Monday, December 6, 2010

the mac donald's

Have I told you about my Grannie?

Her name is Fern. She's...well, she can't be explained in just one sentence. Instead, I think I'd like to try to explain her in a series of blog posts. Only problem, though, is you have to promise never to tell Fern I'm writing about her. It might make her as sick as she's ever been. (More on that some other time.)

If I had to choose one word to describe Fern's most prominent personality trait, I'd say this: Fern is frugal. Miserly, even. Once my mom told me how embarrassed she was that Fern refused to buy sandwich bags when my mom was a child. Instead, Fern saved bread bags after the loaf was gone, then used those to put sandwiches in and send with her kids to school for lunch. "That's not so bad," I thought. Then I learned that some of those bread bags had been in use literally for years. Fern washed the bread bags and hung them out to dry on the line, right alongside the clothes. Miserly, I say.

There's no telling how far Fern will go to save a penny, especially on food. Recently, Fern found herself with a surplus of hamburger buns. She had five leftover buns and nothing to do with them. But suddenly, a lightbulb! McDonald's double cheeseburgers are only ONE DOLLAR EACH! So Fern drove herself down to The Mac Donald's. ("You just can't beat a hamburger from The Mac Donald's," she says.)  She walked up to the counter and ordered five double cheeseburgers, plain, cheese on the side. I can only imagine how puzzled the clerk must have been, but she complied. Fern paid $5 plus tax and, as I picture it, left the restaurant giddy, gleeful, having just hatched an ingenious scheme. She drove home and retrieved her five leftover hamburger buns.  Then, she disassembled the double cheeseburgers, cheese on the side, and reassembled them into -- you guessed it -- ten cheeseburgers.

What did she do with the cheeseburgers? She didn't have friends over. She didn't binge on fast food. "I wrapped 'em up real tight and put 'em in the freezer!" she said. "Now I can have me a Mac Donald's cheeseburger anytime I want! And they only cost 50 cents a piece!"

Like I said, Fern is frugal. Miserly, even.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My first pie

In all my years of cooking and baking, how is it that I've never made a pie until now?

(It turned out very tasty, by the way!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Who is the target audience for this product?

I've seen the Mangroomer multiple times in Bed Bath & Beyond circulars. Who buys this thing? And how many people have injured themselves with it?

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.

I'm thankful for my husband.

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

Ross's new toy

where have i been?

WORKING, that's where!

Seriously, though -- sorry for the lack of updates. Know what I need? BLOGGER FOR IPHONE. Google, I know you and Apple don't get along, but I sure wish you would get over your differences if only for the one purpose of giving the good bloggers of the world an iPhone app from which to quickly blog. If not, I might have move this blog to wordpress or tumblr, which would surely break my little heart.  (Tumblr is neat, though...)

I have some serious baking planned in the coming weeks, including a mass-production of pumpkin bread (or cake, as my mother insists), a pumpkin pie, and homemade marshmallows. I guess making marshmallows isn't so much baking as it is candy, we're gonna be making some candy 'round these parts, too. I'll do my bestest to take a few pictures of the process or at least post the recipes and a review!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

attorney at law

Hello again.

It's been a while, and I apologize for that. News:

  1. I started my job on September 1.
  2. Then, on September 10, I found out I passed the bar exam.
  3. I got my first paycheck on September 15 (yay!).
  4. On September 22, I was sworn in and received my license to practice law.
It has been a good month! Of course, adjusting to working full-time has been a bit of a challenge. My house is dirty, there are dishes in the sink, I have been putting off ironing for about ten days now, and we eat more grilled cheese sandwiches than I care to admit. 

But I like my job. I like it a lot.

I'm gonna try to do better around here, and now that I actually do leave the house at least once a day, I will probably have more to write about. The month after the bar exam, I sat around and did, literally, nothing, so it was hard to come up with stuff to write about. What do you blog about when the only thing you did that day was take two naps, watch five hours of television, and nuke a Lean Cuisine?

So keep reading. I'll try to keep writing.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

big money! no whammy!

Kirstie & Nathan (my sister & brother-in-law) visited last weekend, and we had a really good time. Most ridiculous thing we did? Well...Nathan decided that because he'd never been to a casino before, it was absolutely necessary that we go. So Saturday night, we did. I encourage you to visit any casino's website. You will see many photos of lovely, young, well-dressed people having the time of their lives. I think these people must have been hired, because do you know what we did see?
  • 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
It was pretty crazy, and Nathan was less than impressed. I suspect this might have something to do with the fact that he put $10 in a slot machine and lost it all in about three minutes. "Big money! No whammy!" he said. But it was big whammy, no money.

