Thursday, December 31, 2009

it's a pizza... it's a cake... no, it's supercookie!

goodbye 2009, hello 2010
happy early new year! 2010 is just hours away! as always, i'll have a hard time remembering to write "2010" instead of "2009" on my school papers. i mean, i've been writing "2009" for a whole year now. anyway, most people like to end the year with a big BANG, right? well, i'm not that type... but i did bake something awesome.

mental light bulb! 
have you ever seen one of those giant chocolate chip cookie cakes? today, when i asked my mom to bake some cookies, i thought, why not (attempt to) make one of those big things? i thought of using a regular cookie recipe, but then thought i would search up a very specific giant chocolate chip cookie cake recipe on google, just to be safe.

my mom and ella were busy speeding down a race track, jumping on giant mushrooms and sometimes falling off cliffs (on mario kart wii, that is). we just got it for christmas, and it has shown just how competitive we atsavapranees are (not that anyone had doubted it before).

i proceeded to create the most colossal cookie i've ever baked! well, i've never baked a cookie bigger than the regular size, so i guess that's not saying much. it's a really simple recipe. the only problem: i preheated the top oven, and when the time came to put the cookie in... it didn't fit! i started to preheat the bottom oven at that moment. all was good from then on.

before:

after:the frosting makes the cookie
but, what would a gigantic cookie be without some nice frosting to go with it? we dug out some frosting from ages ago, but when i tried to get some out, a bunch of oil leaked out from the top. gross.

so we made our very own sour cream frosting. since we had just put away our big mixer after making the big cookie, dad said he would mix it by hand. he ended up being just like an electric mixer! literally. ella enjoyed his nice sound effects and "pressing" his arm to make him mix even faster.

it was pretty coincidental that we baked a cake/cookie, and today is new year's eve. i actually hadn't thought about it. i thought i might as well decorate it as a new year's cake!

i added some food coloring to parts of the frosting. we now have many bowls of frosting in different colors on our dining room table. i had to use a bunch of ziploc bags as icing bags since they kept on ripping, and yes, it was messy.

it took me about an hour to perfect my masterpiece. to everyone who thinks i'm a perfectionist... i guess you are right! i don't really mind though, because it turned out great! at the end, i realized that we had only used about 1/20 of the frosting we made. my mom's idea was to make cupcakes and put the frosting on them! yum.


my next post will be in 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

go with the snow

i just got back from our skiing/tubing day trip (our 2nd time ever!), and went straight to my laptop to start blogging. we started our drive to whitetail, only 1 and 1/2 hours away, at 9:00 am. as always for road trips, me and ella were nice and comfy in the back seat with our pillows, blankets, and food.

totally tubular you won't believe me when i tell you that tubing is pretty terrifying, probably more than skiing. imagine this: you are sliding down a super big hill at full speed with snow crystals flailing in your face, spinning around -->randomly, an inch away from banging into a ginormous ice wall. yup, it's that freaky... or maybe i'm just a wuss.

last time, ella and mom went tubing while dad and i went skiing. this time, we all went tubing together and i got some tips from the expert tubers in the family. we went tubing for 2 hours in the morning from 11 am to 1 pm. we went down the hill 8 times.

the snow was really lumpy, probably since it was artificial snow, and the bottom of the tube was really thin. so, the first time i went down the hill, my butt was completely hurting from the rock hard snow bumps. i taught myself to lift my butt up while sliding down the hill. it helped.

we had fun playing around with different combinations going down the hill. first, we all went down solo. then ella and i tied our tubes together. we then decided that we would rather get a double tube. for the grand finale, mom and dad tied their tubes to our double tube and... voila! our foursome was sliding down the hill in no time.

with more people, it went a lot faster (because of the momentum). that basically means: four people is four times more terrifying than usual. mom, being a scientist, went down the hill to experiment different positions with speed. sit up, and you go slower; lie flat, and you go faster. makes sense. :)

most people sit in the tube, right? but some people lie belly-down on the tube. to me, that's like asking to have your head slammed into the wall of ice! dad was the first of the family to try it out. i was begging him not to kill himself, but, of course, he didn't listen and went right ahead. he held the tube by the handles, took a running start toward the hill, and just flopped himself onto it! i was watching him with wide eyes the whole way down to make sure nothing bad happened or anything... later, while i was skiing, mom and ella even tried it! but don't think that i tried it or anything; i'm not the daring type.

