Monday, May 31, 2010

Blogging Through My School Years: Grade 4

You can find my previous years here.

The summer before grade 4, I started getting pretty nervous. You see, this is the year that we were starting Sex Ed., and I was hearing all sorts of horror stories from friends, who had heard things from their older sisters. These horror stories included things like: “They teach you how to put in a tampon!” My friends and I honestly thought that during class, we were all going to be lead into the bathroom to learn how to put one in. See how that can get a little scary for a kid? The truth of it was, during class, the boys and the girls were split up to try and save the teachers from some awkward moments/funny business. The girls in my class were paired with some girls in another class who had a female teacher, who was pretty much the best ever because she gave us Lego candy at the end of each class. It wasn’t so bad after all!

Grade 4 was the year we started taking French classes and thus, the year my passion for all things French was born. It turned out that I was natural at it, French was one of my easiest classes, all the way until the end of my schooling career. (I continued it past the required years, and finished French 30 while I was in Grade 11.) At the end of the school year, during the final assembly, I even won a French medal. It was my one and only medal (I never played sports), and I still have it tucked away in a box.

Grade 4 happened to coincide with the year of the O.J. Simpson Murder Trial. Since I was still rather young, I didn’t necessarily know what was going on with it, but the teachers at our school seemed to be following it rather closely. I remember several announcements being made about certain milestones in the trial.

The fourth grade was rather carefree, school work came easily to me so I never had problems with my home work, and I had a good core group of friends, many of whom I’ve reconnected with over Facebook!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stop & Smile

Previous weeks can be found here.

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Listening to Ray LaMontagne on my way to work has become a daily ritual for me. I just want to wrap myself up in his voice and stay there forever.

Friday, May 28, 2010

7 Quick Takes (Vol 3)

7 quick takes

1. Due to a mix up, I ended up working 4 hours longer last night than I thought I was supposed to. It was an insanely stressful work day already (I may have cried), then add to that the fact that I worked 12 hours straight and then top it off with snow. Yeah, you read that right; SNOW. It’s freaking snowing again. It’s right around zero degrees, so you know I froze at the bus stop.

2. All this week, I’ve been getting into my pajamas and crawling into bed around 8pm, and then watching a few shows before drifting off to sleep. It has been so decadent and lovely. Obviously, I didn’t do that last night, since I didn’t even get home until after 8pm.

3. Monday was Victoria Day, which means it was a long weekend. After getting grocery shopping out of the way, Stephen and I went to help my parents move a TV. Their friend sold them her old TV, so we had to get it down the street to my parent’s place. We had someone with a truck come by, but apparently they had some sort of a cover on the back, so the TV couldn’t fit (it’s huge). Our only option? Rolling it down the street. Luckily the TV is attached to a stand with wheels, so my Dad walked in front with a broom to sweep away rocks, and the rest of us pushed the TV down the hill. Thankfully they live only a block apart!

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{Daniel and Stephen}
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{My Dad, sweeping}
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{Almost there!}

4. I had grand plans for baking this weekend, but then I realized both of my freezers are full. I can’t bake everything that I wanted to, otherwise I’ll eat it all and my hips won’t appreciate that.

5. Conversation between Stephen and Monday night:

Me: You work closing shifts this week, right?
Stephen: Yeah. I guess that means I’ll see you Thursday. You have Thursday off, right?
Me: Probably not. I guess I’ll see you Saturday.
Stephen: Saturday it is.
(This is how it is every week for us.)

6. The 7 year old girl I nanny is learning how to use email at school. I gave her my email address, so now I come home to love notes in my inbox. It’s pretty much amazing.

7. Disqus has been giving me a lot of grief lately. Not loading comments, not emailing me when I have a new comment, giving me error messages when I reply to comments. Has it been giving you guys grief as well?

Have a good weekend, hopefully it’s nice and sunny where you are!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rum Carrot Cake

Baking With Angela

My Dad’s favorite cake is carrot cake, which is easy enough. Last year for his birthday, I decided to change it up a little bit though, and made him a Rum Carrot cake. We had his birthday dinner at the restaurant that Stephen worked at at the time, and they graciously stored my cake for me. For some reason, they decided not to refrigerate my cake, so the icing melted and when the brought it out, the layers were sliding off of each other. Didn’t bother us though, we ate it in record time anyway.

