Monday, October 29, 2007

Menu Plan Monday #5

It's that time again!

Last week's menu got changed up at the last minute. I had two cooked chicken breasts left over from the chicken enchiladas I made for church, so Thursday night we had BBQ Ranch chicken salad. Delicious, but two chicken breasts don't make nearly enough! I also knew I would need room in the refrigerator for Saturday night's dinner so I put off the Taco Soup for this week. Friday night we ate some of the chicken enchiladas from the freezer. And since I didn't make the soup, we picked up supper from Sonic on the way home from the Fall Festival at church. The boys weren't very hungry after eating popcorn and cotton candy. Oh, and add a pickle to Jacob's list.

This week is pretty busy, so the meal plan looks a little boring. Maybe next month I can get back to cooking some different things...

Monday: Taco Soup (I have a meeting tonight, but I figure I can get the soup going early enough and eat some before I leave.)

Tuesday: sandwiches (This is Billy's last night of class!)

Wednesday: left over soup

Thursday: left over soup (Yes, I'm planning on making a lot! Whoever is tired of soup can have a sandwich...)

Friday: pick up something on the way to see my parents for the weekend

Saturday: Out! (We'll be celebrating my mom's and my birthdays. I wonder where we'll go eat...)

Sunday: sandwiches (AWANA night)

For more inspiration, check out other meal plans at I'm an Organizing Junkie!.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifle

Since my menu plan for this week isn't very inspiring, how about the dessert I came up with last week for Saturday night's missionary dinner? Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifle. Mmmmm...

I needed to make something quick and easy. The easiest thing I could think of was the Chocolate Trifle I make at several of my shows, but I wanted something more festive. I decided to go with pumpkin and some coordinating pudding flavor. I found cheesecake and knew it would be a hit.

Here's the recipe:

Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifle

1 box Pumpkin Quick Bread mix (+ ingredients listed on box to make bread)
1 pkg. fat-free, sugar-free cheesecake pudding
1 can sweetened condensed milk (You can use the low-fat kind; I probably should have.)
1/2 c. water
1 8-oz. container sugar-free Cool Whip
1 12-oz container sugar-free Cool Whip
pumpkin pie spice

Prepare quick bread as directed on package; cool completely and cut into cubes.

In Classic Batter Bowl, combine pudding mix, sweetened condensed milk, and water using Stainless Whisk. Fold in 8-oz. Cool Whip with Small Mix 'n Scraper until no streaks remain. Refrigerate while bread is baking and cooling.

In Trifle Bowl, layer 1/2 of the pumpkin bread cubes, 1/2 of the cheesecake pudding mixture, and 1/2 of the 12-oz. Cool Whip. Repeat once more; top with a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 15-18.

Everyone loved it! I forgot to take a picture of it when I finished making it, but since I'll be making it for a Holiday Open House this weekend, I'll be sure to do it then. I'll post it next week.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Today's Photo Friday challenge is "silence".

Ceiling of the prayer chapel, Thanksgiving Square, downtown Dallas.

Yes, this is another picture from our Dallas on the DART Rail trip. You think maybe TPTB at Photo Friday have been looking through my picture files...? :o)

Here's another favorite picture representing silence. It's from our trip to the Dallas Arboretum last Friday afternoon. (More to come on that later.)

Which one do you think best represents silence?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

13 Characters on Lost

Thank you, Cindy. I'm loving this show! Billy and I have watched the first 16 episodes of season 1 over the course of the last week and a half. I'll be getting discs 5, 6, & 7 from the library tomorrow, so we'll be watching the last eight episodes of season 1 and perusing the bonus features disc over the next week or so.

For this week's Thursday Thirteen, I'm blogging about 13 characters from Lost. (Lost fans, keep in mind that I'm a newbie and don't fully understand all the characters and their relationships just yet. I'm just basing this on what I've seen so far. And please don't spoil any of the plotlines for me. Thanks!)

