Marshmallow love

When we scrapped our Christmas plans two years ago to take turns staying home with a sick Sid, I got it in my head that the next best thing to seeing all of our nearest and dearest was to bake Christmas cookies.  A lot of ’em.  I also thought it would be a good idea to make homemade marshmallows, so we bought the supplies, used up the powdered sugar, and promptly forgot about making marshmallows for two years – except for when we’d pull out the bottle of light corn syrup and say “why do we have this again?”.

A couple of weeks ago, Shana asked about good hot chocolate with marshmallows on Twitter, which prompted me to dig out the marshmallow recipe and actually take the (sweet, sticky, wonderful) suckers on.  The results?

Marshmallows

Delicious.  We can’t stop eating them.  I think Shane has been making hot chocolate strictly as an excuse to have extra marshmallows.  I know I have been.  We’ll be sending our dental bills to Orangette.

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2009 Resolutions, Resolved

1.  Build up an emergency fund to cover my half of 3 months’ worth of the household budget (approx $4500).
I didn’t make it to this dollar figure, but I did save enough to be not uncomfortable for 6 weeks of unemployment and 2 following months of part-time employment.  At this point, my savings are pretty depleted, but I’ll start replenishing them with my first paycheck from U of M, due to arrive tomorrow!

2. Pay off laptop loan to SB.
Done!

3. Finish my CAS.
Done!  I defended my thesis in March and finished my last class in May.  Recap available here.

4. Get published (something, anything).
Done!  David’s and my presentation at ACRL was included in the official conference proceedings.  Buy your copy now! Oh, AND our talk was mentioned in The Chronicle of Higher Education!

5. Start eating beef again. (after almost 13 years!)
Done!  I had my first bite of beef in nearly 13 years at our fancee NYE dinner last year.  I’ve since become an enthusiastic omnivore, which has changed my life less than you’d expect.

6. Run a 10K (or two 5Ks).
I ran one 5K – the Race for the Cure, run with my friend Tina in June – and started running longer distances in the fall once we were settled in Ann Arbor and I was devoid of a gym.  Nike+ reports that I’ve run 169.05 since I started using it to track my runs in February.  I discovered sometime around May that the Nike+ calibration is off by up to .25 miles per mile – a pretty significant difference!  Regardless, this is far more running than I’ve ever done before, but less than I hope to do in 2010!

7. Do an unassisted pull-up.
Total unmitigated fail on this one.  With no access to a gym, I took a lot of time off lifting, and when I started working out in our home gym again last month, I could barely do girl pushups.  Adding this one to the list for 2010.

8. Make one craft project per month.
Done:

  • January:  Thesis, draft one.  Not a craft project, per se, but a substantial creative project and one that ate up most of my time and energy.
  • February:  A fantastic mix cd, which was my contribution to a year-long mixtrade.  My theme was “selling out”, broadly conceptualized to mean great songs that were popularized by commercials rather than their own merit.  The accompanying post of videos is available at the above link.  Also I tried my best to post somewhere every day, but I don’t think I actually succeeded.
  • May: Holy craft extravaganza! I celebrated finishing school by making a bunch of envelopes from USGS maps, the last of which just sold on Etsy over the weekend, plus sewing four aprons and canning a large batch of strawberry-rhubarb jam (mmm).
  • June: Feels like we were gone the whole month, so the best thing I can take credit for was improvising a recipe for strawberry and toasted coconut ice cream.  Let’s hope I can replicate it next summer when strawberries are back!  Also made more strawberry-rhubarb jam and baked a lot of homemade bread.
  • July: Mostly just canning this month – several pints of Lodi applesauce, some peaches, and also tomatoes, all of which had to be stealthily packed for the move in August.
  • August: Amidst the hassle of moving, I sewed a cushion cover for Mark’s lounger.  First time working with really heavy fabrics and velcro, and with making up a heavy-duty project as I went along.
  • September:  Unemployment turns out to be very good for craft productivity.  I wrote a zine!  The first issue of Bon Ton Fesenmeyer is about my favorite holiday, which is Thanksgiving – and about my family and food and tradition, all rolled up into 32 delicious half sized pages, about half of which are recipes.  Also I helped team #18 place in the top 10 in dishrag tag, and I sewed curtains for our bedroom and office and made a custom x-stitch project for Frederick Jones Quinn’s room (only 9 months after he was born!).
  • November: Hat and legwarmers for our new godson, Milo James Flerchinger.  Also a hat for Keem and one for my Pop.  I like knitting hats, though I really need to learn how to not fear DPNs so that I can branch out in my knitting.  We also made umpteen pints of apple butter and applesauce and several quart bags of dehydrated apple rings from the 40+ pounds of apples picked early in the month.
  • December: Several projects have yet to be posted as I’m waiting to hear from the items’ recipients – but I can tell you that I worked with bias tape and snaps for the first time to make a circular needle clutch – and made my first marshmallows and first (and second) batch of granola for holiday snacking and gifting.

9. Take a trip with SB.
We took a quick overnight trip to Rehoboth Beach in April – really our only vacation, as the rest of the year’s travel was either for work or weddings or family visits for the holidays.  I’m hoping that this next year brings more day trips and weekends away for us, though we’re planning to knuckle down and save towards a house in the near future.

10. Reduce magazine subscriptions to 5 or fewer.
Done!  I started out the year with subscriptions to: Domino (ceased publication, replaced with Vanity Fair), Blueprint (ceased publication, replaced with Martha Stewart Living), Everyday Food, Body + Soul, Self, Natural Health, People, Fine Cooking, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, and Cooks Illustrated.  I actually think there was one more, but I can’t remember what it might have been and I don’t have any issues lying around.  I have opted to not renew all but the following: Body + Soul, Self, Bon Appetit, and Cooks Illustrated, and am resubscribing to Real Simple.  The superfluous subscriptions will start running out soon, and the piles of magazines sitting around will decrease accordingly.

11. For the third year running – complete my Bond resolution!
Fail again, though I did make some progress.

“CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In his book *The Way of Transition,* William Bridges defines the “neutral zone” as “that in-between time, after you’ve let go of your old life and before you have fully discovered and incorporated your new life.” Sound familiar? Maybe the neutral zone where you’re currently simmering isn’t as dramatic as that — maybe you haven’t been stripped of every single certainty and you’re not wandering in limbo. But I suspect you have at least let go of one aspect of your old familiar rhythm and have yet to ease into the one that’ll be familiar in the
future. My advice? Don’t rush it. Get all you can out of this unique and educational time in the neutral zone.”

Rob Brezsny’s Astrology Newsletter, December 9, 2009

Why I Love Befriending Friends’ Kids

Our friend Mike’s daughter posted the following reviews on GoodReads, and I loved them so much that I’ve kept the email in my inbox for two days:

On Caddie Woodlawn, which I recall really enjoying:
“Oh my gosh! I know there are a lot of Newberry books i’ve read, but I really loved this one. READ IT, READ IT READ, AND READ IT AGAIN! THANK YOU, CAROL RYRIE BRINK FOR MAKING THE BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
On Island of the Blue Dolphins, which I know that I loved:
“I hate it I hate it I hate!I want to puke all over it and then throw sour milk on it and then flush it down the toilet and then let the sewer rats nibble on it! I. Hate. It.  What I don’t like is that it was so boring until she met the girl on the island and was saved”

Every time I read her posts, I’m reminded of the fact that our friends have awesome kids and that I really hope we can be around to watch them grow up into awesome adults.