Thursday, January 31, 2008

All marshmallows are not created equal

Many people know that Williams-Sonoma is one of my favorite stores at the mall. And since we were at the mall this past Saturday I told Justin that I had to go in and see what they had. I actually wasn't so impressed - usually they have cute holiday things, but I saw nothing in the store geared toward Valentine's or Easter. However as we walked toward the back, they had Christmas-shaped marshmallows on clearance. I have wanted to try their homemade marshmallows, but have not been willing to pay $12 for a bag of marshmallows, so this was the perfect time to give them a try.

Now I think I can never go back to grocery store marshmallows. Are they worth $12 a bag? Probably not (so I'm glad we got a bag for $2), but I have now tasted what heaven is like. If you can't find any Christmas ones on clearance, they have come out with their Valentine and Easter ones. Yum.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

our unexpected Saturday

When we woke up yesterday we had no idea that before we went to bed we would be watching a movie on this

in our family room!

After we had eaten breakfast, Justin asked me what I thought we would do that day. I answered that we needed to do a little cleaning, but then I wanted to read my book (I started the Stephanie Meyer book, Twilight, and LOVE it), and then try to work on some cards and perhaps start my curtains. However, after a little cleaning, I convinced him to go for a walk with me. :)

After our walk, I was checking my email and noticed that I had an email from Sears talking about the special they were having on TVs. Of course, just about everyone has specials on TV around this time of year because so many people want a bigger, better TV for Super Bowl watching. We (on the other hand) have no idea who is in the play-offs and may be playing in The Big Game. Our reasoning for wanting a new TV is because the TV in our family room has been slowly dying.

We noticed it months ago - if you pause something (either a DVD or on the DVR) these spots start appearing. One spot is purple and the other is green. The longer something is paused, the darker they get. Once you un-pause, they start fading away but it is getting to the point were they don't completely fade. So sometimes you are watching and if someone's face is right where one of the spots are - green or purple face. Another problem the TV has is that on occasion, the picture goes out while watching. If you turn the TV off and then back on, the picture would come back, but would go out again unless you leave the TV off for a while. Luckily, that only happened about 3 times over the last 6 months.

It looks like it could be any size from the picture, but we got a 32" Sony Bravia because we didn't want to spend too much and we wanted it to fit in the armoire that we have in the family room. But we did want something bigger than the 27" that this TV is replacing.

Getting a new TV was the next thing on our wishlist, but we had kind of been thinking that it would wait until we got our tax return. This is what I love of financing. We bought the TV with no interest and no payments for 18 months. So when we get our tax return, we get to earn interest on it for over a year before we actually pay for the TV. This is how we have made all of our big purchases since we moved into the house - refrigerator, family room furniture and bedroom furniture, queen size bed for the guestroom and our grill. All financed with no interest (most with no payments), all paid in full so we never paid any interest charges - and we have extra $$ from the interest we earned from each of these things.

Monday, January 21, 2008

why I don't sew

Some people may remember this post from almost a year ago talking about how I bought a lot of fabric to make curtains. Well - I decided it was time to really get started on it. Since my sister (Sherry) took a sewing class she is strides ahead of me when it comes to sewing so lucky for me she was here last weekend to help me get started. We cut out the pattern and after reading through the not-well-written directions a few times (this was not a sewing pattern for dummies like it said it was - if you were really a dummy about sewing like I am, the directions made no sense at all) we decided that I knew what I needed to do to make the valance. After that I was all on my own.

