Home Sweet Home

the baloney bug

I posted on Instagram last night that we bought a house, so here’s the story of how we went from not looking to buy to homeowners in 6 weeks:

Jon and I had always had moving to Long Island in our plans for the future.  After I left my job, we really didn’t have a reason to be living in the city (besides of course, loving the city).  Jon has worked in Long Island for almost 7 years, making the reverse commute out of the city every day.  We were also paying city taxes and of course living in a one bedroom apartment and dealing with street parking (our car has been hit while parked so many times that I’ve lost count) and walking the dog in sub-zero temperatures, many times with toddler in tow.  While we were planning to move, we weren’t looking to buy.

We were planning to rent.  Home prices out here are sky high and so we just never even thought about buying.  We would check Craig’s List pretty regularly looking for rentals.  We wanted to rent something that was dog friendly with a yard, 2 bedrooms and close to Jon’s office.  The pickings were slim.

Then one Sunday afternoon I was scrolling through Facebook and saw an ad that the Property Brothers were coming to the New York area and looking for applicants.  Without even telling Jon, I decided to apply.

(For anyone who isn’t obsessed with HGTV like myself, Property Brothers is a show where the brothers help find you a fixer upper and then renovate it into your dream home.  Spoiler alert: they didn’t call us back.)

So here I am, applying for the show and it asks if you’re interested in a particular home.  We of course weren’t, so I said no and tried to submit the application.  But the application couldn’t be submitted without the listing from a home of interest, so I literally did a super fast Google search for our budget and area and our house came up as one of the first homes.  I liked the street name, the house was in the perfect area, within our price range, in excellent condition but still needed some fixing up.  So I put it on the application and hit submit.

We went about the rest of our day, and then did Adelaide’s bedtime routine.  After she was down I looked at Jon and told him I couldn’t stop thinking about this house.  So he looked at it and agreed that he also loved it.

Then I called my mom and told her.  She always talks me down from my crazy plans, but she loved the idea as well.

Jon and I then decided we’d go see the house, and see if we liked it as much in person as we did online.  I emailed a realtor that a friend recommended and he got back to me that we could go see the house on Tuesday.

Tuesday we went to see the house without even being pre-approved by the bank (not recommended, ha).  We loved it.  Maybe even more in person than online.  It was built 60 years ago and the same owner has lived in it the entire time, taking excellent care of it.  You could really tell this home had been loved.

We got the bad news that someone else had just put in an offer, so there was competition.  Jon got the ball rolling on getting pre-approval with the bank and we submitted a full priced offer the next morning.  A painstaking 24 hours went by when we finally got the call that our offer had been accepted.

That weekend we did the home inspection, which came back much better than we had anticipated.  You never know with an older home, and we were pleasantly surprised that all of the issues that came up were really minor.

We were officially under contract the Monday after Thanksgiving and closed on the house on Tuesday, December 30th.

Six weeks exactly from the day we saw the house.

(Also my dad’s 60th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Dad!)

So we’ve spent the last 2 weeks packing and unpacking.  There’s not much to show at the moment because all the projects we’ve done haven’t necessarily been blog worthy.

I hope to share with you the transformation of the house as we go along.

That being said, what should our first big project be??

Thanks so much for all of the words of congratulations.  If you’re ever in the neighborhood, we’ve got room for visitors (and extra hammers).

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Merry Christmas

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

Well, meeting Santa didn’t exactly go smoothly.  We’ve been talking about Santa for the last month, saying “ho ho ho” everytime we see his image and talking about how he brings us gifts.  We finally got out to Bloomingdales to see St. Nick over the weekend and Adelaide waited on line like a champ.  The second it was her turn she just lost it.  There was no way she was going to get close to that guy.

Not even a cookie would help.

We tried.  Better luck next year?

Let us always remember that He is the reason we gather to celebrate.  That the true gift does not come wrapped in a box or with a bow.  Wishing you all a lovely holiday surrounded by those that you love.

Merry Christmas.

(You can see last year’s Santa pictures here.)

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Behind the Scenes 2014

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I think this year’s card might just be my favorite one yet.  We were a bit intimidated at the thought of trying to get a toddler and a dog to cooperate, but give them a cookie and some cream cheese and you’ve got a sure fire way to keep their attention.

