Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Photo editing

I've received several comments on how great the color is in my photos, how I make things POP and similar comments. I have to admit though, it's not exactly my photography skills that make this work.

Thought I would love to take credit for the bright colors in some of my pictures, I can't. I use Picasa, and I absolutely love it.

One of the reasons I love Picasa so much is because it's FREE! This is a huge plus in my non-professional, non-professional-aspiring photography book. Therefore I was thrilled to pieces when I saw on my Google Reader that one of my favorite blogs is doing a series on how to use Picasa! So go check it out! I know I will!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fresh fruit fanatic!

This comprised of about 90% of my grocery shopping today, and I love it! We are a fresh fruit family, and it helps a lot that the summer means they're on sale!

I've learned a few things when dealing with our fresh fruits and veggies. Those lovely plastic bags you put your (usually damp) veggies in when you buy them? They will be the death of them! It took me a little too long to learn that the first thing I need to do is cut my fruit and vegetables up. This also helps me in the long run because it's easy to grab a few pieces of broccoli and steam them without having to bother with cutting them up. It means, for me, that I'm more likely to actually eat them if they're ready to go!

Last week I did this with a pound of strawberries and they were gone in three days! I joked with Geoff that he didn't share with me, but honestly I was just glad they were being eaten! So this week I bought two pounds.
Broccoli is cheap; it's light and I can often find it for about .99 cents a pound, and I could eat it every other day if Geoff let me! Strawberries are another story. I used to think they were too expensive to buy, but I've come to realize that it is no more expensive than a 12 pack of soda that has absolutely no nutritional value. I suppose it is all about putting it into perspective.

This doesn't mean I'm against canned fruits. I happen to LOVE grapefruit, and I love the fact that I can store cans in the pantry and not worry about them going bad during the week.

For the amount of fruits and veggies we're eating this summer I'm going to have to rethink what I want to grow next year! Broccoli is a must.
What about you?

Menu plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday is, as usual, brought to you by orgjunkie.com!

Breakfast will be either oatmeal or cereal, and lunches will be mostly leftovers or Smart Ones.

Monday: Skillet macaroni and cheese, broccoli and fruit
Tuesday: I'll be eating dinner with a friend, so it's leftovers for Geoff
Wednesday: Megg at youth group, leftovers for poor Geoff again!
Thursday: Hungry Girl's Chicken Cordon Bleu, breadcrumb and spinach salad, fruit
Friday: Breakfast for dinner, (eggs and bacon), fruit
Saturday: Homemade pizza

Friday, June 25, 2010

Guess what!

Can you guess what shipped today, and will (finally) be ours very soon?

Here's a hint: We are probably the last family in the continental United States to own one, but now we do!

Food waste Friday

Brought to you by The Frugal Girl, as always, Food Waste Friday is my attempt at saving money. It doesn't always work because I don't always post (usually because I'm too embarrassed of our waste!) but I'm trying to get better.

This week we have no waste...yet. I need to be careful and use up a few things in the fridge like a tomato I bought before ours ripened, but hopefully we will continue not to have any waste into next week! I'll keep you posted, of course.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


The other day I decided I needed a sewing machine. I just wanted a simple one that was not antique (there are many of those on craigslist!) and would do what I want it to do: sew a straight stitch. So...it was off to craigslist for me. Lest you not forget, I love craigslist.

I bought this Singer for $90, which isn't bad, considering Amazon.com sells it for $200. Next, it was time to break it in!

We had recently gone through our clothes that didn't fit anymore or were just too worn out, and made a donate pile. While I did bring one bag to a donation center, I had not yet gotten around to bagging up the rest, and it's sitting in our hallway, waiting for me to finish what I started.

In this pile, I found an old pair of Geoff's jeans that he doesn't fit into anymore, but that I do! Not that this was all that great for my self-esteem, but I quickly put that out of my mind because I've been wanting to turn an old pair of pants into a skirt for some time now. Following this tutorial, I set to work on Geoff's old pants.
Unfortunately I didn't think to take pictures of the process, but I do have the end result and I'm thrilled! In fact, I wore it today!

(Wow, you never know quite how dirty your mirror is until you take a picture of it, huh?)

I folded the crotch pieces under so they weren't pointed like in the tutorial, and I left the back open slightly, because I liked the slit. Also, I didn't cut it quite even, but it isn't really all that noticeable since I frayed the ends. This was partially out of laziness and a desire not to hem, and partially because I don't have any skirts that have frayed edges so I wanted something different.

