Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Last night, I was moving things to the basement to store when I heard a very sad meow. I went to see what kind of trouble they were getting into, and found this:
Yes, that would be Kali in the basement ceiling.
She must have done a funny jump from the side of the basement stairs to get up there and then couldn't figure out how to get back. She fought me as I pulled her down and then was grumpy at me as I brushed all the dust off her.
A few hours later, Mark went down to get something out of the laundry - and she did it again! I swear she never learns. At least Mark got the honor of rescuing her that time.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
With all of the craziness of the last few weeks I didn't really have time for anything birthday-ish. We spent Saturday getting the Internet and cable hooked up at the new house, stopping in at a graduation party, picking up the U-Haul truck and then finishing all the packing that was left.
Still, Mark wouldn't let it go unacknowledged. He ordered an ice cream cake for Sunday after the move and it was amazing. I officially have a favorite local ice cream shop.
I also got a bike. Or, am getting a bike - Mark wants me to pick it out myself. We had gone a few weeks ago to look at them, and I really liked this one:
But now I'm second-guessing myself (mostly because I don't really know anything about bikes) and wondering if I should do more research.
Do you have a bike you love?
Monday, June 28, 2010
Fourteen friends and family members showed up around 9:30 am to start packing the truck. By 1:30 pm, we had everything out of the truck and sorted into rooms at the new house - and Mark was grilling up lunch for everyone.
Four hours. And that includes the about-an-hour ride from the apartment to the house. I'm so impressed and so incredibly thankful that everyone was so willing to help out; we're so blessed.
So far, I love:
- The grill. I can't tell you how many grill recipes I have bookmarked.
- Having my own washer and dryer. I'm already plunging through weeks worth of laundry.
- Wegmans right down the street!
- Central air. (It's so much quieter than the stupid wall units!)
I can't wait to really settle in!
Friday, June 25, 2010
When we had our inspection, the inspector rolled the stove out a few inches to check whatever he needed to check behind it. As he did so, the real estate agent and I both gave a little horrified gasp - the side of the stove was streaked with crumbs and grease that had dropped through. It was pretty disgusting.
In all fairness, in all of my years of being responsible for cleaning I've never once rolled out a stove. It's just not something you'd think of. But, knowing that it was there drove me nuts. The first thing I did when I got to the house after closing was roll out the stove to do some serious cleaning.
And I found this:
What is it? That seems to be the million dollar question.
In person, it looked exactly like a slice of pizza, but it was the size of a chip. Is it humanly possible that it could have been under there long enough for it to shrivel up that much? And how on Earth do you drop a whole slice of pizza behind/under the fridge and not notice?
Thank goodness this is the only really gag-worthy find we've had so far!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
PJ and Mark put together our new grill. Laura and I started cleaning. And my Dad changed the locks.
He taught us how to re-key them too. It's actually really easy to do, but I feel handy knowing it.
We also spent some time just poking around - and PJ dubbed the basement window an escape hatch.
I can't wait to move in for real this weekend!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
The upside to not closing today, though, was that I was able to go to graduation at the preschool I volunteer at. I've told you before how much the kids mean to me, so I was thrilled to see the ceremony.
The ceremony was adorable. As they called each kid up for their diploma, they invited the family members up to share some words. They talked about how much they loved the kids and how much they inspire them. It was beautiful to listen to.
I'm going to miss them over the summer!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
And sometimes you don't see them right away. Sometimes you're just strolling along and you catch a glimpse of something through the trees.
Or stumble across a door straight out of a fairy tale.
Or something that just seems to be gliding on water.
There are also a few neat places on the grounds where they've created 3D sculptures of famous paintings. You can literally step into the art. (I'm in there - can you see me?)
So, why am I telling you all of this now? Last night, we were in our usual position - sprawled out on the couch. I was reading and Mark was watching TV - the premier of the new season of Top Chef. As they were introducing all of this season's contestants, we both jumped when one of them was introduced as Kevin Sbraga, the executive chef of Rat's. Hey, we know that place!
To be fair, we've never actually eaten at Rat's. It was a little too expensive for our college budget and once we graduated and moved away it wasn't forefront in our minds. It was always on the list of things to do someday, though, and now I'm dying to go more than ever.
It goes without saying that we'll be rooting for Kevin - it's always nice to root for the home team. Come on, Kevin! We're pulling for you.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Sometime once I was "out on my own" (during college perhaps?) they became more than just a motion sickness cure. They became the best anxiety-relief I could find. It's almost a running joke now - if I'm going anywhere or doing anything outside of my comfort zone, I've got a bag of Twizzlers by my side.
Guess what I've been inhaling all week? Yup - those red ropes of strawberry goodness.
The move has me incredibly stressed out. Everything is submitted for closing on Friday and we've been told we should be set - but we're still waiting to hear the official word. All of the utilities have been switched over to our name. We're largely packed. There's nothing left to do at this point except sit and wait (which I'm not good at) and worry (which I'm very good at).
