Monday, April 30, 2012

About That Water

There's a reason you haven't heard a report on the water drinking experiment. I cannot tell a lie. The experiment only lasted ten days. I couldn't take it.

My lifestyle was completely turned upside down because I planned everything around the location of the nearest bathroom. I felt like I was pregnant again.

Take a tip from me: don't go from drinking almost no water to drinking 8 glasses of water a day overnight.

I now have a more practical plan. Tomorrow I will begin by drinking three glasses of water. Each week, I will up the ante by one glass until I get to eight. That will take five weeks.

By gradually increasing my water intake, I hope my body will slowly adjust without needing to live by the bathroom door. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

BBQ Pulled Chicken

This was a very easy and delicious crockpot recipe. You can make this with pork or chicken.

Slow-Cooked BBQ Chicken
4-6 boneless chicken breasts
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
1/4 c. vinegar
1 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. garlic powder

Place chicken in slow cooker. Mix remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour sauce over chicken. Cook on low 4 hours. Take chicken out and use a fork to pull chicken apart. Put chicken back in slow cooker, stir and cook one more hour on low. Serve on buns.

Six chicken breasts makes enough for at least ten sandwiches.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I Want to Be a Librarian

How did someone (me) who got a Bachelor's degree in Accounting end up being a school librarian?

Let's just say I should never have studied Accounting. The only useful thing that came from my Accounting degree was meeting Don. If I hadn't gotten a degree in Accounting, I would not have gotten a job at Arthur Andersen & Co. If I hadn't gotten a job at Arthur Andersen & Co., I would not have met Don.

Meeting Don led to having three children. Having three children led to reading children's books to them. Reading children's books to them led to my wanting to be a librarian. This sounds an awful lot like a children's book I happen to love: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. One thing leads to another.

It is fitting that my name is Marianne because in the musical Music Man, Marianne is the Librarian. Actually, it is Marian the Librarian. Close enough.

I'm missing the library if you haven't figured that out by now. It all started when I saw the cover of this 1960's book on Pinterest. I want to be a LIBRARIAN.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

End of the Day

It was a long, hard day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Google pedia

My current library book is Google pedia. It looked interesting sitting on the library shelf, so I brought all 713 pages of it home and read it. Well, I read some of it. It is an encyclopedia after all.

Most people think of Google as the most powerful search engine in the world. Actually, most people don't even think about Google at all. They just type their words in the search box and hit the search button.

Google is so much more than a search engine. There's Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Images, Google Chrome, Google News, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Picasa, YouTube, Blogger and Gmail just to name of few.

You can do without Microsoft, Internet Explorer, Mapquest, and Photoshop. Basically, you can run your whole life using Google applications. That's scary.

A few things I didn't know:

The word "google" is a play on the mathematical term "googol" which is the number represented by a 1 followed by 100 zeros.

If you had gotten in on the initial IPO investment on August 19, 2004, your GOOG stock would have cost $100/share.  Shares closed today at $609.72 each. Not a bad investment.

Google's headquarters is called "Googleplex" which is located in Mountain View California near San Jose.

Google was founded in 1998 by two Stanford University students, Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Peter needs something quick to grab for breakfast. These muffins have a little protein in them and they aren't too sweet, so I thought they'd be good to send out the door with him. I found the recipe on Annie's Eats.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2/3 c. brown sugar
6 T. butter, melted and cooled
1/2 c. peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 c. milk
3/4 c. chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth. Add in the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin cups, filling each to the top.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Slow Poke

Daniel called yesterday to tell us he ran a 5K in about 20 minutes. It was the annual Donut Dash at Miami University. At the halfway point in the race, you have to eat at least one donut before you continue. So he ran the race with a donut in his belly.

My Couch to 5K training stops when you can run 30 minutes. I guess this assumes the average person can run a 5K in that time. Not me.

I'm slow. Very slow. Slow as a turtle. I just finished week 7 which had me running for 25 minutes. I can almost get to the 2-mile mark in that time.

Let's see...that's almost a 12.5 minute mile. Times that by three and add another 5 minutes for good measure. I'll finish the race in approximately 42.5 minutes. Slow as molasses in winter.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

West Side Market

It was a gloomy Saturday morning, but that did not stop us from traveling to Cleveland's West Side Market to meet our friends John and Eva. We planned this trip way back in October when we went to dinner with them at Mallorca.

