Have a Seat

red bench

Interesting thing about benches. They aren’t very comfortable most of the time. But they are sure cool to photograph.

A Little Scared

Of course I have only looked at houses for a week, but I am a little worried. I showed you pictures of what my other house looked like. It is only 10 years old and I was the second owner. Still am technically. The first mortgage company I called said I couldn’t get another mortgage until my other house had been under contract for a year (really 12 payments had been made). Well that really put a damper on things. I already have to rely on my parents enough as it is, I didn’t want a co-signer on my 4th ever house. My heart fell a little. At that time I had also already walked through like 10 houses. 10 gross houses. I knew I was going to have to do some work on a house, with my price range, but I wasn’t prepared for what I saw in houses that were actually higher than my price range. And the smell in some of them. And these weren’t houses under 100k.

My brother and sister in law are in the midst of flipping a house. Maybe a little bigger than they should have started on their first house. It is taking them forever. I am worried for them too. A LOT of houses have gone up for sale on the street behind them. The street that literally backs up to the golf course. So yesterday we all went to look at this house. Only $57 a square foot. Considering all the other houses in this neighborhood, the neighborhood where I want to live so my son can walk to school, range around $100 a square foot. We had to go see why it was so low. Pro: the steeped, tiled roof right at the front. The closed-in sun room right at the front, with a great view of the mountains. There is no house across the street so you have a wide open view of Corrales and the mountains. That is where the pros stopped. The house would literally have to be gutted. The garage (where the board is on the left) was turned into an apartment, but never fully finished. Which was odd since it looked like it was done in the 70s. The pool in the backyard was only cinder block so easily could be filled in, and the porch looked like it was off of an old trailer park house. It had potential, if your budget wasn’t the price of the house. Some flipper needs to come in and gut it.

2712 PANORAMA HEIGHTS Drive SE Rio Rancho, NM, 87124      268 PEARL Drive NE Rio Rancho, NM, 87124   2593 Maricopa Drive Rio Rancho, NM, 87124

Then my brother tells me to be patient. Give myself 6 months. Right. I used a POD to store my belongings (except valuable and breakable) in and can’t afford that thing for more than 3 months. I don’t feel I need to be rescued, but I could use that man riding up on a white horse right about now (years ago really). This trying to do life alone is no fun.

Goodbye 3340

I am using these photos straight from my phone so I hope they aren’t bad. As I finished cleaning out my house today I took some last photos. It was bittersweet. As I said before, I loved this house. I loved the open kitchen with lots of cupboard space.

20140527-174029-63629615.jpg This picture wasn’t today. I guess I missed it. But there it is anyway.

The laundry room wasn’t bad either. At least it wasn’t a closet. I would have liked a door in a different spot tho. My first (town)house had the washer in one spot and the dryer under the stairs across from it. In Austin, my cute little house had them in the garage.

20140527-174304-63784629.jpg This is what the space looked like after I put the cupboards up. Here is a before redo

20140527-174616-63976768.jpg I got organized after that too. Just in case the cupboards didn’t go up.

I loved the vaulted ceilings (see kitchen). The arched doorways. The fan I put in the living room and the wood floors my parents put in. And the closet space was awesome.

20140527-175245-64365720.jpg

Biscoff Banana Nut Muffins

Have you ever tried a recipe and knew that you would make that many more times to come? I HATE bananas. But I like some banana nut breads. Warm with butter. I LOVE Biscoff Cookie Spread. I don’t live close to a Trader Joes so I have never tried their brand. When I came across this banana bread recipe with Biscoff, of course I had to try it.

Didn’t have to eat them warm.banana muffins 2

Didn’t have to spread butter on them.banana muffins 3

Just pulled out of the tupperware and ate them. Took them to work several times and I keep getting asked for more.banana muffins 4

Thank you Maria at Two Peas and Their Pod for this great recipe. I, of course, added nuts though.

Biscoff Banana Nut Muffins

banana muffins

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup Biscoff Spread
1/4 cup oil
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar

For the Biscoff Cookie Streusel:

1/2 cup chopped Biscoff cookies
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line muffin pans and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt, set aside.

3. In a stand mixer, mash bananas. Add the Biscoff Spread, oil, egg, vanilla, and sugars.

4. Add the dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Batter will be slightly lumpy, don’t over mix.

5. Scoop batter into prepared pans.

Make streussel:

1. In a small bowl, melt butter. Combine chopped Biscoff cookies, chopped pecans, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the melted butter. Stir until combined. Add a spoonful of the streusel to the top of the batter in each muffin cup.

