Saturday, October 30, 2010

Book Review: The Grace of God by Andy Stanley

I was pleasantly surprised by the book, The Grace of God by Andy Stanley.
This book teaches through example, which is how I learn best!  The book shows the reader God’s grace through stpries from the bible.  I enjoyed reading the stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham, and Joseph to name just a few.

I did not grow up studying the bible or going to church.  I can count on one hand how many times I had been to a church before the age of 15.  I started going to church through a very difficult time in my life at the age of 15.  I started out a little later than most, and even though I sat and listened to stories from the bible, and went through a few bible studies, I never quite grasped what was going on.  The Grace of God helped me to understand the teachings of the bible in much more detail than I’ve ever been able to comprehend.  In my opinion, this book is a must-read for those new in their walk as well as the well-seasoned.  It is a terrific book.  I can see myself reading it over again.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Surprise For Dinner

I was talking to Todd about dinner options for me to make this weekend.  I led him to believe that we will be having grilled cheese & tomato soup for dinner on Saturday when he gets home from work. 

Even though I was OK with this, I was thinking about something special I could make for him.  Something different.  I make the same things over and over again (spaghetti, chicken parm, chicken fajitas, steak with taters & vegetable, pizza, chicken casserole, potato soup, chili, etc.)

I turned Todd onto sushi when we first met.  One of our favorites is eel and rice (unagi-don).  We have both tried our hand at making our own sushi rolls with not the best of luck.  Unagi-don is a bed of rice with eel over it and eel sauce.We both really like eel sauce, and I finally found a recipe that doesn’t seem too difficult to make!  So, I am going to try.

Unagi Don

Todd bought cans of sardines from Ollies at $0.59/can.  I have decided that instead of going out to purchase eel, I will use the sardines.  I will marinate them in the eel sauce.  I may do the bed of rice with eel, or I may try to make little rolls to eat with chopsticks.  I’m not sure where we got some awesome chopsticks, but we have them in the cupboard (2 sets of them!)  I also have some nori (seaweed) from when I tried to make sushi in the past.


So…instead of spending $40 at our favorite sushi restaurant, I will be using up what we have in the house.  You cant beat it!

Todd always says when I cook a nice dinner, “You’ve really outdone yourself this time, honey.”  I have a feeling he will say this at this meal. And I’ll take it!

Green With Envy

I know of several people who are envious of others.  There is a woman where I work that owns a $250,000+ home in a nice neighborhood and acts as though their family is broke.  They built this home 12 years ago and now have 2 kids.  She talks frequently of who has what, who is driving what, who makes what on their street, and the expensive vacations everyone is going on in their area.  Mind you, they went on a 2 ½ week vacation to Italy where her husband still has family.  That COULDN’T have been inexpensive.

My father is the same way.  He lives in a modest home with his wife, granddaughter and my step-sister.  My father has always been into “toys.”  We had jet-ski’s growing up, a pop-up camper, dirt bikes, street bikes, etc.  Before he was fired from his job last year, he was making a six-figure income, but always wanted more.  Wanted a bigger house, wanted a better motor home (Todd and I could LIVE in his motor-home, by the way,) newer vehicles, nice vacations…you get the point.

It makes me wonder why people are so “green with envy” when they already have SO MUCH.  The only answer I can come up with is that they are not content with their belongings or with themselves.

There is one person that I look up to, and that is a co-workers of mine who lives in a modest home with her hubby.  They are in their 50’s. She works – he is a stay at home husband.  They have no children.  Some think this set-up is odd, but I don’t see anything wrong with it. They own one vehicle, are debt free (including the house!), and live a very minimalist life…by CHOICE.  They have over a half million in the bank, but are able to continue to save every month on just ONE INCOME.  THIS is what I look up to.  It is these types of things I strive for in MY future.

I am perfectly happy with our $35,000 fixer-upper home.  Our mortgage is $57,000 because we needed to put in a new septic, a new roof, and some other home repairs, but we are still happy with the place.  I love my little Bianca and Todd loves his Rondo.  We don’t have much other than these things, but we are happy with them!  We have nothing to prove to anyone!  Todd’s mother said we live like “trailer trash.”  What would warrant her saying something like that to her own son?  Because she thinks we need to spend more money on food!!  Yes…you read correctly.  We do things we enjoy…on the cheap!  To be honest, if that warrants us as “trailer trash,” I’m proud to be it!!!  By the way, I don’t feel there is anything wrong with living in a trailer.  Obviously, others do!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Easy Apple Crisp

I offered to make Apple Crisp for our Halloween party at work today.  I found this recipe a few weeks back from Feathers In Our Nest and love it!  I've made it 5 times since finding the recipe. 