The West Side Market building was dedicated in 1912, but before that it was an open air market serving Cleveland since 1840. Over 100 vendors set up their booths Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

John promised to give us a tour, pointing out all the best foods he and Eva enjoy. We started at a spice booth and worked our way around to the meats, cheeses, bakery, pasta and Middle Eastern booths. We came home with several bags of goodies: Saffron for Don's mom, smoked German sausage, homemade beef jerky, blue and goat cheeses, ravioli, kibbee, and fresh pita bread.

Since it was a Saturday, the aisles were bumper to bumper and we had to wait a long time to be waited on. I want to go back during the week when I can take my time, talk to the vendors and purchase more things.

John and Don by one of the meat counters.

Look at all the beautiful vegetables. There were rows and rows of them along with beautiful fruits.

One thing we opted NOT to get: chicken feet.

After our shopping tour, we had lunch at the Flying Fig restaurant across the street.

Friday, April 20, 2012

To Die For: A Story of Anne Boleyn

Sandra Byrd is a popular author of Christian fiction. She is best known for her books written for teens. Several of her books in series (London Confidential, Friends for a Season and Secret Sisters) were popular with elementary and middle school girls in the library.

Sandra now has books in two adult series (French Twist and Ladies in Waiting). To Die For is the first book in her Ladies in Waiting series. It is the story of Anne Boleyn as told through the eyes of her best friend, Meg Wyatt.

This book gives a completely different view of the court of Henry VIII than The Other Boleyn Girl, which I read a number of years ago. In Byrd's book, Anne is portrayed as being courageous and intelligent rather than as a scheming, conniving witch.

I found it interesting to read how the Reformation and William Tyndale's English translation of the Bible began to affect the lives of  people during the Tudor period.

My favorite genre is historical fiction, so this book was right up my alley.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Seeing Double

I have a disease called "Identical Twin Blindness".

I know this because I had many identical twins in library class, and I was never able to tell them apart. I checked out their books week after week, year after year without knowing who was who. I'd ask the first twin what his or her name was. Then when the second twin came to the desk, I'd know for sure who it was.

Not all of these twins were forgiving of my disease. The twins Matthew and Aaron got particularly frustrated with me. I felt horrible about it. Their mother even tried to help me by telling me that one of them had a flat head in the back. That didn't help. I wasn't looking at the back of their heads.

Skylar and Taylor didn't mind my disease at all. They corrected me with a smile. I saw one of them at Peter's tennis match tonight. I was sure it was Taylor because she was wearing glasses. The last time I saw the twins, Taylor wore glasses and Skylar wore contact lenses. Sure enough, it was not Taylor, it was Skylar. I give up!

There were identical twins in almost all of the grades. It was hopeless. I couldn't understand how the classroom teachers and aides could tell them apart by day two. I could never find any distinguishing features.

There is a real disease called Prosopagnosia or "Face Blindness". This is where a person cannot recognize people by looking at their face. They can't even recognize their own children. I'm not that bad. But I sure am glad I didn't have identical twins!

Monday, April 16, 2012

My Life as a Secretary

I didn't go to college immediately following high school. As a junior and senior, I followed the secretarial track. I took the required classes in the morning, then every afternoon, I was in I.O.E. class. That stands for Intensive Office Education.

I learned how to type very fast (80 words per minute on a manual typewriter). I learned how to take shorthand (140 words per minute in a steno notebook). How do I remember this? I still have my award pins in my jewelry box.

When I graduated from high school, I landed a job at Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. as a secretary to five engineers in the Materials, Handling & Packaging department. There, I learned all about hazardous materials and building boxes.

My career as a secretary lasted two short years. By that time, I was ready to move on to college. I had saved some money and bought a Chevy Camero for transportation.

This photo was taken in August of 1979, my last day of work. The guys bought me a necklace as a going away gift. That's why my hand is up near my chin. I'm showing it off. If you look to the left, you will see evidence of the time period. My manual typewriter is there, along with a rotary telephone. This was back in the days when I still made a lot of my clothes. I made that dress. Don't miss the stylish Dorothy Hamill haircut which was popular in the late 1970's.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Baked Penne with Meat Sauce

This sauce smelled so good while it was cooking! I would use this sauce in the future with spaghetti or any kind of pasta. It is very easy to make and tastes delicious. Don went back for seconds.

