Andy and I had the opportunity to have our pictures taken by our friend Kristin. So here's a smattering of a few of them. They were all so good, it was hard to choose which ones to put up here! Kristen is so talented!
Friday, October 30, 2009
Andy had tickets to see U2 in Vancouver B.C. on October 28th since I think April or May. He was going to go with 3 of his guy friends, but at the last minute (seriously the night before they were going to leave) one of the guys realized that he needed to have a passport to get into Canada and didn't have one. The original reason that I wasn't going was that I didn't have vacation time until next year (long story, but the first 3 months of my job were temporary so they weren't counted in my 1 year of work before I got vacation time). However, Norpac decided to be nice to me and at the beginning of October, they gave me 2 1/2 days of vacation. The exact amount I needed to go to U2. Perfect.
So Andy, Tyler, his friend Andrew and I all hopped in the car and headed up to Canada (my first time) on Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday was spend standing in line for about 6 1/2 hours (at least it didn't rain)
Then we stood in B.C. Place stadium for 3 1/2 more hours until U2 came on stage.
We got into the inner circle of the stage with the catwalk behind us and only 1 person in between us and the catwalk. It was an amazing show. Here's my pictures, they're seriously worth a thousand words. I saw Bono's sweat running down his face. We were that close. Incredible.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I picked a bunch of blackberries after church today to make some blackberry jam. I decided to take lots of pictures and share how I made the jam here on my mostly unused blog.
Things to gather:
Sugar (or honey with the special pectin that I bought)
Lemons for lemon juice
8 oz. jars with 2 piece lids
Lots of big pots, bowls, measuring cups, and spoons
A funnel that fits into the mouths of your jars if you have one (I didn't and made a mess)
Berry masher (I didn't have one and used a fork, which worked out fine but took time and also made a mess)
Lots of rags and towels to clean up your mess
Your pectin should have instructions inside with amounts of everything. Mine said to use 4 cups of blackberries, but I doubled it.
This is the special Pectin I bought at Whole Foods (or probably any other health food store). It's special because you don't have to use sugar to make it gel, therefore you can use honey, concentrated fruit juice, or whole cane sugar to sweeten it. I think it gels from the vitamin C water (which comes in the box with the pectin, you just have to mix it with water and put it in a jar).
Now for everything that I did...
First of all, put your jars and your lids into pots of water covering them and bring to a boil. You want to have them really really hot when it's time to pour the jam into them as this is what makes the jars seal. You don't have to keep them boiling the whole time, but make sure they're boiling or close to it when you're ready to pour.
Next thing to do is mash your berries all into a pot. Add the vitamin C water (I added 4tsp for 8 cups berries) and the lemon juice (1/2 cup). Stir.
Pour your sugar (I used 4 cups, but you should probably use less if you're using white sugar. Or you can use 1-2 cups of honey) and your pectin (I used 4 1/2 tsp) into a bowl and mix well.
Bring the berries to a boil, then add in the sugar/pectin mixture. Stir vigorously for 1-2 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Return to a boil, then remove from the heat. You're now ready to fill your jars with your new jam.
Put all of your three hot pots together next to a few kitchen towels. Make sure your tongs, rags and funnel are handy. Fish out a jar, a lid, and a ring from the hot water, with tongs, shaking off as much water as you can. Pour or ladle the jam into the jar up to 1/4" from the top. Wipe the jam, if any, off the top of your jar. Put on the lid and tighten the ring.
Flip your jar over and put it upside down on a kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining jam/jars. My recipe with 8 cups of berries made 8 8oz. jars and one 12oz. jar with a tiny bit left over. Leave the jars upside down for 5 minutes, then flip them over. You should begin to hear them popping, which means they're sealing. If they haven't all sealed after 5-10 minutes, take the ones that haven't sealed, and boil them in your pot for 10 minutes. That should seal them.
Now you're done with your jam! It keeps for a very long time, but when you open it, it says it keeps for 3 weeks in the fridge. (I've kept it for longer and it still tasted fine). The reason I made cooked jam instead of freezer jam is because it says that freezer jam only lasts for 1 week after you open it. And this jam is absolutely delicious!
Now for the cleanup...
Monday, June 8, 2009
On Saturday we took our baby for his first day at the beach. To my utter amazement, he loved the water! He usually runs from it or at least won't touch it. At first he ran from the waves, but then he figured out that he could jump over them. Then he was done with the ocean (it was a really cold, rainy day) and we went home. Here's a few pictures!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
My dear, sweet Grandma Ruth passed into the presence of the Lord on Sunday night. I already miss her so much, but at the same time, it doesn't even seem like she's gone to me yet. It will probably all sink in when I go down to her funeral this Sunday, go to her empty house and bury her ashes next to Grandpa's. She was such a sweet, caring woman, and I treasure all of the memories I have of her. She and my Grandpa are leaving such a beautiful legacy behind them of people who know, love, and serve the Lord because of their great faith in Him. I'm so grateful for that heritage that I can pass onto my children someday.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
My 26th Birthday was on Friday and it was a wonderful day. Andy woke up and made me yummy steel cut oats with blueberries and walnuts (my favorite) for breakfast and gave me his present. It was a beautiful new pair of Danskos, but unfortunately they're a 1/2 size too small due to a mistake on endless.com's sizing. Sad. But I'll hopefully get the replacements next week. Then I went to work where everyone brought yummy goodies and a few nice gifts. Including one from the lady that shares my cubicle. She got me a dozen fresh farm eggs from her chickens, and I couldn't have asked for a better gift (she knows I love natural, organic, fresh food!) Then Andy took me out for lunch at a Thai restaurant in Silverton, I worked until 5, then we went to our new rental house that we're moving into in May and primed the walls for paint for a few hours. It was lots of work! Then yesterday we spent about 5 hours painting. We got the whole living room/dining room/hallway done in a lovely shade of brown (Valspar Wild Hawk) and it looks amazing. We're going to turn this very beat-up 1940's house into a nice place to live. We've got to paint the rest before May 1st and only have a few evenings after work to do it. Ahhhh! Hopefully we'll get it done with no problems.
