Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Movie Review- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


I am sure you have already read one and a million views about this movie and (if you have watched it) probably have formed your own opinion as well.  However, I offer my thoughts on the movie too.

First off, I personally would have preferred a movie of The Hobbit that was the less adventurous and less epic children's story.  However, I knew that would never happen, not after The Lord of the Rings.

Secondly, I really enjoyed the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  I felt in many ways it erred closer to the book than any of the Lord of the Rings movies.  There was a good bit added in from other works of Tolkien as well as Peter Jackson adding in something that was only mentioned as happening in the book- the purging of the Necromancer from Dol Guldur.  Another aspect that Jackson added to the movie that ended up changing a lot of the feeling of the movie was the white orc.  In the appendices of the Lord of the Rings it tells how Thorin kills the white orc after it killed his father.  In the movie, they change that up a bit by making it that Thorin thinks that he killed the white orc but really it recovered from its wounds and now has sworn to have Thorin's head. Of course once Thorin discovers the white orc still lives he wants to kill him too.  This instantly makes the movie darker. However, I don't mind too much the dimension this plot change adds.  There are other little differences that I don't think really detract from the story and in some ways add.  Overall, I felt most of the changes that Jackson made were good.

Other things I liked were of course the soundtrack (which is INCREDIBLE), the acting job of all of the  actors in the movie (I felt everyone was perfect for their roles), and of course the gorgeous shots of New Zealand.

Really the only aspect of the movie I didn't like was the "kids' humor".  Enough said.

Of course, when the movie ended I felt a horrible sense of incompleteness.  I had known where it was going to break off but it still somehow caught me by surprise when it did anyways.  I don't really mind too much that Peter Jackson made it into three movies, though I would have preferred two movies and I think it would have made more sense that way.

If you're a fan of The Lord of the Rings movies and books then I think you'll enjoy this movie as well.

Note: The facts I quoted to you from the appendices were actually information my brother quoted to me.  So no, I am not really as big as a Tolkien geek as I just made it look like I was.  I'm working my way up there. :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mid-Month Progress Report- December 2012

I can't believe we are already halfway through December!  The last couple weeks kind of flew by as I prepared for finals but now I am excited to say I am done with those!  So how am I doing so far this month for my resolutions?  Read on and find out!

Get all A's in my classes

Though I kind of sacrificed another of my goals (which I shall explain later) I was able to get all A's! My Spanish grade was cutting edge and as my teacher told me, I lucked out on my grade.  The rest though weren't near so close.  I feel so blessed to have made it through the semester and I think it might have been my busiest yet.  I am so grateful to have been surrounded by a great family who was patient with me more than I deserved and I am especially grateful for God blessing me with an amazing tutor for Microbiology.  I am really relieved to have this goal out of the way and done.  I guess this will be an "A" for sure on my report card. ;)

Have a cheerful personality at all times

This is the goal I ended up sacrificing for my A's, something I am disappointed I did.  As I said earlier, when stressed out, I can be very grouchy... and I was. :(  However, I still have the rest of the month to "boost my grade".

Clean out and clean up my desk

Done the day after my last final!  So proud of myself. :)  Another A completed ahead of time! :)

Start Studying for the TEAS test

Haven't started yet and we'll see if I do get any of that done before December is over.  This might end up being a bad grade if I'm not careful. :(

Read or Re-Read at least ten books

This is probably the goal I am enjoying the most but as to completing it, we'll see.  I have re-read Alice in Wonderland so far and in preperation for the movie to come out I also have read Cory Olsen's (also known as the Tolkien Professor) book Exploring J.R.R Tolkein's The Hobbit.  I enjoyed both of those books.  I am going to need to pick up the pace though if I hope to complete eight more books before the end of December.  Because of the minute amount of books I have already read, I am probably not going to be pursuing re-reading The Lord of the Rings or reading The Silmarillion until January as they are quite a bit longer books.  A friend suggested that I make January a J.R.R. Tolkien month and re-read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and then read The Silmarillion.  I think that is a fun idea and I will probably do that.  However, THAT is next month.  

Spend the time I have with my family

Now that school is over that is hopefully what I'll be doing.  However, I am super excited to announce that I will be going to Michigan after Christmas to spend time with my uncle, aunt, and my wonderfully crazy cousins.  So my time spent with my family might be cut a little short so I'll have to really milk the next couple weeks for all their worth. :) 

Serve my family

This is another goal that might be cut a little short with my going up to Michigan.  However, I am going to try and do my best to get my house looking great for the holiday.  I hope to also get some Christmas baking done.  Normally I am all over that but not this year so far. :(  There is a lot I can do to serve my family and I see it all happening this next week.  

Take at least two walks per week

I did it last week but lets just say that I haven't done it yet this week.  I need to get onto that!  The other night my mom and I did do our fifteen minute T-Tapp workout, which despite my not having done it in some months, I did great at!  I felt pretty good about that. :)

Eat Healthy

Let's just say I wasn't great, but I wasn't bad.  I needed that coffee to get me through finals week... actually that is probably true as I woke up at 4:00 one morning so I could put in some last minute studying before my microbiology test. However, I have been pretty good about sweets.  I weighed myself recently and I was rather happy about it, which is kind of sad as it wasn't anywhere near where I want to be with weight however it was also kind of good as I haven't gained any weight either.  I can look at it both ways.

Write at least three more blog posts this month

I didn't specify whether or not these posts about my resolutions counted but I was mentally thinking they didn't... so they don't!  However, if you have been keeping track of my blog, you'll have noticed that I have already posted two more blog posts this month so I only have one more to go!  I think this will be another A. :)

All in all, it looks like I'll have three A's and then some very shady grades after that.  Hopefully I'll come out with a good "GPA" though. ;)
By the way, what do you think of the new blog layout?  I am thinking a new blog layout every month will be fun just to change it up.  Love to hear you're thoughts so comment please! 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Finals Week

It's a slower, more painful kind of torture.  The kind where you study your heart out for four different classes, trying to find the right balance of studying for each one.  The chances of over studying are slim but the chances of understudying are sky high.  We only hope that the final will not butcher the grade we have worked so hard to maintain throughout the rest of the semester.  In the last few hours we have left as time creeps up the final, we try to cram all of our knowledge into our heads, but there isn't any more room!!!  It is like that storage room that finally gets too full.  Something has to go.  We feel like it's going to be our head, with a great big BANG!  When we (finally) get to sleep that evening before our first final, our dreams are filled with images of us being late for the test, having our cellphone go off and getting thrown out, or... failing.  By the time we actually find our way out of those nightmares, our alarm clock is going off.  There is nothing for it now, it is finals or bust.  We slink out of bed and get ready to go, all the time trying to bring to mind all the information we had just been studying the day before.  It isn't working.  So frantically we pull out all of our notes and read over them a few times, but somehow it all seems to be in a different language... ah yes, it's Spanish notes.  It is time.  As the teacher prepares to hand out the final you realize there isn't really anything more you can do. You've prepared as well as you can, now it is in Christ's hands.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Who Says Kansas Isn't Beautiful?

These are the beautiful Gypsum hills in central Kansas just north of the Oklahoma border.  These photos are courtesy of my little brother.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monthly Resolutions- December 2012

For some months now I have been following the blog She Learns as She Goes Every month Kelli, the blog's writer, posts her monthly resolutions and invites everyone else to as well.  Well THIS month I am going to do it too.

