Monday, November 28, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recap

I have really hyped up this recipe. One might see that there is only one can of pumpkin in this recipe and think that it wouldn't give it enough pumkin flavor, but honestly, it does. After having successfully created it, I would definitely recommend it to anyone as a first-time cheesecake to make. It was easy, and very delicious...Enjoy!

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For crust:
In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For filling:
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.

Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Recipe Notes
-The only bad thing about this recipe was that it didn't suggest using a water bath to bake the cheesecake in, and it cracked. If you are fine with a crack, then proceed as normal. If you are like me and don't like the crack, then you might try using a water bath to bake it to hopefully reduce cracking. When baking cheesecake in a water bath, you must first cover the bottom/sides of the springform pan with aluminum foil to keep water from seeping in (Do this before you even start making the crust). Second, when the cheesecake is ready to bake, place the filled springform pan inside of a larger baking pan, and place both in the oven. When both pans are inside of the oven, pour one inch of water into the larger pan to surround the springform pan. If using this method, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, and bake for 45 minutes, then turn off oven and let cheesecake set in oven for another hour. After this hour, cover with foil, and refrigerate.

-Another interesting tidbit, this cheesecake tastes better the longer it sets, so perhaps you might make it a day or two in advance for the flavors to blend to their full potential...or you can eat it after it is chilled, it's delicious either way.

Here's Kyle, crushing the graham crackers to perfection!

The cheesecake in its beginning stages...

And, finally, in the oven!
(In my haste of serving it on Thursday, I neglected to take a picture of the finished product...Oh well, you get the idea.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. Because everyone is so desperate to know about it, Tevis's & my one-year anniversary celebration was just great! He came and picked me up, and we headed to supper at Applebee's. As I was getting into his car, I was greeted by a present, which I totally wasn't expecting (or I didn't expect to get a gift, so I didn't get anything for him...). He got me a rose, well, his mom did, because she happened to pass a florist on her way home from work, and Tevis told me that he doesn't like to get flowers because they don't last, and he likes to get things that will last. (The rose is still kicking, btw.) He also got me a beautiful pair of earrings, which I love! (He really has me spoiled, you know?) After supper, we had some time to kill before the movie we planned to see, so we got some ice cream, then walked around the mall. We ended up watching "Tower Heist" with Ben Stiller & Eddie Murphy, which was pretty funny in my opinion. We had a great night! Also, thanks to Carissa for taking our picture, which turned out quite well, as you can see...Tevis even bought a new sweater for the occasion! :)

2. If you read my sister Emily's blog, you may have read about our bread-baking event last Saturday. We got a later start than we originally intended, but we still had a successful venture nonetheless. We made bierox and cinnamon rolls, just as we had planned. They turned out well, and served as our supper/dessert for Saturday night. It was my first time to actually mix the dough, and it went splendidly! After all of these years of thinking that making bread was impossible and something that only my mom or grandmothers were capable of doing, I came to the realization that baking bread is no harder than making cheesecake, pie, or anything else I make. Perhaps, I will post something later about bread-baking, including pictures!

3. The annual Bison Thanksgiving dinner was on Sunday, and the food was great as usual! I left with a full stomach, and a happy heart. Again, I was reprieved of clearing tables, because the Hennessey Youth stepped up and did a great job. The biggest thing I miss about that job would probably be getting to see everyone and converse, but I got to sit with Mimi this year, so that was the best!

4. Speaking of Mimi, she seems to be quite the queen bee at the dinner. As my parents and I sat to eat with her, there were numerous people who stopped and talked to her. A family friend noted that many people would stop her just to ask where Mimi was sitting, so that they could talk to her. As people would stop to chat, she would recognize them, and her face would light up with the sheer delight of seeing an old friend. Sometimes, I think that even though Mimi is 75 years older than I am, and many of the people she grew up with have already passed on, she has more friends than anyone I know! Just another reason why I aspire to be like my Mimi...she is an amazing woman!

5. I am in the midst of what I'm thinking will be my last paper for Comp II. It is an argumentative essay, and I have decided to write about how the high price of healthy lifestyles is a limiting factor in the battle against lower/middle-class obesity in America. (I think I may have mentioned this already; bear with me if I have.) I did a little bit of outside research today as I hit the stores to do some price comparisons between healthy foods and their "unhealthy" counterparts. What I found was pretty much in line with my original thesis, and I hope that I can weave all of the little parts together to create my paper.

