Gone Girl

Gone GirlI’ve been excited about this movie ever since Gillian Flynn announced it two summers ago at our public library’s “Read Aloud Author Series”. Remember my post detailing this event? The movie will finally be released this weekend, and it stars Ben Affleck. For my parents, family members, and close friends reading this post, I don’t need to elaborate. For anyone else, let me explain my Ben Affleck infatuation. His face hung in my middle school locker, and an Armagadon poster hung above my bed throughout high school. I’ll always admit my love for tall, dark, and handsome. Think Mr. Wagner.

As for this movie, I’m excited to see the novel come to life. I planned to read it again before going to the movie, but The Maze Runner sucked me in. Have you read this young adult science-fiction trilogy? If you liked The Hunger Games, add this one to your list. My students are going wild for this book right now.

If you’re looking for a book to devour this week, go with Gone Girl. I’ll see you at the movie this weekend!

Cold Weather Anxiety

20140624-152531-55531692.jpgAs the seasons switch and I appreciate every changing orange and red leaf, I get anxious about the weather that follows. Last year’s winter was brutal. I know winters are cold. I know there will be snow. Both of these terrible elements lasted way too long last year. As meteorologist, and people who think they are, predict the upcoming terrible winter, I pray they are wrong.

I told someone recently that if this winter is as bad as last, it will be my final one in Iowa. What’s the point in suffering through a season when there are locations in the world that don’t discourage outdoor activity because it’s dangerously cold outside?

For now, I’m hanging on to every ounce of summer that remains. I spent this afternoon on our deck while I completed my weekend grading under an umbrella. Short breaks were used to surf Expedia for spring break destinations…

Gold Standard

People were in line for the new iPhone 20 days before it was released. I ordered my online. There was no waiting in line, and it’s expected to arrive within ten days. I opted for gold.

I’m most excited for the camera features of this phone. Reviews call it the best smartphone camera on the market, especially for lowlight situations. The video features are also praised. I’m excited for Apple Pay, with the ability to use my credit card through my phone by using my fingerprint for verification. Less to carry is always preferred.

It’s going to be golden!

Baked Doughnuts

IMG_4803A wild Friday night shopping spree at Bed, Bath, and Beyond encouraged me to purchase a doughnut pan. No regrets!

I’ve tried a few different recipes, but this one is my favorite. Think banana bread in a doughnut form.

Baked Banana Doughnuts: Preheat: 350 degrees

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 mashed ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

IMG_4802Bake for seven minutes

After doughnuts cool, dip in melted butter before coating with sugar/cinnamon.

I feel better about eating doughnuts when they’re baked and include bananas!


Online Bible Study

IMG_4768“Are you living with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule and aching with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul?” Lysa Terkeurst

Females, if you’re not following Lysa’s blog, it’s a must. I also suggest following Proverbs 31 Ministries. (Proverbs 31 is scripture on the virtues of women.) They offer blogs on various topics and always tie them back to scripture. There are book suggestions, podcasts, and even online Bible studies.

If you have an overwhelming schedule, how are you expected to add one more thing to your to-do list? I promise these are worth your time. I even listened to one of Lysa’s Proverb 31 podcasts while I folded laundry one evening. Little changes are making a big difference.

Tomorrow, Lysa and Proverbs 31 Ministries begin an online Bible study. I’m new to this concept, but I like the idea of logging in and connecting with other women, all ages, when it’s convenient. The study lasts six weeks. Of course the community aspect is lost online, but it’s better than not studying or reflecting. I’m going to give it a try.

I purchased The Best Yes, and it’s already incredible! I’ve stopped reading it for now because I didn’t want to get too far ahead of the study. If this interests you, her book is available electronically, too. It’s not too late to join!

Tea and Scripture

IMG_4772I taught Wednesday night religious education two years ago, but I needed last year to write my thesis. When I heard the announcement at church that more high school catechist were needed, it tugged on my heart. That wasn’t enough to get me to call. I spend every day with high schoolers. I’d have to be crazy to sign up for more. Call me crazy.

It was only a few days later when the director of religious ed called and asked if I would be willing to teach sophomore scripture every other Wednesday night for two hours.

Want to know one of the reasons I accepted? I have a desire to know more about scripture, and teaching it will require me to study up. We fly through the lessons in order to make it through the curriculum within the year, but I know I’ll be teaching myself just as much, if not more, than I’m teaching my sophomores.

As I came home tonight and passed up my papers that need grading for the Bible and a book on scripture, it felt good. I had to laugh when I noticed the brand of my herbal tea alongside: Simply Balanced. I’m living it, and it feels great!


White Chicken Chili

The fall weather had me in the mood for crockpot cooking. Our two go-to crockpot soups are chili and chicken noodle, which we love! With time to experiment this weekend, I wanted to find another crockpot favorite. We struck gold on the first try with this white chicken chili recipe.

If you like tacos, you’ll like the flavor of this easy recipe I adapted from here.

1 1/2 – 2 pounds uncooked chicken, cubed
2 cans (15 oz each) of Cannellini beans, drained
1 or 2 cans (15 oz) corn, drained
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 4 oz. can green chiles
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
1 pkg. taco seasoning

Place all ingredients in the crockpot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I didn’t take photos because we were too busy eating. Enjoy!