Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Christmas!


So I have been so bad with this blog. Some days I feel like updating but I just don't get around to it. Life has been pretty good around here, we're getting ready for Christmas. The hubs and I just sent out our Christmas cards today. I'm two sock monkeys into the nine I want to make for Christmas. I have my good friend Mama K coming in this Friday for some candy making and possibly will be making some cookies as well. We have all our decorations up and most of our presents wrapped (which should make Christmas Eve much better).

We've been trying to take the time to really celebrate the birth of our Savior and giving to those around us. We're planning on going carolling tonight with the youth group at our church, going to a Living Nativity in the area, spending time being thankful, we've been doing an advent wreath at our house and taking time to spend with good friends.

We're praying that this coming year will be filled with joy, prosperity, love and hope for all that we know. We're also praying that we would be blessed with a little baby Dirkey this year.

So yeah thats what we're up to, what you doing?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day #22 and Day #23 of Thankfullness

#22 I'm so thankful for our cars. I can't imagine trying to do the things I do so easily every day without the convenience of having a car. Our little family is so blessed to have two of them. Even in their advanced age and mileage they treat us very well and have been so reliable, the extra grunts and noises mine makes as it ages remind me that I need to appreciate having a car even more so. Its taken me so far in life, from being single living in my parents house, to moving out on my own, to moving back home, to married life and parking outside of our own house. Its taken me to my jobs every day, through the changing seasons, to visit friends, to the hospital to visit relatives and to funerals. I've driven to Canada, to Memphis, to the Outer Banks and to multiple trips to visit the hubs when he lived so far away. I'm so thankful for my little car, its treated me well in the nine years that I've had her.

#23 I'm so thankful to have the day to spend with the hubs to mark a HUGE item off of our checklist, his office. We had it piled with too much stuff and too much furniture and it just wasn't working. My brother gave us a gorgeous desk to replace our old Target special. The gorgeous desk is HUGE and has tons of drawers where we were able to organize everything away, we also did about 4 years of filing (yes from piles and boxes of random papers), and moved out a huge lime green futon. It is now a functional office with one desk, a chair and a stool for when he plays guitar (like right now-ignore my paleness).

if you see that closet in the corner this morning it was insane. You couldn't get within two feet of the door and now it is crazy organized. Ahh feels so good to get something under control that has been a "door closer" for so long. A door closer is when you just shut the door when you have company instead of leaving it open, no matter how many times I've shut that door people always end up in it. So yay! I can keep it open now!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day #21 of Thankfullness

Today I'm thankful that we have some time off together this week. Both the hubs and I took off this week to finish some projects around the house. Currently we are cleaning and reorganizing the hub's office, defrosting our freezer and doing laundry. On the plate for this week: finishing the trim work in the downstairs, doing the finish work on the floors, repainting and spackling whatever needs to be done, tightening the kitchen faucet, painting the outside trim, cleaning our laundry room and finally DECORATING FOR CHRISTMAS!! So yes, the time off is well needed right now and very much appreciated.
With all these things done it will help us to slow down and appreciate the time we have with family over the holidays. Besides that I'm just happy to spend the time with the hubs.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Making up for lost time in the Thankfullness Dept

So I started that 30 days of Thankfullness with good intentions to update the blog daily, and as intentions sometimes go it fell by the wayside. I did however spend alot time this month being thankful though and consciously thinking of the things that I am thankful for. Its amazing how much your attitude changes when you are looking for the good in your life.
So without further ado:

#9 I'm so thankful for our church. We've been looking for a new church close to our house for about a year and nothing felt like the right fit to us. We finally checked out Grace Community which is 5 min away and it was just right. We are taking membership classes now and are looking forward to getting involved and getting to know everyone there.

#10 I'm so thankful for my friends. God has blessed me with some wonderful friends that are kind, supportive, hysterical, loving, encouraging and just all around amazing. I couldn't imaging living my life without the input of these great people.

#11 I'm thankful for having a washing machine and a dryer. Sometimes I think of what it would be like to live without the conveniences that we have right at our fingertips. Laundry is my least favorite household duty, thats right its below cleaning toilets. I can't imagine how hard it would be without the conveniences that we have now.

#12 I'm so thankful that my husband is my best friend. We share an amazing love as well as a rich friendship. Our relationship has taught me so much, its sounds so cheesy but I'm a better person for knowing him and calling him my friend.

#13 I'm so thankful for the ease with which I can look up recipes with the internet. Its amazing how many things are right at our fingertips. I can't imagine how amazing my grandmom's cooking would be if she had access to thousands upon thousands of recipes. It makes life so much easier when you have a can of beans, an onion and carrots with which to make dinner from.

#14 I'm thankful for my kitty cat, while its true my cat can be quite a pain, he also is very snuggly. I never have a dull moment folding laundry or making beds because he thinks that clothes and sheets are cat toys. He does brighten my day with his crazy antics.


#15 I'm thankful for the ladies that I work with. I have three wonderful girlfriends that I share an office with. They are always there to offer encouragement, make me laugh or just talk with. It makes me happy to head to work to see them.

