Bring on the roast beef!

arby's logoI have always been a fan of Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwiches! I especially love them because of the Horsey sauce (hmmmmm) and the Arby’s sauce.

One of the fast food restaurants that we don’t have here that I wish we did have here, but . . . I found something better. Whoa! Something better than  Arby’s. Yep. It’s called homemade.

“Homemade?  What’s that?” you ask. Homemade is when you find the needed ingredients and make what you want at home. It’s a novel project.

There’s a cookbook out there on the web. I’ve gotten it several times. It’s called Top Secret: Insider’s Recipes Master Edition. This e-book in PDF format has almost every brand-name food item you can think of and a recipe to go with it. This is where I found the recipes for the Horsey sauce and Arby’s sauce.

Horseradish is easy to find here. There are lots of mustards and other sauces with horseradish. Olympia makes a good plain horseradish. Horsey sauce is simply mayo, creamed horseradish, and sugar. Nothing complicated about that.

The Arby’s sauce? That’s a little more complicated, but not too bad. Ketchup, garlic and onion powder, salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce with a little water cooked all together and viola! you have Arby’s sauce.

Paul was just asking me, “What do you think it would take to make some sort of a meat press so that the roast beef turns out like Arby’s roast beef?” Shoot! How should I know? Our roast beef didn’t look at all like Arby’s but it sure tasted really good!

Our rolls were long like hogie buns and they didn’t have sesame seeds on them, but they were soft — something that lacks in rolls here — and they were perfect for our roast beef lunch.

I didn’t attempt any curly fries — and I didn’t miss them. Who needs curly fries when you have such tasty roast beef?

I know what you’re thinking, “What will you come up with next?”

How about an awesome crisp recipe shared from my friend Becca. I made it too small, so next time . . . I’ll make it in a bigger dish.

Nice cream over the top, ooooooh! what a treat!

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A New School Year . . .

So, I started “school” with Sienna. It’s nothing terribly exciting or complicated. I just want her to get her letters, numbers, colors, shapes, read, write, and do simple math by the end of the year! Ok, some of that I’m not serious about, I’ll let you decide what.

Finding the letter “A” in sentences was something her daddy did with her on Friday. She has an “A” verse, “All we like sheep have gone astray.” Isaiah 53:6 She’s actually known the verse for a long time which I thought would work in our benefit. Meaning, she wouldn’t have to learn a new verse in a week and could accomplish something in that first week. Besides the letter “A” and the color red. I was looking at some yearly goals for someone her age and school level. So much of it she already knows! No praise to me here, she’s learned it all from the computer program or just because we’ve told her from time to time.

I’m praying that we can get to the letter “K” by Thanksgiving, use the 3 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas as review then take a good winter break! There will be some weeks of review afterward, of course, and then straight through to the end of the alphabet and on to numbers and shapes.

I guess you might be looking for some pictures and reports as the year goes on. We’re hoping not to have to skip any time and can go ahead as scheduled. Ha! That’ll be the day!


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Bed Mates

There are times when I might have a sleepless night. There are times when Paul might have a sleepless night.  There are times when Sienna might have a sleepless night. But only once in a great while do we ALL have a sleepless night. Who knows exactly what it was; cooler weather, not enough exercise, too much exercise, not enough water, too much coffee/sugar, one might never figure it out.

While I don’t know the root cause, there were several culprits. One culprit was an active mind. Paul was dreaming about something he’s been researching, but it was almost like he was awake, instead of being totally asleep. He kept wiggling, too, which was a culprit for me. Another was that it was cooler last night. It rained quite a bit, too. I got up and closed the windows in the kitchen and entry and got a blanket. Sienna seemed cold, so Paul got her in bed with us to warm her up.

We were all settled down and I thought for sure we’d all be able to rest easy when I have this horrible sensation of a bug running across my face! I swatted it off my face and kind of jumped up a bit. I started looking for that culprit in the dark. When I couldn’t find him I turned on the light. Paul wanted to know what was going on. I told him that I thought an earwig had crawled out of the blanket and ran across my face. We’ve had a horrible problem with earwigs in the laundry from the clothes lines this year. That’s why I assumed it was an earwig.

