25 February, 2010


Since Monday, i can't say that i've done a whole lot. It's hard to be motivated to get up and do stuff when it's so COOOOLD.
Would you like to know how cold it is? OK. I'll tell you. Let me paint a picture in your mind.
Imagine a hike, mid to late fall, in the mountains of your choice. Imagine how nice it feels to hike up there, and set up camp. It's nice to sit around the fire and make dinners together with your spouse. As it starts to cool off, and your adrenaline from hiking wears down- you decide to put on a sweater. Then later, a coat. As the night wears on, you consider adding that extra pair of woolen socks that you packed- then end up putting on gloves and a hat. It's fine though, because you're with your loved one and the fire is romantic. It's nice to get away.
It's finally time for bed, and you both crawl into your sleeping bag(s). Mostly fully dressed. As the night goes on, you remove a sweater here, and a pair of socks there- but for the most part, remain fully dressed.
In the morning, when the sun streams through the trees and lands gently upon your tent, you open your eyes. It's then you realize that your hat has fallen off and your HAIR is cold. Your scalp is cold. Your nose is cold.
Your spouse has gone off on an early-morning fishing expedition, and his side of the sleeping bag is cold.
Slowly, you move your arms outside of the sleeping bag with the intent to sit up, but as soon as you do, your skin is affronted by the crisp air around you- which isn't altogether pleasant. Retracting your arms within the sleeping bag is your only defense... until you have to pee.
You hurry and throw on that sweater and those socks and dance out into the woods somewhere to do your "bidness"... and when you're done- it's still SO COLD. Frost is on the ground, and all you want to do is crawl back into the sleeping bag and wait for the summer.

So maybe there's no frost on the floors or the walls when i wake up- and i dont have to go to the bathroom outside (thank goodness), but the whole thing about waking up to my hair being cold- and pretty much everything else on my head being cold... is true.

We had planned on getting a lovely little wood/coal-burning stove this week but my Student Loans came due- and we had to dip into our "warmth fund" to satisfy the needs of the lovely Sallie Mae. Now, i'm not sure that we'll even get a stove this season- which means we are stuck with the fireplace as our only heat source.
Earlier this week, i put up heavy blankets along the stairwell, blocking off the "hole" going upstairs that heat would escape through when we had a fire. Last night was the first time actually testing it to see if it really worked.

We built a raging inferno and it was nice that the heat actually stayed in the room. I started out sitting by the fire, then moved 3 feet further away, then eventually ended up on the couch, and was still warm! It was pretty nice, although when the fire died, the house did get cold pretty quick. I blame it on the chimney.

I was able to rip strips of sheets and old duvet covers for a future project too! it was nice to be warm while doing this. I was happily ripping my strips of fabric while my husband was trying to beat Super Mario Brothers for Nintendo last night. I was able to get a few balls of "yarn" rolled and ready! Now all i need is my stuff to arrive... therein lies my (mother's) giant crochet hooks that i never had any use for until now. lol
I'm anxious to see how the project turns out. If things go well, maybe i'll be able to add it to the items i have listed on Etsy.com! Definitely check them out. I'll keep you posted (of course) as the project progresses!

Speaking of projects progressing... Getting my paperwork done to allow me to remain in Ireland legally has been a giant thorn in my foot lately. There's so much to do in order to get it all done right, and it's a quite lengthy process too. Today we have to finish my EU1 form and submit it along with my passport (eek!) and new photos.
When V came home for lunch today, i had set up a mini-studio in our bedroom so we could do the photos. I became today very aware of how asymmetrical my face is. LOL! It's like my biological mother was drinking during pregnancy.
Thanks mom.
Can you tell i had trouble not smiling? hahaha! it took me a couple minutes not to smile... this is the best i could do. I'm considering a re-shoot, maybe with my hair down. V looks handsome as always though. <3

Tonight, we're driving to Lismore to pick up more garden supplies from V's friend's field. For some reason, i'm suddenly craving fries... haha
Yay for Pavlovian reflex.
Everytime we've been to Lismore, we have purchased french fries (or as they call them here, "chips") to munch on as we did our errands around town, and it was a welcome warmth.
Not so much looking forward to a lengthy trip in the car, but happy to be spending it with the love of my life!

