Sunday, August 23, 2009


We traveled to Portage today. The roof looks nice on the house. Hopefully, it will produce buyers.

Dad preached at FEBC - he was amazing! Just before the message, Dad had the privilege of baptizing Elyse. Pastor Rod graciously agreed to let Dad do the baptizing. What an honor!

Betsey and Micah came all the way from Ft. Wayne to see her. It was good to see them again. We missed L & L's family, D & E, and T & E. But, we understand fully why you couldn't make it. It was an awesome day.

Elyse gave her testimony, plus answered several questions before she was dunked. Dad was explaining the significance of the baptism and the picture of Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Then he said, "And I will keep you under less than three days." Funny man!

A brave little girl, she gave good answers to all the questions. Here's the dunk - under three days:

After the baptism, Elyse & I walked to the restroom so she could change. While she was getting her wet things off and drying off, I was passing her church clothes under the bathroom stall door for her to get dressed. She said, "Where's my underwear?" Oh, oh! We didn't bring any dry underwear. So, I took the blow dryer and started drying her underwear she wore in the baptism and decided NOT to dry her hair. She wore them a little damp, but she didn't mind too much.

After church and donut time (they don't have Sunday School in August), we left for Arlene St. We changed our clothes and headed over to Miss Sunderman's for lunch. While we were there, someone went in our Portage house. They didn't take anything (because there is nothing to take), but they left signs that they were there. The bathroom door between the master bedroom and the bathroom was left open (I know I shut it before we left for lunch). They messed up a stack of brochures on the kitchen counter that I had just straightened up. They opened shades in the bedroom that I had closed. We don't know who was in there - hopefully a prospective buyer. The realtor is supposed to call us before ANYONE goes in, but this is the 3rd time they haven't called us.

Tim worked a little on the house and yard then took a nap. Zachary played with Jeffrey. Elyse read a book in the Arlene house. I stayed at Miss Sunderman's house for a long overdue visit. We were hungry after all that time, so we stopped at Wendy's for a snack. Then we headed to First of Portage for their Sunday night's service where the children put on a musical. It was cute. There were 12 children in the program. It was a musical about memorizing Scripture. Then we headed home. It took 95 minutes to get home on a Sunday night. Not bad for all the construction and traffic.

Hope you all had a GREAT Lord's Day too.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Boy are we trying new things since the move. New stores, new streets that don't go anywhere, new recipes, new projects, new furniture, new bikes, new neighbors that don't speak English, new to being the minority in the melting pot of Vernon Hills.

Today was grocery shopping day. I am tired of the kids fighting everywhere. So, I promised them a reward if they were good. They were pretty good (except one incident where they stepped on my shoe and my shoe went left and I went right - kind of embarrassing walking without shoes in the store - no shoes, no service).

Anyway, the shopping experience: I had checked all the sales papers and made a list of the sale items that we would use. Then I checked my coupons and took the ones that I needed and would buy only if it was a deal. Then we were off. I spent WAY too much money, but I did buy two end tables with my grocery money (for $120) so that doesn't count. Anyway, I saved about $15 and spent $77 (I even bought four meals of meat). So, I did better than last week, even though I didn't use as many coupons.

Now for the fun part. Zachary's reward was playing his new flight game on MY laptop. The desktop took over three hours to load the game and then it wouldn't work very well. It loaded on my laptop in about 20 minutes. He was able to play the game some what - he just needs to learn the rules, etc. Elyse's reward was "Chalk Paint." LACEY - your kids would love this. Instead of sidewalk chalk, you make your own chalk paint. KAREN - you might use this at VBS, Sunday School, or at PCS. Here are the directions:

Put two tablespoons cornstarch in a muffin tin (fill as many holes as you want different colors of paint).

Add two tablespoons water and 4 drops of food coloring. Stir and let the kids paint away.

Here are the results:

The kids had a blast painting the front porch (not to mention that I told them to paint the driveway where it would wash off - the front porch probably won't get hit by the rain that is coming - oh well, we know how to wash cement). The clean up of the muffin pan was a snap. Just run warm water on it and it disappears. It also rinses out of the paint brushes. It is a pretty inexpensive project - didn't cost much for an hours worth of peace. Hope Grace, Caleb and Ava like painting their driveway. Elyse wants you to come see their art work.
The silly painters:

More serious painters:

The finished product:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


You know those modern refrigerators that hold two cups of spilled liquids on the shelf without spilling over. If you don't, ignore the rest of this update.

