Friday, June 27, 2008

bar-b-q in the woods

monica over at the homespun heart is such an inspiration to me in all the great meals and activities she does with and for her family. so wed nite i packed up some food and supplies and our family headed up to the south hills. we are blessed to be within 30 min of a national forest where there are picnic and camping sites. on the way, i realized that i had forgotton the charcoal! aaaaccckk! you can't have a bar-b-q without charcoal so we stopped at the last little gasmart on the way to the campsite and bought 9 lbs of charcoal for $10!!! highway robbery, if i do say so. it was so funny, cuz right as we were leaving the gasmart a commercial for walmart charcoal came on: 18lb for $6. boy, do last minute purchases hurt the budget!

but onward, we got to the picnic area and as i suspected, we had it to ourselves. hubby grilled the burgers and corn on the cob, i set the table and our son played and our daisy dog romped around the campsites. while hubby grilled i read to him out of a frugal book we've been reading together and we talked about whether we could actually live without a car.

it was so relaxing to be in the outdoors, to only have the sounds of nature around us, to be away from cellphones, computers and tvs. what a blessing!

we will definitely be doing this again this summer and we will definitely be looking for a similiar area once we move to boise. and next time i will remember the charcoal.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

this n that

after our big week getting the yard sale ready and hosting it, this is a slower week for us. hubster is dealing with banks, finances and that kind of stuff, so i decided i'd get some sewing (and ironing done).

i dived into my sewing stash this morning, even before taking my shower. i didn't want anything to waylay me. first i finished the pair of shorts for the #1 boy that i've been very slow in sewing. then i took one of his older, almost outgrown t-shirts and cut off the sleeves. i hemmed the armholes and made it into a sleeveless t-shirt. he only has a couple, so i thot this would be good for his summer wardrobe. after lunch i decided to work on my stuff. i have a pink polka dot shirt in progress. i'm at the part where i have to sew on the sleeves. it doesn't look right so i'm going to be ripping out seams and redoing. i don't really know how to do alterations on myself but i'm thinking this is going to force me to learn. i also cut a yellow sleeveless shirt of mine that had gotton a rotton stain on the front. i trimmed it to below the bustline and then i cut out some cute yellow print fabric to make the torso part. i'm about halfway thru with that project. i want to put an applique or somthing on the solid part of the shirt to tie in the print. of course, never having appliqued this will be an adventure too.

being able to take a few hours to sew made me happy today. the munchkin will be home shortly. we'll go outside and he'll play. i may read ... then dinner, then the last nite of challenger baseball.

i'm hoping to get back to my sewing machine again tomorrow and make some more headway on the 2 shirts. i have other projects in the stash that i might be able to start. and i want to start packing away non-essential fabric and patterns.

anyone doing any sewing or crafting these days? what projects are you working on?

Monday, June 23, 2008

a bonus ...

on friday, hubster put a for sale sign on our crunched up van. and put an ad for it on craigslist. he got a couple calls, and we had a couple interested people stop by our yard sale and talk to us about it. we had originally thought that we would sell it to a junk yard and maybe get a couple hundred dollars out of it. when we had that yucky encounter at the used car dealership, they offered us $200 for it! needless to say, we didn't jump at that offer.

so back to the yard sale, one of the gals who was interested called her son to come over and look at it and after his approval she wrote us a check and bought it! we couldn't believe how easy that was. (and no, her check didn't bounce). so on top of having a decent yard sale and scoring some $$ there, we also got some more serious money for the van.

we celebrated sat afternoon by going and seeing Get Smart. funny, funny movie. steve carrell is a great maxwell smart, and anne hathaway does well as agent 99. i won't give away the plot cuz if you like a fun movie, this one is worth spending your money on.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Yard Sale Update

we survived our yard sale. yaaaaaaaaaaahooooooooooooo! friday was actually the better day of the two. we had lots of people come by, and better still, they actually bought things.

sat we had a few looky loos. a couple of friends came by and bought something and someone else came by and bought my husbands grinder. so we made enough to go to the movies, which we will be doing shortly.

all in all, we are pleased. and thinking we still have enough stuff we need to get rid of that we will have another sale in a couple weeks on a friday. we may just get rid of all our excess "stuff" after all.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Signs of Moving

(i meant to post this yesterday, but time got away from me)

this friday and sat we are having our yard sale. our downsizing, moving to boise sale. we haven't had a yard sale since the last time we moved and that was an utter fiasco, so i'm a bit nervous.

we have ALOT of stuff to get rid of, so i'm praying for lots of buyers to come buy our stuff.

we are also looking for a new home for daisy. no pets allowed in the student housing, so we need to find a loving home for our daisy do-little. i have put an ad on craigslist but no responses yet. should i put her in the yard sale too???

