Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fort Sleepover | Part 14

I've Never Really Been Real Camping
But we are incredible fort-makers. And Jim Gaffigan camping jokes are very funny.

"I probably wouldn't be so scared if I wasn't sleepng in a bag. 
Hey! Lets pre-package ourselves for the serial killer.
'I can't get away can you?' 'I can hop a little but I'm dead meat.'"

And I want everyone to know (in case you have never heard it before): living with your best friend everyday is other-worldly wonderful.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Quotes | Post 13

I Wish I Had Fully Understood This While Dating Caleb 
& That All Single Women Believed It Because It's True
“I used to think that finding the right one was about the man having a list of certain qualities. 
If he has them, we'd be compatible and happy. 
Sort of a checkmark system that was a complete failure. 

But I found out that a healthy relationship isn't so much about 
sense of humor or intelligence or attractive-ness. 
It's about avoiding partners with harmful traits and personality types. 
And then it's about being with a good person. 

A good person on his own, and a good person with you. 
Where the space between you feels uncomplicated and happy.
 A good relationship is where things just work. 
They work because, whatever the list of qualities, whatever the reason, 
you happen to be really, really good together.” 

deb caletti - the secret life of prince charming


ps.  Happy 49 Days of Sharing A Last Name, Bed and Covenant.  Remember when we were 49 days away?  Seems like years ago. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Date Night Hot Spots | Latin | Post 12

The Post Where We Pretend We Are Foodies and Like Bethany Frankel

Caleb and I love our grub.  It's actually obsessive.  We are obsessed with food and we plan our dates around food, then budget.  Here are some local Mexican/Spanish/taco favorites (in our mouths AND our wallets) so far:
pc: p-dub

  • TACO BAR // hands down best tacos I've had from a restaurant (also another FAVORITE soup comes from their kitchen.)  Don't be freaked out that it's located inside a gas station, inside a beer-and-wine store.  It's more magical like that!
  • TORTACOS // They knew what they were doing when they put "tacos" in their name.  Sensational tacos!
  • AY JALISCO // For their papusas and tortilla soup.  You'll think you're in Mami's casa in El Salvador.  Oh!  They have tremendous bean + cheese burritos as well.
  • EL TEJANO // one of my favorite soups - big, well-cooked vegetables with a broth you'll crave later... they also have papusas worth getting fat over and Caleb's favorite margaritas.  
  • RED, HOT & BLUE // Best Nachos In The Area.  Don't even get nachos somewhere else.
  • ACAJUTLA // Other Best Nachos In The Area.  If you do go somewhere else for nachos, go here.  This version is a little more "authentic" than RH&B's more "American" version.
  • JALEO // Expensive-ish and a tapas restaurant... I truly enjoyed everything I ordered (I know many people who haven't loved their Jaleo experience), but they best things on the menu were the surprising things:  like the duck risotto.  I've never fully recovered.
  • JAZMIN CUISINE // These guys actually make the best quessadilla I've ever had (outside of my own house.  My mom's still trump.)
  • CHIPOTLE // This is kind of a cop-out, but since it's so well-known and so good, I think it deserves to be on the list.  If you get a salad, make suresuresure you get the dressing and crunch chips on top to make it a "taco salad." 
  • FOR A NIGHT IN // Southwestern Pulled Brisket Tacos I could eat these every single day.  And I also drink the juices from a cup when I finish eating. (And, the magic happens in a crock pot, so it's impossible to mess up.  Boo-rah.)

Maryland people!  Where do you like to get your ay-ai-AY! on?  Any other Latin/Spanish/Taco places we should check out?

Next up: pizza! PEETSA PEEEETSA!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Life Wish List | Post 12

My Greatest Aspiration, Dream, Desire and Hope:  To Make A Home Like This:

"An ideal Christian home ought to be a place where love rules. It ought to be beautiful, bright, joyous, full of tenderness and affection, a place in which all are growing happier and holier each day.  

The home-life should be a harmonious song without one marring note, day after day. The home, no matter how humble it is, how plain, how small – should be the dearest spot on the earth to each member of the family. 

