Tuesday, June 30, 2015

{Weekend recap} Fun and food

As promised, I’m back here on Tuesday to catch up a little.  Wanna read about my weekend?  You know you do.  What if I told you there were treats?  Yeah, I knew that’d keep you reading!

I had my PHX class at the Y Saturday morning and it was a good one!  Some parts of me were still feeling it into Monday.  I rushed home to shower and get ready so we could go to Zachary’s 5th birthday party at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh.  (Zachary is Terry and Vickie’s little boy.)  The theme of the party was reptiles and amphibians and there were animals for the kids to touch and crafts relating to them.  Connor participated a little but when he wasn’t he wandered the room without being too needy or distracting so that worked out well.  I sent this picture to Ashley thanking her for preparing him with all the trips to the library.

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If you are looking for fresh birthday party ideas, consider the museum.  Kids and adults alike enjoyed themselves.

After naps for all of us that afternoon, we joined our whole crew for dinner at the nearby Mexican restaurant.  Connor ate the fish from a fish taco and a healthy helping of black beans and rice.  So healthy, in fact, that his system has, uh, been clearing itself steadily since. #mexicanfooddiet

Sunday was busy with a walk and chores and grocery shopping.  I made one of my breakfast casseroles and as soon as it came out of the oven, I put a pan of cookie-filled cookie bars in the oven.  My one coworker had a lot to celebrate this past weekend: his birthday on Saturday as well as his new engagement the day before!  I know he likes Oreos so I whipped up these easy bars

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The McHusband loved them.  I thought they needed salt, either in the recipe or sprinkled on top.  I might try them again with my adaptation.

My last recipe of the weekend was dinner from my new cookbook, Sheet Pan Suppers.  I chose the Soy-Mustard Glazed Salmon with Broccoli, but I also used cauliflower because the McHusband isn’t a huge fan of broccoli.  Turns out, he likes it just fine when it’s roasted and has good flavor in its crispy ends.  I can’t wait to try something else from the book.

One final note: We have the appraisal of our house this morning and we are keeping all appendages crossed for a good number so that the buyers don’t have any issues with their loan.  I got things cleaned up over the weekend then did a little more last night so the house looks good enough to sell all over again.  Let’s hope the appraiser is a fan of plum-purple powder rooms, new HVAC systems, and cul-de-sac lots with lots of trees.

Oh!  I know you guys are wondering if I got up and ran like I said I was going to.  You’d forgotten about that?  Well, never mind then.

Just kidding.  When I get up at 4:20 to exercise, I want all the credit I can get!  Yes, I did get up and the weather was perfect, which made it worth the lack of zzz’s.

Speaking of, it’s time for me to wrap things up and try to make up some of that beauty sleep.

Connor wishes you a happy Tuesday!

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Monday, June 29, 2015

See you tomorrow!

It’s Sunday night at 9:45 and I’m worn out.  We had a busy weekend and I’ve just sat down to have a few minutes of chill time before going to bed so I can get a few hours of sleep before getting up at 4:20 to go for my Monday-morning run.

Can you believe that thinking about that alarm going off is harder than actually listening to it and getting up?

Hope you guys enjoyed your weekends!  Come back tomorrow for some catching up.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday randomness

Fitness

And after we eat our pizza, we should have dessert!  I made a no-bake peanut butter cheesecake to take to Clover with us this past weekend.  It was the McHusband’s Father’s Day treat but everyone loved it.

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I bought a cookbook called Sheet Pan Suppers yesterday.  I love the idea of cooking the whole meal, or most of it anyway, at once.  I’m excited to try something from it on Sunday and I will report back – eventually – on how our meals are going.

TGIF and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pending

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Our house’s listing went live on Monday afternoon last week.  We had our first showing Tuesday evening and by Thursday morning, we had our first offer.  It wasn’t a good one so we didn’t even counter, we just rejected it.  Soon thereafter, we had our second offer – a full-price cash offer!  The buyers wanted a few things but nothing major and we were debating where to go with that offer when we heard a third one was on the way.  This one caused our realtor to utter a choice phrase (“Holy $&*@!”) while on the phone with the McHusband.

