Monday, December 29, 2008

Raise your hand if you are excited for Lisa and Beth to come to Seattle!

The picture I took of Travis with his raised hand didn't turn out, but rest assured, he is excited, too.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas pot roast

Travis and I surely had lots of food on Christmas Day. As I mentioned previously, we planned a day of food, starting with a big breakfast of raspberry waffles, thick sliced bacon, eggs and potatoes O'Brien. I made the waffles, and Travis made the other stuff. (While Travis can't really cook dinner foods, he has fried breakfast foods down.)

I took the picture after I had already eaten the eggs, so you won't get to see those. But here are the other items.

For Christmas dinner, I decided to make a pot roast. I added in potatoes, carrots, celery and onions - they were a good addition. I think pot roast might become a specialty of mine. The first picture is the roast before I put it in the oven, and the second picture is after I took it out and sliced it. It was delicious! We now have leftovers that we probably won't eat, but it was really really good. I'm glad I decided to go with pot roast rather than a traditional turkey or ham. I will be making ham for Easter when the family comes out, which I am REALLY looking forward to. I'm off to make a second attempt at popovers tonight, I'm going to try parmesan garlic popovers. Mmmmm.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ninja versus the wreath

Lisa made delicious wreaths at the inaugural bakeoff at Mary's this year, and I was lucky enough to bring some home. Not only did I discover that Travis likes the wreaths when they don't have cinnamons on them (boo, less for me!), I also found out that Ninja appears to be wary of the green colored food. Here are a few pictures of her investigating, then attempting to beat the last wreath. Don't worry, no wreaths were harmed in the process of this photography. (And I personally removed the threat from Ninja by eating the last wreath.)



Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pictures of the Great Unwrapping of 2008

Reader, beware: There will be many pictures in this post, possibly too many for you to really care about...but I wanted to document the gift opening because we couldn't be with our normal audience. If you want to see them bigger, I think you can click on them and get a full sized image. As I mentioned earlier, Travis and I decided to open Christmas gifts tonight. (Sadly, I couldn't go sing at Mass because of the stupid weather. The weather that is so bad out here would be easy to deal with in Minnesota, but Washington just is not prepared to deal with any of this. Bah.)

We didn't put up a tree this year, just wasn't enough time to make it a priority, but I did still break out a few Christmas necessities, like the stockings you see here on our mantle. I also "artfully" arranged our gift piles underneath the stockings. Mine is on the right side, Travis' is on the left.

Travis got me some bubble baths:

Travis is excited to open gifts...though he did ask me why I got him an envelope (right, like I wouldn't put something in it!)

We took turns. I opened up this box next, it had some awesome goodies. The Anne of Green Gables DVD set (my VHS tapes are really old) and a piano playbook for the musical Wicked, which I played a little on the piano after we were done.

Next Travis opened up the gift from my parents that I probably wrapped the nicest (I had some ribbon, wanted to use it):

Next I opened some shoes from Mom and Dad.

Then Travis opened up Stepbrothers.

We both got money from Grandma and Grandpa Hilton and Aunt Sandy and Uncle Terry, so I decided that I would spend that cash and get a couple of video games for me. :) I was able to get both Guitar Hero: Aerosmith AND Rock Band 2! (Lisa and Beth, get ready to play a little of these when you are here. I haven't played since I moved to Seattle...seriously.)

I will admit that we didn't take pictures of us opening every single gift (though you might think so as I have shown a blow by blow thus far), but we did take quite a few.

I got some awesome long sleeved Ts from Lisa and Beth, and let me tell you, Gap is serious about gift wrap. It took me a little while to figure out how to tear into it - it was sort of a heavy duty plastic overwrap, but it looked way cool.

Travis got several CDs by his favorite band from Lisa and Beth.

Travis' big gift from my parents was this really neat naval painting the German ship Bismarck in Hamburg port. He really really likes it, and it looks way better in person than it did online!

We got all sorts of great stuff again this year - we'd both like to say thank you to everyone for the wonderful gifts. We really appreciate them.

Do you feel like you've gotten a good grasp of opening gifts with the Hensches? It's not like being here. We definitely miss everyone in the family, and we are missing our Minnesota Christmas traditions. We are trying to start new ones here, beginning with the waffle breakfast and pot roast dinner tomorrow night.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!!


