Constructive Procrastination

I don’t want to do homework.  3 weeks in to the semester and I’m done.  Can we say senioritis!?!  😀  Never fear…I’ll manage, AND get my homework done 😉

But right now, it’s time for a post.

Remember how after Christmas break I said something about wanting to make it last longer, and I would try to simulate that by posting Christmas break recaps over the next few weeks?  Here’s post #2 of my long-awaited recap!

My mom and I have a new tradition of going to Lake McDonald on New Year’s day to take pictures, freeze our fingers and rears, and enjoy the scenery and company.  This year (year #2), we realized that our plan could be somewhat complicated.  New Year’s day would land on a Sunday, the first day of the Skier’s Worship service my mom leads at a near-by ski resort.  What to do!??!  Well go on New Year’s eve, naturally!  So poor Dad went to work, and we went adventuring!

Destination – nearly deserted lake surrounded by snow and snow-covered trees.  Oh, and it’s beautiful too.  Sign me up!

So this reflection…dual meaning anyone? 😉  You might be in an English Literature class if….

I adore the rustic gathering of these rocks.  Don’t ask me why, exactly.  All I could say is that when I was a wee child, I wanted to be a geologist.  BADLY.  I would collect random rocks to the point that my parents would have to limit me.  And I ALWAYS wanted to by those shiny polished rocks at tourist-trap gift shops.  Clearly, my aspirations in life have changed, but I still have a fascination with rocks.

 

Ummmm…yeah.  I definitely still like rocks!

Photography is a certainly one of my mom’s favorite hobbies.  And she’s got the camera to prove it!

But trust me, this is no serious photographic event.

See what I mean!

Although this is a pretty nice picture.

Don’t let this fool you…I probably started giggling right after mom finished taking the shot!

And kudos to mom for remembering to bring a tripod!  Who needs a studio when you have Lake McDonald?

Seriously.

Well friends, I should probably get back to work.  Constructive procrastination can only win for so long, you know.  Although it is about time for some dinner…….AHH!

Stay tuned for a super-nifty sounding cookie recipe I recently stumbled upon!

Blessings,

Beth

It Snowed!

Yesterday, around mid-morning, it started snowing.  Big huge flakes.  I didn’t think it would stick, but it did.  Then it started raining.  Then the sun came out!  And seeing as it was sunset and I was SUPER antsy from the endless pile of homework I’ve already accrued, I decided to seize the moment and go for a walk with my camera.

And then it snowed more today.  And kept snowing and snowing and snowing.

And after a little convincing, I decided I could actually manage to go play for a bit.  What fun!

Marisa had the brilliant idea to make a snow man doing a hand stand.

The third section fell off…so we went with it 🙂

What a lovely Sunday!  Tomorrow is a holiday, and with more snow predicted, well…perhaps this week will be even shorter than expected!  Which would be great for homework purposes since today the roomies and I watched a movie (Strictly Ballroom) and are in the process of making homemade pizza (rather than doing homework).  My first shot at making something with yeast!  Post will show up eventually 😉

And with that, I’m off!  Almost time to finish the pizza!

Blessings!

Beth

Hanging on to Break

Hello, my friends!  Sorry for the huge time-gap since my last post.  I stayed busy and had a nice relax-sesh during break 🙂  Then, it was a flurry of packing and see you later-ing and I hopped on the plane to come back for Spring semester.  Now that I’m mostly settled in and getting back in the groove of school, I decided it was high time to check in, so to speak.

I have a post or two that will essentially recap winter break…hence the title “Hanging on to Break”.  I decided to spread it out rather than stuff everything into one post!

Enough babbling – one of the highlights of break were these two monkeys:

My sister and the boys came over for a few days to hang out with us, and although they kinda wear me out, it was so much fun to see them!  I got to be “Aunt B” to the max – making the boys chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, putting together healthy lunches (I tried to convince them to eat carrots!) and of course, filling them up with sugar!!!!  But come on, chocolate milk with whipped cream is still MILK! 😉  Annnyyywaaaayyyss……

One of my Christmas gifts to Hunter (the one on the right) was a kitchen project of his choice.  We hemmed and hawed, trying to decide what to make, when inspiration struck in the form of…Grandma!  She had been given a jar mix for s’mores bars from her boss, and what better way to use it?  So the night before heading back home, Hunter and I hit the kitchen.  Delicious marshmallo-y chocolate madness ensued.

