Thursday, March 7, 2013

Happy Birthday, Cody!

Happy Birthday to this big lovable boy. Today he turns 13 (or, as I like to say, 13 going on 91, which is how old he is in dog years). He is a sweet boy and we are blessed to have him as a member of our family.

Happy Birthday, Cody!

March 6, 2013

Chair. My lovely friend KF relaxing at our small group Bible study last night.

#fmsphotoaday #chair #biblestudy

March 4, 2013

Prompt was "lucky," and I feel lucky in so many ways with this big fella. Lucky that he has been our dog for the last 13 years. Lucky that he is still around. Lucky that he doesn't talk because if he did I'm sure he could tell all sorts of stories based on the things I've told him while crying into his fur. I love you, Cody, and I sure will miss you when you're gone (but I'm trying not to think about that hopefully far-off day!).

#fmsphotoaday #lucky #cody #labradorretriever

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March 3, 2013

"I'll hold the lock and you hold the key."

#fmsphotoaday #key

March 2, 2013 - And Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Blueberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars 
(see below for the recipe)

#fmsphotoaday #imadethis #cheesecake

Blueberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Source: Tasty Kitchen
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 16


For the crust:
1-1/2 cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
6 Tablespoons Butter

For the filling:
8 oz. White Chocolate (I used a Ghiradelli bar)
16 oz. Cream Cheese, at room temperature
2 whole Large Eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract (I used Vanilla Bean Paste)
1-1/4 cup Fresh Blueberries
Powdered Sugar for dusting the finished bars

What You Need To Do

Preheat oven to 325℉.

Fold a 16" long piece of foil to an 8"x"16" strip and place in an 8" square pan, leaving overhang on 2 sides. Repeat with another sheet of foil in opposite direction, lining pan completely. Spray bottom of foil lightly with nonstick spray and set aside.

For the crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and stir to completely combine. Press evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until fragrant and golden. Set on a wire rack to cool.

For the filling: In a small bowl, gently melt the white chocolate in the microwave, taking care to not let it scorch (I did 30-second increments on 50% power). Set aside to cool completely (do not do this step too early in advance or your chocolate will start to harden back up again).

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 or 2 minutes. Add the eggs and sugar and beat on medium speed until just combined. Add the cooled white chocolate and vanilla and beat again. Spread mixture evenly over the baked crust and tap the pan gently on the counter to settle it in.

Sprinkle the top with blueberries and press them in ever so slightly with the back of a spoon, so that the blueberries are almost level with the cheesecake filling. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until cheesecake wobbles just slightly through the center, and the edges are just a bit golden. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Then, place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight to chill thoroughly. Once set, carefully remove the cheesecake from the pan by pulling up on the foil lining. Slice into bars and dust with powdered sugar.

Friday, March 1, 2013

I have been wanting to do a post about Les Mis

Les Miserables. 

One of the longest running musicals on Broadway...and now a major motion picture.

I admit that I am a new fan of Les Miserables. I saw a high school theatrical version a couple years ago which I enjoyed, and I have enjoyed listening to the music from time to time. But I was completely stoked to hear that they were turning this 8-Tony-Award-Winning musical into a major motion picture.

The movie was out for a full week before I got to see it. I heard mixed reviews: from some that it was the best movie they had seen. From others that there were parts they wish they hadn't had to see, which dampened their excitement (and I can't argue with that). I was expecting it to be an emotional movie. I was expecting to cry (amazingly I didn't, and I'm still not quite sure how I accomplished that). What I was not expecting was for it to be so powerful. While I managed to keep dry eyes, I was overcome with emotion. In fact I could not stop thinking about the movie and the story for at least two weeks. I am very eager for the movie to come out on DVD or Netflix so I can watch it again.

The music of the musical is powerful. For those of you who haven't seen the movie, let me give you a heads up that it is literally all singing. I suppose that makes it more of an opera. I loved it, some may hate it. Just be forewarned. Also know that this means I will be referencing music in my post. I will try to link to the song on YouTube when I can.