It should be made so happy a place, and so full of life, that no matter where one may wander in after years, in any of the ends of the earth – his home should still hold its invisible cords of influence about him, and should ever draw resistless upon his heart. It ought to be the one spot in all the earth, to which he would turn first, when in trouble or in danger. It should be his refuge, in every trial and grief."

j.r. miller

Bacon Quinoa | Post 11

The Day I Tried To Impress A Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Friend

Before the wedding, I promised one of my flower girls, Audrey, that once I was married she could come over and eat whatever she wanted at my new house.  She chose macaroni-and-cheese and pizza.  For weeks before (and after) the wedding, she talked about "Mac Roni Cheese and peet-zi at Titi Caylub's house?

This past week Audrey, accompanied by her gf/df mamma and baby sister, Piglet, came over for lunch.  I was not about to try making gf/df mac&cheese and pizza.  No way.  

Quinoa, sweet potato fries, and chilled cucumbers - now that sounded right Janet's alley, and right in line with my cooking abilities.

Even though I've never made quinoa before, I've eaten before, so I had a fairly good idea of what would taste good with the healthy little grains.  I also had a fairly good idea of how to make it unhealthy.


Trader Joe's Quinoa (or any kind.)

Oil (olive, coconut, whateveeeer)
Half an onion, chopped
Minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped, defrosted, raw bacon
The leftovers of frozen pea bag (it was probably about 3/4 a cup?)

Salt + Peppa
Garlic Salt
Cayenne Pepper/Chili Powder/Taco Seasoning (just something with some kick)

ONE: Make one cup of quinoa in pot according to box instructions.

TWO: While quinoa is cooking, heat up a good ol' dump of olive oil in frying pan.  Add onions and garlic. Cook for two-ish minutes.  Add BACON!  Once the bacon is cooked, add the frozen peas.  Feel free to salt + pepper as you feel led.  No legalism here.  You are free to cook as you'd please.

THREE: Once quinoa is done, dump from pot into pan.  Mix around.  Season with garlic salt, spicy seasoning, and salt'n'peppa.  Taste it.  If it tastes bland, season more.  


It's savory yet light, salty and fresh, and really, really good for the soul.  Janet had four helpings.  I was on cloud nine.  Some of her balsamic vinegar (drizzled fantastically on the cucumbers) slid over to the quinoa.  Her next helping she went ahead and poured balsamic on the quinoa on purpose!  Also:  I burned the pizza, Audrey didn't eat her mac&cheese, and not only did I burn the sweet potato fries, I completely forgot I was even making them so they kind of disintegrated in the oven.  Hip hip hooray for quinoa!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Our First Month | Post 10

"I have made my choice, Hori. 
I will share my life with you for good or evil, until death comes."
agatha christie
at the beach on 9.9.12
Caleb and I just celebrated our first month of marriage!  I know "the ninth" of the month will someday come and go without a thought in my mind, but for now, it's all brand new.  "Our first month of being married ever."  September 9th was very exciting.

This month was, in a word: sensational.  I want to be careful to be real when I write and share about my life and marriage - I never want to purposely make things appear better than they are so I can feel good about myself or have "everyone" think my life is impossibly perfect.  And I wouldn't want to make anyone feel like I was better than them because "it's just soooo good over here!  Too bad your grass isn't as green as mine!"

You get trained to do that a little bit when you run a photography business: I crop out the underwear, empty water bottles and trash can in the background, I clone out the car and stop sign, I heal the zit or wrinkles.  I'm selling something, so I want to advertise and deliver a good - maybe even impossibly perfect! - product.

But this is my life.  Caleb and I are nuts.  We have nothing to sell (unless you want to hire us, which you can do here and here.)  We're both disorganized.  We both make big messes while we work.  We both fall asleep anywhere... and as married people have woken up half-on, half-off the couch, fully dressed (with shoes) from the day before, with the 3:00 am infomercials screaming in the otherwise still night and we either just stay there or crawl over to bed for  a few more hours.  Caleb usually spills something getting from the couch to the bed.  I usually run into something.  It's like... our tradition! We miscommunicate about our schedules.  We often don't get as much done in a day as we'd like to (meaning: taking a shower, making the bed, doing the laundry.  Heck.  Getting the mail!).

