Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Farewell 2008

Good Riddance! What a depressing year. I don't have to list it all, but I'll just say I think my New Year's resolution for 2008 was to sell my house. Guess what my 2009 resolution is? Sell my damn house! This year, I mean it!
I'm sure some good things happened in 08. Tiki was born. We bought the new office. Umm, I'd have to think hard to list more. I've been cranky and bitchy for most the year. I'm irritated that we are so stuck in this house. I feel trapped. It's so hard having a house on the market while raising three boys in it. It's downright depressing sometimes. I'm so ready to move on to the next thing.
So, maybe in 2009 I can get a fresh perspective and an attitude check.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Today's Adventures

Today, me and the kids hopped in the van and went to the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta. We had such a nice day. The kids were awesome. They have a great cafe with a yummy chicken salad sandwich. It was so nice to get out of town and have fun. I didn't want to wait here to hear back from our agent. She did call and said she couldn't get much feedback from the other agent. The couple plans to return in January and select a house then. I guess they don't want to reveal their cards yet. Not terrible news, but not the news I wanted either.

S actually took this picture of me and Tiki! I thought he did such a great job.

They were polar bears.

They were penguins.

They listened intently on a 25 minute lecture on reptiles, and of course they were in awe of the giant dinosaur displays.

After tomorrow, G will be home for a four day weekend, then school will resume Tuesday. Three weeks is a long break, and they've been bored, but it's been nice too. We're almost there!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Market update

Okay, so I'm not gonna get all excited and convince myself that this is "the one." Well, I am, but I'm gonna try not to. We had a showing today. It is a couple coming to town, and they handpicked the houses they wanted to see in four subdivisions. I'm hopeful. They will come back in January to make a decision, but my agent will try to get some feedback for us tomorrow.

Also, we closed on the new office today. It's good to be on the buyer's side of things. We got a great price and awesome terms and rates. Everyone who's sitting on the fence just needs to jump in there and stimulate the economy.

It will be so wonderful if we both buy the office and snag a buyer for the house in one day. I even asked my mother to annoint and bless the house today. Please, God, let us move on and sell this place.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

From Santa to the Tooth Fairy

S on Christmas day wearing his crown.
All he had asked Santa for was a diamond,
and his Nani obliged.

S, 5 1/2 years old, is my sensitive child. He is so much like me, and it's a testament to how strong genetics really are. Some of our quirks leave my husband just shaking his head. Like our skin. We are very picky about what touches our skin, and we would both be happier if we could just be in our underclothes all the time. A tag in our clothes can be enough to drive us crazy! Not just, "can you please cut this tag out of my shirt when you get time" crazy, but "I'm gonna strip down in public if you don't get this tag out" crazy. Last weekend, I took my shirt off while driving to the mall because of a tag, and we had to cut it out in the parking lot. Anyway, this is just an example.

Because we are so much alike, it helps me to understand him. Believe me, if I didn't know where he was coming from, some of his antics or behaviors would drive me crazy. Well, sometimes they still do, but I can usually relate if I try hard enough. Also, I can usually predict his reaction to things. Like today while we were taking down the Christmas tree. I prepped the kids that it was coming down, and I invited them to come say goodbye to it. N, 3, didn't have the time or desire to do that. But S ran in there and lovingly said goodbye to the tree. Sure enough, when he saw the ornaments coming off, he got tearful. It was sweet. I bet lots of people get sad to take down the tree. Even my husband admitted that he was saddened. While I agree, I love to get the tree down every year. By then, I'm ready for things to get back to normal.

There's one other cute story about S today. While my husband and I were sitting in the office/nursery admiring the clean open space recently occupied by the tree, S came in. He said, "Mom! Look, one of my tooth is coming out of my mouth!." I said, "Oh, is your tooth loose?" "No," he replied, "it's not loose, it's coming out of my mouth!." Well, of course, it was just slightly loose, but it is his first loose tooth. We were all excited, and he sat there looking proud and serious as we told him all about the tooth fairy and how his tooth will eventually fall out. And so we enter into another phase of growing up and think, with sweet memories, of when we first saw that little tooth erupting out of our baby's swollen gums.

Friday, December 26, 2008

How to make caramel

After making caramel FOUR times on Christmas Eve, I finally learned how to make it without burning the sugar. That means I had to throw away a lot of caramel. The first time, I made Aunt Bill's Brown Candy from the Bon Appetite magazine. It turned out good, but it had a strange tang to it. Next I needed caramel for my cake. I was making the Chocolate Cake with salted caramel and ganache icing, also from Bon Appetite. I burned that caramel, and it made me realize what tasted so weird in the candy. We made it again, and burned that batch too! The fourth time, my husband and I both stood over it and watched intently, determined to learn how to make good caramel. What happens is, as you are cooking the water and sugar, it goes from clear to yellow to amber and immediately to dark brown. Amber to dark brown (and very smoky) takes just a few seconds. Mine was smoky and burnt before I removed it from the heat and added the cream. So this time, I removed it just before I would have thought it was done and way before the time was up on the timer. Right as it became a darker yellow. Finally! We had ourselves a kick-ass caramel. It was awesome by itself, but it really dressed up the cake into something special.
So, my advice to anyone making caramel is to cook it on a lower heat than the recipe (my recipes all called for high, so I ended up doing a medium high). And watch it like a hawk. Pull it off and add the cream just. right as. it thinks about becoming amber.
Here's the recipe I used:

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cp heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp lemon juice
large pinch of French grey sea salt

Stir sugar, 1/4 cup water and corn syrup in deep medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves.
Increase heat to medium; cover pan and cook 4 minutes. Uncover; increase heat to medium high. Boil without stirring until syrup is just turning amber.
Remove from heat! Add cream (mixture will bubble). Whisk in butter, then sour cream, lemon juice and pinch of sea salt. Cool completely.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

making candy

One thing I love about Christmas-time is baking. I want my boys to have magical memories of us together in the kitchen. The smell of gingerbread and cookies filling the house. Sneaking bites here and there. We're doing what we can to take the focus off the gifts. Yes, they will have gifts, but hopefully they will just be a small part of the celebration.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Obama's beach photo

I pleadge allegience...

