Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My newest addiction....

I have been accused of being addicted to a few wonderful things that have actually been mostly beneficial in our house...Craigslist and Freecycle. However, my newest addiction has nothing to do with the computer, and instead brings me back to the television! :) TLC has a great show, Take Home Chef, and I seriously cannot get enough of it. I don't know what it is about it, but I would watch 3 a day if could. The premise is that this young chef picks up some woman in a store, most often a Whole Foods-type place, and offers to go home with her to cook her and her family/boyfriend/roommate etc. a fabulous meal. He plans the menu, buys the groceries, and takes over her kitchen in short order. Some of his creations have been interesting...he loves to cook with lamb and seafood, which are both a stretch for me. But... I have decided that should the day ever come where he finds me shopping at Whole Foods, I will embrace the opportunity and let him go crazy. Mike would love it, as he is a much more adventurous eater than I am. Maybe something seafood/mushroom related, since those are things you rarely see in my house. And I would try it willingly, as long as dessert resembled the chocolate mousse/creme brulee concoction he made on a show I watched last night.

See??? I'm opening myself up to new horizons...and I'm getting ready for the sushi that Mike wants to eat on his birthday next month. Look for a post on that in a few weeks...I'm sure I'll have something to say!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I love my church....


We have had a wonderful, quite relaxing summer. Yes, we have been all over the country, gone many weekends, and now are finally getting back into the swing of things, but it's been a wonderful summer. Now, as school gets back underway, so do church activities, and I'm starting to remember why summer was such a needed respite. Mike and I were talking last night about when we could meet his parents for dinner on Sunday afternoon, something that we try to do a few times a year. We had scheduled it for this Sunday, but scheduling conflicts arose, so now we're looking for another day. Well, already, before the summer has even ended, that is getting difficult, mostly because of church activities.

Part of it is our fault. We like to be involved, and going to a small church like ours means you have to be involved. And everything sounds good, until I start jumping in and can't quite doggy-paddle to Respite Island. I'm starting to feel that way already, as I look at our calendar and realize how busy we've made ourselves again.

Sunday School (I've decided to teach this year). Small groups (Mike is coordinator, and we host one at our home 2-3 times a month). Bible Study (Every Thursday). Choir (Sunday evenings, before small group at our home). Outreach committee (I've been tasked with setting up an ESL program, which once it is set up I will have to find/train volunteers, or do the tutoring myself!). Worship team (Wed. evenings, early Sunday mornings). Friday Night Live (our young adult group that I coordinate). Everything very well-intentioned, and meaningful, but put together in one lump sum, can be seen as quite a load.

I think it's because we love our church family that we want to be a part of making her ministry exciting, and we want to share our gifts in these ways. But is it a problem when Sundays, our "day of rest", becomes a day when you can't even fit in a dinner with family? Is that meaningful ministry, or an inability to say no? And what about my duties as homemaker, wife, mother, and employee? Do they get put on the back burner because of church? Is that what church should be? Busy?

Where would the early church be placing their priorities? They took care of each other. Isn't that what I'm doing when I get involved in church?

Questions, not easily answered. But regardless, here we go....

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Lansky's Pizza...

Mike and I have been doing wonderfully on our new healthy eating initiative, and so far I've lost three pounds, which is good for a week in. Saturday night I had planned on grilling chicken and making a lovely salad, but after a day spent working in 100 degree heat, moving furniture around the house to make room for new furniture, vacuuming, cleaning, mowing, etc. etc., neither of us was really in the mood to make a nice meal. In fact, the only thing that really sounded good was our old pizza joint, Lansky's. Back when we lived 2 parking lots away from this fabulous Omaha institution, we would have Lansky's at least 2 times a month, many times more. Now we live 20 minutes away and we don't head there nearly as often. But Saturday night it just sounded perfect, and we both figured that we had burned enough calories that day to warrant a splurge on our favorite pizza. And I must say, every bite was fabulous. We had the Butcher's Special, which is basically meat, meat, and more meat. It was fantastic. There's something about a hot, productive Saturday that ends with excellent pizza.

And the grilled chicken salad was delicious for Sunday dinner!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Organically speaking...

As part of our renewed healthy eating initiative, I'm trying to get creative with what I eat. I think part of the problem with trying to lose weight is that sometimes one can get stuck in an eating rut and then one just gets sick of eating that way. And then...back come the old eating habits. So, I am making it my goal to not only eat healthy foods but also to eat a variety of them. I'm also trying very hard to not give in to eating things like diet bars and the like. I think they are good, and do help make it easy for a meal, but they are expensive, for one, and I feel a lot better putting more organic, natural things in my body. In fact, I'm becoming a bit of an organic junky lately, for better or for worse. I have been buying and eating a lot more fresh fruits and veggies and even loaded up a little at a farm stand near where I buy bread. I just really want to be conscious of what I feed myself and my family, and I think that buying and eating fresh is the way to go. Unfortunately, this way of eating can cost a lot of money as well. In fact, there was an article in our newspaper this morning talking about a woman on food stamps trying to feed her family of five for $500 a month. She said that on this budget buying fresh veggies and fruit sometimes is out, because the cost of these items has just gone up and up. So it's a difficult quandry, I'm afraid. As much as I'd like to do all my shopping at Whole Foods, it wouldn't be good on our budget I don't think. I have thought about doing one shopping trip there and getting all the things that I would normally buy at our regular store just to compare the final outcome. Mike says it would cheaper if I just wrote down all the prices instead and compared it that way! :)

So...any tips on how to eat "organically" yet still maintain a reasonable budget?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Shrek The Third...

This afternoon was a steamy one outside, so we thought the best place to spend a little time was the movie theater. We had been promising Leah all summer long that we would take her to see Shrek the Third and it finally came to the cheap theater last weekend. So today, at $2 a ticket, it was a pretty inexpensive way to keep cool. As expected, the cheap theater was packed. We bought Leah a kid's popcorn and into the theater we went.

Leah enjoyed the movie simply because it was Shrek, and she has watched Shrek 2 no less than 50 times. Mike and I also enjoyed the movie...probably not as much as the first two, but there were still some good laughs and fun times. The magic that is Shrek seems to appropriately come to an end in this movie, and that's probably good. I remember I took a large group of 4 year olds to the first movie when I was living in Atlanta, so seeing the 3rd movie with my husband and daughter was a much better experience.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a hot summer afternon. Two thumbs up from me for that fact alone.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Today, a recipe...

I just put one of my favorite, easy, use things that you might have in your pantry recipes in the oven. Well, I didn't put the recipe in, but I put the result of using the recipe in! I started with a whole chicken. We like to buy these, since Mike likes dark meat, I like white meat, and Leah likes legs, so this keeps us all happy. After thawing it out, prepare 1/4 c. butter, 2 cloves garlic, some fresh parsely, and thyme. Take this butter spread and spread it between the skin and the meat, and then season with salt and pepper. I bake it at 400 degrees with a loose tinfoil cover for 1 hour, and then another 30-40 minutes uncovered. The result is amazing. I will probably serve it tonight with fresh tomatoes from our garden, and either potatoes or rice. The best thing about it is that I don't have to cook tomorrow night since there will be plenty for leftovers! Yum!