Why, yes, that is all the furniture from both rooms and closets in our living area. Thanks for asking! (See why I can’t imagine doing a whole house…) Luckily, it doesn’t have to be like this for long.
We’ve been wanting to put down laminate in those rooms, so we brought home a sample to test out. This is the look we’re hoping to achieve when T-Paw and Uncle Jay come help us get the floor installed (this picture is from the samples and some creative photo cropping):
I’m always up for trying new recipes and baking new things… today I decided I wanted to try to make homemade brownies (I’m a sucker for Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge, so this was a big deal for me). Mostly, I didn’t have a box of brownies, and I had all the stuff to make them from scratch, so it sounded like a good combination. I pulled out the ol’ Methodist Cookbook (you can’t go wrong there), and got to work. After I added the baker’s chocolate, though, the batter wasn’t turning the dark chocolately brown it should ave.
I was slightly concerned, so I called my mom. She said as long as I was following the recipe it should be fine. So, of course, I tasted the batter (only a tad so Baby Gray didn’t get Salmonella). You could tell the chocolate was there, but it wasn’t like it should have been. Since baker’s chocolate wasn’t the answer the first time, I added a little cocoa. That didn’t do much. So then I added some meltaway center Hershey’s Kisses. I figured at least they’d add a little chocolate in some places.
This is what I got:
A pan full of beautifully textured, perfect, non-chocolate brownies! They were the most perfect brownies I have ever seen (with the exception of the off-color from the missing chocolate). I cut into them to taste and be sure they were not good. They weren’t.
I still needed a dessert for this afternoon (I wanted to take one, anyay; I didn’t need one). I had a box of cake mix and about 30 minutes, so I pulled out my Lookie, Lookie It’s a Cookie cookbook and got started tweaking a recipe to fit what I had. I decided I wanted oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and it looked do-able based on the recipes in the book and the white cake mix I had.
This time, my results were much better:
These were the perfect density and texture; the only thing I would have done differently is add a little more oatmeal. (Too bad I didn’t measure so I know how much that is… ) They were a hit at dinner!
Cheater Chip (+Oatmeal) Cookies
1 box white cake mix
1/2 cup oil
1/2 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4-1/2 cup (or so) minute oatmeal
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Combine cake mix, eggs, and oil
- Mix well
- Add chocolate chips and oatmeal until well blended
- Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet (I didn’t grease mine)
- Bake 10 minutes
- Makes about 45 cookies
This week has not been a good week for my luck with electronics! Pre-orders for the iPhone 4 started yesterday, and after fighting the systems to get it to tell me I could order the iPhone for the contract price, then I found out I could not pre-order a white one. Ugh. I like white. So I debated buying a black one for now and giving it to Mr. Gray when the white ones came out, but I think I am just going to wait on the white ones to launch. That sort of ruined an hour or so of my afternoon.
Today, I was driving home after my math class, and my Sirius radio stopped working. I knew I had waited a long time to pay for it, but everyone told me they take forever to turn it off. Plus, I had already talked to them and told them my payment was on the way. So I called them, and after a 25 minute phone call, I still had no radio. The Sirius representative said that in 15 minutes max it would be working. I was meeting a friend for lunch, so I left it at that and went to eat.
We ate and talked for almost three hours. When I got back to the car, I still had no radio. I called back and spoke with another representative who was going to put me on hold for “two to three minutes” while I was transferred to a representative from tech support. I was on hold for about 19 minutes when the call was disconnected. I called back again. Finally, I was transferred to technical support successfully, and the technician was able to tell me how to reset the radio so it would work again. Trust me, this took skill. I had to:
1. Turn on the car
2. Turn on the radio
3. Turn off the radio
4. Turn off the car
5. Open the driver’s side door
6. Leave it open for 30 seconds
7. Leave the door open and turn the car back on
8. Turn the radio on
9. Wait for the screen to begin showing updates
Siriusly? It was ridiculous! I’m just glad it works now.
Mr. Gray and I had a great Sunday being productive, and we thought we’d end the weekend with a movie date. I picked the movie last time (The Killers) and suggested we go see Get Him to the Greek since Mr. Gray wanted to see it instead previously.
We got our tickets, popcorn, candy, and drink and headed into the theater. Once the movie started, we just kept looking at each other as if to say, “This is so stupid.” I kept thinking surely we could just get up and leave, but I thought maybe Mr. Gray was starting to enjoy it a little more. As soon as the movie ended, we both shared sentiments of how horrible the movie was; it wasn’t funny or entertaining at all. Mr. Gray told me as we drove home that he didn’t think he had ever walked out of a movie before, but he certainly considered it this afternoon.