Baked Penne with Meat Sauce

8 ounces penne pasta
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1  14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 of a 6-ounce can Italian-style tomato paste
1/3 c. dry red wine
1/3 c. water
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. dried oregano, crushed
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 c. sliced pitted ripe olives (optional)
1 c. (or more) shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook ground beef and onion on medium heat until meat is browned, stirring to break up meat as it cooks. Drain off fat. Stir undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, water, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper into meat in skillet. Bring sauce to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in pasta and olives. Spoon into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Cover with foil. Bake about 20 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered about 5 minutes more or until cheese melts.

Don't forget you can buy mini bottles of wine at Giant Eagle. I love them! I use what I need for the dish and someone gets a glass of wine with dinner. Tonight it was Don.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Don't Leave Me

The 5K is less than four weeks away, so I have been running outside. This is something new for Riley. He doesn't like it at all. When I put my running shoes on and hook my iPod up, it signals to him that we are going for a walk in the neighborhood. He gets excited, but I have to tell him he has to stay home.

When I walk out the door, he runs to the front window and gets in a panic. He doesn't just whimper or bark. He howls in a manner in which anyone who doesn't know him would think he has been stabbed and is about to keel over.

He keeps it up until I return. Don has about had it with him. So into the crate he will go before I even signal to him that I am going outside. Before he even sees the iPod or the running shoes, he will be locked in his little cave.

Of course I will take him for a walk when I get home.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


While bopping around the web and on Pinterest, I bookmark many blogs and web pages for future reference. I have more bookmarks than I'll ever be able to go back and act on, but here are a few to share before they get lost in oblivion.

At Eat Yourself Skinny, I found a recipe containing my two favorite ingredients: Diet Coke and chocolate!

Every Friday on Shutterbeam is I Love Lists Fridays! I could get stuck here for hours and hours.

If you like to be creative, Big Picture Classes offers many online projects.

The Fickle Pickle blog has a great tutorial for a simple beginner's quilt.

Becky Higgins has a website that is mainly devoted to her Project Life scrapbooking method. But she also has some pretty good recipes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No Clapping Allowed

I was rude at Peter's first tennis match. I was rude because I clapped when Peter's team won a point. Apparently that's a no-no in the high school tennis world.

Peter's team won a point because Peter hit the ball over the net in such a way that the opponent could not return the ball successfully. The ball went into the net instead.

I was sitting on the ground near the opponent's coach. He turned to me and said, "please don't clap when my team hits the ball into the net." He gave me a look that indicated I was being extremely rude.

Excuse me, but I didn't know it was a crime to cheer for your own team. I didn't even notice that the ball was hit into the net. Even if it wasn't hit into the net, in order for us to score, the ball would have been missed completely or hit out of bounds. Would it be alright to clap in those cases?

My feathers don't get ruffled easily, but this comment still haunts me two weeks later. Was that really rude? I hardly think so. Apparently this coach has never been to a football game.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Frosted Pumpkin Cake

We love all things pumpkin around here, so tonight I made a pumpkin cake. The recipe is from Cooking Light magazine (November 2009). The cake itself was not sweet at all, but the frosting recipe was overpoweringly sweet. I would not recommend it. Next time, I would just buy a can of pre-made cream cheese frosting from the grocery store.

Frosted Pumpkin Cake
2 1/4 c. flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 t. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

2 T. butter, softened
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) package 1/3 less fat cream cheese
2 c. sifted powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Stir with a whisk.  Combine brown sugar, 1/4 c. butter, and 1 t. vanilla in a mixer bowl. Mix on medium speed until well combined.  Add eggs, one at a time to sugar mixture; beat well after each addition. Add pumpkin; mix well. Fold in flour mixture. Spread batter into a 13 x 9 pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cook completely in pan.

Frosting: Combine 2 T. butter, 1/2 t. vanilla and cream cheese in a mixer bowl; beat at medium speed until combined. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until well combined. Spread frosting evenly over top of cake.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Tooth Fair Cometh

Peter never believed in the Tooth Fairy. He was too smart for that. When a tooth fell out, he wouldn't let me know. He would put it under his pillow and tell me in the morning, proving there was no such thing as a Tooth Fairy.

