Monday, June 22, 2015

Fathers Are So Special

Yesterday was Father's Day.
It was also the first Father's Day for my dear friend without her father on earth.
My heart hurt for her as I saw all of the Facebook posts about awesome daddy's.
I can't imagine how hard yesterday must have been for her and her mom.
I know I would certainly have a difficult time on Father's Day
if I didn't have these awesome fathers on the earth.
I have learned wonderful and great lessons from each of them.
 
 
 
This is my father-in-law, Rich. I have known him for more than half of my life. He has taught me how to slalom water-ski. Entwined within those slalom lessons were great demonstrations of patience, encouragement, and perseverance (he was willing to continue to drive the boat long after I was ready to give up). He has also taught me how to not take myself too seriously as I watched his example of goofiness. He and my mother-in-law raised a wonderful son who I am honored to call my husband.


This is my dad, Craig. I have to be honest and say that during my growing up years, we had some major bumps in the road. Until my junior year, I wasn't sure how committed he was to being a dad. His job kept him very busy and away from the family. And then when he did re-commit himself to our family and being a dad, I wasn't sure I wanted or needed him. It was rough. But, he did teach me many things. He taught me to be strong and independent. He sparked a love of travel in me. Because of him, I am a connoisseur of cheese and other fine food. However, the most important thing I learned from my dad is that the grace of God is very real; that Christ's atonement and its redemptive power can absolutely change the heart. It was a hard, but beautiful and important lesson. I am so grateful that he is my dad.




This is my man.
He has given me two beautiful children and a wonderful life.
I have learned many things from him.
He helped me develop a love of being fit.


He taught me that there is never a problem that can't be solved.
He taught me that a problem to be solved, should never be more important than a person to love.
He has shown me the meaning of absolute love and devotion.
He has helped me learn how to not be a yeller (although I'm still a loud talker).
He calms my crazy and builds me up.
The list could go on and on.
I certainly hit the jackpot all those years ago
when I sat down next to him on the tailgate of a pick-up truck
at the drive-in theatre.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My New "Love"


I wasn't going to buy a car, let alone a new car, so soon, but David insisted that I get it taken care of as soon as possible. Matter of fact, he refused to consider paying off the house until I had purchased another car. I knew he was serious, so I got serious about looking.

I swear, buying cars these days is so much better than it used to be when you had to sit at the dealership for hours on end negotiating and waiting and negotiating and waiting. I hated that so much, even though David was the one who always handled the negotiating. But with the internet, you can do all of the negotiating via e-mail. It's awesome.

So, first I decided that Subaru had proved their reliability and safety so I was going to stick with Subaru. Then I did some searching through autotrader.com, kbb.com, and cargurus.com to see what kind of inventory was within a 500 mile radius of where I live. I sent out some e-mail inquiries to the dealerships that had cars that cargurus had identified as "hot buys". Then I waited for the responses.

While I was waiting, I went to the local Subaru dealership to drive a couple of different Subaru models that I was interested in. Carson really wanted me to look at the Impreza and David wanted me to stick with the Legacy. And I wanted to check out the Crosstrek. While the Impreza and Crosstrek were fun to drive and were more "dog-friendly", neither one had a power seat that could be adjusted up and down. Their seats do go up and down, but you have to manually jack them up or down and since there is a big discrepancy between where I have to have the seat and where the rest of the drivers in our family need the seat, the lack of a power seat was a dealer breaker. So I was back to the Legacy.

Initially I had inquired regarding used cars, but the inventory was low. And because of the law of supply and demand, low inventory means little to no negotiation on prices. That was frustrating. I tried everything to get people to move, but they were pretty set on the listed price. There was a small glimmer of hope for buying a used car when I found two dealers who had service vehicle loaners that had just rotated out of their fleet that were available for purchase. Unfortunately, by this time I had broken Dave Ramsey's number one rule (don't drive cars outside of your price range) and had fallen in love with a new 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited.

So knowing that I was out of my price range, I had to negotiate hard. I found a dealer in Lewiston, ID who had what I wanted with all of the bells and whistles and so I pitted them against the local dealership where I had test driven the car. Kendall Subaru in Lewiston was hungry for my business and would have done just about anything to get my business, unfortunately, they couldn't speed up delivery of the car and that was the deal breaker. I wound up going with the local dealership; however, if I wasn't in a time crunch for a car, I would have gone with Kendall. They were that great to work with. And I anticipate that our next purchase (whenever that may be), will be with them.

The silver lining with Kendall's eagerness to have my business, is that I was able to get the local dealership way below where they wanted to be because they were desperate to beat Kendall. I got the car for below invoice price and had $500 worth of options added at no charge. I felt pretty great about successfully negotiating this deal all on my own.

