Jun 24, 2011

Baby Shower Cupcakes

Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 8oz package cream cheese cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips

Make a chocolate cake mix according to package directions. In a separate bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, and egg. Mix well. Add chocolate chips. Fill cupcake papers 2/3 full with chocolate cake mix. Then place generous teaspoonful of cream cheese mixture on top. Press down lightly. Bake at 350 for 18 to 25 minutes or until they test down with a toothpick.
I decided that instead of frosting the cupcakes (not too big on frosting), I was going to try making little edible decorations out of starbursts. I chose red and pink because they matched the color theme of the baby shower I was hosting:
Put them on a plate (we did four at a time), and heat them up for about 6-8 seconds:
Roll them out, first going one way and then the next:
Cut with your favorite small cookie cutter. You might recognize this from when I made cookies earlier this year:

Place on the tops of the cupcakes. Success!
I'm pretty proud of these cupcakes and can't wait for the baby shower!

Jun 16, 2011

Conversations with My Father

Dad walks in the kitchen.

Dad: Has anyone seen my glasses?

Me (pointing a finger at the glasses hooked on his shirt collar): Right there.

Dad looks appropriately ashamed as I laugh at how old he is getting--not only does he need reading glasses, but he's forgetting that he is wearing them!

Jun 12, 2011

Tales from a TRAX Rider

When you ride public transportation frequently, you hear and see a lot of interesting things.

True, most of the people I ride with are either business people or university students, but there are those little treasures that make the ride worth telling. Here a couple of those stories:

The Artist
This happened my second day riding the train. I got on, sat down, took out my book, and started reading. About two stops later, a young-ish guy boards the train and sits down across from me, facing perpendicular to the direction I am facing. About 5 minutes later, he pulls something out of his bag. It's one of those sketch pads with the yellow covers. He starts drawing. No big deal. People do things like that on the train all the time. But then I notice something. He keeps looking over at me. Like, more than someone usually would. A thought starts forming in my mind. Trying to be sneaky, I stretch a little and glance over at him. Fortunately, the pad was turned just enough toward me that I could see what was on it. And what should I find but a portrait of myself! I smile, but I try to decide whether this is flattering or creepy.

The Jailbirds
So, I'm on my way home from work. Two kids get on. A boy and a girl, probably not older than 19. And they talk as if there is no one else on the entire train. First I learn that they are going to go visit the girl's boyfriend, who is in jail. Then I learn that the boy has been in jail on more than one occasion. Then I learn that the girl's boyfriend has threaten to beat up the boy because he thinks something might be going on between them. The girl has assured her boyfriend that they aren't like that. The guy talks about how whenever he gets out of jail and they give him back his steet clothes they always smell, "like the guard." Then the girl starts talking about some guy they both know that had the hots for her mom, but only because he wanted some place to sleep. The girl's mom had a boyfriend at the time. Then the girl talks about all the boys that propositioned her for sex (as a sidenote, this girl was not a skanky looking girl. She was pretty hefty, wearing basketball shorts and a baggy t-shirt. Take that as you will.). But don't worry, she wouldn't ever do that to her boyfriend (remember him? The one in jail?), because she loves him and would never hurt him that way. At this point in their conversation, they reach their stop and get off. I kind of wonder what else I would have learned about their very colorful lives if they had stayed on?

Add that in with the gaggle of Seattle soccer fans cheering the whole way to the stadium, the number of white wannabee gangstas, and the homeless people that get on in the "free fare zone", it can be a pretty interesting ride.

Jun 10, 2011


Is it possible to be homesick for a place where you spent only two months?

My heart aches for England. It has haunted my dreams and followed me in the books I've been reading and songs I have heard (a few days ago the song "London Calling" came on while I was going to work). I have been watching BBC TV shows/miniseries. My brain has been thinking of all the things I would like to see if I ever get to go back. I miss ancient buildings. I miss . . . it's hard to describe what I miss. All I know is that I would go back at any opportunity.

Because it has been on my mind, here is my list:

In London
Hatchard's bookshop, est. 1797
Kensington Palace
Doctor Who Experience (yes, I am an unashamed fangirl)
Hampstead Heath
St. Paul's Cathedral
Great Ormond Street Hospital

Outside London
Chawton House/Cottage
Lake District

There's more, including things I've already see and places I've already been to that I would like to see again, but these are specifics. I would love to just be able to walk along the Thames at night again. Hopefully I'll be able to go back again (and again and again)!

Jun 9, 2011

Another Item to Add to My Bucket List

So, about a month ago another blog that I read directed me to 75 Abandoned Theaters From Around the USA. I'll give you a minute to take a look.


*Looks at watch*

Okay. Did you see how beautiful those old theaters are? It breaks my heart to know that they are just wasting away, becoming the camp grounds of druggies, stupid teens, and graffiti "artists." Theaters like that just aren't made anymore.

About halfway through the pictures, I got a big urge to buy one of those theaters and restore it to all it's former glory. Maybe I'd make it into a movie house that shows classic movies on the weekends. Or maybe I would put on plays.

