Sunday, May 31, 2015

Volunter Appreciation "Banquet"

Once a year the chapel has a Parish Appreciation "banquet."  It was suggested something more "personal" be done this year and it ended up being a BBQ at our home.  It is always fun to open your home to friends. Today was no exception. I was far too busy to take photos but here are a few that were captured.
Ron is a jewel!

Margaret is asking for us to settle in the area when we retire.
Too sweet!
Desiree and Quentin

Landon and Stefan

When all the food was put away, the dishes cleaned, the last counter wiped....I looked at Cynthia and she looked at me.....and we KNEW it was our turn to bounce....Ashely was sucked right into the excitement.

Best Deployment Coping Device EVER

Found the safe spot.

This was a totally fun way to end a great day! 

Vanilla Ice Cream - Vegan (Chocolate Covered Katie)

INGREDIENTS: makes 3 - 4 servings
2 C milk of choice (see note)
1/8 heaping tsp of stevia or 1/3 C sweetener of choice
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

Whisk together the ingredients.  Choose one of the options below (we chose ice cream maker):

Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Vitamix method - freeze in ice cube trays until solid. Pop frozen cubes into Vitamix. Bled using the tamper until completely smooth with a soft-serve texture. Serve immediately as soft serve, or transfer to a covered container and freeze up to an hour for firmer texture.

Food Processor method: freeze in ice cube trays until solid. Pop cubes into food processor. Allow to thaw just long enough for your processor to be able to handle the ice cubes without overheating. Process on high, stopping to scrape down the sides. Scoop into individual bowls. Serve immediately, or freeze each bowl up to an hour for a thicker consistency and texture.  A food processor will yield more of a soft-serve consistency than the other methods.

Ice Cream Maker Method: Pour the mixture into a large container. Freeze for 30 min or refrigerate for at least 4 hours (this was our option). Pour chilled mixture into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Once a smooth texture has been reached, scoop into bowls - serve immediately or freeze each bowl up to an hour for thicker consistency and texture.

Notes: For the best ice cream - like taste and texture use either Cashew Cream or full fat canned coconut milk as your milk of choice. It will be fine with others but the texture will be less creamy. We used two cans of coconut milk and one can of coconut cream and were happy.

We froze what we didn't eat and just let it thaw a bit before eating. Arielle and I like this. I do find it rich and don't eat much at a time.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


I noticed cobwebs up  high... since Michael had all the kids asking me what I needed done.... I mentioned it to the boys. I did NOT expect to find this! Personally, I'm not sure a guy with arthritis should be at the top of this thing.

After Arielle and I kept yammering about "safety first.....

Cleaning Windows - they really didn't want Mike
on the ladder or she never would have been up there
Everyone seemed to like setting up the backyard for tomorrow's BBQ better. LOL
Then there was THIS.  I believe I'll go talk with doctor at the next appointment and see if ladders are really a great idea! ::snort::

Friday, May 29, 2015

Hugs of All Kinds

This has been a fantastically busy week. It's a week of endings - and we are just back from a 2 week road trip.   It's a week of new stress and continued stress, dentists, high emotion and IS Friday!

Thank God.

A good friend is one who knows you can't talk and simply comes over and sits on the porch and rocks with you for an hour while discussing distracting topics and then tours your trailer and listens to the improvements you hope to make. That's a good friend. Cynthia, what a blessing you were today. Thanks for the gift of presence...without any pressure to talk.  You were a heavenly hug - a God sighting even.

We got quite a few earthly hugs today from the Campbell crew too!
Nolan & Elise
Arielle & Stacia


Even Yuuki needed a drink

AND....Stephanie brought a big, pink box of sugary hugs with the kids. ::snort:: It's been a good day. This may be our last all day with the kids. Steph and the kids are flying home to be with her parents while Brenner finishes his special duty overseas.  They'll get back right before retirement.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sweet Closure

God surrounded me with such a sweet group of women here at Beale AFB. Many of them belong to the PWOC (women's ministry at Chapel) and last night the leadership team (minus Mindee and Desiree who were missed) went to Roseville. They selected a vegan restaurant - is that cool or what? We all enjoyed our new taste sensations. ::wink::

The laughter was best of all - but the gift card to Kobe Japanese restaurant and the sweet card is wonderful as well.
This was the best photo - and I guess I just keep my mouth open a lt. LOL
Now that I know exactly where Bagan's is I can stop and get a vegan sandwich before the rest stop at Chick Fil A.

