The One with the Free Food

Yesterday was great.  It was great with the enormous exception of watching two of our three fishies die.  I was just trying to be a good caretaker.  I was cleaning their filthy tank.  Apparently I’m a horrible caretaker.  I thought they would be happy.  Instead I was very sad.  I watched as they floated upside down–Sprinkles on the water’s surface and Bluestreak on the stones–each struggling to keep their gills moving.  Then, it was over.  I’m not so sure Princess is going to make it either.  Kevin offered to stop at Meijer last night to pick up new fish.  I said no.  I am still grieving.
The great part of yesterday started after the funerals.  I whipped up a batch of chewy fudge brownies to take with us to Britt & Nick’s legal wedding ceremony (necessary paperwork prior to filing for the Canadian-American marriage stuff.)  Oh and speaking of the brownies I’m really stoked about my newfound desire to bake cakes and brownies completely from scratch.  I don’t think I ever had the inability to try this, but for the most part my mind told me that when you bake a cake or brownies you just whip out the mix and go to town.  Well, now that my kitchen skills are soaring I can throw together a delicious mix of my own in almost the same time.  And the rewards are that much more satisfying.  
Anywho…once Kevin got home we took off for Spring Arbor where we met at the Brewer’s house.  Many of our friends were there with Britt & Nick to support them in this stage of their steps toward marital bliss.  We got to fellowship with the Brewer’s which was so refreshing after months apart.  (Ken was the officiant at our wedding and had an incredible impact on both of our lives at SAU.  He was my professor and advisor and became our mentor during our senior year.)  After the very intimate ceremony we all shared in the sparkling cider and brownie action then headed out in the snow for Outback Steakhouse.  Hours later we were stuffed to the gills (ohhhhh….my fishies….they’re dead…………) and overflowing with great laughter and conversation.  Around 11pm Kevin and I made a sleepy drive back to our home where we quickly tumbled into bed at 1am.  
This morning I took the next step in the multiple-day long process of sourdough bread.  It’s my husband’s favorite form of carbs in loaf form and I must admit I enjoy it as well.  My goal is to make breadbowls to house our chili for tonight’s dinner.  
Maybe this weekend, we will bring new fishies home.  Also I’m looking forward to attending one of our youth’s choir contest and then heading to Sam’s Club for shopping and partaking of Super Bowl weekend samples.  YES!!!!! 

The One with the Creamy-ness

A lovely evening.  It all began this morning when I decided to try my hand at homemade pasta.  When the fettuccini looked presentable I figured why not go homemade all the way.  Alfredo sauce from scratch.  Everything cooked up beautifully and tasted even better.  *pats self on the back*  
I finished Twilight just now.  It was good.  Intriguing at times.  Slow at others.  Not exactly my favorite book ever but I did enjoy it and I’m trying to figure out if I enjoyed it enough to read the other three books in the series.  Kevin buzzed through about 500 pages every day in his spare time (mostly while I was asleep next to him in our bed.)  I don’t like reading at the speed of light so that’s probably why a relatively slow-going novel was even slower going for me. :)
Speaking of slow, the snow fell today.  (It rhymes, people!)  Kevin got almost to work after hours in the car without his cell phone and was at a standstill when he gave up realizing he’d never make class on time.  At 11am I heard him waltz in the garage door.  Yay for me.  
I’m not really sure what else I was going to write about so I will sign off now instead of boring you further. ;)

