Oct 20, 2010

A Recipe from Randumblog?

I did some experimenting over the last few days. I tried a caramel frappuccino from three different places. Those places were Caribou Coffee, Starbucks and McDonald's. They all taste pretty good even though my favorite is still from Joe Muggs.

I have been pumping the baristas for information about how they make each of these drinks for weeks. They of course cannot reveal their base since they have no idea what is in it.

When we bought a dual blade 1000 watt blender a year ago I tried several recipes found online. We kept running back to coffee shops for the "real" thing. I have taken the best of each and have come up with a recipe that I believe has beaten them all. I am not selfish so I shall share this with you.

If you are in my youth group and have had a sample the past two weeks, I need to tell you that I used only water as the liquid base. I had to do that for a large group to save money. The whipped cream will be better if you make it yourself from whisking heavy whipping cream.

My Caramel Frappe Recipe
(makes enough for two)

Place all of the following in a blender:

2 cups of ice
2 oz of half and half
6 oz of skim milk
4 oz of water
1 & 1/2 tbsp of sugar
6 tbsp of Hills Bros (sold in BJ's type stores in a 40oz can) french Vanilla Cappuccino mix (or any french vanilla instant coffee)
7 pumps of Caramel syrup from Caribou Coffee (it is thinner and richer than store bought and can be bought with a pump)

blend on high for 45 seconds (longer if using ice tray cubes)

top with whipped cream and Hershey's or Smuckers caramel syrup (the thin syrup doesn't work as a topping

don't forget the straw

Wow! It is good. I just had one before writing this, and after reading what is in it I am glad I do not know the nutrition facts. Let me know how it comes out. It takes me less than 3 minutes from start to finish now. We enjoy one everyday in the evening for a fraction of the store price.

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Oct 19, 2010

Parenting in Style

I am the type of guy who mutes commercials or changes the channel completely during breaks. Terrible commercials are the bane of my television watching experience. I may have called Geico for a cheaper rate on my car insurance years ago if it were not for their lame ads, and don't even get me started on Capital One.

Some of the most meaningless advertisements are from car companies. To listen to them, one would gather that every car is the most favored by buyers, has the best milage, and more storage space than any competitor.

It is really hard to see any of the actors in television commercials as real. The acting is almost always sub-par. Although I cannot stand most of the advertisements on TV, I am quite fond of the commercials during the Super Bowl. In fact I would rather watch them over the game itself.

If a company wants my attention then they need to spend their money on a great script. The video that I am featuring below does just that. It is an ad for the Toyota Sienna that spends more time talking about parenting than pushing this particular mini-van. The result is that if I had a choice of mini-van currently on the market, the Sienna rises to the top of the list. All of this and I know nothing about the van itself. I can, however, see a real family owning one. Great job Toyota.

Here is the video (the lyrics are below in case you want to do some karaoke after watching):

This one goes out to all you minivan families out there.
Sienna SE…in the house.
Where my mother/fathers at?
Where my kids at?

Where my kids at?
Where my kids at?
Where my kids at?
Where my kids at?
Where my kids at?

No, seriously honeywhere are the kids?
They’re right there, see?
Oh, cool beans.

I roll hard through the streets and the cul-de-sacs,
Proud parent of an honor roll student, Jack.
I got a swing in the front, a tree house in the back,
My #1 Dad mug says, Yeah, Im the Mack.

I’m the world’s best nurse when my kids get sick,
I make a mean gel-mold, I perfected my tricks,
Back when I used to party as a college chick.
Now I’m cruising to their playdates lookin’ all slick…

In my Swagger Wagon,
Yeah, the Swagger Wagon,
It’s the Swagger Wagon,
I got the pride in my ride.
In my Swagger Wagon,
Yeah, the Swagger Wagon,
It’s the Swagger Wagon.


Check it…

I love hangin’ with my daughter sippin’ tea, keep my pinky up,
All the drawings on my fridge sport an A+.
I’m an awesome parent, (Right!) and it’s apparent, (True!)
And in this house there’s no mother/father swearin’.

