Internal Alarm Clock

Note: if I posted things when I wrote them, this would have appeared over a year ago. Enjoy this super old and completely obsolete post.

My child is an excellent sleeper. She has slept 7 hours or more through the night since before she was 4 weeks old. She’s a light sleeper, though, and naptimes have always been tricky, what with all the daylight and 4-wheeling neighbors and midweek midday weedwackers. Rainy days are good nap days.

But while we’ve always struggled with naps, it’s something I’ve come to accept. And until I am willing to shell out the cash for a white noise machine (and believe me, it is imminent), this is just life for us.

The real conundrum is the morning. Obviously, as she grows and her needs change, she has added more and more hours to her nighttime sleep, capping out at 12. But at some point I decided to shift her waketime to 8:00 instead of 7:30 for two reasons: 1) to get more done in the morning before she wakes without having to see the 5:00 hour. Because seriously. And 2) to give her a more reasonable bedtime of 8:00 due to our riveting social life.

And sleeping beauty is all about the later bedtime (cutting plastic vegetables suddenly becomes very important between her last feeding and bedtime), but she will NOT accept the later waketime. She not only refuses to wait until 8:00 to wake up, she started waking even 30 minutes earlier than her old waketime of 7:30.

So 7:00 like clockwork every morning, she lays in her crib kicking her wall through the slats uttering a soft “duh duh duh” to her hippo. If I put her down later at night, up at 7:00. If I put her down earlier, up at 7:00. The few times she has slept past 7:00 have been teething days and sick days.

So I guess I’m just supposed to accept it? I can’t! I mean, she can play in there for 45 minutes to an hour. And she does. She’s a very cheerful riser. But I can’t resist going in to get her! I want to be part of the Evelyn-hippo crib party. How is one expected to sit on the couch drinking coffee and meal-planning with so much CUTE happening in the other room?! That’s madness.

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Floor Plan and Some Very Strangely-Chosen House Pics

So. Since my brother is going about posting comments on my blog posts demanding more, I suppose I should post something. It’s been the usual three months.

I must confess. I have no idea where to start. Obviously our lives have been sucked up by our lovely little home. You’ve seen the video tour. So I suppose next would be a room-by-room picture tour…but I don’t have that right now. So I’ll probably post a crude photoshop rendering of our floor plan.

You will be excited to learn that we have completed several projects. So, after I lay the groundwork of exhilarating room photos and floor plans, I will tell about our paint choices, new closet, headboard upgrade, shower woes, and impromptu tv purchase and mounting.

For now, here are some snippets to tide you over…most likely lazily unedited as per the norm.

Happy Painter!

Moving in.

Installing towel racks like a boss.

Partially painted laundry room.

Oddly framed picture of the doors leading our to our covered porch on which Paul and his father are standing looking in different directions.

And everyone’s favorite not-to-scale, lazily-created (as in missing the water heater closet, the fireplace, and all the windows) floor plan. Enjoy!

I promise I’ll be back soon with some more interesting subjects. But as always: Don’t hold your breath.

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Our First Peek at Our New House

As promised, here’s the video we took when we first saw our house.

A few things you should note:

  • Go find your Dramamine. I am operating the camera. I am BAD at operating the camera…and, as my husband reminded me, short. Apologies for the spazzy camera jerks, copious views of the floor, and weird out-of-focus moments.
  • I do not sound like this in real life. I think I was euphoric about finally spending all of our hard-earned savings.
  • I have indeed seen bedrooms, pantries, laundry sinks, and tv nooks before. The oddness of my inappropriate excitement over these things is not lost on me.
  • I’m sorry I said perk…twice. It was weird. Hopefully we can move forward from this.
  • I do not know why I zoomed into the burn pile.
  • I am also aware that our closet is not particularly large…remember, euphoric.

Thank you for bearing with me as I attempted to open the shower door. What was your favorite quote? Mine was, “WHOA! This is a pantry!” Close second: “So, gas logs?”