I never saved the recipe, so all year, all we could do was think about how amazing the cake was and how much we wished we could have it again. My Dad’s birthday was back in April, so I decided to surprise him by finding the recipe again. I spent ages going through the archives of bakebakebake (a livejournal community that is oh so amazing and inspiring). I found the recipe, but because of circumstances that kept popping up (oh hi, I’m broke yet again), I didn’t get around to baking the cake until a couple of weeks ago. That’s ok, this cake was worth the wait.

This is the time in which I confess something to you dear readers; I cannot ice a cake to save my life. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get it to look beautiful. My family is always telling me to stop being a perfectionist and just be proud of what I do, so I’m going to post pictures of my cake, in all of it’s shabbily iced glory!
(I’m now accepting applications for a live in cake decorator. Will pay you in baked goods. You’ll be competing with Miranda, who already applied via Twitter.)

Body Worlds Exhibit 006

Rum Carrot Cake
(Barely) Adapted from kamihane (recipe here)

(Printable Recipe)

6 cups grated carrots
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup golden raisins
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup apple sauce
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts (I didn’t add this)

A note on rum: Last year, I used Captain Morgan and loved it. This year, I used Bacardi and while it was still fantastic, I recommend Captain Morgan if your liquor store has it.

1. Grate carrots. Mix with brown sugar and let sit for an hour. Put raisins in a bowl, fill with enough rum to cover raisins. Let sit for an hour. (After the hour, drain the rum)

2. Preheat oven to 350F and grease two 8” cake pans.

3. Combine raisins and carrot mixture. Drain excess liquid.

4. Beat eggs until lighter in color. Gradually mix in sugar, oil and vanilla. Mix in applesauce.

5. Whisk together dry ingredients. Fold into wet ingredients. Fold in walnuts if using.

6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

After the cake has cooled, level the bottom layer. You’ll end up with a bowl of scraps.

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I started off with a crumb coat, but ran out of time to let it set. Oops. Proceed to ice your cake with your favorite Cream Cheese icing. I used a Cream Cheese Buttercream.

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Look at those mad skills!

In order to distract my family from the mess, I added a heart to the top of the cake. I lightly placed a heart shaped cookie cutter at the top, filled with with red sanding sugar and then removed the cookie cutter.

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I’m already dreaming of the next time that I get to make this cake…

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Summer List

A little while back, I alluded to the fact that I like to compile a “Summer List” every year, and a few of you requested to see it. A few years back, one of my best friends called me up and asked if I would go toss around a football in Bowness Park with her because “it’s on my summer list, I have to get it done!” Of course I agreed to go, if only to hear more about this list, we all know that I have a thing for lists.

The summer list is basically just a list of simple thing you wish to accomplish throughout the summer, most of them aren’t anything spectacular, but more of a list of things to get you outside doing something or to remind of you things to do when you’re bored. Ever since then, I’ve been writing up a list and hanging it in a place where I could see it daily and cross off (with pretty markers!) things as I accomplish them. I just started my list a week ago, so there’s a chance that this can grow before the summer is over.

Summer List

1. Make a trip to Vulcan with Stephen
2. Have a BBQ at our apartment
3. See fireworks
4. Go on a picnic
5. Go thrifting (or garage saling)
6. Try a new coffee shop with a friend
7. Go to Movie in the Park
8. Attend a summer festival of some sort
9. Walk down to the river (check out River Island Park)
10. Have a drink on the Starbucks rooftop patio
11. Make jam
12. Go strawberry picking
13. Have a BBQ or bonfire in a park
14. Host a game night
15. Bake a pastry
16. Get gelato
17. Get midnight slurpees at 7-11

What’s on your Summer List?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Ten on Tuesday #32
Questions by Chelsea

1. What is your favorite piece of furniture in your house?
Right now, I really don’t have one. Our furniture is reasonably presentable, despite the fact that our couch has a long tear in the middle cushion. We’ve got what I like to call “starting out” furniture, meaning that none of it’s new. Well, Stephen bought his own bedroom set (bed, dresser, nigh stands) before we moved in together, but they’re not my style. The only new piece of furniture that we’ve bought together is his computer chair. How’s that for an answer? I always talk way too much.