6. On a random note, my nephews (Andy included) have become obsessed with Candyland, as of late. It was my favorite board game when I was their age, so it is interesting to see them become so fascinated with it!

7. I will not be Black Friday shopping, in case you were wondering. My theory on Black Friday shopping is that unless there is something on your Christmas list that will be a part of a major sale, it really isn't worth the overall frustration and irrationality that accompanies most Black Friday excursions. I, for one, prefer my sleep, and will remain in bed while some lunatics are mauling each other for TVs and game consoles...that sounds more relaxing to me.

8. Tomorrow, I will be babysitting Cody & Kyle and preparing for our Thanksgiving feast on Thursday. Hopefully, they will help me get a few things straightened up around the house, as well as getting some things cooked. Here's to a good day tomorrow!

9. Among my preparations tomorrow will be my pumpkin cheesecake! I am beyond excited to see how it will turn out, as I am with any new recipe I try. Perhaps Cody & Kyle will be able to lend a hand in this endeavor.

10. My family's plans for Thanksgiving include a feast at noon on Thursday. It will include ham, turkey, potatoes, rolls, vegetables of some sort (I'm not in charge of that), perhaps a few other desserts, and my cheesecake. As far as I know, it will be my parents, my sisters and their families, and me. Hopefully, I can see Tevis at some point in the day, but we will see. I am grateful for yet another opportunity to celebrate with my family! I will be counting my blessings along with everyone else!

Here's to a great Thanksgiving for everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Eat, Pray, Love Review

I happened to have a little bit of time before I have to go tutor, so I decided that I should write my review of "Eat, Pray, Love" that everyone has just been DYING to read ;)

"Eat, Pray, Love" is Elizabeth Gilbert's autobiographical account of a year she spent traveling around the world, and the inner transformations she experienced while on the road. The book is split up into three different sections (hence the eat, pray, love part), with each focusing on a different aspect of the author's life through the year. The book begins with the backstory of Gilbert's painful divorce, which really sets up the entire book. The explanation is lengthy, but necessary, in order to fully understand the depth of it, and why it impels the author to commence her travels as she does. As you may (or may not) know, the "Eat" portion of the book is largely set in Italy, and focuses on the marvelous things she eats while she is there.

The second portion, "Pray", is set in an ashram in India (she doesn't say where for reason she explains in the book. This portion focuses on the spiritual transformation Gilbert makes during her travels. In the book, she is studying about Yoga, and some parts of Hinduism, that were largely foreign to me, and were, at times, difficult to understand. I didn't necessarily agree with everything she said, but it was interesting to read about, for nothing more than to broaden my horizons.

The final portion, "Love", is set on the Indonesian island of Bali. It continues many of the practices mentioned in the preceding portion, but adds the element of pleasure. This portion may very well have been my favorite of the three. She encounters Indonesian medicine men, a colorful, yet tragic Balinese healer, and a few other people who shake up her life for the better.

To speak generally of the book itself, Gilbert does an awesome job of describing everything. From the scenery, to the food, to the people themselves, I felt like I lived vicariously through her book. I will admit, however, that in the beginning, she is slightly vulgar, and the book does include quite a bit of coarse language, at first. She is also brutally honest about some things that she encounters. As the book progresses, however, it becomes clear that she has succeeded in changing her life for the better. It is apparent that the mood of the book changes as she experiences new things, and has new epiphanies.

I will say that this book may not be for everyone, if you are unyielding in religious matters, or really just not open to hearing about religious matters. (No, she doesn't necessarily turn into a holy roller in the course of the book.) It might not also be for you if you aren't the kind of person who could ever consider just uprooting for a while and traveling the world; rather, if you think that that kind of thing is frivolous and selfish, then I might not read the book.

Overall, I really liked this book. If you have seen the movie, it fits the plotline fairly well, although there were a few minor differences, as could be expected. It took me longer to read it than I thought it might, but it was definitely worthwhile, in my opinion. I would also enjoy reading some of her other accounts. However, I would definitely recommend it!

Love Thursday

I am starting to like the process of consciously thinking about what I love. For this week, I will go with a fairly generic topic, but is a definite love of mine, nonetheless.

