Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Five


Here are some of my favorite things from this week:

1.  Pumpkin Spice
It is that time of year where you can find pumpkin spice everything.  This youtube video from last year pretty much sums it up:  Pumpkin Spice Movie Trailer
I've enjoyed a few Pumpkin Spice Chai lattes or Pumpkin Spice 1/2 caffeine lattes this season.  I've also made pumpkin bread, pumpkin bars, and pumpkin creme brulee.  And Seth loves pumpkin, so I'm sure there are more recipes in my future this Fall.

2.  The Treasure Principle
This is a small book by Randy Alcorn, only 120 pages.  Seth and I have been reading it together before we go to bed.  It really puts giving into perspective.  I love how he relates giving to storing our treasures up in heaven instead of here on earth (Matthew 6:20).  It has definitely convicted me to take a look at where we are spending our money, and how much we are giving.  I would highly recommend it.


 
Here are the six keys:

1.  God owns everything; I’m His money manager.  We are the managers of the assets God has entrusted—not given—to us.

2.  My heart always goes where I put God’s money.  Watch what happens when you reallocate your money from temporal things to eternal things.

3.  Heaven—the New Earth, not the present one—is my home.  We are citizens of "a better country—a heavenly one" (Hebrews 11:16).

4.  I should live today not for the dot, but for the line. From the dot—our present life on earth—extends a line that goes on forever, which is eternity in Heaven.

5.  Giving is the only antidote to materialism.  Giving is a joyful surrender to a greater person and a greater agenda. It dethrones me and exalts Him.

6. God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.  God gives us more money than we need so we can give—generously.

3.  Early Home Class
We attended a class at the birthing center last night.  We are delivering at a stand-alone birthing center, where the mom, dad, and baby go home around 4-6 hours after baby is born.  If there are complications or issues, they'll transfer you to the hospital for a longer stay.  However, if all goes well, Lord willing, we are excited to be able to go back to the comfort of our own home shortly after Baby J arrives.  The class was very informative, and helped us to be aware of issues to watch out for, and what to expect those first few days after our baby arrives.  Every week, things are getting more real!  We are also taking a breastfeeding class this Saturday!

4.  Coconut Oil
We've had coconut oil around the house for over a year, but I wasn't quite sure how to use it.  I'm still learning about all its benefits, but one thing I've done is replace my body lotion with coconut oil.  It's a little tricky, because it is solid at 75 degrees and a liquid at higher temperatures.  Our house is not 75 degrees this time of year, so I have to 'thaw' it under hot water before I can effectively apply it.  There are a ton of benefits to using coconut oil on your skin.  A quick Google search will tell you that it is great, and it doesn't have all the artificial stuff that lotion has in it! 

5.  Almost 34 weeks pregnant
The interwebs tell me that my baby is about the size of a large cantaloupe (last week she was a pineapple).  She is about 17.7 inches long from head to heel and weight almost 5 pounds!  Don't you love the comparisons to fruits and vegetables that they use to tell us how big baby's are in the womb?  At least cantaloupe and pineapple are familiar fruits.  One week, my baby was the size of a rutabaga.  Now, I don't know about you, but I do not feast on rutabagas very often, so I had no idea how big that was!



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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Baby Shower Blessings


I can't believe that I will be at 34 weeks on Saturday.  Pregnancy has been such a wonderful blessing.  I love feeling our little girl kick and move around.  Although I am excited to meet her, I'm perfectly content carrying her until full term.  She's easy to care for inside my belly!



Here's an update:
33 weeks + 5 days (33 weeks in the picture)

Maternity clothes?
Yes!  They are so much more comfortable.  I've tried to squeeze into some non-maternity shirts still, but those aren't really fitting anymore either.

Sleep?
I'm sleeping pretty well.  Baby J is moving around a little more at bedtime, and I usually wake up at least once to use the restroom.  But I'm still getting good sleep!

Best moment this week?
Baby shower!  More about that below.

Symptoms?
Some round ligament pain and swelling in my legs and ankles.  I also have had some sore joints in my fingers when I wake up in the morning.  I find that if I drink a lot of water during the day, that helps.

Food cravings?
Just sugar and carbs.  I usually eat pretty healthy and we cook and eat almost all our meals at home, but there is just too much junk around at work.

Food aversions?
Nothing new.  The stuff I didn't like before, I still don't like (pickles, mustard, fish, etc).

Movement?
Lots and lots of kicks and shifting from Baby J.  She continues to be active every day.  My sister got to feel her kick on Saturday!

