Sunday, December 28, 2008

Skiing the Rockies

Andrea & Ben enjoy a day on the slopes

On December 26, 2008 we skied the Rockies. My brothers Kenny & Wesley went to Winter Park ski resort with Ben and me for the day. Mom and Dad also drove up and spent the day in the lodge with the DVD player. We had a fabulous day for skiing. Winter Park had 10 inches of new snow, and we skied in 4 inches of fresh powder for most of the day. It wasn't too cold or windy until late in the afternoon. Kenny, Wesley, and I ski on short skis called Snowblades. Ben opted for regular skis.

Despite accidentally taking a black-diamond, mogul-laden run, a head-on collision with my husband (we cracked two pairs of goggles), and a silly kid who messed around on the ski lift (which pushed me off the chair as we loaded) -- we had a fabulous day. This was my first ski trip in two years, and Ben's first time on a "real mountain." We tease him about that all the time. Although he has been skiing since he was young, we often refer to the Berkshires where Ben has skied as "bunny hills."


The end of the day did finish very cold. The thermometer at mid-mountain read 0 degrees, and with the wind chill it was 15 degrees below. We took one lift to the very top of Mary Jane mountain - about 12,900 feet. It is above timberline and very windy. The ski lift headed right into the bitter cold wind. Once we hit the top and turned to face downhill the wind was at out backs and the sun peeked in to make it much more pleasant. The view was gorgeous.

Here are a few more pics.
Andrea & Ben at the top of Mary Jane

*Censored* as Wesley would say

Beautiful Rocky Mountains covered in snow

video

A video Kenny took of us skiing

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Comical


This was in the PARADE in the Sunday paper on December 21, 2008. I thought it was humerous. {The artist is Dan Piraro}

Friday, December 19, 2008

Three Movies I Will Never Watch Again

It’s been a bad week for us when it comes to movies. All three movies we watched were terrible! I was so irked; I decided to let you all know so that you don’t have to waste your time on these three.

The first movie was End of the Spear. It is supposed to be based on the martyrdom of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming.

Disclaimer: The movie is from the view of Steve Saint, Nate Saint’s son. I know the story from Elisabeth Elliot, the widow of Jim Elliot. The story as I know it is about the dedication of these five men to win the Waorani, or Auca Indians of Ecuador to Christ—even if it meant laying down their lives.

The movie had no mention of Christ. Jim Elliot acted like a drunken man every time he appeared in the movie. In the movie, the purpose for trying to contact the Waorani tribe was to put an end to the killing that had pushed the tribe to the brink of extinction. The Gospel was unclear and watered-down. In the end of the movie, it was all about Steve Saint releasing his bitterness and forgiving Mincayani, the Indian that had speared his father. There was a mystical, angelic appearance tied to the deaths of the five men. This movie had great potential to give the Gospel and the sacrifice of five young missionaries, but they couldn’t stick to the story.

The second movie was The Birds – an Alfred Hitchcock thriller. I am so sick of movies with lame endings that leave all of the questions unanswered! I expected more of Alfred Hitchcock – his movies are usually good. Ever since my friend Danielle told me that this movie gave her bad dreams, I have refused to watch it. I finally gave in to Ben’s pleadings (he was only pleading because he knew I didn’t want to watch it). The first morning that Ben went to work after we were married a bird made its way into our apartment. Ever since then I haven't liked birds. That bird ruined my day, and this movie ruined my night.

I brought the third movie home from the library out of curiosity. It came highly recommended from one source, and I wanted to see why. I was totally disappointed in The Phantom of the Opera.

Preface – my dad took my mom to see the Broadway production when it came to Denver. We grew up with the original soundtrack featuring Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. You can’t beat it. My brothers had told me that the singing was not as good in the movie, so I was prepared not to like it. This may have influenced my judgment.

I don’t know anything about producing a movie. But I would think that when you produce a musical and the music is pre-recorded, that you would want the actors’ lips to match the music. Several times in this movie the lips did not match the song quite right. That drives me nuts! I also thought that there was an awful lot of female chest exposure. I know the costumes were supposed to be true to the time period, but honestly, Christine ran around in her corset and slip for most of the movie. Anytime the light was behind her you could see everything. Of course I realize that it was produced by Hollywood, but I was disappointed. Toward the end of the movie on the opera stage Christine’s dress fell a little more off her shoulders with each phrase. And was it really necessary for that stage/prop guy to moon Carlotta? I don’t think so.

