So Much to Love

28 February 2010

This weekend has been an excellent mix of pleasure and work. I enjoyed having my friends come down to visit and I even got some one-on-one time with my sweetheart.

I've been browsing new blogs today during breaks and found several that I enjoy. I also looked through my friends' photos on facebook (and some prof. photography sites) and I feel motivated. Some of that motivation is for taking pictures, some is for traveling, and some is for the future. There are so many things that are going well in my life and just as many that I can look forward to. I just want to express how grateful I am to have the opportunities that I do, the people in my life, and the health to experience everything.

Here are some pictures from the weekend:

Chocolate and Thoughts

Do you ever take a bite of chocolate and just let it sit in your mouth and melt? I love this feeling! You may remember me mentioning the Endangered Species chocolate bars here (you know - where 10% of the profits go towards building up habitats) but I don't think I ever mentioned them coming in. Let me tell you that they are quite delicious! The first thing I did when they came in was go drop off a dark chocolate bar to my sister (she loves dark chocolate!) and then the next day I gave one to a professor. He had previously saved me a deal of money by just giving me the National Science Standards book for my education courses. I gave him a bar as a thank you and had a little chat.

Those are the chocolate bars (each with their own picture of an endangered animal) resting on my new tote bag for my education classes. This bag has already saved me some hassle too because I can just keep all of my education work in there so when the Saturday class came around I just had to grab it and get on the road. I love being organized.

On that note, I am very proud to say that I've kept my room clean for four full days now - and YES that is an accomplishment for me! Since I'm in an apartment (during all of this college wonderfulness) I am very limited as to where I put my clothing, school things, fun things, etc. I like a lot of space and when my room is organized and clean I find that I focus much better on my work as well!

Today will be dedicated to my education courses. My goals?
-Finish my lesson plan on the Rock Cycle (do you know what that is? Click here to find out).
-Work on my culture project
-Find a great "hook" for my lesson (to be presented this Friday)

I really enjoyed writing the Unit Plans but Lesson Plans are much harder! They are so specific (as to timing and what exact activities you'll be doing)! Wish me luck with the hook especially, I might be needing it.

I'll get in another post tonight to give you some more information about the weekend - it's been a good one. Hope you're enjoying your Sunday afternoons!

My First Texture

27 February 2010

Above is the original shot taken my freshman year of college and below is the edited version.

Can you see the difference? I used a bokeh texture from ShadowHouse Creations for this first trial. Hopefully I can get this under wraps enough that it won't take me fifteen minutes to edit one photo, but I guess everything goes slowly in the beginning. (For instance, I would like the edited version to have more contrast just like the original, but I'll figure that out later. Besides, with textures photos nearly always look "softer".)

Now I'm off to a Saturday morning class (a make up from our previous snow days). Hope your weekend is starting off well!

A Most Wonderful Evening

25 February 2010

The week is wrapping up and I can slowly begin to relax. The night went perfectly! It started off with a dinner at Top Dog with Jake and Jeff. I was luckily able to talk to my best friend for a while beforehand while we picked up our food from another restaurant (Dukes) to bring to Top Dog. I've really missed getting our one-on-one conversations in this semester but we've both been busier than ever.

Dinner was followed by a movie at Grafton, the campus theater. It was only Noah and me from our group watching Princess and the Frog but it was a really good movie. Reminds me of the old classic Disney movies. Noah paid for my ticket and I paid for his popcorn. It was a fun mini date.

Then we headed to Wilson Hall to record Noah's excerpts for his audition. He played a total of three pieces (by Mozart, Wagner, and Bernini- or something.... haha, I don't know enough composers). I was sitting about four rows back in the empty auditorium with his Mac in my lap recording each trial. Let me tell you that he has a real talent with music; I enjoyed the entire hour just listening to him and being glad that I could help. It was magical in its own way.

