Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Not Much

I'm not much in the mood for writing. Have you ever heard of Pulmonary Fibrosis? It's what my Grandma has. We hope to see her soon. It's progressed very very fast....leaving us all still trying to catch up.

It snowed on Saturday....just enough flurries to make me smile! It didn't stick though.

And I've been reading....lots of books....but my favorite so far is "20 Compelling Evidences that God Exsists" by Kenneth Boa. Here is a quote from one chapter:

"There is, then, nothing intolerant or arrogant about believing and even proclaiming that one's beliefs are the truth. Some people are indeed intolerant and arrogant, but those are failings in the persons, not in the beliefs. Sometimes, in fact, the arrogant person is right in what he says, even though he is wrong in the way that he says it."

Friday, October 24, 2008


This friendly guy greets us in the kitchen.

Off to the side, you can see how I've been blessed this week....from my mom and from a friend.....eggs, applesauce, pumpking puree, corn....


This is what we had for supper last night....I just had to share...it looks (and was) so good!
M. and I had a date last night for uner $5.00! How fun. :) The french bread was day-old at Walmart $0.90, sauce was $0.86, salad was free, almonds were $1.00, corn was free, meat was free, and then we rented the movie eXpelled: No Intelligence Allowed for $2.19! It's nice to have M. back home!
I'm trying harder to have more balanced meals now...more veggies and fruit....so last night we had canned peaches for dessert....so with lettuce, corn, and peaches...that makes 3 servings!
The movie was pretty good. It's not about Creationism, like I thought it would be, it's about Intelligent Design, or ID. Basically, the scientific belief that our world and science show evidence of there having to be an Intelligent designer behind everything. Not all ID scientists are Christians, hence it's not Creationism...where they believe God created everthing...but ID is very, very similar, and definitely some so believe it's God. (Who else is intelligent enough to be behind creation?) It was some short clips of interviews with Evolutionists and ID scientists and the pressure that scientists face in the science community to conform to Evolution....or be thrown out. And how dangerous that is to our freedom.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Ugh...I forgot how much I dislike colds and sore throats! This time, though, I'm trying my very best to take good care of myself....so that the cough doesn't hang on for a month...as it so often does!

You'd be so proud of me.....lots of rest, hot tea, hot meals, and a good scarf go a long way. I'm so thankful for my nice warm scarves! Of couse, yesterday was beautiful - sunny, warm- and here I was wandering around in sandals, sunglasses....and a winter scarf!

I've taken that scarf with me everywhere this week....wearing it on Sunday, outdoors, indoors, in bed.... I even took it with me to work yesterady, to wear at my desk. Worked great until I forgot I was wearing it and left my desk to do my rounds....classy, Emily, real classy...ha! But hey, my neck was warm!

So other than feeling stuffy/fuzzy and moving pretty slow, I guess I can still get stuff done. In fact, I guess it's not a whole lot different than normal!

In celebration of cold season, here are some fun things to try your hand at, though I hope you don't catch cold:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Funny Face

It's nice having a familiar face....though somtimes un-nerving! This morning as I was walking to work, two people in a dump truck slowed through an intersection and waved and smiled at me, as if I knew them. Thankfully they didn't honk or I would've dropped everything I was carrying (I'm a little skittish sometimes!). It was nice of them to recognize me....but I'm pretty sure I don't know them...although, I suppose there's always the possibility that I've been to the dump enough times that they recognize me.... or that they really do know me and I have forgotten them!

I've also travelled to other states and had complete strangers come up and say, "Have we met before? You look so familiar!" And I have to say, "No. I don't think so. Unless you've travelled to Minnesota, because I've never been here before!" And then we proceed to have a nice friendly conversation, because they feel like they know me already... :)

I'm not sure what it is about certain faces that are so familiar. I suppose it's something about the placement of your eyes or the way you smile....I'm not sure. But I know that it didn't happen in India the last time we were there....

Either way, it's nice to get to know people, and this sure makes it easier!


My my....yesterday I felt so accomplished! I was hungry for some homemade, fresh, hot-out-of-the-oven cookies, so I "whipped some up" in about 15 minutes (not counting baking time) But that's not exactly why I feel accomplished.....it's the fact that I was out of certain ingredients, and made do, and they still turned out! Ah! Nice! (Forget the fact that we ate Indian version of Ramen Noodles for supper....and had no side dishes....I guess all my creativity went to the cookies instead *ahem*)

Because I am still basking in the success of my recipe, I will attempt to repeat it for you (I do not have the recipe nearby):

Snickerdoodles As Modified By Emily

  • 1/2 cup shortening

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 egg

  • 2 Tablespoons milk

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (was it 2 or 1??? hmmm)

Mix. Roll into balls and roll balls in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Eat hot...with milk preferably!