Get all A's in my classes

I know that sounds really immature and braggy, but that is still honestly one of my goals for this month.  I have worked hard and stayed strong throughout this semester and I just want to finish that way.

Have a cheerful personality at all times

Those who know would probably say that I am a very cheerful person.  However, my family members know that I can be moody at times, especially when stressed out.  With finals coming up I will most definitely be overly stressed out.  With the holidays and being around tons of people, I will need to remember to keep a cheerful personality because sometimes one person's mood can set the tone for the rest of the gathering.

Clean out and clean up my desk

This I will do when I am finished with my classes. I will need to go through all of my papers from this past semester and throw out whatever I need to and file whatever I feel I need to keep (which hopefully isn't much).

Start Studying for the TEAS test

The TEAS test is the entrance exam for nursing school.  I want to get it done early in the semester so I'll have it done and out of the way.  Therefore, I'll need to start studying early.  I'll probably cram most of my studying into January but I want to get at least some into December.  

Read or re-read at least ten books 

I have been woefully lacking in my reading life this past semester with being so busy with school.  I have done my best with re-reading a few books (since that didn't take as much concentration) but I have been dying to read more.  Books that are on my list to read include The Silmarillion (finally), Innocence of Father Brown, Gods and Generals and Far From the Madding Crowd,   Books I want to re-read include The Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and Swiss Family Robinson.  Some more serious literature that I want to read includes Douglass Wilson's Letter from a Christian Citizen, The Deluded Athiest, and God Is.  I also want to re-read R.C. Sproul's Chosen by God.  There are so many other books that I really want to read or re-read but those are the ones that are at the top of my list.  We'll see how I do.  I might end up being an overachiever, or I might end up being an underachiever.  Hopefully not the latter.

Spend the time I have with my family

I am very good at sitting in my room with my precious laptop and I need to get out of there more.  Once school is over, this not only will be possible, it will probably be unavoidable. :) However, this goal does not contradict goals three or five.  I'll just need to work those into this goal.  If I am going to be sitting in my room, I had better be reading or cleaning up my desk, if not, to quote Blimey Cow, I'm doing it wrong.  I hope to spend more time especially with my older sister as during the school year we pretty much only see each other on the weekends as I am gone during the day at school and she is gone in the evening for work.  

Serve my family

Because I am gone most of the time during the week at school, I often don't get my chores done around the house.  So since I am will be home all of the time soon, I want to take the time to get all of my chores done, no excuses!  If there are other ways in which I can help that pop up, I want to cheerfully (This goes with goal number two) volunteer.  This could include making more meals for the family, helping my younger siblings with their school, or taking on some extra projects around the house.

Take at least two walks per week

Again, school has kept me at bay from this pastime.  Once school is gone and past, I can hopefully take some good walks so I won't be the worst skier on the slope when my family goes skiing in January.  Walking is just about my favorite form of exercise (passed only by contra dancing) and with this additional time, I hope to take some nice long hikes.  

Eat Healthy

That's broad, I know but the way I am going right now I am going to be broad. :)  Not saying I eat horribly, but I don't eat super well either.  I have cut a lot of the usual suspects out of my diet but I need to be more careful yet.  Pretty much I want to be careful to not eat too many sweets over the holidays.  I also want to be careful with snacks.  Since I won't be at school pretty soon, I won't be drinking all that coffee with all the cream and sugar so that should help some.

Write at least three more blog posts this month

Minuscule amount I know, but if you follow my blog, you know how hit and miss I have been recently with school taking its toll on me.  Hopefully I will write more, and most definitely hopefully I won't write less. :)

So that's all my resolutions for this month.  I had a little trouble thinking up some at first but then they came pretty fast.  Probably I'll think up some more halfway through the month so I'll just throw them into January or something like that. :) I just hope I can keep up with those that I've made.  As Kelli does, I'll try and post a mid-month "progress report" to see how I'm doing and at the end of the month I'll post a "report card".  This is my first time so cut me a little slack, not too much now, just a little. :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas, Candles, and Chai

Now that Thanksgiving is past, I can officially listen to Christmas music and think Christmasy thoughts.  My new favorite pastime is lighting candles, drinking a mug of chai tea and playing some Christmas music.  Of course with finals just around the corner to find such time is rather impossible, so I have made that my study environment.  My friend recently began her own candle making business (Prairie Lights) so I have a ready availability of great smelling beautiful candles.  Between the candles, chai, and music, studying doesn't seem quite so bad. :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Movie Review- Pride and Prejudice (2005)

If you keep up with my blog much or know me in person, you are probably aware that I do NOT like romance novels/movies.  That said, I do not like the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice.  However, don't misinterpret me, I love the book and the 1995 TV series.  I watched the 2005 version when it first came out on video and, to prepare for writing this review, I watched it again a couple days ago.  I assure you, I tried quite hard to find good points about it so I wouldn't sound all negative but try as I might, I could only find one- I like Judi Dench as Lady Catherine de Bourgh.  Besides that, nada.  Naturally I am heavily comparing the movie to the book, and then to the TV series.  Maybe if I had never read the book or seen the TV series I would feel differently about it, however, I have, so I don't.  Anyways, the movie fails on some cultural levels as well.

Let's start with the cultural.  First off, the dress that Miss Bingley wears at the Neverfield ball was completely wrong.  It looked more like the underdresses that the girls wore rather than a dress in itself.  A lady wouldn't wear a sleeveless dress.  It would be scandalous.  Secondly, ladies did not wear their hair down in public in those times, and that is something that Elizabeth does several times in the movie.

Another problem that I have with the movie is the social standing that this version places them in.  In the book they are middle class, but they are gentry and therefore have a higher social standing.  This movie seems to put them in a lower social standing then they really are.  This is shown by them having their livestock so close to the house, a pig running through it, and the fact that they seem to have no one to fix Jane's hair (I assume that is why it always looks messy).

When it comes to Mr. Darcy, I am sorry but in my mind there will only be one Mr. Darcy, and that is Colin Firth (although I guess I do really like Lawrence Olivier's performance too).  Matthew McFayden just doesn't cut it for me.  First off, he just isn't proud enough.  He doesn't have the domineering look that Colin Firth gives off so well.  And then, he always looks like his is going to cry, or that he is bored, I can't tell which but whatever it is, it isn't Mr. Darcy.  Additionally, I just didn't feel like he changed, at least enough for me to see.

For Elizabeth, I feel like Keria Knightley might have done a good job if she had had a better script.  As it was, I thought she was far too silly throughout.  She acted more like Lydia than like Lizzy.  Something I was really sad they left out and I think that if they had put it in would have made it far better was the close relationship between Lizzy and her father.  That is, in my opinion, an integral part of the book and something that shouldn't be left out.  Without it, you don't see as deeply into the two characters.

Jane and Bingley, I'll group them together.  Jane was sillier and more outgoing than in the book, in other words, her character in this movie was uncharacteristic of what was in the book.  Enough said.  Bingley, was an idiot, period.  I wouldn't have married the Bingley in this movie, I think I could have married the Bingley from the book.

