Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese Salad

This is one of my absolute favorite things to make, so I don’t know why I haven’t blogged it sooner. If this salad were drugs, I’d be an addict.

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I’m getting hungry just looking at this picture…

First make a box of macaroni and cheese according to the directions on the box, and as soon as you are done while it’s still hot, add a small bag, about 12 ounces of frozen peas.

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You can do this step at any time, but I usually start with this and work on the macaroni and cheese all throughout the preparation of the other ingredients. When you’re done let it sit until you have finished the rest of the salad. This is so that the frozen peas will thaw, and so that the macaroni and cheese will cool down.

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To start the rest of the salad, you begin by grating about half an onion into a large mixing bowl.You can do more or less depending on how much you like onion.

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Then 3/4 cup of Salad Dressing or Mayonnaise.

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Then about half a cup of chopped celery. I usually use two stalks, but you can do more if you want the salad really crunchy.

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Then add a half a teaspoon of salt

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And grate in 6 hard boiled eggs. Please excuse the awful picture, these are farm fresh eggs, and for some reason they do not peel well at all.

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Then add approximately 1 – 1 1/2 cups of cubed cheese. You can use pre-cubed or shredded cheese if you want, but I prefer to make tiny cubes myself, because I like the texture, and the pre-cubed chunks from the store are way too big for my liking. I used Pepper Jack cheese, which is good, but this recipe is best when you use sharp cheddar. I didn’t have any, so I made do with what I could find.

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Then stir all this together.

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The final step is to add the now cool Macaroni and Peas. Stir it all together and you just made the most amazing pasta salad the world will ever know.

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I’d better go find something else to do before I start gnawing on my computer screen…

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I’ve Been Rather Busy…

So I’ve kind of been neglecting my blog the last few days. I hope that this will not be a continuing habit, as I like to make regular posts, but with being back in school now, it is kind of hard.

School is going ok so far. And by ok, I mean simply that, ok. It isn’t going great, but it isn’t going bad. The reason it hasn’t been going great, is for many reasons, each class has had its own form of unpleasant-ness.

Digital Photography is the first class. To begin with, on the first day we received an e-mail from our teacher, telling us that class would be held in another room, in another building, clear across campus. (By the way, this teacher was my teacher in Photography 1 and both Joel’s and my teacher a year ago in Launching the Imagination) So we go to the new room and find our teacher standing outside with a huge group of students. The room had been reserved for a faculty meeting. So we had no room and ended up going back to the art center and having a very abbreviated class in the entry hall. The reason the class had been moved was because the room that we were supposed to be using has not even been finished being built yet. It was supposed to have been finished quite some time ago, but has not been yet. Apparently this new room will be a state of the art Mac lab with scanners and printers and everything a computer artist could ask for, so hopefully, this inconvenience will be worth it.

Biology is the second class, and it is so far the worst class I have ever taken. (This is not to say it’s awful, as I haven’t ever taken any truly awful classes, but in the time I have spent at school, this one wins for most unpleasant) I really hope it will get better, but when someone gives you a bad first impression, it is very hard to change your mind about a person. Our teacher gave me a bad first impression by telling Joel and I that we were not allowed to work together. She did not ask nicely, she straight-up told us, “One of you is going to have to move.” She has some sort of problem with relatives working together and claims that one will do all the work and the other will do nothing. I don’t know what kind of wacko-land she’s from, but this is not a problem that exists solely between relatives. In fact, I would go so far as to say that when this is an issue, it almost always will be with non-relatives. Regardless of her issues, the appropriate response to finding out that we were related would have been to explain why she has an issue with it, and then request that we find a different partner, instead of treating us like misbehaving kindergarteners.

The course is (Not surprisingly) heavily steeped in evolutionary indoctrination, but other than that, the material is pretty fascinating. I have always loved science, that is why I wanted to take this course to begin with. I just didn’t count on having a vicious harpy for a teacher. Ok, so she isn’t really that bad, I’m still just ticked off at her, so you’ll have to excuse my hyperbole. I’ll get over it, and blogging about it helps. :) Also, I tend to (Sometimes foolishly) look for the good in everyone, so I’m sure I’ll warm up to her eventually. (Unless she really is evil… :p) I don’t think she is trying to be a “Mean ol’ school marm”, she did say many times that she was having an especially bad day, so that most likely played into her demeanor.