1. Jack - A surgeon in the real world, Jack is now the general practitioner and the leader of the survivors of the plane crash.

2. Kate - She's a criminal who's trying to turn over a new leaf on the island. She and Jack are friends, but he doesn't completely trust her, with good reason. She's shown some surprising skill in tracking and outdoor survival.

3. Charlie - He's a bass player for a defunct band and a drug addict who's managed to kick his habit while on the island. He's sweet and loyal, but has a poor image of himself.

4. Locke - Formerly paralyzed from the waist down from an accident 4 years earlier, he now walks and runs freely on the island. When Jack said something about the island having mystical qualities, he answered, "More than you know." He mentioned having been a scout as a boy, but he knows much more about the ways of the wild than a scout would. It's almost like he was in the CIA or something at one point. I like him, but sometimes the things he does weirds me out.

5. Sawyer - He's a jerk and a con-artist with a smart mouth and a southern drawl. Still, you can't help but like him. I keep waiting for him to do the right thing, but he just never quite crosses that line.

6. Sayid - An Iraqi who served in the Republican Guard during Desert Storm, he's guarded but friendly with the rest of the survivors. He's very intelligent and conscientious. The writers and the actor have done a great job portraying Sayid as a person and not a threat or a terrorist.

7. Claire - Alone and very pregnant, she was on her way to the US to meet a couple who would adopt her baby. She quickly finds a friend in Charlie. After being attacked and abducted by Ethan, she manages to escape and eventually rejoins the other survivors. She steps up to be bait so the group can capture Ethan and find out how he came to be on the island since he wasn't a passenger on the airplane. With all the stresses she's been enduring, how can she not have had that baby yet?!?

8. Hurley - I love Hurley! He's lovable and funny, and he really cares about the welfare of the people he's stranded with. From building a golf course so the survivors can have some fun to encouraging Sayid to talk with Charlie about killing Ethan, his heart comes through. And he's always got something funny to say.

9. Sun - A seemingly brow-beaten and controlled wife, this daughter of a Korean mobster can secretly speak English. Michael is the first one to find out, then Kate, but she asks them to keep it secret.

10. Jin - Sun's husband and her father's "associate", he is very controlling. He doesn't know Sun can speak English, but seems to be suspicious of her relationship with the other survivors. He's had some violent altercations, particularly with Michael, but there have been some kind moments, too.

11. Shannon - She's spoiled and selfish and will use anyone to get what she wants. She also has a poor self-image and thinks she's useless. At times I almost want to like her, then she does or says something to make me loathe her again. At least she's trying to help Sayid discover some things about the island by translating French from a distress call and from some island maps Sayid found.

12. Boone - Shannon's older step-brother, he's come to her rescue many times but also resents her. Through the use of a hallucinogenic paste he made in the jungle, Locke helps Boone comes to terms with his feelings for Shannon and seemingly frees him from her grip.

13. Michael - Separated from his infant son, he must now raise 10-year-old Walt, who never knew Michael was his father. He feels pressured to set a good example for his son and to protect him - all while living in a strange place with other survivors of the plane crash. He's not ready to take anyone's advice on how to raise his son, but he's not sure what to do with him, either.

13 1/2. Walt - His mother just died and he's been reunited with the father he hasn't known since he was a baby. Other people have noticed there's something "different" about him, but I'm not sure just what they're referring to yet.

Bonus: Rose - She was seated across the aisle from Jack and he tried to reassure her when the flight first got turbulent. She survived the crash, but has no idea where her husband is. (He was in the tail section of the plane when it broke off before the crash.) She's a believer and prayed with Charlie when he lost Claire and was nearly killed by Ethan. She's wise and soft-spoken, but firm. I really wish she were a more visible character.

Do you watch Lost? Who are your favorite characters and why?

Out of the Mouths... (Part 2)

Here's a conversation Jacob and I had yesterday as we were driving around town:

Jacob: Are you a kid of God?

