Monday, November 17, 2014

Pinterest Crafting

Crafting has been a part of my life for a pretty long time.  I remember visiting my mom and grandma at local craft shows where they were selling their homemade goods.  They also had a booth at a local craft goods store back in good ol' Tomball. My mom has attempted to teach me to sew on numerous occasions.  She also tried to teach me how to crochet and successfully passed the skills of latch hooking and cross stitching down to me.  Don't get me wrong.  If I need to sew a button back on or fix a hole that is on a seam I can fix that.  And I can sew a straight line on sewing machine.  I just won't be busting out any one of a kind apparel pieces any time soon.

A few years ago I joined the wonderful world of Pinterest.  Pinterest is a great place to collect recipes, random quotes, cute animal pictures, ideas for a future home, and crafts.  At first I mostly used Pinterest for recipes.  I have cooked a few things off of Pinterest that turned out pretty decently.  As I spent more and more time on the good ol' Pinterest I realized there were a TON of crafts and DIY projects that I could do.  I really enjoy being crafty, but for the past couple years I haven't had the money or the time to really invest into crafts.  Or the space.  Craft supplies take up a LOT of space.  I have finally overcome 2 of the three big obstacles to crafting.  I have more income now than I did 2-3 years ago.  And I have a bit more spare time.  Still no space though.  Just ask John where all of my craft supplies are.  I'm sure he is thrilled about the pile of "junk" in one corner of our living room. :)

For my first official Pinterest craft I attempted to recreate this.  

Here is what I came up with






Obviously what I came up with is a loose interpretation of her original sign.  This is by no means perfect, or even what I wanted it to be.  But I wanted to finish what I started so I went with it.  Here is what I would have done differently if I were to do it again (which I probably will).

First I won't wait until the first of October to buy my wood letters.  I couldn't find the letters to spell out "BOO" for the life of me.  I looked EVERYWHERE.  Finally, after wandering around Hobby Lobby for a while, I came across a Halloween sign saying "EEK".  I decided to go with it. 

Second, I won't use this particular style of letters again, at least if I am planning on mod podging. It was pretty difficult tracing and cutting my scrapbook paper to fit the wood letters well.  If you look at this sign up close the paper hangs over the edge in places and it doesn't exactly match up on the swirly parts of the wood.  Oh well! 

Third I would figure out a better way to attach the ribbon.  I had been putting off this part of the project for a while and finally just decided to glue it on.  Or maybe I would use a plain colored ribbon instead of a pattern so that it didn't matter as much.  Either way I would do something different with the ribbon.

My wonderful boyfriend, being the awesome guy he is, actually helped me out with this.  I was trying to figure out a way to connect the letters.  Since I didn't go with "BOO" as my word of choice I obviously couldn't hang my sign the same way as the original.  John came up with the idea of drilling little holes and gluing some metal wire into each hole to connect the letters.  I think it came out pretty well.  Those letters aren't going anywhere!.  My boyfriend is so smart! I'm glad he came up with that idea.  My idea was to use wood glue which probably would have ended up a lot messier and a lot less sturdy.

Overall I'm on the fence about the sign.  It didn't turn out the way I originally thought it would, but I don't hate it.  I will try this again in the future (actually I have already bought more letters  and paper). I just wanted to get this done since Halloween is over.  There are a TON of Christmas Crafts I want to try out so it's time to move on!  When I try this project again I will definitely post my (hopefully better) results.

Are there any crafts you think I should try?  What do you think of this lovely sign?  Got any tips on what I can do next time?  Let me know!

~Tara

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Christmas Shopping

It is officially snowing here in Provo, Utah.  I am not a huge fan of snow.  I would enjoy it a lot more if it could snow when it is 60 degrees outside.  Unfortunately snow only comes when the temperature drops well below my preferred temperature range.  On the bright side, the first snow of the season means Christmas is coming!  I am not one of those people that puts my Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving.  I like to wait until at least December 1st to start getting in the Christmas spirit.  This year is a bit different though.  While I'm not busting out the Christmas tree and nativity scene yet, I have started Christmas present shopping.

I am typically the kind of person that waits until a week or two before Christmas to get all of my presents.  As my family has spread out across the country I have gotten a bit better at buying gifts for those that are further away a little bit sooner than that.  Last year, since I spent Christmas in Connecticut with John's family, I think I bought all of my gifts by the middle of December.  I'm pretty sure that was a new record for me. 

This year my family is all getting together for Christmas at my mom's house in Pueblo, Colorado.  My grandparents, mom, step-dad, uncle, aunt, 3 brothers, 1 sister-in-law, 2 nieces, 1 nephew, 2 sisters, 1 sisters' boyfriend, John, and myself are all gathering to spend a few days together.  I am SO excited.  I haven't seen my older brother and his family in a couple of years.  The entire family hasn't gathered for Christmas in a LONG time.  As you can see, there is going to be 18 people at the house. . . oh and 4 dogs, 1 cat, and a bird. This means there are LOTS of presents to be purchased.  Even if I only bought 1 present for everyone that is going to be at the house, that's still 17 presents to buy.  And lets be honest.  I have to get John more than one present.  He is my boyfriend after all.  And little kids are just so much fun to shop for.  Sorry bro and sis-in-law. . . I'm excited to spend Christmas with your kiddos and see them open presents. Be prepared for more than 1 present each :). 

