Date Night Friday: Board Games


So this date night brings us to two topics Dane and I are very passionate about, board games and friendships.  

Before getting married Dane and I decided that we didn't want to become "exclusive" once we got married.  We both really valued the friendships we had in our lives and felt like in order to have a healthy marriage it was important for us to maintain friendships outside of just "Dane and I."  This keeps us from getting too self-absorbed, provides us with a support group when tough times come, and its really fun!  On top of all that, I seem to always learn something new about my hubby when we are around others.  In the two years we have been married we have truly valued our "double dates."  Sometimes they were as simple as inviting others over to watch a movie other times it involved going out to big events like concerts or theme parks.  
Some of our favourite double dates from the past have involved board games.  Dane and I love board games and card games.  The game we are playing here is called Settlers of Catan.  It's a game that has been around for awhile but is making a comeback.  Our first time to play this game was last January while on a double date with our friends Josh and Hannah who we met in Australia.  (Little shout out to you both, we miss you so much).  Over the past year we have had many double dates with Settlers including our friends Alex & Jess (hope third year is going so good for you all, sending our love), and this week Drew & Celisa and Brock & Brittany.  

I love how Dane and I grew up with different games but now have taught each other those games.  Some of the games we enjoy playing:
Settlers of Catan, Pitch, Sequence, Phase 10, Shanghai Rummy, Nertz, Spades, Clue, Trivia Games (which I am horrible at, but Dane rocks at), Hand & Foot, Scategories, Catchphrase, The Game of Things, Balderdash, Crazy Eights, Dominos, Clue and I am trying to get Dane addicted to the Farming Game.
What makes board game dates so much fun?  Well there is plenty of time to talk, laugh, give each other a bit of a hard time, and just enjoy!  We had a blast playing this week despite the fact that I played the worst game of Settlers in my life.  It was one of our first times to hang out with these two and we loved it, plus they have the cutest little baby girl, Emersyn!  Thanks for the fun this week and yes a rematch is in our future!  

What are some of your favourite games?  Single, coupled up or married, we would love to play a game with you as well!  Happy Date Night Everyone!  

Super Bowl Food from Australia


It has been two years since we have watched a Super Bowl on US soil.  I can't even tell you how excited we are about this.  One thing Australia did teach us is how to make an amazing appetizer that would be a hit at any Super Bowl Party, Sausage Rolls.  I must say thank you to my lovely friend and housemate Sarah Anne for the sausage roll lessons.  Now, here we go.

Sausage Rolls
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 pound ground sausage
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 TB tomato sauce (the Australian word for ketchup)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 egg beaten
3 puff pastry sheets thawed

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  Heat olive oil on stovetop and then brown onions.

2. Now combine the browned onions, pound of sausage (yes raw....I know it shocked me too), breadcrumbs, tomato sauce, a little salt and pepper and egg in a bowl to create the sausage roll filling.

3. Cut pastry sheets in half.  Divide filling into 6 equal portions, form a sausage down the center of the pastry sheet.

4. Roll pastry and sausage into a tube.  Cut rolls about 1 ½ inches thick.  Place on the tray seam side down.  To help with browning, I like to splash a little milk on the top.  Then bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve the sausage rolls with tomato or bbq sauce.

I hope you'll try this Aussie treat out  at your Super Bowl Party this Sunday (or Monday morning if you're in Australia).  Speaking of Super Bowl, who are you cheering for?  I'm going to have to say....the Chiefs.  Maybe next year right?  So if I have to chose, you'll find me cheering on the Seahawks this weekend.  Yes, I know my Seattle friends are proud!  Happy Super Bowl Weekend Everyone!  D+C

Date Night Friday: Thrift Store



Our date night adventures took us to one of our favourite locations ever....the thrift store.  I mean where else can you walk out with a load of stuff for $1.50 (that's how much our goodies cost us).

Thrift stores are like a surprise treasure hunt for us.  Sometimes you cash in and sometimes you don't.  We have several items on our "most wanted" list and when you find one of those at a bargain price it is a euphoric high.  Today was one of those days, because there on the shelf was a vintage brandy decanter.  A decanter hasn't been on our list for very long, but it was sure fun to find one so quickly!

