Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our first Blogaversary!

In honor of our blog being one year old today, and Thursday being National Cheesecake Day, and my receiving the new Martha Stewart Cupcake book for my birthday, I decided to whip up these little treats last night. I wish I could have all of our lovely readers over for dessert, but since I can't I will share with you the recipe. Fun fact - this is our 158th post! It really has been fun writing this blog and we wouldn't enjoy it as much if we didn't have anyone to share it with :) Now, on to the recipe ...

Martha Stewart's Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes
42 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos, 30 left whole and 12 coarsely chopped
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.

3. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.

4. Divide batter evenly among cookie-filled cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate (in tins) at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.

(Note: I cut the recipe in half and it made 17 cupcakes. Also, keep an eye on them near the end - 22 minutes was too long for mine.)

An interesting day

Yesterday, I got up and was getting ready for work when I saw a text from Andrea that she would be flying into Reno and her dad was picking her up to go to Elko, but could we have lunch. So, Chris and I headed down to Deli Towne around noontime to have lunch with Dre, her dad and stepmom, plus Jeremy's mom and nephew. (If you don't know, Deli Towne is a sandwich shop inside of a gas station. I was skeptical the first time Dre and I went there last fall, but they are some bomb sandwiches. Smokey cheddar. Dutch crust bread. Mmmm.) Anyway, we had a quick but nice visit with the Paris-Nevins and then I went back to the office for a bit and on to Artown.

A mariachi band was playing as part of the World Music Series, and when I got a break after intermission I decided to shoot some video. Imagine my excitement when they played the Devil Went Down to Georgia!

I played with the video when I got home and waited for Chris to finish working. Around midnight, he called and asked if I was still up and had I looked at the paper's web site. Yes and no. He said there was a lot of smoke and to come outside and look. A huge plume was visible in south Reno and it was glowing. I called the newsroom (which had already sent a reporter), grabbed my camera, and we were on our way. At none of the road closures could the police tell us where media staging was, but some nice policemen let us park at the base of an on ramp and walk up it to shoot (Chris took some stills while I shot video.) But then some other law enforcers saw us and didn't like it, so one of the other guys came and picked us up and gave us a ride back to our car in the back of his policecar. The seats were hard, and Chris laughed at me when I tried to open my own door to get out. Glad it was a short ride! After that, we found the media staging area, shot some more, and finally got to sleep around 3:30 this morning. (Here is the link to the fire video).
This isn't the first time Chris and I have gone out together for breaking news at midnight - last year we were called in when there was a big earthquake. I like being out with Chris on late assignments - it makes me feel better to have him there, and I think we're a good team. I just asked him what we'll do when we have kids and there is breaking news at night ... will they tag along and be junior reporters? He said I might have to go by myself. I like my idea better.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Old school

Remember when I told you that last week I hung out with my great aunt Ruth and we went through some old pictures? It was a treasure trove, I tell you - and we only got halfway through one bag! That is me and Aunt Ruth up above, from a long time ago. Aunt Ruth was married to my grandmother's brother, and we have always been very close - from the time my sister and I were born. She is just a sweetheart and she has the best laugh you've ever heard. Here are some of the other great pictures she let me borrow ...

In the middle, my great-great grandmother with her youngest son Paul and his wife.

My grandma is in the back row, second from the left (my mom says I look like her!). Aunt Ruth is standing on the far right. Kneeling is my grandma's sister Geneie, and sitting with the kids is Geneie's husband Leonard.

These are my great-grandparents, Milo and Jessy Nelson. (BTW, don't you love the name Milo? If we ever have a son, that's what I'd like to name him ... still working on convincing Chris, though!) I also have a cropped version of this picture, but I thought this one was pretty rad because it shows the date (July 1971) and the bonus wallet photo that came with the print.

My great grandparents

My great grandpa's re-election flier. I scanned all sides of it - it isn't much bigger than a business card and folds open. What a great little piece of family history!
I love these pictures because I never met my great-grandparents and my grandparents (on my mom's side) passed away when I was fairly young. Going through these photos with Aunt Ruth helps me feel a little more connected to family members that I wish I'd been able to know better.
Do you have any old family photos? How do you save and/or display them?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The long and the short of it

So, I'm back home after a long, exhausting and awesome vacation. If you didn't know, Chris and I left together for San Diego last week and on Monday Chris came home but I stayed for a few extra days to visit some more people. Here are some of the highlights of our trip since the last update:

We visited my little cousin Georgie. Chris helped him down the slip 'n slide and his mom Lauren showed me some new jewelry tricks I'm excited to try out.