This film was rated PG-13 for “brief violent images”. I think there was a host of other issues with the movie. When the ugly props guy was hung by the Phantom in the middle of the ballet/opera, Ben said to me, “So far the hanging is the best part of the movie.” By the end of the movie I wished that I had been hung and put out of my misery.

There you have it. Three movies I will never watch again. Sorry this post is so long. I had to get it off my chest.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Works for Me: Tie Organization

When my husband brought me home to our apartment, which had been his bachelor pad for several months, his ties were a mess. It wasn't his fault - he just didn't know what to do with them. And neither did I - for about 10 months! He insisted that tie hangers didn't work - the ties fell off, or you couldn't see which one you wanted. His ties were just thrown over a hanger so that whenever the hanger was bumped, the ties all slid off. I tried a fuzzy hanger so that the ties wouldn't slip so easily. It was only slightly better.

I looked at many tie organization racks at different stores. I would come home and announce, "I want you to look at this tie hanger. I think it will work." It was to no avail - none of them were good enough.

I saw this tie organizer at Target for about $7 (I think). I don't know what possessed me, but I bought it and took it home. It worked! It is screwed into the wall, so it is stationery and the ties don't get bumped. Each little "finger" has a rubber coating to keep the ties in place. It is organized so that Ben can see each tie and easily find the one he wants. (If your someone has an extraordinary amount of ties, you may need more than one, or have to double up the ties on each "finger").


We just hung it in the back of our closet above the laundry basket. It works for me! Check out Rocks in My Dryer for more great Works for Me tips!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Think About It: Revenge

"Never does the human soul appear so strong and noble as when it foregoes revenge, and dares to forgive an injury."
~ Edwin Hubbell Chapin

Psalm 37:1-5~
"Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. (2) For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. (3) Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. (4) Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (5) Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

Romans 12:19~
"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."

Ephesians 4:32~
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. "

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I got it all for FREE!

This is my latest and greatest shopping trip to Walgreens - I got it all for FREE and I made $2.01 on these items! Thanks to Money Saving Mom, Centsible Savings, and Be A Blessing, I have been successful in my Walgreens adventure to save (and in this case make) money.
  • Frosted Flakes
  • Fruit Loops
  • 2 - Arm & Hammer liquid laundry detergent
  • 3 - toothbrushes
  • 4 - Sugar free Jell-O
  • 2 - Baking soda
  • 3 - Robitussin
  • 1 - Rubbing alcohol

When I was taking the picture for this post, my hubby got another streak of funniness and joined the fun...as Arm & Hammer:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bath and Body Works

I guess it's time for an update. Working at Books-A-Million...well, it didn't work out. There were a lot of issues in the management. Since I don't have to work, we decided that I would give my notice and find something fun.

I applied at Bath and Body Works. I never really thought I had a chance. Do you know how many people are on their email list? And everyone got the "Now Hiring for the Holidays" memo. And I don't want to work nights, or Sundays (or even Saturdays really). But I got a call for an interview. So I went in for my group interview. That was an experience. I have never had an interview with four other people before! Then I didn't really expect to get called back...but I did!

In the interview, they said we would be paid minimum wage. When they offered me a position it was at a higher hourly wage than I was drawing at the bookstore. And I can still go to Colorado for Christmas! Do you want to know a secret? I am having a blast!

When I shopped Bath and Body Works before I always went straight to my scent, picked out the basic body wash, lotion, and body spray, and checked out. I thought Aromatherapy was wierd, and the hair care was overpriced. Now that I am an employee I have to know about those products...and sell them. So they gave me a bunch of samples...and sold me!

