Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pull-apart Cinnamon & Sugar Pumpkin Bread Recipe!

Thought I'd post this since I already had it all written out :) I promise I'll try to do another post soon...I know it's been awhile!!

After all the inquiries, here is the recipe! Note: It is not healthy (quite a bit of sugar), but it is OH-SO-YUMMY! :)

Pull-apart Cinnamon & Sugar Pumpkin Bread



2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour


1/2 cup sugar (The original said 1 cup but thought that'd be waaaay too much)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp unsalted butter


2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 2 tablespoons of butter, letting it bubble up and turn a dark golden brown but being careful not to allow it burn (turn black). Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the milk. Pour the milk and butter into a large mixing bowl (or a standing mixer with dough hook if you have one) and allow to cool so it is no longer hot but also not cool (about 100-110 degrees F). Once it has reached a warm but not hot temperature add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and allow to proof (this can take up to 8 minutes, the top will look foamy and the liquid cloudy). Then add the the pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, brown another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well. Making sure sugar evenly absorbs the butter. Set aside. Next, grease and flour a loaf pan and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flip out onto a clean floured surface and knead with hands for 1-2 minutes. Roll dough into a 20x12 inch rectangle. (about) Evenly sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture and press into dough with palms of the hand. Cut the rectangle into 6 strips. Lay strips on top of each other and cut each strip into 6 even squares (cut in half then each half into thirds). Stack strips vertically into the loaf pan. Let rise for 30-45 minutes.

In the meantime preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After rising in the pan bake for 30-40 minutes, or until top is a very deep golden brown. Turn out of pan onto a clean serving plate.

To prepare the glaze, heat the butter, milk, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Drizzle over baked bread.

Try to share with others :)



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We're all settled

So last week we packed up our stuff from the nasty, dirty, smelly, empty, cold trailer and moved a little more north to a resort on Cass Lake. We are in a small 2 bedroom condo but to us it's paradise! Okay, maybe not paradise, but anything coming from that trailer, would seem a little closer to paradise anyway.

Won't miss this! The HUGE mouse we finally caught in the trailer.

Yes, I can still fit 4 kids with car seats in here...pretty good huh?

It's fully furnished with 2 double beds in one of the bedrooms (which the boys share) and then a queen bed in the other (which we sleep in and ariella's pack n play fits nicely in the 'closet' spot). I am just thrilled to have beds to sleep on and enjoy making the beds everyday :)

The building is a four-plex with two condos on the bottom and two on the top. The two on the top have renters in and out, mostly fisherman, and the other condo on the bottom has one of Nathan's co-workers living in it. He has become great friends with Nathan and we've come to think of him more like family. The kids adore him (and he the kids) and he eats and visits with us every night. It's been a blessing to have someone else around that we enjoy talking with! And the cool part is that the rooms are actually connected so he can come over to our place without even going outside!

The condo

Living space & kitchen

Boys' room

Ariella's 'nook'

For the first 5 days or so that we were here, the weather was perfect. Mid to upper 70s and low 80s and sunny. Because it's a resort, it has a great beach that is just a few steps from our place. The kids and I spent most of the days swimming in the water and exploring for clams, shells, turtles and anything else that we could find that was 'cool' :)

The beach

Looks like she's having fun

There is also a mile long loop through the resort and the woods that we've been walking to get some energy out. Now with the weather cooling off in a hurry (this morning it was only 25 out!) I'm sure we'll be spending a little more time inside.

Ariella walking on the trail with her new friend "Mr. Weston" (Nathan's co-worker)

Nathan still is not working that many hours (usually around 50) so we are able to come home to the "house with 3 pottys" (as my boys refer to it as) fairly often. We are happy when we are there but also excited to find a buyer for it as we think about possible opportunities for the future.

Sure looks like paradise to me....

(we enjoyed a few quiet mins out here after the kids went to bed and before the mosquitoes ate us up)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Our date continued....finally!

