Monday, December 12, 2011

Dinner for Two - $7.50

So back in Santa Barbara I must confess that Costco was an old stand-by for a quick cheap meal. I mean you can't really beat $1.50 for a hot dog and soda or $1.99 for a huge slice of pizza.

When we moved to Wisconsin we knew that we were moving to a place void of Costco. However within 2 years of moving here, one was built. However much to our dismay we learned that the food court would be built indoors behind the membership check at the front door.  So we figured that only Costco members could get to the food court. (An indoor food court totally makes sense given our cold winters.)

To our great surprise, this past week we learned that you can still get to the food court without a membership! So this past Saturday after a long afternoon of Christmas shopping, we headed over to Costco. Timidly approached the lady at the entrance and sheepishly asked if we could go get food at the food court. She said, of course. And we were in. A Costco hotdog never tasted so good.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Moose

Can You Find The Moose?
So we rented a cabin over Thanksgiving to host my family for a week (we decided that our 2 bedroom apartment probably wouldn't cut it for 6 grown adults for 7 nights).

The cabin was great but the decorations were a bit quirky. Moose decorations were kind of the theme and according to the cabin guest book, a bored kid back in 2008, or something like that, counted around 375 individual moose in the cabin (I don't remember the exact number, dad you can correct me if I'm wrong).

Anyhow, the moose decorations lead to a discussion about what movies exist that have a real live moose in them (none of this moose head stuff). And Rocky and Bullwinkle didn't count. We were stumped and couldn't come up with any. We left convinced that moose are under represented in Hollywood.

However, after some indepth research and scientific polling...we have discovered there are movies with moose in them. So for your useless knowledge enjoyment, here are some movies with an actual live moose.

Can you add to the list?

  1. Brother Bear: Rutt and Took were brother moose in the film (ok...these were animated)
  2. Morris the Midget Moose: a short animated Disney film (also animated)
  3. Grumpy Old Men: has a scene with a TV broadcast showing a recovered injured moose
  4. Salt Water Moose: about two children on an island with a lonely moose
  5. Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle: ok, I had to add it...my list was pathetic. 
Big list, isn't it? There are a lot more instances where a moose is somehow referenced...mostly as an animal head on a wall.

So I guess maybe moose actually are underrepresented in Hollywood. Which begs the question, why? Are they not scary enough? Are they hard to work with? Are they camera shy? Do they ask for to much pay? Do they refuse to do their own stunts? Are they not beautiful enough? Hmmmm...the mystery continues.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Christmas Cooking

Started out the holiday backing with Nutty Biscotti. I made this a few years ago from a Better Homes and Garden recipe and liked it well enough to keep the it in my recipe box. However, I decided I'd tweak the recipe a bit this time to see if I could make it more tasty. I was pleased with the result:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (start with 1 and add more if dough is not sticky enough
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup coarsely chopped lightly salted pistachio nuts
1/2 cup of dried cranberries

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Beat butter with mixer on medium to high speed 30 seconds. Add sugar, soda, baking powder, and salt; beat until combined. Add eggs, lemon peel and juice. Beat until combined. Add flour; beat until combined. Add in more lemon juice if to dry. Stir in nuts and cranberries. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a 12-inch roll. Place at least 3 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until beginning to brown (logs will spread). Cool completely on a rack. Use a serrated knife to cut each roll into 3/4-inch slices. Place, cut sides down, on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree F oven for 5 minutes. Turn slices over; bake 5 minutes more or until dry and crisp.

Cool on rack. Dip 1 end of biscotti into white chocolate; sprinkle with nuts. Dry completely. Makes 36 biscotti.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

California Party

So a few weeks ago a friend threw a California party for everyone in our office who has moved out to Madison form California. Believe it or not, there's about 10-15 of us (or more).

Everyone was asked to bring a California dish. Any guesses as to what showed up?

We had, tacos, guacamole, some sort of tri tip/bean dip thing, artichokes, strawberry pie, a sushi casserole dish, salsa, and a few other things I'm forgetting now. But it is kind of interesting how there are some distinctive California flavors (mainly on the Mexican side).

The other funny thing to me was the conversation. At one point someone was talking about a friend who owns a winery and who was building a wine cave....and that seemed like a totally normal conversation. But one that you'd never hear anyone else in Wisconsin talk about.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Media Monday: Training


Who Needs Training? from InterVarsity twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

This by far has got to be one of my most favorite video's that Twentyonehundred has ever produced. And my respect for Mr. Bessnecker has only risen.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hay Ride

So there is this scene in Ann of Green Gables (the movie) where Ann goes with Diana's family to a winter party. They of course travel to the party in a sleigh across beautiful fresh snow and I've always thought that was such a romantic idea.

I have yet to try a sleigh ride in the snow, but this past weekend at a church retreat, we went on a hay ride at 8:00 at night around the conference center. It's probably the closest I'll come to a sleigh ride in the snow. And I've decided it's way to cold. I don't know how anyone survived rides in the winter like that. I'm sure even bundled up it was down right freezing. It makes me very thankful for cars with heaters.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Snow

We finally pulled out the snow shovel and ice scraper today. Not sure if we'll really need it...but they are predicting snow in the forecast for tomorrow night.

Next on the list is to re-discover where we stored our air conditioner covers. We stashed them in some closet probably in some box that made sense at the time. But since we can't find them in our winter gear box, odds and end box, or in the junk drawer...I'm beginning to question my sanity.

Still haven't turned on the heater yet. Our apartment's been holding steady at 70 degrees. We'll see how long that lasts.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

What's Better than a Pumpking Spice Latte?

A Starbucks Peppermint Mocha.

I just got an email saying that the holiday drinks are now out. I'm a little sad that they have them out before Thanksgiving. In fact when it comes to the whole holiday season, I feel like Thanksgiving kind of get's the raw end of the deal.

However, I might be able to handle the commercilism with a peppermint mocha in hand.

Hmmmm...I feel like I'm contradicting myself.

Either way, what's amusing to me is that I actually connect peppermint mocha's with InterVarsity conferences. They were often a slice of sanity amongst the chaos and hectic schedule. This might be the first year (in at least 5 or 6 years) I don't have a conference to be at...I wonder if that will taint my peppermint mocha experience at all.

I guess I'm willing to chance it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Urbana History in Quotes


Urbana 12 Promo from InterVarsity twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

Ahhh...I can't believe Urbana season is here already. The first promotional video was just released and it was fun to listen to the various challenges that have been given over Urbana's history to submit to the Lordship of Jesus.

I still remember vividly hearing Lisa give the challenge that there really are "only three words fit for Jesus". With those words being "Yes, Your Majesty".

