Tuesday, March 31, 2009

You Collect Teapots; I Collect Noodle Makers

Some people out there collect things like bears or teapots or dolls. Not I! Oh no, that would be too normal.

It started when I was a child and saw my grandma making her special homemade noodles for holiday dinners. She knew how much I loved them and as I got older, would send a bowl home with me so I wouldn't starve while away at college. :) I always felt so special when she put some in a container just for me because our entire family loved the noodles. She was just showing me she cared since I was away from home and couldn't join in family celebrations all the time.

So, this memory has always been with me, and when I hit 40, for some reason I decided to try to make noodles myself, probably because we finally had a house with enough counter space to do this sort of thing.

I have my trusty KitchenAid Mixer with a dough hook, so I just needed a noodle maker. Grandma cut them with a knife, but I wanted a method that was a little more speedy.

Do you KNOW how expensive noodle makers are? VERY expensive, let me tell you, even just an attachment for my mixer. I decided to go the garage sale route and I FOUND one for a mere five bucks. WOW! Much better than $50 - $100! I happily purchased it.

I looked up noodle recipes.

I found noodle drying racks on eBay and considered a purchase.

I looked at the noodle machine.

I put the machine (still in the box) in a corner of the kitchen.

That was 3 years ago. Let's just say it's dusty now.

OOPS. :)

Then the noodle craze hit me again. I was at our church rummage sale and there it was. The PERFECT noodle maker! I immediately realized that my problem was that I had THE WRONG KIND OF NOODLE MAKER.

Obviously, this was the answer. I snatched up the new (to me) noodle maker for a whopping $3.

Today I looked up noodle recipes.

My husband laughed when I mentioned I needed a noodle drying rack.

I put the machine on the counter.

That was this past weekend.

So, what do you think? Will I make noodles anytime soon? :) Or, am I just a strange noodle machine collecting woman? Wait. Don't answer that. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Just WHAT Was IN That Cake?

One of my dearest friends was having a birthday and I begged her to let me bake the cake. I don't make the most beautiful cakes, but I sure have fun doing them! And THIS time something amazing and new happened!

But, you have to wait for that detail. :)

I didn't have much time to come up with a theme for this cake, and who really wants to be reminded of a number when you get past 40? NOT ME! :) So, I decided to make the inside of the cake worthy of being fifty-ONEderful and not the outside. The outside can be 39 forever. :) I just made sure I used her favorite colors.

See the first pic? The cake matches her shirt. :) Favorite colors.

But here was the yummy part... it had THREE layers. I love a tall cake!

Strawberry / french vanilla swirl cake
layer of chocolate icing
Dark chocolate fudge cake
layer of chocolate icing
Strawberry / french vanilla swirl cake

All smothered in a buttercream frosting. I used LOTS of frosting. MMMMMMMMMM

Here's what it looked like after we demolished half of it:

And now for the best part. I never care if anyone actually thanks me for a cake. I just want to know that they LIKED it. So, I'm sitting at the table, ready to dig in, when I hear strange noises coming from across the table. VERY strange noises. LIKE MOANING. I glance over and notice that one of the guests has already eaten half of his cake. I was startled, so I was a bit tactless and said, "Dan, are you MOANING?" It was so cute because he laughed a bit self-consciously and just KEPT EATING.

I've never made a man moan over a cake before. :)

Maybe I should start serving more cake! :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Good Golly, Miss Dolly!

Well, well, well. You learn ALL KINDS of things about people at the gym.

I previously posted about the friend I scared while she was on the stationary bike.

She bided her time, but last Thursday, she hid in the changing rooms and jumped out at me as I was walking into the pool room... right as I was walking past a mirror (thinking no one was around) and adjusting my suit. Okay, okay, so MAYBE I deserved that after giving her several gray hairs last week.

But, you know, I couldn't let it rest there...

After working out in the pool, some of us got in the hot tub. I LOVE the hot tub. It was a bit crowded and we were all talking a mile a minute.

So, Sherri is talking and I glance at her... and I notice her suit TOP has BALLOONED up so much that it is ABOUT TO TOUCH HER CHIN. All those little air bubbles in the hot tub have apparently collected in one central location and they are giving her QUITE THE ENHANCED LOOK!

Now, being a good friend, I turned away so I could laugh and not make her feel awkward. And I really meant to tell her! Really!

But, as it happened, she looked down and noticed first. I believe because the huge "chest suit bubble" touched her chin or impaired her ability to speak.


Oh, I'm gonna pay for this post.

Here's her new pic on Facebook (she chose it herself!!):

I think she's enjoying the harassment, don't you? I mean, really! She's just ASKING for the nickname of DOLLY! :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What Color is the White House?

Here's a picture of one of the most famous buildings in our country. What color do you see?

Keep that in mind.

So, my son is in fifth grade and in the delightful public school system in WV. This is one of the better districts in the state. This is one of the best elementary schools in our district.

Keep that in mind too.

