Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Jesse Tree Swap Grand Finale

It's Go Time for the Jesse Tree Swap.



Tomorrow, some gracious Marthas are coming to help me sort and ship 32 x 32 ornaments.  Do you know how many 32 times 32 is?  I used to, but I don't anymore.  It's about a gajillion.  I know, because I have roughly a gajillion handmade ornaments from all over the country in my home right now.

I also have 26 flat rate boxes, and 60 gallon size baggies, and the case of packing tape from Costco.  No, I didn't buy the packing tape special for this event.  I like packing tape.  I ship lots of stuff and I like to reinforce folders and paperback spines.  It's the librarian in me.

Kudos to St. Anthony for not letting me lose anything, not money, not ornaments, not emails, not addresses.  I've had a couple close calls, the Great Becky Mix-Up gave me palpitations, but it's all good now.

Every single ornament is special.  No, seriously!  There is such a variety of materials and mediums. Clay, fabric, metal, wood, glass, paper, shell, yarn, and even walnut.  And glitter.  I've had "glitter face" for at least a week, with a fresh glitter shipment today.  These sets are priceless.

It was no surprise to learn that many of the crafters prayed for their recipients during the process.  However, I  was surprised to see how many of the ornaments symbolizing pieces of Christ's lineage actually foreshadow His Passion.  You'll see.  I don't want to give everything away. 

If you want to see pictures of what I've received so far, "like" Housewifespices on Facebook.  It's all there.

I've had such fun doing this.  I hope the Grand Finale goes smoothly tomorrow, and I especially hope my mail carrier shows up with the last two packages of ornaments.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What I Wore on Thanksgiving

My apologies to all of my male readers and all of my fashionista readers and all of my readers who couldn't care less what I wore on Thanksgiving.



Bummer.  You can't even see the best part.  These shoes from Eddie Bauer are the bomb and I wear them with everything.


Yes, everything.  Black heels and laces mean I can wear them with black pants and skirts and tights and you can't stop me.

You can see my nostril flare, as I'm gritting my teeth and saying "Did you take it yet?"

And you can see ALLL four counties of my shiny forehead.  Is that the thermostat coming out of my elbow?  I think I can see a nickel on the floor.

Shirt:  new Eddie Bauer
Sweater:  old Marshalls
Skirt:  way old JCP Worthington
Tights:  Merona from Walmart
Shoes:  you already heard
Hair:  hot rollers from my brother-in-law in the Christmas gift exchange like 12 years ago.  In the event of a fire, I would probably grab them.
Earrings:  pearls from the Chef last Christmas 

I wish I could take nice outdoor pics like everyone else, but by the time I did this, it was pitch black and raining outside.  Yes, I agree, that might have been better.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Seven Quick Takes




7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

1.

Gratuitous make up take.  Move along boys, move along.

But for you ladies, I read Hallie Lord's link up post here, in which she refers to an edifying list of reviewed BB creams here.  Honestly, I had never heard of BB creams.  But I read the list, and on my next sojourn to Warmalt, I picked up this little game changer.


And I experimented.  This stuff comes out white and grainy, but when you rub it on your face the little color beads burst and turn into regular smooth skin colored cream.  I didn't believe it either, but it does!  

My favorite part about the L'oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream is that it is Matte finish.  I don't know about you, but when a cosmetologist tells me a product leaves a "dewy finish," I translate that as "oily, sweaty, high shine"  because my face generates enough "dew" on its own.  Thankyouverymuch.

I rarely use grocery store products, because I hate makeup that smells, and I hate buying something that I can't test first.  Let's face it, grocery store testers are gross, if they haven't walked off already.  But at under $10, this product was something I will recommend.

2.

Have you heard about my Jesse Tree Ornament Swap?  

It's incredible how many timely, organized, creative people have already sent or brought or completed their ornaments.  

Samuel, Moses, and Adam showed up yesterday.  Aren't they lovely?


I am not one of those people.

C'mon.  I'm doing my Friday QT's on Saturday, so I'm running a bit behind.  

3.

Trying to write these Quick Takes, quickly.  Last night, after a Mexican dinner in honor of the Feast of Blessed Miguel Pro, we did NOT watch For the Greater Glory, but instead watched The Amazing Spider-man.   Naturally.



Everybody liked it!  It's quite good.  And very family friendly.  Check it out.


For the Greater Glory is very good too, but also very violent.  Definitely not for the little ones. 

4.

I am an avid movie-goer-watcher-lover.  The Chef...not so much.  I'm trying to get him to take me to the theater tonight to see Argo or Lincoln or Wreck-It Ralph.  What do you recommend?

5.

Did you read Grace's quick takes?  


Nashville.  We are loving it.  Big time Connie Briton fans, Nashville fans, country music fans.  And we are enjoying the show too.  But yes, there should be more music, less politics.

6.

Speaking of Grace...did you hear I won a giveaway?  I won $50 to Modern Furniture Warehouse and was planning to buy this wreath. 


But, alas, they were out of stock, and I do believe I might be able to find something similar for a wee bit less than the $217 plus change they charge.

I did get to upgrade our mailbox though.  Look at this beautiful copper creation!