Monday, June 16, 2008

Our New Economy Car

last week we went car hunting. after a dismal experience at one of the local car dealers we were at our wits end. isn't that when God shows up? on friday i decided to look at our local craigslist. i wasn't too hopeful as this is a new craigslist for our area and i have noticed its not getting alot of use yet. but low and behold, there was a 2001 dodge neon for sale. and within our budget price. with 90,000 miles it looked like it might be a good deal. so sat morning, we drove over to the families home who were selling it. we asked alot of questions and gave it a test drive. it sits much lower than i'm used to in the van, but its a peppy little car. it gets good gas mileage, is comfy, is a 4 door which i wanted, and has great AC. a must here in the hot desert.

so we made an offer, they made a counter offer and we drove the car home! we are now the proud owners of a silver dodge neon, affectionately named "the silver bullet" i'm getting used to sitting low again and having a trunk.

we will be selling our beat up van, either to a private party who wants to fix it up or to a junk yard who wants to part it out.

we are so thankful that the Lord led us to this great little car for us. it'll be great for the local commuting we'll be doing around the boise area for the next two years. isnt' God good?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Movie Meme

we went and saw the latest indianna jones movie this afternoon. it wasn't great, it wasn't bad, it was what i expected and we enjoyed it. so in light of movies: the good, the bad, and the ugly i give you the movie meme.

Movie Meme:
1. One movie that made you laugh: Hitch-- funny, funny movie
2. One movie that made you cry: Counte of Monte Cristo
3. One movie you loved when you were a child: mary poppins
4. One movie you’ve seen more than once: the princess bride
5. One movie you loved, but were embarrassed to admit it: Beuwolfe
6. One movie you hated: Irreconcilable Differences
7. One movie that scared you to death: i don't watch scary movies
8. One movie that bored you: D-Wars
9. One movie that made you happy: Beauty and the Beast
10. One movie that made you miserable: can't think of anything
11. One movie you weren’t brave enough to see: braveheart
12. One movie character you’ve fallen in love with: james bond--he's so debonair
13. The last movie you saw: Indianna Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
14. The next movie you hope to see: Get Smart

so if you're a movie buff, join in the fun with this meme. and let me know if you post it on your blog.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Why is my Blog titled Challenges and Adventures Part 2

Jan 2, 2003
We had been back in the Seattle area for 6 months. Life was going moderately well. Josiah was in pre kindergarten at the local school, giving me a break every afternoon. Michael’s business was plugging away. We felt settled and only had a few troublesome things, like most families in the US.

That morning I had taken Josiah to his physical therapy appt and I was sitting in the waiting room, jotting down some things I wanted to accomplish this year. My cell phone rang and it was Keith, my husbands employee. “Gail, Mike fell!” Keith said. A dozen scenarios ran through my mind. “The ambulance is taking him to Harborview Medical Center”

My mom and I drove up to the hospital after I dropped Joe off with a friend. I called my sisters and let them know the little I knew. We finally found Michael at the hospital or at least found a social worker who could tell us what was going on with Michael. Yes, he had fallen. He had been taken to the emergency room and then taken into surgery. That was the extent of what we knew. We huddled around a table in the cafeteria and prayed. Later the surgeon, social workers, my brother in law who is a pastor and I met in a room. All they could tell me was that Michael had torn his aorta when he fell and they had repaired it. The fall had damaged his right lung and they removed a section of it. They told me that if he got thru the night then they would reevaluate and see what else they could do for him. I was in shock, and not really taking in all the ramifications of what they were saying.

They finally allowed me to see him. One of my nurse friends who had heard thru the grapevine, prepared me for the sight before me. After a severe trauma to the body, the body retains its body fluids to protect itself. Over the past few hours Michael had bloated up 30+ lbs. my normally skinny husband was almost unrecognizable with his skin stretched so tightly over the new, heavier body.

