Thursday, April 30, 2009

Homemade Produce Bags?

Next on my list of ways to green up, is produce bags. I always put my produce in bags at the store. And when I get home, I can't find another way to reuse them. Number one, they don't fit in the garbage cans. Number two, I could reuse them at the store, but I feel like I should clean them out before taking them back to reuse 'em. And I never clean them out- I just don't like to. I will wash Ziplocs, but apparently not produce bags. So instead, I thought I would try to make some lightweight produce bags that I could wash and reuse. I found a good tutorial at Wisdom of the Moon. She suggests using tulle or sheer fabric, but I didn't have any so I thought I would try some cheesecloth I did have laying around. Let me tell you- it was a bad idea.

Here is what happened the first time I put produce in my bag.


Obviously, cheesecloth isn't going to cut it. But garage sale season is almost upon us so a shopping I will go!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Okay- who done it?!

I had a crappy day today. Tomorrow I need to decide if I will accept a fantastic scholarship and continue school for a PhD or turn it down, walking away from something I thought I was destined to do. I can't tell you how many tears have been shed over this decision.

But, a decision needs to be made. This afternoon I believe I decided to turn the offer down for many reasons, including, as my mother put it, "it just isn't right for you, right now." Even still, I was still feeling pretty crappy about shutting this door, so Chris and I went for a walk around our little 'lake.' We had a good chat and on the way home, we stopped to get the mail. Inside I found a note that I had gotten a package! We trotted right back over to the Community Center to check it out. I wasn't expecting anything . . . and guess what?

Someone bought me the measuring cup I was longing for from Byn Alexandra! OMG!! I know!


This has totally made my day! Chris thinks it is a sign. I am not so sure about his logic, but in his mind, this gift confirms my decision to forgo more schooling. I am not sure, but one thing is for certain- I have the most beautiful and unique measuring cup on the block! I can't believe that someone would be so kind and generous.

So thank you anonymous friend. Your gift could not have come at a better time. I would love to know who you are so I could give you a big hug and personally say "Thank you from the bottom of my heart." I know this is getting pretty darn cheesy- but seriously- this school decision has been one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, and your gift was so perfect and so timely, I don't think coincidence can be blamed.

(It is a bit curious though . . . How did you know my maiden name? And how did you know my address?)

Edit: Shortly after posting this, my mother contacted me to let me know the gift was from her. Thank you Mother- I love you! (Nice to know why the sender knew my maiden name and address!)

San Francisco Recap

I thought I should show you just a few pictures of our adventures in San Francsico. We had a great time, and we were blessed with great weather!

We walked well over 20,000 steps every day. Very impressive. Except not at all. Chris put it in perspective when he noted that over two days, we still hadn't walked a marathon. Ouch. I have a new respect for marathoners. My feet hurt after two days of walking; you runners are amazing!

Warning: There are a lot of pictures of me and Chris (mostly me though- I have a bad habit of just snapping pictures when I have the camera- and they don't turn out very well. So we end up with lots of pictures of me.) Also, this was my first vacation with bangs, and a very windy one at that. So please forgive my bangs that seem to have found their way into my face for almost every picture.

Of course we went to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was freaking cold and windy- but totally impressive.

I tried to sneak into on of the towers- but the door was locked. Darn.


We rode the cable cars around everywhere! They reminded me of a ride at Disney World; I often got off feeling a little sick to my stomach. Oh well. The best ride was when we rode the Powell-Hyde line down to the bay. It was very steep. And we were lucky enough to get a spot hanging on to the outside of the car. What a ride that was!


We ate In-N-Out again. This time with the not-so-secret secret menu. Once you go animal- there is no going back.


We saw the stinky sea lions at Pier 39.


We saw the crookedest road in America.


And finally, we went to Chris' future home: Alcatraz. It was pretty cool. This picture is us on the excercise court where the inmates used to play games and such. You can even see the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.


All in all, we had a great time. Thanks and congratulations to all who made it this far in the post. I am impressed.

Tagged . . .

