Becki Bakes!

I bake, I blog, I raise babies….and this is where I tell you all about it!

That Peaceful, Easy Feeling March 5, 2010

Filed under: Friends & Loved Ones,Random Blathering — beckid987 @ 12:03 pm

Inner peace hasn’t come easily to me lately.  I blame it mostly on these crazy pregnancy hormones.  But there is so much to stress about right now, that I’m having trouble seeing the forest for the trees.

At first I was pretty torn up over the idea of Dad selling the house that I grew up in, but now I can’t wait for him to move to his new farm.  The old house is a wonderful and terrible place full of memories, and I think it overwhelms all of us when we’re there.  I know it does me.  I’m developing the opinion that memories are sweet, as long as they’re not too tangible.  At least in this case.

The new farm is pretty incredible.  It needs work – lots and lots of work – but Dad has already thrown himself into the task and he’s making it into HIS place, which I think is the best kind of therapy he could be getting right now.  And there is such an air of peace at that property.  It’s out in the country, and the sunsets are gorgeous.  You can hear the neighbor’s cows lowing in the distance, which I’ve discovered is an oddly comforting sound.

There are two bench swings at the farm – one in the back yard overlooking the pasture, and one on the front porch.  Lauren and I both zone out in the one in the yard…I can sit there and peace just washes over me.  No worrying about money and bills and all the annoyances of day-to-day life.  Just clear sky, open space, beautiful trees – it’s easy to see God’s hand and remember that He cares when I’m sitting out there.  It also feels like Mom is smiling down on us.  I really think she would love the place and what Dad is doing with it.

OK my next post will be a yummy one, I promise.  Caramel apple sticky buns!!

Hang in there,

Becki

 

They should have called it “Where the Wild Things AREN’T.” January 21, 2010

Filed under: Random Blathering — beckid987 @ 4:59 pm

OK, so I started this post umm….a long time ago.  When “Where The Wild Things Are” was in the theaters.  But I never finished it.  It being the blog.  Last night Dave and I rented “9” and it was disappointing and irritating, which reminded me of THIS movie, so I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and rant about both movies now.  Aren’t you excited to hear my whining??  Of course you are!  So here we go!

Before yesterday (or, at this point, many many yesterdays ago), David and I had not been to a movie in over a year.  Add to that the fact that we both LOVE the book, “Where The Wild Things Are” and you can imagine how super excited we (OK especially me) were to go see the movie yesterday.

This movie got great reviews.  Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 73% approval rating.  People said things like, “[It is] A poignant dissection of youth with nine-foot furry monsters, gorgeous production design, frenetic camerawork and a playful, wistful score from Karen O. Never mind the little ones. This beauty will have most grown-ups blubbing.”

This about sums up the mood of the entire film. PUT THEM OUT OF THEIR MISERY, ALREADY!

Um.  Blubbing, maybe.  Playful, wistful score? NO. The music alone made me want to cry, cry, cry.  All of the characters were sad, emotionally disordered train wrecks.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but the book was about Max being WILD and rambunctious and so were the wild things.  They weren’t wildly depressed.  They were wildly playful and full of testosterone and childishness. The movie spends all of it’s time in a kind of dragging, adult depression that is entirely too distressed and distressing.  If I had known what I was getting myself into, I would never have subjected myself to this movie.  And I would definitely never take my kids to see it! OK, I think that’s all I have to say about that.  Thank you for letting me get that off of my chest!

As for “9,” it too was sad, slow, and pointless.  Pointless in that it had no real storyline, and did not have any sort of underlying theme that I could discern.  I will say that the graphics and animation were pretty awesome….but IMHO, that does not make a movie!  One of my favorite reviews for this one says, “This movie is what would happen if the folks at Pixar were manic depressives . . .

The main character wearing his main expression. HUHHH.

OK, I feel better now.  Thanks for listening to me rant!

Won’t someone please make a decent kid’s movie?