The good thing about this class is that it is making me appreciate even more how wonderfully designed we are. As long as I keep in mind that we were created by God and didn’t just happen randomly, there is a lot of things to learn from this class. I think once I get over the teacher, I will really like it. Until November that is…

Toward the end of November there is a day in biology set aside for dissecting a pig fetus, so I have been thinking of ways to have a tragic accident or get myself deathly ill in order to avoid that day. So far I haven’t really thought of any diseases or injuries that I’d rather have, so I may just end up having to go anyway. It’s not like I’m too squeamish, and am going to puke at having to cut up a baby pig, I just do not want to do it. (If there were no such profession as “Butcher” I would be a vegetarian. There is no way I’d kill an animal myself for food.) That particular class is in late November though, so I can always pray for divine intervention in the form of an interstate-closing blizzard… You can pray with me if you’d like. :)

The last class that we have to travel for is Painting 1. “What!?” you ask. “Why didn’t you have a great time in that one?! You’ve been looking forward to it all year!” Well, after traveling almost an hour to get to the class, all we ended up doing was going over the syllabus and introducing ourselves, with the promise of getting started next week. So almost two hours of drive time for twenty minutes of sitting in a classroom, when what I wanted to be doing was learning how to paint. That’s why it wasn’t a great class. I hope that the second day of Painting, which is tomorrow, will be better. Speaking of which, I really need to be getting to bed…

Before I go, I’ll quickly mention my history and geography classes, which are on-line. Both of those only fall into “Ok” territory, because they are mainly reading and fact memorizing. I was really looking forward to using the geography coloring book, but that doesn’t get used until toward the end of the semester, so that was somewhat of a disappointment too.

So all in all, my first week of school was not a good one. I am forever an optimist though, so I’m sure that it will get better. :) I can’t wait until my first real painting class! :D

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Potato Salad

Finally! Another recipe post! I haven’t done one of those in quite awhile, but I will be rolling out at least three in the next few days because the other day I spent the whole afternoon cooking as I had invited a friend over for supper. I made three different things and I took pictures the whole time so I could blog about them. The recipe I’ll post first is a potato salad recipe. This is based on my mom’s suggestions for ingredients, but I didn’t have any exact measurements.
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As long as you follow my approximate guesses you’ll be fine, and as usual, if you want to add more or less of anything that’s just fine.
You’ll need to start by making the dressing.
I used about 3/4 cup of plain salad dressing as the base.
I added a couple tablespoons of mustard to that.
I also grated in about half an onion.
I added about half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Then I added between one and two tablespoons each of vinegar and sugar.
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If you end up with something that looks like this you’re probably fine.
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You’ll need about 6 hard boiled eggs
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And about 3 stalks of chopped celery.
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The next thing I added was home-made lime pickles which I chopped up really fine. I did maybe a quarter cup. You probably won’t have these on hand, but sweet relish or chopped bread and butter pickles would probably make for acceptable substitutes.
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Grate in the eggs, add the celery and pickles to the dressing, and mix it  all together.
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The final and most important ingredient is the potatoes. I’m not sure how much I added. Mom boiled extra the Sunday before to make this salad. I’m going to guess that there was at least 6 cups here. Usually I would recommend using peeled potatoes, but these are freshly dug new potatoes from our garden, so the skins are really good. If you’re using store bought potatoes, go ahead and peel them.
Mix in the potatoes and it’s done.
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For not having any exact measurements, this salad turned out very well, and tasted pretty much like Mom’s. This salad is one of the favorite in our family.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquake!