We discovered this morning that the shelves might hold two cups of liquids, but they DON'T hold a half gallon of milk that slowly leaked over the night. Not only that, but it spills onto EVERY shelf and EVERY drawer, not to mention the food it came in contact on its way to the bottom.

We spent 30-45 minutes removing food, shelves and drawers. We washed all the shelves plus the sides and bottom of the fridge. After a few wet dish cloths, I decided to use a turkey baster. It worked marvelous to suck up the half gallon of milk. All four of us worked at either washing or drying said shelves/drawers. Good workers we are!

So much for saving money on milk. I guess we will make another trip to Aldi to get more milk at $1.69 a gallon. We just wasted 80 cents of milk. Boo-hoo!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


This recipe rated a TEN from Elyse, a five from Zachary, and a four from Dad & I. It is supposed to be a side dish, but we made it our main course along with a bowl of fruit.

"Olive Pepperoni Spread"

1 8 oz cream cheese, softened
11/2 cup pizza sauce
1 cup shredded cheese (I used Mexican)
1/4 cup sliced and quartered pepperoni
2 Tbl. sliced ripe olives, drained (I skipped these)

Spread cream cheese into a 9" pie plate. Layer with pizza sauce, cheese and pepperoni. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with olives (if you wish). Yields: 11 servings

It was not a healthy dish. In fact, it was too much fat. But, it tasted good!

This afternoon we drove to Gurnee to look at furniture at an Amish Furniture Store we found online. When we got there, the store was empty. So, we walked through Gurnee Mills shopping mall. It was HUGE and super long. We walked from one end to the other. Dad walked outside (which was shorter than going back through the mall), got the car and picked me up. I would have never made it to the other end again.

If you like traffic, come see us. We have never seen so many cars in one area in our lives. Every street is loaded with traffic jams. I guess we shouldn't go shopping when people are getting off work.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I tried this new recipe that I copied from someone's blog. I didn't print the name of it, so I don't know what to call it. But, it was amazing! It rated a "4" at our house (even Elyse rated it a "4").

So, here it is:

1 pound ground beef
1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce
1 cup salsa
6 flour tortillas (10 inch)
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
4 cups (16 oz) shredded cheddar cheese (I used Mexican cheese)

Brown meat, drain and add enchilada sauce and salsa, set aside.

Please two tortillas, overlapping as necessary, in the bottom of a greased 13x9 pan. Cover with 1/3 of the meat mixture, top with 1 cup corn, sprinkle with 1 1/3 cups cheese. Repeat layers once, then top with remaining tortillas, meat and cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes. Yield: 6-8 servings.

We made it and it will feed us two meals. Maybe it could be cut in half and put in an 8x8 pan instead - don't know. But, it was really good.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I hit three stores today, Dominicks, Jewel-Osco and Aldi. At Dominicks, I spent $14.98 and saved $10.50. I got $1 off each Mott's apple juice if I bought five (no problem, Elyse loves it). Usually I think both Dominicks and Jewel-Osco are expensive. I have decided I would only hit those stores for their sales, or great coupon offers (because Aldi doesn't take coupons). OK, Jewel-Osco deals: I spent $19.32 but saved $19.24. I almost beat the savings there. Then I hit Aldi and spent $51.23. I am not going to put up pictures like you do because I already put the stuff away. But, I think overall, I did pretty good.

Without coupons, Aldi certainly beats the other two stores. The only way Aldi loses is with coupons or sales. So, I watch the papers each week and that is what we eat.

My cupboard, freezer and fridge space is very small. I won't be able to stock up much around here. Right now I have eight bottles of Mott's Apple Juice sitting on the kitchen work table. I guess I could start putting things downstairs, but then I would forget I had it and I would buy more.

I need to get something to hold the coupons though. My checkbook just isn't cutting it. Thanks girls for teaching an old dog new tricks - still learning though.

This week I am trying a few new recipes. They are "Ginger sesame chicken, Tomato/Green Bean salad, Olive pepperoni spread, and gourmet scrambled eggs." Not sure if these are going to be lunch or dinner or a side dish, but we will enjoy them no matter when we eat them.

So, that is it in a nutshell.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


All right Lacey and Emily, you talked me into it (at least I have begun).

First trip was Target. After coupons, I got bananas for 43 cents a pound, mayonnaise for 99 cents and 3# apples for $1 a pound. The apples weren't such a hot deal, but at least I saved a few cents. I bought alot of other things we needed, but they were just regular price.

