Sunday, August 31, 2008

I feel like it's time for an update...'s been a little while. Unfortunately I don't feel like I have that much to say, but for the sake of the 4 people who actually read this blog, I'm going to try my darndest.

Hurricane Faye has made an appearance in North Carolina. It has ruined my tri-weekly run this week. It has made my job not-so-much fun, as we've been stuck inside every day. It irritated my cold. It leaked into my car. And it made me want to do absolutely nothing. But I guess we need the rain...after last year's drought and a good bit of rain this year, Falls Lake is still below average heading into fall and winter. Not good.

My classes are going well. I've read half of the aforementioned 524-page book. And I'm on track with my quizzes/reading for my other class. I need to pick a country in Central Asia to do a research presentation on. Ideas? I'm thinking...I don't know which one to pick. Tajikistan? Or Southern Russia? Armenia? Azerbaijan? Help!!!!

This is a glorious weekend. Thank you, Labor Day, because I get it off and paid for the first time in my life. I feel like a grown-up! Tonight Shannon and I went to an impromptu grill-get-together and now we're watching the Clemson-Alabama game, rooting for Clemson to smoke Alabama, of course. The Auburn game is not televised (as far as we're aware), so we're having to make due with rooting for the team playing Auburn's arch rival.

Hmm. What else? Oh, on Monday my 5-year-old starts kindergarten. Praise the Lord. This means that not only does my day get easier, but that I also get a 1-1/2 to 3 hour break, 3 times every week. That 524-page book will be toast by the end of next week.

I got my wedding and engagement rings cleaned/inspected/Rhodium-coated today. Now they're oh-so-sparkly! I knew they were dirty when I could see the soap scum crusted on them with my own eyes. I love extended-service-plans: free cleanings for the rest of my life!

Shannon and I are transferring our membership to a different church tomorrow. We're both very excited. We've found a small group that we think we like and ministry opportunities that we think will fit well into our schedules. We're both happy about this move.

And that's about it. I'll try to be better at updating...the past couple of weeks have gotten away from me. I'm doing good at keeping the recipe blog up-to-date though! Check it out!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Summer Lovin'

This... a perfectly wonderful way to spend half your weekly grocery budget. :-)

Honestly, on Friday when I went grocery shopping I spent about 1/3 of our weekly budget on what you see above, minus the strawberries. I bought the strawberries on Wednesday for $1.50/lb, which if I do say so myself is a pretty good deal. I bought 4 pounds of them. I bought so many blueberries and raspberries because they were on sale for only $1.50/pint for the blueberries and $1.50/6-oz for the raspberries. Also a pretty good deal. So...our freezer is full of berries!

I love summer produce. It's actually affordable. In the winter we eat a lot of broccoli, carrots, potatoes, and...other random veggies, but mostly broccoli and carrots! So I'm lovin' my first whole summer in the South, where fresh produce abounds. You have to remember that I'm from the state where bananas go on sale for $.99/lb. Shannon is reaping the benefits of my love affair with the fruits and veggies in the eating department, but losing me to the cooking process for many hours each week. I'm sure that he's thankful that now school's started I'll have to do more crock pot/easy meals and not so many "elaborate" ones. Maybe next summer I can enjoy trying new "involved" recipes again.

Squash, eggplant, tomatoes and red peppers for ratatouille, sugar snap peas for pasta primavera.

Shannon had never had a fresh, plain raspberry before. He liked them!

Yesterday I made a strawberry tart. I've had the recipe for it for oh, about 5 years, but never had gotten around to making it before. Well, with my 4 lbs of strawberries I decided to go for it. One word: delicious.

On Thursday Shannon and I went to our first class of the semester. It was then that I learned that we have to read a 524-page book and write a 6-page book review over it by September 25th. That's less than 6 weeks away! And to make matters worse for me, it's a history book. Now, I have started (67 pages done by yesterday!), and will admit that it's not that bad, but still...history is just not my thing. So, we'll see if this book is interesting enough for me to actually enjoy learning about the history of Central Asia, or if I suffer through it strictly to get the assignment done. Let's hope it's the former.

Shannon and I have decided that I need some new clothes. So today after church we went shopping. For 4 hours. I bought 3 shirts, 2 of which were the same, just different colors. I must have tried on 50. At least. It is really hard to find affordable, comfortable, appropriate clothes that you actually like and would wear. I thought that maybe since I usually shop in Juniors (yeah, I know, I'm almost 30) I'd try the Misses or Women's departments. And then I remembered why I shop in Juniors: nothing in Misses or Women's fits me. The smalls and size 4's look like you could fit two of me into them. So, back to Juniors it was. I think that after 4 hours, 3 stores, 50ish shirts/dresses, 4 fitting room expeditions, and only 2 keepers, Shannon is finally coming to understand that unless you're made of money, shopping is really not that fun for most of us.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back to the Grind

Today is officially our last day of summer. Shannon and I have a class that begins tomorrow evening. We are quite sad about this. Oh, well. I guess we'll get another break in 4 months.

