Friday, January 18, 2013

Of Colds, tenderloin and thrifting

So I’m still sick but I’m at the portion of sick where you cough like a maniac and constantly need to blow your nose, but aside from that feel well enough to “do life” and “be at work”. Sadly though, I’m also still in the stage where I keep myself up at night coughing and this forces Paul to continue to sleep in the living room, and leaves me feeling sleepy all day. Fun, right?

Normally I have the skills to be a trooper when I’m sick – and while I’m still making lunches for my household (4 each day, currently) and making dinners (thank you crock pot) and getting up and going to work – I find it harder this time to tough it out. My inner wimp is winning the sick wars currently.

However last weekend the trooper in me was winning out – I was only 2 days into my cold and feeling pretty good still. Therefore it was a fairly productive weekend. Friday night we had a “breaking the fast” celebration at church and then Paul and I headed over to the Maxwell’s to enjoy dinner – homemade burgers and homemade fries. So good!

Saturday we slept in together and were generally relaxed. Then the Chibota’s stopped by for a visit and house tour – Irene’s been wanting to see the place since we moved in and I was happy to oblige. Then I headed out to run errands and stop by my sisters to help her with an Excel task [any excuse to cuddle with the nephews].

After that I went to the MCC thrift store.
It rocked.

We’re on a budget but I’m also trying to make our house look great and especially trying to make our student rooms look great. I’ve been wanting to get a mirror for the downstairs student room since we moved here – we had one before that broke in the move. Everywhere I have looked it has cost at least $25 to get even a basic mirror. But low and behold at the MCC I found a mirror for $2! Perfect. We weren’t looking for a frame or anything fancy, just a mirror to prop up on a dresser and this fit the bill excellently.

Though now that I see it pictured, I realize I should have cleaned the mirror before taking pictures of it.

I also found a great tray for $6 – It’s in great shape and I can leave it as is, or I might revamp it and make it super fun. I’m not sure yet.

I’m a Tupperware snob. One of my biggest pet peeves is people referring to plastic food containers as Tupperware, when they are not Tupperware brand. I know it sounds silly – but it actually makes a difference to me which it is – because of it’s Tupperware there are certain guarantees I know I can rely on, if it’s any other brand I have no such certainty.

I had a Tupperware shower as one of my bridal showers – this was one of my best life decisions ever. I received over $1000 worth of Tupperware that day – between gifts and getting the host discount. On top of that I have been slowly investing in more and more Tupperware for our house. It makes my life easier and more organized. Now I have almost all the pieces I need. But I’m always on the lookout for interesting pieces that could help me in life.

I’ve been told that thrift stores are great places to look for older Tupperware – all Tupperware has a lifetime warranty, so if they can’t replace it with the same model, they’ll replace it with a newer equivalent. One of my favorite pieces of Tupperware is a giant yellow bowl with lid that I got when I married Paul – it came from his family. I believe it was his mom’s – in fact I have a picture of Katie with her head in this same bowl as a kid. It’s perfect for mixing large batches of food – wings in sauce, veggies in seasoning, pasta in sauce, etc. But when cooking for lifegroup I often wish I had another one or two, since I’m making lots of food. MCC had 3 of these bad boys! I only grabbed two (because I really don’t need to own four of these sets) and have already been grateful to have them. I also picked up a container that is a perfect size for holding cookies and soups and a great jug. I got both bowls, the container and the jug for $11. 11!! The closest equivalent that you can purchase at Tupperware now retails for $22 - $31 each – and the new versions are smaller than the old…and it’s not like the fact that they are old makes them less useful – in fact if for some reason their age doesn’t make them useless, then I’d take them to Tupperware and get a replacement! Win, win, win.

I headed home to work on my final house project of the weekend – wicker bedside tables.  I was looking for something to put in both our student rooms as bedside tables. My aunt came across two wicker bedside tables at a friends house for $5 for two. She picked them up for me and I planned to reinvent them.

Room 1 is brown with brown and white furniture and green highlights.
Room 2 is white with Brown furniture (sadly – if we had money I’d sub in all white or black) but the themes of the room are black and white.

My hope was that both would look great if I repainted them white – when I got them they were blue and green (as pictured below).  I’m not sold on the finished product – neither white covers the previous colour well enough, even with two coats. They both look lightly blue at this stage. The one that was originally blue looks the white-ist so it made it’s way into the brown room as we had a student coming on Sunday and the other will most likely get a coat of grey or black in the future to make it work in the Black and White room.

