Saturday, April 26, 2008

You all are just lovely - thank you SO much for all of your encouragement! Chris and I spent about an hour and a half today driving around looking at houses, and getting out and looking at a few unoccupied ones. We definitely still have houses on the brain. Somewhere out there is the perfect first home for us (at least that's what I keep telling myself over and over when I start to get depressed about it again!).

If I have learned anything from this, it's a) a thorough home inspection (even though it's pricey) is SO worth the investment, and b) get the appraisal after you get the home inspection. Why pay money to find out the worth of a home you're not going to buy, anyway? Because this house was a foreclosure, we had a very short timeline to work with. But in the future, if we can delay the appraisal, we will.

I know that you guys live scattered across the country, but here in Northeast PA we're having some fabulous weather! Chris and I are going mini-golfing tonight - and I'm going to a big flea market early tomorrow morning before church with my friend Lindsay (I'm thrilled!). Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Something Happy, Something Sad

I'm baaaa-ack! :) I have a lingering hacky cough with some congestion, and I think today I sprained a muscle coughing (no joke) because I'm in a lot of pain on my right side. STILL, I am a normal, functioning, non-streppy throat human being again! Hooray!

So as you can see from the title, I do have some sad news. We had the inspection on the house today, and it did NOT go well. I mean, there are a LOT of problems with the house that we just simply couldn't see without the trained eyes of a professional. Mold in the attic, multiple pests (including mice!), serious foundation issues, plumbing issues, serious sewage issues....I could go on. For a house that looked like it was well-taken care of, those two guys helped us see a lot of issues and helped us to realize that this house would be a money pit. When all is said and done, you can't truly fix a house that's on a bad foundation - you can only put a band-aid on it. We are still waiting for his official report, but it's pretty much a no-go.

So, besides being out about $625 dollars (between inspections and paying for a professional appraisal, which we needed to get our mortgage), it also hurts emotionally. I know that sounds corny, but I had already moved myself into that house, you know? I was planning parties there, decorating, landscaping, all in my mind. It was pretty devastating to stand there and hear all the things they were saying about my house.

Except it isn't my house, thankfully.

Although I have cried a LOT over this house today, at the end of today what I mostly feel is relief. Sure, I'm gonna miss that money, but we can make it back.

But praise God, I am not going to be throwing thousands and thousands of dollars away on a home that I know now would never truly be fixed.

It's still pretty depressing, but not a black-hole kinda depression. It's weird to feel regret, sadness, disappointment, and relief all in one big package.


But, since I promised something sad and something happy, here is a little treat that got me through all those strep-throaty days that I wanted to share with you all. Maybe it will cheer YOU up!

I modified this from my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook:
  • 1 6 oz. cup of Dannon Light 'n' Fit Vanilla yogurt (so good!)
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 3/4 C frozen blueberries
  • a splash of whole milk (count to 3 - lol!)

Blend and top with whipped cream. Makes 2 servings. De. Lish.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's official! I have strep. First time in my life, in fact.

So now I can literally say that subbing is going to kill me.

Ha. Ha.

A little sick-bed humor.

I am now on amoxicillin for the second time in less than 30 days.

That's right, folks.

I am a pharmacist's dream.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Two things:

I am home sick today, rather than subbing for high school choir. There was no way my shell-of-a-voice was going to be heard over a choir of 50+ in an auditorium. I'm pretty sure I might have strep throat. Except that I've never actually had strep throat, but I do know that my speaking capacity has diminished and that I feel that my air hole is tightening due to the feeling of a large mass inside my trachea. And.....did I mention that it's agonizing to swallow, and my head hurts, and I'm very tired? YAY!

This site is alleviating my boredom, giving me something to do in-between my long naps on the couch. I discovered her a few weeks ago, and I simply can't get enough of her recipes, house decorations, and adorably cute sons. Enjoy!
Funny how I have been a Christian for nearly four-fifths of my life, and yet sometimes I am hit with the simplest of all ideas about my faith.

As I have written on here before, I substitute now, and it is usually no picnic. I consider myself to normally have very good classroom control, but when you are in a room full of adolescents who know that you're not 100% sure of what you're doing (even though you're acting your darnest, and can usually fool them!), it gets a little exasperating day after day. The boredom, the not knowing anyone's name, etc.

And so usually, I offer up tiny little snippets of prayer throughout the day. "Oh Lord, let me get through this. Let me have a good day. Please! "

On Monday morning, it dawned on, hi! Praying for myself all this time? What is wrong with me?!