Music. I love music. I don't necessarily love all genres, but I love music. I am almost constantly listening to music, mostly because I don't have a TV, or if I'm at home, I can still work while hearing it, and I don't have to watch anything. (Yes, I know that it is possible to only listen to the TV, but I just don't work that way, for some reason.) That makes me sound like I am dependent on it, which I am not, and it also sounds like I never appreciate the silence. the fact is that sometimes I face more silence than I care for, and music eases the atmosphere.

Sometimes music is therapeutic, as it helps me to sink away from anything that might be troubling me. Sometimes it serves as an emotional release, as I listen to particular songs when I am in certain moods. I have found that I have an easier time accomplishing tasks while listening to music. Exercise is more pleasant, and goes quicker (for me) while listening to music. I don't really listen to music while I do homework, though. That is usually when I have my silence, because math homework requires an extreme amount of concentration for me.

I grew up listening to all genres of music. My mom almost always listens to classic rock. My dad usually listens to oldies or country. Emily almost always listens to country. Gina listens to most genres, but she primarily listens to pop or modern rock. My friends have quite the range in musical taste, as Shea usually listens to heavy metal, Christian, and some pop (I don't particularly care for heavy metal, but she is aware.). Tonisha listens to pop and R&B/rap, some of which I have grown to like. Considering all of that, it is no wonder that my music taste is all over the board.

Some of the artists on my laptop include, but are not limited to, The Beatles, Eli Young Band, Fleetwood Mac, The Fray, Hank Williams, Jr., Justin Timberlake, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nickelback, Norah Jones, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Train, Katy Perry, Daughtry, Hall & Oates, and Carly Simon. My online playlist is a lot more varied, as it includes Black Eyed Peas, Skillet, Lifehouse, Linkin Park, Lady Gaga, Ke$ha (yes, really.), Bill Withers, John Mayer, and Coldplay.

Like I said, my music taste is all over the board. I can't pick one genre over another as my favorite. I think that that just might be impossible for me. My favorite bands are The Fray and Train, like I've mentioned multiple times, and my all-time favorite song would probably have to be either "Drops of Jupiter" by Train or "Never Say Never" by The Fray, for reasons that I can't quite explain, besides the fact that I just love the songs. My new favorite song is "Paradise" by Coldplay; if you haven't heard it, I recommend it for some easy listening.

An amazing thing, just as a side note, Tevis has pretty much the exact same taste in music as I do. All the way down to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers...Also, his favorite band is The Fray; a man after my own heart, he is. Truth be told, I pretty much fell for him when he told me that The Fray was his favorite band, then Nickelback. Yes, that definitely drew me to him!

My most recent love has been for big band music, like I mentioned in last week's Ten on Tuesday(which was actually on Wednesday). It is simple, and I love listening to it. I imagine living in that era, and going dancing to that music. Sometimes I wish I could have experienced that era of life; I think it might have suited me well.

If I knew that I would be able to talk and promote random businesses at ease, I would consider going into radio broadcasting, just to gt to be surrounded by music I love, but then again, I don't know that I would enjoy it as much as I think I might. I also think that it could be fun to be a DJ, but that requires lots of equipment, time, and a large music selection, none of which I necessarily have. Sometimes, though, it is a comforting thought.

That is why I love music, and what kind of music I love. What is the most random kind of music you like? I'd love to know!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. I had a good time judging at the Regional tournament this past weekend. I actually had a pretty easy job, since I didn't have to moderate. I also got to see my old Quiz Bowl buddy, Darian, which pretty much made my day...just saying :) I was a little bit upset after finding out a few things, though. For one, there were three guys who joined the team this year, two of whom are seniors who could have joined in the past, but didn't (I won't mention names). Apparently they joined because they needed more extracurricular activities than sports to put on college/scholarship applications to make themselves appear to be more well-rounded. Also, they have a knack for quiz bowl and are the highest scorers on the team. It would've been nice to have them on the team when I was there, but apparently, they were too good for it then. The second thing that upset me was the fact that Darian, who has loyally been on the team since she was a Freshman, even when we had really good seniors, and has NEVER quit, now doesn't get much playing time because of the new guys. She is a senior, for crying out loud! The last thing is that we have dropped a class since last year. This particularly irks me for the fact that the last two years of my quiz bowl career, Pioneer got pushed up to 3A, and we were the smallest school in that class. Our competition was 10 times harder than in 2A, and that was the only reason we didn't qualify for state. Now they are back to 2A, and are flying by in the competitions. Goodness. I will step off of my soapbox now, and move on to happier topics.