We surveyed the despair around us and decided we didn't want to become senior citizens clutching their Social Security money at the penny slots. So we left and went for frozen yogurt.

Kirstie fared pretty well, though. Here she is with her winnings!

Friday, August 20, 2010

what a week!

We've had a busy seven days.

  • 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.
I digress.

Kirstie & Nathan are coming to Tulsa this weekend. It will be so great to see them! We don't get to enough. I'll try to remember to tote my camera around and post some pictures early next week.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

brown sugar cookies & a new food blog

Can I tell you three words that will change the way you think about sweets? Okay: brown sugar cookies. YUM.

I am a longtime lover of sugar cookies. I am also a longtime lover of brown sugar. I have been known to sneak a bite every now and then when baking. (One-fourth of a cup in the bowl...and a spoonful for me.) Sometime in the few weeks before the bar exam, in a stress-induced frenzy, I had a random thought: is there a way to combine my love of sugar cookies and brown sugar?! Yes -- brown sugar cookies! 

So, after the bar, I googled. I settled on this recipe from a blog called Nosh With Me, which I instantly fell in love with. How did I not know this baking blog existed before now? Go check it out -- her recipes look so great!

This recipe appears to be originally from Cook's Illustrated. I get that magazine, so how I missed the recipe I will never know. I'm glad I found it, though. It's goooood.

Without further ado:

Brown Sugar Cookies
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.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350. In a baking dish (I used a pie plate), mix granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar until combined well; set aside.
Mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl & set aside. To the cooled butter, add 1 ¾ cup brown sugar and mix until there are no lumps. Add egg, yolk, and vanilla to butter mixture and mix well, then add flour and mix until just combined. (Note: I mixed entirely by hand with no problems. I wouldn't use a mixer for this recipe!)
Roll dough into balls about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, and roll balls in brown sugar and white sugar mixture. If you have a cookie scoop, use it! Place balls about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets.
Bake sheets one at a time until cookies are puffy and lightly browned, about 12- 14 minutes. I have a darker cookie sheet and a lighter cookie sheet. I baked for 13 minutes on the lighter sheet and 12 minutes on the darker sheet.  DO NOT OVERBAKE! The cookies will crack, and dough peeking through the cracks will look raw. Don't be alarmed. After a few minutes of cooling, this will turn into yummy, chewy goodness.
These cookies are best when still warm served with a glass of milk. Try them out! You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Look what I made in the crock pot. Granola!
It's true. I got the recipe 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.

You need:
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!
Who needs a restaurant for a fruit & yogurt parfait? I make my own. They're tastier. And they come in a pretty glass.
Pretty glasses: it's how I roll. (Also, it's how I use glasses that otherwise sit in the cabinet and collect dust. Somebody should've told me I'd never use fancy dinner- & glassware.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

the bar exam: an evolution (or devolution?) of meals

A long time ago, I had aspirations to tell you about a simple and summery and delicious meal I made for myself one night when Ross was working. It was only a simple pasta primavera, but it looked so pretty I just had to snap a photo. I wanted to write a blog post to tell you all about how delicious it was and how easy it is to make, but studying for the bar exam took over, and I just didn't have time.

Shot in my kitchen on June 21, 2010 (five weeks before the bar exam):

Then, about a month later, I snapped another photo of a meal I made for myself one night when Ross was working. It was a sad step down from pasta primavera to peanut butter & jelly.

Shot in my living room on July 16, 2010 (11 days before the bar exam):

Things only got worse from here. In the five days before the bar exam, I went to Panera twice (two days in a row, AND I ordered the same thing both times), Pei Wei once, and Chili's once. I ate more grilled cheese sandwiches than any 27-year-old is supposed to. One day, I went to Target and bought only marshmallows and sour gummy worms. The day before the bar exam, my sweet mom sent me one dozen cupcakes.  

The diet has not been going well around here. Luckily, I don't have to take another bar exam for a whole six months. Now if I could just find a way to fit into my suits in one month... 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

post-bar update

Hello, friends!

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

kitchen gadgets i totally love (and probably couldn't do without)

I love summer for many reasons. One of those reasons is BERRIES, especially strawberries! I love them. And, in a roundabout way, strawberries are the inspiration for today's post.