Overall, you just can't make a good movie of Pride and Prejudice and rush it that much.  Everything moved ridiculously fast so they could fit the whole story into two hours.  It didn't work.  When it comes down to it, why I really didn't like the movie was because it wasn't a movie of Pride and Prejudice, it was the romance story from Pride and Prejudice and then everything else taken out.  That's not Pride and Prejudice.  I don't love the book for its romance, I love the book because of the incredible insight Austen gives us into human nature as well as the witty and thought provoking lines imbedded throughout the book.  Pride and Prejudice is not in my mind a romance novel, it is far more.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Everybody loves snickerdoodles (don't contradict me on that one).  Needless to say then, I love snickerdoodles too.  I like them perfectly soft, melt in your mouth.  Soooo good!  When I found a recipe for pumpkin snickerdoodles of course I was intrigued.  I saved the recipe but never got around to making it until we were having an "everything pumpkin" dinner for halloween at work.  I remembered the recipe and knew it would be a perfect opportunity to try it out.  Let's just say that they are addictive, deliciously addictive.  They have a slightly different kind of texture that is really good and are a larger cookie.  I had a little trouble with the cooking time and ended up cooking them a couple minutes over the original cooking time but they still turned out fine.
If you're on a diet, you probably shouldn't make these.  You won't be able to stop eating them. :)

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Yield: about 3-4 dozen cookies
For the cookies:
3¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the coating:
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
Dash of allspice
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Whisk to blend and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the pumpkin puree.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  Combine the sugar and spices for the coating in a bowl and mix to blend.  Scoop the dough (about 2½ tablespoons) and roll into a ball.  Coat the dough ball in the sugar-spice mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough to fill the sheets, spacing the dough balls 2-3 inches apart.  Dip the bottom of a flat, heavy-bottomed drinking glass in water, then in the sugar-spice mixture, and use the bottom to flatten the dough balls slightly.  Recoat the bottom of the glass in the sugar-spice mixture as needed.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until just set and baked through.  Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  ENJOY

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Because I am Sure You are Dying to Know...

I warned y'all at the beginning of the semester that I was taking Microbiology, which was threatening to be just as difficult as good old Anatomy and Physiology.  Then, I kind of almost stopped posting at all on my blog.  You are probably wondering why.  The answer is simple; Microbiology has carried out its threat to be just as difficult as A&P.
My leisure time is hard to come by and normally I am too tired to come up with halfway intelligent sounding posts.  However, I now have a slight break in tests and I am giving you this post, because I am sure that you were all dying to know why I have been gone so long and been giving you pretty much nothing but delicious recipes. :)
For the future, I have planned out a movie review, another recipe, and hopefully some more beautiful landscape photos from my brother.  I'll see what other crazy posts I can throw in here and there and hopefully I can keep up with this blog some more.  If it makes you feel any better, I am taking pathophysiology (the study of diseases) next semester.... And then of course there is nursing school after that...  No?  It doesn't make me feel any better either... :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Myth of Neutrality

That's right, neutrality is a myth, so no matter how much you try to be a "good open-minded American" you aren't.

More than ever I see it in comments on Yahoo articles or on Facebook the word bigot.  Gay marriage is normally the context of that word being thrown around.  If you aren't a proponent of gay rights, you are a cruel, closed-minded person.  You are denying people happiness.  How could you do that?

As a Christian, I don't find it very hard.  I look at the Bible, and I see what God says about homosexuality and that's that.  I am not going to list out a whole bunch of verses for you to read about this issue, y'all can look them up yourselves, because in this post I am going to focus on the myth of neutrality.

So back to the myth of neutrality.  Americans think that they have to be all accepting of every idea, every action, and every religion (except Christianity of course).  However, neutrality isn't an option.  Every person has a set of beliefs and many different people's beliefs conflict.  Christianity conflicts with EVERY other religion and so does Islam for that matter (i.e. we Christians aren't the only "non-neutral" religion).  The idea that we could be neutral to every religion is really almost humorous.  Yes, let's be neutral to people who crash airplanes into American buildings, yes, let's be neutral to serial killers.  Why not?  It's their beliefs, we should all just welcome them into the family and embrace their ideas.


See the devastating consequences of neutrality?  You start being neutral about a few things and all of a sudden you are being asked to accept murder, stealing and rape.  I think I am probably right in saying that however neutral you may be trying, you won't be accepting murder, stealing or rape.

Do you still want to be a good "open-minded"American"?

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Reliving a Nightmare: Chocolate Krinkles

"Do you want to help me relive a nightmare?" I asked my brother the other day.
He gave me a funny look.  "No.  What are you going to do?"
"I'm making chocolate krinkles," I replied.
My brother's eyes opened up wide and he said, "Really?!"

So what was it about a simple recipe for CHOCOLATE cookies that could have anything do with a nightmare?  A lot.  Several years ago, when I was probably about ten years old, my younger brother and I decided to make cookies, chocolate krinkles to be exact.  I assume we had our parents permission, because getting into trouble wasn't part of the nightmare.  Like the geniuses we were, we decided to make a double recipe of an already humongous recipe.  Fatal mistake number one.  So we mixed up this immense recipe of chocolate deliciousness and proceeded to make probably about two hundred cookies (that is a rough but not exaggerated estimate).  Being just kids, of course we ate tons of the dough as we formed the cookie dough into cookies and then rolled them in powdered sugar.  Fatal mistake numbers two AND three.   Never, let your kids use powdered sugar when cooking, it makes a mess and if you eat a lot of cookie dough, later on down the road you are going to feel sick.  Somehow, we also managed to dirty the most dishes possible.  Fatal mistake number four. Apparently little children also have the tendency to drop cookie dough on the floor.  Fatal mistake number five.  I am sure you can tell by now that the fatal mistakes were rather piling up.  By the time we were done the floor, and the table we were working at were covered in powdered sugar and cookie batter.  My brother and I both felt sick from eating so much cookie dough as well as the baked cookies.  Nevertheless, we had to clean up the kitchen.  Due to the amount of cookie dough on the floor, we had to mop as well as do all of the dishes.    After we were done, we both swore never again to make those treacherous cookies.

And we never did.... until a couple days ago.

Thankfully I am far wiser and I avoided all of the fatal mistakes.  It helps when you have a vivid memory implanted in your mind of all that went the first time.  Due to these unforgettable memories, I made no fatal mistakes.  I also had the good sense to make a quarter of the amount that my brother and I made so many years ago (and that is the amount for the recipe I have below).  They are a very delicious chocolate cookie that have a little crunch on the outside but are soft in the middle.  Just how I like them.  Anyways, it was chocolate, a very hard to mess up ingredient. :)

If you have the courage, make some, they really are delicious.

Chocolate Krinkles
1 1/4 cup oil
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup powdered sugar (to roll cookies in)
Mix together first three ingredients and then add eggs one at a time, mixing well.  Add vanilla and dry ingredients.  Mix well and chill.  Drop teaspoons of dough in powdered sugar and roll into a ball (careful not to make to big).  Bake in 350˚ oven for 8-10 minutes.  Don't overbake.  Makes about fifty cookies.