see bee ski this is only my second time skiing, but i really love it. i love it so much that after my first time skiing, when i was creating a new email account, i made my username "beatriz.skiing." everyone always asks me why that's my username, but i'm thinking it's sort of obvious. the last time i went skiing, i got pretty lucky. when i went to meet for a group lesson, i was the only one there! private lesson for a group lesson's cost. this time, with winter break and all, it was more crowded, so there were 9 people instead.

i don't know if you can call the class i took "intermediate." we spent the first half of class skiing in a line, jumping one by one while saying "pop," with the last person saying "corn." then we practiced turning, even though they said the intermediate class was for people who could turn.

what i enjoyed about the lesson was that for the ski lift, instead of waiting in the unbearably long line, we got to go in the special express line for only lessons and patrols. after the lesson, i had to wait in the line as i looked hopelessly and enviously at the people in the special express line. sigh.

the worst part about skiing? the level ground. well, even worse than that is an incline. you should see me lug myself across the snow. it is so lame that you would laugh. first i try pulling myself with the polls, then i try stepping, then i try gliding, then i give up. after moving about a foot, i have to stop and take a break. it's tough, i'm telling you!

once the lesson was over, i went skiing by myself. apparently, last time we were skiing, i scarred dad for life when i forced him down the intermediate slope. but, luckily, he's coming skiing with me next time!

Monday, December 21, 2009

winter wonderland

winter wonderland
thank you oh mighty snow gods! not only is there no school today, but there is also no school tomorrow! this thursday to the monday after next we have off because of christmas and winter break, so we will only have one day of school for 2 weeks! that is, if they don't cancel wednesday as well...

maryland is awesome
i have been thinking, and i believe that maryland has one of the best case scenerios regarding snow days. it's not like california, where there are no snow days... and it's not like minnesota, where they clear the roads so professionally fast that school never gets cancelled.
 

the longest driveway around
in the morning, i thought the best we were going to get was a 2-hour delay. i was hoping that being trapped at home would give us a good reason to miss school. so, when dad said he would dig us out by my orthodontist appointment (3:15 pm), i was practically begging him not to. he went outside and said that he wouldn't come back in until he was done.

he wasn't kidding around! when i think about how sore my arms are after shoveling only 1/10 of the driveway, i can't even begin to imagine how much pain dad must be in (p.s. sorry dad...). when dad finally came in, my mom asked him, "don't you feel a sense of accomplishment?" and dad says "i feel a sense of pain!" dad vows that the our next house will have a much shorter driveway.

my first painless torture session 
i had my orthodontist appointment today, and i was expecting a great load of pain. since my last appointment, my spring had fallen off twice. luckily, they didn't threaten me with painful orthodontic devices this time.

i also no longer have the dreaded "power band": the rubber bands on each tooth are connected to make the teeth move even faster, and make it even more painful for the victim (aka me). let me tell you, it isn't fun.

this is the first time that i haven't been screaming in pain after my orthodontist appointment. i'm happy.

cookies anyone? tomorrow, my mom is planning on bringing me and ella to her workplace. i'm just swelling with joy at the fact that i get to help ella sell her girl scout cookies. why do i say "swelling with joy" so sarcastically? well, the main reason that ella and mom drag me along with them to sell cookies is because i'm the "social one." therefore, i get to do all the talking. wish me good luck.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

enjoying the blizzard of '09

buried treasure
the 18 inches of snow are so much fun. first, me and ella were just playing with the snow on the roof outside the window. we made a ginormous snowball and brought it downstairs to show dad. he wasn't so pleased. we decided to throw it back onto the roof, where it came from.


then, ella started to bury a small plastic horse deep into the snow on the roof and told me, "we'll get him back when it's spring!" when i asked her, "why are you burying that?" she said, "do you really want this piece of junk?" a while later, she was digging frantically for it. i don't really think she minded losing it, though, considering that she was the one who buried it in the first place... it'll be interesting to see where and how we find it again.