First, we separated the marshmallows from the graham cracker-chocolate mixture.  Then we stirred melted butter in with the graham cracker mixture.  Hunter did a great job of gently mixing…a chef in the making? 😉  Then, Hunter and I carefully dumped the mixture into our cute little baking dish and got to work on smoothing it down.

Such concentration!

Look how fast he moves!

Next, we topped the crust with an extra handful of chocolate chips and some more (get it…s’more…some more….) graham cracker chunks before drowning the whole thing in mini marshmallows.

Hunter = EXCITED!

Oh, and Austin had to get in on the goings-on in the kitchen!  And Aunt B had a camera.  So obviously, he needed his picture taken 😉

In the oven our little treat went for about 15 grueling minutes.  We watched the marshmallows turn brown.  No joke.

But it was well worth the wait!  Here’s what we were treated to:

Yum!  We let it cool for a few minutes, then sliced it up and served it with a little vanilla ice cream.  Sugar?  What sugar?  😉

I really had a blast working with Hunter in the kitchen.  He was quite antsy to just go-go-GO, but he listened perfectly.  No appendages or digits were harmed in the making of this treat!!

It was like a taste of summer in the dead of winter!

 

Tomorrow is the third full day of classes for this semester.  I’ve taken on a pretty full class load, so there may be a few less posts, but I’ll do what I can.  I like doin’ this!  But of course, class work has to take priority.  So if you don’t hear from me for a bit, don’t worry.  I’m just doing that whole…student thing 🙂

Take care!

Beth

 

 

A Date With my Roomie

Finals officially begin tomorrow.  Oye vey!  I’ve hit that wall where I can no longer study tonight, so I thought I’d catch you up on the delightful dinner out with my roomie (Marisa) last Friday!

For awhile, Marisa worked for a catering company.  The owner of the catering company also runs a restaurant called Pomegranate and let me tell you…it’s legit.  The menu changes seasonally, highlighting fresh, local fare, always with a classy yet home-made vibe.  Options range from fried chicken or grilled cheese & tomato soup to white fish tacos, flat bread pizzas, and phenomenal desserts.  And they even have a coffee and pastry bar open all day long!   Basically what I’m saying is that if you’re anywhere near Redmond, you have GOT to go to Pom.

The table setting…so simple yet elegant.  I adore the bottle of water, and the soft glow of the candle.  Perfect ambiance.

Well hi there, Marisa! 🙂

See the windows on the left?  That’s a view into the kitchen.  SO cool!

Marisa had a pretty good view of the pizza oven from her seat.  She even got to see them tossing the dough!  Lucky girl.

And then dinner came!

Marisa stuck to her Italian roots, and dined on Mac n’ Cheese and fresh Rustic Bread.  That Mac n’ Cheese is basically amazing.  The top is covered in bread crumbs and baked for a few moments, giving the top layer a bit of crunch.  Marisa skeptically opted for sausage, but after a few bites, the skepticism vanished.  And the bread!  Soft, chewy…perfect.  Her only complaint?  Cold butter.  But she could deal 😉

I chose the Niçoise Salad – mixed greens with juicy tomato, crunchy green beans, soft, cooked (and cooled) potato, salty olives, hard boiled egg, and rich tuna, all covered in a delicious, tangy dressing…oh.my.wow!  The bread (which I only took a few nibbles of to avoid much wheat) was essentially Pom’s pizza crust with cheese and olive oil.  And the tomato soup…definitely the best I’ve had in a long long time.  Rich, thick, salty, creamy…out of this world??!  No wonder it’s on the menu every day!

And did you really think two girls would go out for a nice dinner without dessert?  HA!

It’s a foregone conclusion that Marisa would be ordering the House Made Nutter Butters with chocolate soup.  They’re just that amazing!  Soft, pillowy cookies encase a sweet and creamy peanut butter filling…all doused in bittersweet chocolate.  What’s not to love?

