Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's the little things...

Lately I keep catching myself thinking of random little things that will be really nice about the new house. For example,
  • When doing laundry, I won't be able to hear the washer and dryer throughout the entire house. Also, we'll have a side-by-side instead of a stackable, so I'll actually be able to reach the dryer. Wonderful!

I believe the builder's putting in something like this...
  • When I'm cleaning the counters in the kitchen, I can wipe all the crumbs right into the sink. This is HUGE. I believe I once referred to the undermount sink as "the epitome of the American dream," and I meant it. 
This is what our sink is like... straight off the granite and into the sink!
  • My clothes will have more space in the closet, and I won't pull a hanger out only to find that the shirt has a giant wrinkle from being pressed so tightly against the shirt next to it.
  • I can get a doormat! Our apartment has carpeted indoor hallways, so we don't have one!
  • I can have a compost pile in the backyard! Hooray for being eco-friendly and becoming more and more like my Grandpa.
Plenty of space back there!
  • The master bathroom is big enough that we can share, so I won't have to move all my bathroom stuff every time we have guests staying with us!
  • I can have a whole entire cabinet in the kitchen dedicated to cupcake papers and sprinkles and icing supplies and other baking paraphernalia! 
Plenty of cabinets!
  • Our address won't have an apartment # at the end of it, so we'll always get our mail on time, even if people forget to write the apartment number.
  • Speaking of our address, I can finally get one of those return address stamps! I never got one for the apartment because I didn't know if we'd stay here long enough for it to be worth it.
  • When people come visit, I won't have to go downstairs and let them through the gate. They can just park at our house and walk to our door!
  • We'll have neighbors! I'm especially excited about the empty lot next door. This means we'll have new neighbors not too long after we move in, and I can go bring them some banana bread and welcome them. I'm irrationally excited about this. 
  • Sidewalks. I grew up in a neighborhood with sidewalks, and I've missed them ever since we moved when I was 10. 
  • I will never, ever again have to clean a glass stove cooktop. Unfortunately, this is happening right after I finally found the perfect product to use to clean it.
This stuff is the BEST by the way. You can get it at Bed Bath & Beyond.
  • Garage - no more quick prayers for a good parking spot in the garage!
  • We'll have trick-or-treaters on Halloween!
I'm just getting more and more excited about the house! Hopefully all of these positive things will convince me that the increase in my commuting time isn't so bad... you all know how much I enjoy Houston traffic (not.). Yes, I just said "not." Can we bring that back? I kind of like it...

Anybody else have a dryer you can't reach? Am I going to be okay sharing a bathroom with a boy? Haha. Will I freak my future neighbors out if I bring them various loaves of bread every day for the first week after they move in? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I haven't disappeared!

I haven't blogged in an entire five days, or something like that. It's crazy, I know. Normally I get something posted like... 8 out of 10 days! But, it turns out that studying for finals is really time consuming. It also turns out that getting a mortgage, getting a home inspection, doing construction walkthroughs, and such is also really time consuming.

And also... (in the interest of being totally honest), I've found a new black hole for all of my spare time to get lost in: Pinterest! I think Pinterest time has replaced my blogging time recently. Oops. But seriously, y'all have to check it out because it's amazing. You can follow me if you want! My boards are here.

Pinterest is a tool for saving lots of lots of images - it's PERFECT for when you're hunting for new home decor ideas! I have an entire board full of house ideas:

And a board full of DIY ideas...

And a board of things I'd like to cook...

And a board that I like to call "Just So Cute" where I put things that are, well, just so cute!

Oh, and if you want to join Pinterest NOW without waiting for their invite, use the link at the bottom of this website:♥-pinterest/

I have SO many plans for the new house already. My head is just swimming with DIY and decor and such, and guess what? I'm newly obsessed with power tools. I want a jig saw and a pneumatic nail gun and a heavy duty staple gun and a power sander. I have big plans for all of them at the new house! Eeee!

Unfortunately, we're about to drop a large chunk of our savings account on the actual purchase of the house, so I can't go crazy spending the money we've got left on power tools. But I do have some simpler ideas that can get done right away! For example, the guest bedroom is going to get a little facelift! Right now our guest bedroom looks like this:

In the new house, we're going to keep all the same furniture, but we're going to paint the walls a nice light turquoise-ish aqua! Look at the right wall in the picture below...

By the way, I did this image on the Valspar website - they have a virtual painter where you can see what your walls would look like in a different color! It only works on white (or really light) walls, so I didn't do the red one, but I think the aqua looks great!

The red-black-white is just a tad too in-your-face for what I'd really like, so I'm excited to make it a little more light and airy with the aqua! Here are my inspiration images for the new guest bedroom:

Source: via Katie on Pinterest

What do y'all think? Can I pull off the aqua and red? Can we be friends on Pinterest?

PS - Check out the giveaway at Blonde Undercover Blonde!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Big News!

