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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Miscellaneous Cooking

I know my posts haven't been very personal lately, but this is just too good not to share. Have you ever gotten home from work and started staring blankly into the refrigerator wondering what on earth you can make for dinner with the large amount of frozen chicken breasts you bought from Sam's, 2 lemons, some eggs, garlic and frozen veggies?? This is almost a daily struggle for me and I usually end up going to the store to purchase some ingredients for a yummy sounding recipe I've been wanting to try...

I always thought, what if I could just list the ingredients I have at home and then find a recipe that is just as delicious sounding without making another trip to the store?? Bingo.

Type in everything you find in your pantry/kitchen, identify what you want your main ingredient to be (i.e. Chicken Breasts for a main dish or mixed frozen veggies for a side) and BOOM...over 100 (depending on your variety of supplies in stock) recipes pop up for you to try.

I'm trying out the Smothered Bacon Chicken tonight... I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Technology drove me into a lake…

Despite my love for The Office and Michael Scott’s very convincing arguments against technology (shout out to my blog title), I have found some really exciting uses and improvements in the technologies I use daily lately.

First of all, I’d like to take a moment to try and convince all readers of this blog to create a Gmail account. As a former user of many different free email hosts including yahoo, hotmail, and msn, Gmail is BY FAR the best I’ve ever known. I love this little host so much that I have even abandoned my office email outlook account. How can you do that, you ask? Well, my Gmail is so smart that I can set it up to both send and receive all my work emails (as well as any other email accounts I might still receive messages to) into ONE central account. Your next question, wouldn’t that be confusing to mix all your work and personal emails into one inbox. The answer: No, because Gmail is so smart that is automatically labels incoming mail from my account formerly known as outlook AND automatically reply’s from the account that the email was originally sent to. Genius.

I have recently discovered Gmail “Labs”, which are a lot like applications for the iphone. My two favorites are the forgotten attachment detector and “Got the Wrong Bob?” The forgotten attachment detector searches your emails to see if you mentioned “attached, attachment, attaching” in the text and alerts you if you start to send such a message without the attachment. This has proved quite useful for me and has greatly reduced the number of follow-up “oops I forgot to attach” emails that I have to send each week.

“Got the Wrong Bob?” will scan any email recipient list that I make and alert me if I’m sending an email to William, my client that it thinks I meant to send to William, my husband. How does it know who I meant? It cross-references past email lists to see which “William” I usually send an email to in conjunction with Leslie and Taylor (or whoever else is in your recipient list). Once again, Genius.

My other favorite new find is the AT&T Uverse TV Mobile Remote Access app for the iPhone. From this application, you can manage your Uverse DVR…it does everything from deleting old recordings to free up space to searching and scheduling recordings of all shows starring John Krasinski or Tina Fey. Another genius idea that helps make life just a little bit more convenient.

So, despite the occasional failures of technology, I’d say as a whole, it’s a great thing. I may change my mind if it ever drives me into a lake though.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Intentional in Everything

Our lead pastor at The Village Church, Matt Chandler, just posted an entry on his blog that was very powerful in it's simplicity. He simply wrote out what he usually says during the "welcome" at each church service. This brought me back to thinking about my home church and our welcome. It usually consisted of the list of weekly activities and quick "We're glad you're here. Take a minute to let us know if you're a guest with us by filling out the card in the back of the pew and dropping it in the offering plate." This would be followed by about 5 minutes of shaking hands and greeting others, especially visitors, which I'm sure was more of a social hour and time to discuss which of the 2 restaurants in town people would be attending for lunch and if others would like to join.

There is nothing wrong with the way my home church did welcome. It was a small community and everyone knew everyone else, and it was a fitting welcome for FBC Plainview. But the way the Village tries to make every part of their service intentionally pointed towards turning hearts towards Christ is inspiring to me and makes me aware of trying to use everything in my life and every word that comes out of my mouth to intentionally glorify God.

Here's what Chandler posted.

