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Friday, May 29, 2009

Christianity Today: Faith and Pop Culture

In 2008, Christianity Today released another book in their study series titled Faith and Pop Culture. This book addresses the conflict between being Christian in a world overrun by entertainment. This study hoped to “facilitate lively and engaging discussion on the various facets of entertainment and how it connects to our lives as Jesus’s followers.”

I liked how each session was laid out. First you read an excerpt from Christianity Today about the topic to be discussed. Then the group did an ice-breaker activity, which led to questions about the issue. Then scripture passages were explored that connected to that issue. It ended with a forward thinking section or, in others words, what are going to do about it?

Because I personally did not agree with some of the CT articles presented, this produced a livelier discussion. I thought some of the issues did not relate well to the scripture passages. However, many of the questions were thought provoking and enlightening. Even though we have different ideas of ‘good’ entertainment, we found none of the questions to be offensive. The ice-breaker activities set the mood and helped the group feel more connected.

I would recommend this study if you’d prefer to do something light and entertaining. This helped me to better define my values when living in a world surrounded by pop culture.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tecko the Gecko

We kill fish and rodents. Not ready for dogs or cats. Too many heath risks with messy birds. So lets try reptiles!

We now own Tecko the Gecko. We bought him with a tank and other accessories for $25 from a neighbor. Whats with the name?? Because everyone else in our family has a T name (except for me).

He is a Super Snow Gecko. He is 8 weeks old and very friendly. He eats mill worms and is nocturnal. Gecko's are not fond of the sun and likes minimal contact. He actually poops in he same corner of his cage. He will shed his skin about every two weeks, but he'll eat. He is, supposedly, a good starter pet! The kids like him.
PS Dawn and Melissa - Do you recognize the lamp?!?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

SOLD!!



Today, after much drama, we have sold our house! The deal closed at 3pm Eastern time. It definitely was a learning experience. Our house was on the market for about 2 months, then it closed a month after we accepted the offer. It really hasn't sunk in yet. But it will be nice to get that check in the mail! Lets just say that all the hard work Travis did paid off. A huge thank you goes out to everyone who helped us get the house ready and kept an eye on the house after we moved. We're so glad this is all over!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

KTT: Cleaning the Microwave

If there is one appliance that get avoided most during the clean-up process, its the microwave. It never crosses my mind unless I open it to reveal mess of exploded spaghetti sauce and caked on melted cheese. So to do an easy clean up I follow these simple steps:

1) Put 2-3 drops of dish soap to a mug of water and and put in microwave.
2) Microwave on High heat for 2 minutes or until boiling.
2) Without opening the door, let the mug sit for 5-15 minutes in the microwave, depending on dirtiness.
3) Remove mug and wipe down microwave using a wet cloth!

Repeat steps as needed!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sunday Visitors - Jen and Family

On Sunday we had some great company! Jen visited with her children and parents-in-laws. We first met Matt and Jen at Vandenberg AFB. Matt and Travis got orders to Minot and we've been friends ever since. Matt and Jen are from a little town North of here. So whenever they are in Ohio we hope to able to meet up. Matt was gone for work, so Jen decided to go home (to OH) for about two weeks. We've met Carol and Mark (Matt's parents) on several occasions in Minot. So on Sunday they drove the two hours down to visit with us and check out our new place. That made us truly feel special! We chatted and let the kids play. After dinner they headed home. She will be back in OH in September, so we're going to make a trip up to see them instead.

Thanks for the visit!!

PS I didn't post her wonderful children's names or their last name for security purposes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

KTT: Cable Ties and Chicken

I come from a long line of 'Macgyvers' (and married one) so cables ties (AKA zip ties) are a staple in the old tool chest or 'junk drawer'. So Sunday I made a whole chicken roast and couldn't find my kitchen string so Travis suggested I use a cable tie to tie the legs back. It was very easy to do and worked perfectly! It was easier than the string because I formed the initial loop with the tie, stuck the legs through and pulled the tie tight!
To get that really crispy chicken skin, I coated it butter and rubbed garlic all over. A quarter of the drippings in the pan was butter. It made awesome gravy! It was so good I felt my arteries clogging!!! Yum!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday: Work, Museum, Camping!