I decided I need to make a trip to the little girl’s room. Before I returned, Paul asked me to bring him a jar. I thought, Great! He found that earwig and I won’t have to worry that he’s still crawling around in the bed. To my surprize this is what Paul found as our bed mate.

This is not what you want to find in your bed. I had washed the blanket, hung it out to dry, folded it outside, brought it inside, and put it away. Boy, did I learn my lesson. Always shake your blankets or laundry to keep those spiders from coming inside!

He’s called a ground spider and his not poisonous. Thankfully, he didn’t bite me either!

I did recently have a run in with an earwig. You know what those look like, right? Ha ha! Just kidding!

Actually, an earwig usually comes with wet weather, and we’ve had some wet weather this year. Really wet weather. I wasn’t concerned about the earwigs until one day when I was on my way to the gym.

Sienna had been drinking out of my water bottle. My water bottles are really cool, my mom got them for me for Christmas.

So, Sienna likes to drink from my water bottles. They hold 22 oz each! (Have you ever wondered how ounces was abbreviated to oz?)

Sienna tends to wander outside with things. She meandered outside with my water bottle, and I didn’t know it until the next day, or maybe even the day after that when I finally found it! I was in a hurry so I grabbed it and filled it up with water and ran out the door with my gym bag. I was running late to pick up my gym buddy. I got to the gate and took a drink. I felt something like a big toenail in my mouth. But it kind of moved around. I felt a pinch on my tongue, decided to spit the water out in my hand, and found an earwig swimming around!!!! He pinched me!

I got in the car and started down the road. I decided that I needed to call Paul and see if there were any side affects from a bite.

Thankfully, none.

Now, it’s funny, but at the time, not so much.

Make sure you don’t leave your water bottles out at night without a good rinse. And be sure and shake out your laundry. You just never know who/what might be lurking in those dark/warm/wet places!

Oh, it took a day for the pinch to go away.

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Mommy’s Little Piece of Sunshine

Poor little punkin’ Sienna. She woke up Sunday morning looking like this. She has a bite on both eyelids, several on both cheeks and some on her neck. Whatever mosquito bit her got a great meal!  She posed for this one, I asked her to close her eyes and she did so well at keeping them closed, but not squeezing them shut. A while back she woke up with her eye swollen. It was a Sunday morning then, too. I opted to not take her, thinking it could be pink eye. It didn’t turn out to be pink eye, just a mosquito bite. But her eye continued to swell.

Below are a series of pictures that I took just to measure the changes. You never know when you’ll need something like this.

The first picture is right when she got up and we decided to keep her home so she didn’t spread anything to the other kids at church.

It didn’t seem to bother her all at. She didn’t rub it like it itched, she didn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that it continued to swell. We put cold compresses on it, hoping to relieve the swelling, it only seemed to increase the swelling.

She still played like there wasn’t anything wrong with her, she didn’t run a fever, and she seemed to have some fun, too, with one of the neighbor girl’s headbands.

All I can say is she’s one funny kid! Who would have thought she’d know the latest headband style? I, personally, think it might get a little uncomfortable, but she seemed to enjoy it. ‘Course it might have been the attention she was getting from the camera, too!

At that same time, I clicked another picture of her eye, the swelling, you can see, is worse.

I decided it might be some time for Benadryl. I gave her some and it might have slowed the swelling, but it didn’t actually reverse it. Still, she doesn’t itch at it and although she rubs it from time to time, she’s acting totally normal.

We finally decided to do more research, it was really late Sunday night. We all should have been sleeping, but she was scared when she woke up and couldn’t get her eye open. Paul found that hot compresses are actually what you want to do for a bug bite. The heat breaks down the histamines that have built up and caused the swelling. Also a paste of baking soda would help, too. In this picture you see the residue of the baking soda.