#16 I'm thankful for warm pot of tea on a cold November day, I love wrapping cold hands around a warm cup of tea. There is just something so relaxing about it.

#17 I'm thankful for my family. They really are good people, no matter what I know that they support the hubs and I in our decisions and love us. I've always loved coming from a big family and honestly it just gets better with age. I couldn't imagine having a small family or no family at all. There is always so much laughter when we're together, its nice that its just fun to be with them.

#18 I'm thankful for my parents house in Maine that they let us use for vacation.

Its so fun bringing the hubs to the same place we spent our vacations every year as a kid and sharing those memories with him. Its also great that there is an open door policy with the house. This year on vacation I got to spend time with three of my siblings and their families as well as my parents.



#19 I'm so thankful for my extended family. Besides having a huge immediate family we have a fairly sizable extended family who is also very close. Its wonderful being so close to aunts, uncles, cousins, 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins; we really do keep in pretty close contact.

#20 I'm so thankful for my computer. I may be slightly addicted to it but it really does help me keep in touch with friends and family far and near. It also helps me to learn so much about cooking, sewing, crafting, home improvements; its my go-to place when I want to learn something quickly

Hey! I'm caught up!!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day #8 of Thankfullness

I was going to update yesterday that we purchased a bed. A HUGE bed. A bed that we used the fruit of my job to purchase. We brought the king size bed home with my Sister in Laws minivan, yeah that was interesting, considering we have a pretty significant storm going on with some leftover hurricane weather that floated north. As we drove the 5 miles home the mattress was rearing and straining to fly off the roof. I was considering this as I watched the mattress pull and tug on those ties we secured it with.

Of course I was thinking of doing this in a much cooler way, ala Teen Wolf

but alas it was raining and I don't think my sister in law would be too happy with me van surfing with her Dodge Caravan.

So we got the car home with only a few minor heart attacks where I pictured the car becoming airborne and flying who knows where. The next challenge was getting it up the steps. We had a hard time getting our queen box spring up the steps, to the point that I had to take it apart (which may have been the heart of our old mattress discomfort). After much pushing and shoving where we realized that, wow we bought a huge smooshy mattress we got the mattress upstairs with only one small hole in the wall. Good thing I'm good at spackling, heh. By this time it was about 5 pm and I made the bed then the hubs and I starting watching Away We Go. We fell asleep about 30 min in, so yeah I'd say its a good purchase. We fell asleep for the night at 5:30 pm.

Sooo yes we are thankful for our new mattress.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day #7 of Thankfullness

I'm so thankful today for my job. I just started working again for my former employer. Its amazing to have a job that you love. I love the job itself, the people, what we do and bringing home a paycheck :)
We're using the fruits of that labor to purchase my #8 today. Will update later :)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Day #6 of Thankfulness


I'm so thankful for a the time to make some good homemade food. This weekend I've made; jalapeno hummus, vegetarian chili and corn and blueberry griddle cakes. I've also pre-cooked some beans and also some rice to use in meals this week. The time to prepare these this weekend insures that we will have good healthy food all this week. Also the food is very thrifty so it saves some coin!

I used my crockpot to pre-cook about 1.5 lbs of beans. I rinsed the beans and placed them in the crockpot with some Kombu (seaweed) and salt. I put water to cover the beans plus about 2 extra inches. This cooked for about 8-10 hours, I put all the beans in jars and will freeze some of them for use next week. It will be really nice to have some cooked beans on hand to use as that is a deterrent for me to make some recipes.

The jalapeno hummus was a 18 oz jar of garbonzo beans (liquid reserved), 1 Tbsp Tahini, juice of 1/2 lime, couple squirts of olive oil, handful of parsley or cilantro. I put all this in a food processor and add the liquid from the beans until it is the right consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. Y.U.M.

Day #5 of Thankfullness


I'm so thankful to have a home, a place to lay my head at night that I can feel safe and secure in. I've seen so much poverty on the missions trips I've been to; in Mexico with Ywam, in Jamaica and in Haiti (with Hope Alive and New Missions). I'm so incredibly blessed to have the home that I do, I pray that it would always exude love and hospitality.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Day #4 of Thankfullness


Right now I'm thankful for those little orange peelers that you get from Pampered Chef

I love oranges but HATE peeling them, this little gadget saves me getting orange juice all over my hands and pith in my fingernails. For that, I am thankful.

Day #3 of Thankfullness


I'm thankful for the beauty that surrounds me in nature. I've spent a good portion of my life living in the middle of the woods and spent that time looking at the stars, watching the deer and wild turkeys, watching the snow quietly fall down and listening to crazy thunderstorms.

Now that I live in suburbia I still make a point to look for the beauty of the small bit of nature that surrounds me. The gorgeous full moon last night.
The colors in the tree in my front yard as it changed, the leaves as the fell down in a soft blanket on our front lawn.


Wherever you are you can always appreciate the clouds as they float on by

There is beauty all around and to see it brings me such joy. I'm so thankful to God for providing this.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

#2 Day of Thankfullness-I'm playing Catchup!


I think one of the things I'm most thankful for is... Yes, you guessed it. My husband. Its not a secret that I think he is all around wonderful. The most supportive, kind hearted, smart, wise person I know. What I'm thankful for today is his sense of humor.


