Yep, America the beautiful. Our kids have purchased tickets for us to fly to Chicago and we’ll leave at the end of the month. Our main goal in going is to pick-up and bring back to Spain with us, our 8 year old granddaughter, Abigail. What fun we’ll have together! This is a special opportunity and one that I count as a very special gift from the Lord. In my prayers for contentment while away from our children and “grands”, the Lord has seen fit to bless in this way.
Another wonderful gift will be a weekend with our daughters. The only one who is unable to fly to Chicago will be Cheri who is awaiting their 8th child the same month we are going. I can’t wait to be with them.
John and I will also have various doctor appointments… this is the part I am NOT looking forward to, but we have learned that we have to cram as much stuff in these trips as possible.
On February 1st, we will celebrate John’s birthday and our grandson Prestons’ 6th birthday. They share this day of celebration. I was thinking about it and I don’t remember ever being in the USA for Preston’s birthday. Jesseka and I will plan a day to go shopping for their gifts which will be a fun activity too.
We will also have the opportunity to be in our girls homes too. Both Jesseka and Jerusha live in the Chicago area.
The other thing on the list will be the shopping for things to bring back to Spain. This is always time consuming but it behooves us to do for these reasons:
- to get food and spices that are unavailable or very expensive in Spain. For example:
- chili powder for enchiladas
- vanilla for baking
- PAM for baking
- pie crusts in a box… or bring back vegetable shortening…one or the other. I was so thankful when our daughter Jesseka sent me some in Dec for pie baking!
- peanut butter
- pickling spices for making pickles
- corn syrup
- waxed paper
- canned pumpkin (for next year)
- canned cranberry sauce (for next year)
2.) to buy any needed shoes or clothes for these reasons:
- because the EURO is more than the dollar. We will get “more bang for our buck” on anything that we buy with the cheap dollars. What I spend one dollar on in the USA, will cost me $1.50 here. Plus, inflation is higher in Europe than in the USA at this time.
- There are no petite sizes in Spain, so pants are longer, sleeves are longer, etc.
- the euro styles are less modest than I prefer.
- the Spanish wear their jeans too tight and too low for my taste. The styles are just not ‘where I’m at’.
- the clothes and especially shoes are too expensive in Spain. By law, they have only 2 sales a year: In January and in August. We are always in the village working in August and never shop.
3.) Bring things back for the church
- I have made an order that will be delivered to our daughter for the Ladies ministry.
We haven’t been to the USA since Jerusha and Nathanial’s wedding and we sure miss the family! Bobbie will fly in from Virginia, Jesseka lives in Chicago, Rebekah will fly in from North Carolina, Anita will fly from France, and Jerusha also lives in Chicago.
I suppose that asking for meat for a birthday gift may seems weird to some of you, but to my way of thinking, it is prudent in these interesting days. Here’s what I think:
- I get to buy the meat~love doing that.
- I get to cut it up and prepare it.
- I get the fun of canning it which is a really great activity.
- I get to eat, share and use it in the coming months
- I save money by buying in bulk on sale.
- I have “convenience” food on my shelf.. ready to eat or use in when we travel~saves time and money!
- and finally, I get to learn new things, because this is my 1st attempt of canning meat.
Now that’s a lot of “bang for my buck!” So, publicly, “John, thank you for my gift. It is just what I wanted!”
To see a larger view, just click on the image.
15 jars of lovely brothy shredded beef. Six of the jars have chipotle seasoning added.
I canned 16 lbs of carrots… 3 flavors: PLAIN, cut in chunks, diced and coins; HOT CARROTS, GLAZED SWEET CARROTS
Then I baked bread… so relaxing to do and very quick & easy.
My Christmas gift from John: my pressure canner. LOVE IT!
So there you have my birthday meat story.
For a larger view, just click on the photo. The last photo is part of the 45 lbs of chicken I canned, which I bought on sale. Loving it!
58 years old this week…
Our friend Ted, after reading my blog remarked that he was learning new things about me. That got me to thinking that I could tell y’all 100 things you may or may not know about me (and probably don’t care about… me either for that matter). Yep, this month is my birthday and I thought it would be fun ….So here goes!
- I like to always have chapstick or lipstick on.
- John and I will be married 41 years next month and he is the love of my life.
- In Spain they call me Berta
- I sincerely believe that when my kids marry, their spouses become my kids too.
- I would love to have a house with a pool one day.
- All my shoes are rated by how many minutes/hours I can wear them before my feet hurt.
- I’m not comfortable speaking in large groups.
- I liked Sarah Palins red shoes… a lot!
- I stuck an opened bobby-pin in the wall socket when I was 5 years old and burned my hands (should have obeyed my mom and just taken my nap!).
- One of my favorite things to do is buy large pieces of meat and cut them up and make plans for preparation.
- I would rather eat pizza than cake.
- John and I have 19 grands and we are expecting 3 more in 2009.
- I’m a very practical person.
- I love to read the Bible and I always wish I remembered everything I read.
- I get hiccups when I eat soup that is very hot or spicy.
- 2008 was a year that was a bit stressful for me.