Me: What? A kid of God? Like a child of God?

Jacob: Yes. Are you a kid of God?

Me: Yes, I'm a kid of God.

Jacob: Why?

Me: Because I want to be.

Jacob: No, you need to be a grown-up of God.


Other questions he's asked lately about God:

Is God fat? (I would think not.)

What is God made of? (????)

Mmmmmm... Pizza.

This isn't the pizza I made last night, but doesn't it look good? I think I could eat pizza every day! I'd rather make my own pizza than order one. I love to load my pizza down with toppings! I prefer veggie pizzas, but I'll occasionally put a little meat on one. Oh, and I always sprinkle a little extra cheese on top! (And I prebake my crust so it doesn't get soggy beneath all my piles of toppings.)

The pizza pictured above is on a homemade crust, topped with Great Value brand pizza sauce, shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses, fresh mushrooms, black olives, a little onion, and some Canadian bacon. It was delicious!

Last night's pizza was topped with GV sauce, a blend of shredded Italian cheeses, fresh mushrooms, black olives, onion, and some slices of fresh jalapeno pepper.

Another favorite pizza is my Garden Veggie Pizza, which is topped with a mixture of olive oil, Italian seasoning, and garlic instead of a tomato-based sauce. I layer whatever blend of cheese I want along with slices of zuchinni, baby spinach leaves, fresh mushrooms, black olives, red onion, diced tomatoes, and chopped marinated artichoke hearts. (The one pictured below has white onion instead of red, and I was out of olives. Billy doesn't like tomatoes, so his half has extra artichoke hearts instead. Oh, and it's all topped with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese.)

A new pizza I made recently was a Mediterranean Hummus Pizza. It was good, but a little saltier than I like. Leftovers were good the next day, but not after that. The cucumbers and tomatoes got spongy and the crust was a little soggy. Ugh!

The crust I make is pretty filling. Billy and I can now eat only half of a 15-inch pizza. The boys typically eat a little less than half of their 13-inch pizza, but they must have been starving last night. They ate 3/4 of it! I'll let them have their last two pieces for lunch today and make them some mac & cheese tonight. Billy and I will enjoy our other half tonight while we watch Survivor.

I've eaten BBQ chicken pizza before, and it was really good, but I haven't ventured to make one yet. I'm not sure the boys would like it, but since I always make two pizzas anyway, I could make them their standard - pizza sauce, cheese, mushrooms, and black olives.

I'm not a big fan of Alfredo sauce, but the few pizzas I've had with it have been really good. I may try to make a white pizza one of these days.

Other varieties I'd like to make: Tuscan chicken, Hawaiian (pineapple and ham), and Thai (peanut sauce instead of tomato).

What pizza flavors do you recommend?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Menu Plan Monday #4

Well, last week's craziness affected my menu plan. I had to take the van in Monday to see what was causing my "check engine" light to stay on. We spent the morning homeschooling there in the waiting area. When they finally finished getting that figured out and changing my oil, I found out they would have to order a part and I would have to come back in Wednesday afternoon to get it put on. That, and being tired from everything else we'd been doing, put off my grocery trip a few days, which threw off my menu.

On a more fun note, even though I veered from the menu plan again, the boys and I spent about 2 1/2 hours at the arboretum Friday afternoon. It was so much fun! I think we're definitely going to have to buy a membership for there so we can go more often - just like we do the zoo. I'll try to post some pictures from there before too much longer.

So with all the changes to last week's plan, this week's is a little off-kilter from what I had planned earlier on. (I plan for a month at a time.)

Monday: - leftover Baked Potato Soup and Tomato Basil bread from Panera (We have a class at church tonight.)

Tuesday: - Totino's pizza (Billy's class night)

Wednesday: - Homemade Pizza (I know, the boys and I will have just had pizza the night before. I love pizza and can eat it any time!)

