Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ashley snacks


I have been enjoying making Ashley's afternoon snacks so much! I didn't get to do it at all last week as he was off school except for 1 day (yes I fed him, just different stuff). He is really liking it aswell. I find he isn't grazing anymore in the afternoon and he still eats all of his dinner.

I am trying to think of more things I can include in his snacks. We didn't get any fruit other than bananas on the weekend so we will pick some up on the weekend plus celery etc.


I also cheated with the baby carrots. He saw them and wanted them, which saves time for me. I decided to add the yogurt to is this week to give him some dairy in there.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving

I promised to blog about Thanksgiving and what we eat and do etc.

First of all, Thanksgiving is the 3rd Thursday in November so the date always changes. The past 2 years we have had our family get together on the weekend after Thanksgiving so everyone can make it. This year Billy's Uncle Mike and Aunt Jane weren't able to come up from Georgia so we had it actually on Thanksgiving Day. Most people don't have to work that day, Billy had to go to work that night but he had the night before off.

We all sit around and talk or hang out outside with the kids while Jamey, Billy's brother looks after the turkey.

Typically people eat Turkey or Ham or both and a bunch of different side dishes, depending on the region or the family.

Our family deep fries our turkey.


See the hot oil bubbling away:


Here it is all cooked:


And you can't have turkey without cranberry sauce:


Devilled eggs, which are kind of like curried eggs without the curry!


Red Slaw, which is coleslaw with a tomato base instead of mayonnaise. I am not a fan:


Gravy:

Macaroni cheese, another thing I am not a big fan of:


Beans & corn:

Mashed potatoes, or Creamed potatoes as they call them:


Sweet potato casserole, which has brown sugar and pecans on top! So good!


And dressing, same as stuffing, but they don't put it inside the bird, they bake it separately. It's not bad.


Dinner rolls:


Jamey carving the turkey:


Dessert is usually either pumpkin or sweet potato pie. We didn't stay for dessert as Billy had to come home and sleep for a few hours before working all night. We did get some pie to bring home but I didn't get a photo of it. But here is one from last year:

Pumpkin pie

It was a great day with family and great food! We got to see our new nephew again and in the 4 weeks since we saw him he has already changed so much! And our nieces just keep growing too fast.

Here are the rest of the photos from the day:





Monday, November 22, 2010

Billy

Mowing Billy

I want to talk about my husband for a little bit. If you don't like sappy, mushy stuff, then you might want to skip this post.

Almost 6 years ago I was a sad, broken, lonely girl. I had just gotten out of a 6 year relationship that had not been happy. New Years Eve I decided I needed cheering up so I paid a visit to a funny website and joined in a few of the forum posts.

From those posts I came across a young man who I struck up a conversation with. Fast forward to today and we are married and have lived on 2 different continents together and been through more than most couples have in their lifetimes.

We never fight. We never degrade the other person. We laugh together all the time. We get each other so completely it scares me sometimes. We finish each others sentences. This is the kind of stuff you see in movies. Sometimes I want to pinch myself because it doesn't seem real. When he kisses me I still get weak knees.

This man would do anything for me and Ashley. He works so hard at his job, he is usually covered in bruises and scratches all the time from his job. He has to wear a knee brace most of the time.

But he does it for us. So we can pay our bills and eat and have this house. He never gets enough sleep. He rarely gets any free time. But he rarely complains.

He is my Knight.

And I will never stop loving him.

03/365 - Bokeh Billy

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My stroganoff



I love sharing food we eat out on here so I thought it would be cool to show you stuff I make too. I do cook a lot. We only eat out on Billy's days off so only 1-2 nights a week.

Today I will show you my version of Stroganoff.

First of all it's not completely from scratch, I do cheat a bit. However I do add some extra steps and ingredients to make it my own and to make it much yummier.

The cheating part is that I used this:




But I make big changes to the recipe. First I get some bacon and slice it. Then fry it in the pan until it's almost crispy. Then I put it on a paper towel and sit it in the oven to keep warm.

Then I chop up an onion and a punnet of mushrooms. Fry them up until they are nice and golden. Add them to the bacon to keep warm.