Enjoy and remember to make NO fatal mistakes. :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chocolate Gingersnap Cookies

Earlier this year my cousin gave me the names of a few food blogs that she had found good recipes from.  I was able to find several good recipes that I tried and one of them was for these chocolate gingersnap cookies.  The idea of combining ginger and chocolate sounded weird at first but I tried it anyways.  The end product was absolutely delicious!  The are nice and soft and the flavor is really great. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family and I did. :)

Soft Chocolate Gingersnap Cookies
2 sticks softened butter
1 Cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 Cup molasses
1 egg
1 3/4 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 Cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Roasted Saigon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Roasted Ground ginger
1/2 Cup sugar to roll cookies in
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   In stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Slowly add in molasses and egg until well combined.
2.  In a separate mixing bowl mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Slowly add to wet ingredients, beat on low until just combined.
3.  With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll into sugar then place onto silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.  Press each cookie with the palm of your hand to about 1/2 inch thick.  Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove and let cool for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.  Now, time to eat!
4-5 dozen cookies 
Note- Dough will be quite sticky.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Lazy Part 2

After writing my last post (Lazy) I thought a lot more about what I wrote and also saw some more examples of the laziness of today's society.  Thus, part 2.
One of my thoughts has been about how low standards have become for many things, but especially with school.  Not much is expected from students, I have found, but if it is, those students expect that you REALLY don't expect them to get it done.  Like showing up to class, reading the textbook, or taking notes, or not having your highest expectations for the class just passing... meaning a C (and yes, I have talked to students who have said that).  Before class the other day I heard behind me a student complaining to another student about how her teacher had assigned her class this homework and how she just couldn't believe that her teacher had assigned them all of that homework (and it was NOT that much).  It was as if she was complaining about her teacher expecting them to do WORK.  To this student: I don't know if you if you know this, but work is part of college.  Honestly, I am at a community college where everything is a lot easier.  How would these students make it at university colleges?  Or do they ever even get there?
One out of four students in the U.S.A. failed to graduate from highschool in 2012.  I am sorry, but highschool cannot be that hard... especially with these lowered standards.  Something is going down hill and I am pretty sure it is the education system.  And I know what you're thinking, "But Lois, of course you say that because you were homeschooled so you're biased."  Yep, that's true, I was, and probably that is why I am saying that.  However, I have been able to experience both homeschool and public school (at the community college).  First off, I can readily assure you that from talking to students who went to public schools that more was expected of me in my homeschool than was expected from them, therefore, I worked harder.  I was pushed far harder than most students, which was how I got to where I am.  I have never called myself good at math but because my Dad kept me going I was able to get up to Calculus 1.  I think (and this is just my opinion), that public schools are just a pathway to being lazy.  And don't get me wrong, I have met many smart public schooled kids, but I have so many mediocre public schooled kids, and a sad amount of public schooled kids that were so ignorant that I was sincerely hoping that it was just a joke.  Those students from the last group are the ones who didn't know what extrovert meant and thought it was an insult because it was a big word, which it isn't even that big.
To all of you lazy students out there: Take your earphones out of your ears and put your cellphone away, you're in school, it's not time to be lazy, it's time to work.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


We are incredibly spoiled in today's society.  Getting up so I can to work at eight is a major league chore for me, but it SHOULDN'T be.  If today's teenagers were told they had to get up when farmers did and still do, they would get the shock of a lifetime.  If today's teenagers were told that chores came before recreation their jaws would drop.  We have become so lazy and today's society displays this.  Going out to eat is a no brainer anymore because we are unwilling to take the time to make a meal that would actually most likely cost less and be healthier.  Texting people is now the preferred mode of communication because actually talking face to face with people is just WAY too difficult.
Working hard is not something that is emphasized anymore, which is why I meet so many lazy college college students.  I have talked to students who say that they would be perfectly happy with a C and if they got a B that would pretty much be heaven.  Standards are so low that no one really expects much of you.  When I was in highschool taking classes at the local community college, I was considered a genius because I was so young but taking those upper level courses.  I am not a genius by any stretch of the imagination, I just work hard.
A little (no make that a lot) leadership needs to be taken by today's youth.  We need to take responsibility for our own actions and buckle down and work hard.  I am not exempting myself from sometimes being lazy, aren't we all?  However, I do work hard.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Favorite YouTube Video Quotes

As I was making my earlier post with favorite movie quotes, I realized I had so many quotes in my head that were from YouTube videos.  So here is this post, with all of my favorite YouTube video quotes, which are mostly (if not wholly) from Julian Smith, Rhett and Link, Monty Python and Blimey Cow.  I know I have forgot so many great ones and there are many of my favorite YouTube videos that aren't reflected in this list because I couldn't get the whole long dialogue that was so great into this.  Again many of them you have to see them in context so go look them up on YouTube and enjoy!