An example of this would be a couple of years ago I got it in my head that I was going to make sock monkeys for all my nieces and nephews. At the time there were 7 nieces and nephews I wanted to make sock monkeys for and I decided this about 2 days before Christmas. Needless to say, I made myself crazy. There was crying involved as I sewed into the wee hours of the morning trying to get these silly sock monkeys done for children I had already purchased presents for. The husband patiently told me that he would give a big fat resounding NO if I ever decided to do this on such short notice (I'm prone to over-commitment), but its what he did the next morning that really gives you a picture of what it is to live in our house. This is what I came downstairs to.
blogging monkey
Guitar Monkey
Joy of Cooking Monkey
Video Game Monkey and Praying the Rosary Monkey

This sense of humor is so appreciated as it makes our house that much more joyful There are always silly, goofy things we are doing for each other. They say laughter is good for the soul, and I know it has done my soul good. Oh and by the way, its been requested that I make another batch of sock monkeys this year...

Thirty Days of Thankfulness


So I saw this little thing floating around the internet and thought it was a great idea to join in.

There are so many things that I am thankful for. Today on election day, I'm most thankful for this great country that I live in and for the men and women in the armed forces that defend her. There are so many freedoms that we enjoy as citizens that cannot be taken lightly lest we lose them.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Napoblomo

Hmm I'm on the fence on whether I want to do this, this year. I've done it for the past few years and this blog has seriously been neglected this past year; but thats a level of commitment that I'm not so sure I have in me right now. This is my way of buying myself another day to figure out if I want to do it.

Anyone else partaking?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloweenie

So the hubs and I have a pumpkin carving contest every year. We pass back and forth on who wins but this year I was declared the winner. As you can tell we ran with a theme this year.

Can you guess which one is mine?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Phillies Phevor

Yes, I've caught it. Normally, I'm a fan that doesn't like watching on tv. This series is changing that as I'm loving watching them kick some Yankee butt. Some of Lee's highlights last night that keep the game interesting:

and

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cooking

So I'm looking into this whole month-ahead cooking thing. I have a partner, someone I met at our new church who is a crazy coupon-er as well. I'm a little scared of this endeavor but I think I'll really enjoy just having all those meals at the ready to just pop into the oven. The first time should be er--interesting as far as the planning, the shopping and the cooking. I'll be sure to post pictures, timelines and recipes where I can. If you have any ideas or have seen any posts on this let me know!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Is it Christmas yet?

Can I decorate? Or should I wait till after thanksgiving? Or at least Halloween?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Its been a little over three weeks since we lost our little one. The days have gotten easier but I do find myself still grieving our little baby that we had prayed for and wanted for so long. For the most part things are back to normal, I'm working now which is good because it gets me out of the house. I don't talk about it as much mostly because I don't know that people really want to hear about it and I don't have anything to say that I haven't already said. To say this was one of the most difficult things I have ever gone through is an understatement. It feels like a silent grief as it seems people don't realize or don't expect you to grieve as much as you do. I would have never known how much it hurts to lose a little one even as early as I did (seven weeks). I find myself thinking about where I would be in my pregnancy and each little development my baby would be making. I don't imagine that will ever change as I'll always wonder about my first baby.

I'm focusing on living and the blessings that I do have which are many and great. I do have a wonderful and caring family that has really supported us and some incredible friends. A ridiculously supportive husband who has the sweetest and most caring heart of anyone I've ever met.

Mostly I feel like I joined a club that I wouldn't ever want a membership to. I wanted to join the mommy club and talk about how my baby didn't sleep through the night or how they are growing so fast its ridiculous. Instead I'm in this club of women who lost their little ones. The members of this club showed me in the hugs that I received, the kind emails that were sent that just emulated what I was feeling and with the sorrow in their eyes that its not anything you ever get over but its just something you carry with you.

Today if you're reading this and you've never experienced this loss, count yourself blessed and hug a friend who has and ask them how they are doing. If you have, I'm sorry and please know you're not alone in this.

I'll be lighting a candle at 7pm tonight to remember my little one.

www.october15.com

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Songs

When I'm going through a particularly hard time I often find a song that just resonates with me. I can listen to the song for hours and hours on repeat and it is like a soothing balm to me. I can never plan this it just happens that I'll be going along doing my day to day and a song will reach out and capture me. Years later those songs are often still some of my favorites and hearing them will transport me back to that time when the song meant so much to me.

This happened this past week. Losing the baby was/is so hard for me. My first instinct when going through times like this is to sequester myself away, which I did and I'm so glad that I did. The husband has been incredibly wonderful, supporting and caring to me. It makes me so thankful that God has provided someone who just fits me perfectly. There were times that I just couldn't stay home and on the couch and on one of those I heard "I'm Alive" by Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews Band on the radio in my car. It reminded me that everyone has their share of heartache's and mine is not unknown to my God. Even though it hurts and its hard, I'm alive and that is a gift from God.


