Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Greetings

Christmas is here! Its really here!!!

Do you remember when you were a kid and you couldn't wait? It was the best thing in the world. Now as adults, do we look forward to it just as much?

There's been alot of talk about simplifying and downsizing Christmas. Avoiding the consumerism that is rampant out there. I, for one, have tried to simplify for years. Finally, this year we made two decisions that have greatly lessened my stress level. We have chosen not to drive to be with extended family. Even tho we are closer this year since moving to SW WA, we are still 4-6 hours away depending on who we see. And more importantly, we are also at the stage in life where Joe doesn't do well away from his own home overnight. We also decided to not exchange gifts anymore with Michael's side of the family. It had become habit rather than a real joy. That cut my shopping in half, which is loverly!

Other ways in which we have simplified are probably scandalous to some, but work for us. We haven't sent out Christmas cards in years. Tho I enjoy recieving them, during our lean years we just couldn't afford the extra expense. During the same time period, we chose not to have a tree. I do miss having a tree sometimes, but enjoy others trees. Our house is still festive tho, since I still put up lots of decorations around the house. I toned down our baking and cooking as well. This year I've done a bit more baking but not to the same extent as I did years ago. Finding a balance is truly liberating. Finding ways to celebrate without making yourself crazy is life-changing.

Some advocate making gifts instead of buying and if this works for you, that's wonderful. For us, this adds more stress to our lives, so we continue to shop. But our gift budget is not over-the-top.

I'm looking forward to cooking a scrumptious Christmas dinner for the three of us. I'm excited about spending the time with my boys. I love Christmas and I love our family. There is no one else I'd rather be with at this time of year.

So how 'bout you? Have you simplified? What have you found works for you and your family?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Mama's Kitchen

Mama's Kitchen
This looks like a fun little meme. I stole it from a new blog I found called Life with Boys

1. Do you have magnets on your fridge? Yes! But less than I used to.

2. Do you have a calendar in your kitchen, if so, what’s the theme of it? Yes, a puppy dog calendar that hangs on the wall, Joe's school lunch calendar on the fridge and my desk calendar on the counter where I write all my appts, errands, and phone numbers.

3. What is your favorite kitchen gadget? probably my pizza cutter. Its not just for pizza, folks!

4. Are you lucky enough to have a pantry of some kind? Not in this house. I've had pantries in some other houses we've lived in tho and they are great.

5.What is your favorite appliance? Its either my breadmaker or my crockpot. I use both alot!

6. Do you have an eat in kitchen (table in it)? Our dining room is part of the kitchen so yes or no, depending on how you look at it! LOL

7. Do you have a bread box? No. I did when we first got married and we never used it.

8. Do you have a picture of your kids on the fridge? Not at the moment. Tho I have tons of pics of Joe all over the house.

9. Do you ever cook breakfast in your PJs? a better question would be, do i ever cook b'fast! rarely!! but when i do i often cook in my pj's.

10. Do you have a favorite cookbook that you use? Yes! 365 Ways to Cook Chicken & The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook.

11. Are you lucky enough to have recipes that were passed down from your mom or grandma? Not really.

12. What’s your favorite food? I really, really love prime rib. Have it on my b-day every year. I also love mexican food, chocolate, pastries, lasagne and lots of other foods. It shows!

13. What’s your favorite thing to cook? Depends on my mood. But I love to bake and I also love to make really fancy meals. Not so much the day to day stuff.

14. Is your coffee pot electric or stove top? Hubby has a coffee maker and I have an espresso machine.

15. Do you ever make your own bread? You betcha! Best thing next to heaven is fresh bread, warm and slathered with honey butter!

16. Name one thing that you have hanging on your wall in your kitchen: My pizza peel

17. Is there a clock in your kitchen? On the stove and on the coffee maker.

18. Do you have a bowl of fruit sitting on your table or counter? Its actually sitting on top of a cabinet that we have in our eating area. Does that count?

19. What type of canisters do you have? Glass ones.

20. Does your kitchen have a theme? Not really. I do have hot pads with fat italian cooks on them.

21. What’s for supper tonight? tacos! yum

22. Do you have enough cabinet space? Pretty much, tho I wish there were some cabinets that were taller, the shelves seem pretty closely spaced.

23. Does your family use paper plates? Not often.

24. Do you have a good set of china? No, never did and probably never will.

25. Do you wear an apron to work in your kitchen? No

26. Name one thing, if anything, that you would like to change about your kitchen. Oh I'd change alot, but this is just a rental so wont' go into it all. My fav kitchen would have lots of counterspace and cupboards, one of those super big fridges and an extra freezer and lots of good lighting, both natural and artificial. I've learned after moving around alot that you can make do with most any kitchen as long as it has the bare minimum requirements.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankfulness Gratitude Appreciation

I've been having a rough time being thankful of late. I haven't been able to pinpoint exactly what has put me into this ungrateful funk, but its time to crawl out.

So in light of my new resolve I want to share with you a few of my favorite things. Everyone mentions family, friends and faith when they talk about what they are thankful for, but what does that really mean? For me, my faith is my rock. I love that the Creator of the whole, astronomical universe has invited me to have a relationship with Him. I'm grateful that He loves me and I can love him back. That He has forgiven me of all that separates me from Him and that He has prepared a perfect body and home for me when I depart this temporary world. I can't wait to meet Him face to face.

My family is unique as all families probably are, but they are mine. My husband is my best friend and makes me laugh when no one else can. He's adventurous and sees the glass not only half full but all the way full and overflowing. He humors me and has the cutest wink a man can have.

My son is an angel, literally! He has Angelman Syndrome. He doesn't talk, but his laugh is infectious. He loves life and his smiles convey that. Yes, he has his issues and challenges, but he also has his successes. He is loved by many, and loves them back.

