Tuesday, February 24, 2015

the handy hubby edition - microwave

We made a decision on our microwave and after a couple frustrating days for Doug, and me as the consoler, it's in!
a little help from Doug's dad
looks pretty good I think!
Doug's testing out the vent fan right now as he (well mostly he) is making us some chicken biriyani for dinner. Mmmmm. I'm really not sure how much to expect from that fan though, I can smell dinner all the way from the end of the house (smells good!) but I thought it was supposed to remove all smells... anyway, it's in there now!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

tough day

Today was pretty emotionally exhausting. Doug and I were late to church, we had a bonfire with friends the night before and were just tired. But off we went. The sermon was really good, it was about when Rachel died and her dying wish was to name her son 'sorrow', but Jacob refused and named him Benjamin which meant 'blessing'. Then they played this tear jerker video of a 33 year of man/husband/father who died of colon cancer, all the while proclaiming that God was good even if he lived or died.
It was good. And it reminded me of the many times I claimed that promise in my own life that no matter what happened to me, and my failing marriage, that God was good and He could be trusted, and He was still on His throne.
I had never prayed harder in my life, asking God to save my marriage. But it didn't get saved. And God is still God, and He is still good.
Then there was just terrible news that a friend we love, and had celebrated in her cancer healing, had more cancer. And I just cry every time I think about it. And feel so helpless. But knowing that all I can do is in my prayers give her precious life over to the God who made her.
So yeah. A very teary day.
Then Doug and I had a fight in the car, stupid stuff. And in the end it ended up being a good talk about how the ways we were raised shapes us to think that certain things are "better" when really what's "better" is what is best for us. Our marriage. Our family. It ended up a good talk, but it's hard thinking through all that sometimes.
Later we were laying down and I just started crying again. Sometimes I just hate being alive in this messed up world. We're fighting about stupid stuff like cars and vacations and our friends are sick, and marriages are in trouble, and children are being sold into sex slavery, and people all over the world are being killed. It just seems like anything we do is too small. I feel like even if I went and lived somewhere, it wouldn't be enough, there would always be more sorrows.
Doug reminded me that it does make a difference to that one person's life you did help.
Doug suggested that for the next 40 days we pray about what God has for us, and where we can best serve Him. And then appropriately tonight we went to hear a speaker share on missional/intentional living, where you just become friends with people and share your faith as it comes up. Sounds so easy. But it's hard. I will definitely be praying about this, I feel like already I don't have enough time for established friendships, and to make more time for 'the lost' seems like there would be even less. Although I think one way he does it is to invite everyone. Not a super comfortable idea according to my small groups preference, but a way to see old friends and share authentic living with the new. A way for God to move in those conversations and interactions. Worth praying about.
My mom shared this quote about prayer and I love it
"Christians pray in order that they may arouse themselves to seek Him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on His promises, that they may relieve their anxieties by pouring them into His bosom; in a word that they may declare that from Him alone they hope and expect, both for themselves and for others, all good things." John Calvin
I think that's so beautiful and so true.
God is still good. I hope and expect good things.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

cool things

The other day I looked up from the laptop and saw this outside the window:
That turkey's like hey, whyz this cage around the treatz!?!
Him and his friends were roaming the neighborhood
I feel like I'm out in the wilderness!
I've been working for my dad in his pipe organ shop for a bit before I start at the hospital.
It took us both 8 hours to make this (well, there were 2 of them), and the wood pieces were already cut and everything, just the fitting and gluing.
What my dad does is truly an art. I don't know how I didn't inherit more of his patience. A good reason I should not take over the family business - my organs would be all slopped together. But I'm happy he has a job that really encompasses the talents he's been blessed with.
I saw these Christian conversation hearts at the store, how cool!
I hope this doesn't seem flippant, after talking about conversation hearts, but I read an article about ISIS beheading those 21 Christians in Libya, and it made me cry. Those men refused to deny Christ, and were singing to Jesus as they were killed. It's so heart breakingly beautiful. I really hope if I am ever faced with that, that I would have the courage and grace to stand up for my faith. I can't imagine. Here in the US where we still, as of now, have the freedom of religion, I can't imagine it. And while I haven't denied I'm a Christian, I haven't preached Him or witnessed as well as I should. I know God is so proud of those men, and I'm sure their families are too, and I know they are all in heaven with Him now- but it's really, really terrible. Events like this make me long for heaven.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentine's day and House Guest