We got to spend some time with Laura and Ernesto last week. Here, we're having dinner Friday night near Ernesto's place in San Diego. The following night we went to the Padres game with a couple more of Ernesto's friends.
Sunday night we headed back up to L.A. We had a nice lunch with my Dad and Deb and later Chris and I had an anniversary dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and went for a walk on the beach.
On Monday, Chris went home and when Becky (my good friend and college roommate) got off work, she and I goofed off around Hollywood and paid our respects to MJ ... well, his star, at least.
Deb and I hung out Tuesday morning and paid a visit to Starbucks for some free pastries. In the afternoon, I visited my great aunt Ruth who is just the best. We went through some awesome old pictures (going back to my great-great grandmother!) and I was sad when it was time to leave. Later that night, my Dad and I went to see the Dodger game! We had a really great time.

On Wednesday, I headed up to the valley to have breakfast with my friend Lindsey from high school, and then continued on to Ventura County to visit Andrea, who had moved there exactly one week earlier. Dre surprised me with a pretty and yummy birthday cake!
We also had gelato! (And, yes, I am terrified of getting on the scale after this trip). While there, we had a chat with a former Nevada State Treasurer who graduated from UNR in 1951.

We also went into an antique store where I coveted these jars of vintage buttons, but decided if I couldn't buy them all, I wasn't going to buy any.

I got to spend the whole day Thursday with Jen, Jim and Juliette! Doesn't she just get more precious every day? I miss her already!
Friday, Jen, Juliette and I spent a lot of our day at a charity event for Cystic Fibrosis. In the evening, Becky was there, too!
And, of course, Dad and Deb were there as well.
Jen was honored for her work with CF. Always generous, caring and willing to help anyone, Jen is very deserving of the award and I'm very proud of her!
Now I'm home, unpacking, organizing, and feeling very loved and very spoiled and very blessed after such a wonderful couple of weeks. Now the countdown to my sister and Miguel's visit in less than three weeks!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Cheese to my Macaroni

Some of you readers might not think "romance" when you think of Chris. But, of course, you're not married to him.

When we were planning our wedding, we had a little web site and every time you went to it, it said how many days were left until the big day. So, whenever I'd go there I'd say "172 days!" or "146!" and Chris would tell me that there was no counting down until we reached 100 days.

Meanwhile, in early April, I attended the Elko wedding shower of our friend Andrea, who was getting married two weeks before us. Andrea's bridesmaids had a few games planned for the shower, and one of them was that they'd asked Jeremy all these questions about Andrea and then at the shower asked Andrea to answer them as well, to see if the answers matched up. One of the questions was "What do you love most about Andrea?" So I, of course, came home and, being the pest that I am, started asking Chris what he loved the most about me. He wouldn't answer, and I'd say "How do you know you want to marry me if you don't even know why you love me?" But he had this plan, you see, and I was ruining it with my silly questions.

A hundred days before our wedding, Chris left me a post-it note that said "#100 - I love that you count the days." For every day, for the next 100 days, there was another note with another thing that he loved. At one point, he got a little behind. This coincided with my trip to L.A. for my shower, and I returned to find post it notes all over the mirror in our room. I was overwhelmed. I saved each and every one of those notes and put them in a book to treasure forever.

I am so lucky to have found someone who loves me so much, who I love so much, who is my best friend and so much more. And today, one year after we said our vows, I love him even more.

Chris, you are the best husband a girl could ask for.
Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

True Love

Once upon a time, I was 17 and there was a boy. He was a little older and went to FRC. He took me on hikes to see the sunset, wrote poetry and cooked me dinner .... or occasionally took me out to the Loft or the Iron Door. It all felt very grown up, the stuff of a 17-year-old girl's dreams. And I was head over heels. But the romance didn't last. He moved away when the school year ended, never to be heard from again, and I was crushed. But he introduced me to the Cowboy Junkies, and for that I will forever be grateful. I love them. In the last 12 years, they have been with me on every road trip I've been on, whether it be 100 miles or 1,000. I couldn't tell you the names of their band members, but I can sing along to songs on several of their albums, and I can listen to them over and over and over again.