I'm not sure there are enough Twizzlers in all of NJ. Friday, come quickly!
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Speaking of presents, the cats couldn't help on getting in on the gift-wrapping action yesterday.
Okay, Kali helped - Rocky just oversaw things!
Happy Birthday, Mark! From all three of us...
Friday, June 11, 2010
My knee-jerk reaction was, But you're not German! You're Italian! To which he rebutted, But my Mom is part German!
Of course, I couldn't let it go. The boy is more than half Italian and even though I appreciated his love of the German dessert (I'm almost completely German myself), I really wanted to find him something Italian.
Enter the Cannoli Cupcakes.
Okay, so I think a true Italian would probably cry that at the thought of cannoli in cupcake form, but the sentiment was there. And they look so pretty!
I used this recipe from sugarcrafter with one
mistake modification - I left out the milk. The result was a more dense cake which I think actually worked - it was more reminiscent of a cannoli once injected with icing. And yes, I injected incing into every one for a little cream-filled surprise!
2 and 1/2 cups flour
2 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp Marsala wine
1 cup milk
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp orange zest
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
For the frosting:
1 and 1/2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup shortening
1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped - I skipped this too. I didn't have it already and in the interest of not buying things before we move I decided to pass.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and line two muffin pans with cupcake wrappers. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
In a different, larger bowl, mix together the butter, eggs, vanilla, Marsala wine, and milk.
Add in the ricotta cheese, orange zest, and powdered sugar. Mix in the dry ingredients, and then stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into cupcake liners, 24 in total. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the muffin pans to a cooling rack.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Cream the butter and shortening together, and then add in the vanilla extract. Gradually add in the powdered sugar. Mix in the milk, and then mix in the vanilla from the vanilla bean.
Frost the cupcakes once they have cooled completely, and top with additional chocolate chips if desired.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
CoverGirl, through BzzAgent, sent me the new SmokeyShadowBlast eye makeup and ShineBlast lipgloss. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm awful at anything involving makeup. They're billing this new line as professional results at home so I was pretty interested.
The eye makeup is in crayon form which is completely un-intimidating for me so I really want to love it. I love the fact that it automatically includes two colors so you don't have any guesswork around what to use to make the smokey look and the directions were easy to understand. That said, I'm not super thrilled with it. Because it was crayon-y rather than powder, it felt greasy on my eyelids and kept collecting in the creases of my eyelids. It is an improvement over my usual eye makeup but I don't know if it's something I'd want to buy again.
The lipgloss, on the other hand, I love. I was unconvinced when I pulled an orange shade out of the box but it looks awesome on - subtle and not too overwhelming. It also lasts longer than the MAC glosses I've been using.
Up for grabs: Coupons for $2 off any one CoverGirl Cosmetics item
I got to try these out via the Soleil Spread the Sunshine House Party. Unlike the makeup, I was fully expecting to hate these. I'm incredibly brand-loyal to my razors - I can't remember the last time I bought something different.
My usual is not a disposable razor and my perception of disposable razors as a whole was pretty poor - even if they did brag four blades. The Bella razors were great, though. I got just as good of a shave for a much more reasonable price. I'm still not ready to ditch my usual razor yet, but I'll definitely keep these in mind for traveling.
Up for grabs: Goody bag leftovers - razors, coupons, ear buds and sunglasses cases
Another one from BzzAgent Okay, so I haven't actually tried this one yet but I have high hopes. This new line is supposed to make your hair more silky-smooth and limit fly aways - which have been an issue since the new haircut debuted and I've been forced to blow dry it more often.
Up for grabs: Samples and coupons
Want something that's "up for grabs"? Leave me a note about it and a way to contact you. I'll pick a bunch of random comments and send the stuff out!
Monday, June 7, 2010
Before Janel got there, I had a chance to chat with Nicole (my grand-little) and Michelle (my little). We haven't been all together for a long time so it was nice to have some time to catch up!
The shower was at a golf club and Janel thought she was really coming to golf. She was completely surprised and was like, "but I'm in sneakers!" Michelle, being the awesome maid-of-honor that she is, had a change of clothes waiting for her.
They quizzed Janel on how well she knew Craig.
And there were lots of gifts to open.
Congrats, Janel! Hope you had as much fun as we did!
Friday, June 4, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Of course PJ (who had been drinking more than any of us) was kicking our butts for most of the game. Mark managed to just squeeze him out in the last few rounds!
I hope you all got to spend time with your family and friends this weekend, too.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
For two years, I've been living by the train schedule - dropping Mark off in the morning and picking him up again in the evening. The train schedule dictates when I wake up, when I can go to the gym, when I start cooking dinner, if I can run errands and a thousand other little details.
Today, I'm free.
I'll be able to do what I want and still have dinner on the table when Mark walks in. Amazing.