Yesterday morning I woke up, got dressed and came out to check my emails and blogs. I opened the computer only to find that I was tagged by Katie at Such a Loverly Life- to do the picture tag. You know, the one where you take a picture of yourself without primping? The real rules are as follows:

1. Take a pic of yourself right now.
2. No primping or preparing.
3. Just snap a picture.
4. Load the picture onto your blog.
5. Tag some people to play along.


Here is a snippet of my internal dialogue that went on after reading my name on Katie's blog:

My Vain Self: "You can go brush your teeth and comb your hair- this tag doesn't really apply to you since you just woke up."

My Rule Abiding Self: "But think about how guilty you would feel if you did exactly what the rules told you not to do?"

MVS: "But come on, you look like, well, you just got up."

MRAS: "But those are the rules Taryn. Follow the rules!"

It went on like this for some time. In the end, I combed my fingers through my hair and then opened Photo Booth and took this picture . . .


My Vain Self and My Rule Abiding Self compromised with Sepia. It really hides quite a bit.

(Again- please please please tag yourselves. If I can do it after just waking up- I know you (yes you) can do it too!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lazy Dinner- Garlicky Potatoes

Chris was missing his daily dose of In-N-Out French Fries - so he decided that we should have potatoes for dinner. Chris wanted to make "Garlicky Potatoes" like his mother used to make- so I quickly took some frozen Wild Rice Soup out of the freezer to add some nutritional value to our potato dinner and we went at it.

Chris sliced up 5 small potatoes and I placed them into a 9 x 13 baking dish. See look- it is very fun to make "Garlicky Potatoes."


Next we melted 2 Tbsp of butter, added a few sprinkles of garlic powder, a few shakes of Super Salt and stirred it all up. (I also added a few shakes of garlic powder and Super Salt directly on the potatoes for good measure.) We then brushed the butter mixture on the potatoes, put 'em into the oven and baked them at 450 degrees for about 40 minutes.

They were absolutely delicious. We had to stop ourselves from eating the whole pan!


I realize that these are fairly similar to the Baked French Fries we made awhile back, but these are garlicky- so yeah. Enjoy!

Monday, April 27, 2009

We Are Home . . .

Coming home is hard. I don't want to be here with all my responsibilities, chores, anxieties about school and my defense. So instead of coming home, I have been escaping to Chicago with a book- Perfect Chemistry.


Check out Em's Bookshelf for a review here. I thought it was pretty cheesy, totally predictable, and yet completely engrossing adaption of Romeo and Juliette with a twist. Perfect for escaping the realities of coming home from vacation!

photo from emsbookshelf

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fancy Pants

Thank you Katie from Such a Loverly Life! She gave me this Fancy Pants Award! (Mrs. Smith- your name will live on!)


For this award, I am supposed to explain why I love blogging. The reason I love blogging is exactly the same reason as Katie- it allows me, a text book introvert to pretend I am an extrovert and make lots of new "friends." I love it!

Thanks Katie. You are awesome!

Please, please, please people- play along. I love you all. I don't want to hurt anyone's feeling by tagging some and not others, so I just don't tag. But please play. Please?

Friday, April 24, 2009

In-N-Out

I'd be lying if I denied that one of the reasons Chris volunteered to come to this confrence was for a chance to eat at In-N-Out.

And I'd be lying if I told you that I did not enjoy my first experience with In-N-Out. It was so good! Here are the picture to prove it.

Here I am walking with the Nerd Herd the 1.5 miles (each way!) to dinner.


Finally- we have reached the end of the line!


And after what seemed like forever- our meal! (Chris' 2 x 2 (I just got a cheese burger).)


And about 2.57 minutes later . . .


Delicious! Thank you In-N-Out; I will love you forever.

Oh yeah, Happy Birthday Daddyo!

I love you lots and lots! xoxoxo

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Best Giveaway Ever!

While my husband and I are not super interested in the prize up for grabs (a subscription to Golf Digest) I have to say that Jennifer at This Girl Loves Pink's new giveaway is awesome. In order to win, one must leave a comment and answer this question ... "The thing I love most about my husband is.......?"

