoon, and I thought I'd give you something a little different to look at than weedy gardens. I tried a new recipe today. It was supposed to be Pumpkin Bread, but lacking pumpkin, I used applesauce instead. =) It's a nice easy quickbread with simple, readily available ingredients. Feel free to skip all the photos and go straight to the complete recipe at the end.

Left to Right: Applesauce, Flour, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, Sugar, Salt, Oil.
First, mix together all the dry ingredients.
Next, remove the peas from your measuring utensil. This is the remains of the day's pick of peas. Mom eats most of them. She says they're very good peas. =)

Now you'll use the measuring cup for your oil:

This is also the time to add the applesauce - or pumpkin. Note that I ran out of the homemade applesauce and used one of those little convenience packs to complete the 2 cups. =)

Okay, mix the wet stuff in thoroughly. The batter is medium in consistency - not too thick and not too wet. I don't know what it would be like with pumpkin, but I imagine it'd be similar. Now is probably the time to toss in a cup of chopped nuts if you're a nut person.

I am not a nut person. However, I had a lonely apple sitting on the counter, and I decided to give the poor thing some purpose in life. Here it is, awaiting surgery. Note the peas in the background - are they mocking the apple? Go ahead, apple - just say "split pea soup" and turn the table on those little guys! Okay, I'd better stop anthropomorphizing my fruits and veggies...

Anyhoo, chop up that little apple and toss it in the batter! I expect a lonely banana would also do quite well.
Divide the batter between two greased loaf pans and slide them into a preheated 350 degree oven. Set your timer for 1 hour. The recipe said 1 hour, 15 minutes, but mine were done a couple minutes early. To be safe, I would start checking them at about an hour.

Oh, wait!!! This is the most important part of all! I always sprinkle (a liberal amount of) cinnamon sugar on breads like this before I put them in the oven. It just adds that special touch.

Okay, now here's the fun part (just kidding!):

About 1 hour and ten minutes later, here they are! Notice the nice sugary top - don't worry, some will fall off when you cut slices. You won't go into diabetic shock or anything. =)

Here's the finished product! Naturally I had to test it. =) I did notice that the end crusts are pretty chewy...I'm not sure how to correct that. The inside portions, though, are moist and cinnomany. Very yummy! This would make a great breakfast or snack.

A nice crispy, sugary top. =)

Here's the complete recipe:
"Pumpkin" Bread
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 cups pumpkin (or applesauce!)
optional: 1 cup chopped nuts
optional: 1 cored, peeled and diced apple (or 1 mashed banana)
Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients, mixing well. (Add nuts.) Bake in 2 loaf pans @ 350 degrees F, 1 hour and 15 minutes (check with a toothpick a few minutes early).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Woes of a Lazy Gardener - After, #3

Hurray for Progress! I should post all my projects on my blog - it's great incentive for getting things done. Of course, then you readers would be bored out of your minds...
Here's vegetable bay #2 BEFORE. Shocking, isn't it? But keep scrolling for a miraculous makeover:
Ta-da! I told you there were tomatoes and peas hiding in here! Well, I found them. I gave them room to breathe, fertilized them and watered them. They're happy now, and that's all that a vegetable asks for. Vegetables lead rather simple lives.

Only three more bays to go after this! I'll try to get them done quickly so I can move on to other subjects and stop boring you with the lives of my vegetables. Thanks for viewing! =)

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Woes of a Lazy Gardener - After, #2

I'm making progress! Here's vegetable bay #1 BEFORE:
And here it is after I cleaned it up this morning. I weeded, found my vegetable plants, caged the tomatoes and fertilized all the plants. I imagine they're breathing a sigh of relief right now!

Keep checking back for more on the Mystery of the Lost Gardens!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Woes of a Lazy Gardener - After, #1

Here's the moment you've been waiting for! Yesterday I showed you pictures of my dreadfully shabby gardens. I got a little work done, and I am delighted to reveal to you one spectacular "AFTER" photo. I put the "BEFORE" photo first so that you can easily compare the two. =)

Never fear - I haven't fizzled out yet. Soon I'll be able to reveal the other sections of the garden as neat and tidy as this first one.