My mom and siblings are still around, tho my father is already eating pie in heaven. They are a part of my past, my growing up, and still a part of my present. They pray for me, we visit when possible, we spend time with one another and have lively discussions.

And friends. I have many, many friends. I'm a loyal friend and hate to see a friendship fade away. So I pester them. Stalk them on facebook. Instant message them. Harrass them with phonecalls. I hold onto my old friends even while connecting with the new. I have friends from our first days of marriage, from our days in Bothell and the northend, from our time in Auburn, Puyallup and Sumner, from our sojourn in Twin Falls and Boise. We have friends who knew us before we had Josiah and who knew Michael before his accident. We have friends who never knew us in our early days and only know us as we are now. Each share a piece of our history and we theirs. Many have cried with us as we traveled down the unknown paths. Others have laughed and made merry, played cards and drank sparkling cider with us. All have made an impact on who we are and where we are today.

I'm also thankful this year for Michael's completion of his degree, for the job the Lord provided, for our home here in the gorge, for Josiah's school, his aide, that he gets to join the high school special ed class for swimming once a week and for all the great, compassionate people that have touched his and our lives. I'm thankful for the church we are in now, and all the churches we've been a part of thru the years. For the faithful pastors and teachers, for great worship, for times of fellowship.

I have so much to be thankful for. Sometimes it just takes a little thinking. "Count your blessings, name them one by one" is a simple truth. One good to remember when the grumpies start to crowd in.

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving Day and Year!

Til next time ...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just Being Real

MOVING is not what its all cracked up to be! You'd think after 20+ moves in the last 26 years I'd know this by now. Sigh ... Guess I'm a really slow learner!

When we moved out of campus housing last May, we made the decision to purge heavily. We had never done such a heavy purge in all of our moves. We had always gathered up our possessions like the turtle and his shell and moved all of it to our next home. But this time, we thought, we don't need all this "stuff", lets not pay for moving it and just replenish what we need when we get to our new abode. So out went the old worn out mattresses, the craigslist couch find, the ancient space hog tv and more. We donated or threw out books, papers, old magazines and anything else that looked disposable. We embraced a leaner, greener look and smiled.

Fast forward to being in our new place for the last 6 weeks. Every week I feel like I'm heading to the not so local wal-mart, fred meyers or target to replace something that didn't make it in the move! Getting new beds, a flatscreen tv and a sofa were automatic purchases that we knew we'd need, but all those little items like comforters, pillows, curtains, lampshades and more did not make it on my radar until we finally were unpacking. Now granted this probably would have been alot easier if we were still in a major metro area instead of an hour away, but I'm still doubting that we will ever move like this again. Is that wrong? With all the talk about decluttering and moving light am I missing something here?

So how bout you? Have you ever done a super purge before a move and lived to love it? Or do you do like most of us and just pack up everything you own and not worry about it?

Friday, October 15, 2010

In the Throes of Life

Hello dear friends---

A big thank you for all the comments on my last post. Thank you to those who reminded me that my blog is my own to do with as I want. I think I had fallen into the "I should do this, I should do that", rather than just letting things be. At this point, I'm not going to kill off the blog nor take it private. But I reserve the right to not blog for long periods of time as life overwhelms me.

Just a month ago I was writing about being tired of waiting for the big move. Now I'm just tired!!! I'm in the middle of the chaos of moving. We have a semblance of a house, but lots of boxes still remain. In the middle of unpacking, I caught the virus of the year! And have been down for the count for most of this past week. Little has gotton done except for necessary stuff. Hubster has been a trooper tho, and has soldiered on here at home and at work. Even #1 son was down for two days with the virus. Both boys got a lighter dose than I did. Lucky me!

We are still waiting on our sofa and as soon as that arrives I will be curling up with a good book and the tv remote. There may also be room for a recliner tho that remains to be determined. Once again we are in a small space, so that may be wishful dreaming.

Til next time ....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Been Pondering A Situation

In case you haven't noticed, I haven't been blogging much lately. In fact I think I've only posted 4 times in the past 4 months! Not good. Which leads me to my pondering ....

A couple months ago I mentioned to the hubster that I was thinking of shutting down my blog. He thought that was a great idea! Oh boy, not exactly the kind of encouragement one wants to hear, but I knew what he meant. I waste/spend alot of time reading blogs and not much writing. My blog is mainly for my own enjoyment as I think I only have 3 faithful readers. And I've always been ok with that. I'm not making money on my blog so have never felt like I had to make it into a job.

And on top of all that wishywashyness, last march I started writing a novel that had been simmering around in my head for years. I'm pretty excited about the book and am scheduling my time to daily write another 500 words on the novel rather than writing another blog post that only I will read. I hope someday to get the book published and than you all can read it too.

So all that brings me back to what to do with my blog here at Challenges and Adventures? I think I've been procrastinating shutting it down, cuz I have enjoyed blogging and getting to know others in the blogging world. And I hate endings. So I'm copping out and thinking I'll just put it to private instead of erasing it altogether. I have no idea what that means if you get this in your reader. It probably won't matter as I don't see myself coming back to post on it, tho I never say never.

And one more picture of the love of my life.

Til next time .... (whenever that may be)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Trying to Win A New Ipod

.... or what do you do to up your chances to win online?

Over at Christian Personal Finance the blogger is having an Ipod giveaway. I have been drooling over the Ipods for awhile now, even to the point of looking at refurbished ones. But how cool would it be to win one!

So in order to qualify, I submit to you one of CPF's great posts. Go check it out! It's a post of encouraging Bible verses. Good stuff.

Til next time ....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tired of Waiting

Two weeks til we move .... Two long weeks looming ahead. Four months we've been in temporary housing. One month longer than anticipated. Waiting, waiting .... I'm tired of waiting!

Ever feel like that? Ever been waiting for something to happen, so life can go back to normal? I've lived in limbo throughout my married life at one time or another, but this seems to be the most intense time of waiting I've gone through. And I'm finding I don't like it much.