2. I have three meetings to attend this week. Have I mentioned lately that I'm not a big fan of meetings? Oh, yes, I think I did last week. I still don't like them, just so you know. I suppose it's a small price to pay for getting free college.

3. I have recently discovered Pinterest. It is my new web addiction...heaven knows I need another one of those :/ I have to say, though, I love it! I have found so many cute ideas on there. I will probably never attempt most of those things, but I still enjoy looking. My favorite thing is all of the interesting recipes I have found on there; those have got to be my favorite!

4. I had another experience playing volleyball last Thursday night, as I was invited by my next-door neighbors to go play with some FCA people. I was pretty nervous at first, mostly because I really didn't know anyone there, and I was doubting my abilities. Thank goodness my neighbors are very encouraging, and gave me the courage to step out of my little box once again. We literally played until 11:00 PM, but I loved it! Maybe I should see if there will be intramural volleyball, and form a team...maybe. I am succeeding in my goal to step out of my element, though, and I can honestly say that I am starting to make a few friends in the process. I suppose that really is the goal of these groups!

5. <--The number of weeks until my new niece/nephew is due! The reality is beginning to sink in for me; I could only imagine how Emily feels! I can't wait to have another little one to give my love to!

6. I finally finished "Eat, Pray, Love" last night. I did like the book, and I will probably post a review a little bit later, time warranting. Now I am waiting to read "The Help", as I have heard great things about that book. Any ideas for new books to read in the meantime? I would love any suggestions!

7. I finally remembered to take my crocheting things home this past weekend to have my mom guide me. I should have done that in the first place, because, as I said before, the book is generally useless, and it is much easier for me to see someone do it, then replicate what they do. After about fifteen minutes, I had a much clearer understanding of how to single crochet. My mom also told me that she would only teach me one stitch per week, because she wanted me to completely understand how to do a certain stitch before we moved on, which I think is a good idea. Thanks, mom!

8. On Saturday night, all of the adults in my family went to the Taste of St. Joe's, the annual wine tasting/silent auction fundraising event, which is for the benefit of St. Joe's Catholic school here in Enid. Since I am not really an adult, in the fact that I am under 21 and unmarried, I was designated as babysitter for the evening. I happened to get this great picture of everyone before they left, don't they look great!

The boys all ended up staying the night, and I also got this great picture of them on Sunday morning...just looking at it makes me happy!

9. I have taken up coaster making, like with the loom and nylon loops, because it is a good way to spend an hour or so in the evenings, and I now will have coasters! It's a win-win situation!

10. Last, but definitely not least, today is a good day for me! As I have vaguely mentioned in previous posts, today is Tevis's & my one-year anniversary! He managed to get off work tonight, so I think we might go out to eat and then to a movie. I have to decide where we eat, so it's probably a good thing that he doesn't have to know until he comes to pick me up tonight, because I still haven't decided. I have it narrowed down, but I don't have a definite decision. This has been an amazing year with him. I have grown to truly love him in almost every way possible, and I can't wait to see what the future holds! Yes, today is a good day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Love Thursday

As per the suggestion of my friend Debra, I have decided to start including a Love Thursday feature on my blog. Don't expect it to be on a regular basis, but I will include one when something really strikes me.
What do I love???

I love lots of things, and I have a hard time narrowing it down this week, but I have come to a conclusion. Not including the obvious (you all probably have a decent idea of what/who that might be), my love for this week is...

Crossword Puzzles!

Yes, it is true. I love crossword puzzles! They are my favorite hobby of all time, with Sudoku puzzles coming in a close second. I love buying the crossword books to do in my spare time; however, the last book I got was the National Observer Sunday Crossword Collection, which is WAYYYY harder than I anticipated. No big deal, I'll just take my time with it. I have now moved on to the 21st Century version of crosswords, and I do them online! If you were to ask Carissa, she would probably tell you that I spend an inordinate amount of time doing the online puzzles. I found the most amazing website, Boatload Puzzles, which offers literally 40,000 puzzles online for free. No signing up for anything, just fun puzzles. Of course, if you want the deluxe version, you can become a member, but if you can get free things with no obligations, why mess with that?

Why do I love crosswords?

