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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Third Place :(

Well, we placed third last night.  We were only four points behind the leader though and we would have been tied if we had gotten the question before the final question right.  A few of us had the right answer, but others were convinced otherwise.  Bummer! We still won $10 house cash and cashed in previous winnings so we basically ate for free.  It was nice.  Brad and I both had a quesadilla and chili! Yum!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In the mood for Valentine's Day!

I changed up my background today because I am in the mood for Valentine's Day!

Brad and I went to Walmart the other night (the night I bought the ice cream cake!) and I saw the one and only thing I want for Valentine's Day.  A. Giant. Reeses. Peanut. Butter. Cup. Heart.  I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day, I don't really care to celebrate or to exchange gifts or anything like that.  You should celebrate your love every day, not on the day when you can't get into any restaurants and not at the time of year where everything has inflated prices.  But seriously, I will celebrate it this year to get that Reeses heart.  I specifically pointed it out to Brad and told him, that's what I want.  He pointed in the other direction at the multi-pack of Fun Dip.  Ha ha. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spring Semester Starts Today!

My spring semester begins today.  Fun! Not...  Actually it hasn't been too bad.  I logged in to my classes, did my introduction stuff in both classes, and even completed one assignment for my Spanish class.  =)  I'm taking Forensic Science for the Non-Scientist (perfect for me the VERY non-scientist!) and Spanish II and Culture.  So far so good, day one complete. 

A little overview of the way my classes work because people always ask how online classes work.  I'm enrolled in two right now and I usually enroll in two per semester to keep my sanity while working full time.  Maybe if I knew a particular class was going to be a cake walk, I'd enroll in three, but right now I'm sticking to two.  These classes go until May 9th.  The weeks run from Monday - Sunday with most, if not all, assignments due the Sunday of each week.  We typically have discussion questions which take the place of actual classroom conversation.  A question or topic is posted and we must answer/elaborate, then comment and discuss with our classmates.  For my Spanish class this is done on a voice board, where we actually record our voices and hear our classmates recordings as well.  We have to do this in Spanish.  In the first course, Spanish I and Culture, the first half of the class discussions were in English and the second half were in Spanish.  Interesting! For the voice board we also have to type out what we've said so that we can see in case someone pronounces something incorrectly.  So we usually have these discussions once a week and they last throughout the week.  The instructor posts it, generally on a Sunday night, and then we have all week to answer and discuss.  In addition to the discussion questions, we have assignments and readings.  Those are pretty much done once a week as well.  Sometimes if a particular week is a test or quiz week, we may not have an assignment or we may have one less assignment.  For tests we are usually timed from the moment we click "begin."  We're not proctored so it is all on the honor system.  Some classes have essays or papers as an alternative to the timed or structured tests.  I like those!

All-in-all it is great because we really can work at our own pace.  If I have plans over the weekend, I'll know to get my work done during the week, or vice versa if I have plans during the week.  I try to space my stuff out during the week, but sometimes it is hard to get motivated after the work day.  I do try to do bits and pieces throughout the week, though.  Then I double check that I've completed everything on the weekend.

So today I did my discussion stuff, did the voice board for Spanish, and I mapped out the rest of my week's assignments.  Hopefully I stick to the plan I've written out for myself and leave the weekend free! I know I'll need it!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Carvel!

My favorite cake ever - Carvel ice cream cake.  Yum!

Last night Brad and I went to Walmart to pick up a few things.  After my very discouraging search for Carvel ice cream cakes on my birthday, I am fearful that they may disappear from the planet.  So how can I walk by a freezer full of them at Walmart and not pick one up? Just not possible.

So I bought one! Here is my picture of the weekend! Taken from my phone so not as good, but it works!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Team Trivia!

Friday nights at the Legend Oaks clubhouse they do Team Trivia.  Brad and I go with my parents.  We went last night and had a nice time, this is the third Friday we've been this year, but last night we WON!!!!