Over the next few days and weeks, I learned that when my husband fell 35+ feet out of the tree he was working in, he had landed on his back. From the fall, he had torn his aorta and his ribs had thrashed most of his right lung. Amazingly enough, nothing else was broken. He flatlined on the way to the hospital. He was bleeding profusely internally from the aorta. The doctors didn’t know where the bleeding was coming from, so they got out the saw and sliced his chest open, one doc holding a light to see what was going on in the dark mess of blood inside, another doc pumping his heart manually to keep him alive, another doc with his hand in his chest trying to feel for what might be going on. I think in all there were 6 docs working on him. A nurse told me later that they call that “cracking the chest” and they only do that in a last ditch effort to save someone. This nurse also told me that Michael was the first one he had seen survive the proceedure.

Michael was in the ICU and unconscious for about 8 days. Then he started to wake up and was moved to a regular floor. It was at that time that Michael and I realized there was something wrong with his eyes. Over the next few days, a series of eye docs came to look at him. We knew there was something wrong but it wasn’t til he was in rehab that he had an appt with an specialist who confirmed that becuz of the blood loss, he had lost all the nerves in his right eye. Without your nerves you lose your sight. In his left eye he had lost over 90%. Enough that he was declared legally blind, but also enough to be able to see a little.

That spring and summer, Michael rehabbed close to home and then was able to come home. Suddenly my bad habit of leaving cupboard doors open were causing a problem for a man who couldn’t see. Josiah and Mike bumped heads a few times when trying to hug and snuggle. Mike had to give up his driver’s license which was a huge disappointment for my independent, first born husband. He was suddenly dependent on his wife and others for rides, help and other things.

No longer able to climb trees or do the bidding for the jobs, we sold off our biz equipment and shut down our operation. At a loss as to what we should do, we sold our house in Puyallup and moved back to Idaho where we could live more cheaply and Michael could get some retraining.

During the year of 2003, and beyond, the Lord provided funds, food, comfort, prayer supporters and friends. Somehow without an income for the entire year we were still able to pay our bills and eat more than beans and rice. Yes, we had some savings and we sold some things, but the bulk came from the body of Christ. If I learned one thing from Michael’s experience, it is that God is faithful to us, his children. And that the body of Christ is used by the Lord to take care of his children.

Over the last 5 years we have been adjusting as a family to a father who doesn’t drive, can’t see everything that goes on, a wife who is the eyes for the family and sole driver to anywhere we go, a son who doesn’t talk and needs supervision 99% of the time. We have changed our habits and recreation activities, we find ourselves staying home more. But we are also moving forward. Michael is going back to school to get his degree. He has chosen not to sit at home and mope as some people do when hit with a mid life crisis. I am so proud of him and look at him in awe.

God allowed these situations to happen to our family for a reason. Reasons we still don’t fully comprehend, but we are willing to trust Him, we choose to trust Him for we know He has only good for us and not evil. We take comfort in all those who have gone before us and walked in faith: Hannah, Joseph, Sarah and Abraham, Daniel, Paul, Peter and the other disciples.

And that’s the story behind why I named my blog Challenges and Adventures.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Candles Anyone?

(part 2 of what's behind the blog title is coming soon, i promise)

i was reading the rules of living in the student housing that we are moving into in 6 weeks, and it mentioned that burning candles is prohibited. i'm sure its becuz its a safety hazard and i don't have a problem with that. BUT ... i do have a ton, yes a ton of candles! what to do?

so if you knew that you weren't going to be able to burn your precious, sentimental (some were gifts), fragrant candles for 2 years what would you do? pack them up? do they stay good packed away? sell them? some are half way gone others haven't been lit, i told you i had a ton. give them away to someone who appreciates candles? burn them all up in the next 6 weeks!? ha! i think hubster would have a fit if i did that. any other options?

have you ever had to dispose of a certain something when moving somewhere?

photo from

Monday, June 09, 2008

Why is my blog titled Challenges and Adventures? Part One

A blogger friend asked me awhile ago, if i had ever wrote about our story on my blog. I know i've referred to different events that have happened over the years. but i realized i have never put it down for you, the reader to read, start to finish. so if you're interested, here is the story behind the title.

10 years ago when our first born son was born after several years of infertility and sporadic miscarriages, we were ecstatic. Our prayers had been answered and here we had a son. The first year was a wonderful year of bonding for the 3 of us. But there were little things that didn’t seem to add up. Josiah didn’t seem to be maturing and reaching those baby milestones. My pediatrician didn’t seem worried and didn’t order any testing til after Josiah’s 1st b-day. When we finally got some answers he was 18 months old and all we knew was that he was delayed. Whatever that meant. We enrolled Josiah in physical therapy and speech therapy. Over the months progress was slow and no one had anymore answers than we had at the beginning. We were in the midst of moving our family to Idaho while Michael was still working in Seattle. It was hard to be apart half of the week and I wasn’t’ dealing well with Josiah’s delays and the uncertainty of the future.

