Sunday, April 20, 2014
Easter Sunday - ahhhhhh! The morning started with choir practice at 8:00 to prepare for singing at both the 9:00 and 10:30 services. In addition to choir responsibilities, Todd and I also ushered at the 10:30 service. Busy morning and a busy week for church. I don't usually sing in the choir, but the Pastor asked a few individuals to sing with the choir to boost the ranks for the Palm Sunday Passion musical and Holy Week. This entailed weekly practice with a Palm Passion service on Palm Sunday, singing on Good Friday and singing again on Easter Sunday. Last Thursday was my last practice :-). Don't get me wrong, I love to sing, but the mix of choir members isn't really a group I want to hang with. There are some VERY nice people, but then there are also the whiners and complainers. You know the type, nothing ever makes them happy. I don't like to be around people like that and since it is my choice, I don't have to!
Here is a picture of my church sanctuary this morning! Yup, those are the 10 commandments, front and center! Sort of imposing! Flowers in front of the alter, towels on the alter (offered for 'The Road Home' program, a homeless program my church and I are involved with) and a paper flower cross made by the Sunday school children on the side.
Since our oldest son Joe, was spending Easter with his girlfriend's family and Charlie stayed in Eau Claire, it was just Todd and I. When we got home from church, Todd asked, do you think it is OK to run the power washer on Easter? my response, Sure, I don't see why not! So we got busy cleaning the screen porch and outside furniture. With the warmer temp's finally arriving in Madison, the porch is a wonderful place to sit, but a winters worth of grim needs to be cleaned off of screen, floors and furniture before you want to use it.
Todd handled the power washer, while I scrubbed the furniture. I am sitting on the porch as I type this and it is nice to sit on the chairs without a beach towel, which I used to keep the grim off of me!
Now for the 'catch up' portion.
Running: I have been running 2 miles in the morning with Sophie usually 4-5 days a week and did venture out for 4 miles on Friday morning.
Biking: Tricia and I did a 27 mile ride on Friday, passing through Paoli. Little did I know that we would bike to Paoli (15 miles) on Saturday too!
On to Saturday, Todd, Joe, Chelsea and I decided to do a short ride to Paoli. From our starting point, it is a nice 15 mile ride, nothing challenging, but a great lunch destination. I asked Tricia if she wanted to join us and she said sure. When we got into Paoli, we stopped at one of the many unique shops in Paoli, this one is called 'Cluck'. They specialize in chicken feed and collectibles. I found this great print and can't wait to get it framed and hung, photo bombing chickens!
Recipes: Cooking my way through Jenna's blog: eat, live, run HERE. l have been really focusing on making some recipes the last couple of weeks. Last time I posted, I had my next recipe selected, Chicken Paprika with homemade dumplings, here. This was the first time I've ever made dumplings and they turned out great. The dish was wonderful, rich and creamy. Will be making again. And it was quick and easy.
We had a causal get together at church a couple of weeks ago. Wasn't sure what to being, but I knew it would be something from Jenna's blog! I decided on Grilled Brie with Honey and Trail mix, here. Again, Brie is something I haven't ever made. I have eaten it, but just never made anything with it. This was well received, everyone enjoyed it and again, easy peasy!
Next up was Spinach feta turkey burgers, here on Sunday. I know I sound like a broken record, but they were so good. Turkey burgers can be a little dry, but with the spinach and feta cheese in the burger, that provided a little moisture and they were great. Not much to look at, especially when you compare it to the rich dark color of a beef burger - but it can hold its own in a taste test.
Pork Chops with Grilled Nectarines, Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola Cheese, here. Sounded and looked fancy but it was really quick and you just can't go wrong with the combination of Grilled Nectarines, Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola Cheese, oh and the pork.
here. I started with soaking the beans Thursday evening and then in between running and biking on Friday, I headed to the store to pick up the ingredient I didn't have on hand, specifically ham hocks. Another thing I have never used in cooking! Like chili, the red beans and rice gets better each and every day it is warmed up.
Hoping you all had a wonderful Easter.
Enjoy the moments.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
come to Madison . . . although our two large lakes, Monona and Mendota are still frozen
and we are sure to receive some cold temp's in the weeks to come, I think we can actually think about spring in the current tense instead of the future tense.
Spring! I especially think we were waiting . . . waiting . . . waiting for any slight sign of warmth after the extremely cold winter we had. I checked the weather history and in March 2012 the highest temperature was recorded at 83 degrees with 19 days when the high for the day was 60 or above. 19 days sounds unbelievable as we just survived a March that only yielded 1 day that was above 60, March 31 when the high was 65.
Biking: This year we were thrilled with 50+ degree weather, which occurred for a whopping 5 days in March! I got out on my bike on 3 of those days and was also out on a day when the high was only 46! I biked for a total of 61 miles in March, an all time record. When I bike to work I usually do 60+ miles per week, but in March, not so much!
Running: I have been running, but not for any distance. My runs are comprised of running with Sophie for 2 miles. Here we are on Monday morning - I loved the deep blue sky.
I have now made 25 recipes from Jenna's blog: eat,live,run, HERE. Doing the math or looking at the counter on the right hand column of my blog, shows that I have 105 recipes left to go. Looking at the number of recipes I have completed so far, 25 just doesn't sound like that many, especially since I started in November. Anyway, I am not going to give up and will continue through this journey!
Last night I made the Penne with White Bean and Spinach, here. I will be honest, I didn't think I would enjoy the fact that there really wasn't any real sauce in this recipe, but the lemon zest and juice along with a little water from the penne and the white beans provided a creamy consistency. The cayenne pepper provided a bit of a bite. It was a quick easy meal. I would make it again and actually thought of adding tuna . . . that might sound weird, but I think it would go well with the lemon and spinach.
I have another recipe planned for tomorrow evening - Chicken Paprika with Homemade Dumplings - this will be a new experience since I have never made dumplings before!
Enjoy the moments!
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
. . . coffee. My last blog post was titled 'a coffee break'. Keeping with the coffee theme, yesterday and today I started the day with my coffee outside. I started drinking my 1st coffee of the day outside last year in May and did it through Fall. This year I am starting a little earlier, hopefully I can keep it up! I basically try and soak up the fresh air and just chill for a few minutes.
The photo is from yesterday when the temp's were in the 40's, this morning's coffee cooled off quickly since the temp's were high 20's. Yup, we still have snow on the north side of the house.
Our morning runs are accompanied by the sounds of geese and Sandhill cranes, sure signs of spring. Another sign of spring is sleeping with the windows open. The last couple evenings I opened the windows in the bedroom and enjoyed birds waking me up. Last night the street cleaner came down our street. I am sure I would not have heard it if the windows were closed, but with them opened the noise woke me. It takes awhile to get use to sounds from outside coming inside! Anyway, I got up for a glass of milk and while drinking it I was looking out the front window, when suddenly there was someone on a scooter. Not a gas powered scooter, a scooter that kids use and they were followed by someone on a bike with a dog. The time was 12:30pm. It just hit me as a little late to be scooting and biking with a dog . . . but the temp's were in the low 50's so it would have been beautiful! If only I didn't have to get up at 5:15!
Yesterday, my friend and I hopped on our bikes at lunch and did the Lake Monona loop. The winds were 25mph, so it was a hard ride when we were biking into the wind or with the cross wind. But boy oh boy when the wind was at our backs - we were flying!
Tomorrow we are planning another ride at lunch. It works our great. My friend Tricia works about 4 miles away from me, but we can easily get to the same bike path. My office is actually on the bike path, while hers is about 1/2 mile away from the path.
Enjoy the moments!