Monday, December 22, 2008

All That Glitters



So, my neighbors were probably thinking I was a little nutty when they drove by and saw me standing in my yard, taking pictures of the snow. But I love it! I just can't get enough!
There is nothing quite as breathtaking as the the calm and quiet of falling snow.

God's glory is made evident through His creation!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sugar, Sugar

Nate and I were in Georgia a few years ago and had the opportunity to try a bunch of new "southern" foods. Fried Green Tomatoes. Grits. She-Crab Soup. For the most part, I thought they were all so-so. Then we happened upon a little riverfront candy store in Savannah. We walked in and were offered a sample of their homemade pralines, something I had heard of, but never tried before. Oh. My. Gosh. Pralines. Amazing.

I've been wanting to try making them ever since that trip, but as I've mentioned before, have a serious fear of making anything that requires a candy thermometer. But they say the best way to overcome your fears is to face them head on, so I decided I'd give it a try. Today was a lazy, snowy Saturday, just five days before Christmas, so I decided that I'd make "Christmas" pralines and give them to our neighbors. While nothing will ever top that first taste in Savannah, these are pretty darn amazing (and SO rich!). Yum!

Southern Pralines

1 C. granulated sugar

1 C. light brown sugar, packed

3/4 C. half and half

1/4 t. salt

2 T. butter

1 t. vanilla

1 cup whole pecans


Butter sides of a heavy saucepan (2 qt. size). Add sugars, half and half, and salt to saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is disolved. Raise heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Reduce heat and continue cooking to soft ball stage (about 234 degrees) on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.

Add butter and vanilla, but do not stir. Let sit for five minutes. Stir in nuts. Beat with a wooden spoon until candy is no longer glossy and is thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Quickly spoon candy onto buttered baking sheets or waxed paper. If mixture become too thick to drop from a spoon, add a little hot water, no more than half a teaspoon at a time.

Makes about 16 pralines.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Watch out, Martha Stewart!

Despite the fact that I love to cook, I do have one serious shortcoming. I don't love to bake. I'm just not great at it. Often, my creations are either overdone, or undercooked. It never looks as pretty as the picture (I made the world's most-delicious-yet-ugliest blueberry tart this summer). I find the whole experience frustrating.

I don't have much of a sweet tooth (other than for chocolate, which I can buy at the store) so my lack of baking skills isn't a big deal. I can live without cake. I can live without cookies.


But, it's Christmas, and I'm constantly blessed by friends and neighbors who are coming to my home or office and dropping off delicious homemade treats. I want to return the favor, but am too scared to try my hand at the traditional fudge or peanut brittle (anything that requires a candy thermometer makes me especially nervous).


I was reading a magazine the other day when I found my solution. Truffles. They don't actually require baking. And they're chocolate. And kind of fancy. My neighbors might actually be impressed. Perfect.


So today, I made my first batch of truffles, and am happy to say they turned out quite nicely. They were delicious AND beautiful. Maybe I'm not a lost cause after all!





















Truffles


8 oz. milk chocolate (I used Ghiradelli)
8 oz. dark chocolate (I used Green & Black 70% cocoa dark)
3/4 C. heavy cream
4 T. butter
pinch of salt


Simmer cream in a saucepan until hot (do not boil). Stir in butter and salt
.
Coarsely chop chocolate, and add to cream/butter mixture. Stir until melted.

Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for at least three hours, until chocolate is firm.

Scoop out and roll into one inch balls.


You can add different things to the truffles. I separated mine into three batches before I put it into the fridge:


Batch #1: I kept the ganache plain, and rolled them in finely shaved white chocolate.
Batch #2: I added a little peppermint extract and rolled them in crushed peppermint candies.
Batch #3: I added instand coffee granules and rolled them in a mixture of cocoa powder and powdered sugar.


You can also add Bailey's, cardamom, cinnamon, raspberry preserveres...be creative, pretty much everything is good with chocolate!