Hopefully you'll find this relatable and humorous:

Two days after our honeymoon was my birthday!  And six days after my birthday was Caleb's birthday!  We demand a lot of attention in August.

Birthday's are something I've always loved.  I LOVE birthday parties, I love waiting for a birthday to come, I love the attention (keeping it real) and I love having an excuse to celebrate!  It probably started when I was a child and my mom threw blow-your-mind themed birthdays.  DIY moms these days have nothing on my mom back then.  Ironically, as a "big kid" my birthday has consistently fallen at a terrible time to party.  The end of August is when people are taking end-of-summer vacations, or starting college.  My church has a highschool youth retreat that occurred during my birthday for four years, and then I volunteered at the retreat for the next three years.  One year I moved on my birthday.  Another year I had soccer try-outs.  Another I had a church meeting where they brought cakes for all the August birthdays and sang "Happy Birthday"... and they forgot me.   One year I threw a party for myself and four people came.  Last year Caleb had a work deadline and almost had to cancel his big birthday date.
on the ferris wheel on the last day of the moco fair!  we barely made it back from our honeymoon in time to catch the fair.  but we rode the ferris wheel, got called really mean things from the dunk-tank-clown, and caleb won me a big stuffed puppy by hitting a free-throw!  take that suuuuckersssss! OW! that's my MAN!
Woe is me, right?  Woe is me.  Before you think I'm a big whiner, I really think it's funny.  I almost look forward to "What's going to happen this year?!"  Caleb tries hard to make me feel special and loved every day of the year, but he has been determined to make my birthday "go well."  I told him over and over that this year does not need to be a big deal. We just got married (see? bad birthday timing.)  And just spent a week in Jamaica.  All I want to do is relax and not have another "thing to go do."

This year he arranged to have a family-dinner where we ate some of my favorite steak sandwiches (my dad makes them the best.)  We had  ice-cream cakes and candles-that-do-not-blow-out.  We sang and they encouraged me.  It was so sweet and simple.  The night before we had gone to the fair, so I was giddy about spending the night with my husband in our own little apartment.  I made sure it was all clean, tidy and pretty.   We had a few wedding gifts to open.  I wanted to look through all our honeymoon pictures.  Watch one of our favorite Monday night shows.  Have some extra ice-cream.  And some Fun-yuns.  And Sour Patch Kids.  It sounded like bliss!

And then Bridesmaids Get Sick V.2 happened.  To my husband.  It started with "Man, my stomach feels weird" and ended with something so colorful, vulgar and distasteful I don't think I could live with myself if I wrote it out in words, let alone shared on the internet.  Just, yes, bathroom time.  So much bathroom time.  Lots'o'bathroom time.  My poor husband had a bad sub for lunch and his body punished him.  In exhaustion he fell asleep on the couch.  When I was ready for bed I woke him up and he barely made it to bed with me.  He slept through all three his alarms the next morning, but insisted that he felt better.  Praise the God Lord.

Before he left for work he promised me that we'd continue with our birthday gift/TV/dessert/together plans that night when he returned from work.  I worked all day, still soaking in all the kind "Congratulations!" and notes we received in every form imaginable.  Then late in the afternoon I received some troubling news.

"Hi there, I have your husband at my house.  His head got hit with scissors on the job site.  It's bleeding but I think he's okay."  I didn't really know what that meant, but I jumped in the car to go over to the lady's house (Caleb is building an addition on her neighbor's home.)  While in the car my dad called "Did you hear that a hammer dropped two stories and hit Caleb in the head?"  Oh my word.