So damn easy to say that life's so hard
Everybody's got their share of battle scars
As for me I'd like to thank my lucky stars that
I'm alive and well

It'd be easy to add up all the pain
And all the dreams you've sat and watch go up in flames
Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain
But not me... I'm alive

And today you know that's good enough for me
Breathing in and out's a blessing can't you see
Today's the first day of the rest of my life
And I'm alive and well
I'm alive and well

Stars are dancin' on the water here tonight
It's good for the soul when there's not a soul in sight
This motor's caught its wind and brought me back to life
Now I'm alive and well

And today you know that's good enough for me
Breathing in and out's a blessing can't you see
Today's the first day of the rest of my life
Now I'm alive and well
Yeah I'm alive and well

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Best infomercial ever

I love infomercials, I've been known to watch the Magic Bullet commercial so much that I know their names. If this is the future of infomercials, it gives me hope.


my favorite part is the bunny rabbit doing the MC Hammer dance.

Potato Soup Recipe

In the interests of moving that post down a little, I'll post what I made for dinner yesterday. As an Irish girl it is a fall/winter staple, the potato soup.
First I take about 2 tbsp of butter and melt it in my pot, I add to that about 1/2 a large onion and about 1/2 cup chopped scallions. I put this on medium heat for about 30 minutes so its not frying the onions but just simmering. After about a half hour I add 5-6 peeled and chopped potatoes ( I chop them up very small) and about 5-6 cups of liquid (can be milk, chicken broth or water or any mixture there-of). Yesterday I added about 3 cups of 2% milk and about 3 cups of water. You let this come to a boil them simmer for about 30 minutes. I then take my immersion blender and blend it all up. Once this is done I just salt and pepper it up.
To serve, I grate up some cheddar cheese and put it on top of each bowl. Would be wonderful with bacon pieces on top as well.

This is a wonderful, cheap fall meal. The pot I made last night will probably last for 3-4 meals for two and the total cost was $2.78 (and thats with organic milk). So that is .35 cents per serving, not too shabby. Would be even cheaper if you just used water.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

You were wanted


We prayed and hoped and dreamed for you
when we found out you were there, we were both so overjoyed.
I feel honored to have carried you, even if it was for such a short time.
I will carry you in my heart from now on
my first child, my angel.


Some friends who have gone through the same thing have sent me some helpful do's and don'ts for well meaning family and friends.
Suggestions for families and friends
baby loss comfort

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hey All

Things are quiet on the Dirkey front, I've been patiently (HA) awaiting the return of my beloved Macbook from the genius' at the genius bar. So I have been sharing the computer with the hubbers, which basically entails jumping on for about 4.3 minutes at night to randomly look through my email and gaze longingly at my feed reader.
Tonight I found this and I'm thinking I might just bring it out at my next few doula meetings.

Well when I get my beloved computer back I really hope to put up some pics of our amazing vacation in Maine, our new floors that we are installing this week and possibly some of my crazy ramblings on life. I might even enlighten you on what I gave the hubbers for his birthday which was celebrated with Melting Pot and Jim Gaffigan with good friends ahhh. Yes life is good even if I don't have my beloved computer permanently attached to my digits, which actually may be the reason life has been so good.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Things I love today

fresh cucumber and tomato salad from the garden that is so yummie.
finishing the hubs amazing birthday gift, I'll post next week
the hubs working from home
that my bedroom is devoid of the mountains of laundry that consumed it earlier this week
the birds singing outside my window
my house is a manageable messy that shouldn't take too long to clean
how nice the yard looks after a week of hard work
making Mama K's birthday cake, yum pina colada cake!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Wonderful friends are hard to come by

A great friend of mine has turned thirty today.  I couldn't let the day pass without saying a little something.  Mama K and I have been acquaintances for about 14 years and thick as thieves for about 12 of those.  She's the person I turn to (besides the hubs) to bounce ideas, grievances, good news, joy, thoughts and feelings off of.  She's not one of those yes people, she'll tell you how it is calling a spade a spade or a jerk a jerk whichever the case may be.  Her honesty is refreshing and has checked me many times when I'm overreacting.  She is never afraid to try something new and we're constantly getting each other interested in something new and weird (square foot gardening, doula-ing, sewing, crocheting, recipes, you name it)  I have so many great memories with her from some of the concerts we've gone to (Settle down Sparky!), to getting lost in Camden (or Philly, or anywhere you could possibly get lost), to our Tom Jones escapades, to watching her mature into the wonderful wife and mother that she has become.  When it comes right down to it all I can say is that I'm thankful to count her as one of my best friends.  
Happy Thirtieth Mama K!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Faces

You go on missions trips to third world countries.

You see the faces of the hungry, of the tired, of the homeless.