Katherine, on the other hand, believed. That's why she has this stash of 20 one-dollar bills. She is 23 years old, but she kept the Tooth Fairy cash under her bed in a safe all these years.

When she emerged from her digging last night, she asked me, "does money expire?" I said, "no, I don't think so...why?" That's when she produced the wad of bills. She said it was all from the Tooth Fairy.

I'm trying really hard to make sure she doesn't grow up to be one of those hoarders you see on TV. I told her to take the $20 and buy some tooth-rotting candy first thing in the morning.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

That's My King

He's God's Son. He's the sinner's Savior. He's the centerpiece of civilization. He stands alone in Himself. He's august. He's unique. He's unparalleled. He's unprecedented. He's supreme. He's pre-eminent.

My king is the key of knowledge. He's the wellspring of wisdom. He's the doorway of deliverance. He's the pathway of peace. He's the roadway of righteousness. He's the highway of holiness. He's the gateway of glory. He's the master of the mighty. He's the captain of the conquerors. He's the head of the heroes. He's the leader of the legislatures. He's the overseer of overcomers. He's the governor of governors. He's the prince of peace. He's the King of kings and He's the Lord of lords. That's my King.

I wish I could describe Him to you, but He's indescribable. Yes. He's incomprehensible. He's invincible. He's irresistible. That's my King.

- S. M. Lockridge (1913-2000)

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Story About Hair

We didn't know Daniel had wild hair when he was born. In fact, we didn't know it until he was in the fifth grade. That's when it grew out more than an inch. Fifth grade was the year his hair started to plague him. He couldn't tame it with a brush or comb. Only gel would keep his hair from having a mind of its own.

At one point, it got so bad that he and his friend, Andrew, developed a gel formula of their own.

By the time he was in 10th grade, Daniel had thrown all his gel bottles in the trash and decided to go au natural. We had no idea his hair was this curly.

One day, two of his friends decided it would be funny to straighten his curls with their hair straightener. They made him look like Prince. Daniel is the one in the middle in case you weren't sure.

And then at the end of his junior year, Daniel decided he'd had enough of those curls. He got them all cut off. No one recognized him. Not his soccer coach, not his teachers, not his friends. But I knew it was my boy.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cheesecake Jars

I love cheesecake. Any kind of cheesecake will do. But when I eat cheesecake, I just want a little bit...just a taste.

When I came across these cute little cheesecake jars, I thought they would be perfect for a party dessert. Since I have a couple of parties on the horizon, I want to try to make these.

Four-ounce jelly jars are available at Walmart.

The recipe for the cheesecakes can be found at The Italian Dish.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Deja vu

My mother always told me to hang onto my clothes because they would become fashionable again in 30 years. I didn't believe her. But yesterday Peter purchased a shirt that brought back memories from my high school days.

In the late 1970's, guys wore striped tank tops like the one Peter is wearing in the picture. I think I remember one of my old boyfriends wearing one just like it. Who would have thought they would come back around?

I think he looks very handsome in his new shirt.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Details, Details

During times of stress, I survive by not thinking about the details. Katherine is the same way. We just block it all out. As you can see from the photo, she is not worried at all that we are a month behind on our wedding planning checklist.

Yesterday, we spent three hours in a poolside wedding pow-wow. It is Peter's spring break, so we went to Florida even though we don't have the cake, invitations or bridesmaid dresses figured out.

The wedding is a little over four months away. Yikes! O.K., that scares me.

During our executive meeting, we discussed the following:

wedding gown fitting
veil and shoes
table linens
songs to play
songs not to play
photos to take
favors to make
rehearsal dinner
arrangements for out of town guests
marriage license
ceremony schedule
ceremony programs
invitation wording
seating chart
hotel rooms
hair, makeup, manicures

Did I forget anything? Oh yeah, the mother-of-the-bride dress!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Book Exchange Party

Don't come to my house on the 4th of June. It is April Fool's Day, after all. I just thought this was the most cool thing I have come across in a long time. It's the librarian in me.

A Library Geek Blog lets you generate your very own card catalog cards!! I can hardly contain my excitement. I have to give credit to Reid Girls Handmade blog for the idea.

They came up with the book exchange party. I would love to do this, and I think I will. However, this summer is out of the question since Peter is graduating and Katherine is getting married. I will have too many parties to handle until 2013. This one's on the back burner unless one of my readers would like to have the party and invite me to it.