Wednesday, July 28, 2010

pricelining: day 2

"Life doesn't always turn out the way you plan." While You Were Sleeping

Today certainly didn't turn out the way I planned. First of all, I didn't get up on time ... a fact that Blendy so kindly recorded on her blog. Then I had a few issues reserving our hotel room. Namely, I didn't want to pay what it was going to cost to stay in Canada ... so we changed our plans and booked a room in Erie, Pennsylvania. (A little different than Canada; I know!) Turns out that while we both wanted to see Niagara Falls and say we'd been through Canada, we were okay with staying in the good old USA. We have our room for two nights, and tomorrow we'll just explore the area. We'll definitely go to New York, as I've never been there before, and it's not so far from Erie. Don't know what we'll do there, but I've never been in New York before, so we can't be this close and not go!

Our trip was quite uneventful--which is good! Five hours and one crazy-expensive Ohio toll road later we arrived in Erie. Tonight's price: $50. Regular price: $89. So this deal isn't quite as good as last night's. Also, our room reminds us of a hospital. It's the Pepto-Bismol pink decor.

Unfortunately, we only have one bed.
My favorite part of the room--a window seat!
We decided to order pizza from Papa John's, and on our way there, we saw a discount movie theater that we might hit tomorrow night. Now we're watching Psych, and then we'll plan our day. I'm really glad we won't have to move tomorrow!
Steph enjoys the Papa John's pizza--we can't get it at home.

"sarah's garden" by kelly long

Sarah King is a reserved Amish girl who loves nothing more than spending time tending her garden. When she begins running her family's produce stand, she is apprehensive about dealing with the Englisch. Then she meets the new veterinarian, Grant Williams. As their friendship grows, Sarah emerges from her shell ... and a forbidden love begins to blossom.

Honestly, I'm torn when I reflect on this book. It is incredibly well written. Long has a way with words, and she drew me into the story. So my complaint comes from the plotline itself. I've read a lot of Amish fiction over the years--both the Beverly Lewis variety, where characters struggle with their faith, are shunned on occasion, and sometimes choose to leave the Amish church, and the more recent variety, which seems to idealize the Amish lifestyle. Out of all those books, this is the first that made me think, "Oh, please don't let that happen!" I won't spoil anything; I'll just say I didn't like how the conflict resolved.

Who should read it? Anyone who enjoys Amish romance should give it a shot ... just because I didn't like it doesn't mean you won't enjoy it.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

pricelining: day 1

Blendy and I are Pricelining our way out East. What that means is we're reserving all our hotels using's "Name Your Own Price" feature. Today's deal: $35 for a room at the Baymont Inn & Suites in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Regular price: $84.15.

Our trip began at 8 a.m. with a stop at our local coffee shop. It was all smooth sailing until we were about 40 miles from Kalamazoo. Then I glanced down and saw the low tire light was on ... dun, Dun, DUN! (I was going to link to last year's Oregon Trail blogs, as we had tire troubles then, too ... but after rereading all of them, I see that I didn't mention our leaky tire at all! Oh, well ... here's the link, anyway.) We pulled off at a closed rest area and checked the tires. They all seemed fine and had the appropriate amount of pressure, so we continued on our way. I'm very thankful that didn't happen as we were flying through the Chicago area!

After arriving at our hotel, we relaxed, watched a couple episodes of Veronica Mars, and headed to bed--we each had our own queen bed!

Our plan is to head to Canada tomorrow, visit Niagara Falls on Thursday, and end up in Akron, Ohio, on Friday. Then Saturday we'll go to college roommate Jodi's wedding and end up at college roommate Jen's apartment on Saturday night.

Blendy has also been blogging about this trip ... so you should check it out!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

tweet tweet

Well, I've done it. I've joined Twitter. I still don't really get how it works ... and I have no idea how much I'll use it. But if you want to, you can follow me at

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

with this ring ...

I had the pleasure and honor of being in my college roommate Jen's wedding last weekend. I drove out to Indiana on Thursday (Blendy came along to help me drive) and returned home on Monday. It was a crazy, busy weekend, and I loved every minute of it! (Well, I didn't love the minutes in stop-and-go traffic near Chicago ... )

Sarah, another dear friend from college, was also a bridesmaid in the wedding, and we both stayed at Jen's apartment throughout the weekend. We spent Friday afternoon helping Jen and her mom get things ready for the reception ... and we had Chick-fil-A for lunch!  (If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll probably remember that Blendy and I love Chick-fil-A!) In the evening, we had a cookout with the groom's family, and then Jen & Josh (the groom) dropped Sarah, Steph, and me off at The Chocolate Café while they ran errands. We had delicious ice cream! Since Jen's apartment is only a few blocks from The Chocolate Café, we decided to walk back. At a stoplight, I noticed this older, grungy-looking motorcyclist, but I didn't think much of it ... until he passed us again a few minutes later. There was a McDonald's about 20 yards ahead of us, and he pulled into the parking lot and shut off the motor. We kept walking. Just after we passed him, he restarted the bike and started to pull around the restaurant. That's when we made a break for the door, and we watched him roar away.  We changed our route back to Jen's to avoid the road we'd seen the biker on, and Sarah and I jumped every time we heard a motorcycle. Blendy, though, was oblivious!

On Saturday, Wedding Weekend truly began. We spent most of the day at The Oaks at Southpaw Farm. The property was once owned by Major League Baseball pitcher Jamie Moyer, and it's one of the most beautiful houses I've seen. First, the ladies involved in the wedding gathered for brunch. (The secret to the amazing scrambled eggs? Italian seasoning and dried mustard.) Then, two of the bridesmaids hosted a shower for Jen. We played Bridal Apples-to-Apples, and you'd think a team comprised of three of the six bridesmaids would have done well ... instead, we came in dead last! We went to the church for the rehearsal, then we all returned to The Oaks for the rehearsal dinner--Bruno's pizza! I sat with J-La, a friend of Jen's whose blog I've read. It was fun to meet lots of people who I "knew" through Facebook and Jen's blogs but had never met before! Above is a picture of the aprons Jen had made for all the women involved in the wedding. Sarah and I had both been admiring Jen's apron at home that morning, so we were pleasantly surprised to receive our own! Jen also gave the bridesmaids jewelry and flip flops. The flip flops were to be worn when we took outdoor pictures in South Bend and at the reception--and they totally saved my feet!

The wedding itself was beautiful, and the reception was a blast! Jen throws great parties, and her reception was no exception. She had a dessert bar featuring various candies, cheesecake, tres leches cake, buckeyes (known here in Nebraska as peanut butter balls), creme de menthe bars, and an assortment of other temptations.
The highlight for me, though, was the photo booth. Sarah, Blendy, and I went in twice. We didn't really have a plan for the first set we did, so we thought things through before we went in the second time. (Click on the pictures to see a full-sized view.) The first picture is our "sultry Shakespearean" faces--that's seriously a pose the photographer asked for when we were taking wedding pictures! If this picture is any indication, we looked like idiots in the wedding photo. The second picture is "Asian-style." It's nearly impossible to take a picture with my students without the peace sign showing up, so this picture is in honor of them. I can't remember what the third picture was supposed to be, and the fourth is us sending our love to Josh & Jen.

Monday morning, after far too little sleep, we had to head home. First, though, Sarah and I got breakfast at Le Peep. The best part of my breakfast was my caramel macchiato ... as you can see, I was pretty tired, so I needed the caffeine! Sarah and I decided that we should get together every 4th of July--last year, we were together in Montana, this year we were at Jen's wedding, and next year we'll be ... in Nebraska? Colorado? I'm thinking we should definitely meet up somewhere!