I guess it was something that just had to run it’s course. We learned from it, and that’s a good thing. Knowing that hot compresses are better than cold for a bug bite, a good thing to know, since we all get bites!

The next day the swelling started going down and we were glad to start seeing her eye!

As a side note, she doesn’t use the pacifier any longer. She went cold turkey! Although, there are still days that she asks for it. Sunday when we were in the nursery, there was a new baby that had a pacifier that looked just like this one. Sienna wanted to know if it was her pacifier. hehe.

Thankfully, there were no side effects from the swollen eye.

We were actually surprized to see that both of her eyes did NOT swell from the last set of mosquito bites. One on each eyelid seems like a great way to make her eyes swell shut. We have remedied the problem and hung a mosquito net over her bed. The unfortunate thing is she tends to get hung up in it. Oh well, I guess getting tangled up in the net is better than getting bitten.

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I’m gonna wash that . . .

When we were in Targoviste, I found that a large plastic container of some of Sienna’s clothes had gotten wet and were molding! I kept telling myself that they are just things, but it was a huge disappointment. Already this term so many of Sienna’s clothes have been ruined by the mildew that seems to appear overnight. I guess, in part, I see it as a waste. The rest of it is sentimental.

Paul had found that washing soda helps rid clothes of mildew. We did some research to try and find the best solution. Well, we hadn’t found washing soda, so we looked up how to make it. It’s really rather simple. Washing soda is baking soda with one of the carbon atoms removed. Sodium bicarbonate becomes sodium carbonate. Thankfully it’s not a process that needs a lab or other special “gear”, rather you just heat up the oven and spread it out on a large cookie sheet and put it in there for an hour. In the end you have washing soda.

Paul took the time to carefully scrub each little item, double-checking each one to make sure that all the mold was coming out or if it needed more time to soak. We also used something generic but the same as Vanish or Oxy-Clean. What we found out later is that Oxy-Clean is washing soda with something added to produce hydrogen peroxide.

We’re still waiting to see the final outcome of some of the clothes, but the ones I’ve washed so far? beautifully clean!

Speaking of washing.

We have let Sienna play in the sink in the bathroom with the sink full of water. It’s been a fun thing for her to do and she enjoys playing in the water. Besides, it might help keep the sink cleaner. :-)

It has been a while since she’d played, so when she asked yesterday I was more than happy to let her play. She turned on the water, got the plug, and started playing. I stepped away for a moment, came back and turned the water off. The sink was full. She played for some time before it was time to eat lunch or something like that. I had her wash and rinse her hands and come to the table. I pulled the plug and left.

After dinner I went  into the bathroom to wash my hands and I see that Sienna had taken my pasta cutter–you know, the one that looks like the pizza cutter only it cuts a squiggly line instead–and cut up little pieces of soap. Lying there peacefully, side by side, next to all those little “pasta pieces” of soap were my contact lenses. At first I didn’t think I was seeing quite right. But when I checked my case, sure enough it was empty. I carefully filled my case with solution added the lenses and I’m hoping (since they were my last pair) that enough soaking in the solution and some rubbing in my palm will clean away any soap. If not I’ll be walking around with my eyes burning and watering for a couple days!

Silly kid! “Washing” mommy’s contact lenses.

She’s such a little scribbler. She feel asleep last night with a pen and paper in her hands.

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Say What?

Today I got an SMS from a friend, a special friend, my gym buddy. She was asking if I wanted to meet at the gym for a run. With all the stress from the visas, etc. . . I really felt like I needed to run so I said, “YES!”

One of the great things about running at the gym is you can zone out, you don’t have to be aware of your surroundings you can just run with one foot in front of the other. One step at a time. I usually pray. It’s a great time to pray. No one is talking to you, no cars rushing by, no heat or other temperature worries, nothing to do but to run.