So, how did I do on my first trip? Someday, I will get as good as you. If I had bought less bananas, they would have been free. But, I need enough to last a week, so I bought more.

I'm waiting for frugonomics to open up. Now that you had your week sabbatical, what's taking you so long (jk)?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


These are the final pictures of our trip.

Zachary & Elyse eating our "nourishing" breakfast. Cheese & crackers, apple juice and Klondike bars (we needed to get rid of them before we left for VH).

When we got home, Mrs. Spider was working hard and made a HUGE web. It went from one bush to another (across the sidewalk) and from the bush to the deck on the second floor. She was sitting in the middle of the web. I cut the "web strings" from one of the bushes, and she took off for the deck upstairs. I guess she will sleep with us (the deck is off the master bedroom). I hope you can see her in the center of the web.

We are back in VH now. We installed the bookshelves that we took from Arlene's family room. We spackled the wall there and plan to paint the wall on our next trip to Portage. We are also getting three estimates on a new roof. The realtor thinks that will help sell the place (we agree - all offers mentioned the rotten-looking roof). I just wish we had done it when we lived there so we could enjoy it. Live and learn!

Tomorrow we move some more books to the den (where we put the desk and shelves from the family room in Portage). After that, I hope we are done moving things. My back is still killing me. I wish I could soak it in the tub, but then I would drown.

Keep our house in your prayers. A GREAT offer would be wonderful.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We spent the morning looking at Amish furniture. We found living room furniture that Dad likes, some that I like and some for a future office (providing Dad writes his million dollar best seller). After lunch at the 5 & 20 (Rt. 5 and Rt. 20 - profound name), we headed back to the water park. It was raining buckets outside. Thankfully, the water park is inside and won't deter the kids playing all afternoon.

Tim in the lazy river (I think he spent 90% of his time here). It hurt my back, so I only went around a few times. Elyse liked to hold on to your tube and she pushes you under the water that falls. Then your eyes burn from the chlorine.

Zachary likes the frog lily pads. I guess he is part frog. Here are pictures and a video to follow.

Zachary & Elyse loved the water slides (surprised me that Elyse liked them). Dad & I went too, but we didn't get any pictures of that. The worst part is climbing up the stairs.

There is a 500 gallon bucket of water that dumps on you when it empties. There is still pictures and a video of that too.

The top when the bucket tips over...

The bucket dumping in at the bottom of this update.
The promised video...

That is all I have for now. I am going to take a nap before Z & E get back.


Sunday was Jaden's dedication. Three Liabenows, four Websters, four Rumleys, two Stauchs, and Luke's family were there. B & M missed the whole thing, but they at least made the lunch at L & L's.

There were four families dedicating their children. Pastor does such a nice job telling the meaning of the child's name, giving an applicable Bible verse and just good thoughts about children being the glory of God. It is always a great day!

The proud parents...

Pastor holding baby Jaden - he was such a good boy (Jaden, not Pastor, although Pastor did a great job).

After church, we all went to L & L's where we met up with M & B. It was a fun time with 21 people there (missed you T & E). Grace took my camera and took LOTS of shots of the activities.

When we got back to E & D's it was raining and the electricity went out. Emily had planned on s'mores over the fire, but of course, it was raining and the wood was soaked. So, we improvised. Emily & Elyse made them over candles. It took awhile, but it tasted just the same.

Dan-o needed something more substantial than s'mores, so he made Kimchee soup. It smelled so good. He said he wouldn't make it too hot, so I tried a bowl. YIKES! Never listen to a Korean when he says it isn't too hot. Maybe not too hot for him, but for the bland American I am, it was a wee bit hot. But, it tasted amazing. I only burned for about two hours. The taste lasted into the morning. Yum, yum!

Today we are in Shipshewanna. The water park doesn't open until noon, so we are going to explore the town and the shops (to Zachary's thrill and excitement). Maybe we will find our living room furniture.

Friday, August 07, 2009


Only one box left to unpack. That box is full of pictures to hang on the walls. We have to wait until we get our living room furniture to see if the picture will look right.

But, the family room is done. All the books are unpacked and on the shelves. The game cube is set up in our microwave cart. The trundle bed is ready for company (or Zachary if Elyse kicks him out). The laundry room is done and in working order. The kitchen is done (as you saw before).