The One with Lots of Things

Saturday was a great day all around.  Come to think of it this whole weekend was nearly perfect.  And I don’t say that about just any weekend.  
Saturday morning I headed for Canton where I met up with a bunch of women (including my favorite mother-in-law and one of my wonderful grandmothers-in-law) from across the Southern MI conference for a day of fellowship, food, and shopping at IKEA.  I decided to limit my spending before entiring the glorious madness that is IKEA.  I came in $7 under budget.  Yay me!  In addition to the great shopping, I had a wonderful time catching up with two of my favorite conference friends–Andrea and Christy and I’m looking forward to more time with them, their husbands and other conferance couples at the Pastor-Spouse retreat in Frankenmuth Feb. 3-4. 
After heading for home and stopping by my beloved Aldi  for our weekly groceries (including ingredients for smoothies!) I made it back to my husband by 3:30pm.  We sat around talking for a bit and he let me show off my (our) purchases.  We had a nice relaxing afternoon and around 6pm he made good on his promise…to take me ice skating!!!  
I had been really excited to utilize the local rink for some youth activites but also really hoped to have a date on the ice–just the two of us.  (and every other random Monroe skater.)  I found a BOGO coupon so we got in for $4 instead of $8 and Kevin’s rental skates were just $2.  Not too shabby!  I love good prices!  Anyways…our 2 hours together were terrific.  We both thought the other would “show us up” but we ended up pretty even skill wise.  Hesistancy was the goal for the first 20 minutes or so, but soon we were in the grove and loving it!  We ended our evening with a cup of hot chocolate.
Sunday started out similar to every other Sunday of my life.  With the exception of preparing chili to cook in the crockpot.  In addition to the great new outfit I came up with, church was fantastic.  We had our second week of leading Sunday School for the teens.  Our goal was to press through the second half of chapter 12 of I Corinthians–One Body, Many Parts.  We’ve been focusing on exploring spiritual gifts with the youth–what they are, how we can use them, how they edify the whole body, etc.  It started out a bit rocky, but by the end of our 40 minutes together these kids had it down.  They had learned to fully comprehend and explain what is meant by the term “Body of Christ” and they were able to understand the metaphor of the physical body to help us understand how essential our gifts our to Christ’s Body–the universal church.  Even last night at youth group as we discussed how we can use our gifts, I was overflowing with pride as the two teens from the SS class helped everyone understand the concepts.  I can’t explain how stoked I am!  
Back tracking a bit to church…worship went so well.  Always an act of God I say.  I played/sang Healing Rain by MWS and it was a powerful time of worship.  I have loved truly exploring my musical gifts in the realm of worship.  I feel like I am finally beginning to understand how to use such a talent to glorify God–in helping others come before the throne, feel His presence.  What a blessing it is.  
After church I was talking to a great couple about who knows what and then Kathy suddenly asked me if I taught piano lessons.  Well…………………it has been a thought in this mind of mine, but I have yet to decide if I should go through with it.  Her 11 year old daugher would love to learn how to play and so I’m taking a few days to think on this proposition.  Luckily I have Kevin’s grandma as a great reference in getting started teaching.  She has shared her wisdom with me as well as her list of requirements, materials, schedules, etc.  
 
In other news, our good friend Dave came for a visit last evening and stayed the night with us so he could visit Wayne State with Kevin today.  We had a great time catching up with him and I’m pretty sure both guys were excited about the homemade brownies I made just for their lunches. :)  Thanks to Britt’s mom, Melaney for the recipe!  
Today is filled with many possibilities–cleaning the fish tank, baking for the upcoming church rummage sale, doing laundry, reading, relaxing, napping………………….

The One while waiting for the new What Not to Wear

A wonderful Friday has been had.  Warm leftover homemade potato soup for lunch.  Reading and studying and quieting was perfect.  Decided on calzones for dinner.  Made by hand.  Surprised husband.  Excitement and smiles abounded.  Quality time together cherished.  Time to relax.  Time to plan for tomorrow.  Tomorrow includes an IKEA shopping spree.  With 39 other SOMI women.  Also, these sweet memories brought to me by him

The One with the Fast Forwarding

As I sit here all clean and cozy in my favorite plush white robe, waiting for my oatmeal to thicken I thought I would do a little random updating.  These were my thoughts yesterday.
I was trying to find some calendar information on the Spring Arbor website but was having no luck.  That’s when I decided to try to get more direct access by signing into “MySAU” web portal.  I was shocked and truly bummed when my user name was NOT RECOGNIZED.  Yikes!  They finally kicked me out.  Sad, sad day.  Reality. (go ahead, laugh at me…)
I have decided to admit to my addiction.  To my DVR that is.  This is the greatest invention of all time.  (This may be debated, but it’s at least my favorite invention at this moment in time.)  Anyways, yeah…the DVR rocks.  Television shows no longer control my schedule.  Ok, ok…I was not THAT freakishly obsessed with T.V. but there are certain shows that I hate to miss.  That’s when the DVR comes in handy.  If I’m going to be back to watch the show in 10 minutes or 2 hours I can just pause the tv show!  PAUSE the tv!!!  Or….if something cool is going to be on and 1) I’m wanting to go to bed before it airs or 2) I think I’ll be more “in the mood” for it tomorrow or 3) I have other plans at that time I can simply record it.  Then…when I watch it…I get to fast forward through all of the commercials (the most annoying part of television in my opinion.)  Fast forwarding is by far the greatest part of the DVR.  It took me a while to get used to having this awesome power, but boy oh boy am I used to it now. 
Don’t judge.  I’m just being honest here. 
Kevin and I finally got around to having the nachos for dinner.  Every night I had planned them for the last 2 weeks other plans got in the way.  It was yumilicious. 
(Did I just make up a sweet new word???)
Also, last night was the third week of trying to start youth group small groups.  The first week, the snow cancelled it.  The second week no one showed up.  The third week (aka yesterday) we had two guys and one girl show up.  It went rather well.  We pray that spending more time in accountability with the same sex will really open up doors to growth.
My oatmeal’s ready.  I must go.

