Saturday, March 27, 2010

No move for us :-( =)

The house switch is off. It was a disappointment, especially for Casey, who would really love to have a house in the Park Cities asap and not have to worry about it, but I see lots of blessings in it. The biggest one that, instead, Casey sold his interest in that big house to dad, and we could then pay off our mortgage. So, come what may, whatever hardship may come, we own this house. It's very satisfying to know that. It makes you kinda want to hole up and take cover, just because you can. =)

Another blessing is not having to go through the stress and hassle of a move, plus a much longer commute to work for me long before it's necessary, (as in, when we have kids to go to those good schools we're moving there for). Have babies first, then move somewhere for them to go to school! But with the mortgage paid off, the next landmark is for me to finish grad school. The next three months are going be tough, lots of reading, writing and studying. Ugh! But afterward, the reward is we get to go to Europe for Casey to compete in a triathlon and see my family, so that will be great. A carrot to dangle, if you will.

Also, Kelli and I had a great run this morning. We're training for the Big D Texas half marathon in early April, and this morning was just spectacular for a run, and we both felt really good doing it. Then there was a brunch with girls from church, which was really nice, and then our Club Euro luncheon at the Bavarian Grill. I really liked the restaurant, super-fun very authentic feeling restaurant, and we had a good time. If you're want to try something different with comforting food, it's definitely worth a drive to Plano.

But now, I need to do some homework! =(

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Unexpected blessings

So, my mom found in a drawer some savings bonds that my grandfather gave to me...back in 1982!

Unexpected blessing.

Then I took them to the bank (which was a bit of a debacle -- pre-computer bonds don't scan with only took two bankers to figure that out! ;-) but after they figured it out and she was counting out the was more than the face value. I didn't expect that they had earned interest too. (BTW, don't invest in savings bonds. The interest is too small...but over nearly 30 years, it still adds up a little.)

Anyway, that was unexpected. If you know me very well, you know that I HATE spending money. I mean, I struggle to spend gift cards sometimes. Seriously. I still have $50 credit for Williams-Sonoma from Christmas because I can't bear to pay their inflated prices...even when it's a gift. But I've got a plan on how to spend that savings bond.

And, most unexpected of all, Casey and I might be moving to the Park Cities sooner than expected. Nothing is absolutely decided, but it looks way more probable. The story is that Casey and Dad bought this giNORmous house in Oak Cliff a year ago and fixed it up and have been trying to sell it. Unsuccessfully. But since the beginning, Mom has said she wanted to move there. She likes the huge pool. Dad has been on the fence, and it's been tough to sell a 9 bedroom house in a buyer's market.

Casey has been burning himself an ulcer over turning over the investment. But I think my parents decided they're going to move, and my mom's actually packing right now. So, that means that their house will be the one to sell.

Unless Casey and I want it. The thing is, we don't want that house. It's just not the house we would want. Layout is awkward. Not good for having people over. Kitchen is tiny and would be have to be totally renovated, along with the bathrooms. And I want a super-kitchen and a bathtub that I can swim in. I do. I'm a serious bubble-bath fan. I think I've even gotten Casey into it. Rabbit trail, sorry.

But, the land is great. And pricey. So if we can work it out to pay my parents for it in the future, we'd like to build a house there. Specifically, this one. If you go to the link, you can see the floor plan too.Well, the idea of building your own house is an incredible indulgence that we never considered permitting ourselves to have...but it might just work out. We'd have to fix up our current house and sell it to start paying back my parents, but since Casey and Dad fixed up houses twice before, I don't think the process will be a problem.

So, I'm putting that savings bond money aside for that bathtub. Oh, yeah. Bring on the bubbles.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Recommendations please!

I'm putting together a playlist of songs for a wedding reception specifically to encourage dancing. Any suggestions on irresistible dance songs?

Banana Bread & Spring Break

Ah, Spring Break. Going to bed and getting up when you want to is such a treat! I've mostly been a good girl and done some research for my paper that's due in May, but I really should buckle down and get to the outlining/writing part soon. *Be productive!*

But first, this morning, I made Banana Bread. It turned out really nicely. Rich, as the recipe said, but not dense or greasy like some sweet breads. Light and cakey, good flavor, nice crust. I doubled the recipe so I have one for me, and one goes in the freezer for a brunch in a couple weeks. Fun and productive! ;-)

I really do recommend trying this recipe if you're going to make Banana Bread. You can read the 676 5 star reviews on All Recipes if you don't believe me!

Rich Banana Bread, from adapted from
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream (or yogurt)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup ripe banana, mashed (3 bananas)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well.
3. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt, stir into the butter mixture until almost combined. Do not over-mix.
4. Finally, gently fold in the sour cream, walnuts and bananas. Do not over-mix! Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
5. Bake at 325 degrees F for 75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. You may want to cover it with foil the last 15 minutes to prevent over-browning the top. Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.