November 15, 2011

Welcome to my New Baking Blog

Connie's Favorite Granola Bar Recipe

Ha HA ha! Just kidding. I'm just pretending today to be a baking blogger. I rarely get the creative drive to work in the kitchen. It's not that I don't like it. It's just that I would much rather be doing the 1 crazillion (yes, that's totally a number) other things that spark my creative motor. Ya hear me? So, today is rare, but it's not, like, legendary or whatever... I do "feed" my family. And ocAaaasionally I get a little ambitious and inspired. Mostly, I wanted to try out this one recipe and that led to another one, and then another idea hit me... Let's just say I usually get carried away with whatever I do. I made 2 batches of granola bars and a batch of granola and didn't quite make it to the fruit leathers that I wanted to get to. Another day, another blog (not really, though).

So, without further ado, I will let the pictures tell the story:

Wow! Look at those lovely ingredients! (bonus points for finding the baby sock)

And a little help with clean-up. :)

All in all it was an okay turn-out. My friend (Connie) gave me this recipe and on the instructions it mentions that these "chewy bars" can be eaten for breakfast with a cup of joe. Mine are more like "crunchity-careful not to break your teeth off-bars." And I had to substitute a few ingredients. But they taste good (but really, the pictures look better).

Excuses: My oven is hot (1) and I was dumb (2)and baked it the entire time it said to(3), which I should know by now is way too long for my oven(4). So, lesson learned and I will do better next time... whenever that may be. Which by that time I will have forgotten what I did wrong, BUT like I said before, if I'm not dumb, I shouldn't repeat those preposterous mistakes.

July 15, 2011

NO, WAY!!! Yep! It's a new post.

I had NO idea what to title this post. I keep thinking during events big and small that "oooh! This would be a great post, I really need to update our blog!" And then it never happens... So, I thought I just need to get on and post something to get started. So, here it is: Unorganized, random and rough drafty (as you all know, I'm NOT a pro writer. In fact, I bet most 5th graders can out-write me). This post will actually be very similar to what it might look like if there were daily tours through a door in my ear hole to my brain. The sign before entering would of course read: "Enter at your own risk" and there would most definitely be a disclaimer to sign...

We had a major hail storm that ripped up our backyard and damaged our cars and minor parts of our house and other outdoor belongings. Hubby took a pretty good video during the rage of the storm. Click here to see the excitement. At least I can blame my failed garden on mother nature and not my amateur skills... And thank goodness we don't live off of my skills as a gardener:
This guy looked a little freaked out the next day:

I've really been into this patchwork look and was previously having difficulty deciding how to fix up the "nursery" chair. I wanted it to be able to be used in another part of the house after Johnson Jr. #3 is done with it... I know this is just terribly exciting. I saw this web page and a few others and knew that's the style I was looking for. I also don't totally like when everything matches so nice and perfectly. AND I LOVE COLOR! So, I made cushions and a cover for our "new" rocker I got on freecycle- an awesome Cheyenne group introduced to me by a dear friend.
(Apparently I need to clarify that this is NOT the chair I made a cushion for)

We went to Super Day for the first time since living here in Chey-town a few weeks back. We'd always missed it because of conventions, but due to my largely expanding waist-line we didn't venture too far from home. I felt the need to post a preggo picture of me since there aren't any up here yet... please enjoy. So glad Mom could be here for all of this Wyoming excitement!

Did I mention I love this face?
And this one too?

I'll end with some words to live by:

"Love what you do." - Dove caramel wrapper
(tell ya what, I sure loved eating a few of those)

(This isn't a pic I took)
And some words not to live by:

"Remember your first everything" - Dove caramel wrapper
(um... no thanks)

