Monthly Archives: April 2011

Tornado

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Yesterday a tornado tore through Tuscaloosa, Alabama, leaving in its wake destruction and deaths. Just over a year ago I was living there, and looking at the pictures of streets I drove on, and hearing of buildings and restaurants I knew that are completely wiped out is scary. It’s a different feeling when a disaster like this hits home.
Thankfully I’ve heard from the friends I have in Tuscaloosa, and everyone is alive…but I wouldn’t go as far as saying they are OK. There is so much devastation and many have lost so much. Most don’t have electricity or cell phone coverage to call friends and family. I feel so helpless on the other side of the country, but all I can do is pray. I’m asking you to pray too, and keep them in your thoughts.
If you are so inclined, I do know that bringing items like toothbrushes, soap, first aid kits etc. to any Methodist church will help. There is a committee on relief that will make sure those items get to where they are most needed. Please consider helping in any way you can.

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Marshmallow Peeps and Sweet Potatoes!

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This recipe is an Easter tradition in my house; my grandmother always makes them for Easter and even though I don’t actually like sweet potatoes I think they are very sweet!
These are super simple to make, and I brought them to our “out-of-towners” Easter dinner and they were a hit! You can also make them with regular marshmallows, if you don’t have access to peeps.

First, bake and mash the sweet potatoes. For a dozen servings you will probably only need 4-5 average sized sweet potatoes or yams (I used yams because they are more orange).
Add a few tablespoons of sugar and sprinkle some cinnamon in the potatoes. Set aside. Line a large baking dish with pineapple rings and spoon the potatoes onto the rings. Place a yellow peep in the middle and put a little more potato around the edges to encompass the peep.

Cook them at 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes, keeping an eye on them so the peeps don’t melt away! Serve warm and enjoy!

(These are before being cooked. After, the peeps didn’t have much shape!)

Happy Earth Day! (a day late…)

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Though I was aware that yesterday was Earth Day, I completely dropped the ball on posting about it! Although, one could argue that everyday should be Earth Day, so let’s just pretend that I’m not late in posting.

Here are a few things I do to help the earth.

  • Recycle! I absolutely love that our recycle bin is larger than our trash bin. Though we do sometimes throw away more things that we should, we also recycle almost everything. Thank goodness for living in the Pacific Northwest, where they love to recycle!
  • We have a rain barrel (more on that next week!) and two compost bins; one worm bin and one larger compost bin in the backyard.
  • Whenever possible we use cloth wipes, rather than paper towels. I’m still working on Geoff on this one…
  • We usually use cloth bags for shopping. When we forget, however, we reuse the bags for kitty litter! I’m too cheap to buy the bags that you can compost, but if we ever run out of plastic I will do that.
  • Whenever our light bulbs burn out I replace them with energy efficient bulbs. No sense in wasting the ones that came in the house!
  • We keep the house at a balmy 63 degrees in the winter. It’s cool, sure, but nothing a nice blanket and slippers can’t fix!
  • I make good use of Craigslist, Freecycle and Goodwill. Love those things!
  • We have local milk and yogurt delivered every week. Sure, it’s a little more expensive, but I love that the milk is local and 24 hours out of the cow by the time we get it!

What are you doing to help the environment, and save money at the same time?

Food Waste Friday

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This week’s food waste wasn’t that bad, although I didn’t miss out on it entirely! I don’t, however, have a picture for you.
The whole, making one larger meal and eating it throughout the week worked very well this week, I’m happy to say! We finished off our casserole without any waste! Although I was pretty sick of it by the end!
We lost some strawberries this week. Apparently I didn’t learn my lesson from last week! Oops. This time it was only about half a container though. My co-worker found some excellent strawberries this week so I’m going to see if I can find these myself!
I also just discovered some asparagus and cucumbers that were hiding in a bottom drawer of the refrigerator, but since I found them this morning I’m not sure what the damage is yet.
I feel like there was something else that fell victim to my food waste but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was! If I do, I will let you know.

How did you do this week?