I am NOT a sewer, but this was so simple that even I couldn't mess it up...which is really saying something! I'm already eying a pair of green pants that would make a nice skirt when they are worn out...but they're not there yet!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


There are days when I come home from babysitting swearing I will never have kids. And then there are days like last Friday, when I am absolutely in love.
There are only 2 kids today, due to luck and the fact that she's down a child for a few months. It is also beautiful outside, with actual sun, so we spent the majority of the morning outside. With just two young kids they entertain themselves, don't need attention all the time and find endless things (like spiders) to touch. Days like these remind me how fun kids can be, and I can't wait to have them.

Of course there's also days like yesterday. Days when, after lunch, I was responsible for 7 kids. Days when the morning went well until the baby got cranky and it was time to go inside. Days when one child is hungry too early and another refuses lunch. Then I go home and beg my husband not to touch me because I've held a baby all day and just want some time to myself!

Realistically I know parenting is a mix of both days, and I can only hope I will know when I am ready to deal with both all the time, not just 4 days a week!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Rain, rain go away

It's been raining a lot lately...

...which has apparently made the sugar snap peas happy...

...and that, in turn, makes me happy!

Menu plan Monday

Here's hoping this is a relatively normal week for us! It's been a little crazy and we haven't been very good about planning the menu, even with a menu plan, so I'm hoping to get back on track this week.
Here's what we'll be eating!

Sunday: Napa salad

Monday: Grilled pork chops, grilled corn on the cob, leftover napa salad from Sunday

Tuesday: Shrimp quesadillas (still haven't tried these!) with tomato avocado salad (tomatoes from the garden!)

Wednesday: Megg at youth group, Geoff leftovers

Thursday: Baked macaroni and cheese, fruit, broccoli

Friday: Homemade sourdough pizza

Saturday: Hamburger helper (or burgers, depending on my mood!) and tomato and feta salad (with tomatoes from the garden!)

Sunday: To be determined, based on mood and lateness of lunch.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Movie review!

Geoff and I went to see Toy Story 3 last night.

Now, before you start judging, let me explain! The first Toy Story came out in 1995, and, at the risk of dating myself, lets just say I was in middle school at the time. Geoff was a few years younger. I was given the VHS of Toy Story for my birthday when I was in 9th grade because I loved it so much.
Have you seen Toy Story? The movie is rife with jokes that only an adult would understand. I love it.

Mr. Potato Head: "Hey look! I'm Picasso!"
Ham: "I don't get it."
Mr. Potato Head: "You uncultured swine!"

In 2000 Toy Story 2 came out. My sister and I actually stood in line to get into the theater to see that one. It was just as good as the first, though nothing will be as good as the first one, to me.

Toy Story 3 came out on Friday, and I insisted that Geoff and I see it last night. I was not disappointed. The animation has greatly improved in the last 15 years, and all my favorite toys were still there. The plot, after a willful suspension of disbelief, was well done as well.
In this one, Andy was going off to college, and hadn't played with his toys in years. He was facing the choice of either donating the toys or putting them in the attic, neither of which the toys really wanted. After finding themselves in a daycare with kids that didn't know how to be gentle with the toys, their mission was simple: escape, go up into the attic, and Woody himself was heading to college with Andy.

The ending was happy, as always, but getting there was difficult. There were fewer "adult-only" jokes, fewer references to pop culture that children wouldn't get but I have enjoyed so much in the past two movies. Overall it was also a darker, sadder movie than the other two, partially due to the "bad toy" character and partially due to the simple fact that Andy was growing up and moving on.
Overall, it was a great movie, but, as  Geoff said afterwards, he would have been happy to think of Andy as a little kid, still playing with his toys.

There's a lesson for kids and adults alike here that I wasn't sure I wanted to be reminded of. We all grow up, we all move on, but our toys stay the same. Those same toys that used to come alive for us have lost a bit of their magic, and that overall theme of the movie was very sad to me.

Was it a good movie for kids? Most definitely. It was also a better kids movie than most of what I have seen while babysitting, one that I wouldn't mind sitting through 50 times. (Thomas the Tank Engine DVDs are another story...) Sad as it was to remember that we all grow up, it was fun to see the toy's reactions, and where they ended up in the end. Exactly where they belonged.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Favorite toy

Why play with

those silly little toys
Mommy brings home
when there are twist-ties available??

Friday, June 18, 2010

A movie I'll never forget

I was struggling with what to write about today until I saw Kelly's show us your life! It's proposal stories! I've never participated in show us your life, but there's a first time for everything, I suppose!

Our proposal story starts months before the actual event. Geoff and I were dating long distance, and I was in school, so I knew we wouldn't be getting married until after I graduated. This, of course, did not stop me from asking him (probably annoyingly and probably too often) when we were going to get engaged. It also didn't stop me from anticipating it at every visit.