Today at work Campbell, my youngest, hurt her arm. We had to go to the doctor's office. I was really worried that I had done something to her: played too rough, jerked her hand too hard, etc. However, she had something called nursemaid's elbow. Apparently there's a ligament that runs down your arm and around your elbow, and in little kids it can move around when you're doing things like swinging them about by their arms or picking them up by their hands instead of under their arms. So, Campbell's had moved. The doctor folded her arm at the elbow, raised it to her shoulder, unfolded it, and she was better. Crying, of course, because it hurt, but completely fixed. Amazing. I was so relieved, although I still felt horrible.

Today I got a new phone number. If you don't have it and need/want it, shoot me off an email. My old number won't work anymore, so don't try it! My contract finally expired so I've been added onto Shannon's with the hopes that we'll save a good chunk of change. Now I need to call all the doctors, dentists, everyone in my address book, and so on to make sure they have my new number. I called my brother-in-law, planning on leaving a message since he's in Sweden on business, but he picked up! It was the middle of the night there...I guess iphones work in Europe. Oops.

And now it's bedtime. Shannon finished up the dishes and we're hoping to run in the morning, so it's 10:10 and we're headed to bed. I feel old.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Summer Projects

Well, the weekend is just about over and school starts in 4 days. I can't believe that summer break is almost over! Honestly, I don't feel like I got much of a break. Between moving, out-of-town trips and my summer class, I feel like I got the first 2 weeks and the last 2 days for a vacation. Oh well. I did get a lot of things accomplished, so maybe this upcoming semester won't be very stressful.

This past week was a good one. First, I organized my sock drawer. Now, I know that sounds incredibly boring, but honestly, it was driving me crazy. Shannon and I got a (very) late wedding present (gift card to Bed, Bath and Beyond), so we went shopping and I bought these drawer divider things and set to work. Unfortunately I don't have a "before" picture, but trust me, it was bad. Next task: the underwear drawer (don't worry, I won't take pictures!)

Check out all those compartments! Undershirts, tights, belts, sleep shorts, and!

Wednesday evening Shannon and I went to some friends' house and played Settlers of Catan. It was much fun. Thursday our friends Diana and Greg came over because it was Diana's birthday, so I made lasagna and peach and blackberry cobbler. It was good, but quite honestly, not worth the 42 chigger bites I got picking the blackberries. Friday was "date night." We've decided that Fridays are going to be our regular date night where we just spend time with each other. So, we watched "We Are Marshall" and went to bed early. I didn't even cook...we just ate leftovers. It was great, and the movie was good too.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. I drove Shannon crazy, but he doesn't understand that I actually like to cook. So, I made a tomato tart for us for dinner and prepped a new take on my squash and rice casserole. I omitted the breadcrumbs and added shredded chicken and used yellow squash instead of zucchini. It now makes a pretty good main dish! Shannon washed a lot of dishes yesterday, but like I told him, there weren't that many to wash today! We long for the day when we have a dishwasher (which may actually be, umm, a very, very long time from now since we're planning on living overseas!)

Tomatoes drying and me rolling a cornmeal crust for the tart.

Then last night I took it upon myself to cover this ugly corkboard that we have hanging in our kitchen. It used to be in Shannon's "office" at our old place, so I didn't care what color it was, but when we moved I bought some blue fabric to fix it up so it would match our kitchen. Yesterday I finally got to that project. I am not the most crafty person out there, so it was hard for me to get it to work, but I finally conquered it! Shannon said it would be easier just to buy a new board, and while I agree, this way we were good stewards of what we already had.

The best "before" picture I have...isn't that an awful color of orange?

And that has been our weekend. This week I have a few things I want to get done, but for the most part we'll try to relax before classes begin on Thursday. We're excited for the semester but also long for more free time. Only 5 more classes left after this semester! Then we can have free time, right?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Birthday/Anniversary Celebrations

So, on Friday night Shannon and I went on a date. We went to see Batman at the IMAX theater in downtown Raleigh. It was pretty good! Shannon gave Batman a five on a five-point scale. As for me...I'm not that big into movies, so I thought it was good but don't want to put a number on it.

Me and Shannon at my first IMAX! And I'm wearing my new sweater that I bought with money that Shannon's mom and stepdad Milton gave me. Thanks, guys!

Next we went to one of Shannon's favorite restaurants in the area: Shuckers. We don't go there often because it's fairly expensive to us, but for special occasions (like his birthday!) we get to go.

Shannon with his fried oysters. We were backed into the corner, so he had to duck so I could get his picture.

Then on Saturday we drove up to Virginia to go to a wedding. Here's Brian and Bonnie, the happy bride and groom, cutting the wedding (cheese)cake that Brian made!

After the wedding we headed up to Richmond so that I could see a couple of my Polish friends from when I lived in Warsaw. We didn't get to stay very long, but considering I hadn't seen them in nearly four years, it was a great treat, and we live close-by, so we should get to see each other again. Thank you Facebook for getting me back in contact with Gosia!

