Monday, August 29, 2011

Two Easy Recipes: So Easy and Oh, So Good!

I'm always looking for new, delicious recipes to try (especially desserts), so I thought I'd share two recipes that I've recently tried. They are both really yummy and easy.

Toffee Crunch Pie
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened                       
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup half and half                                                           
1 8-ounce tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 8-ounce package milk chocolate toffee pieces      
1 9-inch graham cracker crust

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
Beat in half and half until blended. Fold in Cool Whip and 1 cup toffee bits.
Spoon into crust; sprinkle remaining toffee bits on top.
Cover and freeze overnight. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before eating

This is the original recipe for the pie, but after eating it the first time my mom and I thought that we could improve the recipe at bit, so this is what we did to jazz it up a bit:

We used
a full 8 ounce package of cream cheese (and we added proportionately more sugar). We also used a full package of the toffee bits in the filling and put about ½ cup more on the top. We also thought that putting some hot fudge on the crust (and letting it set up) before spooning in the filling would be good, and then drizzling more fudge on the top of the pie. We thought that chopped peanut butter cups or Andes mint pieces instead of toffee might be a good variation as well.

Andes Layered Frozen Mousse Pie

2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened                                         
2 cups Andes crème de menthe chips
1 chocolate wafer crumb crust, 9 inch                                  
1 ½ cups whipping cream, divided
2 egg yolks


Stir ½ cup Andes baking chips into ice cream, spoon into crust and freeze.
Melt remaining chips in ½ cup whipping cream over low heat, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat, stir in egg yolks.
Continue heating over medium heat 3-5 min. until mixture begins to thicken. Do not boil.
Cool to room temperature.
Whip remaining cup whipping cream until stiff peaks form, fold into cooled mixture.
Spread over ice cream in crust.
Freeze 4 hours or overnight.
Allow pie to stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Quickie Visit

My sister Annette and her family came for a very short visit (about 24 hours) this weekend. Annette lives in Arkansas and she and her family drove up to St. Louis on Saturday and stayed overnight with us. They left after church yesterday to go to Joseph's parents house (about 30 minutes away). Joseph's parents are going to watch Annette and Joseph's kids for a few days while Joseph and Annette spend a few days in New York. It would've been nice to have been able to spend more time with my sister's family, but I'll take what I can get and be happy with it!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Word Association

In this day and age if you hear the word "googol" you probably associate it with "Google," as in the search engine. However, googol has been a normal part of my vocabulary since I was a little girl. For as long as I can remember, my mom and I have called each other "best friends." I'm not sure when I took it a step further, but when I was in elementary school I started telling my mom that "I loved her more than the whole universe, a googol times over." (This saying probably came about after I learned about the number googol in school, and since it was the biggest number I knew, I felt it was an accurate representation of how much love I had for my mom.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Heaven Is for Real"

I don't know how many 27-year-olds still have their mothers read books to them, but I do! I guess it's just one of the perks of being completely paralyzed and unable to hold a book, right?! All kidding aside, we really do enjoy reading together. It's fun to be able to discuss the book you're reading with someone else.

Anyway, the book that we finished a few nights ago is called Heaven is for Real. This book is a best-selling true story written by the father of a little boy who had a near-death experience in 2003. I loved this book and enjoyed hearing what heaven was like according to a four-year-old boy. His descriptions of heaven and what happened there were so honest and insightful while still being childlike at the same time.

This is a very religious and spiritual book in that there is considerable talk of God and Jesus, as well as other topics like faith, prayer, family and love. I'm a very religious person, so I enjoy books of this nature where I'm able to read about other people's experiences and how their religious beliefs help them get through difficult things. I know that God is real and that we are His children and that He loves us. I'm so thankful that I know this so that I don't have to doubt, worry and question.

Sometimes I wonder what people who either aren't very religious or aren't at all religious think of a book like this, or what they think of the views, thoughts and opinions of people who are religious and firm believers in things like God, Jesus, heaven, etc. I'm curious because I can't imagine life (especially MY life as a disabled person) without being sure that God is there.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Adele

Have you heard of Adele? She released her first album a few years ago and recently released her second album. Now, I just have to throw out a disclaimer that her unique voice is kind of an acquired taste. The reason I say that is because she doesn't have your traditional female pop singer sound. That being said, I love her! The more I listen to her music, the more I love it. Here are some of my favorite songs off of her new album "21."

I'd love to hear what you think, so take a listen and let me know!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Banner Tutorial

I recently changed the look of my blog, and several people have asked me about it. Yes, I did it myself, but it was only after I watched this tutorial that I learned how to do it. I'm not very computer savvy and I often feel like I don't really know what I'm doing, but I think it turned out really well and it was pretty straightforward and easy. I also redesigned my sister's blog, and I like the way hers turned out even more than mine. I think it helped that we had some nice, bright pictures to work with. Having good pictures to work with totally makes all the difference.

I've often seen blogs that are very personalized and professional and I've always wondered how people were able to do what they did, so I'm glad I ran across this user-friendly tutorial. Play around with it and feel free to ask me any questions.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"

This afternoon my sister Chandra and I went went to the movies and we saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This movie had the potential to either be really good or really bad, and I think it was really good. The special effects in this movie were awesome because the apes looked so real. Things have sure come a long way from the 1968 version of Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston. In that movie (and in the sequels that followed) actors wore ape costumes, but in this new movie actors did the moving for the apes, but computer effects did the rest. No ape costumes required.
The end of the movie definitely left the door open for a sequel, but only time (and ultimately box office tallies) will tell if it will actually happen or not.