  1. "I made a pot of koolaid."- Julian Smith's Hot Koolaid
  2. "You don't make a pot of koolaid."- Julian Smith's Hot Koolaid
  3. "I made this for you!"- Julian Smith's Hot Koolaid
  4. "You guys are just being selfish."- Julian Smith's Waffles
  5. "I want twelve, I want twelve of them."- Julian Smith's Waffles
  6. "Son, you're adopted."- Julian Smith's Reading Lips
  7. "Just saying."- Julian Smith's Reading Lips
  8. "We all love you.  Except that guy, he hates you."- Julian Smith's Reading Lips
  9. "Cause I am a pirate."- Julian Smith's Donut Pirate
  10. "That's not a good name."- Julian Smith's Donut Pirate
  11. "Wow you really sound like you know what you're talking about."- Julian Smith's Donut Pirate
  12. "Eat a hot dog bun."- Julian Smith's Britian's Got Talent Parody
  13. "Shut up Dorcas, it's a secret you dumb wench, I'll tell you in the chorus."- Julian Smith's Britian's Got Talent Parody.
  14. "Action means run, cut means you're done.  I'm going to shoot you with a camera, a camera not a gun.  It's a pretty good pun.  It's... it's not a gun."- Julian Smith's Britian's Got Talent Parody
  15. "I mandate phatdippin this year."- Rhett and Link's Phatdippin
  16. "My sense of style is sweet like syrup, it's not uncommon for people to think I'm from Europe."- Rhett and Link's Epic Rap Battle
  17. "I don't follow the trends, I'm a style pioneer.  See this turtleneck with the necklace you'll be wearing it next year."- Rhett and Link's Epic Rap Battle
  18. "You just said that the square root of raspberry should be legalized."  "Exactly."- Rhett and Link's Epic Rap Battle
  19. "I LOVE it."- Blimey Cow's Like vs. Love
  20. "I'm to cool for school and as sure as your wheelchair I ain't going to play no granny games."- Julian Smith's Granny Games
  21. "Not good for my image."- Julian Smith's Granny Games
  22. "To late noob."- Julian Smith's Granny Games
  23. "I hope you enjoy it.  It's strawberry."- Julian Smith's Pie
  24. "It's so... dark."- Julian Smith's Malk
  25. "Randy is a three course meal but the feet to seal the deal.  Oh, and I'll be needing a to-go box."- Julian Smith's Eat Randy
  26. "I'd rather eat Randy."- Julian Smith's Eat Randy
  27. "God is gracious, God is good, let us thank Him for this Randy.  Amen."- Julian Smith's Eat Randy
  28. "These specials don't look special to me."- Julian Smith's Eat Randy
  29. "Do you still say grace before breakfast, lunch, and dinner?  Then I have a product that is going to revolutionize the way you do food.  Pre-Blessed Food!"- Julian Smith's Pre-Blessed Food
  30. "Since I switched to pre-blessed food, ain't nothing changed."- Julian Smith's Pre-Blessed Food
  31. "It not only saved us time... it saved our souls."- Julian Smith's Pre-Blessed Food
  32. "But that's not all.  No, no, no that's not all."- Julian Smith's Pre-Blessed Food
  33. "How neat is that?  That's pretty neat."- Neature Walk Episode 1
  34. You can tell it's an aspen, because of the way it is."- Neature Walk Episode 1
  35. "It's more than a want, it's more than a need.  I'd shrivel up and die without my feed.  Take a look, you are hooked, on Facebook."- Rhett and Link's Facebook Song.
  36. "I'm so glad we gat a Honda."- Julian Smith's Everything's all Right
  37. "Chris is dead now."- Julian Smith's What Happened to Chris
  38. "So how did you know he was dead?"  "Well I.... uh..."  "Never mind."- Julian Smith's What Happened to Chris
  39. "Hey, hey, Dad I think got a big one."-  Julian Smith's What Happened to Chris
  40. "This is our tree!"- Julian Smith's Trees Hate You
  41. "Isn't it funny?"- Julian Smith's Trees Hate You
  42. "Jim remembers Burl Ives.  Jim remembers the Civil War.  His people fought for the west."- Diamond W Wranglers- Ghost Riders in the Sky
  43. "You promise me puddings cookies and then you gives me nothing."- Blimey Cow's Pudding Cookies
  44. "Bimey Burger. The place were Blimey Cow's go to die."- Blimey Cow's The Problem with Christian Bands
  45. "They make music and mistakes."  Blimey Cow's The Problem with Christian Bands
  46. "Let's take a listen shall we."- Blimey Cow's The Problem with Christian Bands
  47. "You're doing it wrong."- about every Blimey Cow video
  48. "For God so loved Tebow baby."- Blimey Cow's Proof that Jesus Loves Tim Tebow
  49. "Why does Tebow tebow?"- Blimey Cow's Proof that Jesus Loves Tim Tebow
  50. "Then I dare say you're not a Christian."- Blimey Cow's Proof that Jesus Loves Tim Tebow
  51. "You're type make me puke."- Monty Python's The Argument Clinic
  52. "What a stupid concept."- Monty Python's The Argument Clinic
  53. "I could be arguing in spare time."- Monty Python's The Argument Clinic
  54. "Without milk or sugar."  "Or tea."- Monty Python's Four Yorkshireman
  55. "Oh we used to dream of living in a corridor."- Monty Python's Four Yorkshireman
  56. "We were evicted from our hole in the ground."- Monty Python's Four Yorkshireman
  57. "Luxury!"- Monty Python's Four Yorkshireman
  58. "If we were lucky."- Monty Python's Four Yorkshireman
  59. "There is absolutely no cause for alarm."- Monty Python's Airplane Sketch
  60. "The wings are not on fire."- Monty Python's Airplane Sketch
  61. "Well he just knocked over my lincoln logs."- Rhett and Link's Job Reference
  62. "Well hello Spiderman.  I didn't know you had a horse."- Rhett and Link's Job Reference
  63. "I'm reading a book, I'm reading a book.  Don't you ever interrupt me while I'm reading a book."- Julian Smith's I'm Reading a Book
  64. "I'm at the library where they call me a crook I never even pay for my library books.  I just take them shelf and if anyone looks I just say, I'm reading a book, I'm reading a book.  Don't you every interrupt me while I'm reading a book."- Julian Smith's I'm Reading a Book
  65. "Johnny."- Julian Smith's Truth
  66. "We can do pizza bites.  I take a bite you take a bite."- Julian Smith's Truth
  67. "You know sometimes I can't tell if technology is progressing or digressing."- Julian Smith's uMove
  68. "Our internet is down."- Julian Smith's uMove
  69. "He's on a diet sire."- Julian Smith's With Child
  70. "It's only a flesh wound."- Monty Python's Black Knight from Quest for the Holy Grail
  71. "You liar!"- Monty Python's Black Knight from Quest for the Holy Grail
  72. "Finding Nemo?! Son, what have I told you about watching PG rated movies?"- Blimey Cow's 7 Lies about Homeschooling
  73. "Well this is joyous news."- Blimey Cow's 7 Lies about Homeschooling

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Favorite Movie Quotes

Okay I'll admit they aren't my favorite but they were the first to come to mind (and yes I know I forgot a million great ones). On that same note, these aren't in any particular order either, just in the order I thought of them. These are all from many of my family's favorite movies though we have so many more favorites that aren't reflected in this list. Unfortunately there are so many great conversations in movies that I can't quite get into this post either. You'd actually have to watch the movies to get the humor of most of these but I think that is an excellent excuse. :) I hope you enjoy these quotes as much as I do and maybe they'll leave you like they left me, desperately wanting to re-watch the movies they come from. :)