Snickerdoodles As Originally Copied

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (2 or 1?? here we go again)

Mix. Roll into balls and roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


My sister gave me this funny book for my birthday. The sub-title gave me the giggles when I saw it, and I looked forward to reading it.

Well, I have since read it, and I really really liked it. First off, I liked their dictionary definition of Hospitality:

"Being disposed to entertain with generous kindness."

It was a great book of encouragement and little tips to practice having guests in your home, enjoying them, and they enjoying you (by you not being too flustered or busy). Here are some of the points:

  • Prepare your menu ahead of time, shop a couple days before or a day before, to leave yourself time for prep.

  • Take time to freshen up before the guests come, and greet them at the door

  • Don't leave your guests while you finish up last minute serving/details....share the time with those you've invited over, by sharing tasks with the host (you are the hostess), making sure one of you is always present.

  • Enjoy your time....plan some games or stories for set-backs/lags in the time. Smile. Laugh.

  • Keep your meals simple and delicious

Then, interspersed throughout the book were all sorts of recipes and tips....not all of which I really thought sounded delicious....I mean, I'm not really up for making Olive Creamed Potatoes or Charcoal Grilled Rock Lobster Tails....but some others were manageable.

M. and I love having people over. It definitely has been a crash course for me in cooking sometimes....as I'm learning how to cook Vegetarian, Vegan, Lactose Intolorant, All-American, Indian, Asian, and African. But it's been fun. And I've gained confidence that we can invite any and every one over and have something I can cook to eat. (You'd think with all these recipes I'd know what to cook every night for supper!!)

Another book I've read and enjoyed, is The Hospitality Commands.

And while I was looking for this book on CBD, I found a WHOLE PAGE of books on that subject....look! I'm going to look at the library for a couple of them......

I'm thankful for the example of hospitality set by so many families as I've grown up.... my family, the williams, the cobbs, my sis & bro in law, my in-laws, Ula, my aunt and uncle, and so many more! I've loved watching and learning, and look forward to growing in this area.....because I do have a lot to learn. I still find myself getting flustered when company is coming...which isn't very relaxing to be around....and I get easily upset if the food doesn't turn out right....and I'm not always good at conversation.....but it's nice to have encouragement through others and good books and prayer!

What are some of your favorite Hospitality Tips?

And just for kicks...here is one of my favorite desserts to serve:

Chocolate Chip Blondies

  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c. chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla just until blended. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to brown sugar mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread into a greased 13x9 inch pan.

Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

An Old Story

Here is a funny story from my journal, February 21st, 2001:

Today we babysat Tracy Trott. She and I went to the college library. We walked in and went to the kid's section. I showed her where to find books and we took off our coats and caps and layed them down. She went and chose a book and I happened to notice the one right next to it was in a different language, but didn't think twice about it. I went to find a few books of my own.

Soon, Tracy came up and asked, "I can't read this. [If you know Tracy, you know she could read by then] Will you read this book to me?"

I said sure and we sat down.

I opened it up.....and it was in GERMAN!

I told her it was in a different language, and I couldn't read it either, but we looked at the pictures and made up our own very nice story....about some Moon Man with an orange head!

Some Deep (Silly) Questions...

I'm starting on a cleaning phase again. It's always nice to de-clutter. This time, it's my old journals and paperwork. I have officially started the....first one....and here's a couple gems I found:
Emily's Random Questions
  • The atmosphere is 78% Nitrogen and 20% Oxygen. If this was switched, would people breathe slower because of the increased Oxygen?
  • The second layer of the heterosphere is Helium. If people could breathe up there, would we all sound like the chipmunks?
  • Nails come in different sizes such as 1/2 penny, 1 penny, etc. Why do they abbreviate them with a "d" ?
  • FPS system (foot, pound, second) is the measuring system used in the U.S. Pound originally came from the Roman word "libra" used in the same way. This is why pound is still abbreviated "lb."
  • Bankruptcy comes from medecial times, when Money Lenders sat on benches (bancas) to conduct buisiness. When they lost their money, the people would break his bench. Thus, he went bankrupt, literally - "Broken Bench."

Other things I have been enjoying this week are playing with my new camera, the fall leaves and weather, and catching up on laundry (yes, I am enjoying that).

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pretty Flowers/Rainy Day

Today is rainy...and cold....so cold it reminds me of winter and snow. There are kids playing on the playground outside, but they all are wearing winter coats.