Will it turn that beautiful greenish/aqua patina with age?  I certainly hope so.  It's classy, and classic, and reminds me of Lyle Novinski's hand pierced copper lanterns that surround the Church of the Incarnation at the University of Dallas.  Oh, how I love that holy space.



7.


The Chef and I are in discussions about a tentative family voyage to South Dakota.  Why South Dakota?  Because Edmund had a Social Studies test that included Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.  Yes, I realize that there will be many more Social Studies test, but somehow the Mesabi Range of Minnesota, the nation's source for iron ore, didn't strike a chord with me the same way.  

We've often talked about a "big trip out West someday," and now faced with the idea that our chicks will leave the nest for college and adulthood in the next few (1.5) years, we better get a move on.




The Chef wants to include mountain, Tetons, I think he said.  I want to include Wall Drug and outlet malls.  So pour forth your Western wisdom.  We are total greenhorns about this part of the world.



Go see Jen and co. for yesterday's quick takes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Jesse Tree Ornament Swap Update

Baby Jesus and Ruth

Kathy and Lena are finished, signed, sealed, and delivered.  Aren't these lovely?  Just what I hoped for. 

I've had a few people back out, but luckily, had a few more willing souls. 




Isn't this "Elizabeth" precious?  I just love her.  You can read all about how Charlotte made her here.

I did get contact info for everyone on my list last Friday.  Hallelujah!

I am really enjoying all my new friends.  I couldn't do it alone.  Thank you! 
Here is the assignment list in all of its glory:

 1. Jesse Tree or Stump 1 Samuel 16:1-13 Amanda

2.  Adam (sun or earth) Genesis 1:24-28 Karen

3.  Eve (Apple and Snake) Genesis 3: 1-24 Blair

4.  Noah (ark or rainbow) Genesis 6:11-22, 8:6-12  Elizabeth C.

5.  Abraham and Sarah (tent) Genesis 12:1-7, 13:2-18  Ingrid

6. Isaac and Rebecca (ram or lamb or silver pitcher or bundle of wood or altar) Genesis 22:1-14  Mary

7.  Jacob and Rachel (ladder) Genesis 27:41 and 28:22  Cal Fan

8.  Prophecy of Isaiah (one of these names: "And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace", or  throne of David) Isaiah 9:2-7  Jessica

9.  Joseph (many colored coat) Genesis 37:1-36  Anne H.

10.  Moses (tablets of commandments or burning bush or baby in basket) Exodus 20:1-17  Emily B.

11.  Aaron  (rod and serpent or blessing hand) Numbers 6:22-27 Cassandra
 

12.  Samuel (lamp) 1 Samuel 3: 1-21  E. Simmons

13.  David (harp or slingshot) 1 Samuel 16:14-23  Mary Kate D.

14.  Psalm 23:  Good Shepherd (shepherd's crook)  Kerri

15.  Solomon (crown) 1 Kings 3:3-28  Kris M.

16.  Elijah (raven or manna or chariot of fire) 1 Kings 17:1-16 Or choose Joshua or Ruth, but give me a chapter and verse for the handout.  Lena - Ruth

17.  Elisha (dove) 2 Kings 5: 1-27  Or choose Judith or Jonah, but give me a chapter and verse for the handout. taken by So Many Things to Love

18.  Isaiah (scroll, live coal and tongs, anvil and sword, sword and plowshare) Isaiah 6:1-8  Lisa G.

19.  Jeremiah (book of law) Jeremiah 31:31-34 or choose Samson or Daniel, but give me a Bible chapter and verse for the handout.  Angi

20.  Nehemiah  (city of Jerusalem or brick wall) Nehemiah 13:10-22 Michelle

21.  Angel Hebrews1:1-14  Cheryl C.

22.  Zechariah (ark of covenant, or tablet and pencil or chalk, or thurible of incense) Luke 1:5-25  Angela

23.  Mary (heart or lily or any Mary image or symbol) Luke 1:26-38 Dwija

24.  Elizabeth (mother and child or visitation scene) Luke 1: 39-56 Charlotte

25.  John the Baptist (scallop shell with water, river)Luke 1:57-80 Cari D.

26.  Joseph (tools) Matthew 1: 18-2:1  Josee

27. Magi (three crowns, camels, or Bethlehem star)Matthew2:1-12 Rose D.

28. Baby Jesus (or Chi Ro) Luke 2:1-20 Kathy A.

29.  Samson  Kelly C.

30.  Joshua  Becky

31.  Judith or Jonah Lauren

32.  Daniel  Lenetta   


Monday, November 19, 2012

Divergent Review with tons of Spoilers


WARNING:  LONG RECAP WITH LOADS OF SPOILERS!



Divergent is the latest dystopian best-seller for teens by new author, Veronica Roth.  My girls asked me to read it because all of their friends are reading it.  eye-roll.  head bobble. exasperated sigh.

Sixteen year-old Beatrice must choose her faction at Choosing Ceremony.  Her faction will become her home, her family, her friends, her identity.  There are five factions:  Erudite, Amity, Candor, Abnegation, and Dauntless.  She can choose the faction she was raised in, and stay with her parents in Abnegation, or she can choose a new faction, turning her back on her family and risking the possibility that she will never see them again. 