  1. "Life is pain, highness, anyone who tells you different is selling something."- The Princess Bride
  2. "Inconceivable!"- The Princess Bride
  3. "Your vote of confidence is overwhelming."- The Princess Bride
  4. "I don't think that word means what you think it means."- The Princess Bride
  5. "Is this a kissing book?"- The Princess Bride
  6. "You rush a miracle man, you get bad miracles."- The Princess Bride
  7. "Anyone want a peanut?"- The Princess Bride
  8. "I'm not left-handed either."- The Princess Bride
  9. "Get used to disappointment."- The Princess Bride
  10. "Rodents of unusual size? I don't think they exist."- The Princess Bride
  11. "I'm not a witch, I'm your wife. Though after what you just said I am not sure I even want to be that anymore."- Princess Bride
  12. "Have fun storming the castle!" "Think it will work?" "It will take a miracle."- Princess Bride
  13. "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed me father, prepare to die."- The Princess Bride
  14. "As you wish."- The Princess Bride
  15. "My way's not very sportsman-like."- The Princess Bride
  16. Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam..."- The Princess Bride
  17. "You're trying to kidnap what I've rightfully stolen."- The Princess Bride
  18. "There's not a lot of money in revenge."- The Princess Bride
  19. "It is a far, far wetter place I go to."- Ghost Train
  20. "Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle."- Ghost Train
  21. "That was his other leg."- Ghost Train
  22. "That's right."- Ghost Train
  23. "Confidentially, you're a bit of a stinker yourself."- The Lady Vanishes
  24. "And I'm not intoxicated... yet!"- McLintock!
  25. "Mark my words Marilla, that's the kind of girl that put strychnine in the well."- Anne of Green Gables
  26. "Listen to me if you want to know about the events of the day."- Life with Father
  27. "They can't keep me out of heaven on a technicality!"- Life with Father
  28. "Madam, I am the character of my home."- Life with Father
  29. "SHE was the Methodist."- Life with Father
  30. "If there is one thing the church should leave alone it is a man't soul."- Life with Father
  31. "That's not fair, when I talk about my relatives, I criticize them."- Life with Father
  32. "I'll try to be a good little light bulb."- The Major and the Minor
  33. "It's never been a particular ambition of mine."- The Major and the Minor
  34. "What is food?" "Something you eat silly."- My Man Godfrey
  35. "Money, money, money, the Frankenstein monster that destroys men's souls."- My Man Godfrey
  36. "Why don't you stop imitating a gorilla and start imitating a man?"- My Man Godfrey
  37. "What would you do with a brain if you had one?"- Wizard of Oz
  38. "Not 'round, here."- Seven Brides for Seven Bothers
  39. "There were no F names in the bible so Ma named him Frankincense cause he smelled so sweet."- Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
  40. "Dignity, always dignity."- Singing in the Rain
  41. "And I can't stand him."- Singing in the Rain
  42. "She's so refined. I think I'll kill myself."- Singing in the Rain
  43. "Well of course we talk. Don't everybody?"- Singing in the Rain
  44. "What do they think I am, dumb or something?"- Singing in the Rain
  45. "I make more money than- than- than Calvin Coolige! Put together!"- Singing in the Rain
  46. "People? I ain't people. I am a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament. It says so, right there."- Singing in the Rain
  47. "I was calling him Don before you were born! I mean..."- Sining in the Rain
  48. "Haven't you heard? She's irresistible. She told me so herself."- Singing in the Rain
  49. "Short people have long faces, and long people have short faces. Big people have little humor, and little people have no humor at all."
  50. "Why if it isn't Ethyl Barrymore."- Singing in the Rain
  51. "Lina, you're a beautiful woman. Audiences think you've got a voice to match. The studio's gotta keep their stars from looking ridiculous at any cost. " "Nobody's got that much money." - Singing in the Rain
  52. "I can't understand it. This car hasn't given me a lick of trouble in nearly six hours."- Singing in the Rain
  53. "But if you are naughty and idle, you shall sleep in the back kitchen amongst the black beetles, and be wolloped by Mrs. Pearce with a broomstick. "- My Fair Lady
  54. "It's the new small talk. You do it so awfully well."- My Fair Lady
  55. "Poor Eliza! How simply frightful! How humiliating! How delightful!"- My Fair Lady
  56. "Why can't a woman be more like a man?"- My Fair Lady
  57. "I washed my face and hands before I come I did."- My Fair Lady
  58. "The French don't care what they do actually as long as they pronounce it properly."- My Fair Lady
  59. "There even are places where English completely disappears; in America they haven't used it for years."- My Fair Lady
  60. "Would I run off and never tell me where I am going?"- My Fair Lady
  61. "Ah, I hate him."- On Moonlight Bay
  62. "Wesley, be friendly!"- On Moonlight Bay
  63. "Marjorie's old petticoat. You've got me in Marjorie's old petticoat."- On Moonlight Bay
  64. "It must be tough being a girl."- On Moonlight Bay
  65. "If he had been the first there never would have been a second."- By the Light of the Silvery Moon
  66. "At this moment I have no great love for them myself."- By the Light of the Silvery Moon
  67. "Do you know what that wall reminds me of? This wall over here."- Abbot and Costello
  68. "Now who would do a mean thing like that?"- Charade
  69. "He doesn't look that bad."- Charade
  70. "Get ready for the story of my life." "Fiction or non-fiction."- Charade
  71. "Naturally."- Charade
  72. "Do women find it feminine to be so illogical or can't they help it."- Charade
  73. "Did Bigfoot take it?"- National Treasure
  74. "Yeah... the aliens helped them."- National Treasure
  75. "I see why you left him."- National Treasure
  76. "Do you know what the preservation room is for?" "Delicious jams and jellies?"
  77. "Our evil plan is working."- National Treasure
  78. "And that's where we lost the Department of Homeland Security."- National Treasure
  79. "They're like early American X-ray specs."- National Treasure
  80. "Oh look. My tax dollars at work, coming to arrest me."- National Treasure 2
  81. "The last time I checked we made our living off of crazy."- National Treasure 2
  82. "Maybe one day I'll wear this [his suit] to a party I'm actually invited to."- National Treasure 2
  83. "The president's a tattle tale."- National Treasure 2
  84. "Get it, got it, good."- Court Jester
  85. "I made a fool of myself."- Court Jester
  86. "The pellet with the poison is in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true."- Court Jester.
  87. "If it pleases you so much, you marry Griswold."- Court Jester
  88. "What took her so long?" "Stutters."- Court Jester
  89. "I noticed."- The God's Must be Crazy
  90. "Do the noises in my head bother you?"- The God's Must be Crazy
  91. "Yes, you are a very interesting psychological phenomenon, and I think you are very sweet."- The God's Must be Crazy
  92. "I could get used to a view like this. Yep, I'm used to it. Guys I want a castle."- Tangled
  93. "They just can't get my nose right."- Tangled
  94. "I didn't want to have to do this but you leave me no choice. Here comes the smolder."- Tangled
  95. "You broke my smolder."- Tangled
  96. "This is the story of how I died."- Tangled
  97. "That's the funny thing about birthdays. They're kind of an annual thing."- Tangled
  98. "You know how I hate the mumbling."- Tangled
  99. "Well I hope you're here to apologize."- Tangled
  100. "Well, a fake reputation is all a man has."- Tangled
  101. "IncrediBoy?"- Incredibles
  102. "That was the best vacation ever! I love our family."- Incredibles
  103. "Hey, we're super heroes. What could happen?"- Incredibles
  104. "We're dead! We're dead! We survived but we're dead."- Incredibles
  105. "You know I wish my parents had played Mozart when I was a baby cause half the time I don't know what anyone's talking about."- Incredibles
  106. "Lame, lame, lame, lame lame!"- Incredibles
  107. "No capes."- Incredibles
  108. "Greater good? I am your wife. I am the greatest good you are ever gonna get."- Incredibles
  109. "...And guest."- Incredibles
  110. "We act normal mom, I want to be normal. The only normal one is Jack-Jack and he isn't even toilet trained."- Incredibles
  111. "You need to be more... flexible."- Incredibles
  112. "And machine washable darling. That's a new feature."- Incredibles
  113. "And call me when you get back darling. I enjoy your visits."- Incredibles
  114. "Good thing too. You were this close to loosing your jo...."- Increidlbes
  115. "Are we there yet?" "We get there when we get there."- Incredibles
  116. "I know, I know... freeze!"- Incredibles
  117. "You're letting him go again? He's guilty! You can see it in his smug little face. Guilty! Guilty I say! Guilty!"- Incredibles
  118. "Round up the usual suspects."- Casablanca
  119. "You despise me don't you?" "If I gave you any thought I probably would."- Casablanca
  120. "I am shocked! Shocked I say to hear that gambling is going on here!" "Your winnings sir."- Casablanca
  121. "Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."- Casablanca
  122. "Of all the gin joints in all the world, she walked into mine."- Casablanca
  123. "And they used Bon Ami!"- Ghost and Mr. Chicken
  124. "That's right karate... made my whole body a weapon."- Ghost and Mr. Chicken
  125. "Calm? Do murder and calm go together? Calm and murder? Murder?"- Ghost and Mr. Chicken
  126. "It was terrible, just terrible. I'll never get over it as long as I live."- Ghost and Mr. Chicken
  127. "Atta boy Luther."- Ghost and Mr. Chicken
  128. "I want your opinion, your honest opinion."- Shop Around the Corner
  129. "Too much."- Shop Around the Corner
  130. "I'm H2O intolerant."- Finding Nemo
  131. "I suffer from short term memory loss."- Finding Nemo
  132. "Wow! I wish I could speak whale."- Finding Nemo
  133. "P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney."- Finding Nemo
  134. "I'm obnoxious."- Finding Nemo
  135. "The water is half empty!" "Really? I'd say it's half full."- Finding Nemo
  136. "Squirrel!"- Up!
  137. "You don't talk much... I like you."- Up!
  138. "I ripped it out of a library book."- Up!
  139. "South America. It's like America, but south."- Up!
  140. "I am most seriously displeased."- Pride and Prejudice (1995)
  141. "She's tolerable I suppose but not handsome enough to please me."- Pride and Prejudice (1995)
  142. "It's worse than horrible because a zombie has no will of his own. You see them sometimes walking around blindly with dead eyes, following no orders, not knowing what they do not caring." "You mean like Democrats?"- Ghost Breakers
  143. "It still only counts as one!"- Return of the King
  144. "We're not in decent places."- Return of the King
  145. "I am no man."- Return of the King
  146. "Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?"- Return of the King
  147. "There's plenty for the both of us. May the best dwarf win."- Return of the King
  148. "I never thought I'd die fighting side by side with an elf." "What about side by side with a friend?" "Aye, I could do that."- Return of the King
  149. "I don't know half as you as well as I should like and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."- Fellowship of the Ring
  150. "They come in pints?" "I'm getting one."- Fellowship of the Ring
  151. "Your late." "A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to."- Fellowship of the Ring
  152. Please don't turn me into anything... unnatural."- Fellowship of the Ring
  153. "He was twitching."- Two Towers
  154. "Don't tell the elf."- Two Towers
  155. Pot-tay-toes. Boil em, mash 'em, put 'em in a stew... Lovely big golden chips with a nice piece of fried fish. Even you couldn't say no to that." "Oh yes we could."- Two Towers
  156. "Don't follow the lights."- Two Towers
  157. "This new Gandalf is more grumpy than the old one."- Two Towers
  158. "Look's like meat is back on the menu boys."- Two Towers
  159. "She stinks."- You Can't Take it with You
  160. "Mr. Biddle's on a chocolate cake diet." "I beg your pardon?" "He says its the perfect food containing every essential element."- The Happiest Millionaire
  161. "Now I am the master." "Only a master of evil Darth."- New Hope

