December 29, 2009

Reading Blogs

It's no secret that I'm obsessed with reading blogs.

Friend's blogs.

Blogs of people whom I don't know, but I think I know through the internets blogs.

Basically, any blog that I find interesting.

Do you like to read blogs? How do you do it?

I'm addicted to my RSS feed through Google Reader. I follow 40 blogs and websites. I blame Christina who told me it was right there in my gmail account. My life has never been the same since.

If I hear about a new blog and enjoy the current post and a few past posts, I'll add it to my subscriptions and follow for a few weeks before deciding if it makes the cut or not.

Reasons I love my Google RSS feed:
1. It's through gmail, which in my opinion kicks the boot-tay of every other free email option. (If you don't have gmail and want it, just let me know and I'll help you other thing I love about gmail is the ability to gchat right from your inbox. LOVE IT!)
2. I don't have to go to 40 different websites to see if there's something new, it tells me if there is a new post(s).
3. My bookmarks on my computer are easier to organize because of my RSS feed.
4. I can read everything on one page simply by scrolling through.
5. I can search all the websites that I follow regularly for a post I may have read once upon a time by using the search button (awesome when you forget to bookmark that awesome looking cheesecake recipe).
6. Because it's a part of gmail, I can access it from ANY computer I sign in to, not just my personal computer. If I happen to be on vacation...or have a dead battery or something.

Reasons I don't love my Google Reader:
1. I generally read everything within the Google reader, meaning that I miss out on the pretty aesthetic of people's pages. For example: If my blog were in your RSS feed, you would see the post and the pictures, but not the sidebars or header or background color.
2. Sometimes it messes up and I miss something.

So, if you want to do a little more reading about the RSS feed and options or other ways to conveniently organize your favorite websites I recommend this article (which was passed to me by my dear friend, Mary Lee.)

Just check it out and see what you think.

(This post is brought to you by the letters X, Z and Q [which are the letters in Scrabble that I never know what to do with] and the vowel E. It's also dedicated to my mother whose bookmarks are OUT OF CONTROL.)

December 27, 2009

Gettin' Crafty

Christmas is over, so I'm FINALLY going to share two of my crafty crafts with you.

Do you remember when that point in your life happens when you're more excited to give than to get gifts? It makes Christmas so much more fun. I think it happened for me about 3 years ago. This year was extra unique because I made something for everyone in my immediate family...

Dad: Naughty, inappropriate gloves--don't ask. He's a very immature college professor (53 going on 19).

: A black hat with a cute flower, and this pillow:

Yeah, I made that. With these hands. Sometimes I like to call them the moneymakers. I'm pretty proud. It was the first time I broke out the sewing machine that I got for my birthday last year. Look at what you can do with a basic sewing machine!

: Dave lives in a bachelor pad. According to him, it was desperately seeking art, so I took these six 8x10 pictures for him to put up.

: A pillow. After I started the first one I had to make another. Applique is now my life. Everyone can expect appliqued presents.

Abby and her baby, Moses. He let me pet him this year; without cowering like the pansy he is.

Matt: My younger brother, Matt, is the biggest massage whore I know--"Hey Ame, could you rub my shoulders?" So I made him a hot-pack. You know, one of those things filled with rice that you nuke in the microwave and then put on your back or stomach or wherever you're sore. I scented it with peppermint and lavendar and I think it smells lovely. Matt thinks it's too strong...and a little smelly. The word "smelly" doesn't exactly bode well for my first attempt at aromatherapy.

So, I'm done for a bit, but now my crafts are centering around building up a collection of hats to sell. I'll let you know what happens with that.

How was your Christmas?

December 24, 2009

Momlene's Sugar Cookies

Maggie's mom's name is Marlene, but Maggie always calls her "Momlene" so I do too.

It's only right.
Momlene made these cookies for Maggie's senior recital a couple of years ago and it's my new favorite sugar cookie recipe.

Instead of granulated sugar it contains...powdered sugar. It's both the best dough you can eat--silky, soft and sweet and makes a tender, delicious cookie.