What is Valentine's day with Doug without more frozen flowers!?
Last year Doug surprised me with roses put on my car, and they froze. This year he left the rose in the garage so I wouldn't see it, and it froze.
Also a nice card, m & m's and chocolate covered strawberries.
Doug had a couple surprise places for me, the first this awesome new mediterranean place.
this is an 'I have food in my mouth' smile
We got these $5 humongous chicken shwarma pitas stuffed with veggies, hummus, tahini, and a side of the strongest garlic paste, yum! but my eyes were watering! We ate lunch at 1pm, and were full until 8pm!
Then we went to the new aquarium
It was in one of the local malls and we saw a booth where you can make your own cd, we didn't do it, but had fun taking this pic of rocker Doug. He's was probably belting it out again about food.
Help me please! I want to be free in the sea!!
I don't know how I feel about aquariums, pretty much like I'm sure they'd rather have a free, fulfilling life in the ocean, even if safety not guaranteed versus endless laps in a small pool and people 'petting' them day after day.
And then we went out for a late dinner at a delicious Thai place. Mmmmm.
Oh my gosh I wish I could make this.
I did make this for Doug the night before Valentine's
I think he's happier I can make a homemade pizza rather than the delicious curry. He kept saying I can't believe you made this for me :)
Also this weekend we had a house guest
This little Romeo
In typical Becks fashion he was more concentrated on the possibility of dropped food versus any awareness at all of his surroundings. The first night we kept watching September stalk him, it was like, have some care for your own life Becks!!
September was always more curious, she kept approaching him
And eventually they would snuggle on separate sides of us
Good food, library movies, it was a really nice relaxing weekend.

Friday, February 13, 2015


the microwave decision is still unmade, and hence remains on the counter taking up 1/2 the space. Hopefully we will decide something soon.
Recent eats. I made refried beans in the crockpot the other day. They were really good. Easy recipe.
Topped with sauteed onions, green pepper, cheese and salsa for me, and just cheese for Doug. Bake until cheese is bubbly, and easy, delicious tostadas
I also made another batch of favorite vegan blog girl's Walnut Lentil Loaf. It has onions and walnuts, and yet Doug eats it and likes it! Score!
This thing takes some time to make, but it is good. This time I made the lentils in my rice cooker and when I was done chopping and sauteeing the veggies, they were ready to add.
It doesn't look great, but bakes into a very tasty loaf
you make a sauce from ketchup, applesauce, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar
It does take awhile, but it makes a big loaf and could be enough for 2 people to have 2-3 dinners. After dinner I wanted Doug to have a blindfolded taste test to see if he could tell the Aldi store break and bake cookies from my delicious ones.
First he guessed the store one was mine, and later when I asked him which was my favorite, he picked my cookie. I mean come on, this:
is no store cookie!
In other news, I went up to my parents house the other day and mom and I cleaned my wedding gown. The bustle had come undone and dragged all over the dirty concrete floor all night and I thought it was hopeless. But it came out! So now I can see if anyone on CraigsList wants it. It's so pretty, I wish I could wear it again somewhere!
In annoying cat news this has been happening:
She loves to play in the garage for some reason. These thousands of little paw prints made me laugh.
But this doesn't make me laugh. That plant was there for months and all the sudden she started dipping her paw in the dirt and scooping it out to put on the windowsill. So annoying. And biting big leaf petals off. WHY!?! I have another plant in the kitchen I am rooting, and it's been there, a stem in a big vase of water, again for a month or so, and now all the sudden September is using it for another drink bowl. So finally I wised up and put a piece of saran wrap over that so she can't drink out of it. I may have to try the saran wrap trick with my plant too, at least to get her to keep away from the dirt, but she'll still be able to get at the leaves. I got some cat training books at the library today, maybe she can get under control!
This weekend she is going to have Mr. Becks come visit while his mom is away. I'm hoping they will be best friends! But we trimmed September's nails just in case.... we'll see!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

