Thursday, October 30, 2008

My hand is dead to me

This year was a pretty low key fair year for me. Technically I went to the fair 7 separate times, but 6 of them, I was working the NCSU Dairy Bar where I scooped unhealthy sized portions of ice cream and handed it to them with a smile and sometimes some words of encouragement. I loved it when parents would order ice cream for their 6 year old kid and when you handed their order out, their eyes widen, jaw drops and then immediately break out into the biggest grin you've ever seen. It's like Christmas morning over and over again. And the best part is that you're giving them that Christmas morning feeling. :)

Let us not forget, though, that I completed 10 shifts at the dairy bar, most worked two in a row. Each shift is three hours long. Thus, over the course of 8 days I worked 30 hours (not that I doubted your math skills in any way). I am so grateful that Matt has a wonderful job that pays him the big bucks so that I can go to school and not have to work.

That being said, I cannot begin to describe to you the pain my right arm and hand went through over the course of those 8 days. I truly believe that I bruised the bone and I have contracted carpel tunnel syndrome, but it was worth it. Even though I was in a lot of pain, I got paid (indirectly) for it. For my efforts, I was paid one point for every hour I worked. I earned 30 points this year, just for dairy bar. I also earn points for doing things with the club like working events, participating in activities, and general participation in food science club things. Then, at the end of the year, we "redeem" our points for money that we can put towards school related things. Every year, the amount that a point is worth is different, depending on how much is leftover in the budget. I really want to go to a professional conference in Anaheim, California this year, so I need to earn as many points as possible!! Last year the points were worth close to nine dollars, so if I get that again this year, I've already earned 270 dollars towards the trip. :)

Any way, it was hard, but totally worth it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cinnamon "Tea"

Matt and I were recently in Charlotte visiting friends for my fall break. We have a ton of fun (as usual) spending time with them! In addition to visiting the North Carolina Renaissance Festival, we ate... a lot (also as per usual). I always end up hovering in the kitchen whenever we visit Blayke and Eduardo because they are both fantastic cooks! Eduardo made this steak for tacos one night that was delicious accompanied by homemade refried beans (which Blayke actually made) and pico de gallo with avacado. Mmmmm... it was good. They also made this wonderful (but totally not good for you) sausage dip (sausage, cream cheese and rotel). This has become one of Matt's new favorite foods.

In addition to the other wonderful things that were made, I was introduced to cinnamon tea. It's not really "tea" in the sense that it contains tea leaves, but tea in the sense that you brew cinnamon sticks in water and let them steep. After you've let them release their cinnamony goodness, you mix the warm cinnamon water with some sugar and a tablespoon or two of evaporated milk (or just regular milk if you don't have the evaporated kind). I cannot begin to describe how much I love this drink! It tastes like those little red hots candies that come out around Valentine's Day but not hot. I always wondered where that flavor came from because it truly doesn't smell or taste anything like ground cinnamon, but now I know! It's amazing to me how different a spice can be when it's applications are varied! I suppose that's my food-nerd side coming out! Any way, hopefully I'll be posting again soon about this...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mission: Destroy the mouse

One of the very best things about our new home is that the previous owner was an english major and transformed the dining room into a library to house her enormous book collection. I have always wanted a library in my house and am thrilled to be able to have one so early in my life!! I don't have nearly the same amount of books as she did, but I've got room to grow!

The one drawback is that the previous owner also LOVED Disney. When we walked through the house, there was at least one Disney related thing in each room, if not more. I think it was her love of the mouse that drove her to do something that truly (in my opinion) detracted from the house. She had cut-out holes of Mickey Mouse on the top molding on the shelves in the library.

The following is a documentary on my attempts to get rid of the mouse:

So you have a mouse problem, eh? Don't look at this like a problem, but an advantage to beautify a room.

In some of my earlier planning sessions, I had contemplated square, ceramic tiles, preferably of the hand painted spanish style, but given the desired use of the room (garden-themed), I opted for silk flowers.

Shown here is the final result. Note: I hung curtains in front of two panels of shelves to be explained later.

Here is the end result of the mission. Also, please don't think that I am crazy. I am going to paint the cabinet doors white. I just haven't had time yet. I love my room. It's wonderful to read in. Very relaxing.

Here are the two panels I've hung curtains on. I made the curtains to cover up my pantry storage since there really isn't any. The "pantry" is a few shelves above my washer and dryer, but that space smells like laundry detergent and also makes most food stored there taste like tide.
I also love the shutter blinds that the previous owner installed. Several other windows in the hosue have them too. It just goes so well in this room though.

Any way, I love my library and look forward to collecting more books and cool old glass bottels to put on my shelves. :)
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