Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mini Reunion

I'm back in town for a quick visit! I was blessed by catching an earlier flight yesterday so I landed around 4:00PM. I've spent the day catching up on sleep, doing laundry, and packing for tomorrow's departure. Hubby and I leave for the airport at 5AM.

Here's one quick teaser picture from my trip. We were all visiting my grandpa for his 84th birthday. The picture is Grandpa and all his grandkids, except for my brother still stationed in Iraq.

Top (left to right) - Jessi, myself, Grandpa, Derrick
Bottom (left to right) - Nevin, Tiffany

Friday, December 12, 2008

What did I just get myself into?

I am now completely overwhelmed! My grandpa's 84th birthday is next week. My dad called today and I was bummed out about how I couldn't go. Now, since he is being oh so kind to pay for my ticket, I fly out on Sunday.

I have a layover in Denver for about an hour and then I fly up to Casper. I fly back on Wednesday morning. Then, my hubby and I fly out again on Friday to spend a week in Michigan with his parents and sister. Oy!

Thankfully, I have much to praise God for! First, I get to see two of my grandmothers, my grandfather, my dad, two uncles, and four cousins on the first trip. Second, I get to spend an entire week with my father, mother, and sister in love! Third, I spent the last two days cleaning the house, so it will be very clean for hubby when I'm gone. Fourth, my mother was kind enough to move our Christmas celebration from Sunday to tomorrow night so that I get to spend time with her and her boyfriend before we leave. Fifth, ALL the laundry is done. All I have to do is iron the rest of hubby's work shirts and then I can pack. Sixth, United Airlines was having a really good sale and we got a fantastic deal on my ticket!

I'm just nervous about all the traveling, especially doing part of it by myself. I always stress over layovers because I'm afraid that I'll miss the second flight. Thankfully, our trip to MI is nonstop. I much prefer to travel with my husband, and this is the longest we've been apart. Ever. I'm going to miss him a ton. At least Cingular has coverage in Wyoming, so I can still talk to him everyday.

Well, I'm off to finish ironing hubby's shirts and then maybe do something about my disaster of a desk before sundown. I probably won't be posting again until Thursday of next week and then I'll be gone for another week. Maybe I should have waited until January to start a new blog!

Have a great Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Printer Issues

My hubby is a minimalist when it comes to his desk. I'm not, which is why my desk tends to overflow onto his. I decided to surprise my husband and clean off his desk. I stacked all his certification study books, removed all of MY junk (part of the reason the piles on my desk are now ready to fall), and dusted.

Once in a blue moon, the urge hits to create folders and labels for filing. In my kitty pictures below, I tried to crop out the background as much as possible. If you could see my desk, you'd be appalled by the huge piles of papers and books randomly stacked. Now that my piles are threatening to fall over, it's time to file and purge.

Now if I can just get my printer to work!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kitty pictures!

I have a lot of thoughts but no words. I've been thinking of faith vs. works, the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, what really matters in life, how much (or how little) you can put your faith in church denominations or organizations, and the belief of the inerrancy of Scripture. Unfortunately, I have no complete thoughts at this time.

Therefore, I bring you... kitty pictures! This is my Bruno. I've been taking care of him since he was one day old, abandoned by his feral mommy. My husband and I nursed this kitty from day one, and took care of all the other unpleasant mama duties that go along with that (did you know that you have to wipe a kitty's behind until they are old enough to go potty on their own?).

Because I am his mama, Bruno is attached to me. Very. He's about 8 months old now, but he still follows me around. When I take a shower, Bruno takes a shower. He climbs in the tub with me, as long as I don't let him get wet. And when I'm working at my desk, he sleeps on my mouse and usually rests his head on my keyboard. My baby is extremely clingy.

Gotta love him!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Work - one hour at a time

I have a part time contract job. It's not exactly fun, though it is interesting work. It's kind of tedious and repetitive, and due to the nature of the work, I can't listen to the radio! My plan of setting the timer for an hour is working really well for this project.

So far today, I've spent two complete hours (with a half hour break between the two) on my current project. Because it's working so well, I'm almost done with the current assignment and should finish it up this afternoon. Then I'll have to wait to receive my next assignment.

I exercised this morning! I've been lacking motivation to exercise as it's so cold outside (for my Arizona blood, at least). Yesterday, hubby and I ran all the way to and from Blockbuster so we could return a movie (2 miles round trip). Today, I rode 8.5 miles on the exercise bike. My legs are sore!

Hubby is working a lot of hours this week as he'll be missing four days of work for our Christmas vacation and doesn't yet have enough vacation time to cover it all. He left early this morning and will be returning late tonight and this will probably be the norm for the next two weeks. Though I'm disappointed that I won't be seeing him much during the week, I have to praise the Lord that we will be missing very little (if any) of his paycheck at the end of the month. God provides!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Profound? Nope!

