Good Eating

To start, a statistic I heard over the weekend:  two thirds of Americans believe they are smarter than the average American.  Which means that one sixth of us are kidding ourselves.  Where do you fit?

And now, on to the real deal.

One of my all-time favorite things about going home over breaks is my mom's kitchen.  Or, perhaps more specifically, her amazingly vast stores of ingredients.  Seriously.  She's got everything.  It's a poor-starving-grad-student-bake-a-holic's dream.  So of course, when I go home, I do everything in my power to make a dent in that pantry o' wonders.

Over Thanksgiving I made the following:

Both from the website Our Best Bites.  Plus I did a little bit of experimenting of my own and made a cake.  I didn't take any pictures, but I promise it looked just like this:

It was a white cake with raspberry cream cheese frosting.  Delish.

White Cake that Melissa Sort-of Invented, but Not Exactly, but She Mostly Invented the Frosting
1 white cake mix
1 small box vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. oil
1 c. white chocolate chips, melted

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Pour the batter into two lined cake rounds and bake at 350* for 30 minutes.  Let cool.

1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1/4 c. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. strawberry or raspberry extract
3/4 c. raspberry jam
3 c. powdered sugar

Cream the butter and the cream cheese until smooth.  Add flavorings and jam.  Add powdered sugar cup by cup until frosting consistency is achieved.  Frost the cake.

And if you're fancy (like me) you can put those frosting rose things all over the cake. Because I totally did.  


Christmas Lights

Last Friday, the boy and I met up with Sandee and Shauntelle and their husbands at The Riverwoods in Provo. That was the night they turned on their Christmas lights, and they were giving out cookies and juice and carriage rides and glow sticks.  Plus Jon Schmidt did a concert, which was pretty fun to watch.  It was a cold night, but we still had a good time!  Shauntelle's husband Brett took lots of pictures of the evening.  The next day she sent me these:

Jon Schmidt on stage

I told you he was cute.


What I'm Up To

Some people (*cough*Annie*cough*) have given me a bit of a bad time lately because my blog has been so....neglected.  They want to know what I'm up to.

Here is what I'm up to:  I spent 15 hours between yesterday and today putting together a review for the students I TA on renal (kidney) and nervous system pathology.  I taught it tonight.  I'm teaching an abbreviated version tomorrow afternoon (just the kidney section.)

And since kidneys and nerves are so cool, and everyone loves pathophysiology as much as I do, enjoy!


(Stagnant) Reading List

Did you forget about this?  Because it probably looks like I have.  I have not forgotten about my reading...I've simply set it aside for a bit during the semester.  Perhaps Thanksgiving and Christmas will be good opportunities to finish what I started.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck
The Survivor's Club by Lisa Gardner
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis
Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
My Louisiana Sky by Kimberly Willis Holt
Middlemarch by George Elliot
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordin
The Danger by Dick Francis
Laddie, a True Blue Story by Gene Stratton-Porter
Merchant of Death by D. J. MacHale
No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall

(Right now I'm at 50%.  10 down, 10 to go!)

"Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You"

I'm not sure why exactly it's good advice to do something everyday that scares you, but I've heard that adage many times.  Yesterday I did something that scares me so much, I probably don't need to do anything else scary for two months.

I donated blood.


I actually really hate to donate blood, but I have a lifetime goal of five gallons (I'm almost to one) and a Day Zero goal of 6 times in one year (the maximum number possible).  Every time I've donated since I made my Day Zero list, I've told myself 'This is it.  I'm starting.  One down, five to go.  Schedule an appointment in two months.' And every time I get too scared and don't schedule appointment number 2.

Yesterday was the worst donation experience I've ever had.  The girl who was my phlebotomist was still in training (ouch!).  I'll spare you the gruesome details.  Because it did get pretty gruesome...

Because yesterday was so bad, I have come to the conclusion that it probably doesn't get much worse than that.  And since I lived through it, I might as well officially start my 6-times goal.

So in two months, when I'm due for another scary experience, remind me that it's time to donate again!

(Free cookies are the best part)


Wishing Update

Morning wish came true :)

Wished again tonight.  I'll keep you posted.....


Fun Dates, etc.

I refuse to begin this post with the customary apology to my mother for the following reasons: a) it might lead to the impression that my mother is some kind of blog-demanding-Nazi, and b) I already apologized to her on the phone today. 

I also refuse to make excuses for not updating. Although if I did, it would look like this: 

List of lame excuses for not blogging:

*I'm boring
*I never take pictures, so even if I weren't boring, my posts would be without pictures
*Suzy's blog is so much better than mine; there's really no way I can compete

Today is 11.11.2011. Isn't that a fun date? But you'd probably already realized/heard/been texted/seen 5 million status updates on facebook. Sorry for being the 5,000,001. Except I had to blog about today, because today at 11:11 a.m., I took a break from studying personal finance with Jared and made a wish (a la my Day Zero Project list). And then I kissed the clock on my cell phone. And then Jared had a coronary because apparently cleaning a hospital for a living makes you some kind of germaphobe....something about how many hands had touched my phone....what a wimp. I will not be telling you what I wished for. I am also fully intending to wish again tonight. After all, how often do you get this kind of potent wishing power?

11.11.11 is not the only fun date that's been happening around here though.... (this is the part where pictures would be really cool....and yet are absent...)

 Fun dates of late:
*Highway to Hale 5K run
*Habitat for Humanity
*Alpine Loop fall leaves viewing
*Vocal Point concert at Snake River High School
*Civil Engineering dinner at The Skyroom
*Numerous study dates

 And tonight.....Ikea date. I'm very exited :) 

*To address those questions you are now asking yourself: Yes, all with one boy. Yes, we're dating. Yes, he is very cute.