23 February, 2010

Weekends go too fast

It's always nice to have V home for the weekend. This weekend flew by and it seemed like we were working hard at things that don't give visual satisfaction. In the end, it felt like we did a whole lotta nuthin'. lol

We started our morning right! With fresh grapefruit... although i've learned that it's not quite a substantial meal and ended up snacking on things until lunch.
We drove to Lismore and picked up some of V's garden supplies on Friday night. A friend of his let V borrow his trailer to haul things that were stored in the sheep field. V had a myriad of things like fertilizers, potted plants, and a potting table that we brought home.
Unfortunately, the sheep got into where the potted plants were and knocked them all around. They ate parts of the plants- sometimes all the way down to the pot! We're hoping for some recovery since it happened in winter (a mean winter pruning, if you ask me)... but we do not remain too optimistic about some of them.
It's nice to have color along the patio! I'm anxious for them to start sprouting to see what survived!

All over the place, there are signs of spring. These snowdrops are not the only flowers that are showing their pretty faces! We also have daffodils, and i've even seen some of the little furry pussywillows sprouting on the tree branches! 

V is quite a good cook. Keeping in line with my recent vegetarian decision, he made a Polish dish called Kotlety Z Ziemniaków.
Don't worry. I can't pronounce it either. Potato Cutlets for the Polish-Language-Challenged (like me!) lol
Here's the recipe - i think it's pretty close to what V did- if not, i'm sure he'll correct me, hehehe:

 Potato Cutlets (Kotlety Z Ziemniaków)
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 1 C onion, chopped small
  • 1 large beaten egg
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil for frying
In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes, onion, egg, 1/2 to 3/4 cup flour (depending on moisture content of potatoes) salt and pepper. The potatoes shouldn't stick to your fingers.  It should be reminiscent of dough. Create patties with your hands about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick, and coat with bread crumbs on all sides. Set patties on wax paper or cellophane to dry for a while before you fry them... 10-15 minutes. Heat oil over medium heat, and place cutlets into oil. Brown on both sides, (then V likes to bake them to make sure they're heated all the way through- but if you want them crispier, don't bake...)
set on a paper towel to drain excess oil, and serve hot!
Twist it up by adding dill or garlic... it might be good to add dill and serve with a sour cream type sauce on the side. Maybe we'll try that sometime :)

I poured Cream of Mushroom soup over mine, and also tried another one with spaghetti sauce. The mushroom soup was definitely better. I even had one in between two slices of bread on Monday with ketchup and mustard as a sandwich. Yay for leftovers! 
Our landlords are out of town, so we had free reign of the wash machine. It was SO NICE to finally catch up on a month's worth of laundry. We had stuff from before V's trip to the states, stuff from the move, stuff we had accumulated during our stay here and hadn't been able to catch up on. During the week we are usually only able to get in about 3 or 4 loads before our landlord takes over and starts their wash. We FINALLY have only the dirty laundry that we have created this week! YAY!
The problem is- we don't have heat. So our clothes hang inside our house for a week to dry- and by the time they are finally dry enough to fold and put away, it's time to hang another batch. blah! V found this laundry hanger contraption broken in the landlords' washroom so he "borrowed" it to use while they're gone. We build a fire and place our clothes carefully in front of it... 
It's fine though- the fire doesn't put off much heat unless we put so much wood in it that it becomes a RAGING INFERNO... and even then the heat leaves the cottage quickly so we dont really get to enjoy it for long. Needless to say, we bundle up quite a lot.
I have re-discovered oatmeal. This particular bowl full of goodness is:
  • 1 C Oats
  • 1 1/2 C really hot milk
  • 2 Tbs Nutella
  • Homemade candied pecans
um... YUMMY! I never thought i'd say this but... *sigh* here goes: There is such a thing as too much Nutella. There i said it!!! Whew.
But seriously, this was really good- i just suggest maybe half of the Nutella i used. It was far too rich.
Here is V and me. We are so insanely happy together :-) I really, really love my soulmate. He takes me for exactly who i am and loves me despite my insane amount of bills and expenses. He works hard and does everything he can to make a better life for both of us. He is the most wonderful person. I am truly blessed.

