where we live, pre-snow

This is our neighborhood.  I walked (HA!  WALKED!) to the hardware store to buy a lightbulb shortly after moving into our rental house in October and snapped a few photos along the way.  (Somehow, they never actually got published…  Life happens, I guess.)

This is the top of our neighborhood where the road meets up with Quaker (a.k.a. 20A) which is the road that takes you to East Aurora.  It extends east that way (the way you’re looking, above) and west through Orchard Park and further past the Bills stadium and, eventually, turns into Southwestern Blvd., which is a main thoroughfare here and also the street on which the Y resides.

Here is this adorable little gift shop on Quaker called the Lemon Tree.  I finally went in once when Emily was visiting and it’s definitely your typical gift shop with kitchen items, kitschy items, papers, baby stuff, etc…

And this even more adorable children’s bookstore called “B is for Books.”  The name is interesting, though, since I came to find out through writing an article for the paper that the owner’s last name actually starts with a ‘B,’ so I thought that was neat.  It’s the kind of place I can envision myself going once we have kids, although by that time I’m hoping we’re settled in East Aurora!  There is a used bookstore in EA, as well as the library on Main Street, so those will have to do.

Here’s a shot from the intersection of Quaker and Buffalo Roads, the main intersection of Orchard Park.  I love the lampposts–they’re the kind that play music, too.

Here’s the hardware store, around since 1907.  It’s no Lowe’s, but it has the necessities and is way closer (and walkable!), which I love.  And I love shopping locally.  I think it’s becoming more and more important these days to do that.  I’m not saying I’m ready to swear-off my Honda Pilot or other foreign-made goods (I’m all for good, old-fashioned capitalism), but when all things are equal, I’d rather support the local economy and reduce my carbon footprint.

And we’re back!  Here is our actual street and our house is about two past the stop sign on the right.  It’s a cute little street filled with cute houses and youngsters.  Ours, as a rental, leaves a bit to be desired in the curb-appeal category, but it gets the job done.

Now, imagine all this under a blanket of white.  That what happened yesterday just before class, and by the afternoon, it was all gone again.  I’m thinking my snow boots are going to get a run for their money this winter…


more than live-able, but not quite ‘home’

At last, a ‘real’ post!  I love that I’ve been able to post quick things from my iPhone, but nothing beats a good ‘ole picture-filled narrative!

I don’t quite feel like I’ve gotten my head above water yet (Andrew is gone this weekend and I had high hopes for being a crazy-productive person in all sorts of ways, yet I never get as much done as I want to…); I’m in the middle of a bunch of random things:

-finishing up an article for the Advertiser


-need to start Chemistry homework

-baking bread

-“feeding” my sourdough starter I got from King Arthur Flour on Friday

-making meatballs to freeze

-Bible Study

-dishes BY HAND (our dishwasher is less-than-satisfactory)


-giving myself a mani/pedi (I am in DESPERATE need)

-and the MYRIAD unreturned phone calls, emails and letters I need to address….

So, until tonight after I’ve made a bit more progress on the above, I’ll probably feel a bit discombobulated.  That word is so fitting.  (Before anyone can say it, yes, I know I bring a lot of these ‘tasks’ on myself.  I can’t help it…)

Did I mention I totally forgot today was the time change?  Good thing my uber-smart alarm clock changed automatically…

Anyway, here is the much-anticipated (or not, depending upon how you feel about it…) photo montage of the new place.  Disclaimer:  It isn’t clean.  It isn’t organized.  I basically snapped a bunch of photos this morning once the sun started coming up.

We’re pretty much unpacked, at least the things we’ll need for the near term.  This move was certainly a challenge; we knew going into it that our stuff would be in storage, which means bringing A LOT with us, and then now going into a rental, we’re faced with moving twice.  So, we’ve basically unpacked and re-packed A LOT.

Dining Room:

-took the three shelves from the office and combined them to form a larger one with the corner units on each side to hold linens, salt and pepper shakers and knick-knacky things


-As I said, I’m in the middle of a bunch of baking projects, so it’s a bit messy

-I don’t have a lot of counter space; that’s been the biggest challenge

-But, I got my white cabinets!  Ha!

The “paneled” room:

-This room is off the kitchen and we’re putting the computer and the printer (once we find it) there

-Our bigger red couch didn’t fit through either door into the living room, so it’s living here for now

-On the left is a sliding door out to a screened-in patio and I also have a small bookcase with my food items, since the kitchen is only big enough for my “stuff”

“Pepto-Bismol Pink Pet” room:

-This room hold’s Hadrian’s crate, the kitty stuff and Andrew’s closet.  Hi Odie!

Guest room:

-Coincidentally, it’s painted almost the same color as in our house in Ohio, so everything looks very nice

-I stayed up until 12:30 unpacking and making the bed in there; it’s almost finished and ready for Emily and Dan, who are visiting in TWO WEEKS!

