Monday, November 30, 2009

I love Thanksgiving!

I can't quite explain why, but I just fell in love with Thanksgiving this year. I was SO excited for Thanksgiving. I could hardly wait on Wednesday night. I think I was even more excited than I've ever been for Christmas! I fell in love with a break from the routine. I loved having 4 days in a row that my alarm didn't go off, that I could spend time cooking and baking, that I could wear sweatpants everyday (oh wait, I do that quite often anyway), and that it was QUIET around here.
Though the setting was all wrong for a "real" Thanksgiving (80 + degrees, A/C on, no big table), it was still a great weekend.
I was overcome with thankfulness this year, for food, for friends, for family, for time, for quiet, and for my husband, who just happens to be a great preacher (he preached at church on Sunday).
Hopefully we'll make it back to Michigan for Thanksgiving one of these years, so that Thanksgiving can actually take place in the "right" setting, but for now, Thanksgiving has become more of a spirit to me and less of a setting.
And yes, I did love the pumpkin pie.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fall fun

Well, I'm struggling getting these pictures in order, so you'll just have to start from the bottom.

Last weekend, Noel and I were able to get away for some r and r in Temecula. I've been wanting to make caramel apples for a couple of weeks, but haven't been able to find a spare moment! So, I brought all the supplies to Temecula and had a "kitchen craft time" with Marcia on Sunday. It was tons of fun and they tasted great! I ordered 15 lbs of organic apples from our CSA and wanted to try making many different apple dishes. So far, I've made apple/pear crisp, caramel apples, baked apples, and have eaten lots plain and on salad. I'm thinking about applesauce, apple dumplings, or maybe more caramel apples. They were so fun to give to friends!

The finished product. I might completely cover them in chocolate next time, but swirling it was fun! We dipped them in caramel, crushed peanuts, and then swirled dark chocolate over them. Yum!!!!!

Dipping them in caramel.

Getting everything ready! Thanks for the help, Marcia! Also, thanks for a wonderfully relaxing weekend! It was just what we needed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Housing Article

Check out this cool article that was in the Pasadena Star News yesterday! It's all about the bungalows we're moving into!

Let's hope they're right when they say we'll be moved in in 2 months! We're anxious to make the transition, but we're still waiting on paperwork from a couple of different departments.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Oakland Avenue Red in Tooth and Claw!

So there I was, walking home from campus, minding my own business, when a big hawk flew right in front of me with a squirrel in its claw! It landed in a nearby tree about ten feet off the ground. As I cautiously approached to try and get a better look, the squirrel and hawk both fell/flew out at me. The hawk landed on a nearby minivan, then relocated to a higher branch to keep watch on the injured (but surprisingly not dead) squirrel. Thus began a half hour of Nature Channel on my block, which was especially unexpected since we live in the city. (There's a 12-lane highway at the end of our block.)

Several people from the nearby coffee shop came and got a better view of the action. We watched the bird watching the squirrel. We recreated the scene: "It had it in its claw!" We hoped the bird would not attack us. Some people felt bad for the squirrel, which was bleeding from the eye and not walking very well. I thought, "Well, that's what it means to be a carnivore," and wondered where they thought their own meat came from.

Then I ran home and grabbed the camera and snapped the above picture. But that's not all! I also grabbed my National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 4th edition, which Heidi just bought me for my birthday. I am not a birdwatcher; I just wanted to know more about birds. As best I could tell, it was some sort of red-tailed hawk (p. 116). But I'm not sure. Does anyone know anything about birds who could confirm or correct that ID?

Anyhow, that sure was a hoot. Actually, more of a "harsh, descending keeeeeer" (p. 116). I assume the hawk eventually got its dinner, but I didn't stay to see for sure. Thank God, I've got better things than squirrel to eat for dinner tonight. Mac 'n' cheese. Yum.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Our brother-in-law, Brian, is truly and amazing artist. He carved his wife, Heidi's, face into a pumpkin this year. I don't think I've ever seen such a great carving!

Click here to see this amazingness! Then click play on the time-lapse video.

Hope you all had a great Halloween and got more treats than tricks!