Afterwards, as a reward, he took me to the music building and let me play bassoon and viola. I had such a fun time trying them. I was very happy to discover that I can play a double read although I highly doubt bassoon will ever make the top five list for my favorite instruments. The viola was much more fun to play and I've never played a symphony string instrument before - or held a bow. It was a really neat experience. We ended up doing this for roughly half an hour and then Noah walked me to my car in the parking deck.

All in all it was a wonderful evening and I hope to repeat the experience. Hope you all are getting ready for Friday - it's nearly the weekend! Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Changing Your Mind

Often times people ask you what you believe or even why you believe it, but how often do you get asked - "What would it take to change your mind?"

In a book I'm reading by Greg Craven, What's the Worst that Could Happen?, he asks you to stop after reading Chapter 0. Before moving onto chapter 1 you are supposed to go to the back of the book and write about what it would take to change your mind from your current stance on climate change. This was nearly impossible for me. I consider myself an open minded person on most matters (except once I get defensive I tend to stick to my guns) but trying to answer this question proved a difficult feat. To be honest, my answer came out incredibly vague just so that I could continue reading.

Have you ever encountered a situation like this one; Where you didn't even notice that you weren't willing to change your mind? Often times when we believe something strongly we only look at the facts that support our case but we should be trying to prove ourselves wrong. If we can't, then we should feel much more solid about our beliefs. Besides, without digging into the other side we may never know the true facts (often we know less than we think we know).

For example, in my Contemporary Issues in the Geosciences course today we watched a ten minute long video clip of Harvard graduates answer science questions. Each graduate was given a seed then a piece of a log. The questioner asked them where the mass came from and do you know what they said? Water and soil (minerals). That's it and guess what - that's not where most of the mass comes from. Do you know where that mass comes from? Here's a hint - it's all around you right now and it's SO LIGHT that you don't even notice it - CO2. How could that air possibly make up that mass? It's so very, very compacted into the tree in compounds. It's amazing what we miss sometimes. One student even talked about photosynthesis and resulting CO2 but still didn't see the connection.

Our education leaves gaps and we need to spend sometime educating ourselves on knowledge, religion, politics, etc. so that we can be truly functioning members of society. We also need to learn to ask ourselves "What would change my mind?" so that we can consciously realize that we could be wrong. Just because we think something is true doesn't automatically make it so.

I guess this was my rant about being human. We all make mistakes and it can only be good for us to open our minds to possibilities.

The Things We Need

24 February 2010

Have you ever had someone completely flip your day around? It's amazing the way others can affect our whole attitude about an activity, a class, or a day. Luckily, I have a very supportive and encouraging boyfriend who knows me better than I know me sometimes. Last week, this week, and next week have been (and will be) very full of stress. There are so many projects, oral presentations, tests, readings, and plans that I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed. Yesterday evening it all sort of caught up with me and I was in a real funk. Noah ended up saying and doing just exactly the right things for me to feel better. I know our happiness should be determined from ourselves first, but I do think that with some outside help it can be easier. I hope I never take for granted the people in my life who help to carry my burdens whether it be a sister understanding my pain about health, a friend who understands when I just need a laugh, or a boyfriend who gives me his all whenever I need it. May I please bless the people in my life the way they bless me.

About My Shadow(ing)

Img from: here

As a secondary education minor I am required to go into local schools and observe teachers and students throughout the day. Teaching methods, engagement, classroom activities, and student behavior are all features that I should be observing while in the classroom.

The local high school is set up for this bustle of college students invading so very often and they make it a very smooth transaction which I definitely appreciate!

This afternoon I ended up in a ninth grade Earth Science class and a twelfth grade English class. Each college observer is supposed to get a chance to visit their content area and what a great experience it was! The teacher in the class had arranged the desks so that he could easily facilitate discussions and he was even sitting down while he talked with them. There was a constant back-and-forth between content, personal stories, and student input. It was fantastic!

The English class today was an excellent experience because I was observing a student teacher! It makes the whole thing that much more real when I can see someone one year older than me teaching a twelfth grade class! It's intimidating to me to say the least, but I'm getting excited all the same.