Then instead of ground beef I use ground turkey. Brown that, then I add in the mushrooms, onion and bacon then the usual Helper ingredients. Cook it for the normal time, serve.

This particular time I kept some of the bacon in the oven so it went really crispy and I sprinkled it on the top. DELISH!

One of my favourite easy meals.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Taste of China

Last week Billy & I were doing some grocery shopping in our little town of China Grove and it was about 1pm and we were both quite hungry. Now there isn't a lot to choose from in our small town, no McD's or any of the other fast food places we like. The only places are Hardee's or pizza places. Hardee's is WAY down the list of places for me. It's not that they are bad, it's just when it's the only burger place in town, you tend to get sick of it after a while.

So anyway we were thinking thinking what to get and right behind us was a Chinese take out that we kept talking about trying. It's called The Taste of China (in China Grove mind you haha)

So anyway, Billy didn't want anything too spicy as he had to have a nap before work so he got a large special fried rice:



I didn't get a chance to try it but he said it was ok. A little on the oily side but not too bad.

I got the Sweet & Sour chicken lunch special:



The chicken was GOOD! They use chicken tender pieces which are so good! It's like the best part! The S & S sauce was nice and tangy, but my rice, like Billy's was on the oily side.

We also got 2 spring rolls each:



Now I also assumed the spring rolls were what they called Egg Rolls here, nope, they are different. Egg rolls are in something very similar to what Chicko Rolls (Aussies you know what I mean) are wrapped in. Like a thicker, chewer pastry shell. The spring rolls were yum!

I had to take a photo of the little boxes the rice came in. I love these boxes!



Overall it wasn't bad. Not something we would get in a hurry again, but it wasn't awful. And it was pretty cheap.

Photoshoot

Recently I helped my friend Jen who has her own photography business Four Sides Photography with a wedding. I had such a great experience and was pretty happy with the photos I took. Jen must have thought so too because she asked me to take photos of her and her family!!

I was kind of nervous as I had never done a proper photoshoot by myself before but with her help I think I did pretty well for a first timer. Here is a slide show of the photos:


Thursday, November 11, 2010

The baby situation

So I am finding myself having to explain over and over why we can't have a baby in this place.

To give you an idea of how small this place is, we have 2 bedrooms, 1 living/dining room and 2 bathrooms, one of which the shower doesn't work well.

A lot of people have said "Well the baby can sleep in your room till its like 2 or so." But then they don't think past that.

Is a 18+ year old Ashley going to want to share a bedroom with a toddler? Because Ashley ain't moving out anytime soon.

This is usually when people realise that it is not possible for us to have a baby in this place.

And we are probably going to be in this place for some time. And I am 35 in 4 months. Getting ever so closer to the dangerous age to have a baby.

Plus the fact I carry the Fragile X mutation puts be at risk for early ovarian shut down. Which means my clock is running out even sooner than most people.

So you can see why I am a little sad about this whole thing.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The whole house story

I wanted to write this post mainly for those people who don't know all the details of the new house and everything that's been happening. Facebook doesn't allow for long stories and a lot of details so I felt I needed to get the full story out there so people weren't assuming things.

Let's begin at the beginning.

In 2001 Billy was 23 and single. He had been living out of home for a couple of years, sharing with friends when he decided he wanted his own place. With his parents help he went and looked at a few places but they were all out of his budget. Then he found this place. A 10 year old single-wide trailer on an acre of land out in gorgeous farm land. He fell in love with it.

So he approached a few banks and they turned him down as he didn't earn enough and he had no real credit history. So his parents put the mortgage in their name. However Billy has always paid the mortgage. At the time because it was a single-wide trailer the interest rate was pretty high.

Then in 2005 we met online. At first we decided he would live in Australia with me. He moved there and we lived there for 3 years. During this time Billy's parents rented the trailer out to 2 different tenants. The first person looked after it really well. The second couple did not. The state it was in when we moved back in 2008 was pitiful.

During this time also the real estate market crashed. Plus single-wide trailers loose value very quickly.

Fast forward to this year. We had been here for nearly 2 years and the small trailer was just becoming too crowded. Plus we really wanted to have a baby. I am 34 and Billy is 32 and so the time is getting short. There is no way we can have a baby in this trailer. There just is no room. Plus its hard having company over as there isn't anywhere for everyone to sit.

