Sunday, July 31, 2011

Goodbye July!

I can't believe July is already over (or will be at midnight tonight!) Yikes! It's a little bit crazy.

Residency is continuing to go well. I'm doing an ethics presentation this week on Pediatric Consent/Assent/Dissent. I'm pretty excited. I think I've outdone myself this time! Next week I'm doing another one on a book called "When Parents Say No" about refusing treatment on the basis of religious convictions. I'm pretty stoked.

Jeff still hasn't found a permanent job. There's a chance he could go back to Nafco for a little while, so that'll be nice. I know he enjoys working with them. Heck, he enjoys working period. I totally understand it!

We have been enjoying being crafty lately. Jeff built me a beautiful workbench as an early birthday gift and as a result I have moved into the garage. It's actually quite a nice work space. I spent several hours down there today. Now if I could just find a stool with wheels on it I'd be set. I've been working on flowers for hair clips. I didn't intend to do as many as I have, but you know how I get when I'm on a roll. I made about 50 today. I should put the finishing touches on several tomorrow. Jeff has a project of his own that he's working on, but I'll wait a while before I tell you about that!

There really isn't a whole heck of a lot that's been happening, but it's quite nice. I like having life settling into a routine. Too bad it's all going to get shaken up again before too long!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Homemade Ice Cream

Jeff and I have a new hobby this summer. Actually, "obsession" is probably a more appropriate term. Homemade ice cream. It's no secret that I love ice cream anyway, but homemade ice cream is just that much more fantastic. We have been using my mom's ice cream recipe that I think originally came from Southern Living magazine. This is the perfect size recipe for a standard ice cream freezer. If you have a small one (like the KitchenAid attachment I covet) you'll probably have to adjust this accordingly.

4 eggs
1/2 gallon whole milk
1 pint heavy cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup sugar
1 small box instant pudding mix
1 tsp. vanilla, optional

Basically, just mix everything together, put it in the freezer, and let it do its thing. Jeff prefers it if it's had time to harden overnight. I like it to firm up a little, but I will happily eat it straight out of the freezer.

The best part about this recipe is how easy it is to change it up. Vanilla is the obvious choice, but you can quickly and easily change your flavor by changing the pudding flavor you use. Our most recent batch was chocolate, and we have a box of cheesecake flavored pudding we want to try next because cheesecake ice cream is my new obsession. Other obvious choices are whatever fruits you have available. I'm thinking the next time I make chocolate I'll throw a little mint extract in instead of the vanilla. That should keep jeff out of it for a while and make for some very tasty milkshakes.

Give it a try. You won't be disappointed!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Prayer Beads

I was first introduced "officially" to the idea of prayer beads when I was in high school, attending Camp Sumatanga. My bestie growing up was Catholic and she had a rosary, but I never knew what it meant or what it was or why it mattered. While at camp, my counselor made all of us in her cabin some prayer beads and she explained the ways there were to use them and what she liked to do with them. Being the crafty soul that I am, I took it upon myself to make a few sets. To this day I'm not exactly sure what happened to my first set, but I do have some others I have made.

I hadn't made them (or really even thought about them) in many years. But recently, on my religiously-inspired craft kick, I got the bright idea to make a set of prayer beads in which each bead represents a day on the liturgical calendar. I made a field trip to a local shop called The Bead Biz and spent more than I intended on getting the supplies for this little project. The good news is that I have lots of leftovers of most of my beads. Only a few were singles, most came on strands.

What do you think? Can you find the beginning? I'll give you a hint - it's not the cross!

Now, normally this is not something I do here, but I'm just going to throw it out there. Would you buy something like this? And if you would, how much would you pay for it? I'm going to make at least one more set to give as a gift, but that leaves a whole bunch of beads that I really don't have any other use for and would like to see go to a good home and also help me recover a little bit of the cost of these. All the beads are glass, stone, or metal - no plastic.

Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Work in Progress

Yes, this is Christmas related. But as we have already discovered, I'm a little nuts and enjoy all the planning and preparation that goes into holidays. And I really did intend to make this whole thing a bit more timely, but life kind of gets in the way of these things. So consider this "Christmas in July" from me. Alas...