I found my dear man in a friends' family room, shirtless, with an ice-pack and lots of care.  His brother's tool belt had fallen off and the tool started dropping underneath him.  One of them hit Caleb square in the back of his noggin.  We still don't know if it was a hammer or pair of utility scissors, but the cut was Y-shaped and about an inch long.  I took him to CVS for some liquid-band-aid and then home for rest. You don't want to mess with head injuries.  And he had bled a good amount.  So rest he did - he fell fast asleep.

The next day he promised promised promised we would have our birthday night.  But, sadly, right after dinner, the phone rang.  A summer storm had ripped off the tarp on Caleb's current home addition project.  In the darkness and rain he had to go back out and close off the home so there would be no leaks or flooding in the client's home.  My brother went with him.  He was gone for a couple hours and came back soaking wet.  We were both really tired and fell asleep on the couch in the middle of talking.

Before we knew it it was Caleb's birthday.  I was going to have a little "mini-makeover" and pretty pictures taken to give to Caleb.  I hate having my picture taken, but while I still had some Jamaica-tan and after-wedding-energy, I thought it'd be fun to get dressed up in new clothes, do something different and surprise Caleb.

Which, it was.  Except that at the shoot, I kneeled in a patch of poison ivy.  And the poison ivy rash didn't appear until a few days later.  I have no idea how much I touched while the oil was still "active" and I'm trying to clean everything  I can think of, but this stuff will.not.stop.  What started on my knee has spread all over my legs, made it's way to my back and now my arms.  I find new spots of it everyday.  And Caleb has it on his arms now, too.  I spend my nights rolled up in a clean-sheet-cacoon trying to avoid touching anything that might have been contaminated.   I also have a super sexy cleaning-routine.  I clean the rash with dishwater and salt, then rinse with hydrogen peroxide, then apply steroid cream and calamine lotion.  Sometimes I also add mouthwash and toothpaste to the agenda.  I come out of the bathroom like a freaking chemical painted cheetah.

Determined to celebrate Caleb's birthday right, we made plans to see the new Zach Galifianakis movie (Caleb LOVES that guy.  Jim Carrey? Nah.  Will Ferrell? Eh.  Jim Gaffigan? Whatevs.  Zach?  He'd adopt him.)  We started the evening with a romantic stop at Rite-Aid to get some Benadryl.  That was my latest effort - to battle this poisonous rash from the inside.  And then to a festive and always-delicious Italian dinner.  Don't worry.  I made a great decision and took two Benadryl so that I wouldn't be itching my salty, creamy, lumpy, leprosy legs all night (the box said adults can take two!)  One sip of sangria and a few slices of brushetta later, I was barely holding it together.  I kept nodding off during the meal.   I was seconds from face-planting into Sicilian Chicken Soup.  Caleb finally had me go to the car while he found the waiter, got our food boxed up, and paid.  Besides, my skirt was sticking to the calamine lotion and that's just embarrassing.  No one wants the Rash Date.

I slept in the car.  When he came out to me I drowsily opened my eyes.  "Lets go to the movie now?" "Kristen, you'll sleep through the whole thing."  "But I want you to go!"  "Yeah, this is a funny movie. I don't want to sit there and laugh all alone."  "Good point."  He drove me home around 7:45 pm.  He sat with me on his lap on the couch while he watched re-runs of 19 Kids and Counting on his iPad.  Close to midnight he carried me to bed.  I don't really remember anything until the next morning, around the 4:00 am hour, when I was ready to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!  Time to catch up on twitter!

This week my family is battling some strange concoction of strep and stomach bug.  Caleb has a headache "that feels like someone is driving a stake into my forehead and cracking my head into two pieces."  I did lots of googling for remedies.  Advil, ginger tea, warm lavender compress, lavender oil aromatherapy, "therapeutic head massage" (I didn't know what I was doing so I think I made it worse), and even a Jamaican-wives-tale which consisted of hanging upside down off the couch and swinging your head back and forth followed by milk mixed with lemon juice (Caleb said it was "terrible.  All of it.")

And really:  marriage has been sensational.  Not because it's been "perfect," but because it's been amusing, bizarre, typical of us, and together.  