So, at Spring Break in March 2009, I headed out to visit, sure that it was going to happen this time (since it hadn't at the New Year's visit I made). We went out to eat at Outback, and Geoff broke the news to me that he wasn't planning on asking me this trip. I acted terribly. I started crying right there at the table, and now that I'm happily married, I'm ashamed of myself. I found out later that he had just found out his sister, who had been dating her boyfriend only a year (Geoff and I had been together 3 years at that point) had just gotten engaged, which was endlessly frustrating for me.

Cut to June. Geoff came out to visit me at school, we had a great week, and by the last few nights I was starting to think he wasn't going to do it this time, either.
On June 26, 2009, we went out to the movies. Geoff and I love going to the movie theater; it is not uncommon for us to go several times a visit. This happened to be our third movie this trip! We were seeing Up, and I was feeling very neutral about the whole thing, but happy to be seeing a movie with my boyfriend.
About 20 minutes into the movie we were holding hands and I was crying because it was a sad part (for a Disney movie it has a very sad beginning!) Geoff was holding my hand, and all of a sudden he slid the ring onto my hand and whispered in my ear, "I wanted to do this before we get too far into the movie."
Even though I knew it was coming, shocked doesn't even begin to describe how I felt. I started crying all over again, and hugging him before I realized that I hadn't even said yes! He looked at me and asked, "Well? Will you?" Of course I said yes!

I may have missed about 30 minutes in the middle of that movie, but it was well worth it. Six months later we were married, and I almost can't even remember a time when we weren't together.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day...

This clock is special to me. I believe it was a wedding gift for my parents, but as long as I can remember it has hung in our kitchen. The loud ticking it makes is distinctive only to someone who has grown up listening to it, catching it when the room falls silent, or there is a lull in the conversation.

I remember one time when my grandmother was babysitting my sister and I. My sister, being younger, was already in bed, but my grandmother was painting my nails at the kitchen table. I was silent, watching her, when she suddenly stopped and asked what that noise was. I listened, and couldn't hear anything but the clock. When I told her that was all I could hear, she realized that was the unidentified noise, and that she had thought it was a bomb. Of course this freaked me out a little bit, but I realize now that it was just another sound to me, and now it's a sound of my childhood.

When my dad was growing up, his grandparents had a Chelsea Ship's Clock, similar to this one, that was his childhood clock. Later, it appeared in my grandparent's (his parent's) house, and though it was familiar to me, it wasn't our clock.
For my dad's birthday one year recently, my grandparent's gave him the Chelsea clock, and the wooden one became mine.

Now it hangs in my kitchen, ticking away in its ever familiar rhythm.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I don't remember when, or how the idea of geocaching came to me, but one afternoon a few months ago, I suggested that it might be a fun thing for Geoff and I to do together. In an effort to exercise more and visit some of the sites in the area, I thought it would be something we would enjoy. I even went so far as to make a profile on Geocaching.com, but Geoff didn't see all that into it.
Then, randomly, a few weeks later, he came home with Idiot's Guide to Geocaching for me! I was thrilled! We plan to get a handheld GPS, but we also have found a few in the area without needing the GPS. Who knew there were so many in our city alone!

A few Saturdays away we went out on a trail that I hadn't found yet, and did a little caching! It was fun, and there were plenty of picture opportunities.

Some of the caches required a little digging around.

These trails are just a few miles from where we live. I love it! I love living in a busy, populated town where I can go just 5 minutes and see beautiful sites like this!

Have you ever gone geocaching?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (a little late!)

This week's menu plan is very similar to last week's, for the simple fact that we didn't actually eat most of what we had on the menu! Oops. It was a busy and unusual week, as I mentioned in my previous post, and it was just too easy to grab take-out on our way home. We need to work on that, clearly.

As always, MPM is brought to you by orgjunkie.com, and since I'm not on my own laptop, there is no graphic today! Sorry!

Sunday: Leftovers (I was feeling lazy, but at least we didn't go out to dinner!)

Monday: Last week's pasta with asparagus (bumped from last week, though I did not add broccoli or zucchini this week, as we used up the zucchini last week!)

Tuesday: Grilled steak, corn on the cob (also grilled), Napa salad, possibly mashed potatoes

Wednesday: Megg at youth group, Geoff on his own (which translates to either leftovers or take-out)

Thursday: Geoff will be out and I weight in on Thursday night, so it will be my turn for leftovers or take-out!

Friday: Breakfast for dinner: eggs, bacon, biscuits, fruit

Saturday: Sourdough pizza and cheesy bread (also bumped from last week, also an experiment that we will see how good it tastes!)