Travis only has one class on Friday. We get so much done on Fridays because the kids and I try to be all ready when he gets home from class at 11am. I mean eat, dressed, clean faces and brushed hair, workout, and house orderly. So that leaves the rest of the day to do...whatever! Plus he's usually ready for anything put school work at this point. Then he buckles down on Saturday and has Sunday free for the Sabbath. So far things have worked out well.
Anyway, today Travis mowed the law because we got our first 'pink ticket' for having an un-mowed lawn...he just mowed last Friday! Then he proceeded to take out our neighbors fence. We thought it would be a good idea to have a fence, so we asked our neighbors if we could have their since they are moving. They said yes! He has 6 more poles to dig out. It will be a luxury to have a fence at this point because the kids stay in the yard anyway. I'm more worried when Backpack starts roaming. So this is essentially a preventive measure.

This evening we wanted to go to "A Night at the AF Museum"! Afterwards Travis was going to take the Trouble camping at the father-son campout with our church. Travis got all packed up and we headed to the museum. HOLY COW!! The line of cars to get in was backed up practically to our house!!! Maybe 3-5 miles? So we drove past and realized waiting wasn't worth it and headed to home to drop me and the other two kiddos off at home. I was disappointed, but didn't voice my opinion too loud because I wanted Travis and Trouble to go camping.

So they left and the other two hopped in Travis' car with me at we went to Michales to get materials for a card swap. On the way there we saw that there was a concert at Wright State. All I could think was, everyone has somewhere to go but ME! So to comfort myself and Dynomite (she wanted to go with Daddy and brother) we went to Steak 'n' Shake and treated ourselves :-)

On the way home I wondered if the museum was still packed. So I drove past the turn to our house and went toward the museum. What luck, we found a parking spot near the entrance. I have to tell you that I am not one to take the kids by myself to public places. I much prefer the accompaniment of my husband or family. I do take them places by myself, but I really have to talk myself into it! (I've never really told Travis my fear, but I think he suspects it but has no sympathy!) Plus the double stroller was in the van that Travis now had. I thought, what is the worst that can happen...I walk in, I walk out. Why is this such a struggle!! So I took one last slurp of milkshake, turned off the car, and took a deep breath.

We walked to the entrance and the first thing I heard was, "Would you like a stroller? It looks like you have your hands full. We're leaving and don't need it." How cool is that?? It had one seat with a swivel wheel in front and a little basket in back. So Dynomite and Backpack took turns sitting or being held in various ways throughout the museum.

The museum was incredible! There were a ton of planes. (Duh, AF!!) It started out with the Wright Brothers and ended with Space and Missiles. In the Wright Brothers section there were actors posed like statues. At certain times they would 'come alive' and act out a scene. I thought that was pretty clever! When we entered the Cold War exhibit there was a German guy telling us the Americans were bombing children. WHAT!?! Yeah, with candy!! Ha Ha! Then we saw an alien that gave us his signature. When we entered another part of the museum there were these 'Men in Black' people roaming around asking if we had seen any 'alien life forms'. If you did they made a big deal out if it and gave you something. I just really liked how everything was tied together and very organized. There was so much to see and do, we really just did a walk through (even that took an hour!). We'll be going back next week when Papa comes for a visit.