The evening was a wonderful closure to the year we've spent together.

Today also included a dental appointment for Nolan - not such sweet closure. ::snort::

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

PWOC Installation 2015

 Tuesday four of the kids had dental appointments. It turns out Zander is fine (WHAT???), Nolan had two cavities, Stacia and Arielle have referrals to an oral surgeon. Stacia has another baby tooth that simply isn't coming out and this one looks complicated. Arielle has two impacted wisdom teeth - this may change timing of moving out as she has a Mexico Trip in June to work around and oral surgeons stay busy. The doc wanted to give Nolan braces. I would think one of the many dentist's we've seen would have said something before now - even THIS dentist - if it were dire.

Tuesday I also spent time preparing all this (above).   There we are all ready to head out the door to our final PWOC - of this year anyway. Sometime during this day Stacia and I had a fun conversation.

Stacia: When I grow up I want a nice, normal life, not a big job like yours.

Me: My job?

Stacia: You know - everyone calling to complain and five people asking questions at the same time.

Oh MY - I would never describe my "job" this way - but I suppose there are days when this would be accurate. LOL

PWOC is one of the few ministries I know which has a transition of both leaders and members each year. It's always amazing to watch God's provision each year. Below is the team I was honored to lead this year. The second photo shows the amazing team God and Jennifer are shaping up for next year.  Today marked the final day I will serve as a PWOC President - forever. I'm o.k. with it. I'm ready to move on to a new season. I know I'll always mentor women and I  know I'll always share the Word. God will reveal the details.
Me, Desiree (Quentin), Stephanie, Katie, Rachel, Cynthia, Jennifer
Thea, Rachel, Stephanie, Katie, Sarah, Ashley, Hope (traveling), Jennifer
Angela with 2 week old Jackson - so glad they could be with us

Desiree with Quentin - both champs! Des provided brunch as a thank you to PWOC


Love to give gifts

Receiving them isn't bad either - Katie made me a trailer size string art of a cross and heart

Patricia and Quentin - so glad she is here with Desiree until mid-June

I love this gal - though hearing someone sing your praises is a bit uncomfortable
 While we enjoyed brunch, sharing, farewell prayers for 3 of us, and installation - the kids had messy day and water day. Stacia was so happy to have Anna and Sydney at PWOC.
Arielle gets the kids moving. LOL

Monday, May 25, 2015

Another RV Post

Monday Michael, Nolan and I drove to Dublin, CA to look at a 31 foot Gas Winebago Sightseer....this is usually a 2 hour drive; but it took 3.5 hours on Memorial Day. ::snort::

We wanted to see this one so we could actually compare the storage between a gas and diesel pusher. By looking at the photos we hoped we could modify the bunk from a double to a triple. We also wanted to compare the undercarriage storage between a diesel and gas motorhome.

The Winnebago was beautiful!  We went for a ride which reminded us how gas RVs  rattle as they go down the road.

On the way home we talked. We listed why we want a new RV and why we want a motor home over a trailer or 5th wheel. We will want to test drive a diesel pusher too, I think, at some point.

The master bedroom was great. The bunks were wonderful - but  couldn't be modified to a triple.  The Caboose has way more storage and four bunks.

The Caboose needs some repairs, but it's paid for. Pulling the caboose for lots of miles may blow out our van's transmission (it has 130K on it) BUT we could replace the transmission for less than a new RV of any type.  I could drive a motorhome;  I doubt I can drive our rig (55 total feet) - I'm willing to try to learn....bumper hitch.

We had a good talk on the ride home...I think it was good to have Nolan's input as well. We finally agreed that any RV (Gas or Diesel) would be more comfortable for TRAVELING than the Caboose. The kids could do school as we traveled. Potty breaks and lunch breaks would be easier. We'd get better gas mileage. We could boondock for longer periods of time with bigger tanks and batteries. The caboose is UGLY and this one is shiny and pretty.

