Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's Been One Week...

As of today, our house has been on the market for one week. We have had 7 showings. Considering what the real estate market has been like, this is really good. However with no offers looming, I continue to be anxious {read impatient} about the whole ordeal.

Putting your home on the market and waiting for an offer is like waiting for that guy that you have a secret crush on to call to ask you out on a date. You spend time making yourself look good in order to get his attention. And then you wait. And hope. And every time the phone rings, you get butterflies in your stomach. Then you are disappointed because it wasn't him. Or your feelings get hurt when you find out he really likes the way you look, but is not crazy about where you live {we have received feedback from two showings that they liked the house, but were not crazy about the neighborhood}... it's kind of crushing and there is nothing that you can do about it but wait for the next "guy" to come along.

On a side note, I am baking cookies before EVERY showing. The smell of chocolate chip cookies is supposed to make people want to linger. This is an awful lot of baking and all of the cookies do not get eaten with every showing, so that means I am eating one {or three} cookies a day. Just because they are sitting there on the counter. This can't be good for me.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Project 52: Date Nights - Way Down Yonder on the Chattahoochee

I can't believe that 4 weeks have passed since Daniel moved to Chattanooga. This weekend we opted to meet in Peachtree City (south of Atlanta) to attend a wedding. I took Friday off and loaded Sophie and all of our stuff into the car and drove down Thursday night after work {in the rain}.

It was such a relaxing weekend – we mostly layed around and did nothing. And it was awesome. We both needed the rest after all of the stress of getting our house on the market {now that it is on the market, there are new stresses, but we will cope}.

Friday night we went to the movies for the first time in several months. Saturday night was the wedding. Sunday we searched for an open UPS store that had a notary on staff because we needed to get some paperwork notarized {that we both needed to sign}. Then we headed to the Chattahoochee River Recreation Area where we went for a walk {and Sophie proved she was no longer afraid of water when she jumped INTO the muddy river}. After the walk, we dried {cleaned} Sophie off as much as possible then went our separate ways. Goodbyes do not get easier with time.

The weekend was like de ja vu from our college days – driving to meet up with Daniel for the weekend. It was bitter sweet and reminded me that I don't miss that year in college of driving back and forth 6+hrs every weekend. I hope we aren't separated for a whole year again...

On my drive home, a nasty storm chased me. The National Weather Advisory would come on the radio and inform me that the town I had JUST LEFT was under a tornado warning and that you should abandon cars and mobile homes immediately and take cover. This little warning came on the radio with each passing town, from Spartanburg, SC up I-85 to Charlotte, NC – definitely a drive that had me on edge. Thankfully we made it home safely {to my basement} and there were no actual tornadoes.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Showing the House

You know that feeling you get when your in-laws or parents come to visit your new place for the FIRST TIME? You feel {or at least I feel} the need to make sure your house is pristine. You stay up late, the day before they arrive. You clean your whole house better than you have ever cleaned it. You get stressed out and find yourself griping at your husband for tracking dirt into the house {maybe I'm projecting} and then the day comes and everything goes smoothly {well, maybe not always} and you relax and {hopefully} enjoy your visit...

Well, having your house for sale is like that. Except, you have to keep it pristine ALL OF THE TIME. And instead of family, it is strangers that are coming in to judge the cleanliness {and decor} of your home. And whether or not they like it, determines whether they will make you an offer. And you are stressed because your dog won't quit shedding or tracking mud into the house. And to top it all off, a light bulb in the hallway went out and you are having trouble changing it AND the spring rains are driving these huge carpenter ants inside and you keep finding them and it is totally stressing you out {maybe I'm the only one with this problem}.

On a happy note, we had several showings over the weekend... it was much easier when I wasn't in town to stress about whether or not my house was clean enough {well, maybe I stressed a little}.

However, having a Monday afternoon showing after traveling all weekend has proven to be a pain. I had to run home at lunch today and throw all of my unpacked luggage in a closet and hide things {like my laptop} that I had left out. And I had to coordinate with a friend to come take Sophie while the house was being viewed. I will be so thankful when all of this is OVER.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Official

Our house is on the market!!! I have to tell you that coming home and finding a "For Sale" sign in the front yard was somewhat disconcerting. We have been working so hard towards this day {4+years of renovations} and we are finally here. It all makes me a little sad. The end of an era for us. We have spent a ridiculous number of hours getting it ready to show and now all of our hard work will hopefully pay off. I do hope it sells quickly - but I won't hold my breath in this economy/market. 

