Saturday, September 3, 2016

August: Project 365, the 2016 Edition

Saturday, August 6

Our Saturday morning walks in downtown Warsaw include taking in the weekly Farmer's Market. A street is blocked off by the courthouse and vendors set up tents and tables selling everything from syrup to vegetables to home-made soap... One vendor always has homemade Scotch eggs which Ivan enjoyed for the first time this summer. Sadly I couldn't have any because they are most definitely not gluten free -- leading me to attempt making a gluten free version myself.
Not the prettiest picture, but they were quite good served with a homemade peach syrup we also bought at the market. Definitely making them again!

Saturday, August 13

We sure enjoy any time we can get with our grandkids. I get to see them just about every week when I go to pick up that week's CSA share, but Ivan only gets to see them 2-3 times a month. I don't always remember to take photos but today I did. Let me tell you, it's not easy getting decent photos of little people in constant motion :)

Sunday, August 14


We were able to skype with Adalyn (and her parents) today. One of these years we'd love to be with her there in person to celebrate on her birthday, but meanwhile we're just grateful for Skype and photos on Facebook, like this one:

Tuesday, August 16

We've been enjoying fresh produce via a CSA in Elkhart. Today's haul included a huge head of cabbage.
Isn't it beautiful?!

Saturday, August 20

HP Home Rescue has several homes in various stages of progress, including these two:
This house near Chapman Lake was a down-to-the-studs project that's close to being done.  It's where Ivan has spent most of his time recently.
But he's also worked on the plumbing at this new build right here in town.

Sunday, August 21

Today was the start of the annual missions conference at Pleasant View Bible Church. One of my favorite parts is the Parade of Flags at the start of the morning service; then throughout the conference the flags line the stage.

Tuesday, August 23 

I've been a fan of MudLOVE for years. Today I was downtown and decided to stop at their store (you can shop online, too). For every product you buy, you help provide clean water to someone for a week. Organizations can also contract with them to have fundraisers by selling their products. Wonderful organization! Anyway, outside was a bin of clearance bracelets, some with the wrist bands and some without. I spent an inordinate amount of time going through the bin and ended up getting this one, and choosing a band in one of my favorite colors:
There are many reasons for choosing this particular one: (1) a reminder to watch my words; sometimes -- too often -- I use an excessive amount; (2) the importance of story; and (3) the impact of our of words...

I've followed Amy Beth for years, since she regularly blogged about the ministry she started while in college, and then via Facebook as she married, fostered and eventually adopted two sisters. Amy Beth's Facebook post about an object lesson she taught her older daughter, who was starting middle school, ended up going viral. It appeared on many online sites as well on various news outlets, including The Today Show. She had asked her daughter to squeeze toothpaste onto a plate, then asked her to put the paste back into the tube. When her daughter protested, Gardner told her to remember the plate of toothpaste for the rest of her life. "Just like this toothpaste, once the words leave your mouth, you can't take them back," she said.

I'd encourage you to read the rest of the story if you haven't already seen it. Bottom line: our words matter.

Friday, August 26

On Fridays Alan and Sharon's sons come for dinner, giving everyone a chance to catch up and just enjoy some really good food. Like these bacon wrapped stuffed hot peppers that served as appetizers tonight.
Oh.My. These were so good! And a great way to use up the jalapeños that had accumulated from the CSA over several weeks. We'll be making these again!

Saturday, August 27

We got to watch Betsy while Kyle and Tina took Simon to the circus, and then both kids while their parents went out to eat. No photos of Simon; he was pretty tired so it was dinner and bed for him when he got home. But I did snap this (kinda blurry) photo of Betsy standing at her play kitchen.

And I took this crazy photo of Ivan and manipulated it in Photo Booth using the kaleidoscope option.

Sunday, August 28

Few churches have missions conferences these days, but PVBC does it up big! There are activities every day from one Sunday to the next, finishing up with a Taste of the World event. Representing Argentina, we bought baguettes which we sliced thinly and served with a dollop of chimicurri that Ivan made. Unfortunately we had no idea what a big deal this was going to be and ran out (even though Ivan made a triple batch of chimi). Next time we'll know and be better prepared!
I wish I'd taken notes of what different missionaries served from their countries, but we were too busy dishing up chimi appetizers. After the initial rush, we did take turns going around the gym and checking out the different booths. The only thing I felt safe trying was the borscht made by another missionary with celiac. And I learned later that there were booths in two other rooms. Next year I'll make sure to hit them all :)     


Once again I didn't do very well at remembering to take photos this month. I missed so many opportunities! I need to put a daily reminder on my iPhone calendar to help me with that.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

July: Project 365, the 2016 Edition

Saturday, July 2

A beautiful sunset as we drove home from Elkhart.