I tend to live in future tense, which I know is a problem for me. I even had a medical personnel tell me that I need to step back and live in the present. Good advice! And something that I frequently fail at. I like to look forward. I like to anticipate. But the grass always looks greener in the future and I'm frequently disappointed once I arrive.

So while I'm waiting I'm writing, on a novel. I have a character who I have grown fond of. His name is Stiller and he's an older, grizzled gentleman. He's on an adventure with his nephew and a girl they have joined up with. Stiller doesn't like waiting either. I guess Stiller has been channeling my inner thoughts as I've been writing. Here's a few snippets from my in-progress (soon to be bestseller!) novel:

(Stiller) left the baker's shop. More waiting .... He had forgotton how tedious the waiting while on an adventure could be.
* * *

Stiller kept a smile on his face, but grimaced inside. More waiting. "We would like to be on our way as soon as possible. We have traveled a ways already and have a bit farther to reach our destination."
* * *

"So now what Uncle?"
Stiller walked a few steps before answering. "Now we wait some more, dear boy!" Dagnabit! How had he forgotton all the waiting there was to be found on an adventure!

So it looks like Stiller and I have more waiting to do while we continue our adventures. Sure, we both have places to be and things to do, but adventures are not without their challenges and one of those challenges is what to do while one waits. For waiting is inevitable in life, whatever adventure you may find yourself on.

Til next time ....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

10 on the 10th

10 Things I'm Looking Forward to Once School Starts Back Up and We Are Moved Into A Place of Our Own:

(How's that for a long title???)

1. Getting back to an exercise/workout routine
This summer has not been conducive to exercising since the #1 son is with me all-day-long. I'm getting soft (or softer). I look forward to finding a class or a dvd or just walking on a trail. Something to get this body moving again.

2. Writing for several hours a day on my novel I've started.
I have had an idea for a novel for several years and finally got around to starting it this past spring. Since I don't have alot of alone time to myself this summer instead of writing, I've been reading and researching. But I'm anxious to get back to writing.

3. Taking a Writing Class.
I found a creative writing class at a nearby community college and will be enrolling in it. I'm excited to meet others who are interested in writing and maybe connecting with a few.

4. Nesting
Being in temporary furnished housing has its place, but I'm really itching to get my own stuff out of storage and start making a home for the 3 of us. We found a possible rental, and are hoping to move sometime in Sept. Not soon enough for me of course!

5. Baking Bread and Other Home-y Stuff
I'm itching to get my bread maker out, find my popcorn popper, unload my crockpots and more. I miss making pizza from scratch, baking goodies for my boys, and putting something in the crockpot at 9 in the morning and letting the machine do all the work. Soon, yes soon!

6. Just having some down time.
I love my son, but I am an introvert. Being around someone else all day drains me and I'm looking forward to some alone time.

7. Getting Back to a Regular Devotion Time
I have been slack this summer with my devotions and am committed to starting up again. And looking forward to it.

8. Exploring Portland Oregon
I have several places I want to check out this fall by myself. I know, I'm weird, but I really do prefer to shop alone. Ikea is high on the list, as well as a huge fabric store I've heard was here. Some thrift stores, the whole foods market and trader joe's.

9. Going back to the Beach
Maybe for a weekend when its stormy. Love the beach when its blustery and grey.

10. Seeing How Much Snow They Get Here in the Gorge
I hear that the hills on both sides of the gorge will be full of snow all winter long, but I'm curious to see if for myself. The locals tell me that they don't get much in the towns tho. Mostly rain. We'll soon see!

This 10 on the 10th was brought to you courtesy of Mer, a wonderful mom blogger. Go check her out and see what 10 she's writing about today.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Summer of My Simplicity

In summers past, I have always had Josiah in a developmental therapy program. The state of Idaho can be lacking in many areas, but their developmental therapy for kiddos like Joe was wonderful. 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week, Josiah had one on one therapy both in the center and out in the community.

But this year we moved to Washington. And they don't have their assistance set up the same way. Hence, Joe and I have been hanging out together every day. At first, I was a bit nervous, petrified maybe? about what Joe and I were going to do all day. Things we could do without me resorting to tearing my hair out .... or his!

Since finding a bus for Mike to catch to work, Joe and I have started off our days happily sleeping in. I think we're both catching up on some much needed sleep. Mornings are spent getting ready, eating breakfast and watching cartoons. Two days a week, we go to Christina's house where Joe gets to play the Wii and watch her movies, while I go write on my children's novel.

Lunchtime occurs around the same time that the old Perry Mason reruns air, and then we are ready to find some afternoon fun. We have visited Panther Creek, where Joe threw his sandal in the creek much to my dismay. We drove to Hood River and watched Toy Story 3. We drove down to the park and Joe played on the swings and slides while I watched.

Somewhere between 4 and 5pm we drive to town to pick up Michael from work. We come home and bar-b-q or cook something equally scrumptious. We often watch a show from netflix or light the firepit. And there are evenings where all we do is sit on our porch watching the sun and shadows play on the fir covered hills across the gorge.

Nowhere in my day is any craft of any type. I packed away my craft room when we left Boise. I kept out my beading, my crossstitch, and my sewing machine. Mainly because they were packed in their own little cases and easy to have on hand. But they have not been opened since arriving.

I thought I would miss my crafts. And I have. But not as much as I thought I would. I think mainly because I have chosen to see this summer as one of simplicity. We knew we would be moving into furnished housing. We knew that we would not be able to bring along all our "stuff". Here at our mother-in-law "resort" apartment we have a scaled down kitchen without an area or tools to bake or concoct elaborate meals. We have a miniscule library with only a few books we brought along as well as the few I have checked out from the library. We only have one pack of cards, instead of our assortment of games and cards and whatnot to keep ourselved entertained. But its ok. We're living more simply for this summer--intentionally.