-I’m also going to set up a desk in there for quiet studying (I do my homework in the dining room) and keep my craft and mailing supplies in the closet

Our bedroom:

-It’s only slightly less pink, and I had plans (and all the supplies!) to paint, but I’ll be honest–my enthusiasm is waning.  IF it gets done, it won’t be until Christmas break, at the earliest.

-There is only room for one nightstand (so I get it) and it makes sense, since I’m the last one in bed and definitely the first one out every morning (hello 5 a.m. school mornings!)

Moving on to the basement–you’ll see why Andrew and I were thrilled with it.  It’s giant and warm and dry, which is important since it holds all our stuff!

My kitchen “goodies:”

-I set up some chrome shelving in the basement near the stairs to hold my appliances.  I placed the most-used ones near the top since I can grab them without going all the way to the bottom…I’m so smart 🙂

-Don’t you just love my colorful Le Creuset shelf??  I do…

Laundry area:

-I have a line (sweet!) to hang my running stuff and plenty of shelves

-I’ll be honest; between my washer and dryer at home and the HE ones at the hotel (however grody they were), I’ve gotten spoiled by the front load/HE washers and dryers.  These, while relatively new, just are not as good.  Seriously people, HE really is a HUGE difference

These are all the re-packed boxes–basically we opened them, took stuff out and re-packed and labelled what we didn’t need or want out right now.  All my fun dishes are in there, and lots of decoration items.

A giant pile of paper…

Empty boxes….

And our rubbermaid tub collection!  Most are “memories,” like boxes of yearbooks, trophies–you know, the things you can’t really part with, but what the heck do you do with them things, and other stuff, like camping and canning equipment, as well as Christmas decorations and miscellaneous furniture.

It’s a work in progress; I feel like the basement could be better organized and the upstairs still doesn’t feel very ‘homey,’ whether it’s decorated or not.  Maybe once Andrew actually unpacked his clothes it will…

the rental

My latest Eat This column is up!  Winter Squash 🙂  I included two of my favorite recipes; both for butternut squash.  I used Ina’s roasted squash recipe, which is great as a side dish or as a first-step for using squash in other recipes, like a salad or soup.  I chose Foster’s Market’s butternut squash soup recipe because it’s one of the only ones I’ve made that isn’t overly sweet or curried, which are probably the most common types of butternut squash soup.

And now, without further ado, is the REAL point of this post…

Here it is folks, the house we’ll be renting for at least the next six months, if not longer.

While renting certainly wasn’t our first choice (hello, moving TWICE), this house is truly a blessing in so many ways.  In fact, we weren’t even looking for it; a friend from the hotel took a wrong turn on their way to dinner one night, drove by and wrote the address down for us.

I grow more convinced every day that God has a special plan for Andrew and me in terms of our housing arrangement, and I know that this is just part of it.  I said before that renting wasn’t our first choice; I’ll just come right out and say that until a couple weeks ago, I didn’t want to rent AT ALL.  I DID NOT want to move twice.  I didn’t want to give up on finding a house at the 11th hour.  But, in the end, I truly think God had to bring us to this point–all the anxiety and disappointment and losing that ‘perfect’ house and now renting–so that we would truly surrender ourselves (and our desires) to Him and His plan.  It’s been a looooooong summer, full of activity and “noise,” and I think we’re finally ready to “be still and wait.”

Countdown to move-in: 10 days!

It may not be much to look at on the outside (it’s in a super cute part of the Orchard Park village, but it’s definitely missing the TLC that only a homeowner can give), it has three bedrooms and a big, dry basement–which is important since much of our stuff will be down there!

Here’s our “short list” of things we’re looking forward to:

-a REAL trash can: just the other day Andrew was rhapsodizing (literally, with gestures and everything) about our big stainless steel can with the foot-operated lid

-a kitchen!  the baking bug has bitten HARD and I cannot wait to get back into the kitchen with all my gear and cookbooks and go to town…  Too many recipes have gone unmade this summer!

-having enough room that I’m not (literally) tripping over the dog every time I turn around

-our coffeemaker–the hotel coffee may be free, but it isn’t that good

-NOT having to change out of my pj’s to have my morning coffee or let the dog out

-Hadrian NOT barking at every passing person outside our door or hotel window

-Hadrian NOT barking at housekeeping EVERY DAY

-a desk for studying

-a door to SHUT while studying

-being only five minutes away from East Aurora, instead of 25

-did I mention the cats?  We can have them back, too.  (I’ve all but forgotten we own cats at this point….)

Yay for my “off” day!  I love Tuesdays, but they often get booked-up with lunch or coffee dates and various errands.  Today, my coffee date had to reschedule and Andrew is out of town, so I have the ENTIRE day (and night!) to get ahead on schoolwork, organize details for the move and other various ‘tasks.’  First up: the gym!