I am down to the last 10-12 apples from the 52 lbs that we got 3 weeks ago. I am a little sad about that. I didnt make nearly enough applesauce that I wanted to, nor did I make enough pie filling to last the winter.  I am half tempted to drive an hour and a half this weekend to get another case of apples; but that's not very practical for a $4 case of apples, is it?  No... may have to wait until next year. *sigh*

Oh well.
It's been fun.  However, I think I need a new peeler now.  The blades are dull. :-)

Weekly Weigh-In

I weighed myself this morning, and I am still the same as last week!

Weight loss thus far: 6 lbs
Goal: 20 lbs by Thanksgiving
14 lbs to go by Thanksgiving

I know exactly why I havent lost any weight.  To be honest, I'm GLAD I didnt gain! I've been eating like a piggy and having a hard time saying no.  That is what I am going to be working on this next week.  Portion control (eating like the Boreings, which means like birds!) and maybe try to add a little more exercise.  I walked Lana 6 out of 7 days this week.  One of them not being very fast because there was a kitten walking behind us distracting the both of us.

I was asked to be a bridesmaid in my best friend's (since I was 2!) wedding.  I want to get to my goal weight of 150 lbs by then.  I've got a LONG way to go!

Pet Peeves

I have pet peeves.  Who doesn’t?
Mine include:

  • Chewing with mouth open
  • People being loud (I think I have sensitive ears)
  •  Not using turn signals
  • Leaving cupboards open
  • Slow drivers in the left lane  - or those who just linger and don’t move over.
  • Crunching noises that come from ones mouth
  • When I am a passenger in a car, I cannot stand when the driver lingers beside a tractor trailer.   I have a fear of tractor trailers.

So, what are your pet peeves?

**This post was created from my irritability last week when a car stopped in the middle of an intersection while the light was green because they were turning left without a turn signal!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

They Are Keepers

Well, I found a home for both kittens, but I cant give them up.  They are just too darn cute.  SO...we are adding to the minagerie.  Red & Tux are keepers.

Thanksgiving 2010

Before Todd and I got together, he always had Thanksgiving at his house for his family.  Since we got together, we have been going to my grandmother’s house (my father’s mother) for Thanksgiving every year, and then spending time with his parents the day after, and then my mom that weekend (my parents are divorced.) 

The last year or two, we said that we’d go to Gram’s because “we don’t know how many more Thanksgivings we’ll have with her.”  She’s 80 years old this year, and other than her most recent scare of breast cancer (to which was all removed and she has been on radiation,) she is healthy as a horse!  Probably healthier than I am!  Grandma is my only surviving grandparent.

My step-brother (my step-father’s son) and his family are going to my mom’s house this year from Kansas (they visit only once a year.)  Mom asked if we’d like to celebrate Thanksgiving with all of them.  And then there is Todd’s parents who don’t care when we come over to see them.

So, I am torn.  I hate to miss Grandma’s Thanksgiving this year; however, we saw the whole family in October for my cousin’s wedding.  It would be great to celebrate with my mom and my step-brother and his family who I get to see maybe once a year if I’m lucky.  But then that leaves out Todd’s parents.  Todd’s parents are very set in their ways. I was thinking about inviting them to my mom’s house (my mom would love it if they’d come,) but they would complain about the drive (2 hours away,) and they’d stay for maybe an hour. 

I am thinking I may talk to my father this weekend when I see him at my niece’s birthday party about possibly skipping Gram’s Thanksgiving and going to mom’s.  I haven’t been to my mom’s Thanksgiving dinner on the actual date of Thanksgiving for over 5 years.  And then maybe we will go to Todd’s parents house the day after as we always do and just sit around, watch TV, and pig out.  I am thinking maybe next year, we will have it at our house and have his parents over and anyone else that wants to come.

Do you have difficulties like this during the holidays?  If so, how do you come to a compromise?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quote of the Year!!!

“You wouldn’t be half as fun if you censored what you say!”
I’m glad SOMEONE appreciates my sense of humor!  This quote comes from a friend of mine at work. 

Wordless Wednesday : Meet Red

Meet Red.  We found her (she was meowing very loudly) in the garage when we got home from a long day out of town.  She is an absolute hoot.  We love her and hope she stays with us for a little an outdoor kitty!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One of those Days

It’s been one of those days.  It started out just fine. I woke up on the RIGHT side of the bed, and hit the ground running.

HOWEVER, the normal 30 minute walk with Lana ended up taking an hour and 15 minutes because of an adorable little kitten that followed us home.  We are thinking that it is from the same litter as Red (you will meet Red tomorrow in the Wordless Wednesday.) 

Tux, the new kitten, it not anything like Red.  She is a wild one.  She eats like a pig (sorry Squiggy,) and is not very lovable.  Since minute one with Red, we were able to hold her and she just soaked up the love.  Tux just wants to run.  I wrote a note and left it in the mailbox close to where Tux started to follow us.  I called our vet’s office, and they don’t take in strays. 

