Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's a Great Day to be Laaaaaazy

(go here and join in!)


Just another lazy Saturday...well, kinda.

There are things to do
(like cleaning
and teaching piano lessons
and that babysitting job later)

but I refuse to let it stress me out :)

So here's to a! Happy weekend all!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday's Ten: Kitchen Staples

So, apparently I'm hungry as I'm writing this :)

Today's Ten is all about what you ALWAYS have in your kitchen. Just ten things...that you can whip a last-minute meal out of if need be!

Kitchen Must-Haves

1. Fire Roasted tomatoes (at least 3 cans)
2. chicken broth
3. pasta of some sort (if not several)
4. potatoes
5. milk
6. frozen veggies for when I'm out of fresh
7. eggs
8. cilantro (fresh, usually)
9. whipping cream
10. sauce, and plenty of it. my refrigerator door is impressive.

What about you? What do you *always* have on hand? Sign MckLinky and grab the button!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Fajita Burgers

Somewhat based on this recipe from Food Network. I made quite a few changes though!

Chicken Fajita Burgers

1 1/3 pounds ground chicken
1 tablespoons ground chipotle chili powder, a palm full

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Several drops hot sauce

1 tablespoon grill seasoning (I used McCormick's SpicyMontreal Steak Seasoning)

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1 small or medium onion, chopped

1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 bell pepper, chopped (I added this to Anthony's burger, but not mine)
salsa verde or tomatillo taste/sight

tortillas/wraps (I used TJ's habanero lime wraps)

Combine chicken, chipotle powder, cilantro, hot sauce, onion, peppers, green salsa, and grill seasoning. Score and divide meat into 4 sections and form big patties, 1-inch thick. Drizzle patties with extra-virgin olive oil and cook 6 minutes on each side or until meat is firm and cooked through.

To serve, fold wrap creatively around burger and secure with a toothpick...or a small kabob skewer if that's what you have handy...

These were pretty amazing. Definitely keep some extra green salsa on hand to put on the burgers though--it makes them better! I think next time I might try a fresh tomato slice on top...perhaps some homemade guacamole...

(sorry I wasn't able to get a decent shot of them...but they were yummy!)


Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday's Memory: The One With Disney and a University President

(thats me, far left, holding the iced coffee and Disney bag. not much has changed in my love of coffee and shopping!)

In 2002, one of the choirs I was involved in took a bus to Orlando for a long weekend. We performed at several area churches, but we DID spend a day at Disney. We could pick one park, and my friends and I chose MGM Studios. My reasoning was that since I'd never been to Disney I'd rather come back and do it one day with my kids.
(or not. now I kinda just want to go!)

Anyway, my good friend Bethany (far right in the picture) and I caught up with some friends. We were lucky enough to get asked to be in the cast of a show because we got there early (although it made us really wet!) and I survived the Tower of Terror (never.again). I loved the Rock-n-Rollercoaster or whatever it's called because not only did it blast Aerosmith, it also was all in the dark so I couldn't tell when I was upside down!

We were surprised to bump into our university President when we were headed to the meeting spot. Apparently he had also chosen our park, and we asked to get a picture with him. Dr. Millard Reed is such an awesome and incredible man--I'm glad to have this little photo treasure :)


Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's a Great Day to play Laser Tag

(go here to join in)

I made a header! AND button!

I know that's really not too impressive and they're not all that, but I'm still excited that I figured it out :)

Today a big group of us are playing laser tag, and then I'm babysitting. At SOME point this weekend I AM going to the Pub. My friend's new pub just opened! You can check out his website here.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Takin' Care of (some more) Business

Long, long ago
(like maybe Septemberish)
Shanda gave me these awards.

"those who receive this award are of the sweetest nature. they are kind, friendly, funny, loving, eager to share their love for Jesus with others, and brave in their efforts to reflect Him to this darkened world. they are the kind of folks you're blessed to know, even if it's only in the bloggy-sphere."

I'm passing these awards on to some of my most loyal commenters/followers!

Bethany (happyascanB)
Bethany (striving to be bold)
Katy and Ross
Sassy Chica

I love them all--they're SO supportive and wonderful. Go visit them please and leave them some love :)


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday's Ten: Places You Want to Visit

I love SO many of the places that I've been, and always want to return (Boston, Chicago, Malibu, Vienna, etc) but I continually remind myself that there's a whole world out there! So today's ten is all about NEW places you want to visit. Places you've never been.

