Archive for October, 2008

Extravagant Almost-Seasonal Pizza

Last night we were scheduled to do our own version of Take on the Take-away (which we’ve done before) but decided that instead we’d drop the take-away bit, and just have a team pizza-making challenge.  Bases would be provided and each team was given a budget of £7 with which to buy toppings during a 40 minute visit to Tesco, before returning to the Church and having a further 30 minutes to produce their pizza and get it in the oven.

The shopping was competitive and secretive from the start as each team tried to keep their ingredients a secret from the other.  In my opinion the best part of the shopping was the interaction with the lady on the check-out when we tried to buy just three brussell sprouts with a total cost of 9p but with only 8p remaining in the budget, which led to to now immortal line: ‘I’m afraid I can’t afford that – can I please put one back’.  It made the otherwise miserable Tesco employee smile a little.

On our return from Tesco we made our way to two separate areas for the pizza preparation, watched eagerly by Steph and Yolanda, the two judges.  There was much chopping, frying, spreading, tasting, and laughter, before the finished items were ready to go into the oven.  During the cooking we cracked on with eating the remaining ingredients, and tidying up, before heading into the kitchen for the big reveal.

JudgmentOne team had decided to complete their pizza in quarters, with a different theme of topping in each.  They included the ‘student special’ (spam and baked beans), ‘fuity meaty’ (kiwi on ham), ‘poulet et poivrons’ (chicken and peppers) and the extravagant and yet topical ‘credit crunch’ (caviar and sprouts).  The other team decided on an almost-seasonal pizza stacked high with Christmas lunch goodness, including: turkey, bacon, stuffing, sprouts, carrot and a ring of cranberry sauce around the crust.

JudgmentObviously those sound a little ‘out there’ but they were each delicious in their own way.  The Christmas meal was delicious in a comfortable, obvious kind of way (but delicious none the less), and the quatered pizza was (mostly) delicious in an adventurous kind of way.  We each tasted our own and the others’ pizza and made a few constructive criticisms on how it could be improved.  The judges judged that the Christmas pizza tasted best, but that the ‘quartet’ team scored higher on team-work and presentation, with the Christmas pizza winning overall.  Congratulations – and thanks for sharing the chocolate treat.

We must mention Steph’s adventure with the garlic bread tray, which burnt her hand and was subsequently thrown onto a plastic wrapper which promptly melted to the tray.  However, there are no life-threatening injuries, and the acrid smoke created by cooking the plastic with the garlic bread didn’t kill anyone or affect the taste.  This morning after a bucket of Cif, two wire-wool scourers and immeasurable human effort, the tray is now the cleanest it’s been in 20 years and currently in the oven again serving the lunch club cooks.

The Amicus gallery has been updated with a bunch on photos from the evening’s activities which will give you a visual flavour of the evening, if not an actual one.

Dancing NicciThis week’s quote of the week doesn’t come from Amicus for a change, but was good enough that I thought I’d share it here:

a: “Did you just fart while you were talking to me?”
b: “Yep.”
a: “You didn’t even pause!”
b: “Yes, I know how to multi-task.”
– Source: AuntMarvel on Twitter

As this week is half-term, we got together early on Monday morning for an Ikea Breakfast.  We had a good turn-out but we could still do better.  We’ll have another during the end of term break – check the diary nearer the time for details.  Following a second/third round of drinks at Ikea we headed off to Lynn Gibbs’ house to fulfil our second Promise Auction gardening promise.  Everyone worked really well together with minimal guidance and supervision, and Lynn was delighted with the outcome.  Thanks to all who took part!

Finally, the picture of Nicci ‘dancing’ was taken during a visit this week to see Alex Bradley in Southampton.

Next Week: Film Making – Part Two

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I Have Cookies; Yummy Cookies

Partly inspired by the video we made for the Promise Auction, this week’s activity was “Filming – Part One” – generating ideas for our next video project. Without giving too much away, we watched a few music videos, some comedy sketches, some random YouTube videos and brainstormed a few ideas. We’ve settled on the big idea for our next video, now all we have to do is execute it. We’ll make a start in two week’s time, but may need a couple more sessions.  Sorry – but we can’t share much more than that for now.  Instead, here’s a video to keep you going:

For devotions we contrasted the following two articles.  Please take a moment to read and consider them both:

Don’t forget to take a look at the update from our trip to Thorpe Park at the weekend.

Half Term Treats

Ikea Breakfast – we will be meeting at Ikea on Monday at 9:30am for breakfast (just 95p) and fellowship (free!).  Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll text you a reminder on Sunday night.  Also, let me know by Sunday lunchtime if you need a lift…

Promise Auction Gardening – following the Ikea Breakfast we’ll be heading to Lynn Gibb’s house to do a couple of hours work on her garden for the additional Promise Auction lot.

Next Week: Take on the Take-Away

Adrenaline Rush

Stealth TerrorLast Sunday the Bletchley and Newport Pagnell Amicus groups joined together for a visit to Thorpe Park. Despite the fact that it started raining when we arrived, it soon cleared up and the weather co-operated for the rest of the day. It was a bit cold though – but nice when the Sun made a brief appearance. We had a great day and were all shattered by the time we returned – with five minutes to spare before the start of The Hub!

Thanks to Newport Amicus for inviting us along and making us all feel welcome.

A full set of photos is available in the usual place. Below are a few animations of the day…

Loggers Leap Animation
.
Detonator Animation
.
Stealth Animation

Balamory Salmon

Frequently at Amicus the conversations go off in a slightly strange direction, and you’re left wondering where it will end up.  Just occasionally though, you get the same feeling when the evening starts and you’re told what you’re going to be be doing and it seems a little odd and off-the-wall.  That was the feeling I had at the start of Amicus this week.  The programme said “Construction Challenge” – and James was true to that – but introduced a new set of ideas and materials into the mix.  Now, when I look back on the evening, I see that it really worked.  Nice one James.