January 3, 2011

2010, Husband Retrospective

2010 is already over. Hard to believe. Like last year I will post a rough chronological order of events from memory.
  1. Coen turned 1 (and will be 2 in a matter of days now).
  2. I tried to get back into writing. I wrote some 50,000 words in a Jan and Feb.
  3. I finally tried out World of Warcraft. It put an end to my writing productivity. Bad choice.
  4. Coen started walking and Nora got a walker from Stride. Coen pushed Nora around on "forced marches"
  5. One of Kristy's cats died.
  6. A drunk driver drove their car up onto our lawn, hitting the curb so hard it broke their axles. If the curb hadn't stopped them, they may have stopped in our living room. This was the fourth or fifth drunk driving incident in our neighborhood in as many months. There also were a lot of incidents of graffiti. Additionally, the new highschool turned our subdivision into a racetrack and smoker's lounge. We decided it wasn't a place for raising kids and put our house on the market.
  7. I got a Motorola Droid. A small event but it's amazing how much you start to rely on a stupid smartphone.
  8. I wrote a Content Management System that I named Hoox CMS for quick and easy website creation. The first production-level sites were mini sites for Sierra Trading Post in foreign languages. I had to learn a little about German and Japanese and work with translators to build small sites in both languages.
  9. I decided World of Warcraft was dumb and canceled my account. Good choice.
  10. In about a month, far sooner than expected, our house was under contract and we had to be OUT! We hadn't found a place to live yet so we moved in with mom and dad.
  11. We participated in girlpower2cure's Dress Up 2 Cure, raising money for Rett Syndrome research and having fun in the process. I dressed up as a stereotypical nerd at work.
  12. We went to the IRSF's Rett Syndrome conference in Colorado Springs. It was amazing and really changed our mindset on some things. For example, we had been working with Nora on walking for months and our enthusiasm dwindled. Seeing lots of other Rett Girls walk renewed our drive to work with her on more stuff. We also learned a lot more about many different facets of the disease.
  13. The same weekend as the Rett Conference, we ran the Bolder Boulder 10K with the DoubleA's and the Painters and had a blast.
  14. Kristy went to Texas with my mom and the kids. The van lost a piston and had to be fixed.
  15. We found a house that felt just right and made an offer. After 2.5 months in mom and dad's basement, we moved into our new house. I learned a little more than I expected about gutter repair and home wiring.
  16. After some 3-4 years of service, I retired my linux server. At this point I just had too much other stuff to do to try to keep it running and desktop upgrades, new technologies like Dropbox and my hostgator hosting eliminated most of the need for a dedicated home server.
  17. My sister had a baby girl. I now have 3 nephews and 4 nieces.
  18. Nora turned 3! For her birthday, we bought one of those inflatable bounce castles. Nora loves it and it was a big hit with the other kids too.
  19. Nora started taking some steps. In July, we went camping with the DoubleA's and Painters and Nora really started walking around. She continued to improve, almost overnight, until she was walking everywhere.
  20. I built for Brion Griffith using the Hoox CMS. It was the third site to use my new software.
  21. The Saab, my free car from 2009, was declining in health. The engine worked fine but the locks stopped working correctly and the clutch was starting to go. We traded it in on an old, 2001 suburban with 200k miles (yes, we only drive junky cars).
  22. The Painters family, our best friends in the area, announced that they were moving away.
  23. Work got really crazy! One of my employees decided to move away. Then, we decided we needed two new hires. I suddenly had to hire 3 people, hopefully before the last quarter of the year.
  24. I got a kindle for my birthday. Woot!
  25. The niche website I started writing last year turned one year old! I am sad to say that I've barely worked on it this year but the site has almost 500 members.
  26. We got pictures taken by The Rancher's Wife, they turned out amazing.
  27. We had a fun halloween party with kids everywhere. I was wolverine. This pansy was jealous.
  28. The Painters moved away :(
  29. We started thinking about having one more kid.
  30. In November we took the Suburban out to Iowa and then on to Wisconsin. We visited all of Kristy's family. I blew the last of my freelance money for the year on a laptop.
  31. Inspired by the indie game, Minecraft, I wrote a 2D, random terrain generator in PHP.
  32. I began working on a fourth site, powered by the Hoox CMS, for my brother-in-law. I improved and added features to the CMS but the site-itself is not finished.
  33. I started laying some plans to compete in the 2011 Dream Build Play contest (see last year's highlights). I started learning to develop new code on top of an existing engine, written by someone else.
  34. Kristy welcomed me home with a "gift" - a bag with baby clothes. I was like "What do I want with a bunch of baby clo...OH!" Looks like (Lord willin' and the creek don't rise) we're having another.
  35. Wifey and I celebrated our 6th (!) anniversary with some time away in Denver.
  36. My aunt Kenna had an aneurysm. She's currently in the ICU post-surgery. It's too soon for any sort of prognosis.
  37. We enjoyed the Christmas and New Year vacations with my family.

2010 High Points (not prioritized and probably missing some things)
  • Rett Syndrome Conference
  • Moving into a new house
  • Writin' Code
  • Watching Coen start walking, talking and growing
  • Watching Nora grow up, especially: NORA WALKING!!!
  • Bolder Boulder
  • Camping with DoubleA and the Painter (and going to bed at 5am :P )
  • Reading on my Kindle
  • No cats. I can breathe.

