Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's time to play "What's that smell?"

For about 2 weeks now, I have been smelling a strange, skunk-like odor in our apartment. It is not constant, thank goodness, but it shows up every afternoon, and is extremely pungent. I have searched and searched for the source of the smell, but to no avail. I cleaned and re-cleaned our apartment, and yet the smell keeps coming back. I would mention it to Husband and he would smell nothing. He would watch me as I got down on the floor to smell the carpet. He would laugh at me as I stood on chairs, sniffing at the vents in our ceiling. I am pretty sure he thought I was losing it! Well, yesterday, Husband walked into the dining room and said "What is that smell? It smells like skunk!" Woo-hoo!! He could finally smell it! I was NOT smelling things! Today, when the odor showed up again, Husband went to his computer and starting doing some online investigating. The verdict: marijuana. Yep. You read that right. Apparently someone in our apartment building is smoking weed, and the smell is wafting into our apartment. Lovely isn't it? Husband went down to the front office to talk to them about it, and they said there wasn't much they could do and suggested we call the police. Wondering exactly how stupid he would sound if he called the police and said "Ummm...there's a smell in our apartment. Can you come check it out?", Husband decided that he should call so at least there would a record of it. About an hour or so after the call, three police officers showed up at our door. By that time, the smell was gone, and of course, without the smell, there was nothing they could do. However, they did confirm that what we have been smelling was indeed the wonderful aroma of someone getting higher than a kite. I suppose it's better than a skunk trapped in our walls, although that would be easier to get rid of!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Grab a tissue

I came across this article today on, and by the time I got to the end of it, I was crying. Then I looked over at Husband, and realized that he was reading the same article! He turned to me with tears welling up in his eyes too. It is so nice to read articles like this. It shows that there are some people who put the needs and feelings of others ahead of their own. Grab a tissue, click on the link and feel better about the world:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The fruit of my labours

There is a new grocery store in town here. I went there today, and I think I am in love! It is one of those whole food, organic, crunchy granola, hippie type grocery stores called Newflower Farmer's Market. It sells non-organic as well as organic food. The prices are wicked cheap and the selection is unbelievable! In the freezer section, they had elk meat! I got really excited about this. Growing up, we ate wild meat. Whenever I go home, I have my mom make me some elk or moose or deer. Now I can go to this store and buy it! I love it! We all know how much I LOVE Farmer's Markets; well this store is like a farmer's market, except it's open everyday and has a lot more for sale! It is amazing. It's a small chain that has stores in Texas, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado. If you are reading this and live in any of those states, go their website and see if there is a store near you: You won't be disappointed!

Newflower had a sale on strawberries: one pound for 99 cents. I bought a couple pounds, thinking that I would freeze them and then use them to make jam later on. But when I got home, I realized that I had nothing going on today (still no job), so I decided to make the jam. Why go through all the trouble to freeze the strawberries? I made jam last summer and it turned out pretty good, so I was confident in my abilities. This batch turned out pretty good as well. The only problem is that I only got a jar and an half due to an incident involving a clumsy girl, a dropped jar, second degree burn and jam all over the kitchen. (I am what some would call an idiot!) Anyway. Despite the mishap and all that work, it was worth it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a kitchen to clean. It looks like Strawberry Shortcake threw up in there!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Silent Night...

Sitting at dinner last night, I must have been talking a bit too much because my husband looked at me and said "I bet you $100 you can't go the whole night without talking to me." I have never been one to back down from a challenge, so I looked him in the eye and said "What are the rules?" After establishing the rules, the game began. It was Wednesday and we watch American Idol on Wednesday nights. Have you ever tried to not say a word during that show?? It is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do! The highlight of then night came when I walked into the living room with a bowl of ice cream and my husband turned to me and said, all hurt, "You didn't even ask me if I wanted some?" I looked at him and hopefully communicated with my eyes the following incredulous response "Are you serious? You are the one who started this whole no talking thing, and now you are hurt because I didn't ask you if you wanted some ice cream?" I probably didn't succeed. I have never been very good at communicating with my eyes! A number of times last night, my husband stated that he didn't like the silence. I just smiled and continued my silence. Four hours after starting Husband received an email regarding his future employment that required us to discuss it, so all bets were off. I am sad that I wasn't able to go the whole night without talking. If it wasn't for that stupid email I would be the proud owner of new shoes (that's where the $100 was going to go!). I am pretty sure I will never get this opportunity again, as my husband now knows that I can be quiet if the price is right!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Another recipe...