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

I realize a strawberry huller is a unitasker, but I'm making an exception for this one. This little gadget is really handy when your family goes through two or three cartons of strawberries a week. Before owning the strawberry huller, I just lopped off the top of the strawberry -- an effective method, to be sure, but it wastes a lot more of the strawberry than necessary. Now, I just pull the leaves off, remove the hull with this little gadget, and voila -- strawberries are ready to eat!

2. Salter Kitchen Scale
Where would I be without my kitchen scale? I love this little gadget. I bought mine at BB&B with a 20% off coupon, but they're widely available everywhere. This is most handy for measuring liquids. Shortly after buying this scale, I conducted an experiment to determine the weight of commonly used liquids. Know what I found out? Alton Brown's saying is true: "A pint is a pound the world around."  One pint of liquid = 16 oz.  So, do you need to measure 1/2 c. of milk but hate to dirty up your liquid measuring cup? No problem! Just put your bowl on the scale, turn it on, and pour until the display reads 4 oz. It also works for water, orange juice, and pretty much any other liquid. 

3. Cookie Scoop
I have no idea what brand mine is, but I love my cookie scoop. It's great for no-bake cookies & chocolate chip cookies, especially if you loathe the two-spoon method like I do. It's great for making uniform cookies so you don't end up with some bite-sized and some gargantuan-sized. I also really like this for scooping ice cream into a small dish. It makes me feel like I'm eating more ice cream than I actually am!

Let me know what kitchen gadgets you can't live without!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

settling in

Sorry for the complete lack of updates around here. We've been a little busy!

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:
This is a terrible photo of my dad and me.

Mom & Dad at The Wooden Spoon in Gentry, Ark. Best. Bread. Pudding. Ever.

The fam.

This is me, off in the distance, getting my name mispronounced when being presented with two awards. Lee-ah. Two syllables! Who knew it was so hard? 

My sweet husband and me.

I think he was proud.

Me with Mom & Dad. I think they might've been a little proud, too. Thanks for everything, Mom & Dad! (Especially the money!)

Michael A. Thompson, left; me, right. I feel pretty privileged since apparently Michael thinks he looks terrible in photos and refuses to have them taken. And hey, there's a little bit of Schube and his lady friend in the back! Schube, if you ever read my blog, hope you're doing well in KC.

This is me with my friend Katie. We suffered through first-year Legal Research & Writing together. I'll never forget the day our memos were due first semester. The topic: In Texas, can a person get money for suffering emotional distress after her pet horse nearly died due to veterinary malpractice? The answer: When pigs fly. The poetic justice: Our professor couldn't be at school the day we turned in the memos because her horse stepped on her. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

mental imagery

**Warning: Mild toilet humor ahead.**

Commercial I saw recently:

Background: Ac-tiv-i-aaahh! (music)
Jamie Lee Curtis: Recently, we asked people to film themselves at home taking the Activia challenge.

Think about it: taking the Activia challenge.

What is the Activia challenge? It's a guarantee, really. You can read about it here, if you want. The gist: Dannon guarantees that if you eat Activia every day for 14 days, your, um, toilet time will be more regular. So really, there are two steps to taking the Activia challenge. Step 1: eat Activia for 14 days. Step 2: poop.

And Activia recently asked people to film themselves at home taking the Activia challenge.

I continued to watch the commercial, and I realized that Jamie Lee Curtis didn't ask people to film themselves at home taking the Activia challenge. She asked people to film themselves talking about taking the Activia challenge. I wonder if anybody actually took Activia up on the offer, though. Be careful what you wish for, Dannon.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

couch to 5k: injury fail

Two weeks ago, I started a running program called Couch to 5k. My friend Emily tweeted about it a while ago, and after looking it up, I decided to give it a try. After all, it's so appropriate, given that I sit on the couch during approximately 90% of my free time.

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?


Hobbles McGee

Saturday, May 15, 2010

graduation day

I graduated from law school today. I'll post some pictures later, but for now, I wanted to let everyone who reads this know that (a) I'm sorry I haven't posted lately, and (b) it feels good to be Leah Ward, J.D.

Stay tuned for updates this week!

