Friday, March 30, 2012

The Friday Five #7

1. What I'm Reading

Excerpt from the inside cover: "In Auschwitz: A New History, documentarian Laurence Rees excavates a wealth of information and offers a new perspective in his shocking portrait of this most infamous death camp. Informed by more than a hundred original interviews with survivors and Nazi perpetrators, Rees's study exposes the inner workings of the camp in unprecedented detail - from the continually refined techniques of mass murder to the shrewd psychological manipulations of inmates, and from the unimaginable living conditions to the bizarre microcosms that emerged, such as the brothel and the dining hall, where the line between guard and prisoner became surprisingly blurred."

I have always been fascinated by WWII, the holocaust, the survivors and their stories. It began with The Diary of Anne Frank when I was a child, and has continued into my adult life with writings by Viktor Frankl such as Mans Search for Meaning and his biography, as well as Night by Elie Wiesel, and an incredible book I highly recommend called Witness: Voices From the Holocaust by Joshua Greene. Auschwitz: A New History is a continuation of my interest in learning about how these atrocities could happen, the psychology behind the death camps and the history of how they came to be. I am almost exactly halfway through and have learned a tremendous amount, have been horrified, saddened and at the same time heartened by the human spirit. It is a lengthy and meticulously researched book, and the subject matter is, obviously, quite heavy. It is a book I can only take in for so long before I must move on to lighter thoughts. It is, however, a very good read if the subject matter interests you at all.

2. What I'm Listening To

I've been kind of smitten by Kelly Clarkson's Stronger.  It is peppy and I like the message.

3. What I'm Watching

Chris and I went to see this in the theater today. I liked it, but didn't love it. It was a bit slow to start with. Julia Roberts does a great job playing the evil queen, she is funny and snarky. The dwarfs really make the movie. I wasn't smitten with either Snow White or the Prince, their characters were...shallow? Nathan Lane also does a great job playing the queens secretary. It is a teensy bit predictable (outside of the story we all know). I don't know that it is necessary to see it in the theater to enjoy it.

4. What I'm Eating

Uhm...mostly we have been eating a lot of junk. It has been a relaxed food week here. We went out for breakfast this morning because the rain was so miserable, we went to happy hour last night at a local bar and ate chili cheese fries, we bought popcorn and red vines at the theater today. This train is going to come to a rather abrupt end come Monday.

5. What I'm Loving

I have had a great spring break just being able to spend time and relax with Chris with no pager or work interruptions. It has been very nice to be lazy, sleep in, futz around the house, run errands, hang out, go for walks and just enjoy. It was really great for him to take this week off with me and I really appreciate it!

What are your five?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

You know what is cool about making (lots) of your own freezer jam?

Pulling it out of the freezer over a year later and it still tastes super delicous and fresh.

I made this jam in July 2010. I just pulled a jar out of the freezer and had some on my toast this morning. DELICIOUS! And actually, I am out of blackberry freezer jam, which is my favorite, so I pulled some frozen blackberries out of the freezer and am going to make some more this afternoon!

See this is why I suffer all the pokes and scratches of picking blackberries in August my friends! Totally worth it when you can whip up some fresh homemade freezer jam in January.

I think I am going to make some blackberry muffins while I'm at it. YUM!

I was at Walmart the other day (I KNOW) and they had a display of DVD movies for $5. I found the first two Lord of the Rings movies for $5 each!! SCORE! I couldn't find the third one, but I'll keep looking!

And because I am a Twilight lover (I KNOW!) I was also super excited when Chris and I stopped by a local Blockbuster video store that is closing and they had New Moon and Eclipse for $2.99 each on BluRay! I totally bought them. Then I found the original Twilight at Target for $7. I bought that, too. Yes, I have watched them all since then. Dork. I did see that Breaking Dawn part 1 is at Walmart, too, but they wanted something like $20 bucks for it. I can wait, thank you.

Today I did something I have never done before. Ever. I did a backup of my laptop files onto a thumb drive. Yes, I did. Amazing. I am so not-techy.

You know what else? Netbooks are obsolete. I wanted to get a Netbook (very small laptop) to have for school. My laptop is quite big and very heavy. I don't like to lug it around. A couple years ago when Chris first moved to Southern Oregon, while I was still in Portland, we bought him a little netbook for a couple hundred bucks. We wanted to be able to Skype each other and he could surf the net in his random hotel rooms instead of just watching TV. When we went to buy his in September 2009 there were tons to choose from. Today: 1. There was ONE at the store. Do you know what has replaced them? Tablets. Much  more expensive Tablets. I don't want a Tablet.

So there ya go. Those are my thoughts for this Thursday. Have a great evening!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Break!

I posted a comment on Facebook and said that Chris and I were kicking off spring beak* at Seven Feathers Hotel and Casino. My friend Mar noticed the spelling error (stupid phones) and said "tweet." I was confused. Then I realized what I posted and thought it was hilarious....then she pointed out that I was at Seven "Feathers" which made it even funnier!! Unfortunately, our "kick off" didn't go that well. Chris had a trouble call for a broken elevator at the casino so we decided to head up there, he could fix the elevator, we would have dinner and spend the night. It didn't quite go as planned.

