Homemade Goodies

Homemade Whipped Cream

I've never made whipped cream from scratch before and I'll admit that I was a little skeptical about the process. I really didn't think that beating a liquid could magically turn it into a semi-solid, but it's true! And I did it by hand without an electric beater (aka, Andrew and I took turns. It's tiring on the arm!). This was not by choice though. I promptly bought the cheapest beater I could find at Target afterward. I know it will be well worth the investment.

Working really hard to make soft, foamy peaks. [Still skeptical at this point]

So proud of the product!

1/2 pt. whipping cream
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat, cream will then become lumpy and butter-like. Refrigerate.


Happy Birthday, Mom!

My mom spent a week relaxing on the beaches of St. George Island with family.

Luckily, since she was so far from me on her birthday, her cousins stepped in and gave her the birthday she deserved!

Hope you enjoyed your special day! You deserve it.

Things I love about my mom:

She always took lots of fun pictures of us. (Christmas pictures at Aunt Carol's)

She read books to me and took me to the park.

She gave us pictures to laugh at for a lifetime when we did Glamour Shots together in the 90s.

She took us on lots of vacations. (Cayman Islands)

She went with me to look at grad schools. (Colorado)

She is very generous. (Threw a party for Uncle Frank's wedding)

Happy belated birthday mom! I love you very much!


The Pierson's Come to Providence

Andrew's parents came into town a few weeks ago and we had an incredible time checking out the sights in Rhode Island. We ate the most amazing food, relaxed, and appreciated New England and all its beauty.

The looming rain storms dictated our plans that weekend. In order to take advantage of the sunshine we whisked them off to Newport right when they arrived on Saturday morning. We toured a couple of the historic mansions and walked around the city a little. The temperature was pretty chilly and we were starving so we abandoned plans for the cliff walk and headed back to Providence. We planned on going to WaterFire and indulging in all its unhealthy glory so we prohibited eating in Newport. Since we couldn't possibly wait until sundown to eat we all lounged around my apartment eating bread and cheese. Andrew and I picked up a loaf of Durum bread from Seven Stars and some fancy cheeses earlier that morning.

A Newport Mansion: (No joke on that mansion part, huh?)

Later that evening we hit up WaterFire. It was the first one of the summer and happened to fall on the Saturday the Pierson's were in town. Great timing! We walked around WaterFire and let them take in all that is WaterFire. People stand around the river in eager anticipation for the lighting of the fires, while gondolas paddle up and down the river carrying couples sipping wine, concessions stands seduce you with their intoxicating fragrances (emphasis on the toxic), and music broadcast over speakers serenades the evening. We searched for the perfect viewing spot and eventually settled on the side of a wall along the river.

Pierson's enjoying our spot on the wall:

We even met up with some friends, Shannon and Andy, affectionately referred to as Shandy. They are friends from church and graciously host Andrew.

Shandy and Kimbendrew:

Late that evening we all retired for the night after realizing his parents had been up and traveling since 3am that morning! Oops. We were so excited to show them Providence that we failed to consider that they were probably exhausted.

Sunday morning we had to skip church to meet Shane. Shane is a lady from NY with a summer cottage in Portsmouth, RI. Andrew is her gardener. She was in town for the holiday weekend and they were meeting for the first time. Poor Andrew had to drag his girlfriend and parents along. He probably felt pretty unprofessional, but we felt extremely grateful. What a sight! The garden is beautiful, Andrew is tending to everything really well. There is a view of the bay (if you can pretend the new McMansion which popped up in their view isn't actually there) with sailboats and the historic Mount Hope Bridge. It was quite a sight!

The garden. Nice angle of the property, bad angle of the garden, sorry! Don't mind that house in the background, it permanently blocks the view of the bay.

After the not-so-brief meeting with Shane (us women can talk!) we headed one town north to sight-see in Bristol. We ate lunch at a popular seafood place, Quitos, and walked around historic Bristol. Bristol is a really cute, quaint town. In fact, instead of painting double yellow lines down Main Street to divide traffic, they have painted three lines--red, white, and blue. Actually, this is quite common in RI, I've discovered. Federal Hill, our version of Little Italy, has red, white, and green stripes to divide the lanes. Anyway, we spent the afternoon walking around Bristol exploring antique shops, parks, and historic homes. We then headed back to Providence and enjoyed an amazing dinner at Parkside Rotisserie & Bar where Andrew and I practically fought over his dad's leftover rotisserie chicken. If you're ever in town, I highly recommend trying some of their famous rotisseries.

Monday was Memorial Day and we decided to stick around town, rather than driving to another destination. Providence has so much to offer and we were really glad that we did. We walked along Wickenden Street and through the historic East Side neighborhood. We stopped at a coffee shop for a snack and did an entire crossword puzzle! The Monday one, of course. Which I was taught that they get progressively harder as the week goes on. We had a blast. The day was so relaxing as well. We stopped by the Roger Williams National Memorial and learned a little about Providence history and Roger Williams. I was most excited to see that they have a garden for traditional Native American farming. It has beans, corn, and squash--The Three Sisters--planted together. The corn provides an avenue for the bean stock to grow up and the squash shades the ground to inhibit weeds from growing and helps keep the moisture in the soil. I'm pumped to watch the three grow together over the summer!

We made a quick pit stop at the grocery store to buy some last minute items and then went home to prepare a picnic. Pulled pork had been simmering all day in the crock pot, so we packed up some meat, fresh fruit, Wiffle ball, and some Nasty-gansetts for Andrew and his dad and headed to Prospect Park.