One day in August we just happened to drive past a Mobile Home Dealership and decided to call in. We didn't think we were even ready to start anything but there was no harm in looking. We looked at 2 display models that were on the lot and fell in love with one of them.

We explained to the dealer our situation and he told us that we could just see if the bank was willing to lend us the money to pay off our existing mortgage plus the cost of this new home.

The bank came back with YES! We were ecstatic! So we decided to go ahead. We filled out all the paperwork. This was back in September. So we paid the money for the appraisal and were told it would take up to 2 weeks to be done. We waited. And waited. And waited. We knew that it all had to appraise for at least what we were borrowing otherwise we would need a down payment, which we really didn't have.

The dealer and our loan officer kept reassuring us that it would all be fine. We got a letter of conditional approval and so we were good to go, just as long as the appraisal was for enough.

It took them almost 2 months to get the appraisal done. Mess up after mess up with the bank with our address then phone numbers made it so they never got back to us.

Anyway the appraisal was finally done and this morning we found out that it all appraised for $50 000 less than needed. We were devastated. It didn't even appraise for the ticket price of the double wide.

And the sad thing is, Billy bought this place 9 years ago and hardly anything has come off the loan. So we owe almost double what it's worth now. It's awful just thinking about it. Because we can't even sell it. No one would pay what we owe for it. Plus most banks won't finance singlewides and the lien won't allow the trailer to be removed unless the mortgage is fully paid.

So we are stuck here. Unless someone can think of some way for us to do this. We are stuck. In a trailer that is literally falling apart.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Olive Garden

Last Saturday night we went to Olive Garden with friends of ours, Dave & Kat. Olive Garden is one of my favourite places to eat. They have the yummiest food! It's an Italian Restaurant chain and it was the last place Billy & I ate at when I came to visit him back in 2005. So it's kind of "our place" too.

You get a choice of soup or salad for starters. I always go with the salad. I love their salad. The dressing is so good.



They bring it out in a big bowl and put freshly shave parmesan on it if you want. The bowls they give you are chilled which I love also!

Then come the breadsticks. Yummmm!



Billy wanted soup so he got the Minestrone:



For our main meal Dave, Kat & I all got the same thing, Shrimp & Crab Tortelli Romana. The menu describes it: Shrimp, crab and smoked mozzarella-filled ravioli, topped with sautéed shrimp in a three cheese and sun-dried tomato sauce.



It was really good! Like YUM!

Billy & Ashley got the Lasagne. I didn't take a photo as they both dug in before I could!

Everything was delicious! I have never been disappointed at Olive Garden.

And during the day you can go there for all you can eat Soup, Salad and Breadsticks for $6.95. It is so good.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Healthy eating

Lately Ashley has been getting home and having unhealthy snacks all afternoon. Chips, crackers, pop tarts etc. But this past week I decided I don't want him to be eating such unhealthy foods and grazing all afternoon before dinner. So I am making him an afternoon snack for him to have that is much healthier and should hold him over until dinner time.

Here are some of the snacks he has been having:



This was the first one I made for him. Turkey & cheese on wheat bread, apple, celery, carrots and a mini muffin.

Here is what he had yesterday:


This time there is lettuce and tomato on his sandwich and grapes and chips.

Today's:



He has really been enjoying these snacks and not asking for anything else before dinner. It does look like a lot of food, but remember he is 16 and about 6 foot tall.

Now I just need to eat better!

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Nephew

This morning Billy's brother Jamey and his wife Sandy welcomed their 3rd child and first son, Brantley Cole into the world. He was born at 8am and weighed 8lbs 7oz. We went up to see them at about 1pm so he wasn't even a day old when we met him.

He is just precious! Here are some photos I took today with all of us holding him and his 2 big sisters meeting him for the first time.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Bag!

Me and my men went shopping today in search of a few things. I really wanted a new handbag that was big enough to fit my usual stuff + my camera. I have a big camera bag that fits all my lenses and stuff but it's not practical for everyday use.