And I am in love with my new Subaru.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Good-bye "Love" Car

Subaru's motto is "Love is what makes a Subaru a Subaru" and I have loved my Subaru. It was a comfortable ride, nice amenities, great gas mileage, and safe.
From the scene of the accident

That is the result of someone going 50 mph, and while checking his GPS, driving into the back of a cement truck that was turning off of the highway. Amazingly, he walked away from that accident with only minor injuries. He is a little stiff and sore. His nose is bruised from the airbag hitting him. He has an abrasion from the seatbelt and minor cuts on his fingers from glass. His knees are bruised from the steering column being pushed up into his lap. Other than that, Carson was injury-free. Someone will say lucky; I say he was blessed and had some guardian angels watching over him.

We are grateful that we are only replacing a car and not paying for a funeral. He was on his way to LeGrande, OR to watch his girlfriend graduate. She was initially very mad at him (probably more worry masked as anger than actual anger), but she, too, is very grateful that he was OK. And we are both grateful that the accident occurred in LeGrande so that he was close to someone who could help him. We did have to drive down to LeGrande yesterday to go get him, but enough time had elapsed from the accident that I wasn't even irritated about the 9 hour drive. I was just relieved that we were going down to get a living boy.

As we talked about the accident on the way home, Carson said how angry he was with himself. He recognized that he shouldn't have let the phone (GPS) be a distraction. This was his Instagram post:


Dave asked if I would let him drive back down to LeGrande again. Well, first we have to replace my car. That may take awhile since the last time I was shopping for a car it took me 2 years to find something I liked. Also, I hate pressure shopping so I'm going to take my time. I just might take until the end of the summer. By then, Avery will be up here for school at NIC and I won't have to worry about the drive to LeGrande. But in answer to Dave's question, yes, I would let him go down again. If you fall off the horse, you have to get back on it. You just learn from your mistakes and become more wise.

PS I'm pretty sure I will get another Subaru. It has proven to be a reliable, safe car brand.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Stitch Fix

I have never been a girly girl. Lace and frills have never appealed to me. And if being a girly girl means you have to enjoy shopping, especially clothes shopping, well then that just reinforces that I am not a girly girl. I HATE shopping, particularly clothes shopping (although I will make an exception for workout wear). I'm sure I am not the only woman who hates shopping for clothes. And I'm equally sure there are a variety of reasons for the loathing of clothing, but here are a couple of my reasons.

First, I'm five foot nothin' and shop in the petites department. Have you ever wandered through the petites department of any store? Actually, you are lucky if you can find a petites department. But let's just say you stumble across one. You know what you'll find in that department? Old lady clothes! I think the buyers must only believe that no one is little until they are old or no one shops in the petites department until they are old enough to qualify for a senior discount at other establishments. Lest you think that this is a regional thing, last summer when I was in New York I checked out the petites department in Macy's. Certainly they would have something trendy, hip and fashionable. Nope. Old lady clothes, polyester at its finest no less. Blech! OK, there are a few trendy things and they always seem to carry Ralph Lauren, but hello, can you say expensive! Expense is also what keeps me out of Nordstrom.

But what about Nordstrom Rack or other clothing retail establishments that might be less expensive? Well, I'm glad you asked because that brings me to my second point. They don't carry petites. So what, buy what you like and have it altered. Yeah right, cheapskate me pay even more money to have something altered? No way. Not going to happen. Well do the alterations yourself. Oh boy. That won't work either as I avoid hemming and sewing. Mostly because I suck at those things, but also because I'm lazy. Getting out a needle and thread, trying to find someone to pin the cuff for me, watching YouTube videos to make sure I'm doing it right, is all just too much bother for me.

And my third and final reason I hate shopping...because I hate trying on clothes in the store because I know they are all going to look horrible. I swear when I look in a dressing room mirror it is like looking in a fun house mirror. So I often buy things, take them home, try them on and then return them. I'm also not super confident in putting together outfits. So again, buy what I think I might like, take them home, try them on, and then return them. That's my process. I can't say that it works out very well for me.

So I'm trying something new. I'm giving Stitch Fix a try. It is an online shopping service that sends you 5 clothing items as often as every month or as infrequently as every 3 months. Basically you pick how often you want a shipment. They have a pretty in-depth survey to fill out so the stylists can get an idea of what your likes/dislikes are. Then when your 5 items arrive, you try them on, keep what you like and send back the rest. When you send the items back, there is an on-line survey to complete so you can offer feedback about the returned items. I figured since I never try on clothes before I purchase them AND I get someone do pick outfits for me, what do I have to lose? Is it pricey you ask? I would say it is about on par with prices you would find at Macy's. The only bummer is that there are never any sale prices (and confession time, I generally shop the clearance racks. Hmm, maybe that's why I only seem to find old lady clothes). So anyway, I'm giving it a trial run. I received my first shipment on Saturday. It had a pair of black and white pants which I returned because the print was way too loud for me. A black silk blouse that was too low cut at the neckline, too deep armholes, and was see through; that went back as well. I kept a green striped dress even though I thought it was a little too form-fitting; Dave said it looked awesome which was the deciding factor in keeping it. I also kept a turquoise dolman sleeved t-shirt, again not necessarily my taste, but I'm trying to branch out. The last item was a fabulous silver bauble necklace which I absolutely loved. My next shipment is due the end of July. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mother's Day

