Saturday, April 29, 2006

Opening Doors for Worship

The complete history of our church's temporary meeting places and/or lack thereof through the years is not clear to me. I do know that it was wonderful to be a part of the first service to be held in OUR new building tonight (pictured at right; a less than great photo of a more than great time)!

Only God knows what He's going to do in that place in the months and years to come; I can't wait to see some of it.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Two on Two

Kim was busy getting the preschool area of the church's new building ready today, so Kristen offered to take the kids for the afternoon. Koji and I came on a little early for my evening shift with Chloe and Adam, so we all went to the park together. Some other friends came by too, so the whole outing turned into a little party for the kids-especially when we broke out the snacks!

Friday, April 21, 2006

1094 Days Old Already

Koji is officially THREE years old today. It's hard to believe it's been that long since he was born, though in a lot of ways the time has flown. The latter seems particularly true when I think of having my next baby soon and try to imagine myself taking care of her. I feel very out of touch with the baby scene, which lets me know that all I heard about the "baby years" passing quickly was so true! Mr. (almost) Big Brother is most certainly not a baby anymore.

Since today is my first full day at the women's conference, I couldn't spend the whole day with Koji. But I didn't want to let the day go without seeing him at all; even though he doesn't know TODAY is his birthday, I do. So Aogu and I arranged to meet downtown for an afternoon celebration. Bonus: Cat happened to be here and staying downtown, so she joined us for our escapades at Navy Pier.

Since I was way out in Bloomingdale, I didn't even want to attempt driving downtown. Fortunately, I didn't need to; I was able to ride a shuttle from the resort to Roselle Station on the Metra. When I got to the station, I was pretty much bowled over by the kindness of the station master. OK, I don't actually know if he was the station master. He was the man selling tickets, but I'd like to presume he had some kind of position of honor and responsibility. In my book, he deserves it.

After he carefully sold me a round-trip ticket to downtown, he gladly elaborately on the lunch options I would be able to explore in the 17 minutes I had to spare before my train would arrive. I decided to go the Pik Kwik across the street and have the man at the deli counter in the back make me a sandwich. Great option that I NEVER would have figured out on my own! It would have been sad beyond words for me to stoop to McDonald's all alone and without Koji...when I emerged from Pik Kwik with my sandwich, I saw Mr. Station Master coming towards me. I thought maybe he was headed out to take his own advice at Pik Kwik, but no: he was looking for me! He said, "I was going to run over there in my car and pick you up if you didn't come out soon!" He went on to confirm that I had successfully procured my sandwich and something to drink, and then proceeded to supply me with a paper plate and some napkins when I confessed to not having any.

Roselle, Illinois is probably not on your way to anywhere, but I'm telling you, if you ever have a chance to use that station, do it! Just so you can meet Mr. Station Master...

Anyway, it was great to be with my son, husband and dear friend on the occasion of my son's third birthday! We rode the ferris wheel at Navy Pier first. I'm glad we did that, as I had it on a list of things to do while in Chicago. But really, I can't in good conscience recommend the experience to you. First, it was SO expensive: five bucks each and we even had to pay full price for Koji! Second, though the view of downtown and the lake was nice, it wasn't all you can see from the John Hancock or the Sears Tower. And, Koji wasn't as excited as I thought he would be. In fact, we had a stellar view of the swingy fast ride thing next door. Upon spying it, he was obsessed with riding and not that interested in the fact that he was already riding the "kanransha" (Ferris Wheel)....

But no, we did not let him go on the swingy ride. Instead, we went off to the Children's Museum to take advantage of our membership. We meant to finish off our time at Navy Pier with some funnel cakes, as Cat had a craving and I hadn't made any birthday cake provision. But funnel cakes were nowhere to be found so we had to go with Haagen Dazs instead. I learned a little lesson there: don't be greedy. I chose a fancy sundae thing for myself and a little scoop of vanilla for Koji, and Koji wasn't fooled for a minute! Of course I shared, but the incident made me think I didn't need that scoop of vanilla...

The birthday stories are just starting here...stay tuned for reports on our other celebrations for him. His friends, too; who knows what was in the air and/or water during the summer of 2002 but last month and this month, birthdays are in season!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Heatproof"--A Concept Best Left Untested

My ongoing obsession with egg whites beaten to various kinds of peaks means that I'm the prowl for something to create beyond meringues. So there was no way I could pass up the challenge of French Almond Macaroons.

Perhaps I would have been able to pass had I known the peril that awaited. You see, in order to create the buttercream to sandwich the macaroons together, I was to "heat egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer". Having only one stand mixer, and correspondingly, only one bowl, I naively assumed the one I had was the heatproof one.

Do you see where I'm going? Too bad I didn't. Let me just confirm your suspicions; I set the bowl with requisite egg whites and sugar over the pan of simmering water. I whisked and simmered until the plastic ring that connects the bowl with the body of the mixer was thoroughly and irreparably warped.

Sad, sad day. For one thing, I had to finish the buttercream with my hand mixer--horrors! Or maybe I should say hallelujah; at least I still have a hand mixer sitting around for moments like these. For another, I assumed I would need a new bowl, which would likely not be worth the price. I would be left sans stand mixer, desperately wishing I had just stepped to the plate back when I originally bought the machine.

Thankfully, this second assumption of mine was wrong, and if "standard shipping" is on my side, by tomorrow or the next day, my brand new "gasket" should arrive here and put me and my stand mixer back in business. All for the bargain price of... $1.00 (plus shipping, of course)! Who wants to come over for some macaroons this weekend?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cheese Bread

We're almost out of rice, and I won't be able to buy more for another week; not that it isn't sold around here. Rather, the best deal is at a Costco that's a bit of a trek and takes some planning to get to. Meanwhile, what can we do but eat bread? Here's the cheese bread I made to go with our soup and salad for dinner tonight. Though it's true that we typically prefer rice to bread, I at least can almost make an exception in this case. This is a Cook's Illustrated recipe, and no, it doesn't use that agent that intimidates me...yeast. Someday I'll master yeast but not yet! If you want this recipe, stayed tuned; I'm considering opening a parallel blog for keeping recipes. I've resisted the impulse for a long time, seeing as I can barely keep this blog up the way I'd like. But, when I'm asked for a recipe, it would be convenient to be able to give out a URL...what do you think I should do?