O Christmas Tree

This year I have, for the VERY first time, a real, live Christmas tree. I know. It's shocking. My whole life, despite growing up in a house that was beautifully decorated, top to bottom, I've only ever had fake trees. My husband, who grew up with the whole bundle-up-drive-to-the-woods-cut-down-your-own Christmas tree experience has mentioned getting one each year we've been married, but I've always had a reason not to. They're messy. They're inconvenient. They're expensive (we already have a fake one just waiting to be put up, and it won't cost us anything...).

Finally, this year, we decided it was time. We were ready to take the plunge. We only had two criteria. (1.) It had to be a tall, beautiful tree. I had no doubt that I would see it and know, immediatly, that is was the "perfect" tree. (2.) It could not come from a depressing, corporate Christmas tree lot. We wanted to see it in all it's natural habitat before we made our choice, not all wrapped up and leaning against the wall at the local Flowerama. Plus, for Nate it was all about the experience. He wanted me to know, firsthand, what his family had done each year, in the hopes that cutting down the tree could also become a family tradition for us (plus, this was a chance for him to use his saw, which spends most of it's year gathering dust in our garage).

No big deal, right?

So on a frigid Saturday, we bundled up, loaded the dog in our car (after all, this was a family outing!) and headed to a local tree farm. We pulled up, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. There was snow on the ground, there were wreaths and swags and families and an overall air of "Christmasness." We were greeted, given a cup of hot cocoa, and directions out to the field where we could cut down our tree. As we zipped up our coats to head out to the field, the woman who had greeted us casually said, "And all our trees that are available to be cut are six feet tall and under."

Ummm.....what!?!

My husband and I are both extremely tall. We have nine foot ceilings in our house. I had a vision of Nate reaching down instead of up to put the star on the tree, and all my real-live Christmas tree visions came to a screeching halt. I absolutely refused to go home with a tiny, puny, Charlie Brown-style Christmas tree. My tree needed to touch the ceiling. Six feet and under would not do.

We proceeded to thank her for the hot chocolate and return to the car. We got on our cell phones and called the friends we knew who always had a real tree. Where could we get a good one? Where there any other tree farms in the area? Where else could we go? Sadly, the response was either "We got one at a tree farm an hour away," (we had not given ourselves enough time for a road trip) or, "We got ours at Menards," (Nate didn't think they'd want him cutting anything down with his saw at Menards).

We drove aimlessly around town for awhile. We seriously considered going home and putting up the fake tree. We were both seriously bummed out.

Finally, we decided we'd break our rule and stop at a local nursery where they had trees. Although they were pre-cut, it wasn't quite as depressing as buying a tree at Menards. So we drove there, climbed out of the car, zipped up our coats again, and went in search of our perfect tree.

Again, not so easy.

The trees were all wrapped up, so you couldn't really tell what they looked like. They cost a fortune. The guy that was working there was kind of grumpy, which detracted from the whole experience. And, none of them were very tall. More disappointment.

Heading back to the car, we debated going home again. But I would not give up. Despite my strong feelings about tree lots, I suggested that we swallow our fear and head to Home Depot. After a moment or two of deliberation, Nate agreed.

We were there a total of thirty seconds when we walked around around a corner and stopped in our tracks. There it was! The perfect tree!! It was standing right in front of us, and the minute we saw it, we both knew it was the one. It was beautiful. It was perfect. It was actually nine and a HALF feet tall, so we had to have the guy cut some of it off so we could fit it in our house. We paid for it, loaded it up, and headed home. Despite the fact that we didn't get to cut it down ourselves, we were thrilled.

We got it home, and spent the rest of the afternoon decorating it. My family room was covered with pine needles. A giant dead bug fell out of the tree while we were putting the lights on. My hands were covered with sap from the branches. But when we were done, I stepped back and decided that it was the prettiest tree I'd ever seen. It couldn't even compare with the fake tree I'd gotten so used to. Mess or no mess, I don't think I'll ever have another fake tree.

I think we've started a new tradition after all. Next year we'll just have to start at Home Depot first :)





Friday, December 12, 2008

So easy, even a baby can do it!

