Monthly Archives: November 2010

A Drive-Thru Difference

So tonight I had a little night out, and ended up hitting the McDonald’s drive through for dinner (no, not my usual dinner of choice — but  I’d spent too much time at Marshall’s, was supposed to meet a friend for coffee in a half hour, and was in a time crunch).

ANYWAY…

So I go through the drive-thru, order my burger/fries/orange drink (because I am healthy like that), pull up to the window to pay, and the clerk says to me

“Um, the lady in the green mini-van in front of you paid for your meal, and she wanted me to tell you to have a nice day.”

Um…what?!

Basically, I was stunned. It’s not that it was a foreign concept to me — I’d actually heard of it through a local Christian radio station. They call it the “Drive-Thru Difference”. Truth be told, though, the cynical side of me (a side which, unfortunately, is rather, uh, big) has always kind of rolled my eyes at the idea. I mean, when I think of the bigger global picture — kids starving in Africa, a cholera epidemic in Haiti, and a host of other travesties — the idea of buying someone a coffee and dubbing it “ministry” has always seemed a little silly to me. Sorry, just being real.

So I guess what I was stunned by was how deeply that little act of kindness touched me. The fact that a complete stranger would pay for my meal somehow floored me…and the suspicion that I knew why they did it was even cooler to think about.

So, what did I do? I wasn’t sure how to handle it, so I just I opened my window and yelled “Thank you! God bless you!” to the dark green mini-van in front of me. I felt kind of dorky, but I wanted her to somehow know I appreciated it. She replied with “You’re welcome! You too!” before driving off.

Of course, I can’t be sure of what her story is or what prompted her to pay for my meal — but I know her little act of kindness will serve as a reminder  to be a little more aware of  ways I can serve those around me and of of how such a simple little act of kindness can empower someone else to do the same.

 

 

Books

I’m a happy camper. After a nearly 3 year hiatus, the Saturday morning book club I was in has started up again!

It’s different than it was last time. We used to meet once a month…now we meet once every two months. We used to all vote on a book to read, read it, and then discuss it at our next meeting…now we simply bring our recent reads — whatever we want — to the meetings and share our thoughts on them. We also have a little book “exchange” happening, where we’ll bring a stack of books we’re willing to loan out to whoever would like to read them before the next meeting.

We’ve only met twice under this new “format”, but so far it’s GREAT! I am loving the more casual approach to it all — much more do-able for me now that I’m a mommy. I have loved sitting in a quiet room with several other women for an hour or two, sipping hot cocoa and casually discussing books we loved, hated, and everything in between. And I love coming home with a new stack of borrowed books to try out!

Here’s the book I read last month (I borrowed a stack of books, but only got through one :)):

The Other Side of Darkness by Melody Carlson.

In a nutshell, it’s about a wife/mother who becomes entangled in a extreme cult-like church/ministry. Oh yes, and she has OCD…soooo, not a good combination. It was an interesting read — got a bit long at the end, so I think I ended up skimming the last couple chapters — but all in all it was OK.

And these are the books I came home with today:

Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith

I don’t know much about this book other than it’s a light, pleasant read. Has anyone read any of the books in this series?

I also picked up

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

I don’t agree with Donald Miller on a few things…but I do like his writing style. When I was in high school I read his book “Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance” (which has since been retitled “Through Painted Deserts”). A pleasant, humorous, easy read. I loved it enough to pass it along to a couple friends. Only years later, after “Blue Like Jazz” (his giganto hit) released did I realize that it was by the same author. Speaking of “Blue Like Jazz”…I once read it. I don’t remember loving it, but I can’t remember why. But then, reading comprehension (or retention?) was not my forte in my school days, and I don’t think that has drastically changed over the years. I enjoy reading, but takes a lot for a book to make an impression on me, and apparently that one didn’t! I just have this vague sense that I didn’t like it all that much — didn’t agree with some of it. Hmm. Maybe I should re-read it. But I digress. I am looking forward to giving this one a go.

So those were my book club picks — but they’re not all I’m working on. Here’s what’s currently bookmarked and in my book-bag/on my nightstand:

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

The Strong-Willed Child by James Dobson

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

 

Yep, alot of books. And even more that I’m wanting to start. And, for the record, I’ve been “working on” several of these books for a long, long time now. #slowreader

What about you? What are you reading these days? And if you’re in a book club, what’s it like? Do share!