Thursday: - leftover pizza

Friday: - Taco Soup

Saturday: - ?? (Our small group from church is coming over for our monthly gathering. This month we're hosting a missionary team from our church who will be going to Budapest with Campus Crusade next year. After everyone signs up for something to bring for dinner to go with Jane's roast and gravy, I'll make what's missing.)

Sunday: - leftover soup (Fall Festival night at church; I need to make sure the boys eat before they go or they'll be eating too much candy on an empty stomach. I'd rather them have homemade soup than the hot dogs they'll have on hand there. Caleb and I don't like hot dogs anyway...)

Looks to be an easy week for cooking. It's still going to be a busy week, but not as busy as last week. Maybe the week after that things will slow down a bit. Once the holidays get here, things don't seem to slow down until mid-March. I'd like a little time to rest before all that gets started.

Check out more menu plans at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The City

I couldn't decide on just one photo for today's Photo Friday challenge, so I'm posting three of my favorites. All of these were taken on our Dallas on the DART Rail trip, same as last week's photo.

On the way to catch the train to Reunion Tower:

A familiar view of the Dallas skyline:

One of my favorite buildings downtown:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Menu Plan Monday #3

I'm a day late, but this is a crazy week. In fact, the boys and I are so tired from being so busy that I'm skipping my team meeting tonight so we can stay home and rest!

Here's this week's menu:

Monday: - sandwiches (I had a show last night: Garden Veggie Pizza and Chocolate Trifle!)

Tuesday: - Totino's pizza or sandwiches

Wednesday: - Baked Potato Soup and some good crusty bread from Panera

Thursday: - leftover soup and bread

Friday: - homemade pizza - probably with fresh mushrooms, black olives, and onion

Saturday: - leftover pizza or pick up something (I have a show: Hot & Spicy Artichoke Dip and Chocolate Trifle!)

Sunday: - Chicken Enchiladas - Our church is kicking off its annual Missions Conference with an International Missions Dinner. Our Sunday school class is hosting two tables with international foods: Mexican and German. I signed up to make chicken enchiladas, and I don't really know when I'm going to have the time to make them. When I signed up, I didn't have my planner handy to check the date and didn't realize it was for this weekend. Oh, well. I'll get them ready Saturday and have Billy stick them in the oven to bring with him when he comes Sunday evening.

Next week looks to be a little slower so I'll have a better menu...

Check out some other meal plans at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Real Life

For Mother's Day, I got a new digital camera, which I absolutely love. I've always enjoyed taking pictures and learned a lot about using a photograph to tell a story in a college photojournalism class. Now I need to put those two together and see what I can come up with.

I'd like to start participating in Photo Friday, but after seeing a lot of the photos posted through it, I feel very inadequate. Still, it's a great challenge - not just to find a picture that fits that week's theme, but to start looking for the picturesque details in every day moments.

This week's theme: Real Life.

I took this in August, just a few weeks after this local gas plant exploded. I took it from atop Reunion Tower, at full zoom. I don't remember if this shot was through a piece of plexiglass or if I managed to find an opening between pieces.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

It's a Keeper!

Last night's Apple-Maple Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sammies were pretty good, and I even had to improvise:

I had a medium Gala apple instead of a small Macintosh.

The lid of my pure maple syrup was stuck shut, and it had sugared in the bottle. (I don't know how old it was.) I substituted regular pancake syrup.

I thought I had plain old poultry seasoning but I didn't, so I used Old Bay Seasoning instead.

I had bought regular-sized English muffins instead of jumbos, which was fine because they were very filling. Billy took the last one for breakfast this morning.

My recipe printout was folded before the end of the ingredient list, so I forgot I needed eggs for scrambling. Luckily I had 4 in the 'fridge (instead of the 8 the recipe called for). Jacob eats two scrambled eggs by themselves, so we split it all the best we could.

