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Monthly Archives: May 2009

Vegas, Baby!

After a day of driving and flying, we are HERE. Lights, Crowds, Traffic, Noise, Food, Fun. I’m feeling strangely overwhelmed, even having been here twice before. Maybe it’s the Saturday evening crowds (we happened upon the line waiting for Fleetwood Mac – chaos), maybe just from the traveling. I feel it is too early to be in my room on a weekend night in Vegas, but yet I am oh-so-thankful to be in my room on a weekend night in Vegas. The weather is beautifully warm, and the forecast is near perfection. Our hotel room windows look out on the New York New York roller coaster and the intersection that has NYNY, the MGM Grand, the Tropicana, and the Excaliber. It really is something to see at night – all lit up and exciting. I am looking forward to the day and week ahead. Also, so far we have only lost $4.50 gambling. We controlled ourselves. Today. 🙂

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2009 in Las Vegas, Travel

 

Hypercolor Cupcakes

Let’s go back to 1992. Yeah, I know it might be painful. I was in junior high – can’t get much more painful than that! Snap! bracelets, hypercolor t-shirts with neon leggings, tight-rolled jeans. Oh yeah, we’re almost there…
And now enter my cupcakes – unicorn rainbow explosion. I meant well, really I did.
Here was what I was going for:
How pretty and unique and festive, courtesy of Baking Bites.

Here is what I got:


Obviously, something went very very wrong in the construction or baking process. Instead, we got tye-dyed, but oh-so-tasty, cupcakes. I had originally planned to just do some nice white frosting. But as the cupcakes were so far gone, I decided just to kick them right over the cliff’s edge with the color-blend frosting as well.
And while 1992 didn’t really treat anyone all that great in the fashion department, it really isn’t a good look for cupcakes either!

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Back to Baking

After pouring over this blog for the last few days, I knew I wanted to try to make a a batch or two of the homemade Girl Scout Cookie recipes, namely the Thin Mints and Tagalongs. Tagalongs have always been my favorite. Vanilla Shortbread Cookies – yes please. Dollop of Peanut Butter Filling in the center – two please. Covered in chocolate – just one more please! And this recipe is spot on. The result is almost identical (possibly better?!) than the original, and thoroughly addicting. The main reason I don’t order any girl scout cookies is to prevent me from eating an entire box of Tagalongs in one sitting. Now I actually have to practice some self-control and keep out of the kitchen.
I already feel my resolve wavering…

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

90 Seconds of Your Time…

As you are obviously spending some time surfing the interweb, surf your way over to SaveWaterAmerica.com. For every simple quiz taken, Kohler has pledged to donate $1 in products to Habitat for Humanity.
Easy and effective!
 
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Posted by on May 26, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Filler

Not much has happened in the last week that I feel is worth blogging about, but as Justin gave me the assignment of posting SOMETHING – ANYTHING, here are some photos that were taken in the last few days.

This cardinal has been a fixture around our yard for a good year now.
He and his mate regularly terrorize and taunt the cats.

Norm, exploring our out-of-control-yet-still-pretty ground cover.

Tin pails, possibly to be used for an upcoming wedding.


Justin’s birthday present.
Does UPS take FRAGILE stickers as a challenge?
(thankfully, nothing was broken inside)

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Soda taste test

When we were in Ohio, we went to Jungle Jim’s grocery store. Quite a trip. It’s not so much a grocery store as it is an amusement park where you buy food. There’s lots of weird stuff going on in there. Anyways, while we were there, I bought a bunch of bottles of weird sodas I had never tried, and we (Beth, myself, Julie, Lynn, Sally, Alex, and my dad) did a taste test of them all:

Yes, I do realize that one of the sodas has an inappropriate name. I thought it was “Funkola Cola”. Whatever, just deal with it.

First up was “Thum’s Up”. Apparently this is from India. The checkout guy was incredulous that I actually wanted to buy this. I wish I would have taken his advice. I thought it tasted like Coke, but with about 1/2 the normal amount of sugar. Sally thought it tasted like laundry detergent and Julie though it tasted like cleaning chemicals. Not exactly what you want in a soda.

Next on the docket was “Almdudler 50 Jahre” – the national soft drink of Austria (my dad’s comment was “Isn’t the national soft drink of Austria just beer?”). This one tasted kind of citrusy, with a hint of pineapple, but mostly it just tasted like bad ginger ale.

Next up was Cheerwine. I first had this in South Carolina last year. Definitely the best of the bunch. It’s basically a black cherry soda. Very good.

Fukola Cola, the one with the inappropriate name and slogan, was normal-ish cola, but Beth and I both experience unpleasant bubbles-up-the-nose. Meh.

Inca Kola was up next. I had heard about this from Peru trips, but had never actually had it. It smells like a banana popsicle, and tastes like the bubble-gum flavored flouride at the dentist. Not the greatest thing in the world, but not the worst either.

Faygo rootbeer was just normal rootbeer, nothing great or bad about it.

Frostie Vanilla Root Beer was probably my second favorite, behind Cheerwine. It basically tastes like a rootbeer float after the ice cream has had a chance to dissolve. A couple of people mention cotton candy, but I think they are confused 🙂 Definitely the second creepiest mascot of the bunch.

Manhattan Special Sasparilla was up next. This tasted pretty much like Rootbeer flavored Kool-Aid, which apparently they don’t make anymore.

Kickapoo Joy Juice had the best name and creepiest logo of all the sodas. It also has a weird tagline: “Original dogpatch recipe”. It wasn’t bad, it just kind of tasted like flat Mountain Dew. I am slightly concerned that I somehow was duped into drinking dog pee though.

All in all, a successful taste test. Luckily no one had any bad reactions, so the authorities didn’t have to be called:

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Bittersweet Family Gathering

(from left: Dan, Dave, Gramps, Maggie, Pete, John)
Over
six months ago, plans began for a Gasper family reunion. Justin’s dad and his siblings worked at getting everyone together at a state park near Cincinnati, Ohio. Reservations were made and rough plans put in place for the weekend. We all may have had different expectations for the weekend, but God certainly had something else in mind for this gathering. About two weeks ago Justin’s grandmother, Gigi, went into the hospital and had her galbladder removed, but then doctors continued to find masses within her, presumably cancer. Things advanced very quickly, much more so than anyone imagined. Though in her late 80’s, Gigi has been incredibly active, helping with her church, with adults and children, delivering bread and food to a local pantry, visiting with a multitude of friends and family, writing monthly letters and prayer journals to near about a billion people on the planet (slight exaggeration, but still, a lot), caring for Gramps, and feeding and protecting just about every stray cat in their neighborhood. She possesses the characteristic Gasper sense of humor and makes every attempt to show Christ’s love to everyone around her. On Saturday, her children and grandchildren were able to visit with her at the hospital, laugh over memories, and show and receive her love.
(Cousins from left: me, Justin, Beth, Sally, Lynn, baby Carson, Andy – and be sure to notice the sweet mural on the wall!)
Later in the day, Uncle Dave and his wife Jan drove Gramps out to the park, and we were able to share a meal together at the restaurant in the lodge. We continued to catch up on news with other family members and sang Happy Birthday as loudly as possible for Sally’s 28th birthday. Afterward we played games, drank entirely too much crazy soda, and laughed around a campfire.
Though exhausting, the weekend was a good one, and we’re so thankful to have been able to go.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2009 in Uncategorized