Saturday, January 31, 2009


This is a double convection oven I found on Craigslist yesterday, listed for $650, which retails for $1900 new!

I was so excited! I emailed the guy immediately and left a message on his voicemail. I was waiting around anxiously all day for a call back, because the last stove we were interested in on Craigslist was sold before we could go see it. The only time my cell phone rang was when I was on my dad's cell phone with my State Farm agent going over her insurance quote for our house. I went to see who was calling on the caller ID and it said "Shaina Nunnelly". I didn't want to interupt the call with my insurance agent because we needed to get this done pronto to close on escrow so I planned on calling her back later.

As soon as I hung up I went to explain to Jeff our insurance options. While we were talking about that he said we should make dinner for my parents because my Dad was sick (he does all the cooking). So we made a quick dinner, cleaned up....then I checked my message. Turns out the call was NOT from Shaina, it was from the guy I had called about the oven! My new phone has done this a couple times, where caller ID says its my Dad, when its really my realtor, etc. Its a little confusing and annoying. I'm still surprised every time.

So now its an hour later as I call the Craigslist guy back. I leave another message and wait. Finally I send him a text message asking if we can go see the oven the next day. He sends me a text back saying he just sold it!!!! Arghh!!! I am still so mad! My stupid phone cost me a really great stove! Its is just so frustrating, I probably won't find another deal like this. The oven is the most important appliance to me that we have to buy. I've had too many bad ovens that make my food turn out terrible. And now that I've seen what I missed I won't be easily satisfied with less, ya know? This all happened last night and I am still fuming.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Inside Pics

Here are some picture of our new home! This is the master bedroom (I don't know why the top window is covered):

This is our top level:

This is our formal dining room:

Our family room (a little small):

Our backyard (still needs a lot of work, but its huge!):

Our front porch:

My dream kitchen, it even has pull out drawers:

There are more picture on, but I thought these ones showed the house the best. We are stressing on the numbers ($), appliances, and landscaping, but we know its totally worth it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Little Spiderman

Jaden LOVES anything Spiderman! Before Christmas my mom bought him some Spiderman pajamas and that just completed his "stash". Now every night or afternoon Jaden asks me, "Can I put on my Spiderman pajamas?" I finally had to make it a rule that he had to wait until after dinner to put on his pajamas, otherwise he wanted to wear them all day long! He still asks me about five times before dinner. Although that gets old, I think its the cutest thing!

Friday, January 23, 2009

We Bought A House!!!!!

Click for more pictures ...

We just bought this house! Its on Chancellor Dr, which is in Woodmen Point, near Woodmen and Austin Bluffs. It was only on the market for one day and we had to race 6 other people to get our offer in first. I couldn't sleep until after midnight last night and I pretty much held my breath all day. I didn't really think we would get it, I was pretty shocked when our realtor told us the news this afternoon. Unfortunately it is just barely out of the 9th ward boundaries. But it is in District 20, and that all we could ask for with a house like this!!!

Its about 3500 square feet, with an unfinished walk-out basement, so its about 2500 finished square feet, built in 2006. It was a bank owned foreclosure, I can't believe the last people lost it after putting so much money into it. Very sad for who ever they are. It needs appliances and landscaping but I never thought we could afford such an amazing house. The upper level has all four bedrooms and the washer and dryer hook-ups (which I am so excited about, I HATE dragging laundry up and down stairs). Plus there's an office on the main level. We absolutely love it!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Embarrassing Emotional Outbursts

For everyone who wasn't there to see it, I had a totally embarassing emotional outburst last night. I only blog it to everyone because for some reason it makes me feel better to talk about really embarrassing moments. I actually wrote a paper in college that explored the irony of why people retell embarrassing moments, it was very fun because I got to collect embarrassing moments from everyone I knew and type up the stories as part of my paper. These moments can be so funny to recall. So here's mine.