Here is a brief description of the factions.  You probably don't need to read this.
When the world erupted in chaos, the survivors formed each faction based on what they believed caused "a warring world."  Erudite blamed ignorance and so they value knowledge.  They study all the time.  Amity blamed aggression, and they value peace and friendliness.  Candor blamed duplicity, so they only speak the truth, all the time, spouting off their opinions constantly.  Abnegation blamed selfishness, so they practice selflessness, and their faction is the only one allowed to rule the council.  The Dauntless blamed cowardice, so they practice bravery.  They perform daring feats daily, such as jumping off trains and buildings, and they are trained to fight, protecting the borders and bearing arms.
Skip ahead to here:
The day before the Choosing Ceremony is the day of the aptitude tests.  Each sixteen year-old is put though a simulation.  Based on their choices in the simulation, it is determined which faction they are most suited for.  Beatrice discovers that she is suited for three of the five factions.  She is warned by her test administrator, a Dauntless named Tori, never to tell anyone her test results.  Tori tells Beatrice that her test results label her as "divergent," and she must keep this a secret. "Divergence is extremely dangerous."  Her test results are faked as Abnegation.

Though she was raised in Abnegation, she chooses Dauntless and changes her name to Tris.

While training to be Dauntless, first Tris learns to fight.  The initiates are paired up for fights, where they beat each other up until one can no longer fight.  They must fight, because at each stage of initiation, they are ranked.  Only the top ten initiates, either transfers like Beatrice, or Dauntless born, will become Dauntless.  The rest, if they survive, will become factionless, similar to the homeless.  Fights are viscious and brutal, often with one opponent unconscious.

In one scene, Tris is bullied by some initiates who take her towel from her post-shower.  She is forced to walk naked before them, not showing any fear or shame.  In her third fight, Tris beats up one of these initiates, repeatedly kicking the girl once she's down, kicking her in the stomach, in the face, in the chest, until she must be removed by a trainer and told to stop.  "I wish I could say I felt guilty for what I did.  I don't."

During the first round, Peter, a sadistic transfer, is ranked second, so naturally, he stabs the first place candidate in the eye with a butter knife that night.  Did I mention that this book is very violent?

And a little sexy too.  Tris has been raised sort of like the Amish.  Gray, shapeless clothing.  She never saw any PDA before coming to Dauntless.  She starts wearing tighter and more revealing clothes, to show off her new Dauntless tattoos.  Dauntless are known for their muscles, their piercings, their tats, and their black clothing.  There's lots of ambiguous snogging. 

After round two, mental preparation involving more simulations, when she gets ranked first, Peter and friends kidnap her, blindfold her, grope her chest, taunt her boyishness, beat her up, and almost kill her.  But a training leader steps in to save her, the mysterious boy called Four, who is her love interest.

After her kidnapping and rescue, one of her attackers begs forgiveness, she refuses, and he kills himself by throwing himself off a ledge into the Chasm.

She has lots of lingering looks at Four, one focusing on the skin just above his waistband when she sees him shirtless.

In round three, she must pass through her simulated Fear landscape.  The computer can identify all of her deepest fears and create scenarios from them.  In addition to being afraid of being pecked to death by crows, drowning, faceless scarred zombie men, she is also afraid of intimacy.  One of her fears in the fear landscape involves Four and a bed.

Like Twilight, Tris and Four never actually have sex.  They have one steamy ride in a train car, and lots of lingering looks and kisses, but this novel is not fraught with passion the way Twilight is.

Divergent is mostly about Tris and the Dauntless, except for the last seventy pages, when war breaks out between the Erudite and Abnegation.  More violence, more killing.  This time the Dauntless are used by the Erudite.  They are all given the same injection they get before a simulation, but this time, it's not a simulation.  The Erudite are sending them to destroy every member of Abnegation.  The one thing about being Divergent is that the sim serum doesn't work on Tris, so of course she must stop the war.

Divergent is well-written (well, the first three-fourths are) and the philosophical ideals behind each faction are extremely well thought out.  There's so much violence and just enough sex, however, that I'm not letting my high school students read it.

There are sure to be sequels.  Four and Tris have nothing left to do but consummate their love, unless a new character emerges to create the twisted love triangle, "Who will she choose?"  So I have a sneaking suspicion that the series will get raunchier.

Did I like it?  Hmm.  I finished it in 2! days.  Couldn't put it down, mostly trying to find out more about this Divergent thing.  But there's not much to tell there. And I'm still pretty confused.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Seven Quick Takes

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

1.

Who knew finding 27+ people nuts enough to make dozens of ornaments in the next two weeks would be so easy?

Who knew that internet friends are the best?  Giving up their first pick when someone else wants it, giving up their slot when they see someone on the waiting list, giving great advice about shipping from home, priority flat rate boxes, and safe hot glue-gun usage.

Who knew that some of the great people who signed up would be so hard to track down?  Please share your contact info on your blog or at least your user profile.  I have several peeps for whom I can't find email addresses.

