Saturday, January 28, 2012

I forgot what it was like to sleep with a dog!

It's been a few days and a lot has been going on. We have now moved houses and are staying with some friends for our last month here in Nova Scotia. We arrived Thursday night and promptly the next morning they left for vacation in Mexico!  Therefore, we are house and dog sitting for two weeks.  Cathy, I'm sorry to say - I have already let you down - I failed my first day in dog sitting. Last night poor Evey wouldn't settle and I figured she was still so sad that you had left. Then, when I opened my eyes this morning I remembered.....I forgot her bedtime snack - that's what she was upset about.  She did eventually settle down, but I had forgotten how dogs sigh and dream in their sleep.

We will be heading back to the apartment this afternoon to tidy up some loose ends, clean up and hopefully the last of the furniture will be picked up.

Soooo, I'm so excited - we have found a house in Leon to rent.  It's a little over budget (sounds like House Hunters International) and only one bedroom but it has a nice outdoor space that I wasn't expecting, patio and it comes with a dishwasher.  We have decided to rent it for a year as well as supply our own furnishings. Here are some pictures from when it was built a couple of years ago.
Street View
Front of House

Looking at the parking area for a car and the raised deck

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Beginning of the End (of our lives in Nova Scotia)

Last night our congregation threw us a going away party.  Yes, it is a little early, after all, we aren't flying out until February 28th.  However, there are a lot of activities planned for our little congregation and last night was a good time for us to get together.  Here are some pictures from the event and also from earlier in the day at the meeting.

This next video is on You Tube: Farewell to Nova Scotia

The text to the song they sang:

Farewell to Pat and Debbie
Farewell to Nova Scotia, the seabound coast
Let your mountains dark and dreary be
For when I am far away on the briny ocean tossed
Will you ever heave a sigh or a wish for me?

We wish Pat and Debbie all the best
As they leave to expand their ministry
So farewell, farewell to Nova Scotia's charm
on to further blessings in the Nicaragua field.
They grieve to leave their brothers dear
Their arms held wide to show their love
Their desire is strong to serve where the need is great
And we hope to come and see them in their new found home.
We know they grieve to leave us all
We know they grieve to say good bye
So goodbye from all of us whom you held so dear
Because early in the morning, you'll be far, far away.
We have so many brothers that we must leave
So many sisters that we will miss
but humbly we wish to express our love to you
may all of you come and visit us in Nicaragua

We would like to thank everyone for their love and best wishes and hope that you will come and visit us when we are all settled.
Pat & Debbie

The Deer are back - and so is the snow!

When we moved into this apartment last year we were thrilled to find out that there were deer in the neighborhood.  We would see them almost daily for the first few months and then during the summer they disappeared.  Saturday morning we looked outside and there they were - maybe the snow made them more visible - but they had multiplied.  The two had become three.  We enjoy watching them as they look around for the food that is left out for them.

In regard to the snow - many people have asked me if I'll miss the winters when we move.  The short answer is NO.  Friday was a prime example of why.  We knew that a winter storm was coming and was due to start in the afternoon.  Sure enough, right on schedule, the snow started about 2:00 p.m.  This was the large wet flake type of snow that when it lands and is driven on becomes compact and turns into ice.  When I left work at 3:30 p.m. I had a nice amount of snow to clear off the car and then headed out to Dartmouth to pick Pat up from his work.  This trip usually takes me between 20 - 25 minutes.  Friday was a big exception.  The roads had quickly become like skating rinks and I got stuck in one traffic jam after another.  At 6:00 p.m. I still hadn't made it to Pat's work and decided to veer off into a restaurant.  Pat walked from his work and said that there is no way that I would have made it to his work anytime soon.  We decided relax and enjoy our dinner and hopefully the traffic would have cleared by the time we finished.  Unfortunately,  that didn't happen - the road was still bumper to bumper.  We decided to head to the MicMac Mall until the road would be clear enough to drive home.  We finally made it home at 9:00 p.m.  So... to all you folks who are asking - NO, I will not be missing winter any time soon!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cooking with Pat & Deb-Quesadillas & Tostones

On the menu tonight was Chicken Quesadillas with Tostones.
Preparing the Quesadillas
We find that we really enjoy the flavour of the chicken if we marinate it in some fresh lime juice, olive oil, cilantro and fajita spices.  Let the meat marinate for at least 1/2 hour.  In the meantime chop up some onion and bell peppers and prepare some Monterrey Jack cheese.  Usually we would shred the cheese however, since I sold my grater on Saturday we had to make do with thinly slicing the cheese.

Next you want to heat some oil in a fry pan and then saute the onion and bell pepper.  Fry for about 4-5 minutes and then add the marinated chicken.  Continue frying until the chicken is cooked through.  When almost finished, sprinkle with a little salt for seasoning.

Prepare your tortillas by placing the Monterrey Jack cheese on one half.  Spoon some of the meat mixture on the other half of the tortilla and fold the cheese half on top of the meat.  You will see from the picture that we used flour tortillas, however, we prefer to use corn tortillas when available which isn't very often here in Halifax.

Place your Quesadillas into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for about 5 minutes.