Many of you know I have quite the owl collection but another animal I like to hunt for is glass deer and so of course this little Bambi was coming home with me.

The exciting find of the day was adding the 1980's version of Risk to our board game collection.  We have a soft spot in our hearts for vintage board games and when the ladies who ran the shop figured this out, they allowed us to go down to their inventory room and check out all the other board games they had in stock.  We almost picked up the game Labyrinth but passed when we realized it was missing too many pieces to play.

To keep this date within our budget Dane and I give ourselves a $10 limit to spend.  That makes it $5 a piece or sometimes we pool our money together to get something large and in charge and AWESOME!

And there you have it, another affordable date to add to your list!  Enjoy!  D+C

A letter to my nephew.


Corbin John Bebermeyer, you are loved more than you know.  We love your cute little nose, and how you like to sleep with your hand by your face.  We love how you make cute little noises when you need something and how you lick your lips.  We can't wait to watch you grow up, throw the football around with you, read you stories, take you to the zoo, buy you ice cream, sing songs to you, and just love on you.  Welcome to our family!  Love Always, Your Uncle Dane & Auntie Christy.

Where Is My Confidence?


We have officially been back in the USA for 48 days.  We've had the joy of spending lots of time with family and friends.  We've done Christmas, celebrated New Years, and just like we expected, reality is beginning to set in and we are beginning to realize we aren't going back to Australia.  Honestly life the past couple weeks has been very challenging for me.  There has been a lot of fear and anxiety about what is next, what if we never find jobs, what if we are never able to afford our own place, what if I won't have the opportunity to one day be a mom and really I could go on and on and on but to simply put it, I found myself losing heart.

My mind is a dangerous battleground and without me continually focusing and pouring God's life giving truth into it, it blows up.  Then doing my devotional the other night I came across these verses in Jeremiah 17:

This is what the LORD says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

I began to ask myself, is my life reflecting the life of a dried up disgusting bush or a flourishing tall standing tree?  And when I honestly answered that question I realized that more times than not, I am looking like a wasteland dwelling bush.  And I knew immediately, this is not the life God has for me.  But what was wrong? There it was, one word in verse 7...  Confidence.  

The verse says that those who have confidence in God will be like trees.  Those with confidence in man or flesh will be like the bush.  I knew my mind was wavering because my confidence was not where it should be. 

These verses talk about the heat that life brings.  Right now, Dane and I are searching for jobs, trying to figure out where we want to locate, and just getting by.  We are feeling the heat.  I don't write this for your pity.  I write this because I think a lot of you out there often find yourself in these tough situations.  The stay at home parent who has put their life on hold to raise their kids, the business person who is watching their hopes and dreams fall apart around them, the student who has no idea what they want to do with their lives, the married couple who can't seem to get along, the patient awaiting the next test result from the doctor, the family who doesn't know how food is going to make it on the table.  Life is going to bring tough times that will test you.  And the question you must ask yourself when you face these situations is, where is your confidence?  Because the answer to that question determines if you will make it out standing on the other side.

I don't know about you, but I want to be like this tree.  Always with green flourishing leaves, always looking out over a peaceful stream no matter how chaotic the world around me is getting, and always bearing life-giving fruit.  And the one who gives me that life is Jesus.  

After reading and reflecting on these verses a peace came over me.  I can have confidence that God will give us jobs.  I can have confidence that He will set us up in the right place.  I can have confidence that He will provide for our needs.  I can have confidence that I am His child, He loves me, and knows what is best for me and when I need it.

So if you are facing a tough challenge right now, might I encourage you to check your confidence.  I hope this has encouraged somebody out there tonight.  Know that you are loved and that God has good things in store for you.  Let's all stand like trees my friends! ♥ D+C

Date Night Friday: Geocaching


I love geocaching.  If you have no idea what geocaching is well then let me give you a little lesson.

Geocaching is the real-world treasure hunt that's happening right now, all around you. There are 2,295,229 active geocaches and over 6 million geocachers worldwide.

