A Slightly Random Interview

On Sunday we went to our good friend’s home.  Our friends, Josh and Bethany, were telling me that my blog is funny, particularly the post with the interview of my brother.  As Josh also has a blog, we decided to interview each other and post it on our blogs.  Here is my interview of Josh.

Me:  Thank you for consenting to this interview.
Josh:  You’re very welcome.

Me:  What did you do today?
Josh:  I got ready for church, went to church with my family, came home and spent time with some friends.

Me:  What has life been like lately?
Josh:  Life has been busy.

Me:  What do you do in your spare time?
Josh:  Eat fried rice, eat anything my sister makes, and I especially like taking pitchas. [Editor’s note: pictures – this is a requested spelling.]

Me:  What do you like to take “pitchas” of?
Josh:  People and cats and little plants.

Me:  What is your favorite movie?
Josh:  Dragonfly Paradise.

[Everyone looks at Josh rather confusedly.]

Me:  Is that a real movie?
Josh:  [Laughing]  No, I just made that up.

Me:  O.K., I need a real movie.
Josh:  Oh.  Just a minute.  [Gets up and looks at movies for a few minutes.]  Sophie Scholl.

Me:  What’s it about?
Josh:  It is about a young Christian woman who joins a German Anti-Nazi resistance group.

Me:  What are you reading?
Josh:  Let me look.  [Disappears into the other room, then reappears carrying a book of approx. 1000 pages.]  Ayn Raud Atlas.

Me:  What is it about?
Josh:  It is a about a near-future period when society has collapsed and the people who had strong ethics and maintained society are all disappearing.  Experiencing the world without those people.

Me:  Want non-existent tech would you like to exist?
Josh:  A very complicated machine that lets my imaginations be visualized by other people.

Me:  What is your biggest fear?
Josh:  Huge open skies.  [He went on to explain that this is a childhood fear.]  That I will go blind.

Me:  Irrational fear?
Josh:  Something I’m actually afraid of?  That all my friends will hate me.

Me:  I’ll try to never hate you.
Josh:  O.K.  [Laughs]
Bethany [his sister]:  Me too.

Me:  What is your pet peeve?
Josh:  My pet peeve is excessive grammatical/spelling mistakes.

Me:  Chocolate or vanilla?
Josh:  Chocolate.

Me:  When was the last time you cried?
Josh:  While watching a movie with my family.

Me:  [This is a question suggested by my little sister, Meiling.]  Do you like fire?
Josh:  I kind of like fire.

Me:  She [my sister] also wanted me to ask you if you like leaves.
Josh:  I do like leaves!

Me:  What do you want to do with your life?
Josh:  Have a good testimony for God’s work in my life, be able to have a job that I love and be able to support a family.

Me:  Do you have any goals for the next year that you can share with us?
Josh:  I have lots.  One is to become more experienced in my photography and have 5 photography jobs.

Me:  Do you have a motto?  Hakuna Matata?
Josh:  Hakuna Matata!  To value imaginations and emotions, but surround myself with people who anchor me and keep me down to earth.

Me:  What is an exciting thing in your life right now that you can share with us?
Josh:  All my wonderful friends that God has given me.
Drake [my brother]:  I like you, Josh!

Me:  What is one superpower that you would like to have?
Josh:  Flight.

Me:  Thank you for doing this interview.
Josh:  You’re very super welcome.

Check out his blog, as he posted his interview of me!  It was cut a little short, but it was still fun.

“Sons of Georgia” Movie Premier

Last Saturday we went to the “Sons of Georgia” movie premier.  We had a wonderful time and it was great to see the end result of the hard work of all our dear friends (they have been working on this for over a year)!  For a first movie, they did an excellent job.  It had funny parts, sad parts, happy parts, and serious parts.  I am glad that we were able to go.  Please go check out the Sons of Georgia website here.  They have several videos there, as well as some excellent photos from the event (much better that mine!).  You can watch the trailer here.

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Before the film:  The Producer

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The Producer and the Director

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A gift

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Chairs – they are labeled “Producer” and “Director”

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Leaving – we had to walk down this lovely alleyway by this lovely brick wall!  I didn’t get as much time to photograph it as I would have liked

Book Sale

When Spring comes, some people get excited about baby animals, warmer weather, and everything turning green.  While I get excited about those things too, I also get excited about something else.  Spring is also book sale season.

Today was book sale day.  We were able to make it to two book sales.  It was great.  We also met up with some friends, which made it extra fun!

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Here are some of my favorite finds of the day:

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Don’t you want to know what’s in the bakery truck? I sure do!

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An America’s Test Kitchen cookbook

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Isn’t he cute?!?

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I have heard this is good

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My sister

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My mom has 2 Little Pear books, and I was thrilled to find a third

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Ben-Hur…

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…from 1888

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin

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Remember the Alamo

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They coordinate!