Travis won't believe me that I went back without him! Not typical behavior for me. I'm really happy that they went camping. Its great for Trouble to get some guy time. I sure hope Travis and Trouble have fun tonight. I guess we'll see when they get back in the morning :-)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Trouble visits the dentist


Today Trouble had his first visit to the dentist. We tried to prepare him, but I think it only scared him! We went this morning and he was apprehensive. They hygienist did a wonderful job helping him feel comfortable. She cleaned his teeth, flossed, and even got a fluoride treatment. He has all 20 teeth without any sign of decay!! He got a new toothbrush, floss and a toy. He left a happy boy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rollandia

For FHE we took the kids to Rollandia for miniature golf. Why for FHE, because 2 and under are free on Monday :-) Anyway, we paid only for Travis and Trouble because I usually end up holding Backpack the whole time anyway. Although Travis did talk me into hitting a few balls. It was fairy tale themed, so it was cute. Also at Rollandia are arcade games, batting cages, a bouncy thing, and water wars(?). The kids had a blast and it was relaxing. I'm sure we'll be back! Dynomite got this little plastic club:


Travis had me kiss the frog...no prince!


At the end Travis won a free icee by landing the ball in the center:

KTT: Freezing Eggs

I got this tip from my Aunt Bessie. She rarely make it through a carton of eggs so she freezes them. She cracks individual eggs into snack sized Ziploc bags and put them in the freezer for future use. I found additional information at:

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Eggs/FreezingEgg.htm

Freezing Eggs

Eggs can be frozen, but not in the shell. It's best to freeze eggs in small quantities so you can thaw only what you need. An easy way to do this is to put them in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer container and label.
As with any frozen food, it is best to thaw eggs in the refrigerator and use them as soon as they are thawed. Only use thawed eggs in dishes that will be thoroughly cooked.
Following are some easy instructions for freezing eggs:


Whole Eggs: To freeze whole eggs or yolks crack them into a bowl and gently stir to break up the yolk somewhat. Try not to incorporate air into the eggs. Label the container with the date and the number of eggs. They can be kept frozen for a year, and should be thawed in the refrigerator the day before you intend to use them.


Egg Yolks: To inhibit yolks from getting lumpy during storage, stir in a 1/2-teaspoon salt per 1-cup of egg or yolks. If using for desserts, use 1-tablespoon sugar or corn syrup per 1-cup yolks or whole eggs. Label the container with the date and the number of egg yolks. Use up extra egg yolks in recipes like sauces, custards, ice cream, yellow cakes, mayonnaise, scrambled eggs, and cooked puddings.

Egg Whites: Raw egg whites do not suffer from freezing (cooked egg whites are very rubbery). No salt or sugar is needed. Break and separate the eggs one at a time, making sure that no yolk gets into the whites. Pour into trays and freeze until firm. Label the container with the date and the number of egg whites. Use up extra egg whites in boiled frostings (i.e., 7-minute frosting), meringue cookies, angel food cake, white cakes, or meringue for pies.

Hard-Cook Egg Yolks: Hard-cooked egg yolks can be frozen to use later for toppings or garnishes. Carefully place the yolks in a single layer in a saucepan and add enough water to come at least I inch above the yolks. Cover and quickly bring just to boiling. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, in the hot water about 15 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and package for freezing.

Hard-cooked whole eggs and whites become tough and watery when frozen, so don't freeze them.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day!

You are probably wondering why I'm blogging on Mothers Day. That is the downfall of being an only child. Travis is making his many phone calls and I did my one! Ha Ha!!

So this morning we had Cornmeal-Blueberry Pancakes. Good ol' food storage recipes :-) While I was cooking up a storm, Travis was upstairs messing around with the kids. They presented me with a tote bag decorated with hand prints and gold brads. Travis got me a Bedazzle (well, the equivalent anyway)!!

On the other side is the kid's hand prints and their names. Trouble wrote his own name :-)

I made my first Bedazzled object. I put TNT, dynomite's initials, on one of her shirts. Don't worry, I won't quit my day job!! She did say, "Mom, its so neat!"Travis did buy me a new watch, to replace the once I lost in-transit from ND to OH. The watch links to a pedometer to track my activity. He also got my wedding ring fixed and shined up :-)

At church the primary kids sang for Mothers Day. Trouble didn't sing a word, he was just excited to up there. We got giant chocolate bars from the bishopric. In Relief Society the VT coordinator put together a wonderful visiting teaching conference. There was cake, a cute fashion show, and message about VT. Trouble drew me a heart in primary.