While the Quesadillas are being prepared you need to be preparing the Tostones - that's where Pat comes into the picture.  We prefer to use plantains that are on the green side.  Remove the skin and slice the plantain into 1/2" pieces.  Place in very hot oil to fry.  Turn the plantain when the bottom is brown. 

When both sides have turned a nice golden brown colour remove them from the oil and place them on a clean surface.  Take a flat surface and squash the pieces of plantain.

Return the plantain to the frying pan to finish cooking.  When nice and brown remove from the oil and toss in paper towel to remove as much oil as possible.  Sprinkle with salt while still hot.

Here is the finished product - yumm!

It vanished in minutes!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

The last couple of weeks have been really busy. Last weekend we had an "in-house" garage sale that we listed on Kijiji.  We had it scheduled from 1-6 pm, but just like regular garage sales, there were the early birds.  I think we had our first customer at 10 am while we were still setting everything up.  It was a crazy day but we did really well and sold a lot.  We are now at the point that almost all of the large items are spoken for, if not already out the door.  It's a good feeling since we are planning on being out of the apartment by the end of the month.

SOOOOO the big new is: We are moving to Leon!  We have decided to put our backup plan in action and we are going to join the English Congregation for at least our first two months.  We'll start looking for an apartment/small house right away and if we can find one that we like within our budget it will likely be a permanent move.  We loved the feel of Leon when we were there in September and know that the city is a good fit for us.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

You win some, you lose some

As we are tying up loose ends with the apartment and our car, I have come to realize that nothing really goes as planned.  Sometimes you come out on top and sometimes you don't.

Last July we had to make some changes in regard to our internet, telephone and cable.  So one evening the nice folks from Bell Aliant came to our apartment building and set up a display promoting their FibreOp packages.  Our building is one of the first in the city to have it installed and they had some pretty nice packages and promotions.  We were pretty upfront about only staying until the end of February and we were assured by the "salesman" that there would be no problem in cancelling the service at that time. Well, he failed to inform us and we failed to read the fine print that we are actually contractually obligated to have the service for a year.  Lesson to self:  Never believe a salesman when he tells you that there would be no repercussions from cancelling a contract early.  Also, always read the fine print.

When we purchased our plane tickets for our flight to Nicaragua the ticket agent told us that American Airlines no longer allowed free checked bags - there would be a charge for every bag.  She said the cost would be thirty dollars for the first bag and fifty for the second bag.  I figured that eighty dollars each to get to Nicaragua wasn't bad.  So, once I started packing and realized how little actually fits into four bags I thought I would find out how much it would cost for additional bags.  When I looked onto AA's website it indicated that when you are travelling to Central America there is no charge for the first checked bag and thirty dollars for the second checked bag.  However, there is a limit as to how many bags are allowed on a flight to Nicaragua - so a total of four is the limit for us. That leaves $100.00 in our pockets!  Note to self: don't always take what the ticket agent tells you as gospel.  They aren't always familiar with the rules for travelling to different parts of the world.

That brings us to the car. Back in the fall we were able to find a couple in our congregation that is interested in buying the car from us - in fact I think it was the first of our possessions that we had arrangements for.  We knew that until the car changed hands there would be the expected expenses like the annual safety and all maintenance expenses etc..  However, for the last little while we have been having problems with the tires - they kept going flat.  Since we basically live in a construction zone we just figured that we must have picked up a nail.  First it was one tire, then two and when we were having three tires loosing air we decided it was time to take the car in to be inspected.  We went back to where we purchased the tires from.  I must admit that we had been putting it off because we were expecting to have another large bill to either fix or replace them.  Imagine our surprise when we found out that we had purchased "Road Hazard" insurance and there wasn't a single cent owing.  Note to self: it is wise to purchase the insurance especially when it is only $6.95 per tire.

So, there are my words of wisdom for today.  On a side note, we found out yesterday that our letter didn't arrive at the Mexican Branch and so that is why we haven't heard from them about where we should move.  Fortunately, we had a copy of the letter and Pat scanned it and sent it to one of our elders to send to the Branch.  We should hear from them in about a week.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The shock on Pat's face - priceless!

The mailbox brought some gems today - coupons from McDonald's. Now, anyone who knows me, know's that I don't like McDonald's.  Lately, I have been persuaded to enjoy their new McCafe line of drinks on coffee break but I won't eat there from choice.  So, imagine Pat's great surprise when I eagerly perused the selection of coupons that McDonald's has to offer and suggested that we could even use the buy one get one free breakfast sandwich!  It's amazing what lengths you will go to in the interests of saving money.  Though of course, the wisest course of action is to eat at home!  There.... that get's me out of eating at McDonald's.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Packing already!!!

So, the packing has already begun - we have two bags packed.  We plan on only taking four suitcases and whatever carry-on we are allowed.  So, into one bag we have put some towels, linens, placemats etc. The other bag holds Debbie's summer clothes.  That's it! So, since Debbie is insisting on taking the pots and pans as well as cooking utensils and cutlery, I wonder where all my things are going?  There is no way that everything is going to fit into four bags......

On the other hand - at the meeting today we were all excited when we saw literature boxes.  We thought for sure we would finally have our letter from the Mexico Branch with their suggestions as to where we should move to. Alas, it was not to be.  However, we did get our new Watchtower disks in English and Spanish - so we are good to go!