Wednesday, December 23, 2009

And So It Begins...

Advent this year has felt more like an advent for Urbana than an advent for Christmas. But either way, both are here! We travel down Christmas Day for Urbana and we're now praying for non-icy roads. There's supposidly a pretty nasty storm coming through Christmas if you think of it pray that the storm clears up by Christmas morning.

In general, we're looking forward to seeing months of planning get put into action...we're excited to hear some great teaching...and it'll be fun to see some friends from our staff days in California. In all, I think we're ready! Bring it on!

For those of you who arn't coming...but want a taste of what's going on, they should be posting various talks from the main sessions starting Dec. 28th on or I'm not sure which site they will be on...but I'm guessing you can find the video's on either place. They will probaly post the talks a few hours after the sessions and it should mainly be the talks...but it'll be a small taste of what we've been invovled with.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone! All God's Blessings.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Didn't learn my lesson

Yesterday, I made a quick trip to Home Depot to get some rigid insulation. I guess it's all the rage to use in building theater sets or to use in place of foam core (this is according to my dad and my boss and a few others who work in 2100).

Anyways, I got to Home Depot and found the 8 foot by 4 foot sheet of insulation and then realized it wouldn't fit in the car. So I thought, that's ok...I only need a 50 inch by 32 inch piece so I'll just pick up a cheap utility knife and cut it to size at the car.

With my two purchases in hand, I headed to the car only to find that I couldn't get the knight out of the plastic packaging! Luckily a nice contractor in a huge pick-up truck saw my plight and came over and helped me cut the insulation. And while slightly embarrassed...I was grateful for his help.

So I've decided that I either must just look helpless in parking lots or it's my role in life to give people the opportunity to do a good deed and have a good laugh at my expense.

And my overall lesson from this past week is that while I am an expert in purchasing items from store, I obviously need lessons in successfully getting my purchases into the car. So far I'm 2 for 2 this week in getting items from the store into the car. Good thing Matt needs to work late the rest of this week/weekend. That'll give me some great chances to keep practicing. West Gate Mall here I come!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Learning to Accept Help

I think like most people, it's hard for me to accept help from others. However this weekend I was grateful for the help of a stranger in the parking lot of our local grocery store. While we've lived in Wisconsin now for 3 years, I have yet to go grocery shopping with 3 inches of slush on the ground. I discovered that pushing a shopping cart through such slush is not the easiest thing in the world. A lady who had just returned her cart saw my plight and helped me sludge the cart all 20 feet to my car. It was only 20 feet, but I was grateful. Who knew 3 inches of slush could be so troublesome. It's like mud! And thank you to my mysterious angel.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints

Just tried making these this weekend. They are my favorite new Christmas cookies. And as one who is not a huge fan of Chocolate, this was still really good.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints found at Cooking Light (
4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon instant espresso (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1/3 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread (such as Nutella)
1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt; stir with a whisk. Place butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Stir egg yolks with a whisk, adding espresso, if desired. Add the yolk mixture and vanilla to butter; beat well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat at low speed just until combined.

3. Turn dough out onto a sheet of wax paper; knead 6 times or until smooth and shiny. Shape dough into 28 (1-inch) balls. Roll sides of balls in nuts, pressing gently. Arrange balls 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press thumb into center of each cookie, leaving an indentation. Bake, 1 batch at a time, at 350° for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Spoon a scant 1/2 teaspoon hazelnut-chocolate spread into center of each cookie.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Pictures from Thanksgiving

If you haven't seen them yet, Matt posted some pics from our trip at