I assume Paul’s default response to my hyperactivity is to go all unimpressed. I assure you, he loves this house.

It looks SO different now! I can’t wait to post pictures of everything we’ve done. Just watching this video again after nearly four months makes me feel better about the progress we’ve made.

More to come!

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We Bought a Zoo House!

Our new house (…and Paul standing in the driveway with a tripod…)!

So tonight will mark 5 weeks that we’ve lived in our new house.

I know. I’m sorry.

So, guess what! I have a video of the first time we saw our house…which is good since I took virtually no pictures before we started painting, pulling bars off walls, and capping random gas pipes jutting into the living room. I’ll have the video in my next post.

This is just after we signed approximately 3028 dotted lines…and walked out of the attorney’s office unceremoniously with no keys. House Hunters always leave with keys. But we were still uber excited despite self-portraiting this shot in the car.

Did I mention that just an hour before we took this I vomited on the way to the attorney’s? And that about 15 minutes after we took this I did it again? Yeah…fun.

But then we headed to our house, snatched those keys out of the lockbox, took some pictures in front of the house, had friends over, had our first meal there, and started painting. Yeah, we crazy.

Special thanks to our friend, Katie, who coached us on how to be awesome AND took these pictures. (And yes, the “SOLD” is [poorly] photoshopped, and I was apparently too lazy to make it tilt the same way in all the pictures.)

Yay, self-timer!

But don’t worry, we moved ourselves mostly in (like, just Paul and I) the next night, and my parents came to visit the NEXT night.

So…since we’ve practically lived here a year, I’ll post the House Tour Video (and all my awkwardy goodness) next.

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Excused Absence

So I’ve been pretty absent lately. But with really good reason.

You see, aside from buying our first house (which is still in process), I’ve been traveling every other week for work. Of course, just my normal 8-10 hour workdays + prepping/making dinner + general/basic/bare minimum (emphasis on bare minimum) housekeeping = a very tired Jenn by 7:00 pm when everyone (…Paul) is home and fed. (Call me a wimp, but my brain hurts too much at the end of the day to formulate a blog post.)

So you can imagine if my work week starts on Sunday at 2pm when Paul drives me to the airport (followed by 6-7 hours of airport trekking, flying, car renting, and driving to my hotel) continuing on with longer later workdays and co-worker dinners then 6-7 hours travel on Thursday and ending with wrapping up Fridays (which are still normal 8-hour workdays) by unpacking, laundry, and expense submitting how I might be one tired (for some reason generally-fatigued) girl by the end of “travel weeks” as I’ve grown to affectionately call them (I know…I’ve always had a knack for giving nicknames).

So yes. I have much to say on the “Home” front. Ha. Especially after a full month of silence. But I cannot promise when or how often I will say it. For now, here’s how the breakdown might happen (as I’m sure I’ve babbled much too much about how tired I am to expect you to now read on an entirely different topic):

1) How we prepared (after saving the down payment) to buy a house
2) How our first bid went down…and then WENT DOWN, if you know what I mean…
3) How the current house on which we are bidding is progressing
4) General Lessons Learned

…and eventually!

5) Our New House: what and what next.

So stay tuned! Maybe I’ll surprise us all and be consistently updating…but please don’t hold your breath.

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PBJ & the Great House Hunt: It is time


I hope you just imagined a peanut butter and jelly sandwich searching for a home…that was the image I was going for.

EXCITING NEWS!!! After more than four long back-breaking (where back-breaking equals enjoying your youth with trips and electronics while intermittently saving for your future) years, we finally have the down payment for a home.

Our plan was simple, but it was by no means easy (ugh, gag the cliche). Here’s the gist of why it took us longer than most to get here:

Our Goals
1) Pay off my student loans. (Paul got a fabulous scholarship and grant for going to a military college and participating in ROTC, so he was all paid up.) [Completed: September 2010]
2) Pay off my car. [Completed: December 2010]
3) Save up 3 months savings [Completed: April 2011]
4) Save up enough money to buy two new computers and a nice DSLR camera. (We built this into our plan because we spend A LOT of time on our computers. We were also finding that we wanted to capture beautiful pictures for our family memories. While this is not AS important to us as buying a house, it was nevertheless important and fell next due to the amount of time it would have taken us to save a down payment first if we waited. Read: the past two years of memories.) [Completed: December 2010]
5) Save 20% of the price of a home we could afford. [Completed: June 2012!!]