As for Easter, we went to church this morning and I really liked the service. The sermon was on unanswered prayer, and it was really good. You can listen to the podcast at foothillsstayton.org. I like to listen to sermon podcasts at work sometimes while I'm doing monotonous things. And then we went up to Andy's parents' house for a delicious lunch and ate some delicious strawberry-rhubarb pie that I made yesterday.
Work has gotten a little monotonous lately. I just seem to do the same things every day. At first it was pretty stimulating and I had to figure a lot of things out. But now I pretty much know how to do everything and am a lot faster at doing things. I'm just glad I don't dread going to work every day, and that the days go by pretty quickly. It will be so nice to move back into town. Our rental house is right down the street from work, so I won't have to spend 15 minutes driving there, home, or 30 minutes of driving on my lunch hour. Yay!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I really need to get back to blogging. I feel as if I have a very boring life and nothing to blog about, but that simply isn't true. For instance, we finally sold our Volvo last week. I could have blogged about that.
We hadn't gotten a call on it for quite a while when, out of the blue, some lady called while we were both home at lunch on Tuesday. She and her husband wanted to look at it, they have 4 kids and needed something for her husband to drive that could fit everybody. So we met them at Safeway that evening, and when the guy and Andy took it out for a test drive, the check engine light came on *again.* When they offered us $3,500 for it, we couldn't refuse. Every time the check engine light comes on it costs about $1,000 to fix it, and we had it listed at $4,500 for about 3 months and it wasn't selling. So we figured it was time to just let the money sucker go. We talk about it with fond memories and we'll definitely miss it when we have any kind of snow, but it's nice to finally be free of it at the same time.
We also found a house to rent for when we get done house-sitting here. It's owned by the same people we're house-sitting for, and they said they'd hold it for us. We already have the keys, so we're in the process of painting the interior. It's very ugly right now, with dirty, cream colored walls in the main areas. The 2 bedrooms have baby blue paint in one and light purple paint with an ugly flower border and yellow stars around the ceiling. We definitely have to paint those. So today the plan is to work on the house for most of the day, once Andy wakes up, of course. He's had a cold all week and now I'm starting to get it. I can't help waking up at 6:00 am even on Saturdays. I hate it.
Tomorrow we're meeting my family in Roseburg to celebrate my brother and my birthdays (he's up from LA to see my Grandma who's not doing so well). I'm very excited about that.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Hi all, sorry I haven't posted in a while. So much has been going on! First of all, I have about 9 pregnant friends right now. It seems like it's pregnant season. We are not expecting right now, and we don't plan to be any time soon. I really wish we could, but we don't have enough money to live off Andy's income. Hopefully it will raise a little in the next year or two so that we can. I feel very passionate about staying at home when we have kids and not having daycare raise them, so we're waiting for the time being.
Andy and I had an awesome weekend. Some of our wonderful friends decided to bless us with 2 nights at The Nines in downtown Portland. We had tons of fun running around, finding cheap things to do and to eat, and having a wonderful time. It was such a nice little break. But then I came down with a cold on the last day, so now I'm suffering through work (I don't have any sick days until the end of March).
On the 20th, Andy and I and our friends Cassie and Jake are heading up to Centralia to stay the night at the McMenamins, then on to Olympia on the 21st for our friend Jackie's wedding! I can't wait, it will be tons of fun. Then the weekend after that is our Jr. High winter camp from Friday to Sunday. It will be fun but exhausting!
If you all wouldn't mind, please pray for my Grandma Ruth. The doctor's just told her that there's nothing more they can do for her kidney/bladder cancer. So now it's just a matter of time before we have to say goodbye to her. I'm going to try to make it down to visit as soon as I can. The doctors also said that it might be up to a year before we lose her, which would be great.
Some awesome news is that Andy just got affirmed to be a Pastor in our church. We didn't think that would happen for at least another year, so we're super excited. He's been doing such a fantastic job, and the people see it, and God is blessing him for it. We feel so privileged to be involved in His ministry here in Stayton.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
In the past few years I've been trying harder and harder to be conscious of our environment. I clean with non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning supplies, shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. I try to make most of my food from scratch instead of buying processed food. I try to drive as little as possible, etc. I have, however, been working for a very non-eco friendly company.
Norpac is a fruit and vegetable processing company, which sounds great. We are a co-op owned by the growers, which is great. However, there are so many non-green things going on. For example, the vegetables and fruits are not organic in the least. I'm sure they're covered with pesticides and washed with chemicals. We ship to locations all over the country, and even sometimes to other countries outside of North America (such as Japan). The most eco-friendly way to buy produce is to buy local. Our processing plant spews smoke every once-in-a-while (not thick dark smoke like a lot of places, thankfully). For our entire ordering/shipping/invoicing process, we use TONS of paper. I'm sure I have my hands on at least 500-1,000 pieces of paper a day. Thankfully we recycle all of the paper that we don't need. I know that there are much greener ways of growing, packaging, and selling frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. I feel a little guilty for working for a company that is harming our environment, but unfortunately that's the job I have, and we can't afford for me to not work right now.
I still do buy Norpac vegetables (flav-r-pac brand) because they're the cheapest, and sometimes my thriftiness beats my eco-consciousness (actually a lot). I like to support our local economy in that way. But it would be nice if they would try a little harder. Maybe I can have some impact on my company.