On Monday, I prayed this: "Lord, please let me just bless at least one child today. Amen."

The day becomes an adventure. How many kids can I smile at? How many can I be extra-kind to? How many can I offer a compassionate word to?

It wasn't that I didn't do all of those things already. In fact, I think most teachers do, too. After all, you don't go into teaching because you hate children. It's just that they weren't intentional. I know what you're thinking: "Isn't intentional worse? Doesn't that mean that somehow you're faking?"

No. It means that rather than "be myself" and pray that I have a "good" day, the Lord and I are going to make a good day, rather than having the good day make me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I really and truly have not forgotten about my little blog; I am getting sick (again -in less than a month!) and have been feeling wretched, plus I'm trying to work as much as possible, like picking up weekend shifts, to save up for the house. Which, by the way, we signed papers saying we agreed with the bank's offer, and now we're just waiting for all sorts of very expensive inspections. SO. I will write something more fascinating on here sometime very soon. In fact, sometime this week. Promise.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I think it's sufficient to say that I am basically obsessed with yard-saling (doesn't that word look ridiculous?) I'm not sure why, but somewhere in my genetic make-up I have been programmed to get a rush of adrenaline and a large dose of whatever-it-is-that-puts-you-in-a-good-mood (epinephrine?) when I see those magical words on a (usually) bright neon sign. It calls my name.....piles and piles of junk delights, and who KNOWS what you will find?! What's not to love?!

Tomorrow I'm going to a church rummage sale (I went to one last weekend, also). Every other morning it is a struggle to get out of bed, but when my alarm goes off on a yard-sale day, Bam!, I'm off and running - and there's no turning back. If I get anything good, I just might have to show ya tomorrow. ;)

*The house saga: the bank gave us their final offer today! $8,400 less than their original, but $13,500 above what we had counter-offered at! Ahhhh!! Where's my fleece when I need it? Gideon had it so good......

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Update on la casa

We put the offer in, and they counter-offered with a price $900 less than their asking price. We resubmitted our offer, this time $3,000 higher. Chris said we're going to keep playing this game until we "meet" or until they tell us they have a final offer. I agree with him now. I mean, why not? They're a bank, and we really don't have anything to lose besides money! ;) Tonight we went to the house again with one of our realtors and Chris's oldest brother, who is a contractor (and built his own house), so he could look at the house from a technical perspective. He said it looked good. (Of course, we still have to have a licensed inspector come to check out stuff like mold, pests, etc.) We are waiting to hear about another counter-offer from the bank, hopefully tomorrow! Being there again tonight only made me want it even more! It isn't extravagant or expensive. It will be a great starter home for a few years and it will get us out of our apartment we're in right now, which has had some very serious problems with mold (read: unhealthy!!!!!!) this year. I just keep praying!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Shake What Your Mama Gave Ya......Or Something Like That....

This post is all about using what you've the kitchen. lol ;) I blogged a few weeks ago about how hard I was trying to not let any food go to waste - even produce - and I have to say, it's been almost fun to be really creative with what I have on hand. I figured I would give a few examples of things that I've done recently, hopefully to encourage you to do the same!

Lettuce - Okay, so I get reaaaaally grossed-out by wilty, brown lettuce. But have you ever noticed that lettuce usually browns on the "thick" part first, and the leaves last? I had about 1/2 bag of lettuce starting to get icky the other day - and was about to chuck it before I remembered: "Tostada Pizza!" This is a Mexican-inspired recipe (duh, Jess) from my BH&G cookbook that requires shredded lettuce on top. I had the rest of the ingredients, so Voila! I ripped off the perfectly good and crunchy leaves, chucking only the brown "thick" parts. (Seriously, what is that part called?!)

Blueberries and Bananas - I have a great muffin recipe that needs 3 very ripe bananas. Usually when I buy a bunch of bananas, for some tremendously mysterious reason, one is always left for days. Now I've started to purposely do this - adding one brown banana at a time to my freezer. When I have 3, I pull them out to defrost and make some muffins. My favorite blueberry muffin recipe (also from BH&G) only uses 3/4 C berries - perfect for that last little bit left in the bag.

Assorted produce/deli items - One of my favorite things to eat (all year round) is a pasta salad. I have found this to be a great dumping ground for tiny bits of left-over veggies. (I'm not a big fan of vegetable soup.) I've chopped up broccoli, peppers, cukes, even small pieces of carrots! Those small cuts of cheese left from a block can be cut into blocks and thrown in - so can leftover pepperoni or ham. Half a box of leftover pasta, a little Italian dressing, and some parmesan cheese, and you're good to go!

