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Florence Wheeler



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Gourmet Filet Mignon Pot Pie…

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Baltimore – Part I

Greg and I are on the plane on our way to Baltimore, MD – our home in a little less than 4 months.  Having never been to the city, I really don’t have much to say about it.  I only know that Baltimore is more culturally diverse than where we live now in Gresham, OR.  I’m looking forward to learning more about the people and the overall climate – socially and weatherwise.

This trip is a tough one for me.  Not because I do not like the idea of moving to Baltimore, but more for the fact that my babies – Daphne and Elliot – are not on this trip with us.  In fact, I had a very difficult time telling them that I wouldn’t see them for a little while.  My little boy Elliot is only 9 months old.  And whenever he sees me he says , “mama”.  I love him so much and will miss his smile and though hard to believe – his cry while gone.  I will miss my big girl Daphne (only 4) too.  She is my heart.  I love how much she enjoys exploring life and everything it has to offer with a passion.  Both are at home with grandma Debbie and auntie Julie.

So for this trip, there are not many expectations.  I would just like to learn more about Baltimore with my Greg and explore new places in the city we will call home.

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I had to devote just one post to our photographer.

If you are seeking a recommendation for a great photographer in Portland, OR, enter Barry Lundy.

Barry Lundy is an amazing photographer, videoographer and he also happens to be a good friend. He and his wife are some of those people where time doesn’t seem like it has passed when you see them…in a great way. He made our photography session FUN and he did an outstanding job editing our pictures.

There are many photographers out there…but few have the eye and editing skills that Barry does. His company is Renovatio Lucis in Portland, OR. I can’t speak of his praises enough.

Here is some of his work from Saturday.


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This weekend was beautiful. The weather was amazing, we laughed with friends, and we had the opportunity to hear a good Word – twice.

I don’t like pictures – of me. I do not look good in pictures and I’m completely uncomfortable in front of the camera. But for the last few months, I’ve been wanting to get pictures of our family taken in Portland before we leave. Enter Barry Lundy.

So Saturday, we spent the morning in various parts of Portland being photographed. I felt like a celebrity. At no point did the photography session feel like work. In the afternoon, we enjoyed lunch at a local Thai restaurant called Bangkok Corner in SW Portland. The food was good, but the time we spent together as a family was the best. In the afternoon we just hung around the house enjoying quiet time together. In the evening, I took my first attempt at making and baking croissants. And what a “labor of love” it is to make croissants and give them to someone. The time one puts into 1 dozen croissants is about 6 hours total, but the results were worth it.

Sunday we went to church, enjoyed our second service as a CBC Baltimore church team, and in the afternoon Daphne had a play date with a good friend. We spent the evening catching up on the lives of some good friends in the midst of good food.

It was a wonderful weekend…

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PART 1: Ready for School?


How do you know if your child is ready to start school?

My Girl Daphne

This is Daphne.

This past year, Greg and I enrolled Daphne in preschool. We chose the school mostly because it is only five minutes from our house, but also because we heard good things about it from several friends. The staff was very friendly. We wanted to ensure that we were placing her in the right class.

Most schools determine what grade a child should be enrolled in by looking at their age. In Oregon, by September 1, students must turn 5 in order to enter K, 4 in order to fit into a 4’s pre-K class, and 3 in order to be admitted into a 3s class. At the time, my little girl Daphne was three. (She turned four in December). And in most schools, there would be no expcetions…she would be placed in the three year old class as her birthday didn’t meet the cutoff date.

This little christian school, however did not. We scheduled an appt and met with the school administrator who would test Daphne’s level of aptitude as it related to content across different disciplines and grade levels (up to 2nd grade).

I was scared to allow Daphne to go and take this test alone with the administrator. Not because I didn’t trust the administrator, but I’m not sure I really trusted Daphne. And I started second guessing myself as to whether or not she really was ready for school.

After about 30 minutes, the administrator returned. I asked her how Daphne performed on the tests and she said that “Daphne is a very bright little girl”. She was able to do everything I asked her to do … and in some cases up to 1st grade work.

Of course I was a very happy mother.

Since September, Daphne has been going to school three days a week for three hours a day. And she is excelling in her classroom. Today we met with her teacher who told us that Daphne is a very bright girl who says things at times above her 4 year old stature…more like 24. She is very proud of Daphne and didn’t really have many goals for Daphne the rest of the academic year. She said that Daphne is definitely ready for K next year…

Once again I’m second guessing myself and Daphne. Now I’m asking myself, “will Daphne be ready for K in Baltimore, MD? How will she respond socially with a completely different cultural and ethnic population as the dominant group?”

(to be continued)

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Costs Too Much for Me….?

Everywhere you go today, you can find a restaurant, fast food chain or food establishment serving up menu items for $1. And some – not all – of those food choices are high in fat, cholesterol and low in the nutrients your body needs to function.

I’ve seen countless shows where people say that it is difficult to feed a family on a limited budget. And for many that is why they eat out…on the dollar menu.

While it may be difficult, it is not impossible — if you know where and how to shop.

Here’s the scenario. If a normal family of six enjoy dinner eating two items from the typical dollar menu, the total meal would cost $12. Here is how it would looks in terms of calories, fat, carbs, protein and overall nutrition.

Here is what I found for the basic Sandwich and Salad combination at a local fast food chain.

Calories 370 Fat 21g Sat Fat 6 Cholesterol 50mg Sodium 560mg Carbs 31g Fiber 2g Protein 15g

Side Garden Salad
Served with Ken’s Ranch
Calories 330 Fat 26g Sat Fat 6g Cholesterol 30mg Sodium 770mg Carbs 18g Protein 6g

Total Cost for all Items $12 (w/o leftovers)
Total Cost for one dinner (one serving per person) for a family of 6 is $12…which includes 6 hamburgers and six side garden salads – made of iceberg lettuce and shredded carrots.


Here is what I found shopping at a local store.

Trident Wild Alaskan Salmon Burgers (12)
Calories 170 Fat 9g Sat Fat 1 Cholesterol 60mg Sodium 300mg Carbs 2g Protein 20g
Total Cost $12.99 – Cost Each $1,08

Oroweat Sandwich Thins (6)
Calories 100 Fat 1g Sat Fat 0 Cholesterol 0 mg Sodium 230mg Carbs 21g Fiber 5g Protein 5g
Total Cost $1.29 – Cost Each $.215

Romaine Lettuce Hearts (6)
Calories 1 Fat 0g Sat Fat 0 Cholesterol 0 mg Sodium 0 mg Carbs 0 g Protein 0 g
Total Cost $2.99 – Cost Each $.50

Total Cost for all items is $17.27 (w/ extras for more meals)
Total Cost for one dinner (one serving per person) for a family of 6….which includes 6 salmon burgers, 6 sandwich rolls, and 1 head of romaine is $8.27

If you wanted, you could take the extra $3.73 (adding your total to $12) and purchase extras like salad dressing, onions or carrots for this meal and your next.

I’m not trying to say that you should never eat a meal from the dollar menu.  I’m attempting to bring light to the fact that it is possible to eat a meal – prepared in ones home – for less than the cost of eating at a local fast food place…

Be Healthy!  Be Well!

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