Gender?
Girl!

Labor signs?
None. No recognizable Braxton Hicks either.

Belly button in or out?
Sorta out, sorta in.  I think it depends on where baby is positioned.

What I miss?
Nothing!  I already feel like our life has changed, and I know when she is here, it'll be a whole new world!

What I'm looking forward to?
We are still working on our upstairs bedroom.  Our house was built in 1910, and although previous owners have done a lot of updating, we still have some to make it our own.    

Seth has been installing electrical this week to add a light switch, light in the closet, and additional outlets.


Here are the walls after the wallpaper had been removed.  The walls are plaster.  There was a lot of cracks and damage.


Here are the walls after a coat of skim coat (thinned out plaster).  You can see the floors below.  We had those refinished a few months ago.

We are looking forward to getting this room finished, so we can have our bedroom on the same floor as the nursery.

I had two wonderful baby showers over the last couple of weeks.

The first shower on September 26th was hosted by a co-worker.  She hosted a dual shower for me and a co-worker that is due just a few weeks before me. It was a great, laid back shower on a Friday evening after work.  I really enjoyed getting together with my fellow work-ladies to talk outside of work and share baby stories.





The second shower was held on Oct 4th for my family.  It was about 2 hours away from where I live.  And my sister, Emily, and my Aunt Kris and Cousin Missy hosted the shower at my Aunt Kris' and Uncle Ken's house.  They have a beautiful house out in the country with a pond.  Even the guys came, and fished and watched the kids while we did the girly shower stuff!

My younger sister, Emily
My dad came from 4 hours away!
My sister, my mom, and me
A beautiful knitted dress that my mother-in-law made
Seth, me, my MIL, & my FIL
It was a great shower.  I was also so happy to have so many of my loved ones together for a day.  It had been since Christmas when I'd seen some of my cousins and family.

We got so many wonderful gifts for Baby J.  I can't believe the love and support we have received from everyone around us.  We have so many things to start out our lives with our little girl!

My sister also took a few maternity pictures for us.  Most are on her camera, so I'll share more later!

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

30 weeks

I cannot believe I’ve reached the 30 week mark of this pregnancy. It has really gone by fast and the pregnancy has been pleasant. I hardly had any morning sickness, and except for some tiredness, I’ve felt great. I’m seeing a Midwife at a stand-alone birth center for prenatal care and will deliver at the same birth center. It is important to me to have a natural birth without interventions and medication. I’ll also be using the support of a doula during labor and delivery. We had an appointment earlier this week, and everything looks good and Baby Girl is head down, so that is good news! I have to constantly remind myself that this is real, and I thank the Lord every day for seeing us fit to become parents.
 
Here’s a summary:
How far along?
30 weeks + 5 days today (30 weeks in the picture)

Maternity clothes?
Oh yes! I was blessed by a lot of borrowed maternity clothes from women at church, my sister and sister-in-law, so I’ve only purchased two pairs of pants and a couple maternity tanks.

Sleep?
Pretty good, once I fall asleep. Sometimes it takes some moving around to get comfortable, and I’ve had some seasonal allergies that clog up my nose. But Breath Right strips help!

Best moment this week?
At the midwife appointment where she told me that baby has her head down (and will probably stay that way, yay!) and hearing her heartbeat. J

Symptoms?
Some round ligament pain and some veiny legs, but nothing to complain about

Food cravings?
Pumpkin spice latte from Caribou (1/2 caff) or Pumpkin spice chai latte. Yummy.

Food aversions?
None really.

Movement?
Lots and lots of kicks and shifting from Baby J. She is so active, and I love feeling her move around and sharing that with Seth. 

Gender?
Girl!

Labor signs?
None. I haven’t really noticed any Braxton Hicks yet. But I probably just don’t recognize them.

Belly button in or out?
Still in, but I think it might pop out before too long.

What I miss?
Nothing! I love being pregnant. I wouldn’t trade a deli meat sandwich or a beer for any of this.
Here's Baby J's 20 week ultrasound.

What I'm looking forward to? 
Finishing our upstairs bedrooms and living area. And upcoming baby showers.

We’ve been working a lot on our house to prepare for baby. There are three bedrooms upstairs and one bedroom on the main level. The nursery is upstairs, so we are moving our master bedroom upstairs also. Back in April, we ripped out all the carpet and had the original 100-year old wood floors refinished. Then in June, we had the damaging hail storm, which we are still working on completing repairs and replacements. Over the summer, we worked on the new master bedroom by tearing down some awful wallpaper. Unfortunately, we discovered that it was covering up some less-than-perfect plaster walls. So, we are in process of skim-coating or resurfacing the walls with joint compound. It is a long process, but when we are done, we hope to have smooth walls with no cracks. I’ll post before and after pictures when we are finished.

We’ve already been blessed with a lot of baby things, and I haven’t even had a shower yet. My mother-in-law gave us a crib, pack & play, activity mat, jogging stroller, and a lot of other misc needs. She has also knitted four beautiful blankets, two adorable outfits, and some hats, mittens, etc. She has been amazing and supportive. The nursery is coming together. We still need to hang curtains and some wall art. Plus, we’ve been on the lookout for a rocker to use in the baby’s room. I’ve also decided to cloth diaper, and my sister-in-law has been generous with diapers she is no longer using. Others have also been so generous with items given to us or lent to us.  

Here's a sneak peek of the nursery.  The dresser we bought from IKEA.  Oh boy, was it an ordeal to get this thing, but that's a story for another post.


Fall is beginning out at our place, and we’ve started to think about firewood and heating over the winter months. We refilled our propane tank. Last winter, propane prices skyrocketed to over $4/gallon when they are normally around $1.50/gallon. So, we primarily relied on our woodburning stove and space heaters for warmth. This year, with a little baby, we want to be prepared for a cold winter, so we’ll have propane, wood, and electric covered.

We are just in awe almost every day with the blessings that God has given us.  What a great and faithful Lord we have!

Things have been busy around here, but I'll try to post more in the next few months as we prepare for our whole lives to change! 


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Acreage update

 
I've been even more absent than normal from blogging lately. Mostly because of being pre-occupied with the little precious miracle I'm carrying!

On Monday, I took Seth to the airport. He is going to be gone for almost 3 weeks for work. We’ve been getting some good momentum on projects around the house, so it is disappointing he has to go right now in the middle of summer. On the bright side, I’m in my 2nd trimester and can still do a lot of things on my own, but I’m also really sad that he is missing out on one of our midwife appointments and two birth classes.

In the meantime, I have plenty of projects to work on at home. We are moving our master bedroom upstairs to be closer to the nursery. We spent a weekend tearing down wallpaper in our new bedroom, but we aren’t quite finished yet. There was wallpaper on the ceiling, in the closets, everywhere! This stuff was stuck on and was planning on staying. Unfortunately, after all the wallpaper was removed, we learned that the walls need some repairs. Not just patching a couple holes, but filling in large cracks and making the walls more even. I might try this technique of skim coating the walls. I'll try to take some pictures and post them soon.

While Seth has been gone for, oh, about two full days. I've kept him up-to-date on things going on at the 'ol homestead.

For example, we have some precious little 5 week old kittens.  And he just has to know everything they are doing.  So naturally I text him pictures and explain the details of their lives. 

Here they are scarfing down some tuna.  Wow, did they love it.  They've be limited to mama's milk and hard food until yesterday.  This tuna made their day.
 
 
 
Here is a tiny toad that I found in our garage.  Now, we normally have toads in our garage, but this one was tiny, therefore I had to text Seth a picture.  It is blurry, I know.  Phone cameras do that sometimes.
 
 
Here is the tiniest frog ever discovered.  I'm sure of it.  Actually Seth found this frog, but I wanted to share it with you, because it is so cute.
 
 
And some more cuteness, just because it is a Wednesday.  Trixie playing with the kittens.  We call them "Acreage Buddies". 
 
And the two black and white kittens being adorable.

Seriously, having kittens is so much fun.  We found home for the two black and white kittens above.  We are still looking for a home for the little gray tiger-stripped kitty.  If we have to keep her/him, I suppose that would be okay.  :) 

Have a great day!
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Announcement

video

We shared this video with our families on Easter when I was 9 weeks pregnant. We are so excited to be expecting our first baby this November! I'm 21 weeks along now, and feeling great.  The first trimester wasn't too rough, just some nausea and fatigue.  Mostly, I was experiencing some first time mom nerves, but no serious morning sickness.  I ask God for grace and peace everyday when I start to feel anxious or nervous about the baby.

We had our 20 week ultrasound last week.  It was so amazing to see the little hands, feet, spine, and heartbeat.  Everything looked good, and we were excited to find out we are having a little girl!

Even though I'd had a lot time to let the news sink in, I still feel in awe that God has chosen to bless us with a baby.  I had come to trust that His timing would be perfect for us, and He chose now to be that time.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;

Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

Psalm 103:1-5


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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What a little hail can do

The weather can get crazy in Nebraska. At around 8:00pm, it was still clear and warm. Around 9pm, the hubby and I were getting ready for bed. I know, we go to bed early, but we were up late the night before because I played a tennis match and didn’t get home until after 9:30pm and still had to eat dinner! But in all reality, we usually go to bed around 9pm. I like my sleep. 

Anyway, so we had just turned out the lights when I said, “Maybe we should close the windows, I think it is starting to rain.” I went out to the living room and closed the windows, when I saw it had started to hail, the hail stones were probably about pea-sized. As I walked toward the kitchen, I realized how loud it sounded upstairs. The hail was getting much bigger. Upstairs, we had just ripped up carpet and gotten the original wood floors refinished. We have more work to do upstairs (paint, furniture, decorating, etc), so the upstairs is pretty bare and echo-y. As I was listening, I heard a loud crash. The hail had broken through the window and glass had flown everywhere – even down the stairs! We had golf ball to softball sized hail in our area.

And then, just a few minutes later, we heard another crash, as the hail broke through our 1st floor master bedroom window. Ugh. So much for going to bed early. We had some cleaning up to do late last night. We stayed up another 1 ½ hours cleaning up broken glass, mopping up water, and stapling plastic over the windows. We tried to go to bed, but a second storm rolled through around midnight with more hail (no more broken windows, thankfully) and loud wind. Finally, closer to 12:30 or 1am, we were able to go to sleep. What a night!

We got up the next morning to see that the hail had also done quite a number on our siding on the whole north side of the house. And our detached garage on the north side is all torn up also. We have several outbuildings that look like the paint was stripped, but we haven’t assessed all the damage just yet. An insurance adjuster will hopefully come out this week.


 It seems bad, but I am so thankful for many things during that storm.
-We didn’t lose power. Cleaning up broken glass in the dark would have been impossible.
-We weren’t injured and didn’t receive any damage that can’t be fixed.
-Our cars were in the garage and didn’t receive any damage.

Although it is an inconvenience, the Lord really kept us safe. I also remind myself that this world is just my temporary home and these things are just possessions. Our hope is in Him, not in physical things.

 
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Friday, May 23, 2014

Spring Blessings


It is time for a new start.  I've got a new blog design (thanks Ashley!), it is new Spring season, and I am finally coming out of a blog drought!

I am really excited for this blog to be more about our life in the country, my faith, our family, but mostly just the regular everyday things that make our life wonderful.

This spring has been amazing for us.  I have really loved seeing our homestead transform over the last few weeks.  Rain has brought a lot of green to our area.  The trees and grass are growing like crazy, and we are are just trying to keep up with the new adventure.  It seems like each week, month, and season brings its own challenges and projects.

Last weekend, we planted 33 trees on our property.  They are small seedlings about 12-18 inches tall that will hopefully grow into large trees to provide a wind break and shade in the future.  We planted oak, elderberry, american plum, cotoneaster, and chokecherry trees.  There is a program with our Natural Resources District that allows land owners to order seedlings at a discounted price, if ordered in large quantities.  We ordered 50, but after 7+ hours of digging, planting, watering, and mulching, we didn't have the daylight or energy to plant the other 17 trees.  At this point, I don't know if they'll make it if we plant the rest now.

I'm looking forward to this long weekend.  We have family coming over on Monday for Memorial Day, and I'm working on a gift for my mother-in-law.  I'll share more about that project later.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday's never come soon enough

I am thrilled that it is finally Friday.  This week felt like it took forever!  Seth and I are keeping busy making a lot of plans for all the things we need to do during the week, and then usually crashing on the couch at night after dinner.  It's rough, I tell ya. 

Anyway, we have a lot planned for this weekend.  My mom arrives home from visiting my brother, sister-in-law, and niece in Portland.  We are going to pick her up from the airport late tonight when she returns.  We originally planned to go with her to Portland, but since I was in Baltimore for so long, I just did not want to travel already again.  So, we've postponed that trip until later this year.

On Saturday, we have a list of stuff to do around the property:
-Repair siding that flew off during a windy day
-Repair three tires for our boat and wheelbarrow
-Clean out the garden shed
-Fix our friend's Chevy Blazer
-Clean up the pontoon boat we bought in February
-Tear up some nasty carpet upstairs
-Maybe, maybe work on our taxes (ugh!)

Our cats are doing well.  Armando we think might be a girl, so that name might have to change.  She is still really scared of everyone and everything.  She at least lets me hold her for a little while though, and I've only been mauled once.  Okay, I only got a small scratch.  But I disinfected that scratch like it was a serious wound!

Frank (which I called Crosby in my last post) is our black and white cat.  He's really starting to grow on us.  But our German Shepherd thinks otherwise.  She is not a fan of cats.  This might be a long battle to get them to get along.

Otherwise, things are going well.  Some of my plants are starting to sprout, and I am coaxing them into becoming beautiful delicious veggies!  If the weather cooperates this weekend, I think we'll feel really good about all we were able to accomplish!



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Seed Starting & Our New Cats

As I mentioned earlier this week, we were in the process of getting a couple of cats to help control our mouse population.  We picked up one cat on Thursday evening from a country home that had 6+ cats and at least one pregnant cat.  They needed to get rid of some.  These were true farm cats.  The gray and black tiger cat, Armando, is pretty wild.  It is not domesticated much at all.  Right now, it is scared out of its mind.  We aren't sure if it is a boy or a girl, but let's just go for boy for the time being.  We've put food and water out for him, but we don't think he's eaten anything.  He does not like to be held, so we're having a hard time taming him enough to make him feel more comfortable.  I'm just worried that if he doesn't eat or drink, he won't make it very long.  Poor little thing.


We picked up the black and white cat, Crosby, this afternoon.  This was the cat that I received the weird text message about.  He is more domestic, but doesn't seem to get along with Armando.  But he'll at least let you pet him and pick him up.  And he ate right away.  So, this is a new adventure that we will need to work on together.  I haven't had a cat since I was under 10 years old, and Seth never really had cats either.  We hope that these two cats will be mostly outdoor cats (unless the weather is awful, of course).  


In other news, I got some seeds started today!  I'd had really been procrastinating, but after a little reading and making a mess, I got 18 plants started.

I had already purchased this tray and seeding starting mix.  This is not regular potting soil, which I learned (after we had already bought potting soil).

First, I filled the tray with soil, added some water and mixed it around with an old pen.  I know, really professional.

Next, I set out the seed packets that I planned to put in each cell.


Then, I used these small plastic label sticks to label each cell.  This way, I will know what is growing when they start popping out of the dirt. 


Next, I took out two to three seeds from each pack and tossed them into the middle where I had made a small indention.


One pepper that I planted is the "Habanero Chocolate Pepper".  I think it is just called "chocolate" because of the color, but hey, maybe it takes like chocolate, too.  This was one of my fun purchases this year.


After all the seeds were put in the seed starting mix, I covered them over with some more mix and then watered them.  I don't have a watering can, so I just used a plastic cup.  I'm fancy like that.


Lastly, I covered it all over with plastic wrap.  This is to keep the heat and moisture inside.  The seeds will stay out on our enclosed porch.  I think they will get plenty of sun and stay warm out there.  They will require more water throughout the weeks also.  


I'm excited to see things grow by my own hands.  I'm even more excited to eat some stuff later this season!  Seth has promised that he will eat more vegetables from his own garden than he currently does.  He's not a huge veggie fan.

Otherwise, it has been a fairly quiet day.  Seth is working outside on our friend's car.  I'm switching between doing little chores and sitting on the couch.  Mostly sitting on the couch, if I'm being honest.  I love weekends, because I get a chance to relax and regroup.  And today, the weather is beautiful, which makes it even better!  If only we could have more weekends...Let me know when someone figures out how to make that happen. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

This and That.....and Cats!

I cannot believe how fast the days and weeks fly by.  We have been very busy at work and equally busy at home.  Here's a recap of some of the things we've been up to:

-We've purchased all the items needed for our seed starting.  I'm procratinating a little, because I don't know what I'm doing.  But, I guess the best way to learn is "hands-on".  So, sometime this week, I will get those seeds planted in their tiny homes!

-Vanilla Tea Latte!  What?!  Why didn't I ever know about this before today?  I'm normally a coffee girl, but decided to switch it up today.  Also, our local Caribou Coffee has buy-one-get-one-free on Thursdays, so I figured there was nothing to lose.  This beverage is delicious.  Everyone should run our and get one right now.

-We took my mom to I Love Lucy Live on Stage on Sunday to celebrate her birthday.  My husband, Seth, grew up watching all the classic TV shows (Dick Van Dyke, Gilligan's Island, I Love Lucy, etc).  And he has helped me to fall in love with those shows, too.  It was a great performance, and the actors and actresses really played their parts well! 

-I bought this BEAUTIFUL antique library table and antique typewriter stand a few days ago.  There is this fabulous little shop that sells vintage furniture and clothes at really reasonable prices.  The library table is going to go in our office, and right now, the stand is in our kitchen.  Because we have a 114 year old farmhouse, these pieces just fit it perfectly.  Now, if I could only get all our boxes unpacked from the move 5 months ago (don't judge).

Here's a picture of the table while it was still in the store.   I could not get a picture of the stand to upload - urgh!



-As I mentioned before, we have mice.  Although we have been controlling them fairly well, we really think getting a couple of farm cats will help us.  We are going to take a look at some cats tonight at a farm nearby.  Then on Saturday, we have agreed to take a cat off someone's hands.  It is a little bit of a weird situation.  Here's how it went down:  I posted an ad on Craigslist stating that we wanted some farm cats.  I got a response from a person saying they had a cat and to text them.  So, I texted them a few questions about the cat, but then it got weird:


Just very strange situation.  We've agreed to still take the cat, but I hope the cops don't come knocking on my door!

Alright, here's hoping the rest of the week goes well and no more weird cat situations arise! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Spring is on my mind


I am so excited for Spring to be here.  It has been downright chilly here in Nebraska prior to this week.  On Sunday, March 2nd, the high was 5 degrees.  You can't do anything outside when it is only 5 degrees!  Thankfully, the forecast for the next week is much, much warmer.  Take a look at Monday! 

We are eager to get some seeds started for our garden.  I think this will be the week for us to get going, so the veggies will be ready to put in the outside garden when it is official planting time. 

Because of this cold snap, some of the things we have been dealing with on the 'ol homestead are frozen pipes, sky high propane costs, and visiting mice.  Let's start with the pipes.  As far as we can tell, the main floor bathroom was an addition to the house that was added in the last several years.
It is a beautiful bathroom, but the heat just doesn't flow well to it.  We have had the shower pipe freeze at least 5 times since we moved into the house in November.  One of our Spring projects is to remove the drywall behind the shower and see about insulating the pipes better.

Propane prices.  Well, this factors into the frozen pipes somewhat.  Because our house is heated primarily by propane, we watch the price of propane fairly closely.  What happens in the country, generally, is that you have a propane tank (500 gallons in our case) that you pay to have filled.  Then you use that propane throughout the year, until you need to fill it again.  Something crazy happened with propane prices this year, so we have been forced to hold off on filling our tank and crank the furnance way down.  Check out this graph that shows the spike.  To save money, we have been keeping our furnance at 57 degrees!  That is cold, people!  Brrrr!  However, one of the greatest blessings this winter has been that we have a wood burning stove that feeds into our heating ducts, so we have been able to supplement with wood to heat our house. 
 
 
And lastly, because of the chilly weather (and just the fact that we live in the middle of a wooded and field-filled area), we have mice.  Mice love to come inside and chew on stuff.  They have chewed on:  wicker baskets, lotion bottles, shoes, drywall, insulation, spray foam, oatmeal for bath soaks, etc.  They are crazy little creatures.  Seth has been great about setting out traps, and we've caught a lot of them.  But, I am hoping that as the weather warms up, we won't discover nearly as many.  I'll spare you a picture of the dead mice though!  Aren't I nice?
 
All in all, I am ready for Spring.  I'm sure it will come with a whole new set of challenges, but I am ready to leave this cold weather behind and experience God's creation of growth, new life, and warmth!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dwell on This

Yesterday, I was in a bad mood.  Nothing in particular set me off.  I just was tired and grumpy.  I think we all have those days.  But, I know that as a Christian, I have been instructed to dwell on the positive things in my life and to be thankful for all the blessings I have been given.  Philippians 4:8 gives us this lesson.

 
I love this verse, because it is so clear.  It helps me to put things in perspective.  We often default to the "woe is me" feelings of this world, but Paul writes in Philippians that we should dwell on the positive gifts from God.  See, Paul wrote Philippians from prison.  My Tuesday, in America, at my desk job certainly cannot be worse than sitting in a prison cell in Rome.  And still, in his circumstances, he told us that God wants us to focus our thoughts on the things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and worthy of praise.
 
My blog friend, Caroline, over at In Due Time also reminded me that everyday we have a choice about our attitudes.  She reinforced that notion with another verse, Proverbs 23:7, which states "For as he thinks within himself, so he is...."
 
Today, I've made that decision to focus on the positive.  God has blessed me with many wonderful things, and I will praise Him for that today!
 


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Back Home

I'm home! And I got here early. I was originally scheduled to come back home to Nebraska on Friday, February 14th. However, since the weather people were predicting that the Northeast was in for a GIANT snowstorm, the folks I was working for in Baltimore gathered everyone up on Tuesday morning and told us all to book new flights for Wednesday. I was on that so fast!  

The Lord is so amazing in answering prayers. When I heard talk of a storm, I started praying that the Lord would get me home safe. I didn't think about an earlier flight, I was just hopeful that I would get home on-time and safe. He answered that prayer with something even greater than I imagined!  

"The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted." 
Psalms 18:46

I got a flight out on Wednesday at 6:30am. This gave me a 3:15am wake up call, so I could get ready to head to the airport. The driver picked me up at 4:15am, and got me to the airport plenty early to get through security and get a latte. I'm not pretty that early in the morning, especially without a little coffee.  

There was a strange situation in the security checkline where a man didn't want to go through the metal detector without being able to see his carry-on luggage. He said something about having three laptops. He was very insistent and sort of obnoxious. Not surprisingly, he was then singled out for a pat down. He ended up being on my flight, and I didn't hear anything more from him, so maybe it was truly just an issue with his many laptops.

So, after arriving on Wednesday, Seth picked me up at the airport. He took the whole day off of work, so we could spend time together (isn't he awesome?). We grabbed lunch downtown and then headed home. I spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking, cleaning a bit, and then Seth made some delicious brisket, and we relaxed the rest of the evening.

We both headed back to work on Thursday. I was able to keep up on most of what was happening at work while I was gone, but still had some catching up to do once I got back into the office.  

We both took work off on Friday. A wife needs some time with her husband when she has been gone for 6 weeks! Seth bought me a beautiful necklace and 30 hydrangea stems for Valentine's Day. He's such a great guy!  

We otherwise stuck pretty close to home on Friday and Saturday. We tried to get our new driver's licenses because of moving to a new house, but the Licensing office is only open on Thursdays in our tiny county.  

We had a nice long weekend, (thanks to the Presidents!) with Monday off, too. So, we did a lot of Olympics-cheering, movie-watching, and lounging around the house. We also celebrated a very late Christmas with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and niece. We just weren't able to get together before I left for Baltimore. It was nice to see them all on Sunday after church. It is just so great to be home!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Table for One


One of the weirdest things about being on a trip for work is going out to eat by yourself.  Now, in interest of full disclosure, I've been on this trip for 6 weeks, and I've only sat down and eaten at a restaurant alone three times.  Which proves to you how much I dislike it.

One of the perks of being married is that you always have a dinner date.  It is strange to tell the host or hostess, "Just one."  And when I sit down, I feel like I should do something besides just eat.  Like check my phone or read a newspaper or do something!  I'm sure there are people out there that are way more comfortable with this solo activity.  I am not one of those people.

I went to a pub-type restaurant on Saturday afternoon.  I sat at the bar, because somehow that seemed less awkward to me.  I figured I could pretend to watch sports on TV.  No one would be staring back at me, expect maybe the bartender.  But even with all those fail-safes in place, I picked up a newspaper they had on the counter and started mindlessly reading that.  And then I started making a "To Do" list for next week.  And then I started a text conversation with my husband.  I couldn't just sit and eat.

So, naturally most of my meals have been consumed alone in my hotel room.  Somehow that doesn't seem as sad as eating alone at a restaurant.  Haha!  Did I mention that I cannot wait to get home?  Seth and I have been discussing all the meals we are going to cook when I get home.  Mainly perfecting our pizza recipe.  We love us some pizza.

And.........only 3 more full days until I go home!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dreaming of Homesteading



I have a dream of one day living on a self-sufficient homestead. You know the type with an overflowing garden, chickens running around the land, and a pig or two?  I want a fully stocked freezer and fresh eggs every morning.  I also dream of having enough fresh veggies to eat all summer and plenty to can and put away for the winter.

Back here in reality, I need to realize that I do not yet have the skill set for these tasks.  As I mentioned before, I am just learning how to garden (i.e. I've bought the seeds, but have not yet planted anything).  I have a couple of dogs, but have never worked with any chickens or livestock.  I've never canned anything either.  But, I know I can learn.  There are so many resources available to someone that wants to gain these skills.  There are books, videos, Pinterest, blogs, websites, etc that are all focused on homesteading. 

