Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring is here....

How do I know (despite the fact ND is getting a blizzard and we got snow over the weekend?) - sinuses. My sinuses have been killing me over the last few days. I actually gave up on grading homework last night it was so bad. My sinuses were draining, making me sick to my stomach. Yick! Today is actually really warm, but that means the weather is changing yet again!

Best Buy has our GPS on sale this week, so I went in for a price correction. I got it, but I had to trade in the one we had for another one as only the BLACK ones (we got a BLUE one) were on sale even though they are the same model. It was a $40 difference and like I care which color my GPS is!

I also had a few other errands to do, so a pretty productive morning. Well, back to grading...if my head will stop pounding (and yes, I did take medicine....).

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Scrapbook Update

Check up my updated scrapbook if you like.

Adam's Rocking Chair

This was Ray's rocking chair, Pat recovered it for Adam. He's just now really getting into it. He can get in and out himself, although often backwards!

Presidenttal Placemat

Couldn't resist for Adam today!

New Computer

Adam approves of Daddy's new computer!

New Battery Charger

We got an additional battery charger - this one does all batteries, including 9V, which we go through a lot of with Adam's baby monitor.


Adam Reading


Around the US Update

Did you go dark for an hour? We did a bit - as much as you can with a one year old in the house at least. We turned off everything we could and just kept one light in the room where we were (candles are not a good idea with a baby!).

It looks like North Dakota is finally getting some good news as the Red looks to have crested - and lower than thought!

They are still waiting on the volcano to blow again in Alaska. The last eruption didn't spread too much ash on my parents, but we'll see what happens with the next one - the wind direction is what matters. My father is even shortening his snowmachine trip this weekend to try to avoid being stuck up there if the ash does fly.

You can vote on your favorite photo in the Smithsonian Magazine's annual contest. I have to say I just wasn't that impressed with the finalists - I just didn't find any of them engaging.

I spent today at the National First Ladies Library - we were crazy busy - 80 people through today! That's a HUGE number for us in a day because we can't handle large groups. We did have one tour with over 30 people on it - luckily there were two of us there and we could split it. Usually we try to be under 15.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I've been embroiled in the British....

I just finished two British mysteries and really enjoyed them! I just finished the newest Tasha Alexander in the Lady Ashton series - A Fatal Waltz. This one is set mostly in Austria and Ivy's husband, Robert, is accused of murder. I really enjoy this series - the characters are very well done and enjoyable. I think the author has done a good job on the historical mystery, which is hard to impress me on. Emily finally marries Colin at the end of this one! I'm very much looking forward to the next installment, which will be out in September.

The other book is the current book in the Lady Julia Grey series, Silent on the Moor. If you remember, I wasn't too sure after the reading the last installment, but this was pretty well done. It is very depressing - much more morbid than the other series (murdered children, incest, etc.). It isn't graphic, just much more depressing. I also think the plot moves very slowly and then kind of jumps at the end to fill in everything. It is a bit aggravating because you find out Brisbane knew most of it and wasn't sharing. I also find Brisbane and Julia's relationship rather helter-skelter. They also got married at the end of this book, so I look forward to seeing if the dynamic improves between them - working more as a team rather than against each other. Julia's "watson" really is her sister more than anything. I still think this series has potential, but I think there is room for improvement. I was looking and it looks like the author's next book isn't in the series so we won't have another book in this series for at least a year.

Finally Caught Up....

We were in Michigan last weekend and got back on Tuesday night. Today is Friday and I think I've finally gotten more or less caught up with pictures!