This Mother's Day had a different feeling to it. I'm sure it had to everything to do with the fact that both of the kids are out of the house and it was just me and Dave on Mother's Day morning. I was a little more bothered by that then I expected to be. That's probably why I was a bit short with Dave when I was making breakfast on Mother's Day morning. I wasn't grumpy about having to make breakfast, but when  he pulled the cereal out of the cupboard before my breakfast was even in the oven, I may have expressed some displeasure about that. I didn't expect him to eat the baked oatmeal  I had made, but it would have been nice if he would at least have waited to eat with me. After I stated as much, he put the cereal back in the cupboard, waited the 45 minutes for the oatmeal to bake, and then enjoyed endured eating Chunky Monkey Baked Oatmeal with me. He really is the best.

As I was getting ready for church, I heard someone rummaging around in the house. I thought it was Dave until I heard the lawnmower start outside and I knew that was Dave. So as soon as I could, I peeked my head out my bedroom door and discovered that Carson had come home to go to church with me. I wasn't  expecting him until dinnertime so seeing him early was so nice.

Church was OK. Fortunately no talks placing mothers on some incredibly high pedestal. I really detest those talks.

We had my folks over for dinner.  It was nice to have them over. Even the dysfunctional BBQ couldn't damper the nice visit. It was a bummer to not be able to BBQ the steaks, but pan-frying and a moment under the broiler worked out just fine. "Papa's perfect potato salad" and a broccoli salad were perfect side dishes. I had made a chocolate cheesecake, which turned out decadent and fabulous.

We finished the night with a Skype call from Katelyn. It was full of technical glitches and I couldn't ever get the computer to take a screenshot, but those weren't really any big deal. It was so great to see her face and hear her voice. I think I missed her a bit more this Mother's Day than last; however, her time in Arizona is almost complete and she'll be home before we know it. She has had a good mission and has matured quite a bit. Things are looking good.

Overall, Mother's Day 2015 was a good one. It was different and a precursor to future Mother's Days where I won't always get to be with my children. I think it was a nice toe dip into that future reality. I love my kids. I grateful for the efforts (within their ability) they made to make my Mother's Day a good one.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Quip from Carson

Carson was instructed that he would need to find a job for this summer. Last summer's "job" of boat-building, while a great memory-builder as he learned to build the boats alongside his Grandpa Graham and enjoyed eating yummy lunches made by his Grandma Graham, just didn't do much to pay the bills. Those beautiful boats (a kayak and canoe) are still in our possession.
 
So this year, the job needed to be one that would result in cold-hard cash every two weeks. His first offer of employment was at a warehouse pulling frozen food orders.  He came home from the interview in a decidedly bad mood. I was a bit surprised by this attitude since it was his only job offer and it paid great money. In Carson's mind, there was no amount of money that would make working 50 hours/week in a freezer all summer long worth it. Oh, and there was this reason as well...
 
-"Ma, look at me. I'm too good-lookin' to work in a freezer all summer long."


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Baked Oatmeal: My New Food Obsession

I'm not a huge fan of gloppy, sticky oatmeal. It looks yucky and without out enough brown sugar to top it off, it tastes pretty yucky, too. So I was never in a big rush to try the baked oatmeal that my friend always raved about. I think I probably scrunched up my nose in disdain as she described how her family of 6 boys gobbled it up every time she cooked it for breakfast.

But when her dad passed away recently, and I was thinking of ways that I could help out, I settled on making them their favorite breakfast for the day of the funeral. And since I had extra of all the ingredients needed, I decided to make one for me too (I was pretty sure the boys wouldn't be brave enough to try it. And I was right with the first batch).

Oh my goodness! My friend was right. Baked oatmeal is delicious. I have no idea of what I was afraid of and why I waited so long to give it a try. My first batch was a banana chocolate chip recipe found on budgetbytes.com. Since that first batch I have made an apple walnut baked oatmeal, a peanut butter banana chocolate chip baked oatmeal, and in the oven this morning, is a strawberry banana chocolate chip baked oatmeal. The house smells so yummy while the oatmeal is baking!


So if you have an aversion to gloppy, sticky, stove-top oatmeal, I suggest you give baked oatmeal a try. Because it is baked and contains eggs, it takes on more a bread-like texture. The lady at budgetbytes describes it as custard-like, but I think it is more bread pudding-like if anything. Anyway, it takes only a few minutes to prepare and about 45 minutes to cook. My friend says that you can prepare it the night before and cook it in the oven the next morning. I haven't tried this way yet, but I can see it as a great option for Christmas morning.

I'm sure a quick Google or Pinterest search will yield a plethora of baked oatmeal recipes. I used budgetbytes because that was the recipe that my friend really liked. The fun thing about budgebytes is that it breaks out cost/serving, so if you are budget conscious and a numbers person, you might enjoy using this website.

Happy cooking.