I also need to remember that I still have a full time job, and that I can't tackle all these things at one time.  And we are really still learning how to live in our new house.  Seth has been tackling most of the "quirks" himself, since I've been away.  For example, it has been a really cold winter, and we've had some frozen pipes.  You can't really focus on your dreams of a lush summer garden when you have the immediate need to thaw out a pipe!  But, we have hopes that come Spring, we will be more comfortable with the house and the land.

Monday, February 3, 2014

One of those days

This day did not start out good.  I work up the the hotel alarm clock, at 6:15am, and then looked at my phone.  It said "Searching for Service".  After 30 minutes online chatting with Verizon before work and then another 30 minutes chatting with Verizon while at work, they determined nothing could be done and I have to get a new phone.  Boo!  And double boo.

Now, let me start at the beginning with the phone situation.  When Seth and I moved out the the country, we didn't have a good option for internet, so we have been using my smart phone as a hot spot to have internet at the house.  When I had to come to Baltimore, the plan was to leave the smart phone at home, and I would take Seth's basic phone with me.

Anyway, we ended up buying a "new" basic phone off a guy on craiglist before I left, since Seth's old phone was in rough shape.  This phone has been less than dependable.  We had a hard time activating it, it has been shutting down on its own, and now well, it is officially broken.

Seeing as though I'm stuck in Baltimore, and it isn't really practical to not have a cell phone, I'm going to take the bus to the Verizon store tomorrow and either see if they can fix it or potentially buy a new phone.

Anyway, the day started off rough, but we got some great news later in the day, which totally made up for the first 7 hours of my day.  And, I'm still counting down the days.  Tomorrow marks only 10 days until I am home!


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Project 52 - Weeks 3 & 4

I made a commitment earlier this year to post a picture for every week of the year as part of a Project 52.

Week 3:

I took this picture at the Portrait Gallery in Washington DC a couple weeks ago. I was attracted by the amazing design that was on this stair railing. This wasn’t even a piece of art in the museum, but I love the detail on something that is supposed to be functional. It also in inspiration for something that I would love to have in my house.

railing


Week 4:

This picture I took while exploring Baltimore. The tourists and birds were out in full force. The pigeons let me get so close. I think they were hoping I had some crumbs to throw to them.

IMG_1220


In just a few weeks, I’ll be taking pictures around our homestead for my Project 52! Wooohooo!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hotel Life

I have been living out of a hotel for the last 24 days.  And I have 15 days left.  Can I say I am in the home stretch yet?  The joys of living out of a hotel room.  There are some definite pros and some serious cons.

Pros

  • Well for one, I don't have to make my bed.  Someone does it for me!  Everyday.
  • The little coffee pods are miraculously restocked when I return to my room after work.
  • I have HGTV, TLC, and the Food Network to watch.  We don't have cable at home, so I'm pretty much getting my fill of DIY projects, What Not to Wear, and Pioneer Woman.  Oh, how I love Pioneer Woman.
  • Little to no responsibility.  Actually, I think this might be more of a con.  I do not want to develop bad habits that will follow me back home.

Cons
  • The strange noises.  The hotel is right next door to a fire station and the light rail tracks.  There must be a lot of emergencies, because those sirens seem to go blaring every 15 minutes.  I have a hard time falling asleep a night because of all the weird noises.  I'm used to living in the country, where all I hear is the occasional cow moo from the neighbors that live 1/4 mile away.
  • Laundry costs $3.50 per load.  Lucky for me, I've learned to master the no-need-to-sort-throw-everything-in-one-load method.  I'll teach you about it someday.  But seriously, $3.50 seems pretty steep. 
  • There are so many pillows, you would think that I could cuddle up with a couple and get a good night's sleep, but really no amount of pillows can substitute for my #1 snuggler back home.  (I'm talking about my husband, although my puggle is also a world class snuggler).
    One thing that I think I've always known, but has really been reinforced on this trip, is how much I love being home.  Everyone has a little bit of that grass-is-always-greener mentality, and unfortunately those few minutes that I thought "I could go to Baltimore, it would break up the day-to-day stuff at my regular job" have more so impacted my home life.  Duh, Amy.  You aren't just in Baltimore during the work day!  
    I want to get back to my actual life.  The life where I spend my free time with my hubby, even if it means I don't have the Food Network.  I want the routine of making my own bed (somedays) and doing laundry in my own house.  Actual life sure beats this hotel life any day of the week.