25 December 2009

a generic card


Merry Christmas!!!!

22 December 2009

edible ornaments


I spent yesterday with my brother, Alex, making these lovely holiday cuppies that are meant to resemble an ornament of some sort.  We had some quality brother sister bonding time!

And as always, there he is on his computer, aka his better half.


Happy Holiday Baking!!!

18 December 2009

going home...

...for Christmas!  In about 12 hours I'm going to put my tushy on a plane headin Mid-West.  I have a little detour to take in Indiana, but my final destination is Logan, Ohio.  Logan, that oh so trendy kid name, is also my hometown.  It's small and friendly, the perfect retreat for my urban self.  But what I'm thinking about is how weird it feels to be home.  Isn't it odd to be in your old bedroom with your old high school photos still sitting right where you left them, just staring at you.  Memories flood my mind and feelings of how truely awkward I was not so many years ago come back to me.  This home also possess special powers.  It has a sense of security and comfort in the air that just doesn't exist here in the city with sirens and strangers everywhere.  I guess my hometown is like my adult version of my childhood blankie.  It's safe, familiar, and comforting.  I can't imagine creating that for our future kids in our box of a condo, but someday hopefully the Engineer and I will create this too.  All I want is a small humble house that is pink.  And don't you dare start feeling sorry for the Engineer - he was well aware of this desire before he even agreed to date me.  I might also want it to be a duplex, so my BFF Sarah can live next door :-).  Hey, we promised we'd have a pink duplex in like the 8th grade....I can't go around breaking promises like that! 

Here's our small, but efficient living quarters that we currently call home.  We enjoy how cozy and cheery it is.

Here is me in front of a random pink house in New Orleans a couple of years back.  Did you know that there is a pink house on Pinkney Street in Annapolis, MD?  It's adorable and I might be a little envious of it's owners.

What is going back home like for you?

09 December 2009

un-pc

PREFACE: I love my mother-in-law dearly, we have a good relationship, and I asked permission to write this :-).

STORY: Over Thanksgiving (I know that was so long ago, but I've been debating on this post) the Engineer and I had an interesting evening conversation with the in-laws.  MIL shared a story with us about something I told her a few years ago...to quote myself I told her once upon a time:
"You're a Black woman trapped inside a White woman's body."
  I know, doesn't that sound highly inappropriate and definitely un-PC.  Well here's the inside scope, MIL dresses very colorful with lots of sparkles and jewelry.  I think it all began one day when the family was out to lunch at Red Lobster.  MIL was wearing an extra glitery top that day and someone commented on how flashy she was that day.  FIL said "What your mother wears is called BLING!"  This made us all laugh since 1. It's true she does, but no one else would have used that term and 2. We were shocked he even knew about "Bling" meant.  So, I'm going to blame the orgins of my theory on my FIL, which may get me in trouble...  MIL is always looking her best.  No PJ days, no sweats, rarely do I see her in jeans and even then it's fancy jeans. 

Here we are Christmas morning last year.  Me and my "I just woke up" look and MIL and her "ready to go" look.  (She asked for that new toilet seat...just so you all know it wasn't a mean joke). 

We "kids" tend to tease her a bit about her loud clothes and big blond hair, so one day I told her my un-PC theory.  It was one of those things that makes sense in your head, but as soon as it comes out of your mouth you know it's the worst idea ever, but you just can't stop it from escaping your lips.  Well this statement stuck with MIL and we have since had many laughs about it.  The other day she told her boss about my "theory" and her boss asked her how she felt about it.  All I could think is "Oh no, they all think I'm a horrific DIL..."  Then she proceeded to tell us that she shared this with some ladies at her garage sale (who just so happened to be Black).  And now I'm thinking "Oh no, she's going to get herself in trouble."  But she's very lovable and they told her it was because she had "soul".  Which is true, she has an extra dose of "soul" in her closet.  I do too.  I love color and a little bling.  This is where me and MIL are alike sometimes.

Here are the Oberholzer ladies

01 December 2009

middle brained...