I didn't realize how stressed out I was until I fell apart. Here's how it happened. We had planned a girls night out at the movies and I was really looking forward to it. I had just started my period and had been really busy lately looking for a house. I was getting very frustrated because it was a lot harder than I had thought to find a house we liked, that we could afford, in the school district we want. I was talking about it with Jeff right before I left to meet the girls and we were thinking that our best bet might be this one house on Chancellor Dr. We looked it up on for another look and found that it was gone! That was the only house we had liked in the entire school district!

With that thought I left a bit late and a little distracted. When I arrived at the theatre I soon realized I must be at the wrong place. My new phone didn't have any of my phone numbers in it so I called Jeff for help. I found out I was at the wrong place! As I drove to the correct location I grew more and more frustrated and upset. I was going to miss the meeting at Dairy Queen, which I had been looking forward to, and only arrive in time to watch the movie I wasn't looking forward to seeing. And I couldn't believe that house was gone!! After over a hundred days on the market it disappears before we could get our hands on it! I felt myself getting emotional and thought about just throwing in the towell and going home, but I had already said I was on my way. I thought if I could just get myself together I would have a good time.

Well, as soon as I had found everyone and said hello, for some reason I just burst into tears! I guess it just had to do with already being menstral and upset, and then suddenly being surrounded by girlfriends, that just hit a trigger behind my eyes. I tried to explain that I must just be stressed out from losing the house I wanted, but I just felt so dumb! I absolutely hate crying in public! Everyone was nice and said they understood but I still just felt like an a--. So I tried to get control of myself and enjoy the rest of the evening.

The movie was actually really good but it started the flood of tears again because it was about best girlfriends and made me miss mine. Then after the movie as I was leaving I made a really stupid remark to someone's mom. I just meant to say something nice, so I said "It was so nice to meet you. " Then I remembered I hadn't really met her at all, in fact I hadn't even made eye contact with her, so the next thing that came out of my mouth was "well not really...". From that point there was really nothing to say that would salvage it so I just walked away, again feeling like the idiot of the night. One of my friends teased me about what I had said, and ridiculously, I burst into tears again!!! What a night! I felt so completely insane!

Of course I cried the whole way home, cried while I told my mom what a lunatic I was, and then cried some more as I explained to Jeff why I came home from a girl's night out in tears. I felt better, as I always do, when Jeff gave me a hug, told me I wasn't crazy, and that he loved me. Ahh, what a difference a loving husband makes. :)

And by the way, today I looked at more houses and found some great possibilities, plus we may be able to make an offer on the one we thought we had lost.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

House Hunting

Sorry I haven't been posting! We have spent as every spare minute this weekend house hunting. Saturday afternoon we looked at some houses and found some really beautiful ones, but they were all pretty expensive. So Monday we met with our mortgage banker to get pre-approved. We found out we both have great credit scores!!! Jeff's is 791 and mine is 807! That is amazing, they don't get much higher than that! Yay!

With our finances all figured out we met with our realtor again. We looked at some cheaper homes this time, all in district 20. We were unimpressed, so we revisited a couple we liked from Saturday. Its such an overwhelming decision to make! We were excited to find one home in our current ward: 8384 Old Exchange Dr . Totally cute on the outside but a little outdated on the inside. Unfortunately it wasn't our favorite.

We found a couple amazing homes that we keep coming back to. One that is huge and beautiful and an amazing deal, but one that we may not be able to afford on Sunset Ridge Dr. Another one, not as big but immaculate and has everything that Jeff wants on Saddle Rock Rd. But both of those are in District 11. And then there's the one we can't agree on. Its definitely a great deal, but its got some wierd quirks that we don't like. Its on 7490 Chancellor Dr. The main two levels are amazing for the price but the basement is a mess and the backyard is the worst we've seen.

We may just try to make some low-ball offers on the expensive ones. Thats what Jeff wants to do. I'm not sure. I just want to keep looking. We really want to stay in District 20, but the homes are sooo much more expensive here. Our realtor gave us a million to look at in District 49, so maybe we'll just give up on 20 and look out there. What do you guys think? Take a look at them and let me know! I would appreciate any feedback. I'm still completely undecided.