The "3rd bedroom" if we need it. Or for company. The desktop is now working, but doesn't have enough RAM to run Zachary's new game - boo-hoo.

The school room. Yes, Dan & Micah, we got the desk down the stairs. It about killed me. Wish we had let you two muscle men take it down. My back will never be the same. The ABeka books came, are sorted and on the shelves or in the kids desks. We are ready to start - although, we don't want to yet. I did, however, order seven books too many (I already had them). So, we sent them back today. I will get full credit because I returned them within 30 days. A funny story about going to the UPS Store. First, I got lost and had to call Dad to check the internet and tell me how to get there. Second, a guy in front of me wanted to send a card to someone and guarantee it to arrive on Sunday. UPS doesn't deliver on Sundays. But, they would guarantee it on Saturday, if he paid $47. The guy thought and decided against it. I sent an eight pound package for $11 and it will arrive on or before Wednesday. What is wrong with that picture.

All of Dad's books and the game cube cabinet (used to be the microwave cabinet). Zachary cut a hole in the back of the cabinet for the plugs (with Tim's supervision). Then he set up the t.v. and game cube all by himself. The boy is growing up and learning fast.

We are heading to Michigan tomorrow. First, to Dan & Emily's house for the night. Then Jaden's dedication on Sunday. Then back to D & E's house for the night. We will be taking a few days vacation after that. Something to do with the kiddos instead of unpacking. Look for updates of that trip next week.

Monday, August 03, 2009


Finally, we have moved. If you are in the area, please stop by. We don't have any living room furniture yet, but you are welcome at our table.

After being told we didn't have a moving truck, yet we had 21 people ready to move us - God worked a miracle. We got a 24' truck. While we were getting the truck, FEBC people emptied the house into the driveway. Dad backed up the truck and within two hours, we were loaded and ready to go.

When we got to VH, we started unloading the truck while lunch was being prepared. After eating an amazing lunch courtesy of Dan & Emily, we unloaded the rest. Dan was an amazing director. Micah "obeyed" and the furniture was in place. D, E, M & B took off and finished off their foursome at El Pueblo's in Portage. E & D returned the truck for us. M & B returned to Ft. Wayne.

Unpacking was going as planned until we opened a blue plastic tub. Inside was the computer printer. The ink in the cartridge leaked. It was pooled in the bottom of the tub. Both the inside and the outside of the printer was soaked in ink. We tried cleaning it up, but it seemed hopeless. Tonight, it is in the trash. While cleaning it up, we took it to the basement to clean it out in the utility sink. On the way, several drops fell on the brand new carpet. We spent most of two days cleaning up the spots. It would look like it was gone, but after drying it reappeared. It was very frustrating. We might get a carpet cleaner and see if that helps.

The kitchen was very frustrating. There aren't very many cabinets, about 1/3 of what I had in Portage. So, we bought a cheap cabinet and used a bookshelf that Bruce made long time ago. The shelf holds my cookbooks. The cabinet holds food. My dishes are in the cabinet in the dining room. It is a little bit of a hassle getting used to it, but it is only temporary. Three years will pass faster than we can even imagine. Just think, we get to move all this junk again in three years. Yikes!

Betsey, notice the kitchen window – recognize any wedding stuff? I should have lit them for the picture, but I didn't think of it. The cabinet shelves aren't tall enough for maple syrup, vegetable oil or my spice racks. That is why everything is all over the counters. I don't like the look, but like I said before, it is only temporary. So many times while we were unpacking we kept dreaming of what we would do with this townhouse if we owned it. But, we don't want to spend money on something that isn't ours.

The table is nailed permanently to the wall. It is so strong, I stood on it to put the nic-nacs on the shelf. Since it isn't moving, I took advantage of putting stuff under it.

We did our first grocery shopping trip. We discovered that we don't want to buy groceries in VH. It is richville and very expensive. The next town over has an Aldi and several grocery stores. Next week we are going to try them. Mundelein is a little worse than Portage. That is the place to shop. Aldi is just three miles from our house.

Our two week old stove and microwave. The owner of the townhouse was told by the realtor that she needed to replace both before putting it on the market. Then when the house didn't sell, she rented it to us. God is good!

Well, at least the kitchen is done. Dad's books are on the shelves. I started putting the school books on the shelves, but stopped because my shipment of new books should be here tomorrow or Wednesday. It will be Christmas in August!

Hope you enjoyed our tale of woe. Come see us one and all.