 However, for LIVING The Caboose fits us much better than any motorhome we've seen - except the two that got away. We have an "entertainment center", four big cupboards and four bunks in The Caboose. We have the same amount of space in the undercarriage. We have no drawers in the master bedroom... We really want each kid to have their own "space."  We currently have a front and back bedroom.

 If we can find a triple bunk/diesel pusher in our budget, we'll consider. We think we could make a motorhome work if we had all the pass through space under the diesel. Otherwise, our current plan is to do some repairs and modifications on The Caboose. We'll not drive as fast or as long with the trailer....but we'll save up the payments until we find what we want. 

We spent an hour or two talking through what we could do to make the trailer more livable.....I'll post before and after shots as we work on the projects....Michael figured out a way to get some drawers and more storage in the master bedroom. We'll have an extra bunk we can use for storage......we bogged down when I started talking about some deep, rich color in the slide out. ::snort::

Seriously, I won't be totally sure what we're doing until we actually begin doing it. If the right RV comes along, we'll snatch it. LOL

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Another RV Option

Chaplain Tangen made a comment today about someone he saw camping in a U-Haul. I came home and was surprised to find out U-Haul MAKES campers -but that's not what Ch. Tangen saw.

While Michael continues to hunt up RV models; I'm thinking this.....really. I was already drawing my own "dream RV" plans this a.m. BEFORE chapel......and Ch. T sparked my imagination.....

You can find anything on Pinterest. Turns out MANY have designed their own RVs from U-Haul trucks, horse trailers and busses......Here's one we liked for a U-Haul. LOL You just never know what will be inside a U-Haul - that'll preach!

I'm pretty sure Michael doesn't want to build an RV - but I keep thinking of exactly what would work well..... LOL I'm guessing it wouldn't save money.  We're looking used....not brand spanking new conversion.

The One That Got Away

By now blog readers know our retirement plan is to move into the trailer until God opens the doors to Japan.  We discovered, on this trip, that Michael and I had different ideas of what "moving into the trailer meant." I truly thought it meant we'd camp in his mother's neck of the woods for 6 - 12 months, with occasional road trips. He plans to travel the states.  We'd best go with him.   I'm game, but I need to rethink a few storage issues and such.

Michael has been looking for a Class A Diesel pusher RV.... Last week he found one which fit our budget. This was the first time I took much interest in the search. I knew we wouldn't really do it unless it fit the budget...and I didn't think it would be possible to find one that fit our budget. ::snort::  He found one - it even has bunks. The kids don't want to have to take couches and dinette up and down every day for months on end. I understand. I crave a spot to be in the a.m. before all wake up and that doesn't happen if someone is sleeping on the couch and table.

I still wasn't 100% sold on this plan - but our van has 130K miles and the idea of putting another 50K or so on it while we travel pulling a 31 foot trailer....well we're going to have to buy a new truck or we're contemplating and praying and doing a LOT of research and praying.

And THIS showed up...Wow - it's not BROWN...I like red...and it has a G for Gherkins.  Michael insists it isn't for Gherkins.....

He's probably right. 

We had some questions which they were quick to answer.  The layout was good. The mileage low. While not as much counter space as we had hoped for, it did have lots of storage. The master bedroom had a full closet, dresser, and lots of cupboards.
The Specs and Ad said this model had 3 bunks. It became apparent to us that they had chosen to have two bunks, rather than three installed.  That was a shocker and it took us a day to decide we COULD modify the existing bunks.....Michael told them he'd fly to GA to see it in person. We spent 3 days thinking this would be our new home and on the 4th day.....

The ad disappeared from the Camping World website and the salesman quit communicating with us. We are assuming it sold to someone who didn't need to fly in.  And I had such plans for new decals on the outside to match the bold red paint.

We assume this isn't the home for us. It's not the end of the world - we DO have a trailer and a van and will move in to it if we don't find the right fit before August.  It just stinks the salesman was so attentive and then NOTHING......We're looking at other dealers now.  ::wink::