Sunday, September 25, 2011

My weekend in pictures 9/23/2011-9/25/2011

It's been a fantastic week, and this weekend was no exception!  I was happy with the way my 1st day of classes went last Wednesday, and I am really excited about this new opportunity in my life. 

Here's my weekend in pictures:

 I ordered this silver elephant ring from Etsy.  It came in the mail on Friday, and I was excited.  I love it, but I don't know if I can pull it off.  It feels so strange to me to have a ring on my finger.  I don't know which finger it belongs on?  And I don't know it it makes me look like I'm flaming.  In the background you can see my computer screen.  I've been reading all weekend for class on Monday, and I feel like I have a solid grasp on the information.  I also did all of the quizzes for the quarter for my online class in one sitting, which is great.  I like being able to tick that off of my to-do list. 
 Saturday dinner: pizza bread and dinosaur nuggets with honey mustard.  I'm a kid.
 Dinner with the family.  We all wore purple.  How weird!
(Check out Lindsey's blog at:
 Crab Rangoon.  They're okay, but not as good as Thanh Linh in Peoria
 It's like my dinner at the Japanese Steakhouse kept expanding.  Leftovers?  Yes!
 This is my friend Brody.  We met at the Japanese Steakhouse and instantly hit it off.  The thing is that Brody and I have the same likes in food, and I knew we we're going to eat the same things before I even sat down.  I really enjoyed talking with Brody and his Mom during dinner.  He's a fantastic young man and I can tell that his Mom raised him with manners and respect.  At one point he said "I can't just say no, I have to say no thank you."  Manners like that, instilled at an early age, will go a long way in a child's life.  I remember my Mom teaching me those things, and I think that is what has made me into the kind, compassionate man I am today. 
Brody (5), myself, and Caiden (4) at the Japanese Steakhouse after dinner.  At one point Brody told me that he wanted to be just like me when he grows up.  I didn't know really how to react, so I said that he needed to go to college, and go to school everyday.  In hind sight I should have told that young man to build a solid relationship with his mother and family, because that is the best thing a person can ever have.  I want to thank Brody and Caiden's mom Rachel for allowing me to post these pictures.  If you ever need a babysitter out there in New Holland, let me know!  

It's been a low-key weekend.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes!

I am so happy to report that these turned out WAY better than anticipated.  I have been dying to make these for ages now, and when I finally came across an excellent tutorial, I followed the steps and made my own. 
 I started with a Pillsbury store bought Devils Food cake mix.  I know it's cheating, but I refuse to make cake from scratch when I know that the dough boy has got me covered for $1 at WalMart.  It's just not worth my time and hassle to use anything else.  So, start with the mix and bake according to the package instruction.  I got 40 cupcakes.  One thing to note is that you want to fill each cup with 2 tablespoons of battered so that way they are perfectly tall enough for the goodness that comes next. 

 Homemade cream filling.  It's SO good.  When I read the tutorial I thought she was being a little over zealous of her praise for the cream filling, but it is so good, and really easy!  Follow the link above for the full tutorial, and you're good to go.  I wouldn't chill my cream filling when I do this again, though because it was really hard to pipe into the cupcakes.  I'm a wimp I guess.
 Butter, chocolate chips, corn syrup, vanilla.  It just looks heavenly, doesn't it?  This is the ganache for the top of the cupcakes.  I microwaved mine and got a perfect consistency.  You DO want this to cool before you dunk your cupcakes.  Just watch it to get the right consistency.
 I have a piping tip that is made to fill cupcakes, and the tutorial has many other suggestions.  I found it pretty easy.  I'm going to start filling cupcakes more often! 
 I was practicing my swirls while the chocolate chilled...
 But that cream filling is too good to waste, so I smeared it off with my finger and ate it.  (:
 These are my homemade version's classy cousins from the city.  Each one has 7 perfect swirls.
 I had to take a big bite so you guys could see the inside...
 Next, you dip the filled cupcakes into the melted chocolate mixture. 
 Swirl the cupcake as you come up and you will get a perfectly smooth consistency.  Chill before you add the swirls on top.


Again, I want to encourage you to follow this tutorial to get the full recipe and step-by-step instructions.  It does seem like a lot of work, but it really isn't that hard, and these cupcakes are SO good. 

Lovin' from my oven,

My weekend in pictures 9/16/2011-9/18/2011

I am really getting into this blogging thing.  I can't wait to show you my weekend in pictures!  This weekend, upon looking through my pictures, is really food-centric.  I am okay with that, though!  I love food and it plays an important role in my life.  So... here it goes!