Thanks again for viewing. Check back soon for more updates! =)

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Woes of a Lazy Gardener - Before

Okay, folks, brace yourselves! If you've ever wondered what would happen if you didn't faithfully weed your garden, you're about to find out. I've taken a series of "BEFORE" photos showing a portion of my gardens in a state of serious neglect. Depending on weather, work and how long my back holds out, I will be posting some delightful "AFTER" photos over the next few days. Hopefully they will provide you (and me) with a sense of relief and achievement after the horrors you are about to see. =)

Here's the scene around our porch. We have some nice landscaping, but these dogwoods can get out of hand sometimes. Also, you see to the right our garbage area. We need to hide or otherwise dispose of three small garbage cans that have since been replaced, relocate a few buckets, and fold up the tarps. Also, it'd be kind of nice to complete that little stone/cement path at some point.

Next we find my top vegetable garden bay. Believe it or not, there are in fact a few vegetables plants in there. A couple of them are growing through the lattice, which was supposed to be a support but obviously failed in its duty.

The picture below shows three more bays. They contain peas, tomatoes, miniature cherry trees, black raspberries and a couple asparagus (would the plural of asparagus be "asparagi"??). Hopefully when I show them transformed, you will be able to discern that I am not lying. =)

This picture is taken from the bottom of the bays, focusing on the monstrous black raspberry plants. These have actually done well (perhaps a little too well - they're trying to take over!) and we collected enough berries this season for a pie or two.

Finally, a separate bay containing a cherry tree, a grape vine and red raspberry bushes. I tend to underestimate how much those little plants will grow! I plan to move the raspberries and the grape eventually.

Well, be sure to check on the site for improvements in my gardens! I'm happy to report that the shaggy dogwood has already been trimmed and the garbage area is on its way to being brought under control. I'll share pictures of that tomorrow. Thanks for viewing! Feel free to come over and help weed! =)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Squam Lake Science Center

Well, I promised a few pictures of the animals at the Squam Lake Science Center. You see why I have the word "Ramblings" in the title of this site? =)

Here's one of their foxes. When I saw that he was sleeping, I didn't think I'd get a good picture, but this is actually one of my favorites - he looks so cute and fluffy! Not to mention comfortable...
Most of the enclosures had two animals; the second fox was much further away. This little guy was obligingly parked near the viewing window.

I felt bad for this bobcat - he was going a little crazy in his cage. He and his friend were staring intently outside most of the time. This one, though, spent a couple minutes dashing wildly back and forth on the rocky little "cliff" in the enclosure. As I understand it, most of the animals are at this science center because they were injured or are for some other reason unable to live in the wild.
The otters were definitely showoffs, and they kept moving so much of the time that I only got one or two decent pictures of them in the water! This one liked to swim up against the wall, push off against it, and swim on his back. They seemed to be watching the people - and enjoying being exclaimed over. The Science Center site does have a webcam for the otters.
The bears were enjoying a nize midday snooze. I imagine the best time to see the animals active would be early in the morning or in the evening. Still, the smaller bear woke up enough for me to
get a couple decent shots - mostly of him stretching and yawning. This is one of the better pictures. I guessed that he/she was about 200 pounds. The other bear, a little further away, was even bigger - my estimate was 300 pounds. The security in this enclosure was impressive - high fences and electric wire everywhere! They had many of the trees wired, presumably so the bears can't climb up and jump over the fence or onto neighboring buildings.
Many of the trails were lined with milkweed and other wildflowers. I was surprised not to see any
butterflies, but I suppose it's just as well - I
would've spent ages trying to snap the perfect
picture of them.
There were lots of other animals, too - all kinds of small birds, birds of prey, deer, mice, turtles, etc. Their displays are very nice, with lots of information - very kid-friendly. The info tends to be evolutionistic, but that's no surprise.
Here's the link to their site:
Check it out sometime! =)