I've got some BIG news for you today. It's the sort of news that's big enough to rank up there with the time I announced our engagement, or the time I announced that I'd be going to law school.

This news is really big. 2600ish square feet of big, to be exact. :o)

Yep! We're going to be homeowners! Crazy, right? After two weeks of negotiating and something like eight rounds of counteroffers (I've lost count), we're finally under contract! I have SO much to tell y'all about this entire process.

I should tell you about how our first house is going to be nothing like the "our first house" that I had pictured in my head. I should tell you that we found this great builder closeout program and everything just fell into place. I should tell you about how a 21-year old law student and a 24-year old engineer went head to head with a guy who negotiates housing sales for a living and came out with (in my opinion) a really, really good deal on a brand-new house. I should tell you that I'm going to have a gas stove (!!!), and I should tell you that I'm freaking out about how to decorate a two-story living room.

But for now, I'll just show you some photos of the place we'll call home in just over a month...

Oh, two-story living room... what the heck am I going to do with your huge walls?

The kitchen. An island was a "must have" for me in a house, and I like this one quite a bit! Did I mention that the builder is installing brand new stainless steel appliances (and the stove is gas!)?

I absolutely cannot wait to see the kitchen with all of its shiny new appliances! Oh, and did you see that backsplash? That backsplash is like 25% of the reason I picked this house. And I'm only exaggerating a little bit.

Dining room

"Study" - except I think we're going to make it more of a formal living room and put the piano in there (perfect acoustics with the hardwood floors!!)

Master bedroom - it seems so huge compared to our bedroom now!

Master bath - I believe we're going to attempt to share a bathroom for the first time once we move. It's a good thing there are two sinks.

Upstairs - the game room

Pretty railings! 

Looking down into the living room from upstairs...

This is one of the three upstairs bedrooms - I may or may not be claiming it as a craft/sewing/studying-for-school room.


Jeff is beyond excited about having a yard - it already has a sprinkler system and everything!

Sigh. Four bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, and 2600ish square feet of I'm-so-in-love-with-this-house! I was being so calm and rational and level-headed about the whole thing before our offer was accepted, but now I'm just SO EXCITED! I'll share more photos soon!

In summary, even though it doesn't have sliding spice racks like the adorable townhouse in the not-so-adorable area (which is still on the market by the way!), I think it's pretty close to perfect. Expect to hear lots of house-related blog posts in the coming weeks. :o)

**All photos from the Houston real estate website,

Oh and by the way, Laura has an adorable wedding-related giveaway going on at Lucky in Love!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Asian-Inspired Turkey Sliders

This recipe is super-easy and super-yummy! I know I say that about a lot of recipes, but trust me - I always mean it! If a recipe is too much work, or if it's not that good, I don't put it on the blog!

I've been trying to cook healthier food lately after finding out that Jeff has borderline-high cholesterol. Unfortunately, the healthy cooking seems to have no effect on Jeff, yet it results in unintended weight loss for me (a fact that has me worried about the almost-too-big strapless bridesmaid dress I have to wear in June and has my mother worried that I'm not eating at all). But I digress... back to the recipe!

I hear ground turkey is much better for you than ground beef (especially when you buy the super-lean kind), so I thought this would be a good recipe to try. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy and delicious they were!

Recipe adapted from here.

1 lb. ground turkey (I used the super-lean kind)
1 green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger
3 tbsp soy sauce (I used the low-sodium kind)
Sister Schubert's frozen yeast rolls (or whatever else you'd like to use as buns)
Lettuce (optional - I didn't want to buy a whole head of lettuce just for this! Haha)
Cheese (optional - I put mozzarella on mine, Jeff put some shredded Mexican blend on his)

1. Cook rolls according to package directions.
2. Mix turkey, onion, garlic, and ginger in a large bowl. Add in the soy sauce and mix well (don't overmix or the meat will be tough!).
3. Heat up a grill or grill pan on medium heat. Form patties out of the turkey mixture (I used a 1/4 cup measurer to make sure they ended up the same size so they'd all cook at the same speed and look the same. I made 9 1/4-cup patties).
4. Put patties on the grill. Turn them over two times until cooked through. Depending on how thick your patties are, they should take 4-5 minutes to cook fully.
5. Cut rolls in half, add patties, cheese, and lettuce. Enjoy! (I cut the patties in half before putting them on the rolls just because I really like bread and the patties were a bit bigger than the rolls. Haha!).

The original recipe called for a wasabi mayo sauce (1/4 cup mayo and 1-2 tsp wasabi powder). We didn't use it, but go for it if it sounds good to you!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oh, to be a kid again...

I've mentioned before that I absolutely LOVE living in Houston where we can see our families often. Last week I was able to go to one of my youngest sister's volleyball games, and it was just so adorable!

Isn't her "volleyball stance" so cute? Haha.

This isn't regular volleyball. This is ten-year-old volleyball, where it's really exciting when a serve makes it over the net, and it's really, really exciting if that serve miraculously gets returned!