-Becki

 

Happy New Year! January 5, 2010

Filed under: Baking Goodness!,Friends & Loved Ones,Random Blathering — beckid987 @ 11:56 pm

I hope the holidays were as kind to you as they were to me.  I won’t say they were easy, necessarily, because there were definitely many melt-downs for me as I remembered and missed my Mom.  But those moments were only moments, and on the whole I had a GREAT holiday season, mostly thanks to David’s awesome family.  Man do I love those people. All of ’em, right down to the great-grannies.  They’re fun, they’re loving, they accept and even seem to like me, and they ADORE my kiddo.

Lauren had a fabulous first Christmas, thank you for asking.  She has more toys than we have space now.  What a blessing of a “problem” to have!  She had a great time rocking out to all the singing Christmas decorations, and she kept her cousins entertained and harassed getting into every little thing they left sitting out.  Lauren and her cousins are the cutest things going, by the way.  Don’t believe me?  I have proof!

Lauren and her cousin Leah

Lauren and cousins Dalton and Devin

I trust you are convinced!

I did do a lot of cooking and baking over the holidays, but I did not do a lot of photographing.  Sorry, guys!  How about if I post two recipes today to make up for it?  Yes?  OK!

Christmas Eve Mice

Ingredients:

-1 package Oreo Cookies, twisted apart, or 2 packages white chocolate covered oreos, whole (I have not made them with the white chocolate oreos.  Yet.  Next year, my pretties…next year!)

-2 jars Maraschino Cherries, With Stems, drained, rinsed and patted dry

40 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

Approximately 1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

2 tsp shortening

1 tube red icing gel and 1 tube green icing gel

Directions:

-Set up an assembly line, however works for you.  I did mine like so:

Assembly line, minus the melted chocolate.  It's there, just not in the shot.

Assembly line, minus the melted chocolate. It's there, just not in this shot.

-Put your chocolate chips and the shortening in a small bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted.  Stir until smooth.

-Grab a cherry by the stem and completely dunk the cherry in the chocolate (not the stem!)

-Place cherry on it’s side on Oreo Cookie.  Place it over to one side more, so you will have room to pipe your decorations next to the mouse.  The cherry makes up the mouse body and the stem is it’s tail.

-Quickly press the flat side of a Hershey kiss to the side of the cherry opposite the stem.  The kiss makes up the mouse head.

-Place two almond slices between the kiss and the cherry – these make up the mouse ears.

-Repeat until you have 40 mice completed.  You will probably need to reheat your chocolate once or twice during this process – that’s OK.

-Use your red and green gel to pipe holly decorations next to your mouse.  You can also use the red gel to make eyes for your mouse, or use black gel if you have it.  Black would be much cuter, but I always use red because I’m too cheap to buy 3 tubes of icing.

-Serve at your next holiday party and eat up the ooh’s and ahh’s and “how cute!”s.


OK, and recipe #2 I discovered and made today.  How’s that for fresh blogging, huh??  I took this recipe from Katie at You Are What You Eat…Or Reheat – how cute is that title??  She’s funny and makes good food.  And she loves animals and The Pioneer Woman.  Which reminds me – I need to show you one of my favorite Christmas presents this year!  Check this puppy out:

That's right, ladies and gents! My very own PW cookbook signed by THE Pioneer Woman herself. She even spelled my name right!

David was totally awesome to make that happen.  I think he loves me or something!

OK, so here’s another recipe that you really need to try ASAP:

Chocolate Chip Brownie Pillows

Ingredients:

-1 (20 oz) pkg double chocolate brownie mix

-1 stick unsalted butter (I used salted, and I think my cookies turned out just fine.  David agrees!)

-1/2 cup shortening

-1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar (Katie did not specify dark or light.  I used light, because that’s what I had.)

-2 large eggs

-1 egg yolk

-1 tbsp vanilla extract

-2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (I used bleached.  It’s what I had.  Again, David and I agree – these turned out fabulously!)

-2 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-3/4 tsp salt

-3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

-Prepare brownies according to package directions in an 8″ square pan.  Cool completely.

-Then cut into 3 dozen or so tiny squares.

Little, little bites.

-While the brownies are baking, beat butter and shortening at medium speed until creamy.

-Add brown sugar, beating until smooth.

-Add eggs, yolk, and vanilla, beating until blended.

-Combine flour and next three ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended after each addition.

