Wednesday, June 27, 2012

6.21.12 Move in Day - Day 18 70 DOS

Boy am I thankful for Andy's family and friends - Andy, Tim, Mark, Wes, and Daniel moved our entire apartment over in one day.  Mom and I painted and ran errands (Who would have thought it would take 2 hours to get paint?  Love standing in line with contractors...) while the guys moved.  We got everything in today and now have the unpacking to tackle.  Mom and Dad, Mary, and Katie were so helpful as well!

We decided we needed a temporary baby gate at the top of the stairs for tonight since I didn't get any yet.  I traipsed to Walmart at 11:30 and found old faithful for $9.99 and picked up a few other things, only to find out that the cashier didn't hand me an entire bag!  So poor Andy went back and didn't return until around 1am  - this is all  have to say tonight...SOO tired!

6.20.12 The Cleaning Has Begun - Day 17 70 DOS

We are so thankful for the Klement girls!  Sophia went to our apt. and played with Eleanor all day while we started painting the kitchen, closets, and watched Kiwi Carpets clean our carpets.  Then Olivia helped play with her at her house.  We love Kiwi because they don't use water - it is a little bit of cleaner and the heat friction from the machine that clean the carpets and they offer a 2 year warranty (if you tell them I referred you, you will get the 2 and not the one year) where they will come back as many times as you want and re-clean for $30 each time.  I negotiated them down to $311 which included both living areas, the formal dining area, stairs, closets, hallways, master, and 2 other bedrooms AND our sofa and love seat - I thought that was a pretty good deal!  I will note that just now when I went to the website to get the link, it said it was a dangerous website - it isn't but in case you are worried, just google kiwi carpets and you can get the number without going to their site.

I also can't let today go by without mentioning the first casualty of the move in - my nose :(  I was cleaning a light bulb (yes I am OCD and EVERYTHING needs to be they were dusty) and I didn't think about the fact that vanity light bulbs get hot REALLY quickly and when my damp cloth touched it a piece of glass immediately shot off and cut a HUNK out of my face.  We went to the ER and what did they do?  Put superglue on my face.  SO I will now have to walk around without makeup waiting for this lovely "bandage" to dissolve.

Pictures to come...

6.19.12 We are Home Owners!! - Day 16 70 DOS

We have the keys - it's official!  Eleanor and I picked up our keys and met Andy at her "new house" ("We gonna go to the NEW house, momma") she often calls it.  When we all arrived, Mark took a pic of Andy carrying Eleanor and I "over the threshold" and we got right to work!

We are so excited about what is to come (and a little overwhelmed).  Andy's dad and brother, Tim came to help for the rest of the week so we plan to get started painting and moving in!  I will post "after pics" as they come in....

6.18.12 Signing Our Lives Away! Day 15 70 DOS

It finally happened!  But first...I had an amazing morning/early afternoon in my Jeff Anderson Writing Training.  He is awesome and gave me so many tips on how to teach writing in the classroom.  He based the training off of his most recent book which you see to the side. I also was shown a new website I LOVE (thank you Marly) - goodreads!  It is an amazing way to see what your friends are reading and see their ratings on those things along with writing ratings on books you have read AND making a "to read" list.  I don't think mine will ever get shorter as I keep finding so many awesome books to read!  Friend me on goodreads so I can see what you are reading too!  Also, if you are an ELA teacher, check out Jeff Anderson's books - I have also read Everyday Editing and have Mechanically Inclined on my desk to read next!  He has some inventive approaches to teaching writing!

I left this informative conference excitedly and headed to the title office to SIGN the paperwork to get our new house!  It was so fun "signing our life away" and I will say that my stomach dropped when I saw the maturation date of the loan - 2042!  Oh dear!  Hopefully we will pay it off before then!  Otherwise, Andy and I will be 57 and 58 by the time we have a paid off house!  AGH!  Here is the corny pic I made our realtor take...we are so excited about tomorrow - we will actually receive the keys and can get in and get started working on everything!  Praise God that the home buying process has neared its end!

6.17.12 - Happy Father's Day! Day 14 70 DOS

We had a wonderful day celebrating our Daddy just the three of us and then also with my parents.  Andy's parents didn't end up coming up because we still don't have a house yet so I just continued packing the apt. with E while Andy slept until noon (his only request) and then we went to mom and dad's after E's nap and Katie, Mom, and I slaved over Chicken Fried Steak and potatoes for the Father (their request).  Poor Andy, I wish we could have done more but unfortunately this happened the same time as all this craziness :( 

I start two days of reading/writing training tomorrow - I am so excited as these speakers are going to be amazing!  We also close on our house tomorrow afternoon - HOORAY!  We get the keys Tuesday once the seller sends his paperwork in and we will be official home-owners!!!