The buyers were offering $5,000 ABOVE asking price, they didn’t want anything from us – no closing costs, no work prior to the inspection – and they were good to close on our preferred date, August 17th.  Now, there is a slight catch.  Because this isn’t a cash offer, the appraisal and the loan amount have to work out.  The buyers realize this and are willing to pay as much as $5,000 of their own money if it’s necessary.  But we feel confident that our house will appraise for the purchase price or even higher based on a house that recently sold in our cul-de-sac.

So that’s where we stand: Less than 96 hours of being on the market and we have a deal!  We got some really great feedback on the house and the only negatives were things we couldn’t change: distance from people’s offices, schools (uh, yeah, that’s partly why we’re moving too), and the layout/size of the bonus room since one buyer wanted space for an office.

One set of comments, the ones from the second offer we got, made me tear up:

Love the home, clients’ daughter viewed with me and she agrees this house is fabulous, great love shown in upkeep, d├ęcor and details. We will be presenting an offer! ps. love the note for the a/c, I am with you there!! and the sweet dog!

I did put a lot of love into this house, and we really enjoyed making it our own.  We also love the neighborhood and I am going to miss my neighbors more than they will know.  We have that window unit – a.k.a. our noise machine – in our bedroom and I know it’s an eyesore and so not appealing looks-wise, but it ensures a decent night’s sleep for the McHusband and me.  As my note explained, cool isn’t good enough; we like our room downright frigid for sleeping.  Luckily that window is sorta tucked around the back of the house so you don’t see the ugly unit when you’re looking at the house.  And in the new house, the master bedroom’s windows are on the back of the house so our noise machine gets to come with us and be used there!

We had the inspection of our house this morning and don’t expect anything big to pop up.  There will probably be a few things we’ve lived with, like the water on the fridge not working, and we’ll just have to decide what to take care of for the buyers.  I kinda feel like I owe them considering what a good deal we are getting.

Other than house stuff, we were in Charlotte and Clover this weekend for Maxie’s birthday party and visiting with the McHusband’s family.  Maybe I’ll get around to posting some pictures from those things this week…

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Let’s catch up

So big news around these parts – McMania is moving!  Not on the internet, but IRL.

The McHusband and I put an offer in on a house and it was accepted!  We’ve had the house inspected and it checks out, no major issues.  The McHusband has also talked to the HOA about building a detached garage, and they have given us an official unofficial okay to move forward with that project.

We are supposed to close July 31st.  But guess what we have to do first?  Sell our house!  We just listed it this week – Monday to be exact – and we’ve already had four showings with two more scheduled for today.  Supposedly the buyers from one of the showings from yesterday were going to submit an offer but as of 10 pm Wednesday night, we haven’t gotten it.

The new house is maybe 10 minutes from where we are now, but it’s more “in town” than our current house.  It’s about 500 SF bigger PLUS it has has a walk-up unfinished attic.  Can I get a hallelujah for all that storage?!

The lot is the same size as we have now, still has lots of trees, and it comes with a playground. 

Plus, there’s a screened-in porch for us to enjoy!

It needs some updating – painting the trim in the kitchen and den and replacing the slate floors with hardwoods – and we hope to tackle those things before moving it.  Or, rather, enlist the help of professional tacklers who will wrap up these updates before we start living there.

Having our house on the market is tough.  I don’t normally make my bed every day and it’s stressful leaving the house perfect every morning when we leave for work.  But the way the showings are going, we’re hopeful that this process won’t drag out too long.

Anyway, that’s why things have been so quiet around here.  We’ve been working hard around the house in addition to trying to live the rest of our lives, and I’m beat at the end of the day.

Do me a favor and keep your fingers crossed for us!

Friday, June 12, 2015

{Recipe Recap} Slow Cooker Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

We started the week with some food talk, then we enjoyed some dessert midweek; we might as well finish strong with more food.

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This meal could’ve been baked after cooking the quinoa first.  But the crockpot helped save me a step and kept me from having to defy the laws of physics by being both in the kitchen AND putting Connor to bed at the same time.