So, yeah....I kept you in suspense a tad longer than I had planned to. Guess that's my life right now so you'll just have to deal with it :)

So continue our date.....

Saturday we woke up and decided to get the cheapest thing on the room service menu since we've never had room service before...and now I know why we haven't ever had room service before...the bill was $25 for two small bowls of plain yogurt with a sprinkle of granola and some fruit! Whew!

After that was done we didn't have any plans for the day so I jumped on my phone and started searching for attractions in the cities. One site lead me to another and another and somehow I came across something that was called "Segway Tours". My scrolling stopped...wait...segway tours??? What is that?! I went over to their website, looked up the number and gave them a call.

I asked what it all entailed and if they still had openings for later that day. They did!! I signed us up and looked forward to 2:30 in the afternoon!

In the meantime we ate lunch at The Melting Pot downtown. We heard it was very good, and it was, but since I have fondued every year at Christmas for the last 29 years (or at least as long as I can remember) the "coolness" of it just wasn't there for us. I ordered steak and shrimp and Nathan fondued chicken, steak and shrimp. We were told that if we wanted the typical 4 course meal, that we should allow at least 2-1/2 hrs to eat. We didn't get that but it did seem like it took forever. We were one of two couples in the place since they just had opened for the day but the waitress definitely wasn't in any hurry. It seemed rather odd to us that it took so long to get our food because it's all raw! They don't even have to cook it, we cook it! So it should be all back there ready to be portioned onto your plate and brought out to you...but I guess they had to butcher the cow first before they brought me the steak ;)

We were going to have the fondue dessert but since we were running out of time and I didn't want to be late for our segway tour, we decided to bail. And Im glad we did because we were right on time for the tour.

So we got to the tour and before they even took your money, they made you try out the segway because some people just don't feel comfortable on it and therefore want to cancel their spot on the tour. We, of course, loved them and wanted to continue. They then told us to pick out our helmets and have a seat in front of the tv to watch a training video.

Nathan couldn't even look at me in my pink helmet because he burst out laughing every time. He said I looked like I was five....and he looked so much better, right? So we watched a 15-20 min video on segway safety and it was time to take them outside to test them out again. (The first hour or so of the 'tour' was training on how to ride the segway, get off and on, etc).

Do I look that goofy??

After training, we were on our way! There was about 30 or so of us, with 5 instructors. We drove mostly on sidewalks so we had to stay in a single file line. That was a lot of segways in a row. Most people that we drove past took our their cameras and snapped a few pictures.

The tour took a total of 3 hours and it was a distance of about 5 miles. We stopped at places along the way such as the St. Anthony falls, the Stone Arch bridge, Mill city museum (where we went in and had some refreshments), Guthrie museum, and a tour of Nichollet Island.

St. Anthony Falls

Stone Arch Bridge that was built by the railroad man James J Hill

Mill City Museum

Aren't we cute?!

Part of the line of segways going down the sidewalk

At one point during our ride we crossed this small street and I saw a few cars coming. They didn't seem like they were slowing down at all, and since I didn't want to get hit by a car, I slowed down and waited for them. In the meantime, Nathan, who was behind me, didn't see me slow down until it was too late. He turned at the very last second, went off the sidewalk into the grass and jumped the curb onto the street. He mangaged to do all that while staying on the segway and regaining control and really not missing a beat. On our next stop, one of the instructors came up to him and said "I just have to shake your hand, man...I've never, ever seen someone stay so calm and regain control of the segway during and after a situation like yours. Congratulations!" It was kinda funny :)

I was sad when we came around the corner and saw our starting point because we were having so much fun. I would recommend it to anyone! Their website is humanonastick.com Clever, I know :)

After that it was time to find another hotel (we needed to get out of downtown!) and found a marriott by the Mall of America. You remember that we are partial to Marriotts right? We only liked their beds so much that we ordered one and had it shipped to our camper...now you remember? Anyway, we took their free shuttle over to the mall to grab some grub and then back to the hotel to relax. We were upgraded to a king whirlpool suite because they ran out of kings, and we were happy to oblige.

