Sunday, September 27, 2009

Power to the People

If you've been to Wal-Mart lately, you've probably noticed their new branding for all their grocery items. And if you're like me, it's caused you to lose your appetite. Seriously, what focus group told them this was appealing??

You know what I think when I look in my cabinet?

"All I've got to eat is chili and refried beans, and that just sounds gross."

I can't just look on the shelves and see green, yellow and orange and think, "Oh good, I've got green beans, corn and carrots...yum!" (Not that I would ever say that about carrots, but that's beside the point.) The point is that these cans have sat untouched in my cabinet for two weeks because their contents are not easily recognizable by their can design. What does that mean? Boring meals for me, and less money for Wal-Mart. Someone was not thinking when they came up with these designs.

What do you think? I'm putting up a poll, so vote and let your voice be heard! I may not buy name-brand, but that doesn't mean I deserve bad design!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The end is near!

This was the sky overhead the other day, right before a rain. I love Texas skies and their sometimes apocalyptic panoramas.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's all cool

I'm loving my new deep freeze. We bought it on Craig's list for $50. When it came to us, it was black (someone had painted over the original white), it was dirty, and it was very very stinky.

So, I took the water hose to it and washed it three times with as many disinfecting products as I could. I also scrubbed off as much black paint as I could; some of it just peeled right up. Then onto painting it white again. I used Rustoleum Appliance Paint, and it took me almost 4 cans, 2 per coat (an additional $20). It was easy to apply, and the result is great! And I'm really enjoying all the room we have!
Caleb had mostly moved on to table food by the time we got the freezer in, but it would have been so nice with his frozen baby food that I made. Even now, I make up batches of cooked chicken and veggies and freeze those laid out flat. Once they're frozen, I break up the pieces and store them in a Ziploc, and I know I have a healthy meal on hand any time Jon and I are eating pizza or Chinese or something else that's hard to give to a baby.

Tonight I made up a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough and froze the preformed cookies on a cookie sheet. When they're frozen, I'll put them in a Ziploc and we'll have a sweet snack ready in no time! I prefer the cookie dough just as it is, but Jon might pull out a couple and bake them.

How much fun to have freezer room!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Taking the plunge??

So our car has pretty much died on us. We've debated for the past week or two over what to do. It's still driveable (at low speeds), but not guaranteed to last much longer. And the cost of repairs and maintenance will most definitely be more than the value of the car, if not twice the value of the car. So...on to a new car! Woohoo!

That brings us to many questions. This next car will probably last us 5 years or so like the last one did, so what are our car needs for the next 5 years? Right now, we have one child with a honkin' big car seat. We could potentially have another child in a year or so (don't worry, no big announcements forthcoming!), so that means a four-door sedan would fit our needs, as long as it has plenty of room in the back. BUT...let's say we go crazy and opt for Baby #3 two years after #2. That means that in 3 years we'll need a new car again. Plus, even just two kids with honkin' big carseats means not much room for anything else. Think Christmas. Long trip, lots of luggage, and lots of loot coming home with us! :) Or think, "Sure, I can pick you up at the airport! Just let me find a babysitter for my kiddos so there's enough room in the car...." So...that leads us to the SUV/van category of vehicles.

We have pretty tight parameters for the mileage we'd like, the age of the car, and most importantly, the price. This is good and bad. Good because it narrows down my search to about 50 vehicles in a 50-mile radius, which is a pretty short list considering where I live. Bad because those 50 vehicles are eerily like the car sitting in my driveway right now--they do their job, but I can expect some scoffing at the mechanic any time I go. In short, they're cheap cars. But, in short, that's what we can afford. And our Hyundai has worked very well for us the last 5 years.

So we've got a list that can easily be culled through--cut the manual transmission, no cars with really bad ratings, ixnay the one with a "salvage title".... That leaves us with a couple Kia Sedonas, a Dodge Caravan, a few Chrysler Town & Countries.... Are you seeing a pattern here? They're all vans! Hm....

I've been thinking long and hard about The Van. Vans get better gas mileage than SUVs, they're generally less expensive, they drive smoother, they have family-friendly features like power sliding doors (which I completely see the usefulness of now), and they have third-row seating, which SUVs don't offer until you look at the larger ones, which are outside of my price parameter. So yes, a van is a good thing. But it's a van, and every normal person in my generation shudders at the thought of being That Mom with The Van. I think it reminds us too much of our own mothers, whom we love dearly but don't want to relate to quite that much. We don't want to admit that we are going down That Road. We didn't choose the romantic path that led us to hostels in Italy and running with the bulls in Spain. We chose the minivan path.

So, as it is now past midnight and I have cars and prices and dealerships and miles per gallon jumbling up in my head, I'll sleep on it, pray about it, and see how I feel tomorrow. I remind myself that we're looking for a 5-year car, not a 25-year car. As much as we rely on our vehicles, it's not like buying a house. It might be a chance to find something fun and unexpected (which, I agree, is most certainly not a van)! We'll see what happens, and I just might get to show you what we picked by this time next week!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New post

Well, it seems that my blogging has gotten boring and depressing lately. I've wanted to put something new up, but don't have anything but more boring and/or depressing stuff to report. Hm...

So we'll make it quick, get it over with, and maybe I'll have something better to report next time!

House hunting is on hold while we figure out exactly if/when Jon gets a raise. Which turns out to be good, because 1) our income has not worked out as expected for the moment, and 2) our transmission went out on our car, so we'll find out tomorrow from the mechanic if we're fixing it (cha-ching) or replacing the car (mucho cha-ching). So it's a good thing we didn't use our money yet for a down payment or house repairs!

We're at a loss about what we're supposed to be doing. I've gotta admit my attitude hasn't been that great lately (as evidenced by these posts). I'm tired of not knowing what we're doing, I'm tired of seeing my husband beat down. I'm tired of guessing, "Did x happen to prevent us from doing y, which then allows us to do z? Or is x just another hurdle, but really we should push through and try to accomplish y?" Did the car break to prevent us from putting an offer on a house, which would have rooted us here in the city for a period of time? Or is it just a setback, and we should continue to house hunt when our income allows? Maybe we're supposed to keep looking for ministry positions--something we've been doing for a year now?

My mother-in-law reminded me of the story of Jonah. Despite his efforts, God orchestrated events so that Jonah made it to Ninevah. Where is our Ninevah, Lord? Because I feel like I'm getting swallowed, and all I really want is to be where You want me. I don't want to run!

We are sending Jon's resume to a church in West Texas. It certainly would not be our first choice for where God should lead us, but perhaps it's our Ninevah. And if it is, I pray for a revival such as the one Jonah witnessed!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Date night!

Jon and I had a great date night tonight! Freebirds and Julie & Julia. Uncle Dave and Aunt Karen used their aunt/uncle magic and kept Caleb happy, fed and bathed him, and got him off to bed with barely a tear! Let me tell you, that makes me quite the happy mom to come home to a good report like that. We were so grateful for the night out! And Momma, you've GOT to find a theater near you that's playing Julie & Julia. You would LOVE it!

Off to bed for now, but tomorrow I just might have to peruse some recipe books....too bad I packed most of them away in an effort to free up room in my kitchen!