When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year...

I'm a huge Friends fan. Huge. Unfortunately, I didn't discover it until a year or two after it had been off the air, but that's OK, I'm still a fan. A late adopter, but still a fan.
This statement has nothing to do with the post I'm about to continue with, and everything to do with the title of this post, which is from the Friends opening credits.

It's not so much that it hasn't been my week, because it has been a great week, but more that the week has gotten away from me. Just yesterday Geoff and I were wondering where the weekend went, and I was wondering where the whole week went! How is it Monday already?

This past week was very unusual, schedule-wise. I hardly worked for the census, didn't make it to youth group, worked many more hours than I intended babysitting (the money is helpful though), went to a bbq with Geoff's co-workers, and completely space and forgot the fact that I promised our youth leader I would help him in the office this week. Our life has been almost nothing but a whirlwind for the past week and a half.

I feel invigorated, excited, scared (no, terrified!) anxious, happy, busy and stressed, all at once. There are a few big big changes happening around here that I am not yet at liberty to talk about, but will soon. On top of that, I feel so behind! I'm behind with my 365 project (still taking pictures daily, just not as good or creative ones as I'd like), I haven't been to youth group in 3 weeks (granted, the last two were simply study nights for finals), I missed helping our youth leader, as previously mentioned, and my sister-in-law's birthday is in two days and I have picked out her gift, but haven't even ordered it, let alone sent it on it's merry way to her!
I'm stressed.

However, unlike school stress, this almost feels good. Sure, I don't like that my kitchen is a mess, that I'm running around like crazy and that we ate out three times last week because I was just too tired to cook (and we got home too late). But in a way, it's fun. It's like real life has begun, finally. There's always something going on, but it's exciting. The weeks are flying by and I'm cherishing my hours spent at home, rather than dreading them, like when that was all I was doing.

Right now, life is fun and crazy, and I'm just trying to hang on for the ride!

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's a jungle out there!

My garden continues to grow, and grow, and grow, but I still haven't seen any fruits (or vegetables) of my labor! Well, that isn't 100% accurate. I have eaten about 4 strawberries off our small plant!

At the grocery store on Sunday we found the perfect tomato plant for us. It's "bred" to never get bigger than it is now, and will produce a lot of tomatoes, too. I'm very excited, since my other plant was, apparently, not going anywhere fast.
Since tomatoes need a lot of sun and warmth, I had to set up a little greenhouse area for it to help it along. It's been very rainy here for the past month, but I'm hoping that, since this little guy is already started, it will be happy with it's foil contraption and ripen those tomatoes for us!

How does your garden grow?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Check me out!

I was so excited when my friend, and fellow librarian, Elizabeth asked me to do a guest post on her blog! I've been waiting for this all week, ever since she told me it would be published on Thursday!

What are you waiting for? Check me out!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Menu plan Monday...back in the game!

It has been a while since I've done a Menu Plan Monday, and both our weight and budget have reflected that! I do have an excuse, however. A couple weeks ago either one or the other of us was out one night all week, which made it difficult to plan. Then we were away, and last week was just funny because we never got around to grocery shopping, since we got home late Monday night.
But I'm back in the game, and hoping to keep on track this week!

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner: eggs, bacon and fruit

Monday: Crock Pot French Dip sandwiches with homemade (hopefully) rolls

Tuesday: Pasta with asparagus, and I'm adding zucchini and broccoli to the recipe

Wednesday: Chicken parmesan from a Weight Watchers Cookbook with broccoli (if there's leftover) or zucchini, or another veggie...

Thursday: Grilled steak, mashed potatoes (both from the freezer), Napa salad

Friday: Shrimp quesadillas with tomato avocado salsa, leftover salad

Saturday: Sourdough pizza and cheesy bread (the recipe makes too much dough for one pizza and I can't freeze it or it won't rise!)

So, here's to a delicious week, I hope.
Coming soon...some BIG changes in life...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Learning to be handy

I have never really been into refinishing furniture, or fixing or repurposing things. I did paint a dresser once, but that's about it. I have an old steamer trunk at my parent's house that I swore I would fix up that hasn't been touched in years. All this changed, however, when I got married, wanted nice things, and realized we couldn't afford them quite yet!

You all know my obsession with Freecycle by now, right? Well, I have to admit that when I can't get something for free there, I will also check out Craigslist! Because if I can't get something for free, might as well get it for cheap, right?

Our coffee table (which only happens to be clean for this picture, normally it isn't!) was my first Craigslist find. I absolutely LOVE the baskets underneath, and for $65, can you really go wrong? I tried to find a similar table online to see how much it cost, and the closest I could get was this one, which I don't even like and which is almost $300! So I was very happy with this find. It didn't even require any touching up!