Here's my particular order

Lora's Next 10 Vacations

1. Ireland. The whole stinkin' island.
2. Sydney, Australia (and some other spots in Australia too...but I want to see that Opera House)
3. New York City, NY
4. San Diego, CA
5. Seattle, WA
6. Berlin, Germany
7. Napa Valley, CA
8. up and down the New England area
9. Charleston, SC (and while I'm there, Savannah Georgia)
10. Miami, FL

I'm sure when Anthony reads this he'll be surprised that not more of them are on a beach somewhere!

What about you? Where are 10 places you'd love to go?

Sign MckLinky if you will, and grab le button!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lent: Ash Wednesday

Well, I'm observing my liquid fast from sunup to sundown today.

And I tried for forever to figure out to give up.

My boyfriend is giving up games. That's HUGE.
His sister is giving up chocolate. That's HUGE.

I finally settled on these:

no soft drinks (that's fairly big lately)
no cookies (that's almost huge. a huge in lowercase, perhaps.)
nothing on my phone but actual phone calls when driving...even at stoplights or in rush hour. (um, that's something I needed to do ANYWAY)

I think I'll also be observing the no meat on Fridays bit. I haven't made that decision for SURE yet, but most likely I will.

I wrestled a bit with the fact that my sacrifice isn't nearly as impressive as others that I know of.

And then I realized that everything on my list is a healthy choice. Something that is GOOD for me. And realizing that made me realize that I'm still in that "body as a temple" mode. So I'm going to be even more diligent during Lent about what I'm putting in my my sleep habits affect me...if convenience foods are really worth it...

I really think that's what God wants me to focus on right now.

What about you? Are you observing Lent at all? How?


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Buffalo Chicken Dip

Well...the outcome of the Superbowl wasn't what I was hoping for, but the food we had at our party was amazing!

My contribution this year was this easy, ooey-gooey, awesome buffalo chicken dip. Original recipe is here, but I changed a couple of things, namely the type of dressing. It turned out a bit healthier (although not much) this way too!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
2 cups shredded chicken (I just bought a rotisserie chicken and used the rest to make a chicken salad)
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank's hot)
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup(ish) ranch dressing (I used skim milk and olive oil mayo to make my own with a hidden valley ranch packet)
1/4-1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (not too much or it'll get that crunchy cheese syndrome)

Preheat oven to 300
Cover bottom of an 8x8 dish or pie plate with the cream cheese.
In mixing bowl, combine chicken, buffalo wing sauce and butter. Spread over the cream cheese.
Top with just enough ranch and mozzarella cheese to cover.
Heat in oven for 20 minutes and serve with tortilla chips.

See? Easy. And soooooo yum.

This is how much was left at the end...and there was a TON of food


Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day 2010

This year was a low-key and wonderful one. Beginning with this amazing bouquet (I'm so glad he is willing to go off the beaten flower path--I've had some truly lovely flowers because of it!)

and then to a concert by the King Singers (a rare and special event indeed) where I re-discovered my wedding church!
I should explain--in college I was a member of a choir that was literally at a different church most Sundays when we were raising funds for our Europe tour. And...there was ONE church that when we walked into all the girls said "wedding church!" because it was just SO lovely and perfect...and I could never remember which one it was.
The concert was at that church yesterday...and the funny thing is, Anthony's grandparents were married there!
I seriously feel this...connect...with it, and went a little crazy yesterday when I realized it's my dream wedding place. Anthony was laughing at me. A lot. And reminding me that our own church is probably a lot cheaper...but it's also not a very pretty it'll definitely be a place that I'll look into when the time comes. Anyway, back to V-day...
But first, just look at these pictures! Gorgeous, no?

We then went to Anthony's apartment where he made lasagna...played some video games...(Little Big Planet and Peggle)

And then we went to see Valentine's Day. Such a cliche, but so fun. And it was an adorable movie anyway. A's description was "it had it's parts..." which I believe is guy-speak for "typical chick-flick, but it wasn't as bad as I thought"

It was fun to just kick back and spend an afternoon and evening together. I heart us. :)


Page from my Journal 1 (Monday's Memory)

I'll be back soon to post pictures and tell you a bit about my Valentine's Day :)

But right now I'm going to share my Monday's Memory with you.