Monday, May 3, 2010

meet abe

I'd like you to meet our new puppy, Abraham Laboriel Ward:
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

how i came to love my favorite pie

I'll admit it: though I'm definitely a foodie, I am a picky eater. A few years ago, my mom said to me, "Leah, you're the only person I know who's gotten more picky as she got older." That's certainly true. As a kid, I ate a lot of stuff I can't imagine putting in my body today. Spaghettios with meatballs. Kraft macaroni & cheese. Chicken McNuggets. Gross, gross and gross.

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 battle against school lunch

During Spring Break, I caught a rerun of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on ABC. Apparently, Jamie Oliver, a celebrity chef, is trying to raise awareness about childhood nutrition (or lack thereof) in America's public schools. He's doing this by going into schools in Huntington, West Virginia, and implementing his own line of school lunches.

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

toyota: moving forward

I was bumming around on hulu last night, and this struck me as really, really funny.

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 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

another LDR

Before we got married, Ross and I had never lived in the same town at the same town. When we started dating, I lived in Mountain Home, and Ross lived in Siloam Springs. Then I moved to Fayetteville. Then Ross went to Ireland for a month. Then Ross moved to Mountain Home! When we got married, we were so excited to finally live in the same town, not to mention the same house.

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

first quarter resolution update

Can you believe one-fourth of 2010 has come and gone? Three months ago, Ross and I made some New Years Resolutions. (New Year's Resolutions? New Years' Resolutions? Do the resolutions belong to the year, to the holiday, or to nothing? I digress.) You can read about them here, if you'd like.

Today, I thought we'd give you an update on how we're doing so far. 

Leah's Resolutions
1. lose weight; fit into skinny (or even fat) jeans
Well, you'll be glad to know that I did, in fact, lose weight. It's just that I promptly gained it back again. And then lost it...and then gained it. I'm back on the wagon, though. And I did wear my fat jeans on Monday. (Notice I didn't say I was comfortable in them...)

2. post on the blog at least once per week
With the exception of spring break, I think I'm actually doing OK on this one! What say you, readers?

3. keep the bathroom cleaner
Um...I have been sweeping more, and really, that is the most important part in our bathroom. But the sink...well, let's not go there. Ditto the shower.

4. use reusable grocery bags
This resolution has been a raging success! We keep the reusable bags in the trunk of my car, and it's become second nature to pop the trunk and carry them into Wal-Mart whenever we go. However, we've been battling some entirely unforeseen issues, such as ignorant checkers (a) stuffing the bag as full as humanly possible, and/or (b) putting hamburger meat, lettuce greens, and shampoo in the same bag. 

5. learn how to cook dry beans
FAIL! I did make lentil soup with dry lentils, but I didn't like it all that much. I think it was just a bum recipe. It didn't discourage me necessarily, we're just not big bean eaters. Exception: chili, but I've got that recipe exactly where I want it, and it calls for canned beans. Mmm. Chili. That's going on next week's meal plan.

Ross's Resolutions
1. read 24 books this year
Me: "Have you read six books so far?" Ross: "" He thinks he's read four, though, so he's not too far behind.

2. try at least one new food per month
Ross: "You were supposed to be helping me with that part." And that's true. Truthfully, I completely forgot about this resolution. Don't worry, though. He'll try two new foods a month until July! (Ross: "TWO?!" He doesn't seem happy about this!)

3. find a job
SUCCESS! He starts Tuesday!

4. take a vacation with my pretty wife (that's me!)
We did go to St. Louis over spring break, but we were accompanied by both of our moms. I don't think that counts. Now that Ross has found a job, though, we might be able to take a weekend trip after the bar exam. This one's in the works!

Overall, I'd say we're doing okay, except for that whole dieting thing. Oops! How are your resolutions going? Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

tell me something bad about tulsa

I'll tell you something bad about Tulsa: Ross is moving there on Saturday!

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

spring break: why i love it

This is why I love this week:
It's been so nice having NOTHING to do.

But soon, this is coming for me:
I'm not excited.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

the purpose of the pulpit

This morning, due in large part to that evil "spring forward," I skipped church. It's rare that I don't go to church, but when I skip church, I usually take a gander at the television. Sunday morning TV is chock full of TV preachers who yell and scream and boo and hiss...and then ask for money. I find it equal parts appalling and hilarious.

Today, I had the, um, "pleasure" of watching Dr. Ed Young of Winning Walk. To be fair, I only saw about five minutes of his "sermon." But I think that was enough. 

Excuse me for a moment while I get out my soapbox.

