Category Archives: 7 Quicktakes

Things that make me happy

It was definitely one of those days…but it’s gotten better the last few hours. Here are a few things that turned it around:

1) Breakfast for dinner: Blueberry pancakes, bacon (from the butcher, so the good stuff!), eggs, grapefruit, and OJ. I could eat it all over again, it was so good!

2) Grocery story price matches: I’ve been buying groceries like crazy this month and running all over to multiple stores to try to get good deals. Then I realized that one of the grocery stores in town will do a price match of prices from any other store in the area. HELLO. 1 stop grocery shopping and I get the deals from like 5 stores?? Sign me up! I tried it tonight and it was fantastic. Took a little bit of work to make sure the products were the same, but this may be my new lifesaver (the time combing the ads was definitely less time that it would have taken me to go to all 5 stores. )

3) A Husband who cheerfully carries in the groceries AND takes care of them. A huge help when my back is not cooperating!

4) Space heaters: to warm up the house when the furnace doesn’t work!

5) Maggie: just cause she’s cute (although disobedient)

6) Naps: that’s probably pretty self-explanatory

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7 Quicktake Sunday #7

We celebrated our 6 month anniversary last weekend!  The past 6 months have FLOWN by and yet it seems like we’ve been married forever.  For today’s quicktake, here are 7 reasons that Mark is the best husband :).

1) He loves God and is committed to growing to be more like him.

2) He loves my family and his and is diligent about spending time with them.  (We’ve hosted my family twice in the past 6 months and he’s as excited as I am when they come).

3) He loves Maggie and proactively thinks of ways to entertain her.

4) He loves me, and allows me to be who I am- His constant love for me makes me completely comfortable with him, without feeling the need to pretend or hide what I’m thinking.

5) He indulges me with silly things- like, when I want to paint the patio, he’s open to it.

6) He spends a lot of his free time doing mundane things with me: grocery shopping, errands, laundry.

7) He is a formidable opponent in any game we play- and his competitive nature matches mine.

We’re celebrating this week because Mark received a job offer on Monday and accepted it!!  His schedule should become much more manageable and the job is full-time programming, which was Mark’s goal.  I’m proud of him for the diligence he showed in pursuing new opportunities and am excited for the extra time this change will bring us together!!

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7 Quicktakes Sundays #6

Sorry for the hiatus over the past few weeks. With family visiting and a work trip to Dallas, blogging took a back seat :).

We’re finally getting relatively nice weather here (still a bit cool, but sunny) and the trees and flowers are starting to bloom.  We love it.  Here are a few quick highlights from the past few weeks:

1) We’re not Ivy League anymore

We spent our afternoon ripping out all of the Ivy along the front of our house. It felt like we would never finish, but then all of a sudden, it was done!  The soil looks like it’s in really good shape, so hopefully a little bit of work and we’ll be ready to buy plants!

2) Summertime is on its way!

Over Easter my family helped us get our patio set out and this weekend, we bought a grill and put it together!  Now we’re at least ready to cook and eat outside. I just need to make it pretty!

3) Speaking of pretty….

Our patio isn’t. We have a wood deck that’s adjacent to a concrete patio.  So, I was thinking… would be so much better if the patio were brick.  So, I googled it and and it turns out you can paint faux bricks on concrete.  Because my husband is easily amused, he said I could try it :).  Victoria Day weekend, I sense a project in our future!

4) Project list

So a few weeks ago, I stumbled on a website called Pinterest (and I blogged about it). but this is now my most favorite site EVER. We will definitely not run out of projects to do if I keep this board up!  Create a board so that I can follow it :).  If you want an invite, let me know!

5) Potluck:

I’ve been pinning lots of pictures on Pinterest of food to take for potluck. This week we tried something new and took Pasta Salad and Zuchinni chocolate cake. Yum!

6) Weeping but pretty

We’ve been researching plants, etc for the garden. Yesterday, we saw a weeping Japanese cherry tree and fell in love with it! I just need to decide where to put it

7. Half-Priced books

I discovered a new store in dallas- it’s a discount book store that sells books for 1/2 price or less.  Apparently it’s a chain- who knew?  Anyway- I had quite the time there last week trying to pick out books for my flight home!  Turns out there were several in Cleveland, and I just never knew about them….that’s probably a good thing!!

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7 Quicktakes Sunday #5: Progress!

