Monthly Archives: November 2013

Spicy Shredded Beef

Crock pot recipes are great cause they don’t take too much time! Here is a recipe my sister, Chelsey, found that we have enjoyed. It is Spicy Shredded Beef and is great for soft tacos or taco salad:

Instructions:
1)Mix together all spices ina small bowl. Rub the spices all over the meat — be generous! Place steak in the bottom of the crock pot.
2)Cover the meat with your choopped onions, bell peppers, and jalapeno. Turn heat on LOW and cook for 8 hours.
3)After 8 hours, remove meat from crock pot and shred with a fork. (It should be increadibly easy to shred.) You can stick it back in the pot for another hour or serve as is.
4)If using tortillas, heat them in a skillet on the stove. Spoon meat in them and add toppings.

Ingredients:
2 lbs chuck roast
2 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 jalepeno, seeded & chopped
For spice rub:
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
For serving (not all are required ;):
corn tortillas or tortilla chips
avacado slices or guacamole
diced tomato
salsa
beans (a can of black beans is easy to heat)
shredded cheese
lettuce
cilantro
limes

Happenings of Sept/Oct 2013

Neither OFR nor the Federal Reserve affected by the government shutdown as they are self-funded, so we still worked a lot but had lots of fun weekends!

 September was a month of lots of fun BBQs and get-togethers! We had 2 BBQs at our house Labor Day weekend – one with church friends and one with a few work friends – lots of good burgers thanks to Ben and some fun games! We also had a BBQ at our house with Ben’s family — it was fun to see Jared who was in town for the weekend! We went to a BBQ for my work where it poured all night… luckily they had a decent sized house and we and someone else brought a canopy tent. We also spent a night at my Grandparents and had a BBQ with one of Ben’s missionary companions who lives up by them. He enjoyed the reminiscing I think ;). One of our friends had 60’s themed birthday party – it was lots of fun to see everyone dressed up.

girls60s boys60s

 smgirls60s               typewriter&us

We also did the College Park Cares 5k with a couple friends – our team name was “we are totally going to IHOP after this” lol. We had lots of fun but our times were one minute slower than last year :-/.  Ben had an excuse of a bad cold, even though he still beat me.

 We also had a visit from Teyanna’s cousin Afton, her husband Sean, and their 15 month old Michael! We were so excited to have visitors! Their plane was a bit delayed, but they finally arrived Thursday night. They tried touring all of DC the next day, but Michael wasn’t having it. So they went home for a nap. We got to share our favorite food – Spice 6 (chipotle styled Indian food), and then we drove around the monuments in the late evening. Even with a couple bonks to Michael’s head, we survived the first day lol. The next day we took a bit slower and went to Mt Vernon for a few hours and had a BBQ at our house. Sunday Sean went home, while Afton, Michael & Teyanna went to church and then up to Teyanna’s Grandparents’ farm in MD. Michael loved their dog and having lots of space to run around … and they even had a few toys :D! Monday we went for a hike in the woods at my Grandparents and then drove home & got pizza. Tuesday we went to the zoo and Wednesday Afton & Michael went home. Teyanna learned that toddlers are a lot happier if they get lots of sleep and have a bit more space with some toys ;-). It was great having friends visit!

michael

chism afton

 In October, Teyanna’s Dad and sister, Chelsey, visited during Columbus Day weekend which was lots of fun! She got to show off her work and let them try Spice 6  and then hang with the Schollian extended family.

schollians              tey&chels

 Another weekend, we went to a protest against mass surveillance and the Natural History Museum with our friends. Teyanna thought the rocks/gems were really pretty. For Halloween, we saw Monster’s University at UMD – it was very cute!

 At the beginning of October, at the recommendation of his professors, Ben decided to wait to go on the job market fall 2014 and graduate in May 2015 instead of going on the job market this year and graduating May 2014. He has a good theory paper but he just got data for two empirical papers, and if he can have two empirical papers and a theory paper he will be a much stronger candidate on the job market. For academic/professor positions, you kind of get one shot. In finance you generally get 2 job offers if you are lucky and after that it is pretty much impossible to transfer to a higher ranked university. So we figure he might as well do his best so we can have more options later on. Plus we love Maryland and Teyanna will probably keep working at her job at the Federal Reserve.