They haunt your dreams, they peak out of the corners of your mind in the most innocent of places.
You cry, you work, you try to do all that you can to make sure they have a bite to eat, a hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on.
You dress their wounds and hold their young

You come home and feed homeless in the streets, you collect for shelters, you recruit, you send
Time passes, the edges of their faces fade into the sweetness of new memories.
The pain you felt becomes a memory something to be proud of, I loved so much it hurt
then you realize that when you say you loved
its in a past tense.
You forgot
You forgot their faces
You forgot their pain
You forgot to do all you can
A picture on your fridge of a faraway girl is a small part
but you can do far far more
May this shame turn into action
May that hurt return
when you look into far off places may it be their faces that you see

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Role Models

I'm completely struck by the shows like American Idol who are grooming the next "It" people.  When you look at the people that have made it and are famous in our society it amazes me that people aspire to that.  A quick look at some of the tv shows; Girls Next Door (girls famous for posing naked and group dating an 80 some year old man), Keeping up with the Kardashians (one sister gets famous from a sex tape and the show follows her family), Paris Hiltons New BFF (another sex tape but throw in some cash from being an heiress), Rock of Love (famous rock star search for love with a bunch of crazy women).  I can't imagine wanting any of that.  

Then you think of the two people that hit the pinnacle of their careers in rock and roll, Elvis and Michael Jackson.  Both of them had so much money and were known for their excess.  They had what would seem like everything in our society.  But both were empty known for their prescription drug use.  It amazes me that people romanticize that type of lifestyle.  It just shows you that when you do get that brass ring in the entertainment industry your life isn't fulfilled.

When I was younger I wanted to be happy when I grew up.  What I soon learned in my teen years was that I didn't equate happiness with money.  I equated money with bigger houses (more cleaning), fake friends, scam artists, etc.  Happiness seemed to be connected with how much you give of yourself to others.  Happily this early lesson has never proved wrong and even though I struggle sometimes with wanting bigger and better; mostly I'm extremely happy with what I've been blessed with. Sometimes it just takes a pause to realize that my life is very good and I have so much that I have enough to give as well.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why I should just stop watching tv

So last night I watched just enough of Jon and Kate plus 8 to learn that they are getting a divorce.  I've been watching this show off and on for the whole time it was on and this year it has really put a bad taste in my mouth.  I just can't understand for the life of me how they can film for posterity what will be one of the toughest experiences for their kids.  Can you imagine living through that then later googling it and watching episodes of your life falling apart?  I can't imagine the emotional turmoil that would cause.  

I for one will not be watching (encouraging) this to happen anymore.  Just like a child, you can't give positive attention for bad behavior.  I will be praying for them and their children.   I'm wondering how many tv shows I'll cut out if I just apply this model of watching to all my guilty pleasures.  I know Real Housewives are out, as are most of the other reality shows (except Top Chef love that show!).   

From this I learned that I am so thankful for the partnership that I have with my husband.  I'm so thankful that we work together to find conclusions and that even when we're upset with each other we don't go to bed angry.  I pray that I would always look to find the best and encourage the best in him.  He is a good, good man and I pray that I will look to see the good in him every day of our lives together.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It all started with a mirror

Well since last I wrote much has happened in Casa de Dirkey.  
For the past two weeks I've been cleaning water off of my bathroom sink.  I finally asked the hubs just how he is washing his hands to get water ALL OVER the sink and he looked at me and said I thought that was you.  He then ran upstairs and flushed the toilet and water came out of my wall.  Yeah you read that right, water came out of my wall.  Toilet water, poop water, if you would.  So I've been cleaning poop water from my sink for two weeks without knowing it.  BLECH!!!  After scrubbing myself with bleach, we started tearing up the wall to check why poop water was coming out of it.  It turns out that we drilled into the pipe when we hung our bathroom mirror.  Oops!
Well that problem was quickly solved but since we had the sink out we decided to put our new bathroom sink in thats been sitting in the laundry room for about a year.  Well the old owners only put the laminate flooring to the edge of the old sink which would look rather silly with our new pedestal sink.  So we decided to change the laminate flooring in the kitchen, bathroom and hallway  (all had the same laminate).  Since the old owners also made the laminate flooring go into the dining room for about two feet (which I hated) we are also redoing the floors in the living and dining room.  So are you following this so far we have a new sink, new floors in kitchen, bathroom, hallway, living room and dining room that are in the works.  Well there is also a weird half wall in between the kitchen and dining room that makes our stove barely fit (the door scrapes when we open it).  So we took a hammer to it BEFORE we decided what to do with it after we took that wall down.  I've since been doing some googling and I'm going to build a built in bookcase to go there for my cookbooks.
So needless to say, my blogging may be a little sparse while I'm frantically googling how to do all this stuff.  Thankfully we did have money saved away earmarked specifically to do the floors and we've gotten them all for a great price and saving a ton by doing most of the work ourselves.  There are also some other projects I would like to get finished; painting the wall on the way up the steps, finishing painting our outside trim, painting the trim in the downstairs, taking the fence posts out of the back yard, fixing my pool, etc.  As you can see I have more than enough things to keep me busy this summer but I think we can get them done!  Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Camping Trip

So we left off last week on our way to the campground in the pouring rain. The family that was going with us had a little girl so they weren't so sure they wanted to brave the elements. Well we turned into the state forest and it stopped raining. Wondering if it was just a beneficial fluke we quickly set up camp, worried that it would start raining again. We got the camp set up in record time and the weather held for us. Our friends ended up meeting us a few hours later with their little girl. It was so nice being out in the woods again hearing all the bugs and frogs. I really miss how loud nature can be :)
one of the gorgeous wooded paths
We were pretty much alone at the campsite that night, there were a couple of other campsites filled up but not really anyone that we even saw or heard. It was great spending a quiet night by the fire playing Phase 10, talking and making some smores. We woke up pretty late on Saturday and just spent the day walking around and playing on the playground.