Tuesday, July 5

Jon, Natalie and Adalyn are here! So fun to spend time together, and see how much Adalyn has grown since we saw her in November.

Wednesday, July 6

Our kids gave us the best gift ever -- a photo shoot of the whole family! Here are just a few of the great shots taken by Jennifer Buehrer, owner of Luna Dulce Photography, and long-time family friend (she was in youth group when Ivan was youth pastor).

Then Jon and Nat ordered a large canvas of the whole family that will hold pride of place when we get into a place of our own. I'll get 8"x10" prints of other pictures from the photo shoot for what will become a gallery wall.

Friday, July 15

One of the projects HP Home Rescue is working on is a new build, using a technique new to Ivan: steel frame construction.

Saturday, July 16

We spent the weekend with one of the pastors from our home church, his wife, and another couple who had been missionaries in Ukraine. Can't even begin to say how much it helped to kick back with people who understand, who "get" what we're going through. It was a weekend filled with good food, lots of laughter and conversation around the table.

We did keep up with our (almost) daily walking schedule, and the only picture I took all weekend was during the walk. You'd think I'd have taken a photo of our friends, but no, my one and only snapshot was from a bridge over the creek near their home.

Monday, July 25

We've enjoyed meandering around downtown Warsaw during our morning walks. The city has a temporary art installation called the Walk-n-Wander, featuring twenty life-size bronze sculptures by Seward Johnson scattered throughout town. It's been fun to insert ourselves into the tableaus. Here's Ivan with the mariachi singers...

Wednesday, July 27

...and me joining the mom and her son petting the bunny.
The statues really do look life-like, don't they?!

Thursday, July 28

This cat wasn't at all bothered by passersby on this morning's walk. I guess the sunny spot on the fence was quite cozy.

Friday, July 29

A remodeling project has kept Ivan occupied most of the time, but he is still involved in the steel frame house as well. Today he stopped by to check on the in-floor radiant heat system...

Saturday, July 30

...and with that installed, it was time to pour the finished concrete floor.

Then we celebrated Mother's 95th birthday! She actually turned 95 yesterday, but the party was today. I couldn't find my phone to take a photo so this is from Rita.
It was my first attempt at a gluten free cake. I have a long way to go to master a light, fluffy GF cake, but I'm determined to do my best. It looks so pretty because Sharon agreed to decorate it.

Sunday, July 31

Another hot, muggy day but we found some shady spots at the Biblical Gardens in Warsaw. 

June: Project 365, the 2016 Edition

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have not done well at remembering to take photos during this transition back to the states. It's actually rather pitiful how few photos we've taken. I just can't seem to remember to get the camera out (or even the phone) and take pictures. Because of that I'm forgoing the weekly concept in favor of a monthly one, at least for now. Hopefully I'll get better about taking pictures soon. Vamos a ver!

Saturday, June 4

We arrived back in the U.S.! Kyle and Tina were at the airport to meet us. Can you tell we're pretty tired?!

Sunday, June 5

Feeling completely slammed, we were grateful to spend a few days with Kyle, Tina and the kids, just enjoying our grands. How cute is this little #betsyboodle?!

Monday, June 6

Simon is one active little boy! And he especially loves doing anything daddy does, including pumping gas into his car.

Thursday, June 9

Ivan and Alan checking out progress on the house on Chapman Lake.
We've formed a partnership, HP Home Rescue, with Alan and Sharon, with the goal of rehabbing houses. Ivan has discovered there are a lot of new products and systems on the market now, so even though he worked in construction in the past (he held a residential builder's license in Michigan), there has definitely been a learning curve.

Saturday, June 11

Tina and the kids came down to visit and we went to the new splash pad in Winona Lake, followed by ice cream. Simon really enjoyed his cone!

Saturday, June 18

We met up with Kyle and Simon in Winona Lake while Tina and Betsy went to a baby shower. Simon had a lot of fun playing on the new equipment.

Sunday, June 19

Father's Day! Kyle and Tina invited us up to their place for supper. When we arrived, Kyle -- with a lot of help from Simon -- washed our car. Simon is quite the pro at car washing!

He was wet and dirty by the end, so Tina had him get into the bucket and rinse off. What a goofy kid!

Betsy was quite content to sit on Papa's lap and have his undivided attention.