And a month into our living this way, it crosses my mind whether I could simplify for good? Not sure I would want to. I do like my "stuff". There are times I would like to make some pizza dough or start another knitting project. But I can feel the pull that draws many in wanting to live a simpler life.

Life here has a slower, more rhythmic pace here this summer. We are enjoying our surroundings and each other. We have time for reaching out to new friends and old ones. It is a joy to discover God's beautiful creation here in the Columbia Gorge.

So cheers! Here's to the summer of my simplicity!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summertime, Summertime

This summer, the next 10 weeks to be exact, are looking to be pretty simple and laidback. As far as I have found, WA state does not have a developmental program for kiddos like my son, like we had in Idaho. This means that after next Tuesday, Joe and I will have lots of time together. While dad is at work, we will be hanging out. Now to those of you with normal kiddos, that may not sound like much, but to this mom of this child, it means that I will need to find ways to keep the #1 son occupied, entertained, and out of trouble for 8 hours a day. That can be an exhausting task to even the most organized and creative types. And top that off with his very short attention span and you get the picture.

So, on our to-do list so far is:

*visit the library once or twice a week (30-60 min)
*go swimming on fridays at the local pool when they have $1 fridays (1-2 hours)
*drive to Portland to visit the Zoo (all day)
*visit Panther creek when it gets hot so Joe can sit by the creek and throw rocks in the water to his hearts content (2-3 hours)
*see a matinee in neighboring town a couple times a month (2-3 hours)
*visit the local park and swing (30-60 min)

Still looking to round out our time each week. Cartoons and movies at home only go so far. There is alot that he can't do due to his special needs, so thinking creatively is a must.

Any ideas you can think of that I haven't got on my list? I'd love to hear what you would fill up your summer with if you were hanging out with the Joe-boy.

Til next time ....

Monday, June 14, 2010

Welcome to the 'Hood

Mt Hood, that is. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Saturday we took a drive around Mt Hood. What a gorgeous day of an outing. Sunshine, blue skies, fluffy white clouds, temps in the mid to high 70's. Perfect! And what a gorgeous mountain. So fun to explore our new neighborhood.

By driving around the mountain we got to see it from different angles and viewpoints. We discovered this lake (pic below)about 3/4 of the way around the mountain. Trillium Lake it is called, and tho I didn't see any trilliums we did see this beautiful vista. Lots of people were fishing on the lake shore or picnicing nearby. Tho its probably a good couple hour drive from us, we will be back this summer to spend more time at Trillium Lake.

We ended up in Sandy, Oregon for lattes and a movie, then wound down to Gresham for dinner at Olive Garden--mmmm! Living in the middle of nowhere doesn't seem quite so bad this week.

Til next time ....

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

How Does Your Shopping Go?

We have moved! We made it! We are in the middle of nowhere!

Seriously, I feel like I'm in the middle of a shopping desert. The local market is 10 minutes away and the evening we got settled we ran down there to pick up a few essentials. We walked out $50 lighter with only 2 shopping bags. Wowsers. I miss my Winco already.

How do you folks who live in the middle of nowhere do it?

Yesterday, I had to drive the hubster into a small town 30 minutes away for training with his new job. I found a wal-mart, tho not the super one with the grocery stuff. It did have a few staples so I picked up napkins, salad dressing, salsa and relish. But I'm told that to do major shopping I have my pick of Vancouver or Portland, both over an hour away.

So tomorrow or this weekend, we will be driving west and checking out the stores there. My question tho, is how often will I need to go over there? Gasoline isn't cheap anymore so I know I won't be hopping over everytime I need something the way I could when living in Boise. I really can't see myself spending the time or the money to drive over there every week. Will 2x a month be enough? Can I get away with every 3 weeks?

Part of this new adventure I didn't see coming. The challenge of shopping! Would love to hear your shopping challenges.

Til next time ....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

We Finally Know Where We're Moving

It's finally official! Michael has had an offer of employment. Actually its a paid internship, but they have an intern to work program so this could very well be where he works for the next several years. Anyway, we are on our way!

He starts June 1st, which means we're moving over Memorial Day weekend. Where, you ask? Southwestern WA, an hour or so east of Portland OR. Back to our country, where everything is more familiar than the high dessert of Idaho that we have been living in for the last 10 years (off and on). Back to rain country. Where the clouds come in and stay for days on end. Sad for us sun lovers, but ladies, your skin is moist and beautiful for decades. Closer to family. No longer will it take a long day's drive to see siblings and parents. Closer to the ocean, my beloved beaches. Sand that I love to run my fingers through and dig my toes into. And the waves I love to hear crash and sing. And back to people and a culture that I am familiar with. WA and ID are so close, yet their culture is very, very different. Something we had no notion of when we first moved to Idaho.

There are many things that we will miss about Boise and Idaho. Things we are are glad we have had the chance to know. People we've met and walked this journey with for a short while. Many happy memories. But we are excited about the new chapter of our lives.

We are a bit nervous, alot excited, happy, stressed (moving! you know), and busy nailing down all the details. We have a furnished duplex waiting. But don't know the address, guess we forgot to ask! Not sure which school district Joe will be in, but will soon find out. Not sure what Joe and I will do during the day while Mike is at work, but I'm sure we can find some trouble to get into.

For now, we are surrounded by boxes. Looking around for the next thing to pack away and still asking the question: Is this worth trucking over to our new home and storage unit?

Til next time ....

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gratitude Friday

Lots of things going on at the home of Challenges and Adventures, but nothing to report yet. So instead of going on and on about what isn't finalized yet, and what I can't discuss yet, let's talk about what we're grateful instead. How does that sound?

