Saturday, October 31, 2009

ABC's of Gretchen

A - Age: 23 (will be 24 in one month!)

B - Bed size: Full :(, some day we want to get a king size

C - Chore you hate: Cleaning out the litter box, doing the dishes

D - Dog's name: Dan and Anne, from the book "Where the Red Fern Grows"

E - Essential start your day item: COFFEE. COFFEE. COFFEE. Get the picture?

F - Favorite color: "Red orange yellow green blue purple, red orange yellow green blue purple, red orange yellow green blue purple, make the rainbow bright- black brown and white!" Song I sung with my preschoolers for circle time! I like all colors.

G - Gold or Silver: Silver

H - Height: 5'6"

I - Instruments you play: Piano (since first grade), Violin (since fifth grade)

J - Job title: Wife, cook, home-maker, creative artist/ photographer

K - Kid(s): Nope!

L - Living arrangements: Itty-bitty two bedroom, one bath home, corner lot with yard for our dogs

M - Mom's name: Grace

N - Nicknames: Oh my, the list could get really long here- thanks to my big sister, Gretty, Gretty-chon, Gretel . . .

O - Overnight hospital: Once, for a viral-induced migraine headache. Worst headache of my life.

P - Pet Peeve(s): Grammatical errors in any type of print, that includes Facebook and texting; rude people.

Q - Quote from a movie: "Okay, you have to stop the Q-tip when there's resistance!"- Chandler in "Friends".

R - Right or left handed: Right

S - Siblings: One older sister, three brothers-in-law!

T - Time you wake up: Well, since I'm currently not employed, I wake up anywhere between 7 and 10am, depending on when I finally fall asleep.

U - Underwear: Is this a question? Yes.

V - Vegetable you dislike: I can't think of one, a big part of enjoying a veggie is how it's cooked. I've had some canned veggies that get an "F" in the taste department.

W - Workout style: Walking the dogs, occasionally running with the hubby and the dogs

X - X-rays you've had: Ankle- sprain, Dental- teeth

Y - Yesterday's best moments: Going to Kansas City and meeting up with friends, shopping!

Z - Zoo favorite: The Rain-forest at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What IS That Smell???

Something stinks. Bad.
All day yesterday I kept smelling something in the house- I couldn't figure out what it was. I am very paranoid about smells as we have two cats, naturally I went and checked out the litter box. The litter box didn't smell, so I continued to follow my nose and checked out: the carpet, the couch, the chairs, the kitchen trash, the drains- still no smell.

What IS that smell???

Well, last night while reading in bed I smelled the stink again- only stronger. So I thought maybe it was the dirty laundry- but why in the world would our laundry smell THAT bad?! Well the dirty laundry didn't stink either.

Then I caught a big whiff, coming from the vent in the floor. Oh my. It smells like a dead animal. We didn't want to do anything about it as we were tired, so we covered up the vent, lit a candle, and sprayed some air freshener. This allowed us to fall asleep at least.

This morning the smell isn't so strong, but still there. I checked out yahoo and wiki answers and turns out many people have experienced stinky vents. The advice was: call the landlord, call the heating/air people, wait two weeks for total decomposition (GROSS), or stick a vacuum hose down the stinky vents and see if something happens. How would an animal get in there?

Our cats have had a fascination with the living room vent for awhile. I just figured they liked the cold or hot air coming out of it, as they lay by it or sniff it. Maybe there was a live mouse in there, and once we started using the heater we killed it?! Yuck.

We're going to try to use the shop vac and stick it down the vents. DJ volunteered (I would have made him do it anyways)! If that doesn't work we'll probably call the landlord.

In the meantime, I've used carpet powder and closed the vents- much better.
My stink fighting agents:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blog Stalking and Hope

I, Gretchen, am officially a blog stalker now. Due to gads of time on my hands, my new hobby is reading blogs- your blog, our blog, and blogs of people I don't know. Sometimes I even come across people I do know but wasn't aware they were blogging!

I think many would agree with me that blogging is even better than Facebook- gasp. Not only can you add your own personality through layouts and templates, people tend to write more personal thoughts and opinions on a blog. On Facebook one finds out about people through their oh-so-informative status updates or their "about me" sections. I'm not judging as I'm one of those people too, yet if I see whole paragraphs in an "about me" section on Facebook I tend not to read it. On a blog one can write a book about themselves and I'd read it. Overall, I love blogging and reading blogs.

My favorites include people I know, recipe blogs, DIY blogs, and inspirational blogs. While perusing an inspirational blog I came across a quote from a book that hit me in a meaningful way, particularly due to some recent frustrations (see previous post). The quote is from a book on grieving, titled "Hope" by Nancy Guthrie. I'd like to add that I'm not going through any kind of grieving process right now, just some normal life frustrations. Anyways, here's the quote:

"HOPE: the expectation of a favorable future under God's direction"

I love this. It is a good reminder that God's with us through the ups and downs of life, and in the downs, we always have HOPE.

Well, I'm going to do some more blog stalking- please keep writing as I love reading your blog whoever you are!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Good Reminder

Lately we've been pretty frustrated with some things going on in our life, be it forking over money for things we shouldn't have to pay for (thanks KSDE!), a downer economy, job searching, missing friends and family, or adjusting to a new city.

A friend of mine posted this video on their Facebook page, it's such a good reminder as to what, at the end of the day, really matters. No matter what happens, having people to love makes life worth living. Plus, it's upbeat and makes me happy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Hubby!

