Friday, September 28, 2007


I'm so happy it's almost the weekend. It's been a hectic week. We had Back to School night on Tuesday. On Wednesday night, I helped out friends in need and babysat their four (mostly sleeping) kids. This weekend, I'm just looking forward to spending time at home and relaxing. Getting stuff done around the house. We've got a Christening on Sunday. Maybe we'll make a trip to Trader Joes or Wegmans at some point over the weekend.

Eric said to me yesterday, "You know you're getting old when your idea of a fun Saturday is a trip to Wegman's."

I'd heard about the website Etsy and I checked it out for the first time yesterday. It's really a great site. An online marketplace of handmade things, all kinds of things from handmade jewelry to baked goods.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

On a Baking Kick!

I've been feeling very domestic lately. Most of my free time at home consumes of cleaning, organizing, knitting and baking. I guess I'm nesting. Anyway, I made these very easy sourdough blueberry muffins Monday night. They came out good and not too sweet. You need a sourdough starter for these. I have an easy recipe for one if anyone would like.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy Fall!

It's a couple days late but Happy Fall! It certainly doesn't feel like Autumn today. Hot and sticky, in the mid-80's. I'm looking forward to those crisp, cool Autumn days.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yum Yum

Yesterday, we went to a get-together at friends of Eric's family. I was asked to bring brownies so I decided to try out these chocolate crunch brownies. Very rich and very decadent! The brownies on their own were to die for--and then they were topped with some marshmallow fluff and a combination of Special K and melted chocolate chunks. They tasted like they were topped with crunch bars!
See the above link for the recipe. When I made the brownies, I left out the peanut butter and added extra chocolate chunks instead.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Contest!!!!

It's a contest! It seems that it's the cool thing to do these days if you're a blogger. So here's my contest. You can win...(gasp)...your very own monKEY! I will not tell you which color monKEY you will win. That is a surprise. Here's what you have to do to win. It's simple. Guess how many cookbooks Eric and I own. Leave me a comment with your guess. Whoever gets the closest WINS! You have until next Monday, October 1st to post your guess. Good luck!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Random Thoughts

What a scary world we live in these days. Schools were closed today in 10 Bergen county towns due to a bomb scare. Though my school was open, we had cops in our building in the morning inspecting for anything suspicious. They even inspected my classroom! We had our yearly lockdown drill today in which we lock our classroom doors and "hide" in our closets. We never had these type of things when I was a kid.

You can now play Scrabble online for free on the website Scrabulous. The site was blocked at work. Go figure. I tried from home. You register for free and then enter whats basically a chat room to find a Scrabble partner. Nobody wanted to play with me. I'll try another day.

My allergies are really awful. Head congestion. Sore throat. Tired. Eric thinks its due to the dust and other stuff I'm breathing in on a daily basis at school (due to the recent construction). I'm trying to fight it naturally. It never works for me though.

I read someplace today that you can now access The New York Times online without a paid membership. Yippee!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What Color Orange are You?

You Are Cameo

You are understanding and very empathetic.
You don't tend to have acquaintances. Everyone is your friend.
And all of your friends tend to be friends. You have a knack for bringing very different people together.

My New Commute

Eric's friend told me a way to get to work in which I'd avoid a lot of the morning traffic. Its a distance of 43 miles each way. Ech. His way worked out just fine for me going home--it would take me an hour. But, going to work, has taken me 1 hour and 20 minutes in the morning. Not fun. So this morning, I went the way everybody has told me NOT to go. The way in which I'd hit a lot of traffic. It took me one hour. I guess I'm leaving early enough to avoid a lot of the rush.

The commute is so worth it when I'm driving to work and I get to witness a young buck (deer) grooming himself by the side of the road (or across the street from my house in this case). I love driving past lakes wrapped in fogginess.

It's worth it at the end of the day when Norton can run through the woods in our own backyard.


Monday, September 17, 2007

The Daily Bread

One of my very favorite places in the whole, wide world is Burlington, Vermont. I've been there many times in the past seven years. On my first visit there, I came across a little bakery cafe called The Daily Bread in the town of Richmond. This was a lucky find, I tell you. I was with my buddy, Dave, and I don't even know how we came across this place. We had coffee and the best home fries with cheddar cheese and tempeh. Perfectly spiced. This place was so yummy that on every visit to Vermont, I'd drive 20 minutes from Burlington to this little town for the home fries and blue corn pancakes.

On my last visit to Vermont, two years ago, my sister-in-law and I drove to Richmond. I raved about the amazing breakfast foods we could eat here.

But, the restaurant was gone. Don't you hate when that happens? I was devastated. But Lauren and I found another little bakery across the street called On the Rise. Whatever we had was very good but there was no room for sitting and eating in this bakery.