The men indulged in some Wiffle ball, while Mrs. Pierson and I laid low on the blankets.

Many a balls went over that fence, but the guys were determined to play:

Tuesday was back to work for me. Andrew and his parents headed to Slater Mill, the first water powered cotton textile mill in North America.
I met them for lunch at Bob & Timmy's hole in the wall pizza place, ranked number 5 in the country!

Then we had our last supper with them and our last good supper for a while:) We ate at a local favorite hot spot, Hemenway's. Everything was divine!

Well, that's about it folks. We had a busy, but fabulous long weekend and look forward to their next visit out east! I hear the 4th of July parade in Bristol is pretty fabulous, any takers?


Watching the Classics

Want an idea for a fun summer, winter, or date night activity?

Andrew had the brilliant idea that we should educate ourselves, become more well-rounded, and experience a spectrum of movies. He looked up a list of the Top 100 Movies and came up with the American Film Institute lists.

We are planning to go through the movies when we get a chance. So far we have watched The Grapes of Wrath, Singin' in the Rain, and American Graffitii. They were all great films. I actually loved Singin' in the Rain--it was an unexpectedly fun movie.

This process doesn't come easy to me. I've had to be educated by my artsy friends to understand why these movies are great. My initial reactions would be to laugh them off for having terrible effects, silly plots, or seeming insignificant. But when you view them in their context, understand why they are considered great, know the cultural significance, or if it was the first of something, you can appreciate them so much more. Anyway, enough lecturing from me.

Andrew and I waver between these two lists. One is the 1997 version and the other a 10th Anniversary update. Some movies change position in the list, some were added, and some were removed. You pick:

1998 American Film Institute Top 100 Movies

2007 10th Anniversary Edition of the Top 100 Movies

Luckily for me my dad owns lots of these so I borrowed a bunch while I was in Florida:) That will save me rental fees, late fees, and having to watch Gone With the Wind or other 4 hour movies in one sitting! Thanks dad!!


Sorry About the Goo

Awkward moment of the day:

So I had just sat back down at my desk to continue to sift through Comprehensive Planning assessment tools and decided that my lips were in need of a little Vanilla-flavored pick-me-up.

Of course
, I recently ran out of my usual chap stick and in a pro-sustainable effort committed to use all chap sticks I found around my apartment before purchasing a new one. Naturally, the next one I stumbled upon was not a stick option, but a dip-your-finger-in-the-goo lip balm. Not a problem. Well, not a big problem. I'm a bit of a germ-o-phob and it grosses me out sometimes if I haven't recently washed my hands or if I'm out in public. But well, I'll get over it. I'm sure I won't get the Swine or anything. Apparently that's not the only problem...

So not half a second after I dipped my right hand into the Petroleum oil goo I hear foot steps towards my door. I look over my shoulder and see my boss entering with a new intern. He wants to introduce me. Great. And it's not an intern who would shy back and wave, but a confident intern who walks over to me to shake my right hand with his firm grip. Great.

I panic and think, "What do I do?!" I can't quickly and awkwardly apply lip balm while they look at me, but I also can't let my first sentence to him be, "Sorry, I would shake your hand but I just put chapstick on" (that would take too much explaining). So I just smear the goo on my hand and give him my best shake, hoping our hands don't slip apart on account of the Tetradibutyl Pentaerithrityl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate (an actual ingredient in my lip balm. Remind me to get a less toxic and chemically invasive balm next time). Bless his grossed-out little heart.

If he felt one ounce of that slimy residue on his hand he's surely creeped out by me. Think about it. If I were him I'd run through the myriad of options in my head about the foreign substance some lady just wiped on me: snot, sweaty palm juice, grime from not washing her hands in two days, hair grease from twirling her dirty hair on her finger too much...the possibilities are really endless, but a clean hand with a smidgen of Vanilla Pucker Up Lip Balm is not on that list! Great, I've got to look this guy in the eye for the next few months and pretend that he doesn't think I have poor hygiene.


Friday Night Delight

Andrew and I helped a co-worker of mine move on Friday night. As we drove from her old house to the new one we turned down a street--Orchard Street--and saw police officers lining the end of the road. Confused and hesitant as to whether the road was open or closed for a crime scene investigation or something, I inched the Rodeo forward trying to decide if we could actually get through. The sea of officers parted and requested a signal as to which direction I was going to turn.

I was concentrating too much on not hitting anyone or getting caught without a front license plate that I failed to signal. The officers didn't seem to mind; they probably understood that I was quite discombobulated at the sight. On my left and right were protesters. On one side of the street there were dozens of protesters standing in front of a Jewish temple and on the other side was a group of protesters in front of a parking lot. I saw a sign that said, "Stop spreading hate in our state," but that was all that I saw. Upon turning the corner Andrew read me some of the shocking and hateful signs they were holding up.

Later in the evening my co-worker's husband explained that the protesters were from Topeka, Kansas and are actually pretty famous for their protests. Members of Westboro Baptist Church travel around the U.S. protesting against funerals, Jews, gays, military, and America in general. I had never heard of them before, but the little research I have done since Friday has revealed a heretical, hateful, and unbiblical church. Shocking is the best word to describe it. They traveled around Providence throughout the day Friday picketing the Jewish temple, the state house, Brown University, East Providence High School, and the Naval base in Newport. [If you click on the previous links you can see their horrific press releases for each protest.]

Rhode Island is a heavily unchurched area, so it's a shame that the only perception they get of Christians are radical cult members under the guise of Christianity.

Here is a clip of the group from 20/20 to give you a little idea of their theology, attitudes, and actions: