Monday, July 30, 2012

My first attempts at gardening

Until now, I've never recevied a housewarming gift. What a wonderful surprise! My brother and his sweet wife sent us a wonderful gift, one that we were very excited to receive.

Pizza in a bag!

The bag on the left is basil, followed by cherry tomatoes in the center, and oregano on the right. When these sprout, I can make homemade pizza with herbs and tomatoes grown on my own counter.

I can't believe that a tomato plant grows from just these tiny seeds!

The instructions state that the bags are to be covered in plastic wrap. I don't have any plastic wrap so I had to improvise; I cut up a produce bag and used that instead!

In 7-10 days, I should see the beginnings of life. I am very excited about container and patio gardening and these bags represent the first tiny sprouts of that new venture. Our very own home grown produce. I can't wait!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The tired homemaker

I am a tired homemaker. A very tired homemaker. Our air mattress has deteriorated to the point of needing to be inflated every 3-4 hours. A week of constantly interrupted sleep has worn me out.

We are trying to remember why we are doing this - to save and pay CASH for a new mattress. No financing. No debt. No interest. We can do it. It'll only be several more weeks.

In the meantime, I thought this verse was appropriate for my memorization this week:

I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety

Psalm 4:8.

Ah, blessed, blessed sleep.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

In search of some Vitamin D

I am a homebody. I enjoy being at home with my husband, my cats, my library books, and my computer. Phoenix has a way of turning an outdoorsy person into a homebody with extremely long 115 degree summers.

Moss bordered shawl

Seattle, on the other hand, has been enticing me outside. I want to drive to the nearby mountains and hike. I want to explore our local neighborhood, finding all of the unique shops and enticing food. I want to enjoy the beautiful 75 degree days.

Shawl in progress

Part of my quest to be healthier involves vitamin D. You would think that living in Arizona would ensure that I got plenty of exposure to the sun. Those stifling hot days actually ensured that I only ventured from the house two or three times a week and spent as little time as possible outside.

Now, however, I have the opportunity to soak up some rays from my patio. The last few mornings, I've been setting the timer for 10 minutes and sitting outside. I try to expose as much skin as possible without displaying immodesty to our neighbors. It feels so good!

I love sitting outside and knitting. It's so peaceful and one of the highlights of my day.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What's On My Nightstand

What's On Your Nightstand

I've been out of town and away from libraries for so long that I haven't been reading that much. I did read a couple books from my personal bookshelves, a difference from my normal insistence on reading borrowed books. Last week we were finally able to sign up for our new library cards and I brought way too many books home. Such is the life!

Here's what I have managed to read in the past month or so. Links are to my reviews on Goodreads.

  •  Acts  
  •  Romans    

Christian Fiction
  • Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke - 4 stars. Fantastic book! Highly recommended.

Christian Nonfiction
Secular Fiction
Currently Reading
  • A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy by Thomas Buergenthal
  • Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands by Gary Thomas

Happy reading!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The monster in the corner

I am optimistic.

Jeff thinks I am crazy.


Meet the only piece of furniture in our house:

I have high hopes that our kitties will learn to use and abuse this cat tree before we buy new furniture. In Phoenix, our furniture was ratty because the cats used it as a scratching post. My hopes are that they will leave the (future) new furniture alone!

Both cats are still getting used to the monster in the corner. Both have approached it, sniffed the bottom level, and then walked off. Once the newness wears off, they will hopefully enjoy their newfound ability to stare out the window!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

This Week's Memory Text - Psalm 8:1

O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
Psalm 8:1

It has been awhile (April) since I last picked a text to memorize. This week I decided to go with a praise. I aim to repeat this text every day as part of my morning worship and Bible reading. It is good to praise God because it helps me focus on what is important and everlasting - my heavenly Father. He is good!

Friday, July 20, 2012

When we packed the car right before the move, everything that didn't fit was left in Arizona. Right before we left, we had too many items left in the kitchen and not enough space in the trunk. Trying to make quick decisions so that we could hit the road, I just starting throwing things into a box for the donation bin.

Once we arrived in Seattle and moved into our townhouse, I realized just how much I wasn't able to brinig with me. Now I realize just how thankful I am for kitchen basics!

Our recent Bed, Bath, and Beyond haul

Now I have two pots, a frying pan, two plates, five glasses, two forks, two spoons, three Cutco knives, a pizza pan, a rolling pin, wooden spoons, and some measuring spoons/cups. Even with so little, I can cook so much more. I still don't have much but I am grateful for the blessings of a barebones kitchen!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Home again

Ah, it is so good to be home again. More tomorrow!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Out of town again

I am headed to the airport in about 10 minutes to fly to Casper, Wyoming. My family is having a mini-reunion to spend some time with my 85 year old Grandfather. I'll be back Wednesday night and hope to return to regular blog posting soon! I hope everyone has a great week!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cool mornings and the smell of pine

I can smell pine trees from our patio. Bliss! And I think my cat enjoys that patio even more than I do.

I still need to take these grocery bags back out to the car. But how can you disturb such a contented looking creature?

Ah, he leads such a hard life...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day 5 - We've been busy!

It has been a very busy week. Between moving and shopping and cleaning and work and meeting up with a friend on the 4th, we're ready for the weekend! Our tentative plan is to go hiking tomorrow. I hope we can go!

I've been hard at work upstairs, mostly working in the kitchen. I finally finished cleaning and took some pictures to post.

My new kitchen!