2. If it was raining so hard on a Saturday that you couldn’t leave your house, what would you spend the day doing?
Catch up on blogs, bake, watch movies, clean the apartment. Pretty much the same things I would have done if it weren’t raining and didn’t want to go out.

3. What was your favorite candy as a child?
I loved five cent candies! Watermelon slices, cherry blasters, Swedish berries…gummy candies mostly. (Someone on my facebook said that they’ve raised the price to ten cents. Not cool.)

4. Did you get an allowance? What was it based on? What did you do with it?
There was only a short period of time that we got an allowance, and I don’t really remember it being based on anything. We always had chores to do, regardless of an allowance. Also, my parents didn’t really have the extra money to dishing out to their three girls every week. If they had the extra money, and we were deserving of it, we would get it (within reason, obviously).

5. Do you have a favorite Etsy store?
Can I just say Etsy in general? It honestly depends on my mood at the time. Right now, it’s any store that has craft supplies (tags, ribbons, homemade stamps). There are a few with prints that I am dying to buy, although I’m not sure I can convince Stephen that we need more artwork for our tiny apartment. Maybe when we move into a house.

6. Do you prefer time with family or time with friends?
It depends on my mood, but for the most part, my family are also my friends. When I have a part, I call up and invite my sisters and sometimes my parents. My friends have never seemed to mind that my parents are there…although I still haven’t figured out yet if that makes me incredibly lame. Whatever. If they didn’t like it, they wouldn’t come.

7. Looney Tunes, Tiny Toons, or Animaniacs?
Looney Tunes.

8. Best daytime talk show: Oprah, Ellen, The Doctors, Tyra (ha!), Dr. Oz, or Dr. Phil?
Ellen, by far. Sometimes (if nothing else was on), I’d watch Tyra. Most of the time though, I was never at home when daytime talk shows were on, and now I don’t have cable. I still love Ellen though!

9. Would you rather have the power of invisibility or the ability to fly?
The ability to fly. It would make getting around so much easier.

10. Name 1 thing you love about being an adult.
My own place to live. I love turning a house into a home.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Calgary Zoo

After a mix up on Friday, I found out last minute that I would be taking my Friday kids to the zoo. Their Mom dropped them off at my apartment, and we set out on an adventure. We took a bus and the CTrain to get there, and this was the kids’ first time on either. It was rather cute watching them on their knees, craning their necks to get a better view of the city passing us by.

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We started off by hitting up The Prehistoric Park, as it’s the first exhibit once you’re inside the gates. A little background info: Southern Alberta is home to the Canadian Badlands, which is full of some of the world’s best dinosaur finds. True story. The Calgary Zoo created The Prehistoric Park, which is supposed to be a recreation of Alberta’s Cretaceous Period. I bet your zoo doesn’t have dinosaurs.

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Unbeknownst to me, the Calgary Zoo has been working on a little project called “Dinosaurs Alive”, where they’ve introduced 20 animatronic dinosaurs. The Zoo just got a whole lot more interesting for me! They made realistic noises, and moved around their heads, arms and tails. Way cool, although a tad scary for the younger kids. My kids were totally into it though, spending the majority of our time in the Prehistoric Park.

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After a (not so brief) stop for lunch and ice cream, we decided to see “real animals”. We had already been at the zoo for two hours, and all we had seen were dinosaurs!

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Peacocks roam free at the zoo, which meant I often had to stop D (3 years old) from chasing them down. There was also a Canadian Goose hanging out by some picnic benches, so D boldly ran up to him and got rather close. Canadian Geese are notoriously mean (they’ve got an awful bite), so I had to chase D down so that he didn’t get bitten. Very comical to the people watching us.

zoo 040 We actually didn’t make it around to too many “real animals”; the kids were more interested in getting more ice cream (apparently I bought the wrong kind) and trying to get into the gift shop to buy toys.
zoo 044We did have a blissful moment in the giraffe enclosure, all of the kids actually wanted to sit still and listen to a staff member talk about the giraffes and hippos (who are housed in the same building).
zoo 056 After being thoroughly disappointed about the Creature’s of the Night exhibit being closed for some unexplained reason, we came outside to see this guy putting on a show for us. You can’t tell, but we’re pressed right up against the glass, and he was jumping and flapping his wings right in front of us. The kids thought he was showing off just for them! (He’s either a vulture or a condor, I can’t remember which).