Weekend Recaps and Education

22 February 2010

Do you ever have weekends that don't really feel like weekends? This one definitely fell in that category. That's ok though, every once in a while things pick up a lot of momentum and you get tasks that keep you busy but it's well worth the effort.

Actually, this Monday feels like a Monday! It feels like the start of something. Mondays don't necessarily bring negative thoughts into my mind but they're just the start of the journey for that week. This particular Monday represented more of a long-term journey for me though. After my three hour long education class in the morning, I traveled to a local high school to shadow a student throughout their remaining classes. I ended up in an English class and an anatomy class. What a difference!

It was so strange to just sit and listen and watch the students in a class instead of having to follow all of the conversations and complete their workload. It's the first time I've really been in a classroom when I'm not the student. Certainly is a different experience.

21 February 2010

Anyone else feeling the beach right now? This was taken near the Four Seasons on the Outer Banks. For now I can just turn my head and see plenty of white stuff (well, some white, a lot of the snow is dirty now too). Only a few months though right? A girl can hope.

Veggie Pot Pie

20 February 2010

This is a vegetarian version of a chicken pot pie. I've always liked chicken pot pies since I was little and this was a great twist on that theme! This dish might be better off in the casserole category actually but I love casseroles all the same.

I'll let you know ahead of time that I "goofed up" on this one a fair bit but it came out delicious anyways. I know, I'm just that good. I already have some changes in mind for the next time I make this (and I will make it again)!

(Sorry, I forgot to take a picture before taking a scoop out. However, this way you can see the inside too. Yummy!)

Here's most of the reason I messed this up: I did not have an ingredients list. If I knew where I found this recipe (vegetarian times? all recipes?) then I could look it up again, but as it is.... I also cannot site this right now. I'll let you know as soon as I can.

For now, I'll tell you the ingredients that I used (see bottom of post for what I would adjust for next time):

1/2 onion
1 head of broccoli
1 (big) potato
2 cloves of garlic
filo dough (two sheets from Pepperidge Farms)
water and flour (NO IDEA how much... without the ingredients list I was a bit messed up, I think this should have been vegetable broth with flour).
garlic powder (to taste)

Directions (as I have them saved in a Word Document):
1. To make Filling: Cook potatoes and carrots in large pot of boiling salted water 10 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, and set aside.
2. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu, and cook 5 minutes, or until tofu begins to brown. Stir in 2 Tbs. tamari, 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic, and 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, and cook until all liquid has evaporated.
3. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add mushrooms, and cook 2 minutes. Add onion, broccoli, and garlic, and sauté 6 to 7 minutes, or until onions begin to soften.
4. Push veggies to side of Dutch oven. Add remaining 1 Tbs. oil to bottom of pot. Stir flour into oil with fork to make roux; stir until smooth. Stir roux into vegetables.
5. Stir broth into vegetables. Once gravy is smooth, add tofu, potatoes, carrots, soymilk, remaining 1/4 cup tamari, and wine. Stir gently, then add thyme, sage, hoisin sauce, Worcestershire sauce, remaining 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic, and remaining 1/8 tsp. cayenne. Remove from heat, and set aside, or transfer vegetables to large casserole dish.
6. To make Crust: Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix together flour, salt, and shortening with fork or pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Stir in up to 4 Tbs. cold water, if necessary, for dough to stick together. Gently knead rosemary and sage into dough, and shape dough into ball. Place dough ball in plastic bag, and push out from center of ball to shape dough to size of Dutch oven or casserole dish. Remove dough from bag, and lay over vegetable filling in Dutch oven or casserole dish. Poke holes in dough to allow steam to escape. Bake 45 minutes, or until Crust is golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Ok, these are the adjustments I would make:
-well, number one, have vegetable broth next time
-use the carrots that they suggest (and the tofu. I left this out on purpose because I don't like tofu much but I think the flavor would be more overwhelming anyways and we need to get some protein into this dish)
-add more garlic and onion
-add CHEESE. Noah and I both strongly agreed on this. The flavor was good but cheese would really do this dish justice

Hmm.... I think that's all. I was surprised, but one potato seemed to be enough. Now I have three sitting around (I was guesstimating how many I would need).