19 February, 2010

This week's happenings...

This post has photos from a little while ago. I have two cameras that i use often and don't always upload at the same time.
Last week, we ran out of bread sooner than expected and because of my strict adherence to our meal calendar  and shopping budget, decided to try my hand at making bread the good old fashioned way.
Only... i somehow forgot to knead my bread. I think i was just too excited about the idea of actually making bread by hand that i forgot the "by hand" part. LOL! I also researched the importance of kneading bread. To summarize, kneading basically helps develop the gluten and adds air bubbles to the dough so it can rise to its fullest potential. Also it helps spread out and redistribute all the ingredients to aid the fermentation of the yeast. That way when you bake it, you get a full, high, and amazing bread. This particular recipe tasted really good, but was only a couple inches tall - as you can see in the above photo. Here's the recipe, if you'd like to try your hand at home made bread! 

Homemade Bread (sans machine)
  • 1 (.25 ounce or 7g) package active dry yeast
  • 2-1/4 cups (10oz) warm water -- warm, but not too warm. We dont want to ruin the yeast.
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs butter -- you'll want to melt it so it's just beyond soft, but not a puddle
  • 6 C all-purpose flour (also can substitute for whole grain flour) -- divide this into 3 C and 3 C  
In a medium-largeish bowl, combine yeast and water and let sit until yeast is bubbly. Add sugar, butter, and salt. Beat in 3 C of the flour until smooth. Mix in remaining flour until dough is soft and cleans the bowl. You may not need to use all of the flour. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for no less than 9 minutes. Cover and place in a warm place to rise for about an hour and a half, or until your dough is twice the size. Punch down your risen dough, cover and go watch an episode of Big Bang Theory (about half an hour). At this point, your dough should be ready to divide into two loaves. Place into loaf pans, cover and let rise for another 30-45 minutes (this should really be called "wait" instead of "bread") or until your loaves are doubled. Somewhere in this last 30-45 minutes, you should preheat your oven to 375F (190C). Place risen loaves into oven and bake until golden brown (or about 35-40 mins).
Good luck! May your bread rise better than mine (it should... if you remember to knead and do it long enough!)


Last Friday, my husband was on his way to work in the dark of the morning, when he ran out of diesel in his car! I couldn't believe it when he told me. Poor guy. He was having a hard time that morning anyway- and to have to walk to work on top of it was like adding insult to injury. He walked for an hour or more to get to work, but couldn't call anyone at work because his phone ran out of credit as he was texting someone to let them know the situation.
The "downtown" part of the village we live in Rathcormac, is just a half an hour's walk away. V was able to catch a ride home to Rathcormac, and i met him in the village to walk with him home. He seemed happy to see me :)
That little walk inspired us to walk into town (into village? lol) the next day, Saturday, to pick up some groceries for a little dinner party we were throwing with some friends later that evening. For some reason, we were inspired to push the car from where it rested all the rest of the way home.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. lol!
We pushed it home, about a quarter of a mile, on a small two lane road, maneuvering around a stopped vehicle and some little hills. It was a lot of hard work! The car is only about 1,500lbs but it was a lot harder than it looked. I'm glad we didn't have to go very far. haha!

In an effort to finish off some salad greens from the dinner party before they went bad, i had a lovely salad made with different types of lettuce, a medium boiled egg, grated sharp cheddar cheese, and some amazing homemade ranch dressing before i went on another walk (this time with my camera) into Rathcormac to look around.
    V gave me these beautiful tulips for Valentines Day. What a wonderful guy!
    I must say that this ranch style dressing is the best dressing i have ever had. Including dressings that i have made in the past from packets. I found a general ingredient list online to get an idea of what goes into it, and then i winged it from there. It's zingy and tangy and full of garlic, and everything i like about a good dressing. I would like to share it with you, before i forget what all i put into it :)