So first of all we went to the Webb Road Flea Market. Now these markets burnt down about 2 months ago and so all the vendors are in temporary shelters and I have a feeling that many of them just aren't there anymore. There really wasn't any bags there I liked. However I did find a place with some nice boots, but nothing in my size :(

Then we headed down to Kannapolis and I went into Shoe Dept. which is a shoe store that also carries bags. I found one that I quite liked but we needed to go to Walmart anyway so I thought I would just check in there before I settled on that one.

Well Walmart had nothing I liked so after we left there I ran back into Shoe Dept and grabbed the bag. I was going to get the black one, but I really liked the brown and I want to get a pair of brown boots so I thought this would work out fine.

Here is it:



Close up:



The photos aren't great but I had to take them in a hurry as we are getting ready to go out to eat here in a bit.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sogo Express

I knew moving to the USA I would be sacrificing many things I took for granted in Australia, good coffee for example. Japanese food was one I was not expecting.

Real Japanese food is nothing like what is served in so called Japanese restaurants here. I studied Japanese for 3 years. I actually wanted to be a Japanese Chef when I left school, things didn't turn out the way I planned so that dream was lost, however my appreciation and knowledge of Japanese cuisine has stayed with me.

Did you know that 80% of Japanese restaurants in the USA are run by Chinese people. Now some people may not realise how big a different there is between the 2 cultures. But its huge.

Japanese rice is never fried. It's plain, white and steamed. The only noodles they eat are Udon noodles:

KIMCHI UDON

There is also a misconception that sushi raw fish. Yes some of it is, but only a small percentage. The raw fish is called Sashimi. And it's actually delicious! But you can eat sushi and not have any seafood at all.

Japanese food is extremely healthy and very fresh when done right. I am yet to find a place around here that does it right.

Anyway the point of this post was that we decided to try a place we were told about and one of the people who told me about it assured me it was the real deal. As soon as I walked in I knew this person had no idea what real Japanese food was.

Here is their menu:

menu

Now when I saw this I had to laugh. There is another place here called Tokyo Express. And their menu is almost identical. And it is NOT Japanese food. It's not bad food, but it is NOT Japanese food. No where near it.

But we had a short amount of time to eat before we had to get home for Ashley's bus so we thought we would just deal.

Billy ordered the exact same thing he gets from Tokyo Express, Steak and Shrimp. It comes with Fried Rice (so not Japanese), sweet carrots (again ??) and cocktail sauce, which is pretty much thousand island dressing (WTF?) but I digress. Here is his lunch:

Lunch at Sogo

I ordered the Noodles with Steak and Vegetables:



And we got some Egg Rolls to share:



(Please excuse the quality of the photos, I took them with my iPhone so they aren't great)

I actually liked my meal. It was quite good. The steak was really tender and there was not fat or gristle. But it wasn't Japanese food. Billy enjoyed his. He isn't as fussy as I am though.

So would I go to Sogo's again. Probably. But I would never refer to it as Japanese food.

Fun with Jen

My friend Jen, who I met through the mothers group I am a member of, took me out on Wednesday for lunch then some photography silliness.

She took me to Olive Garden and we got the all you can eat Soup, Salad and Breadsticks and as usual it was so good!

Then we drove into Downtown Salisbury and walked around taking photos. Jen is not afraid to get in front of the camera, unlike me. So I got quite a few of her being silly.

Here is a slideshow of photos from our adventure.



We found some really cool parts of Salisbury that we are going to go back and take more time to explore, especially beautiful old houses.

We did get a really freaked out when this old homeless guy started following us! But luckily we out walked him!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quiznos

Ok this is my first food post! Last Saturday we were out shopping and wanted something different for lunch. So we decided to try out Quiznos. Billy has eaten there before but it was quite a few years ago so he wasn't sure what they were like now. He described it as Subway but better.

So we went in and the first thing I noticed was how good it smelt in there. I have always loved the smell of Subway and this place smelt even better.

I was a little overwhelmed with the menu. It is very different to Subway. I would consider their subs a bit more "gourmet" compared to Subway. Plus it was quite pricey.

I decided on the Chicken Carbonara sub. It has white chicken, bacon, mozzarella, mushrooms, and alfredo sauce. You get a choice of what type of bread you want it on and I got it on Italian White.