I do believe that it would have to be because they are a fun activity that actually builds brain power and vocabulary. They are a stress reliever to me, as they help me to focus on something besides what may be troubling me at the moment. Doing crosswords are a good, clean activity that can take up as little or as much time as you want them to. They are kind of like working a puzzle, but better, because you don't have to worry about losing pieces and not having a complete puzzle. They come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties, and literally anyone can do them. They also aren't something that is to be done for competition, you can just do them for fun! I am definitely a crossword addict! :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wednesday Ten

1) Last Saturday, my mom and I went to the Mennonite Relief Sale with Carissa and a good friend of hers. It was the first time for my mom and I to go, and we both enjoyed ourselves! They had good food, and lots of awesome items for sale. I actually ended up buying some material and a mini wooden ironing board, which was only $1. There was also a Ten Thousand Villages booth there, from which I bought a trivet made of recycled newspaper. I think it is quite the ingenious idea, and a great form of re-purposing. Also, the money I paid for it went to a worthy cause; truly a win-win scenario!

2) Since the bake day at church, my sisters and I have been feeling increasingly domestic. We have made bread quite a few times already, and we have plans to make more on a few other days! On the agenda will be kolaches (of course), cinnamon rolls, and bierox (for November), and dill bread, Grandma Hladik's cheese bread, and houska (sometime before Christmas). I love learning the traditions of all of my ancestors, especially with my sisters!

3) I suppose I'll add my two cents like everyone else already has...The earthquakes. To be perfectly honest, I only felt the "big one" on Saturday night. I obviously slept through the first one, and was too busy riding on Carissa's stationary bike to feel the Monday night earthquake. Apparently, there were also tornadoes on Monday? If it weren't for Facebook, I probably wouldn't have even known about that. The biggest thing I dislike about not having a TV is not being able to watch the news to hear the weather reports, and hear the comforting timbre of Gary England's voice during storms. Perhaps, I'll bring a TV next semester, mostly for that purpose, being that it will be in the midst of blizzard/tornado season.

4) Does anyone ever get tired of attending meetings? Just curious...

5) I have already decided what I will be making for all of my family's upcoming holiday celebrations...Cheesecake. I am beginning to think that this may just be "my thing" that I make. I have already found three new recipes to try, because I want to mix it up from the usual plain/turtle cheesecakes I have made in the past. The first recipe I found was for a pumpkin cheesecake. (It's a Paula Deen recipe, and you really can't go wrong with her!) The second recipe I found was for a red velvet cheesecake, which I originally found on Pinterest. The final recipe is for a sweet potato cheesecake. I know, that's a lot of cheesecake, but I plan to stagger them all, and share them with everyone, too!  I feel so adventurous, trying all of these new recipes...I just hope they all turn out well.

6) Tonight, I was desperate enough for activity that I decided to pick up the old crocheting stuff from beneath my table. I have come to the conclusion that the best way to learn how to crochet is to have someone who knows what they're doing teach you...not the book, because it doesn't give nearly enough visual aids for my taste, and I am getting generally frustrated. Perhaps my mom will show me if I remember to bring my things home with me.

7) I had a great night last night! Carissa happened to be out to supper with friends (she does that often), and I was lonely in my room. I realized that I had a library book that I thought needed to be rechecked, but, as I learned after the nice librarian scanned it, it isn't due until next week. I just so happened to see the due date from the last book I checked out that I have long since turned in. I decided that while I was out, I would drop in to visit my cousins, since I haven't been over there in a while, and word was that they were missing me. I had a great time over there, and, as always, I got my fill of laughter. When I had only been there for about 30 minutes, I got a text from Tevis, inviting me over to watch movies. I felt mildly conflicted, but I compromised, and decided to stay over at my cousins for a little while longer, and then go over to his house a little bit later.

When I got to his house, they had decided that they were in the mood to watch Christmas movies, which was perfectly fine with me. I got to pick the movie, and I decided on the original "Home Alone", which is Tevis's mom's favorite Christmas movie, as it is mine (Christmas Vacation is second.). I didn't realize it, but Tevis had seen that movie so many times, he literally knew almost every word to the movie. It was pretty hysterical, and, if we're being totally honest, cute :) I ended my evening by having a nice chat with him, which is always my favorite! I happened to get this picture as I was leaving, and he decided to swipe my scarf...he is such a goof, but I wouldn't want him any other way ♥ :)

8) I have come to realize that I have a random fascination with Big Band Music. I'm not too knowledgeable about the genre, but I know that I love it. It was good, clean music from a simpler time. At times, it makes me wish that I could've lived through that time to truly enjoy the music when it was in vogue. I wonder if my grandparents ever listened to much of that kind of music? The music also makes me want to get all dolled up and go swing dancing, like a glamorous 40's woman. Of course, I would have to learn how to swing dance, or just regular dance, first. Then, I would have to find someplace where I actually could go swing dancing that isn't THAT far away. Hmm, maybe one day this dream will come to fruition!