And my dessert: Chocolate Coconut cake!  The bottom layer – a layer of coconut, mixed with something to keep it all together, then baked to brown it.  The middle layer, well…I don’t actually know what to call it.  Creamy?  Yes.  Sweet?  Yes.  Coconutty?  Yes.  So we’ll just call it delightful and move on to the GANACHE!  That top layer?  Solid ganache.  In case you didn’t know, ganache is basically bittersweet chocolate melted and mixed with heavy cream.  Holy yum!  But oh so rich.  I ate about a third and asked for a box.

Besides the food, here’s a few favorite moments of the night:

Favorite family: the one with the dancing little girls.

Favorite seating arrangement: Ours!  We sat at the end of the family table with 6 people at the other end.

Favorite story topic: Our ridiculous childhood crushes.

Favorite quote: “Hey, there’s a doughnut in my purse!” (Marisa)

Favorite end-of-dinner-quote: “Hey, there’s STILL a doughnut in my purse!” (Marisa)

So as you can see, there is no other descriptor for the night except lovely.  Especially when we secretly decorated Marisa’s parent’s house while they were out and about 🙂

And in other news, the SEAHAWKS WON!!!!!

Blessings,

Beth

A Happy Thanksgiving Indeed

I’m of the opinion that the holiday season (meaning Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years…not used as a politically correct term) are the toughest for college kids.  Not only are there projects and papers due, with finals looming, but many of us are away from our dear families during a time of year that emphasizes the joy and importance of being with your family.  This year, I’ve faced a particularly tough bout of homesickness which made me a firm believer that there really IS no place like home for the holidays.  However, the Lord is sovereign, and knowing how I would feel at this time, placed me right where I need to be.  I have family only about an hour away (although they were out of town for the holiday)  But also, I’ve truly been blessed with the most thoughtful and loving “Seattle Family”, and I had the joy of spending Thanksgiving with them this year!  Prepare for the photo montage with limited commercial interruption 😉

The beautiful table

Michelle on the right, then Nancy, Grammy, and Mandy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The professional gravy-maker, and efficient dishwasher

And the roomie who proves you’re NEVER too old to cuddle up with mom 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place cards and abundant food…joy!

 

And the star of the show!

(Great job, Joe!)

Ok, commercial break time.  This turkey was AMAZING!  You know how turkey so easily gets dry and you can hardly swallow it?  Not this one.  Bland?  Nope.  Gravy?  A nice addition, but not necessary.  SO GOOD!  Aaaaaannndddd moving on… 🙂

We feasted on turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, fall vegetables, (and a few other things which I can’t remember) until we could feast no more!  I very much enjoyed both the food and the wonderful company.  Our hosts were pretty great amazing too!

After dinner, we rolled ourselves down to the family room to catch the Raven’s game and (if you’re me) read a few cooking magazines.  Oh, and eat dessert!!!!!!!!

Here’s the spread – from left to right – homemade chocolate truffles, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie (with whipped cream) and apple pie (with ice cream).  Oh man!

My plate…I seriously cannot pass up the pumpkin pie…but the apples looked sooo tasty…and ice cream!!  And clearly, the chocolate is a given.

So there you have my lovely Thanksgiving spent with my lovely Seattle Family!  It was definitely the best alternative to actually being at home.  I’m extremely thankful for each of these people, so strategically placed in my life.  It’s slightly overwhelming…but in a good way 🙂

I hope your Thanksgiving held just as much joy and relaxation as mine!

Check back soon for my Day-After-Thanksgiving shenanigans!  (No, I did NOT go shopping at midnight!)

Oh, and in other news, I head home for Christmas break in 19 days!  So exciting!  So much to do….such is life 🙂

Take care

Beth

 

A Lovely Evening

Hello friends!