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday dear hubby,
Happy birthday to you!
And many more together ahead!
I love you!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Good Reads, A Bookout Review

Here's what we've been reading lately:

DJ's review: Every time I read this series, I'm always struck by J.K. Rowling's genius and with a dose of jealousy. Jealousy, because it must be awesome to have such interesting, complex characters bouncing around your head all the time. I'm sure that anyone reading this has probably read them, but in case you're needing more books to read, re-read them again. The world of Harry Potter will still be as rich and rewarding as it was the first time you read them.

Gretchen's review: Love them of course! I remember buying my first Harry Potter book when I was in fifth grade at the Scholastic Book Fair- the books hadn't reached the peak of their popularity yet, but I've been addicted ever since. My parents got a bit frustrated on one particular vacation (that happened to coincide with the release of book three), my sister and I wouldn't look at the beautiful Colorado scenery because our noses were glued to the book. It has become tradition for me to re-read these books every year. And wonderfully, the magical world of Harry doesn't get any less magical with each re-reading.
p.s. Read the books BEFORE you see the movies! The books are much better.

DJ's review: The first time I read this series, a few things stood out. The first, was that I wold never look at our relationship quite the same way. The second, was that I was going to need a few days to digest all that I had read. To say that the Twilight series is emotionally engaging is a gross understatement. If you're not emotionally engaged in them, you have a whole lot to learn about human relationships. This is why so many people love this series. This is the reason why so many females love this series - at some point, all of us want what Bella and Edward have. Or, if we have what they have, it's nice to hear it reiterated so discretely in writing. Like the HP series, give yourself some time to read this series if you have not done so, because once you get going, you will not want to stop.

Gretchen's review: Didn't know if I'd like these when I first heard about them, but I LOVE this series. Sometimes young adult fiction is "frivolous" but these books actually have emotional depth (plus a good plot- unusual for most vampire related books and movies). The second book and parts of the third tended to go slowly for a bit, mainly due to the absence of one of my favorite characters. I couldn't' put book four down at all, an exciting mixture of weird, romance, and sci-fi, I marvel at Stephenie Meyer's imagination. I also appreciate her use of the first person point of view- getting into each of the character's minds/thoughts/emotions. The movie "Twilight" was decent, but it lacked the depth of emotional understanding one gets from reading the books. It is still exhilarating to see your favorite books put into film, I'm counting down the days till the "New Moon" movie!

DJ's review: I just got finished reading this book, and I am still thinking and pondering what it's implications are. A few things I've been thinking are: 1) Why the veil of secrecy before it's release? 2) Are the scientific implications discussed in it true and as important as Brown would have us believe? As for my conclusions - well, I'm still thinking about them. Undoubtedly, the way of this books' release was for a purpose, and I wonder how it will be received. As I was reading, the websites and the many, many historical allegations he makes are accessible on the web and are easy to credit as real. I say this as a historian, not as a fan of his book. When I went to the websites, my conclusion so far has been one of confusion with a tingling of hope. I will probably reflect on these thoughts later on in the future at some point, so be sure to check out our reviews.

Gretchen's review: Still reading... and already excited to see Tom Hanks in another Dan Brown movie!

DJ's review: Like the Twilight series, to read this book will take some brain time. I've only read it once, so I'll need to re-read it again to have a better idea of what I want to say about it. But, having read it once, I would say that this book is best read in chunks. Give yourself some time to read this, because I think Meyer has done a great job of getting inside someone's head. The two-pronged perspective she uses to articulate about what it's like to be in someone's head is (pardon the pun) heady. Anyhow, I do put my recommendation behind this book and I hope that you enjoy it!

Gretchen's review: Still reading...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls (Buns from Heaven)

Made these today, the house smells heavenly.... mmmmm

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

2 pkg. active dry yeast
1 C. warm water (105-115 degree)
2/3 C. plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar, divided
1 C. warmed milk
2/3 C. butter
2 tsp salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
7-8 C. all-purpose flour, or more if needed

1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup margarine, softened

Creamy glaze**:
2/3 C. melted butter (1 stick plus 2 Tbsp.)
4 C. powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4-8 Tbsp. hot water

In a small bowl mix together warm water, yeast and sugar and set aside. In a large bowl, mix milk, remaining 2/3 cup sugar, melted butter, salt and eggs; stir well and add yeast mixture. Add half the flour and beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour until dough is slightly stiff (dough will be sticky).

Turn out onto a well-floured board; knead 5 -10 minutes. Place in well-buttered glass or plastic bowl, cover and let rise in warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

When doubled, punch down dough and let rest 5 minutes. Roll out on floured surface into a 15 x 20 inch rectangle.
To prepare filling: Spread dough with 1/3 cup melted margarine. Mix together 1cup brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts and raisins, if desired.

Roll up jellyroll-fashion and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices. Coat bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan and a 8-inch square pan with remaining 1/2 cup melted butter, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in pans. Let rise in warm place until dough is doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until rolls are nicely browned. Cool rolls slightly.

To prepare glaze: Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix melted butter, powdered sugar and vanilla; add hot water 1 Tbsp. at a time until glaze reaches desired spreading consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

* I substitute 1/3 of the flour with whole wheat flour.
** I don't usually glaze or frost cinnamon rolls, we like them topped with peanut butter.

Weberville 2009- September

Some photos from Weberville . . . good times in Stover, MO.