    Creamy Garlic Ranch-Style Dressing

    • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • a little less than 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    • a little less than 1 C light mayonnaise 
    • 1 C whole milk + 2 capfulls of white vinegar (or i suppose you could use regular buttermilk)
    Now... if you are using milk + vinegar and not buttermilk- combine it in a measuring cup and let sit while you're mixing all the other stuff together.
    In a "shakeable" container (i used an old jam jar with original lid), put in mayo and all the other stuff, then if your milk + vinegar has sat for at least 5 minutes, pour it in too. Put your lid on it and shake, Shake, SHAKE!
    Give it a little taste and adjust your ingredients to how you like it, then pop it into the fridge for about an hour before you serve it.
    Mine was delicious. I hope yours is too!


    Gotta love a man who can cook, right? Yep. Mine can flip pancakes! What talent! For Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) we followed a cultural tradition of eating pancakes for dinner. Actually, these are crepes. After they were cooked, they'd go onto a plate to be filled with yummy things like jam or nutella or a myriad of other wonderful goodies. My husband can even flip crepes while sitting down ;-)

    The following day we went to the beach near Ballylongane, Ireland to look for sea glass for an upcoming project.
    We went right before sunset and while the tide was coming in. Hopefully, we'll go again this weekend and make sure to watch the tide schedules.
    But we still got some pretty good findings! Sea glass was hard to find, but I found about 5 or 6 pieces. Yay!


    Yesterday we discovered that we are already out of kerosene for our central heat. Which means... our radiators are cold... which means... we are cold. lol! Good thing i've got experience! haha! We went out after V got home from work to look at wood/coal burning stoves, and found one for just the right price! Unfortunately, we have to wait until Monday to pick it up, but i wont complain. It means that we'll be warm next week! Outside of the store, there's a big rubbish pile of stuff that is on its way to be recycled. Usually just old wood skids and various other junk, but last night we found something glorious. No less than SIX discarded glass doors for standing showers. GASP!
    We had planned to build a greenhouse this spring (within the next week or so), and these would be absolutely perfect for our intents and purposes. We hurried over to our friend Paweł's house to ask for his help in transporting the doors. We shared two of them with Paweł and ended up taking four home. I can't wait to see how they work out for our garden!
    After we took the doors home, we went grocery shopping at Tesco in Cork where V was very supportive of my recent vegetarian decision, then V was wonderful enough to offer to make dinner. We had a light meal consisting of penne with an amazing Basil Pesto mixed in with a little olive oil. 
    OH. My. Goodnes!!! It was delicious. Go to your store right now and look for Basil Pesto spread. You wont regret it. I'll wait here. ;-)

     Today i enjoyed some lovely oatmeal mixed with rasins and apricot jam, and a side of pineapple juice to drink! (i was amazed to find that one can buy pineapple juice here! I mean, you have to mix it with water because it's highly concentrated, but it is completely awesome!)

    18 February, 2010


    Growing up LDS, i don't recall ever practicing the Lenten tradition of giving something up or changing or fasting for 40 days before Easter. I just remember looking forward to spring and the secular traditions of Easter. It was just "church as normal" for me, where i would draw pictures or pass notes during church classes and hold my mom's hand during sacrament. I must say that sacrament meeting the way i remember it with my mom and dad is full of good memories. I loved sitting next to my parents as they were dressed in sunday best. My dad had a few suit coats that he always wore... his blue suede, and red suede being my very favorite. He was a tall guy with a ready smile, silver hair, and always ALWAYS looked good in a suit. My mother was beautiful. Red hair, lovely homemade dresses, and quick with a laugh and conversation. During sacrament, my mom and i would argue over who got to sit next to dad until finally, my dad would just sit in the middle. HAHA!
    I remember my mother's scriptures. They were large print, and bound in a blue leather zipper case. I loved her scripture markers. Orange wax, i think... but i digress...