After dinner we played Legos, alligator, red-light-green-light, and Simon says. Trouble invented a new way to play basketball:
video

It was a relaxing and enjoyable day. No trips to the ER, so that's an improvement.

So after cake, chocolate, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and a root beer float I'm thinking I'll have to double my run tomorrow!!!

Happy Mothers day!!
PS Cute picture I couldn't resist posting. Dynomite now carries around a backpack like her older brother. His excitement for school has carried over to her. Notice the placement of the backpack:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday Fun

So I Friday started out typical. Up, eat, treadmill, get dress, clean-up and Daddy gets home from school. The kids talked Daddy into a game of 'Pretty Pretty Princess'. Trouble was the winner (notice the placement of the earrings):



Daddy also needs to work on his jewelry wearing skills (I should've photo shopped myself out, yikes!):

Daddy played cars until he resigned to the office to work on homework. I broke out the Wii and tried to get the kids to try baseball, boxing, and tennis. Not so successful. However,it was fun to watch Dynomite swing the tennis racket and make noises. *Swing* Uh.... *swing* uh.... :-)




video





After Travis was done he asked the usual "What are going to do tonight?" I said, "The Carnival!" We were so excited!! Games, rides, and Daddy was going to even treat us with dinner at the carnival. A little background here: Travis is a certified miser!! Eating anywhere but home is usually considered wasteful. Anyway, we arrive at the 'Carnival' and purchase $6 worth of tickets. Guess What!! It was $1 per ticket, 2 tickets per ride per person....so $2 for one ride. YES, you read it...$2 per ride! $6 and each kid rode one thing!! I thought Travis was going to have a heart attack! Needless to say, after each kid got a ride we left. Trouble was troubled by this and sad to leave.



Trouble on the train ride:



Dynomite on the train ride:

Backpack on the Merry-Go-Round. He was no so thrilled:So we tried to find something else fun to do. We drove all over our side of town for something cheap and kid friendly. We did hit one thrift store (Travis' favorite one, but the one I hate the most...that's another story). We went to Rollandia, but it was cheaper to go on Monday so we'll try that later. Where to go, where to go....um...cheap, kid friendly, food.....you guess it...McDonalds!! Sad I know, but strangely fulfilling. Kids had fun, Mom was fed, and Dad isn't broke. Maybe we can get a group discount for angioplasty in 10 years!

PS Today Trouble wanted to play "Pretty, Pretty Princess" again, and I was told by my DH that that game will not be a regular in out house. He was very much opposed to me taking and posting a pictures of 'boys in jewelry'. Ha Ha!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

KTT: Bitter Cucumbers

Bitter cucumbers are not normally found in grocery stores but are often found if you buy fresh from a Farmers Market or grown at home. You can 'remove' the bitter taste. Before peeling the cucumber slice off one end. Now rub, in a circular motion, the sliced end over the part you just sliced from. As you are rubbing, your cucumber will start foaming. The foam is the bitterness!! Wash off the cucumber and enjoy!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Stefanie's quilt

My good friend Stefanie Miller (Aeder) is preggo and due soon with her first baby. We've known each other for almost 25 years. She is two years younger than I, so I about had a heart attack the first time I saw her driving. Now she's going to be a Mommy!! I can hardly believe it! She'll be a wonderful Mommy. She has accomplished so much in life. I'm very proud of her and wish her the best in her adventure in Motherhood!
Here is the quilt I pieced together for her new baby. It is crib sized. I sent it for her baby shower. My mom is going to do the actually quilting and finishing work.




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