Spudnuts

2.24.2010

One of the highlights of my weekend was of making spudnuts with Bron on Saturday night!  Spudnuts are simply doughnuts made with leftover mashed potatoes and lots and lots of flour and sugar.  Melt-in-your-mouth yumminess!  We made your standard round doughnuts and maple bars, but then I decided to get creative and got out the cookie cutters.  We cut out hearts, clovers, and cows!   Then we fried them and smothered them in glaze or maple frosting and topped them with nuts or sprinkles.  My friend, Anna, brought over cow sprinkles just for the occasion!  Most of the cow spudnuts got a good sprinkling, but I thought the sprinkles worked nicely on the clovers too since cows like to eat them.  My kitchen was a total disaster afterwards, but it sure was a fun evening!



SPUDNUTS:
7 C flour
2 T yeast
2 2/3 C milk, warmed
1/3 C oil
1/3 C sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 C mashed potatoes

Mix all ingredients together, gradually adding flour until mixed thoroughly.  Let rise until doubled.  Punch down.  Roll out on floured surface to 1/2 inch thick.  Cut with doughnut, biscuit, or cookie cutter.  Let rise again and then fry in hot oil on both sides.  Glaze with thin powdered sugar icing or smother in whatever sugary concoction you think best!  Enjoy! 

Honest Scrap

2.19.2010
My friend, Heather, (thanks, girl!) tagged me to write out ten honest confessions about myself and to tag four more people. It’s taken a lot of thought to write, and as I read it, I realize just how weird I really am.  I just hope someone doesn’t read this and try to institutionalize me. So read on and take a peek into the thoughts and person that is explicitly me.

1.  I only shave my legs a half at a time. Those knobby knees always seem to take forever to shave and the pricklies are never bothersome under my pant legs. So instead of shaving my entire leg from ankle to thigh x2, I cut the work in half. I shave the bottom half of my legs one or two days a week and save my knees until it’s time to wear a skirt. Especially during the winter.

2.  I majored in Health Science, but my dream job is to teach violin lessons. I’ve been playing the violin since I was five years old.  My violin paid for college and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything! Playing my violin was so much fun! I didn’t major in music because I hate theory, the other really obsessed music majors drove me bonkers (and I was scared I’d turn into one of them!), and I knew I could always teach lessons from home with or without a degree in music. After college, I taught violin lessons for two years a few nights a week.  My little violin studio steadily grew and I loved it. I liked the challenge of explaining concepts in a way that my students could understand. Better yet, I got a kick out of watching my students progress and grow musically. It’s my own personal high and I’m addicted. Unfortunately, there’s not much interest in the violin here in our small community where parents are losing their jobs. Maybe the next place we move to will be more promising.

3.  I have zero interest in pop culture. When I first went to college, I had never heard the names of Armani and Gucci, or at least had never paid enough attention to remember them. My roommates were floored, but never made me feel bad about it. I cannot put many historically popular music groups or actors with their faces, and the current ones often elude me too. Oh well. I figure that kind of stuff is passing and mostly meaningless anyway.

4.  I love popping zits. There’s just something grossly satisfying about squeezing the juice out of something so ugly.

5.  I have perfect pitch. It’s a totally useless talent, but it’s a lot of fun! I can listen to a song and play it back. I can tell you what note your car horn is. But the talent is also hindering. I can’t sing the alto part of a hymn when the organist is using the simplified hymn book because the key is different and therefore the notes I’m hearing are different than the ones I’m looking at. Yes, it’s that severe.

6.  I’m scared of the dark. I’m afraid of creepy crawly things and burglars that go bump in the night. I once teased Bron that the reason he sleeps closest to the door is because he’d be the first to get bludgeoned. Unfortunately, there’s actually some truth to that. When Bron is gone overnight to a conference, I hardly sleep at all. The creaks and noises keep my mind spinning and I can’t settle down. Sleeping on the couch helps for some reason, so it’s getting easier. I wish I had a guard dog.

7.  I’d rather be cremated than buried, or at least buried in a giant tomb. Yes, it’s morbid, but I’m a bit claustrophobic. I know that when I die I’ll be embalmed and I know that it is scientifically impossible to wake up after that, but still, I wonder. I’m afraid of waking up and being buried alive. It’s silly, I know. It doesn’t make any sense. However, if I’m cremated, then I no longer have a body to wake up in. If I’m buried in a tomb, at least there’s room to move and breath. Maybe I can even have a cell phone and a book.

8.  If there’s whipped cream in the fridge, I use it on almost anything. Hey, I’m pregnant and I’m using it as a crutch to eat whatever I want! (With moderation, of course. Whatever.) Whipped cream just gives ice cream, pancakes, and waffles the extra umph they need! Also, chocolate and strawberries--smothered in whipped cream--make anything better!