To your right you can find a RIGHT Brain/LEFT Brain Quiz and you'll see my score results.  That's right, I'm neither or both, however you wish to look at it.  I'm sitting at home taking an online course on a Friday night being a lame-o, but I did find out this interesting tidbit about myself.  It makes so much sense in my world, because you see I'm constantly confusing my right and my left.  For example, the Engineer (who happens to have left brain dominance) will ask me which way to turn while in the car and I say "turn right" while motioning to the left with my left hand.  This ends in a confusing argument that we don't even understand and this has happened more frequently than I'd like to share.  Garmin has actually strengthened our relationship.  God bless that little piece of intelligence that always knows its rights from its lefts.  But don't worry, I have two theories to explain my "Middle-brainedness" and my inability to understand my right from my left.  My first theory is that I'm a self-diagnosed dyslexic.  Oh yes, that explains so much...  My 2nd theory stems from a conversation that I had with a good friend a few years ago.  She simply told me one day that if your equally right and left brained that its hard to know your right from your left, because your brain is so equal.  You see, if you don't have a dominant side then you have no point of reference for the direction of your hands.

To humble myself a little more I can remember when I first attempted to tackle my right from my left.  It was back in the 90s and I was in 3rd grade-ish.  I was in a twirling group and I had to learn this right/left thing to survive.  I mean how can you twirl if you don't which hand the instructor is refering to?  I loved twirling.  And I was hideous at twirling.  I thought I was the stuff, but videos have proved that I was the same uncordinated, unrhythmic person back then that I am now.  There I am in the back row (that's where they put my type) and I was about 3 seconds behind all the other girls.  I must have made my parents proud, my gangly arms waving around, permed bangs (I permed just my bangs back then), and a slightly confused, but happy face. 


Anywho, the point of this story is that I started this right/left things late in life and I realized this when my neice was able to learn her right and left before her 2nd birthday - she's going to be one smart cookie.  Did you know I got the highest math score on a standardized test in high school?  I mean can you imagine what I could have been if I would have learned my right from my left by the age of 2?  I guess it's just as well this way - I have the best of both worlds, relating to all kinds of brains!

Take the quiz and share your brain with us!

25 November 2009

gobble gobble


Tada - pumpkin spice cupcakes with buttercream icing.  Oh but they're so much more.  I spent basically my entire day making these stupid turkeys!  I have a love hate relationship with them...they were driving me crazy.  Heads were falling off if you catch my drift.  Now if they could pretty please make it to Thanksgiving dinner with the in-laws in one piece!!! 


Dear Baby Turkeys,
 I will change our relationship to love love (as opposed to love hate) if you all keep your heads on.
Your Creator,
Julie
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

23 November 2009

food art

This is the best thing to show up on my doorstep since I don't know when!  Have you ever seen anything so beautiful that you hate to eat it?  The Engineer is wishing he would have thought of this one.  I was shocked when it showed up.  Let's see it's not my birthday, I didn't do anything special, and it's not a holiday...  All I had to do to deserve this puppy was have a friend who had a baby.  What?!?  Isn't that backwards?  I agree, new moms all over the world should be getting these bad boys.  Well I did take a few calls at all hours of the day and night ;-), but it was totally worth it for this bouquet of goodness...and for new little baby Ethan's tummy full of his momma's milk.  I hate to brag, but I have wonderful friends! 



19 November 2009

random thoughts

I have two things to share today:

(1) As I become more involved in the blogging world I'm starting to wonder how people do it - I mean how do you reveal some of your most intimate thoughts without making all your family and friends hate you.  For example, the other day on the radio "Bi-lingual Aly" from 107.3 FM (the person/radio station isn't pertinent for those not from this area) said something to the effect of "My friend made dibs on being a bridesmaid in my wedding.  I'm not even engaged and I have no intention of asking her."  So, she was alluding to the fact that this friend was way out of line and put her in an awkward situation.  Now most of us can relate to this situation and it's one thing to share this with another individual, but to share it on your radio show...now that's ballsy.  What if this friend happens to be listening to your show (or reading your blog) and realizes that you are talking about her?!?  Where's the balance between entertaining your readers and respecting your friends/family?