Hope you get a chance to try it because I'll keep this on my menu!

Endangered Chocolate

19 February 2010

The blog world has been sharing wonderful knowledge today!

I just ordered some organic chocolate bars from Endangered Chocolate. I'm very excited about this organization/company. 10% of their profits goes as donations towards supporting species, habitats, and humanity. Each product is from ethically traded materials and the bars I bought are all approved as 100% organic. Plus, each bar has an endangered species on it's wrapper and on the inside it tells about the plight of the animal!

Also, the site gives you information on how to recycle the wrappings that your chocolate comes in. A coolant pack will be in the package which I can reuse in my lunch box and they give a recycle center locator on their website so that you can find out where to recycle your Styrofoam peanuts.

A special thanks to Analiese at Tulips and Tea. (Check out her other Green ideas for her wedding party favors! I wouldn't say no to a tree!)


These are words that I commonly use. I found a link to Wordle at Kate's blog.

It was neat to see what I use the most often!

Afternoon Lemonade

18 February 2010

This week has been incredibly hectic and stressful for me. I nearly broke down yesterday afternoon after three days of no real relaxation time. There have been meetings, rescheduled meetings, classes, group projects, rescheduling of class events, unit plans, workouts, readings, and lots of studying - usually in the form of cram sessions. Just yesterday I was gone from my home for twelve and a half hours. I hate that because I really like my apartment. Now though - for those many (sometimes elusive) reasons to smile.

It's Thursday afternoon and I'm done with classes for the week! Usually I have an education course on Friday mornings but they are canceled tomorrow because a fair number of my classmates will be shadowing local high school students in their courses. I'll be doing this next Monday and Wednesday afternoon - I even have a badge! How professional!

Today is one of my good friend's birthdays. I met her my sophomore year of college and our group of friends are all going to a nicer dining restaurant on campus to celebrate. It will be nice to make her birthday special and to help us all wind down from the school week.

After tomorrow I will not have to worry about the bacteria Streptomyces ever again! My group will meet one more time tomorrow afternoon and the project is due by midnight on Friday. Also, today in class our professor lessened the requirements. Honestly I don't want to aim at the lower standards because she implied we would get extra points for doing the initial standards.

This morning I met a woman that I bought girl scout cookies from about three weeks ago. I have my order of Lemonades (hence this blogpost title) and Thin Mints. I'm definitely going to have to share these because I'll eat them all otherwise. Plus sharing is caring right?

I have a biology test on Tuesday which isn't exactly a reason to smile but I am glad that studying has been moving along rather well. I feel motivated and I'm not as worried about the test as I thought I would be. In our weekly quiz today one of our readings had already been covered and I remembered nearly all the information. Some of it brings forth old knowledge from high school to work with. I'm very lucky!

Yesterday afternoon I ordered a college class ring. I've considered it for a while but I didn't have the money for one. It is certainly not something I need but I've worn my high school class ring every day since I bought it my sophomore year (with the exception of the two weeks in Britain when my mom warned me not to take it so I wouldn't lose it). It probably doesn't even leave my finger once a month. I had talked to my dad about it months ago but he hadn't said anything since so when I got an email from him out of the blue yesterday about buying me a class ring I was very surprised!

My high school ring is silver with a blue stone. The sides each depict something that was important to me at the time: woodwinds (band) and a bible (Christianity). Also in the middle of the stone is an alto saxophone. This ring no longer describes me but I value it for it's history and for representing who I was at the time. I wouldn't be who I am without that past! However, my new ring will not be nearly as personalized. I decided to go the traditional way with my ring and get the University's seal on yellow gold. BA and '11 will be on either side (I can send it off to get my masters degree on it for no fee in another two years). I am glad to have something I can always carry with me that will remind me of my years at JMU. This school has meant everything to me since I graduated from high school and I hope to treasure the memories forever!