9.  Cows are my favorite animals. I’ve liked them since before high school and I’m not really sure why. Ironically, I married the son of a dairy farmer and I’ve been living on a farm ever since. I now know more about cows than I ever imagined possible.  See what I've learned here.  Cows are actually delicate creatures. Now that I’m pregnant, I feel like I’ll be joining the ranks. I, too, will be using the “milking parlor” and trying to avoid mastitis.

10.  My philosophy on life: Obey the Commandments and then do whatever you want! Simply put, the Commandments will ensure your happiness. The rest is up to you! One size does not fit all. There isn’t one way to do things and do them right. So live your life your way and be proud of it! (For instance, if you want to be a professional male ice skater, so be it. I’m just not attracted to that kind of man.)

I hope this made you laugh and recognize a little weirdness in yourself as well. I tag:
  • My cousin, Rachel, because as we get older we seem to have more in common.
  • My friend, Lindsey, because she’s observant and always has something to comment on.
  • My friend, Nikki, because she is so cute and I love to pick her brain.
  • My sister, Lauren, because I know we’re very much alike but very different too!
If you think this tag is for you, try it! Happy Blogging!

Saranac Lake

2.18.2010
I won't be challenging this.

Tribute to Mr. Handsome

2.16.2010
The look of concentration while running his assay.  Doesn't Bron look professional using all that stuff?

My man is a busy man.  I might describe him much like the energizer bunny; he just goes and goes and goes!  Although his lifestyle is not atypical of a young graduate student, I think he deserves a little credit and recognition for what he does! 

My honey has a lot on his plate.  He's busy with school, work, and church all seven days a week.  He worries about grades and tests, his research and papers.  He worries about how to help our struggling church branch.  On top of it all, he has a hormone-crazed wife, a baby on the way, and finances are tight.  Even the energizer bunny's battery runs low from time to time.  It's been a tough couple of months.  Somehow, however, Bron perseveres! 

Somehow, he gets it all done.  And done well! Somehow, he mangages to make time for me and make me laugh.  Somehow, he still remembers to smack my behind when I'm being sassy and tickle me.  Somehow, he takes the trash out and fills his empty cereal bowl with water to make it easier for me to clean.  Somehow, he made an awesome Valentine's Day dinner complete with a tuna steak and cheesy red lobster biscuits.       


A Story for Clarification:
This pregnancy has caused me to crave chips and fresh salsa.  I made a batch of salsa and sucked it down in two days.  I made another batch, but ran out of chips.  Because we live so far from anywhere, a trip to the grocery store for just a bag of chips is out of the question.  The salsa was just going to have to wait.

One afternoon, I called Bron before he left Burlington and asked if he could pick up some thank-you cards because I'd run out.  I hinted that he should pick up some chips too.  Bron said he would just drop by the bookstore and they probably wouldn't have any chips.  Okay, I sighed.  The next morning as I was reaching for some cereal, I happened to glance up at the top shelf.  There, sat a plastic bag.  I opened it up and found a bag of chips and a box of my favorite gum!  (Perhaps the gum is a hint at my garlic salsa breath!)  I was ecstatic and so, so, happy!  When Bron came home for lunch he was showered with hugs and kisses. 

I realized that it isn't the flowers and romance, the sex, or our dreams and successes that make our marriage so good.  It's the little, everyday things.  I have not once ever doubted that my husband loves me.  He tells me everyday, but more importantly, he shows me.  He tries his very best in all that he does, and that's more than I could ever ask for.  I am the luckiest woman in the world!  The best part?  I get him for time and all eternity. 

This gets to last forever! 

I always want water in the cereal bowls, chips in my cupboard, and hands to tickle me. 

No Snow and No Ice is Very Nice

2.11.2010

While the rest of the East Coast gets socked-in with snow, we folks in the North Country have stayed miraculously dry.  I prefer it this way.  The view outside my kitchen window is awfully deceiving.  It looks like spring has arrived!  It hasn't.  It's still freezing cold, but at least there's no ice to slip on.  (I hope I didn't jinx us!)

Baby Anxiety

2.08.2010

Please don't misunderstand me, I'm excited to be joining the club of motherhood!  In fact, I have so much baby on the brain that I often forget little things here and there.  I rub my tummy and think of my little baby-to-be more than 20 times a day.  I use my pregnancy as an excuse for everything from wanting a piece of chocolate to why I need new curtains.  Bron just laughs and so do I.  I can't wait to experience all the cuteness and laughter that this new personality will bring into our family!

But with all the excitement also comes anxiety.  I'm scared to death about the pain of labor.  And I'm not quite sure what to expect from the first few months of motherhood.  How does nursing work?  How will I juggle nurturing a baby on top of my wifely responsibilities and possibly a part time job?  What about getting back into those size 4 jeans I loved so much?  How am I going to handle all that laundry and bottle cleaning, etc.?  What about our budget?  Are we grossly underestimating how much this little bean is going to cost?  Most disconcertingly, will I ever get my blessed 8 hours of sleep ever again?