Sunday, our last morning, we booked a brunch cruise on the Mississippi on the boat called Paradise Lady. It was a relaxing time and going through the largest lock on the mississippi was an experience. The food wasn't the greatest, but we could have probably guessed that before it started. After the 2 hour cruise was over, it was time to get back to reality and go pick up our kids. Ariella was the only one who seemed a little excited to see us, the boys were having too much fun with the other kids :)

Paradise Lady

Our table reserved for us...and the other couple who was supposed to share our table never showed up so we had it all to ourselves.


Going down the lock.

At the bottom of the lock....and I've decided that I like going up rather than going down. It takes 8 mins both ways to travel through the lock.

Our food.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Our getaway

Wow...the weeks fly by...and the minutes now that I think about it. I sat down to do a post 'quickly' while I waited for my bread to get done and had 17 minutes to do it in. Then Ariella started crying. By the time I got her all situated for nap time, I had 12 mins. Then I jumped over to facebook quick to see if a lady I knew had her baby yet. And now I have 1 min and 58...57...56...seconds. Guess I'll be finishing this post when the bread is out of the oven. ahem.

So during the past couple weeks, I have been doing everything I can think of to make my extremely long week days go a little faster. Each week we've been able to make a trip to the Walker beach so that takes up a few hours which is nice. The thing I am mostly excited about though is that we are moving!!! Yes, AGAIN!!! But this should be so much better than where we are currently for most days during the week.

(The bread turned out wonderfully, by the way...I was kinda worried since it has been forever since I've made my loaves with the Bosch, I kinda forgot how to do it!...but they are wonderful...just so you know)

So where are we moving to? To a little condo in a resort up north. It's small (820 sq ft...please don't complain about your "small" house...we have 4 children remember and this will do us just fine, almost 3 times the sz of the camper!) but here's the good part....it's fully furnished! We will have a couch to sit on, a bed to sleep on, and yes, a table to eat at!! It's real crazy now when I feed the kids, I get their plates ready, set them on the floor and tell them to come and eat! I feel like I'm calling the dogs. I just tell them we are having a picnic for every meal and they could care less where they sit. But for us, it will be nice to have a table! The price also includes all the utilites so that will be nice to not have to worry about what the cost of heating it in the winter will be, etc.

We will be 'moving' there after labor day. And I saying 'moving' because we're not really moving...just moving to work...if that makes any sense...

Anyway....onto the fun stuff.....

Last weekend Nathan and I went away for a much needed date! Some friends of ours we willing to watch the kids for us for a few days while we relaxed and did whatever! We decided to go down to the cities to find some stuff to do there. Before we left, there were only 2 things that I had booked for us...1) a twins game and 2) a brunch cruise on the mississippi. The rest of the weekend we were going to take on the fly.

We dropped the kids off at about 9:30 Friday morning and headed down to the cities. We stopped first at the Christian bookstore in Maple Grove while we waited for Don Pablos to open :) Nathan bought a book about Tim Tebow (which he says is awesome) and a Tenth Ave No CD (which we will see in concert on sept 15!). After lunch, we were off to find the James J Hill mansion in St. Paul.

Wow! Is that place huge!!! 36,000 square foot house...can you image??? It was built in the 1800s which makes it even more amazing. The detail in the woodwork was phenominal and all the nooks and crannys...wow. It was definitely worth going to tour..and it's a guided tour so you learn some more stuff about how life was lived back then and a little more details about the family. For those of you who don't know, James J Hill was the founder of the Great Northern Railroad and a bazillionaire...the richest man in the world at his time.