Great movie! Jeff and I saw this Friday night. I absolutely loved it. When I think about the Haulocast I always wonder how so many normal people could be brought to commit such horrifying crimes. Its unbelievable. What I never knew is that there were 15 attempts on Adolf Hitler's life, made by the German people. Not everybody went along with Hitler. What courageous people. I would hope that, given the oppportunity, I would be brave enough to make a similar decision that those people made. You gotta see the movie. Very thought provoking.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Good Feelings

You know when you just have those perfect days? When the air is fresh and the kids are happy and you just sing yourself through the day, grateful to be alive? That was my morning today. I don't know what prompted it but I floated on a cloud this morning. I didn't do anything exciting, in fact, I did something I've been dreading: going to Costco with a HUGE list of things to get. I never mind going to Costco to get a couple things, but I dread the bill if you need more than five items. Everything there is like ten bucks or more! So I've been putting it off and adding more items to my despair. Finally today I had to go because we were totally out of eggs and if I wanted to get off my sugar binge and start South Beach again I need eggs. (I know what you're thinking, "wait a minute, wasn't she already doing South Beach, and sugar free?" I only lasted like three days, then I made an amazing cheesecake to bring over a friends house, and of course I had to take some leftovers home. Talk about self sabatoge!! I know, I know.)

Anyway, back to the subject. So maybe I was just on a sugar high from the piece of brownie I ate on my way out to the car. Or maybe it was the pizza we had for lunch there after the $230 bill. For whatever reason I just felt so euphoric. I kept looking at my kids and thinking, "gosh, could they get any cuter?" Actually, I've been thinking that all the time lately.

With my car loaded down almost to the ground with groceries, and the pizza and junk in our stomachs, I filled my tank for less than $30, washed the outside for three bucks, and even filled the air in my tires (which is actually a big deal because I have an automatic sensor which gives a long loud obnoxious beep for each tire that is low). I felt like superwoman when I thought about all the things I had accomplished before nap time!

Of course as soon as we got home my time ran out, Jaden started crying because he had to use the potty, Carter threw a fit over something he wanted from the fridge and the phone rang. Good feelings gone. Sigh. But hey, they were sure good while they lasted!

Family Fun in the Snow

We went sledding with some friends after it snowed on Monday. How fun! The kids were excited to see each other and they had a blast sledding, even though they had to push it all the way down the "hill" most of the time because it wasn't quite steep enough. Even the little ones had fun. Carter, who didn't care for playing in the snow last time and fought putting his snow clothes on, was as happy as a bird in a tree.
We tried to make a snow man, but, darn it, the snow was too dry and wouldn't stick.
When we all got too cold we piled inside for some hot cocoa and a good movie. We had a delicious impromtu dinner, for which we were graciously invited, and enjoyed each other's company. All in all, the most weekday fun I've had in a while! Thanks guys!

btw-i couldn't figure out how to arrange the pictures nicely in my post, sorry. I kinda blogger illiterate.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Snow Day

It snowed today, how beautiful!! Jeff and I are all excited to take our kids sledding. First we had to go out and buy one, never having lived in snow with our family before. I just love the look of a city covered in freshly fallen snow!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Yummy Thai Soup

As some of you know I have dabbled in the South Beach Diet. I admit, I never would have tried it simply because the name sounded like some hokey fad diet, but my doctor recommended it. I read the book and thought it sounded smart, moderate and very healthy. The basic premise for those of you unfamiliar with it is this: Phase 1: For two weeks give up all sugar, fruit and "bad" carbs, ie, bread, pasta, potatoes, cereal, etc. Eat as much as you need to fill satisfied of lean proteins, including low-fat cheeses, healthy fats (no butter), and most vegetables. Phase 2: Slowly introduce healthy carbs, ie, whole grains and fruit but continue to stay away from sugar until you've lost your desired amount of weight. Phase 3: After you've acheived your healthy weight continue to make healthy choices and limit the bad stuff, but basically enjoy anything in moderation. Whenever you want to loose some quick pounds go back to phase 1.

