Sunday, November 30, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving from the Scarbroughs!

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I have to say that maybe the best part of it this year is having a four-day weekend that I got paid for. Having paid holidays is really strange the first go around! Here are some pics to recap the weekend:

The dessert spread: pear pie, mincemeat pie, pecan pie, pumpkin torte, pumpkin pie, White Russian cheesecake, key lime pie, sweet potato pie, and lemon-poppy seed cake. Yummy!

Aunt Pat was very hungry!

What does everyone do after eating? Watch football, of course!

Rachel eating one of Uncle Howard's moonshine-soaked maraschino cherries.

Roberts girls do not do "pretty" at 5:00 am.

Fortunately God does do "pretty" at 5:00 am: beautiful sunrise.

The goods: new Asics for half-price.

After shopping it was...five games of Catan. Congratulations to Shannon and Lucas, who each won two games, while I only won one and Rachel pulled up the rear. We girls were only operating on four hours of sleep though...

So my sister and I got up at 5:00 am on Friday to brave the crowds and scope out some good deals. We managed to get new Asics (totally worth 5:00 am to save $135 on two pairs of shoes, in my opinion) for half-price. Other than that we got some Christmas shopping and I got Shannon and myself another down comforter for only $35. I thought that was a steal, especially if we end up living someplace where electricity is unreliable.

After shopping we came home and played Catan a lot, ate some leftovers, and just hung out. It was a very relaxing few days, and I'm sad to say that I have to return to work tomorrow. But Christmas is less than a month away!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

5 Years Ago...

...I was in Spain.

A statue in Retiro Park, the most popular park in Madrid

I had flown from Warsaw to Madrid to spend a week with some friends for Thanksgiving. My friend Sarah lived there, as well as my friend Ben, and our friend Mendy flew from Frankfurt to join us. It was a great week, as I desperately needed the break (after a year in Poland I still had few friends, and around the year-mark is generally when culture shock starts to hit the hardest). So, we spent a week bumming around Madrid.

Ben, Mendy, Sarah, and myself

One day we at at Botin's, the oldest restaurant in the world. It dates to 1725, and Ernest Hemingway was a frequent visitor.

Restaurante Botin

Another day we went to Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Toledo was known for religious tolerance, and many Muslims, Jews, and Christians co-existed there peacefully (before the Muslims and Jews were expelled from Spain, that is).

The Cathedral of Toledo, seen through an alleyway.

And, in November of 2003, I made my first complete Thanksgiving dinner while out of America, and only the second Thanksgiving dinner which I prepared alone. I recall being disappointed with the results, but in retrospect, I think I did fairly well!

Clockwise from sweet potatoes: sweet potatoes, green beans, mashed potatoes, turkey breast, stuffing, sweet potato rolls, and salad.

Ahh, memories. Funny that now all four of us are married and not really in touch anymore, and yet that week I spent in Madrid will remain one of my "greatest vacation" memories, perhaps because I needed the break so badly. Maybe one day I'll make it back there again, but if least I'll have fond memories of the week I spent in Spain.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Giving Thanks

It's the most wonderful time of the year. At least in my opinion. I absolutely love chilly days, apple cider, "seasonal" coffee creamers and special blends, and of course, the wonderful feeling that you get when you are able to bless people with gifts. I have been fortunate to have always had enough to buy gifts for those important people in my life. And I think it helps that I start shopping months early and like sales. :-)

This is also the time of year when nostalgia sets in and I think back on past Thanksgivings. Some were not so wonderful. Some were full of surprises, like my first Thanksgiving in Poland, where I made a pumpkin pie from scratch for the first time (and from scratch I mean there was no Libby's canned pumpkin). But all Thanksgivings I remember how blessed I am and how much I good God has been to me.

Shannon cleaning the kitchen after it was declared a "disaster" from the Sweet Potato Soup adventure.

I try to remind myself that I have too much to be thankful for to complain. Sometimes it's hard, knowing that my peers are out there working "real" jobs, making "real" money, starting families and settling down. I'll be 30 in a little over a year, and I think the only "worldly" accomplishment that I can say I have is that I'm not in debt. Not a penny. And I know that's worth a lot. But still, in a world (or maybe just a country?) where who you are is most often defined by what you have, I often feel that I come up short.

So that's when my "remind myself of how blessed I really am" activity surfaces. It goes like this: make a list of everything you're thankful for. Everything. Nothing is exempt. And after you've filled pages with small things that you're thankful for, you start to realize...there's not much to complain about. Here's a part of my list:

No debt
Almost 2 months of living expenses in savings
Life insurance
Health insurance (not great coverage, but in an emergency it'll help)
My new computer
A camera to capture memories
A great small group
A full tank of gas and a fresh oil change
Gas at less than $2 a gallon
A husband who, while he never cooks, always does the dishes
Stores that double coupons, allowing me to make our $60-a-week food/toiletries budget every week, without fail.
Graduation in May
A warm comforter and soft towels
Lots of fuzzy socks
Treadmills only 5 minutes from home
Coffee and the newspaper in bed on Sunday mornings, courtesy of Shannon
A job that pays well
My sister and her hubby being close enough to spend holidays with
In-laws that I actually like and enjoy spending time with
2 classes finished and only one left for the semester
The right to vote
Good health, no recent cavities, and another year's worth of contacts
Knowing that God is not surprised by our circumstances and that he will not leave us hanging

How about you? What are you thankful for this holiday season?

