Monday, December 6, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
It's things like this that make me laugh out loud.
Happy Thanksgiving, all. And if you're on a diet, just picture a fat hairy man using this during your holiday meal tomorrow! That oughta quell your appetite!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I'm thankful for my job.
I'm thankful for my family.
I'm thankful for a car that runs.
I'm thankful that my biggest worry is what to cook for dinner, not whether we'll have enough food to eat.
I'm thankful for my friends who accept me despite my severe lack of a social life...and who drag me out for coffee despite my objections.
I'm thankful for my education.
I'm thankful for pie. That's right. Pie.
I'm thankful for my sister.
I'm thankful for my brother-in-law, and I hope he still likes me even though I didn't send him a card on his birthday. (Does a text count?)
I'm thankful that my mom taught me how to cook.
I'm thankful that my dad taught me how to keep learning.
I'm thankful for the click-clack-clack of the keys on the keyboard as my husband practices the piano with his earphones on.
I'm thankful for life. And I'm thankful for the one who provides it.
Celebrate your blessings this Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for?
Monday, November 22, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
It's been a while, and I apologize for that. News:
- I started my job on September 1.
- Then, on September 10, I found out I passed the bar exam.
- I got my first paycheck on September 15 (yay!).
- On September 22, I was sworn in and received my license to practice law.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
- Rows and rows and rows of slot machines
- A bright red plastic ashtray at each and every slot machine
- Old ladies clutching dollar bills in the left hand and a burning cigarette in the right hand
- Five middle-aged men on stage playing country music (and they weren't bad, really)
- A "non-smoking area," which measured about 100 square feet and was immediately adjacent to a cigarette vending machine
Friday, August 20, 2010
- We drove to Colorado. It took a really long time.
- We stayed in Littleton, south of Denver.
- We drove to a wedding rehearsal in Loveland, north of Denver. It took about 1.5 hours.
- We drove to Littleton.
- We drove to Loveland for a wedding.
- We drove back to Littleton.
- We drove to Denver for dinner.
- We drove back to Littleton.
- The next day, we drove to Tulsa. By the way, Kansas is boring. Windmills and silos. Fields and barns. That's pretty much it.
- The day after that, I drove to Mountain Home.
- Then, I drove to Calico Rock.
- The next day, I drove back to Tulsa.
- Today, I refused to drive anywhere. Except to the Honda service garage for my little Accord's 90,000 mile tune-up.
- I hope I can see my car hit 290,000 miles. I love the Accord.
- When it finally dies, I think I will replace my Accord with another Accord.
- Or maybe a different Honda.
- But definitely a Honda.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
14 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (about 1 3/4 ounces)
2 cups packed dark brown sugar (14 ounces)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (about 10 1/2 ounces)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter in a pan over medium-high heat until melted. Continue to cook the butter until it is browned a dark golden color and smells nutty, about 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer the browned butter to a bowl and stir the rest of the butter into the hot butter until it melts. Set aside & let rest for 15 min.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
here, at a blog I recently discovered. It turned out pretty great! Here's what you need, though the ingredients can certainly vary. I'm learning that granola is really a "use whatever you have on hand" kind of situation.
5 cups oats
1 T. flax seeds
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1/4 c. raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 c. unsweetened coconut
1/4 c. slivered almonds
1/4 c. craisins
1/4 c. raisins
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. honey
This is the easy part: put all ingredients in your crock pot and mix. Cook on high for about 3 hours. Try to stir every 20 to 30 minutes. It works best if you vent the lid with something.
I like this granola quite a bit. It's not too crunchy and only a little sweet, and it has craisins, which I consider a huge bonus! Don't get me wrong; I like raisins, but raisins are just so...blah. I like the addition of craisins. It gives the granola a little zing.
I found the crock pot method a little fussy, though. Next time, I'll probably just bake it in the oven on 350 and stir every five minutes or so. Granola in the crock pot can burn (though it takes a lot longer than in the oven), and I thought the frequent stirring was kind of a hassle -- a lot more of a hassle than keeping a careful eye on granola in the oven. But that's just me.
Anyway, here's what I did with my granola!