For the final question you have the opportunity to bet 0-15 points.  At that point we were in second place, two points behind the leader.  The final question usually involves putting things in order by date or size or something like that.  So last night we had to put four songs in order starting with which one was released first.  The songs were: Yellow by Coldplay, Come Out and Play by The Offspring, This Used to be My Playground by Madonna, and I Want it That Way by Backstreet Boys.  Within seconds I had the order and I was super confident! I knew that the Madonna song was first because that was from A League of Their Own, then I knew it was Offspring because that's from when I was in junior high.  Then comes I Want It That Way because I worked at the music store and was in high school at that time.  Last was Cold Play because I just knew that was the newest.  I was so proud of myself and we were one of maybe two teams that got that question right.  Mainly because a lot of the other teams had older people who didn't know those songs at all.  I knew all of them.  So I was super happy and that put us way out in first! $50 house cash!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Project Weekends! New: A Picture A Week

Some of you may have heard of these different project themes going on early this year: Project 365, Project 52, etc.  Project 365 is where you take a picture every day of the year; project 52 is when you take one picture every week of the year.  Some of these projects have random themes: one day will be something like take a picture of your favorite book, or treat, or something like that.  Well I was too late to begin either of these projects so I'm starting my own - Project Weekends! I am going to take a picture every weekend and post it here.  No themes, totally random pictures.  I missed the first weekend of the year and I absolutely cannot believe I did not take a picture that weekend since I've taken pictures before and after it.  Oh well, moving forward! The second weekend of the year, January 8-9, I have my pictures from Patriots Point.  This weekend (I took the picture on Monday but that's OK because Monday is a part of my 3-day weekend) I took a picture of my cookie cake.  Who knows what next weekend will bring!!

Update - 03/14/11: I've decided to change this up a bit.  Let me tell you, it's hard to take pictures when you have to! This is something I wanted to do that would be fun, so I am changing it slightly.  It will be "A Picture A Week".  I figure with any goal, you need to adjust your path a little bit in order to make the goal more achievable.  So that's what I'm doing.  Basically, instead of restricting myself to the weekends, I now have all week!

Cookie Cake!

So last night I had some late night sweets cravings and naturally when I go to the grocery store I try to avoid buying things that will lead Brad and I to an unhealthy binge.  Well, today I figured I'd make some cookies so we'd have a stash of something to snack on just in case.   I had some Toll House chocolate chips in the freezer so I just made the basic Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe, only I made the pan cookie variation - it makes a cookie cake.  I used one of my Pampered Chef large aluminum sheet pan to bake the cookie, greasing the bottom with Crisco, and it popped right out.  I decided that I wanted to ice the cookie cake, so I made up a cream cheese frosting (recipe below).  Instead of just icing the top, I cut the cookie cake in half and made it a layer cake.  It is delicious!!!

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. package cream cheese
1/4 cup of butter (half a stick)
2 to 3 tbsps milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Beat all ingredients except sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer.  I used my hand mixer because my KitchenAid mixer parts were still dirty from the cookies and I wasn't in the mood to clean! Then add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time beating well between each.  Then it's ready to go! There was more than enough icing for this cookie cake, this recipe would probably easily cover a round or rectangular cake.  Make sure to keep any left over frosting refrigerated and to refrigerate the cake because the cream cheese can spoil if it is left out!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Like Red on a Rose

If you've never heard the song "Like Red on a Rose" by Alan Jackson, you need to.  It was mine and Brad's wedding song, you can find it on our playlist at the bottom of the blog.  Click and listen.

Sometimes when I'm doing things at the computer I'll open up our blog just so I can listen to the music.  This song is one of the songs on our playlist, for obvious reasons.  But it just came on and it made me think of love.  The reason we chose it as our wedding song was because it so clearly and perfectly describes what love and passion are.  Every time I hear this song I think about how truly it describes my feelings for my husband.

Lyrics:

Like red on a rose
When your lips first smiled at me
I was captured instantly
To each his own

Like blue in the sky
The gaze of your willing eyes
Touched something deep inside
The truth be known

That I love you like all little children love pennies
And I love you ‘cause I know that I can’t do anything wrong
You’re where I belong
Like red on a rose

And I love you like all little children love pennies
And I love you like good times of which I’ve known many
And I love you ‘cause I know you give me a heart of my own
You make my blood flow
Like red on a rose

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Patriots Point

I'm a week late in posting this, but at least I'm posting this!

