Friday, November 30, 2012

Two Amazing Roll Recipes

I had a friend ask me for my roll recipe, since my son was bragging to her at church about how amazing our (second) Thanksgiving feast was. And it really was. I have some truly amazing recipes for turkey, pie and squash, plus a knack for seriously awesome mashed potatoes, and my friends Stovetop and... um... Packet Gravy come to play, too, and it's just so delicious... I make almost everything else from scratch (and I could do gravy scratch, as well, but I like it to be done when the turkey comes out of the oven, not just beginning. But I digress). As I was saying, I make almost everything from scratch, including rolls, which, when I'm really lucky, go in the oven when the turkey comes out. The turkey rests for 15 minutes, while the rolls bake and Voila! everything hits the table at the same time. It's magic. When it works out...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The BIG Word Game

My family has a few goofy things that we do regularly, such as writing messages and notes on the bathroom mirror in dry-erase marker (17 y.o. son writes scary Slenderman quotes, while 10 y.o. daughter draws cats... Kriss quotes "Rocky" and 13 y.o. son writes reminders to himself to wash his laundry, etc.), and dancing in the family room. I sincerely hope that other families have as much fun as we do. :)

One ongoing game we play is something that began last summer and has lingered on. I call it the "BIG Word Game". Basically, I challenged my kids to try to use uncommonly large words (usually polysyllabic, but sometimes just obscure words) and then I assign randomly calculated points for the words they use. No one tallies the points and there are no prizes, but it's still fun. It's similar to another family favorite: "You're My New Favorite Kid" in that it's only fun for a moment, but everyone plays along. (Oh relax, I'm just kidding. My kids will never know who my favorite is.)

The reigning champion (besides me, and I've been told that, as Judge, I'm not allowed to collect points. Poppycock.) is my 10-year old daughter. She is an avid reader (yep. She's the apple to my tree) and as such, she learns a lot of big words. She started out using words such as "frequently" and "approximately" and has expanded to words like "currently"and "repulsive". She loves impressing me with her increasing vocabulary. And I love hearing it. 

So there you have it. Participate and you may earn some points, too! I'll leave you here with wishes for a life abundant with merriment, joviality and linguistic revelry.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

English is Language-Tastic!

The English language is a funny thing. It's similar to the United States in that it's a mish-mash of other cultures, languages and colloquialisms. I did not realize, however, English is Germanic based until recently. In high school, I had been told by teachers I believed that English is a romance language, Latin-based like French and Italian. LIES! Realizing that my love of English is based on falsehoods is disappointing, but my love doth not wane. Nay, in fact. I still adore this crazy, tossed-in-a-blender language and all its various accents, slang terms and regional oddities. 

I have a few books on the subject that I seriously love. One is called "Words Fail Me" by Patricia T. O'Conner. She is funny, smart and this book is a must-read for anyone who needs to write anything- whether for work or college or for fun. It's entertaining and makes a great that-just-makes-sense education. What more could we ask from non-fiction?
For my birthday this year, my dad gave me "Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language", also by O'Conner for my birthday. It was on my Amazon Wish List along with other similar titles. I haven't dived into it very far yet. I've got a serious fiction fixation going on right now which can only be satisfied by devouring various thrillers, YA novels and murder mysteries while (during those brainless tasks at work and home) also listening to the last few books of the "Wheel of Time" series audio-book style. 
I will be reading it in its entirety soon. I did start it and I was delighted to learn that although the British feel they are speaking "true" English and that we Americans have strayed, there are many pronunciations that we use that are actually closer to the old ways than the British. For example, the dropped rs? A relatively new development, language-wise. She says, "Educated people in Britain began dropping their r's in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries." So... ha! Snobby Brits who criticize our pronunciations! While tidbits like this might bore some of you to tears, I gobble it up. I love English and I love delving into its history, myths and oddities even more. 

  One of my most favorite possessions are the set of ancient dictionaries pictured below. The teeny tiny publishing date says they are from 1899 (though there are the dates 1897 and 1898 thrown in there for flavor). I acquired these of late when the bosses at the city library were cleaning out an old closet and they told us (I worked there... remember?) they would be putting everything out on a table for the public to take, but we got first pick, since we happened to be there first. Yay! 
Such a fortuitous happenstance for someone insane enough to want four giant volumes such as these. Now I just need a home office with a built-in shelf or alcove just right for these to be stored and displayed properly near my writing desk. Where I will sit to write...

I have to wonder if other languages simply adopt words like English does. Words such as alma mater (French), status quo (Latin), royal (French), ostracize and tragedy (Greek) coyote and armada (Spanish). (Want more adopted words? Click the link for a rather comprehensive list of so-called "loanwords".) I don't know. Maybe they do. Regardless,  English is a pretty awesome, albeit difficult to master, language.