Monday, August 2, 2010
Shot in my kitchen on June 21, 2010 (five weeks before the bar exam):
Sunday, August 1, 2010
I just wanted to give you a quick update. The bar exam is over. Without exaggerating, I can safely say that it was the worst thing I have ever had to do in my entire life except attend my PaPa's funeral. I would rather have my wisdom teeth extracted nine times than take the bar again.
Today at church, one of our friends asked me about the test. "I'm sure it was a long test," he said. "What, three hours?" I think he almost had a coronary when I told him I had to write 16 essays in 8 hours -- and that was just day one! I envy people who've never been to law school. What marvelous, stress-free lives they must lead, where a three-hour test is on the long end.
You'll be glad to know I'm back to my old self, though. I'm watching a lot of TV and making lots of food. I'm experimenting with a crock pot granola recipe as we speak! I'm also awaiting the arrival of some new baking pans I ordered from Amazon, and I have some fun test recipes lined up to break them in. I've got several posts planned for the next few weeks, so stick around and see what the Wards are up to these days!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Before Ross and I got married, we registered at Bed Bath & Beyond. Ross got to hold the scan gun, which explains a lot of items on our registry: the restaurant-style toothpick holder, the citrus peeler, the strawberry huller. I never thought I'd admit it, but I love that strawberry huller. Actually, it's the first item on today's list:
Kitchen Gadgets I Totally Love and Probably Couldn't Do Without
1. Oxo Strawberry Huller
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
We finally got ALL of our stuff moved to Tulsa a few weekends ago. There are still a few boxes sitting around unpacked, but things are starting to come together. I'll try to post some pictures soon. I got to exercise my domestic skills over the weekend when we discovered that our curtains were about a foot too long. It doesn't feel like it, but apparently our new place has lower ceilings than our old apartment! Let's just say that I did not miss my calling to be a seamstress. Very little natural talent there, but I think I got the job done.
Now I am knee deep in bar exam preparation. I have classes almost every day from now until July 9, even on Saturdays and, once, on a Sunday! My bar prep course has a rigid schedule to follow, and I'm planning on sticking to it. Life will be un-fun for a while.
I think I promised some graduation pictures. These are also on Facebook, but here are some highlights:
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
On my fourth day, I felt a twinge in my left knee. I decided, stupidly, to run anyway. That was seven days ago. Today, I am still limping around like an injured old lady.
My ultimate goal: to get better so I can finish Couch to 5k. The goal I'd be okay with reaching if nothing else: I'd love to be able to walk normally again.
Anybody else have any joint issues? How long before you weren't in ridiculous pain?
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
We rescued Abe from Ross's parents house. Had we not, we're certain he would have been a victim of the Brenda Ward Mass Throwaway/Auction spree of 2010. And we're so glad we did.
Abe is the greatest puppy a family could ever ask for. He's quiet, he's polite, and he's very considerate. He doesn't eat much, and he's completely housebroken. He's really good at sitting and staying, too, although he does have some trouble fetching.
We'd love for you to meet Abe next time you're in our neck of the woods. (When you do, though, don't tell him he's stuffed -- he doesn't know!)
Friday, April 16, 2010
Like every kid, I was always afraid to try new foods. It was a battle to get me to take a bite of anything that I thought looked yucky. Especially yucky-looking to me were any foods that were brown. I just didn't dig brown stuff (exception: peanut butter, of course).
So, one Thanksgiving, when I was four or five, we were celebrating with my grandparents like we always did, and my family was feasting on pumpkin pie after the meal. My dad tried to feed me a bite, and I refused. After all, it was brown! It looked weird! Surely it would taste weird, too! My dad tried to persuade me again to take a bite, and I was uncooperative. Because he's determined, and because he knew I was a whiner, Dad tried a new tactic. Ready with a fork full of pumpkin pie, he kept badgering me to try it until I started whining about not wanting to. Then, when my mouth was open (mid-whine), he shoved the fork in my mouth.
To my dismay, I liked it. Oh no, I thought. This is really good, and I want more! But they will laugh at me if I ask for more because, just five seconds ago, I said it was yucky and I hated it! I think it was at that moment that I decided I would never let embarrassment keep me from enjoying pastries or baked goods of any kind. Sheepishly, I asked, "Can I have a piece?"