I'm not here to give a summary of the movie. You can find summaries online any number of places. I want to keep this post slightly shorter by letting someone else do the summarizing and just sharing my thoughts on the power of the music in the movie as that is what impacted me.

The main characters are Javert (played by Russell Crowe), Jean Valjean (Prisoner #24601 - played by Hugh Jackman), Fantine (played by Anne Hathaway), Eponine (played by Samantha Barks), and a handful of other characters.


There is one song in particular that is a rather iconic piece. I had heard it many times. I had sung along with it in my car. Susan Boyle sang it on Britain's Got Talent and became famous. I had seen it sung when I saw the musical as a stage play. But the song did not really impact me until I saw it on the big screen. Until I heard the emotion that Anne Hathaway used in the role of Fantine. Until I saw the circumstances that caused the song. It's a controversial scene. Those who didn't like the movie didn't like this scene. In fact I know of one couple who left in the middle of the movie during this scene. I didn't like the scene either, but I think it was necessary. The scene shows Fantine who, recently out of a job, resorts to becoming a lady of the night as she thinks it is the only way she will be able to earn money to support her young daughter who is living with an innkeeper and his wife (who, incidentally, do not care for her at all). The scene is slightly graphic, showing Fantine having teeth pulled to make money, and cutting off her long, beautiful hair, and other things are implied (the movie is rated PG-13). She has reached rock bottom and realizes that the idyllic life she had once imagined is not the way life really is. It is at that point that she sings the well-known lyrics of "I Dreamed a Dream."

There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song exciting

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame

He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came

And still I dream he'll come to me
That we wil live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.

Fantine has reached the point at which she can go no lower. Life did not turn out how she envisioned it would. She does not want to do what she does, but she feels she has no other choice. Unfortunately this situation is not limited to the mid-1800s. Situations like this happen today all over our world and somehow this scene in the movie made me realize just how bleak of a situation it was, and continues to be for many.

March 1, 2013

When given the prompt of "L is for...." and your name starts with L, well, you must take a selfie. I also couldn't resist showing you that I wore a short-sleeve top today. And I even went a good part of the day without wearing a sweater. Yes, we got up to 50-degrees today and I'm not complaining at all!!!
(I apologize for using my bathroom mirror for the pictures....I wasn't quite sure how else to best take a picture in a short window of time)

#fmsphotoaday #Lisfor... #Laura #selfie

Stuff Dogs Do

The other night I walked into the other room to find my dog lying on the floor, seemingly reading the Bible.....

Follow Friday!

Twitterers do "Follow Friday," and I thought I'd do something similar on my blog today by sharing two of my favorite blogs.

A Thousand Little Choices
I've only spent a few hours total with K, the author of A Thousand Little Choices, but if she didn't now live all the way across the country I'm confident we would be coffee buddies at least occasionally! K is very real as she shares her adventures with her new husband and their new life in Philadelphia. She is an aspiring Martha Stewart who shares delicious-sounding recipes, beautiful pictures, and a dose of encouragement. I appreciate K's writing style and her optimism about life. Even when things seem rough, she sees the positive....something I could use help with! Thank you, K, for sharing your heart on your blog. :) (and next time you are out this way...we should totally get together for coffee!)

Elm Street Life
I've never met Whitney of Elm Street Life, and I don't comment on her posts all that often, so she probably wouldn't know me from Eve, but oh how I love to visit her blog. Whitney is a creative genius who comes up with the cutest purses, jewelry, etc (which she sells on Etsy at her store, Brighter Day). She, too, writes with a contagious optimism, and she is a new mom to a precious little baby boy. I enjoy reading about her adventures and seeing her newly crafted items...I wish I was half as creative as she. Check out Whitney's'll enjoy it!

I'm always on the hunt for new blogs to visit. What is your favorite blog?