Photos by Billy Keasler

See more info at Allen Tate Realtors.
You can view a virtual tour here.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I could use some pampering...

My days are all running together. Yesterday I worked all day, came home and cleaned my house like a mad woman before falling into bed around 10PM. I went to bed "early" because I had waxed my basement floor and decided Sophie and I should not hang out in front of the TV in a room full of fumes. Then I didn't even sleep well :(

Today, I ran home during lunch to let the photographer in to take our house pics for our listing - Sophie did not like this one bit. Then it was back to work for moi. After work, I rushed home to pick up Sophie {we were out of dog food and I hated leaving her home by herself and starving}. We ran to Lowe's to pick up door pulls for closets, then to PetSmart to pick up dog food. She ate in the car in the parking lot. Then to McDonald's for me {I haven't cooked in almost a month, this is a sad, sad thing}. Then to Walmart to pick up a few things I needed for the house. Sophie was very patient through all of these errands - I think she was just glad to be out of the house.

When I got home, I played in the yard with Soph, then I drilled holes in the closet doors and added the hardware I purchased. Then I cleaned our glass shower doors. Then I cleaned our bathtub in the hall bathroom. This was a very involved task that thankfully turned out well... let's just say we have been using the tub to hold all manner of things and to clean tools. It wasn't pretty. But it is now spic and span. And I am tired from all of the cleaning.

The house will be listed tomorrow and I have the task of making sure it stays CLEAN. This does not bode well for me cooking for myself in the near future since cooking = more cleaning.

Sophie and I will be heading to Atlanta on Thursday evening to spend a long weekend with Daniel {and to attend a friend's wedding}. I am so thankful that there are days of relaxation in my future.

Project 52: Date Nights - Early Bird

Daniel drove all of the way home on Thursday night - which meant a little more time together this weekend. 

For our date, Daniel suggested we used a gift card he had found and go to BoneFish Grill for an early dinner on Friday. We literally went straight there when I got home from work so that we wouldn't have to wait a long time for a table {we have been known to go to early bird specials to get better deals and save time, it just isn't worth it to stand around for an hour waiting to be seated}.

Dinner was nice. We let them bring us two baskets of bread before our food came. This was a bad idea... because we ate it all. It tasted great, but when our food actually came, I was definitely regretting all of the bread. I think I ate a third of the food on my plate and then I didn't feel so great the rest of the night.

So not a good idea to eat too much before your food comes. I guess I was distracted by actually getting to spend time with my spouse that I didn't consider what I was shoving in my mouth.

So glad that I got to have Daniel home for a little longer this weekend {he stuck around until after 5PM on Sunday to help get all of the big things done on the house}. Even though the weekend was a bit stressful, we got a lot done and our house should be on the market TOMORROW. We are praying that things go well and we get an offer quickly.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 11

These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner may be one of my favorite works of fiction.

This is a historical novel, inspired by the author's original family memoirs. Written from the perspective of Sarah Agnes Prine, one of the most memorable women ever to survive and prevail in the Arizona Territory. This book takes us from 1881 through 1901, weaving a tale about the hardships of growing up and living on the frontier.

It is a dramatic adventure that I never wanted to put down. Sarah is strong and takes whatever life throws at her. The love story interwoven in these pages is epic. I loved every moment that I spent curled up reading about Sarah.

This book is so rich in content, full of passages that I adore. Here are some of my favorites.
Now it seems as if all these folks that were so mean spirited and hateful before suddenly know they need each other to stay alive, and they are much more friendly and willing to share things.
I wonder if every new mother feels as if there is nothing left of herself. Every minute of my day and every last thing I do is tied to this little someone else. I am scared to death I will do something wrong, and she will die or grow u p meager or sickly. And I got to thinking about all kinds of things like, how will I teach her not to be selfish? And how will I know if she has a sickness when she is too little to say what hurts. I am driving my mother to distraction asking her questions.
One thing I know... is that if he was quiet, and you were quiet, and neither or you minded it, then you are in love... A friendly silence can speak between two who will walk together a long way.
Taking a school test is a new way to be afraid, and takes the knees right out from under you. If I'm riding a horse and get thrown, it's just a matter of getting back on. And if I'm fighting for my life, there's only living and dying to choose from. But taking that test, that's like showing other people the inside of your thoughts, and just waiting for them to say wrong, wrong, wrong, and you can have a thought that seems right but since you never went to school, maybe it isn't.
It seems there is always a road with bends and forks to choose, and taking one path means you can never take another one. There's no starting over nor undoing the steps I've taken. It isn't like I'd want to not have my little ones and Jack and that ranch, it is a part of life to support yourself. It's just that I want everything, my insides are not just hungry, but greedy. I want to find out all the things in the world and still have a family and a ranch.
My life feels like a book left out on the porch, and the wind blows the pages faster and faster, turning always toward a new chapter faster that I can stop and read it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rough Week