6.16.12 Will We EVER Get a House? Day 13 70 DOS

3900 Braxton Ln. 

This post is just a testament to the frustration and LONG process that comes with buying a house.  We have had the craziest experience.  It all started in March when we started looking.  We found a home in Flower Mound - barely.

This home was the first one we stepped in and actually could accept and found it on our first "house hunt."  3900 Braxton Ln.  It was built in 2003 which we loved - every other home we looked at was built in the 80's or 90's.  It also was clean inside and with the exception of some yard work, didn't really need much work.  It was a 3/2 with a big living area and then a formal dining we decided we would use for a playroom.  We liked it because it was new and because it was eventually to be zoned to Flower Mound HS, my alma mater.  What we didn't like was that it was literally on the border of Lewisville and after talking with the school district, realized we really had no control over the fact that it could at any time be zoned to Lewisville HS meaning that we would for sure have to move before E even went to MS.  Another indicator of the possibility of this shift happening was that the elementary school the home was zoned to was comprised of 25% of people zoned to Flower Mound and 75% zoned to LHS.  The plan would be for E to go to school in Coppell with me and then we would have to move once she was done with elem. school.  The upstairs hallway was also completely open to the downstairs which meant we would need to be fairly quiet when E was asleep.  It also had a TINY backyard but did have a park RIGHT across the street.  We still liked it WAY more than any others and knew we would have to make sacrifices.

Our crazy process started here.  We made an offer, went under contract, paid $300 for an inspection and requested repairs like anyone else would.  It needed a new roof and a new AC - HUGE repairs but also couldn't be sold without those things being fixed so we knew the seller would have to fix them.  Over Easter weekend we were in West Texas visiting Grandma and Grandpa and got a call from our realtor who is also a sweet family friend, Dottie.  She was letting us know that the option period (the time period you have after the contract is written which gives you enough time to get an inspection and agree on repairs with the seller before you have the chance of losing your $1000 ernest money) was going to end at midnight that night and that we still hadn't heard from the seller on a response to repairs.  Long story short and retrospectively, we found out that the listing agent ended up having a buyer so he let our option period run out, never did anything to communicate with Dottie and really went against etiquette in the realty world.  SO that house fell through.  While we were upset,  we now look back and see that it was all apart God's plan in finding the perfect home!

505 Drexel Dr.

After watching and having my 11pm chats on the phone in bed with our realtor every day, we found another home we thought might have potential.  While we didn't want to live in Lewisville, we were having no luck in FM and Coppell and found this home - 505 Drexel Dr.   I hated that we might be living in Lewisville because I knew we would have to move before E went to school which is only 3 years away.  BUT I was worried we wouldn't find anything we liked and this house had potential.  First off, I was wowed by the hardwood floors and granite counter tops.  The back windows were beautiful though the yard needed work.  What was wonderful about this home was that it had 4 bedrooms.   The master closet was also amazing and had shelves built in for all my shoes! The bathrooms were updated as was the kitchen though there was a catch.  We once again, put a second home under contract, paid the ernest money and now $250 towards an inspection - our sweet inspector gave us a deal!  This home needed a new roof and furnace and was just flipped by a realtor.  It also had a very interesting story...the owner before the flipper came in had rented out rooms to people.  It seemed kind of creepy when we first realized that.  There were deadbolts on the bedroom doors and before the garage door was replaced, we found an air conditioner in it.  YUCK!  The flipper did a wonderful job but the story kind of creeped us out.  We were just so beaten down by not finding anything and this was a home we could actually picture ourselves in...somewhat.

Our Home
 - to be -

How providential has this entire process been though as a couple of nights before our option period was up on the Drexel house, we found a home in Flower Mound that was in our price range and definitely had potential.  Dottie was out of town though but luckily, she had my sister working as her assistant.  We literally saw the house come on the market at around 10pm one night, looked at it the next day after school, and wrote up a contract for it that night with Dottie on the phone.  We knew we needed to get an offer in so that we would avoid a bidding war as this house was in a perfect neighborhood/area and had decent sq. footage for the price.  We have decided that we are becoming experts in this whole process, by the way.  

We realized it wasn't our "dream home" that we might have pictured in my head but many of the main desireables were present - exemplary schools (E, M, and HS), extra living area for a play room (though the paint in that bad boy was SO dark - don't worry it will be changed), decent sized kitchen with the potential for a gas stove someday (you know I NEED a gas stove to cook best) and in need of some new paint (ALL OVER).  The seller decided to put nasty counter tops on - granite wannabe laminate and probably completed the job in 30 min...I could have done a better job with no instruction - WOOF!  We got a quote on the back-splash and counter tops but decided we needed to save for that so we will have to deal with them.  I will do a post later once it happens, but mom and I are going to try to spray paint the back splash to live with it for now.  We will do the same up in the master bathroom.  EEK! 