2010 Low Points
  • The Painters leaving
  • Averaging 6 hours of sleep/night (byproduct of working/playing late after kids go to sleep)
  • Being sick a lot
  • Reading resumes
  • The cash required to put down on a house and buy a vehicle. Bye bye savings :(

October 5, 2010

Rett Syndrome Awareness Month!!

October is here, although it doesn't really feel like it. It had to be in the 80's today! But, anyway, this month is a month for awareness. Most of you might think of October as being breast cancer awareness month, but we are going to try to get Rett Syndrome right up there with breast cancer!

Is Rett Syndrome just as prevalent as breast cancer?? NO, not even close. But, it IS just as devastating to the ones it affects AND I would like to believe that it's 100% closer to being cured than breast cancer is (not that I don't wish it were the same for BC).

That's right, I said cured. That means we are on the "home stretch", and if you know just a little about running, NOW is when you start to put a little more effort into your stride. You can see the end, you know you don't have to save anymore energy. The harder you push the closer, the faster the end comes. Then you can FINALLY take that deep breath of air that your burning, tight lungs just can't handle at the moment. You can FINALLY rest your legs- that are at the moment screaming at you for each stride taken. You see, your body doesn't know that the end is near, but your mind does, and your eyes can see it, so you push, push hard to the end. To be done... At least that's how I run. Then again I don't really run to race... at least not distance. I run for the sense of accomplishment that I get when I complete the run. And I like to be DONE.

Well, I got a little taken up with the running bit and got a little off track here. Now is the time where we don't have to think about saving our efforts because the end IS in sight. And the harder we push people to just know about Rett Syndrome the faster the cure will come.

I couldn't believe the kind of results our little purple cards about Nora led to. As many of you know, a crew of us ran the Bolder Boulder this past May and something really awesome happened just because we handed out the purple cards. I had a friend from high school who happens to live there who happened to be friends with one of the girls I handed a card to, who happens to work with special needs children. Too many "who happens to's"? Sorry, anyway, if you weren't following: This friend of mine works with special needs kids and she is enrolled in the Kick for a Cause event ( I think it's a yearly event) where they have teams who play kick ball for a certain charity. If they win, all the money (from entering the event, which is a certain price for each team) goes to their chosen charity. Well, this friend asked me if Nora still had a page for donation and I gave it to her. I kinda forgot about it, but then got an email from Ingrid H. who is the founder of GirlPower2Cure's website saying it was so neat to open her email to find over $1000 donated to GP2C in Nora's honor. I was so surprised when I found out it was from my friend, who at the time I didn't know was in this event. What also surprised me was that I wasn't that close to her and hadn't even realized what affect this purple card could have on people. So, that just showed me! I am now going to hand out these purple cards at any appropriate moment... probably, like, not to the person in the stall next to me in the restroom...but, you know... When the opportunity seems right.

So, other than the purple card I plan on doing some other actual fund raising things and/or awareness events. There is a garden of hope that I plan on taking to local stores to see if they're willing to be involved. It's just like the march of dimes, but with flowers. I think each flower can cost a dollar. I'm excited, but time is slipping by and I need to get on top of it. If anyone wants to help out there's lots of good ideas for fundraising on the website and probably all over the web. Just let me know. But please don't feel like you have to. I hate when I feel pushed and that's not what I'm doing. JUST if your interested.

Well, everyone have a fabulouso October! So far it's been amazing weather. I'm sure we will get a snowstorm the last of the month, though. Stay tuned for Halloween costumes. Any ideas?

Randomness follows:
I do cook sometimes... but not nearly enough. Sorry, hubby.

And Justin got some air the other day. He must eat enough anyway.

September 13, 2010

Last of the summer photo shoot!

I thought I would jump in here between my updates and post something current. It was so nice out that I thought I should take the kids to our favorite spot for one more summer (end of the summer) photo shoot. It didn't turn out to be the greatest. I was a little pushy with the kids (which I can't stand, but I had no skills with kids tonight for some reason) and in return they protested a bit. Among many bad pictures from our photo shoot, I actually ended up with a few nice ones.

I think these first two are my faves.

For some reason I love this picture of Nora. It just cracks me up!
One of my tricks here was giving them marshmallows to share. I had to have Coen feed them to Nora, which led to some cute ones. That wore off after a bit... there's even a limit to how many marshmallows a couple toddlers will eat.

And now, the gag reel, the bloopers (whatever you wanna call it. It was the end):

"Really, Mom??? You're still taking pictures?"

Hope you enjoyed. ;)