Goodreadsby Angie

15 Feb 2008
3:02 pm


For a long time, I’ve been looking for a program that I could use to organize my books, rate and review them, and share preferences with others. A couple of different friends recently introduced me to a website called Goodreads and I have very much enjoyed listing and cataloging some of my favorite books there. I even found this super cool flash doohickey that can keep track of what I’m currently reading (or have read, or want to read, depending on how I code it):

And, yes, it is quite normal for me to be in the process of reading three or four or five different books at a time. I don’t know how much good my thingamajig does, just sitting here in this post, but maybe I can figure out how to display it in the sidebar somehow… Anyway, this project has also made me realize that I read far too much fiction and could really use some good moral fiber in my literary diet, if you know what I mean. I have already begun to try to remedy that, but I’d be open to recommendations!

My New Toyby Angie

11 Feb 2008
12:02 pm

I got a present from Jason for Jim’s Birthday ­čÖé

You see, Jason and I were discussing what Jim might want for his birthday and I mentioned that he’s kind of sort of maybe saving up for an iPod Touch, so money toward that might be nice. Jason asked if Jim might like an iPod Shuffle, but I said no, it was the calender and other stuff that he wanted more than just a music player…why? Well, Jason had received a free iPod ShuffleShuffle as part of a rebate package and didn’t know what to do with it, since he already has an iPhone. We discussed the prospective usage of a “little” – 1G – iPod with no touch screen or display and I said it would be great for listening to audio books or music on walks or while gardening… Long story short, Jason decided that I should have it! Sure enough, he brought it this weekend and walked me though setup and downloading iTunes and all that jazz.

Well, now I have an apology to make to my sisters and cousin for having given them flack about iPods and iTunes: I have a real aversion to proprietary hardware and software and formats, so I never jumped on the iEverything bandwagon. Anyway, I humbly admit that I really love my little Shuffle and it’s super cool and I’m very glad to have it. I’ve already been to the library to borrow some audio books (that I will delete when I return the CDs) and “Emma” by Jane Austen has made it onto my iPod first.

“The Peacegiver” by James L. Ferrellby Angie

29 Jan 2008
11:01 am

Justin Bradley offered to lend us this book on Friday, with a very high recommendation. Both Jim and I read the whole thing over the weekend: it’s a quick read, and rather hard to put down. I loved it – It was profound and insightful, but in a very real and familiar way. The protagonist is invited to understand forgiveness and mercy through visions faintly reminiscent of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” except that the scenes he witnesses are from the scriptures, rather than his own life. As the story unfolds, it teaches about the Savior’s Atonement and the role of healing it can play in our relationships.

As a side note, I found it ironic that one of the complimentary comments on the back cover was from C. Terry Warner, which called it, “An invaluable, compelling book of hope and discovery – about Christ, about others, and about ourselves – unlike, I think, any other book you have ever read.” Though I agree with almost his entire statement, it actually did remind me of another book I have read: C. Terry Warner’s very own “The Bonds that Make Us Free.” Brother Warner’s volume, while not written in narrative form like “The Peacegiver,” taught similar concepts in its message of humility, forgiveness, and peace. If you were touched by one, I think you will very likely enjoy the other as well. Not surprisingly, Brother Warner and Brother Ferrell both work for the Arbinger Institute, a foundation based on principles of peace and individual accountability.

Mikulás Feast (and Try-Me-Night!)by Angie

5 Dec 2007
9:12 pm

Today was wonderful! I spent – literally – most of the day preparing for this evening’s Mikul├ís Feast. We invited our friends, the Bradleys, to join us and I planned to make five dishes – three of which, I’d never made before! Jim’s favorite part of the traditional feast is the Ham Stack, so I had to go to a specialty meat market this morning to buy ground ham (because a regular supermarket butcher is not allowed to grind both raw and cooked meats). The gentlemen at Kelly’s Meat Market were so helpful and pleasant! Anyway, besides that, I already had all my shopping done, so I could go home and get right to work. Here was our menu:

Our Mikul├ís FeastA 16-layer Ham Stack – Alternating layers of palacsintas (kind of like crepes) with a mixture of ham in bechamel sauce. I’ve helped with this one in past years, so it was familiar. I made the ingredients and Jim stacked it up.

Voros Kaposzta – Red cabbage, braised in butter & vinegar. Kristyn took over for me on this one and it turned out great! Well, those who like red cabbage thought it was great.

Kathy’s Goulash – Beef in a sour cream red sauce over hot buttered pasta. This is a regular favorite at our house, especially because it cooks in the crock pot all day and is super easy.

Krumpli Nudli – Potato noodles rolled in breadcrumbs. These are a lot of work! I know, I was forewarned . . . but Jim loves them, so I thought I’d give them a try. By the time I was done rolling the noodles, I thought my arms were going to fall off! They tasted wonderful, though, so I’m afraid I’ll be making them again in the future. ­čÖé

Hungarian Stuffed Peppers – Bell peppers filled with meat, rice, and aromatics. This was not one of the traditional dishes Jim grew up with, but I wanted to try it. This link goes to the original recipe, but (of course) I played around with it a bit. Instead of ground meat, I used kielbasa (polish sausage) and it was delicious! The recipe also calls for “paprika gravy,” which looked pretty strange to me, not to mention huge…so I changed that a lot. I left out the anaheims, only used 2 cups of beef stock (instead of 6), and a few tablespoons of corn starch (instead of 3/4 cup flour). I ended up with a tangy, creamy paprika gravy that we used on our peppers, with plenty left over. It was also great on the krumpli nudlis, actually.

The Cooks of the Mikulás Feast!

After dinner, Jim read us the Mikul├ís chaper from Kate Seredy’s “The Good Master.” Kathy will be gratified to know that the very same parts that always make her cry got Jim a tad choked up, too. When he finished, we discovered that Mikul├ís had left treats in the Bradleys’ shoes, which we had set out on the windowsill! Their two-year-old daughter, Emily, loves toy cars, so that was her present. She played with them while Jim & Justin played Guitar Hero and Kristyn & I played with little Maddie (and chased Emily around). When it was time to go, Emily was pleasantly surprised to learn that she really got to keep the cars and take them home! All in all, it was a wonderful evening. I’m glad our first Mikul├ís Feast was such a great success!