I still buy the basics. But I have two of the newest scents in my bathroom - Enchanted Orchid and Black Amethyst. They just came out with a new vanilla scent - Vanilla Noir that I recommended to my mom and she bought it! Look...sales from 2000 miles away! Ben bought me a scented oil burner and oil for my birthday. **He went into Bath and Body Works by himself and picked me out something new.** The oil was Aromatherapy Stress Relief in Eucalyptus Spearmint. Guess what? I fell in love with it. {Well, you know what I mean.} Last week I bought more aromatherapy because I like it so much.

In training I had to sample the lipgloss. I am terrible with lipstick and lipgloss. I wear chapstick only when my lips are dry. The last time I wore lipstick was...well...the wedding??? So I was enthusiastic about trying a new lip gloss. But I bought it! The C.O.Bigelow lip gloss is fabulous! It is all natural, it is infused with peppermint (or spearmint, or other mints) so that when you lick your lips or breathe in, it freshens your breath. It works! They have a Ginger Mentha out for Christmas that has a little bit of a glimmer. My other favorite is the Ultra Mentha, pictured here. It has even more peppermint oil in it and makes my lips tingle for a long time.


I also really like the Shea Cashmere lotion. With African Shea Butter and Mongolian Cashmere extract it is super moisturizing, non-greasy lotion when a hint of scent. It comes in hand, foot, or body lotion. Being in the True Blue Spa line of products, it is a little more pricey than I can afford. Oh - I forgot! I get a discount! Isn't that wonderful.

All of this to say I love my job. I work short shifts, I get paid decently, I get Sundays off, I get to sample lotions and perfumes to customers all day, and I get a fabulous discount. Does it get any better? *Please note: I am a seasonal employee through the end of the semi-annual sale in January. At that time they will decide, based on store needs, if they need to keep any temps on staff. I'm still having fun!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I Made Money at Walgreens!

I have been trying to "play the drugstore game" for the last several weeks. I hear that CVS is the best, but the closest CVS is in Elizabeth City, NC. So, I only have Walgreens with which to work. I'm learning as I go along, but the first week (a week in which I needed a lot of items) I spent $35.51 - but it was for $70.62 worth of items. I purchased a lot of paper products, soda for Thanksgiving, and sale items. I also received several register rewards which I have been trying to use in the cheapest, most frugal and productive fashion.

The second time I went to Walgreens I got a lot of good stuff. I spent $15.73 for $39.33 worth of product. I purchased Kleenexes, toothbrushes, dish soap, candles, gift boxes, ziplocs, and cotton balls, Maybelline blush, and Scotch tape.

This week I went in solely to make money. I purchased $25 and change in items, but I only paid $4.60 out of pocket. At the end of the transaction I received a coupon for $5 off my next purchase. Essentially, I made money at Walgreens!

The items I purchased were two 10-packs of Wal-Itin (Walgreens brand Claritin for Allergies, 99 cents each), 3 packages of white tissue paper (24 sheets each, 19 cents each), 1 bottle of Germ-X hand sanitizer for Ben to keep in his work truck ($4), 2 packs of Angel Soft toilet paper (4 rolls, $1.29 each), and a Sunday newspaper for more great coupons.

For more details on the Walgreens program, visit Money Saving Mom or Be A Blessing. They have great tutorials. The weekly Walgreens deals, along with money-saving or money-making scenarios are posted at Centsible Savings.

My hubby is soooo funny!

Wire hangers annoy me. Ben's uniforms come back from the uniform-cleaning-people--you guessed it--on wire hangers. That's 12-14 annoyances every week that come into our home. When the new set of uniforms is brought home the empty set of hangers usually continues to hang in the closet, until there are so many empties that the clean uniforms won't fit. The reason for this is simple. Since wire hangers don't get along with me, I delegate the job to Ben. Ben doesn't get annoyed with wire hangers, he just ignores them. He just doesn't think about it most of the time--he brings the uniforms home, hangs them up, and ignores the empty hangers.

Yesterday he was being proactive, so he pulled the empty hangers out of the closet. But then his ornery streak took control, and he decided to leave me a present. I came back to the closet to find this--my closet door {decorated} with wire hangers. Ha ha. Ben is soooooo funny.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Works for Me: The Leftover Sandwich

The credit for this idea goes out to my in-laws, the Hamiltons. I don't like Thanksgiving leftovers. The endless turkey. Turkey isn't my favorite to begin with, so I definitely don't appreciate it warmed up.