Then it was time to get ready for dinner – we had our friends John and Lindsay coming over for dinner – and I was itching to try out some Pinterest recipe’s. Guests make for a great excuse.

The menu was:
My standard Roasted Vegetables (easy)
Indonesian Pork Loin (Pinterest, link below)
Ranch Roasted Potatoes (Pinterest, link below)

This recipe involved picking up Mango Chutney – which took me two stores to find. I picked the sweet chutney, not the hot chutney, but the inclusion of Red Pepper Flakes in this recipe made it quite spicy (at least to me). The flavors were good though, and the meat was very tender. It was very easy to prepare. Everyone in enjoyed, myself the least (only because of the spice). I’d make this again if I were having a group of spice lovers over – or wanted to treat Paul extra well one day.

These potatoes were tender. The flavor was great, though a bit mild. In the future I might chose to do a package and a half of the ranch dressing, rather than just one as it could have used a bit more of a kick. However I will definitely be making these again – we really enjoyed them. I might even add some sour cream to top them with at the table as well.

Thankfully our guests loved everything – and Lindsay and our roommate Rachel got along really well, and it was fun to chat with them while cooking. Then the 2 couples played a round of Puerto Rico and then the boys disappeared downstairs to chat, us girls got comfy on the couch to chat and a couple hours later at midnight we realized we should probably call it a night – which involved prying Paul and John away from their conversation downstairs. I love friends like that – conversation, depth, laughter, and the ability to play games!

Speaking of things I love; having people live with us. Once both Paul and I work we can afford to rent our new house without students, but while we live on one income having students allows us to live in such a big house and have Paul focus just on studies rather than having to have a part time job during his program. But we don’t just have students for the money – I love having people around the house! Rachel moved in on the 2nd of January – she’s originally from Kelowna and goes to our church now. We didn’t know each other super well before she moved in, but now I feel like I’ve known her for a long time. While I make lunches or dinner she often comes and sits in the kitchen and chats with me – it makes my day.

Sunday we had a new student from Korea move in – Kim Eun Saem. Eun Saem is her first name and as that is tricky for us, she has an English name, Martina. Much easier. We went to Langara to pick Martina up Sunday at 1:30 – it was extra neat because my sister Jenna was also picking up a student from the same 3 week group.

We brought Martina home and then she joined me upstairs while I made soup for us all. Since I was sick and Martina had just arrived I didn’t go to church, but Paul headed off to help prep for coffee since our LG was on that week. What I did do was make some awesome soup. One of my favorite types of soup comes from Olive Garden – Chicken & Gnocchi Soup. I found a copy cat recipe on Pinterest and my interest was piqued.

Source: via Tara on Pinterest

This was a bit time consuming, but not in an annoying way. And the best part is it’s VERY tasty. Now, the taste isn’t exactly like the Olive Garden’s. It’s a bit more chicken flavored at home than in the restaurant but it was excellent regardless and this made enough to feed 3 of us for lunch on Sunday, me for lunch on Monday and all 4 of us got a another bowl out of it at dinner Monday night (served with chicken ceasar salad).

And thankfully I had enough forsight to make all the lunches for the next day – salads for everyone.

Now that Martina was settled into the house and well fed it was time for me to pick up Paul from church and head to a surprise party for our recently engaged friends Sam and Stefany hosted by the Marchioro’s and Jodi. Even though I was decidedly sicker by Sunday and my voice sounded utterly ridiculous there was no way I was missing this engagement party.

The food was great – the company was excellent – the Marchioro’s daughters are adorable – and Jonathan lead us through a version of the Newlywed Game (the newly engaged game) which lead to much much laughter.

The happy couple - Stef and Sam

And a moment later in their natural poses

Me and Lydia

The girls and their hair crayons got ahold of Dustin

I love all the action in this shot - so full of life!

Sam and Stef getting ready for the game

Dustin with the scoreboard


This one too is full of life:
Stef is debating her next answer
The kids are are dancing in the center
Lyndsay is riding the girls scooter

We left the party early because we had a planning meeting at our house briefly afterwards where I noticed I proceeded to feel worse and worse. By the time I went to sleep I’d already texted my boss to say the odds of me missing the next day of work were high!

