Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Melissa's Favorite Song of 2009

My favorite song this year is Single Ladies by Beyonce. I know that my choice is super cheesy, but after a hard day my family loves to put on the Single Ladies and dance. It is great!

Liz's Favorite Songs For 2009

Favorite #1: Pearl Jam-Just Breathe

My all time favorite song for the year 2009. I've been a huge Pearl Jam fan for over 15 years and love that they are actually still producing music that's great to listen to.
Favorite #2: Coldplay-Life In Technicolor

My kids were way into this one, which made it one of our favorites for 2009. On Coldplay's Viva La Vida album, the original song doesn't have any lyrics, so it was a treat to hear it with words a little later on and with a great video too. :)

Laurel's favorite songs 2009

Okay, somebody has to be first on this, I guess. Just didn't think it would be me.
Anyway, had some time to ponder this, and here's what I came up with (links are to the artist's website, not to the song, because I'm limited here at my office, but you can find a link for the song from there):

I listen to either KUER or KOHS radio, both of which are commercial free, to the point that I don't like to listen to the other stations, because I am now so used to no commercials, I get impatient about them. KUER is an NPR station, so I listen mostly for the news, and a few choice programs like Car Talk, Wait Wait, and Prairie Home Companion. I sometimes catch an interview with some new artist, though, and I have bought a bit of music over the years based on those interviews, like Gabriella Cilmi and Lady Antebellum. But mostly, I discover my favorite new (or sometimes just new-to-me) artists listening to KOHS, the Orem High School radio station. They play whatever the DJ or their instructor happens to have in their personal collection, so it's a wide range of stuff. It can also be repetitious, especially when they change shifts, but that's usually not too annoying. What is annoying, however, is how the DJ's don't always mention who or what they just played, which has me tracking them down on the Internet by guessing at the songs name. Which is how I had to track down my hands-down favorite new artist for this year, Scouting for Girls.
I first heard "She's So Lovely", then later "Heartbeat" - both of which make me happy every time I hear them. In fact, the entire album is well worth listening to. Very peppy, very upbeat, even when the lyrics aren't exactly happy. It's a fun sound, and never fails to cheer me up if I'm feeling a bit low.
It's a tough call, choosing which is my favorite, but I have to go with "Heartbeat". I hear the song, and I know I'm that girl, the sort of girl he's talking about. Or at least, I was, when I was younger. You can find a link to their You Tube channel from their home page if you want to give it a listen. (I assume it will be on their You Tube, but as I can't check from here, I can't make any promises.)
A close second, from another artist I first heard on KOHS, would have to be Mika's "Grace Kelly", which you can catch me singing, very loudly, every time it comes on the radio when I'm in my car. Usually I'm alone for that, but sometimes I'm embarrassing my kids and trying to get them to join in. No, I can't hit all the notes right, but I don't care, because it's just a fun song. Personally, I don't think he's talking to a girl here, I think he's talking to his mom. Think about it, it'll make sense.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gingerbread Pigs

By request, here is my recipe for the gingerbread cookies I brought to this year's Christmas party. I got this from the old Betty Crocker's Cooky Book. They've reprinted this book recently, but the recipes were "updated", so I had to hunt down a vintage copy for my own. I grew up with this "cooky book", and there are many family favorites in here. Very many. Mom's copy is in tatters, no longer in it's cover, pages stuffed in a large envelope to keep them from getting lost. We like cookies. If you should ever run across one of these in a used bookstore or antique shop, I will gladly pay you for it. Some of my siblings are still trying to hunt one down for themselves.

Sorry about the smudges. This is a well-used page in the book. Even though I like butter instead of shortening for most cookies, I use shortening, just like it says. I did make one little change to this when I made them last. I didn't have any allspice, and I remembered a friend of mine puts anise in hers, so I crushed about a teaspoon of anise with my mortar and pestle, and put that in instead. I usually under-bake them a bit. I think they're softer that way. When I check mine at 10 minutes, there is a little imprint left, and I take them out anyway. I baked one pan a bit longer, but those were somewhat harder (they were at the bottom of the jar, so you probably didn't get one of those). I like them soft. Mine may be a bit more than 1/4 inch thick when I roll them out as well - I'm just guessing, though. Oh, and, because we're in Utah, at high altitude, I don't bother with dipping (carefully scooping the flour into your measuring cup and leveling off) or sifting my flour when I make any baked goods. We need to add more flour here, and I finally realized a few years back why I don't think I do add more. I scoop my flour and shake or tap the cup until it's level, which packs a little more flour in each cup. You'll know if yours is the right amount more if the dough isn't sticky to touch. You will need a little more flour on the counter when you roll it out, but you shouldn't need a lot more. If you seem to need a lot on the counter, knead some more flour into the dough, and then try rolling out again.

(Side note for flour: I use Gold Medal, always, for cookies. Western Family has a blend of other grains in with their flour, which I think gives it an odd flavor, and also makes it react differently in your baked goods. I use Lehi Roller Mills for breads. Used to use Gold Medal, and it was good bread, but then I tried the Lehi (Costco has the 25 lb bag for about $7), and I've never gone back. It does seem a little heavy for cookies, though, so that's why I have both.)

I use the pig shape because that's a traditional Scandinavian shape for Christmas, and I happen to like pigs, so it makes me happy to eat a gingerbread pig.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Happy Almost December Ladies!!!!!!

(excerpted from Michelle's email)

Book club will be Michelle's place Tuesday, December 15th at 7pm. We closed on our house the day before Thanksgiving, and move into it until December 12th. So, we'll have it at my new place. (will send out new address later)

Originally I wanted to read the book Marcy recommended, Two From Galilee, but after stopping at deseret book, seagull book, and barnes and noble with with no luck, I gave up. If you want, you can still read it and tell me all about it. or loan me your copy. :)

But I had a different idea. In an effort to simplify and to really focus on the Birth of our Savior this month, I came up with this little plan.

1. Read the December Ensign. Cover to Cover. Yes, come on, you can do it!!!
2. Share article(s) that touched you.
3. Come prepared to share the gift you want to give Christ this year.

In addition to that, we will be having a delicious pot luck dinner. How do I know it will be delicious? Because you ladies will be contributing! I'll provide the soup AND gourmet hot chocolate. (water with lemons and limes for those pansies who are still cutting back on their sugar)

we will need the following:
1. rolls

After our delicious meal we shall partake in the lovely tradition of a WHITE ELEPHANT GIFT EXCHANGE!
So bring a WRAPPED white elephant gift.

And my final request? Come wearing the ugliest/funkiest/most festive Christmas Sweater. DI is calling your name. Oh wait, now Savers is. Who's it gonna be?

Best sweater (judged by Kyle) wearer gets a gift certificate to some wonderful place.

Love you ladies!

yours truly forever and ever,