This week has been a tough one. Emotionally. Mentally. Physically. Just tough on so many levels. This post may be long. I just need to get some things off my chest. I don't know if I have it in me to talk out loud about these things, so if you want to share advice or encouragement, I ask that you do it in the comments or through an email...

On Tuesday morning, I found out {via Facebook} that a friend from high school, Buddy {Trey} Harp had died in a car accident. He was the older brother of a friend, but we were all in church youth group together and I would count Buddy as a friend as well.

It has been at least 10 years since I had seen Buddy so I don't have a significant personal attachment to him. HOWEVER, I find it incredibly tragic that he died leaving behind a wife and 6-month-old child, as well as his entire family. The whole story breaks my heart. I hurt so much for his wife and child and the pain they must be suffering right now. Every time I think about them, it makes me start to cry. I can't live my life crying, but I am learning that crying can be a good relief from pain.

This situation continues to weigh heavy on my heart. On top of that, it continues to be difficult to be separated from Daniel. During the week, we are both so tired it is hard to communicate effectively. And then when he is home, we are having to make tough decisions, work hard and we don't have a lot of time to just be us. I know those days are coming, but after a week like this, I could really just use 30 minutes to cuddle and not think about anything else. I need to feel connected. I need to feel like if for some AWFUL reason I lost him, we would have spent some quality time together.

The stress of getting our house on the market is really having an impact on us. We are both dog tired. We are forgetting things. We realized Friday night that the registration and tags on the Altima was expired. So I got up early this morning to go get an inspection. Then the realtor came by to sign paperwork {and answer all of D's questions}. The landscapers showed up too. Then they left without doing a major component of the yard work we had agreed to... talk about STRESS. Daniel called the owner of the company and the guys came back this afternoon to finish - it was just a misunderstanding, but stressful nonetheless. I have been on my feet working for the past 13 hours. I am exhausted and we still have work to do.

Have you ever said something out loud that you immediately regretted? This happened to me on Friday. I wish I that I could CNTR+Z my life. But I can't. I said some things that may have {unintentionally} hurt a friend. And there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I have apologized, but that doesn't lift this burden. I wish I could be like Sophie {my dog} and show remorse for being bad and then let it go and immediately return to loving everything and everyone and being loved in return. For humans, that seems to be a much harder thing to do.

So. It has been a rough week. I have no idea what the future holds. I pray that the coming week will be a good one. I continue to pray that God will hold the family of Buddy Harp in his hands. Our house will be officially on the market on Wednesday {as long as nothing catastrophic happens}. Daniel and I will be spending next weekend together in Atlanta at a friend's wedding. I hope this gives us some time to rejuvenate and reconnect and just appreciate being together again. And I especially hope that things work out with my open mouth, insert foot incident.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Remember When...

Periodically {like once a year or so}, my brother sends me the sweetest pieces of nostalgia from our childhood. Today I opened the mailbox and found a package with the following note:

Do You Remember The Times?
  • We went to Canada every summer?
  • We lived at 603 King Street?
  • You ripped off the van door?
  • We went to "Splashdown" every summer?
  • You were me and Angela's mediator? Oh wait... :)
  • We lived in Tennessee?
  • We played in the snow in Sarnia?
  • I lived with y'all in NC and was charged line by line - "that's $1.28 for a bowl of cereal"
  • The family reunions in log cabins?
  • We all had your Mazda 626 and TVs and clothes and art pieces
  • Spot {our dog}. 
  • Trampolines
  • Home Renovations
  • Youth Group
  • College
Inside the package was a stack of OLD pictures he had found on a recent visit home. What a sweet trip down memory lane...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Project 52: Date Nights - Have You Seen My Shoes?

Being separated continues to be a tough experience, but we are making the most of it... here is a recap of our date "weekend."