Today I'm grateful for:

* that Michael has graduated with flying colors. He is finished. No more classes, no more studying during family time, no more complaining about class assignments and other things. 3 long years (or was it more?) are completed. And a new chapter beginning ...

* sunshine, blue skies, fluffy white clouds. I really need my sunshine!

* that we have had no bugs in this apt. Having lived in a drafty old house (which I loved!) before moving here, we had all kinds of bugs. I love being in a bug free zone.

* lattes in the afternoon with my honey. Time to slow down, savor the moment and the memory and the company.

* hubby's willingness to dig right in and pack boxes with me this week.

* our son's love of anything lawnmower related. He becomes glued to the window when a lawnmower shows up.

* having fun with my hubby after all these years. He's still my best friend and favorite playmate. We went and saw a matinee yesterday just like we've done for the last upmteen years. It never gets old to have fun with my man.

So how bout you? What are you thankful for today? Let me know in the comments.

Til next time ....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Graduation is Here

(not his graduation day)

The man did it! He took his last final last night. It is official--he has his degree in Supply Chain Management from Boise State University. Wow!!! (Well technically he'll get it this weekend or next week, but you know ...)

I keep saying it, but I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO proud of him. He has worked hard, put in long hours, put up with crazy professors and crazy schedules, and he has done it! I can see why many give up before graduating. There are alot of hurdles. But not my man. He plowed through. He persevered.

Next up: a job! He has a few things simmering out there. We should know in a week or two whether the job search is over, or whether it continues. And the move is on regardless.

We are packing boxes, decluttering, taking things to the thrift store. Asking ourselves whether "this" is worth keeping, worth paying money to move? Or whether it can be replaced easily and frugally in our new location? We should know in a few weeks where we're moving to as well. Isn't life fun when you're on the edge? NOT

So pray for me, my friends. I'm going a bit crazy right now. Impatient to know what our next step is. Trying desperately to trust the Lord, because He knows, right? And He'll let me know before I fall off the cliff of insanity, right? I guess my husband is right, I am a bit of a control freak.

Til next time ....

Monday, May 10, 2010

What Blogs I'm Reading Right Now

My blog reading has gotton a bit more eclectic in the last few months. With my husband graduating from college, looking for a permanent, full time job, possibly moving to a new locale, I have been finding and reading more financial blogs. With the possibility of a larger income than our current "starving-student" (tongue in cheek)bank account, we can think once again about investing for our future, replacing our car with a bigger, more dependable, family car and feathering our nest. I am drawn to these financial blogs that talk about how to save for the future, invest in the stock market, commodities or real estate, and save on the basics and luxuries of life. Some of these interesting blogs you can see now residing on my sidebar.

I'm also increasingly interested in learning other languages and traveling overseas. I've found some inspiring blogs of those who are braver than I and are living the traveling dream. And those who are learning other languages to go along with their travels. At this point in my life, and my husbands newly launching career, I don't know how this will all fit in with our goals, but its always there in the back of our minds. When the time is right, we'll know it ....

So how bout you? What's on your blog reading list these days? Has it changed in the last couple months?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Caffenated Randomness

I found this on the blogosphere a couple months back and put it in my to-do file for my blog. I thought it being a Friday and all, it'd be fun to have a lighthearted post today. So ....

The game is to share 25 completely random things about yourself and then tag a bunch of people to do the same.

1. I've recently switched back to caffeneited coffee from being a long time decaff drinker. My husband rejoices over this!

2. I love dogs!! All kinds, any kind. I really wish we had a dog.

3. I didn't want kids when I got married. Then I read a book and my mindset was changed. I wanted lots and lots of kids. We have one.

4. I love getting pedicures, esp in the spring and summer when I wear sandals 99% of the time.

5. I love doing my nails (fingers) and have a nice collection of polish now.

6. In the 2nd grade I remember being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said: Vice President. I didn't want the responsibility of being President!

7. I am the youngest of 4. Hence, not wanting responsibility.

8. I had/have an older sister who did so much for me when I was young. See #6 & #7 above.

9. When I was young, probably 5 or 6, my older brother tickled me so relentlessly one day that I couldn't breathe. I don't like being tickled by anyone.

10. I want hubby to work for a company who will transfer us to Brazil for a couple years. I want to live there and soak in the culture, sunshine and language.

11. I listen to Pandora almost exclusively now.

12. We don't own a microwave at the moment.

13. We own 4 computers, 1 doesn't work, and one is a dinosaur that still has photos on it that I need to get off so we can donate it.

Boy, this randomness is harder than it looks!

14. My mil (who passed away last summer) used to watch QVC all the time. And she would buy stuff! I have now taken up the mantel. I watch QVC when there isn't anything else interesting on, which is more often than one would imagine!

15. I haven't bought anything from QVC yet, tho. Hubby is thankful.

16. Bad customer service really, really irks me.

17. My hubby went through massage school. He gives me a massage every week or 2. I'm his only client =)

18. I'm writing a children's novel. I've thought about it for years, but have only just started putting pen to paper.

19. I made up stories in my head growing up. I was always the star, the heroine, the leading role.

20. I love words and putting words together. I love language. And wish/want to learn other languages.

21. I'm learning portugese. Very slowly! And revisiting the french I learned in high school. I should consider spanish since it is the easiest to learn.

Almost done--whew!!!

22. I watch The Clone Wars cartoon on Friday nights, every Friday night, with my son.

23. My favorite part of church is worshipping God in song. I love to sing and worship Him.

24. I've been known to take my knitting to church and knit during the sermon. Hubby hates this so I only do it when he's home sick or studying.

25. I get bored easily!

There you have it, 25 random thoughts from me. If you've gotton this far, consider yourself tagged. Who's up next?