2. Bake muffins for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Enjoy warm or straight of the tupperware.banana bread

Linking to these great parties:

Show Stopper Saturday

Show and Tell Saturday

The Creative Collection Link Party

The Party Bunch

Say G’Day Saturday Link Party

Updated Bathroom

I cannot get a good picture of my redone bathroom. My Nikon won’t get a smaller picture and my iPhone pics are coming out grainy. Ick. Here is my bathroom before (but a little into the work).bathroomThe arrow above…see that corner now.bathroom2

With my parents’ help we got the beadboard and molding up with liquid nails and a few nails through the nail gun (the beadboard is also on the side of the cabinet). Then I put up new baseboard pieces behind the toilet. And look, that corner doesn’t look unfinsihed at all. I had never used caulk before this room and I think I ended up doing a good job. I finished painting the walls that lovely milk chocolate color and then painted all the wood in the room that off white color (same color in the kitchen). Added some hooks, the door and drawer pulls, and put jute on all the bottles. The towels are from Sam’s Club and ended up being the perfect color. Previously, I had also spray painted the ceiling vent because it was so rusted. All in all; since I bought this house, I have replaced the toilet, the mirror, the light fixture, the sink faucets and the door knob. I put in one of those curved shower curtain rods that keep the shower curtain from touching oneself while in the shower. I have painted it twice and now added the beadboard.

bathroom3

I linked to these parties: Strut Your Stuff Saturday and The Party Bunch

Tidbits and Happy Mothers

05 11 14_0344_edited-1

I love my house. My parents put in wood floors before my brother and his family moved in and I really love my house. Nice size. Lots of closets. Bigger backyard. But it is way out here and my family lives in the middle of the city. My son doesn’t want to change schools and leave his friends and I go to work REALLY early in the morning. I need a little bit lower mortgage and to live where he can walk to school next year (and have nana and papa in a close enough distance in case of emergency). So the realtor came over on Sunday the 4th. We planned on him putting up the sign on the 24th and listing it on MLS. My garage needed organizing and I needed to finish cleaning up the backyard. Maybe some little painting (like on the garage door trim). He went home and told his broker about my house. He in turn had people that wanted to see it. They looked at it on Tuesday and made an offer on Wednesday. I signed the contract on Thursday and have to be out of here on the 29th. WOW. I wasn’t expecting it to be that quick. Bittersweet. On the bright side, I don’t have to make sure my house is ready to show every morning before I leave for work. :)

I am most likely going to get a house that needs some work. But I look forward to the challenge and hope that it ends up being a house I can live in for years to come. And I now have a little practice on some of the things I would like to be able to do. I would go a different route on painting the cabinets though. It was really tough not to get the drip marks on the corners.

I also wanted to share my spring mantel with you. 04 07 14_0094_edited-1This was my mantel basically all winter. I use the picture because it was either my grandmother or grandfather’s. Brought from Japan. But I never realized how dreary it really was.

04 26 14_0212_edited-1

The picture isn’t as bad with some color under it. Not sure I will hang it up again in my new house though. I think I will print something else that I took, and put that in the frame. The IBC bottle is something I spray painted for Mr B’s birthday party. The butterfly out of a box for girly decor for the crafts I was doing. The blue glass I just painted. It was cool to just squirt paint in glass bottles and turn them upside down and get that.

04 26 14_0213_edited-1

This bowl? If that is what you can call it. It is wood, I picked it up at a thrift store forever ago. I found it in the garage in one of my semi-finished projects boxes. I had painted it before putting it in the box. This is the first time I have ever used it. Went good with the bunny. The candle I had, I just added the pieces of Washi tape.

Stay tuned for my updated bathroom and laundry room posts.

 

A track meet and Easter Egg Salad

april snow

This school year (4th grade) my son has played soccer in the fall and spring, basketball in the winter and now is in track. Last week was a yucky first track meet day. Cold. Windy. Tried to snow but was too windy. Snowed on the mountains as you can see above. A rather unorganized school hosting. Cold. Windy. Poor kids and their tiny uniforms when they had to take their layers off.

My son is working on the long jump and the mini javelin as well as running. I never knew there as a mini javelin. It looks like a huge plastic dart.mini jave

That’s all my little man wore all day even though I was still freezing with gloves, ear muffs, a hoodie and a jacket and a blanket wrapped around my legs.

long jumpBoy, is he getting tall. Those long skinny legs. He is 10. But because his birthday is 2003, he falls in the 11-12 year old bracket and competes against boys that have been in that bracket for 2 years already. He started practicing with spiked shoes this week and I hope to see a big improvement tomorrow. Especially in the weather and temperature.

