Big Bear Birthdays!

Than and I have birthdays that are just a day apart so this weekend we set off for a little pre-birthday celebration!  You can look at it two ways.  Having birthdays just a day apart can either make it seem like you’re splitting the celebration OR as we have decided, to make the celebration bigger and better!

Friday afternoon we set off for Big Bear Lake, about 2 hours from Pasadena.  Once you’re off the freeway it’s a gorgeous drive through the mountains.  We had a wonderful couple of days there.  We relaxed, ate yummy food, wandered through the cute little town, went paddle (or pedal according to Than) boating, hiking, had some quiet time… Such a lovely weekend!  And so refreshing to get out of the noisy city! We took the scenic route home and enjoyed more amazing views (check out our album on Facebook)!  I was on the lookout for mountain goats but sadly didn’t see any (we did however see a snake, lots of squirrels and a peacock!) It kind of blows my mind that we now live in a place where the beach and the mountains are so accessible.  Anyone tempted to come for a visit?!  Yeah, I that’s what I thought!  We’ll have the air mattress ready and waiting! (Don’t come tomorrow – it’s going to be 106 degrees).

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I’m a Culinary Blogger Wanna-Be

I have a secret dream (no longer a secret seeing that I’m posting it on our blog) to start a cooking blog. I’m totally envious of all the amazing culinary blogs out there from people like you or me. But for now I’ll settle for the occasional post about my domestic adventures here on our blog.

I have a current obsession with Buffalo sauce. It all started with some buffalo turkey meatballs. Then I just started adding the sauce to anything and everything. Ok, slight exaggeration but I am pretty obsessed. And mighty proud of myself for my latest creation. A buffalo grilled cheese. You can’t go wrong. I wish I’d taken a picture of it and then I’d pin it on Pinterest – though it’s probably already out there somewhere. I promise I didn’t find it on there though!

It’s quick and easy and I highly recommend it.

Butter 2 slices of Ciabatta bread (or whatever kind of bread you have around – we happened to have Ciabatta)
Put a dollop of cream cheese (oh wait, dollop is used to describe sour cream not cream cheese…you know, a Dollop of Daisy… Anyway – I do NOT recommend sour cream in case this is getting confusing!) on the bread
Drizzle some Buffalo sauce over it
Sprinkle a little shredded cheddar on
And cook to perfection with toasted bread and melted cheese

Yummy! Next up… A buffalo chicken pasta salad (found on Pinterest).

I’m grateful I have a husband who will eat whatever I make – no complaints! And he even does dishes. I’m a lucky girl!!

Back to School

Orientation Week

Student: Hi, I’m _____.
Student 2: Hi _____. I’m _____. It’s nice to meet you.
Student: So where are you from?
Student 2: From ____. You?
Student 1: What program are you in?
Student 2: _______. And you?
Continue conversation about the weather in various locations around the country.

Repeat conversation.

Repeat conversation again.

And again.

Orientation week is over – whew! Each day we’re continuing to get a little bit more connected with people around campus and at the church we are attending. On Saturday I attended a brunch for wives of Fuller students. All their promo flyers say “Fuller Wives Support” and I must say, the word “support” sounds a little ominous – what HAVE I gotten myself into?! I’m looking forward to connecting with some other ladies around campus in our weekly Bible study!

Today is Than’s first day of classes. He’s even wearing new shoes for the occasion. (When I was a kid, I LOVED getting new shoes for school. I was never allowed to wear them before the first day of school – such anticipation as I waited and waited to put on those bright, white new sneakers!).

Back to School Photo Coming Soon (just kidding)

Or maybe I’ll at least snap a pic of the new shoes…

The Foreign Country of California

Before we moved here multiple people told me that moving to Cali is like moving to a foreign country. I didn’t really understand that until we got here. I knew the moment we crossed the border from Arizona (complete with border control checking for out of state fruits and veggies) that they weren’t kidding! Here are some unusual tidbits about life in SoCal from the perspective of a Midwest girl through and through.

1. We do our laundry outside. Ok, I know…that statement is slightly misleading. Before you picture us at the shore of the Pacific or some river bank beating our skivvies against the rocks, let me clarify. Our washer and dryer are outside. Strange. The nice thing is, it’s by the stinky dumpster and I don’t know about you but I absolutely prefer the smell of fresh laundry compared to rotten fish in the dumpster. Those dryer sheets help freshen the contaminated air!

2. Paying at the pump with your credit card is not the norm. Typically you have to pay at a little kiosk and we’ve encountered several stations that just take cash or debit card. We WILL find the ones that take credit – we want those miles on our credit card!