- I’m hoping 2009 will be better.
- I admire my sister Sue for so many reasons. She learned to paint in her 50′s, she is a great business person, organized and “on top of things”, and leads Bible studies in her town.
- I hate clutter.
- I have been to: England, USA, France, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Colombia, Switzerland, Andorra, Spain, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Portugal & St Lucia.
- I color my hair so I won’t look so old.
- We lived in Colombia 7 years.
- I love to shop…. for groceries!
- My kids inspire me.
- I like to travel and see new places.
- I wish every person in the world had the Bible in their own language and could read it.
- When I’m tired, my legs “twitch”.
- I’m working at speaking only one language at a time and try not to mix Spanish and English…hard!
- I like to watch romantic comedies to relax.
- I try to clean or organize one shelf in the fridge each day.
- Nothing bothers me more than wastefulness.
- I hope to visit Israel one day.
- I still need to loose 10 pounds!
- I don’t have pets.
- One of my grandmothers was born in Russia.
- I like to read.
- I love to plan parties and/or dinners for fun.
- I feel encouraged when I get letters, email and packages in the mail.
- This will be with 3rd year in a row that we have spent my birthday in the village of San Martin working and I love it!
- I’m generally an optimist.
- I love to go fishing, though I have not been for several years.
- I love the simple homemade bed that John made us. Just plain wood but SIMPLE. I like simple.
- I got my ears pierced when I was 54 years old.
- I read cookbooks to relax.
- I like to drink water all day long.
- I love a challenge.
- I may appear to be “out-going” but I am really shy.
- I would rather save money than spend it.
- I would do almost anything for my children.
- I home-schooled our 6 children when it was uncommon to do so.
- I really don’t like to talk on the telephone.
- I believe that all Christians need to use their gifts in the local church because they are given for that purpose.
- My citizenship is in Heaven and I know it.
- I’m reading through the Bible.
- I love to can food…John gave me a pressure canner for Christmas…love it!
- I bought a pair of red shoes like Sarah Palins and they are waiting for me in the USA to pick up.
- I was a tom-boy as a child.
- John and I married young and we’re glad we did.
- We rarely eat out in Spain but often have that treat in the USA.
- I think garlic and onions are good for your heart.
- I spend most of my day in the office working.
- I don’t have any American friends in Spain.
- I have a greenhouse and I like to go out there to plant new seeds and look at new growth.
- Even though we are surrounded by neighbors who are not Christian, we have good friendships with them and have had opportunities to share the gospel with them.
- I have all my wisdom teeth.
- I’m a “night” person.
- My cholesterol levels are in the 385 range… yikes!
- When I get sick, it always seems to come at a time when I am too busy to rest and get well!
- My dream “rest/vacation” is a book, & a cool drink by a pool or beach.
- Before I go to bed, I pray for each of my children and grands. I usually start with our eldest children, John and Cheri + family and work down… sometimes I go the other way.
- One of my favorite books is: Safely Home by Randy Alcorn
- Chicken Kiev is one of my favorite things to eat.
- It’s hard, if not impossible, for me to watch TV without a magazine or book also.
- There are parts of my figure/physical appearance I don’t like.
- I want to grow all the lettuce we eat- it’s a goal.
- I’m a goal setter
- I like to start our meals with a soup.
- I love the people in my Spanish church.
- I feel sometimes that I don’t speak English or Spanish well! Especially when I am tired or nervous.
- I often wonder about Heaven
- I appreciate quiet.
- I’d choose a fruit dessert over a chocolate one.
- I re-charge my “batteries” alone rather than in a group (making me an introvert by some studies)
- I love order.
- I’m reading a book called, The Shack, given to us by our kids John and Cheri this year.
- I think money is a tool.
- We have lived in Spain 11 years.
- I wish I had more time to read for pleasure.
- I drive a stick shift in Spain.
- I wonder what our retirement will look like since the economy has taken a turn (I guess I’m not the only one wondering this).
- After living living in a socialist country, I’ve realized that I really don’t like this form of government.
- I love the verse: Romans 12:1&2
- The older I get the more I desire Heaven.
- I wish I could get the “cooking channel” here.
- I think worshiping, reading about or undo focus on “movie stars” is just more than silly.
- I love that the King of Spain, Juan Carlos, said to the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez “¡Porque no te callas!”
- I can’t sleep unless I have a bath at night.
- I prefer tailored clothes rather than frilly ones
- I love clean sheets.
- I realize that the second I am with the Lord, I’ll be glad that the foolishness of the world is past!
Well, my 20 euros for 20 days was a COMPLETE success! I had money to spare! I then proceeded to spend all of my Decembers food allowance on my holiday menu. Now I’ll begin to “rebuild” my food budget surplus. Last month I ended up getting 5€ less than I had thought because our dollars exchange was at 1.28 instead of 1.26.
John got me my “dream gift” this year for Christmas and I have had the most fun with it! Yep, I asked for a pressure canner. Here are some of the results:
I canned chili with ground beef, beans (garbanzo, pinto and kidney) and 7 jars of canned potatoes. Fun, eh? I had such a great time doing this!!
more to come!