Eric and I made plans to go to Burlington, VT for a weekend in November and it got me thinking again about the Daily Bread. So I did some research.

I found an independently published cookbook called Made From Scratch, written by Betsy Bott, creator of The Daily Bread! And Eric ordered it for me! It arrived today! Its a wonderful cookbook, full of recipes and stories!

I also found out that On the Rise is owned by somebody who has worked for The Daily Bread for many years and many of the recipes are the same. And its now in a larger location with seating, Sunday brunch and live music at times. Yay!

Friday, September 14, 2007


When we got back from our trip to California, I looked for Mae on her post. But she was gone. Her little leaf is still there but there's no web nor signs of her. Has she run away? Did the recent storms wash her away? Maybe she needed a change of scenery. Our other resident spider, George, has disappeared too. Maybe they've run off together to start a family. We'll miss you, Mae!

Food Stamp Challenge

Yesterday, while I was at High Holy Day services, the president of our temple spoke about the Food Stamp Challenge. Anyone ever hear of this? Back in May, a bunch of lawmakers were challenged to take up the Food Stamp Challenge. They were given a budget of $21 a week to eat. Thats $3 a meal, 3 meals a day. The purpose was to see how difficult it really is to eat for that tiny amount of money per week. I can't imagine it. The other day I left my purse at home and when I left work I was thirsty and in desparate need of caffeine. So what did I do? Drive to Starbucks and pay for $4 frappucino with spare change. Do we have any idea of what it's like to be hungry? I mean really hungry, not the kind of hungry I was at 11 am this morning, 4 hours after having breakfast.

When I do a 25 hour fast for Yom Kippur, I understand the true meaning of hunger. I was thinking of trying this challenge for a couple days. But could I do it? Could I give up coffee and nice restaurants and take-out? Fresh fruits and veggies? Either way, it makes you think.

This year I will definately try to give more to my temple's annual food drive.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Football Sunday

The real reason we made the trip to the West Coast was for Sunday's Raiders vs. Lions game. There was a tailgate party first in the parking lot.

The game was fun but the Raiders lost. Here's the post I wrote during half-time.

Its halftime and i am at my first football game ever. The Raiders are down to the Lions. I am sporting a black and silver jersey that Eric got me from the Raider Image here in Oakland. I am trying really hard to get whats going on. Football is so much more complicated than I thought it would be. Its so mathematical. Yards and downs. Baseball is simple. Three strikes, you're out. But I guess you can say football is an exciting sport. I think I just need football for dummies. Maybe if I have a SuperBowl party this year I will actually pay attention To the game. On a side note we attended a fun tailgate party and the stadium has veggie dogs. Yummo!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I Heart San Francisco

We spent all day Saturday in San Francisco. First, the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building. I'd never seen such a huge farmers market! It was fantastic! We didn't buy anything other than a cheddar scone but I had loads of free samples!

After the Farmers Market, we took a streetcar to the touristy part of town, Pier 39 and Fishermans Wharf. I didn't really care for all the touristy shops but wanted to see the pier, foggy views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate.

And the sea lions, of course!

We then walked the ten blocks or so to Ghirardelli Square for their 12th annual chocolate festival. Yum! You pay to get samples of chocolate--and all the proceeds go to a good cause.

We had dinner that night at The Stinking Rose. It's a garlic restaurant! Yum! Vampires keep out!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fine Wining and Dining

Eric and I got into the Bay Area Thursday night. We drove from San Francisco to Oakland in our silver Pt Cruiser rental and after a Japanese dinner, we settled into our temporary home away from home.

Friday, we woke up bright and early to make the one hour drive to Wine Country. You can spend days here--we didn't have the luxury of excess time--so we planned an afternoon outing of it.

What we saw of in the Napa Valley was just beautiful. Rolling hills and vineyards. I'd never seen so many wineries in my life! Thats obviously why they call it Wine Country!

I scoured a "Best of Wine Country" brochure for coupons. I had read that many wineries in this region manage to charge at least $15 for a tasting! Well with our clever planning, we got to try out the wine at three separate locations! For free!

Our favorite was Bouchaine. It was the first one we went to. We were actually able to sit out on a patio sipping our wine enjoying the breeze and the sun and gazing at the outside gardens and vineyards. It was heavenly. We liked the wine there so much that we plan on ordering a few bottles when we get home.
Pretty Gardens

Through the Wine Glass (I tried really hard to get this shot--and Eric got it right on his first try!)

Then we went to Jessup which keeps reminding me of Jesser--a blog I really enjoy reading! I like Jesser the blog better than Jessup the wine. Jessup mainly makes strong red wines and I favor whites.

Our last winery of the day was Napa Cellars. The wine was perfectly good here--but all of a sudden I got wined out! Couldn't drink any more!