So at the end of June, we began our search for the perfect home. We’ve had a few ups and downs thus far, and I would love to share what we have been learning. I’ll share how we’re preparing to pack, some of the houses we’ve looked at, our thoughts, some of our preliminary experiences in the bidding process, and other ways we’re preparing to buy a home (like appliance shopping and floor pricing).

Disclaimer: We are in fact first-time homebuyers. We have no expertise, and we have no experience. I am sharing our house-hunting thrills and woes in the hopes that our mistakes and ignorance can help others…or make them laugh.

[Want to know more about how we handle or finances? It’s nothing special, but it works for us and keeps us out of trouble. Check out this post from almost exactly two years ago (note the prediction that we’d save up for a house a year later, but last summer we actually had to buy Paul a new car) or this post about finally being debt free.]

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Orange Crepes with Banana and Cheesecake Filling

So. I tried to write three different posts on three different subjects, but I kept boring myself to tears. I decided, instead, to keep it simple.

Here is a recipe I made for my brother and his roommate when they came to visit near the end of June. I made it for Jake several years ago when I was first married and we had our first guests in our little basement apartment. This time around I made some adjustments (you can actually find a link to the old recipe in the blog post linked above) and served them along with some virgin mimosas – sparkling grape juice and Simply Orange with Mango (which I’m pretty sure is the most delicious juice on the planet). Not an overly healthy or colorful spread, but delicious from what I hear.

[Recipe at the Bottom]

I use a basic crepe recipe that I simply add things to. This time I added some orange zest to the batter…and I might have added a little bit of orange juice as well as some extra flour to counter the extra liquid. The filling is from a 4th-of-July pie…but I’ve decided it needs a bit more cream cheese. Nevertheless, I’m listing the recipe as I made it last.

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs melted butter
zest of about half an orange

1 pkg cheesecake pudding/pie filling (instant kind)
1/2 cup cold milk
1 8oz pkg Neufchatel cream cheese

powdered sugar for garnish

Making the Filling
1) Using a stand mixer outfitted with whisk attachment, whip cream cheese until light and fluffy (as light and fluffy as cream cheese can get, you understand).

2) Mix cold milk and pudding mix together in a measuring cup until well combined. Add to cream cheese. Whip until combined. Continue adding milk and whipping until mixture reaches a pourable, but still very thick, consistency. Set aside in fridge.

Making the Crepes
1) Melt butter. I like to do this in the microwave. I let it heat until it’s almost completely melted, and then stir until it is completely melted. This way it’s slightly cooler when it’s time to mix with the other ingredients.

2) Whisk water, milk, and egg together in a medium bowl. (I use a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup.) Whisk in melted butter.

3) Using a microplane zester, zest about half the orange peel into the liquid mixture. Whisk it in a bit.

4) Sift flour and salt into the wet ingredients, and whisk to combine.

5) Set griddle or electric skillet on medium-high heat. Lightly oil or butter (I always prefer butter).

6) Whisking before each crepe (to ensure eggs and lighter liquids don’t separate from each other), pour about 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of mixture onto griddle. Cook until edges start to look dry, and flip.

Crepe Assembly
1) After all crepes are cooked and sitting in a pretty stack, place one crepe onto a dish, smooth a very thin amount of filling mixture into the center of the crepe (for adhesion of bananas).

2) I like to slice the bananas as I go so they don’t start to brown. I slice them in a long diagonal (nearly vertical) in order to give the crepe more stability. Slice two to three long pieces of banana, and lay them on the cream cheese filling “glue”.

3) Top bananas with two – three tablespoons of filling (using the burrito philosophy…don’t fill it too full).