The Versatile Blogger Award

Yesterday I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by YoursTrulyJulie.  Thank you oh so very much!

Now there are a few rules that come with the award:

1.  Thank the person who gave you the Award.

2.  Include a link to their blog.

3.  Select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.

4.  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.

5.  Tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

My nominees:

Organic Beauty Care Recipes

In Skirts and Wellies

Dancing in a Fishbowl 🙂

Leviticus 26 Homestead

arfotografie

All She Has to Say

Life Through a Living Imagination

Dirt Road Home

Racheal’s Ramblings

Wandering Words

Deep Roots at Home

Sojourning Here in Fear

From the Garret

Simply Vintagegirl

Julia’s Journal

Seven things about me:

1.  I sleep with my 14 pound little puppy, Lucy.  She is my living stuffed animal!

2.  I am very interested in nutrition/health/herbs.  It gets me excited.  Once, I kept myself up until midnight, thinking about purchasing organic free range chickens and cutting them up and freezing them so we would have chicken thighs, legs, wings, and breasts, all separated and frozen for future use.  It was really that exciting to me.

3.  When I am in the kitchen by myself, I like to turn on music and sing and dance.  Sometimes my little sister joins me and we sing into wooden spoons.

4.  My favorite animated film is “Over the Hedge.”

5.  I like to go to the library and check out lots of books, usually cookbooks, or books about health, decorating, or embroidery.  Sometimes I get so many that I am afraid that I will either drop them all or tip over.

6.  I love to read The Pioneer Woman’s books and her blog.  She makes me giggle.

7.  When I can, I like to try to figure out movie soundtracks on the piano.  Some that I have figured out are “He’s a Pirate” from “Pirates of the Caribbean” and parts of the “Chronicles of Narnia’” theme and parts of “Forrest Gump.”  I am currently trying to figure out “Up is Down” from “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” and “Arrival to Earth” from the first Transformers movie.  I haven’t necessarily seen all these movies – I just enjoy their soundtracks.

Kitchen Herbs

This past Saturday we went to a very cute farm-themed baby shower.  For favors and place cards they used little flower pots and buckets filled with goodies.  Now that I had a flower pot, I needed to plant something in it.

So I started thinking.  A flower would be nice, but you can’t eat it.  The flower’s purpose would be just to look pretty.  Not that there is anything bad about that.  I just usually like to plant plants that produce something that we use.

When we were starting seeds for our garden, I decided that I would try to grow some cilantro and parsley, since we use those herbs often and a whole bunch from the store can be too much.  It would be so nice to have some cilantro here in the kitchen, since that doesn’t do all too well out in the heat.  I started some thyme seeds in a bag a few weeks ago and the little plantlets needed to be planted.  I decided to plant cilantro in two of the pots and thyme in the third.

I really wanted to get them planted today, but it was already getting late.  While I was making cookies, I decided it was the perfect time to plant.  The recipe has you mix the butter, eggs, and sugar together for 30 seconds, then let the mixture sit for 3 minutes, and you have to repeat this process for a total of 3 times (this makes for a most delicious dough).  During those three minutes, I would hurry outside to work on my plants.  I had to work on them some more after the cookies were done, but it didn’t take all that long and I was very satisfied with the result.

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My inspiration

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Filled with dirt

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My cute watering can – it was found in a thrift store

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All planted, except the top one – I still need to put a cilantro seed in it

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Extra thyme plantlets that I need to do something with.  I’m not sure what that something is.

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A gooey chocolate chip cookie (yes, that is chocolate smeared on the counter, and no, I didn’t lick it off)

17

Yesterday I turned seventeen.  It’s rather hard to believe that I am seventeen.  I don’t feel quite as grown-up as I used to think I would when I was seventeen (or when I was sixteen, for that matter).  I remember wanting to be “grown-up.”  Now that I am seventeen, I’m realizing that it really isn’t all that grown-up.  Growing up has impressed me with a feeling, though, of everything not being the same way forever.  I am beginning to realize that the time I have here in my father’s house is probably limited, and even if it isn’t, I won’t have this time to speak into my siblings’ lives the way I do now.  We will always be friends, but someday I may be living in a home of my own or they will be living in a home of their own, and it won’t always be like it is today.  So to all you younger ladies out there who just can’t wait to grow up:  don’t try to push growing up.  I know this is hard, because there are times that I can’t wait to be more grown-up.  But remember – what you have today won’t be the same tomorrow.  Your little siblings grow up and things change.  Use the time and opportunities that He has given you today wisely, and don’t yearn after tomorrow – don’t worry, it will come.