Please go to her blog and leave a comment- or at least take a second and think about what you love most about your husband/fiance/significant other. I know I take mine for granted sometimes- but he is amazing and I needed this push to remind myself. Thanks Jennifer.

Top 5 Ways to Tell if You Are in a Nice Hotel . . .

5. You don't get free breakfast.
4. or internet. Boo.

3. You have this view.

(Nice huh?)

2. Your bathroom has motion senor lights and an uber cool sink.


And finally, the number one way to know you are in a nice hotel: Your hotel decor is trendier than your Martha magazine. Complete with ugly lamp shades.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We didn't die . . .

but I am pretty sure I could die of embarrassment! Why is it that some of my intimate, freakish and embarrassing moments always happen in the presence of my MIL? Here is my story: This past weekend, Chris caught a little 36 hour flu- like bug. I seemed to have escaped unscathed until Monday mid-day, when I started to feel nauseous. Great. I started to go downhill fast- but pushed on strong until late afternoon when it was almost time to go. I felt so overwhelmed at the idea of driving all the way to the airport and going through security, I broke down and started crying to Chris, "I can't do this!"

And do you know what Chris said to me? In response to my cries, Chris said to me, in complete sincerity, "You will be fine Taryn. You can do it, I did."

Are you freaking kidding me, Chris? You did it by lounging around and sleeping all afternoon!

Anyway, I digress- back to my embarrassing moments. As we drove to the airport, I laid down in the back seat and got sicker and sicker. I'll bet you can tell where this story is going . . . As soon as we got to the airport, I knew my thinking about me "happy place" wasn't going to cut it, and I made a mad dash for a out side garbage can. The worst part- I didn't make it. I puked all over the sidewalk outside DIA. And then proceeded to hurl my guts into the garbage can about 15 feet away from a curb-side check-in counter. I could see everyone in line just staring at me. OMG- I just wanted to die. Chris and my MIL unloaded the car- but I had to walk back to them and say goodbye! Oh yeah- with some super gross evidence of what just went on still on my hands and clothes. I just wanted to die.

But thankfully, that was the worst of it. I spent yesterday in our room, lounging and sleeping like Chris did- and today I am feeling much better.

(This message brought to you by the nerd's free internet at the MySQL conference.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

And We are Off!

Chris and I should now be in sunny California (unless something tragic happened over the mountains . . . (I'm not frightened to fly- nope, not me)). I am not sure if I will have internet access or not- if depends on how close I can get to a conference of computer engineers without them noticing me. So yeah, pretty much no chance I will have free internet. I will miss you all; but fear not, I will be back May 26th!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I have a Defense Date!

People this is a reason to celebrate! I have a date and time when both readers can be present for my defense. It is a miracle. May 4th at 8:00 am. Please think of me.

What Makes Our House a Home?

Lucy Marie is having a fantastic giveaway at Lucy's Life. Her challenge to us is, "What makes your house a home? " After much thought, here are a few things that make our house a home:

1. This sign.


It has the tag line from our wedding on it- and I just love it! Plus, yt reminds me of my mother- and all the planning that went into my wedding!

2. Our table.


Before we got me a free table off Craig's List, this table was the place to sit, eat, craft, etc. Now, we just eat here. It is also important to our home, because it was the first thing we (well, actually Chris) purchased for our home together.

3. Our Bed. 4. Our Quilt. 5. My pillow.


I love the style of this bed, but I just love our bed/mattress in general. I lay down a lot during the day; I read, study, edit, sleep, in bed. I love it!
The quilt was a wedding gift from Chris' aunt. It is beautiful and super special to me.
Lastly, my pillow. If I have my pillow with me, I feel at home. I guess you could say it is my security blanket- you know, like little kids have. I love my pillow. (I love it so much, it is coming to San Francisco with us . . .)

6. Spider plants.


This one might sound a bit odd at first- but I promise- they are legit. I brought these plants with us when we moved to Colorado. They were tiny back then- but despite growing a million times bigger, they still remind me of my family and my home in MN, because they came from a plant at my parent's house.