Yesterday afternoon, Joel and I were in the student center waiting for our Biology class to start. We were watching Phineas and Ferb on my laptop, and Joel was surfing the internet on his laptop at the same time. Suddenly he started making motions for me to pause the show and look at his laptop. According to a website someone had posted on facebook, there was a huge earthquake that apparently affected the entire United States. I hadn’t felt anything, so I figured it was a joke, especially since it wasn’t on a main news site that I had heard of, and there was some profanity in the article. But a quick internet search proved that it was at least partially true as news reports were coming in on other sites of an earthquake affecting the entire eastern side of the country. For most of yesterday afternoon I was under the impression that there had been some pretty serious destruction going on, and I worried about my cousin who lives out East.

Thanks to facebook, I soon found out that she was fine, and that the earthquake wasn’t nearly as bad as our ever faithful media had made it out to be. As usual, they opted for sensationalism over journalistic integrity, and severely over-dramatized the entire thing. It was definitely not worth the enormous fuss they made over it. Which brings me to the point of this blog post. People have already started to satirize our media’s ridiculous over-reaction to the earthquake, and a couple things I’ve seen cracked me up so bad, I just had to share them.

The first thing I started to see was last night, when facebook posts started popping up from a whole bunch of different friends claiming that the epicenter of the earthquake was in Washington DC along a little-known fault line called, “Bush’s Fault”. (For those of you who don’t get the reference, it’s from Obama’s endless claims that the trials that plague our country are all because of President Bush.) I didn’t laugh the first time I saw it because I still thought that there had been wide-spread destruction taking place, and I didn’t find it very funny to be poking fun of the tragedy. Once I found out that nothing serious had occurred, it became a lot more funny.

Today, one of my favorite blogs, Cake Wrecks, had an earthquake themed post, and it contained the following quote that really cracked me up.
“During the crisis, literally billions of unsuspecting East Coast citizens were mercilessly and violently wiggled for an agonizing duration of nearly 25 seconds.”
Jen Yates, who writes the blog, has a hilarious sense of humor. You can read her entire post HERE.

Perhaps the funniest thing I’ve seen so far, was a picture from a website shared on facebook by my cousin. The website claimed to have a photo of the “Devastation from the East Coast earthquake”.

So as not to give away the joke until after you’ve finished reading, I’ve put the photo below, so scroll down when you’re ready.

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Earthquake Devestation
Devastation From the East Coast Earthquake

I about died laughing. :D

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

OK Go & the Muppets

Some of you may know who Ok Go is. For those of you who don’t, they are a band who are famous for their incredibly elaborate and creative music videos that they've released on YouTube. I like their videos better than I like their music, just because they are so different, and fascinating to watch.

A few weeks ago I heard that Walt Disney records was releasing an album of Muppet songs covered by big name artists, with OK Go taking on The Muppet Show Theme song. I heard a preview of the song and I thought it was just ok. As I said before, I’m more a fan of their videos than their actual music.

Then the following trailer hit the internet, and that’s when I got excited.


Yesterday they released this “Behind-The-Scenes” video, and it was very funny.


Today they finally released the finished video and it is hilarious! All the creativity of OK Go, and all the insanity of the Muppets. I Loved it!

UPDATE 8/26:

OK Go just posted a more in depth behind-the-scenes video of making of the music video.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Start of a Busy Week

Today I worked, which is not completely unusual, but it was the first day of what will be a long and busy week. Tomorrow school begins again!
Tomorrow morning Joel and I have Digital Photography, followed by Biology, which is split into two classes, a lab and a lecture. This will pretty much take up the entire day, as the lecture doesn’t end until a quarter after four.
Wednesday, we have Painting 1, which I am quite excited about! That class lasts from 1:30 to 4:30.
Thursday is about the same as Tuesday, but without the lab.
Friday and Saturday I work from 2 till 10 on both days! I rarely get 8 hour shifts, and I am quite surprised that they scheduled me for all three days that I told them I could work! That almost never happens!
Then on Sunday we are having a graduation ceremony/party for James. We’ve been waiting to have it until after Jared got back from Afghanistan, so that he could attend.
I’m not sure what the next week will hold as far as work, but my school schedule will get even busier, as I start my two on-line classes, history and geography. Speaking of which, guess what arrived in the mail today!
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I am way too excited about my geography class. :)
Well, I had better get to bed. I’d like to be able to get up at a halfway decent time in the morning…

Sunday, August 21, 2011

More Kitten Pictures

If you recall, a week ago I found two kittens in our dirt shed. You can find that post HERE.

