Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Up, up, and away.

Well, I have been fussing with blogger for a bit and have decided to move. You will now find me here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

How does your garden grow?

I decided (a bit late in the season) to grow a vegetable garden...in containers! I have been wanting a garden for so long, but have not had the space for one.

The first sign of life came from the radishes. Appearantly these are very easy to grow. In just a few short days they started peeping through the soil. I don't like radishes, but I chose to grow them for my bunnies. :)

Next came the snow peas. These I also don't care for. I am growing these for Josh. He will eat them as a healthy snack. I am also starting to see my green beans start to come up, but they are mearly more than a bump in the dirt. I really hope to see my bell peppers, jalapenos, roma tomatoes, and salad tomatoes soon!

I am excited about what I am going to do with the salad tomatoes (they are like wee cherry tomatoes). I want to plant them in one of these. I saw a picture of small tomatoes in a hanging planter, hanging down over the edge. I hope it will work out.

I have not purchased any of the large planters yet (except a rusty tin container I found at Goodwill). I am holding out, trying to put off spending more money. But I was thrilled to find these cute pots for my herbs. I got 4 at Menards for $2.50 each! I guess they were on sale because when I went back to get more the price had gone up. As far as herbs, I am growing 2 kind of mint (I love mint tea and I enjoy mint in my iced tea and lemonade), dill, cilantro (coriander), basil, and oregano. I cheated and bought the mint as plants. Now I wish I would have purchased basil plants, too, because I am not patient enough to wait for it to grow.

It is so much fun to watch these plants grow from a wee seed. I am a nurturer and my nurturing instincts doesn't stop at people and animals. I watch over these pots of dirt all day long, every day. I move them from window to window as the sun moves. I protect them from chilly drafts. I noticed the first little bit of green popping up. Hopefully we will get some veggies from these plants. I can't wait to eat my first very own not-store-bought-grown-in-my-garden tomato!

Hey, with the way I go through tomatoes and the price of them these days, it's a great investment. :)

On the lookout

Anyone know where I can get a bay plant? Like as in the kind you use for culinary purposes? I got excited about getting one but I am finding that none of the garden centers around here carry them.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


As depressing as winters were in Scotland, I was not prepared for the depressing winter here. I had forgotten just how LONG winters are! And how ugly, brown, and ugly! One thing that was always consoling during winter in Scotland was the green. The grass stayed green all winter. That cheered me up when the sun simply wouldn't come out. And I really looked forward to February because I knew things would start to change. The days got longer, the sun started to peek through, buds would suddenly appear on trees, daffodils would brave the frosts, and sometimes pedestrians would start to shed their outer layers.

Here it is APRIL and we are finally getting some sun and warmer temps (for more than just a one day freakish stint). But there are still no buds on the trees, nothing pushing up through the soil, the grass is still predominantly brown.

I was looking back on my posts because I thought I had posted about the change in seasons, but here is one from 26 April last year. I pictures show how lush it already was by that time. I know things do change quickly around here, I just don't remember when. I will be eager to see when we can get some leaves on the trees!
This picture was taken late March last year.

Monday, March 31, 2008

I really need your help!

I know that you know that I have been helping to pay for the education of a friend's little girl in SE Asia. It is coming time to pay for her tuition and I don't really even have enough right now to just make a partial payment. I have $120 of the $600 that is needed. And that is not including wiring fees. We are just unable to cover any extra this year. I would really hate to tell my friend that we cannot send his girl to school this year.

Please pass this along to anyone you know that might be interested in helping.

Just click on the 'donate' button at the top to donate via paypal.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Did you know...

I don't think many people realise the responsibility they are taking when they sign the back of a check.

When someone writes you a check and you sign the back of it (endorse it) to deposit or cash it, you are basically telling the bank that YOU will make good on this check. If the check is drawn on another institution it is impossible for them to know right away if there are funds in that account. They will not know for a couple of days. This is why you have to have at least that same amount in your account if you are cashing it (say it is a check for $100, you have to have at least $100 in your account). This is for recourse. So if the check gets sent back to your bank then they will take that money out of your account AND you will get charged a fee for the check being sent back.