My family roared with laughter, but I didn't care. Dad was proud of me. (I think he was also a little proud of himself for discovering his new force-feeding tactic.) And that pie was de-licious.
It's still my favorite pie.
How many days until Thanksgiving?
Thursday, April 15, 2010
The episode I saw was shocking. Elementary students (probably first graders) could not identify a potato. They also couldn't identify tomatoes, eggplant, onions, and just about every other vegetable that exists! They could, however, identify pizza, hamburgers, and french fries. They almost fainted when Jamie told them that french fries are made from potatoes.
This tells me that something is definitely wrong. I'm not sure I could have identified an eggplant at age six, but you'd better believe I knew what a potato was. And you'd also better believe my parents were force-feeding me foods I refused to try because they "looked icky." (Sometime soon I'll tell you the story of how I came to love pumpkin pie!)
A few weeks ago, I also discovered a blog called Fed Up With Lunch: The School Lunch Project. The blog is written by an anonymous teacher, Mrs. Q, who has committed to eating school lunch every school day during 2010. Before she eats her lunch, she takes a picture of it. Have a look around her blog. Then wonder to yourself how anyone in good conscience can feed this to any living human being of any age!
I'm not trying to advance any agenda with this post. I just wanted to share with you a new issue I discovered. I guess I never realized how bad school lunch is because my sweet mother packed my lunch for me every single day until I graduated high school. (Thanks, Mom!) What do you guys think? Did you eat school lunch as a kid? Is it as bad as Jamie Oliver and Mrs. Q make it out to be? I'm interested to see whether I'm overreacting.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
For those unfamiliar with hulu: first of all, where have you been? Second of all: hulu videos are sponsored by advertisers. Before your hulu video starts playing, a man with a deep, radio-like voice says, "The following program is brought to you by [company]: [company's slogan]."
Last night, the announcer said: "The following program is brought to you by Toyota: Moving Forward."
I laughed hysterically. What a slogan fail! Toyota: Moving forward...uncontrollably! Moving forward...inexplicably! Moving forward...at deadly speeds! Moving forward...whether you want to or not!
Am I the only one who finds this funny? (Dad, I bet you're with me!)
Monday, April 12, 2010
Then Ross had to go and get a job in Tulsa six weeks before we were supposed to move. So here we are in yet another Long Distance Relationship.
All things considered, we're faring pretty well. Ross is working hard and adjusting to his new job, and I'm trying to muster the energy to study for my last round of final exams while simultaneously packing up our whole apartment for the final move to Tulsa.
On another note, sorry my last post was a very lengthy 12 days ago! I'll try to do better.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
It's not all bad news, though. Ross got a job! It was a totally random and serendipitous thing. In early March, we went to Tulsa one Friday to check out some potential housing options. We stopped at Whataburger when we got to town, and while we were eating, Ross got a phone call from a Tulsa number. Turns out it was the manager of Guitar Center who wanted to interview Ross for a full-time job. He went in a few hours later and got an offer the following week! Ross starts next Tuesday at his new job in pro audio sales! Hooray!
Only bad thing: Ross has to move Saturday, and I can't move until May. So, that's kind of a bummer. But I'm really glad he'll have something to do, and the money will be nice, too.
The Saturday Ross got his phone call was one of those days where everything just kind of fell into place. Ross got an interview. We found an apartment. I felt really great about our move to Tulsa. Hey, Big Guy Upstairs? Thanks.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
A few days ago, my sister got accepted to nurse practitioner school. I would make a big hoop-la and congratulate her endlessly on the blog, but we were all expecting her to get in. She has an excellent job, and she made a 4.0 in college. It was a given!
Anyway, because of the large number of applicants, and because she expressed an interest in the part-time program, she was accepted into only the part-time program. She was glad to be accepted, but I think she was a little bummed. She'll have to go to school for three years instead of the two she'd planned on. "I'll be twenty-seven when I get out of school," she told my Mom. The tone in her voice said, That's just so old!
In a way, it is old. I remember being a senior in high school, thinking that by the time I was 25 I'd be married and have a few kids already. Ha! What was I thinking?