Today I’m sharing the pictures of them outside, playing in our firewood with their mother.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Complete Overhaul!

I have finished working on my blogs and I have completely overhauled all three! I think they look so much better now than they did before! I also added a little of my “Random” Humor in some not so obvious places, so look around, explore, and let me know what you think! I’ve added new posts to both Northern Imagination and J. North Photography, so go check out those posts, and look at the new designs at the same time!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Completely New Look!

I was not completely satisfied with the new background I picked out so I went back to the template designer on blogger and I started playing around with it. I found a whole bunch of new things I had never tried before, and I decided to completely update my theme. I’ve decided that I really like the natural feel of this template, and I am going to be able to easily change the look to suit my mood. There are tons of different natural backgrounds and the color schemes all change automatically to match the chosen background. But I can even change that if I want something else. I really like the way this works, and I am now going to go make some changes to my other blogs as well.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2011 Iowa Straw Poll

Saturday morning at 7:00, Mom, me, James, and Jacob, as well as our cousin Sarah, all took a bus, paid for by the organization “Strong America Now”, at 7:00 in the morning to travel to Ames to cast our vote in the first big Republican event of the political season, the Iowa Straw Poll. (I think that was one of the longest sentences I’ve ever typed.)

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We all wore our “Strong America Now” t-shirts. (Sarah got one later)

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Some friends, Carla and Eric Glover also rode the same bus.

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Sarah brought along her sewing to keep her busy

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The stage in the tent where our organization had it’s headquarters.

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There were a ton of tents set up. One for every presidential candidate, and a bunch more for other organizations.

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This was our tent. It was even air conditioned!

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Sarah kept asking me to take her picture, and I gladly complied, as it is very rare that anyone asks me to take their picture. Most of my family hates it when people take their picture.

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This was the only picture I got anyone besides Sarah to pose for.

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The reason Sarah asked for so many pictures, was to show off each new item she acquired.

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There were quite a few historically costumed people there, but this guy was the best. I love bagpipe music. (I also love jokes about how awful bagpipe music is, but that’s another story :p)

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Michele Bachman had a blimp flying above her tent so her supporters could find her.

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There was a huge windmill blade there for people to sign.

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The sky was amazing the whole day.

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Sarah showing off her “Strong” America Now shirt.

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This was when we went to get our tickets to vote. They wanted all the Strong America Now members to march together to show how big our group was. As you can see there were a lot of us.

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I spotted Carla ahead of us.

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Sarah with her ticket.

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Anyone willing to pay that much for a bottle of Coke? I’m not. This machine was almost empty, so plenty of other people must have been.

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The stadium was huge. Mom, Me, and Sarah sat almost near the top, and it was pretty full. (According to Eric, MSNBC was reporting that there were only a few hundred people in there. Apparently MSNBC needs to go back to kindergarten for counting lessons.)

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We missed a couple speeches, but I saw the people I wanted to see.

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Ron Paul was the first speech we heard.

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Then Tim Pawlenty

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Michele Bachmann

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Thaddeus McCotter

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And Herman Cain.

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James and Jacob came in later and sat way on the other side of the stadium in a place with as few people as possible. James called mom and told her where they were so we could spot them.

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We went to vote after the speeches were over, and we had to dip our fingers in blue ink, so Sarah and I took each other’s pictures.

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This was the railing going down the stairs outside the building where the voting took place. Sarah noticed it first and thought it would make an interesting picture.

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Back on the bus at the end of the day, Sarah had me take a few more pictures.

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This is Ivah, Eric and Carla’s daughter.

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I amused myself by taking pictures of her. :)

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We passed through a huge wind farm on the way home.

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Ivah was so cute and kept pointing to them exclaiming, “Fans!”

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Sarah kept falling asleep on the way home. I can’t blame her. We were all tired.

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And that was our day at the Straw Poll. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to be as politically active during this next election as I have been in years past, what with being back in school now, but I’ll try to be, and I will be sure to bring my camera with me. :)