Caleb doesn't like sausage, but he loved this. Jacob, on the other hand, loves sausage, but wouldn't even try it. (I think he was turned off from it when he saw me mixing it all up in the bowl.)

Maybe next time I'll read everything - and check my ingredients - more closely. I bet it "really" tastes even better than what I came up with!

Oh, and I found a good combination for a grilled cheese sandwich tonight: sharp cheddar and pepper jack on Mrs. Baird's "Harvest Selects Honey 7 Grain Recipe" bread. Mmmmm. The boys had a Totino's 3 Meat Pizza. Not quite as good as my sandwich, though... :o)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Menu Plan Monday #2

Last Monday seems like a rrrreeeeaaaallllyyyy lllloooonnnngggg time ago!

To fill in the blanks from last week's menu, Friday night we went out to eat at Panera Bread. We almost didn't go there because the boys didn't eat well last time we went. Then I remembered the soup! The boys really like soup, and that's what they got. Caleb had the Low-Fat Chicken Noodle Soup (like he really needs low-fat!) with some crusty French bread for dipping. Jacob had Baked Potato Soup with crusty French bread and some fruit. The rest of us got a combination of soup and either a panini or a salad. It was really good - and knowing how well the boys ate their soup, we can go back with no worries.

Saturday night we went to Applebee's for steaks. (We would've liked to go to Outback Steakhouse, but "Restaurant Row" is always crowded on weekends. There's always been a long wait to get in anywhere over there - even as early as 5:30 p.m.!) For dessert, we each got a "Dessert Shooter", a small dessert portion served in a double-shot glass. Perfect! Between the six of us, we had all five flavors. Caleb and I both got the Chocolate Mousse; everyone else chose something different. (Sounds like the beginning of a logic problem...)

Here's what's on the menu for this week:
Monday: - NEW! Apple-Maple Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sammies (Rachael Ray's recipe calls for ground chicken, but I couldn't find any that particular day, so I bought ground turkey.)

Tuesday: - frozen pizza (Billy's class night)

Wednesday: - Chicken & Dumplings (I'll serve a salad with it if I can find some decent lettuce! The last few times I've been to the store, the lettuce has looked really bad. Maybe I'll go with Romaine; the boys won't eat spinach.)

Thursday: - leftovers (TV night!)

Friday: - Chili Cheese Corn Dogs (and a chili cheese hot dog for Jacob)

Saturday: - Omelets (with all ingredients separate for Jacob)

Sunday: - sandwiches (AWANA night)

Hmmm. I didn't realize I had planned two breakfast supper nights this week. The new recipe was added later when I had a blank day. Oh, well. We all like breakfast suppers, and I don't make them very often.

What's on your menu? Need more ideas? Check out others on Menu Plan Monday.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

13 Favorite Actors

Time again for the Thursday Thirteen. Today's topic: My 13 Favorite Actors (and my favorite movies of theirs, not limited to 13). In no particular order,...

1. Johnny Depp - Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Finding Neverland, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Edward Scissorhands

2. Sandra Bullock - The Lake House, While You Were Sleeping, Miss Congeniality, Hope Floats, Speed, A Time to Kill, The Net

3. Julia Roberts - Steel Magnolias, Pretty Woman, Sleeping with the Enemy, Runaway Bride, My Best Friend's Wedding, Something to Talk About, I Love Trouble, The Pelican Brief, Stepmom, Flatliners

4. Harrison Ford - all the "Indiana Jones" movies, Six Days Seven Nights, The Fugitive, What Lies Beneath, Working Girl, Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games, Air Force One

5. Tommy Lee Jones - Lonesome Dove, Men in Black (and II), The Fugitive, U.S. Marshals, The Client, Volcano

6. Tom Hanks - Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, Cast Away, A League of their Own, The Green Mile, Big, Turner & Hooch, The Money Pit, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, That Thing You Do!, The 'Burbs, Dragnet, Splash, The Polar Express

7. Nicolas Cage - Raising Arizona, It Could Happen to You, Con Air, The Rock, Face/Off, Gone in Sixty Seconds, National Treasure (The second one is set for release on December 21!)