On another note. The other day I wanted to do something with my Easter eggs instead of just eat them with salt. I had never had Egg Salad so looked it up.

easter egg salad

In my Ninja, I used:

2 hard boiled eggs

1/2 ripe avocado

salt and pepper to taste

good squirt of Jalapeno Mustard

I only had pretzel rolls and no lettuce so I put dill pickle thins on the roll and topped it with the egg salad. It was really good but next time I will put it on Whole Wheat bread, try lettuce and make sure I don’t over chop in the Ninja when I have to go back and add the mustard.

easter egg salad sandwich

 

Linking to:

Link Party palooza

The Creative Collection link party

The Party Bunch

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

TricktrickLittle egg blended in with the flowers.

Selective Colorlittle red bowI was glad for this prompt. I couldn’t figure out what it was called when you left one color in a black and white photo and wanted to do that to this photo. So I looked up how to do selective colors.

Close Upclose up

MirrormirrorHere is a peek into my newly refinished bathroom. One more drawer handle to install and I will reveal the whole room. I LOVE it.

Bright Colorsbright colors

Albuquerque

04 18 14_0003_edited-1

Mr B and me on the trolley

I am always looking for new places to take pictures. When I am always doing the driving, this can sometimes be harder than it would seem. When I saw an ad for a trolley ride around the “best of Albuquerque” I hopped on. Albuquerque, pronounced AL-bu-kur-key, is a desert city. With very slight weather changes, it is a great place to be. But still a smallish large city. Not a very big airport at all, but the only major airport in New Mexico. I would bet that 90% of you have never heard of Albuquerque. And another large number of you don’t know New Mexico is one of the 50 states (I used to be a flight attendant. You might be shocked at the remarks I used to get.)

Mr B had fun on the trolley. It was a good little adventure and I learned some things about Albuquerque I didn’t know. For instance, the movie Wild Hogs? Picture it. Picture them all meeting up on their motorcycles, riding down the street and William H. Macy crashing into a street sign (somewhere Seattle it claims in the movie). Then they go into a Seattle biker bar. That whole part was filmed in Albuquerque. Anybody that watches Breaking Bad knows that it was filmed in Albuquerque. I personally have never watched it, I am more a In Plain Sight (also filmed here) kinda gal. The trolley guys even have a whole Breaking Bad tour. I am sure that didn’t hurt their business any. But what a cool job. Driving people around in a trolley, showing them the good stuff.

breaking bad house

Jesse’s house??

Famous Route 66 goes right through Albuquerque. A main street that is now called Central. Parts of Central you are told not to be on after dark, but the majority of the street is what makes up downtown, Uptown, the student strip of UNM and the entrance to Old Town. There is some real great stuff off of Route 66. There are some awesome older buildings that developers have come in and fixed up and turned into something else. For instance, the original Albuquerque High School is now lofts. What used to be a mental hospital (right off of the freeway) sat empty for several years and is now an upscale hotel. Once upon a time, I now can’t remember what building it was, some old building was torn down. Now there is a law that certain buildings can’t be torn down. So the original drive up motel on Route 66 sits boarded up. Some developer bought it and was going to tear it down to put up lofts and the mayor at the time had it declared an historic landmark. The original neon sign was finally removed to put in a museum and the rest of the building (not crumbling or anything) sits boarded up, waiting its what can we use this for fate.

off central

Somewhere off Route 66

Fun fact. Although New Mexico does not have any major league sports teams, Albuquerque does have a minor league baseball team. When the Duke’s franchise moved to Portland and a team from Calgary relocated here, they took a poll from the city to see what to call the new team. The people of Albuquerque unanimously voted for the Isotopes. What are isotopes and what do they have to do with New Mexico? Isotopes are some nuclear thing and tho Los Alamos, New Mexico is where the atomic bomb was produced, but this wasn’t the reason for the name of the team. At least not by the people that voted. A few years before the team was in question, there was an episode on The Simpsons. Homer had a hunger strike because he found out they wanted to move the Isotopes baseball team to Albuquerque. So the voters made it actually happen a few years later.

baleras railyard

I had said earlier that there is an act that buildings can’t be torn down. In the background of this photo is Downtown Albuquerque and the tallest building in the state. No need to build up here, there is plenty of room to build out. The buildings in the front of the photo are part of the Barelas railyard shops which have been closed since 1970. They are pretty vandalized buildings and completely empty. I noticed it would be a great place to use for a backdrop for photos. But the reason these buildings are rebuilt as lofts of anything is because they make lots of money in movies. Movies filmed in the vacant railyard complex include Beerfest (2006),Terminator Salvation (2009), The Avengers (2012), and the pilot episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The trolley guys said there is a scene from Transformers (where Bumblebee and a Decepticon crash into a railyard) filmed here too, but I couldn’t find anything that collaborated this.

