Sunday, October 30, 2005

WDB hosted by Sweetnicks. My dogs went with me to OK this weekend, where they get to be outside dogs out in the country at my parents' house.
This is how they looked after we got back home-worn out pups!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

My Favorite Cookie

This cookie is courtesy of the Ghirardelli website. A friend first made these a few years ago, and they have since become a favorite standby. Full of chocolate chips, nuts, oatmeal, and with added nutmeg and cinnamon, these are always among the first to go at gatherings. I just made a batch for my freezer--I usually eat more frozen this way rather than cooked, but I did bake a small batch for lunch bunch tomorrow. Yum.

Clementine’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 5 Dozen 2-inch Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
¾ Cup packed brown sugar
½ Cup sugar
1 egg
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup unsifted flour
1 Teaspoon baking soda
½ Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 Teaspoon nutmeg
3 Cups oats, uncooked
1 bag (12 oz) Ghirardelli Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (for larger size bags, change this measure to “2 cups”)
1 Cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees°F. In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy and lightened in color (about 4 minutes). Add vanilla and egg, mix on low speed until incorporated. Stir flour with baking soda, salt and spices; add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Stir in oats. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 9 minutes for a chewy cookie, 10 to 11 minutes for a crisp cookie. Cool 1 minute on a cookie sheet; remove to wire cooling racks. Store in tightly covered container. Makes about 6 dozen 2-inch cookies.

WDB #6

Playful Pups

Check out Sweetnicks to see all the other cute dogs in this weeks WDB!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

43 Things

Do you have a life list? You know, the one that has all of the milestones you'd like to accomplish in your life. I came across this website 43 Things that addressed just that. I haven't explored it much, but did enter a few things I want to do.

Some of my entries that are beyond the obvious (the obvious: find my soul mate, raise children, give back to my community, etc).

1. Write a book and have it published (Yeah, those who know me will be really surprised at this! I'm not looking to do this tomorrow, but it's an idea that's been in my head).
2. Take a photography course and use what I learn
3. Live in or near the mountains
4. Complete an Olympic triathlon
5. Get organized and stay that way
6. Put in a garden
7. Start a familiy respite care program for families of children with disabilities

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Everyone Sing: Happy Birthday

Go on over to Lula and wish her a Happy Birthday on Wednesday. I won't tell her age, but it has a 5 and a 3 and she is still of child-bearing age (and she's older than I am!) :)))))

Happy Birthday Lula! This marks the 24th birthday that I have known, that's a lot of years!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Family Wedding

I'm back from my cousin's wedding and am exhausted! I'm not used to staying up until 3 am. It was an honor to stand up on the stage at my cousin said his vows to his bride-who has become a good friend of mine over the past several years.

After the reception, some of us in the wedding party went out to a country bar to go dancing. This was a place I've only attended once before, about 10 years ago. Funny thing is, back then, I thought that this place was where an older crowd hung out. Now I'm there and I am part of that 'older crowd'! Nonetheless, we had fun.

Another thing that can make a person feel old--I'm old enough that I can reasonably embarass my 15 year old nephew by dragging him onto the dance floor and telling him to just 'move around, shake your booty'. See, I can't dance. It's not in my blood. Neither is it in his. However, I've come to the point where I don't care if I look like an idiot. I'm just having fun. He just stood there and said, "I don't dance". He did turn a bit red. Here we are before the wedding. I don't think I've gotten him to smile for the camera since he was about 4.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Calypso Cascades & WDB #5

Tonight, I ate something I hadnever eaten before. We have a wonderful new science teacher who is Indian. Last year, she student taught in a class that I was an inclusion teacher in, so I got to know her. Tonight, she saw me working late (something she does often herself, being a new teacher and all) and invited me to dinner. I've eaten at her house before--and it was wonderful. She said it was something quick and easy but I was welcome, so I took her up on it. We a type of mutton curry--the mutton was goat. So, I ate goat. We had the curry, rice, roti, and a yogurt sauce. It was tasty--I got a 2nd serving. Next time, I am going to go over and help her make whatever she makes so I can learn how. I'm excited!

I'm heading to OK tomorrow morning as I am in my cousin's wedding on Saturday. I still need to pack....

So, due to a busy weekend, I'm doing my WDB early. This is another Colorado dog--

Not sure of his name, but he was a dandy! This was another one taken in the sculpture park in Loveland.
Sunday night, be sure to check out all of the other cuties at Sweetnicks site.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sunlit forest path

Is this a real injury?