Okay. Too many preachers today are using their megachurch/TV venues for political ends. I saw the most bizarre sermon illustration today. On Dr. Young's pulpit were three large clear glass pitchers. Each was labeled. The first was labeled "We the People." The second was labeled "State of Texas." (I guess he's from Texas. True to Texan form, the label disregarded the other 49 states in the Union. Hmmph!) The third was labeled "Federal Government." 

Using a separate pitcher full of water dyed bright blue, he explained the meaning of the Constitution. He first explained that the purpose of the Constitution was to vest all of the power in the people -- he poured all of the blue water into the "We the People" pitcher. Next, he explained that the people gave some of their power to the states -- he poured a small amount from the "We the People" jar to the "State of Texas" jar. Finally, he explained that the states gave up a tiny amount of their power to the Federal Government -- he poured a little droplet from the "State of Texas" jar to the "Federal Government" jar. Of course, the problem, he says, is that the Federal Government has stolen all of the power from the people; to illustrate this point, he poured all of the water from the "We the People" jar to the "Federal Government" jar.

This bothers me on two levels. (1) What is this guy, a legal scholar? His research was that he "read the Constitution again just last week; it's plain English." Apparently, this makes it easy to understand. Perhaps he should teach his method to law students everywhere. I'm sure they'd be thankful. (2) Here's the soapbox part: THE CHURCH SHOULD NOT BE A POLITICAL PLATFORM OF ANY KIND! The pulpit is not the appropriate platform from which to "explain" the Constitution or discuss healthcare reform. 

The purpose of the pulpit is to teach the Bible. Not to teach the Constitution. Not to teach civics class. Not to support or oppose legislation. Just teach the Bible, please. And some church history would be nice, too. (I'm talking to you, Baptists.)

If you're interested in watching this monstrosity, it's available here. The sermon is called "A Broken Washington." It's part of a series called "Healing Broken America." Upcoming gems in the series include "A Broken School" and "A Broken Court." I can't wait.

Friday, March 5, 2010

what was i thinking?

Yesterday was my birthday.



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


As of today, this tiny little blog has THIRTY-FIVE subscribers! Thirty-five! Three-five. 35! That's really saying something, considering that my family is larger than 35 people. I'm tickled to death. (I realize that four of my followers are web crawler bot thingies. I am ignoring this and, instead, am choosing to believe they are real people. It's my blog. I can do what I want.)

Thanks so much for reading, everyone. We like you. We really do. Keep reading. And keep leaving comments!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

seven things and seven blogs

I can't tell for sure, but I think Sara, my cousin-in-law, may have nominated me for something. I don't really know what it means, but I've been commissioned to tell you seven things about me and nominate seven blogs for awards. Do I make up these awards? Can it be anything I want?

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:
  1. I've been in college for nine years. I'm currently working on my JD, which will be my third degree.
  2. My ears are not currently pierced, but they have been before -- twice.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. I was a cheerleader in ninth and tenth grades. Those were years during which I lied to myself about who I was. 
  6. In eleventh grade, I joined a robotics team. That was the year I discovered my true nerdy personality. I love being a nerd.
  7. 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. 
Now, for these "awards." I read a lot of blogs regularly, but here are seven blogs I think you should be following:

The Pioneer Woman @ 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 @ 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 @ 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 @ 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 @ 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 @ 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 @ 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

meet molly, our cousin/niece/whatever

Last weekend, before heading down to Conway for the Ward-Barron Extravaganza, we headed north to Springfield, Missouri, to meet this little two-day-old:
This is Miss Molly Abigail Floyd, the newborn daughter of Ross's cousin, Sara, and her husband, Justin. (Whew! That sentence had a lot of commas. I apologize!)

Isn't she a cutie?
She didn't open her eyes much when we were there, but she was only about 52 hours old. I guess we can't blame her. She'd had a traumatic few days, what with being born and all.

Even Ross held Molly for a few minutes.
You can read lots more about Molly on her momma's blog. She was born on Tuesday, February 16. She's almost two weeks old already! I'm sure by now she's, oh, twice the size that she is in these pictures. Kids today. They grow like weeds.
Now, to the purpose of today's post. Technically, Molly is our first cousin once removed. Or, if you don't do that "once removed" stuff, she's our second cousin (although technically, that's incorrect, and all you people who don't do the "once removed" stuff are confusing your future generations, genealogically speaking!). But "first cousin once removed" just sounds BORING. What kid has ever said, "Mom, I want to go visit my first cousins once removed Ross and Leah!"? Answer: no kid.