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I didn’t have enough chili powder and this was still plenty flavorful, but I do think a little more heat would’ve been nice.  I wanted it to be more of an all-in-one meal for us so I also threw in some browned ground beef as well.  Mine cooked for less time than expected so if you make this, it could take closer to 2.5 hours.

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If you’re looking to take some of the stress out of dinner prep, I recommend giving this recipe a try.

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TGIF!  I am looking forward to an early bedtime tonight (But aren’t I always at the end of the week?) then we’ll mostly be doing stuff around the house this weekend, but we may also have dinner with Rick and Sabrina and their 10-month-old, Owen.  They recently moved back to the area from Boston and we’re happy to have them living close by again.

Have a great weekend!

{Recipe adapted from here}

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

{Recipe Recap} Brownie Bars Two Ways

I wanted to make sure to share these two treats with you this week but I won’t be going on and on (and on) about them like they deserve.  This mom-wife-employee-friend-exerciser is tired!  After approximately 5.5 hours of broken sleep Sunday night, I got up at 4:20 Monday morning and went for a 30-minute run that started at 4:35.  The upside is the morning was very nice and the roads were empty (as they should be!).  But it was a long day because I didn’t get home from dinner with the girls until 9:15. (Totally worth it!) 

Then yesterday was a normal workday but it was the McHusband’s turn to have a social evening since he had concert tickets.  So I tended to Connor then headed out to the driveway for my own boot camp where I kicked my own butt.

So don’t take my lack of words about either of these treats to mean that they aren’t good.  Both are decadent.  Delicious.  And one is decidedly gooey.

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Heather requested some caramel marshmallow brownies that I made once before.  When I made them the first time, I used a boxed brownie mix and chocolate-covered pretzels as my topping.  This time, I made the brownies from scratch according to the recipe and used Crunch Bites as the topping.  I thought they were much better: the brownie was fudgier and I’m a fan of the Crunch Bites.  Heather, however, preferred them the way I originally made them.

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For Vanessa, I chose these Butterfinger Brownie Bars and they were a hit with everyone!  I shared one with our waiter and even he loved them.  I didn’t use any dark chocolate chips, just the minis and more peanut butter chips than the recipe called for.  I will definitely be making these again.

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You won’t go wrong making either of these treats, take my fewer-than-usual words (and pictures) for it.

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{Butterfinger Bars very slightly adapted from here}

{Marshmallow Caramel Krispie  Brownies barely adapted from here}

PS  Heather’s birthday was yesterday so a happy belated blog shout-out to her!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Food talk

I know, no surprise that I’m talking about food, right?  I can’t help it, I love the stuff!  Believe me, I wish I had a more “take it or leave it” attitude, but I just don’t.  Give me all the food!

One of the most interesting classes I took in college was Nutrition 101.  Not only did it keep my attention, but it was also useful.  The basics of what food does for our bodies?  How is that NOT a good thing to know?  I’m not saying I live by that info, but it’s helpful when I am trying to make healthy decisions.

I bring this up because I came across a couple links that were interesting and I thought I’d share.  Maybe I’m not the only one who’s interested in what’s in my gut or how active I should be.

Even before I was a mom, I was concerned with how antibiotics affected my natural defenses and now that I am responsible for someone else’s health, it matters that much more.  I am grateful that Connor has never had to be on a prescription medicine of any kind so far and has had very few doses of even an OTC painkiller.  Don’t get me wrong, modern medicine has its place and I would never withhold the proper treatment, but I think sometimes people are quick to ask for drugs and I don’t want to be that person.

Before I had a baby, I was quick to say that most people should get exercise most days of the week.  I still believe that, but I know that sometimes even taking the dog on a 15-minute walk can be a challenge.  So believing something is good for you and following through are two very different things these days.  Getting in your steps is a good start, no doubt about it.  And anything’s better than nothing, but apparently 10,000 steps is just a totally arbitrary number.  Very interesting.

Finally, after we’ve talked about eating right and exercising, don’t we deserve some dessert?  Yum!