My in-laws recently had a stroke of genius when they surprised us all by purchasing a Wii. They live in a small town with a backyard that borders a cornfield, so there's not always a lot to do in Stanwood. Between mom, dad, sisters, brother, spouses, aunt, cousins, nieces, nephews...
throw in a few inches of snow and after a few days, we've all got cabin fever...especially the kids.
Enter the Wii. It's pure genius. Not only is entertaining for ALL ages to play, it's fun to grab a comfy spot on the couch and watch as Aunt Carol attempts to challenge my husband to a few rounds of Wii boxing or as Cameron takes on Grandma Linda in a game of tennis. Hilarious. Entertainment this good is priceless.

What's even more priceless...all of my nieces and nephews get involved. Keep in mind that the youngest is only 20 months old. What could be funnier than watching two toddlers attempt to knock one another out in Wii boxing?

Elena & William go head-to-head. I'm not sure she quite grasped the concept as she's not really facing the TV.
Finally! They seem to be getting serious about this...

And, just because they're adorable, here are my nieces, entertaining us with a show where they sang 79 rounds of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." And don't be fooled...this was a real show. We had to pay ten cents each to get in.
Elena was less than thrilled to be excluded from the girls sing-along. She was forced to be a spectator at the event instead.



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sausage & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash


One of the many things I love about fall is the food. When the weather turns cold, I start craving comfort food, and this is one of my favorite recipes! I love all types of squash, and acorn pairs particularly well with the sausage-apple filling.


Sausage & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash


This recipe serves 4.


2 large acorn squash (about 1 1/2 lbs. each)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 lb. ground turkey sausage

1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 C. Bisquick

1/4 C. packed brown sugar

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 T. butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Cut squash into havles, remove seeds and fibers (a grapefruit spoon works great for this). Place cut sides down on jelly roll pan or cookie sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray.


Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes.


Cook sausage in a skillet until brown. Drain. Stir in chopped apple.


After squash has baked for 40 minutes, remove from oven and turn squash cut side up on the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fill with sausage/apple mixture.


Mix Bisquick, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over apples and sausage. Bake uncovered until squash is tender and topping is brown, about 30 minutes.


Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Favorite Fall Moments - A Countdown

Favorite Fall Moment #3
A long weekend in Branson with Tim & Janel
The Fall Harvest Festival at Silver Dollar City
The view from the deck at The Chateau

Riding the teacups


Favorite Fall Moment #2

Spending a lazy Saturday afternoon with our Lighthouse at the Carroll Pumpkin Farm
Nate & Tim inventing a new "innertube game"

Wheelbarrow races...may the best couple win

The best friends a girl could ask for :)


Favorite Fall Moment #1

Spending a week in Bozeman, Montana with my two favorite guys
With Nate & Brandon at Hyalite Lake

Dinner with my "baby" brother


Hiking to Lava Lake

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Little Bit Girly



Before I met my in-laws, I had never been to a Bed & Breakfast. I did not frequent antique stores. I didn't have a sister. Those are just a few of the things that quickly changed when I became a Pritchard.


Every summer, I get together with my husband's sisters, mom, aunt and cousin, and spend a weekend at a Victorian B & B somewhere in the Midwest. We eat at fancy restaurants. We shop for antiques and go in cute boutiques my husband would never be caught dead in. We talk, a lot. We laugh. We drink ridiculous amounts of coffee.


There are lots of things I love about my in-laws, but girl-time has to be at the top of my list. Even if we're just hanging out at my in-laws house, we always make a point to brew a pot of coffee, head to the sun room, lock the door (no children or men allowed!) and have our dose of girl-time.


Linda, Jenny and I all have September birthdays, and this year, we celebrated in true Pritchard style. We shopped for antiques. We ate at a tearoom. We wore funny hats and tiaras.


Thanks, girls, for a great birthday!




P.S.--We missed you, Heather!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I love Thursdays!

Lately, Thursday has been spontaneously becoming girls night! We've had a blast hanging out together. I think we should make this a weekly event!

Grand Piano Bistro


Okoboji Grill

Learning to Wait

For those of you who know me, you are well aware that patience is not one of my strong suits. I'm more of a "when I want it, I want it right now" kind of girl. But the last two years of my life have been a practice in patience, and on learning to wait.