Til next time ....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Doing The Happy Dance

Yesterday we had our follow up meeting for my son. We had our first meeting with the school a month ago. It was a hard meeting. But we were prepared. I wasn't sure what to expect yesterday. I was pleasantly suprised by everyone coming on board with our desire to move Josiah into a self contained classroom. We have wanted a different classroom for Josiah ever since he was placed in his current classroom, almost 2 years ago. And we got what we wanted! I'm doing the happy dance, with a bit of moody bittersweet thrown in. Being an idealist I wish that Josiah hadn't had to experience the last 2 years where he has been. And not knowing if we will even still be in Boise next year, it feels a bit like a hollow victory.

But I'm consoling myself that even if we move, now I know what to ask for in the next district. I am learning. I love to learn. But I'd rather learn things that I'm interested in, rather than these lessons that are thrust upon me. Guess I'm having one of those "welcome to holland" moments (referring to the poem of the same name about being a parent of a disabled child. If you haven't read the poem, do so! It explains so much)

But onto the happy dance for now! Twirling around with my son who's big brown eyes captivate me every time.

Til next time ....

Monday, April 12, 2010

If ... If ... If ...

If Michael gets a fulltime job in his career field after graduation, when will it happen ....

If we move out of the Boise area, where will we live ....

If we move quickly enough, will I be able to plant a garden this summer ....

There are alot of "ifs" in my life right now, and not alot of answers yet. I'm hopeful that God has a plan for us, but I'd sure like to know what it is ASAP. Ever feel like that?

Michael has 5 more weeks of school, and then he's done! Finally! At long last!!! One chapter ends and hopefully, the next chapter begins. The chapter of being employed full-time again. As we were talking today, he mentioned that he hasn't worked full time for 7 years. That seems like a lifetime. And yet, its gone so quickly that I hadn't really realized that it has been 7 years .... 7 long years of searching, seeking, finding our way after our lives changed forever. 7 years of trying to be the supportive wife as I watch my husband lose so much, and yet he never lost his faith in God. Seeing him stand strong in his relationship with the Lord.

I have been so proud of his resolve to retrain and find something he can do to support his family. Tho we had a misstep out the gate, he finally found a niche that he can do even with his limited eyesight. He could have given up and decided to just take the $$ the govt provides, but he wants to return to work. He wants to provide for us, his family. I am so grateful for that. And for the way he's fought through his limitations to excel in school. He's never asked for special treatment from his professors though it is within his rights to do so. It takes him longer to complete assignments and read, but he rarely complains (at least about that!)

So here we are at the end of a long journey for our family. At crossroads not knowing which new path we will be heading down. Only God knows. Yes, God knows. A new place to live for sure. Maybe even a new city. Which would mean a new school for Josiah .... and a new church ... and finding new friends .... Maybe even a new garden to plant. But the one constant, the one "not so new" thing I can hold onto, is the Lord God Almighty will be traveling this road with us. Before us, behind us, and right next to us.

"The steps of a man are established by the Lord; and He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; because the Lord is the One who holds his hand." Ps 37;23

Til next time ...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Making Progress on Decluttering

Hubby and I have been talking for awhile now about getting a storage unit to store stuff in since we don't know where we are going to be after his graduation. Whether we stay in Boise or not, this makes good sense for us. So last week during spring break, we found a place that had a half price deal for the first month and not bad prices for the rest.

Today we took 6 boxes to our little unit and stacked them inside. And no I don't have a picture, I forgot to take my camera to record the occasion! But let me tell you even in our small space they looked forlorn and lonely.

But what this did back at the apt was clear out some space so that I could rearrange a few things and get back into some corners hitherto buried. This makes me happy. I took out my spring wardrobe items, culled thru my winter clothes, and started a new bag of "to be donated" stuff. I'm making progress again!

We found a few puzzles and games that had been squirred away that we realized we don't want to hang onto. And I found some old jeans that I'm going to remake into shorts for the #1 son. I made shorts for him a couple years ago out of some old maternity items I no longer needed and weren't fit even for donation and with some judicious cutting they turned out great.

Up next is to pack up books, culling again what we don't need to hold onto, and move them into the unit. I'm not going to know what to do with all the space I'll have in a month or so.

Til next time ....

Monday, April 05, 2010

Spring Break Review

Last week was spring break for the #1 son and the college student. We had plans but the weather was crappy all week so we scrapped em. Crappy weather: that would be at least 2 days of snow, yes snow in April, along with downpours of rain, hail one day, cold wind gusts and dark clouds blocking out all sunshine. Not only was it crappy weather, but it was unseasonally crappy. We are usually in the throws of spring by now, 60-70 degree days with sunshine. And since spring usually only lasts a couple weeks around here before the start of summer temps, we try to enjoy every moment of it. Sigh .....

So instead, we wasted, frittered, and generally did nothing worth reporting. Until friday. Friday we took the #1 son to see the new movie "How to Tame a Dragon" I hadn't thought much of the movie based on the lame previews, but it was a delightful movie. Great storyline, great characters, great animation and graphics. If you have a young one who wants to see it, I heartily recommend it.

Then we went out for dinner at Five Guys, Burgers and Fries---do you have one of these in your town? Wow! it has become my fav burger place. They only use fresh, not frozen potatoes for the fries and you can tell. Mmmmm! goodness. Then we went over to our church's Friday service. First time we had gone, and I'm so glad we did. They handed out a paper that had scriptures to read and led you thru a time of prayer and worship. The band played and you could sing along, or not. Loved that time praying about things on my heart and getting my heart right before the Lord.

Saturday was full of errands, swimming at the Y for #1 son and Michael, a nice dinner, oh and did I mention that we came out of the apt to a totally flat tire! Yikes!!! So we spent some time and moolah at the local Les Schwab Tire store. Gotta love those guys. They know what they are doing when it comes to tires.

And then yesterday was Easter. Ahhhh! Words can't express my enjoyment of celebrating the resurrection of Christ. His sacrifice, His love, His amazingness!

Now the boys are back in school and routines are being picked up again. Its a good thing!