Below is an image of the Laurel ring - similar to the one I purchased but this one is white gold and mine will be yellow. What do you think?

That's a pretty good summary for right now. There are always reasons if you look for them! Except there's just one more - there is sunshine in my city today! It's so much easier to be naturally happy when the sun is shining and warming up your skin. I love the temperate seasons and guess what's just around the corner - SPRING!

May you all enjoy some sunshine too!

Bright Mornings

16 February 2010

Tuesday morning...usually not my favorite day of the week but today we have "Assessment Day". That means people with the sophomore number of credits have to take a test today (of course I did this last year). However, I am now a junior and can thankfully use this day to my advantage! I have a whole list of jobs to get done and this day will help tremendously. For some reason when I go to my hometown I always get out of sync with schoolwork so now is the time to catch up!

My hopes for the day include getting to the gym (I feel motivated!), finish a bio project (it's due on Friday), get my pre-lab done (due tonight), finish my education work (for a class tomorrow morning that I haven't had since the second week of school), and go to dinner with Circle K.

Speaking of Circle K....well, actually, I think I'll leave that tidbit of information for later.

Anyways, the day is looking promising from where I'm at - I just need to get started. Although because it's me, I'll probably have to procrastinate a little bit so that I can clean up my room which is starting to bother me. There's just not enough space (as much as I love my apartment) to let it get too cluttered.

Wish me luck for the day and I hope yours is productive as well!

Online Shopping & Getting Girly

15 February 2010

You know what has me hooked right now? Ebay. Yes, I admit it. I've been sucked into the world of online shopping once again. It reminds me of my freshman year of college when my roommate used to be addicted to looking at Victoria Secret's bras online. We had a lot of fun with that for a while.

Lately though, I've been looking for a Vera Bradley bag to go with my wallet but they are much too expensive in the stores! I absolutely refuse to pay $57 for a bag! They're sort of glamorous tote bags....much cuter. I have decided to "girl it up" a little which used to be a huge challenge for me. I'm trying to get in the habit (30 days) of dressing up a little nicer, doing my hair, and getting some of my girlish needs out of the way. One of the first things in this process was required either way. I have a lanyard which I carry all my "necessities" on. All of my keys (car/apartment) and cards (atm/JAC/discount) are easily within reach this way. Sadly my old card holder has fallen off three separate times and if it weren't for the (typically) wonderful nature of JMU students I may have lost my cards for good. I finally decided I needed a new one - as you probably read here.

Part of this change has also come with wanting to look more professional alongside the other education majors/minors. It's strange how in one building the people can be so different. On the geology side of the building you'll see everyone in t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hiking boots. Yet on the education side young women are dressed professionally and look as if they could be heading off to practicum at any minute (even when they will just be around Memorial). Since I only have one class on MWF I decided that those would be good days to carry a bag instead of a book bag. All I need is one book and it will look more at home in the education department.

I've never exactly felt the need to "fit in" with other people at school (just look at my history of gigantic, tent-like, XXL t-shirts and guy jeans). Now it's been a few years since that stage but I've been ever-so-slowly working my way towards a more permanent look which is easy to maintain and I think I'm just about happy with it.

Anyways, back to the online shopping! Another thing about me is how I love cheap things. If I can help it I want to get a freebie or the cheapest version possible. I spend money relatively often but usually in low amounts. That's why Ebay has been kicking my butt so much (I'm apparently awful at bidding). I found two bags that I wanted. One is a Medallion pattern which cost me $10 (remember that $57 or so earlier??) and the other is a Bermuda Blue which cost me - get this - $4. Add on $5 or so for shipping and I have myself a $9 bag and a $15 bag right there! Yes indeed I'm proud of it. I have no heartbreak with a bag being "gently used" before me (at least when there are five pictures showing me that great condition they are in).

I had forgotten how wonderful Ebay could be! It's sort of like for a college kid - you can buy what you want for so much cheaper! So... to sum up, what are my reasons to smile today?