3. The people at the DMV were VERY kind! I practically had a personal tour of each stop I needed last week from a guy named Kent. I have no idea why they were so nice but I’ll take it! I’d say it’s something about the sunshine here but one trip on the LA freeways blows that theory out of the water!

4. It’s illegal to smoke in the car if there’s someone under the age of 18 in the car. We’re not smokers nor do we have any minors we drive around – just a fact learned the hard way from missing it on my driver’s test.

5. People wear whatever they want, in spite of the weather. Proof: Saturday, September 15. 102 degrees in Pasadena. Girl at Starbucks wearing Uggs. My feet sweat just thinking about it!

6. Never in my life have I seen so many Hawaiian shirts scattered across the pews at church on Sunday morning. I should probably get Than one – you know, another way to embrace the culture.

Southern California is definitely an interesting place. It’s incredibly diverse and I have yet to meet someone who is actually from here. Oh wait, I guess my husband was born here… But he didn’t live here for long! We’re settling in and starting to have a bit more of a routine. This week Than has orientation and i’m busy working away in my corner office (the corner of our living room, that is…). I’m continuing to have some Pinterest successes along with some Pinterest fails. More on those later!

And last, but not least, I’m grateful for placed called California is feeling a little bit more like home each day.

Welcome to Apartment 8

Just a little over a week ago, we started making our home in apartment #8.  It’s a second floor apartment facing the freeway and the San Gabriel mountains.  At least I think they’re the San Gabriel mountains.  Geography is not my strong point.  Let me ask my Geography major husband.  Hmm…unknown.  Let’s ask Google.  It’s been confirmed.  The San Gabriel mountains.  We’re also surrounded in Pasadena by the Raymond Fault line (add to To-Do list:  Google how to survive an earthquake).

Anyway, welcome to apartment 8, our our new abode.   Why don’t you let me take you on the grand tour?

First the living room.  A bit more spacious than our last apartment, eh?  And the kitchen isn’t in the living room.  This is big news people!

Living Room

Next the dining room.  That’s right.  We no longer eat at the dining room table in the living room. 🙂  And also our lovely kitchen where I make scrumptious meals for the husband. Ok maybe not everything is scrumptious…  (Zucchini fritters recipe from Pinterest….fail…) But I’m creative and adventurous in the kitchen!Image

And next our bedroom – thank you Pinterest for the lovely You & Me frame idea – turned out so much better than the zucchini fritters!  And thanks to Than and my Dad and Uncle Jerry for hanging that baby up so it doesn’t fall on our heads during the night!

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Next up – the bathroom.  Please note that baby blue toilet.  Rumor has it that other bathrooms in our building are either salmon or mint green.  Blue toilet – WIN!

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And last, but certainly not least, my personal favorite part of our apartment (shocker, huh – the blue toilet isn’t at the top of my list!)…the balcony!  A peaceful (ok…it’s only peaceful when you’re blaring your iPod) place to sit, read, enjoy the sunshine, and grow some plants.  Ok, moment of truth.  The “plants” you currently see in the photo are fake but I am going to start growing some herbs.

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And there you have it – home sweet home!  Many stories and adventures to come from the Veltman’s in Apartment #8.

The Whirlwind of a Month

It’s amazing what can happen in the course of a year.  Amazing what can happen in the course of a month as well.  In the last month of my life I’ve acquired a husband, got rid of at least 20 pairs of shoes, moved 2,000+ miles across the country, started working from home, and so much more.  What did you do last month?

The past month has been a constant state of transition and there is much to be thankful for!  I’m thankful for our many family members and friends who came to celebrate on August 4 with us!  I’m thankful for time to get away and relax in Mexico (and thankful we didn’t have to go the whole trip without our luggage!).  I’m thankful for Than’s amazing packing skills in preparation for the big move.  I’m thankful for time with friends before we left Chicago.  I’m thankful for a smooth (though long – there’s no denying that!) journey across the country. I’m thankful my Dad didn’t run out of gas in the mountains of New Mexico in the middle of the night.  I’m thankful for kind, new neighbors who helped us move in. For the opportunity to work from home…all the storage space in our new apartment…a coffee maker that can be programmed so there’s always coffee waiting for me each morning.  I’m thankful for what’s new in my life and all the changes, yet also so thankful for what never changes.  How thankful I am to serve a God who never changes.  No matter how much else changes we have a steady Rock on which we can depend.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says that a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.  It’s an exciting time of life for us.  Each day we are learning more about what it looks like to be a cord of three strands.  Our hope is that this blog will allow our family and friends, near and far to get a glimpse into our journey and adventures and also be an encouragement to whoever else might stumble across it.