So, the first time I tried the strict "phase 1" I didn't even last a week before I gave up. I loved it every day until I gave up, but at that time of my life I couldn't really stick to anything. So this next time, after Thanksgiving I had eaten so many sweets and yummy unhealthy things that I felt I really needed to get sugar and bad carbs out of my system for a while. I stuck to it for about 10 or 11 days and lost 8.5 pounds! I was really shooting for the full two weeks but it was too hard with all the holiday goodies sitting around. But the great thing is I've maintained those pounds lost!
Anyway, with the holiday tempations gone I'm back on the "phase 1" wagon so to speak. And the reason I'm sharing this with you all is that I've discovered some really yummy recipes that are amazing whether you're dieting or not!! And the best thing about them is they are healthy!

Seriously, this Thai soup is delicious! It totally reminds me of Thailand. If you are not fond of seafood, try chopped chicken, I bet it would be just as good! So please try it!

Thai Shrimp Soup with Lime and Cilantro
South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook p. 78

1 tablespoon canola oil
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 small onion, thinly sliced
5 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (1/2 pound) head napa cabbage, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 pounds fresh or thawed frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or substitute scallions if you prefer)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and onion; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add broth and red pepper flakes; increase heat and bring to a low boil.
Add cabbage and cook 2 minutes. Add shrimp, fish sauce, lime zest, and lime juice; cook just until shrimp turn pink, about 1 minute. Serve hot, sprinkled with cilantro if using.

Super easy, huh? And quick too, only about 30 minutes to finish! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. (Jeff ate three huge bowls of it and even Carter gobbled it up too!)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hey everybody! Shaina has requested this recipe, and since I love being able to print up recipes from her blog, I decided to post it on my blog. I'll work on adding my other favorites, plus any requests! The recipe is pretty involved, I know, but it turns out so great its totally worth it. The cornmeal in the struesel may sound a little strange, (I thought so) but it gives it a nice nutty texture. I love how the mix of apples and the cream really helps mellow out the tartness, and precooking the apples helps them be perfectly cooked every time! The recipe is from " The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook", which is my favorite cookbook.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, chilled
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water (I use more for cooking in Colorado!)

1. Process the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Scatter small pieces of shortening over the top and continue to process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Scatter small pieces of the butter over the top and, using short pulses, process the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. Stir and press the dough together, using a stiff rubber spatula, until the dough sticks together. If the dough does not come together, stir in the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does. Form the dough into a 4-inch disk, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
3. Let the chilled dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling it into a 12-inch circle and fitting it into a pie plate. Trim, fold, and crimp the edges and freeze the unbaked pie crust until firm, about 30 minutes, before filling or baking.
4. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line the chilled crust with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake until the pie dough looks dry and is light in color, 25-30 minutes. Transfer the crust to a wire rack and remove the weights and foil. (For a fully baked crust, remove the pie weights and foil and continue to bake until the crust is a deep golden brown, about 12 minutes longer.)

1 cup flour
1/2 cup pack brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon fine-ground cornmeal
6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted

2 Tablespoons butter
2 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 pounds Gala apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. For the streusel: Mix the flour, sugars, and cornmeal together, then drizzle with butter, and stir to combine.
3. For the filling: Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the apples, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the apples have begun to break down, about 12 minutes.
4. Transfer the apples to a large bowl using a slotted spoon, leaving the apple juices behind in the pot. Add the cream to the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the cream is thick and sticky and has reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Toss the thickened cream with the cooked apples.
5. Spread the apple filling in the hot, partially baked crust. Sprinkle with the streusel. Bake until the crust and streusel have browned, about 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Standing Up

I watched a show on television the other day that really bothered me. I think its called "What
Would You Do?". In the show they set up various situations with actors in a public place to see how people react. For example on one show they had a "mom" bring in her kids to a restaurant and let them run wild and filmed the reactions of the other people in the restaurant. There were not a few people that let the mom have a piece of their mind. Of course it was different when it was a "dad" with the kids--hardly anyone said anything! Another one was someone in a restaurant talking loudly on a cell phone, etc.

