Hoofin’

It turns out that this Saturday I’ll be tapping at an event called Urban Jam.

Yeah, you read that right. This suburban white girl, and two of her very suburban white friends, will be lacing up the tap shoes and trying not to look too ridiculous at an event called Urban Jam.

I could try to impress you with the fact that we found out about this performance 4 days ago, had nothing “urban” in our repertoire, and put together a pretty bad-ass new piece of choreography in just 3 hours of work over the weekend. Or I could try to be cool and talk about how the hoofin’ style of tap that this event calls for (think: less bouncy and show-y, more grounded and awesome) is my very favorite kind of tap. But the reality is that the only reason the three of us won’t be wearing something sparkly on Saturday is because we haven’t yet decided on a dance company name good enough to bedazzle onto a hoodie.

And really, when it comes to white girls dancing, “bedazzled on a hoodie” is the new “set in stone.”

Wednesday-Bensday! Special Teacher’s Pet Edition

I know some of you have already seen this on Facebook, but it is simply too cute not to re-post.

Teacher's Pet

As a bonus, I give you the Kid Quote of the Day from Tim’s first day back after Christmas Break:

Kid: “Are we going to learn about the Boston Tea Party?”
Mr. Tim: “Yes.”
Kid: “But I hate Sarah Palin!”

. . .

In other news: Happy Birthday, Gary!

The Cucumbers Were the Worst Part

One of my resolutions for the new year is to make one new vegetable-centered recipe each month. I know 12 new recipes in a year is not that impressive a number, but what you have to remember is I’ve never been a big vegetable eater. It’s not that I never eat vegetables — I’ve actually gotten much better at expanding my culinary tastes beyond meat, potatoes, and cheese in recent years — but I tend to eat the same vegetables (green beans, peppers, spinach) all the time. I’d like to work more vegetables into my diet, and it seems like the best way to do this is to start cooking with veggies more often. Knowing my general aversion to most vegetables and our usual grocery-shopping habits, one new recipe per month seemed like the best way to set myself up for success with this particular resolution.

This month’s vegetable pick was the cucumber. Cucumbers are kind of okay. I’ll eat them occasionally, but I tend to reach my cucumber threshold pretty quickly. But since I don’t hate cucumbers, I figured I could find a recipe with sufficient other yummy flavors to balance out the cucumber taste enough to make it enjoyable. Enter the California Roll Salad. This recipe has all sorts of things I enjoy — avocados, leafy green lettuce (used in place of iceberg, obvs.), soy sauce, salmon (in place of fake crab). Plus it’s one of the top-rated cucumber recipes on a usually trustworthy recipe site. Surely it could make cucumbers more enjoyable, right?

Yeah, not so much. There were probably some things I could have done differently. I could have chopped the cucumber into smaller pieces so every bite with cucumber in it wasn’t completely overpowered by cucumber. I could have spent an extra couple of bucks on fresh salmon instead of ignoring my firm no-canned-meat policy and buying pre-cooked, pre-shredded canned salmon. Oh, and I could have known better than to trust a group of reviewers who made Microwave Pickles the top-rated cucumber recipe on the site.

So, January’s recipe was a bust, and I still don’t love cucumbers. (Although, to be fair, even without the cucumbers I wouldn’t have enjoyed last night’s salad very much.) Here’s hoping February’s new vegetable recipe will be a bigger success.

Simultaneously Stressful and Exciting

Over the holidays someone built a house on our foundation!

House!

Exciting, right? The builders are making very rapid progress on the new house, which would really be fantastic, except nobody has bought our old house yet. And that is stressful. See, our purchase of the new house is contingent on our sale of the old house, and they won’t take the new house past a certain point in the construction process until the old house sells. And we are getting very near that point in the construction process. We’ve lowered the asking price on the old house a ridiculous amount, but the fact of the matter is we’re in a tough market and apparently nobody wanted a house for Christmas. Hopefully now that the holidays are over, we’ll be able to find some buyers. And it’s not like the builders have customers chomping at the bit to buy the new house out from under us, so I’m sure they’ll work with us until we can sell the old house. It’ll all work out somehow. It has to.

But enough stress. Let’s focus on the exciting part. Would you like to take a look around our new house?

Let’s start with the first floor:

First floor

On the top left, you see our living room, complete with fireplace. Below that is our kitchen and dining room. See the pantry in the corner of the kitchen? I’m super excited to have a pantry and not have to store food in cabinets anymore. The top right is looks from the dining room down the hall to the front door. To the left of the hallway is the garage, and to the right are stairs, a powder room, and the study (bottom right).

Shall we venture upstairs?

Stairs

(Downstairs is just the unfinished basement, which isn’t too exciting…yet. Someday we’ll finish it and it will wonderful, complete with theater, ping pong room, and maybe even another bedroom for use by guests or teenage children who want to live in the basement. The possibilities are endless.)

Upstairs Loft and Laundry

Welcome to the upstairs! In the top left photo we have yours truly, standing at the top of the stairs. Over my left shoulder (and also in the bottom left photo), we have the laundry room! Upstairs where all the bedrooms are! I think I’ve written before about how excited I am to stop hauling laundry up and down stairs all the time, but it’s still true. I love that our laundry room is upstairs. The top right photo is looking down from the top of the stairs and out one of many big, beautiful windows in our house. And the bottom right photo is Tim, checking out the awesome mountain view from the loft. That loft right there is what set this house apart from the other models we looked at. I really like that we’ll have something besides bedrooms upstairs. I envision us using the loft as a family room, and someday it’ll become our kids’ playroom.

Upstairs Bedrooms

Speaking of bedrooms, the upstairs has plenty of them: three, not counting the master. The two in the top left and bottom right photos are on either side of the laundry room and will make good kids’ rooms someday. In the meantime, one of them will be a guest room, and I honestly have no idea what we’ll do with the other one in the immediate future. I’m sure we’ll figure something out, though. The bedroom in the top right photo is across the hall from the master and will make a really good nursery when we eventually get around to having kids. The bottom left photo is the upstairs bathroom, which is all the way down the hall from…

My creation

…the master bedroom! Oh, you guys. It’s going to be great. Check out the corner tub and the big walk-in closet (so big it didn’t even fit in the top left photo). And the bedroom (top right) that is big enough for our king-sized bed, plus other furniture! What a concept! It’s a good thing we got gift cards to furniture stores for Christmas, because we finally have room for a real, grown-up bedroom set.

I love the look of the mountains first thing in the morning, when the rising sun is reflecting off the red stone of Pike’s Peak. It’s not something I get to see often , since I’m rarely awake and out of the house early enough. But in the new house, all I’ll have to do is roll over in bed and look out of my bedroom window to see the mountain in all its early-morning glory. (It’s still pretty gorgeous late in the afternoon, too, as seen in the bottom left photo taken from our bedroom window).

And, because I needed a fourth photo to finish the mosaic, the bottom right photo is the back of the house. That big opening in the middle is for the slider that will go from our dining room out to the big back yard. We hope to have the back yard landscaped this summer, and hopefully next summer we can build a deck off the back of the house.

So there you have it — a look into the house of our dreams. Now if someone could please buy our old house so we could hurry up and move into the dream house, we’d be able to leave the stress behind and focus on nothing but the excitement.

Smalls Sunday

 

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She’s just a little girl dog…who snores like an old man.