It's been two years now since Nate and I decided we were ready to be parents. It's been one year since we decided we also wanted to be foster parents. We took a leap of faith and trusted that God would work out the details of how those two things would fit together. Throw in the possibility of adopting (which we knew was a definite possibility once we became foster parents) and we were worrying over how we might, very suddenly, end up with a household where the children outnumbered the adults! But we love kids, and considered ourselves ready for the challenge.

After trying to conceive for over a year, and shortly after we signed up to become foster parents, we found out we were expecting. We were ecstatic. This was it. By the time we had our foster care license, I'd be six months pregnant, and we'd be looking at taking foster care placements right around the time that we gave birth to our first child. We laughed a lot and made preparations for multiple babies, a house full of toys, and a whole new level of stress in our lives.

Unfortunately, as is becoming common in our life, things did not work out exactly how we planned. We miscarried in mid-November, and were thrust into something I would never wish on anyone; grieving the loss of an unborn child. Our hearts were broken, but we continued to trust that the Lord had a plan for us as parents, and that we needed to rest in that, be patient, and wait.

January came around, and we preapared for our first day of foster care training. The night before our first class, I got sick, and ended up spending the night in the ER. The next day, I was exhausted and feeling terrible, so we had to call and cancel the class. The rules are, if you miss the first class, you can't come at all, so we had to postpone the whole thing. We were disappointed, but still prepared to trust, be patient, and wait.

It was months before we found an opening in another class that would work in our schedule, but finally, in the spring, we were able to start our licensing. 30 hours of training, two home visits and mountains of paperwork later, in July, we finished the class. Now there were only a few technicalities left, a few things to be signed, and we would offically be licensed foster parents. While still praying that God would allow us to have another child of our own, we prepared, again, for the arrival of a foster child. We were told we would have our license by the first week of August, and we waited for that phone call, excited and ready for this awesome life change.

The first week of August has come and gone, and still, we're waiting. There have been hiccups and stalls in the licensing process, but each time we've called our case worker, she has assured us that things were going well, that our paperwork was almost processed, and we should be recieving our license any day.

Then, last week, a phone call, but not the one we had wanted. Our case worker (who is not at fault for this being a long process, and has been a HUGE blessing to us through through it all) called to let us know that DHS had lost our official fingerprints, and that our file couldn't be complete without this piece of our background check. They would send us out new paperwork, we would have to be re-fingerprinted, and it would take another six weeks to process.

I was furious. Fingerprinting has to be done before you can even APPLY to get into the foster care training class, and ours was completed almost a year ago. They had it on file, and had approved us to get into the class long ago. We had dotted all of our i's, crossed all of our t's, and still here we were, waiting for something we could not control.

It's been a sad and frustrating year for us, but we continue to wait and trust that the Lord's timing is perfect, and that there are reasons beyond our knowledge why things turn out the way they do. We desire to be parents, and trust that someday, this will be a reality for us. We ask for the prayers of friends and family as we learn, first-hand, what it means to be patient. As we learn to wait.

We find comfort in scripture, and in sharing this struggle with friends and family, who have struggled themselves to start families and become parents. We find comfort in knowing that we are not alone, that life is not always fair, but that God is faithful.

Nate and I continue to hope we will be parents someday. Until then, we're learning to wait.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Favorite Summer Moment #1

Valley Junction Farmer's Market

Homemade Granola

Nate & I eat this for breakfast almost every morning. It's SO good! It's great dry, with milk, or mixed with yogurt.

4 C. regular rolled oats
1 C. unsweetened coconut
1/2 C. chopped nuts (almonds or pecans are best)
1/4 t. salt
1 C. dried blueberries, cranberries or raisins
1/2 C. olive oil
1/2 C. honey or real maple syrup

1. Toss dry ingredients
2. Stir together syrup or honey, oil and salt
3. Pour oil mixture over dry ingredients and stir
4. Spread in a jelly-roll pan
5. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through
7. Cool, and store in a jar

More than you wanted to know...

My friend Nealy sent this to me...kind of fun to do, if you have time on your hands, which I do today!

48 Questions:

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:30 (and consequently was very late for an 8:15 appointment. Oops!)