Get Him to the Greek was definitely a “two thumbs down” movie, and neither of us would recommend it to a friend (in case anyone asks).
This Thursday, Mr. Gray & I celebrated our fourth anniversary. We have done so much in such a short amount of time! We got married, moved to College Station, I got my first “real” job, we got our Rooster dog, Mr. Gray got a bachelor’s degree from A&M, I got a master’s degree from A&M, Mr. Gray got his first “real” job, we bought a house, we met tons of new wonderful friends, now we’re expecting Baby Gray, and so much more I haven’t even mentioned!
Friday Mr. Gray took me to the Driskill to stay for our anniversary. He planned it all himself, and found a great restaurant for us to go for dinner. After he booked the trip, we found out it was ROT Rally in Austin this weekend–it made for a louder 6th Street than usual! We loved looking at all the bikes around downtown. Some of the roads were blocked off downtown for the Rally, so we had to take a pedicab to Paggi House. It turned out to be an awesome ride with a very nice driver. He took us over Town Lake on the pedicab–so pretty!
After dinner, we met up with our aforementioned wonderful friends for a birthday celebration. We hung out and danced a little on the rooftop at Speakeasy, and then headed back to the Driskill. Mr. Gray, who has been attempting to grow a mustache, went to make an ice run after we got back, and met up with some other Aggies on the elevator. They were Class of ’10, and Mr. Gray loved visiting with them on the way back from the ice machine. The incident he loved most while speaking with these Aggies was when one of them told him his new mustache looked “rapey.” He was still laughing about that this morning.
We had a great breakfast at the 1886 Cafe this morning. (We got in too late for 1886 dessert last night–NO!) There was a girl at the table behind us drinking a mimosa, and the glass slipped out of her hand and shattered. It was crazy! I’ve never seen such a thing. She was so embarrassed, but the waitress was very helpful and understanding.
Our trip was amazing, overall. I am so thankful each and every day for Mr. Gray and our marriage. God has blessed us in incredible ways–I can’t even begin to encompass everything He has done for us. I’ve loved the past four years, and I can’t wait to enjoy many more!
Big 12, Pac 10, Big East, SEC, it’s all a big debate. Where do we go? What do we do? Who do we play? Do the rivalries stay together? Most importantly, where would we like to take a weekend trip sometime in the neighborhood of September to November? (SEC has Florida; Pac 10 has California… it’s a toss up!) Mr. Gray votes SEC (however, I happen to like California in the fall).
In the midst of all this talk of schools changing conferences and football being all shaken up, I was talking to Mr. Gray about a portion of the book The Blind Side that refers to land grant schools as subordinates of their respective state schools. Of course, as alumni of the land grant school in Texas, we absolutely do not believe that Texas A&M is a subordinate to t.u. As a matter of fact, A&M was established prior to t.u.‘s development. If anything, they’re subordinate to A&M. I think I’ll be writing a letter to Michael Lewis to let him know how The Grays (Class of ’08) feel about his reference.
Additionally, I received an email from my father-in-law today that referred to our conference play in the “Pac 32” and laughed harder than I can remember laughing in a long time. Was it really that funny? Probably not, but as seriously as this family can take Aggie Football, his joke must have caught me off guard. He sent photos of the new construction on West Campus along with his wittiness:
Beef… It’s what’s for dinner!
Most of the time, at our house, this is true. Sometimes, though, I can sneak in a meat-free dinner every couple of weeks. Last night was one of those nights. I scoured my cookbooks for something lighter and a little more summer feeling than our standard steak & potatoes. I decided to try making a magherita pizza. It was both simple and wonderful. Mr. Gray didn’t even complain about the missing meat!
Magherita (+ Mushroom!) Pizza
1 can Pillsbury refrigerated pizza dough (yes, I cheated a little)
1 handful fresh basil leaves, rinsed & torn
10-15 grape tomatoes, rinsed
4-5 button mushrooms, sliced & rinsed
4-6 oz. grated mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Coat a perforated pizza pan lightly with olive oil and shape dough to fit
- Pre-bake dough approximately 4 minutes
- Meanwhile, place basil, tomatoes, & mushrooms in a small container and add a small amount of olive oil
- Shake to coat
- Remove dough from oven
- Arrange basil, tomatoes, & mushrooms on the dough
- Cover dough and veggies with mozzarella cheese
- Bake 11 minutes
The pizza cools quickly, so it’s best when served immediately. We used crushed red pepper with olive oil for dipping!
Even sans meat, Mr. Gray asked me to make it again sometime.