Neil Young and the Partridge Family sing songs about Albuquerque. Tim McGraw and and Glen Campbell mention Albuquerque in a song. Even Bugs Bunny, while traveling around the world by burrowing underground; would often get lost while traveling and remark, while consulting a map, “Should have made a left toin at Albukoykee”. All three High School Musical movies are set in Albuquerque, at the fictional Albuquerque East High School (but not really filmed here). Microsoft began on April 4, 1975, when it was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque. Demi Lovato was born here. Neil Patrick Harris and Freddie Prinz Jr went to high school here. Jesse Tyler Ferguson from Modern Family was raised here. Here being Albuquerque but how many times can I say that word in this entire post? LOL. Albuquerque Studios is the largest production facility in the country and have filmed over 600 movies in New Mexico. The new movie Transcendence that came out yesterday, was filmed here. As well as Lone Survivor to name a few.

neon scooter

Tho the wind may blow a lot, it is the desert, and sand with that wind, the climate is pretty ideal. In the spring there is some green grass, pretty flowers and blooming trees, but gotta watch out on overusing water. We don’t get a whole lot of rain but that is why so many movies are filmed here too. I don’t live in Albuquerque, but Rio Rancho is part of the metro area. I have lived here longer than I have lived anywhere else. I by no means am being paid by anyone for this post, just something I wrote after my adventure yesterday. I do find it to not be a meet a man kind of place, and not very single mom friendly. But there are worse things in life. My son likes it here, my family is here and I find great places to take pictures (just not in winter). I would really love to find a good meet-up photography group but it must not be a big thing around here outside of Balloon Fiesta. Hum I have a thought…something along the lines of the trolley and photography meet-ups. Wonder what way to start a business like that. Scooter rental tours?

 

 

 

Brownie Cookies

What is your favorite dessert? In college I loved brownies. Nice and soft. I would make box brownies (I think Duncan Hines was my fave) and after cutting them, I would freeze them. Then eat them straight out of the freezer. I love chocolate chip cookies that way too. Since taking up baking last year, I have tried to stay away from box mixes. Not only to challenge myself but also because most box mixes contain hydrogenated oils. I find so many recipes I want to try but they call for cake mixes or pudding…if anyone has a go to recipe for homemade cake mixes and pudding, let me know.

Thanks to Jen’s Favorite Cookies, I found a really good Brownie Cookie. Easy to make and really good. I already have plans for another alteration to the recipe.

brownie cookies

Brownie Cookies

  • ½ cup butter, cut into chunks (I only had salted so I didn’t use all the salt below)
  • 1 bag (10 – 12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup + 2 T. sugar
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • chopped pecans (I didn’t measure these, sorry)

brownie cookies2Instructions

  1. Over a double boiler, melt butter and chocolate chips together, stirring until completely melted and smooth. (I don’t have a double broiler, and the bowl I was trying to use was failing me, so I finished it off in the microwave.)
  2. Meanwhile, mix together eggs, cocoa powder, and sugar, beating 3-4 minutes on high.
  3. Add melted chocolate to egg mixture, and mix well.
  4. Add vanilla, salt, and baking powder, and mix. Add flour and mix just until combined.
  5. Fold in white chocolate chips and chopped pecans.
  6. Drop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet with cookie scoop
  7. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.

If you like the tops of brownies, you will love these cookies. I already know that next time I am going to try something else, and cook them a little less. They didn’t look done so I cooked them 1 minute longer. Which ended up not being needed. Hardly any recipe I have found on Pinterest to try calls for nuts. I add nuts to almost everything. Pecans and walnuts. I need to try almonds in something too. Yum. Call me nutty.

For this baking I also used something new. I knew that I didn’t have a very good food processor because it wouldn’t fully chop my peppermints. Or anything else I put in there. I decided to get the Ninja at work. I knew it had a lot of pieces but it basically has a blender as well. So I can get rid of that old one too. And the blades are double sets so it blends up higher in the bowl too. I did however, get told that they get returned a lot at work. I hope not. So far I think it works great. And so much easier to clean. It chopped the pecans up perfectly. new ninja

 

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