home edition - microwave dilemma

So the microwave we ordered in January came yesterday
Oh man, this thing is anything but 'micro'
Our stove didn't have a vent fan and so we wanted to get something to get rid of smells and stuff. But now I'm wondering if it's such a big deal. In the summer we can open a window, and now that it's been all closed up in here, I haven't even noticed it being such a problem. We researched a lot between vents and microwaves w/ a vent, and felt like the microwave was a good option. Then we could free up a bit of counter space from where our old microwave was, and the new microwave has a strong built in charcoal filter vent fan to filter out cooking smells. If the filter option didn't work, we could always vent it out the roof later. But the Lowe's guy said he had the same one and he loved it and didn't need to vent it out.
But I don't know, it's so monstrous. Here is the space it's supposed to go in
And today I taped up lines where the microwave options will go.
So the slightly smaller blue square would be for if we built a little U shaped cabinet to "build in" our smaller countertop microwave. There would still be extra space around it according to the manufacturer installation guide. And the bigger square would be for installing the new microwave.
Hmm, I just don't know. Part of me thinks that huge monstrosity would dwarf our little kitchen. But I don't know, maybe we'd just get used to it. And would appreciate the vent fan on more odorous dinner nights.
It's so hard to even lift it into place to imagine it, I can barely help Doug helf it up there. Maybe it's time for a good ol pros and cons list to make the decision.

Monday, February 9, 2015

catching up

We've been busy with lots of little things
This was the original wood thing above the kitchen sink, with a light box but no fixture. The popular facebook vote was that it should come down.
So it did
After many a trip to Lowe's, we decided on this simple pendant light
Doug wanted that old timey Edison bulb, but when it dies I want to replace it with just a white bulb. It does cast a sort of amber light in there. We didn't really *need* the light, the kitchen is actually pretty well lite, especially during the day from that window. But I like it.
Doug and I have a list going with one kind of bigger project per month. Last month was to replace our countertop microwave with an above-the-stove built in vent one. (we are still waiting on delivery). For this month we did the kitchen sink light and the bigger 'home project' (very loosely deemed) was home security, in the form of a shotgun.
So Saturday off we went to Cabela's an hour and a half from here to get the gun Doug had been researching. The best part of the trip was lunch at some Michigan Lakes Bar and Grill
I had this delicious grilled cheese burger on chipotle swirl bread with a side of fried pickles. A heart attack never tasted so good! And outside Cabelas was a food truck selling fresh made apple cider donuts. Yum.
Anyway, now Doug and I are packing.
I never wanted to have a gun in my home. But I figure a shotgun would be harder for little hands to pick up and actually shoot someone, and we still have time to research safes and stuff like that. It does have a lock too.
The other home project for February was getting our piano tuned. My parent's neighbor gave me his wife's old piano, and I am excited to have one in the house to play. I think it would be fun to take some lessons again. We'll see. This piano tuner was pretty cool, within minutes it was obvious he was a Christian. He sat right down at our piano and bursts into singing a hymn. I left to go to Jill's shortly after he came but Doug said every couple notes of tuning he would burst into song again. He also gives this timeline of kings and prophets in the Bible up until Jesus's birth. Pretty cool way to share his faith.
That afternoon I went up with Jill to her mom's house for a bonfire. I thought I had tossed all my old Andrew stuff last month when I was sorting, but I forgot I had a box of old letters and such I had left at Jill's for that very purpose- to burn it! Next time. We had a good time burning her stuff, drinking wine, and eating s'mores. On the way home we saw a rabbit run out in front of us, and then heard something under the car. Jill (nor I really) wanted to go back and look at it so we called her mom to go on a mercy killing trip. Later we called her mom again to check up and she said there was no bunny there! The next day Doug was joking the bunny was in rehab and he did an impression of the bunny doing alternating leg lifts and pausing for a bite of carrot. I hope that's what really happened! Sad :(
I bought this hair thing at the dollar tree. I really like my hair when it is those loose curls but its hard to get it to look like that without twirling it around my finger for hours, I hoped this would be the magic solution
It was working! But then it all went away with the swipe of a brush. Alas.
And of course there's always eating going on around here
I made this avocado/banana chocolate pudding
It was good
We shared this delicious fried banana split at the place where I won the free tacos. It had chunks of mango and a strawberry-kiwi salsa, it was good. I feel like winning this free taco thing was a bad thing. Every time we go we eat huge baskets of delicious chips and salsa, and then one person gets the free tacos and one has to buy a meal. So you think you're getting a great deal, but I didn't used to buy dinner every week- so already it makes you spend more money. It is good food though. Lately Liz and I split up our coupons so that they can both go a week, then she gave me a coupon so we can both go a week, and both couples eat free (plus tip of course!). But cheaper, and less overall eating chips, score!
I made a stirfry
and tried my hand at fried bananas, mmmm
spending our evenings with September
Last night we went to Doug's aunt's 60th birthday party. It was in a restaurant so we thought we'd just get getting our own meal, no big deal. But they had appetizers passed around, and a choice of 3 dinners, delicious bread and salad, and birthday cake. And then they had a magician! It was really fun. Such a nice treat. And that's been about it!