Celebrating a successful serve!

Despite the scoring being mostly due to unsuccessful serves, I really enjoyed being at this game. Her team was so adorable... they were just so supportive of each other! Every time a girl touched the ball they all congratulated her. It didn't matter whether or not the other team got a point out of it.

It was just such a sweet group of girls. They reminded me that life can be so happy if you take a second to celebrate each little opportunity. I really enjoyed getting to watch the game and cheer on my little sister. She may not be a fantastic volleyball player just yet, but I'm still more proud of her than I could ever express. She may be eleven years younger than me, but I look up to her in so many ways. Plus, she's just so adorable wearing her volleyball uniform and trying to hit the ball!!


Anyone else have siblings that are a lot younger? Isn't it nice to have kids around to keep you from taking the world too seriously?

Friday, April 15, 2011

On Houses, Husbands, and Happy Faces

Since I know y'all are curious... we're still in the midst of negotiations on the house, believe it or not! This process is such a crazy, emotional, stress-inducing thing. I know buying a house is always a crazy process, but I can't help but think that our situation has to be worse than normal. We're up to six or seven rounds of counteroffers now (not quite sure... I've lost count), and poor Jeff has spent about three of the last 24 hours on the phone with our realtor.

It's such a big thing, buying a house. It's emotional (I mean... we're dealing with the possibility of having a different home!), it's financial (obviously), it's spiritual (What does God want from us? Are we supposed to be doing this? What's the plan for us?), and it's just so permanent, you know?

I so badly wanted to know one way or another by the end of this week, but it's not looking like that will happen, and since Jeff's going out of town for work next week, it may have to wait even longer. Absolutely crazy.

Moving on...

In the midst of all this craziness, I've been feeling so totally blessed that I have my wonderful husband, who continually makes me smile without even trying. Two days ago I got home after an absolutely insane day at school, and these were sitting on the counter...

Jeff was playing the piano when I got home. He heard me come in, turned around, pointed at the flowers, and matter-of-factly said, "I got you those 'cause I like you." Sigh. How is it that after eight years of knowing this guy, one little sentence can still make my heart just totally melt? 

And another thing - isn't it just wonderful to be liked by your husband? I mean... I know he loves me, but to know that he likes me even in the middle of a week where I'm spending huge amounts of time at school, stressing about the whole house thing, and being an absolute failure at making dinner every night (usually my job)... it's just wonderful. I like him too. :o)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why I've Been Neglecting the Blog...

Yeah, yeah. I haven't posted anything since last Saturday. I have an excuse though...

We put an offer on a house. That house in that picture. Crazy, right? All of the pieces just fell into place and it just happened. Don't get too excited though... I'm pretty sure it's not going to work out in the end. We submitted the offer Monday night, they countered yesterday night, and we counter-countered this morning, but I really don't think our counter-counter is going to be high enough, and we're just stopping after that. 

Anyway, fingers-crossed that whatever's supposed to happen works out. I can honestly say I'll be happy either way - it would be wonderful to get a good deal on a house we love, but I also love our apartment, and it would be wonderful to stay here too. 

You guys know me and how much I like to plan things... and obviously it's killing me that I don't know where I'll be living in two months. CRAZY. 

I'll let y'all know what happens...

UPDATE: We've received a counter-counter-counter offer. This process is absolutely crazy! I think we're just going to say nope, we already gave you our maximum, take it or leave it. We'll see what happens...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Jeff!

Twenty-four years ago today, my sweet husband was born! Here's to twenty-four years of Jeff:

Age One

Age Two

Age Three

Age Four

Age Five

Age Six

Age Seven

Age Eight

Annnnd we'll stop there since I'm getting into the awkward years... :o)

Isn't it crazy that I've know this guy for just about 1/3 of his life? We met in the summer of 2003... SO SO long ago! Just for fun, this is what Jeff looked like then:

Good old high school marching band. Haha.

And just because it's only fair if I post an awkward photo of me too... this is what I looked like around the time we met...

Haha. Suffice to say, we weren't umm... attracted to each other for some time. He had pimples and I had braces and we were definitely just friends. Jeff's parents used to refer to me as "Jeff's friendgirl" because I definitely wasn't a "girlfriend." Haha. Jeff says that I looked like a ten-year-old when we met. He's probably right. I was actually 14, thankyouverymuch. I think gymnastics stunted my growth. Not joking. I used to be a serious gymnast and I trained with Bela Karolyi and went to the same gym as Nastia Liukin. But I quit when they wanted to take me out of regular school. 

Oh dear... this is the weirdest, most random post ever! I was totally intending on just writing a nice birthday message for Jeff. Haha. Oh well. 

Jeff - happy birthday. I can't figure out why you love your crazy wife so much, but I'm sure glad you do. Accidentally falling in love with my best friend is the best thing that ever happened to me. 

Sigh. And thus begins the two-month period of the year that really bothers me because Jeff is THREE years older than me according to the numbers...