Til next time ....

Monday, March 29, 2010


Isn't this a great photo and great verse? I can't take credit as I didn't put this together, but I know who did. A wonderful blogger named Amy Deanne. She has an amazing eye in putting together photos/graphics with fonts and verses and comes up with wonderful stuff like above.

I just love the sunset with the orange colors and how she mimics the orange of the sunset with the font. Hope you enjoy this pic as much as I have.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Big Sis

I have two older sisters. My oldest sister Cindi is celebrating a birthday today and tho I'm hundreds of miles away from her, I'm excited to celebrate with her. And I'm excited to share it with you too, dear reader. You know when you have 2 friends who don't know each other, and you finally get them to meet. It's kinda like that.

So let me introduce my wonderful sister to you.

Cindi is an amazing woman. First off, she has a pure heart that only comes from a tight walk with our Lord and Savior. She is sweet as can be and will be your loyal friend forever. She is a hard worker (I joke that she is the energizer bunny in disguise) and not only is an amazing 3rd grade teacher but also tutors young minds after school as well. She teaches other teachers how to teach writing to 3rd graders both in her own district and in other districts. I'm so proud of her accomplishments.

And if that were not enough, she is writing a children's novel. She has just finished it off and is taking it to a writer's conf this spring where an editor will be looking it over! She has been reading it to her students as she has gotton it completed and the kids are just gobbling it up. Did I mention that I'm so proud of her?

Plus she looks great! As you can see from the pictures she keeps herself in good shape and encourages me in my exercise and nutrition habits. What a great cheerleader to have in my life.

She loves to meet for lattes and good chats. She's loves shopping for deals and finds the cutest clothes at thrift stores--I'm so jealous! And she's always up for a pedicure when I'm in town. But best of all, she always listens, without judgement, without criticism, without condemnation. She has a good word, and encourages me when I'm discouraged. And we pray together. Every weekend we get on the phone and enter the court of the Almighty God, bringing before Him our requests for ourselves and our families. It is a rich and wonderful blessing to come into the Lord's presence.

So for you my dear sister and friend: Happy Birthday! May the Lord bless this year in amazing ways that haven't entered your heart or mind.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thank You & New Obsession

Thank you for the prayers, comments and well wishes for my meeting yesterday. Without divulging alot of details (this is the internet after all!) I can safely say that we came to a meeting of the minds and that the rest of the school year should be better than the first half was. There are still a few changes we would like to see for next year and we will be meeting again next month, but that is next month. For now, I can breathe a little easier and get on with more pleasant things like: MY NEW FAV OBSESSION

My friend PJ loves wearing red polish. After last years idea of being a nail tech, I started dabbling in wearing polish myself. My trouble tho has always been smudges on the polish while drying. I would paint my nails and within an hour or two I would be taking it off. But no more! PJ put me onto a great drying product and that has made the difference. That and I now do my nails in stages. That way I can actually use my hands. It may take me as long as 2 days to do both my hands, but that's ok.

My other inspiration was finding a couple blogs where the bloggers show off their latest polish colors. One gal even does a full blown review on each color, the cost, the way it wears, etc etc

So, are you interested in the particulars? The picture above, was taken a month or so ago, but I still love it. It is cheap too! Its called Lincoln Center by NYC: in a New York Color Minute. Don't remember the price, but I believe it was under $2. I told ya it was cheap!

So, do you wear polish? Come on, spill! What's your fav color? And if ya don't wear polish, why not? Were you like me, always ruining the look with smudges and goofs? Or something else?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Where I've Been & a Superfluous Pic

Hello dear readers---
As the week went by, I thought often of writing a post or two. There are updates to be shared, stories to tell, questions to pose but alas, I was busy writing other less cheerful stuff. This week and part of last week, I have been busy writing emails to Josiah's teacher, principal and others up the chain of command. There have been some issues that have prompted my tackling things I would rather not have to deal with. But as moms, we have young to protect, and in my case, having a non-verbal, vulnerable, special son I have to be his advocate, cause no one else will, AND that is the role God has given me.

Thankfully, I have felt the Lord guiding me and standing with me every step of this journey. And I am hopeful that by next week, the whole situation will be resolved in a way that allows Josiah to thrive, learn and grow in ways he is not able to at present.

One positive thing that has transpired through this whole ordeal is that I have had alot of practice with my writing and I have been doing many revisions and editing (not my fav part of writing!) My sister who is a wonderful general ed teacher told me she's proud of me, and Michael commented that he has seen me grow and become a stronger woman through this hard situation. Encouragement like that I just soak up.

If you are a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is your Lord and Savior, I would appreciate your prayers for our Tues morning meeting. I believe that the Lord hears our prayers and works on our behalf here on earth and in the heavenlies.

And in honor of the little guy I'm advocating and fight for, here is your pic for the day.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Decluttering Challenge: Slow Going

As you may or may not have noticed, I haven't given you an update in the last couple weeks on how the daily decluttering has been going. Mainly because its been petering out. Yes, I have another box slowly filling up with stuff to take to the thrift store, but there is so much more potential in my home.

Life has gotten busier. But hasn't it for everyone? And with spring on the way, Michael's graduation, challenger baseball for the #1 son and walks on the trail after dinner, life will continue to be busy. But if I believe that decluttering is essential for my well being, for a smoother move this May/June, for the good of the planet, well then I must make time for it.

And so I press on. My friend has a teenage son who has been working for a man who sells alot of stuff on ebay, so I'm looking at hiring "J" to sell some of the valuable stuff I want to declutter. Instead of giving it away, I will recoup a little bit of $$. And since some of these things are bigger pieces, I may make a bit more room in our small apt. Yippee!!

So how are you doing on your decluttering endeavors? Have you petered out at all? Or still going strong?

Til next time ....