    The point is- i don't recall celebrating (is it called celebrating? practicing?) Lent in my whole life. I think i had heard of it, and became most informed on Lent last year preceding my baptism in April. Much has changed from then until now. I went through a spell in my life where i didn't take my actions into consideration as to what God would have thought about it. Last year i went through an emotional upheaval realizing that my personal life was missing the frequent talks to God and a closeness to my saviour. I still am unsure if organized religion is for me... but i do enjoy attending church. Last year i gained a better understanding of myself through God. Sometimes i forget though, that it's important to be diligent in your walk in order to grow.

    I still am uncertain of all the traditional practices of Lent. My husband was raised Roman Catholic, and when he explains some of the pieces of religion that he's accustomed to, it baffles me. Not in a bad way- I just grew up in a religious bubble. A person that i used to know was an avid runner. He ran no less than 10 miles a day, and would opt for more if time allowed. He went through running shoes quickly, ate right, was active with his family and friends... Where i, on the other hand, was not. I gained 30lbs after my first marriage (and have gained an additional 20+lbs on top of that). I ate what i could, when i could- and because i was lazy, opted for fast food more often than not. I didn't have a social life, and spent most of my time at home on the computer or watching the tv or playing on a gaming console. When the subject of health came up between us once, and i asked him how it's possible to enjoy fitness- he said that he didn't do it all for himself.
    That confused me... I told him so, and he expounded. He stayed fit partially for himself- but it was more so he could take care of his temple.

    1 Corinthians 6:19-20
    Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

    We wouldn't want to house the Holy Spirit in a dingy, dark, cold room if it came to visit (as a guest). Nor would we want to invite it into a bedroom that was too hot, too yellow, and filled with cottage cheese (ohh, the visual... hilarious!)... lol
    So my Lenten practice this year is to do a few things (yes, i know it's a little late- better late than never)-

    Pray every day.
    exercise for at least 20 minutes every day.
    i'm giving up meat. At the very least until Easter. Then i shall re-evaluate.
    drink more water.

    My body is a Temple. I feel like i've not been maintaining it very well. Time to change. Wish me luck!

    17 February, 2010

    Visiting Cobh, Ireland

    Actually, this took place a couple of weeks ago... and i've just now gotten around to uploading photos. We went to Cobh to walk around the little town. It was very cool to see the Titanic's last port before it went into the deep.

    St. Coleman's Cathedral
    A little neighborhood across the street from the Cathedral
    from below. Amazing.
    The Town of Cobh. Hello, Atlantic Ocean.
    i really like this one.
    This boat was used in the movie Far and Away. (When Shannon escapes with Joseph to America)
    Another view of the street. You can see the spire from the Cathedral at the top :)

    When i was 14, i was obsessed with the Titanic. It was because of the movie, of course- it was right around the time that movie came out- and i just loved Leonardo DiCaprio... so of course i had to know every little detail about the disaster that this movie was based upon? Right?! That way if i ever ran into Leo, i could have something completely non-creepy to chat about with him..... RIGHT?!
    Ahh, the silliness. Teenagers are capable of some strong emotions. Anyhow- i never in my wildest imagination thought that someday i would visit the Titanic's last port, but wow. Here i was. Cobh was actually once known as Queenstown- and though it was technically the Titanic's last port, the harbour facilities at the time weren't adequate enough to allow the ship to come to port. She was anchored off shore and passengers were ferried out in tenders to allow for boarding.
    yeah some stuff just sticks with you, even though you try to forget. LOL
    Actually, there was a debate just this weekend about how far the Titanic sank... and i was the only one able to give a correct answer. Why, "Approximately 2.3 miles." came tumbling from my mouth without letting my brain think about it first, i dont know... but it was the right answer and i didn't even have to explain that i was hopelessly in love with a movie star over a decade ago.

    04 February, 2010


    Some of you lovely people have been asking to see the inside of our fair cottage- and today is the day! Keep in mind, that there is much work to be done, and i need to get V's help and clean up all the extra boards from our bed construction downstairs- but! At least you get to see it :-) Altogether, the cottage is about 800sq ft (which is 150 sq ft smaller than my apartment in Ohio)- but it's absolutely perfect for us. Click any of the photos to enlarge, then you may need to use your "back" button on your browser to return here.