Merry Christmas!

Well, I've made it to Christmas Eve, and I haven't let Travis open gifts yet. I have broken down...we will open them tonight, but at least I made it past December 15th this year!!

I made linguine alfredo for dinner tonight, and tried to make popovers. The popovers were pretty close to how we want them, but we have plans to try a little different recipe tomorrow night to go with our Christmas pot roast.

Merry Christmas, everyone! I miss you all.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm in Minnesota!

Wahoo, I finally made it to Minnesota! After two missed flights due to weather, and anger at several cab companies, I have defeated Seattle and made it to Minnesota.

Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad! :)

So there.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas cheer

Well, it's only 15 days to Christmas, and I can't say that I have really felt the holiday spirit as much this year as I have in years' past.

I have a few hypotheses on what the reasons are for this lack of holiday spirit:
  • Captain Obvious says: I am in a new place, and not really settled into the area or a home. We don't have a Christmas tree up because we are moving two weeks before Christmas...and all of our holiday decorations are in storage.
  • Seattle weather: The temperatures here are sort of throwing me off. I am not complaining about missing below zero windchills and lots of snow (or am I?), but it is disconcerting that the daytime temp has hovered around 45-50 degrees and the nighttime temp is around 35-40 degrees. I wear my "transitional" winter coat here...if I come back to MN any time soon, I think I might be in for a rude awakening!
  • We haven't really met a lot of people here, so we haven't been going to any Christmas parties or events.
  • No annual Hensch Holiday Bash :( When we move back to Minnesota, we are DEFINITELY reinstating that. The 6th annual Hensch Holiday Bash might be held in 2013, but we'll just asterisk the 6th and say we missed 5 years or something.
  • Lack of presents, for a few reasons: until we move to Kent, we don't have a mailing address; buying stuff online means I have to ship it to my work and carry it home on the bus (Trav's Blu-ray player is sitting at work now because I don't want to just carry it on the bus); Travis can't buy me anything online because he has nowhere to send it; we are trying to conserve cash to close on our house; etc ad nauseum

That's probably enough reasons. At least we will be in the house this week, and we are going to make a point to go look at Christmas lights around town soon and visit the cool display of holiday cheer that I spotted downtown last week. Plus I have a great plan for Christmas Day, seeing if we can start a new tradition: sleep in (I am singing at Midnight Mass the night before), call Mom and Dad's to wish the family a Merry Christmas and have them play me some John Denver, make a delicious breakfast of my blueberry waffles, pepper bacon, potatoes O'Brien and scrambled eggs (sunny side up eggs for Travis), then open presents and set up the new electronic equipment, watch a movie (hopefully Dark Knight) and then have a pot roast dinner (made in the Crock-Pot). Seems like a solid plan to me - what do you think? Want to come over? :)

I think this Christmas will just be very different from what we are used to, so I think it could be tough. I guess we will learn from this year what things we want to keep for next year, and what stuff we have to add in (like a tree!)


Moving day is almost here - the King returns

I'm not sure words can adequately describe how excited Travis and I are to get our own bed back. The bed and a functional kitchen are pretty much the two most awesome things that will be ours by Thursday evening, and boy, we are thrilled. (Make what you will of the combination of things that make us most happy. Ha.)

Growing up, I never really considered the concept of a king sized bed. It just wasn't something that really crossed my mind. My parents had a queen sized bed, and I just assumed that the queen sized bed would be perfect for me and my future partner. Wow, was I ever wrong! In October of 2007, we decided we would get a new mattress. We just weren't agreeing if "his" queen mattress was better than "my" queen mattress. (For the record, we slept on mine, as I couldn't stand the pillow topped mushiness of his bed. However, poor Travis was stuck on a mattress that was much too firm for him.) Enter a marriage tool named "Compromise."

You might be surprised to know that we bought a mattress from, and we had not gone and tested out any mattresses prior to purchase. (Yes, I work on the internet, I'm pretty much willing to buy most things there. Maybe not a car. But most things.) An untested mattress might seem to be a crazy thing, but I think it was actually good for us - we had no preconceived notions about the mattress and weren't able to have that knee-jerk reaction you often have in furniture stores of "I hate it" or "This is great" and then argue about them. A three minute test in a store doesn't really tell you a lot anyway. We also had an extra 10% at Target (added to our employee discount, for a total of 19% off...), and so we picked the retailer before the mattress.