Today was fun...we visited a friend, and then went shopping for gifts for M.'s family. And we scored some good deals. That made it even more fun! I was going to take a picture, and I forgot. So, use your imagination:

  • A brown fall jacket
  • 3 t-shirts
  • a sweatshirt
  • lots and lots of chocolate
  • candles
  • perfume
  • muffin mix
  • did I mention chocolate?

We also picked up a bag of reduced fruit at Marketplace - 99cents for 4 grapefruit, 2 oranges, 2 lemons, and 4 apples - a free bag of lettuce and a free box of poptarts. I was going to pick up lots of Chex Mix and try and get it free, but I couldn't convince other half we needed them!

Tonight we are going to a fish fry. I hope we aren't rained out....because I don't know what to make for supper.

I think I will turn the oven on tonight, and get stuff ready for fellowship dinner tomorrow. And also try and cook my pumpkin. Yes....I've been trying to get it cooked for 3 days now! It probably is bad now...since I keep cooking it a couple hours, then taking it out till the next day, and trying it again....it just won't get done! I'm beginning to wonder what went wrong..........

And I think tomorrow I'll make some brownies...with that delicious frosting...(just a warning to those coming, hee hee) And some potatoes....potatoes sound good.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thoughts and Ramblings...

(Image from Wikipedia)

I must look funny today. I've received funny looks from about 4 co-workers already this morning. And I really thought brown went with purple......well, I'm not going home to change now.

I learned something new on my walk to work today too....Seagulls are gross. For some reason, I didn't know seagulls were omnivorous....maybe I knew but just not in a practical way....I mean, they ate sandwhich meat and picnic foods and bread, but that's all I knew. On my walk, the seagulls were pretty noisy above me. I dodged them carefully (because of a previous engagement with them....I knew to look out for "bombs" from above....they aren't always as pretty in groups as they seem on TV or movies...you gotta watch out for "splats"). As I looked up, I heard a big "plop," and I thought, "Uh oh..." but it wasn't what I thought it was. It was actually something they were eating and fighting over. (Sorry for the gross out factor here) To my surprise, I noticed it was another little bird...a sparrow (dead already)!

Like I said, I didn't know, in a practical way, that seagulls ate other birds. :(
So, in my new-found curiosity, I have looked up these wonderful facts for you about Seagulls....enjoy:

  • Seagulls nest on the ground
  • They will eat live food (often fish and crabs...and now we know, birds)
  • They are actually coastal birds, not sea birds
  • They like crowds, nesting in colonies
  • They lay 2-3 eggs
  • Seagulls can drink both salt and fresh water
  • They live 5-15 years
  • Some do migrate in the winter
  • They are found as far north as Alaska and down to Mexico

Here are some internet links to bird facts:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's Fall

Look...it's fall up here!

Because I forgot, and because someone asked me, I thought I'd look up why leaves turn color. Oh yes....I remember now....here's the short version:

A chemical called Chlorophyll is green in color. It fills leaves and makes food for the plant. As the days get shorter (less sun), the Chlorophyll goes away, thus less green....and more other chemical colors. Colors vary per type of tree....

  • Reds & Oranges = Maples
  • Browns & Maroons = Oaks
  • Yellows = Birch & Popple

For more in depth articles and science projects to do at home, check out these links:

And this is what happens to tomato plants after frost/fall. One of these days I really will move my three dead plants off the front steps.....

As a side note about tomatoes, not leaves, is I did manage to grown a few tomatoes. Two to be exact. I had more coming, but some animal or small child thought they were pretty neat too. And plucked off all my green tomatoes and left them in a pile in our front yard.....of which I didn't see until one turned red....and by then the others rotted. Ha! Oh well.

Birthday Party

Happy Birthday Matt A.!

We had a nice (but quick) birthday for him Wednesday night. We had Luke, Jake, and Dad and Mom over for supper and cake.

I was going to make scalloped poatoes and ham...until I found out it took 3 hours (and it was 5 o'clock already). Ha! So, we ended up with Turkey Pot Pie/ Shepherd's Pie instead. And the cake. Don't forget the cake. I made chocolate cake, and a new frosting I hadn't tried yet. The frosting was really good. So good I will share the recipe with you (aren't you happy!).