I doubled the recipe since we have an enormous family and my dad is a bit of a sugar-cookie monster.

Here's a word of advice: If you're at your mom's house and she has random sticks of butter in her fridge and you think "Well, I'm using 6 sticks so I'll just use up these ones..." DON'T. One of the sticks might be bad. Not rancid enough to ruin your entire batch of cookies, but bad enough that you (with your amazing palate) could taste that something was a leeeetle off in the plain cookies. Use the new butter that's still in the box.

Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight. Then get to rolling and cutting and baking.


So, I have a thing about measuring. Especially when it comes to frosting. I should probably be better about this, but as of right now, I'm just too cocky. I know my icing tastes good whether I measure or not. Please don't hold my arrogance against me.

Buttercream is my favorite flavor-wise. It doesn't exactly harden well, but it just tastes SOOOO good.

And you naked cookies will need some cover-up.

I made some brown frosting for the trunks of the Christmas trees and had some spare. For my father the cookie-monster (mostly because he loves frosting) I made two of these:
I like to call them turd cookies. He found them to be delightful.

Momlene's Sugar Cookies

2 1/4 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 C butter, softened
2 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
3 3/4 C flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tarter

Cream sugar and butter. Mix egg with vanilla and add to creamed mixture. Mix in dry ingredients. Chill 2-3 hours. Roll out on a floured surface. Cut in desired shapes - 1/4 inch thick. Bake 8 - 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Amy's Make-It-Yourself Buttercream

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
2-3 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp almond extract
3-4 Tbsp milk
2 lbs powdered sugar

Cream butter and extracts until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time until desired consistency and taste is reached. Add milk to thin frosting if necessary.

December 21, 2009

Sunset on the Farm

One of the things I miss most when I'm not in Kansas is the sunrise and sunset.
Let's be honest though, I'm rarely awake for sunrise, so I really miss the sunset.

If you've ever been to the beach you know a little about what I'm talking about. That's what it's like out here. Nothing to block your view of the gorgeous colors in the evening hours.
Something like that.

So, I spent the day today giving chair massages at my mom's school. My mom is an elementary teacher and it was a good day filled with lovely women who are tired and ready for vacation. It starts Wednesday.

I got home around the time that the sun started setting so I went on a little walk around the farm.
These are the four farm dogs who joined me: Sadie, Freckles, Emma and Brutus.

Although we're more on the agricultural (I use the term "we" loosely) end of farming, there are some cows. It's my dad's thing.

Equipment for hay and wheat harvest litters the farm. Things to cut and haul and move and make the ground flat and all that. OK, I really don't know. When I work on the farm I use that thing at the bottom. It's a rake. I drive the cheapest tractor and use the cheapest equipment because I would be voted "most likely to break something" and "least experienced" out of everyone. It's quite the honor.

We're expecting snow in the next couple of days! I'm looking forward to seeing what these colors look like reflected from the snow.

It just makes me take a deep breath and appreciate the beauty. Ahhh.

December 19, 2009


I arrived in Kansas on Wednesday night at 11:30pm after spending around 15 hours in three previous airports. That's right, I was in FOUR airports total on Wednesday.

I love traveling.

No--really I do, but Wednesday it kind of sucked.

I also love coming home to my parent's house and having the Christmas decor up. I have one complaint this year, however. The tree doesn't smell.

It's completely odor neutral.


Doesn't my mom know what Christmas is supposed to smell like? Cookies and evergreen. Duh. Well, we're getting the cookie part down, but the evergreen part is unlikely this year.



