Friday, October 31, 2008

Recipe Round-Up

It's been a while since I've shared with you what I'm cooking, so it's time for another post about it. And although the temperatures are still in the 70s or so here, it's finally starting to feel like fall so all these recipes have a somewhat-loose "fall" theme to them.

Apple Cider Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze
I made this last night for our Bible study. It was a huge success! Everyone really loved the taste of it, even those people who don't normally like cakes. I have to confess that I used a pound cake mix for this rather than baking it from scratch. I just substituted apple cider for the water the mix called for, and added in all the spices as well. It made it much easier and it still tasted great.

Barcelona Hot Chocolate
Confession: I love hot chocolate. I drink it at least a couple times a week, even during the summer. This recipe is one of my favorites. It's got a slight hint of orange in it that somehow just makes it extra-tasty.

Pumpkin Pie Cake
I helped a friend make this for her boyfriend's birthday party. He requested pumpkin pie, but she really wanted to make him a cake, and so she found this! It's absolutely delicious and most people at the party, including her boyfriend, decided they liked it better than actual pumpkin pie. (Note: I don't think we used the pecans that they recommend)

Shrimp Arrabbiata
So most of these recipes I'm giving you are desserts, you say? Well, here's one that's a main dish. It's a spicy twist on spaghetti that is really quick and easy as well. I heart Cooking Light!

Tilapia Parmesan
I don't know why I share so many seafood dishes, we rarely eat it...but when we do, this recipe is something we use all the time! Actually, I've used it with chicken too, and it's also delicious. Also, I realize these last two recipes aren't exactly fall themed, but oh well...they still get to be included.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Boom Goes the Dynamite!

This guy is now a newscaster in Waco.

It was fun to watch this and revisit old YouTube video days. 

It made me laugh to watch this one again as well.

Anyone have any other favorites?

Anyone wonder why I work a 10 hour day and still stay up watching pointless YouTube videos? I sure do...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just Another Pointless Sammie post?

or is this the post you've been anxiously waiting for all week? (Julie, don't lie....)

Either way, Sammie turned ONE on Saturday! She had a wonderful day even though she didn't receive a single birthday card or gift in the mail from any of her extended family or friends. (**ahem**)
(Just to be clear, I'm totally joking. I mean, she only cried for hour at most.)

The day started out when Dan woke up and sang "Happy birthday" to her. Next, she got to go on a morning walk!

Then a lovely breakfast, consisting of...well, dog food, but she seemed to enjoy it.

The thing is, I really wanted to take Sammie to Dogtopia for her birthday. But, well, we never quite got around to it. All the other birthday festivities got in the way, I guess. But we are going to take her sometime, and when we do I will let you know because they have a webcam and you'll be able to watch her play all day online!

So for most of the afternoon she just napped on the couch. Oh, and we gave her a birthday present of a rope wrapped into a ball. She played with that for a long time.

That night, we went over to Matthew's house with several friends for dinner, wine, and the OSU game. The dinner was Stouffer's Lasagna (Dan's favorite, as you know) and then we sampled some of the wine that Dan and Matthew had liked from their wine class.
In case you're interested, here were our favorites:

Greg Norman Cabernet Merlot - everyone liked
Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Savignoun - Dan's favorite
DaVinci Chianti - my favorite

Anyway, back to the Samster. Three dogs came over to Matthew's to help celebrate her birthday. (Okay, actually two of them already live there, but whatever...details details). Sammie loved them and played all night! She was so exhausted she slept the whole car ride home.
We had one last treat for her before bed. We put our down comforter back on for the winter! It's finally getting cool enough where we can appreciate it (read: 60 degrees). Sammie was so excited.


And there you have it, another post in the series of "Random and Pointless Posts about Sammie," dedicated to Julie.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Silver Lining

The crazy financial things that have been going on in our country lately have caused some concern for all of us. Luckily, Dan and I don't have any stocks (or retirement money saved or anything of that matter) so it wasn't that big of a deal, but I know it is for so many of you. I also know the $700 billion rescue plan has affected all of us. Did you know the Times Square National Debt clock has run out of digits to keep track of our debt? Wow...

Anyway, in light of all that, there is some good news! With the bill, the Mental Health Parity Act also passed.