If you are health conscious...please close your eyes and ignore the following... *ahem*

Creamy White Frosting (from Betty Crocker)

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon, orange, or almond extract (Almond is what Made the Frosting!)
  • 4 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar (about 1 pound)
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons milk
In a medium mixing bowl beat shortening, vanilla, and extract with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add half of the powdered sugar, beating well. Add 2 Tablesppons of the milk. Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar and enough remaing milk to reach spreading consistency. This frost the tops and sides of two 8 or 9 inch cake layers. (Halve the recipe to frost a 13x9 inch cake)


Tuesday, October 7, 2008


What a great weekend we had! We basically got to be outside all day Saturday (due to Itasca and roofing), and it was a beautiful day!
Sunday, we did something unusual and fun...we had Thanksgiving dinner! (Since we will miss the real one, we thought we should make up for it!)

We invited about 18 people over, but only 15 could come. Sami was quite popular!

I had lots and lots of fun planning for it....menus and decorations etc. From the leaves we picked up on Saturday, I made a wreath for our front door. I made it out of a paper plate, that I cut the middle out of, a hot glue gun, and a pretty ribbon I had on hand. It only took me about 15 minutes. :)

I also made an arrangement for on top of our piano.... out of a vase I had on hand, the leftover ribbon, and leaves and wheat I had dried.

I made some name tags earlier in the week for our table. I printed out each name with some clipart from Microsoft Office Online, and then pasted it on a piece of green tag board. On the back, I pasted different Bible verses that I liked - one for each person. Mom lent me her white napkins.

I picked up some squash and a pumpkin from our local farmer's market on Thursday. Becky & Jeff were up visiting this weekend too....so that was extra special. Becky made a centerpiece for our table out of the pumpkin and some sunflowers.

Mom made the turkey and a pumpkin pie. Becky brought a couple pies and dessert too. I made the other side dishes and pecan pie bars.

About 4 of our students are vegetarians this week, so we needed extra veggie dishes. Here is our menu from Sunday:

Thanksgiving Dinner
  • Turkey
  • Turkey gravy
  • Mushroom gravy
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Baked Squash, Carrott, and Potaoes
  • Split Pea Soup (without ham)
  • Homemade potatoe bread
  • Green bean casserole
  • Cranberries
  • Black olives
  • Pickles


  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pecan Pie Bars
  • Blueberry Pie
  • Lemon Meringue Pie
  • Brownies
  • Pilgrim hats
  • Orange Jello

It really was a lot of fun. It happened to be two of our birthdays that day, so we celebrated those too, with a surprise Ice Cream Cake. (So we ended up not eating any of our delicious desserts at lunch time!)

Then Jeff and Becky and Mom whipped up the dishes, and we played Cranium, while others left for naps.

After church that evening, we had alot of fun inviting everyone over for leftovers and pie. We had a great time visiting and eating pie! (I ate my pie first, then my leftovers....ha ha)

It really was a fun weekend. I'm so blessed with so many crazy and fun family and friends!


(view from the top)

After coming back from Itasca, we went over to help my parents finish their re-shingling project.

Up until that point, they'd had lots of help and so we mostly helped out on the ground....but Saturday....

I went all the way up and did the ridge caps....HA! Never thought I'd do that, but it was fine.

(Looking down)

Pucha and Buster were busy raiding Dad and Mom's leftover garden....Buster will eat and vegetable he can find. Pucha just likes dirt and catnip.

Itasca Park

Last Saturday we headed down to Itasca State Park to check out the pretty fall colors. We weren't dissapointed!

They weren't at their peak, there was still alot of green, but it was a beautiful, clear, crisp fall day....perfect for being outdoors.

We went in two cars, and 8 of us went (our students and us).
We rented bikes (they were out of tandem bikes....too bad) and saw the headwaters of the Mississippi.
We picked up some pretty fall leaves.
We saw Itasca Lake.
The only dissapointment was, I forgot to bring a picnic lunch...now that would've been perfect!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Focaccia Bread

I received this recipe in the email. I thought it looked really good! Keren made this once, and it looked yummy there too.

The only thing is....what in the world do you use focaccia for???

Macaroni Grill Focaccia
9 tablespoons olive oil, divided
use 3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsifted semolina flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons quick-rising dry yeast
1 1/2 cups hot milk (between 120 to 130 degrees F)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves

1. Pour a 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil into a 9-inch square cakepan; spread to cover bottom and sides.

2. Place all-purpose flour, semolina flour, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and all of the yeast in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook or you can mix by hand.

3. Mix ingredients on medium speed. Reduce speed to low and slowly add hot milk. Increase the speed to medium and continue mixing for 5 minutes, then knead about 10 minutes by hand.

4. Dust the bottom of cake pan with a little flour. Remove dough from bowl and spread out evenly in pan. Cover with a towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

6. Remove towel and brush dough with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Dust the top with additional salt and rosemary. Bakefor 20 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining oil. Serves 6-8


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