So if your name is on the list, please contact me asap to confirm that you're in, what ornament your assigned, and to give me your contact info.  My email is housewifespice*at*comcast*dot*net .

Karen @ A Servant’s Memories
Blair @ Blair’s Blessings
Kerri
So Many Things to Love
Michelle @ Liturgical Time
Becky @ Sebastian
Lauren @ Knit In My Womb
Lenetta @ Nettacow
Edited Saturday, November 17 at 12:06pm.  Kerri and So Many Things to Love, please confirm via email.  Thanks to all!
2.
 
After 90+ days, see the finished upstairs bathroom!

This is the shower in a closet.  What?  Everybody doesn't have one?


Why didn't I turn on the lights?  Or use a flash?
Behind these doors lies a world of clutter.

3.

My mother-in-law watches Edmund and Baby J for a total of nearly 45 minutes every Thursday afternoon, while I take Lucy to her voice lesson.  (Girl's got pipes.)  It's always interesting to get someone else's perception of your child.  Inevitably, when Nana is around Baby J, she uses words like "busy," "intense,"  and "wild" to describe her.

So maybe when I compare Baby J to this character from Bridge on the River Kwai, I might not be exaggerating.  That much.

Baby J is Col. Saito, and that makes me Alec Guinness.

Just as I typed this, she forced the Chef to surrender his leather armchair to her.

Last night during dinner, I heard the Chef say, "Don't threaten me with broccoli," as J used a new word for the very first time, "fwo."

She refuses the highchair.  She can climb in and out of it at will anyway.

She forces me to get her specific food items, without really having the vocabulary to explain her needs, and if I get her the wrong thing, she throws it.  I have prepared food for her, only to have her spit it out and force me to surrender my own meals.

Last night, I experimented with her techniques, I hollered "wa-wa" at Peter who had failed to set water glasses when he set the table last night.  He was not amused.

She's got a lot of personality.  Some might say she has extra personalities.

4.

She ADORES this movie though.  She gets very excited and jumps off the sofa to point to the tv and say "Rwarrh!"  or "Peeta!"  




She's actually been yelling "Peeta!" for weeks now.  Aside from thinking it translated as "pizza" or assuming she was taking sides against Gale in The Hunger Games, I had no clue as to why several times a day she would inadvertently yell, "Peeta!"  Or sometimes, "Peeta!  Peeta! Peeta!"

But when we put on this dvd, we all knew.  She means "cheetah!"  Well, at least sometimes.

5.


I won't be able to participate in the Office Space Tweet-a-thon, but that's no reason why you can't.  

I have to fill out TPS reports. 

6.
 

If you're making your Thanksgiving dinner, let me share with you The Best Holiday Cranberry Relish recipe ever.  Bonus, you can make it now, or tomorrow, or as late as Monday, because it chills for four days!

I found this New England Cranberry Relish recipe in the Chicago Tribune over a decade ago.

Wonderful Fact Number One: You don't have to cook anything.

Wonderful Fact Number Two: This recipe can be made up to 3 weeks ahead! If you can keep from eating it for 3 weeks. Ideally, it's supposed to be made at least 4 days in advance. But we had it on Thanksgiving once and don't tell anyone, but I only made it 3 days in advance. Actually, I didn't make it, my 12 year old did. Even better.

Wonderful Fact Number Three: My dear friend, Rose makes this every year and calls me on that day.

New England Cranberry Relish

Prep time: 15 minutes
Yield: 20-24 servings, 4 cups

Serve the relish with poultry, game, pork, ham and lamb. Mix with mayonnaise for a flavorful sandwich spread.

1 bag (12oz) cranberries
1 red apple, cored, cut into 1-inch wedges (We used a granny smith. Shh.)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup NOT PANCAKE SYRUP.
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup pecans

Put cranberries, apple, sugar, syrup, cinnamon, and cloves in food processor fitted with metal blade. Pulse processor on/off to chop ingredients, stopping every few pulses to avoid over-chopping. The texture should not be too fine. Scatter pecans over mixture; pulse until coarsely chopped. Make at least 4 days ahead. Can be kept up to 2-3 weeks, refrigerated. 

7.
 For the best stuffing, I recommend Cook's Illustrated Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing, also found in the America's Test Kitchen Cookbook.


Did you see what I did there?  I sent you to New England for cranberry relish and then gave you the epitome of Southern Thanksgiving with cornbread.  Geographically diverse and delicious.  
For the best green beans, this Martha Stewart recipe is To.  Die.  For.  Plus, it's healthy and salad-y.  Two birds, one recipe.  Plus, three words:  Deep Fried Shallots.

And for dessert, Pioneer Woman and Bobby Flay had a Throwdown and this Pumpkin Bread Pudding was the star of the show.  
Take it easy and use Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread Mix for the bread pudding.  Hope TJ isn't sold out of pumpkin bread mix yet.  That wouldn't have anything to do with the double digit quantities I purchased.  I learned my lesson last year.

Take it real easy and skip Bobby's Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise.  I spent $12 on vanilla beans only to ruin that sauce and use real whipped cream instead.  Still Awesome.


Go see Jen for more QTs and have a Fabulous Fanksgiving.

