Monthly Archives: May 2010

Memorial Day – not just for barbeques

How about a loaf of FABU chocolate sour cream bread? Yes? It is amazing. I topped it with raspberry jam and made it even better.

Chocolate Sour Cream Bread

1 cup Sour Cream (not non-fat)
1 cup Sugar
4 tablespoons Butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
1 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/3 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 + 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts, optional, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

Using a hand mixer on low speed beat together sour cream, butter, sugar and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs one at time beating after each addition.

On low speed beat in cocoa, milk, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix in flour by hand until smooth. Batter will be fairly thick. Mix in chocolate chips. Pour into loaf pan.

Scatter walnuts and chocolate chips evenly across top. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.

Yes, I enjoyed my trip

And I did take pictures. Well, one picture.

I was sitting in the truck while David was inside Copeland Appliance sending a Federal Express package. As I sat there, I realized I had left a couple of things off of my shopping list. I looked around the truck but couldn’t find anything to write with. I figured they would have a pen I could use inside.

So I got out of the truck, opened the door to Copeland’s and tripped into the store. Somehow I missed the fact that there was a step right there. Now let’s look and see if we can figure out why.

Here is the door:

I’ve circled some important clues that should have alerted me to the offending step.

The first sign boldly warns “CAUTION” complete with a trippy guy and three downward arrows. Watch your step!

The next sign fairly screams “STEP” with four more arrows pointing down to the, um, step.

This sign is repeated in a smaller version at the bottom of the door which is right on top of the actual step which is bright yellow and about six inches high.

So how did I miss all of these clues? I can’t answer that question but they don’t call me Lauri Grace for nothing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Coffee 911 Oklahoma style

We ran out of coffee yesterday. Really. It was like a state of emergency around here. Weโ€™ve been gone for a month and just didnโ€™t realize how precariously low our coffee supply had become. We had to go to the City and we didn’t get a chance to get any groceries when we got home on Tuesday night.

Between appointments in the City, we were at Walgreen’s because David needed to get new passport photos taken. I thought I’d grab some coffee there because I knew that we wouldn’t feel like stopping at a grocery store on the way home. They had the usual suspects: Folgers, Maxwell House, Chase and Sanborn. Nothing I like.

And then I see the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. We don’t have Dunkin’ Donuts here so it’s been a while since I’ve gotten coffee there. I have heard people raving about their coffee and thought, okay, this will certainly be better.

Well guess what? It’s not. It’s more drinkable than the stuff we got in Fiji that is from Papau New Guinea but not something I would drink if I didn’t have to. It has that weird oily mouthfeel that coats the inside of your mouth. It reminds me of McDonalds coffee.

You know what we drink? We get the French Roast in the red and white can from Great Value at Walmart.

It’s the most awesome pre-ground coffee on the shelf and I’m picky. But I haven’t wanted to tell anyone about it. There are usually around six cans on the shelf and they have run out before. For some reason, the thought of having to buy three one pound cans puts me into survival mode when itโ€™s really the same amount of coffee as one three pound can. The only reason I think it’s there all the time now is that my neighbor is a department head at Walmart and I think she keeps an eye on it for me. Either that or have to listen to me. LOL!

During Katrina, the shelves – all spaces – were filled with Maxwell House. That’s all that was available. It was a blue, blue section. I learned then that this coffee that I love is produced by Folgers in New Orleans. Somehow, though, it’s far superior to Folgers in taste. When they finally got it back on the shelf, I was coming in for a landing and there was another guy coming from the other direction and he said, “Ah you drink my brand”. Freaked me out. I would have fought him for it.

Iโ€™m taking a huge risk here now. I wanted to write this blog post but I don’t want everyone rushing to Walmart and taking all of MY coffee. So I hope you won’t believe me. ๐Ÿ™‚

La Cage aux Doggy

I love the Sky Mall magazine. I have never purchased anything from it but I never fail to look at it when I fly. Why? Because you can see all kinds of things you would never see anyplace else.

For instance, wouldn’t it be fun to have an underwater pogo stick?

And how about this life sized King Tut sarcophagus for your entry hall?

Garden gnome? Stop thinking so small. Get yourself a garden giraffe!

But none of that stuff comes close to the very BEST item that I found in the Sky Mall magazine on this trip. It is, La Cage aux Doggy!

Yes, it’s a spindled Dog Crate that doubles as a stylish end table. Oh. My. Gosh.

I looked at this and laughed until I cried. Twice. Then I forced myself to stop looking at it lest the flight attendants think I needed la cage aux folle.

