Sunday, July 6, 2014


I have a bit to catch up on when it comes to blogging.  

You might wonder, what has Jill been doing all these months??  

Well, I haven't been doing much, 
but I have been working on a project 
that has me feeling exhausted and a little bit queasy at the end 
(or beginning, and sometimes in the middle) of each day;

 namely, this:

I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Valentine's Day/February 15th

I had all sorts of plans for a fancy dinner on Valentine's Day. I was going to make wedge salads for an appetizer (you know, those salads that restaurants charge $9 for, but are only a hunk of iceberg lettuce with some bacon and blue cheese?), then we were going to have Steak Oscar (steak topped with crab and Bearnaise sauce) with roasted potatoes and asparagus, and to finish, molten lava cakes for dessert.  It was going to be a fantastic and romantic meal.

But, by the time Valentine's Day came, our plans changed.  Keith ended up having the day off of work, I ended up not feeling like cooking a big dinner, and we ended up going to a Chinese buffet for lunch instead.

Seriously, nothing says LOVE like stuffing your faces together--and being 100% comfortable while doing so.

After lunch, Keith set up his new computer, I rearranged our furniture, and we had a perfectly lovely, relaxing day.  No stress, no pressure.  It was wonderful.

Keith had to work his regular Saturday shift the next day, and I began missing our big fancy dinner that we never had the day before.  I set the table with a cloth and my makeshift candlesticks.  I set out a salad fork, a dinner fork, knife and spoon, a dessert spoon at top, with a goblet, instead of a glass.  Since I hadn't bought the planned steak and crab, I basically just cleaned out the fridge to make my dinner.

Displaying IMG_20140215_200427.jpgOnce Keith got home (an hour plus late), I lit the candles, popped the bubbly (sparkling white grape juice), and served dinner--chicken alfredo pizza (one of Keith's favorites).  It was fun, having the table set so fancily and prettily, with all of the utensils and such, only to eat dinner with our hands.  We did have molten lava cakes for dessert, like the original Valentine's Day plan, and boy, were they sure delicious!

I loved our little February 15th celebration. I loved the casual fanciness and the randomness of our dinner.  A new Valentine's/ Belated Valentine's/mid-Frebruary tradition?  Maybe.

Overall, it was just a great Valentine's weekend, mostly because I got to spend it with my Valentine.  He may drive me absolutely crazy at times, but I absolutely love him.  Lucky for me, he is stuck with me forever.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Weekend Visitors

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Some of our favorite people came to visit this weekend!!  Edmonton friends Lauren and Analee were in BC visiting family, and they made time to swing by our neck of the woods.  Keith and I drove up to Vernon after church on Sunday, Analee and Lauren drove down, and we met at Caleb and Monica's.  It felt like old times!  We had dinner together, chatted, played games, and just enjoyed each other's company.  We all slept over, then headed out to breakfast before Lauren and Analee had to drive home. 

It was a quick visit, but it was wonderful.  We love our friends and were so happy to see them!!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


I've been trying to get more into crafting.  It is difficult, however, as I haven't the money, the space, or the talent required.  But, I do have a hot glue gun, some fishing wire, and a few ideas.

I wanted to do something crafty for Valentines day, but again, I was hindered by the fact that Keith was out of town and I didn't have any supplies.  It was then that I had a wonderful thought: Subway Art.  I had a computer and I had a printer, so why not?

Using my few Publisher skills and a few free fonts I found on the internet, I fit words and phrases together the best I could.  I then walked to the dollar store and bought a $2.50 frame, causing me again to wonder why it is called a dollar store when, in all actuality, very few items actually cost only a $1.

I was fairly pleased with the final product, especially as it was a first attempt.  I liked it so much, in fact, that I decided to do something for St. Patrick's Day, too.

I was further impressed with my craftiness when I made makeshift candlestick holders later that day.  The dollar store had candles, but no holders, so I found a few spice jars that the candles almost fit.  Once home, I took out my trusty hot glue gun, and glued the bottoms of the candles to the bottom of the spice jar. And viola!  Candles to light our fancy belated Valentine's dinner.

Yep, I've got skills.

My projects were definitely easy, which anyone can do.  And in all, I paid $5 for the two frames (which was a little of a splurge, as I could have gotten cheaper, uglier ones), so they were relatively inexpensive.  It is good to know that it I can still do a few crafts on our tight budget.

Now the question is, what to do for Easter?

Friday, February 14, 2014

This Guy

This guy drives me crazy.  

He rarely smiles for pictures.
He leaves his socks all over the house.
He rubs his hands on my face because he knows I hate it.
He makes a mess whenever he's in the kitchen.
He insists that he knows more than me.
He constantly mocks my American accent. 
And he never listens.


This guy is my favorite.