2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. It was me, my friend Janel, and a bunch of 12-year-olds in the theater.

4. What is your favorite TV show? Re-runs of Friends, Nate and I are addicted.

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Homemade granola, Nate and I are also addicted to this! My friend Kaarin gave me the recipe, and it's amazing. I'll post it soon.

6. What food do you dislike? Green Peppers.

7. What is your favorite CD at the moment? I check out "The Shepherd's Dog" by Iron and Wine at the library, and have been listening to that while I drive.

8. What kind of car do you drive? Toyota Corolla (I still mourn the loss of my green Mustang convertible.)

9. Favorite sandwich? KFC Buffalo Snacker. Anything with the word "Buffalo" in the name is delicious.

10. What characteristics do you despise? People who are chronically late, or don't follow through with their commitments. (refer to question #1...I was so frustrated with myself this morning.)

11. Favorite item of clothing? Any form of pajamas.

12. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Tuscany with my husband.

13. Are you an organized person? I'm the most absentminded organized person you'll ever meet!

14. Where would you retire to? The Carribbean, with Abigail...we already have it all planned out!

15. What was your most recent memorable birthday? Hopefully the one I'll have two weeks from now!

16. What are you going to do when you finish this? Paint a door.

17. Person you expect to send it back first? Probably no one.

18. When is your birthday? September 14

.19. Morning person or a night person? Night. Waking up in the morning is my least favorite thing to do.

20. What is your shoe size? 11. Shopping for shoes is no fun when most stores don't carry your size!

21. Pets? Jake, world's most adorable terrier-mix mutt.

22. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? A month from now, I'll be on vacation in Montana.

23. What did you want to be when you were little? A marine biologist. As if that would EVER happen!

24. How are you today? Great, I've got plans with some girlfriends tonight that I'm looking forward to!

25. What is your favorite flower? Gladiolas

26. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? Tomorrow! God's promises are new every morning.

27. What are you listening to right now? The fan in my bedroom. I should really turn the radio on.

28. Do you wish on stars? Uhhhh, no. What exactly would be the point of that?

29. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Screamin' Green

30. How is the weather right now? Hot. It's August in Iowa.

31. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Nate

32. Favorite soft drink? Mt. Dew is delicious, but I try not to drink it since it's terrible for you.

33. Favorite restaurant? El Charro or Azalea

34. Hair color? Dark Brown (which is out of a bottle to cover up the gray....sad)

35. What was your favorite toy as a child? Anything involving Barbie

36. Summer or Winter? Both, I love living in Iowa because each time the season changes, I'm sure that the coming one must be my favorite.

37. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate, in large quantities.

38. Coffee or tea? Coffee, in large quantities.

39. When was the last time you cried? I don't remember, but probably not that long ago.

39. What is under your bed? Wrapping paper.

40. What did you do last night? Had a 3-hour music team practice.

41. How many years at your current job? 1 year in November.

42. Salty or sweet? Salty.

43. How many keys on your key ring? 7

.44. Favorite day of the week? Any day I get to be home vegging-out with Nate.

.45. Do you make friends easily? Typically, yes, although I can be uncharacteristically shy when I meet new people.

46. How many people will you send this to? None. I'll just post it in cyber space for all of my friends who have nothing better to do.

47. Do you like getting these? I always think they're fun to read.

48. Glass half empty or half full? Half full! I believe in a gracious and loving God, so I don't think it could be otherwise.

Friday, August 15, 2008

What next?

I've finally taken the plunge and joined a book club. My mom's been in one for years, and I've lived vicariously through her, reading books the women in her group loved and avoiding the ones they hated (and typically agreeing with their verdicts). Now, I've decided it's time to step out on my own.

So far, there are just five of us in the group, and we meet once a month at Panera to discuss. Coffee AND books...could this get any better?

We take turns picking the book, which is great because it's led me to read some great books I might not have otherwise chosen. But, stress of all stresses, we're coming upon September, the month I'm slated to choose the crowd-pleasing 'tome.' What's a girl to do?

I'm leaning toward the book "The Traveler," by Ron McLarty. Why? I randomly came across it on the internet (this is my process for making most important decisions) and thought it looked good.