Some of the interesting tidbits I remember from the tour:

1) The are 427 keys for the doors in the house
2) The built in organ in the music room has 1200 pipes.
3) There was a safe behind a secret door in the formal dining room.
4) All the dust collected by the women cleaning was put down a shute and taken out by the men.
5) There are 42 rooms (largest one being 1500 sq ft alone), 13 bathrooms, & 22 fireplaces.
6) It cost just over $500,000 to build (just under $1 million with all its furnishings and land, etc)....today that would be over $16 million. (After seeing it you would think it's even more than that)

There are really so, so many things and I could go on and on...you just have to go visit for yourself. You can go over to this link http://collections.mnhs.org/MNHistoryMagazine/articles/55/v55i06p234-249.pdf and see a pic of the outside (and read the article if you want, actually I would recommend it as I'm reading some of it now...very detailed about the house and shows the floor plan as well) It really is amazing.

After the mansion tour, we were off to the zoo! We made a swing through the Como Zoo and enjoyed looking at the animals at our own pace instead of 4 kids pulling us in 4 different directions...it was a nice change of pace :)

After that we checked into our hotel....The Westin...in downtown Mpls...just a stones throw from the Target Field, to which we headed at about 6:00.

Since this hotel used to be a bank, which they converted in 2007, the bank vault is now a wine cellar.

The weather was absolutely perfect and I don't think we could have even asked for much better! The twins lost to the Yankees horribly but it was nice to see the new stadium in person. When the game first started, there were 2 completely annoying people in front of us...in 2 different groups of people. One of them was a 9ish yr old girl who kept screaming and demanding food from her parents and they left the game before the 1st inning was even over...yes, it was that bad. The other was a drunk indian who kept yelling obsenities and who was just obnoxious...and he got kicked out of the stadium. So after that, everything was clear sailing!

At one point in the game, we looked over and to our surprise, this camera was right in our face...uh...do we wave? Why is he here? Since we haven't been to a game before, we had no idea was the "kiss cam" was until the camera man came out from behind the camera, looked at us, and said "Kiss!" Ohhhh!!! ***smoooooch*** So yes, we made it onto the jumbo screen :) Guess the camera man knows a cute couple when he sees one.

After the game, we returned to the hotel to eat a burger and fries at the hotels restaurant....completely horrible, awful food. Shoulda complained but we didn't.

On a weird note...twice I found valuable stuff in that hotel that I turned into the front lobby. One was in our room, on the desk, there was this jewelry box sitting by itself with a note to someones name that was not us, with a silver pocket watch in it....the other time was a womans wallet (with a bit of cash in it) left on one of the chairs in the lounge area. Hmmm.....

...Ok, I was going to finish our whole weekend on this post...but I'm actually getting tired and I have waaaaaay too much stuff to get done this weekend for me to be sleepy, so I'm going to stop here and hopefully finish tonight or tomorrow. The best part of the trip is coming up next so don't miss out! What we did on sat was unbelievely fun...can't wait to tell!! :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

the beach

Well, it's the weekend again...and again we are getting ready to head back up north to work. This will be a short week though as Nathan has class in the cities on Wed and we'll get to come home just after a couple days.

I'm getting more used to our 'cabin' but I'm not used to the packing and cleaning and unpacking and then packing and cleaning and unpacking and...and...and....and... Going back and forth, back and forth is a little challenging but what do ya do? I bring all the dirty clothes back with me to wash at home, and then when i'm home, I do all the shopping and meal planning and bring that back up there.

Last week I desperately needed something to do as the 14 hr day of sitting in the cabin was enough for me. I saw on the map that Walker had a city park. I had no idea what kind of park or how big it was or anything but I thought any park was better than no park, so even though it was sprinkling out, off we went exploring. Well, to my surprise, it was awesome! A huge city park with tennis, basketball, volleyball, playgrounds, and even a sandy beach!