It's strange how often that's a theme in my life. I lived in Yocum Hall for five semesters. Gross! What was I thinking? I repeatedly dated idiots throughout high school and college. Stupid! What was I thinking? When I was sixteen, I requested AND received a 1995 Ford Probe. What on EARTH was I thinking? When that Ford Probe's battery died, my then-boyfriend and I tried to jump the car and hooked up the battery cables backwards, blowing every fuse in the car! What was I thinking?
I think those moments are critical, though. Without those what was I thinking moments, would I be too prideful? Too confident? Too judgmental? Probably yes, yes and yes. So, I'm happy for the failures and the moments of idiocy.
Look at me. I'm so much older and wiser!*
*I'll bet you ten bucks that on my 35th birthday, I'll look back at this post and say, What was I thinking?
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Thanks so much for reading, everyone. We like you. We really do. Keep reading. And keep leaving comments!
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I don't really know the rules, so I've decided to make up my own. First, I'll tell you seven (arguably) interesting things about myself that you may or may not know. Second, I'll tell you about seven blogs or websites I read regularly.
Here are seven things about me that you may not know:
- I've been in college for nine years. I'm currently working on my JD, which will be my third degree.
- My ears are not currently pierced, but they have been before -- twice.
- I love to cook, and I especially love to bake. I usually bake once a week on Tuesday or Wednesday nights, then I take the goodies to school the next day. Law school readers: come by the law review office on Wednesdays or Thursdays to claim some delicious loot. This Thursday I'm bring peach crunch cake. Except I'm leaving out the crunch.
- My husband and I don't remember when we met each other. When people ask us how we met, we really don't know what to say.
- I was a cheerleader in ninth and tenth grades. Those were years during which I lied to myself about who I was.
- In eleventh grade, I joined a robotics team. That was the year I discovered my true nerdy personality. I love being a nerd.
- I plan meals every week. Am I a little type A? Yes. But I love knowing a full week in advance what we'll be eating for lunch and dinner. And it makes grocery shopping a lot less of a stressor.
The Pioneer Woman @ http://www.thepioneerwoman.com. If you haven't heard of PW, I don't know what cave you've been living in, but you could turn it into a serene web detox resort for the tech addicted. I especially love PW's recipes and photo tutorials.
The Simple Dollar @ http://www.thesimpledollar.com. I started following this blog when I got interested in making my own laundry detergent. I don't use his recipe because it requires a 5-gallon bucket, and really, where am I going to store that?
The Resurgence Blog @ http://www.theresurgence.com/blog. This is a new one for me, but so far, I am enamored with the sensible, not-over-my-head theology posted here. This is an excellent "thinker" blog for those of you who like to use your brains.
musings of Mother Hood @ http://www.sarahmcow.com. My old friend Sarah blogs here, and boy is she a witty observationist and a talented writer. I love reading about her life adventures, and I often find myself nodding in agreement at the end of every post.
The Pilot's Wife @ http://www.thepilotswife.org. My old friend Emily blogs here, and boy is she a witty observationist and a talented writer. Wait, did I say that already? I have some talented friends! Emily's posts about raising her boy and being married to a daredevil pilot are hilarious and heartwarming. And she hosts a lot of giveaways, too!
Joy the Baker @ http://www.joythebaker.com. I recently discovered this blog, written by a young baker in Los Angeles. Oh my gosh, do I envy her life! How great would it be to bake all day long, taking pictures all the while, then write about your baking?! My dream realized.
Cake Wrecks @ http://www.cakewrecks.com. Like the Pioneer Woman, if you haven't heard about Cake Wrecks, then I don't know where you've been. This blog is devoted to finding cakes made by professional bakers that are, well...a few eggs shy of a dozen. My favorite wreck? This one. But they're all pretty funny.
Hope you learned something new today. Sara, thanks for the shout-out.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Isn't she a cutie?
Even Ross held Molly for a few minutes.
So, I hereby announce and declare that henceforth we shall be known to Molly as Uncle Ross and Aunt Leah. I reason that this is only fair because I only have one sister who hasn't had kids* yet, and because Ross has no siblings, so his opportunity to be an uncle is unfairly limited.
Note: We haven't actually discussed this with Molly's family yet, so this announcement is official pending further review.