The One with the Comfy

It’s been a while.  I feel a little guilty.  But I haven’t had much to say.  No…scratch that…I just haven’t felt like writing. 
Today was sweatpants day.  And headache day.  But what day isn’t headache day?  
I baked a white cake from scratch.  The recipient tells me it was delicious.
Our evenings have been quite enjoyable.  Much less tv.  More reading together.  More ping pong.  More dinner conversation.  Nice.  We still get the chance for our favorite shows but we’re making a conscious effort to find other activities to fill our precious time together.
Pizza Hut lunch buffet yesterday was good.  The restaurant could use some work.  The pizza was up to par, however.  And coupons are just the cherry on top.
Speaking cherries, I think I’m going to go have myself a glass of Cherry 7Up.  For old times sake.

The One with Brilliance

I just opened the curtains in the office and gasped.  You see, the sun is just now beginning to rise and while most of the sky is still a hazy blue, the horizon is brilliantly making a statement in a deep pinkish-orange.  I’ve seen many beautiful sunsets but the colors of this sunrise is phenomenal.  
Now, as I type I can watch the color take over the sky.
At this point I am waiting for the boys to wake up before we head to a local church’s monthly “Hillbilly Breakfast.”  You probably have a few questions about that statement.  First of all “boys.”  Yesterday afternoon Pastor Dale & Pam dropped of their two sons who were going to be staying the night with us.  Kevin got home from work around 6pm and we sat down to a great dinner that was ready right on time–penne pasta, herbed chicken, cheesy garlic bread, and salads.  We topped that off with some of my chocolate chip cookies and then opened the door to more houseguests.  Amber and her 2 year old daughter stopped by for some computer help and while they were here enjoyed a cup of tea, part of School of Rock, and the most entertaining of “toys”–the boys.  
Oh, and about that Hillbilly Breakfast.  Pastor Dale told me at the start of this week about a local Baptist church’s monthly fundraiser in the form of an “all you can eat of any breakfast foods you can think of” breakfast. The four of us are going to be making an appearance (and filling our stomachs) along with many of the locals–including a handful of our own church members.  
Later, Kevin and I will be accomplishing the weekly shopping, including a stop at our favorite store–a fresh fruits and vegetable market called Ciolino’s.  Of course a visit to Aldi is necessary and Meijer sales are bound to lure us in.  
The sky is officially overtaken by the sun’s amazing rays.  *sigh*

The One with a Warm Snow Globe

It may be (below) freezing outside (and a bit nippy inside too) but I’m staying pretty cozy.  Thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law who happens to be a talented crochet “artist,” my entire body can be wrapped snuggly in one of our two oversized afghans. :D  
Yesterday I finally finished my most recent reading endeavor.  This summer I was flying through books every week or so.  I started a 3-in-1 novel early fall and had 2 and 1/2 of the books read as of November.  But since then…squat.  The last hundred pages or so took about 3 months.  No, I didn’t suddenly become the world’s slowest reader.  But I did start filling my time with who knows what else.  This week though, I finally resolved to pick up my reading once again.  It was a good decision.  Now on to a new novel.  
Yesterday was also filled with two housecalls with some lovely elderly members of our church.  Pastor Dale likes to stop by to visit the members who are having trouble getting out these days.  He invited me to come along and I joyfully accepted.  I set to work on a batch of my famous chocolate chip cookies and took a plate to both visits.  It was a blessing to meet a woman named Gladys who is a true prayer warrior.  She was glad to have my face to put to the name as she’s been praying for me.  Isn’t that encouraging?  
I also whipped up a loaf of banana bread for Kevin & I to enjoy.  He was quite excited to find the fresh bread waiting for him.  Dinner was delicious as well.  I had marinated two boneless pork chops (courtesy of a generous church member) in teriaki marinade all day and grilled them indoors last night.  The meat was accompanied by a crisp salad and seasoned roasted potato wedges.   Good stuff.  

The One with Dora

When the phone rang at 10:30 this morning and I saw who the call was from, I contemplated passing on the pick up.  I know, I know.  You can’t imagine ME ignoring someone’s call!  Well, if you knew this person, you’d probably do the same.  A simple phone call that should last…oh…3-5 minutes at most easily turns into a half hour.  And she attempts to end the conversation approximately 12 times and gets your hopes up every time…only to dash them away with a repeat of some needless topic she had already expounded upon.  Ok.  Now that you’ve got that picture in your mind, I will tell the real story.  
In a nutshell:  I put on my “babysitter” hat today. Haven’t done that in quite some time.  Didn’t want to give this person too many reasons to “latch on” if you know what I mean, but decided that her predicament was more than worth a little sacrifice of peace & quiet on my end.  She said it would be about 2 hours of watching her little girl (who happens to be an adorable looking two year old but who just so happens to be very sick, and very very in need of obedience training–no not of the canine genre…just some parental discipline if you know what I mean…)  The first hour or so went well.  We watch a Dora DVD she brought and ate some oranges.  Most of the rest of the time was…ok…but certainly a test of my patience as I’ve rarely seen a child who refuses to listen or obey like this little one.  THEN her exhaustation started kicking in.  She was kicking and screaming at times when I was refusing to give in.  Wanting Mommy.  Crying.  Not crying.  Almost sleeping.  Getting into trouble.  Cuddling.  Crying.  Wanting Mommy.  Rinse & repeat.  A full two hours after her original scheduled pickup, mommy finally arrived.  *sigh*  Even after she called a couple times to check on things and even after I informed her of her daughter’s wailing, she was still another hour.  *sigh*  
In the end, I was thankful to serve this single mom who happens to be going through a divorce and attempting to finish her undergrad degree and I was even more thankful when the service was over.  
Just being honest.

The One with a Stomach Stuffed with Pizza

This weekend was quite a blast.  And not just of the fluffy white stuff.  (…which I love by the way.)  Kevin & I hit the road around 5:30 pm on Friday and arrived in Spring Arbor around 7pm.  We had a delicious hamburger dinner accompanied by the greatest fellowship–family.  Saturday was the first time in a looooooooong time that we have slept in past 7:00am.  It was close to 10 I think by the time we finally rolled out of the sack.  (Speaking of which, it’s a sweet deal to be able to share his old room. *happy*)  After getting a lesson on my new/used Palm Pilot (*stoked!*) and the boys regular video game sessions, we all enjoyed feasting on way too much Chinese at the buffet for Dad’s-in-law birthday.  Then we watched an SAU v. Grace Men’s Basketball game that was neck and neck.  (Sad outcome…) and the best part was getting to see Brooke…and for the second time in a week to boot!  I am so blessed by her friendship.  It may not be a steady contact relationship but it is one of sweet, unconditional and unending love.  I am so thankful to know she is always and forever there for me.  
Saturday night we were supposed to head back to Monroe, but decided to forego the possibly-sucky drive and spend a second night.  (three cheers for packing extra “undergarments” =D  Thanks for teaching me well, Mom!)  Sunday morning we had plenty of time to make the clear drive to Monroe in time for praise practice and church.  After service, we and the Kaufman’s filled our stomach’s at good ol’ Marge’s house where we had lots of Cottage Inn pizza.  Mmm.  A rousing game of Dominoes was enjoyed by all and made me realize how much I loved playing with Grams & Gramps!  Good times.  Good memories.  
Oh, and the teens in my youth group are absolutely amazing.  I love spending time with them.  Laughing.  Playing.  Teaching.  Learning.  Growing.  Keep us in your prayers.