The master bed and bath we love because the ceilings and walls are fine so we don't have to do anything in there.  We also love the plantation shutters in the master.  The upstairs bedrooms are a treat - check out the guest room with green and brown walls and Eleanor's room - her "butterfly room" as she coined it.  Those butterflies will be gone as soon as I can decide what her bedding will be and can paint the walls.  The guest room will probably end up being a storage hold until we can unpack. The guest bath will stay the same for now as well.  The family room is going to be painted all one uniform color - and the fan will be replaced with our more modern looking fan from our apt. 

We LOVE the back yard.  Yes the fence you see first is made of three different kinds of fences but they are all standing so we love them for now.  The most memorable component to the backyard is the giant tree in the back.  It reminds me of the tree in the backyard on Father of the Bride that Annie and her dad and brother carved their names into.  I love that it also shades a certain part of the yard all day long.  It is beautiful and will someday soon hold Eleanor's Swing that she is ever so excited to have!  We really like this house and are excited to call it home. 

Our crazy adventure  didn't end once we found this home though.  We set our close date for June 11th and have had so many setbacks.  Wow this experience has been a test of patience!  Two holdups caused out file to get kicked back to the end of the line in underwriting (where your file goes before getting approved to close by the lender).  The first was that the seller didn't turn the gas on before our home-to-be was appraised.  When the appraiser went out, there was no gas and therefore, no hot water.  As my lender claimed, most appraisers don't even check that but she did.  We then had to pay her another $150 to go back and re-appraise.  That also caused our file to get kicked back making out June 11 close impossible.  Then, we found out that the relator didn't put the correct zip code on the contract so we had to re-sign everything and once again, had to wait longer.  We are now slotted to close on Monday of next week - depending on whether or not we actually have the paperwork to the title office or not.  We have been in limbo about moving in all week and just want to be in our house!  We know it will come, but like I said before...patience is not my best friend.  Waiting eagerly!  Updates to come...
Eleanor's "buttbye" room...yes they painted "grass" at the base and anyone want that squiggly mirror?
 Guest room/Nursery...whenever that happens next...
Master Bedroom - the door you see is the bathroom
 Master Bedroom - the door on the left is to the upstairs hallway, on the right is the closet - weird I know I am used to the closet being off the bathroom...
 Master Bath - Brass fixtures and red tile need to go - anyone know if it is possible to paint the brass on the shower?  We can't afford to replace a perfectly good shower right now...
 Master Bath 2 - love the his and hers sinks
 Master Bath 3 - toilet is hidden
Guest Bath 
Family Room - yellow wall must go!
Arial View of the Family Room
View of the house from the backyard - those two upstairs windows are the bedrooms - love the window seats!
Backyard - my favorite tree and yes the shanty fences...all 10 different colors of them...
The deck!  Andy is so excited - needs staining and eventual flower beds with hedge around the base to cover up the cinder blocks

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

6.15.12 Teryaki Chicken and Fried Rice Bowls - Day 12 70 DOS

This isn't the best (as in most creative/ did taste excellent though) recipe and unfortunately not completely my own but it was requested so here goes.

I actually marinated boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a teriyaki sauce I got at Costco.  I am working on getting a picture of it but if you don't have a Costco or can't find it there, you could do equal parts soy sauce and teriyaki sauce, lots of minced garlic, a few generous shakes of dried ground ginger (or fresh if you like), and 4 - 5 shakes of dried crushed red bell pepper flakes (like the kind you see at pizza places).  I also added to the Costco sauce, the grated rind of an orange and fresh juice from the orange.  I marinated the chicken over - night and Andy grilled it.  Be sure your grill is on high in order to sear both sides and then turn it to medium so the insides will slowly cook making a nice and crispy seared exterior with a juicy interior.

Fried Rice Ingredients:
- 1. c. brown rice, cooked as directed on the package**
- 1 c. shelled and thawed edamame
- 2 - 3 large eggs
- 1/2 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 - 4 tbs. soy sauce
- 1tbs. olive oil
- sesame seeds
- 1 green zuccini squash
- green onions chopped
- 1/2 pint mushrooms, stems removed, chopped into small pieces

After grilling the chicken, we sliced it thinly and set it aside to top the rice bowl.