9) I have received an invitation to be a judge at the Regional quiz bowl tournament this weekend at PHS. I can't lie, I'm pretty pumped about it, and the best part is that I'll even earn a little bit of extra money for helping! Once again, it is a win-win situation!

10) I can't believe I am already here, but this is my 100th post!!!!!! Go me! Like I've mentioned in many of my other posts, I just love to write, and I don't plan to stop blogging any time soon. Thanks to everyone who reads this; you are my inspiration! Here I come 200! :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday Night Thoughts

I am suddenly feeling the insatiable urge to write about something, anything, no matter how random. So, here I am, writing about the last few days I have had, in a modified version of a Ten on Tuesday!

-The volleyball game that I attended at Carissa's church went well. Although I was slightly nervous about going (mostly because I was going to stick out like a sore thumb), I ended up having a nice time, and I wasn't holed up in my room, like usual, so it was fun. We played about four games, and I managed to do a decent job playing. One revelation that I had while there was that I enjoyed playing with Mennonites more than I probably would with other groups. This sounds odd, at first, but bear with me. I have no skill at most sports, largely due to my lack of coordination (which is why I always chose to participate in the sport that requires the smallest amount of it), and I have been very self-conscious of this fact since the 6th grade, when some of my classmates not-so-nicely told me that I had no athletic ability during our volleyball game against the teachers. Ever since that day, I have been quite reluctant to put myself out into foreign situations like those, for fear of what others might say about my abilities. It sounds petty, and like I should buck up and move on, as I one day hope to, but for now, I am slowly beginning to put myself back out there. BACK TO MY POINT. The group of people I played with on Tuesday night were very gracious and accepting of my lack of athletic ability. They applauded my efforts and were very encouraging. It wasn't a big deal about who won, as it was more about the fun time we were having. I enjoyed that, and I wish that more young people would act like that, instead of being rude and constantly making derisive remarks. Perhaps I will go again..(No, I am not considering becoming Mennonite, if you were wondering. I am perfectly happy with being Catholic, and plan to stay that way for the indefinite future.)

-Last night, shortly after getting our food, Carissa and I were sitting in the cafeteria, and suddenly, the lights went out. No, no one was by the lights; the power went off. Lovely. Since the infamous ice storm of 2002, I am very pessimistic about power outages, while having no sympathy for those who claim the power was out for "forever". After your power is out for 35 consecutive days or more, then we can talk, but until then, spare me. Regardless, we made the best of the situation and continued to eat in peace, as there was plenty of light coming in through the cafeteria windows. (For whatever reason, everyone else was freaking out, which accomplished absolutely nothing, in my opinion.) After finishing supper, we sprinted across the street (it was cold, windy, and rainy) and went back to our room, which, of course had no power. We also had no heating or internet access, and Carissa already had plans to leave for the evening. Some evenings, our room is depressing as it is, so I knew that if I stayed in my room much longer, I would get into a funk, which is never good. I decided to call Tevis, and, miracle of all miracles, he had power and was at home! I proceeded to drive over there, and enjoy some time with him! Thankfully, by the time I came back, the power was back on, and I could proceed with my evening as usual.

-I have come to realize that my dorm room has many quirks. One of which is the door knob on my side of the closet, which is barely hanging in there. I'm not really sure how to fix it, besides pushing it back into place after opening the door and living with it. Also, as I have previously mentioned, maintenance is virtually useless. Another quirk is the towel rack in the bathroom. It is only used for holding Carissa's and my hand towels, which is probably a good thing, because it is made of very flimsy metal. It is also VERY unstable. I realized this on about my third day here, when my elbow grazed its edge, and it clattered to the floor, separating into its three pieces. This has become a standing joke between Carissa and I, as it always falls apart at inopportune times like, say, when one of us is asleep and the person in the bathroom is trying to not make too much of a racket. Well, yesterday afternoon, I was sitting in my recliner doing some Trig homework, when I heard a sudden crashing noise. I spook easily as it is, and that noise alone nearly gave me a coronary. I had no idea what it was, and I initially thought that it was the dishes in the dish rack falling over, as I had just finished doing dishes about fifteen minutes prior. It wasn't until I went upstairs to go brush my teeth before a dentist appointment I had that I went into the bathroom and saw the towel rack on the floor that I realized that that was the noise that nearly sent me over the edge. Sheesh...