Bruised by the underwire. Yes, it happened to me. I guess it's shouldn't be too unusual or surprising--I mean, those wires can be painful in other ways! So, yesterday one of my student's slapped another student. I sat her down in the rocking chair, bent down and proceeded to sternly chastise her, while holding onto her hands. This student likes to tuck her leg up under her when she sits. She went to do this, and I guess my chest was in the way as on the way up under herself, her foot planted into my chest and back I flew onto my tailend. She just happened to do this near the middle of my chest, and the bottom part of the underwires slightly bruised me! It wasn't with much force...I don't think her intent was in line with the result. Moral of the story: Don't put yourself in an uncompromising position when dealing with these kids! This will be useful come next week when our new student arrives. I hear he's a quick one!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Delicate Balance

I got another new student today, this one in my reading/language arts class. He is a Hurricane Katrina evacuee from MS. He seems like a sweet kid, though is very shy and possibly socially immature. He talked a little, saying "Our house was just gone." At one point, he said everything was gone, shook his head and looked lost for a minute, and then went back to his reading.
Later, I was helping him with his locker, and he shook his head in disbelief while saying, "Everyone here is so nice." Made me wonder what he's seen to think we're so nice (not that we aren't nice, but I think we are normal, ya know? Of course we welcome him and any other kids we come across!) My eyes started to get a little watery.
So, I'm afraid that class (up to 9 now, 7 boys and 2 girls--rather large for a sped class) is going to turn back into a 3 ring circus while I get him in the swing of things. Fortunately, I have 1 student I can ask to help him while I put out the various other fires I deal with over the nearly 2 hours I'm with this group. I hope the other boys don't scare him too much--they can be a rowdy bunch (I'm working on toning that down--any advice???)

Monday, October 10, 2005

White Flower (Isn't that a profound title?)

I love nature shots--I'm not artistic at all, but do snap lots of pics trying to get that shot that is worthy of hanging on my walls. I'm annoyed that I was slightly off-center on this one. Oh well.

Most of my musing is currently going on inside my head. Nothing major, just trying to figure some things out. :)

Dinner was CL's Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup and a salad with red leaf lettuce, spinach, yellow bell pepper, avocado, grape tomatoes, candied pecans, scallions, feta cheese, and a balsamic-apple cider dressing.
Last night was the 2nd time to make this soup--it's a definite keeper. I may make it again for my lunch bunch on Thursday.

Creamy Tomato-Balsamic Soup
From Cooking Light October 2005

Cooking the vegetables at the high temperature of 500° caramelizes their natural sugars and deepens their flavor; the liquid poured over them ensures they won't burn. Prepare the soup up to two days ahead; reheat over medium heat before serving.

1 cup less-sodium beef broth, divided
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
5 garlic cloves
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, drained
Cooking spray
3/4 cup half-and-half
Cracked black pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 500°.
Combine 1/2 cup of broth, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce in a small bowl. Place onion, garlic, and tomatoes in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Pour broth mixture over tomato mixture. Bake at 500° for 50 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned.

Place tomato mixture in a blender. Add remaining 1/2 cup broth and half-and-half, and process until smooth. Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids (I skip this step, making the soup more of a bisque rather than a brothy soup). Garnish with cracked black pepper, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup)

CALORIES 120(35% from fat); FAT 4.7g (sat 3g,mono 1.5g,poly 0.1g); PROTEIN 3.8g; CHOLESTEROL 23mg; CALCIUM 120mg; SODIUM 452mg; FIBER 1.7g; IRON 1.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 14.9g

Julie Grimes
Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2005

Sunday, October 09, 2005

A lot on my mind

I have a lot on my mind this evening, but nothing I want to say. So, since I have a handful of pictures left from my vacation, I'll share one or a few.

This was taken in the sculpture garden in Loveland, CO. It's a short walking distance from C&J's house so we took an afternoon walk yesterday before I left.

WDB #4

Once again, it's time for weekend dog blogging, hosted by Sweetnicks.

I'm back from vacation and my doggies were glad to see me. Harley is acting a bit hurt by the fact I was gone (or maybe he missed the neighbor boy who took care of them?)

Peanut looks like she has grown in my absence!

And since they are so darn cute and lovable, here's another shot of Bria and Jacey from Colorado, taken this afternoon shortly before I left. These are two of the sweetest dogs--so cute and loving! They loved to burst into my bedroom every morning to greet me with never ending energy.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Friday already?

Where did my week go??? I am not ready for my little vacation to be over, but tomorrow at about 6:45 pm, I'm heading back to Texas.

First, a dad update. I talked to him for a while yesterday. He gets his staples out today (yay) and will find out if/when they are doing surgery on his toes. He has cabin fever-I think this is the most inactive he's been in his life. He did say he was cleaning out the 'frig a shelf at a time. LoL. His spirits were OK. My 15 year old nephew has moved in with them, so I think that will be an arrangement that will be beneficial for them all--they need each other.

I spent the middle of this week visiting relatives. Wednesday, I met my aunt from Colorado Springs at a place called California Cafe for a late lunch. It was a nice visit, a good time to catch up. While at the mall where the restaurant was, I saw an Enstrom's Almond Toffee kiosk. Oh my. I've ordered this stuff off of the internet before--it's delicious! I was excited to see they had dark chocolate now as well. So, I bought 3 lbs. (1 for me uncle-and me, 1 for my C&J-the friends I am staying w/ in Loveland, and 1 for my neighbors who are watching my dog.) This stuff is divine!

