Friday, February 22, 2019

Friday's Five Frugal and Thankful Thoughts

Anyone else really thankful that it is Friday? We have friends from the US visiting this coming week; they arrived this afternoon and I am excited to play tour guide again. One of my favorite pass times in Hong Kong.  (It really is, friends, so feel free to come visit us!!) The Chinese New Year festivities just ended this past week. The picture below was a traditional dragon dance right in our neighborhood. So, so fun to be able to experience other cultures up close and personal. 

I decided I would try planting some herbs this year. I miss gardening so much, and any gardener knows that half the fun during January and February is ordering and starting seeds. Planning is so much easier than weeding...ha! So, here I go--cilantro is popping up. We'll see how works it out.

I am not a clothes shopper. I find it a necessary annoyance. However, Mike and I have a trip coming up in the spring, and I am in need of some summer dresses. I put the word out amongst a few friends via email, stating that I would pay money, home made goods or chocolate for some dresses. Today, one of these lovely ladies handed me this bag with a perfect little sundress. It never hurts to ask!! (Thank you, Friend!)

I also got a sweet thank you email this week from our friends who visited from the states a few weeks ago. I had told them that I have a hard time finding cheese here, and she ordered us a gift certificate to Classified, a store here in Hong Kong that is both a cafe and speciality shop for cheese, wine and bread. How nice is that?? (Thanks so much much Gayle!) Excited to check it out soon. 

And last but not least, I finished our US taxes. I use Turbo Tax, so it is not super expensive, but I first went through Ebates and got 7.5% back, and I also used my IHG credit card from Chase and got a $20 credit. Every little bit helps.

What are you thankful for this week? How did you save money? I love that we can all learn from each other. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

2018 Year in Review

As I looked back over the past year and thought about the things that I haven't been doing that make me really happy, writing was high up on my list. So one of my goals for 2019 is to post more frequently--maybe even weekly.  We'll see how that goes--(7 weeks in and this is my only post so far, ha!) 
For now though, let me try to recap 2018.
As you can see from the above pictures, our family is expanding. We welcomed our first grandchild, Calvin James Leick, on September 1. Abby and Taylor make parenting look like a breeze.  They are living in Madison, WI, where Taylor is a Software Manager and Abby teaches part time at a Classical Christian School. And I must say, this grandparenting thing is as amazing as everyone tells you it is. I was able to spend time in Wisconsin after Calvin was born. So great to be with family AND enjoy fall!

Will graduated from Grove City College in May. He spent his summer putting his Maine Guide License to good use at Living Waters and Canoe the Wild. (Thanks for the great picture, Dave Conley!) He is currently teaching History at East Grand School in Danforth, Maine and living with his cat, Franklin, at our home in Lakeville. 

On the day after Thanksgiving, he asked the lovely Christine Miserendino (who also graduated from GCC in May) to marry him, and she said yes! A July wedding is being planned. We are excited to welcome her to the family. 

Aaron is in his 3rd year at Cairn University near Philadelphia, where he plans to graduate in 2020 with a teaching degree in Bible and History. He spent the summer working with the praise band for Cairn, going to different camps as a recruiter/worship leader.  Next year, Lord willing, he hopes to do at least part of his student teaching back here in Hong Kong. Looking forward to having a child at home for a bit!

Aaron, looking contemplative as part of the John Jay Institute

And this was hands down my favorite picture of the year---Mike and Aaron on Duck Lake in front of our cabin in Maine:

Lee is living in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he and his buddy Joe continue to work toward making their band viable. The name of the band is Brother Gene - (his former band was named Calder, in case some of you are confused).  Be on the lookout for great music! 

Here's the band photo.

Lee teaches guitar lessons at School of Rock. (Do you see a teaching theme here??) He had his wisdom teeth out last fall--always a fun time. His new-to-him car was recently involved in a wreck while it was sitting in front of his home. Thankfully, the other driver stopped, but still it was a hassle on his part to get another car. 

Mike is still teaching AP Economics and Modern European History here at International Christian School in Hong Kong; he truly loves his job and his students. Hard to believe we are in our 7th year! He often jokes that the job is so easy he should give his pay check back. I haven't let him do that.

I continue to work in the Health Office, but have another full time nurse working with me this year, which has reduced the work load. I also got my TEFL certification last year...always something new to study! 

In the summer, we were able to spend an overnight with Mike's sister in Atlanta, a week in NC (where our friend, Della, helped us buy a little truck, which we have affectionately named Squeaky)another overnight with my brother in Connecticut,  and 6 weeks in Maine. What a blessing! We are making progress on our log cabin on Duck Lake. Maybe we'll be able to let people stay in it in a couple more years!

Here I am at Grand Lake Stream for the Folk Festival in July and with my brother Jerry, both pictures celebrating my 50th birthday. (Jerry retired, so double the fun): 
And here are some pictures of Maine, because, well, who doesn't love Maine???

We traveled much during the school year, but I will make that its own post!

We ended the year in Michigan, visiting Mike's family, and enjoying a little snow. Mike's dad proposed to a wonderful lady on Christmas Eve!! We are happy to welcome Delores to the family. 

The mighty Black River, Croswell, Michigan. 

Our family with Mike's Dad. 

And that's a wrap. Here's to 2019!