52 Letter Challenge, weeks 15 and 16

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I’m a week behind in posting, but not in writing, thank goodness! Week 15 somehow slipped away from me so I quickly wrote a letter on my lunch break last Saturday. This one was to my pen pal Lydia, to whom I write when I don’t know who else to write to! It wasn’t anything exciting (we usually write about what’s going on in our lives) and it was on a piece of white lined paper from a legal pad at work, but it was a letter, and that’s all that counts!

Week 16 was a little more interesting. This letter is already written and just waiting to be popped in the mail! (I keep forgetting because it’s on my coffee table). This week’s letter went out to a very good friend named Tammy. I lived with Tammy’s family while I finished up my last 2 years of school, renting out a room in her house. Though I loved my first two years at school, I absolutely loved living with Tammy. At the time she had a little boy who was 1 1/2 when I moved in (that same little boy was in our wedding, along with his sister, who was born just after I moved out. They are now 8 and 6! I can’t believe it!) I expected it to be slightly awkward, and only last a year, but to my surprise, I became part of the family. Bryant and I bonded, and Tammy became like a second mom to me.
We haven’t talked since my wedding, unfortunately, because I’m not very good at phone calls and Tammy doesn’t use email. However, they’ve been on my mind lately, and I thought she was the perfect person to write a letter to. I know she will appreciate the handwritten, personal mail.

If you’re doing the 52 week letter writing challenge, how are you doing?

I’ll find strength in pain…

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The following is a guest post that my sister wrote on her own blog. It was so good, and exactly described my thoughts about the song she writes about that I asked her if I could use the post for my own blog.

Nearly every song on Mumford and Son’s album (Sigh No More) expresses everything I have ever wanted to express about the world and my life. Especially The Cave.

I love The Cave so much I am deeply, seriously, undeniably considering getting the line “I’ll find strength in pain” tattooed on my foot. I chose my foot (in case you’re curious) because of the first stanza: “the sun it rises slowly as you walk / away from all the fears / and all the faults you left behind”

Whenever I listen to The Cave, I hear two voices. I hear myself–talking to my depression and telling it to back off, go away, because I am better, stronger, a fighter. (“So make your siren’s call / and sing all you want / I will not hear what you have to say / cuz I need freedom now / and I need to know how / to live my life as it’s meant to be…”)

But most of all… I hear God. I hear him saying “I will hold on hope / I won’t let you choke / on the noose around your neck.” And suddenly nothing has ever mattered except for this moment, because God is telling me it’s going to be okay.

——
The Cave (Mumford and Sons)

It’s empty in the valley of your heart
The sun, it rises slowly as you walk
Away from all the fears
And all the faults you’ve left behind

The harvest left no food for you to eat
You cannibal, you meat-eater, you see
But I have seen the same
I know the shame in your defeat

But I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again

Cause I have other things to fill my time
You take what is yours and I’ll take mine
Now let me at the truth
Which will refresh my broken mind

So tie me to a post and block my ears
I can see widows and orphans through my tears
I know my call despite my faults
And despite my growing fears

But I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again

So come out of your cave walking on your hands
And see the world hanging upside down
You can understand dependence
When you know the maker’s hand

So make your siren’s call
And sing all you want
I will not hear what you have to say

Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it’s meant to be

And I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again

Menu Plan Monday, er, Tuesday!

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This week’s menu plan Monday is a little late! But at least I’m doing it, which was one of my goals this month! The plan of having leftovers throughout the week worked pretty well, although we didn’t make the chicken and rice until later in the week, so it’s more like leftovers for this week!

Monday: Snacky stuff

Tuesday: Fish and broccoli

Wednesday: Both out at youth group, so we will eat there.

Thursday: Skillet macaroni and cheese, some veggie

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Breakfast for dinner or leftovers

Sunday: Snacky stuff and leftovers or, if I’m feeling ambitious, homemade pizza.

I just realized we’re having a mostly vegetarian week! Yay for saving money, because eating vegetarian is very frugal!
What are you having for dinner this week?