I'd rather fall asleep on a date with him than stay awake with anyone else. (Romantic, hey?  Feel free to quote me on that.  To make a little inspirational .jpeg and pin it.  Sell it on etsy.)  I'd rather clean up his, ahem, crap than not clean up anyone else's.  I'd rather battle poisonous vines and hammers falling from the sky, resulting in a funny memory with him, than have "normal" life happen and be completely forgettable.  I'd rather be married to him for 30 days, than to anyone else for 31 days :)

Happy 1 Month, Captain!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Maple Mustard Chicken | Post 9

My Stamp Of Approval On The Big Chicken Craze

A mass recipe re-pin is very suspicious.   Just because someone took (or stole) a pretty picture, claimed that the recipe was THE BEST fudge-cake/lasagna/biscuit/crock-pot-chowder/cupcake-in-a-can they've ever had, doesn't mean it is actually tasty.  But it's hard to resist a recipe that has been re-pinned 14,567 times.  Or maybe it's not?  

Anyways, when The Man-Pleasing Chicken from Witty in The City started "going viral," I was skeptical.  But Becca made it once, and we were all hooked. It really is one of Caleb's favorite dishes, it's embarrassingly easy to make and it's a sophisticated, savory twist on classic honey-glazed or barbeque chicken.  

1.5 pounds thawed chicken thighs (or breasts, or whatever you have, really)
Salt + Peppa

1/2 cup of dijon mustard (or any mustard)
1/4 cup of maple syrup (or pancake syrup.  Whatever!)
2 tablespoons rice/wine/white vinegar

Rosemary/Green Onions/Fresh Parsley

One: Preheat oven to 450.  Put poultry-parts (eeeeew!) into a foil-lined baking specimen (eeeeew!).  Salt and peppa the thighs or breasts (eeeeeew!)

Two: Mix together the wet goods (eeeeeew!).  Pour and coat and drizzle the mixture onto the chicken.

Three: Bake for 40 minutes (or so).  Baste chicken halfway through so it looks all burned and barbequ-ed and cool.  When finished let sit for five minutes, drown in more sauce, and sprinkle some green plant on top.  Looks AND tastes so good.  


I've made it about four times now... with all different kinds of mustards, syrups and vinegars.  It has always tasted great (albeit slightly different) and has not yet made it to the refrigerator to become a leftover.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Quote | Post 8

Sparing Facebook And Putting The Lovey-Doo Quote I Liked A Lot On Here
pc: lydia jane

"With his arms round her, with the sudden new sweetness of his face against hers, 
she was filled with an exultant richness of living.” 
agatha christie

Carmelized Onion + Cucumber Salad | Post 7

An Accident That Made Me Feel Really Impressive And Talented
pc: taste of home

Butter or oil
Onion, sliced into thin rings

Cucumbers, peeled and cut how you like to eat them with a fork!

Rice/Cider/White Wine/Your Favorite Vinegar
Crushed garlic clove

pc: panini happy
ONE: Heat about two tablespoons of oil/butter in frying pan.  Add the onion rings and cook for a few minutes (until kind of crunchy and kind of soft.  That was kind of clear, huh?) Dump into a bowl (with the juices.)

TWO:  Put the cucumbers in the bowl!
THREE: Add oh, I don't know, 1/4 cup of vinegar? Just taste it and see! Sprinkle the seasonings! Dump in the garlic! Mix it up and chill in the fridge for at least an hour or two.


I can't wait to have this again!  It was a little sweet, a little salty, a little smooth, a little crunchy.  I over made onions for some pasta.  I intended on using raw onions for the cucumber salad like I normally do... but now I much prefer the onions a little cooked!

Caleb Says | 6

To The Point

Me:  "Oooo. Just so you know!  I forgot to make the bed today!"
He: You are a terrible wife.
ps.  I usually make the bed right as he's walking in the door from work.  He's not a "you're-a-housewife-so-get-in-the-kitchen-woman!" kind of guy.  But in an entire house, having the bed made is possibly his favorite.  So I like to do what is his favorite.