Good stuff.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"I Was Once a Witch"

Ok, I didn't write this article...but I thought it was great and a powerful testimony about how God can save the most unlikely people. Plus it's about an InterVarsity alum...and I'm all over that :)

"After finally saying “yes” to her persistent roommates’ invitation to an InterVarsity large group, Sarah Sumpolec heard a striking message about altars and sacrifices. She knew about altars and sacrifices. As a practicing witch, she had once set up an altar in her room. But the speaker talked about a different kind of sacrifice. Explaining Old Testament passages about the sacrifices of Elijah and Isaac, the speaker discussed what it means for Christians today to be living sacrifices to God"....Read "I Was Once a Witch"

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Impressions

There was a thought provoking question asked over on the Urbana website this past month in the "Ask Jack" Blog section. The question touches on the types of financial asks that missionaries sometimes make through prayer letters. The author vents her frustration about missionaries who appear to be asking for items that are beyond their needs (i.e. an IPad, a vacation, new car) and/or who appear to have lifestyles more lavish than her own. It's a facinating question that's worth the time to read fully: http://urbana.org/ask-jack/jacki039m-planning-ask

Matt and I actually spent quite a bit of time talking about this post and it's been challenging to us--both as missionaries who ask for support as well as individuals who support others. These are some of our thoughts:


From a Missionary Perspective:
Whew, what a challenge. In so many ways, the author's frustration get's to the heart of our own personal financial stewardship. I know that all of us one day will face God and be accountable to how we've chosen to spend his money, but Matt and I also realize that we are accountable to every person who chooses to support us. As we were talking about this, Matt wisely asked, "could we show our personal budget to any supporter who asked?"

Ironically, we had sort of been talking about this earlier that week after a Financial Peace University class. During the class, Dave Ramsey mentioned that a budget reveals our values. So Matt and I had already been looking at our budget asking whether our budget lines up with the values that we believe in.

Luckily, both of us realized that we don't have any shame associated with our budget and would be fine showing it to anyone who asked. While most of our financial decisions are not made based on asking, "what would our donors think?", they are made on "How is God asking us to steward his resources". So if you support us, and have ever wondered how we steward our money...ask away.

The other thing that stood out to us was that a person's lifestyle can easily be determined from the impressions left from a prayer letter, facebook post, or blog entry. In some ways, we're glad for that because it keeps us more accountable. :)

From a Supporter's Perspective:
On the flip side, we both love being able to give generously as God calls. So we resonated with the author's frustration about supporting people who seem a bit more reckless with their finances. And so we really appreciated Jack's advice in how to determine whether to keep supporting someone or not. Jack says:
Which of these friends are doing the kind of work that really speaks to my heart?
Which of them are faithful in their reporting and seem to be being used by the Lord?
Which of them indicate an attitude and lifestyle with which I am comfortable?
Jack advises that if a person or organization that you support does not fit these criteria than it could be worth ending your support. As a couple who raises support and as a couple who supports others, we think this is pretty good advice.

So overall, this Ask Jack Question provided some good discussion over breakfast last weekend and has continued to fuel some personal internal dialogue this week.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blue Like Jazz


Last week I had the opportunity to watch a sneak preview of Blue Like Jazz the movie with some fellow co-workers (If you were running around Christian circles about 8 or so years ago, the book was all the rage).

It was odd seeing a movie in it's rough cut and strange to be able to offer the director feedback on the movie.

Overall, I liked it. It's not your typical Christian movie and that was super refreshing. It was raw (it will probably be rated PG13 and reminded me more of The Social Network in terms of how college is portrayed), it was honest (it showcases Christian hypocrisy and the world that many 20 year olds face when they head to college), and it had a sense of being unresolved while still being resolved (the struggle with God is resolved but how that plays out in the main character's life is not).

Maybe it's because I'm a little bit more on the post-modern side, but I was drawn into the oddities of the movie, the internal spiritual conflicts, and found the last scene of the movie quite powerful. The last scene focuses on humility and the power of an apology.

And it left me wanting to see it again.

It also left me wanting to read the book again. I think I last read it 6 or 7 years ago and actually didn't remember much of the book. What I did remember was that the book was more like a compilation of a bunch of thoughts/short stories. So I was impressed they were able to weave that together into a narrative.

Oh and they did manage to pay homage to the Sexy Carrot...if any of you read the book, you'll know what I'm referring too.

Monday, October 10, 2011

If you love me...

you will lose this match"

This is one of my favorite quotes from "A Knights Tale". The background to this quote is that the lovely princess tells the handsome rogue to prove his love by losing a jousting match rather than winning it -- since willfully losing is much harder for a man who always wins.

While not quite the same as jousting, for my birthday I asked Matt to cook me dinner. And as I watched him fumble around the kitchen looking for corn starch in the fridge and rice vinegar in the cupboards...I felt loved. Maybe not as much as if he was a knight taking a beating, but in the dangerous world of knives, forks, and spoons...he managed to make a wonderful Mongolian Beef.

All in all, not bad for a birthday dinner.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Blogs I'm Currently Watching

I ran across these blogs this summer and have found them interesting:

epiphenom.fieldofscience.com - This blog reflects on recent research that deals with religion/spirituality. It's not from a religious standpoint at all which makes it more interesting. I particularly was intrigued by a posting this past month called Is the God Delusion More Disgusting than the Koran?

mybarbararay.com - I ran into this blog doing research on young adult trends and have appreciated the posts and commentary on current adulthood trends.

www.intervarsity.org/blog - InterVarsity started a blog over the summer and there's been some great stuff coming out there.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Elna Carina Sewing Machine

One of the unfortunate side effects of going to the quilt expo each year is that I leave wanting to upgrade my sewing machine to a fancier one that can do cooler stitching or better quilting.

My current sewing machine was built in the 80's and is a hand me down from someone in our family. I've used it for the past 15 years or so and it's always done the job. But after helping out with one of the quilt workshops I was even more convince that I should maybe start saving for a new machine.

There were just all these nifty attachments that made quilting so much easier!

However, this past weekend I pulled out this little container with attachments that came with my sewing machine. I started playing around with some of the attachments and discovered that I can actually do many of the techniques that these fancier machines can do!

The two attachments I'm most excited about is that I have a quilting foot (this lets you do free motion quilting) and then a seam guide (this attaches near the foot of the machine and adjusts to whatever seam allowance you want).

Who knew? I've had these attachments for years but since I didn't have an instruction manual...I never took the time to research what all these attachments can do or how to even attach them to the sewing machine.

That was kind of nice to find out because I really didn't want to start saving $2,000 for a new sewing machine.

So my hand me down sewing machine that is 30 year's old is actually pretty cool.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rio vs. Barbie

Babysitting this weekend I had the chance to view two movies I hadn't seen yet: "Rio" and "Barbie in a Mermaid Tail". I had been curious about Rio and had never heard of this particular Barbie movie.

Sadly, I have to admit that I think I enjoyed the Barbie movie more than Rio. All I can say is that the Barbie manufactures sure have done their homework on how best to market to a girl's heart. I mean come on...how can a blue bird that can't fly ever compete with a hip surfer teenager from Malibu who finds out that she's a mermaid princess and as a result gets the chance to save the sea kingdom from an evil aunt and spend at least 10 minutes of the movie shopping for new mermaid tail outfits while singing a catchy song? Sorry Rio...you just couldn't compete.