I keep thinking I need to post something profound if I'm going to post anything at all. However, I'm not perfect and neither is my blog. Since this is a blog about my attempts at homemaking, I'm going to post the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good - Homemade bread almost ready for the oven. We have Bible study and a fellowship meal tonight.

The bad - Hmmmm... Is there any? I honestly can't think of anything that I would call "bad" right now.

The ugly - I still didn't have a productive day. I meant to. Intentions are good, right? I found out yesterday that my brother (deployed) has been stationed somewhere different this week, which is why he has all the internet access. Usually, we're lucky if we get to talk for 15 minutes. Today was his last day with such privileges, so I spent most of the day chatting with him. I don't regret it. :)

Here are a couple of new recipes that we tried this week.

Thirty-five Calorie Muffins These were easy, cheap, and came out well. I added blueberries, much to my husband's delight.

Easy, Basic Waffles I have tried and tried and tried to find a decent vegan waffle recipe. The past attempts have always tasted disgusting, didn't hold together, or wouldn't cook all the way through. These were perfect!

Apple Spice Syrup I cannot say enough good things about this recipe. It was pretty cheap, as we had everything on hand except the frozen apple juice concentrate. It was easy to make, quick, and tasted oh so good! I'm not a fan of imitation (read: cheap and unhealthy) maple syrup and this is the perfect alternative. How can you go wrong with the apple cinnamon combination? I LOVE this recipe.

TVP Sloppy Joes I didn't follow this recipe exactly, as we were out of onions and I had a store bought barbecue sauce. I used red bell peppers instead of green and it was really tasty. I had never thought of adding bell peppers to sloppy joes, but it worked.

All new recipes this week were definite keepers. I'm making waffles again this weekend just so I can eat more of that yummy syrup. I don't even have to make more syrup, as the recipe made way more than we can eat in one meal and just needs to be reheated.

I'm off to go preheat my oven for the Amish bread.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Today's report

My plan for today worked well (during the times I was following it). My brother came online again today and we had some things we HAD to discuss. Therefore, I worked for two full hours today with one half hour break plus lunch. Tomorrow will be more productive, I promise.

Here's what I accomplished:

  • Morning devotional

  • Washed and put away dishes

  • Cleaned off and scrubbed kitchen counter

  • Made the bed

  • Picked up dirty clothes from bedroom floor

  • Updated December's budget

  • Found and set up the nativity scene that's been passed down from my great grandmother

  • Straightened bathroom counter

  • Changed towels in bathroom

  • Vacuumed living room, hallway, and master bedroom

  • Folded load of laundry

  • Picked up the trash on the patio (we have kids living above us)

  • Cleaned off dining room table

  • Filled out an online customer satisfaction survey for our current auto/renters insurance company

Not too bad for the first day. Tomorrow I have to start an assignment for my part time job, plan next week's menu, and create a shopping list. If I have time left in the day, I'm going to clean the bathroom.

Time trials!

In response to my insight yesterday about how I spend too much time playing and not enough time doing... I'm going to try something today. The computer seems to be (well, is) my biggest addiction. So, I'm going to set the timer on our microwave. One hour of productivity. Then I get to play for half an hour. After the half hour is up, I'm back to another hour of productivity, and so on and so forth.

I'll report back at the end of the day to see how it went.

Baby steps. Baby steps.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My "older" brother

Confession time - I have a really bad habit of letting the day get away from me. I try to exercise in the mornings, but other than that, I have no set schedule. I need one. The days are sneaking by and I'm not getting much done. While my hubby doesn't mind, I don't think this is what God intended by allowing me to become a full time homemaker.

Today was another one of those days when time escaped unnoticed. However, I have a good excuse for once. :)

My brother. My 23 year old dj-ing, photography loving, on-the-other-side-of-the-world brother was online. I love my brother and couldn't pass up the chance to talk to him via IM. We had a good three hour chat.

Even though I'm three years older than Josh, he's been through a lot more life experiences than I have. He's been married, has a child, joined the Army, and is currently serving his second deployment to Iraq. Me? I've been married for three years and moved across country to attend college. Compared to him, I'm sheltered.

I always wanted an older brother. Though I'm the oldest by age, we think of ourselves as older brother and younger sister. Josh takes the lead on our roadtrips, looks out for me, and is just generally an all around wonderful brother.

Have I mentioned how much I love him?

Monday, December 1, 2008


It can't be December already.

My computer says it's December first. Walmart has been playing Christmas music for a month. The malls are crowded with people shopping for gifts. KLove is playing Christmas carols. The neighbors have their house decorated.

And yet... it's 73 degrees outside. We're running neither the heater or the AC. My patio door is wide open to allow the fresh air to circulate through the apartment.

18 days until we leave for (cold!) Michigan. We'll be staying with hubby's parents for a week. I can't wait, as we haven't seen them for two years!