I've been feeling a worship lately. As followers will remember, our worship minister recently left us for another position. The interim is...hard for me to say the least. It's not that we don't have amazingly talented leaders for each Sunday, and wonderful Godly people who are planning our worship times. It's just...the Randy touch. It's gone, I miss it, and I'm craving some deep, fall on my face, raise my hands in the air and DANCE kind of worship.

I get some of that downstairs with the youth group.

But I'm aching for it in other areas as well.

And so as I'm flipping through my journal tonight I came across an entry dated 10.9.06. It's a reflection from watching a friends toddler absolutely lose herself in the worship we were having at small group that evening. She was 2.5 at the time and was the picture of what worship should be--uninhabited and joyful. Here's what I wrote that night:

What a beautiful picture of what worship really is!


Thank You, Father for giving me just a glimpse of what you see when our hearts are lifted in praise to you!

Bring me back to a time when I praised You all day long.
Did I ever have such a time?
I don't remember it. Don't know if it was 'allowed'.
But YOU allow me to be a child again, so Father may I adore You, all day long as children do!

And still my prayer.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's a Great Day to Prepare for Tomorrow

(go here! join in!)

Preparing for Valentine's Day -- oh my!

So funny. A couple of years ago if you would have asked me if I would EVER look forward to this over-commercialized and sappy holiday I would have laughed and said 'no WAY' and pointed you to my best Valentine's Day ever, when my then-boyfriend and I went to Royal Thai and watched the Exorcism of Emily Rose...all the while saying "ugh, I hate this holiday."

And then enter A...

Yeah, my feelings have changed.

I've got his gift already (which I can't reveal here because, well, he's one of those followers on the side there) and he has told me that there's a 'possibility' that he's combining my Valentine's present with my birthday gift (next month is the birthday).

We'll spend most of the afternoon and evening together tomorrow, beginning with a concert and him cooking dinner for me at his place (!!) and then we're going to be that cheesy romantic comedy couple and go see Valentine's Day.

I'm quite excited, actually. This should be fun. Low-key, and focused on US which is what it should be.

And today? I'm babysitting and going to see my other boyfriend...Trader Joe. That's it. Ahhhhh.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Can of Worms: Explode!

I know they say never to talk about religion or politics over dinner.

So no snacking as you read this, ok? And certainly don't dig into a big meal. This is gonna go south pretty quickly if you do, because I'm talking about BOTH.

I often avoid standing on soapboxes on this blog, especially political ones. Because I'm very aware that there are so many sides to every issue...and selfishly because I'm afraid I'll lose followers.

But dangit, it's MY blog and I can soapbox if I want to. I will still try to not offend anyone. :)

I'm sure if you've read closely you realize that I lean more toward the liberal side politically. In most parts of the country I'm fairly certain I'd be considered more middle of the road, slightly leaning left...but here in this red, red state I am WAY out there in most people's eyes. Like, so far left of the line I can't even SEE the line anymore. The line is a dot to me.

(bonus points for you if you get the reference!)

It's ok. I've always marched to my own beat, and I've gotten used to being the different one.
(someday I'll tell you about my childhood...)

And please don't read this to mean that I'm ALWAYS liberal. That I ALWAYS vote for one party over another. I don't. I don't believe in straight ticket voting. I believe in researching the candidates and selecting the one that I truly think will do the best job, regardless if they line up on my little check box chart of things I look for in a candidate. This means I also don't choose one issue and vote based on it. A variety of issues and views are considered. Thankfully, I like politics enough to do the research...I know a lot of you are yawning right now...

Also, I think it's important to note that my close friends and loved ones are all over the political spectrum. I prefer it that way--when we discuss politics (which we do) I get a much more well-rounded discussion, and am able to truly think about what I believe and hold to be truths...and they are too. We learn, grow, and change our minds once in awhile.

Anyway...a couple of things that are bothering me.

Remember all those email groups and other wonderful (and I truly mean it) avenues that were all over the place when President Bush was in office? You know, the people who committed to pray daily, weekly, whatever...together or alone...and followed through.

I was never a part of them, and it had nothing to do with my political leanings...I just choose to pray for our nation and leaders in my own way, on my own time.

However, I never see groups like that now.