You find the "x marks the spot" location by using coordinates you can find on the official geocaching website,  Then plug them into your phone or gps and go.  I highly recommend creating a profile on the geocaching website.  When you find a geocache you can then return and report your findings on the website.  Here is our profile.

We use a free ap that helped with our geocache.  I downloaded the free geocaching intro ap.  With this ap you simply enter your location and it tells you the top 5 geocaches that are located around you.  No plugging in coordinates, just your location and go.  We used this for all of our hunts.  It also signals when you are getting close, provides you with hints, and rewards you when you find a cache!  

Now if you want to take this date to the next level (aka cash level) you can download the complete geocache ap for $9.99.  As my brother says, its an investment that you will have your entire lifetime so go for it.  

A couple things to pack if you are going geocaching.  
* A Pencil:  Often when you find a geocache there will be a "log book" of sorts to record who was last there and when.
* Trinkets and Toys: Some caches are actually treasure hunts.  When you find the cache there will often be goodies inside.  If you find such a cache and want to take a treasure, be sure you have another item to replace it with.  Some people even leave a signature item.  Today Dane and I left owl stickers.  Owls...are you surprised really?  
* A camera, because you are going to want to document this business.  

And how was our experience?  We found three caches, all of which had treasures in them!  We brought home a little army man, a red car and a silver Christmas bulb.  One of my favourite parts of geocaching is the bits of history and stories you learn about each area you visit.  One of our spots had a ghost story attached to it, another told the story of a shotgun wedding.  It also takes you to parts of the community you might not often visit.  We ended up on some country roads that Dane said he had never traveled before and he grew up in this community.  

And there you have it.  Our geocache adventure.  We really can't wait to go again, maybe take one of you along with us?  If you have questions about geocaching please leave a comment or shoot me an email and I will try my best to answer them, although I am quite the rookie myself.  And if you decide to go geocaching we would love to see pictures and hear all about it!  Happy treasure hunting!  ♥ D+C

Weekends Are For...Wandering


Over the weekend my parents and I went on a little country cruise and ended up at one of my uncle's properties for some exploration.  The snow made a picturesque landscape and we had a great time searching for treasures in the old house.

The snow began to melt which created quite the adventure in getting there.  I had never been mudding before and I don't think the intension was to give me my first experience, but I got it!  And this is what my window looked like after driving down some of the roads.

Overall it was a great Sunday.  This spot we explored was actually near and dear to my heart.  I remember coming here several Saturdays of my childhood and helping tear down the barn.  My family used the wood to build an addition onto our house, so it was fun to revisit and relive a few memories.

Date Night Friday: The Road Trip Date


Dane and I have been talking a lot about what we would like 2014 to look like for us and one of our goals is to be more intentional about spending quality time together.  Emphasis on the word quality.  So we decided to try our best to have a weekly date night.  Since we are on a very small budget, just like most newly married couples, we will keep these date nights as low cost as possible.  What goes along with low cost....creativity!

This week our date night was more like a date day.  Dane and I love taking road trips together, and lately we are traveling around meeting with pastors and seeking jobs.  All those miles have provided us with great opportunities to talk because there is no distractions.   Topics as of lately have been hopes and dreams, what we look forward to in 2014, and a massive brain storm session of more date nights!

So what makes a good road trip?    The ABC game which I am sure many of you are familiar with.  We love making lists while we drive.  Good list topics are top 10 places to travel, top 10 places to eat at, and our topic this trip was top 10 road trip albums.  And our latest road trip entertainment, reading books to one another.  We've read the Hunger Games, marriage books, and our current read is Tina Fey's autobiography Bossy Pants.

Don't forget the road trip food.  We always have some sort of cinnamon candy in the car with us, usually hot tamales but lately we are in love with cinnamon jelly hearts...thank you Valentines Day candy section at Walmart.  Dane loves gushers and I love M&M's (any flavour).

Our road trip this week took us to Wichita, KS and Kansas City, KS.  While there we caught up with friends and family, had conversations with pastors in the area, drank some coffee at cafes, and visited Hat Man Jacks!

Hope you'll join us again next week for Date Night Friday.  We would love to hear what some of your favourite affordable date nights are, so leave us a comment.  Maybe some week we will feature your affordable date night here!    D+C