My husband, not knowing who the Cowboy Junkies were but knowing how much I enjoy them, bought me tickets to see them last night at an outdoor venue on the bay in San Diego (wasn't it nice of them to play on my birthday?) The show was great, they played some new stuff I hadn't heard and some old favorites. Chris was so great to take me! Thanks for making my birthday so awesome the entire day!

The view to our left

I think you know who these characters are
The Cowboy Junkies!!!

Here is a little taste, a portion of an acoustic version of the Anniversary Song (I thought it was appropriate!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Getting the party started early ...

After deciding I couldn't sneak a cake to San Diego without Chris noticing, I decided to have a little anniversary surprise for him last night. First, though, he took me out for some Blind Onion Pizza, the same pizza we enjoyed the night after our wedding with Jeremy and Andrea. Later, we had some cake - the same flavor/bakery as our wedding cake, and we also had a little champagne and finally watched our wedding video! Wasn't our wedding AWESOME! (No, I'm not biased.) Now we are at the airport getting ready to head down to San Diego for more celebrating!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Saturday, Part 2: Baseball Birthday Bash

We had an early birthday celebration this weekend for my upcoming 30th. You all know I enjoy a baseball game, so we decided we'd get together a group and go see the Aces. I was a little worried when we had gale force winds and rain about an hour before game time, but it blew over and we were fine, except for a few sprinkles. We had a great time with lots of friends, and hit the town afterward! I hope everyone had as much fun as I did!
This is John and Red ... it was John's birthday party, too!
Here are our names on the scoreboard!
Me and Archie
We ended up at a Basque restaurant drinking Picon Punch

The night ended as all nights on the town should ... with Awful Awfuls at the Little Reno Nugget.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Saturday, Part 1: Pancake breakfast

Ever since I made the peach preserves, I've been thinking they'd be really good on some pancakes, so I decided on Saturday to have a little pancake breakfast. I made some honey-cinnamon-vanilla butter (recipe courtesy Jaimee Rose - 1/2 pound unsalted butter, 1/3 cup honey, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, pinch salt), set up the table with yellow placemats that I can't believe I haven't used yet, and invited Erin, Sandor and Na over. I whipped up some pancakes, and they brought some bacon and fruit salad.

The boys were hooked on watching "The Bee Movie." Hehehe. It was a delicious breakfast with good friends, and a great way to start the day which ended with a baseball birthday celebration! Stay tuned ...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A little pick-me-up

Ever since I got laid off, we have been a lot more careful about how we're spending our money. Other than a mini shopping spree I went on at Target last week, I have been pretty good. Since I'm not going to Starbucks or springing for pedicures, I've been splurging every couple of weeks on a new nail polish for my toes.

This was not planned. Up until a couple months ago, I'd only bought one new nail polish in more than two years. Then I decided one day I wanted to try some orange, so I picked some out and really liked it. Then I thought I could use something darker to compliment my dress when we went to a wedding last month. Yesterday, I went to Walgreens to pick something up and thought maybe I should get a new color for our trip, but they were buy one get-one-half-off, so I got two. At less than $4 a bottle, it's a cheap little pick-me-up when I want to try something new without running out and buying a new outfit.

I decided to go with this brand for no reason other than it boasted a fast dry time, but I liked it so stuck with it. It does seem to dry fast - I painted my toes not too long ago and just kicked the chair on accident and nothing happened. (In case you're wondering, the pictured colors above are Sunset Prisms, Pink Shock, Racy Red and Plum Intense. Today, I'm wearing Racy Red, because Chris chose that over the pink.)
What do you do for yourself when you feel like you're stuck in a rut or need a little pick-me-up?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A birthday and some cupcakes

Our friend Vickie has a birthday this Saturday. We had been planning to have a joint celebration this weekend, until she found out she has to go to D.C. for work :(

So, we decided to surprise her with a little celebration last night. First, we went to dinner, and they brought her some cake.
And then, because you can never have too much dessert on your birthday, there were cupcakes. It was the first time I made mini cupcakes and I was pretty excited. I also love any occasion where I get to use my handy-dandy Martha Stewart cupcake carrier, gifted to us for the wedding :)

Have a Happy Birthday, Vickie! We will miss you this weekend!