I prayed about a lot of things, Paul, visas, Sienna, churches, pastors, support, parents, siblings, extended family, and enough food for Sienna for the rest of the month. Three kilometers (1.86 miles) later my friend and I made our way back to the locker room. I had barely gotten my clothes arranged when my phone rang. It was a guy from Colina Motors, actually from their online shop. We’d purchased tires for the car in August from them. We’d gotten some great quality tires imported by them from Italy, better than we could have gotten at any tire store in Romania and for a cheaper price. Many thanks to our language teacher’s son Edwin Keleti, a rally car driver here.

So, this guy from Colina Motors tells me that he’d like to get in touch with Paul Lawrence who bought some tires in August totaling 700 lei. I said that Paul was my husband. “Great! Your husband has won a prize.”

Say what??

Apparently, unknown  to us our order was entered in a drawing and we won. We get all of our 700 lei back in cash (or we can purchase more car “stuff” from the website). I was so overwhelmed while I was on the phone that I almost didn’t make it to the end of the call.

I needed to pick up some bread from the store, so I called Paul on the way there and told him to good news. I was sobbing. He said, “Well, don’t go through the store crying. People will wonder what’s wrong.” Too late!

This verse came to mind. I had hardly prayed and the prayer was answered.

This doesn’t happen very often to me.

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The Visa Process

Applying and reapplying for visas is always a stressful time for us. One point of stress is the C – O – S – T. Another is the headache of dealing with several institutions. None know what the other requires, but they think they know. So you get confusing messages. In Targoviste we dealt with many unsmiling, unhelpful people. That adds another facet of contention.

It’s a process that lasts because you have to send a letter of request to the government office in Bucharest, then wait for them to send you a letter of “permission” back. This doesn’t usually take long–but there is a high level of anticipation; will we get 5 years or just 1 year? Then there’s always the disappointment that we didn’t get 5 years. That’s followed with thankfulness that they gave us one year and not six months. :-)

Once we have the letter in our hands we begin the real work. Every year before when we’ve gone to the Immigration office we’ve had to deal with several very unhappy men who are the officers. They never smile (even if you try and get them to and even with Sienna, as CUTE as she is) and they always mumble. It would be one thing if they were mumbling English, but mumbled Romanian, especially as our second language, adds a riddle-like aspect to the process. Did he say this paper was necessary or unnecessary? We’ve even felt like we’re criminals, even though we’ve gone out of our way to do things legally (which is more than I can say for other foreigners I’ve heard about). It’s almost as if they don’t want us living there. Hmmm, this doesn’t really make much sense since we live here on no money taken from the country (which is a declaration we have to make in front of a notary, signed and stamped).

Inevitably we forget something. Actually, there are times when they forget to tell us about something, but it’s always our fault for not knowing it (are we mind readers now?). Or like what happened last year: “We have your pictures on file, so you don’t need new ones for your application.” Then, while in Cluj, we get a call, “Where are your pictures? You need them!” That’s when my pirate language comes out: “ARGH!”

This year the people have been mostly jolly and friendly. WOW! I guess that’s one perk of moving to a new county where they have oodles of foreigners. (I think there were less than 20 in the entire county of Dambovita.)

[There’s a guy here actually wearing one of the traditional hats!]

I’m currently waiting to pay something I came to pay yesterday that this office said I didn’t have to pay but the Immigration office said I have to pay. Like I said . . . Isn’t there a proverb or saying, something about the right hand and left hand??

I waited for 2 hours. It was a l – o – n – g day.

We arrived back at the Immigration office hoping all of our papers were in hand and ready to be turned in and the process started. Unfortunately, we are still missing two papers. One is being taken care of, the other should be ready by Monday morning. We also found out that we have to pay two fines each. One we knew we’d have to pay since we didn’t get all of our paperwork in time, but the second one we were completely surprized with. What we saved on one fee is now taken up in paying these fines.

In the end, it was discouraging. Discouraging because we’ve been trying to stretch our dollars as far as they will go and hoping for a break, but not really getting a break. We won’t have much money left for food this month. I walked away with the worry if we’ll have enough money for food for Sienna for the rest of the month. Today is only the first of September, we’ve got 29 more days to go!

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