Friday, March 29, 2013

Winter's End?

Out on our run yesterday, we only hit snow in a few select areas. This leads me to believe that winter might officially be over sometime soon. The dogs and I really enjoy the cold, but I've discovered that try to run in the snow is not that great. So then, we are pretty pumped to see spring come into focus.

Let's take a moment to celebrate with pictures of my babies.

fun, but difficult.
good times ahead!
get excited!

Monday, March 25, 2013


Do you guys all remember when I first started house hunting, like... a year ago?

Did you notice that I recently stopped talking about house hunting because I was so beset with agony over our inability to find a new house?

Well, I did.

But I am pleased to announce that our offer on a great little reproduction colonial on the world's most perfect piece of land was accepted last Thursday!! (do you hear the cheering?)

It's a very funny story actually. Let me tell you all about it as I throw in some pictures...


 So there I was, last Monday... still wallowing in my own self pity over seeing yet another house that I loved, but that just wasn't right. The Mister and I had done some talking and decided that if we couldn't find a perfect single family house, maybe we would buy another multi-family - move in, and not rent it out until we moved out. We could also buy a "starter home" that required some fixing, do the fixing and then move out in a few years.

We had seen one multi-family house already, and to be honest with you - I was completely overwhelmed.  It needed a lot of cosmetic work, everywhere. I suppose that I have forgotten what its like to walk into a house that needs THAT MUCH work. Aside from which, the house was in a neighborhood that looked somewhat sketchy, and I had no interest in moving somewhere crappy.

So on Monday, I was searching the interwebs for a starter/fixer-uper in a town where I knew we could make a profit; places like Glastonbury, Hebron and Columbia.

eat-in kitchen
When what to my wandering eyes should appear? A perfectly good house (no reindeer).

I looked at the pictures of said perfectly good house. 2,600 sq. ft., a 3 car garage, 4.5 acres, 2.5 baths, 3 bedrooms, a beautiful deck, an outdoor kitchen (!), wood floors, stainless appliances, a second floor washer/dryer room, and best of all, a spectacular price.

"It can't be!" I thought to myself as I read the address.

12 Sadlon Road.

Hardy, har, har, Universe. You got me.... our perfect house about 200 yards from the in-laws, in a town that would provide a 45-minute commute for each of us. Without thinking much of it, I sent the link to the Mister. Both of us just kind of shrugged (I assume) and went about our day.

At home that night I said, "so, what did you think? Pretty funny huh, Sadlon Road..."


"Family Room"

"Family Room"

Dining Room
Me: Well what do you think? Should we look?
Him: I don't know.
Me: It could be terrible, you know.
Him: Yeah...
Me: Or it could be really convenient.
Him: Yeah...
Me: So, should we look or not?
Him: I don't know... (groan)

As helpful as his comments were, I really needed a bit more guidance. He called his Mom, I called mine. Both (unsurprisingly) thought it was a wonderful idea. After all, we'd be moving from 20 minutes away from each of them right down to 2 minutes away.

The next day, I asked our Realtor to make an appointment for us to see it on Friday. Then, a flurry of text messages between me and my mother-in-law and the Mister had us all in a panic that Friday night be too late. I tried to keep my cool, but definitely was feeling the pressure to move fast.

See how I went from luke-warm/shoulder-shrugging to incredibly possessive of a house I had never seen? While the Mr. was ready to make an offer on the spot without having seen the house (he did go in as a kid a few times) I couldn't agree to that, so our Realtor said she could do 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

TV room, "Living Room"

useless front door

stairs/hall that leads to dining room

upstairs looking down
I loved the yard like no other yard before. I mean sure, the house was great and had some really nice features, but I nearly died when I discovered the sink and outdoor pizza oven. Oh the peace and quiet we will have when we cook outside!

Oh the fun that my baby dogs will have as they run through our stream!

Yes, we have a stream!

second floor laundry

upstairs hall bathroom

Master bath, with master closet to the left

guest bedroom 1

guest bedroom 2

Master bedroom
So by 2:00 on Wednesday, we had put in our offer. Then we started to wait...

under the covered deck (off the kitchen)

looking out to our acreage

outdoor kitchen in stone, stream beyond (can't see it here)
Finally, an eternity later (by 11:00 on Thursday) we heard the good news, it will be ours! So let the packing begin!