Now that I've probably made all the people in my life who read this blog paranoid...hehehe...I will now move on my next thought...

(2) I love it when the Engineer writes.  Whether it's a card, a quick note, or A BLOG POST,  I love it all.  It's a special little present just for me.  So, the other day as we were traveling to visit my in-laws I was rambling on and on as usual to make our car time pass and I shared this very thought about writing with the Engineer.  After a brief moment he asked "A blog post is the same as buying a card?"  I replied "Yes, it is something you think about and make just for me."  For those of you who know the Engineer you won't be surprised by this response "It's free and it works the same as a card!"  There you have it - He saves $ and a trip to Hallmark and I get his writings...and all is well in the world.

16 November 2009

it's a fairy tale...


This is my most recent project (a tiara and tutu), which also doubles as my niece's Christmas present.  In addition to making nursing covers, I am now in the business of making children's dress up clothes.  Maybe it's the result of having too much free time...ok, it's absolutely the result of that, but I'm having a blast turning my dining room table into my own workshop and chit chatting with the older ladies at the fabric store about their projects, who by the way happen to be making snuggies for their grandchildren.

10 November 2009

welcome to rockport, ma

The red barn is Motif #1...interesting.

This entry is all about my "Yay, I passed my test" celebration trip.  In my delirium of studying my summer away for the biggest test of my life, I bargained for a celebration trip if I passed.  The Engineer, feeling bad for me and missing quality time with his wife, agreed to this trip of my choosing.  I picked this trip based on several factors
  1. It was an inexpensive and short flight
  2. New England's top rated B&B was there and had a vacancy
  3. The Engineer and I were in the mood for a cozy trip
Beach and King - our B&B

So, Rockport, MA it was.  We weren't really sure what we'd find there, but were pleasantly surprised as we rolled into the cutest little town ever!  I absolutely adored it's charm and beauty.  We chatted with local artists, photographers/cupcake shop owners, and our inn-keeper, Dennis, who told us stories about his days working with "Aerosmith".  It was seriously one of those towns where you think to yourself is my name "Rory" and is this "Stars Hollow"?  (FYI: if you're annoyed by Gilmore Girls references, this probably isn't the blog for you).  Marcus likened it to playing a video game...I'm still not 100% sure what this means, but maybe he can explain to us later.  We both agreed that it reminded us of our favorite city in Italy called Orvieto...an American Orvieto - Picturesque and quaint. 

I had about 5 cuppies from here.  They make their cupcakes 1 part cake, 1 part icing and it's evenly distributed.  You can see how they carve out a cone shaped piece of the cupcake, fill with icing and then put the cone piece one top and cover in icing.  This way every bite consists of icing and cake. 

Since we could walk around the entire town in like 5 mins, we decided to take a few side trips.  We hiked Halibut Park, a granite farm and one day we road tripped up to Maine.  This road trip was an interesting mix of beach towns.  One minute we'd be driving through the dumpiest beach town ever...(think Ocean City...jk, well sorta) and the next we'd be surrounded by multi-million dollar homes that we couldn't even begin to wrap our minds around and then before we knew it we'd be in another charming town that was so inviting we couldn't help but pull over and hop out for quick visit.  We'd eat and eat some more, snap some pics, and mostly just admired God's wonderful creation - the deep blue New England Ocean.  We sat and watched the rocks take their endless beating, wave after wave, and breathed in the fresh salty air. 


What is about the ocean that makes you feel so small and life so simple?  I think I need a baby ocean in my bedroom to remind me of this every morning.  "You're small and life is simple, so stop being a drama queen!"  That's what my bedroom's ocean would whisper to me though it's crashing waves.  It would whisper to the Engineer "You're beautiful wife needs a back massage and chocolate treats"...hehehe.