I certainly never knew what I was agreeing to by endorsing a check. Here's a little hint: if you bank at, say, Chase, and someone writes you a check drawn from a Chase account, you will know immediately whether that check is good or not.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My store

I guess I'll go ahead and share now. I set up a store at Cafepress a week or so ago. I just threw some things up there and I am a bit embarrassed at how simple it looks. I was really eager to get things on there and hoping to make a few extra bucks, but haven't had the time to fix it up. But I thought I might as well post about it here. Who knows if I will ever get the time to make it a bit more professional looking. I should probably upgrade to one of the premium shops. I imagine I could get more hits that way and I could have more than one kind of something (right now I can only have one mug, one calendar, etc.).

Oh, yes. I know that the mug is backwards. For some reason no which way I tell it to view, it shows it that way.

Deal of the day

Our budget is super-duper tight right now. When I go grocery shopping I am not buying anything extra. But I was so proud of myself yesterday when I got 3 17oz boxes of Cheerios for $3.75! Strack's had a 5/$10 sale and I had a voucher for $1.50 off 3 boxes. Then there was another voucher available in-store for $.75 off. I figured if I could get 3 boxes for the price of one it was ok to buy extra this time. :)

Monday, March 03, 2008

4 things

My friend Eden sent me this survey via email. I was supposed to send it out through email, but I decided to post it on my blog instead. :)

4 Jobs I have had in my life:
case manager for adult homeless individuals
supervisor at Starbucks
bank teller

4 Places I have lived in my life:
Hobart, IN
Chicago, IL
Edinburgh, Scotland
Lowell/Cedar Lake, IN

4 TV shows I watch:
We don't have a TV, but my mom gives us DVDs of shows sometimes. I like Dr. G and other medical type shows. We enjoy survivor shows like Survivorman and Man vs Wild, but we make fun of them because they just like to show off. I would probably watch some Masterpiece Theatre and I like some of those remodling shows. But not enough to get a TV for them. :)

4 Places I have traveled:
The Adirondacks in New York and San Fransisco were a couple of my favourite US trips.

4 People who e-mail me regularly:
I am pretty bad about getting back to people, so I don't get as many emails as I used to. So much of my communication is done through Facebook now.
Eden (we were friends in high school, then we were at Moody together) puts me so shame by emailing me right away, after I take a month to email her.

4 Of my favorite foods:
dill pickles! (I sure did miss them in Scotland!)
Tex Mex
right now one of my favourite snacks is either apple slices with caramel sauce (homemade) or pretzles (homemade) with cheese :) When I'm at work I munch on dried mango slices.

4 Places I would rather be right now:
somewhere warm and sunny (yeah, I know...Scotland??)
somewhere with mountains
somewhere near water

4 People I think will respond:
well, I'm not sending this out as an email, but you can let me know if you put it on your blog!

4 Things I am looking forward to this year:
I am going to steal Eden's answer and say SPRING! Oh, will it never come!?!
hopefully finding a place to settle down and start putting down some roots
making new friends
who knows WHAT the year will bring!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The customer is always right

Me: Could I please get some ID for this cash back?
Customer: makes angry face, acts agitates, sends ID
Me: Who is "D"?
Wife: Me
Me: OK, I'm gonna need you're ID to cash this check since it is made out to you.
C: She doesn't have it!
Me: OK, I'll send it back then for "B" to sign since you are using his ID.
C: Why do I have to sign it?!
Me: Because "D" doesn't have her ID and the check is made out to her. You can just sign the back of it as well so you can cash it.
C: Well, just send the whole *** back and we'll go inside!
Wife: NO!
Me: What would you like me to do?
Wife: Just cash the check!
Me: I will need to...

I turn the speaker off, turn to my co-worker, and say, "They are giving me such a hard time? What is the big deal about signing the check?"
My co-worker says, "Well, since I know them you can just go ahead and do it for them. But you are in the right, what you are doing."

Why is it so hard for some people? Why do they not realise that asking for ID is for their own protection?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yes, we made it

In case you were wondering, we did finally make it back home. On our way over to Vermont Josh made some comment about how we have never had a flight without drama.

As we were leaving Vermont people we saying, "Good thing you are not leaving tomorrow! We are supposed to get a storm." Well, guess what? That storm was already heading for Chicago!

While at the airport in Burlington we noticed that one direct flight to Chicago was already cancelled. We had no idea there was even going to be any severe weather at this time. Josh thought it could have been a security issue.