Since having Red on Saturday evening, I have fallen in love.  She is the sweetest thing in the world, has taken to her litter box, goes up to Lana and gives her kisses, and loves to be loved by us. 

So we are in conflict.  Do we keep one and not the other?  I am thinking about listing Tux on Freecycle tonight when I get home to see if anyone would like her.  I really think she’d do well on a farm.  Todd says we are not going to give Tux to the pound.  He said she’d be better off running around outside our house than being euthanized within a week.  There is one last place that may take her that I know of.  Or, a friend from work says she may take it to her parents house in a couple of weeks (they live on a farm.)

Not only am I struggling with this, it has been a rough day here at work. I hope hoping the day gets better…FAST!

Our Living Room (A Work in Progress)

This is our Living Room.  This has been changed several times since we moved in.  The furniture in it now is wicker furniture I got from my mother until we find a place outside for it next year.  Actually, most of the furniture in this room is from my mother and her husband when they moved out of their house and into their condo that was fully-furnished.  We made out well!! 

View from the french doors 

 View from the other side of the room looking toward the french doors & kitchen/dining room area
View into the dining/kitchen area

View from the kitchen/dining area

((Sorry for the blurry photos - that is my fault.  I tend to move before I know the picture has been taken.))

The floors originally had moldy carpet on them.  Our house is on a cement slab, so when we (meaning Todd) took out the carpet, there was a cement floor.  Todd did some research and found that he could buy some cement and made designs and color the cement.  Well..that was great, until we found out the floor wasnt even!  That is why some areas are lighter than others.  It's not dirt/dust, it is the way the coloring slid.  We now have hardwood flooring to put in the room, but we (again, meaning Todd) havent had a chance to put it in yet.  We arent putting it in until next year because the wood burning stove has to be taken out to do the flooring.  This stove heats up this side of the house for us at a minimal cost.

This room is where we put the Christmas tree.  We dont really use it often.  I like to go in there and read next to the pot bellied stove in the winter, but my wing-back chair isnt in there anymore.  Maybe I will ask Todd to put it back in a few months..  The table is in there because it was from my mom, and we needed more table-space for our 4th of July party.  The piano is the first new piano my parents surprised me with as a child.  They had an old upright they got for free out of someone's basement and made sure I kept up with piano lessons for at least a year. Then, when I went to my best friend's house in Pennsylvania for two weeks, they bought me this.  It was a pleasant surprise, and I cant stand to get rid of it.  I would like to re-learn how to play.

So, there you have it.  Our Living Room.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Grocery Deals!

Last week, I went to a craft show and Ollies with my friend and neighbor, Vickie.

When we were at Ollies, I found several food items on sale for 75% off! So...this is what $5.61 in clearance food items look like:

3 containers of chicken broth
6 rice bowls
6 boxes of instant mashed potatoes (2 pouches per box!)
3 Masterpiece BBQ sauce
2 boxes of turkey stuffing

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Are You Planning On Having Children?

Todd and I have been married for 3 1/2 years.  The question we get continuously is whether or not we are planning on having children.  I got this question last week when I went out with our neighbor who is a friend of mine.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, the first 3 years of our marriage was not roses.  Actually, it was pretty much thorns. I didnt know if we'd make it. It is not all from the house, Squiggy, money, the lack of communication either.  There were several other issues that I'd prefer not to discuss.  So, needless to say, I avoided the thought of children.  Why get my hopes up and then things end badly? I didnt want to be another statistic.  I wanted to build a strong relationship with my husband. 

Since Todd and I have gone to counseling and learned alot about what the other needs and how to open our communication, I feel as though I've fallen in love with him all over again.  It is times like this that I feel that we should start a family.  I will be 30 in less than 4 months.  Todd will be 40 in 7 months.  We've talked about children in the past, and for Todd, he can go either way.  If I wanted to have children, he would be more than happy.  If I didnt, he would be perfectly fine.  He says he's always dreamed of having a home, a couple of kids, and a picket fence.  Well, we have the home, we have the picket fence, but no fur-less children.  He struggles with the thought of being "old" when the child would graduate from High School and College.  He also knows about my health background.

In 2005, at the age of 24, I had a stroke.  I have been informed that I would always be at risk when it was time to have children.  Todd has always said that  if having children means I may not be around, he is not interested.  He prefers our life together than a life without me. 

Now, with getting H1N1 last year and getting a blood clot from that, I am on blood thinners.  That being said, I was informed not to get pregnant.  It may lead to miscarriage or deformities. 

So...we are in limbo.
Maybe in another year or so, I can get off of the meds I am on and be truly healhty.  Not only that, I want to enjoy my husband for a little while longer - grow with one another for a little while.  The past 7 months with him have been wonderful.  That sound so odd - married for 3 1/2 years, but the past 7 months have been bliss.  I pray that the rest of our lives will be like this...maybe with the pitter patter of a few extra feet running around though.