*My sister and brother-in-law haven't had human kids yet, but Ross and I were thrilled to become aunt and uncle to our favorite niece-dog, Margo!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
- You give something up from Ash Wednesday to Easter
- You probably do this to focus on God or something
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Of course, the application asks for personal references. I've been asked to provide six references whom I've known for a minimum of five years. I can't be related to any of them by blood or marriage (there goes ALL the Recktenwalds -- thanks, Kirstie!), and I also can't list any previous employer because they get their own extensive question. The five-year minimum excludes everyone I met in law school and grad school, so I've had to go way back. I've asked people I used to know in high school and junior high and even pre-school to tell the bar examiners how great and sane and fit I am to practice law.
In the process of doing all this, I realized something. I am so, so terrible at keeping in touch with old friends. Most of my emails or phone calls to my references went like this: "Hi, long time no see! How are things? Big favor to ask!"
And you know what? I hate that.
So I've decided today that I'm going to add a resolution to my list a little late this year. Resolution #6: Get back in touch with old friends. Why? Because they're my friends, dang it! I know they're busy. I'm busy. I know we may not effortlessly cross paths anymore. I'm aware we have different walks of life. But good friendships are worth the work.
I know this is a little deep for a Tuesday afternoon, so I apologize. I just felt the need to share.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
This past weekend, Ross and I went to his parents' house to help them pack up and move to a new place. Last week, we both received an email from Ross's mom. Subject: "Get Ready." The email read:
One of the nights you are home I want you to sit down with me and go through a bunch of memorablia and walk down memory lane and then we'll throw it away. This will help me get closure. It may take a while, so be prepared. I have already thrown a ton away, just so you know I won't make you look at all of it. Love, Mom
On Thursday night, the walk through memory lane began. I found out a lot about my husband that night. The thing that was most apparent to me was that Adult Ross didn't come out of nowhere. Adult Ross and Kid Ross have a lot of the same preferences, tastes, and hobbies. (OK, so Adult Ross doesn't draw pictures anymore, but everything else is pretty similar.) Check this out and you'll see what I mean:
Here's to walking down memory lane and remembering what it's like to be a kid. For some of us, maybe it's not so different from being an adult!
Friday, February 5, 2010
So, I may be a bit behind the times, but what in the world is a "winter finale"? Have they always had these? I'm aware of season finales, but I had no idea that an episode mid-season could be considered a finale.
Somebody explain to me when this whole winter finale phenomenon got started. Once again, I am behind the times.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
WHAT ARE KIDS LISTENING TO THESE DAYS? (By kids, of course, I mean people my own age; I am old before my time. At least I know it.)
In an effort to become more "cool" and "in touch" with the popular culture, Ross and I have made the effort to listen to the radio more often. Know what we heard today? Lady Gaga. The song is called "Love Game."
I'll just let you Google the lyrics.
After hearing this song tonight and some song a few weeks ago called "Birthday Sex" (which really needs no explanation), I now declare, before God and the Internet, that no child of mine will ever be allowed to listen to the radio before the age of 37.
That is all!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
- your trusty dutch oven or other heavy pan (which I did not take a picture of -- sorry!)
- a candy/frying thermometer
- a jelly roll pan; a few sheets of paper towel; and an upside-down cooling rack, fitted like so:
- a fryer dipper utensil thingy (that's the technical term), which looks like this:
- the largest bowl you have, lined with a sheet of paper towel to soak up the extra frying oil:
- and your friendly neighborhood mandoline slicer. Pictured is my Cuisinart mandoline, which I absolutely do not recommend at all! I hear the Oxo handheld version is much better, and cheaper, too.
Step 5: Wash the potatoes. Scrub with a vegetable brush. Don't peel! There's no picture of this step -- YOU try taking a photo while scrubbing potatoes! I dare you!
Step 6: Slice the potatoes very thinly. I mean it! We're talking really thin:
Step 7: When the oil reaches somewhere between 325 and 350 (Fahrenheit, of course), drop in 10-12 potato slices. Take them out when they're done. You'll know they're done when the oil stops bubbling.
Here are the potatoes when they first went in:
Step 8: Transfer each batch of potato chips to your draining rack (the paper towel/cooling rack thingy), and salt immediately -- just get out your regular table salt shaker and give the whole batch about five good shakes. Allow to cool on the draining rack, and periodically move the cooled chips to your bowl when finished.
Step 9: Store in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap. Try to make them last longer than one day.