View from the "office"

Looking out

Practical knitting

Next up is to finish cleaning out the storage closet in the upstairs hallway. I'm not certain what I will use it for. It has shelves for a pantry or for cleaning supplies or cat supplies. Right now the kitchen trash bag is stored there as the only option in the kitchen is a tiny trash can under the sink.

Once I finish the storage closet, I'll be tackling the bathrooms. Yay. Bathrooms are not my favorite, but it has to be done.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Day 1 in our new home

Today was busy, busy, busy. We ate breakfast at the hotel, packed all of our stuff into the car, and then met the realtor at 11. She completed a walk through of the townhouse so that all prior damage would be recorded and we wouldn't be held responsible for it.

After that, Jeff and I set up an area in the house for the cats. We locked them into the spare bedroom with a litter box, a bowl of food, water, and a blanket. Once we were sure they were safe and would stay out of trouble, we finished unloading the stuff from the car and then headed out.

First we stopped by the UPS store and picked up the 16 boxes we shipped. They barely fit into our car! The entire trunk and back seat were packed. We stopped by the house and unloaded all of the boxes. Now our entire earthly belongs (not much!) are all in one place.

We tried to finish our errands but discovered that now the trunk won't latch. We tried everything, but it wouldn't stay closed. We finally laid down the back seat and hubby climbed into the trunk to tie it down from the inside. Instead of heading to the store, we drove straight to the auto shop. They had to order the part to fix the trunk but it should arrive tomorrow morning. That ate up most of what was left of our moving fund.

Finally, around 3 this afternoon, we started shopping. That was fun! We are prioritizing what we need vs. what we want and will be saving to buy furniture one piece at a time. This pay period, we can't afford to buy anything expensive so we stuck to some basics. Pillows. Two folding chairs and a card table so hubby can work from home. A pizza pan for Saturday night pizza night! Some cleaning supplies. A cutting board.

We have no pots and pans, no kitchen applicances, but we can bake a pizza! We will probably be eating a lot of sandwiches until hubby gets paid again. I'm still researching pots and pans to determine what best fits our needs and is also environmentally friendly.

I had hoped to post pictures today but by the time we arrived home, it was too dark to take good photos. This is the only one I was able to take:

Our new "office"

Tomorrow I get to start cleaning. Unfortunately, today I forgot to buy an all purpose cleaner so I can't start scrubbing down the kitchen. I may have very little to put away, but I want to put away our two plates and four glasses into newly scrubbed cupboards! I am so happy to be at home.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Moving Progress

I was really struggling last week. I'm not sure if it's a difference between Seattle and Phoenix, or a change in the market since the last time I searched for a rental, but finding a vacancy is extremely difficult. I made a ton of phone calls, spent hours scouring the internet, and found only a few places that had units available for rent immediately.

It seems the seller is in control here, that renters usually sign leases without ever viewing the unit they are leasing. The last time I apartment hunted, I was able to view model apartments, have options in which unit I wanted, and schedule a date to move in! It seems these days that having a model unit is a waste of money, that management companies can justify leasing out the models because renters are desperate enough for a place to live that they will sign a lease without physically viewing the property. In my mind, that is crazy.

After much searching, after much prayer, we found an apartment complex last Wednesday with a unit available and put a hold on it. However, I didn't feel right about it. Something was wrong and I wasn't sure what. I just knew that it didn't feel like home and that we were supposed to keep looking.

Lisa, our brilliant realtor, sent us several more advertisements on Wednesday evening. We found a condo and a townhouse to tour and scheduled the tours on Thursday afternoon. The first condo was nice but on the second of three floors, something Jeff wanted to avoid. He's ok with neighbors being above or below us, but not both at the same time.

On our way to the townhouse, I was convinced we were headed home. I had been praying about it and kept repeating to myself the verse in my last post. "Trust in the Lord... He will direct your path." When we first arrived at the townhouse, the realtor couldn't get the keys! I was really disappointed but knew that we were supposed to live there. Finally, Jeff figured out how to open the key safe and we were able to enter the townhouse.

I fell in love. The place is gorgeous. All wood floors, something I've always wanted. Two levels with the bedrooms below and the living area above. Two patios. A flat burner stove, another dream of mine. A fireplace! A skylight that illuminates the living room. I felt like I was at home.

Now, could we qualify to rent the place? We were still waiting final approval on the apartment we had put on hold. We have good credit, a steady employment history, and a solid rental history (six years at our last address!). Do we make enough money to qualify for a townhouse instead of an apartment?

First thing on Friday morning, we submitted all of the applications and documentation. Then we waited. And waited. And waited some more. Our final approval for the apartment arrived but we were still waiting on the townhouse. Was I correct that God wanted us in the townhouse? I kept praying!

On Saturday evening, we received an email that our screening was complete and that we qualified for the townhouse. The only step left was to await the owner's final approval. With that, we cancelled our hold on the apartment. That was nerve wracking, knowing that we had no back up plan. I tried to hold on to my faith, reminding myself constantly that God was in control.

This morning, we found out that we are approved! We visited with the rental management company and signed the lease this afternoon. Tomorrow morning, we are moving in to the beautiful townhouse! God is very, very good. I am so grateful that He led us every step of the way, taking care of us on our trip to Washington, guiding us in our house hunting, and helping us learn to wait on Him.

We have spent the last week living out of a hotel and it's been a bit rough. It's hard to "keep house" when the house doesn't exist. Now I can cook again! Of course, we own not a single pot or pan. Some research and a shopping trip are in the works.

I can't wait to pick up the keys tomorrow morning. I will post pictures as soon as I can!