Monday, May 24, 2010

TCA

Phil attended Tri-State Christian Academy (TCA) for grades k-12th: http://www.4tca.org/ It is a fabulous Christian school that Phil’s older sister and husband also attended and now teach at, our nieces and nephews attend, and Phil’s father is the Principal of TCA. Because the school is smaller, fund-raisers are extremely important. Today (Monday) through Saturday, Pastor Hawley- Phil’s dad- and a friend of the school are biking the 400 miles from Weirton, WV to Washington, D.C. to raise money for the school. We ask that you pray for the safety of these 2 men, and prayerfully consider a donation per mile. The Weirton Daily Times was at the starting point this morning to see them off: http://www.weirtondailytimes.com/page/content.detail/id/539785.html?nav=5006 and you can monitor their progress: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=115671028472072

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Scentsy

My awesome sister-in-law gave me a Scentsy, a flameless candle, for Christmas last year and I l-o-v-e it! I just have to tell you all about it. You purchase the jar and the light bulb in the bottom melts the wax on top…pretty simple, right? The jars come in various sizes and designs, and there are tons of scents to choose from for the wax. Since the scent in the wax lasts such a long time (more than 60 hours), Scentsys are a cheaper alternative to candles. For families who love candles but live with little people who have curious minds and wandering fingers, this is a much safer option. Obviously we don’t have little people, but we love ours and use it all the time. I keep mine in the kitchen and turn it on right before I start cooking, especially if I’m frying something because I can’t stand that fried smell. This is a picture I have posted before, but if you can get past the poppers (which is hard for even me) you can see mine on in the background. Anyhow, you just have to check out the Scentsy website and order one for yourself! http://www.scentsy.net/en-us/index.aspx

Monday, May 17, 2010

Summer Soup

“Potato soup is an unsung hero of the soup world; there is just nothing more belly-pleasing” ~Paula Deen

I know you must be thinking, what is the connection between the hearty & famous winter potato soup and the title of this post?! My good friend Paula (though, she doesn’t know we’re friends yet) has a tip for making this yummy soup in the summer…just add shrimp! I think that practically every dish can have a summer-time version when you add seafood. You can try this too, beginning with your own recipe of potato soup. Starting with a pound of fresh shrimp: cook ‘em, shell ‘em, cut ‘em & throw 'em in the potato soup about 10 minutes before serving. If the shrimp are in the soup longer than 10 minutes they will overcook. Also add to your soup: seasoned salt and a few shakes of tobasco (bring the bottle out to the table though, because some people might like to heat their bowls up a little bit more). When I served the soup, I topped it with the usual cheddar and bacon, but also a sprinkle of Old Bay. And wah-la, a summer-time version of potato soup!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What is the traffic like?

Family & friends from back home ask us this all the time: “What is the traffic like?” In an extremely overpopulated city it isn’t always fun but you adapt to the several hour long morning (5am-10am) and evening (3pm-7:30pm) traffic and learn to "pack your patience". For example, we live less than 4 miles from my office and on a normal day (without any accidents, stalled vehicles, overturned tractor-trailers, etc.) the commute only takes me about 30-45 minutes one-way. However, I will say that the road system here is built specifically to accommodate an overpopulated and extremely large city: road signs are different, we have feeders and 14-lane highways, everyone drives on bridges that go over the city all the time, etc. Recently there was even a special on the History channel about our road system; if you see the repeat, it can do a much better job of explaining the Houston road system.Yesterday I was stuck in a traffic jam for about 20 minutes so I had the opportunity to take this shot for you. Thank goodness for the traffic jam, so that I could get you this visual of a normal day, right?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Final Week: Repeat Offenders

Last week was our last week of Doulos (the singles bible study that Phil and I led this semester). We not only learned more about spiritual disciplines, but also about working as a team to develop disciples. It was such a rewarding experience and I’m so glad that we responded to God’s calling to serve together in this way.

An added bonus to the class was that I had 5 extra (hungry) food critics to feed every week. This gave me the chance to really plow through some new recipes that would be silly for me to make for just Phil and me. For the last week I made the top 3 favorites from the semester: BBQ Jalapeno Poppers, Patsy’s Blackberry Cobbler, & Monkey bread (All by the PW). The monkey bread was devoured before I could get a picture, so that must have been the favorite. Last time I made the Poppers, I only put BBQ sauce on ½ of the poppers, but this time I put it on all of them and I like them much better with. Last time I made the cobbler I used blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great combination for cobbler, but this time I just used raspberries…and yum-o! If you couldn’t tell, there was a lot of gorging going on at our last session to celebrate! Now that the semester is over, let the dieting begin!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's what I do

When I’m not writing lectures, giving lectures, grading papers, reading, writing, or meeting with students, I’m counting. Counting sounds like an easy task, right? I mean it is just numbers. When people call/email me while I’m at work & ask me what I’m doing and I say that I’m counting, this is what I’m staring at under the microscope……for hooooouuuurrrrrsssss. I have a love-hate relationship with these little brown dots. These “dots” by the way, are neural markers of resiliency and plasticity upregulated with the onset of chronic stress (yes, this is my inner nerd coming out).
A region of the brain associated with learning and memory, known as the hippocampus
And now for a "close-up"
A region of the brain associated with emotion, known as the amygdala
Up close and personal with cells in the amygdala
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