I told the boys they could 'wade' in the water and not get wet. Well, that lasted about a whole minute and in the water they were! But, boy, was it fun!! I'm not sure if I've heard so many giggles come out of all my kids at the same time. It was super windy coming off the lake, which made for huge white-cap waves. They sat in the water and let the waves knock them over. Or they stood up and jumped over the waves as they rolled in. Because of the wind, they got cold quick outside of the water but we ended up staying there a good few hours, even had a picnic on the picnic tables!

(Sidenote about the picnic, I forgot to pack food for me (duh) so I thought I'd just go one block over from the park to the DQ and get a chicken strip basket. I pulled thru the drive thru and they say "We don't have chicken strips." Uh..... "Ok, just give me a burger." "We don't have hamburgers...we have hot dogs and grilled chicken." SERIOUSLY?!!? What Dairy Queen doesn't have hamburgers?!? So I kindly said "Thanks but I'm going somewhere else"..and drove next door to Hardees!)

Few quotes from the week:

"Mom, I almost sank but I saved the day myself."--Caedmon in the water at the beach

"Mom, I'm looking at the sun with my eyes closed." --Caedmon laying in the grass at the beach

"What are you going to make for supper in the morning."--Caedmon

And once Brayan realized that we were getting close to our actual house last week, he says very excidely "We aren't going to the house with the mouse poop, we are going to the house with three potties!!" --That just shows the tiny difference between our two places :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our "cabin"

Well this past week has been interesting, to say the least.....

On Monday, I was starting the morning with my usually phone calls to any place that I could find for rent to see if we could find a place. I called one lady who had 2 rentals about 30 miles south of Bemidji. She told me right away that both of them are rented but asked if I would like to leave my name and number and if something fell through, she could call me. I declined and said that if I couldn't find anything in the next couple days, I'd call her back and check the status since I didn't really want to live there anyway because they were trailer houses. Well, she called me back a few minutes later (info taken from the caller id) and said that she called the people for one of the rentals and found out that they had broken up and didn't need a place anymore, so she had one available. I said I would come look at it.

Well, long story short, it became our rental. It's a older 2 bedroom trailer house. It's actually a bitter-sweet thing. It's exactly what we've been wanting and praying for...close(r) to Nathan's work show up, it's south so it's closer to home and shaves about 35 mins off our drive time (not to mention gas money!), and it has a large, beautiful, secluded yard for the kids to play in. The few things that it doesn't or does have that we didn't exactly pray for is that it seems to have a big mouse problem (which has been really gross), it's not exactly clean or even close to, and it has no air conditioning. But it does have a (modern) one stall attached garage with 6 huge windows in it which makes it great to play in when it's raining and it gives the kids a big extra area to ride their scooters. It also has a cement patio in the back with a big picnic table that we can use...which is on the side of the house that faces the yard and the woods, giving it a super peaceful feel out there.

When we moved in on Tuesday, I vacuumed and wiped down all the floors, counters, cupboards, everything with rubbing alcohol so I could feel a little disinfected. I actually felt a lot better before going to bed that night but then was very disheartened when we woke up to find mouse droppings all over the kitchen counter, two holes in our bread bag with 4 pieces of bread eaten from, droppings all over the clean dishes in the dish rack.....yuck! Well, we learned quick to put everything, even crackers, in the fridge so it is safe from the mice :) We set out traps last night where we thought they were coming onto the counters, only to find more droppings this morning so we think they are coming in through the stove. We rigged the whole place with traps and hope to find them all full when we come back after the weekend :)

We get a kick out of the landlord too. She's an older lady, I'd guess in her early-mid 70s, but sometimes I wonder about her. For example, when I was checking out the place, she was sure to tell me about the 2 switched on top of the stove... “One is for the light by the microwave and the other is a safety switch for the oven. The oven will not lite if this is flipped.” So making sure I understood her... “Okay, so all I have to do is turn the temp dial and it should turn on”. “Yes, and if it doesn't, it's because this switch needs to go the other way.” “Okay, got it.” Well, in the evening when I was trying to see if the oven worked, after I found out that the stove didn't work, I flipped that switch, only to find out that it was the oven light! Hahaha...ok, lady...safety switch...try oven light! :)

Another thing she told me was about this water softener that was in the 2nd bedrooms closet. She says “Oh, and we still need to plug that in...” But then later when her daughter was there (who also takes care of the rentals) says “Don't worry about that softener in that closet, we need to come and get that, but whatever you do, don't plug it in or it will clog up all the pipes.” Then the older lady pipes in “Yeah, and we think it's stolen!” Uh...ok....