I’ve been tossing around ideas for a kitchen scene for a while, and Jon was never on board.  When I suggested that he could be in the background pouring some booze into his coffee, he was suddenly a lot more interested.  I figured my favorite cards have always been the ones where something funny has been happening (Jon tied up in the Christmas lights and Brady pulling Jon down the street), so we went with it.  The original idea was for us to be dressed up in suit/tie/sparkles but last minute ditched the idea for pajamas.

Adelaide sat on her mark the entire time, happily gobbling down two very large chocolate chip cookies that we made earlier in the week.  I was running back and forth putting cream cheese on the island so Brady would jump up and lick it.  We had to take a small break to get him a step stool, because he was too short to really be seen in most of the photos.

This was our first year using lights.  We don’t get great lighting in our apartment, so Jon brought home some strobe lights to light the set.  I wish we had taken a photo of the entire setup, but it was too hectic to even think about it.  My friend Ashley came over to stand behind the camera and to get Adelaide’s attention, which was crazy helpful.

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

^^I swear he wasn’t about to bite her.  Adelaide spent a good amount of the shoot trying to snuggle Brady.  She loves him so much.  Seriously, she just loves her dog.  Brady is so good with her, especially when she’s sneaking him food.

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

The final image was actually 3 photographs (Adelaide and me + Brady + Jon).

I guess there are some benefits to being married to a photo geek.

(PS. You can see all of our past Christmas cards here.)

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Happiest of Holidays

 

the baloney bug Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season with a lot of nice (and maybe a little bit of naughty).  Check in tomorrow for out takes and how it was done!

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Adelaide’s First Gingerbread House

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My friend from high school invited Adelaide and I over for a Gingerbread House making party over the weekend, and we had so much fun.

Technically, Adelaide’s fun revolved around eating the candy.  I kept looking down to see bites taken out of our Hershey kiss walkway.

Sneaky little thing.

the baloney bug the baloney bug

Christmas this year is so different than last year.  While Adelaide still has no idea who Santa is, she’s able to participate and get excited about what we’re doing.  Last year she didn’t really pay much attention to her gifts, and favored the boxes and wrapping paper instead.  This year I am so excited for Christmas morning to see her open her gifts that we’ve selected for her.  It’s taking so much will power to not run to the closet and grab them and let her play with them right now.

(My mom came thisclose to caving yesterday when she was watching Adelaide because she’s so excited as well.  Grandmas!)

We still haven’t seen Santa yet, and I’m a little nervous that she’ll flat out refuse to go anywhere near him.  Anyone have tips for meeting Santa they can share??

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20 Months

the baloney bug Adelaide’s vocabulary seems to be increasing daily.

As do her opinions.

She insists on wearing her rainboots EVERYWHERE.  Literally the second she wakes up in the morning, the first word out of her mouth is “boots”.  I made the mistake of trying to make her wear different shoes this week, and she had a major meltdown.  I thought it would pass in a few minutes, but she was literally upset that she wasn’t wearing her boots the entire time we were out.

If you see us out and about, she’ll be in her rainboots.

Before the boots, she was obsessed with a set of house keys.  One particular set.  She even held them while she napped.  Obsessed.  She still loves the keys, but she loves her boots more.

Jon and I laugh that of course our kid is obsessed with shoes.

She wants to walk everywhere.  The majority of the time she refuses to sit in the stroller or be worn, but I’m mostly okay with that because I’m not in a hurry.

Except today.  It’s really cold.

Her eating habits have gotten much better.  Her favorite food is kielbasa, which she calls “boppy”, followed by bananas and hard boiled eggs.  Well, really she just likes to crack and peel the eggs.

We were baking the other day and she was standing on her step stool “helping”, and I turn around to a raw egg all over the counter.  Someone didn’t realize that not all eggs are hard boiled…

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

She’s such a sweet little girl.  So full of personality and laughter.

I’m also finding my groove as a stay at home mom.  I need to have things planned every day, because staying in the apartment would make me go stir crazy.  Adelaide takes music, art and gym classes, which are awesome for getting us out of the house and doing something we can’t do at home.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!