Monday was spent in pajamas mostly in bed sleeping and for a few hours on a bed in the living room watching Nashville. I roused myself enough to reheat soup for dinner and make salad, and throw together lunches for the next day and then was back to bed.

Tuesday was spent mostly in comfy work out gear – I wanted to feel a bit more pulled together than sweats. I also needed to venture to the outside world to the doctors office to grab a prescription and some prenatal vitamins – apparently you’re supposed to start taking vitamins 3 months before you start trying for a baby – so we’re right on track. That trip wiped me out and I was back in bed for most of the afternoon. I got up to prepare dinner for our LG – thankfully I’d thrown the ground beef into the crock pot that morning – and only needed to cook up sauce and noodles and heat up some garlic bread. Super easy, Praise the Lord. LG was awesome. I’m so glad I was feeling better that evening – eating together, worshipping together and going through the sermon together was such an encouragement. Some of the members helped clean up our kitchen, some hung around the house for a few hours, and I made lunches for the next day. It was fun to do that with LG friends to talk with.

Wednesday my boss suggested I sleep in and come in by 2. Thankfully my friend (and our temp) Irene had been able to be in at work for me all week so I didn’t need to stress about how badly my sickness was making things for my boss. Phew! So I made my way slowly to work and worked for 2 and a half hours. It was a good transition back in. That night I made another Pinterest Recipe.

Source: via Tara on Pinterest

I had cooked chicken and marinara in the fridge, so this was super easy.
And boy, it was super tasty. We liked it so much, I’ll be making it Saturday when I have some girlfriends over for lunch. So good! Other than making dinner and lunches I made sure to rest more – the next day was my first full day of work after my cold AND I was going to be biking in for the first time from the new house.

When I woke up at 6am it was super cold out – well super cold for Vancouver, -2! Still I decided to brave the cold and bundled up well in my biking gear and hit the road at 7am. I made good time and I think I found a decent route, though I’m not totally sold on it. I loved my previous route to work and miss it’s simplicity and speed. Hopefully I’ll figure that out here as well.

Work was good – though my cough hasn’t gone away yet. My boss suggested I drink hot water, lemon and honey and that’s been helping to suppress the cough. Thursday after work I rushed home to make dinner: Yoshida Porkloin, Asian Green Beans and Rice (tasty!). After dinner Martina and I headed over to Jenna’s house – turns out that Martina and Jenna’s student Lenice didn’t know each other in Korea but have become friends here, when they found out they were living with us sisters. So now Martina buses to Jenna’s house each day and then walks with Lenice to school. It’s super cute. The four of us ate chips and popcorn and played 31. We laughed and it was a great night. We also discovered that Martina and Lenice both have birthdays in the 3 weeks that they are here so we will be throwing them a joint birthday party – what fun!

Also while we were at the Maxwell’s I got to cuddle with Connor and a while after he was supposed to be in bed Austin came out looking super cute and hugging a bat. It was random but oh so sweet.

And today I drove into work – my cough and nose were both acting up and I felt terrible…so I didn’t want to risk it on my bike or have to deal with transit feeling like this. My car was an awesome alternative.

And even though I’m sick I wanted to look cute at work – helps me to feel good. I think I pulled it off.

And it isn't until this moment that I realize that that's the same sweater and pants in every outfit. Interesting. 

Next up, the weekend. Thankful for that. 


The Porters' Lodge said...

hot water, lemon juice, and honey is what i was going to suggest. Sometimes a clove or two helps as well. I usually have it before bed.

The problem with over the counter cough suppressants is that sometimes they can make the problem last longer, because you never have a chance to cough away the phlegm (we learned this from a doctor). Obvs if you've only been sick for five days this isn't an issue, but if the cough lingers for a couple of weeks try just using the lemon & honey drink to soothe it instead of meds, unless a doctor can actually prescribe something that works.

The Porters' Lodge said...

hot water, lemon juice, and honey is what i was going to suggest. Sometimes a clove or two helps as well. I usually have it before bed.

The problem with over the counter cough suppressants is that sometimes they can make the problem last longer, because you never have a chance to cough away the phlegm (we learned this from a doctor). Obvs if you've only been sick for five days this isn't an issue, but if the cough lingers for a couple of weeks try just using the lemon & honey drink to soothe it instead of meds, unless a doctor can actually prescribe something that works.


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