Last Saturday was a free weekend to visit Patriots Point, home of the U.S.S. Yorktown.  Jeff and Kat met us there and we had fun touring the ship and the submarine.  We've all been there before, but it's always nice to go back and check things out again as interests change over time and there is so much there that you never know what might catch your eye this time around.  It was very windy so it wasn't very easy to enjoy the flight deck, but it was still fun and I was able to take A LOT of pictures. 

 One of the planes inside the Yorktown.
 The Cooper River Bridge, picture taken from the flight deck of the Yorktown.
 The map room.
 Brad sticking his head where it doesn't belong.  I love this picture,
it will definitely make my 2011 photo book!
 The view of Charleston from the flight deck.
 The Yorktown.
 The submarine at Patriots Point... U.S.S. Clamagore.
Brad inside the sub. 
Jeff laying on one of the beds in the sub.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Kinect!

Brad used some of his Christmas gift cards to Best Buy to buy the Kinect for Xbox 360.  It is similar to the Wii in that is has a sensor that detects your body and your body's movements.  It arrived yesterday (the store was out so he ordered online) and it comes with a game, Kinect Adventures.  It has different things like breaking blocks with a ball where you use your hands and feet to hit a ball into these wooden blocks; a river raft that you have to steer around obstacles to collect little tokens; and it has a Wipe-Out type stage too.  It was really fun!! I really want to get more games now, ha ha! Brad wants Kinect Sports and that has games like soccer, volleyball, track and field, boxing, bowling, and table tennis.  I would like to get Your Shape: Fitness Evolved.  It has yoga, martial arts, Tai Chi, and more... plus your workout is designed to suit you and you have a "personal trainer" who will tell you when you're out of alignment and you can tell it when you need to slow down or speed up.  I'm excited to play some more and can't wait to get another game!! I'm such a DORK!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Photo Explosion 4.0

I have always enjoyed taking pictures and for a while now I've been wanting to take photography on as a real hobby.  I got my new camera for Christmas, Brad got me a tripod, and what I felt that I was missing was a new camera bag and some kind of photo editing software.  So I went to Best Buy with some gift cards I also received for Christmas in hot pursuit of these items.  I got lucky and found a nice little camera bag that just fits my Nikon, it also has pockets for memory cards, batteries, and some other small accessories.  I can't find this particular bag online otherwise I'd post a link.  After picking up some spare Energizer AA lithium batteries, I went to check out the software selection.  I have to say that I wasn't impressed.  Most of the media related software was for video editing.  They didn't even have Adobe Photo Shop.  I was able to find Photo Explosion Deluxe 4.0.  It looked pretty impressive and it was priced at only $39.99.  I figured I'd take a chance with it at that price, considering other photo editing software like Adobe is easily priced at $100.  I haven't utilized every feature yet, but I've played around a little and I'm pretty impressed so far.   The only other photo editing software I have experience with is Corel Paint Shop Pro, and I only used that for a few things at work, so not enough to do a real comparison.  But so far it seems pretty easy to use, I'll comment more about it as I get further into the program.  One feature I think is very neat is that you can turn your photo into different types of art, like Impressionist, Van Gogh, Oil Painting... there are several different art forms to choose and it is really neat to see your pictures transformed.  A companion program that comes with Photo Explosion is Montage Plus 1.0.  You can load a picture into that program and it makes a montage of that photo using a bunch of preloaded generic photos.  At first I thought it used your own photos and I thought that would have been completely awesome, I was wrong.  But it still looks very neat! I'll load the original photo I used and the montage photo that the program produced, right now Blogger won't let me load any photos, so I'll have to wait and update this later.  So far I'm pretty satisfied with the program, but I haven't had to do anything with it yet, I've only been experimenting.  So we'll see what happens when I actually want to do something - if it works to my liking or not.

 This is the original.
This is the montage!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Year in Review: 2010 Pictures

 Benjamin's Little League Game
 Evelyn's 5th Birthday Party
Snow Angel From Our February Snow Fall 
 Fourth of July Cake
 Rental House at Hilton Head Island
 Benjamin and Madeline in the Ocean
Madeline and Our Jack-o-lantern 
 Benjamin and Madeline at Madeline's 6th Birthday Party
 Michele and Mat Cutting Their Wedding Cake
 Brad Stuffing the Turkey
Michele, Mat, and Donovan at Christmas
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