We also crashed some sort of lecture and got to pet a snake, which is basically the coolest thing ever for a 3 and 4 year old boy.

You know what? This was my first time at the Zoo with kids. It was a blast, but my feet hurt like you wouldn’t believe at the end of the day. There’s a good chance that there will be repeat performances of this during the summer.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Stop & Smile

Previous week can be found here.

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My favorite view on my commute home from work. While on the train, I normally read a book, but I always stop to look up at this view!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Life is Good

Life is good Award by WarsawMommy

Kim over at Blair’s Girls gave me the Life is good award earlier this week! I have to answer some questions and then pass the award along to 6 people. Here goes!

What do you do when you're bored?
My first reaction is to reach for my laptop, so that I can read blogs. A lot of the time I bake, other times I read.

Are you an Autumn or a Spring?

Quick! You're stuck at an airport for hours, and the only options are crossword puzzles, or an old novel nobody's ever heard of. Which do you pick?
Definitely the novel. I’m not very good at crosswords, I give up on them way too easily.

Jane Austen or Emily Bronte?
Jane Austen

Do you feel prepared for the five other questions coming your way?
Yes. Also, what kind of question is this? What if I had said no?

Who’s your hero?
My parents.

Favourite word?
Lately it’s been Pigglypuff. It’s what I call Piglet. (Tigger is also known as Stinkerbelle.)

Are you one of those “checklist” people, or are you a “wing it and hope everything goes well” sort of person?
I love lists. It’s an odd thing to love, but I just adore making them.

What phrase has stuck with you in your life?
I’m going to have to keep Kim’s answer of “What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.” So true.

If you were to choose between coffee and tea . . . which would you go with?
Coffee, naturally!

Ok, as for the people I’m passing this award along to:

Amanda @ Teasingly Diverse
Leigh Ashley @ {My Leigh Ashley}
Katie @ Chronicles of KT
Ashley @ A Double Shot of Texas
Sarah @ SOJO and Co
Clare @ Oceans & Mountains (and everything in between)

Happy long weekend friends!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chocolate Macaroons

Baking With Angela

This week, one of my good blog friends is cruising the Eastern Caribbean. She needed some guest posters, so I volunteered myself. This means that in order to read a story about my naive non-baking days, and to find a recipe for the best chocolate macaroons I’ve ever had, you’ll need to head over to Blue Eyed Blonde. (That was the link to her blog, click it to find my recipe.) Be sure to leave Hayley some love, and feel free to let her know how jealous you are that she’s on a cruise. I know I’ve already told her a million times just how jealous I am!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Dream Home

Earlier this week, Fab Brunette made a post about her dream home. I haven’t been able to get her post out of my head since then. My dream home is something I think about often; living in an apartment that isn’t quite perfect leaves you dreaming about what your forever home will be like. I read a lot of design/decorating blogs, so this concept is always near the front of my mind. Here’s a glimpse at some of the things I’d like in my dream home:

Dream Kitchen{via}

With a cook and a baker, you know our kitchen is going to be killer. I’d like two ovens please, plenty of cupboards/pantry space and an island with plenty of room to roll out pie crusts and cookie dough. This room is going to be our pride and joy, with most of our time and money spent to make it perfect for us.

Dream Bathroom{via}

I long for a light and airy bathroom. I want this to be my sanctuary, with plush towels never far from my reach. There will also have to be a vanity, I’ve always dreamed of having one.

Craft Room {via}

I’m getting a craft room as soon as move into a house with more than one bedroom. My biggest problem with crafting now is that all of my supplies are stored in various locations throughout the apartment, and dragging them all out is quite the process. I can’t add anything else to my collection either, there’s just no room. My craft room, while practical and full of storage (like above), will also be decorated so differently from the rest of my house; it will be whimsical and full of all the things I love.

