January 31, 2010

a new year, a new me?

I've had some health problems lately, and my doctor told me to eat a low fat, high fiber diet. In the past month, my eating habits have changed drastically, and I've lost seven pounds in three weeks!!! I'm glad I wasn't told to cut out the carbs or sugar, though I'm sure I've eaten much less sugar recently. I've also been exercising more frequently. And ... I bought a shake weight! I love it. I don't expect to ever look like the woman on the dvd, but that doesn't matter. It's the one part of my workout I actually look forward to!

One of the things I've been doing recently is baking my own bread. I've always enjoyed baking bread, but I often am too lazy to take the time to do it. I do have a bread machine, but there's something cathartic about mixing, kneading, and shaping the dough. I take a basic bread recipe and then experiment with it--adding oatmeal, substituting wheat flour for white, adding herbs and spices. And really, is there any better smell than the scent of fresh bread?

Tonight, I'm making Wicked Cinnamon Rolls. I've been craving cinnamon rolls lately, but my favorite recipe, Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls, is quite decidedly not low fat. Not even close. I don't have the pastry flour called for in the Wicked recipe, so I just used regular flour. Right now, the dough is on the second rise. I'm hoping the flour substitution won't make too big of a difference.

Two hours later, I've just eaten the first roll. I adapted Pioneer Woman's maple frosting recipe instead of using Wicked's icing. Next time (if there is a next time), I'll use less cinnamon in the rolls. The recipe calls for two tablespoons, and I love cinnamon, so I used what it called for, even though I thought it sounded like a lot. I'm thinking one tablespoon would have been sufficient! Overall, the rolls are decent, but they aren't nearly as good as they would be with a little fat involved!

The flour I used for the rolls. I found it at Walmart--Wheat Montana is the place we got our amazing cinnamon rolls on our summer road trip!

Rising in the oven. 

The finished product. Not as beautiful as I'd hoped!

January 9, 2010

the bra brouhaha

On Thursday night, I started seeing odd status updates on my facebook news feed. Girls would post a color, often followed by a :-). I didn't think too much of it at the time. By Friday afternoon, I'd seen numerous color updates--enough to make me curious. So I googled "color status update on facebook" and discovered that the color was the color of the poster's bra. Ostensibly, this was being done to raise awareness for breast cancer.

My first thought was that this was funny. But a split second later, my amusement was bumped aside by these two questions:
  1. How is sharing the color of my bra doing anything to fight breast cancer? Once I knew what the colors meant, my mind was not instantly transported into thinking about what I could do to fight breast cancer. Rather, I thought about what my friends color choice in bras said about them.
  2. Why would I want guys thinking about my underwear? Perhaps if my facebook friends were only female, this would be a harmless (yet still pointless) exercise. But my facebook friends include male relatives, friends, coworkers, and students ... none of whom I want to be thinking about my choice in undergarments. I wouldn't post a picture of myself with my bra showing, so why would I purposely post something that could give them a mental picture of the same?
Later on in the day, I came across a blog post from Lisa Anderson of Boundless (a Focus on the Family ministry geared toward young adults). Her sentiments nearly mirrored mine, and she got to what may be the root of the problem:
But I didn't think of this blazation as bloggable until a Boundless Show listener emailed me this morning and brought up the same scenario. And it got me thinking again: Has "much" become "too much" when it comes to sharing on Facebook and beyond? Is social media making us shameless? Or at the very least, sloppy?
I know I have posted things I probably shouldn't have because it feels "safe" to say something on the web that you wouldn't say to someone face-to-face. So if nothing else, this insanity has served to remind me to be careful about the things I post online.

Today, things seem to have calmed down. I haven't seen any more color statuses, but I have seen some people posting breast cancer facts and figures ... things that will do far more to raise awareness than posting a bra color will. I also incited quite the debate when I linked to the Boundless post on my facebook page--as of now, there are 18 comments on the post--some agree with it, and some definitely don't!

January 7, 2010

thoughts from the couch

We're a week into the new year, and I haven't posted anything but book reviews for about two weeks. I have another book review finished, but I thought I'd give you a different kind of post first!

We are headed into our third snow day in a row. While we still call them "snow days," these days have been more like "wind and extreme cold days." I am so excited to be able to sleep in again tomorrow, and I'm hoping for Saturday's speech meet to be canceled, too!

Other things that have happened recently:
  • I hosted a Holiday Bowl party where we watched the Huskers obliterate the Arizona Wildcats 33-0.

Janet shows off the easy chocolate cookies we made. She said she never bakes because it's too hard, and she was quite fascinated by my cake mix cook book.

Scott & Levi "throw the bones" ... or something like that! I believe it had to do with the defense.
  • We finally made it to Kansas (minus Dad, who had to stay behind to make sure sidewalks were cleared for the beginning of school on Monday). We celebrated Christmas with Grandma, and she was feeling well and was in a great mood. 

Grandma inspects the family calendar we made for her. She loved looking at the pictures of her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.

We had a great dinner and then watched a dvd of an interview done with my great-grandparents in the '90s.

Grandma & I pose with the yule log my uncle buys every year to go with our Christmas dinner. Because of our Christmas blizzard, he had to return to California before we could get to Kansas, so we had to eat the dessert without him.

In the evening, we went to Wichita--to Target (yay!), Panera (double yay!), and the Warren (triple yay!). We'd planned to see Avatar in 3-D, but it was sold out, so we saw Sherlock Holmes instead. It was okay, but I would have appreciated knowing that magic played so heavily into the plot before we went.

Mom savors her broccoli cheese soup. Why don't we have a Panera around here???
  • Engagements abound! My cousin Jon just announced his engagement to Lauren. Not that he needs or wants my approval, but I give it completely :-) Lauren will be a great addition to our family!!! Also, dear friend and college roomie Jen just got engaged, and she's giving me the honor of being part of her special day! I couldn't be happier for her!

Jen and I were last together in October--I can't wait to see her again!
  • I've done a lot of reading recently, and I've started reading my first Blogging for Books selection--Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris!!! You may recall that a few months ago I mentioned how excited I was about this book. I got so excited when I saw it was available through Blogging for Books! I started reading it in earnest today, and so far, it's excellent. I'm looking forward to reading more; look for the review the week of Jan. 18.

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