The hubs and his good friend were "super" excited to play on the playground
The hubs caught the fishing bug while we were there and is so ridiculously excited to get back out with his pole.

My hottie
That night was another campfire, more games, more smores and more talking. This was probably one of the most relaxing camping weekends I've had in my life.
There's fish in that there water
A great bonus was how cheap it was, we stayed at the state park so it was $20 a night split by the two couples it was just $20 for the weekend. The campground allows 6 people on a site so it could be even cheaper if we split it three ways. We did pretty frugal meals; Hot dogs and pasta for dinners; eggs, bacon and pancakes for breakfasts and sandwiches for lunch.


Oh boy I love him :)

I got a Swagger

So I just joined Swagbucks.. yes I know I'm late to the game but I didn't quite get it.  Now I do and realize that I can earn gift cards for just searching the internet...  Hello, I do that ALL THE TIME!

So you should definitely Join UP, cause you know all the cool kids are doing it.

Friday, June 05, 2009

I'm nothing if I'm not ridiculous :)

So being my special brand of crazy, I'm leaving for an exciting (wet) weekend of camping.  Its been steadily raining all day long but the car is all packed.  I have playing cards and scrabble thrown in the mix as well.  I'm leaving my computer at home (ahhhhh) but I'm really excited!  I haven't been camping for over two years and I've found a small state park near our house that I can't wait to explore.
Yes, I also packed some ponchos.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Heart Breaking

Today I'm heading to a funeral.  I haven't seen this man for about 11 years but still my heart breaks a little thinking about it.  The last time I saw him he was a few days out of a coma and shortly after he had to be admitted to a rehabilitation center as his injuries didn't allow him to be  cared for at home.  He was my best friends dad and was in a coma due to the car accident that took my best friends life.  A few weeks ago it was the 11th anniversary of that accident and every year I can't help but think how that accident changed their family's life and also my own. 

 They had a small family just a mom, dad, son and daughter.  I used to go over often to play when I was little and to hang out as we got older, I'll never forget the love that they had for each other and for myself as well and I will always treasure those memories.  

That day, my friend Amanda, was driving from the mall to a Bible study with her dad in the car.  She didn't gauge the turn correctly and ended up being hit by a car.  She died a few hours later.  
I got my own license a few months later and I know her accident caused me to be a more cautious driver.  Personally it is what showed me there was a God and that He loved me.   Yes, it was a horrible horrible time in my life but through it I felt God's love for me in a real and tangible way. Since that day I have been able to rest in that knowledge knowing that love has carried me through some of my toughest days.  

As for Amanda's family, her mother died a couple years after she did while I was on a missions trip to Haiti.  I wasn't able to go to that funeral but I did visit her shortly before her passing.  Now her father has also passed.  My heart and prayers go out to her brother, and I ask you to also keep him in your prayers today.  That he would feel that same love strengthen him to get through these tough days ahead.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

O...M...G... Soo good


So yesterday I got inspired and I made Mozzarella Cheese. It was alot easier than I thought, once I found the ingredients. I used a gallon of organic milk from an Amish Farm, about a teaspoon of sea salt, citric acid and some Junket Rennet. Lacy from Razor Family Farms has some fantastic directions, the only thing I found was that when I was finished and put it in the salt water mixture the edges were a little mushy. Also maybe I mixed it a little too much because the inside was harder than regular mozzarella. That being said the taste was fantastic and when shredded the texture and consistency were spot on.

Today I used the homemade mozzarella in a homemade pizza. My default pizza dough recipe is soo stinking easy.
I use:
1 cup of warm water
2.25 tsps of yeast
Mix together than add:
2 Tbsp of oil
1 Tbsp of honey
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1.5 cups of white flour
a shake of dried onions
dashes of oregano, garlic pepper, parsley, and sea salt.
Let rise for 10 minutes and bake at 450 degrees for 10-14 min.

Then I take one can of Crushed Tomatoes and open it and add about a teaspoon of sugar, then doctor it up with my spices. I use the can to mix up the spices so I'm not dirtying any other dishes.

(go ahead I know you want to click to enlarge the goodness)
I also carmelized some onions and picked basil from my garden and also some roasted red pepper.

One Word:

DELISH!!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I want a Wii

So many of my friends have gotten a Wii recently. They tell me about their wii fits and all the fun they have with them, how much of a work out they get with their boxing and what not. We haven't been able to justify the cost but I wouldn't turn one away if I won one thats for sure! Well CPF is celebrating 2 years of blogging with a giveaway. I'm totally crossing my fingers that I win, you should try too. :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Plague has Passed

So last week I was down and out. I felt like a truck ran me over most days so wasn't too into the blog. Then this weekend I started feeling a tiny bit better but then the husband got hit by the sick truck. There was a good amount of hot tea and ramen soup to be had over at Casa de Dirkey. Today I woke up to feel a little bit better, there are so many good things going this week. First I get to see my sister and her family who I only see maybe once a year (any family reading this is a surprise so shhhh). Last time we saw them was for about 30 minutes at the Minnesota airport on our stopover to Hawaii so I'm pretty excited about that. I also got my substitute teacher certificate so I'll be able to pick up some more work each week. I also have plans to make some mozzarella cheese the fresh milk I get from an Amish Farm.
What you got going for this week?

