Thursday, April 30, 2009

Girls' weekend, April 2009

Our last girlfriend getaway was in January. So as spring rolled around, we were itching to return to our beach retreat for some quality time together. YAY! The weekend was full of chatting, laughing, napping, singing, reading, cooking, eating, hiking, relaxing, discussing, bonding. I didn't snap a lot of pictures... I was too busy just enjoying my time. But here are a few highlights.

Sarah V. stayed home to study for finals while we drove north to Neahkahnie Mountain near Manzanita for a nice hike, about 1.5 miles each way and 900 feet of gain.

The trip up was slow, as Christine and Kendra had to take pictures of everything they passed!
Ursa loved the Pringles at the top (Pringles are best enjoyed at on a nice hike)
We reached the top of the trail but couldn't figure out how to get up on the rock outcropping. Joyce and Sarah found a "trail" and bushwhacked to the top. Then they pointed us toward the real trail, which they could see from their new vantage point.
Our "summit" shot:It was cool, cloudy and drizzly as we drove north, so we expected little view from the top. It turned out OK :)
Since the road home took us past the Tillamook Cheese Factory, we had to stop for ice cream! (We got some to go for Sarah V. back at the house)
Then for dinner, it was time for our traditional cheese buffet. WOW!
I can't wait until our next gathering!!
-Liz :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why I love my job

When my students found out my position had been cut, one initiated this lovefest.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Whirlwind weekend

My whirlwind weekend started Friday afternoon with a run with Christine and then a pre-race dinner of spaghetti, broccoli and biscuits (and "Ratatouille").

Then it was a quick shower and drive to a luau birthday party for Sarah. (HAPPY 25th!!)

Saturday morning was the Tilikum 10K/5K to race money for camp scholarships. Brad, Christine, Tim, Sarah, Eryn, Laura and Tim were all on hand for the annual event.
I ran the 5K this year. (Actually, the course was poorly marked, and I ran a lot more than a 5K. Oh well)
Sarah won the women's 10K!!!!!!!! She's a stud. She won a gift certificate to a day spa!
Tim and Laura took 2nd and 3rd place for the 5K walk!!

Then it was time to change clothes, pack up, tank up on Subway and head to Mount Hood. Christine and I snowshoed from Timberline Lodge to the top of the Magic Mile ski lift.
Brad kept going and skinned up to the top of Palmer. The sun was setting, and he had the entire mountain to himself as he skied down. Amazing.
Sunday, I was up at the crack of dawn to play handbells at church. Then it was time to nap :)

Monday, April 20, 2009


This is my former boss, Jeff Alan -- one of the many news directors to whom I answered in my 9 years at KOIN TV. He was the reason I finally gave up and left the news business. I always knew he was very strange, but his life is truly like a soap opera! If you read The Oregonian yesterday and today, you may have learned about him. If you didn't see the expose, check it out. WOW.

-Liz :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Budget cuts mean that my future employment is up in the air. It sucks. But I trust, even in this time of great uncertainty, that God has a plan for me and will provide. Here's a cool song I've been listening to :)

At All Times, by Vicky Beeching
In the mountains of joy, in the valley of tears
I will love you, I will trust you
When the flame's burning bright, when I'm weary and dry
I will love you, I will trust you
You are my strength and you are my song
giving me hope and guiding me on

At all times I will sing of your greatness
At all times I will sing of your love
At all times I will sing of your faithfulness
For your goodness remains and your love is the same at all times

When your guidance is clear, when I can't see ahead
I will love you, I will trust you
In the summer of life, in the soul's darkest night
I will love you, I will trust you

Cookie Day: Peanut Butter

Wednesday was Cookie Day in CE2. Morgan was my faithful assistant in the kitchen. They were yummy!
Recipe from


  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour


1. In a large mixing bowl beat peanut butter and butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Cover and refrigerate dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Shape dough in 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten the cookies by making crisscross marks with fork tines, dipping fork in sugar between flattening each cookie. Bake about 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to wire racks. Cool. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Reward: Brownie Party

We planned a brownie party for the March fitness challenge reward and all tried different recipes.

I made peanut butter swirl (red plate) and cheesecake swirl (white plate). Both used this recipe, but I substituted my trusty Jiffy brownie mix for the homemade version. It's my favorite (and it's cheap!). Mom tried a white chocolate recipe (green plate) but reported some trouble with the ingredients (notice they aren't white).
Lindsey's creation had lots of layers and lots of yummy goo:
Eryn tried the Orange-Kissed Chocolate Brownies from the Better Homes and Gardens Web site. It hadn't quite set in time for the party but was yummy anyway:

We all got sick off the chocolate and then played games. What's something black that starts with "A"? CHECKERS!

Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Today I remember that my Savior gave up his life for me... and you. It's a truly extraordinary gift for which I am forever grateful.

By now it was noon. The whole earth became dark, the darkness lasting three hours—a total blackout. The Temple curtain split right down the middle. Jesus called loudly, "Father, I place my life in your hands!" Then he breathed his last.