What's even sadder is that the kids I was watching actually sat through the whole Barbie movie enthralled. While within 5 minutes of Rio, they were distracted by their toys.

I wonder how much research does go into kids movies like Barbie. Cause, they sure do know how to keep the attention of not only a 4 year old girl but an 8 year old boy and a 30 year old woman who should know better than to get sucked into clever marketing movies.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

Pumpkin Spice Latte....check
Apple Picking...check
Apple Sauce canning...check
A little bit of fall cleaning...check
Curl up with a blanket watching the rain...check
Pull out the fall brown boots to wear with my brown plaid skit...check
Start a fall quilt...check
I think I'm ready for fall.

Quilt Expo Favorites

As I mentioned last week, I helped out as an exhibit docent at the quilt expo. One think I enjoy about this volunteer position is that it forces me to be around the quilts and study them a bit closer than I would other wise. These were some of my favorites from the show.





These were the most interesting and something about these quilts caught my attention. But they are probably a style I'd never try to make:






Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ramsey



So to promote an upcoming Dave Ramsey course at church, this video was shown at church last week. I have to preface all this by saying that I enjoy Dave Ramsey's materials and I think he's helped a lot of people rethink their finances. And I want people at our church to go through his material. However, as I watched this video, I couldn't help but feel like there was something missing. I was tracking with the commercial until they got to the point of trading in the $6,000 car for an $11,000 car. I just kept thinking "what's wrong with the $6,000 car? Why trade that in if it's working just fine? And just because we 'save' the money, is it right to buy the newest and best?"

Now I know the video was making a point about how much better it is to save for a car than borrow money from the bank...but I still wonder if that's the right message for us as Christians.

I might need to dwell on this a bit more.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Quilt Expo 2011

I love the quilt expo. I secretly live for this event each year (ok, this may be an exaggeration...but I do enjoy it).

This year I volunteered again as an exhibit docent which was quite fun and then I tried something new - I volunteered as a workshop assistant. That was a lot more fun than I anticipated. I helped out with a Cotton Theory workshop. In short Cotton Theory is a way to make a reverseable quilt and a way to quilt as you go. So by the time all your pieces are sewn together, you're done. I've seen these types of quilts before and but haven't figured out how to make them. We'll after helping 25 other ladies make a small sampler, I think I got it down (picture above). I was pleasantly surprised with my first go at this small quilt. I need to work on my stitching on the machine...but I think it turned out ok.

I'm very much in a quilting mood now. I found three new patterns I want to try which is making me anxious to finish up a smaller baby quilt I'm making for a friend. I'm grateful that it's fall now and that the garden is just about over. I can turn my attention now to this fun stuff.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Later - 9/11

With all the 9/11 media coverage this past week, it's been hard not to reflect on that day's events and how they intersected with my own life.

Ten years ago I was crashing for the night at a former roommate's apartment. It was a week before my senior year of college was to start and an InterVarsity weekend leadership retreat was scheduled to begin later that afternoon. I had just returned from a summer urban project in L.A. and was excited for what the year would hold.

I don't remember the exact details of how I learned about the event, but I do remember a neighbor came over and told us to turn on the TV. We watched reruns of the footage (I think we found out about an hour after it happened) and tried to understand what it all meant.

I remember how uncertain everything felt in that moment: What does this all mean? Is it safe? Do I know anyone in NY? Is family ok? Is the leadership retreat canceled? Where is God? Are we at war? Is there more coming?

We did have the leadership retreat later that day but I have to confess I don't remember much of it and was probably fairly distracted for most of it. It's hard to focus on the vision that God might have for the ministry at UCSB that year when you're grappling with what in the world God is doing and thinking with your country.

Out of all the media coverage this week, the most powerful documentary I stumbled upon was a Front Line documentary called Faith And Doubt at Ground Zero. It basically looks at spiritual elements surrounding that day and to sum it up in one word, it's haunting. Haunting both in the questions it leaves unanswered, but in the many testimonies of faith: faith and hope in a God when everything around you doesn't make sense.

I think questioning my belief in God will be the lasting legacy of 9/11 in my own life. To say I believe in a loving, just, and righteous God after such an event takes a lot more conviction for me now than it did prior to that day. If anything 9/11 forced me to reconsider if I really believe such verses as Job 19:25-17 or James 1:2-8.

I will never fully understand where God is in events like 9/11 or any of the hundreds of other acts of terror that happen during a single year in our world, but I do believe God is present even in such events and that he is not only mourning right along with us but at work in ways that we do not see or comprehend.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Jalapeno Regrets

A few weeks ago I decided to try canning salsa to try and use up all the extra tomatoes from the garden. I found a recipe online and was very careful to follow the recipe exactly. I know that with canning it's important to follow recipes as closely as possible. However there was one instruction that seemed a bit extreme: "we recommend wearing latex gloves while chopping the jalapenos".

I've chopped up one or two jalapenos in the past and never had any problems so I thought, that's great advice but not necessary. So I went ahead and chopped up 8 jalapenos without gloves.

An  hour later, my hands were on fire. I washed them, I scrubbed them and went about the rest of my day trying to ignore my pulsing hands. 8 hours later as I sat in bed trying to ignore my hands that seemed to only heat up even more as I laid still trying to fall asleep, I thought there has got to be something to make it stop.

I turned to google and tried everything. One site suggested trying lime or lemon juice. So I rummaged through the fridge and found some lemon juice and rubbed it all over my hands. It helped for a little bit but within 10 minutes my hands were heating up again. So it was on to attempt number two: heavy cream. One site suggested using a milk product to help stop the pain. We head some heavy cream in the fridge and so I soaked my hands in it for about 5 minutes.

To my amazement, the pain actually started going away. Just to make sure, I put some aloe on my hands and took some Tylenol too. 20 minutes later the pain was still gone from my right hand and only slightly there on my left (I think my left hand touched the jalapeno's more than my right).

All I can say is that next time, I'll pay more attention to the seemingly pointless instructions in recipes.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Homemade Brownies

The other night we were craving brownies but we didn't have any brownie mix on hand and neither of us felt like driving the .25 miles to the grocery store. I don't remember why, but I wondered if there was a way to make brownies from scratch. And low and behold, brownies don't have to come from a box. Who knew.

Here's the recipe we tried based on a quick google search: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/best-brownies/detail.aspx

I don't know why I thought brownie only came from boxes. But brownies from scratch are pretty good. I followed the recipe exactly. They were a bit on the buttery side so the next time I substituted the butter for oil and they tasted a lot more like the brownie box mix brownies. (Matt liked them better with the butter however.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Psychology of Debt

We were reflecting the other night about how our thinking habits towards spending have changed since getting out of debt. In many ways it's been rather ironic.

When we were paying back loans and living on a very tight budget, we quickly fell into this line of thinking: "We have no money. I'm sad and depressed that we have no money and frustrated that we can't spend anything. I would feel happier if we went out and looked at all the pretty things we can't afford."