Imagine, you purchase this stylish table/crate for your dog and you invite your unsuspecting friends over for dinner some night. You put the dog in the crate to make sure he stays out of the way. Your friends come in the room and wonder, “What in the heck is that dog doing in the table?”

Oh my gosh. I’m dying here. LOLOLOL!

I totally want to call the company and find out just how many of these tables they have sold only I’m not sure if I can stand the thought of all those dogs stuck in all those tables. I just might kill myself laughing. LOLOL! ๐Ÿ™‚


We went down to one of my favorite places today, The Hot Bread Kitchen. We would have made more trips there by now if the one that used to be close to JJ’s was still there. But we have to walk down across from the Central Market to find one now.

We got the standards. A mother lode of them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Chicken pies. These little pies are like miniature pot pies. They are warm and yummy. We also got some chicken quiche which are the same size. Honestly? The quiche was so good, mine was gone before I got a chance to take it’s photo. These little savories are David’s favorite.

Me, I have a sweet tooth and so I got my personal favorites. Cream buns. Nom! These are basically dinner rolls filled with sweet whipped cream.

And the coconut rolls are my other favorite. These are extremely filling on top of being really tasty.
But the few times we’ve visited The Hot Bread Kitchen on this trip, I have been intrigued by something they call a Lamington. I had no idea what it was but I wanted to try it anyway. They come in chocolate and raspberry. I love chocolate but I’m not going to lie, I was totally drawn in by the flaming pink color of the raspberry Lamington. So that’s what I got.

You can see that it’s got coconut on it so I expected the raspberry and coconut tastes but when I bit into it, I was not expecting it to be squishy spongecake. Oh my! It was awesome. Again, I ate it so fast, there isn’t even a photo of the inside to share with you. And I must have looked a sight eating it, too, because while I have a big mouth, this cake would have been better eaten with a fork which I didn’t have. ๐Ÿ™‚

I have looked up the recipe for Lamingtons and I can’t wait to get home and try them on my own. The are totally fabulous and my new favorite purchase from The Hot Bread Kitchen.


This morning, I went out on the balcony thinking I was going to get a photo of the very red sky.

When we were kids, my mom taught us the old adage:

Red sky at night, sailorโ€™s delight.
Red sky in morning, sailorโ€™s take warning.

I’m always curious to see if this warning will hold true as the day of a morning red sky progresses.

Imagine when I turned a little to my left and saw…

The most GIANT rainbow I have ever seen! And from the other balcony, you could see the whole thing. It was too big to be captured in one photo frame so I used my video to try and capture it’s glory.

Sorry it’s a little rocky but my knees were weak on the balcony as I was trying to record the rainbow because…

Far is a long, long way to fall!

We have seen a lot of rain on this trip but never thunder and lightening until last night. Sometimes it rains when the sun is out but we have never seen a rainbow before. I asked David why that was about the third day we were here and he said because it’s too far away and the leprechauns don’t want to come this far.

But it’s nice to see that God’s promise is with us EVERY where we go in the world!

Mom, Donna, Grandma

This is the first Mother’s Day I’ve been without my mom who passed away last October.

Mom was an amazing, strong woman who impacted more people than she ever knew. She told me shortly before her passing that she always wanted to be a mom but that she had never really wanted to be a wife. The happiest time of her life, she said, was when I moved home with Brandon and Geoff when they were small, Becky was still living at home and Jonny came back, too. It was a FULL house but she loved it.

While I was staying with her, she received a letter from a girl who worked at the sweets shop in Forks, WA that had apparently attached herself to Mom as a mother figure she didn’t feel she had in her life. She said, “I would look at your bald head and want to wrap you up and take you home with me to be my mom and start all over again.”

Mom was always collecting “kids”. She worked as a waitress at the Magic Pan while I was in high school. All the kids that worked there loved her. I swear my boyfriends always liked her better than they liked me. My girl friends thought she was so cool.

Brandon and Geoff couldn’t have had a better grandma. She loved them so much and was such an integral part of their early years. She watched them for me while I worked, took them to Sesame Street Live and the circus, etc., took them to doctor’s appointments. She was totally there for them. Going through her things I found a notebook. It contained every email I had sent about the boys or they had sent to her, printed out. Looking through it made me cry to again understand the complete love she had for my boys.

Over the years, Mom’s relationship with David grew and changed. It was contentious at times but towards the end, more and more I would hear her say, “You mean I agree with David?”. I know that she was a better mom to David than his own mother has been.

Mom was always trying to find herself but, you know, she was there all along. An amazing mom, an amazing mother in law and an amazing grandma.

Mom, I miss you. Happy Mother’s Day.

Love, Lauri

It’s currently Sunday, May 9th – Mother’s Day – 9:30 a.m. in Fiji. ๐Ÿ™‚

French buns for breakfast. Merci, no!