Thursday, November 20, 2008


There are really about a million things I should be doing other than posting on here. But, I know that the few people who read this blog have been missing my updates, so I'm going to put off studying for my exam about 10 more minutes and fill everyone in on what's up in Scarbrough-Land. :-)

First off, Shannon and I have a final exam tonight, almost 3 weeks before the official end of the semester. Our professor "forgot" that he'd be out of the country the last few weeks of school, so we get to finish this class tonight. Neither of us are complaining. We received our grades back from our class that we took over Fall Break, and we both got "A's", so that's nice. After tonight I have about 60% of a book left to read and 3 quizzes and one final exam left. Shannon has one quiz tomorrow, one final exam, and a book to finish reading and write a review over. And then the semester is over!

For Thanksgiving we're going to Charlotte where my dad's family gathers every year for Turkey Day. We didn't go last year since we were in Alabama, but this year we'll go to our first holiday event with my dad's family since being married. Should be fun. For Christmas we're heading to Alabama to be with Shannon's family. Should be fun, excepting the drive (ugh...12-15 hours each way...).

We have decided that we are graduating in May. Or rather we'll walk in May and have to each take one summer class to finish up. So we're each taking a January class, 3 classes in the spring, and a summer class and then we're GRADUATING! I'm so excited, can you tell?

I found out last week that my class schedule in the spring will not work for the family I currently work for, so I have to find a new job. It's hard looking for a job almost 2 months in advance...most people who want a nanny don't know it a full 2 months out. So...I'm trying to just trust and not worry. Easier said than done.

And we're still undecided about where we'll be going after we gradate and when exactly we'll leave. We're hoping to figure some of those things out in the next couple of months. We may be taking a trip across the ocean in the spring to check out some jobs. But that's all speculation and the bottom line is that we're just unsure as of now but will keep everyone posted as we figure things out. This whole process is quite a test of faith for us...we really want to know what we're doing, but those answers just never seem to come as quickly as we'd like them to. So we're just waiting...

And that's about what's up here. Hopefully after tonight we'll be a little less stressed about school and more able to relax, take some pictures, and have some fun. We went to the gym the other night...that was fun, in the sense that it wasn't work or homework...

So now I really do need to attempt to study for my exam tonight. The professor was extremely vague as to what's going to be on the exam, so hopefully it won't be that tough...

Friday, November 14, 2008

How Many Countries Can You Find?

So, recently I have become addicted to this game. I like to go to "custom" under the "hard" mode and set the first option to 162/162 and the rest to 0. Then I can practice locating 162 different countries. I think the first time I did it I missed about 30...I'm down to 13, mostly groups of islands that I can't keep straight (and a few countries in west Africa). Among the ones I can keep straight: Fiji, French Polynesia, the Maldives, Cape Verde, Seychelles, the Bahamas, and the Northern Mariana Islands (the Maldives being the only one I could locate before I started playing this game). Among the ones I can't keep straight: Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Dominica, Kiribati, Guadeloupe, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Solomon Islands. Anyone have a trick to help remember where those are?

The game does have a few drawbacks: 1) a few things are misplaced, like Albania. For anyone who's wondering, it's south of Montenegro and north of Greece, and west of Macedonia (which isn't on the game). Even when you click on the correct place it tells you you're wrong. 2) I haven't spent much time on the "landmarks" section, but apparently they have Mt. McKinley on the East Coast instead of in Alaska. Hmm. 3) There are quite a few countries missing...countries I could locate if they were asked for (Azerbaijan, Belize, Dominican Republic, Moldova, Macedonia, Togo, Ivory Coast), others that I see the spot there, know it's a country but don't know its name (French Guiana, Brunei, Bhutan), and others I've heard of but couldn't place if asked (Rwanda, Djibouti, Qatar, Swaziland, Bahrain). Nicaragua is only on "easy" mode. 4) And, even when I only missed 13 out of 162 (let's face it, that's not too bad) it ranks me as a "Hobo" or "Local Expert"...probably because I'm on a laptop and it's harder to click on the right place in less than 3 seconds. But overall, it's way fun, educational, and...I'm Addicted! Try the game and let me know how you do...practice for a week and let us know how much better you've become!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ratings on the Recipe Blog!

Well, for the few of you out there who have tried my recipes, I'm asking you to go back over and rate them. That's right, blogger has added a feature so you can give feedback to future readers letting them know how the recipe was. So...if you've cooked/baked things on my page, please go here and rate them. Then I'll also know how you all like them!

As far as other news goes, we found out tonight that one of our classes is actually going to finish about two weeks early because the professor forgot he'd be out of the country for the last week of class, and the week before that is Thanksgiving. So...we're already finished with one class (A's for both of us), we'll finish another 2 weeks from tonight, and the third will be finished by December 5th for Shannon and the 10th for me. Yay! We can't wait for the semester to be over...senioritis is hitting us already!