1) When we saw our house for the first time with our realtor, we fell in the love with the front porch. It was the first room of the house we saw, and the first indication that we had that this house was a lot more promising that the pictures online showed.  The porch, though, has been the hardest room to get unpacked and settled.  It was where we dumped all of the boxes we didn’t have a place for and, without heat, it wasn’t somewhere we were jumping to spend a lot of time this winter. But now that the weather is getting nicer, it’s time to get it ready!

We spent a few hours yesterday cleaning, hauling boxes, and rearranging…In the end, it didn’t take much time, but the difference is amazing! We can’t wait to spend many hours out there over the next 3 seasons

2)  Coat rack: Another area that has driven me crazy this winter is our lack of a coat rack in the mudroom.  i wasn’t sure what I wanted, so coats ended up dumped on our dining room chairs. This week though I bought a coat rack at Target and Mark hung is up for me!  Just in time for us to put the coats away for the winter  It’s probably a little big for the space, but it was what I could find and I liked it and I forgot to measure :).

3) I found a new website this week to track pictures of things that we like…ideas for the house and garden, etc.  You can see what we’re dreaming of at Pinterest.

4) I bought panko breadcrumbs this week to make panko shrimp, but also came across a recipe for mozzerella sticks and fried zuchinni.  Really really bad for you, but oh so yummy.  I think we have to try this.  You can find the recipe on Pioneer Women’s site

5) I started using the french coffee press that Mark gave me for my birthday. After a few rounds of experimenting, I think we’re getting somewhere with it!  I’ve made reasonable tasting coffee twice this weekend- progress!

6) While I was in Cleveland, Mark worked on our outdoor garden space, turning soil and pulling ivy.  We still have a long ways to go, but it’s a good start!

7) One thing that we haven’t made progress on it Maggie’s loud noises in the middle of the night, the middle of the day, any time basically that Mark is out of her sight.  She’s convinced that Mark should come play ball with her at 1 or 2 am.  He doesn’t think this is a good idea.  We’ve even tried taking the soccer balls away at night, which helped for awhile, but now…not so much.

My family is coming on Thursday to spend Easter weekend with us and we’re super excited! we’re looking forward to a fun family weekend and hoping that the weather cooperates…eek!

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7 Quicktakes Sunday #4: Perspective

1) Today, I had to drive to Cleveland in the afternoon for a week of meetings and time in the office.  It’s amazing to me to think that Mark and I did this trip 2x/weekend almost every weekend for 10 months.  I really don’t know how we managed.  In reflecting on it, I think it’s true that life has different seasons and it’s remarkable how we adapt to those seasons and we just get done what we need to get done.  During those months, we fit our lives into Monday-Friday and Saturday & Sunday were in many ways special days that were outside the realm of our normal lives.  Now, it’s all a lot more blended together.  There’s not the distinction of “my life” and “his life” and “our life”…those separate lives now occupy just our working hours and the rest of it is “our life.” The divisions have changed significantly; before, it was always a bonus to get a few extra hours in “our life” and now it’s strange to lose those extra hours and go back to the way things were.  (I’d much rather live with the way things are now!). Still, I know the next 5 days will go quickly and then I’ll head back to Ontario Friday night, in another flashback of the good old days, but this time, I’m going home, and I don’t have to do the drive again on Sunday! :).

2) We get asked a lot what we’re working on the house these days, and really, my answer is: “trying to get it clean.” (See last week’s post!) I’m encouraged though that, even though we didn’t get it much cleaner this week, the part we cleaned did stay clean.  So, it is possible…it just takes a little bit of extra diligence. (I realize that’s just a really dull update…but it was seriously a highlight of my week)

3) Our attention, though, in terms of projects, is turning to the outside.  When my parents visited in February, my mom suggested that we remove some overgrown bushes, and this week, we had them pulled out.  It’s SUCH an improvement.  I don’t have great pictures, but you can see here where Mark started turning over soil today where some of the bushes were.  I’m hoping to put in some flowering bushes or maybe some climbing roses or other such flowers.   This particular bed eventually winds its way from the side of our house next to the driveway all along the side and front of our house, so there’s a lot of potential. It’s right near the gate, too, where people would enter the patio/backdoor area.