The episode I saw the other day was not as light hearted. It involved two hispanic migrant workers (actors) trying to order some food at a coffee shop. The employee behind the counter (also an actor) found any excuse to insult and demean them, refused to give them service, and asked them to take their business somewhere else. This guy did not hold back, no matter how many customers were around. He made fun of them because they did not speak English, he told them to go to Taco Bell, etc. All of this right in front of people. The workers asked many people to help. They clearly had the money to pay for their food, but very few people would help them, let alone stand up for them. It made my stomach sick to watch people being so obviously racially descriminated against and hardly anyone had the guts to stick up for them. I think they played the scene 60 times, and only about 40% of the time anyone had a problem with it, and nine people even agreed with it and made some comments of their own.

Growing up in Southern California, I am well aware of the issues with illegal immigrants. I taught ESL at an adult school, and of course many did not have a social security number to put on their records. We all turned a blind eye because we were teachers and educators and you don't turn a student away who wants to learn. Whether I agreed with their methods of getting here or not, I greatly respected my students. They were incredibly hard workers who were respectful and kind. But in reality, anyone who avoids paying taxes is a burden on the society in which they live. I believe many of the problems in Los Angeles exist because there are so many people, mostly hispanic, who live there illegally and do not pay taxes. The city does not have enough money to make their schools decent, let alone their highways driveable! That is why I voted against giving illegal immigrants driver's liscenses, and any other such propositions.

I firmly believe that you should abide by the laws and appropriate customs of the land in which you live. That is why when I lived in Taiwan I made a concerted effort to learn Chinese, and respect their customs. I was the only teacher I knew who hired a personal tutor to teach me the language. I was appalled by my friends who made no efforts to speak the native language. Who were we to go to their country, not just on vacation but for an extended period of time, and expect them to speak our language?!

With all of that said, racial descrimination is wrong no matter the reasons. I am not a confrontational person but I could never stand by and let a human being be treated so shamefully. We are all God's children and everyone deserves respect, regardless of their skin color, or nationality, or handicap, or age, or gender. It is one thing to make your opinion known on the ballot or in respectful communication, but it is quite another to be insulting and refuse to give someone service! One of the "actors" actually broke down crying afterward. He said he didn't understand how anyone could treat him that way. He said he was human too.

This morning Jaden was watching "Go Diego Go" and one of the characters told the viewer to say "Stop scaring her!" to someone who was behaving meanly. Jaden repeated "Stop scaring her!", and I was glad that the writers of the show cared about teaching children to stand up for what is right. Maybe if more of the new generation learn about standing up for what is morally right, when they are grown there will be more than %40 of them who will be strong and take a stand.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Car Trouble

We took our Murano to a mechanic to get a couple repairs, and get a call telling us its gonna cost about $2500!!! One part was $1300 alone! Ugh. Cars suck. The mechanic actually advised us to either pay for the repairs or just sell it! A lot of the repairs aren't even really necessary, (like an small oil leak) because they don't effect the way the car runs and are really labor intensive but how do you not fix something when you know it needs to be fixed? Besides who would want to buy a car that needs so many little (but expensive) repairs? Lame, lame, lame.

So, that started the new car conversation. With two kids and a desire for a third in our near future, the "van versus large SUV" debate began again in earnest. Neither of us want a van but, darn it, they are just so practical. It is such a struggle between what you want versus what makes sense. Gas prices are so cheap right now, but how long is that gonna last? Besides, the big cars we want (Jeff wants the Saturn Outlook, and I want a Chevy Tahoe) are just so expensive. We both hate the boring ordinariness of a van but what is a practical family to do?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

We now have a blog!

Yeah, Shaina showed me how to make a blog, how cool.