So yesterday was my birthday.  Daddy was planning on taking the day off, but he was having a problem at work, and we were not sure whether he would be able to take the day off.  Thankfully he only had to work until ten or so, and was able to have the rest of the day off.  After lunch and opening gifts, we went to downtown St. Charles to walk around and go to antique stores.  It was fun, even though we didn’t find anything.  St. Charles has many cute little stores, and it is fun to go down there and look around.  After that, we stopped and got some cookies at Grandma’s Cookies (a cute little bakery on Main Street) and got some drinks at Starbucks (you know it – MOCHA!).  Mom made me chicken and potato bake for dinner – delicious and pretty simple.  After dinner we watched a few episodes of Cake Boss, which is a show about an Italian family-owned bakery in New Jersey.  It was a wonderful day!

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In the window of an antique shop – old meets new

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I like the railroad track.  Unfortunately, that dumpster was in the way.  It was a little big for me to move, so I had to have it in the picture. 🙂

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In an antique store

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A pretty quilt

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See anything that doesn’t quite belong?  Tell me!

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Mocha!

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This little mouse was sitting outside of Starbucks.  Dad gave him a little piece of his cookie.  We tried to warn them – if you give a mouse a cookie…

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What was left of the cookies

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Mmmm…

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Lens cap

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On the way home

I’m Blessed

This past Saturday we helped a family in our church move.  I think this is my third church move to participate in (not counting our own).  I love it.  There is something very special about how our church comes together to help the family move.

I’ll give you a run down of what the day looked like so you get a picture of how this all worked.  The family we helped was moving from about 1 1/2 hours away to about 10 minutes away.  The first team of people started loading the truck at the old house at around 8 or 8:30 a.m.  Team 2 started arriving at the new house at 12:00.  The truck didn’t come until one, so after completing a few quick jobs we all had a great time visiting.  Not long after the truck arrived, the parade of boxes and furniture began.  The men, boys, and some of the young ladies were unloading the truck while the ladies and the rest of the young ladies started unpacking boxes or doing other odd jobs.  It went something like this:  the kitchen chairs were brought in, so a few ladies started wiping them down (moving is a great time to clean out and clean up).  When the table came in, one lady assembled it while another wiped it down, all the while having a conversation about farming.  In the meantime someone else is putting the food in the fridge with a few other young ladies, and the box parade is continuing.  As more furniture is being brought in, a few of us head to the master bedroom to start putting the bed together.  There are a few more boxes to be unloaded in the kitchen, so that gets taken care of.  Then someone hands me some clothes, so I take that over to the closet, where a few ladies are now sorting the clothes.  (They have this really nice large master bedroom closet, so that everyone’s clothes could fit in one closet.  Isn’t that convenient?)  When all was said and done, we out of there by 3:00.  There were still more boxes for them to unload, but the furniture was there and the kitchen was set up, and the house was starting to look like a home.

All this to say that I love watching our church in action.  This not only happens when somebody is moving, but when there is a new baby, or someone is ill.  Everyone pulls together to help.  They have become more family than friends.  It shows me one of the many ways in which I am so blessed by this wonderful, loving group of people that God placed me in.  We did this for them, and they did it for us, and, when the need arises, we will do it for them, and they will do it for us.  It is so wonderful knowing that.  To me, it is a great picture of how the church works.  I love all of you so much!

Have you ever been able to see the church in action?  Have you ever been blessed this way?

The Creek

Next to our home runs a private road.  Part of it has gravel, but the majority of it is just a mix of rocks, dirt, and plants.  The trees grow over it, so most of the way is shaded.  The wildflowers are blooming next to it.  After about a ten or fifteen minute walk down this road, you reach the creek.

When you first reach the creek, you walk out under the open sky into full sun.  On the right the creek is shallow and shaded with tall trees arching over it, giving the water underneath a dappled look.  On the left there are lots of rocks, with the creek getting narrower and deeper, with trees hanging over it from the farther bank.

We walked down to the creek this past Sunday.  I took my camera (surprise, surprise).  We also brought our black lab Shadow, who loves to swim.  Noah and Meiling played fetch with her, and Dad threw the ball occasionally.  I took pictures of the whole thing.

Here are some of the photos.  I was quite unhappy as there were all these lovely wildflowers and I hadn’t brought my macro lens, since I was trying to reduce baggage. 🙂

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The road to the creek

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This looks fairytale-like to me

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To the right

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I love water, ripples…

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…and sun sparkles!

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Throwing the ball for the dog

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Playing in the water

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I found this plant interesting

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Sloshin’ around

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To the left

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When you get wet, you have to shake all that water off.

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Sometimes your lips look weird.

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But it always feels good

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Oh yeah

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Noah

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This is going to be a new tradition – a lens cap picture wherever I go

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More dog shaking off pictures – sorry, they’re just so fun

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That feels good.