Here's what we've read so far:

Belong To Me, by Marisa De Los Santos
Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer
Marley and Me, by John Grogan

We're sticking to fiction, but other than that, we're wide open. If you have any book suggestions, please share them with me!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Perfect Summer Day




It's official...I survived my first river kayak trip, and am now officially "outdoorsy!!" Okay, so maybe that's a little bit of a stretch, but I did spend all day Saturday in a kayak, and am now hooked.

Thanks to our good friends Tim and Janel, I decided to get over my fear of the outdoors (I love it for it's beauty, but am often distracted by bugs, dirt, snakes, etc...) and spend a day on the river. My wilderness-loving husband was thrilled. We've been married 5 years, and I've spent a total of two nights camping with him, much to his chagrin (remind me again why sleeping outside is fun??) So for him, this was pretty much the perfect day.

We were blessed with beautiful weather, and other than a painful sunburn, I couldn't have asked for a better day! If you've never tried kayaking, I highly recommend it! It's much easier than it looks :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A New Toy

So I've been whiling away my spare hours lately reading the blogs of friends, family and people I haven't seen in years. It's been a fun way to catch up, stay in touch, and have a few laughs. A friend recently suggested that I start a blog, as she's having a lot of fun writing hers. One problem. What do I have to write about?

Then, I got a new vacuum. Prime blog material.

For those of you who don't know me, you may be surprised to learn that I like to clean. That's right. I enjoy it. On a sunny, Saturday afternoon you'll often find me home, with the windows thrown open and the radio cranked up, rag in hand. It's an ideal way to spend an afternoon. What makes it even better is when Nate joins me, as I find cleaning a "fun" activity for us to do together. It's a slight point of contention in our marriage that he doesn't necessarily see my point of view on this issue, but because he loves me, he's usually willing to participate anyway.

The depressing part of these little afternoons has lately been the vacuum. My 3-year-old, $50-original-price-at-Walmart, piece-o-junk Bissel vacuum has not been pulling it's weight around my house. I can vacuum over a piece of fuzz on the carpet fifteen times, and it will still be sitting there, mocking me, when I'm done. This was the case Sunday night, when I attempted to vacuum the living room and once again realized that the vacuum wasn't actually picking anything up. Due to the vacuum failure, we have recently seen a steady decline in the frequency of vacuuming at our house. This is bad for two reasons....(1) our house is on the market, so clean carpet is a definite necessity...(2) we have a dog. So my bi-weekly vacuuming hasn't quite been cutting it. Just don't sit on the floor if you come to visit....

So after Sunday nights escapade (I flipped the vacuum over and realized the brush on the bottom wasn't even spinning any more) I decided I had had enough. I gave my husband an ultimatum. I was buying a new vacuum the next day, and it was up to him whether I wasted another $50 on a junky Walmart vacuum or whether I went to the specialty store and bought the fancy vacuum I'd been coveting for months.

We'd been debating about buying a nice vacuum for months, and after much research and deliberation (and numerous thrilling conversations with friends and strangers about the pros and cons of Orecks and Hoovers) had decided on the Riccar Supralite. It only weighs 8 pounds. Nice.

The problem?? The hefty price tag. My wise, budget-conscious husband suggested that we save up for this domestic investment and buy it down the road once we had a little more cash on hand.

The even bigger problem?? Sunday night, my vacuum was broken and I was near tears (yes, I get emotional about inanimate objects and trivial things like dirty carpet).

The solution?? My wonderful husband agreed that it was time to make an investment in a nice vacuum, and yesterday I became the proud owner of a new Riccar. I vacuumed immediatly when I got in home. And again before I went to bed. The carpet looks amazing. Brand new, even.

The best part...I walked in on an awesome scene yesterday. Nate hasn't gotten nearly as "involved" in the carpet/vacuum dilemma as I have. He doesn't really see why this is all such a big deal, although he tries to be sympathetic. But lately, even he has realized that our carpet is looking less-than-spotless. So after I vacuumed yesterday, I walked into the living room and found him laying on the floor with the dog.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Just enjoying the clean carpet," he replied.

Nice.

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