Monday, June 22, 2009

Hello, I am Techie Momster, and I am a FarmTown addict

I believe that is the first of the 12 steps, admitting you have a problem, right? Well, not really, but I digress. I am currently at level 26, with 29977 XP, and 715,571 coins. I am currently rotating Pumpkins, 1/4 of my fields being tilled each day. I have expanded as much as I can, and have all of the fields overlapping. I know that I am not maximizing coin or XP, but I am maintaining right now, and I am trying not to burnout. At this level, it can be very time-consuming to plow and plant my whole farm, everyday. I really wish that there was a way to plant larger plots of land at a time.

Well, I'm off to go play Farmer... See you on FarmTown!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My first cookie experiment of the year: Pumpkin Crazin' Cookies

For those of you who do not already know, I give cookies as Christmas gifts every year, and have for about 10 years. The cookie-baking operation has evolved quite a bit since I began this gift-giving extravaganza. I think I started baking 3-4 varieties, and giving 6 of each variety in each gift box (and the gift boxes were handmade), and this past Christmas, I baked 7 varieties, with everyone getting at least 6 cookies of each variety. I also introduced the reusable gift bag this year, from Papermart. I like their selection of cello bags, and gift bags, but they tons of other packing and gift materials. And no, they haven't paid me for that.

Anyway, I have been baking pretty close to the same cookies for the past few years. This past year, I baked Chocolate Chip, Key Lime White Chocolate Chip, Mexican Double Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Crinkles, Great-Gramma's Anise Cookies, Snickerdoodles, and Peanut Blossoms. In years past, I have also baked Spritz cookies. These cookies have always gone over well, and I have never had anyone tell me that they didn't want cookies. In fact, most everyone says that it is the gift they most look forward to! But, sometimes the cookie varieties seem a bit heavy on the chocolate, something I am sensitive to since DramaMama can't eat much chocolate. So, I am taking some time before the Christmas baking madness to try some new cookies. This first experiment is hardly a new concept, but I did add my own twist to them. I found the Pumpkin Spice Cookie recipe by Teresa Heinz-Kerry several years ago, but had never tried them, fearing that my family would not like them because they had pumpkin. Years after I found that recipe, we were at lunch with friends from home, and one of my co-workers ordered Pumpkin-Cranberry Cheesecake for dessert. I LOVE pumpkin cheesecake, but don't really like cranberry sauce and when he allowed me to take a sample, I could not have been more pleasantly surprised at how good it was. The smooth, sweet and slightly spicy pumpkin cheesecake combined with the sweet and tangy cranberry sauce swirl was perfect together. I wished I had ordered my own! I thought more about the pumpkin/cranberry combo, and then it hit me! Pumpkin and Craisins! In a cookie! Genius!

But I was not brave enough to try it until last week. I finally decided to take the plunge, and printed the cookie recipe I had, and made my own changes to it. So here it is:

Pumpkin Crazin' Cookies

1 cup Butter-flavor Crisco shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 pumpkin pie spice (allspice could be substituted)
1 1/2 cup Craisins

Heat oven to 375°. Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, pumpkin and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, then mix into pumpkin mixture, until just mixed together. Stir in the Craisins.

Drop by tablespoonfuls* onto a well-greased** cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden on edges.

Makes about 60 cookies.

* I use a small-medium cookie scoop (or disher) for all of my drop cookies. If I can find out the size number of the scoop I used, I will note it here.
** I used Parchment paper, as I do with all cookie baking. It makes for a better cookie baking experience, as it reduces cleanup considerably, and I have never had a cookie stick to the parchment paper.

These were OK, but the cranberry flavor from the Craisins was not as pronounced as I would have liked. That may be because I was using some Craisins that have been around for a while, or maybe because they were sweetened, I'm not sure. I may try these again with fresher Craisins.

These were a moist, cakey cookie, and they have held up well in storage. They were not a great hit with the children, but the adults liked them. They did not spread much at all, and maintained much of the scoop shape.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Not having water sucks

Just thought you would like to know....