 Which brings me to my next blog entry. Stay tuned 'till next time when we will find out who is winning The Big Word Game

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Mickey Mouse Collection

Happy Thanksgiving!!
My brother Danny is a Disneyland fanatic like me; he used to live in Orange County, CA and even though he lives in Utah again, he still maintains an annual pass to "The Happiest Place on Earth". 

Lucky for me, he is generous to his sisters and always brings us back an antenna ball or two when he goes out there. Between his gifts and the handful I bought when I was there in 2008, I have acquired 29!! How cool is that. I don't have a display cabinet or shelf for them, but I am mulling over how to make one that would be nice enough to show them off-- even just in my bedroom. I am not terribly crafty nor handy, but I think I could make something with some wood, paint and tiny dowels... I want something classy, not hokey or cluttery. That's the trick with any collection, I suppose.

Over the years, they have had some adventures. The sunshine one got destroyed so badly it simply had to be replaced (thanks to Danny's generous friend) because I left it on and went through a car wash. Ahem... (I could write a whole blog of all the stupid things I do, but this was a particularly frustrating one.) It's one of my favorites-- just look at those cute sunglasses!!

The Easter egg with Donald's feet sticking out experienced some distress and lost a foot. Luckily, they sold them again another year and Danny got me another. 

The snowman one is no longer white, thanks to Utah's inversion-laden air in the winter. I'm considering taking a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and gently trying to clean it. Haven't yet, though... 

The pink cupcake with Minnie's ears and bow got pulled off my van and put on a co-worker's car at the public library last February. There are a group of tweens who hang out there regularly and they thought they were being funny. I did not agree. Luckily, it was an easy recovery. 

And recently, I had the scarecrow Mickey on my van for fall and he lost an arm. I don't know where or how, but I've decided that between these myriad injuries and the risk of a student stealing one (I work at an elementary school now), I don't have one on my van anymore. Too bad. 

But I digress. My point (and I do have one) is that one of the two Danny brought back last month for us sisters is my new very favorite. It's unique and funny and geeky and adorable. I give you:
Robot Mickey!! So cute! I love the retro colors and the little spiraly connector thing and the bolts on the side and the detail on the eyes and ears and the little mouth- adorable. 
The darling gingerbread Mickey below is the other one he gave me last week. Sweet!!

FYI- in the interest of full disclosure, all the smaller photos on today's post are from the internet. The larger three I took in my kitchen. One day, when I figure out the way to display them best, I will photograph them all. Because I know you are just dying to see them.

While I'm at it, I'll show you a slideshow of our last vacation and baby pictures of my cats! Bwahahahaaaa!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Speaking of Soup Part 2

Tonight's soup was a huge success, so I thought I would share the recipe with you! Aren't you lucky? Yes. Yes you are.

I started out with a soup recipe from Allrecipes and modified it A LOT. Because my family likes flavor and the recipe seemed like it might be bland. So instead of giving you their version, I'll just give you mine. I humbly and happily present:

Scrumptious Veggie Soup

Farewell Hostess. We Loved You Well.

Another iconic American company has gone under during an increasingly difficult economic half-decade. 

The workers of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union went on strike last week over a new contract that would cut workers' wages and benefits. The strike in turn forced the company to give them a deadline (last night) to get back to work or the whole company would have to close. These union members forced the company's hand and now instead of striking their way back to previous wages and benefits, they are out of jobs. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Speaking of Soup

I find a lot of great recipes online and I feel so very blessed that people are generous and share their great concoctions with others for free. I use allrecipes most often, because I like to search and then sort by rating. I've found some real winners that way. But I also use other sites and friends and family members' tried and true favorites a lot. I almost always adjust and adapt recipes to match my cooking style, my family's tastes and what ingredients I have on hand. I've been cooking for this family for about 20 years, and I've gotten pretty good at it. Mostly. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Four Cussing Levels

Recently I bought a new family computer. My poor old Mac Mini died beyond resuscitation and due to a depressing commitment to avoid debt unless absolutely necessary, I was forced to purchase a PC for the first time in 10 years. Within the first week of owning the PC, I became frustrated and spewed forth a mouthful of levels 2 and (I confess) 3 cusses. I decided it was time to share my impressive language organizing skills with the world. I can only hope the world is ready.

Pinterest Fail & Recovery

My first ever Pinterest fail:
I thought the idea of cookie cups holding ice cream and caramel and chocolate syrup sounded divine!  
Seriously. I can almost taste the yummy goodness. Sweet, light, crispy cookies, molded to hold a scoop of vanilla ice cream... delicious! Right? Right...