  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Jesse Tree Swap Grand Finale

It's Go Time for the Jesse Tree Swap.



Tomorrow, some gracious Marthas are coming to help me sort and ship 32 x 32 ornaments.  Do you know how many 32 times 32 is?  I used to, but I don't anymore.  It's about a gajillion.  I know, because I have roughly a gajillion handmade ornaments from all over the country in my home right now.

I also have 26 flat rate boxes, and 60 gallon size baggies, and the case of packing tape from Costco.  No, I didn't buy the packing tape special for this event.  I like packing tape.  I ship lots of stuff and I like to reinforce folders and paperback spines.  It's the librarian in me.

Kudos to St. Anthony for not letting me lose anything, not money, not ornaments, not emails, not addresses.  I've had a couple close calls, the Great Becky Mix-Up gave me palpitations, but it's all good now.

Every single ornament is special.  No, seriously!  There is such a variety of materials and mediums. Clay, fabric, metal, wood, glass, paper, shell, yarn, and even walnut.  And glitter.  I've had "glitter face" for at least a week, with a fresh glitter shipment today.  These sets are priceless.

It was no surprise to learn that many of the crafters prayed for their recipients during the process.  However, I  was surprised to see how many of the ornaments symbolizing pieces of Christ's lineage actually foreshadow His Passion.  You'll see.  I don't want to give everything away. 

If you want to see pictures of what I've received so far, "like" Housewifespices on Facebook.  It's all there.

I've had such fun doing this.  I hope the Grand Finale goes smoothly tomorrow, and I especially hope my mail carrier shows up with the last two packages of ornaments.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What I Wore on Thanksgiving

My apologies to all of my male readers and all of my fashionista readers and all of my readers who couldn't care less what I wore on Thanksgiving.



Bummer.  You can't even see the best part.  These shoes from Eddie Bauer are the bomb and I wear them with everything.


Yes, everything.  Black heels and laces mean I can wear them with black pants and skirts and tights and you can't stop me.

You can see my nostril flare, as I'm gritting my teeth and saying "Did you take it yet?"

And you can see ALLL four counties of my shiny forehead.  Is that the thermostat coming out of my elbow?  I think I can see a nickel on the floor.

Shirt:  new Eddie Bauer
Sweater:  old Marshalls
Skirt:  way old JCP Worthington
Tights:  Merona from Walmart
Shoes:  you already heard
Hair:  hot rollers from my brother-in-law in the Christmas gift exchange like 12 years ago.  In the event of a fire, I would probably grab them.
Earrings:  pearls from the Chef last Christmas 

I wish I could take nice outdoor pics like everyone else, but by the time I did this, it was pitch black and raining outside.  Yes, I agree, that might have been better.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Seven Quick Takes




7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

1.

Gratuitous make up take.  Move along boys, move along.

But for you ladies, I read Hallie Lord's link up post here, in which she refers to an edifying list of reviewed BB creams here.  Honestly, I had never heard of BB creams.  But I read the list, and on my next sojourn to Warmalt, I picked up this little game changer.


And I experimented.  This stuff comes out white and grainy, but when you rub it on your face the little color beads burst and turn into regular smooth skin colored cream.  I didn't believe it either, but it does!  

My favorite part about the L'oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream is that it is Matte finish.  I don't know about you, but when a cosmetologist tells me a product leaves a "dewy finish," I translate that as "oily, sweaty, high shine"  because my face generates enough "dew" on its own.  Thankyouverymuch.

I rarely use grocery store products, because I hate makeup that smells, and I hate buying something that I can't test first.  Let's face it, grocery store testers are gross, if they haven't walked off already.  But at under $10, this product was something I will recommend.

2.

Have you heard about my Jesse Tree Ornament Swap?  

It's incredible how many timely, organized, creative people have already sent or brought or completed their ornaments.  

Samuel, Moses, and Adam showed up yesterday.  Aren't they lovely?


I am not one of those people.

C'mon.  I'm doing my Friday QT's on Saturday, so I'm running a bit behind.  

3.

Trying to write these Quick Takes, quickly.  Last night, after a Mexican dinner in honor of the Feast of Blessed Miguel Pro, we did NOT watch For the Greater Glory, but instead watched The Amazing Spider-man.   Naturally.



Everybody liked it!  It's quite good.  And very family friendly.  Check it out.


For the Greater Glory is very good too, but also very violent.  Definitely not for the little ones. 

4.

I am an avid movie-goer-watcher-lover.  The Chef...not so much.  I'm trying to get him to take me to the theater tonight to see Argo or Lincoln or Wreck-It Ralph.  What do you recommend?

5.

Did you read Grace's quick takes?  


Nashville.  We are loving it.  Big time Connie Briton fans, Nashville fans, country music fans.  And we are enjoying the show too.  But yes, there should be more music, less politics.

6.

Speaking of Grace...did you hear I won a giveaway?  I won $50 to Modern Furniture Warehouse and was planning to buy this wreath. 


But, alas, they were out of stock, and I do believe I might be able to find something similar for a wee bit less than the $217 plus change they charge.

I did get to upgrade our mailbox though.  Look at this beautiful copper creation!