One of his assignments for social studies is often a map of a particular battle in US history. The teacher is VERY particular about how these are COLORED. Yes, they receive a grade largely based on COLORING. (Did I mention this is fifth grade?)

Earlier in the year, Tommy came home with a map that had a B+ grade. Everything on it was correct EXCEPT that he didn't use VARYING COLORS OF FLESH-COLORED crayons for the teeny-tiny little faces of the armed forces.

Yes, you read that right.

This teacher is a stickler for authentic.

But, now I am worried because a month ago he came home with a map to be colored and on the map was the WHITE HOUSE. THE WHITE HOUSE. What color would you color the White House?



Would you leave it white and not color it? Would you use a white crayon? Remember, Tommy's has gotten a lower grade for not being authentic!

I bet you would have left it white and you would have gotten a B on YOUR map!

No, no, I'm not crazy. This is A REAL STORY. The WHITE HOUSE had to be COLORED. So, Tommy chose yellow.

Guess what grade he got on his WHITE HOUSE that was YELLOW map? He got an A.

I am afraid. Very afraid.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Mental note... if you wish to KEEP your friends, do NOT sneak up behind one of them at the gym and yell, "SCHAFER, YOU'RE SLACKIN'" in her ears.

She might SCREAM, and nearly fall off the stationary bike she's riding. And her heart rate might accelerate to the point where she passes out. And then the gym employees might have to call 911 and then escort you from the building...

Oh. Wait. That didn't happen.

But, I did yell, and my friend Sherri did scream. Rather loudly. Loud enough to turn all heads, as a matter of fact.

I think she should thank me for getting her heart rate up, don't you? :) That is, if she's still speaking to me. I do know this, I'll be watchin' my back at the gym! :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Help! I'm a Facebook Addict!

I've been off of blogging for a bit. Why? Because I've been addicted to Facebook and online Scrabble! Someone save me! :)

Today I ran into a friend I play online Scrabble with. We were both at Kroger. We hadn't seen each other in months and after the 30 seconds of "catch up" time, the "Scrabble Babble" began.
"Did we finish that last game?"
"No, it's your move!"
"Hurry up because I want to finally win a game!"
and on...

Then I dashed home and ran to the computer to see how my other friend (I have 2) played her last move. She's another friend on Facebook and I haven't seen her in YEARS. So, we chat while we play and it's great.

I realized how much I've been playing when I walked through our TV room last night and saw Wheel of Fortune was on. They solved the puzzle without CALLING THE Q. The Q is worth TEN POINTS! You always play it! Oh! Wait. That's Scrabble.


Is there a 10-step program for Facebook Scrabble addicts? Hello, my name is Christen and...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

In an attempt to hurry Spring along...

I've decided to start planning SUMMER. What the heck, right? Spring is taking her good 'ole time arriving, so I'll just skip right to the good stuff. VACATION. :)

One of my friends has invited one of my sons on a week's vacation with them in July. This is VERY funny because not only do our sons look like BROTHERS, but their dads are BOTH named Robert Paul and are BOTH ministers in town. Anyway, Thomas is going to have a marvelous time with them. It will even give him a chance to see how a NORMAL family interacts. :) I'm jealous.

This got me thinking about what I want to do this summer too!

We always go to an amusement park at least once. We love that!

But this year I want to go to the Rock Hall of Fame in Cleveland too. Rob LOVES it there but I've never been. We are taking our neighbor friends with us. Doesn't that sound like fun? Isn't it a cool building? I know next to nothing about music so I'll have to do research or something before we go. I am looking forward to it!

And I've also just discovered that the rescue group I work with that is headquartered in Columbus, OH, is having their reunion in June. COLLIES, collies everywhere!!! Everyone brings their own dog and their foster dogs and it's just a grand time. Or, so I've heard. I've missed the first three of them. But, this is the year!! Here are some pics from the 2008 reunion. It will be so wonderful to see how some of the dogs we've helped in the past have found their place in the world.

Plus, I've decided to inflict myself on some college friends this summer. I really meant to see my old roommates LAST summer, but I cancelled for stupid reasons. Like they cared if I looked horrendous. I'm much better now. Someone told me that as your kids grow up, and start to need you a little less, it's like you come out of a cocoon. That is exactly how I feel. After ignoring myself for a decade, I'm figuring out how to be back in the big world again. :) I got my hair done. I'm whipping my body back into shape. It just all feels SO GOOD.

Summertime, here I come!!! :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

If You Are Ready for SPRING, Raise Your Hand!

Are you? Are you ready for SPRING? Because I AM!

I read about the gigantic snow storms on the coast and let me just assure you, BETTER THERE THAN HERE.

I LOVE snow, but we've had enough this year, thank you very much. Plus, it is MARCH.

I want to see new green sprouts of grass.

I want to see daffodils filling the flower boxes.

I want to see baby bunnies hopping madly across the lawn.

I want to go hiking on my favorite trail and see everything lush and green again.


I can't WAIT!