Hmmmm...any guesses on what would happen next?

Ironically now that we don't owe anyone anything and technically could do a bit more impulsive spending, we find ourselves thinking: "We actually have a little bit of money. That makes me very happy." And that's where the conversation stops.

It's been a shocking revelation at how much our frustration and unhappiness would lead to the impulse to buy something. I know there have been hundreds of studies done on that, but it's been another thing to experience the difference.

I don't know if that has been anyone else's experience, but it's kind of sad how much emotions can determine our thinking and actions.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Media Monday: What Are You Thisty For?

This year one of the campaigns being done around the country to engage college students as they return to campus is called the "Red Cup Campaign". Its main focus is to ask students to consider what they are "thirsty" for, which will hopefully open up doors for conversations about how Jesus is the only thing that satisfies.

This video is one of the elements involved with the campaign:

Red Cup Video from InterVarsity twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hints of Change

I looked outside this morning and saw one small branch with yellow leaves and immediately felt conflicting emotions.

I felt joy. I love the fall. The fall is probably my favorite time of year mainly because everything looks so brilliant and dramatic. It makes me think of harvest and a fullness of God's provision. And the weather is often cooler meaning it's much more comfortable to go hiking or biking but not to cold that we'll lose a finger or toe.

But I also felt sorrow. I'm not ready for fall. This summer has gone by way to fast and this year we've been to preoccupied with church activities, weddings, and gardens really to do our normal summer activities. I think we've been biking once and haven't even gone camping yet this year.

So as I gaze at this golden leaves, they are urging me not to waste what's left of this summer. Because while fall will be glorious, winter is right around the corner.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer of the Insects

Sometimes I think the insect kingdom is out to get us.

Already this summer we've faced an invasion of flying ants. Raid to the rescue on that one.

I got bit by a tick in June and ended up quite sick. The doctor is still trying to determine if I actually had Lyme's or erhlichiosis. But after two blood tests and 3 weeks of antibiotics, I'm fine and there shouldn't be any residual effects.

And Matt stepped in a hornets nest and luckily just got his ankle bitten.

It really is amazing that such little things can consume so much of our time, money and mental preoccupation. It also makes me start to long for winter when bugs disappear for a few months. But I have to remind myself that this has not been normal. Usually we're just dealing with a mosquito or two and a stray spider running across our walls. It makes me wonder if we've somehow offended the bug kingdom this past year.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Recipe of the Month: Pizza Crust

I've been looking for a good pizza crust and finally found one I like. Even better, it can be done in a bread machine which means I can take a quick afternoon break at work, start the dough and it's ready by the time I get home from work. That was always one of my frustrations. Good pizza dough takes so long to make that it's not really practical unless it's the weekend.

Here's the recipe:
3/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1 Tablespoon dry milk powder
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon active dry yeast

Place ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed above and select the dough cycle. Start the dough cycle. Remove dough when cycle done and use for your favorite pizza.

I've also taken the dough out and refrigerated it for about 2 or 3 hours, then let the dough warm up again for 20 minutes and used. It worked fine.


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Cucumber Overload


Here's the count so far:
  • 6 pints of pickle relish
  • 7 pints of dill pickles
  • 5 jars of strawberry sauce (attempted jam but it didn't set)
  • 1 jar of wild black berry jelly

(Ok, so those last two on the list aren't cucumber related...but they fit into my canning craze.)

It sure fills like summer with all the veggies ripening at once. I picked over 15 cucumbers at once last weekend and since Matt was shooting a wedding last weekend, I had plenty of time to do some canning. However after 7 jars of dill pickles and 6 jars of pickle relish, I'm feeling like I could be done with the cucumbers. Unfortunately, it looks like the plants are no where near being done.

I'm also feeling like I might be losing the battle with the squash. I think my sister secretly hates me because she planted 4 yellow horn squash plants but then left before they started to ripen. I think we've picked about 30 squash so far in the last two weeks. And I'm out of squash ideas.

But it's fun to have fresh veggies again and although it's a lot of work, I really do enjoy canning.

Any recommendations for what to do with yellow squash?

Monday, August 01, 2011

Finished Crazy Quilt



Finally finished the crazy quilt this weekend. I decided to do a simple binding and not do any borders since it seemed to distract from the craziness of the quilt. Overall, I'm quite pleased with how this turned out.

For detail shots of individual squares, see:  http://kirkynews.blogspot.com/2011/07/crazy-quilting-2.html

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's Toast

It's hard to know when being thrifty/cheap outweighs practicality.

For example, five years ago we acquired a toaster oven. Within a few months the knobs broke off both the heat controller and the timer. We debated for a while if we should replace the whole toaster, but discovered that a screw driver was able to turn the timer/oven on and off. And not wanting to spend money, we settled and became content with the screw driver method (much to the horror of most any house guest that has stayed with us).

Fast forward five years and my sister finally confronts us on our sub-par screw driver method and suggested we try to put a dime or penny in the timer slot and just leave it there.

We attempted that, but the penny and dime were to big. However we discovered that a bread bag clip fit perfectly. It was amazing! No more fiddling with getting the screw driver into the right slot early in the morning before we've had our coffee. It was like a whole new world was open to us.

Unfortunately within two weeks the bread bag tie broke off and left a piece in the timer slot. After trying to remove the plastic remains with pliers, a file, and yes, a screw driver...we gave up and went out to Bed Bath and got a new toaster oven.

So five years of being cheap and trying to avoid throwing down $80 bucks was thwarted by a cheap bread bag tie.

Monday, July 25, 2011

In honor of my sister....

I had to re-post this after seeing it on a friends blog (http://robsoup.blogspot.com/2011/07/close-to-home.html). This sums up beautifully my thoughts on crazy people (like my sister) who have gotten into running lately.

(Although sadly I find myself secretly envious of people who can run farther than 5 miles and have found myself attempting to run further and further at the gym this past month. Why is running so addictive? Still though...I don't think I'll ever be crazy enough to run a marathon.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Crazy Quilting 2



 

So after learning how to do a small crazy quilt block, I thought I'd try something larger and use up some old scraps of fabric I had been hanging on to for far to long. You can see some of the blocks for this quilt up above. These are 15x15 inch blocks and there are nine of them total. I just pieced them together today and am working on quilting, binding and finishing the quilt this week and probably next.

I have to admit that I've cheated a bit on the quilt. I found these old embroidered roses and lace from thrift stores and an old table cloth that someone had started in our family but never finished. I liked how they worked into the crazy quilt and the roses added much more to the overall look than anything I could have done on my own.

We'll have to see how long it will take me to finish the binding and tacking. It's supposed to be around 100 degrees all week and warm weather and quilts do not go super well together. 