He is a goofball and makes me laugh everyday.
He is smart and super handy.
He loves and protects his family.
He studies the gospel and has a strong testimony.
He works hard and is a great provider.
He makes me happy and is my best friend.

And I love him more and more everyday.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Lately I've been thinking a lot about money and finances and provident living.  We've been living on only one income our entire marriage, and sometimes it is hard to feel like we have any extra spending money or wiggle room in our budget.  We aren't super tight with what we spend, but we can't go crazy, as we are trying to pay off debts and save for the future.  We don't spend much on eating out or entertainment, we try to be conservative in our purchases, and I am always looking for ways to cut back and save more.  We don't have a car.  We don't own a house.  A lot of our furniture is second-hand.  The last time I bought myself clothes, I bought them at a thrift store.  I use coupons.  I use rebate apps on my phone.  I shop the sales.  We live as simply as we can according to our circumstances.

I find that I tend to have a jealous nature.  I look at other people's lives and I think, "Why can't my life be more like theirs?".  Why can't I have my own house, or go on vacation, like they do?  Why do they get to do all these fun things when I can't afford them?  I am constantly comparing my circumstances to others and feeling discontent with the disparity.  

This last week, I was reorganizing our food storage and I was suddenly hit with a feeling of contentment.  We don't have much, but we have enough to have a little extra.  We may not be able to spend a lot on entertainment or fancy restaurants, but we have food to feed us each day.  We may not own our own house, but we have a comfortable, albeit small, home.

Along with my contentment, I felt gratitude.  I am very grateful that Keith has a job and that it pays enough that we can survive on one income.  I am grateful for Keith, for going to work every day and for supporting and providing for our family. I am grateful for a mother who taught me gardening, how to coupon, and food preservation.  And I am grateful for parents who taught me how to work hard and be responsible for my finances.

So, while we still might not have very much, we have what we need, and for now, that is enough.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Night at the Auction

As my brother-in-law James and I walked through the door of the action house, every head turned and stared.  I don't know if it was James' extreme height (6 foot 7 inches), or my bright purple coat that attracted everyone's attention, but it was clear to us that we were not of the usual crowd.  Both being auction newbies, we stood at the door for a moment scanning for a place to stand.  As the stares became uncomfortable, we moved about the crowded room, prying eyes moving with us. 

Once settled in the small space between desks, we listened to the auctioneer's chant.  He spoke a mile a minute, calling out lot numbers and bids at his rapid speed.  It took a few minutes (and the help of many viewing hours of Storage Wars), but eventually we began to understand and decipher the calls.  We quickly perused the merchandise we were interested in, picked up our ballot, and waited.

With the impending arrival of Grandpa and Grandma McLean to the neighborhood, we were in need of some items to finish furnishing their apartment.  A kitchen table and chairs was on top of the list, and there were three different sets that we were interested in.  There was a black table, a round table, and an oval table.  James and I decided that we had a $150 limit, that our preferences were first round, then oval, then black, and that, despite preference, we would bid on any of the tables just as long as we got one.

As it was, the oval table was first up to bid.  The auctioneer started it at $100.  No takers. $90? $80?  Still no one.  My heart started beating like crazy.  No one wanted this table?  $70? $60?  My nerves were getting to me.  $50? $40?  Still no takers and I couldn't take it anymore. $30 and my yellow ballot shot up.  Could he get $40, could he get $35?  I was prepared to bid again but it wasn't needed as NO ONE bid against me.  $30 once, $30 twice, SOLD for $30. We won the table uncontested and for only 30 Dollars!  My racing heart couldn't believe it.  It was unreal.

James and I each squealed and high-fived.  We had won the table far below our max budget.  Because of our good luck, James decided that he might try to win onc of the subsequent tables for his own apartment.  As the bidding on the remaining tables commenced, we felt justified in our purchase, as the black table sold for over $100 and the round table, our first choice, sold for $350.  We don't know how we lucked out with only paying $30 when the other tables sold for so much more.  It was definitely a blessing and a miracle!

We hung around for a little bit longer, waiting to see what other goods we could score.  Eventually we decided to call it a day so we could go meet Grandma and Grandpa as they arrived.  As we stood in line waiting to pay, the second to last item of the evening was up for bid: a set of three matching lamps.  Lamps were something that was also needed, so I shouted a bid from the back of the room--$5! This time there was a small bidding war but lucky for us, we topped out at $15 and the lamps were ours.  

After paying the buyers fees and taxes, we ended up paying $55.81 total for the lamps, table, and chairs.  What a steal!  Even as a novice, it was a good day at the auction.  It was an exciting and inexpensive way to be able to help out Grandma and Grandpa and a great way to furnish a house or apartment.  And the best part?  It was just plain fun!