Friday, May 08, 2009

Easier than Pizza

Sorry I haven't been around lately I've been focusing on other things. I thought I'd share an easy peasy recipe that I got from a local friend.

Tuscan Soup
1 can of tomatoes (large can)
2 cans of beans (I like Cannelli)
put it in food processor then heat up on stove. I doctor it up with basil, dried onions, etc and serve it with some parmesan cheese and it is GOOOD!

Cheaper and Quicker than Pizza

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hamilton Beach has AWESOME customer service

So about 3 weeks ago I was using my faithful Hamilton Beach crockpot that my Mother-In-Law had given us when we got our house to make us something scrumptious. As I went to stir whatever it was that was in there the crockpot slumped over and almost fell off of the counter. After further review I realized that one of the legs broke off my poor crockpot. Needless to say I was pizzed. I wrote them an email letting them know what happened and that it wasn't under warantee but how disappointed I was that it happened to begin with. They wrote me back within a day and enclosed a Fed-Ex label to send it back to the company. Coming home today I found a brand new crockpot that is nicer than the one we sent in on my front doorstep. I'm so impressed with their customer service on this, they went above and beyond what was necessary to make sure I was happy. Now I have a bright shiny new crockpot to play with! :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day


So you guys all know I'm a fan of all things green.  The further I've gone on this green journey the more I see how it fits so well in with my faith journey and my frugal journey; making three seemingly different pursuits merge into one.  I believe that this earth was created by God and as a worshipper of God I should be doing my best to take care of this great gift that we have been given.


 The same holds true for my finances, my money is not my own but has been entrusted to me to utilize to the best of my ability.  Many "green" choices are also very frugal choices some of them that I've noticed are cloth napkins, cloth rags for cleaning, using all natural cleaners (vinegar, baking soda are my main cleaners), gardening, cloth bags (some grocery stores pay you .05 cents every time you use them), thrift store shopping and so many more.  


I encourage all of you to take a small step today to take care of the earth that we've been entrusted with.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

With a side of insomnia thrown in for fun

When we were getting married I was adamant about not having a t.v. in our bedroom. One way or another when we were moving in one made its way up there. Over two years later we've had one there the whole time, oops. I've noticed recently that my sleep has been affected. I'll stay up watching dumb sitcoms and have a hard time falling asleep then will wake up in the middle of the night because I forgot to turn it off. The hubs doesn't want it in there either. Last night we tried just leaving it off, it took me over two hours to fall asleep, I ended up going downstairs and grabbing my ipod and listening to praise music. This worked and I soon fell asleep and was listening to something positive. So today we're going to remove the tv and put one of our stereos in its place. With the insomnia I've been really reflecting on what I allow time in my life. I've realized that I haven't been watchful over many things I've allowed to give influence.  I'm paying attention now and removing things that don't need to be given my time.  Spring cleaning my brain :)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phillipians 4:8

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quick Fix


I've been going crazy the past couple years because we have about 30 frames in our back room of all different colors, materials, sizes and shapes. Every time I went into that room it bothered me a little bit. Well I found a cheap quick fix, I bought a can of flat black spray paint and painted all of our frames the same color. Not only is this employing what I have already instead of spending $10 + each on new frames. I also never have to worry about getting matching frames. I can pick up frames from the thrift stores or yard sales for .50c to a couple dollars and have them fit perfectly into my room.
Nice!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Inspiration

Wow, just wow.
If you haven't seen Susan Boyle then you need to watch this.
All I can say is wow. Definitely goes to show you should never give up on your dreams no matter how unlikely they may seem.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I fought the sap and the sap won

I've been working the past few weeks on my garden.  I tripled the size from last year and we're almost ready for planting.  I had a 4 foot square garden last year, this year I have 3 of them.  While I've been out in the yard I realized that our back yard looks so sad!  So I took my scrub brush and bucket out and went to town.  The backyard looks significantly better especially the crawl space door(which was crazy mildewy).  Our outside furniture has been scrubbed now but there is sap all over it, blech.  I cleaned off the benches on our back deck but now realize that we need to put a fresh coat of paint on.  Two steps forward one steps back is ok we're slowly getting the things done around here that need to be done.  No matter what things I see that need doing it still looks better than it did a few weeks ago!

Anyone have a suggestion for removing sap?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Exciting things

I've been working really hard on getting my doula business going.  I have my website very close to launching, I'm just waiting on getting my new business cards and some promotional materials in hand.  The website looks great if I do say so myself, Its definitely still a work in process.  I am really excited for the La Leche League conference in New Jersey and finally getting to hear a woman with whom I hold a great respect for, Ina May Gaskin.  This month I've picked up a few more clients so I'm really happy things seem to be moving with this as its such an amazing "job" to have.