-Stir in chocolate chips, cover, and chill dough 1 hour.

Show me the DOUGH!

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Unless you’re like me and just left your oven on between making the brownies and chilling the cookie dough.  Oops.)

-For each cookie, scoop 1/2 cup dough onto wax paper lined cookie sheet; place cookies 3 in. apart. Using fingers make an indention in mound of dough; place 1 brownie square in center. Press dough around brownie to form a ball. Repeat. (OK I totally did not do mine like this.  I scooped out a heaping tablespoon, smooshed it down, smashed in a piece of brownie, then added another stingy tablespoon on top.  It was just easier that way, and made much smaller and many more cookies.)

-Chill 15 minutes.

-Bake 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned and cookies look set.

-Cool 2 minutes.

-Remove to wire rack and let cool completely.

It's a BROWNIE. In the middle of a CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE. Yes!!

-Try not to eat all of these bad boys in one sitting.  Especially if you’ve made new year’s resolutions involving diets and other such nonsense.

Here’s to a glorious 2010,

Becki



 

Got Me A J.O.B! September 4, 2009

Filed under: Random Blathering — beckid987 @ 8:20 am

As I am sure that all (two) of you have noticed, I’ve been AWOL for a few days.

This is mostly because I have been working this week!  Like, for REALS!  I clock in and report to a boss and everything.  It.is.WONDERFUL!

There’s no getting around it – I can be a quirky, strange little person.  I’m OK with that, and I hope that you are, too!  One of my quirks goes something like this:

I would not describe myself as an orderly, organized person.  I am a mediocre housekeeper on my best day.  Cleaning house and rearranging linens brings me no joy.  In fact, let me be perfectly honest:  housework is downright tediousHousework crushes my spirit and if I could fix that about myself, I would – I would!  As it stands, I’m muddling through.

Now office work, on the other hand…I just love it!  I love the order and structure and supervisedness (pretty sure that’s not a real word…sorry!) of it all – right down to clocking in.  I love knowing that my time is being carefully accounted for and tracked – that somebody deeply cares about and monitors what I am doing between the “clock in” and “clock out” times.  I love that somebody cares enough to PAY ME for those hours.  The love of money is the root of all evil…but the fact that somebody is giving up those little pieces of green paper for me to perform some task or another, well that sure does motivate me.  I love performance reviews, where I get feedback on how I’m doing – in an orderly, objective manner.  And bonus systems…you can get me to do just about anything if you make it seem like a contest!

I love writing reports, creating spreadsheets, and checking off items on a checklist.  I love organizing files and trying to streamline processes.  I love typing.  All of my “professional” work life (everything that I did after I received my Bachelor’s degree) was in the insurance industry.  Snooze city, right?  Wrong!  I thrived on all that policy, process, report-driven madness.  My favorite part of my last job was this faux leather bound captain’s log-style journal I had to keep.  I got to write in it with a lovely rollerball pen and keep track of all the sales that I made.  There were columns for names, addresses, types of policy, amount of insurance…and a seperate column that I “checked off” when I sent them a thank-you.  Yep, that’s the kind of organized freakishness that makes my heart sing.  Are you scared?  Are you backing slowly away from your computer??  Come baaaack!

So my new job is working from home for Dave’s cousin, who owns a huge tent/event rental company.  Well, he actually owns two separate companies at the moment, but we don’t need to get into all the details here, do we?  I’d give you his website address, but my job right now is cleaning up the content – correcting the spelling and grammar and making it sound more professional.  I don’t want to send you there til it’s all spiffy’ed up.  (You’re scared that someone who blogs using words like “supervisedness” and “spiffy’ed” is being payed to make someone’s business sound more professional, aren’t you?)

But just know this – I am clocking in, I am writing end-of-the-day reports, I am editing and streamlining and brainstorming and I.Am.Loving.It!

Process-lovin' FREAK!

Process-lovin' FREAK!

Cross your T’s and dot your I’s,

Becki

 

Far Cry From A Gamer (or not) August 24, 2009

Filed under: Marriage,Random Blathering — beckid987 @ 11:07 am

David is a busy guy.  He’s awesome with computers and he loves sharing his skillzWord.  This keeps him in demand with our families, friends, church, new acquaintances…everybody needs technical help these days, it seems.  This makes David happy!