A recap of what's been up with us:
  • We had a great time in Michigan and got back late on Tuesday. Adam was exhausted -PaPa's is just so much fun he never wanted to sleep!
  • Wednesday Ray and I started on our spring break list. He got a lot accomplished and I just got my last big thing done today. So between the two of us, we got a lot done.
  • Our taxes are all officially done. We had to go into the city as they will do them for you - we had to pay them quite a bit. Kent State isn't taking enough out of Ray's checks - he needs to look into that. We also had to pay North Dakota, but that wasn't bad. We ended up coming out ahead in federal and Ohio. We fixed Ohio - made Kent take out more - last year and that was helpful.
  • Adam is back on schedule - he was so tired that really it wasn't hard. We were having trouble with him not sleeping through the night (which is going backwards for him), but that seems to be doing better.
  • We bought a GPS! We do a lot of travelling and we borrowed Grandma and Grandpa's in Alaska, and we were addicted. I decided we needed it for the health of our marriage! Ray is a complete bear if he is even a tiny bit lost - with the GPS that will never happen! He actually didn't throw fits in Anchorage when we missed turns! Anyway, we went out and bought one with some of our tax return.
  • We always also buy a new computer with our refund as well. My desktop (the motherboard) died a few months ago, so we bought a new desktop for Ray (I get his old one). We were schedule to buy a new laptop for me, but mine is working fine so we'll wait a year on it. It came today and Ray is happily putting it together - he loves a new computer - means more power for his games.:)
  • We had a lot of rain this week, but today was nice. I made halibut chowder today and am making a pot roast tomorrow. North Dakota is having a terrible time - they were having blizzards and are flooding badly in Fargo. I've already gotten messages that a few of my students have been evacuated (while I work for Lake Region in Devils Lake, many of my students live all over the state as online students). Alaska had the volcano blow, but Wasilla didn't get much ash, so that was good for my family.
  • I'm going to be at the National First Ladies Library tomorrow - I'm excited as Kris is coming to take a tour.
  • I had a Portage County Right to Life meeting last night and will be working on updating our website over the next day or so.
  • I did a bunch more video example for my class as they really have found them useful. You can find me on YouTube as professorweber. Ray is teaching a new class this summer, so he spent some time working on his course this week as well. I'm changing some of my texts for History 104 in the fall - I'm quite excited about that as I really wasn't too happy with the papers this term and I think that a more focused assignment with different readings will be better. I also got my summer Math 102 syllabus updated, so that is one more thing done.

So overall, we've had a busy week, but a pretty good one. Hope you can all say the same thing!

Scrapbook Update

You can view my scrapbook, more or less update to date here.

This one - his baptism - is my current favorite. I really like how it turned out! The baby in the baptismal gown is actually Brian - Adam wore Brian and Ray's gown and I wanted to include that.

We can go DOWN the stairs....sort of....

Adam still refuses to go backwards, but has mastered the idea frontwards in a fashion! Motivation was the key. He did NOT want to take his bath and wanted to go back to playing with PaPa...which meant going DOWN the stairs - so he did it!

Ray insisted on shredding the first coupon!

Diners, Drives Ins and Dives

We met Tamara and Dave for dinner and checked out one of Guy's Diners, Drives Ins, and Dives. Ray had given him Guy's book for Christmas and three coupons, each for a presidential museum and a resturant from the book. This was our first one. We went to Joe's Gizzard City (none of us actually tried the gizzards), although Dave (my father-in-law, not Tamara's husband) tried Guy's Triple D burger. Ray tried one of the normal batter burgers - just the burger was deep fried. The rest of when with non-fried entrees. We also tried a bunch of the fried appetizers. We had to say, the food was good, but not spectucular or anything.


Hanging out
Adam checking it all out

The Triple D burger - a deep fried cheeseburger (bun and all)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Playground Pit Stop

After the musuem, we were meeting Tamara and Dave for dinner, but had some time to kill, so we found this playground for Adam to run around in. It was a really nice playground!

I'm on the move!

Digging in the Sand




PaPa helping Adam dig in the sand!
PaPa showing Adam how to make noise!

More Mallard Footage

Ford Museum

On Monday, we (Dave too) went to Grand Rapids and visited the Gerald Ford Museum. Downtown Grand Rapids is actually really nice in that area so we walked around outside for awhile as well. We started with a tour of the musuem. It is very nicely done - not too large nor too small. Some really neat things in it from throughout Ford's life and presidency.

The Ford Museum

The current visiting exhibit is a mintature of the White House - just exquisite!
We started our walk with the gravesite.
Ford is here, but Betty Ford is still alive (no death date)

Adam helping move it along!

Then we walked around the downtown area. I think in the summer this area must be really pretty!

We even saw some wildlife!

This represents the furniture strike of 1911.

Mallard in Grand Rapids

We saw this mallard duck in Grand Rapids. That current was sure moving!

Video Games

This is a rest stop on I-80 0n our way home - Adam was having fun!

I didn't know there were Artic Cat video games!

Adam and Knitting Basket

This is Pat's knitting bag - Adam was having fun!

Adam in Michigan

A few more pictures from our Michigan trip
Adam and Daddy out walking
Sand is interesting!
Playing top with PaPa

Playing ball with Dad

Linda

This is Linda, Dave's new friend. She's very nice.

Jennie and a sleepy Adam

Playing at Papa's is hard work!

Adam's Tonka Truck

Driving his Tonka Truck - Adam has trucks figured out now!

Adam on the John Deere

Pictures from the John Deere ride I posted a video of earlier.
Grandpa left me in charge...where is the key?
I can drive this!