Now for the rest of the story:

DramaMama was almost done fixing dinner, so she gave me fair warning to get the table cleared, get drinks ready, etc. I was filling glasses with ice and assorted beverages, when I noticed that there wasn't enough water in the filter pitcher for the 3 glasses of water needed for dinner. I went to the kitchen sink to fill the pitcher, and when I turned the faucet on, the water pressure was low, and kept getting lower. Now, we are on a well, and have spigots in several spots on the property, one of them down by the pool. I thought maybe that TechieDadster was putting water in the pool, and that was causing the lower water pressure. But then, the pressure kept going down, until there wasn't much more than a thin stream coming out of the faucet. At that point, my brain was screaming UH OH, then a small uh oh came out of my mouth. DramaMama looks over and says "What?" and I tell her, in a quiet voice, "there isn't any water," and then she says "uh oh."

I tell TechieDadster about the water situation, since he is the Man of the House, and will want to look at it before we call the Pump Man. After dinner, he takes his flashlight and goes up to the pumphouse. He returns in a few minutes, and says that we have to call Mr. Pump, a local pump serviceman. TD says that the pump is going like mad, and feels like it is burning up, and the pump is primed, but there is no water...

TechieDadster called Mr. Pump, and left a message with his answering service. Within a few minutes, Mr. Pump himself called back, and said that he would be there Tuesday morning, because he was already at an emergency call about 20 miles away. We were not thrilled at the prospect of not having showers in the morning, but we would live, and we had some emergency water leftover from hurricane season for drinking.

TechieDadster said that Mr. Pump did not need anyone at the house, since all the work was being done outside. So we went about our respective days. TD was the first one home, and he noticed we still did not have water. He didn't get any calls from Mr. Pump, so he called and left messages with the answering service, and on Mr. Pump's cell phone, but didn't get any answers back either way on why we still didn't have water, or whether he had even been there.

TD, being the kind soul that he is, gave Mr. Pump until this afternoon to contact us before he called another pump serviceman that was recommended by a friend. As of 1:30 this afternoon, Mr. Pump still had not called, so I assume we will not have water when I arrive home this evening...

Monday, May 4, 2009

The day that changed my life and my marriage, Part 2

These posts were originally posted on my MySpace Blog in 2007. This is a long story, so it is being broken up into several posts. Please be patient; I will post the whole story.


Left ya hangin'... And I had no idea how hard this was going to be to write this until I got into it... I ramble a little, and I apologize.

So I heard the rustling, and I thought it was an eagle, or a hawk, because we had seen a hawk rustling through the trees maybe 10 minutes before. But it was not a bird, or a deer, or any sort of animal. I turned around, and I saw TechieDadster on the ground, on his head and knees. At first, I thought maybe he had jumped from a few feet off the ground, and landed wrong, and was bent over in pain. So I called to him, and he didn't move. Then I yelled his name, and he didn't move, or answer. Then I took off running toward him. I was about 60 feet away from him, and I started running, probably faster than I had ever run in my life. I didn't care about my knees, or anything else. I was just running toward him, hoping he would pick himself up off the ground before I got there, and turn around and look at me, and ask why I was running. But he didn't.
The next part of this story is graphic. If you don't think you can handle it, skip the next paragraph.

When I got to him, he was probably unconscious, because he wasn't responding to me, and wasn't making any noise. At this point, the training kicked in. I started looking for his cell phone. I didn't have my cell phone with me, because the battery had died, and I had left it behind when we went out that day. Normally, TD wears his cell phone on his belt, but I couldn't find it. I needed to find a cell phone to dial 911, so I started yelling "DRAMAMAMA!!! DRAMAMAMA!!!", and still searching for TD's cell phone. I looked on the ground around him, and didn't see it. I yelled to DramaMama again, and kept looking for the cell phone. Finally, I felt in his left side cargo pocket, and there was a rectangular bulge. He still wasn't moving, and he was making noise like he was having trouble breathing. His face was in the ground, and his mouth was pressed against the dirt, and I thought that if I didn't roll him over, that he wouldn't be able to breathe. At this point, I knew that not breathing was worse than a spinal cord injury, so I took our chances, and rolled him onto his back. Then I saw the huge laceration on his head, down to the bone, from the bridge of his nose, up to his hairline, and then curved down toward his right ear. There was dirt and leaf debris in the gash, but it didn't seem to be bleeding as much as I thought a head wound would. At least he started breathing better. His left contact lens was out of his eye, on his face, and both of his eyelids were covered with debris. At this point, probably 15 seconds have passed... I used the cell phone to dial 911, and reported the accident to the dispatcher.