Will it turn that beautiful greenish/aqua patina with age?  I certainly hope so.  It's classy, and classic, and reminds me of Lyle Novinski's hand pierced copper lanterns that surround the Church of the Incarnation at the University of Dallas.  Oh, how I love that holy space.



7.


The Chef and I are in discussions about a tentative family voyage to South Dakota.  Why South Dakota?  Because Edmund had a Social Studies test that included Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.  Yes, I realize that there will be many more Social Studies test, but somehow the Mesabi Range of Minnesota, the nation's source for iron ore, didn't strike a chord with me the same way.  

We've often talked about a "big trip out West someday," and now faced with the idea that our chicks will leave the nest for college and adulthood in the next few (1.5) years, we better get a move on.




The Chef wants to include mountain, Tetons, I think he said.  I want to include Wall Drug and outlet malls.  So pour forth your Western wisdom.  We are total greenhorns about this part of the world.



Go see Jen and co. for yesterday's quick takes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Jesse Tree Ornament Swap Update

Baby Jesus and Ruth

Kathy and Lena are finished, signed, sealed, and delivered.  Aren't these lovely?  Just what I hoped for. 

I've had a few people back out, but luckily, had a few more willing souls. 




Isn't this "Elizabeth" precious?  I just love her.  You can read all about how Charlotte made her here.

I did get contact info for everyone on my list last Friday.  Hallelujah!

I am really enjoying all my new friends.  I couldn't do it alone.  Thank you! 
Here is the assignment list in all of its glory:

 1. Jesse Tree or Stump 1 Samuel 16:1-13 Amanda

2.  Adam (sun or earth) Genesis 1:24-28 Karen

3.  Eve (Apple and Snake) Genesis 3: 1-24 Blair

4.  Noah (ark or rainbow) Genesis 6:11-22, 8:6-12  Elizabeth C.

5.  Abraham and Sarah (tent) Genesis 12:1-7, 13:2-18  Ingrid

6. Isaac and Rebecca (ram or lamb or silver pitcher or bundle of wood or altar) Genesis 22:1-14  Mary

7.  Jacob and Rachel (ladder) Genesis 27:41 and 28:22  Cal Fan

8.  Prophecy of Isaiah (one of these names: "And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace", or  throne of David) Isaiah 9:2-7  Jessica

9.  Joseph (many colored coat) Genesis 37:1-36  Anne H.

10.  Moses (tablets of commandments or burning bush or baby in basket) Exodus 20:1-17  Emily B.

11.  Aaron  (rod and serpent or blessing hand) Numbers 6:22-27 Cassandra
 

12.  Samuel (lamp) 1 Samuel 3: 1-21  E. Simmons

13.  David (harp or slingshot) 1 Samuel 16:14-23  Mary Kate D.

14.  Psalm 23:  Good Shepherd (shepherd's crook)  Kerri

15.  Solomon (crown) 1 Kings 3:3-28  Kris M.

16.  Elijah (raven or manna or chariot of fire) 1 Kings 17:1-16 Or choose Joshua or Ruth, but give me a chapter and verse for the handout.  Lena - Ruth

17.  Elisha (dove) 2 Kings 5: 1-27  Or choose Judith or Jonah, but give me a chapter and verse for the handout. taken by So Many Things to Love

18.  Isaiah (scroll, live coal and tongs, anvil and sword, sword and plowshare) Isaiah 6:1-8  Lisa G.

19.  Jeremiah (book of law) Jeremiah 31:31-34 or choose Samson or Daniel, but give me a Bible chapter and verse for the handout.  Angi

20.  Nehemiah  (city of Jerusalem or brick wall) Nehemiah 13:10-22 Michelle

21.  Angel Hebrews1:1-14  Cheryl C.

22.  Zechariah (ark of covenant, or tablet and pencil or chalk, or thurible of incense) Luke 1:5-25  Angela

23.  Mary (heart or lily or any Mary image or symbol) Luke 1:26-38 Dwija

24.  Elizabeth (mother and child or visitation scene) Luke 1: 39-56 Charlotte

25.  John the Baptist (scallop shell with water, river)Luke 1:57-80 Cari D.

26.  Joseph (tools) Matthew 1: 18-2:1  Josee

27. Magi (three crowns, camels, or Bethlehem star)Matthew2:1-12 Rose D.

28. Baby Jesus (or Chi Ro) Luke 2:1-20 Kathy A.

29.  Samson  Kelly C.

30.  Joshua  Becky

31.  Judith or Jonah Lauren

32.  Daniel  Lenetta   


Monday, November 19, 2012

Divergent Review with tons of Spoilers


WARNING:  LONG RECAP WITH LOADS OF SPOILERS!



Divergent is the latest dystopian best-seller for teens by new author, Veronica Roth.  My girls asked me to read it because all of their friends are reading it.  eye-roll.  head bobble. exasperated sigh.

Sixteen year-old Beatrice must choose her faction at Choosing Ceremony.  Her faction will become her home, her family, her friends, her identity.  There are five factions:  Erudite, Amity, Candor, Abnegation, and Dauntless.  She can choose the faction she was raised in, and stay with her parents in Abnegation, or she can choose a new faction, turning her back on her family and risking the possibility that she will never see them again. 