Fun fact: you might be a college senior with projects and tests looming if…you take an entire week to get around to blogging your own birthday dinner, and even longer to blog your delightful “birthday-month” envelopes.  But such is life!  I’m hoping you’ll all forgive 🙂

I’m extremely blessed to have friends who have become family here at school.  During my sophomore year, I lived with my current roommate and her family in their home, which for me meant gaining a “Seattle Family”.  They’re wonderful!  They take me along on fun outings (Leavenworth!), invite me to share meals, and just LOVE me!  It’s great.  Why am I going on and on about my Seattle family?  Because they treated me to a delightful dinner in celebration of my birthday, full of delicious food and joyful surprises…have a look 🙂

Joce perfectly decorated the table!

Each place setting had been beautifully constructed

The theme certainly felt autumnal with charming leaves and rich tones of red and orange.

Beautiful.

And yes, I cut my hair 🙂  Do you like it?  Cause I do!

A little story from the evening: Marisa and I arrived a while before dinner, and it felt nice to just chill.  A friend, Megan, would be a bit late, so there was no hurry to get the meal on the table.  When the doorbell rang, I expected to see Megan…but I was in for surprise #3 of my birthday! (#1 – the “birthday-month” cards and #2 – the hockey game)  See, I had hoped a couple (another set of Seattle parents) would be able to come, but they already had plans to be out of town.  Except the plans fell through.  And everyone decided to keep it on the hush-hush.  So…..SURPRISE!!!!  I could hardly believe my eyes…but I was certainly happy to do so 🙂

A few minutes later, the lovely Megan arrived, and dinner was served!

Pork roast, sauteed apples, baked sweet potatoes, and roasted asparagus, with a salad on the side.  MMMMMMM!!!!!!

Sweet company plus delicious food is an excellent equation…I kinda like this math 🙂

After we could eat no more, Marisa, Megan and Joce cleared the table, then prepared dessert…with stifled giggles and mysterious sounds.  I pretended like a didn’t notice.  And then, this dish appeared before me….

Yes, that is a giant tower of fresh whipped cream.

Fresh raspberries, naturally.

And then, this.

This is a tower of brownies, with exactly 22 candles.  Which I blew out in one…ONE breath!  I kid you not!

All together!  Isn’t it splendid?  I forgot to mention the fudge sauce for drizzling…mmm!

Now that I was sufficiently sugared, the time had come for….

…presents!

A “Better Homes and Gardens” and “Martha Stuart Living”, Christmas editions from Marisa.  I ADORE magazines like these!

Between the cards, hockey game, and these magazines, I think Marisa truly outdid herself!  But I’m thankful 🙂

A bean-bag lamb (scented with lavender)…

…and a gorgeous scarf, both from Megan!

My surprise guests gave me a thoughtful gift card, and Marisa’s parents found the most beautiful lamp for my gift!  I forgot to take a picture of it earlier, and the lighting in my room is less than decent right now, so click this the link to see a photo of it!

This truly was a lovely evening.  I’m CRAZY blessed to have such a thoughtful “family” here.  Thank you Lord, and thank you Joe and Joce!

I’m off to get some work done…theoretically.  There’s always Sunday, right? 😉

Have a blessed weekend!

Beth

 

It’s like Gladiators…But on Ice

No, but seriously!  Hockey IS like Gladiators on Ice!  Now that you’re thoroughly confused, let me explain:

In my last post, I mentioned that my dear roommate, Marisa, would be taking me on a surprise adventure the next day.  My surprise adventure?  A trip to my very first ever HOCKEY GAME!!  It’s like soccer on steroids…but seriously!  It’s faster, more intense, and waaaaay more violent!  …I digress.  Would you like to hear the story?  Okay. I knew it! 🙂

We had the day off from school yesterday, so the day basically became a blank canvas with which to create something delightful…and relaxing!  It seriously felt like Saturday, which makes yesterday (TRUE Saturday) totally seem like a bonus.  Marisa and I were invited to a friend’s home for lunch, then we came home to do homework watch Psych and get ready for the evening’s mysterious events.  At 4:52 sharp, after much running back and forth to grab this and that (totally all me) we were out the door!  After a quick stop at the gas station, Marisa was left to stall for time…we were early!  The horror!…so we took the long way around to…Eastside Foursquare church?  Yeah.  I was confused.  Dark completely enshrouded the parking lot, and I was convinced Marisa would soon be selling me for drugs.  I mean, she did promise an adventure, right? 😉  But thankfully, such an adventure would not be had, although a mysterious car pulled up next to us….