    This is the view of our bedroom from standing under the window. You can see my desk over in the corner, some laundry drying on the radiator, my amazing spinning wheel. The quilt on the bed was hand sewn by my amazing grandmother. I know it's not for a double size bed, but it's too pretty to fold up and put in a box- and i dont have anywhere to hang it for display yet. I get the best internet connection from the bed, so that is where i do most of my computing.
    Here, you can see the bed a little differently. V built the bed last night by hand. I couldn't believe how fast it came together, and how nice it is! We plan to sand it and paint it to match our bedroom once we decide on a color scheme. You can see V's desk in the corner, and (going left) the space for our printer, and cabinet that holds most of our camera equipment. The wardrobe is where V's clothes go, and where my shoes and purses reside. V built the bookshelf too! i think we will also sand it and paint it. It might eventually go downstairs because that whole wall is going to become shelves for our crafting. The stuff around the bookshelf is stuff that hasn't found a home yet... we aren't sure where to put a lot of our stuff still- which is where the shelves come in. 
    The empty space is where a nice wooden table will go for further crafty goodness. This room, as you can see, is our multi- function room.
    Just outside the bedroom is this tiny little bathroom. hopefully, we'll get a mirror for above the sink someday. Must watch out for the beam though or you'll crack your head getting in (and out) of the shower.
    lol please disregard our dirty clothes. The cabinet is where the water heater is. It's short and cute and heats all the water we need. Be careful though, you'll hit your head on the ceiling on your way to the toilet, if you dont stoop a little.
    Here is the landing. you can see both the doors to the bedroom and the bathroom on the right. The black thing is where i hang my clothes. it's too tall to go in the bedroom. All that stuff surrounding it are tools and things that V is going to place into an old dresser that sits on the left of the black wardrobe. At the end of the stairs you can see the door heading out back (or out front, whichever you think) towards the landlord's house and all the other things like the laundry room, the sheds, the fuel tank, and the boiler. There's a curtain over the door to keep the heat from escaping. It's a nice curtain. Don't judge ;-) We don't have the key to this door, and have been asked not to use it- so we use the other door and walk alllllll the way around the house to take care of any business we have over there. It's not such a big deal, really. A little exercise never hurt anyone.
    And yes. At the bottom of this photo is my right foot. Yay for wide angle lenses!
    Here is our downstairs in all it's glory. On the right, is our kitchen with a lovely big window above the sink and cute little curtains that match the door curtain covering the shelves. You can see our clothes line that goes from a hook next to our light bulb and three strings that spider-web to our stairs. Now that we have heat, the clothes don't take days and days to dry! So i'll be taking it down today. Win.
    On the left and in the middle, you can see wood from the construction of the bed- hence the chair and the hand saw and the carpet to catch the sawdust. Behind the chair, is the box containing more of our laundry... but we're out of laundry soap until tomorrow... so that is where it will stay. The plaid thing is a box for a mattress to go on. It was too small for our mattress, so the landlords are (supposedly) taking it out soon. We have a red leather couch. LOL! It is cold to sit on... hahaha and it came with the house, so it stays. On the right under the window in the wall, is our dining area and on the opposite corner from where i'm standing, is the front (or back) door... and another curtain :-)

    Thanks for visiting my cottage! Stay for tea next time... or forever... <3

    Happy Anniversary!

    To my blog! Today marks the one year anniversary to this blog...  here is my very first post, if you're interested. Yep. I still have what i believe to be anxiety. Yep, my car still gives me some trouble (but to this day still runs, albeit all the way across the sea in a parking lot at the place of my old employment) but is still a great car, and i still miss Oil Can Henry's.  I dont even know what it's like to get my oil changed in Ireland... yet.