Laundry Room{via}

Living in an apartment has made me miss the practicality of a laundry room. I don’t know many people my age who dream of washers/dryers and places to store my laundry detergent (other than in my front closet).

Veg Garden{via}

Not only will my backyard be big enough to hold a large deck, a fire pit and possibly even a pool (or at least a pond), it will have to be spacious enough for me to have a good sized vegetable garden. Seriously, what other 24 year old dreams of walking into her backyard to pick fresh vegetables/herbs to eat with her dinner? None of my friends do, that’s for sure.

There’s so many other things that I haven’t mentioned that would complete my dream home: a large master bedroom, a media room, large living room, dining room, mud room…and so much more. I think we’re going to have to build our home.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Ten on Tuesday#31

1. If your name was a verb, what would “to Chelsea” mean? (Insert your own name though…)
"To Angela”  would mean “To Create”

2. What myth have you always wanted to prove or bust?
There really isn’t any that I’m passionate about enough to list here, although I’m sure that as I’m reading other people’s answers, I’ll be like “Why didn’t I think of that?”

3. If you had the ability to get a message out to the entire world, what would you say?
I honestly think that getting a message out to the entire world would be a huge responsibility. Here’s my chance to have everyone listening to me…and I’d probably freeze up and say something dumb. With that being said, I’d probably have to talk about peace and love and all that jazz.
I bet you were hoping for a profound answer, but I just don’t have one.

4. I know you’ve answered a similar question before, but it’s been awhile. Please name your current top 10 blogs.
Ali Edwards
Goodnight Little Spoon
Momofuku For 2
My Sweet and Saucy
Oh, Hello, Friend
Young House Love
17 and Baking
A Beautiful Mess
52 Kitchen Adventures

(It was ridiculously hard trying to pick my favorites. I love all of the blogs in my Google Reader, so if you don’t see your blog listed here, it doesn’t mean that you’re not my favorite)

5. Do you have a junk drawer?
We have two. We really should consolidate it all into one, but we just never get around to doing it.

6. Bottled water or tap?
At home, it’s tap water that’s been put into a Brita jug. I find bottled water to be a huge waste (unless I’m out and don’t have any water on me and I’m dying of thirst, yada, yada, yada). People who drink bottled water at home drive me crazy.

7. As a kid, did you have a favorite Biblical story?
I did grow up religious, but I never had a favorite Biblical story.

8. What is your favorite black and white movie?
I haven’t watched a lot of black and white movies (what is wrong with me?), so I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.

9. Aside from your engagement/wedding rings, what is your favorite piece of jewelry that you own? Does it have a story behind it?
I’m not much of a jewelry person, I can never feel comfortable finding a piece to match what I’m wearing, so I usually just opt not to wear any. I do have a heart shaped locket that in inscribed with her initials and has a picture of my great grandparents in it. If I am going to wear jewelry, I’ll put that on. When I get married, I’ll wear my engagement/wedding ring all the time.

10. What sports/activites do you hope your kids will be involved in? (Answer for both a boy and a girl)
I’m all for letting my future children decide what they would like to do…but I’m also very big on balancing out sports and music/arts related things. I sincerely hope that my children will want to take some sort of music lessons. As for specific sports/music, I can’t choose. It changes depending on my mood.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Body Worlds & The Brain at the Science Centre

A few years ago, while my parents were visiting family in Toronto, my parents got the chance to attend the Body Worlds Exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre. My Dad absolutely loved it, and talked about it non-stop when he got home. A few months ago, I was reading the paper and saw an advertisement; the Body Worlds exhibit was coming to Calgary! I called my Dad up right away and told him not to make plans to go with anyone else, Stephen and I were going to take him as a Father’s Day gift. We were supposed to go last weekend, but due to an error on my part, we didn’t make it. We did get the chance to go today, although Stephen wasn’t able to make it. My sister and her boyfriend made the trip to Calgary (from Vulcan), and my Mom came along with us (Calgary sister was working).

