Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kissing the TV Good-bye *Update

Well, I've been busy. Like I said, it's been hard not having the TV on, especially in the evenings while my husband and I wind down, but I've found other things to do. They're not usually relaxing - cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, organizing cabinets, decluttering....

But some things that I have done that have been relaxing are:
  • listening to books on CD - Playing for Pizza by John Grisham, Obsessed by Ted Dekker
  • reading books - Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon, Breaking Out of Bedlam by Leslie Larson (read the entire thing in one day: during nap time and in the evening after the boys had gone to bed - and this is not a "Christian" book, just thought you should know)
  • making the cutest burp cloths for a few baby gifts (I'll post about it later, after the gift-giving is complete)
I also made 12 chicken pot pies for the freezer. Yumm-O!! But that was not relaxing, although yummy.

And I want to report that my husband is a TV cheater!! That's right. Not only did he watch TV while he was at a conference with the students in DSM, and while he was at seminary staying at his parent's house, and visiting his brother to watch the Iowa bowl game...but now he's cheated at home. He was listening to the Vikings play the Cowboys and "the station kept breaking up" so he flipped on the TV for the last 2 minutes. What!?!?

I heard about Haiti through Facebook, I heard about a snowstorm that hit while my husband was out of town through word of mouth, I heard about the newly-elected senator from Massechusettes through Yahoo! news, and I still don't really know what's going on with Conan and Leno! Just sayin'!

All that to say that we're on day 21 and I still struggle with it in the evenings. I miss seeing the news and not just hearing or reading about it. I didn't realize how addicted I was to the pictures and videos. Also, The Amazing Race starts up again tonight and it's our favorite show!! YIKES!! I'll have to read about that online too. :(

**Update: I was mistaken - I just found out that the promos for The Amazing Race were set to air last night and the new season doesn't start until February 14th!! Yay!!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Spinach Dip

Julie brought this dip to our church's open house. It is delicious!! I was able to take some home with me over Christmas break and everyone was asking for the recipe. So I thought I'd ask Julie if I could post it on my blog and she said, "Yes!" So here it is!!

Spinach Dip
from: Julie

1 cup mayo
1/2 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
1 cup water chestnuts, chopped
2 cups sour cream
1 packet Knorr Dried Vegetable Soup

Mix together. Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving. Serve with Hawaiian Bread Bowl (from Hy-Vee).


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kissing the TV Good-bye *Update

This week has been a lot better without the TV because my husband's home and I think I'm getting used to it. ;)

We've been listening to CD's of Adventures in Odyssey by Focus on the Family. They're really good! Sometimes they're a little over the head of my 3 1/2-year-old but I can tell he's picking some good info up because he'll raise his eyebrows and smile at me. Kinda cute. And they're easy for me to listen to as well. They keep me interested and they have great morals at the end along with Bible verses. We've been getting them from the library, but I may have to put it on our wish list so we have some for car rides, etc.

The only thing that is still really hard for me is the news. I have a hard time remembering to check it online and when I listen to the radio I only get bits and pieces. Like the earthquake in Haiti. I heard about it on Facebook (my husband's because I don't have one). Big stuff like that is hard to hear about through something like Facebook. I'd rather hear the news and watch it on TV. But, I'm working on it.


By the way, my small group went well last night so thanks for all of you who lifted us up. I also made some Microwave Caramel Corn and No-bake Cookies. They ate all of the cookies and about half of the popcorn - good thing I made a double-batch. ;)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Starting a Small Group

Along with a high school junior, I started a small group with seven 7th grade girls. Last week we met with the moms and let them in on what our group is about and what is required of the girls in the group. It went really well, although I was nervous. ;) And tonight we have our first real meeting.

We're going to be going through the book A Young Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George. I've used this book before and it went really well. It really focuses on how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ: setting apart time to spend with Him each day, talking with Him, submitting to His authority, and more! I think it's a great starter book for these girls.

I also encouraged them to get a journal for their quiet times and for prayer requests. I think it's important for them to journal about Scripture that they're reading 1) to stay on task and 2) so they can reflect back on this passage later. It's amazing how you can read something from God's Word and read it again a year later and He's speaking truth to you in a new and fresh way.

I also created a Group Covenant (with help from a handout I received from the youth pastor) that they will sign tonight. I think it's important to give them clear expectations. It helps them to take ownership of the group, helps them to come to group prepared, and it's a great way to have the girls hold each other accountable for the goals we've set for our group.

Please be in prayer for me and my co-leader as we serve these girls and hopefully guide them to a closer relationship with the Lord.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Kissing the TV Good-bye *Update

I miss my tv.

There are many reasons why this has been a particularly hard week:

1. My husband is gone to seminary this week. I've been lonely in the evenings. If he were home we could talk or play games. But he's not home so there has been no game-playing or talking. For the most part my evenings have been filled with cleaning and other household tasks. That is not relaxing for me. And reading still uses up brain-power that I don't have much left of by the end of the day. I just get tired and decide that 7:30p is a little early to hit the sack so I go about cleaning and organizing.