After I did much research at Target, and ran all sorts of comparisons to other brands, prices, etc, we decided to purchase a king sized (!) Plush mattress. Plush is smack dab between Firm and Pillowtop, and seemed like a good option. I bought all sorts of blankets and duvets and sheets to prepare us for this king sized monstrosity. In the middle of October, the mattress was delivered and set up for us. After a few nights of getting used to it (it's huge! it's softer than our old bed! it's firmer than the other old bed!), we fell in love with it. The size is more fighting for our halves of the bed, there is plenty of room to share.

Anyways, that's a lot of unnecessary information about how the king-sized mattress came to be ours, but suffice to say, WE WANT IT BACK. We've spent the past three months split between a crappy full sized (yikes) bed that sagged heavily in the middle and a nicer queen sized pillowtop bed that simply cannot keep sheets on it (the sheets deny the laws of nature and elastic, and pull off the bed while we sleep, annoying). Beginning Thursday, December 11, 2008, we will once again be sleeping like kings on OUR mattress.


Oh, and I've already talked about why I need my kitchen back. One must have the right tools in order to cook, and I have missed mine.

Looking forward to Thursday!!


Friday, December 5, 2008

I think we have a house!!

Good news! Travis and I are moving into our house in Kent, and we should close by the end of the month. (I know, moving in before it's closed, but we are taking a calculated risk based on the current landscape, and all signs are favorable for us, so we're doing it.) I am putting some pictures of the house below for your enjoyment, and you can picture me sitting in the rooms.

Front of the house - look how nice the landscaping is. Three car garage to fit three quarters of our vehicles.
Back patio - isn't this beautiful? Travis is going to install a fire pit off the side (off the right of the picture, it will be great)
Master bedroom. It's nice and spacious. We'll need to get black out shades and a ceiling fan and we are set to go.
A view of the kitchen from the living room. Who has two thumbs and is super excited to have her kitchen back? ME!
View of the kitchen from the breakfast nook. It's pretty.
View of the family room from the kitchen - isn't that stonework around the fireplace nice?
I hope you enjoy the pictures - we're moving on Thursday, which means we will be "home" for Christmas! Yay!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

1st Annual Hensch Thanksgiving Day Brunch

So as you probably know, Travis and I are spending our Thanksgiving Day in Seattle. We have already celebrated in Minnesota with the family (with yummy food and great company) a few weeks ago. Travis can't travel around Thanksgiving because everyone has to be at the store on Black Friday. Stupid retail. I wasn't about to leave Travis alone on our first holiday out here, so here we are in Seattle. I decided to make us something special for Thanksgiving, even though it wasn't a turkey.

Well, to start off with, this is definitely no turkey deliciousness. However, it didn't seem to make sense to make a full turkey feast for just me and Travis. Particularly considering Travis is not a huge fan of the turkey day food goodness. It's just not his favorite. So then I would have spent all day cooking for food that gets a "it's alright, thanks, honey" response. Not going to happen.

Thus the 1st Annual Hensch Thanksgiving Day Brunch was born! I made a pan full of baked French toast, complete with homemade caramel sauce and pecans, potatoes O'Brien and breakfast sausages. I guess technically those are all breakfast foods, but I don't want to limit the time we can hold this now annual event, so it will remain titled "brunch". It was the first time I made the baked French toast dish, and I have some more modifications to make to it for the next time I make it (get ready, Lisa and B!) But overall, it was pretty good.
The hardest part of making this meal actually was not having the right kitchen tools. The temporary housing we have right now has fairly crappy and really basic kitchen supplies, and we are missing a lot of essentials in my opinion. We don't have a non-stick skillet, so the potatoes O'Brien didn't get crispy like I wanted them to. I couldn't make any eggs because I didn't have another pan to make them in. Kind of lame...I cannot WAIT to have my own kitchen stuff back. I have all sorts of good stuff that is just sitting in storage now.

I hope everyone is having a happy and fun Thanksgiving! We're going to watch some football and just chill here.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Something I like about the Pacific Northwest: QFC!