-CHEAP bags,
-feeling more professional

(Unrelated Reasons Below)
-dinner with maria
-bio lab report introduction done
-part of research done for the week
-day off tomorrow to catch up
-had a bagel (plain with regular cream cheese)
-found my leftover cookie cake in the car
-gave out more HP valentines
-Noah rode the bus with me from Memorial to lunch today
-I completed my unit plan rough draft on time this morning
-BPJ (or as I like to say - PB&J) is on schedule as should be

Hope your Monday wasn't too much of a "monday".

(below is the Medallion bag)

Sitting by the Fireside

13 February 2010

It's nice to be able to take life slow sometimes. As I type this I am sitting by the fireplace in my boyfriend's parents's house.

We arrived in our hometown yesterday afternoon and we stayed with our friend Jake for an hour or so. I love being around his family and Noah's because I always feel such a hope for the future. It's hard to think of family as positive word sometimes for me which is a shame because I didn't feel this way until just a few years ago. Sometimes hard times seem to eclipse the good ones - I wish it wasn't so.

Noah's family has offered to keep me for the weekend (my house most likely is not plowed.... I'll go check later this evening). After watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics last night we fell asleep in warm beds in a real house. I love my home at JMU but I have to admit that I get absorbed in the college bubble. Every once in a while it's nice to see the outside world in order to remind myself what I'm working towards.

This morning I woke up a little after 9am. That's sleeping in for me now which is always appreciated. Then his mother made everyone pancakes (and I never have breakfast made for me) and we all sat down to talk lightly and watch a little television. It's been slow paced so far because I can separate myself from all my responsibilities here. What a nice change to not be worrying about every school assignment. I'll have to make up for it later this afternoon...

I just wanted to revel in the feeling of a relaxed morning which ends in a seat by the fire, a perfect way to stay toasty.

Ps- Leeny says hello!

Bagels, Classes, and Card Holders

09 February 2010

So, instead of lunch I had two bagels today! One was breakfast at 9:30 during my Contemporary Issues in the geosciences class (a plain bagel with regular cream cheese) and then five hours later, while I had half an hour before the bus came to take me back to my apartment, I had a cinnamon sugar bagel - with the best cream cheese ever! I love getting a delicious breakfast in the morning and being able to eat in class. That's one of the many reasons that college is better than any other schooling in your life: you can have food in class. In high school we could have food my freshman year and maybe sophomore but then we were only allowed to have water after that. Plus then you were in the building for seven hours! How were you supposed to do that and only have a 20 minute lunch??

I also used to hate breakfast. Now I enjoy coming into Java City in my building in the morning greeting the barista who knows me. It's the image I always had of, I'll tell you a secret: coffee isn't as gross at is used to be.

What I mean by my building in the previous paragraph is that all of my classes are in a building "on campus" called Memorial Hall. The geology/earth science department and education are the only two housed there. Also, JMU is using "on campus" in a relatively general sense here as in, two blocks away from campus. Since I'm Earth Science and Education I know that building really well while some people graduate and never step foot inside it. Being around only people in my major/minor is a nice change because I finally feel like I'm getting prepared for my career.

Speaking of Memorial, I had two classes there today. Why is this unusual?

1) because I usually have three on Tuesdays and Thursdays...and....
2) because we haven't had school since last Thursday!

I can't say that classes are exactly my favorite thing, but it's SO much better than sitting around cooped up indoors all day long! I love my university and I do enjoy class overall so it was nice to get back into the flow of things. Unfortunately, as I type this it is snowing yet again I really don't know how much more snow I want....

So I mentioned earlier that I had some time while waiting for my bus to come. Why is this? I live in an apartment complex that has NO BUSES which commute to Memorial Hall. Instead I have to take one route to the main campus and then another shuttle to my building. Of course this isn't convenient for me whatsoever but I didn't want to drive today in case the roads were/got bad. Although today that time lapse was alright because it gave me some time for myself which is always good.