“Good Morning. My name is Matt Chandler I am the Lead Pastor/Teaching Pastor here at The Village. If this is your first time visiting with us I want to welcome you. I am guessing that if this is your first time here you are in one of two lanes. The first lane is that you are a believer with a background in church and you’re new to the area or are just checking out our community. If at some point in the next hour or so your heart and mind are moved and you want to know more about us, you can fill out one of the cards in the seatback in front of you and either drop it in the joy boxes or, and this would be our preference, walk across the parking lot to the white portable buildings and there are some men and women over there that can answer any of the questions you might have about the church. The second lane is that you’re here today and you aren’t a Christian and don’t have a background in Church or not a recent one anyway. I want to welcome you. This is a safe place for you to have some doubts about what we are saying to be skeptical and curious. There are no doors that are closed for you here so explore as much as you want. Go to a home group, check out Recovery, help us mentor local students, hop on a plane to South America or Africa and help us, help others. As a former agnostic myself, I have a great deal of respect for the genuine seeker. If we can help answer any of your questions or serve you in anyway let us know.”

FOr the full blog post, click on the link in the side of this blog for the Village Church pastors.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bargain Update

Occasionally I like to bring a little money saving news to the table on the blog. I know there are lot of sites like this one out there but I have found and used more coupons from than any other Dallas area bargain site.

I mainly use the restaurant coupons that come in their monthly mail out but today I checked out the website to see what the "additional offerings" were that their magazine claimed you could get on the web.

I particularly like the restaurant "gift cards" you can purchase at a discount. William and I love to go to Blue Fish for sushi but usually end up spending about $50 for that dinner. On, you can buy a $10 gift card to Blue Fish for $2.50 or a $25.00 gift card for $8.75. One thing to beware of with these deals, they do come with a minimum order amount. The $10 card can only be used on orders of $35 or more and the $25.00 card requires a minimum $70 total. So, knowing we usually come in around $50, the $10 card is the best route for us and gives us a total discount of $8.50 on our meal.

It's not a big enough break that we can become regular patrons of some of our favorite upscale dining spots, but in the days of counting every dollar, it definitely helps. Browse the site to see if any of your fav's have offers available!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bored and Boring

I have been a definite slacker on keeping my fans up to date on the Spencer life as of late. Partly, this is because I was sick and not feeling clever and witty enough to write. I also think it has something to do with the rain that has plagued Dallas for about a month now. It makes me feel sluggish and unmotivated to do anything more than the bare minimum to get by.

We really haven't been very bored or boring. Lots has happened in the past few weeks. We finally finished the deck COMPLETELY and will be celebrating with a cookout this weekend (that is,if the never-ending rain acts out of character and ends). We celebrated a couple of friends births with some fun outings including a dance studio turned VIP night club and swanky pizza party in the well known Bishop Arts District. We've had wedding showers, baby showers and some hang out time with family and friends. William has had between 1-3 soccer games every weekend (when the rain allows), and I've finally gotten started back up with my KLife small group (shout out to the coolest group of 9th grade girls I know!).

BUT, to make up for a lack of posting and lack of anything exciting to show in pictures, I decided to give you a virtual tour of my office today. Our lease is officially up our office space, but as of now, we haven't found a place to move to. My boss is definitely a lover a spontaneity, so here's where I've been working the past 3 years and 6 months...well, actually just a little over 2 years. We moved offices about a year after I started.

This is the reception area where you would wait to see me if you had an appointment and I was super busy. I decorated this area...the flower arrangement and all.

Then you would walk down this hallway where you could see pics from some of our company's greatest moments. I am even in a few of them. Very exciting.

At the end of the hall, if you looked to your left, you would see our conference area. Yes, that's a flat screen TV w/ satellite. Yes, it improves office productivity.

If you walked towards the TV, you would probably see Bret's office on your left. This was a legitimate action shot of Bret making things happen. You can't stage a picture this real.

If you walked towards the TV but looked to your right, you would stumble upon our boss' office. This is the huge, creepy fish that he caught in Cabo. It makes me uncomfortable when I'm in there.

Now, if at the end of the hall, you had looked to your right, you would find my office. If you were to walk into it and look left, this would be your view. That's the office calendar and an autographed Tony Romo jersey that was our "Christmas Bonus" in 2007. I will attempt a 360 degree virtual tour here...

Turn slightly to your right and you'll see my Sugar bowl poster and bookshelf (along with random boxes that for some reason MUST remain in my office)

Turning completely to your right, you would see this. My desk. Where the magic generally tends to happen. I have two computer screens, which is awesome for when I want to do work on one and watch news videos on the other. I'm a big fan of multitasking. I also have lots of fun little mementos, mainly drawn for me by my co-worker Erik's two daughters.

So there it is. This is where I spend about 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. If there's anything you'd like to see more of, feel free to pop in anytime.