Divided into two teams, our first challenge was to make a two axle vehicle with four points of contact with the ground which should roll down a small incline.  Easy enough we thought – until he provided our materials for the challenge: rice cakes and bread sticks.  Undeterred, we set about this challenging task with mixed success.  One team produced a good looking vehicle, but it sadly destroyed itself when it was picked up.  The other team produced a weird crab-like vehicle which had the body strength to survive the trip to the incline but sadly didn’t roll anywhere. A draw then probably…

Our second challenge was equally, um, challenging.  We were instructed to build a house.  Again, we figured that would be simple, until the materials arrived.  A loaf of bread and three boxes of matches? One team focussed on the structural elements, crafting individual bricks and buttresses. The other went for function over form, including items such as sofa (and cushions), table, TV, swimming pool and pet Giraffe. I’m not sure that it was possible to define a winning team as each had its own significant merits. Still a draw…

View from the Path View from the Pool Table and TV

The third and final challenge was a little more traditional; build a bridge. You may remember this also appeared in the Lego evening a couple of weeks ago.  But this time our material wasn’t as obvious as Lego bricks – instead we had a packet of dry spaghetti and two kitchen rolls.  Eh?  Where do you start?  One team explored the idea of boiling the spaghetti and then tieing it together to form a rope bridge – a genius idea, but sadly time wasn’t on our side.  Instead they soaked the spaghetti to see if it would become more pliable and enable it to be platted.  Instead, there was a eureka moment when they discovered the sticky property of the soaked spaghetti.  The new plan was to create “planks” (for want of a better definition) of spaghetti and then create a lattice structure.  The other team wrapped spaghetti in the kitchen roll, and then tied the lumps together to form a long enough span between the two chairs.  With people holding the bridges in place, they each managed to sustain the weight of one appropriately titled book.  So it ended in another draw – very Christian ;o)

Steph led devotions on the subject of friendship, and how it can often take time and hard work. She encouraged us to invest in random acts of kindness towards friends and others. We each received a suggested act of kindness and were asked to “do it” to someone before Amicus next week.

A few weeks ago Yolanda brought Jelly Belly beans along to share and I mentioned that you could sign up for a free sample on their website.  I signed up and promised to share them when they arrived.  Well they’re here – but don’t get too excited…the first picture below makes them look like mega jumbo jelly beans, so I included a 50p piece in the second to provide a sense of scale:

Jumbo Jelly Beans? Jelly Beans to Scale

As far as I can see without opening them, there are ten beans in the packet. I’m still willing to share them – but I can’t promise that you’ll all get one! The best bit was that there’s a small sticker on the back which contains an inventory of all the flavours, and a menu of combinations which might be of interest.

Inventory of all Flavours Menu of Combinations

Next Week: Film Making – Part One

Knowing Which Ones To Keep

Thanks to Flic for organising last week’s Art Attack evening.  There were some very creative approaches to “art” and some who struggled to squeeze out any creative juice (me and Nick L).

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams

Take a look at the photos to see some of the process, and the finished articles.

Art and how to do it right...

Thanks also to James for leading devotions, even though he didn’t think he made much sense (he did).

For those coming to Thorpe Park, please check the ticket details from a couple of weeks ago if you haven’t already.  Sam Downton has some 2-for-1 offers which may help those who haven’t sorted their tickets yet.

We’ll be leaving Lovat Hall, Newport Pagnell at 8:45am on Sunday 19th October.

Next This Week: Construction [details]

Biker Clogs

Important: Before we go anywhere, please drop me an email ASAP to let me know if you are or are not joining us for the trip to Thorpe Park on Sunday 19th October (see last week’s update for details).

This week we delved back into Simon’s infamous Lego box of delights.  The usual height, stability, length and strength challenges were livened up by a fantastic boat race challenge.  Take a look at the pictures – and be sure to look out for the annotations (no offence intended) and the Caption Competition picture.  My creativity is lacking a bit this week so I decided to let the anagram generator play with the words “Lego bricks” and see what it could come up with for the post title.  Here are my favourites:

Bilge Rocks
Gerbil Sock
Biker Clogs
Glob Sicker
Be Ricks Log
Be Sock Girl
Bi Clerks Go

And with that in mind, we need to check out the names of our newest members for decent anagram possibilities:

Yolanda Potter

Rotten Payload
Tadpole Notary
Detonator Play
A Rotated Pylon
A Droopy Talent
Adrenal Pot Toy
Panda Tyre Tool
Dopy Anal Torte
Altar Toed Pony
(and way too many others to choose from)

Nick Bosdet

Bidet Conks
Bodkin Sect
Knob Edicts
Not Bed Sick
(and some which I can’t re-publish)

Anyway, back to the Lego for a moment.  Perhaps our next Lego activity should be a challenge to build something as impressive as this Church.  That would get the creative juices flowing.  For further inspiration, check out the projects at this site.  And finally, take a look at possibly the least appropriate use for Lego!

This week we also enjoyed some Carrot Cake, sponsored by the extended Rew family and their inability to communicate and organise themselves (everyone took a cake to a family gathering, because no-one spoke to anyone else), and some Jelly Belly Beans brought along and generously shared by Yolanda.  Check out this link and if you’re one of the first 100 people to visit you could get a free Jelly Belly Sample Pack.  Or if you’re in too much need and can’t take the risk you can buy them here.

Chris led devotions and used this poem to encourage us to consider how important we are to God:

My Child,
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4
And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is… Will you be my child? John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

Happy Birthday to Yolanda for Monday – and best wishes for your driving instructor!

Next Week: Art Attack [details]