I bet your in some crazy suspense waiting on that link to my website, but you'll just have to be patient.. Have a great day!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Fun with substitutions

So we had my whole family over for St. Patricks Day to eat some corned beef and cabbage, YUM! Of course I decked the house out to celebrate my favorite holiday.

It was so great having my family over as we usually have the hubs family over just cause they are so close. For my bridal shower the wishing well was decorations for my house which was the best idea since I love decorating for every holiday. So we have a ton of St. Patty's decorations

Well the kids asked for some juice with dinner and since we generally stick to water at home we didn't have any. This auntie felt so bad so we improvised and I taught them how to make lemonade.

Let me just say they loved "squishing" the lemons and tasting to make sure that it was just right. They probably drank 5 glasses each and had a blast. This no-spend month will probably be filled with substitutions and creativity, I've been really taking inventory of what I do have so that I can make the substitutions when the time comes. Hopefully they will be as fun (and as cute) as my lemonade sub :)

I just had to get one of her shirt, says Irish Temper and Italian Attitude, lol, what a pair!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

No Shopping Dinner #2

Tonight I'm using up some of my ridiculous storage of lentils.  I know lentils aren't the dinner of choice for most people but my husband absolutely LOVES them.  He especially loves me to make Dal, which is a great little dish with tons of Indian Spices.  I'm going to pair this with some rice and Samosa's that I just happened to have in the freezer from the last time I made them.  Samosa's are little pastry's filled with potatoes, peas and spices that you fry, I made a whole batch but only fry a couple at a time so I have about a dozen more frozen.

Pile It Up, Pile it In, Let me Begin

One thing that is going to help us with this no-spend month is that we try to have stockpiles of certain things in our house at all times. One thing that we always try to stockpile is gifts.  If I see things at a good price I will pick them up for future gifts.  Some times its for specific people sometimes its just things I enjoy so I get them to give away when things come up.  I have new baby gifts, mens clothes (in sizes that would fit the men in our lives), toys for kids, organic soaps and lotions, candles and more in a basket in the top of my spare closet.  These gifts are often less expensive and more in line with what I like to give rather than a quick trip to Hallmark or Target before a party.  I also try to keep cards for a multitude of different occasions at the ready as well.  This little stash has saved my sanity and my pocketbook when I realize that I forgot a birthday or when I just want to cheer someone up.
 
 This month I'm going to try to work through those gifts for anything that may come up or make something.  I have a good friends baby shower on Sunday for that I did buy gifts (before April!) but I also grabbed my sewing machine out and made her a mei tai  If she went to buy a Mei Tai it would cost her anywhere from $60 on up but now she has one that was made especially for her.  I have a 30th birthday party tomorrow and I'm going to look around to see what I have on hand or maybe try to make something special for the birthday girl.

If you have any questions on a mei tai there are directions here

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Update on dinner

It was good, my crock pot foot melted off while making it though.  I had to prop a measuring cup under the crock pot to keep it even.  There has been an email to Hamilton Beech to talk about this little foot melting issue, I'll let you know what happens later.
Sheesh.

April Challenge

I'm doing a no-spend challenge. I'm putting away my credit cards so they are not even an option. Gas will come out of my debit card. I'm going to try to get through the month without even going grocery shopping. I have a huge stash so I would like to work through it. I will bend the rules if I do need some veggies though as I don't have any onions and I can't go that long without them. I do have a little wiggle room because we just cashed our rewards points from our cc in and have about $125 in gift certificates to fall back on. I've never done this before so I'm not sure how it will work but we shall see.

Generally we rely on a cash system for most things anyway, taking a certain amount out each week for grocery's and entertainment. I think this will be easier for us than it is for most but we'll see.   One exception is for Easter dinner I will be purchasing the ingredients for a family dinner that day.

Tonight I'm making a beef slow cooker recipe. Using 1lb of ground beef, 5 potatoes (cut like french fries), frozen latin mix (onions, peppers, corn and black beans), and 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese. I topped this with a couple of cups of salsa, some pats of butter, and whatever spices smelled good to me (including some sweet smoked paprika that I picked up in Lancaster). I layered this all in the crock pot and I'm cooking it on low for about 4-6 hours (pictures and review will come tomorrow.)

Mama K is the one who gave me this idea so check out her April no spend month as well.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mini-Update

Hey,
Its me, you know the one who doesn't update her blog. Things have been happening and theres lots going to happen in the coming few weeks. I promise to tell ya what I've been up to and start updating on what will be going on. We are heading to Lancaster this weekend for a good friend's wedding and for a romantic weekend away.
Talk to ya soon,
Dirkey

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Frugal Holidays

So one thing the hubs and I do for holidays is make our own cards for each other. The hubs will make a lovely card with what he wants to say in it. I know that he took time to make it and it says what he wants it to so I treasure it. Just a little thing that saves you $8(two cards) a holiday that to me is way way more special than the store bought version. His cards usually are made with some photoshop elements while mine are drawn with each of us using our strengths to show the other one how much we care. I love these cards because he usually will work in some inside joke into it so I'll be laughing out loud while reading.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Two Years

I'd do it all over again.
especially the Hawaii part
In the words of Salt-n-Peppa
"What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man.."