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


Truth: I don't really understand Lent. I grew up Baptist. Baptists are pretty ignorant of all things liturgical. Growing up, Lent was "that thing my Catholic friends did." Here's what I know about it:

  • You give something up from Ash Wednesday to Easter
  • You probably do this to focus on God or something
That's it! Atrocious, I know. But, in an effort to focus on God (or something), I'm on a Facebook fast until Easter. Just wanted to let you guys know. I may use my extra time to learn more about Lent...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

old friends

Lately, I've been busy filling out my character & fitness application for the Oklahoma bar exam, which I have to take in July. Before they even let you take the test, the people in charge have to check you out to be sure you have the "character and fitness" required to practice law. I've answered all kinds of questions so far. Have I ever been arrested? No. Have I ever defaulted on a student loan? No. Have I ever been cited for any moving violation? Errr...yes. Did you know it's a violation of a city ordinance in Fayetteville to start through an intersection after the light has already turned yellow? It's true. I made that $125 mistake in January of 2003. A citation for "careless driving" will forever blemish my otherwise perfect driving record.

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

Warning: Extreme Cuteness Ahead

(Or "Extreme Cuteness Below," as it were.)

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:

This is Ross with a picture he drew of Garth Brooks, his favorite music superhero of all time. Ross still listens to and loves Garth.

For Christmas one year, Ross asked for, among other things, a guitar, some guitar picks, and a Davy Crockett costume. I'm pretty sure he has grown out of the Davy Crockett phase. Guitar? Not so much.

Ross drew guitars as a kid. I love it!

This picture has nothing to do with this post. I just thought it was really cute!

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


Preface: We don't watch a lot of TV at our house. We only get channels 2 through 22, so I watch a lot of network stuff. And TBS -- I don't think I could live without Seinfeld reruns.

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

It's gonna snow! Quick, let's get to Wal-Mart for 9 loaves of bread and some ground beef!

Last night, Ross and I went to Wal-Mart. I feel compelled to point out that this was a previously scheduled Wal-Mart trip. We did not rush out to Wal-Mart after reading the week's forecast:

Apparently, though, every other citizen of Fayetteville saw the forecast and thought, "I must get to Wal-Mart IMMEDIATELY!"

I can understand the desire for preparedness in the face of inclement weather, especially after last year's ridiculous ice storm. Being without power for days is no fun. But I want to know, paranoid winter weather shoppers: what is going through your minds? I can understand why Wal-Mart had no flashlights. I can understand why Wal-Mart only had one Coleman lantern left in stock. I can even partly understand why there were zero loaves of bread on the shelves.

Some things, though, leave me completely baffled. Why was Wal-Mart completely out of ground beef, onions and green peppers? Why were there only three sweet potatoes left? What are you going to do when the power goes out? Eat a spoiled ground beef and raw onion sandwich? With a side of green pepper and raw sweet potato? YUM! I can't imagine anything more tasty!

Good luck everyone in Arkansas/Oklahoma/Missouri braving the winter weather. I'll be resting easy with my sole emergency purchase: two camping-sized cans of propane. One's for the propane lantern; the other is for the camp stove. If we can boil water, I think we'll be able to make it. See you when the ice melts!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A "Subtle" Hint

Oh, yay! I just got an email!

Oh, it's from my mother-in-law!

It looks like she's done some kind of survey...

Neat! What a cool idea. Let's read her responses.

Oh, that's subtle.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

kids these days!


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

homemade potato chips: you can do it!

A few months ago, I thought to myself, "Self, how hard could it really be to make potato chips?" With a little help from Paula Deen, I decided to give it a go. I've made a few batches since then, and I think I've finally got it down to a science! And you know what? IT'S EASY. You should try it! Here's my step-by-step process with visuals!

Step 1: Put on the new Vera Bradley apron your mom got you on her recent trip to Chicago, then take a crappy picture of yourself in the mirror!  (Optional)

Look at the pattern -- what a rockin' apron!

Step 2: Drag out your equipment. Here's what you'll need:
  • 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 3: Gather your ingredients. We'll be using peanut oil, two Russet potatoes, and good old table salt.

Step 4: Pour 2 quarts of peanut oil into your dutch oven fitted with a frying thermometer and turn heat to medium-high. Look! I can pour!

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:

See all the bubbles? they are when they're ready to come out of the oil:

No bubbles!

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.

YUM. I think I need to go eat some of these. Immediately.