Have they disbanded now that the Presidency has changed hands?
Do they still meet and pray as fervently for our current President?

And if not, why?

I'm not sure I want to know the answer to that question...

I wrote all of the above before google searching it.
Thankfully, there seems to still be an active
presidential prayer site.
And thank goodness for
Max Lucado.
not all may have the best intentions in their prayers...
this article was frightening.

All of that aside...the real reason for this blog rant is this article from Fox News. If you don't want to read the whole thing (it's rather...odd, actually. Kind of a conglomeration of a conversation between senators. i think. i'm not familiar with the guy who wrote it, so this may be his normal article style...but it's odd to me.) the basic story is this: in a joking manner--I think--, a Senator has publicly stated that Al Gore has a free place to stay in DC now...courtesy of global warming!



And while I've heard people joke like that quite a bit, and it's sorta's also misguided.

I'm tired of people who refuse to do environmentally responsible things because it's "liberal". It's not liberal. It's responsible. I truly, TRULY believe that we as Christians have a calling to take care of our planet. And recycling, doing other green things...those are all a part of it. I don't care if you're a Libertarian, Republican, Democrat, Independent, or Polkafish. It's just what you DO.

And I'm also tired of people who refuse to believe in global warming because a Democrat who was in an administration that a lot of conservatives would like to forget ever happened is at the forefront of the awareness campaign.

Please do me a favor, blogland. If you're going to choose to believe that global warming doesn't exist, or isn't a bad thing, or isn't as severe as "they" are telling us (whoever they are) least research it.

I'm going to be completely honest here. I haven't researched it enough to come up with my own thoughts on how severe I really think it is. *I* need to do my research too. I'm not blindly following anything because Al Gore tells me to. I actually think he'd be the first to tell us to research it on our own anyway!
But please don't blindly ignore things because you don't agree with the person on a political level either.

Here's a well-written article, in which the author freely admits her biases, from a "eh, I don't know if it's really an issue" perspective.
article explaining global warning in bare-bones form (because if you're like me you get a little overwhelmed with facts and figures)

Here's the thing though, regarding the senator who invited Mr. Gore to the igloo his family fashioned "for him". IF we are to believe that global warming exists then we have to accept that certain aspects of it will lead to the crazy snowfalls we've seen in most areas of the country this winter. The term "global warming" leads people to believe that we should have hot summers and mild winters. I used to think that too...but the simple fact is that global warming doesn't really mean that at all. It means the temperature and humidity rise. And what do we need for snowfall? Temperatures under freezing (which easily happen in most of the areas of the country affected) Moisture already in the air. Which IF we believe in global warming means...we've got plenty of the humidity.

(we certainly have enough humidity to spare here in TN. year round. global warming or not.)

So, Mr Senator-who-I-will-not-name-you'll-just-have-to-read-the-article:

If you're going to flippantly say things like this? At least check the premise of the thing you're attacking. It just might make you look a bit foolish to those who know anything about the issue at all.

That is all.

Oh, but one other thing? Just to make you smile. Since I've put it all out there anyway:


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday's Ten: The Love Files

Pull out your favorite love/romance quotes, pictures, etc.
Or your favorite singles awareness quotes if you like ;)
(hey, we've all been there!)


- Charles Shulz

you are my sunshine

my only sunshine
you make me happy when skies are gray
you'll never know dear
how much I love you
please don't take my sunshine away
-Jimmie Davis

I can conquer the world with one hand as long as you are holding the other

-from i heart love

“I'm looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't-live-without-each-other love.
-Sex and the City

“Are we not like two volumes of one book?”
- Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

“At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.” - Plato

“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Anything less than mad, passionate extraordinary love is a waste of time. There are too many mediocre things in life and love shouldn't have to be one of them.
- Dream for an Insomniac (1998)

(could never find the source for this one...several sites had it)

Please play along! These are just a few of mine :)

Sign MckLinky and grab the button...

Next week we'll return to more "normal" things...such as ten NEW places you'd like to visit.

Take Me the Way I Am


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Couldn't Resist This One: I Heart Faces and Kisses

At I ♥ Faces this week, it's all about kissing.

And honestly, I could enter a few pictures in it...
but this, I believe, is my current favorite.

Self taken, during a break from our "snow play" last weekend!

(click the button below to join in on the kissing fun!)