Basically, I just can't stand knowing that they aren't being appreciated, so one day, when I have loads of money from marrying that rich handsome man, I am going to do it.

Jun 8, 2011

Veggie Quiche

I had a roommate in college who was wizard at putting random ingredients together and making them taste yummy. She made this quiche which was great, so I talked with her a bit about what she usually made it with. I make dinner for my parents every Friday and I made quiche one week. It was way yum! So I thought I would share the recipe.

Vegetable Quiche

6-8 eggs
1 cup of milk
fresh spinach (don't use frozen, it makes it watery and the eggs don't cook in the center)
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow or white onion
1 clove garlic
mushrooms (optional--I don't like mushrooms so I didn't put them in)
tomato-basil feta cheese
salt and pepper
2 deep dish frozen pie crusts

Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together and put in the pie crusts (makes 2 pies--but quiche is easily frozen). Bake for 30-45 minutes until the center is firm. If your crust starts to burn, cover with aluminum foil.


(To reheat frozen quiche, thaw the pie in the refrigerator. Then bake at 375 for 23-35 minutes, until the middle reaches a temperature of 165.)

Jun 7, 2011

A Very Jane Austen Review

Title: Jane Austen Ruined My Life
Author: Beth Patillo
Rating: 4 stars

Jane Austen ruined Emma's life. Because of Jane Austen, Emma believed in a "happily ever after," but after finding her husband in a comprising situation with her TA, all hopes of the happily ever after are dashed.

A Jane Austen scholar, Emma decides to go to England to try and discover the "lost Austen letters"--the letters that Cassandra supposedly destroyed. Along the way, Emma learns what love really is and the truth about "happily ever afters."

I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't trying to rewrite Jane Austen, it wasn't using Austen's characters. It was a look into "what ifs." I always like a good speculation. Jane Austen is shrouded in mystery, and I think that this is a very respectful and historically based to who we know Jane Austen was and who Jane Austen could have been based on her novels.

If you like Jane Austen, England, and a good book, I recommend this book. It's clever and a quick read.

Jun 6, 2011

You Can Learn from TV!

So, I was proofreading a novel at work and came across this word:


Well, now, someone else would just overlook this word. But not me, no sir! Because I used to watch TV (used to . . . ha!) and I learned something from it.

See, I used to watch this TV show called "Joan of Arcadia." In one episode, Joan is talking to someone (well, God) and she says "That's mad anticlimatic."

God looks down at her. "Anticlimactic. Anticlimatic means that you're . . . against the weather."

That was 7 years ago that was on TV, and I still remember that. I will not be tripped up by anticlimatic ever again!!

Jun 1, 2011

One of THOSE Days

I wake up this morning to a general feeling of unwellness. I'm just tired, I think to myself as I take my shower, make my bed, get dressed, and do my hair and makeup. I'm not as hungry as I usually am by the time my body catches up to me, but I eat my dry cereal as my mom and I head out the door.

My book can't seem to hold my attention. I just need to get into a bit more, I think. I put my book down and flip through a magazine instead as I wait for my time to drive to the TRAX station. I sing along with a newly purchased album on my iPod (going through the car's tape deck) and get to the station, a bit later than normal, but on time to catch the train.

I have been reading on the train the past two weeks. Though I suffer from horrible motion sickness, it doesn't usually affect me on the train. About halfway through the train ride, my head starts getting that dizzy icky feeling of motion sickness. I probably just didn't eat enough breakfast, I think, I'll feel better once I get to work. I put my book away and try not to stare out the window at the scenery rushing by one long blur.

An hour later, the motion sick feeling still hasn't gone away. I think that if I eat some crackers, I'll feel better. Nope. Maybe I should drink some more water. Nope. Even doing my work seems to aggravate my head. The motion of my eyes going back and forth on the page make me feel like I'm on a carnival ride. It's getting a little ridiculous. Finally, it's lunch time. A bit of fresh air, and some sugar in my system will do me good.

Though a bit windy, it is a beautiful day. I don't read my book like I usually do. I just eat my lunch and people watch. I feel better. Good, it's finally going away, I think. I go back to work and sit at my desk to continue my reading, and the tilt-a-whirl starts back up. Do doddle do do do. I'm getting kind of tired of this.

After I finishing my proofreading, I am given a picture. "Find the artist's name for this," I'm told. Here are the things I know about this picture: it's the nativity, and it is a woodcut print. No title. Not even a time period. I spend the last 2 1/2 hours of my day going through thousands of pictures trying to find it. No go. None of my search terms seems to work. Finally, it's time to go home. I am so exhausted! All I have to do is get on the train and get home.

I stop to talk to the editor who gave me the picture. Because of this I am a bit later leaving and miss the train by 5 seconds. I have to wait another 15 minutes for the next one to come. Then, about 5 stops from mine, there is a bump and the train goes quiet. It coasts into the station and stops. While the conductor tries to figure out how to fix it, we sit. For 15 minutes.

And that's when I think: Today is just one of those days. But at least I got to talk to the cute new mailroom guy.