Tuesday, April 28, 2009

You knew it was coming... I now present to you:
The Silver Lining

Well, the Terrible Leaking Pipe Problem is finally over with. It took about a week, and although I still haven't put everything away, our kitchen is 100% functional and a little 'purdier' than when we started.
Since our cabinets were all rotted and mildewy, we had to get rid of them. Instead of putting in more cabinets, I had the chance to do something I'd always thought about: putting our butcher block countertop on turned legs, making it look more like piece of furniture.
It was a bit of an ordeal to find what we needed, but we ended up screwing two legs together for the right height. I found a duvet cover for $10 at IKEA, and cut that up and turned it into curtains. I hope to find the right racks tonight for storage underneath. By the way, the whole fiasco ended up costing us much less than I had feared, and helped support some qualified neighbors who are currently out of work and thrilled to help.
I want to thank you all for all of your nice comments and support. The encouragement, empathy and prayers really did make me feel better throughout the whole lame ordeal. In fact, I had been wanting to do this part of the project anyway, and the upside was that I was forced into going for it. I'd like to put it out there that, should another unfortunate event such as this one happen again, forcing us into home improvements that we would otherwise never consider due to our precarious financial situation, please let it be the bathroom.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Make or Buy?

I know most of us are trying to economize on everything, especially groceries. I found a good article online about which pantry staples are actually cheaper to make, which ones we save money (not to mention the time!) on by buying instead.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I had been smelling mildew for a while. We couldn't find the leak, but knew it was affecting the insides of our cupboards. It got worse and worse, and started making me sick. Today is the day that someone came to take our cupboards out, dig into the wall and find the leaking pipe. It was not good, not good at all. Lots of mold and rot and bad news. I hope to have a kitchen sink back by the end of the week, water in our house by tonight. Here's a picture of where we stand:
Needless to say, I won't be cooking dinner tonight. On top of the other news, this all just feels like a bit too much for me today.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Here we go again...

Well, it was two years ago that we were living in California, looking for a job for Jeff in Oregon or Washington. We knew we'd be moving in the summer, but had no idea where. Many trips later, we packed up and moved, and Jeff finally had a job that he really loved. It has been a good two years for him, and we see that job as a big gift for our family. We got news this week that Jeff (along with many others) is going to be laid off in the next month or so.

So, here we are again, looking for a job for Jeff. Right now our financial situation is the most difficult it has been in our married life (although not terrible,) so there are a lot of unknowns for our family. I'm not super upset or anything-- it's just one of those situations where I feel very intrigued about what the future will hold, and how all the puzzles will be solved. His current job wasn't quite paying the bills, and my work situation has had many setbacks. We are still taking a loss on my business, but that is not unexpected, and I feel like I have a strong vision for where things will go. I am doing a lot of trainings this summer, and know that there is a strong need for the type of work I'll be doing-- but I certainly don't have any idea when it will begin to provide a steady income.

We're expecting a bit of a rough road ahead for the next few months as we try to navigate through this transition. Jeff feels a real sense of loss over his "dream job" and the wonderful people he has been working with. We were surprised to find ourselves the first people in our circle of friends and family to be in this situation, but are thankful to have some family around us for support. Of course, being the optimist that I am, I am imagining that Jeff could actually find a better job that will actually cover our living costs and be a blessing to us. We know that God will take care of all our needs, and are working hard to quell the anxiety that wants to win over the sense of peace and trust we have in our hearts. Of course, your prayers and thoughts would be appreciated as we launch into job search mode again.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I'm a little late on reporting about our Easter Sunday, but I actually took pictures, so there's no way I can skip posting about it.

On Saturday I got some time alone and went to the farmer's market in downtown. I was so glad that I was by myself, since it was incredibly crowded. I spent a lot of time standing still in the middle of a swarm of people waiting for someone to move so I could edge a little closer to a produce stall. Still, it was a lot of fun, and of course such a treat to get a cup of coffee and sample hazelnuts, fresh breads, chocolates and fruit. The interesting thing was that many of the hot items there were things that grow in our fairly uncultivated yard: branches of flowering quince and pear blossoms, miner's lettuce, daffodils, tips of flowering cabbage (it was nice to see that I can still use those!), pea tendrils, etc. I came away with fresh leeks, dried wild mushrooms, a variety of greens, local honey, and a gorgeous bouquet of tulips.

On Sunday morning, we got up early for a "sunrise service" at Mt. Tabor park. The emphasis was less on sunrise and more on keeping dry in the rain and mud. It was a small gathering, which was really nice. Amelia did her best to curb her natural instinct to entertain the circle of grownups around her while we prayed and sang and read. It was sweet to celebrate Christ's resurrection at the very beginning of our day, and carry that with us throughout the other parts.

We invited Jeff's sister's family over for brunch on Sunday, and I finally had a good excuse to make a quiche-- Jeff and A don't eat dairy, and A doesn't eat eggs, meanwhile, I love quiche and omelets. I went to several different stores to find a pretty ceramic pie dish, since I had given mine away. I wasted most of the afternoon on that fruitless search, but ended up using a spring form cake pan instead. It turned out looking so beautiful, I don't know if there's really a good reason to make one any other way now! Anyway, I used the leeks, mushrooms and greens from the market, and have been enjoying the leftovers heated in the oven for breakfast all week. I also made this Czech Easter Bread, and although it was very fancy, the recipe had a lot of holes in it that I had to make up for and it turned out tasty but not as beautiful as I'd hoped. Jeff's sister brought a giant spiral cut ham and some fruit salad and the seven us put a tiny dent in the food we set out. No worries though, we have been enjoying our share of the ham every day since then, and I have plans for a big pot of split pea soup.

The egg hunt was a simple affair with dyed eggs and a few odds and ends. In the future I think I'll try to always have at least three kids involved, it's just too hard not to compete and compare when there's only one other person. At the end, it was hard to get a happy picture of both of the cousins, but we know they had a great time, all told!

This is Amelia saying "Happy Easter!" Since Sunday, it has been nice to be greeted occasionally by her with "He is risen! He is risen indeed!" Indeed. How wonderful.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Who told you about that?

Amelia has been walking around rubbing a spoon on her face. "I'm shaving. I need to get all smooth for night-night time."

Sunday, April 05, 2009

(Alternate title: From "Yuck!" to "Wow!")

Of course I can't show you our new paint job until you fully appreciate how awful our house has been looking since we moved in. I also chose a photo with extreme weather contrast to today's glorious climate.

Seriously, who chooses peach and gray? Who?!

As most of you know, we had our house painted by the city of Portland, thanks to their lead paint abatement program. How wonderful! We just had to paint our doors and porches, they took care of the rest!

Aah, much better!

I wasn't really into bright colors when I lived in California. Somehow, enduring two long, gray winters here has completely changed that! When the weather allows, we eat most of our meals outside. Now we have a nice view!