4) Thursday, I happened to have some frozen bread dough that I needed to make into cinnamon rolls.  Mark was fascinated by the process and took some pictures/video. He thought it quite strange that I was using dental floss to slice them off the roll, so we have a video to demonstrate how it’s done (it’s in high speed cause we were running out of space on teh camera :)…)

5) Today was over 70 degrees! Mark walked home from church and I sat out on our deck/patio for awhile.  Maggie was enjoying the spring weather too.

6) Reading: I’m reading a biography of Mickey Mantle. Yup. Baseball.  I think my appreciation of the book is severely limited by my lack of understanding and background of baseball.  Still, it’s moderately interesting.  On my drive to cleveland, I listened to a podcast about cities and how one physicist (I think?) has cities reduced to a bunch of ratios and mathematical formulas. For instance, pick a city and all people within that city walk at the same pace roughly. AND….that pace is proportional according to some formula to the population of the city.  In the end, how quickly people walk, the number of libraries, how quickly people talk, etc are all predictable based on the population.   anyway- there’s apparently a book that explains it and i think it needs to be added to my reading list 7) New project idea?  What if we find an old library card catalog and rebuild it to be a dining room buffet?  I really don’t come up with these things on my own, but when I see them….how can I say no?

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7 Quicktake Sundays #2

1. We saw crocuses this week while we were out for a walk….more signs of SPRING! (I didn’t take a picture..booo).

2. I read the All New Square Foot Gardening book this week- I can’t wait to get started with our garden! (revision: I think we might hold off on the garden this year and focus on our landscaping….)

3. I broke a tape measure this week. I’m just talented that way.

4. Maggie approves of the bookshelves my dad built

5. We’ve had the chance to spend time with some of our fellow church members in the last few days and have appreciated the opportunity to deepen some friendships. It’s true that all relationships take time and effort, and we’re thankful that we’ve had time to invest lately.  There was a tea Friday night for the women at church that was a nice time to relax (and have lots of tea-type treats!) and then we spent the afternoon with our pastor’s family and a few other friends from church. It was fun to interact in a more relaxed setting (and of course eat fantastic food!)

6. Last night, we snuck in another family birthday with Mark’s family.  Highlight of the evening for sure was when mark’s nieces conspired with me to get Mark to laugh uncontrollably.  The photos are here:  (too bad I didn’t get a video!)

7. So, before I went to Nashville in February for NRB, the luggage that I pulled out of the basement REEKED, so in a last minute effort, we bought a new suitcase at Walmart, but after using it once, it too reeked so badly that I couldn’t use it (like awful oil/plastic/ick smell). So we went to return it last night, and got there and realized that I forgot the receipt at home. BUT- they still let us return it, even though I had no tags or receipt.  It was a happy customer service moment.

8. Bonus: My littlest niece commented on my last blog post :).

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7 Quicktake Sundays- #1

So, one of the blogs that I follow posts a quick weekly update every Friday.  I figure I can at least handle a once a week posting of 7 quick updates, right? Let’s give it a try!

1) I made the first berry crisp of the season today for potluck. I have big issues that food needs to be seasonal, so no berry crisp in the winter (despite having berries in the freezer!) But since spring is starting to peak out, I decided we could celebrate a bit!

2) Speaking of spring, we saw the first robins in our yard this week!! Super fantastically exciting.

3) Given all of the nice weather that we had this week, we took advantage of it to explore one of the parks in town that has a walking trail. We walked most of the trail one night after dinner. It was good exercise and we saw some people that we knew!

4) During that walk, Mark informed me that the bells that ring every hour in town are NOT from the church across the street from us, but are from the Anglican church 2 blocks away.  Shows how observant I am!! I really thought they were ringing across the street :).  (Which makes no sense, because that catholic church isn’t really of the style to have bells…oops!)

5) Tomorrow is Mark’s 30th birthday! We went out for a yummy steak dinner last night and I let him buy two books :).  (He bought the New Square Gardening Book and one on the Red Scare in Canada from 1918-1919….this is why our library is SO eclectic).

6) Our library/office is mostly finished!! We filed most of the papers yesterday in our new filing cabinet. We just need one more curtain and a rug, then we’re finished!


7) I made my first successful pot roast/shredded beef this week in the crock pot (well…ever, really).  Last time I tried, I didn’t put any water in it (I didn’t know you had too…oops).  this time- it was fantastic…with plenty of leftovers! Yum   The best part was that it took me about 7 minutes worth of work.  That is what I call cooking…hehe

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