Just after I got off of the phone with the 911 dispatcher, TD started making noise. Moaning, really. The order of events at this point is a little fuzzy to me. Not long after TD started moaning, DramaMama and LilDiva came down the stairs. I had been yelling for DramaMama off and on, and she finally heard me, and ran in my general direction, LilDiva in tow. As soon as she got a glimpse of TD, and heard him, she was getting LD away as fast as she could, but it apparently wasn't fast enough.

Little by little, over the next few minutes, TD's noises started sounding more coherent, and I could actually make out words. Then he start cursing "F&#$! F&$%! F&$%!" A lot. I told him to keep his eyes closed, and I started asking him what was hurting. He didn't say anything about his head, but he did say that his left hip, left ankle, and back were hurting. He kept asking me to move his left leg, because I guess he thought it would feel better if I moved it. I did move it, once, against my better judgment, and it didn't help his pain at all. At some point before the ambulance got there, he asked me what happened, and what injuries he had. I considered not telling him the truth as this point, but I decided against it. I told him, calmly, matter-of-factly, because that's what I would want if I was in that situation. I didn't have a lot more information than he did, but at least I could see.

That's about as much as I can get through tonight... sorry to leave you hanging again...

I told you it was a long story...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The day the changed my life and my marriage, Part 1

In July 2007, TechieDadster, SuperKid, DramaMama and LilDiva and I took a vacation to visit TechieDadster's family in West Virginia. They live in a valley near a small creek, and we were all having a nice relaxing vacation, catching up with family and friends. LilDiva and SuperKid were running around like little heathens with our nieces and nephews, and having a great time. TechieDadster, DramaMama and I were going on daytrips to different parks and attractions.

On July 3, we decided we were going to start the day at Grandview Park, part of the New River Gorge National River. We went to the various overlooks, which all have a great view of the New River Gorge; it truly is a Grand View. We were at the Turkey Spur Overlook, which is at the top of a 60 foot rock. TechieDadster, DramaMama and LilDiva climbed the stairs to the top of the rock to see the view from the overlook. I decided not to go; there were 150 steps to the top of the overlook, and I did not want to overdo it with my knees. While they were at the overlook, I took some pictures of some magnolia flowers that were in bloom. I fancy myself a photographer, so I was trying to get some nice clear closeup photos of these flowers. I did not recall seeing these flowers in bloom in previous trip to WV, so I wanted to take a few pictures, in hopes of getting one good picture.

While I was waiting for the rest of my group to return, I heard a lot of rustling in the trees and brush behind where I was sitting...

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pool time!!

I love living in Florida. TechieDadster, SuperKid and I went swimming this evening after SuperKid and I got home from school and work. When I checked the pool temperature, it was 85 degrees. Today was not the first time we went swimming this year; I think we were in the pool on March 31, the earliest we have been in the pool since we have lived here. We have had some issues with tree pollen getting into the pool, and the solar heater was not working properly. A little more than 2 weeks ago, the pool temperature was only 76, too cold for me to swim in.

Anyway, TD, SK and I had a great time in the pool. SK actually asked me to help him put on his floatie vest, and he was able to swim mostly independently in the pool. He was even following me while I was trying to swim laps. He really loves playing in the water; he has since we first put him in a baby swim ring when he was 6 months old.

Of course, this will not be the last time we go swimming. We have the whole summer to enjoy our own little slice of paradise.

Hello World!

My first blog post. Ever. On my own blog. How behind the times am I.

I am a MCSE in Central Florida, a wife, a mom, an amateur photographer, a beginning gardener, a rescue diver, a baker; not quite Jill of all Trades.

I am using this blog to post my random rants and ramblings, because I don't have a diary.