Monday, May 31, 2010

My summer list!

I have noticed a lot of bloggers are making up lists of things they are looking forward to this summer, so I am following suit and doing the same:

1. Next week I am going to Missouri with my grandparents and little sister. Adventures can happen anywhere, and I am ready for 'em.

2. I am going to be a camp counselor for the very first time. I am kind of nervous, but I am asking God to remove my doubts and He is working.

3. I am hoping, hoping, hoping to get a lot of much needed writing done. I have been shameless in my lack of discipline.

4. My friend and I are going to practice our tennis skills all summer. We played our first game today and need much improvement, but we are both really psyched and can't wait to get better!

5. Three of my best pals and I are having a tent party! ^_^

6. I am going on a retreat to Lake Superior, one of my very favorite places in the world.

7. I am going to a wedding. I love weddings and haven't been to one for a couple years.

8. I spend a week or so each summer with my grandparents and cousins in the Iowa countryside, and this year hopefully won't be different!

9. I have a lot of reading to do. A lot.

10. My new-ish writers group and I are going to get organized, and that just makes me smile. :)

-Thank you, veterans, for protecting America's freedom through so many trials. God bless you for your service.-

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sky and sun

I was just looking through all of the pictures on my computer and noticed that I really like to photograph the sky. Here are some pictures taken from different places in America:

These two are from Arizona:

The next four are of Lake Superior:

This one above is interesting, with its varied colors in the sky.

The next three are from Iowa:

Isn't this one silver?

Whenever I am in a place like this, I feel so small under all that sky!

Don't you love the glow?

And these last ones are from my own yard:

Last October, during a lull in a rainstorm.

A November sunset. (The blurriness is intentional. I think that it makes it look somewhat like a Monet painting!)

My favorite part about these photos is that although they were taken in several very different places, the light was provided by the very same source: the sun. And even if these skies and sunsets are beautiful, wouldn't their Creator be even more so?

And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light -Revelation 22:5

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Giver - Lois Lowry

Jonas is a boy living an average life. A very average life. He need not make any choices or experience any pain. Or pleasure, for that matter. Having known only blandness his whole life, he and everyone else in the Community are content and unquestioning. When all of the children turn twelve, they begin training for the jobs they will have as adults. The jobs are assigned by the Elders, the leaders of the Community, who, among other things, watch the children as they grow up for characteristics that will help them decide who is right for a certain occupation. While some of Jonas' companions have an idea of what they would like to become (they have no choice except what the Elders give them, but they vaguely know what job they would be best at), Jonas does not. He is completely surprised and somewhat scared when he is told that he will become the next Receiver of Memories, an exclusive and important job. He goes the Giver, the only person in the Community who has the memories of a past time, when emotions were still a part of life. Some of the memories the Giver transmits to Jonas are painful and frightening, but others are blissful and happy. With his new knowledge of the real beauty, sorrow, and joy of life, Jonas knows he will never be able to survive in the Community. After a while, an urgent need to leave the Community arises, and he knows that it is time to go Elsewhere.

This is a very deep and powerful book. If you haven't read it yet, I really recommend it. The Giver taught me to savor the gift of emotion that God has given me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Wednesday, May 12, 2010


What you see above is the cookbook picture of what I spent most of this afternoon trying to make. Here is the story:

The recipe is Orange Marmalade cake, from the Mitford books by Jan Karon. My mom found a cookbook at the library full of foods from the books. She said that this cake is one the better known deserts from the series, so of course I had to make it. It looks great, doesn't it?
Everything started out fine. I was painstakingly careful about everything. But it wasn't to last. It was after I added and mixed in 1 cup of oil that I realized that I should have added only 2/3 of a cup! Mom said that it wouldn't make that huge difference, and I wasn't about to waste all of the ingredients I had already used, so I carried on.
Here we have the batter again, in all its raw egg, salmonella-infested glory! :)

Here's the frosting. For some reason it wasn't getting stiffer, so I just let the mixer go for a few minutes. When I came back, it was looking dangerously near to the state of butter (heavy whipping cream!), but I saved it in time, thankfully!
Okay, so the batter is tolerable and the frosting will do. But what about the baking of the cakes? I greased two 9-inch round pans, laboriously cut out two wax paper circles for them, and greased everything again. It's miserable to have the cake stick to the pan, so I wasn't taking any chances. I filled the pans, put them in to the oven and set the timer. There, that's all good, I thought. But when I checked the recipe, it said that I needed to divide the batter among three 9- inch pans! Noooo! The pans had looked a little on the very full side when I was filling them, but I told myself that it was fine. The cakes had been in the oven for a while at that point, so I just resigned my self to cake-encrusted oven and got over that, too. You can see them starting to overflow above. Sorry that it's blurry, I took it in a hurry.
This what the oven looked like.

Mom suggested just putting the finished cakes in a bowl, because of the extra oil would probably make them...not what they are supposed to be. So into the bowl they went, I spread the marmalade between the layers, poured the orange syrup over them, finished with the frosting, and here is what I ended up with! Not much like the lovely example in the cookbook, huh? It's more of a trifle-dessert than a cake.

Does it taste good? I don't think so. But my parents were nice and said it was fine. It must be hard to be a parent. I learned something this afternoon: Check, double check, and re-check the recipe! Are you willing to try making it? This link has the instructions, just scroll down a little. Although the cake took a few hours of my life and made a legendary mess in the kitchen, I had a good time making it, learned something, and don't regret it!

Friday, May 7, 2010


Hello everyone! It feels like it has been a while since I last posted, and I wanted to write something cool for this newest post, but nothing was coming. So I am just going to tell you all the stuff that has been goin' on with me lately!

1. I had a piano recital tonight. I told myself and everyone that it was just another recital and there was no way I was nervous. Psh, I do these things all the time, right? Right. Well, my number was third to last on the program, so I had all concert to NOT think about my turn. But when the time drew near, I was feeling acute anxiety. I had hoped to play my piece from memory like I could at home, but if I had not had the music in front of me while I was playing, it would have been a disaster. But I did it, and it's done, and I have all year to prepare myself for a butterfly-free recital next time! My friend and I also played a duet of "All I Ask of You" from Phantom of the Opera that we have been practicing for quite some time. It turned out very nicely, I think. Big sigh of relief :)

2. I have been very tired for last few days. The reason? Late night reading. The book Inkheart by Cornelia Funke is the type that you simply cannot put down for at least five chapters. I have been letting myself go for up to ten, which means my light has been on at 12:00 AM on a week night. It's a book about books, and very suspenseful, so I am just loving it.

3. I am very fed up with school. I want it to be done!!!!! Maybe the snow (!!!) that is falling outside right now will help me get into the winter/school year mindset again. But for now it is Friday night, and I will block IT from my mind until next week. Starting now.

4. My delightful friend, Abigail, told a whole bunch of stuff about blogging, so now I know how to mess with the template and fonts and buttons and backgrounds.... Can you tell? How are you liking the new theme? This website has a wide selection of the cutest blog graphics I have seen yet.

5. More recital stuff: I have my violin recital tomorrow, and I am not as confident as I should be about my song. But my teacher (who you know to be very cool) is assured that I will do fine, so I am blaming the insecurity on recital jitters. Which still do exist, as I learned tonight!

Have a fabulous weekend!