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Just lovin’ those yellow boots

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Foot pictures…also very fun

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Flowers without a macro lens

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I like how this one turned out

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Where we took a little stroll – an even older road

So what did you do for Resurrection Sunday?  We didn’t do a whole lot.  Since some of us have been sick, we stayed home from church so not to infect everyone.  Nothing to fancy – we went to the creek, read Bible, played badminton, and had dinner.  Do you have a Resurrection Sunday tradition?

Happy Friday!

~Allison

When Éclairs Fail

Last week when we were at the library, Mom picked up this book on the new items shelf titled “The Art of French Baking.”

“Do you want this?” she asked me.

I looked at it.  At the moment, it didn’t look all that exciting.  After considering for a moment, I replied, “Sure.”

Once I had it for a few days, I was trying to decide whether or not I wanted to try anything from it.  I new as soon as I tried any of the recipes, I would want to purchase the book and I would be caught in a vortex of making delicious pastries and such.  Well, in the end, I decided to try one of the recipes.

This afternoon I decided to make éclairs. It was rather fun.  I started with the choux pastry, and while that was cooling, I made the crème patissiere.  And that is where the trouble started.  I was letting my little sister Meiling stir the crème patissiere as it cooked.  I think she stirred it rather too slow, and when it was getting close to the end, she called to me to show me a large clump that had formed in the crème.

Great.  It has lumps.  It’s not supposed to have lumps, right?  I quickly grabbed the spoon from Meiling and started rapidly stirring it.  Then I grabbed a whisk and started vigorously whisking it.  It still tasted good.  I decided to run it through a strainer.  I know that’s not really something that you want to do, but now it was time for drastic measures.

Once the crème was running through a strainer, I started melting the butter and chocolate for the frosting.  While it was melting, I started thinking that I was starting it a bit early, so I turned it off to wait for later.

Now it was time to return to the choux pastry, since it was cooled to room temperature.  I quickly dumped in the eggs, only to realize later that the recipe says to add the eggs slowly.  Oh well.

Piping the choux pastry onto the cookie sheet was rather fun.  It looked very nice, all the cute little mounds of dough.  And there was something almost professional-feeling about using the frosting bag to put the dough on the cookie sheet.

About halfway through the baking time, I took out the pans to switch them.  All of the little éclairs on one pan had spread instead of rising.  They now looked more like the picture of madeleines in the cookbook rather than éclairs.  I thought that I could sandwich two together to make the éclairs instead of slicing them in half.  We’d just have to see how it went.

By the time they were done baking and cooling I was so done with the éclair run-around that I didn’t really feel like trying to make the to-thin pastries and the slightly-thin-and-still-slightly-lumpy crème patissiere work together.  On top of that, I still hadn’t made the frosting, and there was dinner to think about.  So I made the executive decision to make the éclairs into something else.

The question was what was the something else.  When I was looking at the pastry, the custard, and the melted chocolate and butter, it looked to me like a pudding or a trifle.  That is what I made.  I layered some of the pastries first, then some of the crème, and next some of the chocolate mixture, then repeated until everything was gone.

We just finished eating my pudding a la éclair, and everybody enjoyed it.  Drake said that he though it tasted good, but he wasn’t sure.  He is sick, and his nose is so stuffed up he can’t taste anything.  Meiling said that it tasted like good stuff.  Noah likened it too vanilla pudding with chocolate.  I compared it to a custard-filled donut with chocolate frosting.  Mom decided that it tasted just like an éclair.

Here is a list of a few things that I learned from this experience:

1. When a recipe says to add something gradually, you have to add it gradually. It is important that you read the word “gradually” and that you remember that the recipe said gradually.

2.  Choux pastry must be baked one pan at a time.

3.  Crème patissiere needs to be stirred slightly more vigorously.

4.  Always have a backup plan.  Having a plan B is generally a good idea when baking (or cooking, for that matter).

Now for the recipe.

Pudding A La Éclair, or What to do With Failed Eclairs

1 quantity choux pastry, baked as for éclairs, but that didn’t quite work out
1 quantity crème patissiere, from which the lumps have been strained
1 quantity chocolate frosting, minus the eggs, since you were too tired to finish it for something that wasn’t
   going to work out anyway

1. Place some of the éclairs in the bottom of a glass bowl with straight sides.  Pour some of the crème on top.

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2.  Drizzle some of the chocolate mixture on top.

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3.  Add some more of the éclairs.

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4.  Now pour some more of the crème on top of the éclairs.

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5.  Continue layers until all the ingredients are used up, ending with chocolate.  Swirl the top.  Refrigerate until ready to eat.

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It is getting rather late, so I will post more pictures of the éclair making process and of the decorated pudding tomorrow, Lord willing.  I really need to get to bed so I can be ready for a rerun of the éclair project.  No, I will not be doing that tomorrow, but I am hoping that I will try again soon.

Good night!