Saturday, January 31, 2009
-fix the door jam and install catch/latch mechanism on the french doors near the sun room.
-put a door onto the master bath (why people don't put doors on their master baths, I don't understand.) There is a door on one side but not on the other.
-paint the master bedroom
-fix the printer so it prints remotely (heck if I know how to do that.)
-build in a magnetic chalkboard *new*
-build in a built-in entertainment unit (may need to get a carpenter for this though we have the tools.) As a side note, we bought the TV in Albuquerque. Wouldn't you know it, the TV fits just perfectly with about an inch to spare. I will generate an AutoCAD drawing for this at some point.
-caulk the exterior door and window jams
-caulk a few places inside the house where the house has settled a bit (relatively new construction)
-organize the garage (nick can't find his tools in its current state)
-seal the back porch (wood)
-paint the office
-put up an antenna in the attic
-put in a dryer vent
-put in a terraced vegetable garden (this may or may not happen this year with so much to do)
Future Projects that we won't get to because they cost too much money:
-Fix the lack of curb appeal in the front (add a berm, install planting, etc.) Currently it is all barren. I guess this landscape architect will just have to be embarrassed for a few years as we continue to neglect it.
-Pave the driveway
-Install a patio
-Install office cabinets
This stuff isn't that crazy, but I feel just exhausted with watching my two kids two and under. All these tasks seem insane to me right now because they either involve sleep deprivation or not seeing my hubby for what seems like an eternity. When you watch the kids by yourself all day, the last thing you want to do is have your hubby leave you all weekend to get chores done. The 24-7 job is no joke. Add in trying not to eat junk food (no eating out either) and exercising too and it feels overwhelming.
Will we ever get to it all? At our pace, it might be a decade or two.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Rumor has it that before we started dating Nick had several stacks of pizza boxes piled up to the ceiling in his apartment. The collection was removed prior to the first time I saw his place. His place was so clean that day that I thought he was a neat freak. Later, he would tell me that he spent several days cleaning his apartment in preparation. First impressions aren't always what they seem to be!
As I have yet to succeed in ridding him of this pizza obsession, I have found a way to embrace it. The pizza below is a mere 250 calories for the entire pizza. Admittedly, it is high in sodium, but you can't win every battle. You can find the full recipe here.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I got A LOT for my money this time. My most notable deals:
Colgate Toothpaste $2 each times 2 tubes
minus two 1.50 coupons from the paper
minus 1.50 on shortcuts e-mail coupon
=-50 cents. I made 50 cents on this and got two free tubes of toothpaste. Holla.
Cottonelle Toilet Paper
original cost .99
had four .50 cent coupons i printed out from the web... they get doubled
add an additional .25 off from cell fire
=Made .25 cents and FREE TP, again. Four things of it!!
Green Giant Steamers
original price 1.49
minus.50 shortcuts e-coupon
minus .50 MFG coupon doubles to -1.00
Two Percent organic KRAFT cheese
on sale for $2 each
-.75 when you pick up the coupon in the blinkie machine at the cheese aisle
=1.25 ea (regularly 3.50). I stocked up and got 5 of them. It freezes well. I've done it before.
Kroger Salad Dressing
-.75 cell fire e-coupon
10.49 (these were .50 cents cheaper last week, but we had the fiasco)
-3.00 cellfire e-coupon for two
-1.50 two coupons times two
= 7.49 each (would have been 6.99 last week, but still a good deal)
Chex mix- retail $2
-.60 cell fire coupon
.50 coupon doubled to equal -1.00
total= .40 cents
Ragu gave me a dollar off for no good reason. My receipt says I got a dollar off for buying a pouch. Funny, I didn't buy one. Surprises are nice. I think I just learned to upload all the e-coupons whether or not I plan to use them. You just never know.
My coupon savings alone (not counting Kroger Savings) was 45 bucks this trip. This ***may*** be worth it until I get something else going on.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
We'd like to add some new cabinets to our home office to solve the problem: however, they are very expensive. I've looked into doing pre-fab cabinets from local building supply stores but the problem with them is that they don't make the bottom cabinets at a height appropriate for a desk. They only come in kitchen counter height sizes. They wouldn't work.
Yet, out and about, in all the professional offices I see plenty of what appear to be pre-fab cabinets at desk height. Does anyone know of good places to get pre-fab office cabinets? I've tried online and found nothing.