The sub wasn't bad. I wasn't a huge fan of the Alfredo sauce. I think if I go back I will order something else.





All in all I wouldn't be holding my breath to go back. If I want a toasted sub I think I would go for a Dominoes sub. Their Chicken Bacon Ranch and the Mediterranean Vegie Sub are so good. Maybe soon I will do a post about them!


New direction

I am trying to change a few things in my life. I don't like how I have been feeling lately and am thinking some change is in order.

One of the changes is the way I treat this blog. I don't tend to post on here much as I never feel like I have anything to say and that not many people are reading it. So I tend to go months without posting. I am going to try to post a lot more.

One of the things I want to start doing is food posts. I love food. I love cooking, trying out new foods and places to eat. Plus it might be interesting for my Aussie friends to see the food from here.

Also if you do read this and there is something you think would be cool for me to post about, let me know. I am always looking for ideas.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Anon questions #1

Here are some anonymous questions:

1. What kind of kid were you growing up?
To tell you the truth I don't remember a lot of my childhood, but what I can remember and what others have told me is I was a real tom boy. I do remember playing in the dirt a lot, I used to love watching ants and I would get a piece of bread and crumble it up and watch them pick it up and carry it away. I also got away with a lot because I was the baby.

2. Who was the first boy you kissed? and what do you remember about it?
Ok now the earliest memory of kissing a boy was 5th grade, but I am sure I kissed one before that. But this is the one I remember. He tried sticking his tongue in my mouth and I thought it was revolting. His name was Vernon.

3. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
This changed all the time! haha Earliest one I think I wanted to be was a Nuclear Physicist, I had no idea what it was, I just liked the name. Then a librairian because I loved reading. Then a doctor then a chef. It kept changing!

Kate's questions

I thought I would answer each set of questions in a separate post.

Here are Kate's questions:

1. Do you have any plans to come back to Australia for a holiday or to live in the very distant future?
I would love to go back for a holiday. Especially to Queensland to visit my mum. Billy only got to see part of Western Australia so I would love for him to see where I grew up and beautiful North Queensland. Back to live is highly unlikely. Something pretty major would make me do that. Basically if I lost Billy eg divorce, death. Even then I don't know.


2. Are the clothes and shoes you buy in the US nicer than Aussie stuff or are they pretty much the same sort of styles and fabrics?
I don't think I would say they are nicer but there is definitely more choice! Especially shoes! Oh lordy! They are much cheaper than in Australia. I haven't looked in a lot of higher class clothing stores as i don't work in an office or anything any more so I can't say for certain about fashion etc.


3. Have you seen anyone famous in person since living in the US?
The most famous person I have seen is a former NASCAR driver. Not exciting at all! haha


4. Do you think you are starting to get an American accent?
Ever now and then I catch myself pronouncing things differently. I don't know if I will ever lose my accent, I hope not. But I also think it would be cool to have a southern accent!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ask me anything!

I have writers block at the moment and have no idea what to blog about so I thought I would put it into my readers hands (If there are any!)

So ask away. If you want to remain anonymous, you can. I have allowed anonymous comments.

Go for it! I will answer every question asked!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The news!

Ok so we have some big news. It's not 100% confirmed but we are pretty sure it is a done deal.

WE ARE GETTING A NEW HOUSE!!!!!

About 3 weeks ago we were driving through Rockwell (A small town near us) and we saw a Modular home sales office, with display homes. We decided to drive out there the next day and just have a look.

Well the guy was really nice and we looked at 2 of the models he had and we fell in love with one of them. He said we could apply for pre-approval just to see if the bank would be willing to touch us.

It was Friday when we filled out the paperwork so we spent the whole weekend daydreaming about the house. Then he called us on Monday to tell us that the bank was willing to give us a mortgage.

Billy & I kind of went a little crazy and said "Let's do it!" After a few days I started really having doubts about it. Our mortgage was about to more than double and I was scared. But Billy kept reassuring me we would be able to do it. He said he would take on more hours at work.