My husband tends to be a picky eater, so I get really excited when I find a recipe that he loves. This one is a winner! It is similar to the potato and corn chowder recipe and it is just as good, if not better!

Ham and Potato Casserole

1 1/2 to 2 pounds potatoes, thinly sliced, about 4 to 5 cups
2 cups diced ham
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion (I used dried onion)
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup finely chopped red or green bell pepper
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups half-and-half or 1 cup milk and 1 cup heavy cream (I didn't read this right and only put in one cup of milk. It still tasted great, but probably would have been creamer if I had added the cream with the milk!)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
salt, to taste
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, optional

Preparation:Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Heat oven to 325°.
In a large saucepan, melt butter; add onion and celery and sauté until tender. Add bell pepper and sauté for 1 minute longer. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add half-and-half, stirring constantly. Add seasonings and salt, to taste. Continue cooking, stirring, until thickened. Add sliced potatoes and diced ham and stir to combine. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for about 10 minutes longer, or until potatoes are tender. If desired, sprinkle shredded cheese over the top of the casserole and bake for a few minutes longer, or until cheese is melted.Serves 4 to 6.

The new addition to our family

We bought a car! It is a 2005 Toyota Camry. We absolutely love it! It is pretty much my car. Husband will still drive the Intrepid (at least until it dies, which could be any day now!). I always name my cars, and have thought of a few names for this one, but nothing has stuck yet. Anyone have any ideas on what I should name it? The car is a boy, by the way.

Isn't he pretty?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Settling in

Over the last week I have discovered that the only thing worse than packing up an apartment is unpacking one! With a very empty apartment, it was difficult to decide where things should go. I moved my dishes 3 times before finally deciding on their permanent home! I also discovered that I have unpacking ADD! There was half unpacked box sitting on our kitchen floor for about 5 days. If I needed to get into the fridge, I would push the box with my foot toward the cupboard and out of my way. If I needed to get into that cupboard, the box would be nudged back towards the fridge. I finally unpacked it. But to be honest, I kind of miss the box...

Our drive to Texas was an adventure, to say the least! We loaded the truck while it was snowing. Then we left as the snow really started to come down. By the time we hit the highway it was snowing pretty heavily.

The wonderful piles of snow we left behind!

We drove all day. Thankfully the snow lightened up and then stopped altogether. We made a quick stop in Northern Ohio to visit Husband's former pastor and his wife.

Bill and Gail

After a few hours of sleep, we were on the road again. We stopped in Southern Ohio to visit Husband's family. Once again, it was snowing (we were beginning to wonder if the snow would follow us all the way to Texas!) His nephews didn't have school so we were able to visit with them.

Husband and his nephew. He's shooting spiderwebs because he's spiderman.

After the family visit, it was onto Texas through Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas. I am sure you have heard about the ice storm that hit those states. Well, we were lucky to be part it! Thankfully, we were driving through it at the beginning so it wasn't too bad.

Ice build up on our wipers. The whole car was covered in a sheet of ice.

The trees were so heavy with ice that there were broken branches all over the place.

All the highway signs had icicles on them.

The ice stopping falling once we crossed into Texas. The trees were still covered in ice and with the sunlight shining on them, they seemed like they were glowing. It was a beautiful sight. I tried to take a picture but I couldn't quite capture the shimmering. Here's a couple of the ones that turned out alright.

Now, here we are in Texas, wearing shorts and t-shirts and having the windows open in February. Crazy! The boxes are slowly being unpacked. I figure that at the rate we are going, we will have them all unpacked by Christmas!