 

 

Slow Cooker Lasagna

I got a few requests to share the recipe I have for slow cooker lasagna, so I thought I’d post hit here.

Disclaimer: It’s not, like, amazing or anything. It’s just a pretty basic lasagna. The fact that it can be made in a crockpot, though, is what I like about it — along with the fact that you don’t have to boil the noodles (which, for some reason, is always kind of daunting to me).

Another word of warning: As I learned the hard way this week, this stuff tends to stick to the sides of the crock-pot…so for ease in clean-up, I would highly recommend using a crock-pot liner for this recipe, if at all possible.

Anyway, here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 8 lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 28-oz jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1/3 c water
  • 4 oz can sliced mushrooms (*I was out of mushrooms, so I made mine without & it was just fine :))
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 c shredded mozzarella

Directions:

  1. Break noodles. Place 1/2 in bottom of greased slow cooker.
  2. Brown ground beef in saucepan. Drain. Stir in Italian seasoning. Spread 1/2 over noodles in slow-cooker.
  3. Layer 1/2 of sauce & water, 1/2 of mushrooms, 1/2 of ricotta cheese, and 1/2 of mozzarella cheese over beef. Repeat layers.
  4. Cover. Cook on low 5 hours.

There ya go! If you make it, let me know how it turns out!

Snow Day!

Today was the first day the snow fell here in the Northland, and boy did it make a grand entrance!

On Wednesday some mommy friends and I took our kids to the zoo. It was 68 degrees outside and we found our light jackets to be too warm.

Today this is what our backyard looked like:

CRAZINESS!

We had a great snow day! We had absolutely no plans for the day, so instead of being thrown for a loop by the snow, we were able to simply stay home and enjoy a cozy day together. We read books, baked cookies, took naps (mine was perhaps a bit too long :)) and I made lasagna in the crockpot for dinner (a recipe which I will share in a subsequent blog-post).

And…of course, we got bundled up…

…and spent some time playing in the glorious white stuff outside. Daddy & W built a snowman, which W named “Na-Na”.  (S & I watched from the sidelines (actually, she spent most of our time outside trying to understand why we couldn’t play with the tricycle or sidewalk chalk :)), but she wanted in on the picture, too :)).

What a great day!

How did you spend your snow day?

Handmade Heaven: A Mini Holiday Shopping Guide

Yesterday I got to spend a couple hours at the Autumn Festival held at Canterbury Park in Shakopee this weekend. It’s basically a GIGANTIC arts & crafts fair…we’re talking hundreds of booths and thousands of attendees (which I find kind of funny since I’d never heard of the fair before!). Anyway, I just love going and walking around, by myself, for a couple hours, perusing the goods and taking a look at what others have created (not to mention doing some Christmas shopping!). I think I have found a new little tradition. 🙂 Last year I didn’t find a ton of booths that I loved, but yesterday I was happy to find a couple of really cute booths that I was pretty excited about!

My favorite was JennaLou Designs. Seriously, check out her website. Isn’t it cute?! Lots of cute handbags and accessories. I fell in love with this:

And this:

But there was lots of other cute stuff, too. I think I spent like a half hour at her booth! Be sure to check out her etsy shop.

Another booth I liked was Everything Unique Boutique, which had lots of fun kids clothing and accessories. The booth actually had WAY more than the website shows (and their best merchandise was at the booth, in my opinion :)), but the site gives you an idea. I scored these cute little monogrammed purses for Christmas presents for my girls 🙂 :

(um, yeah. The photo is backwards. Just picture it flipped the right way :)).

My third favorite booth was called Harmony Hill Signs. They had the most beautiful wooden picture frames/shelves/signs — but unfortunately their website is not currently working! Still, if you happen to visit an art fair in the near future, keep an eye out for them. They had some beautiful stuff!

…and thus concludes my 2010 Mini Holiday Shopping Guide from my travels at the craft fair. 🙂 Hope you find it helpful!

What are some good places you’ve found to shop for handmade stuff? Share your finds in the comments!

 

Wordless Wednesday