Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Joan v. Bette

On Saturday night, Boyfriend and I started watching What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? because it came on TCM and, before we could change the channel, we were hooked. We didn't watch it all in one sitting, but finished it last night. Oh man. Ohhhh man. I don't think I would have chosen to watch it if I had seen it in the listing because Tivo classified it as a horror movie and those are typically not my thing. It wasn't so much a horror movie, though, in my opinion. It was really more of a thriller, though mainly psychological. Maybe? I can't decide. Anyway, Bette Davis was awesome in this. I had only ever seen her in one other movie (The Catered Affair) and I liked that a lot, but this was totally different.

I don't want to give any of the plot away, of course, but I will tell you this: Joan Crawford and Bette Davis play two sisters. Joan's character is in a wheelchair and Bette has to take care of her. Joan and Bette hated each other in real life, which I think really adds something to the dynamic between the two in the film. You should probably watch it. 


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Zucchini Bread

Friends! Happy Thursday! Is it Friday yet? I thought it was Friday yesterday, so you can imagine the excitement I will finally be feeling tomorrow, for real.

When we went to The Duck's birthday party last weekend, we made a stop at Boyfriend's parents' house. His sister and brother-in-law live only like thirty seconds away from his parents, you see. Anyway, Boyfriend's mom gave me a zucchini (very large) and a cucumber (even larger!) to take home. I knew right away that I would be making zucchini bread. Mmmm yes. I called my mom later that day and asked her to please give me her recipe. She did! It would have been mean if she hadn't though, right? Right. 

I decided to make the zucchini creation on Tuesday night because Boyfriend had to work stuff until late and I don't love going to bed alone. I figured starting to bake something at 9pm would be a good way to use time until he got home. For some reason, I didn't take any pictures of the process or the finished product and for that I apologize. Here is my mom's recipe:

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups unpeeled squash, shredded
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a mixing bowl until fluffy.
Mix flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in bowl.
Add to egg mixture, stir until well blended.
Stir in squash and nuts.
Pour into greased and floured loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until brown.
Wrap in foil when cool.
Let me tell you, though, I made muffins instead of a loaf. I got two dozen muffins out of the recipe and only had to bake them for 45ish minutes. I think they turned out nicely (they taste quite delicious), but some of them do look a bit strange, color wise. This is probably a mixing issue, I have decided. Haha. Moral of the story: even funny looking muffins taste delicious. Also, whenever I even think the word "muffin," I get the muffintop song from 30 Rock in my head. You know the one.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Yesterday, I made some vanilla cupcakes. Not from a mix. I feel very accomplished. I used Joy the Baker's recipe (this can be found in her cookbook) and I was very happy with the results. Boyfriend was happy as well. After they cooled down, I frosted them with chocolate frosting (didn't make that from scratch... some day, perhaps) and put a few fun sprinkles on top. I think what I liked best about them was that the flavor of the cupcake itself was really subtle. They were just simple and lovely.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Burn, Baby, Burn

OMG. You know how I said that I touched one of the hot peppers and then touched my face and it burned? Yeahhh... I washed my hands but apparently did not get it all off. While I was in the shower, I touched my face and it spread. It was all under my eye, on my forehead and on my cheek and, you guys, it BURNED. The warm shower water DID NOT HELP, either. So I was trying to be speedy and finish up in the shower so I could do something about it and then I got body wash in my eye or something. That also burned. By the time I was out, I was jumping around and basically crying. I ended up, per my dear father's advice, washing the areas with Dawn dish soap and it took the burn away. Needless to say, I did not wear my contacts or foundation today. Ay, ay, ay. What a sad salsa time. I do not appreciate that, hot peppers. No, I do not.

Weekend Birthday Salsa

Our weekends are usually pretty interesting around here. We like to explore and drive and sometimes just sit on the couch. This morning has gotten the weekend off to a good start. We woke up, went for a short drive and came home so I could start making salsa. Today is Boyfriend's niece's 2nd birthday. Have I ever mentioned her before? If I refer to The Duck, that's who I mean. She dressed up like a duck for her first Halloween and we've just been calling her that since. She's adorable. Anyway... her parents decided to have a taco bar for her party and her mom asked that I make salsa. How do I make my salsa, you ask? Easy peasy:

-roma tomatoes
-white onion
-a wee bit of hot pepper
-lime juice

How much of each thing is pretty dependent on how much salsa I want to end up with (and it almost always looks like way less than I planned). For the party, I used ten (or was it twelve?) tomatoes, one and  half onions, one little green hot pepper (that I never knew the name of because it wasn't labeled at the store but that must be hot because I touched my face and it is now burning), a few sprigs of cilantro from my garden, and an unknown quantity of lime juice. I am very meticulous about cutting everything for the salsa. I want all of the veggies to be in little cubes, you see. I asked Boyfriend if he wanted to help cut stuff and he said he didn't have the patience for that method of cutting (he would just chop everything and throw it together very quickly) so I popped on my headphones and listened to Alec Baldwin's podcast. The episode featuring Kristen Wiig, to be specific. It was a good time.