When I finished the bagel I still had 15-20 minutes before my bus would arrive at the stop so I ended up browsing through the bookstore instead. I carry my cards in a flip holder. All the important cards in my life are carried in there (minus SS). Unfortunately it fell off of it's keychain a while back and the plastic which holds the cards in is starting to rip open. I decided it was finally time to cave and buy a new one. It's always fun to change up a small part of your life. I mean, it's just a card holder, but it's something I use every single day Even when I'm not in school I still have my license and atm cards. I like to have the holder attached to my keys too so that everything I need is right there in my hand in one grab. Good for on the go that way and you never forget anything.

Our bookstore has quite a selection of cardholders considering but they're all vera bradley or school-themed. I've done two school ones so I finally decided to go "the girly way" as I deem it which actually makes me happy. Instead of cheap plastic, or a key chain that's broken I've ended up with cloth flowers. That's ok, I still like the change. Besides, it fits in more with the education folks anyways.

Yeah, I'm sure you were very interested in my bagels and cardholders but they're little things that caused me smiles throughout the day. Keep warm this wintry day!

Looking Delicious!

08 February 2010

I'm ready to get out of the apartment and go grocery shopping! Yes, you heard me. It's that chore I used to absolutely loathe. It was cool for as long as I could sit in the cart but once I hit about the age of four grocery stores just meant a long time in a cold place looking at yummy snacks I wasn't allowed to have. Plus it would take hours!

I disliked cooking and grocery shopping for a very, very long time. What changed? Two summers ago, my sister and I were thrown into the mixing bowl in a sense. We no longer had the option to not cook so I was practically forced to like cooking. It's strange sometimes what it takes to change your attitude on something. Instead of being a burden, I had the chance to talk with my sister when we went grocery shopping, we were able to plan meals together and try new things. We had our time together away from our Dad (which at the time was a tremendous blessing. Plus, it was what our mom used to do.

Noah would come over quite often that summer to help me cook as well. I'll admit that even now, it's hardly as fun to cook for yourself as it is for other people. It was our time together to "grow up" in some ways. Cooking represents a new phase of life to me. It's when I stopped being a kid and became a woman. It kind of sticks for me to have such a gender stereotype as that crossing over (because BOTH men and women can -and should- cook). Still, it's what happened and how I feel. Of course there were many more things but if I had to boil it down to a physical habit, well, this is it.

Now, even though most of my cooking is currently for myself (this will hopefully be changing next semester), the joy of it has carried over. I love looking at new recipes and figuring out vegetarian options for meals. Those "Monday Night Meals" from last semester were probably my favorite night of the school week. It's a time to get down to the basics and cook with the man I love. It's one of the best, simplest parts of life.

What made me get this deep? A salsa recipe. Kate (over at Country Girl) posted a recipe by Pioneer Woman. The initial post said that Pioneer Woman "forgot to add the cumin". It certainly was a learning process for me and I'm so glad to have done it.

Has anything in your life meant something more to you than it may appear on the surface?

Thinking of a Thousand Reasons

I've been virtually snowed in the last couple of days (and let me tell you that I'm no huge fan of snow!). I don't particularly enjoy wading through ~2 feet of it either. So, I'm going to mention the good things that resulted from this in the hopes that I'll feel better about the weather.

Class was canceled. Twice.

I have plenty of time to do homework.

I got to bake cookies and watch FRIENDS with my boyfriend.

My sister hosted us for the Super Bowl so we got to catch up a bit.

Snow makes for great photos.

I've had lots of good food.

Shoveling makes for great exercise.

I have awesome friends who help me dig out my car.

My boyfriend is reading a book that he promised he would read.

I think that even with the snow it's shaping up alright. Although you may notice that not many of these activities are productive. The snow is spoiling me and I've lost practically all my motivation with school work. I will probably take my work with me on campus today to attempt some in the library. God knows I could use the atmosphere!

Hope you all are enjoying your winter (and if you got snow that you're not cooped up inside for too long).

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