7. Our composting worms.


These little guys are really our first pets- so that have to make the list. They make our family complete. = )

8. The Mountains. 9. The Lake. 10. Us.


The Mountains define us as Coloradans, at home in Colorado.
The Lake reminds me of another home, and helps me feel at home here. Plus, Chris picked this apartment just for me because of the lake.
And most importantly- we make our house a home. Without us, there would be no home!

Thanks Lucy. This was fun. Everyone should play along- the giveaway ends Wednesday 4/22/09 at 9 pm. Click here to see what it is all about!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Guess what a little bird brought me?

More books for my trip to San Francisco!


Thanks friend.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Homemade Vice

Imagine this . . . you are walking out of your bedroom in a hurry because you are late for work. As you walk by the mirror, you stub your little toe on one of its legs. You brace yourself for immense pain, but none comes. You are puzzled until the mirror starts to fall on you. Hmm, can you guess what happened? Yep- you just kicked the leg right off the mirror!


Tragedy! But we are handy folks (yeah right) so we decided to try and fix it. But because we do not have a vice, we had to improvise. Here is what we came up with:


Chris and I glued the leg back together with wood glue (Thanks Dad) and then wrapped an Ace bandage around it super tight. I can only imagine the blood loss to the area. It was as tight as it could go.

But you know what? It totally worked! The mirror is back to normal. Although, I did kick it again this morning . . . It might need to find a new place to stand.

Target giveaway?

Yes- Go over to Love Bug Kids and pick out your favorite Target paraphernalia. So much fun!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Homemade Grocery Bag

I have decided that we are done with plastic bags. We have more than we need to line our garbage cans, and well, plastic bags are not so great for the environment. So I decided to make a few bags for us. (Why I didn't just buy a couple at the store for $1.00 each, I don't know. It would have been so much easier, cheaper, faster . . .) Anyway . . . here is how I turned this (a Salvation Army jean skirt $1.20):


into this (an awesome grocery bag):

(I also got a wicked short mini skirt out of the deal too.)

I used a combination of patterns: the body of the bag from here and adapted the handles from here.

I cut out my fabric like so . . .


And sewed it together as the tutorial suggests. Sorry I suck at tutorials. Maybe I will get better- I just get into it and forget to take pictures. Plus, I kinda went off the deep end with the handles and the top of the bag. I really had no idea what I was doing, and just sorta went at it. But I think it turned out pretty well. I tried to emulate the hem of the skirt by sewing two lines around the top. I sure hope this secured the handles to the bag. = )


I wanted the bag to be sturdy enough to hold heavy cans and melons and such, so I used the denim fabric. I think I accomplished that goal- the bag is wicked strong. However it is also huge. See?


That is a "big" box of kid friendly Kix and the huge oatmeal size. I could smuggle a kid in this bag. I have another skirt just like the pink one only bigger that I was planning to make into another bag- but I will definitely try to make the next bag a bit shorter. Oh well. Still fun.

I'm Back!

Just wanted to let you know that my paper is printed and delivered to my first and second readers- despite the horrendous weather. Hurray! I am looking forward to reading the million posts in my Google reader, planning our trip to San Fran, and sharing some fun posts with you!

Thank you for all your kind and encouraging words. It was nice to hear from you!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Goodbye World!

The Thesis is back in my hands for (gasp!) more revisions. Sigh. I will see you all when I finally crawl back out of my revision hole . . .

Food Blogs- Good Things Catered

At the request of PJ from Seens From The Back of My Eyelids, I will highlight the food blogs that I have discovered over my time in blog land. Last week, I showcased one of the most prominant and influencial food blogger I know- Smitten Kitchen. Today, I will showcase a slightly less known blog (but only slightly), Good Things Catered.

Katie is one of the main reasons I got into blogging and decided to start my own! Thanks Katie. She has a great tutorials for icing sugar cookies and her creations are freaking amazing. I only wish that I could decorate a cake, cookie or cupcake like her, or create a dining expereince to rival her decorations and menus. Good Things Catered has been on hold throughout Lent, and I sure have missed her beautiful pictures and great recipes. But now that Easter has come and gone- she is back! Go check her out.

Please Don't Hate Me . . .