Then, again when she was showing me the house, she notices this device that's plugged into the wall in the living room “What the heck is that?!?” she asks. “I'm not sure...looks like some sort of serge protector or something?” “Well, I'm sure it's Dougs (guy who lived there before us), I'll hold it ransom...he still owes me $100.” And then a different time she was over she asks “What is that?? We need to get it out of there.” I told her “It really doesn't bother me, it's fine if it stays.” Then when she was over (yeah she stops by a lot for various reasons) with her daughter, she goes, “You know what that is? (pointing to it) That's the thing that they use for the internet to go from DSL to whatever it is now. You know how I know??? Because I have one in my house too.” WHAT?! You just asked me for the last 3 days what it is and now you're saying you have one?? Ok..... :)

And then probably the funniest thing she said was when she was talking about how she doesn't allow animals in her rentals, cats especially (which is probably why there are so many mice!). So she says about cats... “Yeah, if you see one, and you're good with a gun, kill it.” Haha...just picture an old lady saying that...it was funny. :)

A few “incidents” already....
Not even 20 minutes after I picked up the keys and was unloading the van, I looked at my phone and saw that I had a voicemail from the landlord. I listened to it and she said that the neighbor next door had called her and said that some kids were trying to open her door and were playing in her bird bath in her lawn. Oh great! We haven't even been here a half hour and I'm already getting called about my kids! Well, it was Caedmon and Ariella who were the culprets and I think it was just that they figured that that was our place too, they were just excited to finally have some space! So after explaining that that was the neighbors and not ours, they haven't gone back over there :)

And yesterday, we were outside playing when I realized that Tiernan had gone in for something and shut the door behind him (which is ironic that I think of it because he never shuts the door at home and we are constantly on him about that). Well, they have those knobs where you can turn them from the inside but they are locked on the outside. And yes, my keys were inside. 2nd day, we were locked out. Thankfully I had my phone so I didn't feel completely helpless but when I called my landlord to come less us in, she wasn't home. Maybe she just didn't hear the phone? Since she only lives 2 doors down, the kids and I walked over and yes, she was gone. Hmmm....it wouldn't matter if Nathan got home because he didn't have a key anyway. What to do, what to do....I know! The windows were open last night...lets try them! No luck...front door locked, all the windows have screens on them and I coudln't get the screens out because of those black tabs were on the inside and I couldn't pop them out. Finally on one of the windows I noticed that the black tabs were on the outside, someone had put it in backwards! Yes! I whipped the screen off, only to remember I had locked the window in the morning after we closed it. Bummer!! After about another hour and lots of “I have to go potty”, I noticed that the window next to the window with the tabs outside that the frame on the screen was bent so I was able to get my finger in there and pop the screen out. Then I slowly tried the window, praying that it wasn't locked. And it wasn't! I slid it open a little and called for Tiernan. I lifted Tiernan up and her went thru and opened the front door. (Remember last time we did that in the camper?) I'm glad the neighbors next door had left, not sure what they would have thought about that!

So we are on the drive home, peace and cleanliness for 3 days, 4 nights...can't wait! I've never been so ready to take a shower! Yes there is a shower there but once you see my picture of it, you'll see why I just wait to get home...plus with no a/c we get all sweaty anyway.