-Another quirk about my room is the heating/AC unit. It is a window unit that reminds me of ones you see in hotel rooms that are impossible to regulate. I am beginning to realize the challenges of regulating temperature in a room with an upstairs. I have always lived in a one-story house, so this is totally foreign to me, and I am now realizing that in order to keep it warm downstairs, we must constantly keep a fan on upstairs, and turn on the AC at night to keep it from feeling like it is 100 degrees upstairs. Oh well, at least the heater works, right?

-For the moment, I have read all of Nicholas Sparks's books that are in the public library, and feel like I need a hiatus from his books, as they are beginning to run together in my mind. For a change of pace I am currently reading "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. I happened to watch most of the movie at Tevis's house one time, which was when his mom told me that it was actually a book. From that moment, I have really wanted to read the book. It was a good thing that I didn't want to read it that bad, because last week was the first time that it has been in the public library since I first wanted to read it back in May. (Like I've said, that's what I get for wanting to read bestsellers from the public library.) So far, I am enjoying it, and perhaps, I will get around to writing a review of it when I am finished. I wouldn't count on it, but it is a definite possibility!

Well, I hope that everyone has a great weekend; I plan to, as Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, and I will get an extra hour of sleep, which I always need before going to 7:45 AM Mass!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

I felt like I only posted these for a while there, so I took a hiatus. However, I am back to doing these!

1. The blood drive I helped run last week was great! We had a record turnout, and I got to donate, as well. I have again contributed to saving the life of a baby! (I'm O-, CMV-, btw.) Hooray for saving lives!

2. Last Saturday, I got up literally at the crack of dawn with my sisters and Wyatt and baked kolaches with some ladies from church. It was my first time to actually participate in this event in its entirety, and I must say that I really did enjoy myself. I was very thankful for the coffee that Gina provided, though, as I am not so much of a morning person...caffeine does wonders for the human body at 5:00 AM!

3. I got to enjoy plenty of quality time with my sisters this weekend, as I also went to a play on Saturday night with Emily. Her boys were at a Boy Scout event for the evening, so she decided to accompany me to watch our cousin, Evan, in his play. He did a great job, I loved the play, and I had a nice evening out with my big sister! :)

4. Technically, my dad's birthday was yesterday, but my family celebrated it on Sunday. As is usual, I made my dad the ceremonial birthday pie. Yes, pie...he likes it better than cake and doesn't get them as often. Here is a picture of my nephews blowing out the candles with him! I LOVE this picture!

5. I am on top of things, as I like to be, and I have already enrolled for next semester! (Enrollment opened on Monday, which was when my appointment was with my advisor.) Thanks to my concurrent classes I took, I only have to take 12 hours next semester! Hooray!

6. The biggest downfall of next semester is the 5-hour Calculus class I will be taking. Four days a week. Ick. I guess that's what I get for being a math major, and I know that if I stay on that track, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Did I mention that I have to take it via ITV from Tonkawa? Who in their right mind offers a math class via ITV???!!!! Hopefully it goes better than I am presently anticipating. We'll see.

7. <-- That's the number of weeks until my new niece/nephew arrives! I am very excited about having another little one to give my love to! My anticipation is building and I am ready to meet him/her...and to know which it will be. I won't share names, but I have a great reason that I will explain momentarily!

8. I'm already starting to think about Christmas shopping, and I have a few ideas of what I will be getting people, like my mom, Tevis, Emily, and a few of my nephews. I love Christmastime, and can't wait for it, either! And the baby will be here for that, also!

9. Tonight, I will be stepping a little out of my element, as I am joining Carissa for a youth volleyball game at her church. It should be interesting, and nothing too out-of-the-ordinary, but I am a little nervous nonetheless. However, a friend of Carissa's, who I have met, was insistent that I come, so we shall see! Hopefully, it goes well!

10. My biggest news of the day is that I have a new blog to read. Many of my readers know the author quite well, as it is none other than my big sis, Emily! She was my inspiration to start my blog, and I am so excited that she has joined me! You can read about her adventures here! Congrats, Emy!

Have a great week, everyone!!!