When the captain there saw what happened, he honored God: "This man was innocent! A good man, and innocent!"

All who had come around as spectators to watch the show, when they saw what actually happened, were overcome with grief and headed home. Those who knew Jesus well, along with the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a respectful distance and kept vigil.

Luke 23:44-49 (The Message)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Angel's Rest (3/22/2009)

Instead of heading somewhere tropical, our Spring Break 2009 started with a snowy hike in the Gorge. Tim and Steve joined the fun at Angel's Rest at I-84's Bridal Veil exit.

We knew the weather would be questionable, but we're always up for an adventure. As we gained elevation, we could see the storm systems coming at us down the Gorge. It was very cool! Just as we reached the top, a shower of snow/hail hit. Little Styrofoam-like pellets soon covered the summit.
A new section of trail has poor drainage and caused a bit of a challenge. If you look closely at Tim's leg, you can see the result of slipping in the gooey, pudding-like mud.Still, we had a great time getting out and experiencing nature in all its stormy glory!
-Liz :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mmmmm... firefighter pancakes

Brad and I had some fun adventures while our computer was out of commission, including a spring break trip to the beach (I know, so cliche!)

How many times have we zoomed past the Tillamook Forest Center on Highway 6 without stopping?? Since we had no real plans, it was time to make the stop. It's a beautiful building (funded in part by the timber companies) with wood beams and such. We learned about the history of the forest and the famous Tillamook Burn (my grandfather was part of the replanting effort back in the day!). We're anxious to go back and hike some of the Wilson River Trail, which passes by the center.
We wandered around Tillamook for a while, eating at the Blue Moon Cafe and browsing the shelves at the used book store across the street. Then we found the Franz Bakery Outlet to load up on treats for the weekend. We were finally heading to the family beach house in Oceanside when we spotted the sign:
WOOHOO!! We turned around and drove back to town to find an ATM.

Saturday morning was cold and wet, but we bundled up and walked down to the pancake feed. I don't know how they do it, but firefighters make the best pancakes... ever. And we filled up on all we could eat, smothered in honey butter! Then we went on a run :)

The weekend was stormy, relaxing and wonderful. Thanks, Ma & Pa for sharing your wonderful vacation space with us!

-Liz :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Under Snow Adventure

Jacob and I took advantage of the nice weather this last weekend by heading to Mount Hood for a spring snow-camping outing.

Saturday we built a snow cave and spent the night. The snow conditions were great for this activity. There’d been several feet of new snow over the week and it was still soft, which made for easy digging. It was clear and sunny but fairly windy. After about 15 minutes of digging we had a hole deep enough to provide shelter from the wind as we finished our project.

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset with views of Jefferson, Hood, and the surrounding mountains. The white snow was bathed with shades of blue, pink, orange, and red as the sun dropped below the horizon. After sunset we enjoyed the bright moonlight and the glow of lights from Skibowl down in Government Camp.
On Sunday we began work on an igloo, which was something I’d never done before. Our most challenging task this weekend was figuring out how to cut decent blocks to build with. The snow was uncharacteristically dry and didn’t set up well even after stomping it down and letting it sit for awhile. Jacob discovered that certain layers in the snowpack were denser, probably from wind packing, and made for sturdier blocks. After we figured out how to get cohesive blocks and what size was easiest to work with we started making progress.

As the blocks stacked higher and the dome started to arch more dramatically we couldn’t believe it was actually still standing. Our structure seemed to be defying the laws of physics. There was a lot of gesticulation involved in adding the last course of blocks and the roof. I think at one point I was holding three blocks in place with various parts of my body while Jacob placed a fourth and packed in snow between them as reinforcement.

Eventually we ended up with an igloo that was big enough for two to sit in comfortably.
A snow saw would have really made this process more efficient. We only had an ice axe and shovels to cut the blocks, which limited the sizes and shapes we could cut. A snow saw would have been a huge time saver, allowing us to cut larger blocks without them breaking. Now I have a new piece of gear to put on my list for next year’s outing. : )


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cookie Day: Junior Mint Brownie Cookies/Bars

I found this recipe on the Coconut & Lime Web site and had to make it! The original called for Hershey's Premier Baking Pieces Mini York Peppermint Patties, which I've never seen in the stores. So we substituted Junior Mints!

1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 boxes Junior Mints

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a medium-sized bowl combine flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and combine thoroughly. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the sweetened butter and mix until a very thick dough forms. Use a spoon to fold in the peppermint and distributing them evenly.

Form cookies by dropping 1 teaspoon of dough on the sheet two inches apart. Flatten slightly then bake until light brown, about 12 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Celia, Viri and I worked on this yummy recipe. The dough turned out thick but not "very" thick. Because the candies are not made for baking, the chocolate melted and the mint poured out in the oven. It was really hard to free them from the cookie sheet, and none came off in one piece. It was still super tasty, but very ugly. So for the remainder, we spread the dough in a small cookie pan and baked them like brownies. It mostly worked.

If you ever see those Hershey's Premier Baking Pieces Mini York Peppermint Patties in a store, please let me know!

-Liz :)