Queen Cotton

Ray helped Brian and Brittany do some moving while we were in Michigan. Cotton appropriated this pillow in the middle of the hall!

Adam and Aunt Brittany

We went to Sunday brunch at the country club where Brian works (non-members are welcome for Sunday brunch - we certainly aren't country club members!). Brian and Brittany are moving in with Dave - it works for them all right now.

Grilling with the men

Dave was showing Ray how to make ribs.

Making Molasses Cookies

We made molasses cookies while at Dave's. Adam loves to "help!"

Playing with the Top

Adam understands how the top works, just doesn't get yet that he has to LET GO!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Out for a walk....

Adam and Ray out for a walk in Dave's subdivision. Adam LOVES to go for walks!

Twigs are FUN

Adam's Tonka Truck

He's getting good at moving this around! When we were here a month ago, he wasn't so sure on it, but now is stellar with it!

Adam outside having fun at PaPa's!

On the John Deere!

Michigan and Adam

We got here on Friday night. We had a good ride up, but arriving at 11:30 PM we had trouble getting Adam to bed. We've been having issues at night - I think a combination of teething and a stage. But then Saturday was pretty good, we got to meet Dave's new friend, Linda. Adam took a good nap, but was a pain about bed again and was up during the night. Today we had to get him up so we could go to brunch at Brian's restaurant, and he's napping now. Hopefully tonight will be better. We are going up to Grand Rapids tomorrow to the Gerald Ford Museum. We will be meeting Tamara and Dave for dinner while we are there - we are going to one of Guy Fieri's diners/drive in/dives. Wish us luck!

Women Who Know Their Place....

I got this as an email forward. I have no idea if it is actually a valid story, but it amused me greatly!

Barbara Walters, of Television's 20/20, did a story on gender roles in, several years before the Afghan conflict.

She noted that women customarily walked five paces behind their husbands.

She recently returned to and observed that women still walk behind their husbands.

From Ms. Walters' vantage point, despite the overthrow of the oppressive Taliban regime, the women now seem to walk even further back behind their husbands and are happy to maintain the old custom.

Ms. Walters approached one of the Afghani women and asked, "Why do you now seem happy with an old custom that you once tried so desperately to change?"

The woman looked Ms. Walters straight in the eyes, and without hesitation said, 'Land Mines.'

Moral of the story is, no matter what language you speak and where you go: BEHIND EVERY MAN, THERE'S A SMART WOMAN.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Garlic Parmesan Orzo

I've been working on side dishes that Adam can eat. And he did eat this. While you can make this with any pasta I'm sure, the orzo (rice shaped pasta) is perfect for Adam to eat.


Garlic Parmesan Orzo
Modified from Quick Cooking

2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
2 tsp minced garlic
½ cup butter, cubed
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup milk
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley (2 tsp dried...I was actually out of fresh, so I used dried)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain. In large skillet, sauté garlic in butter until tender. Add the orzo, Parmesan cheese, milk, parsley, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until heated through.

Makes 8 servings.

Lemon Cookies

I always have to try a recipe from a new Joanne Fluke - she always has great recipes! This one was delicious! I had to try a non-chocolate one since I can't have chocolate until Easter!

Lemon Cookies
Modified from Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke

Cookies:
½ cup softened butter
¾ cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp lemon zest [you can go up to 1 tbsp of lemon zest, depending on how tart you want the cookies. I actually used the zest from one lemon, which was about 1 tsp for me - I'm not the best zester...you might be able to get more (I use a small microplaner). As a note, I'm the queen of the cheap and the dried lemon zest they sell in jars does NOT cut in it in ANY recipe]
2 tsp lemon juice [what I like about this recipe is it uses both the juice and zest so I feel justified in buying a lemon!]
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 2/3 cup flour
½ cup milk [she used whole milk and so did I as that is what I have in the house - it is what Adam drinks]

Topping: [I actually don't think the topping is necessary...I liked the cookies fine with or without it. With it they are sticky and so hard to store, so I don't think I'll use this again.]
¼ cup lemon juice [between the juice in the recipe and then this, I was a little shy on juice (if you microwave it for about 10 seconds it will juice much better), but I always have lemon juice concentrate in the fridge.]
¾ cup white sugar

Cream butter and sugar. Add in beaten egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix. Add in the milk and flour in two parts (so half of each, mix, then the rest of both and mix).

Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet, making each cookie the size of a cherry. According to the directions, if you make them too large, they will crumble, which I can see after making them. But to make a cherry, you need half of a regular spoonful (which is what I use). I make a few with a full spoonful and those also stayed together just fine. You just need to watch your size doesn't get out of hand - and I'm a bad offender here! If you make them larger, you'll just have fewer cookies, but larger ones.

Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.

Mix up topping while first batch is baking. Warm up lemon juice and then stir in sugar (warming up the lemon juice will make it easier to dissolve the sugar). I did find that you had to stir up the mixture before each use. Brush on hot cookies with a pastry brush (which I don't have, so I just drizzled it on with a spoon). As I said, I don't think I'd do this again, but what I did was nest wire racks in flat baking sheets to make clean up easier (stick it all in the dishwasher).

Makes 4 small dozen cookies (the one thing nice about small cookies was that this only took me two one sheet batches!)

Corn Bread

One of my current goals is to use some of the things in my pantry that I bought for one recipe. Hence, I've been working with cornmeal. Ray loves cornbread and I found a good, and easy, one!

Cornbread
Modified from Better Homes and Gardens

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 tbsp sugar (you can go down to 2 tbsp depending on how sweet you like your cornbread)
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
1 cup milk (I'm currently using whole milk in everything)
¼ cup oil or melted shortening (I just used vegetable oil)

Grease bottom and sides of a square casserole dish (8 by 8 or 9 by 9) and set it aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Make a well in center and set aside for later.

In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk and oil. Add egg mixture to dry all at once. Stir until moistened.

Spoon into prepared pan. Bake in 425 oven for 20-25 minutes or until center is done (use the toothpick test). Cool on wire rack.

Makes 8-9 servings.

Variations:
Double Corn Bread: Stir in a 12 oz can whole kernel corn with sweet peppers (I couldn't find this in my store, so I used an 11 oz can of Mexicorn), drained, into batter. ***Ray HATED this one. I didn't mind it, but I recommend eating it WARM.

Confetti Corn Bread: Stir in ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, ¼ cup shredded carrot and ¼ cup shredded zucchini into batter. (Haven't tried, but plan to over zucchini season.)

YouTube

You can check out my math videos on YouTube if you are interested. My class was having access trouble, so I went public! Laugh if you want, but my students seem to like them!

Rabbi

St. Joan of Arc has been doing discussions with world religions. The first two I missed, but I don't feel bad (I think I know Catholicism just fine and I'm just fine with Protestants, too). But Monday was a Jewish rabbi and so Adam and I went. It was actually really interesting. A decent crowd and some great questions. I learned some really interesting stuff, too. Being a history professor, cultural things like this really interest me. It was pretty long though - a problem with a one year old! (Ray was still at class).

To go with that, I had just read this article on the authors of the Dead Sea Srolls. I find it interesting to see the debate on if the authors weren't who we think they are - the Essenes:
So who were the real authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls? Elior theorizes that the Essenes were really the renegade sons of Zadok, a priestly caste banished from the Temple of Jerusalem by intriguing Greek rulers in 2nd century B.C. When they left, they took the source of their wisdom — their scrolls — with them. "In Qumran, the remnants of a huge library were found," Elior says, with some of the early Hebrew texts dating back to the 2nd century B.C. Until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the earliest known version of the Old Testament dated back to the 9th century A.D. "The scrolls attest to a biblical priestly heritage," says Elior, who speculates that the scrolls were hidden in Qumran for safekeeping.

I actually thought Rachel Elior's arguments were pretty valid too. Most primary sources are really hard to ascertain authors - it really is a matter of debate! The Dead Sea Scrolls are a valuable piece of Christian (and western) history and a truly wonderful source for getting the best translation of the Bible, no matter who the authors are, but it is an interesting debate.

Life....

Spring Break is almost here! This week has been a little crazy. While I'm technically on spring break from Lake Region, it hasn't felt like it! I had midterms to grade, stuff to catch up on...the list goes on. I think Ray's spring break will feel more like a break to me than mine.

We were up most of last night - Adam woke himself up when he peed through his diaper and just wouldn't settle back. We were up from like 2 AM to 6 AM. Such fun! Hopefully, tonight will be better. Last night was the first time in about 3 weeks we resorted to the binky and bottle. And it still didn't work! We did finally get him back to sleep, but we didn't get much after that.

Then today, my dryer was acting up (my lifeline!). Turns out water had gotten in the air vent, so Ray had to drain it, so hopefully, it is all better (that's why I'm up - I'm waiting on it to see).

Our Yard

Spring is arriving here in Ohio slowly! It has been really warm this week although today was a bit cooler.
Tulips are popping up
My strawberries coming back up


Olga Scrapbooking!

Olga's contribution to my scrapbooking!

Adam Outside

More pictures from Adam playing outdoors