If you don't see your favorite quote here comment on this post with it. :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fun with School

All last spring you got to hear about my Anatomy and Physiology course and I am sure you breathed as large of a sigh of relief as I did when it was over and you didn't have to hear about it anymore.  However, THIS semester I am taking Microbiology, which promises to be just as difficult as good old A&P.  You are forewarned.  Now, to take about Microbiology. :)  I am actually having some fun with it so far as there are online activities I have to complete for the class which are basically flashcards.  The fun part is that the website keeps track of points for questions answered correctly and then ranks my classmates and I by who has the most points.  So my competitive side is getting satisfied (I'm in first place) and I am learning all about Eukaryotes and Prokaryotes in the process. :)  Also, I know that I am actually learning the information when I wake up in the morning thinking about chloroplasts...

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Favorite Musicals

My family is a big fan of musicals.  We have our favorites, which I am going to share with y'all.
The favorite musical in my family is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers without a doubt.  The music is great the dancing is fun and it actually has a good storyline as well (as opposed to most musicals that just don't have much of a storyline).  This movie has been watched so many times in my family that I am sure we could sing all of the words to the songs and quote half the movie to you.
Then after that there is a whole big pool of the "other greats".  These include My Fair Lady, Singing in the Rain, Mary Poppins, Fiddler on the Roof, On Moonlight Bay, and By the Light of the Silvery Moon.      We love all of these for their unforgettable music, hilarious as well as sometimes thought provoking lines, and great stories.
A musical that I enjoy but I wouldn't call a great by any means would be "Call Me Madam", which is a musical I just recently was introduced to by my cousins.  I am OBSESSED with the music and the story isn't bad either.  I was informed that on the second time watching it the movie was found more enjoyable.  However, I just enjoyed it from the start. :)
Some other sub-favorite musicals are Sound of Music, The Music Man (I am OBSESSED with its music too), and Calamity Jane.
So there are some favorite musicals from my family.  What are yours and how do your ratings match with my family's?  Leave a comment below!

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Finally... Another Blog Post!- Summer Happenings

I know it has been quite a while since I last wrote on my blog.  Life has been quite busy though so this post will just bring you up to date with all that has been going in my life recently.
Taiki and I
At the end of July my family was busy getting our 4-H projects ready for the county fair and about that time also our summer Japanese exchange student arrived.  Load on my job as well as getting prepared for classes and then this last week actually starting classes and you have a very busy Lois.   Most of it was fun though and though my summer was hectic, it was enjoyable as well.
My favorite part was definitely having Taiki, our exchange student stay.  The little 14 year old boy fit in perfectly with my family.  By the time he left he had learned and even mastered many of my family's favorite games.
My second favorite part of the summer was probably the county fair.  I was smart enough to not do too much but I still entered a few items.  I found time to bake a couple pies to take (peach and pecan), which turned out pretty tasty.  However, Taiki was quite dissapointed they were going to the fair and not to his stomach so I ended up making a peach pie (his favorite) for him again before he left.
Of course I spent lots of time with my family this summer, which was good.  We managed to watch all but one of the Star Wars movies and played multiple games together.
Recently I became addicted to online Dominion (see earlier post about Dominion), which was probably not good.  However, when you are feeling a need for Dominion and your family isn't available to play what other options are there?
All in all, a good summer and hopefully this fall semester will be bearable too.  God bless. :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

A recipe for chocolate chip cookies is an important part in every cookbook.  There are a lot of good recipes out there.  Some like them crisp, some like them soft.  Some like them with nuts, or perhaps with oatmeal too.  There are a lot of different ways to make chocolate chip cookies.  I found this recipe via FoodGawker and absolutely loved it.  This makes a pretty much perfect chocolate chip cookie.  It is perfectly soft and chewy, which is how I like them.  This one doesn't have nuts or any other goodies but is just simiply a choclate chip cookie.  I have another recipe that does have nuts, oatmeal, and cocoanut that I love also but that, perhaps, is for another blog post.  I hope you enjoy these delicious cookies. :)

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened 
3/4 c. brown sugar 
1/4 c. granulated sugar 
1 egg 
2 tsp. vanilla extract 
2 c. all purpose flour 
2 tsp. cornstarch 
1 tsp. baking soda 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.
3.  Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chunks.
4.  Using a standard-sized cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges.  (The tops will not brown, but do NOT cook longer than ten minutes.)
5.  Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack for five minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely.  Makes approximately 3 dozen. 


Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Movie Review- Ghost Train

     I am a big fan of old movies.  In most cases they are just better due to many factors (for example, they tend to be much cleaner).  A new favorite for old movies was accidentally found by my cousins on YouTube.  After listening to them quote lines from it for a few months, I decided I had better go ahead and watch it.
     The story follows a group of passengers on a train that miss the switch and have to stay at the station for the night even though they are discouraged from doing so due to a local superstition.  The main character, Gander, who is a professional comedian, lends a lot of the humor to the movie as he continually tries to cheer all of the other passengers up but keeps failing miserably.  However, that never stops him but he just continues merrily along.  This movie kept me laughing but also put me on the edge of my seat at times.
     YouTube is a great way to watch this movie.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  I will admit you modern people might think it is dated humor but I am sorry, that is what I really enjoy and if you like that kind too, then I am sure you will enjoy it as well.  And in case you don't want to go around YouTube looking for it, I am putting the video here on my blog.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Newest Crochet Projects

     This last weekend was the 4-H Fashion Revue competition for my county where we displayed many different items including our crochet patterns.  Like the great procrastinator I am, I didn't start working on my planned four projects until a week prior.   However, I ended up with two hats, a little doll satchel for my sister's doll, and a pair of earrings.  I had another pair of earrings as well but I could only enter four items, not five (as somehow my brain convinced me was so).  I learned several new things with these projects such as, don't leave everything to last minute or else you have to crochet several hours straight and hurt your poor wrists, which probably is going to give me arthritis later on in my life.  I did have lots of fun though.  Several of my patterns I found via Crochet Pattern Central, a favorite website of mine when it comes to finding crochet patterns.  I also was blessed to find one of my hat patterns from a book I chanced upon while working at the library.  All in all it was a good year for crochet and while I am in the crochet mood I had better get started for next year as it promises to be more busy then this one.
My sister's doll with the little satchel I crocheted for it.

One of the hats I crocheted.
The brim on this one had a unique stitch called a linked treble crochet.

My crocheted earrings.
I have crocheted several earrings before but they all used crochet thread.
This pattern used three strands of sewing thread, which was interesting to work with (by interesting I mean difficult).

My other crocheted hat.
I am sorry you can only see the front of it in this picture but you can get the drift.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Too Much Romance

     I had the enjoyment of watching some favorite mini-series this past weekend.  The first was North and South, an adaption of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel of the same title, and the other was Pride and Prejudice, which is an adaption of course of Jane Austen's timeless classic and my overall favorite movie, though I do enjoy them both.  If you are acquainted with me much you will know that I am not a fan of romance novels or movies at all.  In fact, I tend to ridicule them.  Those two mini-series are probably the excess to which I would go when it comes to romance in movies or books and even then it isn't just about romance, far from it indeed.  As I told my siblings as we talked about Pride and Prejudice this evening, it would be an alright love story but without the depth Jane Austen adds to it with her understanding of human nature as well as the forever quoted (at least in my family) witty lines, it would be nothing more than another romance novel.  However, after watching both North and South and Pride and Prejudice just a day apart from each other, I think I am ready for something different, with a little less romance and perhaps with a sword fight or two.  Maybe Lord of the Rings is on the horizon. :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tea in Summer

      The other day I was feeling the need for a cup of tea so I boiled the water and seeped my tea as  I always do.  However, as I went to drink it, I realized how hot it was and thought perhaps I needed a change of plans for the summer.  Iced tea was the obvious solution so I dumped my tea over ice and put it in the refrigerator for awhile and viola! Iced tea.  So for you all that think that summer is a "No Tea Zone" y'all are wrong.  I know iced tea isn't as amazing as a nice cup of hot tea but it is rather refreshing with the current hot temperatures. I have been enjoying iced chai black tea with honey as a flavoring, which is pretty excellent in my opinion.  I also tried some honey vanilla chamomile that wasn't too bad either.  I hope all of my blog followers are enjoying the summer and hopefully I'll be posting some more on my blog in the near future.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Contra Dancing

The other evening I had the privilege to go contra dancing with my sister and a few of my cousins.   I had been a couple times before two years ago but apparently I had forgotten more than I thought.  To say I didn't have fun would be a lie, however to say it wasn't oftentimes confusing would also be a lie.  Contra dancing, is a partnered folk dance.  Normally there will be more girls than guys so a girl can do the guys part by wearing a tie, which the providers of the dance will normally supply.  Where I danced, there were an excess of girls so I ended up playing the guy all but two dances.  Once I got used to the guy part, it actually wasn't that hard.  The most difficult part of it was I was leader so that meant I was doing all of the guiding and if I guided my partner wrong we messed up.  That happened several times.  Everything is difficult when you first start out or when you are trying to get back in to the swing of things, so I hope when I go next time (and hopefully there will be a next time) it will be much easier.  Contra dancing is available in most of the 50 states of the U.S.A. so if you are interested in trying it search around on the internet and see if there is one near you.  It is definitely the most fun form of getting a workout.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sunset in the Flint Hills

My brother went out last evening to the hills behind our house (technically the Flint Hills).  He was able to capture some of the most beautiful sunset pictures I have ever seen.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Just Life

The other day I got a MacBook Pro so I won't have to be trying to find time on my family computer anymore to write my blog posts.  I am really loving it right now.  I was able to spend all morning outside siting in a lawn chair drinking lemonade and working on editing my novel and listening to fun celtic music on Pandora.  The best part of it was that the temperature was comfortable with a  nice hearty breeze blowing through and birds were singing all around me and too my left and right I can see the corn waving gently in the breeze.  I have a nice short "To Do" list for today and my brothers are all gone on an insect trip (don't ask).  Maybe my mom, sisters and I will watch a "girl" movie or something.  Coming soon on my blog will probably be another blog post on a movie I watched the other evening so don't miss it.  Until then! :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Favorite Pie Recipes

A couple years ago I finally started making pies.  My favorite flavors to make are apple and peach.  These pies aren't too hard and they don't involve making complicated top crusts or difficult meringues that always veered me away from every wanting to make pies.  Hope you enjoy these recipes, I certainly do!

Perfect Peach Pie with a touch of Spice
Pastry for 9-inch pie crust and top crust of cookie cutter cut shapes
¾ cup sugar                                                      3 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon                     Dash of salt
5 cups sliced fresh peaches                              2 tablespoons butter 
Line 9-inch pie plate with pastry.  Combine sugar, flour, spice, and salt.  Add to peaches; mix lightly.  Fill pie shell.  Dot with butter.  Dash with extra spice if desired.  Roll out additional pie dough and cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters.  Lay these shapes on top of your pie to form a crust.  Bake at 400˚ (375˚ if using glass pan) for 40-45 minutes.

Apple Crumb Pie
Mix together 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 5-6 apples and place in a crust lined pie pan.  Dot with 1T buter.
Crumb Topping:  Mix together 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 cup flour.  Sprinkle topping on pie.
Bake at 425˚ for 50-60 min.  If using glass pan bake at 400˚

Pie Crust
1 C flour          1/4 C vegetable oil
3/4 tsp. salt     2 1/2 T ice water
Sift together flour and salt.  Pour oil and cold water into measuring cup.  Do not stir.  Add all at once to flour mixture.  Stir lightly with a fork.  Form into a ball. Roll between two 12” squares of wax paper.  Peel off top sheet of waxed paper and fit dough, paper side up, into pie plate.  Remove paper.  Trim edge and flute by pressing dough with forefinger against wedge made by finger and thumb of other hand. 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.
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