8. Mel Gibson - Braveheart, The Patriot, What Women Want, Ransom, Maverick, The Man Without a Face, Forever Young, Bird on a Wire

9. Audrey Hepburn - Breakfast at Tiffany's, Funny Face, Roman Holiday

10. Doris Day - Glass-Bottom Boat, With Six You Get Eggroll, Pillow Talk, Please Don't Eat the Daisies

11. Meg Ryan - Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, French Kiss, When Harry Met Sally, Top Gun, "As the World Turns" (way back in the day)

12. Walter Matthau - Grumpy Old Men, Grumpier Old Men, Dennis the Menace, The Bad News Bears, The Odd Couple

13. Gary Sinise - Apollo 13, Forrest Gump, The Green Mile, Ransom, "CSI: NY"

There are plenty more I like really well (Denzel Washington, Steve Martin, Matthew McConnaughey, etc.), but I'm going to stop with 13.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Check out more Wordless Wednesday pics.

Little Blue Ball

My workout buddy Kim called last night to say she wouldn't make it today. She had popped her knee out earlier in the day and figured it would be sore and stiff today. I was determined to go in anyway to keep in the habit.

I woke up to rain shortly before 6:00 this morning. It was raining harder when the boys and I began our school day. I was so tempted to stay in, but I knew if I did, I would feel lousy for it. As soon as we finished, we headed out. In the rain.

All the way there, I kept thinking, I should have just stayed home. The traffic on the interstate was slow, but since it wasn't at a standstill, I decided to stay on it instead of detouring and taking an extra 10 minutes or so to get there. I was already cutting it close for the boys' reservation time in the "Kids Clubhouse". Besides, since seminary students and family members aren't allowed to work out during the peak lunch hour time there, I would have to be out around 11:30. I wanted to get in as much of my hour as possible. By the time we got there, the rain had slacked up, the sky was looking a little lighter, and I was feeling better about getting out.

I stowed my purse and gym bag and headed straight for the racquetball courts, but they were both taken. I decided to bike for a while, so I rode about 3 1/2 miles (22 minutes). I had my iPod with me, so I enjoyed listening to a little Daughtry. Then I started playing through the alphabetical song list. I had noticed my heart rate had gotten up to near 130 bpm. Then a Josh Groban song came on and my heart rate dropped to 123. The next song was by Kutless, and I was soon back up to 130. My rpms varied slightly during the song changes, but not enough to really alter my heart rate. I think it was just the effect of the music. Interesting... I think I'll test it again next week.

I checked the courts again when I finished with the bike and they were empty. I went in, stored my gear in the safe box in the wall, and spent the next 20 minutes hitting that little blue ball back and forth. What a feeling! I had really been missing playing, so it was great to get in there and sweat and MOVE!

I wonder how sore I'll be tomorrow...

What Not to Say

The boys and I stopped by Wal-Mart on our way home to pick up groceries for the next week. Jacob climbed up on one of the large refrigerated bins in the middle of the aisle and studied the packages and packages of ground beef stacked in it. After looking at it a few seconds, he yelled out, "Are those worms?!?"

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Ahhh, Fall

Well, I can't say that about the temperatures, but the color of the sky and the way the light and shadows play, I can tell it's definitely here. That and the fact that it's nearly dark by 7:30 now.

I took the boys to a nearby park this afternoon. We were supposed to meet some friends, but they didn't show up. I guess maybe they forgot because we planned this last week sometime. I started to call this morning to double-check, but I got busy. Anyway, when we got there, several school-age kids were running around. Most of them had tags of some sort pinned to their shirts. The 3 teachers sat on a bench in the shade and pretty much ignored everything but each other. Only when a kid came up crying to them did they respond.