I have won another blog giveaway! I swear- I am not usually this lucky. I won a snazzy gift card to my favorite store- Target. Thank you Jen! Go check out My Love Bug Kids- she is awesome!

Also, I have received some awards (blush) . . .

From Em- I have received the Sisterhood Award. She wrote the sweetest thing about me on her blog. Thank you Em- you are like a sister to me too. Love you!


Forever ago, from Like a Valentine, I received the Cute's Blogger Award- thanks!


And finally, from Jen K at Jen's Extraordinary Life and Beyond I received the scandalous Sexy Blogger Award. Nice. Thank you Jen.


All I can think of is Kirsten Dunst singing, "I'm sexy, I'm cute, I popular to boot!" Remember that movie? I do. Oh, I do.

Hope everyone had a splendid Easter- I know I did! Missed you Mom, Dad and Katie . . . maybe next year! Xoxo

Friday, April 10, 2009

Homemade Super Salt!

This salt is not your average, run-of-the-mill salt. It is great, fantastic, impressive- perhaps even super- salt. It is a family recipe that has been passed from my grandma to my mother. All the way from grandma. (Maybe more- I don't actually know.)


Ingredients -or as Emily says, "Meet the Team:"


  • 1 10 oz regular salt
  • 1 tbsp onion salt
  • 4 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp celery salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 4 tbsp white pepper
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp dill salt OR 1 tbsp dill weed (I used dill weed)
  • Optional: 2 tbsp paprika ('for color' as grandma says)
  • Optional 2 tbsp MSG (I didn't know you could buy MSG at the store- did you? Everyone seems to be taking it out of stuff- so yeah.)
Directions: Measure ingredients and mix together.

**I didn't make a whole batch, I used the fancy google things to convert everything down. It wasn't hard, but if you want to try it and can't make it working, let me know and I will help you out!

Add as a substitute for regular salt. I promise- it will make everything taste super delicious!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Flat Stanley

Chris' parents got Flat Stanley from a very cute little niece in the Midwest awhile ago- but Flat Stanley was getting bored just hanging out at their house, so I offered to let Stan hang out with us for awhile. Today he finally got out of the house- he got to come to dance class with me at CU.


He sure did have fun. = )

Pasta Pie Bake- It Has Been Done!

I heard about this amazing dish from Chelsea Gwynne a few weeks ago. She said, "It must be done," and now it has. Tada!

(This is Carl- he is our friend.)

The fun part was filling the spring form pan with noodles. Chris did it for us- check out these action shots- they're intense, so brace yourselves.

Time stamp 5:59 PM


Time 6:04 PM


Time 6:09 PM


That's right- a solid 10 minutes of noodle arranging. You try it- see if you can bet him. = )

The dish itself is worth making just for the novelty of having pasta stand up by itself- but the taste was lacking a bit. Even with the dried spices I added, it didn't have much depth. I think I might use regular pasta sauce instead of crushed tomatoes next time. (Although Noble Pig makes a big deal about buying high quality tomatoes, and I didn't, so maybe that is the problem.)

Pasta Pie
Adapted from Noblepig.com
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • a few tsp basil, oregano, and parsley (to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 can (28 ounces) good quality crushed tomatoes (I would use regular pasta sauce next time)
  • Butter, for pan
  • Salt
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces coarsely grated mozzarella
Directions
  1. Cook pasta until slightly underdone. When done, rinse in cold water. Toss pasta with 1 Tablespoon olive oil to coat. Set aside.
  2. Heat remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Add garlic, 1 teaspoon salt. Cook 2 minutes more.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes (or pasta sauce); simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  4. Toss pasta with Parmesan cheese. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan. Tightly pack pasta into pan, standing each piece on end. Spread meat sauce on top of pasta.
  5. Push the meat sauce into the pasta holes filling each one up. (Ours didn't really go in the holes very well. But it was still ok.)
  6. Place in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and bake another 10-15 minutes until cheese is golden. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen and then unmold.
  7. Cut into wedges and enjoy!
(I swear, I really don't wear this sweatshirt very often . . . however, it appears to be my wardrobe choice when making tomato dishes on cold days)