If we go with the custom cabinets, they will cost $4,326 excluding tax and without adding on an additional $800-900 in installation cost. If you add a laminate counter top with a wood edge you must add an additional $675. Total price of the project is $5901 plus tax. At that price, we won't be doing that for a long while.
Unfortunately, I really couldn't find anything that wasn't in some way insulting or degrading. Within seconds I discovered that liberalism is a brain disease and that the democratic party is a party lacking any morality. Another political blog went on to associate democrats as promiscuous alcoholics. Yet another blog urged individuals to read a defamatory web-site and oh, be sure to get your t-shirts to annoy the liberals here. I could go on and on. I guess this is all to combat the leftist media?
Now, that said, I'm sure there is just as much nonsense on the web that is on the left.
As a result of this research, I have a public apology to make. I am sorry for getting all upset over a little comment a friend made plugging a certain political celebrity who I personally found to be, well, very offensive and untruthful. Fact is, there is very little out there on the blog circuit that doesn't follow this same low level, demeaning style of discourse (at least politically speaking). Surfing over an hour on the web, I was challenged to find much in the way of true content. Perhaps the web is the only place people have to get rid of their angst and disgust for the opponent party. Who am I to say anything?
But, I did find something in the end. The best I could find was Time.com's blog list and the Economist. Time is supposed to have a blog list that covers red, blue "and every shade in between." As a blog based from a news source, it's nice to know that there is a place to go to read opinion with some kind of filter, i.e. without being personally assaulted from either side.
For example, today, I read a wonderful piece here in the Economist about how Obama's statement "I win" in regards to the spending-oriented economic plan he proposed was viewed as "counterproductive our turnism" to the right wing. The author stated that those words seemed very similar to the same kind of sentiment Bush had when he was in office, a sentiment many liberals complained about. He then questioned how deep liberal's commitments were to "a new kind of politics." I have to say that I found that interesting. He had a great point. It was refreshing.
After all, is it possible that there are many perfectly rational ways of seeing things? And could it be that seeing things a different way doesn't make you morally defunct nor mentally unstable nor stupid?
Sunday, January 25, 2009
So today we did our week 3 long run. We hit the hills hard and we didn't feel like pushing much further so we increased our mileage a whopping quarter of a mile. Nonetheless, we have reached a time in our training where preparation with the right gear is a MUST.
Nick discovered today that at the 9+ mile mark, he needs to start using nipple protection. His nipples crack, get red, and bleed if they aren't protected. It's really quite disgusting. I can't even think about it without getting the heebie geebies. NipGuards are a must-have from this point on.
BodyGlide is also a must-have. The sport lubricant is miracle stuff. Most every long distance runner knows that once you reach a certain point in your training your shirts, socks and shorts will cause you to chaffe all over your body... in places you would never think about. Without this fine product, the experience has the potential of becoming much more painful.
Economic Left/Right: 1.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.54
Nick did the same. Here is where he lies. I don't think this test is very accurate. According to the test he slightly left on economic and social issues. I thought we were the other way around?
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Our neighbor across the road is hilarious. Rose (not her real name) is a little uptight. In the planning world, I'd refer to her as a NIMBY (not-in-my-back-yard) type. Apparently, she doesn't like the fact that some people decide to use our subdivision entrance as a turn around spot. Tom, a very friendly neighbor asked her, "Do you ever find yourself lost and need to turn around from time to time?" She exclaimed, "Well sure, but they are tearing up our grass!!" We examined the area she is referring to. It's about six inches off the shoulder.... maybe. The road we live off of is not heavily traveled but there aren't many places to get off the road. Our subdivision entrance is one of just a few. It occurs so often that I've never actually seen anyone turn around there. As far as I know, those tracks could be from me when I turn around after checking the mail. Regardless, if people need to use it from time to time, I think that's OK. Anyway, we ended up talking about ways to remedy this situation. She suggested putting a big rock. Ha.
Then Rose complained that the meadow at the entrance that is currently undeveloped needed to be mowed. To be honest, the area looks natural. We live in the middle of the woods in the country. It looks beautiful in its natural state. I kind of like it. Unfortunately we were in the minority. Our neighbors preferred manicured lawn to majestic meadow. Unfortunate, indeed.