I remember dropping Michael off at the Boise airport and heading home. I cried out in my heart to the Lord: “God, I can’t take it anymore. I need to know what is wrong with my son.” being a person who needs to know and have closure with stuff, this was a real cry of my inner heart and soul.

As I reached home, I got Josiah set up with something to keep him occupied and jumped on the computer. I remembered that someone had mentioned a website that had an index of special needs and their symptoms. I read a few that I had heard of, but none seemed to fit. Next I decided to go ahead and read alphabetically. In the A’s I found Angelman’s Syndrome and read a list of symptoms my son showed. I wanted to laugh, I wanted to cry. Here was my answer. I had a name, I had a diagnoses. Oh, but now here was a answer and that meant he wasn’t just slightly delayed and would catch up afterall.

At Josiah’s doc appt that week, I brought in the pages I found off the internet and showed my pediatrician. He was hesistant, but I was insistant. He finally relented and ordered testing.

A month later we got the phone call that indeed Josiah tested positive for Angelman’s Syndrome. Oh, how I cried. Tho I wanted to know, I never wanted, nor thought I’d ever have a child with handicaps, special needs, or a diagnosis. After so many years of infertility, so many dashed hopes with miscarriages, this wasn’t suppose to happen. Where was God now?

We had moved back to the Seattle area to be together as a family, to be close to extended family and close friends, and to allow me to get my head together. I was deep in grief over my son’s disability and started to question my faith in God, my understanding of his character, and where Josiah and I fit in all this. I remember being angry, with picking fights with Michael over God’s character and how He could do this to me, to our family. I remember crying myself to sleep, cuz there didn’t seem to be a solution. I couldn’t just leave my husband and son and start over, I couldn’t take Josiah to the doctor for a surgery that would cure his problems, I didn’t have a magic wand to wave. And yet, I didn’t feel like I could live with the way things were.

Over the period of the next year, I met with a sweet christian gal who ministered to me thru our church’s Stevens Ministries. She listened to me, she prayed for me and with me, she shared scriptures with me. She held my hand as I struggled with deep truths of God. Somehow I came to realize that God is indeed a good God. That despite my circumstances, my life, my feelings, God is good. And that despite how much it didn’t make sense, I could trust God. I could hold onto Him as I struggled to make sense of my life. And whether I ever understood His ways, I could cling to Him, trust Him, and find safety beneath His wings.

I read a lot of psalms, the book of Isaiah, and many other comforting scriptures. Slowly, I began to accept my life, my son and our family for who and what we were/are. We learned how to care for our son, how to get help when we needed it, and how to have fun with a son who doesn’t talk and didn’t always understand. Who couldn’t do what others his age could do physically. Then we noticed every difference, now we rarely notice at all.

Fast forward to Jan 2, 2003 ....

Part 2 Coming Soon

Friday, June 06, 2008

What Time of Day Are You?

i'm glad to see they got this right for me! i would have been shocked if they had labeled me a morning person.

You Are Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.

Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.

Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.

You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

Win a Book!

i was browsing around and found a new blog. i love blog titles, so many are just so clever and this one is no exception. its called Chocolate, the Other White Meat isn't that a hoot? i love it.

anyway, carrie, the author of this blog is hosting a giveaway of tozer's book The Pursuit of God. i have heard of this book and how good it is. carrie is reading it with a group she is leading and says that it is drawing her closer to the Lord. now that is a recommendation i can endorse.

so go over to carrie's blog and enter to get yourself the book, check out her blog and leave me a comment on what other great blogs you find. i'm always in the mood to find a new favortite, not that i would abandon my old favs.