I guess I'm starting to think of it as our own little cabin...we are there 4 days a week, and only 3 nights, we have to plan meals, put away our food so the animals/rodents don't get it, we go to sleep with the fan on full blast right next to us, it's up north in the middle of nowhere, it's by a lake (not on though), we live next door to some indians, we have no washer or dryer, there's poison ivy everywhere (which Brayan is covered in and Caedmon also has his fair share)...but the best part, we are all living under one roof. :)

Funny quotes from each of the boys at this place so far:

Brayan...”Mom, why does it smell like poop everywhere?” ...good question Brayan...

Caedmon to the landlord...”We don't really like this house because there are mouses everywhere.” ...couldn't have said it better myself...I was a little nervous once he started that sentence...didn't know where that one was going!

Tiernan...”One thing that's really weird about this house, there's no kitchen table!”. Nope, there's not. The kids sit on the floor and eat off of the top of the cooler and I stand, and Nathan sits on the cooler when he gets home. We have yet to eat on the picnic table but I'm thankful for it anyway!

So what do you think this week will hold?? Well, stay tuned and find out! :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Yay! Internet Finally!

I honestly can't remember the last time I sat down to write a blog post! Yikes! That must means it's been a little while....I know that we were in Blue Earth at that time so I will update it quickly from there.

By the way, I'm writing this in the car again (I'm not driving though...just in case you were wondering...I think that would be even worse than texting ;). It seems as though it is when I am forced to sit for an extended period of time is when I finally have time to blog.

So once we left Blue Earth, Nathan took 2-1/2 weeks off so we could be home and relax for awhile before moving again, this time up north! During those 2 weeks, we spent lots of time visiting with friends, getting caught up with some dear ones that we haven't seen for over 2 years! They have 4 children, 5 and under so with us together there is 8 children with Tiernan (6) being the oldest! It makes for a lively time but they all play so well that it really doesn't seem like that many kids most of the time.

All the kids...

The dads having fun on the scooters

We also were able to see some of Nathan's family we don't get to see very often...Sarah and her kids who we lived by in Virginia came to visit as well as his brother Jonathan and family from Texas. We got together with them a few times, at his sister's house for a meal and also at the splash pad to play. Jonathan has another foster daughter (Rita, 17..along with Alma, 16 who we met at Christmas) that is living with that we met for the first time during this visit as well so that was fun.

Rita with Ariella

Spending time at the park with Nathan's parents, his sister Amanda and family, his sister Sarah and family visiting from VA, his sister Maria & kids, and his brother Jonathan and family visiting from TX.

Nathan also spent a lot of time in our yard picking rock. Hours and hours and hours he raked, dug, picked up, and moved the rocks in our yard so when we seed, the grass will have a better chance of growing well. Although right now we've just let the weeds grow in the area that we didn't lay sod, and it actually looks kinda nice! They are thick enough that it almost looks like grass and when Nathan mows it, you can hardly tell the difference.

We spent some time at a "beach" on the 4th. It was this tiny little public access that had a ledge where you could put a chair and then a drop off to the rocks which led in to the water. Yeah, it wasn't exactly my idea...it was Nathan's. He bet me no one else would be there...and there actually was, so now that I think about it, he owes me a 30 min back rub...

So, after all that fun stuff was over, it was time to go back to work. That meant moving up to Bemidji!

He started this job, a line going from Bemidji to Grand Rapids, last Monday and it seems to be going alright for him...the only tiny problem is that we can't find a place to live!! This is my 8th or 9th time trying to find housing last minute but never had I had this much problem finding a rental, ever. Usually it might take a day or two of making a million and half phone calls but eventually we find a place. This is different. We have found nothing...zilch...nadda. I have been searching online, calling resorts, realtors, landlords, random people, banks, co-workers of in-laws brothers, you name it and everything is either 1) already rented, 2) too far in the wrong direction, 3) too expensive, or 4) requiring a long-term lease.

