Sunday, October 31, 2010

The First Pizza

Matt's birthday is coming up and he recently received his first present - Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. To say that he was excited is a bit of an understatement.

We started buying ingredients two weeks ago, just waiting for the day when Matt could buy the book. When he got it in the mail from the fabulous Clan Gabel, he went to work.

He mixed up his first batch of dough last night (because we keep our heat set at 65 degrees, it took five hours to rise instead of two). We considered making bread today, but we still have half a loaf, and we had a hankerin' for pizza.

Here's our first attempt. It's not pretty, but it sure was tasty!! If you're looking for tips on making your own pizza, visit my sister's blog here. She did a whole series on it.

I'm looking forward to Matt making his first loaf of bread. He's pretty excited. I'd like to video tape it for you (he's SO funny!), but I'm 146% sure he wouldn't go for that (but I'll try).

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cooking with Camille

My older sister, Camille, is trying to start a website, but every name she tries is already used (or someone bought the URL and wants her to pay them $1000 for it).

Anyway - since I'm the helpful sister that I am, I started looking for options. I stumbled upon Cooking with Camille. This cooking blog is FANTASTIC! Camille is a 4-year old blond cutie who has her own cooking show (only two so far). They are SO entertaining that I need to share them.

Here's Camille's link - stop by to learn how to make gummies and banana pudding!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cinnamon Popcorn

It looks funny, and it doesn't sound like a good combination, but Cinnamon Popcorn is AWESOME! It's so addicting (even if you're not a big fan of cinnamon, it really is good).

The hubs got a little too excited after Valentine's Day this year and bought out the clearance supply of Red Hots from a local store. I have 3-4 bags of these things. I couldn't think of a way to use them (other than baked apples), so I googled. I found this recipe (which I tweaked) and I LOVE it!

Try it for yourself - I took it to a home party tonight and the ladies just about licked the bowl clean, it's that good:

This isn't the exact recipe, but it's how I made it...

1 cup popcorn kernels (popped in hot air popper) - put popped corn in a large roasting pan

Melt in a sauce pan over medium heat (5-10 minutes):
1 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup (I actually used maple syrup)
1 cup Red Hots (Cinnamon Imperials...whatever you call them)

Pour melted mixture over popcorn and coat well (pour quickly - the mixture will start to harden again).

Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

And that's all there is to it - have fun!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Voting Info for the Michiganders

I've had a lot of questions recently about next week's election. Please know that I don't like the thought of telling people who to vote for - there's a ton of info available online. It's not too hard to find. However, I realize that some people are pressed for time, so I'm doing my best to put a bunch of info together for you. If for some reason you know me and never realized that I'm conservative, then I'll let you know now that I am, though I've desperately tried to keep everything pretty neutral.

First things first - EVERYONE need to visit the Voter Information Center website. All you do is plug in some info and you will get to see what's on next week's ballot for your township, city, county, state, and federal governments. I can only access the info for Elk Rapids, so I can't comment on any issues that will appear in Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, or Leelanau counties (you'll just have to look it up!)

Start here: Voter Information Center:

You'll notice that there are actually five candidates for governor and most other positions. The five parties are:
U.S. Taxpayer (Michigan's affiliate with the Constitution Party)

To put these into very loose categories: the Democrats and Green Party are Liberal; Republican and U.S. Taxpayers are Conservative; Libertarians are Moderate.

For information on Rick Snyder, go here.

When you go to vote, most positions will tell you who is affiliated with which party. Some don't, but there are only two people running and you can only vote for two people, so its sort of a moot point. There are a few candidates, however, who are hanging around with no affiliation. To help you out...

Supreme Court - below are links to these candidates' endorsement pages, so you can see for yourself who recommends these candidates

Supported by the GOP:
Bob Young -
Mary Beth Kelly -

Supported by the Democratic Party:
Alton Davis -
Denise Morris - (couldn't find an endorsement page)

86th District Court - There are two on the ballot, but you can only vote for one. Here are their endorsements:

Kevin Elsenheimer -
Mike Stepka -

Proposal 10-1: A proposal to convene a constitutional convention for the purpose of drafting a general revision of the state constitution - I googled "who supports this", but I got a website full of people who oppose it. Check it out here: (you'll notice the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce opposes this)

Proposal 10-2: A proposal to amend the state constitution to prohibit certain felons from holding elective office and specified types of public employment positions. Make a person ineligible for election or appointment to any state or local elective office or to hold a position in public employment in this state that is policy-making or has discretionary authority over public assets, if:
a. within the preceding 20 years the person was convicted of a felony involving dishonesty, deceit, fraud, or a  breach of the public trust 
b. the conviction was related to the person's official capacity while holding any elective office or position of employment in local, state or federal government.
I couldn't actually find anything on this proposal. It sort of seems like a no-brainer to me...