I'm finished with the salsa now (I tried it and it seems to be delicious), but I am nervous that it won't be enough for everyone that will be there (about eleven people, maybe). I guess we'll see. I'm super excited to give The Duck her birthday present. We bought her a little kid basketball hoop! She will probably love it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pantry Magic

In terms of pantry space, our house did not come equipped with much. As she is approaching her 100th birthday (yes, I have decided it is a lady house), this probably doesn't come as a surprise. The closet that we were using as a sort of pantry (really just a place to store plastic bags, brooms, and miscellaneous crap) is in the mudroom area of the house, probably added on in the 1990s. Boyfriend and I decided that we wanted this closet to be a pantry some time ago. We bought a plastic shelf at Lowe's to put in there until we could decide what we wanted to do. It stayed in it's shrink wrap until Monday when we were finally able to make time to see what was what in the pantry.

Boyfriend constructed the plastic shelf and determined very quickly that it did not make sense to use that particular shelf there. Dang it. He said it would be good for the basement, though, so I agreed and we went to Lowe's to find something else. We came home with a metal shelving unit that was about two inches taller than it should have been. Since we didn't want to sacrifice the wooden shelf in the closet, Boyfriend used this fancy drill bit I've never seen before to make some holes into which the legs of the metal shelf could go. It was impressive, let me tell you.

The shelf, after he made the adjustments to the existing wooden shelf, fit beautifully in the closet. Now I have what we refer to as "our very own grocery store" right off the kitchen!! I am super excited and now I can use some of my cupboard space for more dishes and various kitchen items.

How nerdy is it that I am so psyched about this? It's just one of many things knocked off my home improvement to-do list, but it feels like quite an accomplishment.

Pictured: one awkward iPhone shot of the filled pantry. The space in the mudroom is so tiny, it was hard to get! Also, I'm pretty sure the picture is ultra-blurry. I'm sorry.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Search for Major Plagge

I read this book a couple of weeks ago. I think I got it while browsing the monthly kindle sale and I'm so glad I downloaded it! I am pretty interested in reading Holocaust memoirs and this one was a little different than others I had read. The author, Michael Good, recounts his parents' experiences during WWII and what they did to survive the Holocaust. After taking a family trip to Lithuania and learning more about the Nazi officer (Major Plagge) his mother said was the man who saved her life during the Holocaust, Good begins researching to found out more about him.

I think I liked this book so much because it did a good job of telling the stories of Holocaust survivors as well as a good job of explaining Good's research process. As an historian, I was really interested in learning what avenues he explored to find out more about Major Plagge. As an archivist, it was interesting to learn about the state of the actual documents and to read a little about how they had been preserved over the years.

Anywayyyy... history nerd moment over. You should read this book. It was both interesting and engaging.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Apartment-Warming Surprise!

My friend Katie moved home to Iowa last month. I was sad to see her go, because she was one of my first and dearest friends in PA. However, I am happy for her because she was so excited to move home and everything is going well for her. She found a great apartment AND a great job! Lucky girl.

Anyway, I decided to make her a little apartment-warming gift. She finally got it in today's mail so I can finally post about it. In the box, I sent:

-a cute kitchen towel
-two little sea themed plates
-a lavender candle
-a magnetic notepad

Nothing fancy, but just a little something fun. Plus, I decided that I should give better, more creative gifts this year and I think this fits the bill!

The Great Ramen Adventure

If you have ever moved away from the place you grew up, you know that there are some things that you can never find that you always want when you're in the new place. I've lived in Pennsylvania for about four years now and I am still realizing some of the things that I could get in Michigan and that I can never find here. Some of those things are:

-Koegel brand hot dogs.
-A normal selection of Faygo pop flavors (p.s. when I went to their site to get the link to put here, I learned that they are, apparently "The Original Party Pop." Did you know that?
-Maruchan Ramen (most stores around here sell another brand, so the flavor selection is not very vast.

I was in Michigan for the weekend for a family reunion (more on that later, hopefully). When Boyfriend and I were heading out of town to make the trek back to PA, we stopped at the little grocery store near my grandparents' small town (my grandpa worked there for exactly one day once upon a time- haha!) and decided to get some Koegels to bring home. I was also reminded that I needed to pick up some of the creamy chicken flavor of the Maruchan ramen. Why, you ask? Because it is the BEST. I love it so much and I haven't had it for years. We bought some. We bought a lot. At four for $1, how could I resist?