There was one place that we thought would be a good fit. It was in decent shape (horrible construction, but livable) that was a 1000 sq ft, 2 bed apt in a tri-plex that was made out of a pole shed....yes, fancy, I know. It was only 10 mins from Nathan's show-up for work, in the country, had great neighbors, and (relatively) inexpensive. I talked with the owner and everything seemed to be a go. He told me to fill out an app and we could move in the next day. Well, it was after I turned in the app that I didn't hear from him so I had to call him...not a good sign. “yeah, you have 4 kids?....Well, in my opinion it is not appropriate to have 4 children in a 2 bedroom.” UM, EXCUSE ME?!?! It's 1000 sq ft! Do you know how big our camper was?? Like 300 sq ft...I think we can handle 1000. Why don't you let US decide what's “appropriate” for our family?? I told the guy that we have a 3500 sq ft house back home and our boys still share a room, that's just how we live! So whatever, he wouldn't rent to us. So we were back to square one.

There is a slight possiblity of a town home in the city of Bemidji that would work out but again, I'm waiting for the owner to get back to the management to get back to me about when we could get in, etc. I'm not holding my breath, but I'm really hoping that it will work out because it's in a nice location, fairly reasonably priced and it's the only thing that we have on the table that the moment. I called a place yesterday that I spoke with the afternoon before who had a cabin south of town. We decided we would tell the guy we'd take it without even looking at it bc it had what we were looking for but once I called him, it had already been rented. So anyway, that has been and is our struggle with this move.

So where are we staying in the meantime?? At my cousins house of course! :) My cousin, Gina, and her family live in Bemidji and have been sooo kind and generous to offer us their son's bedroom to stay in while we look for a place to live! I seriously don't know what I would do if I had to do all this searching and being so stressed with finding a place if we were in a hotel...I would probably pull out all my hair. So it has worked out so nice. Nathan and I get the double bed and the kids all surround us on the floor. Gina does daycare during the day, which makes things even more fun :) The kids wake up in the morning, we eat breakfast and outside they go! She has 2 kids of her own...8 yr old Braden and 5 yr old Ava...and then anywhere from 3 to 6 daycare kids. We buy all our own groceries and Gina and I just take turns in the kitchen making meals for our respective children and families. It has worked out just great! And for some evenings we've had places to go....grocery store, resorts to try to find housing, etc, so it gives them time to themselves and then we go home on the weekends so they have some space as well.

And as of this week, Nathan said they are working 50 hours in 4 days, 12-13-13-12, so if we still don't have a place by the weekend, we'd at least be able to get out of their hair on Thursday night. :) The kids are really enjoying themselves and Gina and I enjoy the adult conversation we get during the day which neither of us usually have!

Oh! I almost forgot to mention too that our house is for sale!! Yep, that's right...as of last monday our house is officially on the market. We love our house but Nathan wants to be completely debt free and once we are, we will be able to move back and start our farm. We can't exactly start it with being on the road and he needs a job to pay for a house, so until it sells we are kinda stuck where we're at. So let me know if anyone knows of anyone who wants a beautiful, custom home on 5.1 acres in the country just 10 minutes from St. Cloud!

Being together as a family is the most important thing to us right now and we are obviously sacrificing a lot for that to happen but to us, it is totally worth it. I have a husband, my husband has a wife, and my kids have a dadddy. Nothing can beat that. I was given this quote my a friend of mine and I absolutely love it....

“Parents often forsake their children (or their spouse) for jobs, ministries, sports and pleasures, all of which pass very quickly. Men need to feel like what they do for a living is important. However, the reality is that many men soon realize that what they did for their company can, and will be, replaced shortly after they leave...We can all be replaced in the workforce, but NEVER replaced in the home. Whatever we may accomplish in our jobs is nothing compared to what we can accomplish in our homes. I understand we must work to live, but we do not have to live to work. I pray we will work for what will remain after we leave this life.” Jeffery A. Klick from the book called Generational Impact.