Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Operation Overcome Kitty Carrier Fear - Part 2


I added the kitty carrier lid. There was no other place in our living room for the end table so it went into the spare bedroom. Ah well. Our apartment looks more and more like a college pad every day!

Bruno: OOKCF (Operation Overcome Kitty Carrier Fear) - Part 1

Bruno: OOKCF - Part 2

Fiona: OOKCF - Part 1

Fiona: OOKCF - Part 2

Oddly enough, they keep fighting about who gets to sleep in the carrier. It looks like we need to buy another one! Fiona was sitting on top of the cat carrier on Sunday. Bruno stuck his head in and Fiona swatted him! Possessive cat!

I'll let them get used to this setup for awhile and then reattach the door. I'll have to do something to keep the door from closing on them. Bungee cord?

Hubby thinks my efforts are noble but will be in vain when the cats are forced to be inside the carrier. I'm still optimistic it won't be so bad if they are used to the idea. We'll see!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I have one week left of intense kanji studies. Right now I'm investing around three hours per day in study time and thus chose mostly repeat and easy to make recipes for this week. I need all of the extra time I can manage!

Monday - Spaghetti and garlic bread
Tuesday - Soba noodles and gyoza
Wednesday - Greek Delight
Thursday - Tacos
Friday - Orange chicken styled tofu
Sabbath lunch - Coconut Stir fry
Sabbath dinner - Pizza (Italian pizza crust, red onion, mushroom, fresh basil, homemade sauce, Daiya "mozzarella cheese")

Last week's results:
Greek Delight - This is amazing. We had enough ingredients to make it for dinner one night and two additional lunches. SO good!

Sesame Tofu Stir Fry - We didn't like it and decided it wasn't worthwhile to change it to suit our tastes.

Ruth asked for a photo of our pizza, so here it is! I am still trying to perfect the crust; it turns out a little doughy but tastes great. Unfortunately, the undercooked crust didn't look as appetizing as the uncooked pizza. So...

My hubby took this photo and called it "the obligatory artsy-fartsy food photo."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

This week's memory text - 2 Corinthians 2:14

I decided to take a short break from Romans. Instead, I'm going to memorize the text I sent out to the Bible in 90 Days readers.

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
2 Corinthians 2:14

I love this text!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's On My Nightstand?

What's On Your Nightstand

Like last month and the month before, almost all of my free time has been spent studying Japanese. Yesterday I reached the 3/4 mark in the kanji book I'm working through. That's over 1,500 kanji! If I keep to my schedule, I will be done with this book on April 6th. After that, my study time will drop dramatically and I'll have more time for reading books, blogging, and quilting.

Books completed in March (links are to my reviews):
The Romanov Bride, Robert Alexander (finished in Feb. but after the Nightstand post)
The Aloha Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts, #16), Jennifer Chiaverini (finished in Feb. but forgot to add it to the last Nightstand post... oops!)
The Union Quilters (Elm Creek Quilts, #17), Jennifer Chiaverini
The Gathering Storm (Zion Diaries, #1), Bodie Thoene, Brock Thoene
Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy it: Live La Bella Vita and Look Great Too!, Teresa Giudice

Currently reading
Memoir/Autobiography/Biography - Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time, very slowly plugging away at it.

For fun - The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First. I actually won this book in Goodreads First Reads program. I entered the drawing in hopes of winning an advance copy for my father-in-law, who is absolutely obsessed with baseball. Since I won a copy, I have to read and review it! Surprisingly, I'm actually enjoying it.

Japanese Studies - Remembering the Kanji, Vol. 1: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters

Theology - Psalms and Romans (Bible) - reading several chapters a day from whichever of the two books tugs at me.

To-read in April
Memoir/Autobiography/Biography - Bento Box in the Heartland: My Japanese Girlhood in Whitebread America, Linda Furiya

Classics - Daniel Deronda, George Eliot

Christian life - Becoming a Woman of Excellence

For fun - Love Finds You in Lahaina, Hawaii, Bodie Thoene

Monday, March 21, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I had a lot of fun picking this week's menu. I tried picking recipes that used ingredients we already had. It was about half successful!

Monday - Greek Delight - (New recipe) This will use up the last of my basil plant.
Tuesday - Soba noodles and gyoza
Wednesday - Soft shelled tacos
Thursday - Spaghetti
Friday - Riblets and mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy (gravy is a new recipe)
Sabbath lunch - Sesame Tofu Stir Fry (new recipe, rolled over from last week)
Sabbath dinner - Pizza (Italian pizza crust, red onion, olives, fresh basil, homemade sauce)

Last week's results:
Macaroni and Cheese - This one was a no go. I really wanted to like it, but the coconut milk didn't really work. We didn't buy the recommended brand so maybe that was the problem.