Hope this helps...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why I Decided to Support Snyder

Conservative Karin here. If you've already decided that my political beliefs are awful, then I invite you to leave. Don't take it personally, but comments on my blog won't change my opinions on the issues (just being honest). Right now I'm talking to the conservative Michigan crowd, those fans of the Constitution Party and the GOP. I want to tell you what I've found out about Mr. Snyder.

When I was doing my primary election research I remember being very impressed with Snyder's business strategy for Michigan, but I wasn't feeling great about the rest of his plans (education, family values, health care). I voted for someone else.

When he won the GOP seat after the primary I immediately emailed his headquarters to ask about his thoughts on abortion, gun control, and family values. Here's the response I received:

Rick is pro-life and, as Governor, will work hard to defend the rights of the unborn. For more information on Rick's stance on abortion, you can read his op-eds at opinion/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2010/05/rick_snyder_ economic_recovery.html and 06-09-2010-icymi-rick-snyder-says-good-economy-will-reduce-abortions-gr.

Rick is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and owns several guns himself. He believes that Michiganders should have the right to own and carry guns as long as it is done so legally and responsibly.

Rick is pro-life and pro-family, but his primary focus is on creating jobs and turning around Michigan’s economy.

Then I remembered something that my dad said - it really is all about jobs. If Michigan can't bring in more businesses we will continue to lose our tax base; as the tax payers leave there will be no money for education, health care, or any other government issue. We need to improve our economy.

Then I had dinner with some gals in the education industry, and the one had a fabulous point - it's ridiculous to think that anyone is qualified to know EVERYTHING they'll need to know as governor. What's really important is who the governor chooses for his cabinet.

And for the Right to Life crowd - Snyder is not endorsed by RTL of Michigan because he is okay with abortions in cases of rape or incest. His running mate, Brian Calley, however is a member of RTL. Another RTL endorsed candidate recently pointed out that Snyder is still heavily pro-life, and by electing other pro-life officials (including Calley), citizens can make sure Snyder is surrounded by people who do have the RTL endorsement.

I also recently checked out the list of people who endorse Rick Snyder, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is on there. Really, that sealed the deal for me. (If you don't know who Christie is, search for him at YouTube - he's fun!).

Synder wasn't my first choice for governor, and there are some things that I still question, but I truly believe he's the best of the two candidates.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Shoulda Been A Cowgirl

Sometimes I think God put me too far east...I think I should be in Montana, or Wyoming (they only have 400,000 people there). It's not so much the space that I crave, it's the cowboys. My dream in life is to get Matt in some boots, a hat, and tight jeans, then put him on a horse :) Sorry...tangent.

The point here is that I'm a SERIOUS country music fan, but even for me this past week has been unusual. I cannot, I mean I really cannot get through the day without listening to my favorite country men. I've officially created a Pandora channel for them. They soothe my soul...
 ...HOWEVER, I was pretty disappointed when I went to find pictures of them, and none of them were in cowboy hats! I'm sorry guys, but a baseball hat is not proper country music attire. Sheesh.
There's no realy point to this post. I just thought I'd share, cuz y'all are really interested, aren't ya?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall Colors

Well, the fall colors didn't really impress Ella last time, but I promised to find some colors, so here the are. It doesn't compare to the brilliance of the leaves this year, but you'll get the idea.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Things that confuse me...

Just some observations, things I've seen around recently that I truly don't understand. I'm not looking for explanations, I'm just putting this out there.

Here are some things that I just don't "get":

- People who rebel against parents, school, and religion because of the oppressive rules, but will do whatever it takes to follow the rules and qualify for government funded anything.

- People who encourage open mindedness, yet as soon as they find out I'm a Christian they impose upon me their understandings of what a Christian is without bothering to actually ask for my thoughts or opinions.

- People who protect unborn children by trying to educate pregnant women about the dangers of smoking and drinking during pregnacy, but then tell you abortion is okay because it's a choice.

- People who either don't believe in God or despise him, but then have their children baptized to appease their family members and/or society.

There are more, but these are the things I've seen recently. I'm still scratching my head...

Sunday, October 03, 2010

For My Desert Baby

Since my adorable niece was born in the desert, she misses out on some fun stuff (lakes, snow, grass). She also miss out on autumn. I was talking with her on the phone the other day and told her I saw an orange tree - that impressed her! I'm sure she's imagining an orange trunk and all :) To help her figure out the colors of autumn, it's my mission to get some pictures for her. Here's the first:

This is the burning bush at my in-laws' house. It's usually the first to change colors. This photo isn't even close to how amazing it looks up close, but it's the best I could do. So here you go Ella! A reddish-pink tree!! More to come...