Another reason why I loved this movie was because James Franco was in it. I love James Franco! He's funny, he's a good actor, not to mention his intelligence and ambition. Not only is he a successful actor, but he has a Master's degree and is getting his PhD. I love that about him!

Friday, August 19, 2011

"Flight to Heaven"


My mom and I recently finished reading a great book called Flight to Heaven: A Pilot's True Story by Capt. Dale Black.This is the true story of Dale Black who was in a plane crash on July 18, 1969. Dale sustained horrible injuries to his body and he should've died, but for some reason his life was spared. Dale didn't receive a very good prognosis from his doctor in terms of regaining full use of his body, but Dale was the kind of guy that didn't take no for an answer and he knew that with God all things were possible. Dale made a goal to fly himself over the site where his crash happened on the first anniversary of the crash, but everyone told him it was impossible. With the Lord on his side, Dale defied odds and was able to do the impossible.

It is true that with God all things are possible. However, just because things are possible, doesn't necessarily mean that they will come to pass the way that we would like them to, or when we want them to. I know that the Lord could heal me if it were His will. Often times what we want to happen is not what the Lord has planned for our lives. That's the tough part. When people don't understand God's will, that's when people start questioning God or get angry when things don't go the way we want them to.

I enjoyed this book so much and I could really relate to so much in it. I recommend it to everyone, especially for those who enjoy true stories.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blog in Hardcover

I recently passed the second anniversary of when I started my blog. Last year I decided to have the posts I wrote in my first year of blogging printed into a book, and it turned out so well that I decided that I would have my blog printed into a book every year when I pass my blogiversary.

I ordered my second blog book last week and it arrived last night. I was surprised at how thick it was. It's easily an inch thick, and my mom and I think it looks like a textbook! In my first year of blogging I wrote approximately 160 posts, and in my second year of blogging I wrote 268 posts, so I wrote considerably more posts in my second year than in my first, so that's why it is a much more substantial book.

The website I use to have my blog printed into a book is blog2print.com and it is really easy to use. You just enter the address of your blog and a few minutes later it's finished. The thing I like about blog2print is that you don't have to do any copying/pasting like you do with other websites that I looked into.

I love having a hard cover copy of my blog that I can show people. My mom was looking at my blog book last night and she remarked how I write about such a broad variety of topics. It's really true – I write about so much! I write about the things I'm up to, my projects, my family, my thoughts about things, things that I think are funny or interesting, movies that I've seen, books that I've read, food I like, religious thoughts, products from the store that I really like – you name it. I just love to write about this, that and everything!

Monday, August 15, 2011

"The Help"

This afternoon I went to the movies with my mom and friend Lacee, and we saw The Help. I first heard about this book at the beginning of 2010 and got around to listening to it last summer. (I just have to say that the audio book was SO enjoyable to listen to because the narrators that gave voice to the three main characters telling the story did an incredible job.) I listened to the book for a second time last month since I knew the movie would be coming out shortly.

The movie was so entertaining and I thought it was fantastic. The movie was so well made and I thought that they got the casting right on because just about every character was portrayed by an actor that played their role perfectly.
I felt so many different emotions during the movie. Anger, sadness, joy, gratitude, etc. I laughed, I got choked up, I cried. Anyway, I highly recommend this movie to everyone, especially if you read and enjoyed the book.

Sunday Dinner

Yesterday I invited my friend Hillarie over for dinner. My mom made homemade hamburgers and we had potato salad and fresh strawberries. Dinner was so yummy and it was wonderful to be able to spend some quality time with my good friend Hill and to hear all about her family vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico last week.

Check out this picture of my burger – it was so good!
My mom made a new recipe for dessert. It was a frozen Andes Mint ice cream pie. It was amazing, and I can't to have second slice for dinner tonight!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Amy's First Year

A little over a month ago I bought a new slideshow program called Proshow Producer. It cost several hundred dollars, but even though it was expensive, I decided to get it since I liked everything I read about it when I was researching new programs.

I decided to take it for a trial run and make a slideshow for my niece Amy's first birthday. This program is definitely a lot more complex and time consuming to use than the other slideshow program I've used in the past, so I felt overwhelmed at first and I wondered if I'd be able to make a nice slideshow. I only had a few weeks to work on this first  project, but in the end I think it turned out really well.

The slideshow was a surprise for my sister and I showed it at Amy's birthday party. It was a hit with everyone, especially Amy's parents. I uploaded the slideshow to YouTube so that my friends and family would have  an easy way to watch it.

Take a look and let me know what you think.

Amy's First Birthday

My niece Amy turned one last Wednesday and we had a birthday party for her last Saturday evening. It was a small gathering of 12, including my mom, my younger sister Chandra and me, plus Laura and Brett and six of our friends, plus Amy.
Laura made some yummy appetizers – bean salsa, guacamole and sandwich wraps. She also made a butterfly cake for Amy – a small cake for Amy, and a big cake for everyone else. The best part of the whole evening was watching Amy eat her cake. As soon as Laura set the cake down on her tray, Amy leaned over and buried her face in it. It was hilarious to watch!

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Going, going, gone!


After Amy ate/played in her cake for a while she was lifted to the sink to brush the crumbs off before being taken up to the tub for a much needed bath.
After her bath it was time for presents. I got so many cute pictures of Amy opening her presents, but unfortunately something happened when I was transferring the pictures to my computer and lots of them got deleted. I was so upset because they were so cute!
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