Monday, July 18, 2011

Crazy Quilting



Back in March I mentioned how I was experimenting with making crazy quilt blocks. This experiment was initiated when I learned how to make a crazy quilt block from a few ladies at church. The instructions that we followed can be found here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art23942.asp

I then taught a class this past spring at work for our annual Art Festival on how to create a crazy quilt block. The idea was to make a 9x9 inch block out of scrap material that I had. The block could be turned into a hot pad or small wall hanging (see pictures above). The class itself went fairly well. The only thing I would do differently would be to have more sewing machines in the room. We only had one machine in the room and with 10 of us attempting to make a block, the sewing part backed up fairly quickly.

I think the biggest thing I've learned about crazy quilting is that the quilt is more about the thick top stitching than the actual quilt pieces. When I first pieced a block together, I thought it looked ok. But after doing the top stitching...wow, it looks so much better.

I've enjoyed crazy quilting so much that I started a larger lap quilt. I'm in the final stages of that quilt and will post some images of that later this week.

In the meantime, here's some more picture of the class.




Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Painting Faces


I never would have thought I'd enjoy painting faces so much. At our old church, we somehow started doing face painting for festivals that we'd participate in. After getting over my initial fear that I'd ruin kids faces forever, it actually was quite enjoyable to throw paint onto kids faces. I think I learned that kids really don't care what it looks like, they just want paint on their face.

After a year of not face painting, I pulled out the paints for a Fourth of July party at our new church. This was probably my favorite creation from the night. It's supposed to be a frog.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Weekend Project

Before
During
After

Over the July 4th weekend, one of our projects was to build a garden tool box for a community garden at the office. This was our second attempt at building something from scratch and I think we did a much better job this time around. Using the right tools and taking the time to measure correctly made a big difference. (I know, go figure) So 6 pieces of wood resulted in a fairly decent box.

Oh, and don't let the pictures fool you. Matt actually did most of the work. I just did the easy stuff like cleaning up all the saw dust and painting the box.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Media Wednesday

Fun little project that some of the folks back in 2100 put together promoting InterVarsity's back to school campaign for this fall. It's called the "Comfort Zone"


Untitled from InterVarsity-twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Fireflies

Now that it is hot out, the fireflies have emerged and there is nothing quite like sitting on a porch trying to guess where one might pop up next. It's one of my favorite things about summer. 
But even after being out in the Midwest for 5 years, they still seem mysterious to me. I don't actually know tons about these little critters, but I discovered this fun firefly website called http://www.firefly.org/ and learned some new things about fireflies. The most fun facts are:

  • Fireflies produce "cold light" which I guess means that no heat is emitted when they light up. This means they emit 100% of light. (as far as I know no man made light can do that)
  • You should never feed fireflies to reptiles (I guess they can poison them).
  • And fireflies are disappearing around the world. Never would have thought that if you look outside our window.
One of these day's I'll get brave enough to try and catch one. But that might be a while. As pretty as they are, they still kind of creep me out.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Recent Matt Projects

Just in case you have not been over to Matt's blog recently, here are a few of the projects he's been up to:
http://fpphoto.blogspot.com/2011/06/recent-intervarsity-photo-projects.html

Monday, June 27, 2011

Confession


I saw a commercial the other day announcing that Magnum Ice Cream Bars are now available here in the US...and yes, I went straight out and bought some. And wow, they are everything I remembered them to be...plus it was 90 degree's that week and they just looked sooooo good.

The last time I had one of these ice cream bars was in Europe...and they are soooo yummy. They are a bit expensive, but it was a fun indulgence.If you've never had one, it's worth the $3.50 for a box of 3.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Garden Update

It's been about a month and I'm already slightly frustrated with the growing season. And I think my plants are too. I was able to plant many of the cold weather crops like spinach, bok choy and peas...however they've gone straight to seed in almost three weeks. The weather keeps switching between 50 degrees and 90 degrees within a few days of each other, so I think these spring crops don't know what to think.

However the beans, tomatoes and squash are growing like crazy. So I think it might just be a warm weather crop summer this year. Which will be nice. I think the past few years it's hasn't gotten warm enough for the tomatoes to be super happy. So I might just have to give up hopes for spring spinach and peas and start hoping for some great tomatoes. The one nice thing is that not only do the plants not know what to do, but the bugs don't either. I don't think I've seen nearly as many of my plants nibbled on this year. That's been kind of nice.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Headband Update



I got a chance to try those headbands I noticed last week and they turned out ok. I tried two different versions and here's the report:

The Wide Headband (http://www.alteredcloth.com/blog/2007/07/how-to-make-a-headband-version-2-the-wide-headband.php) - this was the more complicated one to make but I think turned out better. Or at least I like how it fits on my head better. This is the red and white one above. For the main part I did a 6 x 16 inch square. I think style and stitching of this one looked closest to what I saw in the store.

Reversible Headband (http://www.kcquilts.com/blog/2006/09/reversible-fabric-headband-tutorial.html): I also tried this version of the headband. The blue and pink ones above are this version. It turned out ok, but the lengths were a bit odd. I felt like I was either making it to large or to small for my head and I don't think they fit as well as the Wide Headband version.

So there you have it. A $20 headband for probably about $2 each.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Power of Money

Money easily can have a stronghold in our lives and I love how clearly that comes out in this video that Matt helped produce and edit this past month. I think Lendol makes some great points in this video on financial stewardship.
Dr Calder - Financial Sewardship from InterVarsity-twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Headbands Galore


Fabric Elastic Headband
While in Milwaukee last weekend, we stopped in a few stores and I noticed quite a few really cute headbands. I really liked them but didn't want to pay the $20 bucks for one. So I left hoping I could maybe find a pattern online. I did! Several patterns actually:

Do it Yourself Headbands: http://www.alteredcloth.com/blog/2007/08/diy-headband-collection.php
Another step by step pattern: http://www.kcquilts.com/blog/2006/09/reversible-fabric-headband-tutorial.html

I think there's a stash of scrap fabric just screaming to become headbands. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Truth About Anniverseries

Anniversaries are supposed to be a celebration of love and romance, right? Well, after 5 years here's the breakdown:

Year One Plan: Go camping for the weekend and enjoy romantic campfires, starlight and long walks in the woods.
Year One Reality: Were welcomed to the campsite by tornado sirens, sat in a tent for 48 hours because of non-stop rain, dealt with mounting interpersonal fustrations, and embraced fun episodes of diarrhea.

Year Two Plan: Year one anniversary sucked. Let's just go out for lunch.
Year Two Reality: We went to lunch. I think I had a taco.

Year Three Plan: Lunch worked well. Let's just do that again.
Year Three Reality: Repeat Last Year

Year Four Plan: Camping on our anniversary really wasn't all that bad. Let's try that again.
Year Four Reality: Got chased by tornadoes again, sat in a restaurant for 6 hours waiting for the rain to end, got back to a tent with an inch of water in it, so gave up and went home.

Year Five Plan: Camping on our anniversary doesn't seem to work for us. Let's try going to a quite beautiful lakeside town called Port Washington.
Year Five Reality: Woke up and discovered a tick had made a home in my leg and kind of freaked out. We got that sorted out and then headed out to Port Washington. There we discovered the town was not as peaceful as we anticipated. It had been overrun by Pirates. (Which to be honest, was totally cool. It wasn't what we expected, but it was kind of fun seeing everyone dressed up and acting really goofy. And considering our track record with romantic anniversaries...seemed to fit right in).