Daniel came home on Friday, dropped his stuff in the living room, did some work on the house and then crashed. I came home to find him exhausted and in bed. I have to confess that my first reaction was to be annoyed and run around and put away {hide} all of his stuff since we had The Staging Girl coming by to give us advice on how to best stage our home when we put it on the market.

By the time Barbi {The Staging Girl} arrived, I had gotten over my annoyance {and had also forgotten that I threw Daniel's work shoes in the coat closet}...

Anyways, we had a great meeting with Barbi {see this post} and then we ran to grab a late dinner at O'Charley's where we discussed our weekend plans and how much we wanted to spend on staging and landscaping.

Saturday was a huge shopping day for us – this was a bit overwhelming since we are not big shoppers. We normally meticulously plan out what we intend to buy. We research like mad and then we go about finding the best deals. It is important to us to make sure we are both on board with purchasing decisions since we BOTH live in the house. Saturday was a bit overwhelming because we essentially threw caution to the wind and hit the stores with a list in hand. We managed to get everything at IKEA, Lowe's and Target, but it was overwhelming to pick out items that will {hopefully} stay with us for some time.

We spent Sunday rearranging the furniture in our basement and then we headed to the Original Pancake House {I was too exhausted to cook all weekend – shopping really wears me out.} Once again, we said our goodbyes in the parking lot and Daniel headed back to Chattanooga.

An hour after he left Charlotte, I received a call: "Do you know where my work shoes are?"

OOPs. I had completely forgotten that I threw them in the coat closet on Friday night before The Staging Girl arrived...

Monday, March 15, 2010

the good. the bad. and the random. (Selling the Morganford House, March 2010)

The Good. 
The stager that came by our house said we shouldn't hire her and proceeded to give us some great tips.
The Bad. 
She did say that we should hire a professional landscaper to do some cleanup in our yard. 
The Random. 
I found these rather large, fake palm tree plants at IKEA for $12.99 {I purchased two}. Daniel thought they were real when I brought them home. He was excited about the price tag, but less excited that it cost an additional $14.99 for the pot to hold the plant.

The Good.
Several houses in the area went under contract last week. This strengthens the value of our house.
The Bad.
We decided to wait until Saturday to finalize paperwork with the realtor. Daniel had too many questions about the contract to go ahead and move forward without having the opportunity to talk in person to the realtor.
The Random.
I gave Sophie a bath last night and managed to spray water all over the bathroom while I was busy focusing on lathering the pup... thank goodness for tile floors. OOPS!!!

The Good.

 After a major shopping trip including stops at IKEA (twice) Target and Walmart, we have everything we need to finalize staging our home.
The Bad.
The consensus is that we need to install closet doors in the bedrooms. In theory, this would be an easy fix. In actuality, when we framed in the closet we managed to make them 3 inches too wide for standard closet doors. Unfortunately we don't have the time and don't want to spend a lot of money on specialty doors. After some intense brainstorming {and trips to Lowe's and Home Depot as a part of the mega shopping trip on Saturday}, we have finally figured out a work around that we can live with {that is relatively inexpensive}.
The Random.
Daniel misses my cooking, but I haven't had the energy to cook when he is home {I haven't cooked for myself since he left 2 weeks ago}.

The Good.
My Life in France {Julia Child's memoir} is waiting for me at the library.
The Bad. 

I haven't had time to go to the library to pick it up.
The Random.
I have watched very little television in the last two weeks. I don't watch much to begin with, but projects have taken over my life. Also, The Style Network has disappeared - it used be a part of our cheap cable package... I wonder what happened? I miss Clean House. It was the one decorating-type program I could enjoy since we don't get HGTV!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Pottery Barn Meets Urban CoffeeHouse

"Pottery Barn meets urban coffee house" is the phrase that Barbi, The Staging Girl, used to describe our home. 

On a recommendation from our realtor, we set up a consultation with Barbi {she stages homes for a living}. I have never felt so validated in my life as I did when Barbi walked through our home and then stopped abruptly to say, "What the hell do you guys need me for? You're house is perfect. Your realtor is going to laugh at me for saying this, but I would be doing you a severe injustice to charge you money when you have already done all of the work."

Free of charge, Barbi proceeded to give us very specific advice on minor things to change to make our home show the best.