Ania, me, Shannon, and Gosia, with Ania's sister Ola in the back

After we left Ania's, Shannon drove me to a surprise location...a Bed and Breakfast in the Virginia countryside! This is what we saw when we drove up:

But Shannon had requested the private cabin by the lake, so this is where we went:

It was hard to get a good picture because it was small!

Anyways, we just got to do a lot of relaxing and we spent some time praying over the upcoming years of marriage and thanking God for the last one. We re-read our vows to each other and just had a great time watching tv, reading, and playing Scrabble. Then it was back to North Carolina where we've been relaxing for the rest of the evening. All in all, I'd say it was a pretty good anniversary, and I was way impressed that Shannon was so romantic as to surprise me! It was a weekend of firsts for me: my first time to an IMAX, my first time at a Bed and Breakfast, and my (our) first anniversary! They were all great.

Hanging in the hammock by the lake

An anniversary picture by the fireplace

Happy Anniversary!

One year ago today, we said "I do!" Here are some of my favorite pictures from August 3rd, 2007.

We may be looking down, but I love this picture!

Cutting our cake that my mom made us

Me with the girls: Rachel, Marci, and Diana

Shannon with the boys: Steve, Randy, Don, and Josh

The entire bridal party

Shannon and I with my family, minus my brother-in-law (oops!)

Shannon and I with my dad and stepmom

Shannon and I with his mom and stepdad

Shannon and I with his dad and stepmom

We had a great day and everything went according to plan, but I'm so glad I don't have to plan another wedding! Shannon gave me a great surprise for our anniversary, but I think I'll put it in its own post.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Bele Chere, Blackberries, and Bug Bites

So, it is Friday and I have the day off! Shannon has the day off too, but he's out with "the guys" right now. The Waltzes went to Cincinnati for a goodbye party, so I got a long weekend! Yesterday I got off at noon and I swept and mopped our whole place, made dinner, and then last night we played Catan with some friends. It was a great, relaxing night.

Last weekend was a lot of fun. On Friday, Shannon and I came home and crashed because we were both exhausted from the week! Saturday morning we headed to Asheville, picking up my sister and brother-in-law on the way. We arrived, had a wonderful "Southern" lunch consisting mostly of fresh, local vegetables, and then we went to a fruit/vegetable stand where my dad bought us a 1/2 bushel of peaches to share.

Me, holding all the peaches. Can you see my arms straining?

Next, my sister and I headed to Bele Chere. We had been nearly 20 years ago when we were kids and remembered it as being great, but we were a bit disappointed. However, we did share a funnel cake and a virgin pina colada.

Rachel with her monkey cup.

Anyways, we didn't last too long at Bele Chere before we were ready to go home. So we played some Scrabble, ate dinner, and that's about it. Sunday my dad took me blackberry picking. I got about a quart, but they came at a high price. Tuesday morning when I woke up, I had about 30 bites of some kind all over my legs, with a couple on my feet, arms, and stomach. They itch like the dickens. I still don't know what they are, but we can only assume that since I had a tick in my hair (I screamed when I saw it (I'd never seen one before and didn't know what it was) while Lucas was driving...I think we nearly wrecked) that the bites are a result of an hour in the blackberry bushes. Maybe I'll feel differently when I get to making a cobbler with them, but for now...I don't think they were worth the current hassle.

Sunday, on our way home, we stopped in Greensboro to pick up Shannon's car which was still there from when he went to Ukraine. He ended up flying into Raleigh and he left out of Greensboro, so we finally got it (and his suitcase) home. We did laundry and then on Monday I went grocery shopping, made Shannon a birthday cake, and washed, sliced, and froze peaches and blackberries, blueberries and strawberries. Actually it took all week to get all the fruit frozen, but now we have four pounds of frozen strawberries, one quart of blackberries, two pints of blueberries, and 1/4 bushel of peaches. Yummy. I want to make a peach-blackberry cobbler, but we still have birthday cake and we'll be gone all weekend, so it'll have to wait!

Tuesday was Shannon's birthday and I made him soft tacos (his request), we ate cake, and relaxed.

34 candles, plus 1 to grow on!

And today we are celebrating Shannon's birthday and our anniversary. We are going to see Batman at the IMAX theater in downtown Raleigh (I think this will be my first IMAX experience) and to eat oysters at a place called Shuckers up here in Wake Forest. Well, Shannon will eat oysters and I'll eat fish. We went to Shuckers last year for his birthday, and since he loves oysters and I don't, it's a good birthday treat! We're also going to go to Old Navy to spend some gift cards he got for his birthday and to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to spend a gift card that we got as a wedding gift almost a year late! But it'll be lots of fun!

Tomorrow we're headed to Virginia for a wedding and to see some of my friends from Poland. And then, apparently Shannon has some surprise planned for our anniversary that I wasn't supposed to know about, but someone called while I was home so I heard a bit of a conversation I wasn't supposed to. At any rate, it will be a great weekend I'm sure and I'll post pictures when we get back!