weakling
as we were looking out the window, we saw our neighbor out with his shovel-truck. a few years ago, he actually shoveled our whole driveway for us. so, my dad got really excited when i told him he was starting to shovel our driveway. but then... he stopped and left. major disappointment.
then, after loading on many layers of clothes, we went out to play in the snow. i must have fallen into the snow about 6 times due to the combination of my klutziness and the enormous amount of snow. plus, me and ella had fun jumping into the snow (both back first and front first).


my dad did most of the shoveling around the cars. i don't know why, but after everyone else went in, i kept shoveling the snow behind the cars. maybe, subconsciously, i was hoping for some money (which i did get, by the way). after 20 minutes of grueling hard work, my arms and hands were burning. when i stopped to look around me, i realized that i'd only shoveled about 2 feet in every direction. i'm thinking that's pretty lame.

notice in this picture of our driveway, one, the top of the driveway that our neighbor started to shovel, and two, the small area that i shoveled :(

finally!
i guess snow on the weekends isn't as bad as i thought! check out the status of montgomery county public schools on www.schoolsout.com...

Posted at Sun Dec 20 14:16:35 -0500 2009
Montgomery County Public Schools and all administrative offices, as well as day cares, are closed Monday (12/21) due to emergency weather conditions. All school and community activities in school buildings are canceled.

finally, the snow isn't going to melt before monday! i don't know what i would have done if there was school though, because we're barely done shoveling 1/3 of our driveway! well, plus, i haven't finished my homework yet... let me say, i love "emergency weather conditions."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

dress it up

the weather guy doesn't lie
just like the weather report said, it is snowing like crazy! every time it snows, i look at this small round table on the porch. it's a nice reference to show how much it snowed. this has to be a record! it only started snowing last night, and that's least a foot!

12:52 pm:
10:25 pm (update):

and look at our driveway! can you even tell it's our driveway?? well, i guess the cars give it away. dad's going to have loads of fun shoveling this thing...


thingamajigs on the christmas tree
this morning, ella kept nagging us to get the christmas decorations from the basement. "you guys are so selfish!" so eventually, mom got tired of listening to ella complain, went down into the basement, and took up 2 dusty boxes of christmas decorations. here's our tree's before and after shot. :)

before:
after:
ta-da! here's a secret: our christmas tree is only decorated on the front! shh... no one has to know... do you see those crochet decorations? our old babysitter, guo ying, made them! aren't they awesome? don't ask where we got all of those thingamajigs, because i have no clue.

a cat's joy
it's not only us humans who like christmas... violet loves it too! her favorite part: the ornaments. she loves to bat at the ornaments on the trees, and something she loves even more is to unravel those thread ornaments.

violet is taking a peek at my gift...


happy tree decorating!

Friday, December 18, 2009

all wrapped up for christmas

let it snow!... but, on a school day
this weekend, it is supposed to snow 12 inches! 1/3 of me is happy; 2/3 of me is annoyed. this is because every time it snows, it is on a weekend. it snowed the saturday before last, it is going to snow this saturday, and it is going to snow next saturday. you know, i would really appreciate some snow on a school day. i would even be happy with a two-hour delay. there's nothing better than waking up to my mom telling me there's no school.

we are prepared to be trapped inside for the whole weekend. we have groceries and (most excitingly) the christmas tree! i can think of a few good things that come by being snowed in:
  1. i have time to blog, which i usually don't.
  2. i don't have as many excuses to put off doing my homework.
the magic of saran wrap
i realized today that places can get a lot of money for christmas trees. today, we got one for $30. one year, we got one for only $6! well... that's probably since it was a few days before christmas... now, my mom's always looking for a cheaper tree.

we couldn't get the christmas tree for the last few weekends since it has been snowing (hmph). today, we stopped by home depot and picked out a cute little tree. then, they came out with a giant roll and saran wrapped it to our car. yes, saran wrapped. who knew the powers of saran wrap were so amazing?


once we started driving, the tree kept making this loud flapping sound. the faster we drove, the louder it was. i never thought that a 10 minute drive on the freeway could be so unbelievably annoying. my mom's solution was to turn the radio up even louder.

the snow is starting to stick to the ground right this second. ella just looked out the window and said, "that's a fair amount of snow."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

attracted to the magnet?