This article explains it better than I can:

"When Congress approved the $700 billion rescue plan, it also passed one of the most significant mental-health bills in U.S. history — the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. It requires group insurance plans to cover mental illnesses the same way as physical ones (no more higher co-pays, deductibles and limits on hospital stays). For more than a decade, Senator Peter Domenici pioneered the fight for such legislation. Last year, the 76-year-old Republican announced he suffers from a degenerative brain disease and would not seek another term. One of his final votes led to the bill's long-awaited passing. "

This is good news for me, as a future psychologist. And it's good news for all you, because you get mental health services if you need them!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Too Good of a Deal NOT to Blog About It...

Some of you may know that I follow grocery shopping and coupon blogs pretty carefully. There are many people out there who write exclusively about ways to save money and search out coupons that will work at your local stores. People are especially big on CVS and Walgreens right now because you can get lots of stuff for free if you sign up for their extra care bucks and then go shopping a lot with coupons.

And here are some other blogs that I regularly use to find coupons good at Walmart and HEB, the grocery stores around here:

I do my grocery shopping by first checking all the blogs and finding the sales and printing off coupons. I know not everyone likes to shop like this, but hey whatever helps you stay on budget, right?
::UPDATE:: I got an email today saying you couldn't combine two offers. So, the $25 off is still a good deal but you can't use it as well as the free not as good of a deal as it was...
Anyway, I want to share with you a deal I just completed (i.e. it's not a scam because it works!) with Omaha Steaks. Basically, you can get 12 Omaha Steaks burgers for free, plus $25 off whatever you purchase. (Since shipping is $13, you want to aim for something just a little over $12 so that you can literally get this all for free - it will apply the discount to shipping).

The only bummer about this is it's not available to Ohio residents. I have no idea why. But if you don't live in Ohio, continue reading!

First, go to this page and sign up for Geico Privileges. It's completely free, no strings attached. You don't have to even get an insurance quote or anything like that, it's just like signing up for their website basically. They will then send you an email with a code for $25 off any purchase at Omaha Steaks. It took me almost 8 hours to get my email so don't get discouraged when you don't get it right away.

Second, go here and type in your email address. They will send you a confirmation email that includes 12 free burgers from Omaha Steaks with any purchase, and you just have to go to the website through that link and make your purchase.

So when you get both emails, just go to the website through the second link, pick out whatever you want and order! Your 12 free burgers will be automatically applied at checkout, and checkout is also where you type in your code. It's awesome!! If you get more burgers you can literally get 24 burgers for about $2.00. I upgraded and got some sirloin steaks but it was still only $15 total (including shipping).

Anyway, this was just a really cool thing and I'm really excited about getting some red meat when we usually don't spend money on it! So I wanted to share it with you because I know all of you could use this.

*One small picky note: When you click on the link from the GEICO email, it might just go to the main page rather than your gift code number. If that happens, sign in using your name and password. Then leave that window open and click on the link from the email again in a different window. It seems like you must have to be signed in on the computer you're on for the link to work.

Yum yum... today is just my lucky day I think. First zoo tickets, and now this!

I Won Something!

Check out this email I just got:

Congratulations! Your name was drawn from the Urinetown the Musical prize drawing. We have two passes to Waco's Cameron Park Zoo waiting for you here at the box office. Box office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 to 5. Please come by at your earliest convenience to pick up your tickets. We look forward to seeing you at the theatre.

I'm so excited! I don't think I've ever won anything in my life. I just looked up the price of tickets and they are $7 each for adults, so I basically just won $14! I just saved us $14 that can now go toward something more important. Maybe I'll buy some new shoes with all that money I just saved us.

Please don't correct me on any of my logic here... :-) I'm just excited that I won something!

Monday, October 20, 2008

How I Know It's Monday

1. My key to my office didn't work. Just...did not open the door. I tried other people's keys (there's one master key for all the offices), and no one's worked. So we called the help line, and a strange man came and took the doorknob off my door with a screwdriver. I am currently sitting in an office with no doorknob.

I mean seriously, when else would that happen besides a Monday morning??