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Five Easy Recipes You’ve Got to Try Right Now

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Up until I quit my job to stay at home, Jon did all of the cooking in our house.  We’re pretty awful at meal planning, so we’d get home from work, play with Adelaide, do bath and bedtime and by the time that was over we’d sit down, exhausted, with no idea what’s for dinner.  Jon’s one request regarding cooking, now that I stay home, is that I just figure out what we’re having for dinner.

He still doesn’t mind doing the cooking, he just doesn’t want to think about what he’s going to make.  We’d often be like “Let’s have this for dinner!” and then realize we were out of ingredients, didn’t feel like running to the store (even though it’s literally 20 feet away), so we’d scrounge up something else or get delivery.

Now that I’m home I have a bit more time to look at recipes, take trips to the store with Adelaide to grab whatever we need, and prep dinner.  I’ve cooked every single one of these meals I’m posting, so you know they’re fool proof.  And on days I let Jon do the cooking, I try to get all the spices he’ll need out, defrost the meat, etc.

{click each meal title for recipe}

Italian Tortellini Soup

My notes: I used spicy sausage and just regular diced tomatoes.  I’d honestly never heard of Rotel, and loved it just the same without.  I served with homemade garlic bread on a french baguette (just cut down the center lengthwise and lather with butter, crushed garlic and some Parmesan), which brought the meal to another level.  This soup freezes perfectly, which was so nice to pull out on a day when we got home from a trip and had no groceries.  I also sent it to a friend who just had a baby, and he sent me a text that night asking for the recipe.  Win.

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Copycat Recipe

My notes: Okay, yes I like soup and I like sausage.  I’m not sure which soup I liked better.  Both were delicious.  This soup was super easy to make, and we basically stuck to the recipe exactly.  We served the Warm Bacon Salad (see next recipe), mostly because they used a lot of the same ingredients, so we had everything on hand.

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

My notes: I’m not sure I can convey to you how delicious this salad is.  I may have eaten some for breakfast this morning.  My only real edit is that I used regular balsamic instead of white, because after googling, decided there wasn’t much difference and it wasn’t worth buying something unnecessary.  We cut the onion really well by throwing it in our mini food processor.  Cutting onion in the food processor is my new favorite find.  Saves time and my eyes from getting all teary.  We saved the unused dressing in the fridge and just heat it up in the microwave before serving again.

Biscuit Topped Chicken Pot Pie

My notes: A few weeks ago we were having one of those cold rainy days and I wanted chicken pot pie so badly.  I found this recipe on Campbell’s site and it was beyond easy.  I’m pretty sure Adelaide could have done this one.  I used both frozen and canned veggies, because that’s what I had on hand.  I also pulled the biscuits to make them thinner before putting them on top, which I definitely suggest doing.

Best Breakfast Potatoes Ever

My notes: Technically this falls under the breakfast category, but who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?  Okay, me.  But these help me like breakfast.  Maybe even look forward to it.  I served these with a breakfast burrito, that was equally delicious.  I kept some peppers and onions aside to use in the burritos, sauteed them in some butter for a few minutes, then added some pre-cooked chicken sausage and eggs right to that pan, cooked until the eggs were done, and put on a flour tortilla.  I then topped with some freshly grated Parmesan and salsa (I’m a big fan of Newman’s salsa) and rolled it up.  Delicious.

So there you have it.  Five meals you need to try.  Right now.

Not only are these easy, but they make me look like a super chef.  My husband is so impressed with his formerly undomestic wife suddenly making delicious meals.

You’re welcome.

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Trick or Treat

the baloney bug

I had a feeling that Adelaide would really love Halloween this year, so I wanted to take her on a true trick or treating experience.  In the city kids trick or treat at businesses, and it’s just not the same as the door to door experience I had as a kid.  We ultimately decided to go home to Maryland so she could trick or treat in the suburbs.  Jon was traveling for work (again), so Adelaide and I went down ahead of him and he got there just in time for trick or treating.

I hemmed and hawed for quite a while trying to figure out what I wanted to dress Adelaide as, finally deciding that she should be a sheep.  “Bahhh” is one of the animal noises she’s got down pat, so I thought it would be cute to have a little sheep running around.

I started looking for a sheep costume and was pretty unimpressed with everything I found, so I decided to try my hand at sewing one.  It took a little bit of fabric, elastic, velcro and an afternoon nap time to put it together.