Here's to lovely trips that leave us feeling refreshed and inspired.  Rockport, MA comes highly recommended from me and the Engineer!

I title this pic "Camera Timers"

05 November 2009

what's for dinner?


Dinner isn't typically my favorite dish to make or show off, but when it's pretty and colorful I can't resist but to share!  This dish is bbq tuna steak with a mango salsa and wild rice.  I used a cup of bbq sauce mixed with orange marmalade and lime zest to make the sauce for the tuna.  I broiled the tuna...since we have no grill in this urban condo of ours.  The salsa is fresh mango, red, orange & green peppers, red onion, tomatoes, black beans, cilantro, olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper all mixed together.  Delish, delish, delish and so pretty too!  (FYI: Trader Joe's wild rice that is pre-cooked and packaged is disgusting.  Do not be lazy and try to skip a step...)


And no dinner is complete without a treat - Truffles! 

You may be asking yourselves why would I add rainbow sprinkles to this wonderful Fall mix?  Personally I hate them, but I keep them around to make things pretty...  Well to be completely honest, the Engineer loves rainbow sprinkles.  We go to the ice cream shop and what does he order?  Chocolate or coffee ice cream with rainbow sprinkles almost everytime.  What can I say?...he's comfortable in his manhood :-)

03 November 2009

election day

Today the Engineer and I voted for a new Governor, etc.
 
  I care about the Presidential election, but when it comes to all the other elections I feel overwhelmed and shut down.  My lazy, apethetic side kicks in and I just want to not care.  The Engineer, however, does not find this to be acceptable behavior in our household.  He's been sending me all kinds of links about the candidates bios, their recent debates, and how he thinks McDonnell looks like Jim Bob Duggar.  Is it wrong to vote on looks, because I do like Jim Bob an awful lot?  J/K. 

Here's McDonnell in the top pic and Duggar the bottom.  I guess it's the eyes and politician hair style.  Why do they all pick the side part, feathered look?  Beats me...

I figure it's fair for Marcus to make me care, since I make him care about my stuff.  He does know more than the average young non-dad guy about breastfeeding.  He's frequently sending me questions and requests from his co-workers and pregnant friends.  And he definitely spends his fair share of time clarifing that his wife's job is anything but glamourous...  You can imagine what it was like when he had to tell his college friends what field I was going in to..."Dude she gets to look at boobs all day - I want that job!".  I've heard him say a time or two "Guys, it's not cool.  You don't even want to see the pictures in her text books!"  One of our friends even refers to it as a "Boob Job", which I did find to be quite clever.  Marriage is equaling lots of compromise and learning about each other's interests.  Heck I even went to a NFL game last week.


Happy Vote Day!

28 October 2009

happy ibclc day!

I (Marcus) hereby declare October 16th, 2009 to be IBCLC Day (Federal holiday coming soon to a calendar near you)!

It's official. Julie passed the lactation consultant Exam to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She didn't just pass, she happened to crush the exam (90%). Atta girl. So, many months of neglecting a certain husband, studying harder than a med student with more concentration than a carton of orange juice, it finally paid off.

Now that passing is official, Julie has a two-phase plan of attack for celebration: 1)Immediate action by ingesting the best pina colada at Mango Mike's and 2) Julie has picked the relaxing destination of....Boston, MA. Well, to be exact, we're headed to Rockport, MA just outside of Boston, to a bed and breakfast by the shore. We don't really know what we're going to do there, but you can be sure it will be celebratory.
Picture of Julie sipping said pina colada alongside another drink of tasty goodness.

Post celebration, Julie can now pick up LC shifts at the hospital (it's about time she bring home some bacon). In all seriousness, she's been working toward this for 4 years, ever since one lecture in grad school. It's taken a graduate degree, a 500 hour internship, more connections than a mobster, and a ridiculously stressful exam. Still worth it.

Congratulations, Julie, I'm proud of you, and I love you!