….and out came Josh, our small group leader!  Moments later, another car pulled up…it was Tim, the 4th member of our 4-person small group.  Both gents hopped in the car, and we were off!  I was slightly surprised by the identity our adventure compadres, but hey…Marisa had it all planned out!  Jokes were made about our destination as we made our way North, going from I405 to I5.  And I was still clueless as to what the heck we would be doing.

Soon, we were exiting I5 into Everett…so maybe we were going to an Aquasox game?  But the stadium looked pretty empty, so maaaaybe not.  We continued into the Everett City Center, deciding that dinner would be in order before the revealing of the night’s activities, and seeing as Josh couldn’t stop talking about burritos, I decided on his recommendation, Gorditos!  Large amounts of Mexican food were consumed!

Josh and Tim decided to split the “Baby Burrito”, named for it’s baby-like size.  Bursting with rice, beans, chicken, lettuce, tomato, beans and beans, then drenched in sauce and cheese, this meal is NOT for the faint of heart…or the small of stomach!

Before…

…and after.

Good thing they split it!

Marisa and I were slightly more conservative in our choices, Marisa opting for a breakfast burrito filled with egg, chorizo and tomato, and I for a taco salad, piled high with lettuce, tomato, rice, beans, guacamole and sour cream.

For the record, Marisa, I like your guac better! 🙂

During dinner, Marisa decided to tell me where we were going.  She said “Beth, remember that church we passed back there?  Well, we’re going to a concert there!  A Gregorian chant concert!”  I responded with excitement, but somehow, I just didn’t think we were really going to a concert.  I mean, Marisa insisted I dress warmly, and this church didn’t look like it would be cold.  But what did I know?  However, using my best tact, I didn’t outwardly show my doubt…what if we really WERE going to a Gregorian chant concert?!?

After devouring a baby, erm, dinner, we headed out to the concert.  But we stopped in front of a big building, with lots of people wearing “Silver Tips” jerseys.  And Marisa said “Beth, I have a confession.  We’re not really going to a chant concert…WE’RE GOING TO A HOCKEY GAME!!”  And the poor girl…she was afraid I’d be unhappy with the hockey game after the excitement I showed over the concert!  But she wouldn’t have to worry…I was stoked!

We grabbed our tickets from will-call and headed in!

Josh picked up some pucks for me to throw during a fan game…with which I didn’t find much success.

Hey, they’re really hard to throw!

Well….???

Hockey is an exciting game!  The players throw and smoosh each other up against the wall for no apparent reason.  Oooooh and we saw a legit fight!  As in, a LOT of players ripped their gloves off and threw them on the ice in anticipation of an all-out war!  Only four dudes ended up actually fighting, but that was enough for us to say “we saw a legit hockey fight!”

At times, I began to wonder if the game isn’t more about the fans than the actual game.  They had a kiss cam (awkward camera-person focuses on an assumed couple and they’re supposed to smooch) and a dance cam (less awkward camera person focuses on people who are gettin’ their groove on).  Entertaining…yet slightly uncomfortable….

But we had fun anyways!  Marisa wasn’t really that scared…except for when we almost got beaned by a hockey puck!!!!!!!

Josh had become convinced that because there wasn’t a net in front of us, we were doomed to get hit by a puck.  “Yeah right!” we naysayers uh…nayed?  At any rate, we highly doubted we’d get hit…until a player hit the puck, and it went high…and right towards us!  It caught a lot of air which slowed it down, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was coming right for us!  But Tim saved the night and caught it.  No harm 🙂

The Silvertips lost soundly, but we all had a fun night anyways.  We didn’t even let the crazy-apocalyptic hail dampen our spirits (ah-ha-ha)!

But seriously….this was intense hail!

Marisa planned an excellent night!  The surprise stayed a surprise until the very end, and I very much enjoyed the free time with friends.  Thank you, Marisa!  😀

Check back soon for a recap of my lovely birthday dinner (last night) with Marisa’s family!!

Beth