Thursday, January 31, 2008

Martha Elena Castro De La Fuente

At our recent BCA gathering in DM, each employee was given a gift certificate to, a 501c3 organization based in San Fransisco that allows people to lend money via the internet to small businesses in developing countries. Tonight I made my first donation to help Martha Elena Castro De La Fuente in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico.

"Since she was very young Martha dedicated herself to the sale of food together with her parents before she was married and bit by bit she learned tricks of the business. After getting married she began her own business selling food. Together with what her husband earns, as a newspaper salesman, it is not enough to pay for the expenses of her and her two children. Martha has learned how to take advantage of the good flavor that her foods have, and because of this she has become known in her community. Nowadays Martha is requesting $475 USD that is arranged to be paid off over a term of 3 months and with this money Martha will be able to purchase more raw materials so that she can expand her business and be able to have more clients. With your help Martha will be able to further her children and her family."

While several other businesses also sell food, Martha’s request appealed to me since she has “become known in her community” for the “good flavors that her foods have”. A woman after my own heart! I'll keep you posted on Martha's success!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

fair weather fans

We tried to be two of the thousands of Kansas Citians to attend a 'Stand for Change' town hall meeting with Barack Obama this evening. Despite bad road conditions and frigid temps, people came out in droves! Unfortunately, Municipal Auditorium filled to capacity before we reached the ticket takers and security. The senator was en route from the airport (delayed by the weather) so we were invited to the 'overflow' area in Barney Allis Plaza (an elevated plaza space across the street from the auditorium) where he would address the crowd before making his speech inside. It was too windy and cold for us--we'll have to settle for televised campaign speeches and intense reading before we make our decisions on Tuesday.

flip | flop

During my early morning (we start at 5:30) run, I was sweating in shorts and a long sleeved t-shirt because it was almost 60 degrees. By 9:30 am, the snowflakes had started to fall and within a few hours it was a near blizzard with 35-40 mph winds and bitterly cold temperatures!

absinthe minded

On a recent visit to Christopher Elbow Chocolate to buy a gift I couldn't resist picking up a few pieces for immediate consumption (I shared with Mike). Our 4 piece selection of new flavors included coffee and caramel, macadamia praline with hawaiian sea salt, peanut salt praline and absinthe! You're not hallucinating--they really are beautiful!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

the yaya sisterhood

Our trip to Des Moines also gave us an opportunity to see the family. Mark and Shannon graciously hosted us on Friday night and again on Sunday for a family lunch. Lukas has an ever increasing vocabulary and Olivia is getting very tall! Lukas calls his sister 'ya ya' (or, just 'baby').

Spencer was excited to tell us about meeting ISU's head football coach, Gene Chizik, when he was at Johnston High School to talk with recruit Zach Guyer last week!
Hopefully we'll be back in Des Moines again soon!

hit me with your best shot

This weekend found us in Des Moines for the BCA annual gathering/holiday party. Since we have offices in Des Moines, Kansas City and Sioux Falls, it isn't often that all of the staff has an opportunity to be together, so the first part of the day was spent meeting new employees and hearing about the successes of 2007. After lunch, we drove to Action Jacks Paintball for some "bonding".

Paintball was actually alot more fun than I had expected! We played outdoors in the woods (with quite a bit of snow on the ground). Being small paid off as there were lots of hiding places so I only got shot a few times (3 bruises to show for it!) AND made a few shots as well!

We joined our spouses and significant others at the hotel in time to wash the paint from our hair before appetizers and drinks (and the 'state of the office' address) at the office. We then headed to the Des Moines Art Center for a tour and dinner.

Friday, January 25, 2008

a first time for everything

recently, a new coffee shop called ElJay's opened in the river market, right across from BCA's office. we thought it had been open for a few days but when I stopped in early one morning to test it out, she was told it was their first official day in business...and I was their first "official" customer!

later, the same day, a friend and I headed to Grinders for lunch and news channel 4 was there filming a spot about the restaurant. the food network's Guy Fieri recently stopped here as well on his show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
maybe I should have bought a lottery ticket, too!

Sunday, January 20, 2008


It's really cold! We missed enjoying a few really nice (50 and 60 degree) days a few weeks ago when we were sick. We're glad to be back to normal (almost...we're still on meds and coughing) but could use an excuse to stay in these days!

Yesterday morning the rest of our running group cancelled so mike and i braved a very short run followed by a much longer (warmer) breakfast at eggtc.

The rest of the weekend was spent catching up on things, studying (mike) running errands and dreaming of spring!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

back among the living

after being sick for over 2 weeks, we're finally feeling better!!!! this weekend we (along with our running group) served dinner at the ronald mcdonald house. dinner included soups and chilis, salads, the mulligans' AMAZING brisket and lots of desserts! afterwards, a group of us enjoyed drinks at bluestem lounge.

sunday morning found us celebrating our friend Curtis's birthday over a potluck brunch with friends. we resolve to do this more often in 2008!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

out with the old and in with a cold

The first day of the new year has been less than stellar--the Lingenfelsers left early this morning (we were at the airport at 6:20 am!) and now Mike and I both have colds so have spent the day resting, reading and watching football. Hopefully 2008 will be happy and healthy for all! Happy New Year!

new years eve

We celebrated the new year with old friends-and a new one. Josh, Amy and Madeline (now 7 months old and celebrating her first new year's eve) were in town for the holidays and joined us for dinner and a short night's sleep before heading to the airport early this morning. Our friends Angela and Dustin and their son, Quinten, joined us for the feast, too!

Our last meal of 2007 was a crown roast of pork with pears and kumquats, wild mushroom stuffing, perfect roast potatoes, green beans with carmelized shallots, baked alaska (using chocolate, coffee and Baileys ice cream), and a bottle of Bracetto d'Acqui.

Everything was wonderful and the potatoes really were 'perfect'. Thank you, Angela! We were drawn to this dish because it called for goose fat-which, we soon learned is hard to find and expensive! Olive oil is a great substitute!