When we arrived in Vermont we noticed another flight to Chicago (United, who of course make tonnes of flights to Chicago) was cancelled. Our layover was short so we popped over to a greasy spoon to stuff our faces with some cheese fries. That wee bag of pretzles on the plane just didn't cut it.

We rushed back over to our gate and saw that we were now departing 2 hours later. They said we would be boarding at 6:30, but not taking off until 7:45. Something about statistics for delayed flights.

Forty miles outside of Chicago the pilot informs us that there is a backlog of planes waiting to land and that we will have to circle Chicago for an hour and a half. Fortunately it only ended up being half that. It didn't do much good though as we were not able to get to our gate for another 30 minutes. They wanted us out of the way for the de-icing of the plane in the next gate. As we were taxi-ing around we saw plane after plane after plane just sitting there waiting to take off.

After such an exhausting weekend we arrived home at 12:30am, three and a half hours later than planned. And we got to get up at 6 the next morning to go to work.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A weekend trip

We were in Vermont this morning.
We're now in Philly.
At the airport.
I guess there's bad weather in Chicago...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I love Calphalon!

We are not extravagant people, but we do appreciate quality. We will pay a bit more for something that we feel will last us a long time. That is why when we were picking things our for our wedding registry we went with Calphalon. We chose to get the hard anodized set because we also wanted to be able to use stainless steel utensils. My grandparents were so kind to buy us the set and over the years we have found other Calphalon bits and bobs discounted at Marshalls or TJ Maxx. This is the only cookware set I have (partly because Josh is so persnickety about having everything match, despite his lack of presence in the kitchen).

Little did I know that making pretzles last night would void my warrenty. Once the dough is shaped is has to be sort of parboiled in baking soda water. When I was done and cleaned out my skillet I noticed discolouration in the pan (deanodizing). I knew that boiling vinegar would void the warrenty, but I didn't hear about this one. I looked online to see. There was something about cleaning with baking soda, but not cooking with it.

So I phoned up customer relations. She said yes, this would void my warrenty, but she would send me out a prepaid label and they would replace it as a courtesy. That's even better that if I just sent it in on my own and I would have to pay the postage for that monster.

We did have to send in 2 other pots almost 3 years ago because of deanodizing. They replaced them with a newer line that is similar, so I am wondering if they were having too many problems with this line and discontinued it for the new one. Hey, I don't care if they have to iron out the kinks. I can be assured that I will have these pots and pans for the rest of my life! ...or as long as Calphalon is around. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

To be fair...

I explained to Josh this morning about the email he recieved yesterday with the church wanting him to fill out this survey that costs $125. (Josh had to work 19 hours yesterday. He got home at 3am and had to get back up at 6:30 to go back to work.) He told me that it might be a service provided for pastors and churches. Sort of like a dating service where they match you up based on your common interests and stuff. I guess that explains it a bit. But I am still put off by the idea of a church requiring this of any of their candidates. I suppose it would work out if you are looking for a large church that will be paying a higher salary. Ah, well...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Of all appalling things

I have seen some goofy things in this whole process of applying for a ministry position at churches, but just today as I was reading a response from one church to Josh this was the most appalling. They want the candidate to first fill out a survey along with sending in their resume. Oh, and the candidate will be charged $125 to access this survey.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

still in a fog

...literally and mentally.

We've had a lot of fog the last couple of days. Reminds me a lot of Scotland. A couple of days ago it was REALLY bad. That was more like the haar we got in Edinburgh. It made me nostaligic. The nostalgia wore off when I had to drive in it. It was very scarry, especially on these country roads where the fog sweeps through the fields and engulfs you as you drive by.

I want to give you an update on our jobs situation. We both now have jobs. Yay! I am working as a teller at Chase bank. It is just part time, but I think I will enjoy it. Josh got a job through a temp agency working with a company that does clean-up after a fire or flood. They also do carpet cleaning, which is mostly what Josh is doing. Unfortunately his schedule is unpredictable. One day when he was about to get off work they all got called out to a big flood job. He had to work a double, until midnight then back to work at 8am.

I also set up a new blog today. Yes, I know. I can't even keep up with the two I've got now. Actually I am hoping my friend will take over the new one in due time. Many of you know that I have been raising money for a friend the last few years. We are paying for his little girl to get a better education in the Philippines. Take a look at it, though there is not much there just now. Hopefully I will get more info on there soon.