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Body Worlds & The Brain is our chance to get an look into the human body and to get a clear view of our anatomies. I was a bit apprehensive at first- we’re getting clear views of what lays beneath our skin, and real bodies are used, so I was afraid that I would be grossed out by the experience. It turned out to be the complete opposite, I was completely enthralled with the amazing preservation of these bodies. How often are we able to see a whole woman, with her belly cut open to see her unborn baby inside? (Trust me, it’s not as gross or as distasteful as it sounds). My Dad was like our unofficial tour guide; he’s a Licensed Practical Nurse, so he’s full of information about our bodies. While the exhibit was amazing, I was left wanting more. Our Science Centre is a bit on the small side, so a lot of the bodies and animals that my parents had talked about were left out. If this exhibit ever finds it’s way back to Calgary when our new (and bigger!) Science Centre is built and open, you can bet I’ll be making my way back!

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Spinal Column

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Healthy Lung, Smoker’s Lung, Coal Miner’s Lung

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Camel, split into sections to show various views of the inside

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Unborn baby, 28th Week

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A male and female couple, figure skating

(Side note: Cameras weren’t allowed, so all of these pictures were taken secretly!)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Stop & Smile

Sometimes we need a reminder to enjoy the little things in life. I know that lately, I’ve been needing to remind myself of that more than ever, so I decided to start a new feature here on Saturdays. It’ll just be a short post, and will contain something that made me smile during the week. It could be a picture I’ve taken, a song, a quote…really, it could be anything. This is more to remind me to stop and smile, but I wanted to be able to share that with my blog friends as well.

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Stephen and I both had Thursday off, and it was a warm sunny day, so we took our piggies to the park. I loved laying in the grass, watching Piglet and Tigger chasing each other around (they played a lot of follow the leader). I loved watching the kids playing at the park, and the couple playing fetch with their golden retriever. It was such a perfect hour in the grass.

Friday, May 14, 2010

7 Quick Takes (Vol 2)

7 quick takes

Conversion Diary

1. I write the majority of my blog posts before the date that they are actually posted. Depending on how organized I am, or when inspiration strikes me, this can be anywhere from the night before or the week before. I’m currently writing this the night before (Thursday night). I’m sitting on my balcony, freshly showered and in my pajamas. I should probably be in bed, since I have to be up at 5am, but I really couldn’t resist the peacefulness out here. I live on a relatively busy street, so my peacefulness is probably one that only a full blown city girl would love. I can still hear a homeless guy pushing his shopping cart down the street, but it is what it is.

2. I love this time of year. It’s finally warming up (keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t snow again any time soon), and the grass is green again. People are planting flowers, and now I’m just waiting on more trees to grow some leaves. On Wednesday evening, I sat on my balcony (I’ll be there permanently this summer) eating supper, reading blogs and drinking an iced caramel latte. To the people at the bus stop across the street who could see me, I’m sorry. I was you just a short hour before, which is why I rewarded myself with an iced latte. Hopefully when the leaves grow on the tree next to my balcony, the people across the street won’t have such a great view of what I’m doing.

3. Stephen and I were lucky enough to swing another day off together on Thursday. We took our guinea pigs on their first trip to the park, it was so nice lounging around in the grass. The guinea pigs seemed to love chasing each other and eating as much grass as they could handle. We even picked some to take home. That night, we treated ourselves to a movie (Iron Man 2) and a quick bite to eat. It’s the first date night we’ve had in who knows how long. You know what else is awesome? Stephen is working opening shifts all weekend. This means I’ll actually get to see him and spend time with him!

4. Kim over at Talk Less Say More posted this on Monday. I felt like she had peeked into my brain and pulled out my thoughts and wrote them down. Read it if you’d like to see what things have been like between Stephen and I lately.

5. We’re going to attempt the Body World’s exhibit (again) on Sunday. I’ll then have everyone over afterward so that my Dad can finally get the Rum Carrot Cake that he’s been begging me for. You can probably expect a recipe in the next few weeks, it’s a good one.

6. I’ve been day dreaming a lot lately of the next place we’ll rent after this one. We both want a house, so that we can have more space. I decided to torture myself by looking at places online. Let’s just say I’ve already found the perfect place, and the rent is cheaper than what we’re paying now. I’m not ready to leave this apartment just yet, but it’s nice to know that there’s other places out there.