She also gave us great advice like:
  1. Make sure before every showing to bake Chocolate Chip Toll House cookies
  2. Put a note on our fridge telling prospective home buyers to help themselves to a coke
  3. Have Michael Buble music playing
  4. Turn all of our lights on and the fans on low. 
She also suggested that we write a letter to our potential buyers telling them why we love our house and our neighborhood. 

She gave us 45 minutes of her time and wished us the best. This is a woman I would recommend in a heartbeat.

It makes me happy that she described our home as feeling like an urban coffee house. Also glad that we are able to fake Pottery Barn's look - as we are way too cheap to shop there.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Book 10


This week I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. This is the second book I have read by her {the first being Many Waters}. She truly has a gift for weaving science fiction with Biblical themes.

Five of my favorite passages from this book:
"Wee mussttn'tt looose ourr senssess of hummorr. Thee onnlly wway ttoo ccope withh ssometthingg ddeadly sseriouss iss ttoo ttry ttoo trreatt itt a llittlle lligghtly."

The more a man knows, the less he talks.
 

Experience is the mother of knowledge.
 

"What you will soon realize is that there is no need to fight me. Not only is there no need, but you will not have the slightest desire to do so, for why should you wish to fight someone who is here to save you pain and trouble." - IT {the brain controlling all of the people on the planet Camazotz}

"In your language you have a form of poetry called the sonnet... It is a very strict form of poetry... there are fourteen lines, I believe, in iambic pentameter. That's a very strict rhythm or meter... And each line has to end with a rigid rhyme pattern. And if the poet does not do it exactly this way, it is not a sonnet... But within this strict form, the poet has complete freedom to say whatever her wants..."


"You're comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within?"

"Yes. You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Swing

Ever since I was little, I have had a special place in my heart for this type of swing {seen on Desire to Inspire}. This feeling stems back to when I was a missionary kid in Papua New Guinea and my grandparents had a swing like this on their porch. I remember sitting in it with my oldest cousin, Melita. Now that I am older, I would love to recreate some of that nostalgia and maybe get some pieces of furniture {like this swing} that remind me of my childhood...


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Project 52: Date Nights - Pillow Talk

Our entire weekend was a date in the sense that we got to spend 36 hours together.

It was nice to have Daniel home. It was hard to have to share our precious time together interviewing realtors, but I suppose that this is a necessary part of getting to the next phase of our life. Thankfully we are about ready to make a decision and our house should be on the market by next weekend or soon thereafter.

The best part about Daniel being home, was laying in bed and talking. I miss talking. Talking on the phone just doesn't cut it for me. And only having 20-30 minutes a day for phone conversations has been difficult. Sharing our daily lives through ongoing dialogue is a key element to our marriage.

I can deal with being alone. But I miss conversation. Friday night, in the dark, catching up on our week apart, was a nice way to end a very busy week.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Two Roads Diverged in a Wood

Have you ever chosen a path in life and then wondered what your life would have been like if you had taken another route? I think it is natural to be curious and have moments of "what if" that cross your mind.

Wouldn't it be interesting if the path you had once considered, turned out to the be the path you were on, just 10 years later?

That is exactly what my husband is experiencing right now.

When Daniel was in high school, he seriously considered entering the sub-nuke program with the Navy. After much contemplation, he decided he didn't want to commit the time to the Navy and he opted to go to college {where he met me}.

This path led him into civil engineering and a 4-year post-college stint in land development {which came to a screeching halt when the economy and real estate market went bust}.

So one year of unemployment later, he finds himself in a nuke program that is a ridiculously good fit for him. Not only that, after a week of orientation, he realized that he will be working with a lot of ex-Navy guys. So... if he had taken the original Navy path, he might have ended up with this job at TVA anyway. How's that for providence?

I am personally thankful that instead of the navy, he chose to go to college and we had the opportunity to meet. Which led to getting married. And now I get to be a part of his journey.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

What To Do...

Today we met with two very different realtors regarding selling our house. I knew both from my years at Allen Tate and I also freelanced for both of them.

That being said, it was an interesting presentation. It is going to be a hard decision. Both would be excellent choices. It is hard to know which to pick in order to 1) sell our house quickly and 2) get a good price for all of the work we have done.

Thankfully Sophie was relatively calm while these {percieved} strangers came into our home. It is going to be a bit of a pain showing the house since I will have to make sure Sophie is not here when realtors come by. I feel sorry for anyone who attempts to come into the house if she happens to still be here. Both realtors promised me that we would have warning and confirmation of visits ahead of time so that I could remove her from the house... we shall see.