Wednesday night, I met my cousin for dinner. I hadn't seen him since our grandma died 3 1/2 years ago, so again it was good to catch up if only for a short visit. I'm just disappointed it didn't work out for me to see his kids. Maybe next time.

Thursday, I got up early so I could get a haircut! I haven't had time to and it's been about 4 months since the last. I saw an Aveda salon near where I was staying and was able to get in. Yay! I then drove to Boulder, where I met Robyn, a fellow CL BB poster, for lunch at Breadworks. Thanks again Robyn! It was a perfect day for soup--we both had a corn and roasted red pepper soup. It was chock full of veggies-yum!

After lunch, I walked around the Pearl Street Mall area. I found the Lush store and loaded up. I've read about Lush and have wanting to try some of their products. I also got some stuff for part of C.'s birthday present. This part of Boulder is such a cute, quaint area at the base of mountains. Perfect! Of course, I now again have the itch to move to Colorado. Those who know me won't be surprised by that. The lifestyle here is just so much more "me" than that in North Texas. But North Texas is so much closer to home.....

Last night, C. and I did some shopping in Ft. Collins and then had Ethiopian food again. It was perfect--I love it! It's filling without being heavy and seems very healthy. We had the mushroom dish again---a favorite of both of us, as well as another spicy veggie dish with cabbage, onions, ginger, garlic, and other spices.

Up next, a Happy Hour w/ C.'s work and a Girl's Night Out. Tomorrow, I think we are hiking early (more pictures) and then coming back to watch OU/Texas and then head to the airport. :(

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Now it's time for some narration to go along with the pictures below.
The first group were taken in Rocky Mountain National Park, on the Wild Basin Trail south of Estes Park. We hiked up to the Calypso Cascades, which was about 2 miles. We intended to go further to Ouzel Falls, a 40 foot fall, but the sun was fast setting and we didn't want to be stuck on the mountain during the dark. We may get up early Saturday and go back, as I don't fly out until Saturday evening.

Dinner Saturday night was at an Ethiopian restaurant in Ft. Collins. One word can sum up this experience: Spectacular! The injera is what they use in place of utensils. It is a spongy crepe like bread made from a grain called teft, which has its own natural fermentation. This gives it a slighly sour flavor. You tear off pieces of the injera and scoop the food up with it, roll it up, and eat. I can't remember the name of everything we had, but it was all good. Our favorite was a mushroom dish with zucchini and onions. I also liked the roasted lentils--very tasty. We ordered everything 'Ethiopian Spicy', which is how they eat it. It wasn't necassarily hot, but used lots of spices--lots of flavor. I hope we have a chance to go later in the week--this was an awesome meal and the service was spectacular. My friends are regulars there and have gotten to know the cook's 3 daughters, who often wait tables. Genuine friendliness (not the fake "I'm just working for a tip" kind is always nice to see!

Sunday, C and I did a hike closer to home. It was in the foothills and didn't provide as much shade. The views were pretty, but not as much so as the previous day's hike. It was more strenuous--maybe because of the lack of shade and the super hot sun. I'm glad I packed that one pair of shorts--I needed them!

After the hike, we decided a nice big salad would be great for dinner.

Can you guess all the ingredients? I think we had about 10 or was yummy and hit the spot.

Monday was spent working--C had to work, her husband was off flying (he's a pilot), and I slept in and got some papers graded. I made CL's (10/05) Creamy Tomato Balsamic Soup (yum) and grilled cheeses for dinner and then we saw Lord of the Dance. It was fun--I've never been to anything quite like that.

Tuesday, I woke up to a cool, dreary morning--the type of weather I was hoping for when I left Dallas! I got around and drove to Littleton and am now at my uncle's place. We drove around earlier today and had a beer and a bowl of green chili downtown at a bar called The Hornet. It was tasty and hit the spot on this cool afternoon.

That's about it for now.....

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Weekend Dog Blog #3

This is the 3rd week that Sweetnicks has hosted Weekend Dog Blog. I am on vacation in Colorado so am borrowing my friends' dogs Bria and Jacey. They are cute and much harder to keep still than my own dogs! Introducing Bria and Jacey! Jacey is in the front--she's the younger of the two and easier to photograph.

I left the heat of Dallas, with sweatshirts, jeans, and boots in tow. What did I wear today? Running shorts and a t-shirt! We did a 4 mile hike that was brutal only because the sky was clear and the sun was beating down on us. We were in the foothills so there wasn't as many trees as yesterday to shade us. The initial climb was very steep. It was a good workout and allowed us some nice views. We didn't see any wildlife this time, other than a bluejay.

Natural Beauty

This picture shows the results of a lightning strike fire in 1978. Almost 30 years, and it is still recovering. The aspens are all turning yellow and are just beautiful!

Blue skies above us--yesterday was a beautiful day!

We saw 4 mule deer! This one was brave and hung back a little to watch us watch him! We met back up with them further down the trail. For a short while, they were walking parallel to us on their own trail. It was cool--they were really close.

A burst of color among some dead trees

More burst of color--the aspens were almost glowing in the otherwise dark forest.

A close-up of a small waterfall.