But December? Is it really?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Pursuing righteousness

I'm discovering the beauty of Bible translations other than the KJV. I was raised reading the KJV and just recently started branching out into more modern translations. Old verses are coming to life!

"Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor" (Proverbs 21:21, NLT).

I pray that I will always pursue righteousness and unfailing love! I know the only place to find both is in the arms of God. I want to always seek righteousness, unfailing love, and the face of God. Please Lord, guide me in seeking You.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Count your blessings

Happy Thanksgiving!

No matter how the world celebrates the holiday, this is a good time to stop and remember the blessings the Lord has granted for the past year. Even the simple act of waking up each morning is a gift from God.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

May I always remember to rejoice, pray, and give thanks in ALL circumstances. God is good!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Note to self: Don't go shopping for Thanksgiving groceries the night before. The stores are busy and the shelves are empty!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Amish White Bread: Success!

I've only baked bread from scratch a few times. Each time, the bread doesn't rise much and it never looks like real bread with the golden brown rounded crust.

Until today!

I used this recipe and it turned out really well! I used 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 2 cups of white flour like the recipe suggested.

I don't have a bread maker, so I mixed and kneaded this loaf by hand. I've always wondered if my method of kneading is why the bread doesn't rise properly. I'm still not sure if that's why this loaf turned out fluffy versus my earlier attempts, but I watched this video to see how an "expert" does it.

Success! Hopefully it tastes as good as it looks.

"She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household..." (Proverbs 31:15). Thank you Lord for helping me bake bread today!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Free date!

My husband and I don't really go out on traditional "dates." We've never really had the money to spend on activities. Instead, we've been content to stay at home and watch a movie (Netflix is cheap!) or play board games.

While driving to work one day, hubby noticed the Phoenix Art Museum. I went online to find out how much admission costs and discovered they have free admission every Tuesday evening! Date night!

Two Tuesdays ago, we drove over to the Museum. Sure enough, there was free admission for the general public. We spent a little over two hours wandering through the exhibits. We quickly walked around the 43rd Annual Cowboy Artists of America Exhibit. Some of those paintings had absolutely gorgeous skies!

We spent a lot of time in the European painting exhibit. This was my favorite painting of the evening:

The display said that it was a George Romney painting titled Anne Birch. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any information on the internet about this particular painting.

We're planning on visit the Art Museum next month for this exhibit. Not only is the museum free on Tuesdays, but it's a creative, mind stimulating, and fun date. Now I'm on the lookout for other places that have free admission!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Where is that recipe?

My Bible study group was discussing Thanksgiving plans. None of them have family locally and they can't afford to travel this year. Someone suggested that we all go to a buffet that day.

Well... I'm from Wyoming. I'm also old fashioned. In my mind, you just don't go out to eat on Thanksgiving! You go over to someone's house, or have people come over to yours, and eat a really tasty homemade meal. I called the Bible study host and asked her if I could cook for everyone. Since I'm at home, I have the time to prepare a meal for 6-8 people provided I don't have to cook a turkey! I'm vegetarian and have no idea how to cook meat. :) Everyone thought that was a great idea, so now I'm looking for ideas.

I spent almost an hour going through a bag of recipes. Some of the recipes were typed on a typewriter, others torn from a magazine, but I was looking for one particular handwritten recipe - these really yummy oatmeal muffins that my mom used to make. I didn't find the recipe. When I talked to my mom later, she suggested I search the web, that it was an old recipe from a Laurel's Kitchen cookbook.

Silly me... I have that cookbook!

I think I'll bake a test run this weekend, see if they taste as good as I remember.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The start of something new

I have procrastinated writing my first post. I've been putting pressure on myself to say something profound, to make sure that my first entry is perfect, before hitting the Publish button.

However, I'm not perfect. I'm just a Christian woman, a wife, seeking to please the Lord and my husband.

Six weeks ago, my employer called me into a conference room and told me that I was being laid off. I was relieved. It was an odd feeling, considering I'd been working there for four and a half years. That job was my entry into the "real world," making me subject to real corporate drama, real annual reviews, and a real hard look at what matters.

However, I wasn't happy working there. The job was good, the pay was good, but I never felt like I was making a difference. For a long time, I've wanted to be a wife, a homemaker, and eventually a mom.

Three and a half years ago, I met my husband. We had a brief courtship and married in October of 2005. Up until six weeks ago, I was working full time while trying to balance cooking, cleaning, and the growing desire to be at home. Being laid off was an answer to prayer. We prayed about it and my husband decided that I could stay home and be a full time homemaker.

This blog is about my thoughts and adventures in learning to be a homemaker, a better wife, and a Christian. I aspire to be a Proverbs 31 woman, looking well to the ways of my household. I have a lot to learn. With the Lord's help, I can fulfill my calling to be a Proverbs 31 woman. Thanks for joining me in the journey.