We just finished up our week long stay at the Novotel Hotel in Lami Bay, Fiji. We hadn’t planned to go there, thinking that we would once again be at JJs on the Park as we were last time. Once I got over my initial disappointment at having to stay a 15 minute cab ride out of the city, I started planning what I would do with the week.

I figured that this is Fiji. I could hang out by the pool and read in the sunshine. Also, the hotel travel info talked about the Tonique Gin Bar with gins from around the world. Okay, I can be happy with a good gin and tonic any day. So I was settled.

Unfortunately, it was a long week with none of my plans materializing. Here are the top three reasons I disliked the Novotel and the top three things I liked.

This is the smokiest non-smoking hotel I have ever seen. The lobby is open air but when 20 people are smoking in it on a still, humid night, itโ€™s worse than being in a nightclub. I couldn’t believe that the hotel had received some kind of a green award for keeping pollution down amongst other things. We didn’t eat at the hotel for dinner because the smoke wafting into the dining area while we were having breakfast and lunch was just awful. And speaking of breakfast and lunch…

Dislike Number 2 – French buns for breakfast
And lunch. Now you might think this would be a tasty treat. Au contraire, mon ami. I am not talking about bread here but buttocks. The pool was adjacent to the dining area and we were treated to these buns at both meals. Dude, put some clothes on!

Dislike Number 3 – The peeping tom landscapers
Okay, so I couldn’t sit by the pool due to either smoke, rain or ridiculous displays of public affection so I stayed in my room. We had a nice view to the water but if I had the curtains open, the landscapers couldn’t quit looking in. So basically, I spent my week like a hermit crab in my dark, closed up hotel room tweeting and reading.

This doesn’t even touch the plumbing issues that had us changing rooms or some of the business issues that David had while trying to run his training course. Nor did I mention the endless playing of Simon and Garfunkle until I wanted to jump off of a bridge over troubled water. Yikes.

Still, I am not a negative person and there were some things I really liked at the hotel.

Like Number 1 – The hairdryer
The first time I washed my hair, I just let it dry curly. Most hotels have hair dryers but they just aren’t up to the task of drying my hair so I don’t even bother trying. I’m not sure why I decided to try it the second time. It was a Vidal Sassoon Tourmaline Speed Styler. It made my hair skinny, just like I had had it professionally blown out. Imagine if I had brought a round brush with me. Ooooh!

Like Number 2 – Serefina
Our main housekeeper, Serefina, was a doll. She made sure we were well taken care of the whole time we were there. Love her! Also, the beautiful Aliti of the expressive face who was David’s conference coordinator and Jeremiah who worked at the front desk were also wonderful. In fact the staff as a whole was very friendly.

Like Number 3 – The food at lunch
I joined David and his class for the lunch every day. Om nom nom. Not only was it tasty, but it was so pretty! I never would have thought of putting a fried egg on lettuce in a bowl with bacon and dressing but it was good. Only one day did they not impress me but I’m just not a lamb eater. Their chef is wonderful.

So now we are at JJ’s where I had hoped we would be all along. I’m SO happy to be here. David is done working. I can’t even remember the last time we actually had a real vacation together. Let the fun begin!

Cookies for breakfast

I love cookies. Cookies of all types. It doesn’t matter if I bake them myself or buy them or even (sometimes) if they are stale. ๐Ÿ™‚

I especially love foreign cookies. When we go to a new country, I always make a point of going to the local grocery store and checking out the cookie selection.

When I was young, my grandma used to eat Gingersnaps for breakfast. I thought that was so cool and decided right then that when I am a grandma, cookies will be my daily breakfast fare. I wish one of those boys would hurry up and grammify me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So here we are in Fiji. We arrived around 8 a.m. on Saturday and went to eat breakfast while they were getting our room ready. Standard British fare on the buffet: eggs, beans, fruit and toast. For the princely sum of $36 Figi dollars or approximately $19 US dollars.

I’m cheap. There was no way I was going to pay that much for food I don’t really care for. I’m really more of a protein shake for breakfast kind of gal. I told David I would have cookies for breakfast. Practice for being a grandma. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The vast array of cookies available here is WONDERFUL! And, the best news is, I can get a whole package of tasty cookies for less than $1 US dollar! Yummy.

Given that you are out of your own house and at the mercy of a hotel restaurant to be fed, cookies are probably no worse for me than eggs, beans and bacon. Right? And they are so much more fun.

Cost effective, tasty and a perfect partner for coffee, I think cookies are the ultimate vacation breakfast.

Cookies For the Win! ๐Ÿ™‚