December 16, 2009


Things that shock me:
  • The amount of women wearing leggings at the airport. I know they're popular, but really? Everyone has a pair? Oh and I saw a woman in a completely fuchsia outfit of leggings, tight sweater and heels. Talking on the phone loudly about how someone said she looked bad today. Unfortunately I couldn't subtly take a photo.
  • There is a prejudice against vegetarians at airports.
  • The amazement of airport employees when you're friendly and kind and patient.
  • The hot tattoos on the guy waiting in line at Burger King. (He's wearing a wedding ring. And just went to sit with his wife and 2 kids.)
  • Live piano music at the airport? And you're playing the Chicken Dance? Really?
  • How much I can spend at Starbucks knowing I'm going to be in airports for 15 hours today.
  • How confusing my new phone is. Seriously. Today I figured out how to lock it....and after a bit of worry I also figured out how to UNLOCK it. What would I have done if I didn't figure it out? Ummm....facebook Bryan (the man who sold me the phone)?
  • I am completely perplexed by shoe shiner stations. I just don't understand.
  • Why are the toilets in the women's restroom at the airport perpetually clogged...with #2?
  • Google has free internet in Charlotte airport. They're a rather wealthy company I think, why don't they give more internets for free all the time?
  • I always feel sleepy at the beginning of a flight but can never actually sleep.
  • The guy who booked my flight from Denver to Wichita said to me: I got you a good window seat in the front.
  • The last 5 times I've flown in to Wichita I've been on a plane that has one seat on the right and two on the left and about 30 total seats with approximately 15 total passengers.
  • Do you think that guy wanted a pat on the back?
I'm flying today! (In case you didn't figure it out yet.) I got to the airport at 8:00 for my 9:00 flight and as we sat on the runway it was eventually decided that we wouldn't take that plane, so everyone on my completely full flight to Chicago was re-routed. Joy! It only took about 3 hours, but I finally got flights, a new terminal, on an airplane and I'm out of Durham! All the way in Charlotte! (I think it was about a 35 minute flight.) In only 3 more hours I'll be off to Denver. Then to Wichita!

See you soon Kansas!

December 14, 2009


1. I may not be that girl but that doesn't mean I don't want to be that girl sometimes.

2. Is apathy worse than dislike?

3. I want it to be my way! OK, I know this isn't realistic, but really, everyone should be listening to what I'm saying right? (Please?) Of course that would be rather boring...

4. I don't know how to start packing. All 3 cats have been inside of my suitcase since I put it on my bed.

5. I've started doing this "meow" thing and I can't stop. I think it's because I spend too much time with my cat. Or perhaps because I like my cat too much. This is a potential problem.

6. Exactly how cold am I going to be in Kansas, Indiana and Illinois?

7. The debate between who I am and who I want to be and how I am perceived rages inside my head some days. Today was one of those days.

8. I need to suck it up and get a new cell phone. I know. I know!

9. I could watch Love Actually every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas I think. I don't even need to see it. Just hearing it makes my day.

10. I'm starting to have issues with being 27. It's just 30. I know. I'm sorry. I'm not really that girl, but I am right now. The "I'm so OLD" annoying girl who isn't really very old. Except...the whole life plan thing needs a bit more clarity. Hellooooo--God? Are you there? Please send directions. Gracias.


I'm making a lifestyle change.

I'm only going to do what the magic 8-ball says to do.

This is a very special magic 8-ball my friend Ama gave to me in college. I have a special bond with it. A very special bond.

Does anyone else find the words "very special" to always have some kind of sexual connotation? Just me? I mean, I don't have a sexual relationship with the magic 8-ball, but you is very special.

Let's get started.

Will I get be in a relationship in 2010?
I mean, Will I be in a relationship with a man who will be my boyfriend in 2010? (It's important to be VERY clear with the magic 8-ball.)

I think it says this every time I ask it. WELLLL, if it's decidedly so, where was my boyfriend for 2009?!?!?

Will I move to Indiana?

Up in the air. If the right job happened to fall in my lap...probability would increase.

Will I get married in 2010?

Lies. Lies. Lies. I'm that person that would have to be in a relationship for longer than a few months. I think I'm that person at least. Which would put a 2010 wedding out of the running. I think.

Unless I find a mail-order husband....desperate times call for desperate measures.

I'm not so sure about this magic 8-ball lifestyle.