As the chicken was grilling, I was steaming brown rice.  I use the kind that takes about 45 min. to cook and I ONLY put water in the pan - **no butter or salt.  Follow the directions on the package - 1 c. water for every 2 c. water.

As the rice and chicken are cooking, chop up half of your onion and mince your garlic.  Next, slice the ends of the zucchini off.  Stand it up vertically and slice three columns.  Next, turn it and slice 3 rows.  Lay it back on its side and thinly slice so that the rows/columns break apart into small pieces of zucchini.  Chop the mushrooms into small pieces as well and set all veggies aside.

Heat a wok (if you have one...I don't so I use my All Clad large saute pan - it is NOT non-stick) on medium and add your tbs. of olive oil.  Then add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent.   Next, saute the zucchini until it is lightly browned. After that, crack your egg(s) - we usually use two because we like more but you can just do one - and scramble them with the oil, onions, zucchini, and garlic.  Remove the veggies and eggs from the pan and add a little more oil.  Then, once your rice is finished being steamed, add it to the pan and spread it all along the bottom.  You are "frying" the rice so let it brown a little in the oil before stirring.  I usually flatten it along the bottom of the pan, let it sit, stir, and then flatten again for a bout 5 min.  Once it gets "fried", salt and pepper and add the veggies back.  Stir and let cook for a couple more min. then add the soy sauce and sprinkle sesame seeds to your liking.

Once you have finished the rice, you may plate it and place the sliced grilled teriyaki chicken on top.  Andy liked adding even more teriyaki sauce to the top but this one does have high fructose corn syrup in it so I decided not to add anymore.

This was a very impromptu and quick meal.  If I were making it for a post, I might also garnish it with some cilantro and serve steamed broccoli on the side.  I also don't have any pictures for this recipe but next time I make it I will post some pics!

Monday, June 18, 2012

6.12.12 Fun Summer Day with Friends Day 9 - 70 DOS

It is always so exciting when Hallie and Annabelle come to town!  Eleanor talks about their arrival for days before and then talks about them the entire time they are here along with enjoying them.  Not only that, but my dear bosom friend and their mom, Amanda, and I get to pretend we are living out our HS dream of living in the same town and pushing our kids in strollers everywhere and them being the best of friends.  They still are precious together and of course the best of friends, we just sadly don't get to see them every day.

Today was an excitedly anticipated day.  Eleanor and I woke up and headed for our morning run, trip to feed her duckies, and play at Kid Country.  We were so lucky to get to meet Hallie and Annabelle there as well.  The girls played on the swings, slide, and "Choo Choo" and then were ready to go see the ducks.

We headed to the pond with a plethora of semi-moldy bread and the girls had a blast feeding the ducks.  After that, E and I ran home and met the Tantons at the apartment so Hallie could fulfill her request to play with Eleanor's dollhouse and I could shower.  The poor Tanton girls had a first-hand experience of the nastiness and dilapidation that is our apartment in its moving state.  They didn't seem to be too bothered.

We all piled into the Tanton-mobile, left the apt., we headed to Chic fil A  and Which Which to get lunch for the girls and ladies and then headed to the fountains at Castle Hills.  We went to this area to take Eleanor's 2 Year pics (I need to post them too!) and loved it! 

We enjoyed a picnic with the girls and then literally changed their clothes right there at the table and set them free to play in the water. 

Hallie was soaked from head to toe within seconds, E within a couple min. but poor Belle wasn't as into it.  She did get to enjoy some special time with her momma though!

These pictures make my heart melt - this is what Amanda and I looked forward to since we were in HS - having girls who were as close as we are!  God is so good!

The girls headed off to have ice cream to cap off the day!

 If you live in Dallas and want a fun free treat, here is how to get to these fountains.  Take the Hebron exit off 121 and go East.  The second light after Old Denton is Standridge.  Go left there and you will find yourself winding into Castle Hills.  Follow the road around through beautiful houses and just after you pass the elementary school, make a right onto Lady of the Lame.  You will see the shops of Castle Hills on your left once you have turned onto LoftheL.  Turn in and the fountains are up a couple stairs across from the ice cream shop.  Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy under the awesome spacious umbrellas, some sunscreen and bathing suits for your kids, a towel, and some money for an ice cream cone afterwards and you are set!  We also ate at Agave Azul in Flower Mound the other day and they have a miniature version of this that we will definitely have to try out!

What a blessing of a day it was to spend with my dear friend and her precious girls!  Hopefully we will be able to see them some more this week!  Stay tuned!

Grandma is here for surgery on her carotid artery.  If you read this, please keep her in your prayers - her surgery is tomorrow morning at 10.  Thank you!

In other news - this is what E is doing a lot of while I have been packing...