2. The weather has been awful here and I'm going crazy with all this boy-energy. The beginning of the week was filled with terribly cold weather. -27 for the low and 4 above for the high. Not particularly good weather for my boys to run around in. In fact, my youngest cried from the door to the van on Tuesday so we could run some errands. And yesterday we had another snowstorm. I think this is the 3rd of the season. And it continues today. After 5+ inches of snow, we're having 35mph winds with gusts up to 40mph. Our house is really small and there is no basement so I have no where to send the boys to run. It's tiring for them and for me. I wish I could put a video on and have them sit for a while, but that's not an option.

3. I miss my alone time. I would use PBS Kids as a distraction so I could at least take a shower and not worry about my house being destroyed by my little boys. In fact, when I took a shower on Tuesday, I was thinking to myself that there's nothing that they could do that they would really get in trouble for. But they found the one thing to break that would make me the most annoyed - the plastic on the windows!! AARG!! By the way, my alone time in the evening isn't as great as a shower in the morning.

4. I miss the news. Yes, I could check online for my information or even listen to the radio. But I know that at 12noon and at 5p I can watch the news and get it in it's entirety. I didn't even know about the storm until someone mentioned it at a meeting I had on Tuesday evening. And I just like knowing what's going on the world. It feels like I'm part of it even though I'm trapped in my house with another snowstorm whipping around outside.

So, there are many factors that play into my missing the tv - my husband being gone, the weather, my alone-time, and feeling like I'm part of this big world. Oh, and the boy-energy is quite excessive today. Please pray for me. ;)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix

This is seriously good stuff!! We treated our babysitters (who I have yet to deliver to), Sunday School teachers and it was part of my homemade gift for my sister-in-law this Christmas. It's addicting so you might want to make a double-batch.

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix
from Amy at The Motherload

1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup French vanilla powdered non-dairy creamer
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea (I used decaff)
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg (I grind mine fresh)
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it is a fine powder. (If you have a small food processor (or blender), you can combine the instant tea and spices in the food processor and then combine everything in a bowl.) It's really important to finely grind the spices because they don't dissolve in water.

Add 2 to 3 tbsp of mix to 8 ounces of hot water and about 1/4 cup milk. Enjoy!!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Kissing the TV Good-bye *Update

It's been a rough weekend. My husband was out of town with the high school students he ministers to so I was home with the boys alone. Without the TV.

Friday night I finished my book that I started on December 1st. I was only half-way through when I sat down to read it. And on Saturday I wanted to watch college basketball so bad! I don't really have a team that I watch, I just love to watch it all. ;) So, I cleaned and worked on my cleaning calendar (a great check-list) for the year. Saturday night my two-year-old was sleeping by 7:15p and my 3 1/2-year-old was asleep by 8p and I was asleep in the recliner at 8:30p. ;) Sunday afternoon it was a battle not to watch sports or a movie, but I listened to the radio and washed my dishes by hand.

I've noticed that bedtime for the boys is a little bit more relaxed. We start at the same time but I'm not as rushed because my show is on at 7p. I take more time to sing, pray and visit with my boys before bed. And I think it's helping them to stay in bed and go to sleep. ;) Usually we have to tell them multiple times and discipline them for disobeying by getting out of bed. I haven't really had that problem the past few nights.

Another thing, my husband really is my best friend and things are pretty boring here without him. At least if he was home the evenings would be occupied by conversation and maybe a few board games. So, it's been a struggle for me. Now that the weekend is over I think it will go better because I'm in more of a routine and I have several projects that I've wanted to finish but haven't had the time. ;) Isn't that such a relative phrase?!

By the way, does anyone have any really good books they want to recommend? I could use a few good books. ;)

Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip

This is my favorite recipe for spinach and artichoke dip. It tastes just like Applebee's dip if you've ever had it there. Yumm-O! I think the special ingredient is the creamed spinach.

Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip

6 oz marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1 (9-11 oz) pkg frozen creamed spinach, thawed
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese (not the kind out of the shaker)
diced red bell pepper for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine artichoke, spinach, mayo and sour cream.
2. Add garlic and Parmesan cheese; mix well. Spoon into a small greased baking dish.
3. Bake 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with red bell pepper and serve with tortilla chips.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Kissing the TV Good-bye

Well, the TV isn't really gone but the power strip to the TV, DVD player, stereo receiver, the VCR and the digital antennae is off.

My husband and I have been wanting to fast from the TV for several months, but we were selfish and wanted to wait until The Amazing Race was over for this season. ;) So, starting today and lasting through the entire month of January, we will be fasting from our TV.

I think it will go pretty well for most of the day, but it has been nice to have PBS Kids as an option throughout the day. We especially like Sesame Street at 9am after we're finished with our school work. And Curious George is on at 5pm and distracts them long enough for me to get dinner ready for our 5:30p meal time. I'm the most nervous about the last one - 5pm dinner time.

I plan on borrowing lots of books on CD for the boys for use in the afternoon while we're playing or at 5pm when I'm trying to get dinner ready. Also, my husband and I like to watch movies and we have already said that if we "need" to, we can use our portable DVD player for a date night and watch a movie together in bed. ;) Kind of fun to be sneaky sometimes. But this will be a once a week (if that) treat for ourselves.

And I'll have to find a good radio station to listen to the news since we don't get the paper. I'll also just have to make it a habit to check the news online in the morning and then let it go. ;) I'm ready for this and so is my husband. We've talked about it for a while so it won't be so bad...and hopefully the kids will adjust. ;)

I'll keep you posted on how our TV fast is going.