So we don't have a track record for the most romantic anniversaries, but I wouldn't trade them for the world. As my husband was pulling the tick out of my leg, I couldn't help but laugh and think "this is true love". Learning to stick with each other through sickness, ticks, unexpected weather, soggy tents, and pirates may not be "romantic", but it's love. And I'd much rather take love.

As far as the pirates...they were pretty cool. Matt took some great pictures of them and posted them on his blog: http://fpphoto.blogspot.com/2011/06/port-of-pirates.html

Monday, June 06, 2011

5 Years and Counting

This past weekend marked five years of being married.

Some of the things I've learned about marriage so far is that 1) I'm a lot more selfish than I want to admit, 2) I'm still surprised at how much I don't know about my husband, and 3) marriage make life an adventure (another person in your life sure does add in more variables).

The best part still is that I love my husband and I'm looking forward to the next five years and more.

Now for our anniversary, we took a little trip over to the Milwaukee area. The trip didn't go exactly as planned...stay tuned for the full report on Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

InterVarsity Alumnus Helen Lee

While I didn't write this story, I really love what this InterVarsity alum has gone on to do. She's become a strong voice in encouraging mom's to see themselves as missional. Not only has she written a book on the topic, but she writes a lot of great stuff on her blog. I love how InterVarsity alums are making a difference in this world.

Article on Helen Lee: http://www.intervarsity.org/news/intervarsity-alumni-helen-lee
The Missional Mom Book: Book on Amazon
The Missional Mom Blog: http://themissionalmom.com/blog/

Monday, May 30, 2011

Brat Fest 2011

We spent 3.5 hours yesterday celebrating the wonderful hotdog/sausage looking thing called a Brat Well, we hung out at the Brat Fest for 3.5 hours...but  I must confess, I only consumed 1 brat.

The surprise of our time there was listening to the Charles Walker Blues Band. They were actually quite good and fun to listen to. The last few times we've gone, we've shown up ealier in the day when all the highschool bands are playing. The Charles Walker Band was actually quite leigit. So that was nice.

The funniest part of the three hours occurred in between the Charles Walker Band and the next band. I guess that this year there was a WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) show going on simultaneously at the Allient Energy Center. So during the last song, about 8 security guards appear all around the stage. I started wondering if there might be something bad or political going on. There were several "people's brat fests" going on this year in protest to Johnsonville supporting Walker. But no, all the security was for one of the Irish fighters who came out and was encouraging people to come enjoy the "spandex display" going on next door.

I wasn't sure what was funnier, the fact that he was encouraging us to come enjoy spandex or that there were 8 security guards protecting this relatively unknown person from the brat filled sedated crowds. (Although I guess it could have just been a part of the "act").

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fun Things to Take the Parents to:

Wisconsin Historical Museum - The current special exhibit is "Odd Wisconsin". Did you know you can see a jar of skunk oil? I forget how it relates to Wisconsin...but I do remember that it's kind of gross.

Wisconsin Dells - No, I did not take the parents on the water slides...but we did go to a restaurant where a small train brings out your food. Quite exciting.

Frugal Muse - Yes, this has become quite the tradition to stop at when the folks are in town. The Frugal Muse is a resale book shop that is very well organized and cheap.

Governor Dodge State Park - Waterfall, lake, hot weather, A&W for lunch (by the way, do you know what A&W stands for? Allen & Wright), everyone falling asleep in the car on the way home (except the driver...that would have been bad).

Famous Dave's BBQ - Dinner served on a garbage can lid...fun! (Mom and Dad are going to think we only eat at strange places.)

So I guess there are some fun things to do in Wisconsin!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tea Kettle Scum Collector



I found this in a kitchen shop this past weekend. I'm really curious to see if it will work. I guess you leave it in your tea kettle, all the minerals in the water collect on that instead of the pot. I'm a bit skeptical but for 2 bucks, it was worth a try.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Shallow Small Group

As a small group leader, I found this quite funny:



Ahhhh....sometimes I think this type of group would be soooo much easier. But I'm grateful that all the "deeper" small groups I've been in have actually brought me closer to God and created much stronger friendships.

First saw this on http://www.edstetzer.com

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sister

The craziness has begun! Somehow I convinced my sister to come out to Madison for 2 months. Not sure how I did that. Basically she is coming to intern with InterVarsity's writing team for the summer. So she'll be living with us, going to work with us, eating with us, sitting across the isle from me, and hanging out with us for the summer. Are we crazy? Maybe. It's been a really long time since I've spent this much time with my sister. While I don't anticipate any drama, it'll be interesting to see if we revert back to our old family roles or if we've matured enough to have an adult relationship now. Overall though, I'm excited to have family within a mile of me. Living so far away from family has it's drawbacks...so I'm hoping we can cherish the time that we do have together. The nice thing is that there is so much to do in Madison during the summer that I think we're going to stay very busy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Future of Higher Education

I just noticed that a talk about the future of higher education by Professor and InterVarsity board member Santa Ono was posted on the audio section of intervarsity.org.

It's a bit on the long side but interesting to listen to...especially if you are working in higher education: Santa Ono Talk on Higher Education (http://media.intervarsity.org/mp3/GFMSantaOno.mp3)

Monday, May 09, 2011

Back to School

Well kind of....

After nearly 10 years of being out of college, I signed up for a 6 week continuing education class at our local community college. It's a basic html course, but so far it's been helpful in getting a broader background into the whole html world. I've been doing a lot of html coding for work but haven't really known why I was doing certain things. So it's been nice knowing the meaning behind the language.

The best part of the class has been just learning. I had been so intimidated by trying to take a class again fearing that I wouldn't have the time or that I wouldn't be able to keep up anymore. But 6 weeks has seemed manageable and since what we're learning is so practical to my job it's felt easier than trying to learn something totally new.

In short, it's been fun and I'm already thinking about what class to take next.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

InterVarsity Alumnus Lendol Calder


InterVarsity Alum: Lendol Calder on "Uncoverage" from InterVarsity-twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

Interviewing Lendol Calder this past month was fun for multiple reasons. First I got to coordinate the interview with Matt which means not only was this a written piece but also a video piece. It was different thinking through what elements of Calder's story would be better communicated through written words verses via video. In the end I like how the article and video complimented each other.

The other reason I loved interviewing Lendol was that Lendol Calder basically influenced my whole college history experience. Some of you know that I was a history major in college and at the time I distinctly remember there was a shift in the way certain history professor began presenting their materials. And I'm willing to be that much of that was due to Lendol.