7. I have no idea how I used to manage the 5am mornings all the time. (Quick back story: When I started with my nanny family, I would start work at 7am. This September, J started kindergarten, so now I don’t have to be up until 8am.) My Friday job gets me up at 5am, and I’m beat by the time lunch rolls around. When I first started dating Stephen, I would regularly get up at 5am, and then stay up until 2 or 3am on Fridays so that I could hang out with him and his roommate. I have no idea how I ever functioned.

I’m sorry this entire post was about Stephen. I never intended for it to turn out that way, but it’s hard to get him off my mind when I’ve got him around for once.
Have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Baking With Angela

When I checked the results of the poll, I was over the moon about the fact that I would be making Dulce de Leche brownies. I had been needing a good excuse to make some more Dulce de Leche, and this was the perfect opportunity. I had been looking forward to making the brownies all week, and on my first (free) day off, I set about making them shortly after I woke up. When they were done, I cut them up and proudly set down a warm brownie in front of Stephen. He took one bit, looked at me and proclaimed that he doesn’t like Dulce de Leche. I told him it was over, and he might as well leave. Not even our mutual hatred of top sheets could save our relationship now. Ok, so I’m kidding about that, but I was pretty sad that that he doesn’t like Dulce de Leche. It just means that I had to eat all of the brownies all by myself. Yes, they’re that good. No, I haven’t eaten them all. Yet.

Let’s start off with the Dulce de Leche. For those of you who don’t know what it is, here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:

Dulce de leche is the most common name for milk caramel in Spanish. Made as both a thick jam and a caramel candy, it is prepared by slowly heating sweetened milk to create a product that derives its taste from caramelised sugar.”

I’m sure if I decided to go looking for it, I could have found premade Dulce de Leche at the store, but I found it much easier to just make my own at home.

Dulce de Leche

(Printable Recipe)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Peel label off can. Place into a pot, cover with water. Remove from pot, and bring water to a boil. Put can back into boiling water, and continue to boil for between 2 and 3 hours.
Important: Check on the water often, adding more as needed so that it always covers the can. If you let the water boil away, you risk the chance of the can exploding. I kid you not. Please be very careful!
After 2-3 hours (I boiled mine for 3), remove the pot from the heat, and let the can cool in the water. Then you’re good to go! This just requires a little bit of common sense and a watchful eye. Proceed to eat it with a spoon, straight from the can. Make sure you tell anyone giving you the stink eye that you’re just making sure it tastes good.

Dulce De Leche Brownies 003

Dulce De Leche Brownies 005
Melting the butter
Dulce De Leche Brownies 009
Spooning Dulce de Leche over the top of the batter
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Swirl the dollops of Dulce de Leche

David Lebovitz’s Dulce de Leche Brownies

Originally seen on How To Eat A Cupcake

1/2 cup salted or unsalted butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Cocoa powder
3 Eggs
1 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Flour
1 cup Dulce de Leche

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with a long sheet of aluminum foil that covers the bottom and reaches up the sides. Grease the bottom and sides of the foil.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate pieces and stir constantly over very low heat until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, then the flour.
Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan. Drop one-third of the Dulce de Leche, evenly spaced, over the brownie batter, then drag a knife through to swirl it slightly. Spread the remaining brownie batter over, then drop spoonfuls of the remaining Dulce de Leche in dollops over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the Dulce de Leche slightly.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The brownies are done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Dulce De Leche Brownies 013 Dulce De Leche Brownies 015

I’m thinking about letting you guys vote for what I bake every few weeks or so. I loved not having to decide!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Some Advice…

I’ve been invited to a wedding at the beginning of July, and I’m in need of a gift. There wasn’t a card included with the invitation saying where they’re registered, so I’m taking that as I can gift them whatever I like. Problem is, I’m lacking ideas and the extra money. I’ve been browsing Etsy for some ideas, and thought I’d share them with you. I’d love your feedback on the items posted and any ideas you may have for gifts! If you’re married, I’d especially love to hear what your favorite gifts are and/or what you wish you had received as a gift.

thumbprints{via nella design studio}

tweetheart plate

{via Mud Hutt Studio}

love birds

{via One Reverie}

love defined
{via hope ink}

alphabet date
{via The Art of Whimsy}

alphabet name
{via The Art of Whimsy}

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