However, our end table, which I decided was another vital piece of furniture we needed, did.

I can't really complain, because for $25 we got a matching-style table, but it definitely needed a little bit of work. The top was scratched pretty badly, and the legs weren't the same color as our coffee table, which was nothing a little spray paint couldn't fix.

Happily, a friend of ours is doing a lot of work in her home, and we were able to use both her expertise and some of her tools to work on the table!

So we sanded, finished, spray painted and glued (there was a loose piece of wood on the bottom of the table).

And finally had something we were happy with!

It didn't turn out as shiny as our coffee table, but I'm OK with that. I put a coat of Old English on it, screwed the legs back on, and now it sits happily next to our Freecycle couch! I even got a new table lamp with wedding gift cards for it.

All in all we probably spent about $60 on the table, which includes buying it and the materials we used to work on it, however, most of those we will be able to use again (we didn't use all the stain, for example). Plus, I searched for this online as well, and the closest thing I could find was this, which is just as much as the new coffee table!

Maybe I could make a living refinishing furniture...

Friday, June 4, 2010

A librarian from the beginning

I suppose, sometimes, that I was meant to be a librarian right from the beginning. After all, both my sister and I were named after characters from a book. I am named after Meg, from Little Women (my mom is the oldest of four girls and really related to her) and my sister is named after Laura, from the Little House books, which I was reading with my dad at the time she was pregnant.

It's interesting how little things in your life can shape you later. I love listening to audio books. I find it very soothing, and I will even (easily!) fall asleep to an audio book if I'm lying in bed and not reading it in the car. Don't worry, I don't fall asleep while driving!
This I can pinpoint to my younger years, when my father read to me. I'm sure he read many books to me, but the ones I remember best are the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I remember sitting on my parent's bed, listening, absorbing information that I can now quote because I've read and reread it so many times.

I have a little issue with books, though. I don't like to read them! Well, that's not entirely accurate. I love reading books, I just don't like reading new books. They scare me! What if I read a book and I think it'll be good, and it's not?? What then?? Therefore, I have a bad habit of reading the same books over and over again. In my defense, I have been getting better at this, but it's still a work in progress. As is noted by the books I've read in the past month:

The Giver (reread)
Gathering Blue (reread)
Messenger (reread)
The Hunger Games (reread, in anticipation of the new book coming out this August!)
Catching Fire (reread)

And, when I'm done with Catching Fire, I'm going to move onto these beauties.

Yes, those are the original books I got new, on my birthday in 1988. Just a few months before my sister was born.
What's that? They're in worse shape than my copy of The Giver?
It's possible, of course. Though, to be fair, I did keep Farmer Boy in pristine condition. Which could be because I have never read it. As a child I didn't want to read a book about a boy and as an adult...well, see the above paragraph about my issue with new books.

Anyway, I think the next month or so will be spent reliving my childhood through these books. After which, hopefully, the new Hunger Games book, Mockingjay, will be out and I can delve into a new book that I know I will love.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day weekend and a bunch of pictures!

I must say, my blogging and internet break was very refreshing. Which is not to say that I am not very happy to have my computer back up and running!

It was a busy and fast long weekend for us, and though I enjoyed every minute with my family, I have to admit that I'm also glad to be home again. We had an open house down in Idaho for people who couldn't make it to the wedding, so we came home with bags loaded...both with presents and stuff from our parent's houses because they want it out!

I flew in on Wednesday, along with my mom. Thursday my dad and sister arrived (they were supposed to come on Wednesday too) so we spent most of the day going to the airport to get them and driving back...and taking our time. It was a long day! Friday we relaxed and then my husband arrived. Saturday the ladies got pedicures! My toes were sorely in need, because they still had my wedding nail polish on them!

After that we headed to Shoshone Falls, a waterfall where Geoff and had gone to four years ago for a mini-date (with friends!) That was at the beginning of our dating relationship.
This was us four years ago...we look so little!

And here we are in the same place (relatively speaking, not the same lookout) four years later...at the beginning of our marriage!

It is merely coincidence that he is wearing the same shirt!
After taking a few family pictures...

And a few pictures of the falls themselves...

(I really like this last one!)
...we headed for some shopping. Of course!

Sunday was our wedding open house. It was very pretty and fairly subdued, but exactly what we wanted. Most of the people who came were friends of Geoff's family, so I had a few introductions to work through, but it was nice to see friends of the family that I remembered from previous visits!

We were going to play nice, but then Geoff changed his mind...

So I reciprocated!

Like I said, the weekend was way too short, but it was so fun.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...