The first problems occurred when I needed to attach the contrasting band on the bottom to the actual valance. Here I ran into 2 problems, however only one is easy to explain. That is that the pattern for the band and the pattern for the valance didn't really match each other the way they were supposed to - in fact now that I line the patterns up together it is off by 1/4", but since the fabric is folded it causes a 1/2" problem. If I had taken the time to figure out then I could have just cut out a new band and fix it, but it wasn't until later that I realized it was a problem. By then I thought I could correct it while sewing - after all, isn't that what seam allowances are for? Well - if you can tell from the pics below, the problem just became exacerbated when I was sewing. Since I sew from right to left, the right side of the valance looks fine, but you can tell on the left side that the band on the bottom is super narrow. :(

I thought that everything else went fine until the last step. That was to fold the back over to create the casing for the curtain rod to go through. I guess I had made another mistake when I attached the lining for the back to the valance, but didn't notice it. But you can probably tell from the picture that at the top you can see something sticking out on the left side. Yep - that would be the part that I folded over to create the casing. I think if you just glance at it you wouldn't notice, but if you look at it for a few seconds (even if I hadn't told you) you would see it.

I am hoping that the actual curtains are easier to make than the valance - I really think they will be because it is all straight lines. Once I get the curtains made for the window right next to this one, I will see if I have enough fabric to make a new valance for this window.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A new semester

Last week was back to business as usual for Justin (meaning back to Houma for work), but I spent my week last week cleaning and getting ready for the new semester. This week I have been busy working.

I am teaching the same two classes that I taught last semester (business calculus and statistics) both on MWF but then after that on MW I have an hour break and teach another class that lasts for 2 hours. The biggest advantage that this is to me is that I get a 66% raise this semester for teaching 10 credits instead of just 6. However the schedule itself leaves much to be desired. It is just after lunchtime when I take my break so I either need to take something to eat for lunch or pick something up on my break. Since I don't have an office, when I take my lunch I am just lugging it around with me. I would much rather just teach my 4 hours a day on MW from 8 - noon and be done with it.

So I am already busier this semester than last, but I have more to add onto that. Starting next Thursday through Feb. 12, I am subbing for someone on another campus who is having surgery. I am definitely subbing one of her classes on TTH, and it looks like I will probably be subbing another as well.

Here's to a busy semester!

Monday, January 14, 2008

On my wishlist...

Justin and I have a wishlist of things that we want. When we got the dishwasher from his dad, we were able to cross that off the list, but we headed to Home Depot to get a hose to get the water into the dishwasher. While we were there, I added something else to the list. :)

This would look perfect in our half-bath downstairs!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A New Year

First - an update on the water heater. After a few hours of not working last Monday (the same day it was "fixed"), that evening we were able to re-light the pilot light and it has worked ever since since. We don't know why it went out so soon after being fixed and honestly, as long as it keeps working, we don't really care. We LOVE being able to take hot showers at home as well as wash dishes without having to heat water on the stove.

January 1st we rented a minivan and drove up to Justin's dad's to pick up a brand new dishwasher. Nothing was wrong with the one we had except that it was pretty loud when it ran. We were very lucky that when Justin's dad's old dishwasher (the one he was going to give us) had some problems it was under warranty and they replaced it with this brand new one. Since they had already purchased the one that they wanted, we got this one. Justin installed it (I was the wonderful helper) and we have done one load so far. It is fabulous and we are very appreciative of the trouble Justin's dad went through to get us such a great replacement!!!

One of the next things on our wishlist has been a new computer. Justin's current one is about 7 years old which as you well know in the world of computers makes it ancient. My computer is newer than his (about 5 years old) but it is also having serious problems. So Thursday evening, we ordered a new one that we are expecting some time this week. We love having our own computers but buying two new ones was really not an option. Justin has heard of boxes that you can connect to your computer that will allow you to hook up two separate monitors, keyboards and mice so we can each work off of one computer. We made sure it has a lot of memory and storage space to accommodate both of us.

This next week is almost back to business as usual. Justin is going back to work (and sadly he will be working out of town for the next 3 weeks) and I have one week to get ready for the spring semester. Luckily I am teaching the same two classes that I taught last semester (although I am going to make some changes to the calculus class) but I am also teaching an intermediate algebra class as well. I have syllabi to write and my first week of lectures to prepare. We also are having house guests this Friday so I have some cleaning to do as well as some other errands to run.

After 3 weeks Justin will be on another local client - we have been spoiled the last 3 months of him working in town so we hope that after this 3 weeks in Houma he will be on local clients for another few months.