The boys were having fun playing in the rocks (pea gravel, the ground cover for that half of the playground) with some of the other kids while I sat in a small shady spot and watched for our friends. Every so often, Caleb and/or Jacob would go running by to climb up the wooden "ship" structure and run through the mazes. Then I saw one of the older kids throw a rock at a boy playing directly in front of me. He hid and watched, then aimed to throw another one. Thankfully the "victim" moved out of the line of fire. About that time Jacob came up to get a drink of water. I told him it was time to go, so we rounded up Caleb and left. I explained to them why I didn't want to stay and suggested we visit a nearby playground that was around the corner. They were excited to check it out since it opened this spring and we hadn't been there yet.

I found a shady spot in the parking lot and we walked over to the deserted playground. (Yes!) Jacob immediately noticed the spongy "floor" of the playground and started bouncing around and chanting, "Squishy, squishy, squishy!" I felt like I was walking on springs! The play equipment is painted in bright primary colors and has all sorts of things on it: a small climbing wall, two slides, all sorts of bridges, and steps and ladders to climb. One of the bridges is slanted and really hard to walk across, so you have to hold on to the chain "rope" above it to get across. Caleb went right on by, but my feet slipped a lot. (I think that had to do with my flip-flops.) Jacob needed help his first time across, but he went easily all the other times.

My favorite part of the play equipment was four vertical poles with circular steps about 2 feet high. The were anchored at the top and bottom, but they swayed one way or the other while you tried to cross. Caleb surprised me by going right across the first time. I went and was a little surprised at how uneasy it made me feel. I went across and back, but no more. Jacob wanted help getting across once. I'm not sure if he went across by himself of not. Something about that part made me think of Survivor.

While the boys continued playing, I sat on a bench in a tiny spot of shadow and watched the dragonflies overhead. The wind was blowing nicely and a few leaves were falling here and there. Everytime the breeze would pick up, I could hear the rustling. So nice, so relaxing... So quiet!

I definitely want to go back to that spot again. It's not a weekend place for us. The few times I've driven by on a Saturday, it's been wrapped up with kids. But it'll be perfect for lazy afternoons after we've finished school for the day. We might even pack up a picnic lunch and take with us. I'll definitely have to invite a few of our friends to meet us there. The boys would love playing "obstacle course" there with friends.

10 Television Shows on DVD

This week's Ten on Tuesday wants to know what 10 television shows you have or would like to have on DVD. My list:

1. Monk (have Season 1)
2. CSI: New York (have Season 1)
3. CSI
4. Friends
5. Seinfeld
6. Homefront
7. ER
8. Chicago Hope
9. Everybody Loves Raymond (Thanks, Patois, for the idea!)
10. Psych

At first I thought this was going to be a breeze. I was putting down one show after another, then I came to a screeching halt. I absolutely can not think of anything else! I'm sure I'll come up with something later.

Mediterranean Hummus Pizza

Billy was able to get the good hummus yesterday at Fadi's! The pizza was really good, and it reminded me a lot of the Greek Pita Pizzas that I've made in the past, but it was quite a bit saltier. I think that was due to the combination of hummus, Kalamata olives, and marinated artichoke hearts.

I made it on a 15" round stone with my delicious homemade pizza crust, which complemented the Greek flavors nicely. I brushed olive oil and fresh garlic on the crust, then baked it completely. After it cooled a bit, I spread the hummus on top. Then I topped it with coarsely chopped kalamata olives, chopped onion (I forgot to buy red onion), diced cucumber, marinated artichoke hearts, diced tomato (on my half only), and feta cheese.

It was very filling! I've mentioned before that Billy and I can't eat as much pizza on the new crust, and it was true last night as well. The two of us ate only half, so we have leftovers for tonight. I hope it's good left over, but I can't see why it wouldn't be.

I didn't figure the boys would like that pizza, so I made a cheese pizza for them. They have 5 slices left, so that should be enough for them and the babysitter tonight.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Go Greek!