One thing that is a little weird about moving is that while the new place has all of the store concepts you are used to, a lot of times, the store executions are way different. Take grocery stores, for example. When I visited Stacy and Cory this summer out in New Jersey, I went to their local grocery store to buy some stuff to make dinner. Everything was in the wrong place, and while they had the food items I wanted, they didn't have any brands I recognized!

I was worried about a similar experience out here in Seattle. I am a fairly brand loyal person, so I want my Country Crock, my Creamette and my Campbell's. So stores should have all of those things. I think I mentioned in a past post that I had a good experience at the West Seattle Safeway when I first moved out here, but it doesn't even compare to the QFC! (We currently shop at the one in University District, but I am sure we will go to the Kent one when we move...I hope there is one in Kent!)

QFC stands for Quality Food Centers, and they are a regional grocery store chain out here in Seattle. They are owned by Kroger, which is one of the largest (if not the largest) national grocery store chain. QFC has got all sorts of great stuff! Their produce and bakery sections always look awesome. Travis says he isn't sure how they always look so good, and even he is impressed by the QFC. To give an example, I went there last night (yes, the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving), and while they were really really crowded, they still had awesome selection. I honestly didn't see any shelves that were empty, and I went up and down every row while shopping. I was most impressed with the bakery section - they had dozens of cakes, pies, cookies and treats still in stock, and at least 40 kinds of bread and rolls for the big Thanksgiving meal. At 6pm! I don't think that happens at any of the grocery stores I went to in MN.

The QFC-made items have all been really good so far. They have this delicious nut and honey granola that we really like. They also have great produce (not cheap though) and a nicely stocked wine and beer section. (Yes, you can buy wine and beer at grocery stores, just not hard alcohol.) B, they also have a ton of kosher products. I even took a picture of the kosher bakery section for you (I don't really know why), but I haven't uploaded any BlackBerry pics to my computer, so you will have to imagine it.

I have devoted an entire post to this grocery store...that should tell you how impressed we have been thus far with them. They are a 24 hour store, the staff has always been super friendly and helpful, and the food is great. Plus they have the QFC Advantage card, which saves you tons of money. (Recent example: Buy 2 12-packs of Diet Coke and get THREE free. Insane deal.)

That's what I have to say about that.


Friday, November 21, 2008

A review of Twilight the movie

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to reread the Twilight saga in honor of the movie that released today. I bought tickets via Fandango earlier this week, and I dragged Travis to the theater tonight. (Don't tell anyone that Travis saw this. It will ruin his street cred.)

First of all, the AMC Loew's theater in Aurora is not recommended by me. For some reason, Seattle doesn't seem to have many movie theaters, and this one was small and older. Only 6 screens...but the lobby was maybe big enough for two. In addition, they RAN OUT OF POPCORN. What theater does that on a Friday night? And they tried to make more to keep up with the crowds, but only had one of their three machines working. Weird.

On to the movie. It was a totally sold out show, and while there were some adults there, the primary attendees were teenage girls. Some were wearing Twilight tshirts, some had Team Edward or Team Jacob shirts on and some were clearly there because their other friends made them go. A theater full of teenage girls is LOUD. I seriously didn't hear the beginning of the Harry Potter trailer because they all screamed when it came on screen.

The movie was...well, it was okay. It stayed pretty true to the book, but it just seemed like everything was overly dramatic. Seriously, the theater burst into laughter many times...but the scene wasn't meant to be funny. It was just too much. If you haven't read the book, you will be put off by the over-emoting done by Edward and Bella. Bella always seems very confused, and Edward seems to be in pain at all times.

Here are the characters that were well cast: Mike Newton, Jessica, Angela, Charlie, James, Rosalie, Esme and Billy. Edward, Jacob and Bella are all sort of decently cast. Sort of what I expected from the book. The characters I didn't think were well cast were pretty much everyone else. Jasper was made to be particularly weird for some reason, and Carlisle was not at all what I anticipated. Oddly blond. And Victoria didn't have red hair. Not cool.

The biggest things from the book that I thought looked dumb in the movie? The sparkle Edward was bad. The running by the vampires didn't look great. The silver Volvo was a hatchback - NOT what I pictured. Edward comes off as very stalker-like...but that is true to the book.