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The 10K That Wasn't

The Advocacy Center is an organization in Waco that serves crime victims, with a focus on children who have been abused. We have one of our practicum sites there, so there is always one person from my program who works out there each year. So the Advocacy Center decided to have a run today to raise money for their programs, and a group of us got together and decided to be on a team. Some of us were running the 5k, and some were running the 10k.

Here we all are before the race: (I realize this is an awful picture but it's all I have)

Well, the race started off okay. Dan and I ran with our friend Aaron, who is currently a fourth year in the program.

We were laughing about the differences between this course and the marathon. The main one turned out to be a lack of signs telling you where to go. At some points, there were chalk arrows on the ground, but they were easily missed unless you were staring at the ground.

We kept running and then started wondering where the 10k split off from the 5k. And then we kept running...and wondering...and wondering....until we came to the finish line! Dan and I were so confused and trying to figure out what to do as we crossed. I'm sure we looked completely insane. We kept asking and asking until finally we found someone who'd seen the 10k turn-off. Apparently it was written in chalk on the ground right by the only water station of the race. So I'm thinking we were both looking up to get water and just didn't even see it.

I was disappointed! I was looking forward to a long run today - it would have been the longest I'd run since the marathon. Plus, we totally would have gotten medals since barely anyone ran the 10k - there were quite a few people who complained about missing the turn-off!

But we had fun and helped some kids. Plus they had free Snickers bars, Starburst, and Dr. Pepper at the finish line - all Waco made. (Fun fact: every Starburst you eat has been made in Waco.)

One more fun fact: I was talking to Julie today and told her it felt nice outside because it was really chilly. She asked what the temperature was, so I looked it up. It said 74! Haha. I don't know what we're going to do when we come back to Ohio for Christmas - I'm pretty sure we have fully acclimated to this weather.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

*Breaking News!*

Well, sort of breaking news...

To begin this story, we have to back up in time to, oh, around Dan's birth. He was born with a severe aversion to tuna fish. Dan cannot remember when this began or ever even trying tuna, but he has always known that he absolutely hated it.

When we were in college, sometimes we would eat lunch together. If I got a tuna salad sandwich, he would refuse to come near me until I a. threw it away, b. brushed my teeth, and c. it had been about 5 hours since I'd been near it. (He claimed he could still smell it)

When Dan was rushing his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, he honestly said that if they had told him that he had to eat tuna in order to join, he wouldn't do it.

He just hates tuna that much.

Well, this weekend we went to a friend's birthday party. We knew that there was a chicken dish being served there, but what we didn't know was there was also a tuna and rice dish served that resembled the chicken dish very closely.

You can see where this is going, I'm sure...

Dan loaded up his plate and took a few big bites. Now this is the part I think is the funniest. He didn't even realize he was eating tuna! Apparently the part he got was mostly rice, but still! He was eating his most hated enemy of the food world, and he didn't even know it!

After eating it, he overheard someone explaining the different dishes and found out that unbeknownst to him, there was a tuna casserole at this party, and indeed that had been what he'd eaten.

I was outside with a friend so Dan just lived with this "horror and distress" (his words) for a few minutes, holding his empty plate in front of him, still not believing what had just happened. When I came back in, he grabbed my arm and said "DEAR GOD I JUST ATE TUNA AND I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT!!!" in the same voice that someone might use if they were telling you their firstborn daughter (or Sammie) just got kidnapped.

I burst out laughing. And ever since we have been "healthily debating" about whether tuna is actually that my opinion, if he ate it without even realizing it, it can't be as bad as he thinks! However, Dan still sticks to his argument that it was mostly rice.

I think he's just in denial. 

So there's the breaking news in the world of Dan. Now we just need to figure out how to scheme more tuna into his life until he admits he likes it... :-)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Attempt at Homework

I was really trying to study today....see my statistics book underneath the puppy? Every time I tried to read she would just crawl on top of it and plop down.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hypnosis and Hot Flashes

So that may have been the least-expected title for a blog entry in recent history, right? But I promise, it's relevant! Dr. Gary Elkins is the head of the Clinical Psychology program that I'm in. He taught my Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy class last year, and I'm actually working with him to TA the lab for that class this year.