So we submitted all our income information last week and the loan officer called today to tell us that we passed that part of it. So she seems to think it's going to go through. So now we just wait for Bobby, our building rep to call us about the house contract.

So we are very very excited. We currently live in a tiny 2 bedroom single wide trailer. And we are about to get into a 4 bed 2 bath home with more than double the square footage.

So here is a slideshow of photos of the new house:



And here is a video tour!

So much going on

Oh I have been a bad blogger. February was the last post! My goodness!

Wow. Ok what was happened since then! Well first of all, I am not working any more. The factory where I worked was not air-conditioned and since June we have been getting temperatures in the high 90's F (33+ C). And with the humidity and the fact that it's a big metal factory with machines running at 375 degrees, it got very uncomfortable. Not to mention the migraines I was getting every day.

I still don't have my license. It is such a pain to get it plus we have hardly any time for me to practice driving. But I really want to get it sorted out asap. It's driving me insane being home all the time and almost trapped here because Billy sleeps all day then is at work all night. And Ashley is at that age where he really doesn't want to hang out with me any more. So I am lonely a lot of the time.

My depression got the best of me for a while there and I was in a pretty dark place for some time. Which I think has hurt some possible friendships. But I guess I don't really want friends who run when I am at my lowest.

I am trying really hard to not let things get to me. It's hard because that is who I am and always have been and although I don't like that part of myself, it's hard to change a lifetime habit.

I have some big news but I am keeping that for a separate post!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I am still alive!

Yes I know. I have been terribly slack at updating as usual. I kind of have an excuse though. Billy's mum is the general manager of a manufacturing company and they needed someone to work in the factory and she asked me. It's great because it is so close to home and it's money we need. It isn't the most glamorous job and the pay is minimum wage but it helps us a lot. Because Billy's pay covered all of our bills we know have a little extra spending money.

Also we got his tax return back and it was quite a large one and it was just in time too. Our oven and fridge both died in the same week so we now have new ones, plus we were able to pay off the car. So we both decided to get iPhones. We were getting by with just the 1 pre-paid cell phone and with me working we thought it best that we both had one. I love it! I am so addicted to Apps!

Here is our new oven:

IMG_0023

It's a dual oven! Which means it has 2 ovens! How awesome is that!

Our new fridge isn't that exciting. We wanted a side by side but the gap in the kitchen for the fridge isn't big enough and there is no where else to put it. So we got a cheap one for now. It will do until we get a bigger place.

Ashley went to his first ever school dance last weekend. He was so excited about it and couldn't stop talking about it for weeks! We took him shopping for new clothes and shoes to wear. Here he is all dressed up:



I'm curious to know who still follows this blog and if anyone still reads it. I really want to keep it up to date but I don't want to waste my time if no one really reads it. So let me know!

Align Center

Monday, January 25, 2010

SWDB #1

I have decided to start the Simple Women's Daybook.

You can find out more about it here:
Simple woman's Daybook


FOR TODAY
January 25th 2010
Outside my window... The sun is shining but the wind is blowing like crazy.
I am thinking... that I need to start getting ready to head over to the in-laws for dinner & Lost.
I am thankful for... the face that the tornado warning we had last night was just that, a warning. Nothing eventuated from it.
From the kitchen... nothing today, we are eating out with the in-laws tonight.
I am wearing... my pj's still. It's been a kind of lazy day here.
I am creating... I am trying to catch up on blogging and I may write some more of my new story tonight.
I am going... to the in-laws tonight so watch Lost with them. Hubby & I are up to date with it, but they stopped watching it after season 1 so we are catching them up.
I am reading... The Half Blood Prince again. I tried to read it again before the movie but I didn't get a chance, so I just picked it up again.
I am hoping... I get the job I am waiting to hear back about.
I am hearing... my husband playing on his computer and our kitten running around the house.
Around the house... are alot of tidy places as we have been busy organising stuff.
One of my favorite things... were the cuddles I managed to get from my dog before the other one came and got too rough.
A few plans for the rest of the week: Not too much. I have a Help Bags for the Homeless event on Friday night but apart from that we have no plans.
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
Sunrise Jan 20th 2010
I very rarely get to see the sunrise so I was happy to catch this pretty one a few days ago.
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