Sewing Shorts

my spring and summer goal has been to sew some shorts for my son. he grew out of almost all of his shorts from last year. usually it is so hot here we live in short from May thru Sept. for some reason, global warming has made it really cold here and we are still in jeans. but, this cold blast can't last forever and i have been diligently sewing shorts for the #1 son. the first pair i just grabbed some heavy material i had had for years. they were pretty basic, nothing fancy. and they don't fit him great either. oh well. this 2nd pair i'm working on i decided to add a contrasting fabric at the hem and a pocket in the same fabric. so i had to go to the fabric store and find some cute boy type fabrics.

the middle fabric is a baseball theme and that's the one i'm using for this 2nd pair. it is turning out great, but i still have to try it on my reluctant model. i may even get them finished before the sun comes out again.

i cheated by cutting off some sweats that were getting too short and hemming them. but they turned out great and he's worn them a couple times. so now at least he has 3 or 4 pairs instead of 1. i'm not sure how many more i will make, with the move fast approaching. i enjoy sewing, but it takes me double the time a more experienced seamstress. so my projects don't get done lickety split.

anyone else doing any sewing out there in cyberland?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

how do you transport yourself?

we got our check from our insurance agent. and i have been trolling the used car sites looking for an adequate vehicle. sometimes i wish i lived in one of those futuristic sci-fi novels where i could just press a button and be somewhere else, miles and miles away. no cars, no planes, no trains or buses. but alas, i don't think that is going to be happening in my lifetime ....

so what do you drive? we'll probably be headed up to boise since they have a vastly greater selection that we do here in our small town. in boise they have a saturn dealership and from the looks of it on the internet they have a good stock of used cars. we may visit some other dealerships or used car lots and make a weekend out of it. our anniversary is coming up--does that sound like a romantic trip?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Frugal Meals Update; Part Deux

As I posted here, it has been an interesting experience to be extra frugal with meals til payday arrives. Friday nite, hubby came home with some money he made and chose to treat the family to some Mexican food---yum, yum! That was an unexpected treat and a wonderful break from trying to come up with meals from an assortment of ingredients.

Saturday, I had a few extra bucks and went to the store for some hamburger, sausage, green onions and a red pepper. That night we had bar-b-q-ed hamburgers with buns I already had, condiments, & lettuce. I heated up some baked beans and called it good.

Sunday, hubby cooked up 2/3 of the sausage and we made b’fast burritoes. They were tasty and satisfying. That evening I cooked the rest of the sausage, added it to some pasta sauce, cooked some pasta and had a good pasta dinner. I thot later that I could have added some sliced carrots to the pasta sauce as I’ve heard other cooks do. I’m trying to get more veggies into our diet.

Today hubby and I had the leftover pasta for lunch. For dinner, I pulled out a steak I had in the freezer and steamed some peas. Pretty simple, but it was fine.

Tomorrow, I’m thinking if the mail comes early like it has done for the last several days, I’ll buy a papa murpheys pizza for dinner. I’m bushed from all this creative thinking. Cooking has never been my gifting, so this has been a real challenge for me. But I’m glad I had the opportunity to stretch myself. I can see with prices on gas and food going higher, that preparing weekly menus for our meals is going to become a higher priority for me.

Looking back on this experience, i've realized that if we had had the money, i would have gone to the store and bought $30-40 worth of groceries to make meals for the week. i wouldn't have gone to the trouble to think of the simplest, least expensive way to provide nutritious foods. i think i spent less than $10 when i went to the store. and yes, our pantry and freezer are pretty bare.

How are you dealing with the higher food prices? Have your meals or eating habits changed? Inquiring minds want to know!!!

Our Move to Boise

we got an email this morning from BSU telling us that they had accepted our application for boise housing and they have set aside a groundfloor 2 bedroom apt for us. would we like to accept? why yes, i think we will! we will be driving up on friday august 1st, have to be there at 9am (so that means leaving at 7am, which means getting up at ??? have i mentioned that i'm not a morning person?) to sign the lease and get the keys. woo hoo! we have a direction and a path and a timeline.

have i mentioned how great these accomadations will be? they are accross the street from the campus, so mike can walk to class and not have to rely on the wife for a ride every day. they have an enclosed courtyard that is fenced and you can only get in if you have a keycard. in this courtyard is a playground area for the kiddos and picnic tables and grass. we also will be living withing walking distance of 2 great parks and the greenbelt that people use for biking, walking and skating on. i can see fun weekend afternoons traveling the greenbelt together.

on the other hand, nothing is perfect. i am learning to accept this fact. its a small 2 bedroom apt. we will be downsizing. but that's ok. i'm ready to simplify a bit. it doesn't have a patio or balcony, but again, that's ok. i dont' really need to be gardening in pots. i can let that go for now.

i'm so excited for my husband and for the next 2 years. for him getting this degree and then finding a good job. it's been a long trek since our lives turned upside down 5 years ago, but that is for another post. which will be coming shortly.

rejoice with me, my friends! God is good, All the time!