I took that picture while basically running through the grocery store. If you look up in the top left corner, you can see Boyfriend's feet. He walks really fast, you see. I have to keep up. Anywayyyy... I bought all of the ramen you see there. ALL of it. I am very excited. And now very hungry. Perhaps that is what I will have for lunch...

Sunday, July 8, 2012


A couple of months ago, I think, I planted some herb seeds in little pots. I painted the rims of these pots with chalkboard paint. This seemed like a really cute way to label the pots. Unfortunately, I didn't take into consideration the whole water+ chalk issue. Oops. I put seeds for oregano, chamomile, rosemary and lavender into the dirt, covered them up and crossed my fingers. So far, I have sprouts in all pots but the one containing the lavender. The lavender!! This was the herb that made me decide to do this project and, so far, there isn't a sign of a sprout. I'm pretty bummed about this.

Boyfriend and I have decided to put a little greenhouse in the corner of the yard (maybe this will take care of the insane mint problem we have going on...) so I am hopeful that I can get some seeds sprouting in there and then I can be successful with this lavender thing. Why am I so obsessed with growing lavender, you ask? It's beautiful! It smells nice! I can use it in little DIY projects to make my house happy. You know. 

Here's hoping I'll have some someday. Cross your fingers!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Um, YES.

Friends, look at this awesome DIY camera cozy idea I found on A Beautiful Mess. I need to make this. I neeeeeeeeeeed to. What I need to do first, though, is get a sewing machine. I am considering putting it on my birthday list this year. All I can do is see what happens. I have a dream of setting up a desk for me up on the third floor someday. I could have space for all of my stationery (I have a lot. It is a problem.) and also my future sewing machine and it would be LOVELY.

LOVELY, I say!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Whoa, Nelly!

Well. If you are alive, you know that it is HOT. H-O-T hot. I think it is hot pretty much everywhere, right? My parents live in North Carolina and it is hot there. My sister and brother in law live in Michigan and it is hot there. My grandparents live in the middle of the woods in northern Michigan so sometimes they are lucky and it is not as hot there. Seriously, though. Yikes. A really fun thing is that, at work, the room in which my cube is located is always way hotter than the regular office. The four of us that work in that room were dying today. Ugh. I feel bad that the cats are home alone when it is hot, but we leave air conditioners running for them and make sure they have fresh water and I think they're doing alright.

**Side note: American Pie is playing on the radio right now and it occurs to me that this song always plays around this time on Fridays. I'm usually cleaning or something when I hear it, though. I wonder why this is.**

Anywayyyy... It is supposed to be even hotter tomorrow! When I looked at the weather on my phone, it showed a cactus. A CACTUS!!!!! That cannot be good.

File:Barrel cactus with a view.JPG 

Stay cool, friends. Drink water!!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The African Queen


I read The African Queen by C. S. Forester for my book club last month. Have you ever read it? You really should. I haven't seen the movie with Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart (yet), so I can't make the natural comparison between the two. I have heard they are very different, though. I actually didn't really know anything about the plot of this novel before reading it. It was a really interesting book. Some of the detail may have been over my head in a different book (sometimes getting pretty technical about things with which I am unfamiliar, you see), but were not in this one. It was funny, the plot zipped along, and, overall, I really enjoyed it. Go check it out from your library! The copy I read had a super art deco sort of style cover (the cover pictured above is also really cool) and I was excited about that. 

I guess I need to see the movie sometime soon, eh?


The Fourth!

Happy Independence Day!

I haven't written in a while. I apologize.

Today, Boyfriend's family came up for a cookout. I made macaroni salad (my mom's recipe- always a hit), salsa, peach dump cake (I posted about this on my other blog and it has been a huge hit so I just keep making it) and a dessert called "Berried Treasure." Haha. Boyfriend's mom brought an oreo pie, cherry fluff, hot sausage and the buns for those and the burgers Boyfriend made. It was a huge feast and we were all stuffed. I don't know when I'll need to eat again.

Okay, let's be honest... it'll probably be in like twenty minutes.

In addition to eating, we also hung out with Boyfriend's niece, the Duck, who will be two this month. She is so funny. We are always entertained. She loves to run races in the yard, which is hilarious to me. We also blew some bubbles and she swam in the kiddie pool they brought with them. She let Auntie Erika put her feet in the pool, which was super nice in the hot, hot weather. Heehee. Before she left, she was helping me in the kitchen, drying dishes and wiping down things (tables, chairs, knees of unsuspecting people, etc). What a kid.

Boyfriend's parents brought up some bikes they had hanging around their garage that they didn't want anymore, so that is exciting. The bike that is now mine was Boyfriend's sister's in, like, the nineties. It is awesomely pink and teal and blue (I think). I am psyched about it. We need to get helmets and we'll be ready to ride! YAY!