Straight owning bake sales with my cupcake skills,
I’m better with the money, so I handle the bills,
And I always buy in bulk, ain’t afraid of no spills.
Every Mother’s Day proves…I’m kind of a big deal.

Daughter: Mommy, I need to go potty.

Bring the beat back, ’cause, yo, I got more to say,
You know I’m always front and center at the school play.
I kiss their boo-boos, clean doggie doo-doos,
Cut the crust off of PB&Js, chill the Yoo-hoos.


Singin’ “Farmer in the Dell” in perfect harmony,
When I’m rollin’ with my posse in the HOV.
We rock the SE, not an SUV,
And it’s true, if I were you, I’d be jealous of me…

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Oct 13, 2010

Bridging: A Shift in Spiritual Thinking

I am asked quite often by others for prayer. Usually I respond by saying, "I'll be praying for you". Now don't get me wrong, I am very intent on actually bringing these requests before God, but life sometimes gets in the way. Distractions detract from our spiritual life and its impact on others.

My pastor shared a statistic this past Sunday. Married couples that pray together (not meals) at least twice a week only have a 1% chance of divorce. Wow! When we consider that the divorce rate is flirting with 50%, that is quite a drop.

I suspect this is not just true of marriages. People everywhere need this bridge of prayer in their life. It forms a relational connection that says I care and have a vested interest in your personal well being. Some friends and I recently sat down with about 10 youth pastors individually. What we found was that when we would ask how we could pray for them that they were taken back. It had been up to 3 months since some of them had had anyone pray for them in their presence. If this happens in ministry then it surely is an epidemic in the Christian and secular worlds.

Jesus said that where two or three are gathered he will be with them. Are we taking some of the effectiveness of our prayers away by hearing needs and waiting to pray for them in private? We need to change! We need to build bridges spiritually with anyone who may have a need. I can SHOW I care by praying WITH my spouse, friends, and anyone who expresses hurt. Our marriages will be stronger, people will be encouraged and God will move.

Let's make a shift in spiritual thinking. The need until prayer time needs to be about three seconds. Three seconds from the time we have actively listened to a concern before we are taking that need before our Father together. Be a part of the mind shift and build a bridge with someone today.

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Oct 9, 2010

How Important is Facebook?

Just how important is Facebook to our everyday lives? It seems that everyone from preteens to grandmas are using the social media giant. We can interact with current friends and family as well as reconnect with old friends.

It is that reconnecting that causes me to question how we use the social platform. There are statistics that say that more and more marriages are dissolving due to these retro-sexual flames from the past. The studies range from 20 to 23 percent of those getting divorced.

Another problem is the millions of dollars people are willing to spend on items that due not exist. How sucked in does one have to be to pay real money for virtual cash to buy nonexistent merchandise. I was in Target the other day and even saw $15 gift cards to use on Facebook (a "free" site). Last time I checked we are still in a recession. There are still people going to bed without food in their bellies in the very communities in which we live. All the while there are real people playing games like Farmville and using real cash (at times) to tear down barns to build bigger barns. This sounds strangely reminiscent of a parable told by Jesus.

The bottom line is that Facebook can be an escape. It can be a place to conduct illicit relationships that you have no business pursuing, a platform for viewing or spouting gossip, or a financial drain for an emotional escapist. Hearing all of these things should plant seeds of caution and concern. Caution should range from sharing your password with your spouse to canceling your page altogether. Do not let something as trivial as a website destroy your relationship with your spouse.

I will not assume that everyone reading this blog believes the same as me when it comes to spirituality, but to those that do we have a duty. We should view Facebook as a mission field. A chance for others to see Jesus lived out through us. Not an escape or something to do in our spare time like "chewin' the fat" at a high school reunion. We need to be intentional in our encouragement, careful in our chatting and personal messaging, and all out purposeful in why we are here. The world may not be beating down your churches door to get in, but it has rolled out a red carpet for virtual missionaries who are willing to show Christ's love to people where they are at. Let's decide to work strategically to partner with God in what he wants to do on Facebook.

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