Monday, March 01, 2010

Superfluous Pic of the Day

(from my crabapple tree a couple years back)

Aren't they beautiful? Anyone else as ready for Spring as I am, and believe me, I am SOOOOOOOOOOO ready.

Happy March everyone .... til next time,

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Homekeepers Journal 2/23 Edition

I joined in this carnival/meme/what do you call these things??? a few weeks back and love it. But of course, that alone does not enable/propel me/promise a repeat any time soon, so I was delighted to see Mary Ann's post early enough in the day to remind me that this is the day for the Homekeeper's Journal and to be able to play along.

Here’s What’s happening …..

In My Kitchen
... made some more bread from the Artisan Bread Book I talked about here. It came out much better this time around. Using up the last of the pantry/freezer/perishables to make way for next week's beginning of the month shopping trip.

With The Children ... the #1 son is doing fairly well in school. Lost his after school aide that he loved so much and am now breaking in her replacement. Already run into a scheduling conflict with new aide. Sigh ...

What I’m Reading ... Just got a big group of knitting, crafting, sewing books from the library that I'm skimming. Found about 10 projects I'd like to do out of a couple of these books. Now just to find the time to DO rather than READ

What I have been learning ... Through this artisan bread book, I'm perfecting my breadmaking skills. One of my goals is to make my own hamburger buns which can be so expensive at the market, if you want something other than the standard white ones. I'm also picking up my Portugese language book again, reviewing what I learned last summer and pressing on to learn more. I decided even if Michael doesn't want to learn at this point there's nothing to stop me from learning on my own.

What I’ve Been Noticing ... the crocuses, tulip bulbs and other signs of spring popping up. I'm also noticing how messy my house has become and am determined to do something about it!

On The Back Burner of My Mind ... Michael graduates in less than 4 months. So maybe this is more on the front burner!!! And within 5 months we have to be out of these apts. And we have no idea of where we will be. We dont' want to move prematurely in case we are offered a job somewhere other than here, yet I'm itching to get out of these apts sooner rather than later!

In The Deepest Darkest Recesses ... that I have alot more anger inside than I let myself or others see. That I need to find a way to work through those issues that cause anger without hurting those in my life. And that without the Lord working in this area, I will never find a balance in this area.

**Thanks to Sylvia for hosting the Homekeeper's Journal!

Its your turn now. What's going on at your home? I'd love to sneak a peak.

Til next time ...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Books, Cd's Dvd's: Do You Buy Them?

When we knew that we would be moving from our house to student housing 2 years ago, we got rid of alot of stuff which you can read about here. There was just no way that we were going to be able to keep it all. I purged about 50% of our book collection which was extensive. As well as donating alot of videos that #1 son no longer watched. Recently I purged our cd collection and was able to weed through about a third of what we still had.

Once we moved into our tiny campus apt, I had no desire (nor much money) to buy books, cd's or dvd's to replace the ones we got rid of. Instead, I decided we would just make do.

Wow, what a concept! (insert twinkle in eye)

Instead we searched out the library and found wonderful books to read, dvd's to watch, and even cd's to listen to. And it only cost me the fines I racked up forgetting to take them back on time! But seriously, the small amount of money and the fact that I didn't have to store them was a great incentive for me to reform my buying ways.

Eventually when money wasn't such an issue, we renewed our netflix acct in order to enjoy an even more diverse amount of dvd's. And my sister gave me an itunes card for my b-day. As for books, I'm very judicious about what I will buy now. For a book to be invited to find a home in my bookshelf, it has to meet the following criteria:

1) Is it a book that I can't seem to find at the library and I know I will read it over and over again? This might be because it is a rare or old book, a niche book that only a few people are interested in, or maybe self published. I kept a set of mystery cozies when moving just for that reason. I think I've read them all at least 3x and some more than that. And I never see them at any library. Believe me, I've looked!

2) Can I find the same info for free on the internet? If so, its not worthy of my money or my space. Cookbooks come to mind. Only one cookbook has come to live with us in the last 2 years, and that was a gift I asked for, "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day". I had searched for the recipes and the secret to their method since hearing about this book a couple years ago, but came up empty. So after some not so subtle hints, I got it. And I'm not disappointed. Tho I did notice that last months Mother Earth News had an article on the book and gave away a couple of their recipes! So if you're curious about their breadbaking method as I was, check out the magazine first.

3) Is it a "referance book" meaning will I refer to it over and over again? Whether that's a craft/sewing book, medical journal, or a spiritual book that has changed my life. These books may or may not be in the library, but if they are I dont' want to be checking them out every other month or so. They have passed the test that I will use them over and over again.

For cd's we just don't find we need to own them anymore. We have found a wondeful music site called Pandora. It's like a radio for your computer and you even get to create a station according to your personal music tastes.

So there's my tale, how bout you? Do you still buy cd's dvd's and/or books? I'd love to hear why or why not. Leave a comment and tell me your story.

Til next time ....

Friday, February 19, 2010

Can You Have a Rush Hour of Pedestrians?

Every day around our campus apts, something strange happens. People of all shapes and sizes, walking, biking or long boarding (that's those new cool, LONG skate boards, yea, i'm hip with the language, i know!) pour out of the campus and cross the streets, like ants on a mission. Some wait for the crosswalk light to change, whereas others don't. And every single vehicle using those same streets are expected to stop.

I've started timing when the classes let out and try to avoid leaving at that same time. But the other day I didn't think, and was driving home after an afternoon of errands. I slowed down when the car beside me did, but I couldn't see anything. Good thing I slowed tho, cuz a pink pants wearing coed was traipsing across the sidewalk (one with no light, so pedestrians really do have the rightaway!) Yikes! was what I muttered under my breath when I spied the pink pants coed.

That's life on campus. So how bout you? Do you have to worry more about car traffic, bikes, pedestrians, or what??? I'd love to know.

Til next time ....