Saturday, October 27, 2012

Apple Butter Fixin's

Mom and Dad are visiting this weekend for homecoming here at MU. This morning while Matt and Dad were tailgating and went to the game, Mom and I went to some fabric stores and the farmer's market. We bought a nice bag of "seconds" apples and decided to try our hand at apple butter. I think it turned out pretty good! Here are some photos and the recipe. We kind of looked at several different ones and then did what we thought made sense. I hope you enjoy!

Apple Butter
Peel, core and cut 3-4 pounds of apples into small pieces
Put on stove with 1-1 1/4 c. of apple cider
Bring to a boil and then put on low heat for around an hour, covered
Mash up the apples, add 1 pound of light brown sugar, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. allspice, mix.
On low, heat for another hour uncovered
Season to taste
Make sure it is not too runny by placing it on a spoon and putting it on a plate. If a ring forms, keep it on the stove.
Can, Serve and Enjoy!

(Special thanks to Auntie Lou for the jars!)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Review: Reading Lolita in Tehran

Hi All,

It has been a few months since I posted a book review. I have a good reason for that. I started this book back in September and just finished it last night. Do not let that discourage you, though! It is a good read and very interesting. I am rather behind on my goal for the year now and will have to play catch-up. On the hunt for my next two books, so if you have any recommendations, please let me know!

Reading Lolita in Tehran has been on my list of books to read for over a year now. I picked it up as a freebie at school and started it last fall. I soon noticed, however, that I was rather confused. The book is split up into four different sections: Lolita, Gatsby, James and Austen. Well, I had not read Lolita! So I put that on my books to read and got it done over the summer. Now I felt ready to start. I had already read Gatsby, and books by James and Austen. 

Another thing that makes this book out of the ordinary for me is I don't typically read memoirs. Though I like them, I don't usually pick them up. The first section of the book is a bit hard to get into. I was reading about ten pages a night before I fell asleep. Once I got rolling with it though, I was able to read large sections and spent my weekends lounging with the book in my hands.

I realized several things while reading the book. I know so very little about Iran. The book is mainly set in the 80's and 90's, which is before I was conscious of places other than my own. Learning about how the Islamic Revolution happened and the drastic effects it had on women (and men) was a bit terrifying. It reminded me of the book A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Suddenly, a very religious group takes over the country by murder and the people have no choice but to obey. Their rights become less and less.

I did not realize how Iran viewed 'the West' and the true hatred that people had for it. Growing up in Western culture, I of course understand their critique, but I would not want to wish it away. There are always negative things, but we should not disregard the positives as well.

This book is really about the woman's journey. Nafisi moves from America back to Iran in the early 80s to teach at a University of Tehran. The way the university is set of is so drastically different than the one I went to. There were several different highly political student groups who ran the university and could cancel classes and expel teachers for being too Westernized. I always viewed, and I still do, a political culture to be enlightening, and it did make me miss my own college days. She also includes the stories of the women whom she has a secret class with once a week for several years.

Reading about the persecution of anyone, but especially the intellectuals, because of minor infractions was also scary. In my own class we recently read Animal Farm which ties in nicely to this book. There are large groups of people who idealize the communists of Russia and want to make Iran more like that. But, above all else, it reminded me of the utmost importance of education and critical thinking. The pigs in Animal Farm are able to control all of the other animals because they keep them uneducated-they cannot question those in charge because they don't know how. By getting rid of all the writers(whose job it is to question authority and the status quo) and other intellectuals and teachers, the government controls the people.

In the last chapter of this book, I am reminded about how our memories and even our writing never truly reflect the truth. Nafisi gave the people in the book different names, but she also had the power as author to create situations that may or may not have occurred, and we will never know. The conversations are recreated and reflect what she wants us the take from her  life experiences, maybe not how they really happened. Ah, the magic of writing.

I do recommend this memoir as a way to educate yourself and also to try and experience something that is so completely different, in the case of our freedoms, and yet hauntingly similar.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin mmms

Fall has been so great this year. The weather has been up and down, sometimes in the 40s and other days in the 80s. Today, driving home from school I noticed that almost all the leaves are down. It was pretty while it lasted. Monday I made some yummy pumpkin waffles. And today, I decided to make some pumpkin cookies! I can't stop eating them-they are too amazing! Here is the recipe from the website I used in case you want to try them out. The frosting is delightful. From here! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2 (wonderful) years

Yesterday, Matt and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary! It is hard to believe so much time has gone by. We went out to eat at a local restaurant and got an appetizer, entrees and dessert!! yum yum.

Before we went to dinner, I made Matt go with me to the park to take some photos. I just set it up on wherever we could find. They aren't the best, but I tried!

Happy 2 years, hubs! I love you so.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin Fest

This morning Matt and I drove to Hartsburg for the annual pumpkin festival. We had never been there before, so it was fun to see something truly local about Missouri. Yesterday it basically monsooned here. The clouds started rolling in again as we were getting there today. Luckily, the rain held off for most of our trip. Overall, it was a bunch of crafts and usual festival food. We shared a yummy corn dog and Matt also got a ribeye steak sandwich with potato curls. We had a time getting out of the giant mud pit-thankfully we took his car. We had success in bringing back a pumpkin though. Enjoy the few photos I captured!

Friday, October 12, 2012


Hi friends,

It has been so long since I've written. I wish I could say it is because I have been too busy, but truthfully I just haven't felt the desire to write. But today is different. Today I went to the high school writing conference at MU. I saw former students and current students. I was able to listen to talented kids share their ideas, poems, and short stories. The first session I sat in on, I wrote two poems. One was a haiku.

The old students write
Poems about their new lives.
Surprised, I miss last year. 

I have been really busy though. School has been overwhelming. Everyday I stay late to try and get more grading done, more preparing, and basically ahead. That will never happen, of course, but I'm trying. On Monday I will get evaluated by the principal. A bit nervous!

Matt and I have been busy trying to enjoy ourselves. We tailgates the past few weekends, and will do the same tomorrow. His bosses at work have been really great embracing him.  Tonight I am going with my friend Andrea to dinner and to peruse some galleries downtown.  On Sunday we are going to pumpkin fest....more on that to come later hopefully! The next two weekends we will have guests which I am so excitd about. Also, the hubs got us tickets to see Wicked in December. I am sure I will write all about that.

In other news, the only crafty thing I've done lately is making two buntings. I took a photo of it that just looks okay.

Also, I got this awesome letter from my nephew today! So proud. Isn't it awesome?

Hope you all have a good weekende and I will be back soon!