Just as I was leaving, Rose asked me if I had dogs. Of course, I have dogs. I know she's seen them. Well, she let us know that our pugs bothered her husband Jerry and had followed him into the garage one day. Then she later tells my husband that they were nipping at her heels and they scared her. The pugs do bark but they don't nip. I don't even let them out very often. But I will try to keep them closer to the house. I really wouldn't want them bothering people.
I guess some people need to find things to complain about.
Peetie: Viscous Pug
Friday, January 23, 2009
Another horrific act occured on the VA Tech Campus (my alma mater) a few days ago. This article is disturbing and stomach turning. If you aren't feeling up to it, don't click here.
This photo was done by Keri Hensley. You can check out her photos on her website. She is the BEST photographer EVER.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The task of changing the water filter had become a laborious task. It took Nick at least an hour every month to change the dang thing. Even with his great efforts, it would still manage to leak.
Thanks to the advice to some country folk, namely my Aunt Ann and Uncle Borum, Nick has figured out how to get our water filter not to leak. Apparently, you need to soak the gasket to make sure there is no sediment inside of it. A single grain of sand will cause trouble. Then you need to put Vaseline on the gasket before you screw it back in.
It worked beautifully and it took only 15 minutes. What a little friendly advice will do to improve the quality of our lives!
I did a few experimental coupon runs for several weeks in a row to make sure I really understood the lay of the whole coupon process at Kroger. I was informed that the Kroger policy was to double coupons up to .99 cents. Awesome. I used this doubling in conjunction with the coupons I find on Cellfire and Shortcuts and made some great deals. I did this successfully several times for several weeks. My coupons were doubled beautifully up to a dollar.
So, today, I figured, I know how to do this now, let's go and stock up on what I need. I piled my grocery cart full of great deals. Well, then, I roll into the cashier lane and I get what had to be the nastiest cashier on the face of the earth who hated her life and her job and felt the need to pull all those around her down. She had the raspy voice of someone who smoked a good 2 packs of cigarettes a day. She refused to double my .75 coupons. This hadn't been a problem before. OK, she's crazy, I ask her to bring the manager. I think they brought the cashier foremen. Well, she said they don't double to .99 cents as I was told originally. They only double to .50 cents. But sometimes they do double up to a dollar, but that is only occasionally during special events. So they change the amounts willy nilly.
I was fed up so I left the 100 bucks of groceries I had. I have never done that in my life. They clearly don't need my business.
The cashiers can double at their discretion. If you get a good cashier, they will happily double what they can. What does it matter to them?
Further, the coupon policy is set up locally and is based on the manager's discretion as to what the amount of doubling is. I guess in Charlottesville, we are not worthy of the doubling to .99 cents like in the big cities. Our choices are limited.
Well, the only control I have in this matter is where I spend my money and I won't be going to Kroger anymore. They can kiss my money goodbye. Thankfully, competition is coming. I'm going to Super Walmart come Spring. At least their deals are worth the horrible service.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Our runs are incredibly difficult. Unfortunately, the 20 foot GIS elevations google bases the elevation maps on aren't accurate and they don't show all the hills. I mean, there are at least 3 hills that are as big as the big dip in the elevation profile below yet it only shows one?
The kids were champs and slept pretty much the entire way. The high was about 24 today (near record cold) thanks to the high pressure air mass hanging out in the southwest. While I'm not complaining, I wouldn't mind if that high pressure made it's way back over here!
Friday, January 16, 2009
While I was there, grandpa informed me that during WWII he had spent some time in France. In fact, he met a nice girl there but he never acted on it because he was married. When he got back, his lady had two men on the side. Of course, this all happens for a reason. Later, he'd meet my grandmother (his second wife) and make her a very happy woman. She's been gone for a little over a year now.
On the way there, Ladybug vomited in the car. I witnessed it all in my rear view mirror. She did that on our last Fredericksburg trip. I guess I need to take the country curves a little easier.
Kid Update: Green Eyes can now hold his own bottle (albeit not for very long.) Exciting!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Who hasn't gotten a new phone number only to find that person was being followed relentlessly by debt collectors? The last person to have our phone number was deep in debt. We get so many GD (gosh darn, sure...) calls from her old creditors. It's driving me up the wall!! Every other day it's a new one. And, it appears the chick is still using our number as a reference. Seriously?