My weekend in pictures:

I didn't take any pictures of mine and Mel's trip to OSU on Friday, but I do want to say that we had a good time and spent a lot of money (gross, books and parking passes) but I did find a pair of Levi's at UO for $10!  (:

 I discovered last week that I much prefer to add text under each picture rather than click on the "add a caption" box because it stretches the frame around the picture out.  I don't like that at all!  Anyway, on Friday I found these delicious pillows at WalMart on clearance for $5!  Happy Dance! 
 Friday night I went to the Go Kart races, and when I went to get the blazer to drive back to KC Raceway I saw that my Grandpa had left $10 (to pay my way in) and the keys in the cup holder.  He knows I almost never have cash.  Isn't that sweet?!
 The Go Kart races were cold, and my lovely Aunt Robin made hot chocolate-coffee-ish stuff.  It was SO good.  I also had some candy corn, which I did not share.  I also ate Oreos and Nachos while at the races.  Yum!
 Let's talk about trough urinals for a minute, because they are NOT okay.  I avoid urinals at all costs anyway, but these are just weird on so many levels.  No privacy, environmentally unfriendly, and just plain icky. 
 The only bright side to the Go Kart track bathrooms was that they had hand dryers, which I used to warm up my (almost) frozen fingers.  It was great.  I bought Nachos after this and shared with Mel, but I didn't tell her that I didn't actually wash my hands until after she had eaten several chips.  Oops!
 This exhaust thingy on my brothers kart get's really hot, so I kept my hands warm on it while we were waiting on him to race.  It comes in 2nd to the hand dryer.
 I really wanted to bake something this weekend, and my first attempt on Saturday night failed miserably.  The house STILL smells like burnt graham crackers.
 So I got up on Sunday, had some toast, and I decided to try again!
 They're called Caramel Heavenlies (or Graham Crackers Parts) and the link to the recipe is here.  I used parchment paper instead on foil to fine the pan, and it worked perfectly.  Cook the caramel for 1 minute exactly after the butter has melted.  I added dark chocolate chips to mine as well.
 I also made these "Fauxstess" chocolate cream filled cupcakes.  Check my next post for more details!
To wrap up the weekend I watched the Antiques Roadshow and 2 hours of Hoarders with my Grandpa.  I love that man!

I hope you had a great weekend as well,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Welcome Fall!

Hello all!  Fall is love, right?  There is just something so entirely captivating about the crispsness in the air, the crunch under your feet, the smell of falling leaves.  It's the perfect time between the hot humidity of a fun filled summer and a cold frosty winter full of family and celebrations.  Fall, to me, is the perfect bridge between to two.  It's like mother nature saved her best for us, and she put it all in Fall. 
What one thing do you equate Fall with in your mind?  Apple picking?  Pumpkins?  Bonfires?  For a lot of people there is something that happens, some event where it just clicks "This is Fall!" in their minds.  Today I walked to my Grandparents house to visit.  I can't stress enough how blessed I know I am that I can simply walk out the door and be with any member of my immediate family with just a short walk.  Most people don't have that option.  As I grow older I know that the memories I have with my Grandparents will be with me for a lifetime, and even though they can grind my gears sometimes, I truly do love them for all they have done to hold me and my family together for so many years.
This blog post came about because today, as I rounded the corner to the garage to find my Papaw, I asked him "Well what's broken now?" because it seems like, for the past few months, something breaks on an almost weekly basis.  He told me that my Grandma was working and that she had been asking about Hickory nuts.  "I've heard a few fall out there out of the little tree on the left.  If you go pick some up, we'll both be in with the old girl."  In translation: go pick up some nuts and Grandma will be happy.
So, for me, Fall is here.  Hickory nuts, for me, signify the beginning of Fall.  The same two trees litter the ground in the front of my Grandparents yard with Hickory nuts at about this time every year.  I have memories locked away inside from as far back as I can remember about picking up Hickory nuts in the yard with my siblings.  We would have pokes and coffee cans and would sit in one spot and see how many we could reach from that one spot without moving.  After we had coffee can after coffee can full, we would watch as Grandpa methodically, delicately, precisely cracked them with a hammer on the porch.  It was a sign of maturity when he said "Okay now son, I'm going to show you how to crack them."  Hickory nuts are my Fall.
I took pictures today while I was picking up and cracking some of the first Hickory nuts of the season.  There are more nuts to come.  It's truly something to look forward to!

The first Hickory nut of 2011


The very first nut that I cracked open had this worm inside of it.  That happens.