The things from the book that translated well? Charlie's awkwardness. The vampires' perfect immaculate appearance. Esme and Carlisle's kindness. Jessica's attitude toward Bella. The Port Angeles scene. Prom was okay. Angela.

I think that if you have read the books, you will think the movie is okay. They didn't make massive changes, so the crazy fangirls can calm down. It's clearly set up to do an Edward versus Jacob theme for the next movie. They've also very much set up the Victoria going after Bella storyline.

I don't think I will be buying this movie on DVD. I don't really need to see it over and over again. However, it was worth seeing, particularly because I enjoy the books.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I have decided to reread the Twilight saga in honor of the first movie's release this Friday. If you are unaware (as in you have been living under some sort of rock), Twilight is the first book in a four book series by Stephenie Meyer. Check out Amazon's Twilight Store

Anyways, I first read the series this summer and fell in love with the storyline. I don't generally dig vampires and werewolves, but I was totally sucked in. It has a good blend of romance (ah, Edward), danger, paranormal and normal high school moments. I have all four books on my Kindle, and the Kindle makes it possible for me to read on the bus, even if I have to stand up on the trip. There's no fighting to turn pages while struggling to keep your balance - yay! Twilight absorbs me so much, I don't even really notice the other people on the bus, which is a sign of a great book to me. (Before anyone worries, I am still aware of my surroundings. I am not going to get mugged because the Wicked soundtrack? Let's just say it's good I don't listen to my iPod on the bus...that is such a good soundtrack I could see myself being 100% distracted.)

I have convinced Travis to go with me to the opening of the movie version of Twilight. He definitely does not want to go, but he is still going. :) Thanks, honey!

If you haven't read Twilight yet, I highly recommed it. It's a bit farfetched, but even if you don't like vampires or werewolves, I think you could still like this series. I did!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Do flu shots make you sick?

I stayed home from work today, sick. I can't tell if it is a cold, or if it something worse than that. I did get a flu shot last Wednesday - could that have made me sick? As I hate when people come into work sick (to get everyone else sick!), I stayed home. I spent a lot of the day in a hazy state due to cold medicine. I'm trying to beat this thing by sleep and rest!! Normally, when I get sick, I get REALLY sick. In an effort to stave off the near-dying stage, I am medicating early.

In other news, Travis passed his first round of STL interviews in Portland today! He just rocked the interviews right out the park. They called him less than three hours afterwards to tell him he passed. :) Now it is on to regionals in January. That's AWESOME. I'm so proud of him!!

I am watching the Dancing with the Stars results show, and then going to bed. More NyQuil for me, then hopefully I will feel well tomorrow morning. (Keep your fingers crossed!)


Friday, November 7, 2008

Pictures from the ND weekend!

I took some great pictures at ND last weekend, and it's about time I post them! They are in reverse order because Blogger makes them be that way (boo!) and I didn't want to mess around with moving them around. So deal with it.

I took a lot of pictures this time because the fall colors on campus were really pretty. And I took quite a few "artistic" (or artistic for someone like me, artistically-challenged!) pictures, so enjoy.

Oddly, at the end of the game, during the first overtime, the sprinklers turned on on-field. What the heck? Come on, ND. Weird.
Dad and I at the game!
Dad and I in the stadium with Touchdown Jesus in the background.
Touchdown Jesus from the stadium.
Touchdown Jesus in the reflecting pool. (Artistic?)
Not sure why I took so many pictures of Touchdown Jesus this time, but I did. I like this one.
The greatest college football stadium ever...Notre Dame Stadium!
Dad and I in front of the Golden Dome.
Super artistic leaf shot. It's my desktop background right now. It's yellow and pretty, and very fall-like.
Pretty yellow/red/orange trees.
The Dome and Basilica from across the lake.
Another arty shot. I like the red.
Campus is pretty.
The Grotto. This is the first place I went after I heard the towers fell. Me and lots of fellow Domers. This place is such a great reflecting spot.
A fairly artistic shot of the Basilica, this is probably the best picture I have ever taken on campus. Well, maybe not ever, but close.
A pretty picture of the Dome. This could be in catalogs, that's how great of a photographer I am!
A picture of the leaves changing on God Quad.

I think that's all I will post. A beautiful weekend on's a great retreat. You get religion, sports and culture all in one weekend. :)