Lendol was named the 2010 Illinois professor of the year and he's been in the spotlight primarily because of the teaching method he encourages. He strongly advocates that survey history classes shouldn't just try to cover large amounts of materials and focus on time lines but rather history classes should help students think through various events in history and find meaning within various accounts. So instead of reading a history textbook, students might read various primary sources of an event and are then asked to write papers about those events. From my experience, the classes I took that didn't focus on the textbook were much more challenging, fun and are the ones I still remember today.

It's fun to know that InterVarsity alum like Lendol are having an impact in the academic world today.

You can read the full article on Lendol here: http://www.intervarsity.org/news/intervarsity-alumni-lendol-calder

Monday, May 02, 2011

Glass Blowing





It's Art Fest time at the office...well actually it's the Spring Art Institute where different people in the office put on classes to hopefully inspire everyone to create something for the Art Fest in the fall. One of the classes that was offered was a glass blowing class at The Vinery (http://www.vineryglass.com)

To be honest, I was slightly intimidated by the idea of playing with molten hot glass and blow torches but I decided it might be fun. It was.

I have to say the whole process to get a glass ornament hot and then blown into something resembling a round object was really quick. I was kind of surprised by that. It only took about 2 or 3 minutes per ornament. But it was fun. Half the fun was not really knowing what it would look like in the end. But I think I got a few pieces I'm happy with.

Now that I know what I'm doing, I kind of want to go back and try it again. Anyone want to go with?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hot Cross Quilt





So I took a break from the larger quilt I'm working on (mainly because I ran out of fabric and didn't have enough money in my budget to get more fabric this month) and finished a smaller quilt that I had been wanting to try for a while.

This is a 30 inch square quilt and I really liked how intentionally scrappy it looks. I also love the way the blues and whites played off each other.

The pattern is called "Hot Cross Schnibbles Charm Pack" and is intended to be used with what's called Charm Packs (prepackaged 5inch fabric squares). I couldn't find any charm packs I liked so I just collected a bunch of blue and white fabric and cut them into 5 inch squares which are the size of the squares in the charm packs and used those.

I loved how fast this quilt came together and I'll probably keep this pattern around for a while.

The other fun part was I ran across an easy way to do quilt binding. It was so much easier than what I had been doing and it looks much nicer. You can find the instructions on how to do this easy binding here: http://heatherbailey.typepad.com/photos/continuous_quiltbinding

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kids Say the Darndest Things

A few weekends ago while watching a 4 year old and an 8 year old, the following conversation ensued while driving past a church.

4 year old: "Look, look! There's a turch!"
8 year old: "Why do you keep saying turch!!! That's not how your say it. It's a church not a turch!!!"
4 year old attempting to repeat her brother: "Turch"
8 year old: "No, chuurrch. A "tuuurrrch" is something totally different."
My confused husband in the passenger seat turns and asks: "Wait a second, what do you mean a turch is something different? What's a turch?"
8 year old rolling his eyes: "It's a stick with fire at the end silly. Everyone knows that."

Ahhh...if only churches really were torches. That would solve so many problems or at least explain a lot of things.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Have You Ever Googled...

The other day I was amazed at what you can find on Google. For example, in a recent conversation the topic of belly button lint came up. More specifically why some people have more belly button lint than others.

We were stumped so we googled "why do some people have more belly button lint than others?" And since I'm sure all of you have been wondering the same thing but have been to embarrassed to ask, here's what we found: All You Ever Wanted To Know About Belly Button Lint: http://scienceblogs.com/neurotopia/2009/03/friday_weird_science_all_you_e.php

What's sadder to me is that not only did Google turn up some great answers...but there's actually been scientific studies done on belly button lint.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Recipe of the Month: Mandarin Orange Salad

I have vivid memories of eating this at Easter when Grandma H. would make it. She would make a dressing with it but I usually don't because the oranges mix with the caramelized almonds and make a kind of dressing on their own:

1 bag of baby spinach
1 can (16 oz) of mandarin oranges drained
1/4 cup caramelized almonds (to caramelize almonds, heat up 2 Tablespoons of sugar and a Table spoon of water with the almonds and stir until the almonds are coated with sugar and the sugar turns to a caramel color. Make sure to watch the almonds as they burn easily.)

Mix all together right before you eat.

If you want to try the dressing it's (but I think it's better and lighter without):
1/2 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. vinegar
1/4 c. salad oil
Few dashes Tabasco sauce
Dash Pepper


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Christian Seder Meal

In college I was introduced to a Christian version of the Seder meal. We don't do this every year, but I've found it informative to how I view the Last Supper.
I recently found a newer version of a Christian Seder meal online that I actually think is pretty good. You can probably adapt it to make it longer or shorter depending on what your need is. But if you have the chance, it's worth gathering some friends together and giving it a try next week: http://www.crivoice.org/haggadah.html

Monday, April 11, 2011

Total Money Makeover

Our church recently started a group that is going through Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover". Now that we have the student loans paid off, it seemed like a good idea to spend some time focused on money and what our next steps are. So we decided to see what Dave Ramsey is all about.

Dave basically has seven steps that he encourages people to take: 1) Build a $1000 emergency fund, 2) Pay off all debts, 3) build 3-6 months worth of savings for if you lose your job, 4)start building retirement fund, 5) college fund for kids, 6) pay off house, 7) build wealth and give.

It was encouraging that somehow we had started doing the first 3 steps on our own without any of Dave's advice. It just seemed like regular common sense. In fact, that's one thing I've found pretty funny about Dave's books and advice: pure common sense. Dave keeps saying that what he says is advice "your grandma would give". The only difference I've found between him and my grandma is that Dave managed to market the advice and make money off it. I need to figure out a way to market common sense advice like that....hmmm....

His other big thing is creating a budget and then sticking to it. That's still one thing I'm so grateful that we started doing from the beginning of our marriage. So for all you soon to be married people out there...make a budget from the beginning!!! You'll be grateful after 3 or 4 months. So right now we're re-viewing our budget and trying to get a better handle on our problematic "miscellaneous" category. For some reason that category has a mind of it's own.

We need to get a better handle on our Grocery budget too. One woman in the group said that she actually takes a calculator to the grocery store and adds things up as she goes through the store. As silly as that sounds, I might actually give that one a try.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Vulcan High Court Wedding

While watching the new Star Trek movie the other day, we came to the scene when Spock was at the Vulcan High court and declined an offer to study at the Vulcan Academy when Matt says, "Hey, isn't that where Garrett got married?"

To which I thought, "What? We were just at the Vulcan High Court and didn't know it?"

The back story is that we were recently down in Arkansas at Thorncrown Chapel (http://www.thorncrown.com/) for a friends wedding and it was probably one of the most unique chapels architecturally I've ever been in. Very ethereal and open. When we were there, both of us commented that it looked like something out of Rivendale from Lord of the Rings.

We did some research and it turns out that the Vulcan Academy was actually filmed in a chapel in California. So we weren't really at the Vulcan High Academy. Sad. But the California chapel was designed by the same guy (Fay Jones) so it has very similar architecture. So it was kind of like we were at the Vulcan Academy. Kind of cool.