First of all...he couldn't fix the elevator because his brand new laptop is not configured correctly from the factory and won't "talk" to the elevator. FAIL. Then we had dinner at the sports bar. It wasn't that good and the service wasn't that good either. Then we went up to our room on the third floor and attempted to go to sleep. Unfortunately the people in the room above us had small children. They were playing hockey, or soccer or just attempting to kill each other by running back and forth across the room like bandits. FOR HOURS. We laid down around 9:30 (we are such party animals) and by about 11:30 we had had it!! We got up and left. Checked out, drove home, and slept in our own bed without small hoodlums running around shrieking, thumping, crashing and crying above our heads. So much for a "relaxing" night away.

Oh well...c'est la vie, right?

We probably slept better at home anyway. Plus my kitty doesn't like to be alone. She was glad we were home to snuggle with.

That was last Thursday night.

We didn't do much over the weekend outside of normal stuff. The weather here has been SO spring. Rain, wind, sun, hail, rain, sun, wind, clouds....repeat. Chris spent some time working on his boat. I got a painting framed that my brother painted and gave to me. We cleaned up the house, which was a wreck from being ignored for 2.5 months. Nothing super exciting.

Chianti in the vineyards by Ken Buck

Monday, though, things perked up! We had made reservations at Lake of the Woods resort. And we rented snowmobiles! We picked up the sleds Sunday night and headed out early Monday morning to hit the snow!
Me on the sled in the "big meadow"

We had a blast!! I rode my own sled and Chris had his own. We couldn't have ordered better weather. Partly sunny, warmish and gorgeous! We put over 30 miles on our sleds and trekked all over around the lake in the Winema National Forest. Here are some cute pictures!

Me on the trail

Mandatory self portrait
Chris on his sled...getting ready to go play a bit while I relax.


Chris doing a jump on the big meadow.

Monday was a GREAT day! We had lots of fun. We rented a cabin at Lake of the Woods. After we returned the sleds we headed back up to hang out and enjoy the quiet and peace of the woods. Did I mention there was NO one else out there? Once again Southern Oregon doesn't disappoint. Spring Break week and there is no one else enjoying the recreation. Awesome.

Cabin 26 at Lake of the Woods Resort, Oregon

The cabin was quaint and small. It snowed quite a bit the whole time we were there. I didn't take pictures of the food, but we ate well! Monday night we had bratwurst and shamelessly stolen pasta salad.  Tuesday morning, after not sleeping that well (no thanks to our midnight raccoon visitor) Chris made breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast. So tasty!

My sweetie making me breakfast!

Then we went and hiked all over the campground. Chris headed out on the frozen lake to check out the ice fishing holes. We found a really awesome picnic/beach area that we hope to visit this summer.

Beachfront picnic table and firepit/barbeque...can't wait for summer!

It was snowing and blowing quite a bit on Tuesday. We watched a Disney movie (Cinderella) in the cabin (that was what they had!) and then decided to head back out to the lake. We tried our hand at a little ice fishing. We really didn't have any idea what we were doing, and after not too long the wind and snow picked up again. It was fun, but next time we'll be more prepared with the right gear! Wouldn't it be fun to catch a trout in an ice covered lake??

What's up with the ice fishing? Where are the fish??

Our "fishin' hole"

 After the ice fishing we took a nap. Yes. An actual honest to goodness nap. For almost 2 hours. It was GLORIOUS!  After our nap Chris made dinner. Again, no pictures, but we had an old favorite. Seared pork chops, topped with cream of mushroom soup and frozen tator tots. Put in the oven to heat through and brown up the tots. So much comfort food! Delicious. Certainly not an everyday dinner, but perfect for vacation and the mountains.


After dinner we went for another long walk. We walked from our cabin down to the "big meadow" in the deep snow. It was probably a couple miles there and back. We went late enough that by the end it was a moonlight walk in the snow. The weather was comfortable and the forest was silent except for the sounds of our feet crunching in the snow, our coats rubbing together and our voices in the still night air. It was beautiful and enchanting. We could see the sliver of the moon and the clouds racing across the dark sky.

I forgot my blow drier...gotta improvise, right?
We slept quite well (despite middle of the night raccoon party on the roof) and Wednesday morning got up bright and early and headed back home to our VERY lonely baby kitty. She was ecstatic to see us and has been super snuggly all day.

Tonight we went for a 4.7 mile walk/hike around the top of Roxy Ann and then had lamb and feta stuffed red peppers for dinner. SO tasty. I blogged about them a while back. Delicious!!

We don't have any official plans for the rest of our week, but we may fit another adventure or two in before it is back to work/school.

OH!! I got my grades for my crazy-ass winter term!! I took 5 classes, 20 credits and I achieved a 4.0! ALL A's!! I am pretty darn excited about that! All that hard work paid off.

