The Power of Giving

A family friend has been going through a rough time, so several of us pooled our money together to surprise her with a check.  Though my personal donation was small, I was pleased to be a part of something that would make a difference.  I’m finding the more I volunteer my time, talents, and money to issues that are important to my family, the more I feel I am building a life of significance.  All the little things add up to the big thing I want my legacy to be:  Blessing others and in turn being blessed. 

What ways do you like to give?

Jennifer

Random? Thoughts

Wearing flats to the pool is an OK idea.

Taking a thirsty robe to the pool is a great idea.

Solely relying on a  thirsty robe to soak up excess water after getting out the pool is a bad idea.

Putting on flats after not towelling off causes shoes to rapidly fill up with water.

Walking to the locker room with shoes full of water makes a sloshing, arm-pit-honking-type sound.

Those brown paper towels in the locker room are not as absorbant as one would hope.

National Apple Month – Recipe Week 3

Yuuuummmm.  Nothing says autumn like caramel apples.  I would have been more than happy to experiment with different recipes for this staple of harvest, but I came across this southern recipe for Gooey Caramel Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce.  Caramel, arguably the most divine of candies, and apples are a fantastic combination in this perfectly spiced cake.  This cake was very easy to put together.  The original calls for a 9-inch pan, but the whole time I was reading the recipe, I pictured a Bundt cake.  Here’s my version with a slight name change as a shout out to my MIL:

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Ooey Gooey Caramel Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium tart apples, cored and coarsely chopped
  • Caramel Topping, heated
In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat together sugar, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add the milk and flour mixture alternately to the sugar mixture.  Stir in apples.Pour apple cake batter into a greased Bundt pan. Bake at 350° until cake springs back when touched lightly in the center, about 30 to 40 minutes. With a fork, pierce cake all over. Pour hot caramel topping over cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Caramel Topping

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup sweet cream butter
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or heavy cream (I used buttermilk, which added a wonderful tanginess.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine brown sugar, butter, and buttermilk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour caramel topping over hot apple cake.

Such a beautiful cake and delicious!  The cake is very nice on its own, but the simple sauce just makes it more special.

Jennifer

Thanks to about.com for the original recipe.

Zynga’s Evil Geniuses

I’m addicted to Frontierville, yet I refuse to use real money to purchase golden horseshoes. It hasn’t really mattered in the past because I don’t really care about the cool little things you can buy using these horseshoes. The clothesline is cute, but it only reminds me that I should be tackling my own Mount Washmore instead of tending to my crops on my virtual homestead.

Using my Frontierville coins that I earned, I recently purchased the new horseshoe pit from the market. As with other buildings, one must whack the pit several times before the game reveals the supplies needed to complete the building.  The pit, instead of needing the usual supplies that can be gifted from neighbors requires the player to pay a schooner load of horseshoes or play other Zynga games to earn special supplies.  One must enter these other games through the “pit portal” for it to count for Frontierville, otherwise, you’re just playing a different game for no reason.  I told you I was addicted to Frontierville.  That means I have no room in my life for the other games to which I was previously addicted.  No room for all those dang requests either, so I blocked several games to make room for all the gifts and neighbor requests I was receiving through my new addiction. 

Anyway, going through the portal, I first decided to head over to Farmville.  I was prompted to unblock the application, which I did.  I went to my farm and began working the fields.  After completing the task that would reward me with pit planks, I realized that unblocking the application somehow took me out of the portal and I was just farmin’.   Back to the pit portal to try again.  It worked this time and I earned my parts.  Remembering to unblock the applications before going through the portal, I did so with both Cafe World and Texas Hold ‘Em. 

Now I have a dilemma.  I suck at poker.  The only time I ever played was on a Girlfriend Trip to Calistoga.  My coworker (who I found out later was my cousin) was trying to teach me.  Apparently I was doing very well, even though I didn’t get it.  To earn my pit part, I must level up past level 5 (I’m on 2, don’t know how I did it).  Do I continue to try to play this game that keeps crashing (I think it’s trying to get away from me) or do I shell out real dough to purchase fictitious money?

Jennifer

Mingle for WordPress = My Mini Facebook?

I’m always looking for ways to build relationships online.  While researching some different widgets, I came across the Mingle plugin, which “has the potential of [making your site] it’s own social network”.  With my love of Facebook, this is right up my alley! wpmingle.com offers an e-newsletter, a forum, and support.  I’ve already begun taking steps to add my bio and photo and have checked out some of the friends and member directory features of the site.   Because I am currently using the free wordpress site, I am unable to add the widget itself at this time.  Philip is going to update my software so I can implement this and several other widgets.   This is supposedly a newer widget, so more features are expected to be added.  Widgets are all new to me, so this is kind of exciting.  Yeah, Daddy-O, I guess you married a bigger nerd than ya thought.

Kludgy MomWeek 1 Homework for the Back To School, Back To Blogging Class over at Kludgy Mom!

Jennifer