Week 21: Project 365, the 2016 Edition (a.k.a. our last week in Argentina)

Sunday, May 29

During Sunday School this morning we sat in a circle and Victor taught while folks passed around the máte. It was cold enough that the hot tea was welcomed!

In the afternoon we took a final walk to the river (although we didn't realize at the time that it was our last walk down there). Enjoyed the sun shining on our faces, warming the day so we only needed sweatshirts. The smell of eucalyptus was strong in the air and I snapped this picture looking straight up one of the tall eucalyptus trees that line the road.
I'm not sure I'll ever be able to smell eucalyptus without thinking of that road to the river. 

Monday, May 30

Tying up all those loose ends TODAY! That included Miguel and Mari coming over so we could talk over house stuff with them. So, so grateful for this dear couple who take such good care of the property in Sta. Rosa for us!

Tuesday, May 31

This day did not go how we'd planned, to say the least. First of all, it had gotten so cold overnight that there was a thick layer of frost on the windshield! And we did not own a scraper (why we didn't think to park it in the garage I do not know). We had to let it heat up a while so the frost would melt before Ivan could go anywhere.

Then he ended up spending a good portion of the morning in town trying to get my computer back up after we'd removed all the personal information before selling it (which is a whole other story I'll share in a different post). In the end he had to leave it with a tech guy, because it was going to be a time-consuming process. Meanwhile I finished packing the final things, cleaned the house, washed bed linens and towels, and was ready to load the car by the time he got back.

Lunch was a final visit to our favorite restaurant in nearby Belgrano, where the cook also has celiac and they have a variety of GF food options on the menu.
My hands-down favorite is their meat-and-spinach-stuffed cannelloni! I guess I'm going to have to learn to make it myself now.

After lunch we headed to Venado Tuerto where we spent the night with dear friends.

Wednesday, June 1

On our way to Buenos Aires we were having a hard time finding a place to stop for lunch. There was literally nothing along the main road, so eventually we pulled off and drove into one of the small towns. We stopped to ask someone about places that might have GF foods, and they recommended a place right on the town square. The trees around the square look absolutely sculptural, don't you think?
The restaurant had a single gluten free item: pizza. It was a frozen personal size pizza they heated up (I think in a microwave considering the sogginess of the crust) and absolutely the worst pizza I've ever had in my life. Even though I was starving I couldn't even eat half of it.

Thankfully during our time in Buenos Aires I was able to find some really excellent gluten free food and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of my meals in Argentina.

Thursday, June 2

It was a drizzly, overcast day and the man we sold the car to had already handled all the paperwork on his end so Ivan did not have to spend the day dealing with that. Instead we were able to relax and walk to a nearby mall (so we could get some exercise but not have to be out in the rain all the time). With three levels, including an art exhibit on the top floor, we got plenty of walking in and had a great lunch in the food court. I found a spicy butternut squash soup that was soooo good, and hit the spot on that cool, rainy day. I also took a salad back to the hotel for dinner that evening since Ivan was going out with two buddies. I'd caught a cold the weekend before and had no desire to be out late at night, so staying in was a good choice for me.

Back at the hotel we noticed someone with a bag from El Ateneo and Ivan immediately got really excited -- visiting the grand bookstore was on both our bucket lists. He thought it might be within walking distance; it wasn't, but it was a hop, skip and a jump using the subway system. So off we went again! We only had our phone cameras, and the inside is cavernous and rather dark so we couldn't get very good pictures.
This is the best we were able to manage. But seriously, you should totally check out the photos of this incredible building on flickr.

Friday, June 3

Our final day in Argentina -- definitely mixed emotions! Sad to be leaving a place we thought we'd be calling home until we retired, died or both. Excited to be seeing family and friends in the U.S. again. Nervous about what's next...although we did have a good idea about some things, there are still a lot of unknowns.

After checking out of the hotel, we wheeled our carry-ons through the streets one last time to the subway where we took the line a few stops over and were picked up by friends. (The same ones Ivan had had dinner with the night before, and they'd loaded the big suitcases in their car then too.) We went out to lunch before heading to the airport, and I snapped this photo at the restaurant.
On the left is Marcelo, who Ivan got to know a few years ago through José Luis, the one in the center. Ivan and José Luis went to junior high together back in the day, and they reconnected after we moved back in 2008 because of their shared love of all things aviation.

The sun was shining for our last day, and I remember looking up at the cloudless sky as we came out of the restaurant, and breathing a prayer of thankfulness for the years God gave us in this country we called home for eight years.