Ice cream - when you're left with a little bit of ice cream in your freezer, scoop it out and throw it in the blender with some milk! My mom used to do this all the time growing up to make more freezer room, and we loved it. I have yet to do it with my new blender, but it's a fun idea.

Just a few ideas to get those creative juices flowing! Hope this is a little inspiring for you guys! :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

butterflies in my stomach....

Edit: We put our offer in last night - it took almost THREE hours, ugh! - and were pleasantly surprised at how upbeat and encouraging our realtors were, considering that we offered $18,900 less than the asking price! It was an insane amount of paperwork, and we're nearly 100% positive that we'll have to put in another offer once the bank counter-offers, but thankfully it's only minor corrections each time the price changes. I will keep you posted!!! i think i mentioned last week that we were trying to get into a house. well, we were able to see it on friday, and we are putting an offer in TONIGHT! in case you were wondering, i'm perfectly calm terrified about it. it is a foreclosure in incredibly good shape, yet my darling husband is intent on low-balling the number when we make the offer tonight. his point is, why not try low since the bank is already desperate to have it sold? he figures the worst that can happen is that we get rejected and put in a higher offer. i see his point, but maybe it's the girl in me that feels that somehow that's not polite. i'm gung-ho about paying less if we can get away with it, but slightly terrified to see the looks on our realtors' faces when they hear what we're offering (aka their commision). the only thing that makes me feel better about all of this is the fact that this technically isn't "their" house (realtors can show you any house in the market, even ones not listed through their realty company - a fact i didn't know until a few months ago). so, i'm hoping they just see this as a bonus - the only way they're getting any money out of this is because we sought it out and asked them to show it to us.

*phew* anyway, i certainly do have butterflies in my stomach. we have been praying earnestly about this house, because it is in such good shape and the price can't be beat (well, according to Chris it can! lol). our meeting isn't for 3 hours! what in the world will i do until then?!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Since I am substituting now, and have a lot of extra time on my hands during the day, I have a lot more time to read. I have started a list of books on the side of my blog. A listed book means I have finished it and feel comfortable about others reading it. If a book catches your eye and you're wondering about reading it, feel free to ask me on my blog, facebook, whatever! I'll send you a mini-review. :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

In the spirit of blantant copying, I'm taking Amanda's idea and making bulleted points....I have not the brain power after a long day of work to actually write an entire post about one topic. Thus:

  • my husband got done from work early today and actually made dinner tonight. fish-sticks (yes, i keep them in the freezer, they're a throwback to my childhood!) and white rice. ahhhh....processed and bleached american comfort food! lol
  • i worked at cracker barrel today and decided that since i was starving (thank you, job that barely allows you time to go to the bathroom, never mind bringing food to work like normal human beings) i was going to order myself strawberry shortcake off of the new dessert menu. i do believe i could eat some kind of strawberry/cream/sweetbread combination in very large quantities, daily, until the day that i die. which would probably be in 3 years if i actually did.
  • i have been thinking a lot about the presidential elections, and the guy i thought i was going to vote for is actually no longer the guy i am going to vote for. i'm not sure which shocks me more, my initial thought of a candidiate or the one i am now probably going to vote for. and yes, i specifically said "guy." she is not even an option, thankyouverymuch. does anyone else out there just wish we had another option? i will probably be writing a lot more about this in the future, but that's all i'm typing about it for tonight.
  • it also dawned on me yesterday (apparently this has been a week of awakenings?!) how odd substituting really is. i mean, seriously, in what other job are you given no orientation, no map of the building, no specific rules or guidelines to follow (other than "please don't let anyone bleed to death, hold anyone hostage, or blow up the school"), no training in the subject matter, no knowledge of anyone in the building's title, status, or position, and yet still expected to ensure that learning takes place? the thought hit me as i was teaching "desktop publishing" (the teacher left no lesson plans, class charts, or even the titles of the classes she was teaching, by the way). i was baffled yesterday by the absurdity of it all. so odd.
  • i am reading the atonement child by francine rivers. this is the second book of hers that i've read - the first was redeeming love. i bawled like a baby over that one. i still think her writing is a little cheesy at times, but somehow so compelling. i can't seem to put it down.
  • last but not least, we are still looking at houses.....we think we may have found a great one....we just need have our realtor take us inside first. ;)
  • aren't you just dying for your stimulus check to just get here already?!
  • the end. :)