This is after all the work has been done.  All that happens now is the 'treasure hunt' for the meat of the Hickory nuts.

With the love of Fall,

PS- Upon re-reading this, I have never felt more like a country boy.  I don't mind.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My day at OSU

I start classes at OSU a week from today, so I have 7 days left of freedom (ish?) and 7 days to worry about everything.  I am feeling a little better after today, though.  I tackled several things off of my to-do list.  (Ordering books was on the list, so I regretfully shelled out the bucks to get them sent to me.  Thanks for Chegg I will be renting a few of my books, and scored me some savings, too.)
I left Blain Highway at 11 and made a pit stop at Office Max to make some copies, and I was on my way to Columbus.  I called the testing center on my way, because during orientation (which was horrible, there is a whole blog post about it) I didn't have time to take my Spanish placement test.  The woman who answered the phones said I had to be at Hagerty Hall by 2:15 to be able to take the test.  I was pushing it.  I did finally make it and when after I parked in the garage, found the building on the map, walked to the building, then found the room inside of the building it was 2:13.  Holy close call, Batman.
The placement test was not as bad as I had anticipated, but I really hate the language.  I don't know why I have this disdain for it, but I do.  To me it just sounds so dirty.  Weird, huh?  After the placement test I had to take my General Appeal form to the SSC building.  It's on the opposite side of campus.
I walked and walked, and I called my Mom along the way.  I don't remember what we talked about, but it was nice to have company during the walk.  When I finally arrived at the SSC building, I could automatically tell something was up.  People had this panic stricken crazy look in their eyes.  An OSU employee at the door told me that the building had lost power and that it would be shut down soon.  Employees were already leaving the building, the computer systems weren't functioning, it was a mess.  I suppose I should point out that this is the busiest day for the SSC because they handle all the finances for the university, and that includes tuition and fees.  Today was their big day.  I did sneak into the building, and once I found the stairs I went to the 4th floor.  Turning in the appeal was not much of an event, and I did not get to meet with Goldean Gibbs.  I hope I can speak with her in the near future.
When I finally left the building there was a crowd of people outside and 1 solitary OSU employeee trying to tame the crowd.  All of these students and their parents had come to campus to make a tuition payment, and they couldn't.  Insane.  This woman was talking to all the people, and taking their tution checks.  Making sure they had the students name and OSU ID on them, then she would hand the person who she took the check from her card.  It was actually a good idea. 
I just sat down to watch the people, and after a few minutes, she slipped inside the building and the door locked behind her.  That was it.  It couldn't have been more than 2 minutes later when this woman and her daughter came racing up to the building.  They looked SO panicked.  I stopped them before they got to the door and explained to them what had happened.  They had driven an hour to pay the girls tuition bill, and were frustrated that they would have to make another trip the next day.  Before they walked away, the woman thanked me for stopping them and telling them what I knew.  She said "A lot of people wouldn't have done that.  It takes a special person to stop a stranger from having a panic attack."  I suppose I can add that to my resume, right?  (:

Next on my to-do list was to do a 'dry run' of my classes.  I wanted to walk to each building, go inside, find the classroom, and then walk to the next building, go inside, find the classroom, etc.  I've done this before and it worked out well.  There is always a lot of emotions the first day of classes, so if a person can get their bearings about where they are going that takes one more thing off their shoulders.  So, I did just that.  I felt a little silly, but it was a good thing for me to do.  I like to know where I am going.  Getting lost on my own when I have tons of time to find out where I am is okay, but getting lost amidst 40,000 other students when I am on a schedule is simply not an option.  I took a picture of each classroom when I got to it, and they're posted below. 
The bright side to all of this is that my last class is in a building that is located right next the the RPAC and the parking garage.  I can work out and then jump in the car and drive home.  Perfect.
I went to half priced books next, for no real reason.  I just love the store.  I bought an audio book to listen to during the trips to and from Columbus, and a few other books.  I could have spent hours in the store shopping around, but I set a spending limit for myself before I walked in and when I reach that limit I forced myself to leave.  That's called self control, Logan.

 Arps Hall 384: History 152
 Thematic literature- Cannibalism: Denney Hall 238
 Math (ugh): Central Classroom Building 326
I'm proud to be a buckeye and all, but do the port-a-potties need to be scarlet and grey?  Really now?  I didn't take a picture of it, but during my blundering I came across a construction area and all of the workers had buckets that they were using, and all of them were scarlet and grey with the OSU logo on them.  Wow.

That's all for now.  Sending blog love to you and yours,