Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving and Christmas Lights

Food makes me happy (especially mashed potatoes), therefore Thanksgiving makes me happy! Paul and I headed over to the East side of the state to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Monique and I did most of the cooking, although I left the turkey to Paul's mom. I have only cooked one turkey in my life, so I figure it was better left to the experts! Overall, the meal turned out yummy. I was quite proud of my pies! I had made an apple and a pumpkin cream pie. The apple was a new recipe, which turned out great. The top was a cinnamon and brown sugar crust. Mmm.















Another excitement from Thanksgiving was that Marc had Caden. I can't believe how big he is getting. We taught him "sooo big" and he loved pulling Mac's tail:-)















The rest of the weekend was spent with Paul putting up Christmas lights and me baking Christmas cookies. Paul just bought this machine that syncs music to the lights outside so they blink according to the beat. It is very him:-) There seem to be a few glitches with it, but hopefully he figures it out.

My cookies turned out well. I made Chocolate Peanut Butter Covered Cherries, Lemon Cookies, Meringue Cookies, Chocolate Mint Bars, Almond Rasberry Cookies, and Sugar Cookies with icing. Mmm. I'm obsessed:-)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

We Finally Finshed Our Guest Bathroom!





So, after 8 months of living in our house, we finally got around to finishing our guest bathroom upstairs. I am sooo happy with the results. It makes me feel like I have a grown up bathroom:-) Here are the pics:

Mac vs Box

video

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Life

Whelp, nothing overly new has happened recently. Life is pretty much low key and normal, which is good considering the summer we had with Paul's back and the crazy number of weddings we attended.

I love, love, love fall:-) Paul and I carved pumpkins the other day, which is definitely on my list of 10 ten favorite things to do. Ha ha, I can't say the same for Paul. As we were carving he said "who ever said that carving pumpkins was romantic?" I told him that nobody said it was romantic, but that he had to do it because I love to do it:-) I don't think that sold him. Either way, the pumpkins turned out great and I baked up a ton of pumpkin seeds. Yum! I'll add the pics as soon as I can.

Halloween is coming up, but Paul and I don't have any major plans. I can't wait to see my nieces (and hopefully my nephew) all dressed up in their costumes. Nothing is much cuter than the costumes parents dress their kids in! Hopefully I will major cute pics to put up of them:-)

Okay that's all. Boring Post.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

WZZM Interview

County Wide Food Drive






The County Wide Food Drive is finally over and it was a complete success!! We had tons of volunteers who worked hard to collect 116 tons of food! We beat our goal of 90 tons and far surpassed the amount we raised in 2007 (101 tons).

I was really nervous about how much food we would raise. I figured that it could go either way. Donations could have been very low this year due to the economic crisis that we are in. I was worried that we wouldn't hit our goal, but I knew that if that was the case it was a reflection of the difficulty families are having right now to keep their heads above water.

Thankfully, when our community is in need we answer by giving greatly. I feel that more people gave this year and gave more because they KNOW how bad the need is out there. I believe that even those families struggling gave because they know how much harder things are for them and they still want to help others.

All in all, it was an amazing day. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and was amazed at this event we put on. At one collection site I saw an elderly man folding bags while a young girl (maybe 5 years old) was helping her dad sort cans of vegetables. At another site I saw Caucasians, Hispanics, African Americans, and Asians all working together sorting food.

This food drive is more than just collecting food. It is bringing people together from every walk of life, every age group, and every race towards one common issue. It is more than giving cans to the poor. It is teaching future generations that it is important to give to our neighbors and help those who are struggling. In my opinion I think that it is easier to write a check and send it off than to show up, roll up your sleeves, and rub elbows with your neighbor while working to help another.

video

This is a video at the NE collection site. They have a whole pulley like system. It was awesome. They pushed the boxes inside, people would grab them and start to sort through them on the table to the left. They did great!

BTW, here is the article written on WZZM's website about the drive:

Poor economy impacts Grand Rapids

Web Editor: Angela Cunningham

Grand Rapids (WZZM) - The poor economy continues to take a toll on families and people across Michigan who are finding it harder to make ends meet.

Saturday, two Grand Rapids events offered some hope to those in need.

"I have been working on this since it started and I bring my daughters out every year," said Barb Hikade a volunteer at the ACCESS County Wide Food Drive. "It's like in biblical times we were like apostles going door to door connecting with the needs of today. And with the economy the way it is right now there is even more of a need."

Dozens of volunteers like Hikdade hauled boxes of food in by the car load at six sorting sites Saturday. They spent hours sorting and packing 114 tons of food that will make its way to the network of 100 food pantries throughout Greater Grand Rapids.