Friday night, we drove into San Francisco for dinner. I made us reservations for a French Viatnamese restaurant called Le Colonial. It was my first time trying Viatnamese food and it was yummy, yummy, yummy! We liked it so much that we will probably try out Le Colonial's NY location soon!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

California Here We Come!

In a little while, we are leaving to catch our flight from Newark to San Francisco (with a layover in Charlotte :( .

Our main purpose of our weekend in the San Francisco area is to go to a Raiders game on Sunday. There's also some tailgating involved with other Raiders fans that Eric knows and a Raiders party Saturday night. Its my first football game too. Ever.

We're also going to Wine Country tomorrow. We'll spend Saturday exploring San Francisco and Sunday is the game.

Then Monday we'll fly home!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mae Update

Mae must have caught herself a gourmet meal of a wasp or a moth or something. Its pretty substantial looking and she's got it all wrapped up in silk. She was safekeeping it on her leaf all day and now she's going at it. She's not building her web tonight, it appears. I guess she doesn't need to catch any more bugs tonight.

Starbucks Rejection Tour

This morning when I was reading the paper, I read about this musician who calls himself DaVido who recorded a song, Java Jitter. DaVido wanted his cd to be sold at Starbucks but he was rejected. He then went on his "Starbucks Rejection Tour" in which he was then booted from 203 Starbucks for walking in and, without permission, performing his song. Here's the video and it's pretty damn funny.

Turtle Back Zoo

On Friday, Eric and I, along with Dave, Jenn and their four kids made our way to the Turtleback Zoo. We had a great time. It's a small zoo and we probably only spent three hours there. We got some great shots of the kids and Eric got a couple cute ones of me with some of them. Four kids under the age of five. Wow.

That's me with the oldest, Ben (5 1/2) and the youngest, Nate (1).

Here's the four of them.

Charlotte, then Ellie (twins--3) then Nate and Ben.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Our New "Pet"

I've blogged about the deer and the wild turkey. We've got a bear who I keep missing. I guess that's a good thing--though I am eager to meet him!

(By the way, did y'all know that deer hiss? Yup, its true. One hissed at me the other night!)

We've got lots of spiders too. The daddy long legs freaked me out at first but I'm growing used to them.

Then the other day, I noticed the most magnificent spider who spun a magnificent web between two trees in our front yard. She's not a small spider--thick in the abdomen with longish hairy legs. She's about an inch long--brownish reddish. At night, she sits in the middle of her large circular web.

When Norton and I go on our morning walk, her web is gone. She's curled up in an almost fetal position on a nearby leaf. Its almost cute.

Then at night, she's back on her web. Eric and I did some research on my pet spider, Mae.

To the best of our knowledge, she's a garden orb-weaving spider. She spins her giant web at night and takes it down by dawn. Thank goodness, they don't bite humans often and their bite is non-toxic.

However, the fright of this spider crawling across your face can cause heart attacks--especially if you're over 40. I'm not making this up.

Their life span is about a year.

Here's a pic of our Mae at night.

It was really hard to get a good picture of her at night. But thats the only time she's not curled up sleeping on her leaf.

Here's another pic I borrowed from this site.


My, oh my, what a crazy weekend it was. Saturday we had over Ashley and Joe, Ryan and Lauren, and my dad and aunt and uncle stopped by too. Because I'm absolutely crazy I decided to spend about 36 hours in the kitchen preparing dinner. We had:

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Homemade sourdough bread
Homemade gnoccis with vodka sauce

Of course we had dessert too. Ashley brought over a pudding pie (actually she brought the ingrediants and made it in my kitchen). Eric shocked me when he told me he was going to make a chocolate cake. And he did. And it came out very good. I was shocked because I'd never seen him do anything in the kitchen before. I HAVE told him on more than one occasion that I thought he'd be a very good chef. And I was right.

And I made cupcakes in ice cream cones. They came out cute. I think our dinner was a success.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Name Game

I stole this meme from Jesser. Steal it from me if you'd like.

1. YOUR SPY NAME: (middle name and current street name)
Lauren Carlisle

2. YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME: (grandfather/grandmother on your mom’s side, your favorite candy)
Ruth Snocap

3. YOUR RAP NAME (first initial of first name, first three or four letters of your last name)

4. YOUR GAMER TAG: (a favorite color, a favorite animal)
Orange Moose

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)
Lauren Edison

6.YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (first 3 letters of your last name, last 3 letters of mother’s maiden name, first 3 letters of your pet’s name)
Bod Orn Nor

7. SUPERHERO NAME: ("The", your favorite color, the automobile your dad drives)
The Orange Ultima

8. PO.RNO NAME: (First Pet’s name, First street you lived on)
Raja Beech

9. YOUR ACTION HERO NAME: (first name of the main character in the last film you watched, last food you ate)
Doc Cream