Toffee Chip Blondies

Hope you guys had good weekends!  Mine was nice.  Busy, but nice.  Lots of quality family time plus (you knew this was coming) good food.  The McHusband, Connor, and I tried a new restaurant in town, The Mason Jar Tavern.  We were all quite happy with our meals.  The McHusband had a burger and I had the black bean-sweet potato hash tacos.  The McHusband tried two new-to-him beers and I had two mixed drinks – and all four were quite tasty to their respective drinkers.

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Connor stuck with water.  Hey, someone had to drive!  Plus, we had errands to run in that same shopping center after dinner and someone had to check things off the list.  Of course, that didn’t stop him from checking out the drink menu…

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I made two desserts on Sunday (more on those soon), and I know one of them is delicious.  I haven’t tried the other yet, but I will tonight when we girls get together to eat dinner (yes, more food!) and celebrate Heather’s and Vanessa’s birthdays so I will report back.  I know I’ve said it before, but I am so glad that we girls make these meals a priority.  It’s really nice to catch up with each other the old-fashioned way: in person.

Hope your week is off to a good start!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Tired

It’s been a long week, bring on the weekend!  I didn’t feel well Sunday night and then didn’t sleep well, which started the week off with more sleep deprivation than usual.

The McHusband hasn’t been sleeping that great either.  We compared our exhaustion yesterday morning.

McHusband: “I’m so tired I tried to put my shoes on before my socks.”

Me: “Yeah, well, last night I put the spinach in the pantry and didn’t realize it til I went back in there a couple hours later.”

So I’m hitting Publish on this post at 8:45 and heading up to bed shortly after and hopefully by the time you read this in the morning, I’ll have made up for a few lost zzz’s.  The McHusband, too.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Grandma Grace

This was supposed to go up last week but it seems there were some technical difficulties between Microsoft and Blogger.  Hopefully they have worked out their differences, and I can be the reliably  intermittent blogger I used to be.

I told you guys last week that I was traveling to Michigan.  It was a very quick midweek trip: I flew out of RDU at 8:15 Tuesday night and arrived back at RDU at 10:15 Wednesday night.  Shannon and I flew up there for our Grandma Grace’s memorial service.  My mom flew in from Charlotte and my dad flew in from Kansas City.

Grandma Grace died on Friday, May 1st after traveling back to MI from Florida.  We are so thankful that she and my Papa (prounounced puh-puh) were able to get back to Michigan where the family is.  Papa has Alzheimer’s and needs full-time care to ensure his safety and health.  Luckily, Grandma Grace is a planner and she had already looked into some homes for him should the day come that she was no longer able to take care of him at home so he was able to transition from the condo to the hospital to an assisted living facility fairly smoothly.

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The thinking is that Grandma Grace was probably having some heart trouble as early as Monday of that week and then the stress of traveling exacerbated whatever was going on.  She was going about her evening, sat down in her recliner, and we hope passed away peacefully while she was taking a few minutes to herself.

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As I said, Grandma Grace was a planner.  When my sisters and I flew up there (by ourselves!) for a visit when we were younger (around ages 6, 8, and 10), Grandma Grace had the whole week planned out.  And not just in her head – she had an itinerary typed up (on a typewriter!) with times and everything.  I’m not as organized as that, but I definitely appreciate her Type A-ness.  It came as no surprise that she also had her service planned out ahead of time.  It was a very nice service, and I have no doubt it went exactly the way she anticipated, from the opening remarks to the reading to the bagpiper at the end.

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We are so thankful that Grandma Grace took such wonderful care of Papa.  They married in the mid-80’s and she kept him in line from then on. Smile  Her family embraced Papa – or Papa Jack as they call him – as one of their own and they continue to do so.  He is very lucky to have so many people looking after him.  He has quite a sweet tooth so I will be sure to send him monthly care packages of treats.  He won’t recall me when they tell him who they are from, but I know he will enjoy them and that will make me happy.

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My Grandma Grace was a lovely and generous woman who loved her family, forwarding emails, cats, antiques, and traveling.  We were fortunate to be a part of her life. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Test

Let’s see if the techies worked their differences out…