In a spirit of complete respect, I must say that our new president is HOT!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gingerbread House

We finished decorating the gingerbread house today. It is our first one, so there are things I would change about it. I used the recipe in The Joy of Cooking, and usually their recipes don't fail me. But the instructions for assembly were not good compared to others I have found, and the dimensions weren't great. The roof was huge, and I had to cut it down a bit. Anyway, we are proud of it and the boys are thrilled.

Holiday Construction

Our gingerbread house is assembled and ready to be decorated. Just pay no attention to the drunk, naked builder propped up on the side of the house! We are gonna have to fire him. The first house he built collapsed into a pile of gingerbread, so the brothers will have to share a house now. You just can't find a good contractor these days.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

the smell of Christmas

Ahhh. I love the smell of Christmas. Ginger. Cinnamon. Cloves. Pine. The kids and I are making gingerbread houses. We are taking our time because it is a long process. Last night, I made the dough and cut the patterns. Tonight, we rolled out the dough, cut the pieces and baked them. We all snuck a gingerbread bear, and they are delicious! Tomorrow (hopefully) we'll make the icing and construct the house.
We also have a playdate in the morning to make cookies at my friend's house. Yum. I don't like the commercialism of Christmas, but these home-y traditions make me remember why it's such a wonderful time of year. I hope my children will remember this and hold it dear.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Getting back on track

G and I decided to get ourselves a new treadmill for Christmas. I have missed aerobics so much since Tiki got too old and I had to quit. I did worry, though, that it would sit down there unused like our bowflex has for the past couple years.
It came in last week, and we have really enjoyed it! It has a t.v. screen built in and great speakers, so we aren't just staring at the wall, and we didn't have to put it in the living room. I've only used it twice, but G has used it every day! I'm so excited to finally get to work out again. And I've found that it encourages me to do other things while I'm down there like abs and upper body. Maybe we'll finally get some use out of that bowflex.
I've noticed I really feel better on the days I get to exercise. Let's face it, I need all the endorphins I can get! Now, if I'll make time to start doing yoga again (haven't done since having Tiki), I'll bet I'll start feeling like my old self again. The aches and pains of parenting is something nobody warned me about. Having a 27 pound 9 month old who insists on being held all the time is no easy job. It's so important for moms to take care of themselves too, but it's so hard to make the time to do it. Maybe this will be my new year's resolution.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I got the last one!

Awhile ago, I made a wish list on amazon for the grandparents. I thought I'd buy the items that were left about 10 days before Christmas. On the list was a WowWee Lion cub for my 3 year old. One day, I noticed the price had jumped from $49.00 to about $150! It was going out of stock. Next thing I knew, it was nowhere to be found. So, I compromised and selected the tiger cub instead. Of course, this morning, when we decided we'd better buy the gifts, it was out of stock most places, and listed at $162.00 at amazon. Because a similar thing happened last year, you'd think I'd have this Christmas Frenzy figured out by now! I remembered seeing several of the tigers (no lions) at Target, so I rushed to the store, and I got the LAST ONE! It was ten dollars more than the original amazon price, but it was a bargain compared to $162!

I called my husband to exclaim that I had gotten the last one, expecting his shared excitement! He sighed and muttered something about "I can't believe you got yourself in the position of having to get the last one of anything." So true. I wonder if I'll have learned to shop early by next year?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I can relax.

The open house is over, and I'm so relieved. I've done nothing but stress about it for a week! We just knew nobody came when I picked up the phone to call the agent when it was supposed to be over. We were so happy to hear that she had been busy the whole time. My husband dropped me and the baby off, and we let the realtor go. I stayed another hour and a half until the Tour of Homes was over, and I got two more couples. In all, we had 14 to 16 visitors. It was all worth it!
Now, these people were not in the market for a house. But you never know who they know, and it can only help to have people come see the house. One of the women that came while I was here said the reason she came was because she heard other people talking about how beautiful my house was at one of the houses on the tour. I thought that was great. Many people took fliers and said they would spread the word for us. I guess only time will tell. Still, we accomplished what I was hoping for.

Monday, December 1, 2008

busy week

I have so much to do this week in preparation for the open house. Sometimes it feels like trudging through mud to do stuff with these three kids, though. The baby pretty much demands to be held all the time, and when he's sleeping I have loads of other chores to do. Like right now, for instance. This internet is not gonna browse itself!
That mostly leaves the time after my husband gets home from work. It seems like a mad dash of dinner, dishes, bath and bedtime most nights, though. Tonight, we have an art show. I'm very excited about this one, as it is at my son's elementary school. As a fundraiser, every year they have a show with your child's art framed and displayed. You have the option of buying your child's art. If that is any option at all. hehe. This year, I think it is gonna be quite good. I have a tree with fall colors that he did earlier in the year with sponge paint that turned out so beautiful that I had it matted and framed. He's becoming a pretty good little artist. He is left handed, so if there is any truth to the myth, he'll turn out to be the creative type. My little temperamental artist.