I'll be back later with more Spring Beak* updates!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Banana Peanut Butter Bread

I love banana bread.
I love peanut butter.
I love putting bananas and peanut butter together to make banana peanut butter bread.
SO moist and delicious.

I made this loaf in my breadmaker, but you can also do it in a traditional loaf pan in the oven.

3 ripe mashed bananas
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons milk (I used coconut milk in the carton, not the can)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional ingedients: chocolate chips (or other flavors like butterscotch), nuts, dried cranberries, etc.

Mash bananas in a bowl. Add peanut butter and mash into bananas. Add mixture to breadmaker loaf pan. Add eggs, butter and milk.

In a separate bowl combine dry ingedients (flour through salt) and mix. Add to bread maker loaf pan. If you are adding any optional ingredients add them now as well.

For my breadmaker (2 lb loaf size) there is a quick bread cycle, and the directions suggest using the dark crust option (I think it turned out a bit too "crusty" on the bottom for my preference, so next time I'll probably use the medium cycle). The cycle on my machine is for 1 hour and 50 minutes. After pressing start the mixing cycle will begin. After about five minutes use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and corners to make sure all the flour gets mixed in.

After the 1 hour and 50 minute cycle timer goes off, remove the bread from the machine and place onto a heat proof cooling rack. Do NOT leave bread in bread maker on "keep warm" cycle. After about five minutes remove the loaf from the loaf pan.

Let bread cool a bit and then dig in! If you want, you can top it with butter, peanut butter, or even nutella! So decadent. Or, just eat it plain-jane off the loaf.

For oven cooking, mix the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients. Add the wet to the dry, mix well. Add to a loaf pan and cook in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Depending on the size of your pan you will bake it for 50-75 minutes. Start checking it about about 50. It should be golden brown on top and spring back slightly when you press on it, and a tester inserted near the middle should come out clean.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Well the last 10 weeks were not the most difficult 10 weeks of my life (that honor goes to the 10 weeks mom was in the hospital Fall Term 2010), but they were pretty darn attention consuming!

Luckily I took my last final this morning, wrapped up the requirements for my teacher's assistant gig and now I am FREE FREE FREE! At least until April 2nd, when it starts all over again. :-)

I took five classes: Mediation & Conflict Management, Media Across Cultures, Principles of Management, Small Group Communication, and my TA class. I think overall I did quite well and regardless I am going to happy because it was a lot of work and I'm glad to be done!!

Next term I am taking Persuasion, Celebrity and Fan Culture, Native Americans in Film and Organizational Behavior. I will still be busy, but slightly less so.

Life hasn't been all school drudgery, though! 

There have been lots of kitty snuggles, play time and silliness.

We went for a beautiful drive in the snowy hills above Lost Creek Lake.

We celebrated Chris' 38th (!!) birthday with steak, oysters, Brussels sprouts, baked potato, wine, and...


Chris started doing some fiberglass repair work on his boat. 

We added more boxes to the garden. 

We drank green beer and cooked a corned beef brisket for St. Patrick's Day. 

Chris bought me a new super awesome (and sharp!) Shun knife. <3!

Our St. Patrick's Day Dinner: Corned beef, cabbage, and roasted red potatoes.

I started growing green onions in a jar. 

And we planted pepper and tomato starts! (The tomatoes are the ones that are doing awesome!)

So there ya have it. That is a glimpse at what we have been up to in the last several weeks, besides going to school and working.

Happy SPRING!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1st, 2012

Can you believe that it is March already???

I can't.

I have been a bad bad blogger. I haven't posted anything at all in 3 weeks. You know what, though? I haven't had much to say. I have been doing exactly the same things. I go to school, do homework, play with Roxie, and try to keep my head above water. That is it.

The weather has been mostly mediocre, with a few nicer days. Those days I tried to be outside as much as possible.

The last couple of days we have had snowy-ish weather. Not really snow weather, because it doesn't stick, but snowy-ish because it is snowing, technically.

School is almost over for this term, for which I am exceptionally grateful. This has been a rough term. I still have a lot to do before I finish, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I played hookey today I just needed a little break. It was good.

Roxie is doing well. Getting bigger. She is about six pounds now and she has been spayed. Poor baby.

She is still totally cute, though. :-)

My fitness routine and healthy eating have taken a serious hit. I have been so busy/overwhelmed/tired from school that I just have NOT been able to focus on doing what I know I need to do.

That needs to change asap.

I still have been eating at home quite a bit, though we certainly have been out to eat a lot more than normal lately. Overall, just too much food and no exercise, so I gotta kick that attitude to the curb.

At any rate, I am hoping, fingers crossed, to get back to a regular routine, get back to my healthier eating, get back to regular exercise, and to feel much less overwhelmed by school very shortly!

I also hope that as spring time and daylight savings time approaches (ten days!!!) that I will have more interesting things to blog about. I miss being here, but I really needed to focus on my priority of school.

Have a great weekend!! I plan to be back soon!