Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scared Nearly to Death!

Was driving down to the dog park the other day and passed this halloween decoration.  It is suspended by the head and turns in the breeze.  As I was driving past it was like it was following me with it's eyes.  Scared the hell out of me!!  I nearly lost control of my car as I took a double take.  Yea, it is that creepy!

Hope you have a happy halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spooky, Spooky!

I bought these cute hand towels a couple of year ago at Target and I just love them.  I think they are adorably cute and they look so nice in my guest bathroom.  They are really the only decorating I do now that the boys are grown and have moved away from home.  Franky, in the middle, is my favorite.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Field Trip Day!

I say it all the time..."there's nothing quite like a day in the field" and this day was no exception.  The weather was beautiful, although a bit chilly as we started off.  My friend, Mike, led the field trip for some of our introductory physical geology students.  The purpose is to help put all of the topics they've been learning (in both lecture and lab) into real-world situations.  I also think it makes the students look at the Earth entirely differently.  Here we see Mike showing students ripple marks in the sandstone layers.  This area used to be covered by ocean.


This picture is a zenolith at one of the sites we stop at.  This is a chunk of shale (sedimentary rock characteristic of deep sea) that broke off and got caught up in molten magma.  As it tumbled around, the shale folded, probably as a response to high temperatures and banging around in the magma before solidification.

A day in the field beats any day in the classroom!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Birthday Presents!

I got the best package from William and Tiffany for my birthday!  William knows how much I love British candy, so he sent me a package with some of my favorites.  I still have one package of the buttons left.  I am hoarding those!  Tiffany picked out the bacon candy.  It's a little different.  Reminds me of a mint candy without the mint but with a bit of smokieness.  It's not half bad.

I laughed, I got sad, when I read "All my friends are dead"....such a cool book.
They also bought me a mini dinosaur dig present.  I'll post pictures of my adventures soon.
Love, love my presents!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Who doesn't love banana bread?

I have had a long-standing rule for myself - except in times when it's not possible, I only allow myself to eat sweets that I have baked.  I figure it this way, I know what's going into the baked goods and I also have to do some work for the rewards.  Now, I've never been good at baking banana bread.  Not sure why but I can never get the center to set.  That was, until I found the following recipe in one of my old Pillsbury cookbooks.  I share the recipe with you here.  It seems to come out perfect every time.

Banana Bread

3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. margarine or butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup (2 medium) mashed ripe bananas
1/3 c. milk
2 c. all purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom only of 9x5 or 8x4 inch loaf pan (I now use parchment paper instead of it!)  In large bowl, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs.  Add bananas, milk, and vanilla; blend well.  In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; mix well.  Add to banana mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour into greased pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan.  Cool completely.  Wrap tightly and store in refrigerator (or you could do like I do...slice it, put the slices in ziploc bags, and store in the freezer.  This way I just have to grab one little packet when I want a slice, and putting it in the freezer helps maintain its freshness).


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Old-Fashioned Pot Roast

My week is always so busy now with teaching five classes at school.  I've been trying to do some cooking on the weekends so that I have lunches and dinners ready for the week.  I was able to get a good deal on a chuck roast the other day and thought I'd make an old-fashioned pot roast.  You know the kind, where it cooks for a few hours over a low stove burner.  My ex-husband's grandmother made one of the best pot roasts I've ever had and I am always trying to recreate it.  She was a lovely lady...probably the only one in his family that understood me.  Broke my heart when I had to tell her we were getting a divorce.  Anyway, I digress...

The pot roast came out lovely.  Here's what I did.

Make a dredge of flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Dredge your pot roast in that.
Put a few tablespoons of oil in the bottom of a heavy duty dutch oven and heat.
Put roast in the dutch oven and allow to brown on both sides.
Pour in a can of Progresso French Onion Soup.
Add one chopped onion and 2 stalks of celery, chopped.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for one hour over the low flame.
Add 3 medium potatoes and 3 carrots, chopped.
Cover and allow to simmer again over the low flame for about an hour and a half to two hours.
Allow to cool so you don't burn your mouth on its deliciousness.
There's nothing like old fashioned cooking.

 After eating dinner I divided up the roast and veggies into 5 individual containers.  Lunch for the week!  This also freezes well, but I don't like the texture of frozen potatoes so I just refrigerate mine.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pet Palace...

Honor is going to be staying at a Pet Palace while I am gone to GSA in a few weeks.  This will be her first time there.  Before your pet can be boarded, he/she must show proof of shots and fill out some basic paperwork.  I stopped by with Honor the other day to turn in the paperwork and they had the whole place decorated for Halloween!  I simple could not pass up the opportunity to have Honor pose in front of this decorated dog house outside of the Pet Palace.  It's okay, I made up for forcing her to have her picture taken by taking her to Petco to get some fresh Greenies.  They are one of her favorites.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Ode to a Diner...

 I was headed home after the NWS open house and saw this little place, called Hunka Pie (yes, I do realize it says Starlite Diner, but there is a little sign that says it's now called Hunka Pie...go figure..haha).  Anyone that knows me knows that I have a thing for diners and also for supporting independent businesses.  It was lunchtime so I figured I'd stop for a bite.  I was not disappointed.

 I always seem to order a hotdog when I stop in to a diner.  I love, LOVE hotdogs but I rarely make them at home.  Today I tried a bacon wrapped hotdog and an order of hand-dipped onion rings.  The hotdog was okay (the bacon was too crispy because it had been deep fried and I thought I was going to lose a tooth on one piece), but the onion rings were unbelievably good!  I could have eaten a whole order of just those.  And then it was time for dessert.  What to have...what to have....hmmm...

Which one shall I choose...which one shall I choose....they all looked so delicious in the pie cabinet, and the waitress told me that they were fresh baked every day.  So I decided to go with my favorite pie flavor...Key Lime.

This pie was great!  I think the baker puts some brown sugar in the graham cracker crust because it had a caramel taste to it.  There was also just the right amount of butter to hold it all together.  I also liked that he didn't color the key lime green!  After 2 bites I had to ask for a to-go box because I was so full.  All in all, a pretty darn delicious stop.  I love having days where I feed both my mind and my tummy.

What's your favorite pie flavor?  Can you pick just one?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

National Weather Service Open House...

Took today off to just have some fun.  The Little Rock NWS was having an open house for the first time in 20 years.  Because I am such a science nerd, I went and had a wonderful time.  The crew was so kind and really explained everything that was going on.  We didn't have any severe weather, but I bet this place gets humming when we do.  Above is a picture of one of the many arrays of computers, all keeping an eye on the skies for us.

 When I went outside I wandered amongst the booths and look who I ran into!  I just had to have my picture taken with Smokey the Bear.

This is the array of rain gauges behind the NWS office.  Some of them tell how much rain you've had by the weight.  The information is sent electronically into the NWS office so that those that are working there don't have to go outside to check the gauges.
One of the highlights of the day was the release of a weather balloon.  It's quite amazing how quickly it goes up once released.  The meteorologists said that at maximum size, the balloon becomes about 30 feet across due to changes in pressure as it gets higher into the atmosphere.  Then, it pops.  The balloons aren't recovered by anyone at the NWS.  Instead, they are self-proclaimed "litter bugs" and hope that people that come across them will mail them back (there is a postage-paid part on the balloon so that it can just be dropped into the mailbox).

This is the tower that tracks the weather balloon.  I think it's a pretty structure.
All in all, a fabulous day!

Sunday, October 07, 2012