27 October 2009

harper's ferry and apples

Last week my mentor and friend, Margaret, invited me to join her and a co-worker on a trip to Harper's Ferry to pick up a bushel of apples. I wasn't one hundred percent sure what a bushel of apples was or what all this adventure would entail, but my schedule is very free these days so I figured what the hay.

This is Margaret at the Apple Farm. She's from South Africa and is also a Lactation Consultant. She may be a granny, but this woman has more energy and passion for humanity and life than anyone I have ever met. Margaret is always on an adventure of some sort, whether she's heading to another state to campaign for a politician she's passionate about, visiting orphanages back in S.A., or taking Spanish classes. When every I hang out with Margaret I always feel inspired to conquer the world!
I bought a pumpkin from this patch...carvings coming soon!
...and here's my 1/2 bushel of apples...

...and this is my first treat to be made with all these apples - baked apples in the crock pot. Cook on low for 5 hours and serve with vanilla bean ice cream - Yummy!

It turns out that Harper's Ferry is a little hidden piece of adorable! It was such a fun Fall day - the sun was shining and there were brilliantly colored leaves everywhere. Here's your history lesson for the day: Harper's Ferry was the hometown of John Brown. Mr. Brown was an abolishionist best known for John Brown's Raid in 1859. On a lighter note, for those of you who are fellow Gilmore Girls fanatics...there's a bed and breakfast downtown called "The Dragonfly." That's right, you can guess who will be planning a romantic get-a-way to Harper's Ferry soon :-)

15 October 2009

carmel apple cupcakes


Mmmm...I love the idea of turning a fall favorite into a little scrumptious wonder that fits perfectly into my hand. The first time I tried to make Carmel Apple Cupcakes was two years ago for a tailgating party at a Penn State with Marcus and my now brother and sister in-law. I poured my heart into these beautiful treats just to have the carmel melt off the top and make everything a soggy mess! I must admit I was slightly embarrassed by my carmel apple cupcake sludge. In order to redeem myself or this recipe I decided to go for a round two.

This recipe has 3 steps:

(1) Cupcakes - I use a white cake mix and used apple juice and apple sauce in place of water and oil. I add 2 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped, and sprinkle in some cinnamon (ok, lots of cinnamon), ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
Mixing the cake batter...


(2) Cream Cheese Filling - Beat 4 ounces cream cheese and 1/4 stick butter; add 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat until smooth. To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone from the top and cut of excess. Fill the cavity and cover with top of cone.

(3) Caramel Icing - Melt 20 carmels with 2 tablespoons of milk over low heat until smooth. Allow this cool a little bit and spread on cupcakes. You can coat with nuts or sprinkles.

Note: I know it looks ghetto, but I line the pan with aluminum foil for easy clean-up.
The verdict is... These cupcakes put a whole new twist on eating carmel apples. However, they only stay in a nice pretty state for about 48 hours and need to be in the fridge to prevent the carmel from melting. Not the best treat for traveling, but great for a nice fall day at home!

13 October 2009

surprises & castles

Ladies and gentlemen, here is the birthday princess!
For my mom's 50th birthday we had a little surprise party followed by dinner at Ravenswood Castle. I planned this little shindig with the help of family and friends - and thank you much to all those who were involved! Mom was suspicious of the event, so I'm not sure how much of a surprise it was, but I think she still had a great time.

The crew at Ravenswood Castle
Now for some food...
This is my brother, Alex, and his wonderful appetizer creation. I left him in charge of food and he certainly was a crowd pleaser. Here's pictures of his food and his recipes:


Oven-roasted Bruschetta
Slice ciabatta bread
Saute 3 cloves of garlic and 1/2 onion with 3 tablespoons olive oil
Soak tomato slices and fresh spinach in this mixture
Spread pesto on bread slices, add mixture, and top with Parmesan cheese
Bake for 10-15 mins until crispy

Warm, Sweet Brie
Heat Oven to 350 degrees
Put a whole wheel of Brie in until it puffs up completely (approx 10 mins)
Remove from oven, cut open and add brown sugar (or your favorite jam)
Serve with bread