Tuesday, July 30, 2013

...That Deeeelux Apartment in the Sky-yyyyyy

For the last 8 years we were living in a shoebox.  That's not true.  It only became a shoebox when we added L to our family.  While it worked for awhile, we were just outgrowing the space.  H and L can't share a room forever.  When we bought our 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath home more than 8 years ago, we had NO intentions of staying in it for more than 5 years or so.  The best laid plans...

After an incredible amount of searching:  soul-searching, financial planning/saving, and a great real estate hunt, we finally found our house - at nearly twice the size of our first home.  A real forever home in a community we always dreamed of living in - with incredible schools, great restaurants in walking distance, and an adorable neighborhood.  

And so we packed and packed and packed.  And by we, I mean B, my mom, Amee, H and I tried to pack faster than L could destroy our efforts.  On July 11th, we signed our names a million times and got our keys.  

Now I will post an absurd amount of "before" pictures.  Most of these were taken on day 1 - the house is empty and my mom and I started cleaning right away.  Our new home is going to be a work in progress for quite some time.  But we couldn't be happier here.  At least finishing rooms will give me something to blog about?

Our first photo!
I can't wait to have a Christmas Tree in that bay window.
And we could use a little landscaping.

The upstairs bathroom
Pink and burgundy were apparently all the rage in the 40s

Upstairs bath 
View from the master into the hall
2 linen closets
I'm in love with all the doorknobs

H's lovely closet doors
These beauties can also be found in L's room and the family room
Must go

Because there are 4x as many cabinets in our kitchen, my mom brought me my grandma's crystal
I just like to open this cabinet and dream of the fancy dinners I probably will never host

L checking out the grapevines and planters on the patio

I put L's bed together all by myself
Well, my mom helped a little

Spice Rack

Dining room chandelier that I hated.  But now I LOVE.
It's a keeper

View from the kitchen into the dining room.  Family room is on the right.

L's bedroom - before

Lovely fixtures found in H and L's rooms.
Must go.

Move in day.  These are all toys.  Can you say garage sale?

My dad's first meal in our house

After one of many dinners on our new patio/back porch
L checking my progress with pride

Before rugs - these kids make the mess, they might as well clean it up, too!

Bike injury caused by endless riding up and down the driveway
We have a driveway!  Unfortunately for H, it ends in a garage door.

Sweet dreams in her big girl bed.
Within one week, we moved, she no longer is in a crib, and the paci-fairy came and took her pacifiers.
Big Girl, indeed.

Play time in the formerly formal living room
Now it's a formal playroom

Quite possibly the perfect top shelf

Selfie on the new family room rug
I guess it's comfier than the kitchen floor?

View from family room through dining room to the living room
All three rugs are finally down!

Worn out kiddos
Why?  Why is she always topless?

So that's it.  For now.  I'm dying to get some paint on these walls, but everything must happen in time.  First the basement must be waterproofed - so the toys can move downstairs - and the storage stuff can be organized.  It's just so hard to be patient!!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

...Not so Lazy Days of Summer

I am fortunate to have a career that I absolutely love.  And I am even more blessed that this career allows me to spend so much time at home with H and L.  But I'm not going to lie, summer days can sometimes feel really long.  I've been working on finding a balance in keeping us in a somewhat of a routine (because that's how my kids thrive) while trying to stay busy outside of the house.  With the big move coming in a few weeks, we'll be spending a lot of time getting unpacked and set up in our new digs, so I'm trying to make the most of this little bit of calm before the storm.

On Friday, I was skimming Facebook, and saw pictures of a friend who had taken her daughter strawberry picking.  And ala Phineas and Ferb, I told H, "H!  I know what we're going to do today!"  We had been to Stades several years ago to pick pumpkins, so I knew where I was going.  After swim lessons, I fed, bathed, and loaded H and L up and we headed Stades.

H finding the perfect berry

L ate her way through the field
A little dirt never hurt anybody

After a few hours of overwhelmingly cute berry picking, we returned home with a little over 7 pounds of strawberries.  What to do?  What to do?  I did some research and decided we'd make jam.  So the next day when L was napping, H and I set to work.

H - the strawberry hulling machine

Mashing berries

Pot-stirring selfie
Truth time:  I've never made jam.  And I couldn't find the freezer kind of pectin.  And I didn't really want chemicals in the jam because I've become kind of crazy like that.  So I used a recipe that just called for sugar and lemon juice.  And we really made more of a strawberry sauce than a strawberry jam.  But darn it, it's going to be so good on pancakes and ice cream and angel food cake!  Or toast.  A little will go a long way!  

We've got 8 of these little guys
7 in the freezer for later

 After all that, our strawberry supply hadn't been depleted.  So we made popsicles.  H got to be the creative genius behind the lemon juice, strawberry, banana, and orange juice popsicles.

The smoothie popsicle man
All that strawberry hulling didn't go so well for the Captain America shirt
What do you do to stay busy on these not so "lazy days of summer"?


Monday, July 1, 2013

...Tastiness (CSA Style) - Grilled Bok Choy with Soy Ginger Sauce

Our box contained 3 large heads of bok choy (bok choi?).  I've only ever prepared bok choy by chopping it up and adding it to stir fry.  So I thought I'd try something a little different this time, and sticking with our preferred method of summer cooking, I prepped it and had B throw it on the grill.  This recipe was inspired by this recipe I found on Pinterest.

First...in pictures

Bok Choy, sliced and ready to be brushed with olive oil and toasted sesame oil

Sauce Fixin's
Green onion (from CSA box), ginger, lime, rice vinegar and soy sauce

The sauce

On the grill

Time for dinner!

Pork Chops, Corn on the Cob, and Bok Choy with Soy Ginger Sauce
Check out Ashli's easy fail-proof method for perfect corn on the cob here.
You have to try it!!!!  I doubted, but am not a complete corn convert.
 Grilled Bok Choy with Soy Ginger Sauce

  • Bok Choy (We had 5 small heads)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil - plus more for the grill grates
  • 1 Tablespoon grated fresh peeled ginger
  • 3-4 Green Onions, whites and a little bit of greens, thinly sliced
  • 2-2 1/2 Tablespoons Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  1. Sauce can (and probably should) be made ahead of time so flavors can meld.  
  2. Whisk together ginger, onion, vinegar, soy sauce, and lime in a small bowl
  3. Heat clean grill to Medium Heat.  Once the grill is heated, generously oil the grates using olive oil so bok choy doesn't stick.  We like to fold over some paper towel and dip it in oil, then use it to "grease" the grates.
  4. Slice each head of bok choy in half.
  5. Combine Toasted Sesame Oil and Olive oil.  "Paint" bok choy with mixture generously.  
  6. Grill bok choy directly on medium heat for 4 minutes.  Turn.  Grill for another 3-4 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!