4) Fold one side of the crepe over, pressing gently to make sure it sticks. Smooth a small amount of filling onto the folded part of the crepe to help the other side stick. Fold the other side, pressing gently to stick it.

5) Dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

I think next time I will use ACTUAL cream cheese…for a more cream-cheesy flavor. I think I will also add a bit of orange zest to the filling itself. I found the crepes to be delicious, but the filling was a bit bland-sweet.

Because that’s a thing. But you know what I mean…like weak Sweet N’ Low.

Nevermind. See you in a month!

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Overheard in Our House

“I was on, and I saw a Georgia mom had a secret that was makin’ dermatologists angry. So, I clicked on it. And I was like, ‘Oh, I’m so glad you’re local. How convenient!'”

-Unsolicited. Always unsolicited.

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Mirror, Mirror

So just a few things about last week’s incredibly rude and sloppy post:

1. The ottoman is not finished. I AM going to tuft those buttons one day, and when I do I will cover the bottom with felt. This will get rid of the gross little triple skirt going on now.


2. I did try tufting, but the buttons I created kept exploding from the tension of the pulling the string through. The fabric is very thick, and the buttons I created are very unstable.

3. Here is a responsible blogger picture of the semi-finished ottoman.

Ok, now on to the looking glass!

My husband buys and resells used medical equipment. Sometime, when he buys a load of equipment, he gets other cool things, like waiting room furniture, an arcade style “sit-in” Nintendo gaming…apparatus from the 80s, and an art kiln (which he would not let me buy from him).

Two of these LOVELY mirrors were just some such “extras” that he got once. His boss let him take them home for free, and I was like, “Yeah. I can do…something with these.”

And something I did.

First I cleaned them…duh. Then I sprayed them with some powder blue spraypaint which I THOUGHT would jive well with the new living room colors (I may have also lightly sanded them for better spraypaint adhesion and such). But they looked like this:


Which is not bad, I suppose. But in real life, they were a bit too purpley-periwinkle for the pale blue I had chosen for the living room. And I have a thing about adding too many colors to one room. I mean, thanks to lots of fabric therapy with my mom, I am now up to FIVE in my living room. FIVE. I didn’t need an off-blue too.

So, I hung them…just to see if I liked their shape and size on the wall…and to be sure I didn’t like the color.

And after several months…when I still didn’t like them, I went in search of a pewter glaze to bring those bad boys down a notch or two. I got the idea of such a thing from Amy’s A Little Piece of Heaven...with whom I just happen to attend church (the person not the blog…). :) She is all the time using some sort of glaze (I believe the color is “Tobacco”) on her painted things to make them looks all cottagey and distressed. So I wanted something like that in Pewter…or Antique Silver…or something like that.

Unfortunately, I could only find some acrylic paints…no glazes. I did find a substance that could be combined with any paint to provide a percentage of the coverage depending on how much you added…”Faux Finish Glaze Base”. So this is what I had:

 I mixed them together and just painted the mixture onto the frame over the blue spraypaint. I didn’t rub it off with a cloth or dab it with plastic bags. I just painted it over with a brush…and left it alone.

You can barely see it in the picture above. I only did one. I wanted to live with both mirrors and see if I liked the “upgraded” version better.

The first picture above of the two mirrors side by side was actually taken AFTER I applied the “faux finish” (I really hate that phrase…it makes me think of rubbing plastic grocery bags on the wall…). But the difference is so subtle, even in person, that you can hardly tell (the one on the left has no finish).

You can see the difference a little better in the picture below. The mirror on the right had the “treatment”, while the mirror on the left is just good ol’ crazy bright blue spraypaint:

Apparently, I still haven’t decided.


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Overheard in Our House

Today is my birthday! In honor, here is a long awaited, overdue series that is my favorite and also the favorite of everyone that I talk to: Overheard in Our House. Enjoy!

“Do you think I’m beautiful?”

“I do. But please don’t ask me when you’re making that face.”

Noted. Thanks, Babe.

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