Sorry about the lack of communication (my emailing had been pretty bad, too). I have been in an anti-computer funk lately. I love to hear from you, but I just can't be bothered to do much surfing or typing. Part of it probably has to do with this GLOOMY winter we have been having. And of course before that it was the rough living situation we were going through. There's always an excuse I guess. Maybe I will have to rethink this blogging thing...

Monday, January 14, 2008

A little mid-winter humour

I love the Snowman. Josh and I had the opportunity to see it on stage last year in Scotland.

I love this advert, too. Some say it is a sacrilege. Maybe it is funnier with a British sense of humour. You tell me.

Just so you know, they happen to be flying over Scotland. Let me know how many landmarks you recognise.

Oh yes, I forgot to say that Irn Bru is probably THE most popular 'fizzy-pop' drink in the UK (or is it just Scotland?). It is a strange orange colour and tastes like an ultra-sweet cream soda.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Didn't get the job

The last day of my work at Target is tomorrow. I have felt very dejected there, like I can do better. I have excelled at every job I have taken on. My training there was poor and there are a couple of people there who do not take that into account when I cannot do something I wasn't trained to do. Something happened Wednesday that got me fired up.

Thursday I had an interview for a teller position at a local branch of a nationwide bank. I did not get the job, but appearantly I made such an impression that the interviewers asked the recruiter to try to fit me in at another branch. So I have another interview Tuesday. At least I will know what questions to expect! It is a much longer drive, but we really need some sort of employment. I hope all goes well. They are offering benefits!!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy New Year

I know it is late, but Happy New Year. Oh, and Happy Christmas, too.

It has been such a challenging year, but full of goodness, too. So many of you really stepped in with so much encouragement when we needed it so badly. The last 6 months of the year were the toughest months of our lives.

We are unemployed again. Josh's time with UPS and mine with Target were seasonal so we are looking for work again.

I have been going through an anti-computer stage lately, just wanting to get things done around the house. I have been wanting to get to the pictures from our last trip before we left Scotland. Hopefully I will get to them soon. I do miss Scotland and it is kind of hard for me to go through the pictures. Here is a wee taste:

Friday, December 21, 2007

For your consideration

OK, for any one of you that might like to go shopping, hang on to an item only to decide later you don't want it, and leave it in some random place...DON'T DO IT!! Think of the poor employees of the store that might have to stay there till midnight to put it back.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hungry boy

I just wanted to share this picture of Stevie. A couple of weeks ago he took us out to eat at Olive Garden. He loves his chicken alfredo pizza. And I really loved the macchiato coffee drink I got!

We finally got it!

As I said here, we did get a wee bit of snow on Thanksgiving, but THIS is snow! And this was before the extra couple of inches we got throughout the rest of the day.

And we had a pretty sunset.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rude Customer

I was just looking at my stats. There is an interesting feature that tells you what referred people to your blog, such as a google search. I was laughing because out of all of the google searches that led people to my blog, "rude customer" was by far the most. And most of those people doing the searches were from different countries. Not really sure what that means, but it is interesting. ;)

Oh, and I know it is a week past Thanksgiving and I have not posted about it yet. I am still keeping pretty busy, despite being unemployed. But I will get to it, and I will probably post it on my other blog.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What am I thankful for?

With the Thanksgiving holiday coming this week I cannot help but reflect on the year and think of what I am (or should be) thankful for.
It was one year ago that we breathed a huge sigh of relief. We were running out of money and we set the deadline for November 15th. If Josh didn't get a job by then, we would have to leave Scotland and go home. Bethany phoned Josh on November 14th offering him a position. It was at the Thanksgiving meal we hosted for our friends that we were able to announce we would be staying.
We have been through so many challenges during our time in Scotland and after our return home. After so much upheaval it is hard to think at first what I can be thankful for. Yet hard times bring us many reasons to give thanks.
I am continually humbled by the kindness and generosity of our family and friends (on both sides of the pond!). I am put to shame when I complain about something, only later to see someone give so generously to us. People in our lives have been generous with their money, time, possessions, and whatever resources they have.
Know that we are so thankful for you. Know that we have and will pass this generosity on to others whenever the circumstance allows. God has provided us with so much blessing through you.
Though I have felt lonely, I have never been without a friend.
Though I have felt pinched by finances, we have never been without food and a home.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I made it to 10,000 hits to my blog! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Through a whirlwind series of events the opportunity came upon us to move into our own place. And guess what, WE'VE MOVED!!