He has been doing a lot of work with breast cancer and hypnosis for the past few years, and all my classmates who are in his lab have been as well. He recently got a $2.6 million grant from the National Institute of Health — the largest ever awarded by the NIH for this type of research! So far, he has found that hypnotic relaxation therapy can decrease both the frequency and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women. Basically, they take women going through menopause and induce relaxation through hypnosis. It sounds a little out there, but what do you know - it's working, and it's producing some pretty groundbreaking findings! The grant is to extend this research because it's pretty much sweet.

Here are some articles talking more in detail about his research and the grant:

U.S. News and World Report


Yahoo News

So if you're planning on going through menopause anytime soon, book a flight down to Waco and get in on the trials!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I'm the next Mike Tyson

So I just finished taking a Statistics test. Remember at the beginning of the semester when I said I thought I would be okay in Statistics since I did well in undergrad?

Excuse me while I laugh my head off. (and then go cry a little!)

I just finished taking an ESSAY test in said class, and that sort of threw me for a loop. I understand the concepts reasonably well, but when you start asking me to compare and contrast and explain the advantages of different ones, I don't really think I did so hot.

To make myself feel better, I'm going to tell you about my boxing class! Since the beginning of the semester, my friend Christianna and I have been taking Boxing together at the Baylor rec center. It's an hour and a half long course, and although we spend most of the time just doing conditioning, we're working our way up to doing actual boxing. It's awesome.

Last week, we had our benchmark tests. The instructors want to show us how much better we're getting, so I think twice a semester we're going to be doing these benchmarks to see where we are. Here is what I scored in order from least exciting to most exciting:

4. Sit-ups - I did 58 in 2 minutes. I don't think this is very good; most people in my class beat me. But oh well.

3. Pullups - Okay, so I still can't do an actual pullup. BUT I held myself up in the flex position (so like at the top of a pullup) for 36 seconds!! At the beginning of the semester, I could do 18 so I am very proud of this. My goal is by the end of the semester to be able to do a real pull up. (Please don't laugh at me - I've never been able to do one before!)

2. Pushups - I did 42! Yeah! And they were full ones - the instructor watches you and only counts if you go down far enough and up all the way.

1. Mile run - This is my proudest accomplishment. I ran a mile in.... 6 minutes and 32 seconds! Woohoo!! Of course my lungs were burning afterward and I developed a cough that didn't go away for the next week...but still, I was so happy about this. I never thought I could run fast so this was huge. (Now of course, I think that my one mile time is somewhere around Scott's marathon pace time, so this is all relative...but I'm still happy!)

I've been learning some basic punches too, so next time you see me, watch out!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

On the Spot

Update: Dan found my keys. I won't tell you where they were, because it's just way too embarrassing. Or on second thought...I'm supposed to really be revealing myself on this blog, right? Okay. They were on my desk, underneath a piece of paper. 

Josh suggested that I buy the FOFA.  I love it! Christmas idea, anyone?

The vice presidential debates are tonight. I can't lie, I really want to watch them because there seems to be the possibility of some pretty good lines. We'll have to see...

But I don't know why I feel like I can make fun of other people for mixing up things during interviews. When I'm put on the spot, I'm awful at answering questions!! 

Dan and I have these friends, who we actually hang out with quite a bit. They are very scholarly and so we can have some pretty intense conversations with them. Usually, I can hold my own as long as we are just skating along the surface of a topic. There have been a few times, however, when one of them asked me a question and I felt like a complete idiot.  Observe:

::We are talking about our favorite authors and books::

R: I love CS Lewis! 
Kristi: Oh me too! I loved The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity.
R: Oh those were good; of course they're some of his more popular works. What else have you read of his?
Kristi: Umm..uhhh....
Dan: Well, we've read the Chronicles of Narnia.

::It gets even worse::

R: Well, uh, that's great...what are some of your other favorite works of literature?
Kristi (searching frantically in my mind for something, anything, but all I can think of this book I'm currently reading, which is The Nanny Diaries!)

::dead silence::

Dan: Um, well, I really like Spanish books, you probably wouldn't know any of them.
Kristi: Uhh... Pride and Prejudice? (The only remotely "literary" novel that I can think of)
R: Oh, okay...(awkward)...well, if you ever want to borrow any of CS Lewis's other books sometime, just let me know.

We are awful. The sad part is, we both love to read. It's just something about being put on the spot like that which turns people into complete idiots! Anyone have any of your own good stories?