PS - Quality movers and packers wanted, we pay in beer, cupcakes, cookies, pizza, you name it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

tiniest shoes ever.

Hi friends, how have you been? 

Sick of winter? Oh, me too! What a coincidence...

Now usually, I am a big fan of the snow. The cold doesn't bother me, and I don't mind it being dark all day either. However... this year things have dragged on a bit too long. I did not get to go snowmobiling, we haven't skied in years (due mostly to the exorbitant cost of a lift ticket) and I did not go sledding as planned.

Instead, I "ran" in the snow. Some thoughts on snow running:

1. In December, it was fun. "Oh look at me, out enjoying the 2 inches of snow... isn't it beautiful out here?"
2. In January, it was still kind of fun. "I can run in the snow, and no one else can because they are weak sissies." That was mostly aimed at the Mister, who complained of sore feet and ankles when I took him along.
3. In February, it was absolutely cussing impossible. "I made it .3 miles and feel like I might die." followed a few days later by, "am I dying?"
4. In March, between the snow and the mud, it has been a nightmare, "I am not running until the weather smartens up and figures out that it's mid march for God's sake!"

Anyway, when we got yet another snow storm last Friday, I was stuck inside working most of the day. When I ran out of work to do, I remembered the fact that I had (yet another) baby shower coming up. So I decided to try and make a present. This present, to be exact:

via Homemade Toast
So I tried to print the pattern... but my printer was out of ink. Queue me tracing the pattern from my laptop screen, than scrambling to find some elastic somewhere in the house... don't worry, I had an old dress that I was able to steal it from.

Here's how it went:

is it me, or do those tiny initials make my thumb look fat?
little pieces

toes, post-baste. Hardy, har, har.

coming together! Pre-toe initialing

All done! Man, these are tiny!


So I did it. I'm proud of myself because it was pretty hard and I had to get all Macgyver-y on them to get to the finish line. I don't think they are a useful gift, because I'm fairly certain a baby's feet are only this tiny upon delivery... and they just don't need shoes in the hospital. Basically, I will never make these again. Lucky little Nico (Niko?) Tsontakis will have the only pair.

In any case, I'm pretty sure they are going to be a hit. Personalized baby shoes that someone made with their own hands are quite rare.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Atlanta Activites

A few weeks back, I visited my Chemist friend Amy down in Atlanta. Aside from the debacle of trying to get home after the snowpocalypse, it was a great time! I wont go through every detail with you, because I hate reading blog posts from crafters about their travels... and yeah, I do have an entirely separate blog for my travels (which are pretty hilarious, btw).

But aside from the adventures at the Atlanta Botanical gardens (photos here, you MUST see!) and being Flashdanced at the historic Fox Theater, we also squeezed in some craft time!

If you have never made your own soap, I really recommend you give it a try. Not only is this a very easy craft with a relatively small mess, but its also a way to be creative without actually having to do too much thinking on your own.

That last sentence is for all my lazy friends who claim they aren't "creative"... MOM...

So basically, you go to Michael's and buy the soap base, some molds, and essential oils if you like. Then stop by your local farmer's market or your own garden and grab some herbs.

Wow, you're already ready!

Amy and I found that 4 cubes of the goat's milk soap base would fill up the round (or square) molds we bought at Michel's. So we melted them in the microwave for 2 rounds of 30 seconds each. We also found that melting for more than that would end in a soap explosion inside your microwave. Science at work!

Then we added a whole bunch of different combinations to jazz it up. We tried the following:

- orange zest with chamomile tea and almond extract
- dried lavender with oats and lavender extract
- dried lavender with mint leaves and chamomile tea
- oats with chamomile tea and almond extract
- vanilla extract with mint leaves
- coconut with lime juice (not as cool as it sounds)

It was a great activity that let us get creative without taking a whole day. I took home half of the soaps and I have to admit that the orange zest with chamomile tea and almond extract is my favorite - though the tea definitely exfoliates in a kind of harsh way. Give it a try sometime, I promise you wont regret it!