Here is a brief description of the factions.  You probably don't need to read this.
When the world erupted in chaos, the survivors formed each faction based on what they believed caused "a warring world."  Erudite blamed ignorance and so they value knowledge.  They study all the time.  Amity blamed aggression, and they value peace and friendliness.  Candor blamed duplicity, so they only speak the truth, all the time, spouting off their opinions constantly.  Abnegation blamed selfishness, so they practice selflessness, and their faction is the only one allowed to rule the council.  The Dauntless blamed cowardice, so they practice bravery.  They perform daring feats daily, such as jumping off trains and buildings, and they are trained to fight, protecting the borders and bearing arms.
Skip ahead to here:
The day before the Choosing Ceremony is the day of the aptitude tests.  Each sixteen year-old is put though a simulation.  Based on their choices in the simulation, it is determined which faction they are most suited for.  Beatrice discovers that she is suited for three of the five factions.  She is warned by her test administrator, a Dauntless named Tori, never to tell anyone her test results.  Tori tells Beatrice that her test results label her as "divergent," and she must keep this a secret. "Divergence is extremely dangerous."  Her test results are faked as Abnegation.

Though she was raised in Abnegation, she chooses Dauntless and changes her name to Tris.

While training to be Dauntless, first Tris learns to fight.  The initiates are paired up for fights, where they beat each other up until one can no longer fight.  They must fight, because at each stage of initiation, they are ranked.  Only the top ten initiates, either transfers like Beatrice, or Dauntless born, will become Dauntless.  The rest, if they survive, will become factionless, similar to the homeless.  Fights are viscious and brutal, often with one opponent unconscious.

In one scene, Tris is bullied by some initiates who take her towel from her post-shower.  She is forced to walk naked before them, not showing any fear or shame.  In her third fight, Tris beats up one of these initiates, repeatedly kicking the girl once she's down, kicking her in the stomach, in the face, in the chest, until she must be removed by a trainer and told to stop.  "I wish I could say I felt guilty for what I did.  I don't."

During the first round, Peter, a sadistic transfer, is ranked second, so naturally, he stabs the first place candidate in the eye with a butter knife that night.  Did I mention that this book is very violent?

And a little sexy too.  Tris has been raised sort of like the Amish.  Gray, shapeless clothing.  She never saw any PDA before coming to Dauntless.  She starts wearing tighter and more revealing clothes, to show off her new Dauntless tattoos.  Dauntless are known for their muscles, their piercings, their tats, and their black clothing.  There's lots of ambiguous snogging. 

After round two, mental preparation involving more simulations, when she gets ranked first, Peter and friends kidnap her, blindfold her, grope her chest, taunt her boyishness, beat her up, and almost kill her.  But a training leader steps in to save her, the mysterious boy called Four, who is her love interest.

After her kidnapping and rescue, one of her attackers begs forgiveness, she refuses, and he kills himself by throwing himself off a ledge into the Chasm.

She has lots of lingering looks at Four, one focusing on the skin just above his waistband when she sees him shirtless.

In round three, she must pass through her simulated Fear landscape.  The computer can identify all of her deepest fears and create scenarios from them.  In addition to being afraid of being pecked to death by crows, drowning, faceless scarred zombie men, she is also afraid of intimacy.  One of her fears in the fear landscape involves Four and a bed.

Like Twilight, Tris and Four never actually have sex.  They have one steamy ride in a train car, and lots of lingering looks and kisses, but this novel is not fraught with passion the way Twilight is.

Divergent is mostly about Tris and the Dauntless, except for the last seventy pages, when war breaks out between the Erudite and Abnegation.  More violence, more killing.  This time the Dauntless are used by the Erudite.  They are all given the same injection they get before a simulation, but this time, it's not a simulation.  The Erudite are sending them to destroy every member of Abnegation.  The one thing about being Divergent is that the sim serum doesn't work on Tris, so of course she must stop the war.

Divergent is well-written (well, the first three-fourths are) and the philosophical ideals behind each faction are extremely well thought out.  There's so much violence and just enough sex, however, that I'm not letting my high school students read it.

There are sure to be sequels.  Four and Tris have nothing left to do but consummate their love, unless a new character emerges to create the twisted love triangle, "Who will she choose?"  So I have a sneaking suspicion that the series will get raunchier.

Did I like it?  Hmm.  I finished it in 2! days.  Couldn't put it down, mostly trying to find out more about this Divergent thing.  But there's not much to tell there. And I'm still pretty confused.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Seven Quick Takes

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

1.

Who knew finding 27+ people nuts enough to make dozens of ornaments in the next two weeks would be so easy?

Who knew that internet friends are the best?  Giving up their first pick when someone else wants it, giving up their slot when they see someone on the waiting list, giving great advice about shipping from home, priority flat rate boxes, and safe hot glue-gun usage.

Who knew that some of the great people who signed up would be so hard to track down?  Please share your contact info on your blog or at least your user profile.  I have several peeps for whom I can't find email addresses.