A friend of my mom's has kindly offered to let us rent from her while she is trying to sell the house. She has given us a very generous offer and with the property including woods, it is a bit closer to what we would like to have when we eventually settle and start putting down roots. I love that it is so dark at night that I have to take a flashlight outside with me and that we have to drive down a country road to get to our house! I just saw the mail truck for the first time today and it is not even a real mail truck!

A requirement for us to move was that we needed a vehicle. We found one the very day after we started looking! I never, ever thought that we would own an SUV. Yes, we bought an SUV. It is a 95 Jimmy. We felt that it was a good deal for the price. It runs good and the body is in great condition. We are happy to have it for hauling things, such as for camping trips. We will just not be able to keep it for our primary vehicle. Friends of ours have very generously offered to give us their car for next to nothing after they get their new vehicle. That will work out well as we both plan to work part-time....

Which brings me to our next need. Please be praying or/thinking of us as we are looking for jobs. Josh would like to find something to put him more in the direction of ministry. This could take a bit of time as there is not an ABUNDANCE of ministry related jobs available in the area.

Me, well, I am looking for anything at the moment, which gets a bit depressing. I have been applying for retail positions hoping to at least get some seasonal work, and maybe making my way up using my supervisory experience. At first I was limiting it to places that I enjoy shopping at myself and that might offer some kind of benefits package, but after no reply I had to expand my horizons. It felt a bit demoralising applying at ALDI. But it feels even more demoralising that they were supposed to call by today and I have not had a call yet. I guess a part of me is greatful that they have not called.

We are thankful to be in our own place and I can now think about what I am going to make for our family Thanksgiving gatherings. :)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Sweet Home Chicago!

Since we have been back we only visited Chicago for one night (the day of our arrival from Scotland) and an evening for a wedding. Oh, we DID get to walk around downtown a bit after we took my BIL and his friends to Ohare a while back.

I had been longing to spend more time there so I told Josh that I wanted to go for my birthday. He couldn't refuse that, could he? :) This sounds silly, but one of the only things I wanted to do there was go grocery shopping! I really miss the selection there. So I picked up loads of bulk spices from Pete's Fresh Market (that is a GREAT place for produce and anything Mexican) and spent a long time browsing the isles of Trader Joe's (YEAH!).

We stayed with our friends Nathan and Andrea and brought our bunnies along. They have a little girl and it was so much fun to watch her with the bunnies. She would get so excited, flap her arms around, then land one of those hands right down on the bunny's head.

Andrea took us shopping and we stopped at Montrose Harbor for a little walk (it was SOO windy!). Before we left for Scotland Andrea and I went rollar blading on the lakefront. Afterwards we snapped some pictures here but I was so sad that they accidentally got deleted. So we had to do it again. :)

I don't know if you can see it here, but there were actually flowers on some of the trees!

The next day was my birthday and I spent it with my family. It was a nice day to just relax and hang out. My mom posted some old pictures on her blog if you want to check them out.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

fall back

I hope you set your clocks back before arriving at church an hour early! What a pain when you realise you could have had an extra hour of sleep.

We set our clocks back, but I didn't get that extra hour. I didn't have to get up until 7, but I was up bright and early at 5:45. I guess I was just too excited about our trip to Chicago. I told Josh that I wanted to go for my birthday since we haven't really gotten to visit. We stayed one night when we arrived from Scotland. We are going to visit our church up there and stay for 2 nights wtih friends. I am bringing my bunnies along (for anyone that might be concerned about them). There might be a couple of wee ones that would have fun petting them. :)

Back to the time change, we were having this discussion about changing the clocks with an aussie friend of ours in Scotland 2 years ago. She couldn't remember if we set the clocks forward or back. I quoted the little ditty we use to remember "spring forward, fall back." She said, "AAAAH! I never heard that before!" I was shocked that she never would have heard that! I thought everyone did! Then she reminded me that it is the opposite in Australia. Uh-huh. Shows how much I know.