I'm all for Obama's plan to inlay the infrastructure required for fast internet connections out in the rural parts of our country. Currently, we pay 70 bucks a month for a HORRIBLE satellite internet service (hughes net). You have no idea how horrible it is. Unfortunately, we have no choice. DSL doesn't exist out here. Our service is slower then DSL but we are charged more. Let's not even talk about how much it cost to install.
All of a sudden I'm getting ear infections every other month. WTH (heck), I mean, I'm 32 and I'm reliving my second grade year all over again?
When it seems like too long to wait for the one or two minutes it takes to make fish sticksin the microwave, then you know it's time to work on your patience.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Perhaps it's a bit controversial, but we have a bunch of venison hanging out in our freezer. My Aunt Ann gave me some during our visit. She had gotten a bunch from my Uncle Sonny who lets people hunt on his property.
While, I don't like the idea of killing bambi, I don't like the idea of animals going to waste either. I'm also quite adventurous culinarily speaking and intrigued to see what can be done with the exotic fare (I've never had it except in a sausage form once.) I'm sure many are laughing at me calling it exotic, but that is what it is for me.
me: Are you OK?
toas: Are you OK?
So I pressed on the gas hoping we could get far enough to reach a phone. Luckily, there was just enough gusto left in the car to drive it up to the nearest restaurant, a burger king. We went inside, called our parents and bought a beverage. As we sat to wait for our parents customers came running in and told the cashiers to call the police because there was a bloodied car sitting in the parking lot. If they had looked closely they'd have seen fur. Anyway, I told them there was no reason to be alarmed and why. After which, I was promptly asked, "Where and when did this happen?" I believe the man replied that he was planning to go out and find it.
Does anyone have good recipes to share for venison? We have some venison meat strips and some ground venison. I'm thinking of making a venison stew with the crock pot for the strips and I'm thinking about doing a venison meatloaf for the lean ground meat.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
It was incredibly unhealthy, fried oysters, corn bread and for the sake of saving the meal... some broiled asparagus. I actually do not know how to fry at all. I've never learned. (I prefer Pam) That's why Nick took care of the frying tonight. We don't have fried stuff but once a year, so I'll save it for the experts.
All I could get was a shot of the oysters before they were fried. They went quickly.
Ladybug was skeptical. We called them ocean muffins and she pretty much bought that, hook, line, and sinker.
Regardless, we have to train on these insane hills because flat terrain doesn't exist here except on the highways. There is no such thing as an "easy" run. We did our 7 miler today. It was pretty tough. Below is the elevation profile. Keep in mind that this is one of the "flatter" courses in our area and those small hills are decent hills in and of themselves. You'll need to click on it to see the elevation changes closely.
You (maybe not all of you) have no idea how hard it is pushing an extra 50 pounds of kid and stroller weight up the hills. Nick pushes the kids on the long run days. I barely got it done today without the kids to push so I have to give him credit. I had to push the kids on the shorter Wednesday run and I thought I was going to die.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
My Great Aunt Joyce came over and cooked us a huge family meal in my mother's family tradition. It was like Christmas/Thanksgiving all over again only better.
Above and below: pics of us and the kids on my aunt's property. They are my greatest blessing from God. What a beautiful day too. It was a wonderful 60 degrees.
On the way home, we stopped by some seafood shack for some fresh oysters. We intend to fry them tomorrow. They aren't on the healthy food menu, but they were just canned yesterday and we couldn't help but partake of the fresh local delicacy.We had some political content here but removed it because this is a family blog.
I couldn't help but notice the controversy brewing on our friends' blogs E4H and Feet off the Table. Knowing some of the people where Ali lives (and I used to live) they should probably keep the Christmas program and teach some form of Christian values. As Napoleon said:
"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Nick and I noticed that they cut the frames up to show the amazing results from that stupid towel. We aren't the only ones who noticed. Did you notice?
Check out this little Youtube video to see what I mean.