    A year has brought forth many fruits, and things i learned. In no particular order, here are some of them:

    • an appreciation for getting things in writing
    • more experience in photographing weddings and couples
    • less financial difficulty as i learned how to manage my funds (i said LESS!!)
    • paying my bills weekly is less painful than paying them at the end of the month
    • don't be rude, be kind, it gets better results even if it takes a while
    • appreciation for relationships and how they can be built from far away
    • a closeness to my Savior 
    • going to the movies alone isn't such a bad thing
    • apologies don't always make you feel better, neither does forgiveness- but it's not all about me.
    • i learned he thing you least expect to happen- can actually happen
    • i learned that it doesn't matter if everyone gets a Christmas Card or not
    • a few new and awesome friends
    • a few new and awesome family members - which could be considered the same
    • i learned i prefer to shop alone
    • two tattoos
    • i learned that some people are good at hiding who they really are
    • a new apartment
    • a greater appreciation for practice in improvisational comedy (which sounds like an oxymoron)
    • a new haircut
    • a new dislike for negativity, negative thinking, and negative friends
    • i learned that self acceptance is a beautiful thing (and a hard thing to accomplish.)
    • i learned being true to myself isn't as hard as i thought
    • my baptism
    • one year older
    • one year wiser (?)
    • Facebook... is addictive, dang it!
    • i learned that listening/watching the news makes me grieve for others
    • i learned to pray for the world when i am alone, instead of watching the news
    • hospitals are expensive
    • insurance doesn't always help- i learned to be choosy about who my insurance providers are
    • a mission trip
    • a shiny new diamond ring
    • a wonderful husband who i adore
    • i learned that toxic relationships are bad for you
    • a move to a new country
    • a new place to live, with new customs, money, lifestyle, etc...
    • a renewed sense of self and spirit
    Happy Anniversary, Blog. Happy Anniversary, Self. 

    01 February, 2010

    barrage of photos!

    you know you love it... ;-) Let's play a little "catch up", shall we?

    When we first got to our cottage, V insisted on carrying me across the thresh hold. A romantic thought, really- but... really? I mean, no offense, sweeting, but i weigh more than you do. He told me that was nonsense and carried me across anyway. Yay for good luck.
    This is the front of our lovely little home. 
    I love the timeworn stones and all the secrets they hold. Like this one:

    It's a piece of old rusted wire, strung through a shell, and wrapped around a marble that hangs stuck into the stones by our front door.
    I never would have noticed it had i not accidentally touched it as i was outside. I think it's quite cute! And who knows? Maybe it's hung there for a year or even ten, but it definitely adds a little bit of personality to our fair cottage.

    It rained the entire first week of our arrival. I'm not surprised. It's Ireland. But when it clears off, it is amazing. You can see the milky way galaxy on a clear night. We were fortunate enough to have a clear night shortly after our arrival (and it's been mostly clear all week!) so we launched a paper lantern into the sky for additional good fortune (click to enlarge).
    Here, V is holding the lantern as it fills with heat, then floats up, Up, and AWAY!

    We went to Lismore to visit V's friend and business partner at their art gallery to talk business, and to walk around the town. It was a beautifully foggy day. I have never seen so much fog and for all day in my life! It was so great! Driving conditions were not great... in fact, it was scary on these tiny turny, curvy roads!!
    outside of Lismore Castle, Ireland.

    We walked around a local church and enjoyed reading the headstones, finding ones that dated back to the early 1800s.
    The fog was so dense, that when the sun was setting, you could actually look at it!
    The next day, we visited Cork. It was a rainy day but after living near Seattle so long- i'm already used to it. I dont even carry an umbrella if it's just drizzling.
    I love how there's a beautiful old church at the end of all the more modern buildings.

    I've got it in my head that i'm going to start spinning my own yarn from wool (and whatever else i can get my hands on). So i've been researching information on how to do it and what to do with the wool once i've got it... I had put it out of my mind for a little while because in my research, i had found that spinning wheels are expensive and a drop spindle requires money... haha. My wonderful husband surprised me with this!