Italian pizza crust - Awesome! Our pizza ended up a bit differently than planned as we ended up not having all the ingredients. Whoops. I made the pizza with this crust, homemade pizza sauce, red onion, fresh basil, a smattering of olives, and Daiya mozzerella cheese. YUM! We loved it so much (in part because of the fresh basil and partly because of the crust) that we'll be making the pizza again this week.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

This week's memory text - Romans 8:3

I'm really enjoying learning this passage from Romans. This week I'm going to add on verse 3.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh

As I was reading through Psalms and Romans last week, I marked down several other texts I want to memorize. Each text was either a promise or a revelation about God and His character. Is there enough time throughout one's life to memorize significant portions of Scripture?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I had a bit of trouble coming up with meal ideas this week. For some reason, I just wasn't inspired while working on the menu. Somehow I ended up with four pasta dishes...

Monday - Macaroni and Cheese (new recipe)
Tuesday - Tacos
Wednesday - Soba noodles and gyoza (a favorite! We love making gyoza.)
Thursday - Spaghetti
Friday - Sesame Tofu Stir Fry (new recipe)
Sabbath lunch - Coconut stir fry
Sabbath dinner - Pizza (onion, mushroom, homemade crust)

I'm still trying to figure out if there's a way to mix this menu up a bit so we don't have so many pasta dishes in a row. I don't think there is! Oh, well. We probably won't be eating any pasta next week...

Last week's successes:
Vegan Meat Lover's Pizza Casserole - I'm not sure how I felt about this recipe, but my husband loved it. He said it tasted even better reheated than fresh out of the oven.
Pasta in Lemon Cream Sauce - A big hit! Next time we make this, we're going to double the greens, using half spinach and half bok choy. Yum!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

This week's memory text

I am slacking on my memory work and I really need to be more committed! This week I'm going to continue in Romans 8. I've already memorized verse 1 so I'm going to add verse 2.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

Today I was reading through Romans 8 and marveling at how much is packed into just the one chapter. I'm sure there are entire books written discussing what Romans 8 contains.

Verse 15 is my favorite:

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Abba, Father. I want to know Him better.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I really enjoy reading the articles at Passionate Homemaking but today's really caught my attention. Titled Finding Your Identity in Christ, the topic has been on my mind since I read it this morning.

When I thought about how I define myself or derive satisfaction, it's in my to-do lists. What I can do. What I am doing. What I've done. Did I complete today's to-do list? Am I on top of my homemaking schedule? Am I able to complete this challenge or that opportunity? When I succeed, I feel on top of the world. When I fail, I get depressed.

This quote hit home the most:

"God loves us so much that he willingly crushed His only Son so that we might be his and that this love isn’t based on our worthiness or performance. His loves does not fluctuate from day to day. It was settled the moment he set it upon you before the foundation of the world…If you neglect to focus on God’s love for you in Christ, your Christianity will soon be reduced to a program of self-improvement – just one of many methods to help you “get your act together”. Although that may be worthy, it is not true Christianity.” (Elyse Fitzpatrick)

Ouch. A program of self-improvement. Yes, I would say that's how I live my life. Legalism, rules, and to-do lists. Trying to improve myself enough that I will be accepted by God. I even pray that God will not give up on me, begging that He will still love me when I fail so often.

Thankfully, the article doesn't just convict me that I have a problem but offers a place to start on finding a solution. Down at the bottom, the author included a list of Scripture passages to study and also recommended a Christian book. I have not read the book, but I'm going to see if my local libraries carry a copy. If you struggle with this issue of misplaced identity as I do, maybe the article will also help point you in the right direction.

A final quote from the article: True transformation and freedom of our self-focused perspective can only come as we meditate and claim God’s love for us. When we cling to Him, lift our eyes off ourselves and simply have faith in that love, our thoughts, mindset, and feelings will be transformed. Let’s not loose sight of the gospel!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Quick post

I'm about to go work on my quilt but I wanted to quickly write a post. This week, I have found that turning off the computer does wonders to productivity. I've been limiting my online time during the day and my homemaking is showing a marked improvement. Sometime this weekend or early next week, I'll elaborate on my "experiment." But today I just wanted to offer encouragement to anyone who feels they don't have enough time in their lives: try unplugging for awhile and see what happens. You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quilt progress and a couple tutorial videos

I'm still working on the quilt I was supposed to have done before Christmas. Even though I am slow, I am still making progress! One row of blocks is tied, only nine more to go.

It's been a year since I finished my first quilt. Since too much time had lapsed, I couldn't remember exactly how to tie the quilt layers together. Plus, it was my first time spray basting a quilt rather than pin basting it. YouTube to the rescue! I found several great videos that really helped.

How to spray baste a quilt

How to tie a quilt

This evening I'll keep working on the tying. Then I have to figure out how to attach the border. It's coming together finally! My next quilt will be faster. Really.