This morning's realtor was extremely prepared. She really knows our target market and our neighborhood. She has a license in appraisals and had pulled a lot of comps to give us a fair assessment of what to expect. It is very important to her that we be up front with any problems with the house.  She is of the opinion that we should go ahead and have estimates on hand of possible repairs that we might have to do {before these things come up}. We are generally in agreement with this approach, but this is a 30 year old house we are talking about.

This afternoon's realtor was more lackadaisical {but not necessarily in a negative way}. He was definitely more relaxed and not quite as researched. We are on the lower end of what he normally sells and he was very upfront about this. He seemed to have higher expectations for pricing and was more inclined to let buyers point out problems and use that as a negotiating tool. This realtor was also flexible with commission - which appeals to the side of us that is about the bottom line and walking away with the most money.

Positives about our home: The bathroom renovations, the openness and the basement "entertainment" area. 

Negatives about our home: Some of our darker choices of paint color {though not necessarily a deal breaker}, and clutter {we plan to clear out the clutter and simplify within reason}. 

Backhanded compliment of the day: "If your house was in another neighborhood, you would get a lot more for it."

There are other positives and negatives about both realtors, it is going to be a tough decision. We hope to decide by next weekend and have the house listed shortly thereafter. Our main goal is to price our home competitively to move it as quickly as possible.

Friday, March 05, 2010

52 Books in 52 Weeks

Week 9, No Books Read
Unfortunately I have had no time to read this week. I hope to be back on schedule with a finished book next week.

Right now I have 6 books from the library in my possession. I am either going to have to kick into high gear and read a lot OR renew them online. I love the internet.

Books in my possession to read: The Pilgrim's Progress, These is My Words, The Zoo Keeper's Wife, Jesus for President, A Wrinkle in Time and The Book Thief.

See you next week.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

the good. the bad. and the random. (First Week Living Apart, March 2010)

The Good: 
I have managed to get up and run {just under} 2 miles every day this week.
The Bad: 
Sophie sometimes gets distracted and yanks on her leash. This is leading to some minor knee pain.
And The Random: 
I am much more likely to drink enough water when I have a 32 oz. Nalgene bottle on my desk {please don't lecture me on BPA}. Drinking all of this water requires extra trips to the bathroom.

The Good: 
I am getting a lot done on the house.
The Bad: 
I don't have time to cook, so I am eating a lot of fast food.
And The Random: 
I have never been to a Jack In The Box before... when you are eating fast food regularly, you gotta mix it up.
Note: I'll be glad when the house is listed and I don't have to work on house projects. This will give me more time to cook and it will be better for my health and {more importantly} my waistline. I might be in trouble if it weren't for the daily running thing.
The Good: 
Daniel gets off at noon tomorrow {instead of 5} and should be home around dinner time.
The Bad: 

We are having a realtor come over first thing Saturday morning, so we are going to have to kick it into high gear and spend our Friday together cleaning.
And The Random: 

The freak March snow storm in Charlotte this week made our yard MUDDY. Sophie had fun running in the mud and then came in and sat on my new, gray chaise. Thank goodness I got the stain out with a can of carpet cleaner that I happened to have laying around {we don't have carpets, so no idea why we have carpet cleaner}.

The Good: 

I have 6 new books to read {requested from the library}.
The Bad: 

They all became available at the SAME time and I have had no time to read this week.
And The Random: 

I went to the dentist this week and still have ZERO cavities. That's right. I am almost 30 and have lived my life cavity FREE.

The Good: 

My family has been awesome at calling and checking on me during this first week flying solo.
The Bad: 

All of these phone calls take away from my time to work on the house {PLEASE KEEP CALLING}.
And The Random:  

Daniel had to go ahead and decide on all of his benefits this week. So he elected to get the family plan since we have to plan long term. This means I am currently double insured {is that possible?} and I am going to have to tell my HR to cancel my insurance. I guess I am going to have to tell them sooner or later...

The Good: 

I have been able to read lots of blogs because we are slow at work.
The Bad: 

We are slow at work.
And The Random: 

Daniel came down with a fluke sickness as soon as he started work. This could be from staying with friends who have 2 little ones or the fact that he dropped his toothbrush on the floor and adhered to the 10 second rule {did I really just tell you that?}.

Salmon Packets


This is my quick fix meal that is super healthy. We eat this twice a month.