So if your name is on the list, please contact me asap to confirm that you're in, what ornament your assigned, and to give me your contact info.  My email is housewifespice*at*comcast*dot*net .

Karen @ A Servant’s Memories
Blair @ Blair’s Blessings
Kerri
So Many Things to Love
Michelle @ Liturgical Time
Becky @ Sebastian
Lauren @ Knit In My Womb
Lenetta @ Nettacow
Edited Saturday, November 17 at 12:06pm.  Kerri and So Many Things to Love, please confirm via email.  Thanks to all!
2.
 
After 90+ days, see the finished upstairs bathroom!

This is the shower in a closet.  What?  Everybody doesn't have one?


Why didn't I turn on the lights?  Or use a flash?
Behind these doors lies a world of clutter.

3.

My mother-in-law watches Edmund and Baby J for a total of nearly 45 minutes every Thursday afternoon, while I take Lucy to her voice lesson.  (Girl's got pipes.)  It's always interesting to get someone else's perception of your child.  Inevitably, when Nana is around Baby J, she uses words like "busy," "intense,"  and "wild" to describe her.

So maybe when I compare Baby J to this character from Bridge on the River Kwai, I might not be exaggerating.  That much.

Baby J is Col. Saito, and that makes me Alec Guinness.

Just as I typed this, she forced the Chef to surrender his leather armchair to her.

Last night during dinner, I heard the Chef say, "Don't threaten me with broccoli," as J used a new word for the very first time, "fwo."

She refuses the highchair.  She can climb in and out of it at will anyway.

She forces me to get her specific food items, without really having the vocabulary to explain her needs, and if I get her the wrong thing, she throws it.  I have prepared food for her, only to have her spit it out and force me to surrender my own meals.

Last night, I experimented with her techniques, I hollered "wa-wa" at Peter who had failed to set water glasses when he set the table last night.  He was not amused.

She's got a lot of personality.  Some might say she has extra personalities.

4.

She ADORES this movie though.  She gets very excited and jumps off the sofa to point to the tv and say "Rwarrh!"  or "Peeta!"  




She's actually been yelling "Peeta!" for weeks now.  Aside from thinking it translated as "pizza" or assuming she was taking sides against Gale in The Hunger Games, I had no clue as to why several times a day she would inadvertently yell, "Peeta!"  Or sometimes, "Peeta!  Peeta! Peeta!"

But when we put on this dvd, we all knew.  She means "cheetah!"  Well, at least sometimes.

5.


I won't be able to participate in the Office Space Tweet-a-thon, but that's no reason why you can't.  

I have to fill out TPS reports. 

6.
 

If you're making your Thanksgiving dinner, let me share with you The Best Holiday Cranberry Relish recipe ever.  Bonus, you can make it now, or tomorrow, or as late as Monday, because it chills for four days!

I found this New England Cranberry Relish recipe in the Chicago Tribune over a decade ago.

Wonderful Fact Number One: You don't have to cook anything.

Wonderful Fact Number Two: This recipe can be made up to 3 weeks ahead! If you can keep from eating it for 3 weeks. Ideally, it's supposed to be made at least 4 days in advance. But we had it on Thanksgiving once and don't tell anyone, but I only made it 3 days in advance. Actually, I didn't make it, my 12 year old did. Even better.

Wonderful Fact Number Three: My dear friend, Rose makes this every year and calls me on that day.

New England Cranberry Relish

Prep time: 15 minutes
Yield: 20-24 servings, 4 cups

Serve the relish with poultry, game, pork, ham and lamb. Mix with mayonnaise for a flavorful sandwich spread.

1 bag (12oz) cranberries
1 red apple, cored, cut into 1-inch wedges (We used a granny smith. Shh.)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup NOT PANCAKE SYRUP.
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup pecans

Put cranberries, apple, sugar, syrup, cinnamon, and cloves in food processor fitted with metal blade. Pulse processor on/off to chop ingredients, stopping every few pulses to avoid over-chopping. The texture should not be too fine. Scatter pecans over mixture; pulse until coarsely chopped. Make at least 4 days ahead. Can be kept up to 2-3 weeks, refrigerated. 

7.
 For the best stuffing, I recommend Cook's Illustrated Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing, also found in the America's Test Kitchen Cookbook.


Did you see what I did there?  I sent you to New England for cranberry relish and then gave you the epitome of Southern Thanksgiving with cornbread.  Geographically diverse and delicious.  
For the best green beans, this Martha Stewart recipe is To.  Die.  For.  Plus, it's healthy and salad-y.  Two birds, one recipe.  Plus, three words:  Deep Fried Shallots.

And for dessert, Pioneer Woman and Bobby Flay had a Throwdown and this Pumpkin Bread Pudding was the star of the show.  
Take it easy and use Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread Mix for the bread pudding.  Hope TJ isn't sold out of pumpkin bread mix yet.  That wouldn't have anything to do with the double digit quantities I purchased.  I learned my lesson last year.

Take it real easy and skip Bobby's Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise.  I spent $12 on vanilla beans only to ruin that sauce and use real whipped cream instead.  Still Awesome.


Go see Jen for more QTs and have a Fabulous Fanksgiving.