    It's an Asford spinning wheel from New Zealand, in perfect working order and in beautiful condition. It was exactly the right price for us, and we only had to drive to Limerick to pick it up. Amazing! Honestly? i couldn't believe my husband could be so wonderful. There are a million things on his mind right now and he still thought about me and still went out and found something for me... even though it's not exactly on our list of things we need. Even though he works full time and comes home to work on the cottage he STILL wanted me to have something nice that i want, and went the extra mile to make sure i have it. Really?! Could i really be this lucky? The answer, ladies and gentlemen, is yes. I am lucky enough to have a caring husband who loves to love me. *sigh*
    When we met the people who had the spinning wheel, the lady explained that it still has all its original manuals and showed them to me, then presented me with a basket. What is in the basket, you ask? Why a drop spindle, hand carders, a niddy noddy, and a lazy kate! That's what! All the things i thought we would have to save for and accumulate over some time were handed to me in a basket.
    Needless to say, i can't wait to get started! All i need to do is figure out how to wash the wool... because it's gross and smells like sheep. haha!

    We got oil finally! YAAAY!!! It was kinda a fun experience, watching the big truck back into the driveway between the ancient buildings on the property. He did great! Later, V had to figure out how to bleed the air out of our burner so we could actually GET warm. Hahaha! Fortunately a friend of his has the exact same burner so V learned how to do it easily. In case you ever need to know how to bleed a Reillo Firebird 90 burner... here's a photo we found extremely helpful (click to enlarge):

    I am so happy that we both like to cook. Our kitchen is small, so cooking together is hard, especially since i like my space when i cook (and since he works hard to bring the bacon i'd feel bad if when he came home, i made him cook it too haha) We have made many yummy things in our time here in Ireland. Can you believe it's almost been a month? So far, our meals have all been home made. The Meal Calendar has been working really well and has saved lots of money as well as lots of spoiled food!
    I accidentally misread a recipe (or two) and we purchased lots and lots of sour cream. I had to think quick and make something that included sour cream before it all went bad! These Sour Cream Cookies definitely fit the bill. *recipes at the bottom* 
     I made Amazing Baked Penne that fed both of us for at least 3 meals. Probably could have even gone for four, had i served anything with it. I also made chicken lettuce wraps, but had a hard time finding water chestnuts in Ireland, so i added some peas for substance, and served it with some white rice to make it last a little longer. Both were good additions! Last night, my wonderful husband volunteered to make vegetarian stir fry, and it was absolutely fantastic.

    Yesterday was a beautiful day in the land of Ire... it started with me looking out our bedroom window and finding frost on some pretty ivy:
    V and i decided to go for a walk to enjoy the day that God had given us, so we went to Corrin Hill in Fermoy (which is heavy with history, here is some if you'd like to read it *click here*), which is right next to where we live in Rathcormac. It was a lovely little hike and we got to see some amazing light as the sun began its decent.
    Here, my handsome husband waves to me as we're getting into the car to go to the hill.

    Cute little Rathcormac...

    At the summit of Corrin Hill is a large cross, looking over Fermoy. At night, it is lit for the town to see.

    The view of Blackwater Valley from the top. Hello Ireland. :)

    beautiful light. I couldn't resist.

    On our way down and back to reality.
     When we returned home, we were greeted by this cute little bird just outside our cottage door:
    V and i spent the rest of the day really just enjoying each other's company. We worked on our puzzle:
    and here is V cleaning the ash from the fireplace. He is so handsome. i just couldn't resist snapping this photo:
    The weekends always seem too short. They fly by before we even notice! I suppose the good in it, is that we really look forward to spending all that time together as one week ends and another begins.

    Sour Cream Cookies Recipe

    3/4 cup butter

    1 1/2 cup sugar

    1 egg

    1/2 cup sour cream

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1/2 cup sugar or cinnamon sugar

    pecan halves


    Cream butter and sugar until light and smooth. Add egg; beat until fluffy. Stir in sour cream and vanilla. Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir sifted dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Chill for 1 to 2 hours.

    Place small balls of dough onto greased baking sheet. Grease bottom of a glass then dip in sugar or cinnamon sugar. Press each ball of cookie dough into a thin circle with sugared bottom of glass. Press a pecan half into the top of each cookie. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove to racks to cool.

    Amazing Baked Penne

    1 pound dry penne pasta

    1 onion, chopped

    1 pound lean ground beef

    2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce

    6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced

    1 1/2 cups sour cream

    6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

    2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

    1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.

    2. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.

    3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the penne, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining penne, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

    4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.


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