Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Question I Should Have Asked Before We Got Married

There are so many things I should have asked my husband before we got married such as... "What are your thoughts about unclogging a plugged sink?"

I realized this as I was crammed under our small bathroom sink clearing out massive hair balls and other lovely bathroom sink gunk while my husband was cowering in the other room trying not to gag.

Knowing my husbands aversion to unclogging pipes would not have prevented me from getting married...but at least I would have gotten a few more lessons from my dad in the art of pipe unclogging.

Needless to say, a half an hour later with one small bucket full of hair and slimyness and a shirt that now smells like algee...we have a sink that works like a charm!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Shrimp Chowder

I love chowder! I'm always on the look out for a good chowder recipe. I tried this one out last month from Cooking Light and it was fantastic. It's now on my list of things to make while Matt is out of town. Recipe and picture of soup here:

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped serrano chile (about 1 small)
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups frozen Southern-style hash brown potatoes, diced, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15.25-ounce) can whole-kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained
1 pound peeled and deveined small shrimp
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell pepper, and serrano chile to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add canned chiles to pan; cook 1 minute. Add flour to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and next 5 ingredients (through corn); bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick. Stir in shrimp; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Cilantro Pesto

Someone handed me a large bunch of cilantro at the community garden the other week. Not wanting the cilantro to go to waste, I experimented with cilantro pesto. I'm not a huge cilantro fan, but this turned out ok, especially if you add chicken to the pasta.

If I were to make it again, I'd probably cut back on the cayenne pepper a bit (it adds quite a kick). I also didn't have white wine vinegar on hand so I made the pesto without that and added a bit more olive oil. Not sure what difference that makes.

Anyways, it's a great way to use up cilantro and Matt even liked I think it's a keeper.

Cilantro Pesto (as seen on all
1 bunch fresh cilantro
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
salt to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and return water to a boil. Cook pasta for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain well.

2) In an electric food processor or blender, blend cilantro, garlic, vinegar, Parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, nuts, and salt. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and blend the pesto. Add more olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.

3)Pour pesto in a small saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring constantly, until pesto begins to simmer. Pour over cooked pasta and toss.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Emerging Adults in America: Coming of Age in the 21st Century

And no, this has nothing to do with the emergent church.

The term "emerging adulthood" is a relatively new term coined by Jeffery Arnett, a research professor at Clark University, and “describes a theory of development for those in their late teens through the 20s” (Arnett, xvii). In general, Arnett argues that today's youth in general are embracing traditional adulthood later in life (traditional adulthood being defined as getting married, having children, buying a house, having a secure job, financial stability, etc). Traditional adulthood used to be embraced by the time a person was in their early 20s but is now being delayed by about 10 years. Arnett further argues that "social and institutional structures that once both supported and restricted people in the course of coming of age have weakened, leaving people with greater freedom but less support as they make their way into adulthood" (Arnett, 4). In other words, there are many factors stacked against today's teens that make adulthood automatically delayed, unappealing, or harder.

Factors that seem to delay this trend towards adulthood often include but are not excluded to: the pursuit of a college degree becoming a norm and necessity, the average time to obtain a college degree increasing, huge debts after college, the sex revolution which normalized and decreased the consequences sex outside of marriage, higher costs of living, the absence of parents or other mentors who help guide a youth into adulthood, and a "mainstream society that is less insistent that everyone become an adult member (because their sustained economic participation is not as crucial as it was in industrial or preindustrial societies)" (Cote, 91).

As I read more about this topic, I can't help but wonder if this is an area of great opportunity for today's church. While I haven’t seen any research, I wonder if churches today in general contribute positively or negatively to their youth becoming adults.

Do generationally segmented churches prolong our youth from embracing adulthood? Do churches offer a place for 20 year olds to test out/embrace their leadership skills and or gifts (and I’m talking about in ways other than children's ministry)? Do churches encourage youth and their young adults to take responsibility in life and then help them actually do so? How does the church even combat a culture which in general does little to promote adulthood? What aspects of traditional adulthood should the church even promote (i.e. Should buying a house, financial security or marriage equal adulthood for the Christian?). What is the Christian definition of adulthood? What implications will there be for the church in 20-30 years if it does not help 20 year olds make the transition to adulthood?

I'm not sure if I have any answers to the above, but it's interesting to think about and I'd be curious to see what churches have done to help their youth and 20 year old make the transition to adulthood and what "adulthood" looks like within a Christian context. Any thoughts?

(All above quotes are from "Emerging Adults in America: Coming of Age in the 21st Century, edited by Jeffery Jensen Arnett and Jennifer Lynn Tanner

Articles that relate to this whole emerging adulthood theory:
Journal of Adolescent Research:
Alan Reifman’s Emerging Adulthood Page:
Jeffery Arnett’s Homepage:
Case for Early Marriage (deals indirectly with this topic):
Emerging Adults: The Coming New “Youth Ministry?”:
A Challenge for Churches: Adulthood Takes it's Time (NY Times):
They Odyssey Years, by David Brooks:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Time for School

Three years ago we stumbled on this documentary called "Time for School" done by Wide Angle on PBS. It airs every three years and the basic premise is Wide Angle follows 7 school children from different countries and reports on the child's progress in school.

It was crazy to see how much all 7 of the kids have grown and how much has happened in just three years. All I can say is that I've taken my schooling most my life for granted and am very grateful for parents who supported me throughout all my education (Thanks Mom and Dad).

It's worth watching if you get a might want some Kleenex for the end:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Things to Remember for our Upcoming Camping Trip

As we are preparing for an upcoming camping trip, I've been reminded of a few lessons we learned from our July camping trip. I think if we can remember these things, we'll have a much better trip.

Lesson #1: Pack everything you want to take and then put back the kitchen sink.
We packed our car full to the brim last time with stuff for camping. I think we only used about 1/4 of the stuff we took. Items that we didn't use: propane lantern, the cast iron skillet we just had to bring and most of the kitchen items we thought we might need. This time around...we're only taking what we can put (and carry) in two backpacks. I'm liking this idea much better.

Lesson #2: When trying to scare away raccoons from your food, running straight at them and yelling "ahhhhhhh" doesn't work. We found that the raccoon just stands there and looks at you like you are an idiot.

Lesson #3: Camping trips are much cheaper when you remember to close your refrigerator door when you leave for 3 days (and your apartment will smell a lot better when you return).

Lesson #4: Folding a tarp under your tent correctly makes sleeping in the rain much more enjoyable and a whole lot drier...we think this might make a less grumpy wife.

Needless to say, we've been enjoying camping and are looking forward to our next trip as evidenced by Sarah coming home last night to Matt strutting around the kitchen with his backpack on, fully loaded with all his gear so he could "test" everything out. I think the backpack was on for at least an hour.