Except when Adelaide woke up from nap time I couldn’t get her to try on the costume if my life depended on it.

Luckily my mom dressed her for the big day, and Adelaide will do anything for my mom.  She even kept the hood on the entire time.

Only for grandma.

A very brief rundown of how it was made for those interested: I basically traced one of her sleeveless dresses leaving a few inches around each side, and about 8 inches on the bottom.  I sewed it together and used elastic at the bottom to create the bubble skirt.  I sewed velcro on one of the shoulders so that she could get in and out of the costume.  And the finishing touch was the hood: I traced the hood of one of her sweaters, attached some ears, and then sewed it to the body of the costume.  If anyone wants actual details feel free to message me, but that’s a very brief description of the process.

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

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^^hi brady the baloney bug the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

 

^^checking out her haul on the neighbor’s porch the baloney bug

the baloney bug

Adelaide LOVED trick or treating.  She loved ringing the doorbell and scooping candy into her bucket (which she would not let me get near if her life depended on it).  The first ten houses she picked only Snickers bars, until we finally started convincing her to choose other options.

I’ve been working on saying “trick or treat” with her for the last month or so, which she pronounces “tick teet” and is basically the best thing ever.

We gave her a little taste of chocolate over the weekend, but we weren’t sure what to call it, so randomly called it a cracker (mom fail on so many levels).  So now she keeps asking for crackers.  Which turns out to be a good thing because when we’re out in public I’m not embarrassed that she’s demanding candy crackers.

Mom win.

This was the first holiday that Adelaide really got involved in and actively participated.  I haven’t celebrated Halloween since I was in college, and I certainly never had as much fun as I did this year.

And because I get to eat all of Adelaide’s candy.

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Fall Fun

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While my mom was visiting we took an afternoon to walk around the Central Park Zoo, and then headed over to the park to play in the leaves for a while.  One of Adelaide’s new favorite games is throwing acorns.

It’s exactly what it sounds like: she throws acorns.

It’s her favorite.

Whatever.  It’s free.

the baloney bug

^^She’s not actually smiling here.  She’s saying “please” because we took the phone away from her.  It’s now my go-to method if I need her to smile.  Parenting win.

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

^^It’s surprisingly hard to get a photo of your kid holding acorns.  Mostly because they can’t hold still for more than a millisecond.

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug the baloney bug

Fall is so gorgeous in New York for about 3 weeks, then winter rears its ugly head.  We’re spending lots of time outdoors while the weather is still gorgeous, enjoying the parks and taking Brady on long walks.

I’m still in denial that winter’s coming at all.  I keep thinking something magical will happen and we’ll bypass winter all together.

Just let me have my dreams.

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Pumpkin Painting

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When we were in Maryland I wanted to take advantage of the outdoor space and do a little pumpkin decorating.  I decided not to carve pumpkins for a few reasons (mainly: toddlers and knifes) so instead I picked up some paint and let Adelaide go to town.  She generally hates getting messy, so I was nervous she’d even participate.

Before we got started I had to run back inside to grab something, and come back out to Adelaide literally sitting in the bucket of water I’d brought out for us to clean our hands.

During pumpkin painting, she was interested in painting for about three minutes, then spent the rest of the time trying to get back into the bucket.

the baloney bug

the baloney bug ^^This dog literally lives for the sun.  The hotter, the better.  Lives for it.  He’s such a good dog, I can’t even tell you.  He is so good with Adelaide, so gentle with her.  She is definitely not gentle with him, but he just takes it in stride.  As much work as it is to have a dog in New York, he makes it so worth it.

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

^^Her favorite part of getting dirty – getting clean again.

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

^^ Getting upset that I wouldn’t let her get in the bucket of dirty water.  Mean mom.

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

We also painted a fake pumpkin because it’s easier for apartment living.  Year after year, our pumpkins go bad so quickly.  Then there are fruit flies inside the apartment building and it’s gross and no one’s happy.  I figured the fake pumpkin would not only “stay alive” but also be a sentimental item we can pull out year after year, to remember our sweet little girl and her abstract art.

I’m loving the holidays even more this year with a toddler.  She can participate more and actually get involved.  I’m pretty sure I’ve already figured out her Christmas gift, and now it’s an internal battle with myself to wait two more months to give it to her.

Parenting.

So hard.

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