Which is great, except that David is usually running around like the proverbial headless chicken while Lauren and I stay at home, missing him and getting cranky about it.  OK, I get cranky about it.  And because David is human, he likes to unwind when he comes home.  One of his favorite ways to do this is playing shooting games on the computer…but he hardly ever gets to do this because there’s always more work to be done, and I am super clingy.  And you know, he has a baby to play with, too.

So last week I got the bright idea that I would score some major “awesome wife” points and ask David to find a shoot-em-up game that we could play together/against eachother across this interwebby thing.  Of course he thought this was a GREAT idea (after carefully questioning me to determine whether this was a trap of some sort) and spent one whole evening carefully researching, browsing, and test-driving various games.  His final choice was Far Cry.  I played the tutorial for approximately 2 minutes before taking the time to create a really cute blue character and then quitting for life.  I don’t think David even noticed that I stopped playing.  He played into the wee hours of the morning Friday night (after Marshall’s Sweet Send-Off at J&T’s….where I beat David at Wii table tennis twice in a row – booyah!), and could I be upset?  No, I could not!  Not only did I create this monster, but I insisted upon it – remember, he questioned me at length to determine if I was serious about him finding a game.  I stayed up into the wee hours that night, also…doing my own computer nerd stuff.  Have you ever met Farm Town on Facebook?

Saturday we both slept in, then I made a huge breakfast at Dave’s request and we ate ourselves into food comas.  Dave worked his coma off playing Far Cry.  Then he spent the rest of the day attempting to mow the lawn, but the mower is messed up and would only run for 3 minutes at a time and then it would overheat and have to rest.  So of course Dave spent the resting time playing Far Cry.

We had a vague plan to go see a movie Saturday night…I want to go to the movies SO BAD that I was willing to “compromise” from my MUST SEE MOVIE OF THE SUMMER – “Julie & Julia” to David’s choice of “District 9.”  What?  That doesn’t sound like a compromise at all?  Look people, I am desperate for some movie theater popcorn and a date with my husband, OK?  And alright, the alien movie sounds kind of cool, too.

In the end, all 3 of us (me, Dave and Lauren!) took a late afternoon nap that made us miss the early evening showing of D-9, as the cool kids call it (or maybe they don’t) so we decided to just go out to dinner in Crestucky with Lauren and call it a semi-date.  We both wanted Italian, so we headed to Mia’s.  They are not open on the weekends.  We drove by the Wild Olive, but that looked a little too fancy for our baby seat.  We drove down the “main street” and I think there were maybe 20 other Crestuckians out.  This town is off the chain crazay, let me tell you what.

So we settled in at Coach’n’Four, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and David did not.  He ordered the filet mignon, and instead got a mangled…something.  He’s still not sure what he ate, but he said it was so hard to chew that he ended up swallowing some pieces whole.  To add insult to injury, when he told the waiter about it, his manager authorized him to take $1 off the price.  Yes, you read that right.  We have eaten at Coach’n’Four many times, and have always enjoyed the food and the service.  And even this time, my food and our waiter was great.  So we are still scratching our heads, trying to determine how we feel about this faux mignon, $1 discount ordeal.

After that we grabbed some mochas, browsed the movies at the local rentery and found nothing and came home.  We watched “The Great Buck Howard” via Netflix on the computer instead.  When I say “we watched it” I mean that I watched half of it and passed out on David’s shoulder while he watched it.  Somewhere along my twenties, I have lost the ability to watch an entire movie at home.  I can’t do it.

We had a great Sunday – we had our first communion in the new sanctuary during the morning service and SIX people were baptized during the evening service!  In between, we stayed over at my parent’s house, where my Mom and I thoroughly stomped David and my Dad at Spades.  Yes, I am gloating, thank you very much!  And did you get a load of the weather yesterday??  It felt like fall already!!  I absolutely love the fall – it is totally my favorite season.

In summary, it was a lovely weekend!  A Far Cry from a Gamer’s weekend, if you will.

I have a full heart this Monday,

Becki