"We need the food more than ever this year. I've been with Access for 23 years and I've never seen the level of need or the stress on the pantry system like we have this year," said Marsha DeHollander the program director for ACCESS.

DeHollander blames a bad economy that's also putting stress on families who don't have enough food to feed their families.

"There is a tremendous need in our community. I have never seen so many new people coming in to the pantries saying I used to be on the other end giving. I can't believe I'm needing food at this time."

She says without food pantries would have to make impossible choices.

"I mean people really struggling. We say if we can help with your food budget maybe that frees up a little money to put gas in your gas tank."

She says the 116 tons of food volunteers collected Saturday exceeded her expectations and broke a record.

Hikdade is proud of the way the community has come forward to help.

"We need to help each other, to watch out for each other and to get past the materialism. We need to get back to the basic needs we have food shelter and most of all love," she said.

But there is one basic need that is harder to come by these days. And that's a job. Michigan has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, hovering around eight percent.

"I've been out of work for six months. I've desperately been looking and it's terrible out there. The economy is horrible we're losing more and more jobs all the time," says Valerie Clewley who drove over an hour from Mulliken to look for a job.

Clewley was one of thousands of job seekers to attend Saturday's Employment Expo held at the DeltaPlex at 2500 Turner NW in Walker.

She says it's a great way for employers to find people willing to work hard.

"You get good people. You get excellent people. I'm one of those, I have 17 years experience in my field and I can't find a job."

Jeremy VanTatenhove of Zeeland has been looking for work for a few weeks. He's filled out several applications at the Employment Expo and says he's willing to take almost any job he's offered.

"Yeah anything. I filled out an application at a car recycling place. I filled one at a barstool place that makes furniture, just anything."

Clewley says she was disappointed that close to half of the 36 employers at the Expo were recruiting for jobs in other states like North Dakota. She left the job fair less than enthusiastic.

Clewley says she hopes she has better luck soon, especially since it appears it will take a while for the economy to improve.

"I'm afraid it will take five or six years to turn around and I cant be unemployed that long. As it is, I'm going from a professional atmosphere and I'm applying for jobs with Walmart, with Lowes anywhere I can get a job because that's what I have to do. I have to work."

Angela Cunningham

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Last Day of My First Grad Class

So, I have officially completed my first graduate class. In all honesty, I found it easier than I thought it would be! Yes, there was the annoyance of having to read textbooks and write papers, but nothing that really killed me. I really enjoyed the class and found it interesting. Mainly because it was about psychoanalyzing yourself and why you believe what you believe. Every aspiring counselor loves to dive deep into their psyche to figure themselves out:-)

Anyway, I will keep trucking along with the grad school thing. Next week we begin a research and statistics class. Ugh. Let's hope I make it through this class even half as easy as this last one!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Car Troubles and Food Drives

So, today was nothing exciting, aside from our newer (but old) car being sent to get fixed. Lately it has been not wanting to start right away and Paul has been stalling while driving. Finally, Paul has his final straw with it when it broke down on the highway. Yet again, he let it rest and it started right back up, but this time he drove it right to Dutton Auto. I sure hope it doesn't cost a ton. Nothing irks me more than car problems.

Other than the recent car annoyances, I have been crazy busy with the County Wide Food Drive. Paul will be a bachelor yet again tonight while I head to a another late meeting. I really am excited for this event, but it is SO detailed. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a detail person. I tend to see the overall picture and move from there. I sure hope I don't forget hundreds of important details the day of the drive...

BTW, if you are interested in helping out let me know:-) Otherwise, put your food out on your porch October 11th by 9am! If you have more questions see ACCESS' website for my info.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

PRAISE THE LORD

So, today was another service for Quest Community Church. We have been meeting at the Wave Room, but I have been unable to attend a service yet because I have been busy with Alive.

Anyway, the service went great and Paul counted 44 people, not counting the band!!! Paul and I left extremely encouraged and feeling like God is really working.

Keep praying for our church and for those of us putting services together. Starting a new church is hard work, and Paul and I have often found ourselves discouraged, but it is so rewarding to see people walk through the door and you have no idea how they got there. God is working and we trust that he will keep carrying us through!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Summer 2008 Happenings

So, this summer was filled with TONS of weddings, and a lot of trips. Paul and I have successfully completed trips to Wisconsin and California, and I ventured to Prague for work. We attended 4 weddings and still have 2 more coming up this year. Needless to say, it has been a crazy busy summer but definitely one to remember.


CALIFORNIA PICS



PRAGUE PICS




Blog Beginner



So, this is my first blog ever. I figured that this would be a great way for us to document what is happening in our lives, as well provide an opportunity to share it with all of our family and friends (for those of you who even care! :-)). I'll try to keep it interesting...