The best of times, the worst of times

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.” Tale of Two Cities p. 1

Is today the best of times or the worst of times? Are we progressing to a brighter future or are we going directly the “other way”? Often I hear laments of the social and moral decay of the modern world in the recent decades so I wanted to celebrate the good things.

I think most of us can appreciate the technical and medical advancements, improvements, and inventions over the last century. Life expectancy has doubled, many horrible diseases have been eradicated from developed countries, inventions like washing machines, cars, ac, etc make life MUCH more comfortable, we can video chat with family & friends across the world, and with a cell phone we can research and learn pretty much anything from anywhere. Comfort and health has vastly increased and the world is at our fingertips.

And I feel the we have also made many advances socially and morally, but I’ve often heard, particularly at church, how things are getting worse and worse (morally & culturally) over the last 50-100 years – immorality, violence, drugs, porn, etc are increasing and the “last days” are nearing (particularly with the developed world in mind). So I wanted to share why I think “the world” is an amazing place and is getting better and better:

 -          Women can now vote, have access to contraception (did you know The Pill was not legal in all of the US until 1972!?!), go to college, and hold practically any job they want. Huge pros! Maybe we have a few slightly neglected children because women choose to not be stay-at-home moms, but women now have career options besides prostitution and low-paying jobs that can’t provide for a family. (And I know many wonderful moms who work.) I’m not saying women should not be stay-at-home moms (that is still an option), but women now have more choices. Women can choose when and how many children they want. If women want to go to medical school, law school, or work in a variety of places, they can. If a woman is a single parent and needs to provide for her family it is possible.

 -          Civil rights movement. Big pro! It is no longer acceptable to be racist. We even have an African-American president! You may not like his politics but for America that is amazing considering the prevailing attitudes and policies just a few decades ago. I’m not saying the issue is completely solved, but we have made big improvements over the last 100 years.

 -          Acceptance of various lifestyles. Non-married/teen moms are no longer completely shunned by society (think Les Mis) and can live a respectable life. Gays and lesbians can (hopefully) live without fear of being fired or mistreated because of their sexual orientation. Woman do not stay in abusive marriages as much because the social stigma of divorce is not nearly as strong. People shouldn’t have to hide who they are to be accepted by society. And I’m sure hiding who you are is not healthy for anyone (it didn’t really work out well for Fantine in Les Mis). Of course there are, what some consider, costs to being more accepting and giving people more agency – we have more children born out of wedlock, higher divorce rates, and variations of families that some do not approve of, but I think the pros outweigh the cons. People need agency and I think people are happier and better off. It is okay if we have a higher divorce rate if it means people aren’t stuck in bad marriages. It is better to love and accept everyone and make them feel like they can be a part of society without hiding who they are, even if there are more variations in the traditional family unit (single parents, stay-at-home dads, non-married couples, gays, & lesbians, etc.).

 -          Violence. I’m not an expert on the trend in violent crimes over the last hundred years and I’m not a fan of violent video games. However, I googled murder rates in the US and it looks like they were pretty low in the 1960s (= 4.6 per 100,000 in 1963), increased through the 80s (equaled 10.2 in 1980), and then came back down. In 2011, the murder rate was 4.8 per 100,000 people, which is fairly low considering the low since 1900 was 4 per 100,000 in 1957. So from looking at US murder rates, it seems violence is on a downward trend over the last 30 years. However they are still a bit high compared to some other developed countries.

 We live in an awesome world! There are so many opportunities especially if you live somewhere like America. And overall it seems to me that America is a better place than 100 years ago. Besides the higher standards of living and comforts of washers/dryers/cars/etc and improved medical treatments, I feel the morality of society have improved as well.

I feel that over the past century equality has improved immensely — and by equality I mean equal rights and opportunity. Women know have many opportunities that were previously denied — voting, going to college, contraception, and job opportunities. Civil rights demands that no one should be denied opportunity due to race, color of skin, or country of your ancestors origin. Being accepting of various lifestyles (single moms, working moms, stay-at-home dads, gays & lesbians, non-married couples, etc) allows everyone the pursuit of happiness. America was founded to protect “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and the only reason someone’s rights should be taken from them is if they are infringing on the rights of someone else (ie a murderer). A lot has been done in the last century to further establish a land of freedom and equal opportunity. Now this may mean that some people make choices that you disagree with but I think it’s worth it.

What do you think?