so, you are attracted to the magnet program... well, today i went to richard montgomery high school to take the high school magnet test. this is for all you people out there, who were like me, who are stressing about the test and wondering why there is no good info on the magnet site. well, i'm about to give you some good info from my own experience.

just some suggestions on what to bring
i am basically about to tell you what i brought today, using some tips from my SAT book.
  1. make sure you wear layers; i wore 3. you never know what the temperature might be. some rooms might be cold and some might be hot.
  2. bring a pencil pouch so you can carry all of your stuff. take a big eraser (you might need it for the essay), some dull and some sharp #2 pencils (dull pencils are good for bubbling answers quickly, and sharp pencils are good for writing the essay)
  3. if you have a phone, bring it. they will make you turn it off during testing, but after it's over, it's helpful to call your parents. trust me, there is a whole swarm of parents waiting for their kids.
the process
when you first get to the school, the volunteers take you to a classroom with desks in rows. there are about 30 people in each room. you take the multiple choice test for 2 hours.after that, you get a so called "break" where you get up and walk around for a while. you then have unlimited time to write a one-sided page essay to a prompt. when they said "unlimited," i was imagining people who stay for hours upon hours... do you think there are those people?

the dreaded... test
the test is all multiple choice (not including the essay which i will talk about later). questions 1-60 are reading and questions 61-110 are math. they give both sections to you in the same booklet. you can start with either section, switch between sections, and spend any amount of time on each section.
i must say, the most boring part was reading the 5 passages in the reading section. 3 times i felt my eyelids slowly closing, so i had to jerk them wide open and focus intensely (that didn't work out so well for me). i swear i could've fallen asleep right there, reading about some fireball that i can't remember the name of now...

verbal section
  • 1/4 of the problems-- word selection (choose a word that best replaces a word in a sentence)
  • 1/4 of the problems-- logical reasoning (you know, those questions that make your brain ache, like: bill is 5'6''. jack is shorter than bill. jack is sitting to the left of amy. amy is sitting to the right of bill. jane is the shortest. the tallest person is sitting 2 from the right. who is the tallest person?)
  • 1/2 of the problems-- reading comprehension (you read 5 passages and answer a few questions about each)
math section
  • 1/4 of the problems-- quantitative comparisons (compare two number values)
  • 3/4 of the problems-- math problems (just your average algebra problems)
the essay
on the magnet application packet, it says you will get 30 minutes to write the essay. but, we actually got unlimited time. hmm...

according to the test prep booklet (link at the bottom of the page) on the 2003 test the essay prompt was:
Mark Twain, American author and humorist, once wrote, “Work and play
are words used to describe the same thing under differing circumstances.”
Is school work or play for you? Why? Use examples from your academic
life to support your position in a coherent, meaningful, brief essay.

today, the essay prompt was:
"The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority." -Ken Blanchard. Do you agree or disagree with Blanchard's statement?

so there are some example of essay prompts to be prepared for.

on a final note
don't be nervous. it really isn't that hard of a test. the only hard part is the time limit. make sure that you pace yourself. remember to consider the time you need to read the reading passages! also, like you've probably heard, if you don't know the answer to a question, skip it, and move on the questions you DO know the answer to. the test prep booklet says that they don't take off points for wrong answers. that means that if you don't know the right answer, just guess.
if you need any extra info, here is the magnet test prep booklet: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/curriculum/specialprograms/admissions/high/HSTestPrepBooklet.pdf

good luck!

hobo snowman

let it snow!
today was the first snow of the season! on chat and email, everyone is really excited. for the last few weeks, this group of guys in spanish class kept randomly screaming "IT'S SNOWING!" and everyone would snap their heads toward the windows (after the first time, i didn't). it started snowing this morning when i was at richard montgomery high school taking the high school magnet test. it even started to stick, but then it just started to melt slowly and sadly. it was almost all melted when ella, my mom and i went out to play in the snow. we just came in, since it is almost dark (even though it is only 4:45 pm!) right now, the snow is turning into rain. sigh.


hoboman?
when we went outside, ella and i started rolling up balls of snow for our snowman. it was originally supposed to be a regular snowman, but we got some dirt and leaves from the lawn into the snow, so decided to make it a hobo snowman. there he is, panhandling on our front lawn. what for? maybe some clean snow to wear.

how do you like him? what should we name him?

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