So in the end, it made for a night of interesting Internet research and we've come to the conclusion that Vuclans are actually related to elves.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Interview with David and Anne Grizzle

One of the random things I get to do for my job is interview various InterVarsity alumni. This past month I got to interview David and Anne Grizzle. David is currently the chief counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration and he used to be the senior vice president of Continental Airlines. Anne currently is an InterVarsity board member and is a family therapist.

They were fun to interview and do a story about mainly because of how open they were about their relationship with each other and about their faith in Christ. I particularly enjoyed the advice they gave about marriage towards the end of the interview.

You can read the full interview at: http://www.intervarsity.org/news/intervarsity-alumni-anne-and-david-grizzle

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Proverbs

So we're going through the book of Proverbs right now at church. It's been a while since I've read any proverbs and so it's been kind of fun. I've forgotten how funny some of them are. Here's a few of my recent favorites:
Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.

Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. Proverbs 9:8-9

One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. Proverbs 11:24

Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness. Proverbs 16:31

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. Proverbs 17:1

Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. Proverbs 23:4-5

If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse. Proverbs 27:14

It's amazing to me that even hundreds of years later, these proverbs are still applicable. I guess we don't really change much as humans over the years. It reminds me of Ecclesiastes when it says "there is nothing new under the sun". I also love how witty some of these are. It would have been fun to be around Solomon and whoever else were coming up with these. I picture these older men sitting around a bar or a campfire trying to out do each other in who could come up with the best saying. But it probably wasn't as exciting as that.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Media Monday: Favorite Photo from March

This is my favorite photo Matt took this past month. It's a picture from our trip to California on the day where we spent a few hours in Santa Barbara

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Fever

A few weeks ago I received a package filled with seeds for this years garden. Every time I get those seeds in my hands I'm ready for winter to be over. But March and April I know are wild months in terms of weather. But the longer days, receiving the seeds, the slightly warmer weather (slightly warmer might just be a figment of my imagination), and fewer cloudy days are making me long for summer.

So what's on tap for the garden this year? Cucumbers, beans, peas, carrots, onions, spinach, tarragon, basil, oregano, corn, and pumpkins. I'm going to hold off a few weeks before I start diagramming out the garden layout.

If anything, I know that we are more than halfway through winter and so there is hope.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Media Monday: Salt, Light, Yeast, Seeds

More Twentyonehundred project Matt helped a little bit with.  These were used at Staff Conference to help reinforce the theme of being salt, light, yeast, and seed on campus.


Salt from InterVarsity-twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

Light from InterVarsity-twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

Yeast from InterVarsity-twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

Seed from InterVarsity-twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Next Quilt Project

Now that I finished my last quilt project it's on to a new one. I saw the pattern for Pathway to the Stars a few years back and have been wanting to try it for a while now. I think I'm going to use browns and reds as the main colors instead of the lighter colors show in the pattern. All in all it should be an easy project.

Pathway to the Stars by Sarah Maxwell and Dolores Smith Pattern

I'm also doing a little experimenting with crazy quilting for an upcoming quilting class I'm doing for our yearly Art's Fest at work.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Media Monday: Greek Conference

Every year, Matt and his team travel over to Indiana to help with a national Greek Ministry conference. Here's a taste of what happened there (Matt helped shoot this video):

Greek Conference Indianapolis 2011 Highlights from Greek InterVarsity on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Quilt Experiment





One of the goals I have for this year is to complete projects that have been sitting around in my closet. This is one such project.

I began this quilt about two years ago after being inspired by some fabric I found (the outlining multi-color squares in the middle). This ended up being a 5' x 4' size quilt and everything from cotton, to silk, to wool was used in making this quilt.

I didn't really have an overall plan for the quilt nor did I have a pattern. Having no pattern proved harder than I thought. At almost every stage I ended up spending hours staring at the quilt thinking, "what's next"? I also found it harder to actually create what I was seeing in my head.

Moral of the story: I don't think I'll ever not work off a pattern again. Or at least, I think I'll wait for a year or two before trying that again.

But it's finally done and I think I'm happy with the overall result. If anything, I'm super excited about how the colors worked together and that I got my corners so straight.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Media Monday: Greek Conference


Matt was recently down at an InterVarsity conference for fraternity and sorority students. This is one of his favorite conferences to help with mainly because there are so many great photo opportunities. Some of his favorite pictures are over at his blog: http://fpphoto.blogspot.com/2011/02/greek-conference.html

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Nurture Shock - Chapter 2

The second chapter of Nurture Shock is subtitled: "Around the world, children get an hour less sleep then they did thirty years ago. The cost: IQ points, emotional well-being, ADHD, and obesity."

A few of my favorite quotes:
"While modern parents obsess about our babies' sleep, this concern falls off the priority list after preschool."

"Sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine."

"Sleep is a biological imperative for every species on earth. But humans alone try to resist its pull. Instead, we see sleep not as a physical need but a statement of character. It's considered a sign of weakness to admit fatigue - and it's a sign of strength to refuse to succumb to slumber. Sleep is for Wusses."


Overall commentary on this chapter: I love how I have more reasons to sleep! Or reasons to put any kid I babysit in bed on time :)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Media Monday: Faculty Stories

Some of the stories Matt got to work on this past year was various faculty around the country who integrate their faith into what they do. Here's one of the stories.


Faculty Stories - Terry Gustafson from InterVarsity-twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Recipe of the Month: Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

I got this recipe a while ago from Sunset Magazine but had forgotten about it until recently. It's really yummy (and not the healthiest). Even my non-fruit eating husband likes it.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
Elaine Wing Hillesland, owner of Alegria Oceanfront Inn and Cottages in Mendocino, CA, serves this cake to her bed-and-breakfast guests.

PREP AND COOK TIME:
About 1 hour Yield: Makes 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed, or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) cold butter, cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preparation
1. In a 1- to 2-quart pan over medium heat, bring blueberries and apple juice to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until blueberries have released their juices, about 3 minutes. In a small bowl, blend cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water. Add to blueberry mixture; stir until it simmers and thickens, about 1 minute. Let cool to room temperature.

2. In a bowl or food processor, mix or whirl flour and 3/4 cup sugar. Add butter to flour mixture. Cut in with a pastry blender or pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1/2 cup; pour remaining into a large bowl. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon peel.

3. In a bowl, mix yogurt, vanilla, and 1 egg until blended; stir into flour-baking powder mixture until incorporated. Spread batter in a buttered 9-inch round cake pan with a removable rim.

4. In a bowl or food processor (no need to wash from step 2), beat with an electric mixer on high speed or whirl cream cheese, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, remaining egg, and lemon juice until smooth. Spread over batter in pan, leaving a 1/2-inch border bare. Gently spread blueberry mixture over cream cheese mixture, leaving some visible. Stir almonds into reserved flour mixture and sprinkle over cake, concentrating most around edge of batter.

5. Bake in a 350° oven until center of cake barely jiggles when pan is gently shaken and top of cake is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove pan rim. Serve warm or at room temperature