I love my sleep.  It sounds very selfish.  However, I become a grouch who is incapable of living with anybody without an adequate amount of sleep.  I know to expect little sleep during the first few months, and the rule of thumb is to sleep whenever the baby sleeps.  I think I can live with that.  But then, a few months later he'll teeth and be cranky, then later get sick and throw up all night, then get scared of some monster, and finally just be downright obnoxious about going to bed.  Whew. I have a lot to look forward to.  I hope those sleepness nights are more of the exception than the rule. 

It's sinking in that this mothering thing is going to be a full time 24/7 job and it's going to last a long time.  It's going to be a lot of work and I really don't have a clue.  Raising a child is a BIG responsibility.  Bron and I will need to teach him so many things.  But how?  We talk about our future family and what we'd like, but really, we'll be flying by the seat of our pants. 

I know that starting a family will throw our marriage for a loop until the dust settles and we adjust.  I'm afraid that raising children will cause some major disagreements in our marriage.  You see, more than anything, I want my best friend to be my best friend every waking moment now, AND in 30 years.  Can we really do it?

Bron has been really helpful and comforting though.  (But he's scared to death too!)  Bron knows my fears.  He also says that if I weren't getting "cold feet" right now I probably wouldn't be taking motherhood very seriously. 

I guess I'll just have to go forward with faith and trust that I will love my children unconditionally.  I know they will be my greatest challenge and my greatest joy. 

I just hope I enjoy the ride.

Surprise Baby Shower

2.03.2010

I arrived at the church early last night for a young women’s planning meeting, but was surprised with a baby shower instead! I was a little shocked; I really had no idea. It took a second for it all to register, but it was great! I had so much fun! The room was decorated with balloons and blue streamers. Diana Nichols made the most adorable bear shaped cake I’d ever laid eyes on, along with a pair of booties and a pram all made of cake. Wow! The party started with some fun games, of course. Do you know what a baby fish is called? A fingerling. (I said caviar.) We also found that my tummy is exactly ten toilet paper squares around. And then there were the gifts. So many cute and thoughtful gifts! I am in awe of the blue and brown crochet blanket, hats, booties, and jacket. I can’t wait to dress my baby in them and take pictures! He’s already spoiled and doesn’t even know it.

Being so far from home, I honestly didn’t expect to have a baby shower at all. Our thoughtful branch was so generous; they’d been planning the party since November. I can’t express how much I appreciate their efforts and the love I felt specifically for me and my little family. It means so much I could cry! It just feels so good to be cared about. Thank you!!!

P.S.  Have I mentioned lately how much I absolutely love, love, love, feeling my baby move and kick?!?  It lets me know that everything must be going on okay inside and puts my worrying mind at ease.  All the movement just makes me more and more excited to finally meet the little guy!

Dear Groundhog,

2.02.2010
Please make Winter go away and Spring come soon!
Love, Me

Birthday Girl

2.01.2010
Twenty-five years old.  That sounds like I should be a real, responsible, adult, doesn't it?  The adult part might be up for debate though.  Hey, a girl always likes to have fun!  Bron made a scrumptious brownie dessert with melted marshmallows and frosting for me yesterday.  Thanks to family and friends for your thoughtful phone calls and birthday shout-outs.  They made my day.  

     
The Birthday Belly
About 28 Weeks
(Notice the high-heeled shoes!)

The real birthday celebration occurred on Saturday.  Bron and two of our friends, Anna and Roxanne, took an afternoon trip to Vermont.  I had no idea where we were going.  It was a surprise.  I love Bron's surprises.  They're always so thoughtful and let me know just how much he really does love me. 

Two hours after piling into the car, we arrived at Ben and Jerry's Creamery Museum!  I clapped my hands and was so excited!  I've wanted to go there for a while now.  We went on a short tour of the creamery and learned a little about the company's history.  Creameries are so cool and clean.  Bron loves all the chrome pipes and red tiled floors.  Then we got to sample some ice cream, one for me and one for the baby!  It was great!  Maybe this summer we'll come back to see the ice cream graveyard of dead flavors.

   



Next, we introduced Anna and Roxanne to our favorite restaurant, Texas Roadhouse.  Anna brought cowboy hats for the occasion!  It was a lot of good fun and good food.   

Roxanne and Anna

My Honey totally deserved a kiss for such an enjoyable day out! Thanks for a truly happy birthday!

P.S. Feel free to criticize my photography! I want to know if my colors are out-of-whack, how to take pictures in a dark restaurant, and how to hand my camera to somone else and still get the picture in focus.