Enter the Hamiltons and their creation of what I call the Leftover Sandwich. It's very yummy. I had one {at least} on Friday, and Sunday, and Monday. It is like a grilled cheese sandwich, but with all of the Thanksgiving ingredients.
  1. Butter a piece of bread and put it in the heated skilled, butter side down.
  2. Spread mayo on the top of the bread.
  3. Add a slice of American cheese.
  4. Add turkey.
  5. Sprinkle with stuffing/dressing. {Because it is only stuffing if it was stuffed in the bird. "See, Mr. Dallas, I was paying attention!"}
  6. Spread another piece of bread with cranberry sauce, and place it on top of your sandwich, cranberry side facing in.
  7. Butter the other side of the bread.
It's probably ready to be flipped now, because you want to grill it to a golden brown (don't overcook it). Be careful when you flip it - it is loaded, and the yummy stuff might go everywhere if you are in too much of a hurry. {I am usually in too much of a hurry. It always gets me in trouble}

Voila! The Leftover Sandwich. It works for me - now I don't cringe at the Thanksgiving leftovers. Check out Rocks in my Dryer for other great tips.

PS - Sorry there is no picture. These sandwiches are so yummy that they were devoured before I could even think about a picture. And...my leftovers are gone - so there's no hope of another picture until next year!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Our Thanksgiving

We were blessed to spend Thanksgiving with Ben's family. They drove in from Pittsfield, MA on Wednesday evening and stayed through Sunday morning. It was a special time because Evan was able to come along on this trip. Amazingly, although he works retail, he was able to get the time off. It was the first time he had visited our home.

We enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner around 3 pm on Thursday. I had prepared the mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, an apple pie, and a chocolate pumpkin cheesecake ahead of time on Wednesday. It was a good thing--there was already a lack of space in my tiny kitchen! We also feasted on stuffed turkey (a Hamilton stuffing recipe - very good), scalloped corn, rolls, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce. I was grateful that Dad Hamilton was around to help with the turkey - it was my *first* time to do this! We pulled the turkey out with wonderful timing - it was moist, but completely done. Not bad for the first time!

After dinner we played Monopoly. I should tell you that when I joined this family I was warned that Ben was the *Monopoly King*. "He never loses," they said. Well, the first time I played Ben I won. The first time we played the Hamilton family - Mom won. This time Dad won. He has a thing for Marvin Gardens. {I don't understand it, or I would explain it}. It was the pinnacle of success for Dad to win by building hotels on his Marvin Gardens suite, and then expelling us one by one from the game. {He claims he needs never play again as his victory is sweet and complete}. Note: I'm losing faith in Ben's record. I guess that's what happens when you get married. You start to lose at Monopoly. *tsk-tsk*

On Friday Ben had to work {sigh} while I joined the Hamiltons for lunch at Kevin & Michelle Brown's home in Suffolk. The Browns usually visit the Hamiltons' church in Pittsfield when they are visiting their family in New England. Then we hit the thrift stores hard!

Supper on Friday was a treat - something I had never thought of putting together. I don't care for Thanksgiving leftovers, but this creation, another Hamilton tradition, made it enjoyable. Basically it is a grilled turkey sandwich - with cheese, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. It was wonderful!

Saturday was Evan's 21st birthday. We had breakfast and then went shopping. We found some more steals at a different thrift store, and Evan was able to find a winter coat that he liked at Dick's Sporting Goods. Then we had antelope steaks for dinner (compliments of my dad) and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. We wrapped up the evening with a round of Last Word and Rook.

It was a great visit. Now we just need some snow in Denver for Christmas to wrap up our holiday season...
Ben learns how to cut the turkey from Dad.

Our Thanksgiving Feast

Think About It

Sorry this is a little late...
"Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden."
~Corrie ten Boom

Philippians 4:6-7 ~ Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Corrie and Betsy ten Boom suffered a lot during WWII. I'm sure they had many things to be worried and burdened about. Yet Corrie was able to turn those things into prayers, and let the peace of God envelop her mind and heart. In this way Corrie could focus on her God instead of on her circumstances.