Our family went to the 51st Annual Greek Food Festival this weekend. The boys had been looking forward to it for a week, so after Saturday morning's soccer, we came home, changed clothes, and headed out for our much-anticipated lunch.

The boys and I each got Chicken Souvlaki - chunks of marinated chicken grilled on skewers, placed in a fresh pita with tzatziki (cucumber yogurt) sauce, diced tomatoes, and chopped red onion (mine only). Billy had a Greek Sausage in a pita with tzatziki and onions, and for "dessert", a Tiropita (baked phyllo dough filled with feta cheese, eggs, and seasonings). I enjoyed a few bites of his tiropita, but the boys didn't want any. They didn't like it last year.

I really enjoyed listening to the live music while I ate. I told the boys it made me want to get up and dance, but they begged me not to - not that I would have! I just chair-danced instead. I'd like to find a CD with some catchy Greek music on it, but not any singing. (Oh, Billy said the instruments they were playing were called "bouzoukis". I never knew that's what my mom meant when she would tell me, "Get your bouzouki in here!")

On our way to tour the church again, we stopped to watch the dancers on stage. The boys had just finished and we missed seeing them, but one of them kept standing on the stage near the steps and dancing while the instructor was trying to shoo him down. No, this wasn't a preschooler or kindergartner, either. He looked to be about 10! A few minutes later, the girls took to the stage and danced.

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church is beautiful. The sanctuary is in the shape of a cross and has biblical murals and mosaics on the upper walls, ceiling, and domes. Unfortunately my camera batteries were dead, so I'll have to wait until next year to take any pictures of it. We talked briefly with one of the priests there. He said their Saturday evening services are done in English and the Sunday liturgy services are in Greek. We may go to one so we can experience the different culture and worship style. Billy went to a few Orthodox services while on Patmos.

We bought some homemade baklava to bring home and will probably have some of it for dessert tonight after eating our Mediterranean Hummus Pizza. Billy bought a new bouriki (Greek coffeepot) and some imported Greek coffee. I'm glad I got my "Opa!" apron last year because they didn't have any this year. They either said "Yia Yia's Cooking" (Grandma's cooking") or "51st Annual Greek Food Festival". I did see some nice wall plaques for the kitchen that said different things in Greek, but they were too expensive.

What's Cooking?

I found a new meme that's just perfect for me on Mondays: Menu Plan Monday. Now I can share my weekly menus with other people who post theirs on their blogs. I'm hoping to find some interesting new recipes to try - and to continue sharing some of my favorites.

Here's the plan for this week:
Monday: Mediterranean Hummus Pizza (I've had to put this off twice, but I will make it tonight! Sorry for those who recommended I make my own hummus, but I've had a heck of a time trying to find chickpeas and tahini paste. Wal-Mart doesn't carry it - and my Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market seems to have quit carrying hummus as well! Hopefully Billy can pick some up from Fadi's today; if not, I'll call a few local grocery stores to see who has it.)

Tuesday: leftovers or sandwiches (I have a meeting, Billy has class, and the boys will have a sitter.)

Wednesday: Vegetable Soup (Yes, the temperature probably be in the 90s that day, but I'm so ready for soup. And if I don't start soup nights this week, cold weather will be over before I get to make all the ones I want!)

Thursday: leftover soup (I need a minimum of cooking and cleaning on Thursday nights. That's when I park in front of the TV for the night: Survivor, CSI, and ER.)

Friday: ??? (Billy's parents are coming this weekend and we'll probably get take-out or have sandwiches.)

Saturday: OUT! (We'll pick a fun restaurant to go to. There's a new Japanese restaurant called "Iron Chefs" nearby, but I don't know if it has officially opened yet. We've got tons of places to choose from, though.)

Sunday: sandwiches (When we get home from AWANA around 7:00, it's too late and I'm too tired to cook!)

Not a very inspiring menu this week. Next week will be better.