I find it funny when people keep saying our house is small (if they don't say it they imply it) for the four of us when it's just perfect. We are living off of 525 sf per person, perhaps it may eventually be 435 sf per person?? NO plans yet. Why have all that extra space if you are only going to use it for that very occasional dinner party or guest? Why? So that we can go and brag about it? Does a bigger house make you a better person, or a happier person? I'd much rather have money in the bank then a giant house I hate to clean and my husband in a job he hates to make sure we have money for it all. Bigger houses mean less quality time for yourself and your kids. I think big houses are for families that don't like to spend time together. Sure, everyone needs time away, but do we need an entire wing for the ourselves or the kids?
I'm in utter admiration of Sara. Yay for energy conservation!! She is my hero... seriously. When everyone is out trying to buy flashy giant houses and glammy cars, she is out doing what is best for not only herself but for her country.
If you've lived in a major city like DC (as we have) you learn to live with less space. Most of that extra space is just plain unnecessary. Just because one lives in the country doesn't mean one should go and sprawl out five times over because one can "afford" it out there. I'm glad we've had the chance to be cramped in a little one bedroom condo. It taught us to be appreciative of the space we have and to be wise about how we organize it.
I hope this trend to downsize continues. Thank you for being such a great role model Sara!!
Monday, January 5, 2009
This little blog is for Marie-France. She is like a mother to me. As she can't be here with us, these are photos of Christmas Day at our house to share with her. Marie-France and Christian gave us a little catepillar toy for greeneyes and the cutest little doll for ladybug for Christmas. This is an attempt to thank her.
Ce petit blog est pour Marie-France. Marie-France et Christian nous ont donné cette chenille et une poupée pour noël. C’était très sympa de son part. Elle est comme une maman a nous. Comme elle ne peut pas partager noël avec nous, voici, les photos de noël chez nous.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
My green eyes is 6 months old now and it's time to get back to the old me. I'd really prefer not to wait until Fall, so I'm thinking of doing a Spring race. (This has nothing to do with new years... I sort of loathe resolutions.) I ran up until my 34th week of pregnancy. It was actually easier to go running then, then it is now for mostly logistical reasons. Then, I just needed one kiddo to work with me, now I need two. Then, there is the whole running in the country thing I haven't really gotten used to yet.
My plan is to register for a run tomorrow. We just need to verify whether Nick will be able to run with me (i.e. whether we have a babysitter.) Regardless, Nick is going to train with me. Until I get a giant, mean dog, I don't enjoy running in the country alone.
I looked up a few different training schedules and this one appealed to me the most. It's simple, and has none of that crazy interval training. Having two kids, I don't have a lot of available time. Throw in Nick's limited availability and it's gets nutty. That is sort of an understatement. The limited hours of daylight is also an issue. With that in mind, I have to modify my goals. I just can't go a throw on a pair of shoes and go running. It takes a lot of planning and preparation. There are snacks, feeding times, and toddler tudes to consider.
I'm hoping I can train for this with just two big run days a week. That isn't a lot of running but on the other days I plan to do the elliptical. Having run a full marathon (almost two), I think I can get by with a little less this time if I make the run days really work. Sure, I could probably do a much better time if I could do more runs, but I'm doing what I can do with the resources I have. The important thing is that I get out there when I can. It's so easy to just give up.
This is the proposed schedule. I found it on http://www.marathonrookie.com:
This is my modified schedule, though the days will most likely shift around based on weather...
|1||3 elliptical||Rest||3||3 elliptical||Rest||4||Rest||13|
OK, so it's out there. Now I have to stick to it. I hope the blizzards don't start coming now that I've committed myself to this.
Well, we had a few hiccups along the way (mainly a tow strap that wasn't long enough.) It took us about 5 hours, not including travel time. Of course, we later found out that my grandpa had one in the garage. Ha. Joke's on us there.
The '66 Mustang is now at home. It has seen better days and I'm not sure what we'll be doing with it. There is a Christian jail ministry in town who works on cars for cheap, so that is where we are considering taking it. Hmm... Do we want custom cabinets for our office or a semi-functioning hunk of metal? Something to think about.
It has been a cold couple of days. I drug the kids out for a morning run. I put Raley in so many layers (shirt layer, sleeper, coat, blanket, etc.) she got pretty perturbed during the middle of it. I guess the 5 layers I put on her were overkill.
I was happy I got to see my grandfather today. I don't get to see him much. There is a long story behind my grandfather's need to move and hence why we had to get the car from his house. It's a long story, of which someday I may recant in all its crazy, sorted family details.