Ingredients
2 salmon filets {I prefer fresh}
1 red bell pepper, sliced
One time my husband freaked out when he saw the price of red bell peppers as opposed to green. He persuaded me to substitute the green. I told him it would not taste good. But he insisted. From this experience, I can tell you, without a doubt, that green bell peppers DO NOT work in this recipe.
Sugar Snap Peas {I use one handful per pack}
Salt & Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
White Wine

Directions
Heat oven to 400F.
Tear off sheets of aluminum foil for your packs. Fold edges up to prevent liquid from spilling.
Slice bell pepper and put half in one packet, half in the other.
Place handful of peas in each packet.
Season with salt & pepper.

Drizzle olive oil (about a tsp) on top of vegetables. 
Pour 1 tbsp of wine on veggies.
Pour 1 tsp of lemon juice on veggies.
Place salmon, skin side down, on top of veggies.
Season with salt & pepper.

Drizzle olive oil (about a tsp) on top of salmon.
Pour 1 tsp of lemon juice on salmon.
Fold edges of tin foil in. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until salmon is flaky and no longer pink.

This will serve 2. You can adapt the recipe as needed.

 

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Project 52: Date Nights - So Long. Farewell. My Feet Are Stained. Goodbye.

When I was in college, I spent a summer in Germany and Switzerland. Before the group I was traveling with left the USofA, we were given some basic German words and phrases to learn. Somebody also found a list of "sounds like" phrases to help us with our German. One of them was to say "My feet are stained" in lieu of "Auf Wiedersehen." Which cracked me up and has always stuck with me... most of the time we just said, "Guten Tag."

Anyways, Germany and stained feet have absolutely nothing to do with our weekly date. But this date did end in Goodbye. After a crazy month, an even crazier 7 days and the craziest weekend of working on the house, we topped it off by going to The Original Pancake House {our favorite place to go for Sunday morning brunch}. After eating, we said our {tearful} goodbyes in the parking lot and Daniel left Charlotte to drive the 5.5 hours to Chattanooga.

And so begins a job-induced separation with no clear end in sight. Talk about de ja vu... 8+yeas ago, while in college, we would take turns driving 6 hours {each way} EVERY weekend to see each other. *Gas was a lot cheaper back then, hopefully the driving will not kill us financially.

Unfortunately the house is still not quite ready to go on the market. This week I will be spending my evenings touching up paint, tying up loose projects and CLEANING. I will also be trying to meet with potential realtors to figure out how we want to proceed.

Hopefully the coming week won't be too terrible. Our time apart in the last 7+years has been very minimal {almost non existent} and I am not crazy about the whole separation thing. I am looking forward to our next date because it means he will be back in Charlotte with me for the weekend.

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I saw this on Pop and Shorty and thought that it would be a nice compliment to weekly dating.


Monday, March 01, 2010

Baked "Grilled" Cheese

  
I love to cook and try out new recipes. I could cook a new thing every day and be perfectly content. On the other hand, my husband would be happy if I made spaghetti 3 times a week. But since I am the cook, he is a trooper and eats anything I make.

For his sake, I do have some go to recipes that I try to rotate in periodically.

One of our favorite Saturday lunches is baked "grilled" cheese sandwiches. This is a grown-up version of your normal grilled cheese and you can make as many variations as you care to dream up. This makes me happy.

INGREDIENTS 
Butter {I use Smart Balance}
Sliced Bread {I generally use whole wheat}
Sliced Cheese {I use Kraft 2% Milk American Singles}
Deli Meat of Your Choice
Tomato, sliced
Grated Parmesan Cheese

DIRECTIONS 
Preheat oven to 350F.
Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. {I microwave my butter for 10 seconds to make it easy to spread.}
Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese on the buttered side of the bread.
Place slice of bread Parmesan/Butter side down on cookie sheet.
Layer one piece of cheese, deli meat and tomato, followed by second piece of cheese and top slice of bread. Make sure top slice is butter side out and sprinkle with Parmesan. {Be creative with this. My husband doesn't like tomatoes, so I leave them off of his sandwich. I normally use ham or turkey. Another variation is pepperoni slices with pizza sauce OR roast beef with swiss cheese. Have fun with it.}
Make as many sandwiches as you need.
Bake in oven for 7 minutes. Flip sandwiches and bake for another 7 minutes.

Bon Apetit.


 

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