I have been a little bit obsessed with getting stockings for me and Jeff that match. And in perusing one of a zillion catalogs whose name I can't remember, I came across some that I LOVED that were knit. The thing that I really loved about them was that there was an advent calendar to match. But it wasn't like any advent calendar I had ever seen, because it was a garland to string across the mantle with cute little pockets for each day. Apparently this is not a new idea, but it wasn't something I had ever seen so I thought it was just the cutest thing ever.

Well, the problem with all this matching cuteness was that it was very expensive. And I forgot the name of the catalog I saw it in. And the actual catalog has been thrown out because it wasn't mine and I forgot to snatch it from my step-mom's house and that was at least 8 months ago now. And in all my online searching, I have yet to find one that I liked as well as that one (or that had stockings to match). Even Etsy wasn't helping me out this time!

Well, I considered the idea of knitting one myself. The garland itself would be easy enough to do wit the right size loom. The problem comes with the creation of the little pockets. I'm sure they aren't that hard to make, and I looked at all my options but I wasn't feeling great about any of the things I feel like I could do. Then, I found this. And it was brilliant. And all was soon to be right with the world. Except I don't have any sweaters I can sacrifice. And I really didn't want to go buy sweaters to cut them up. So I sent a plea to my friends on Facebook.

Unfortunately, I'm still waiting on some sweaters. I may have to resort to hitting up the thrift store, but I'm still hopeful someone will come to my rescue with a sweater or two (hint hint!) Since it is now the opposite of sweater weather, I'm going to reserve my hunting and pestering for the fall when people start unpacking old sweaters that had been stashed for summer.

In the meantime, I have been working on the actual garland. I found a tiny loom (I actually now have two, but that's another story for another day) and some fantastic Christmas-colored yarn, so I've got a garland that's 10-12 feet long. I really should measure that...

As for the pockets? Well, I came up with another Christmas clearance find last year - mini stockings! I got them for roughly 20 cents each, so about $5 later I have all my "pockets" for my garland. This really makes things right with our world for a few reasons. The first is that we have yet to get the cute matching stockings I want us to have. So for now we have the kind of cheap fuzzy ones. And now miniature versions of those are going on my garland to hang with them. So it will all match. And we have already covered how much I like for things to match!

I've still got to make myself sit down and start measuring and attaching the stockings to the garland, but it's in the works. I also have some other liturgically-influenced crafts in the works, so stay tuned for more on those!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bragging a Little

Back in the fall, someone from UAB magazine came to do a profile on the CPE program since it was being revived. We were interviewed and photos were taken and we waited and waited to hear when it would be published, but nothing ever came. Well, we all kind of figured we got scrapped in favor of a "juicier" story. Well, yesterday one of the staff chaplains came in with the newest edition of the UAB Magazine and there in a lovely little two page spread was US! I even got quoted. It was pretty cool. If you have a few minutes, check it out!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Obligatory Update

I have been a serious slacker when it comes to blogging lately. I promise I have been reading, but I haven't been inspired to do much writing. So just in case you are wondering, here is what has been going on in my life -

Church. Hospital. Home. Shuffle and repeat.

That's it. That has been my life as of late. I have discovered one little gem that is giving me something to look forward to, and that is the Helena Market Days. I go every Saturday. Rarely buy anything, but it's fun to wander and people watch. One of these days I'm going to make it to a movie in the park, too.

As far as my 101 list, consider this my week 26 update because I have done NOTHING to cross off the list in the last two weeks. I videotaped one sermon, but still have five more to go. At least I have them scheduled so they should be done by the end of summer.

Hospital stuff is going fine. We're into our last unit, so there's some serious pressure about "what's next" and also some serious grief about leaving this place and these people who have shared so much over the past year.

Our 4th weekend included a grand family tour with visits to both Remlap and Montgomery. Good but exhausting times. I'm looking forward to some rest in its wake.

I'm officially working on ordination stuff again. In addition to the obvious videotaping of the sermon, I've met with my liason and I'm starting to think about and work on my papers. I haven't done too much serious writing as of yet because I'm trying to prioritize CPE stuff on the front end so I can focus on ordination on the back end of the summer.

So that's pretty much it. You haven't missed much. I need to get back to being inspired and having a more interesting life.