Also, I REALLY love wrapping presents.  I love wrapping paper and gift tags and labeling gifts with the giant pen my youngest brother decided to give me for Christmas a couple years ago.  Target had a sale on wrapping paper the other weekend.  I went and bought 6 or so rolls of wrapping paper, all different patterns.  I don't think I NEED 6 rolls of wrapping paper, especially since I had 2 rolls in my closet from Christmases past.  But you can't have a bunch of presents under the tree all wrapped in the same paper.  That's just boring.  Obviously, with 5 or 6 different family units all bringing presents with them to my mom's, odds are there are going to be a bunch of different wrapping paper selections under the tree. But when all of the presents are stacked up in our computer room waiting to be sent to my mom's, I need some variety.  I don't know why I love wrapping presents so much.  I just find it so fun.  In the past I would blast Christmas music or put on a Christmas movie, sit down, and wrap away.  Since I'm having to wrap a little bit earlier this year, I haven't put on the Christmas music yet.  But in a couple of weeks when I am inevitably wrapping more presents, you better believe I'm gonna put on some TSO or the NSYNC Christmas album and wrap away. 

Family, I apologize for the amount of presents you might be receiving from me, especially the little ones.  I just love giving gifts and wrapping presents so much!  I'm trying to contain myself, especially since so many of us are driving little cars with limited space.

Friends and Family in Utah, if anyone needs or wants help wrapping presents, give me a call.  I'm not going to say I'm the best present wrapper, but I am enthusiastic about it.  While others might find it a tedious task, I happily look forward to it. 

Happy Christmas shopping everyone!

~Tara


Monday, November 10, 2014

Tara v. John: Music

John and I agree on a lot of things.  We like basically the same types of food.  We agree on the temperature setting of the house.  We can typically sit down and find something that both of us want to watch on tv. We both like sports.  But there is one thing that John and I do not agree on.  Music.  There are bands that both of us enjoy.  These typically fall under the classic rock genre.  Let's be real though, who DOESN'T like this:

Or This:

 Or This:


   John and I can jam out to classic rock and be perfectly happy.  Many Saturday mornings or Sunday car rides have been spent doing this. But classic rock is just about the only thing we CAN agree on as far as music goes.

I grew up listening to country.  My first cassette tape was a Clay Walker album.  My first crush was Billy Ray Cyrus.  My family likes to tease me about jammin to this classic in the bathtub when I was barely old enough to talk.


When I got older I discovered boy bands.  I LOVE NYSNC.   It wasn't that long ago that some of my college friends and I went to a Backstreet Boys concert.  If NYSNC ever goes on a reunion tour you better believe I will be there.  Boys bands (and I don't mean One Direction.  I mean Boy Bands from the 90's and early 00's) will always hold a special place in my heart.  I don't know of a person my age who can't bust out the dance to this great song:

Granted, John does appreciate the NSYNC. He can jam right along with me to this album (or he would if he hadn't returned his leased car with this CD in the CD player.  Yes I am still upset that one of the greatest CD's I had is now off in CT somewhere.  Some lucky teenage girl is going to stumble across it and really discover something great).

The vast majority of the time I listen to country music.  I really enjoy it.  I love the concerts, I love the music, and I love that, for the most part, I don't have to worry about the lyrics being inappropriate while I am listening to the radio at work.  Plus, look at this video and try to tell me that Luke Bryan isn't one of the most attractive human beings you have ever seen.


As I have mentioned on this blog before, my favorite band is Parachute.  They are NOT country.  But still great (in my opinion).  I try and go to all of their shows here in Utah.  I just think they are fantastic and I love them.  Here are a couple of my favorite Parachute Songs



Now for John.  His favorite band is an Australian band Karnivool:
I don't mind them, or some of the other Australian bands John likes.  As a matter of fact, if I ever get a tattoo, there is a line from this song by Hands Like Houses that is at the top of my list for potential tattoo images:

Bonus points if you can guess what line I would get tattooed!

Then there is the music John likes that I am NOT a fan of.  He listens to the hardcore rock or whatever you call it.  I call it scary devil music because there is screaming that makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry.  Not ALL of it is horrible, but the vast majority of it I refuse to listen to.  Some of the bands John likes that fall into this category are We Came As Romans and August Burns Red.  I know there are more but since I try to avoid listening to it at all costs I don't remember the names of the bands.  We Came As Romans actually has some songs that I don't mind.  And they have a pretty sweet cover of Taylor Swift's I Knew You Were Trouble.  Check it out: 


I refuse to listen to the screaming scary music.  I will NOT go to a concert by any of these artists.  John refuses to go see country acts with me.  Neither one of us will even ask the other to attend such concerts.  We will find friends or siblings to attend, but we both know that asking the other to attend these types of concerts is pointless.  There are some concerts that, while we might not be thrilled about it, we will attend with the other person because we love them.  John will go see Parachute with me.  I will go see John's Australian bands with him. And for a while I would go see bands such as 4 Years Strong with John. Four Year Strong is a band that I actually don't mind at all if I'm listening to them on the good ol' youtube.  I know some of their songs and actually really enjoy listening to them in the car with John. 


 This is an acoustic version of one of their songs so it doesn't give you the full picture of who they are.  But still, they have potential to not be a band that I would consider scary devil music.

I have gone with John to see Four Year Strong twice now.  The first time I went I had just hurt my knee.  At that time we didn't know for sure what I had done to it.  All we knew was that it hurt for me to put a ton of weight on it.  John took this into consideration and tried to get me as close to the stage as possible.  Why as close to the stage as possible you might ask?  I asked the same thing.  Everything was honky dory great during the opening acts.  And then Four Year Strong came out.  The crowd surged to the front of the stage.  I was NOT in control of which way my body was moving.  I got kicked in the face by a crowd surfing idiot.  I looked over at John and said "You can stay here with all the  BO crazy people but I'm headed to the back of this venue as far away from the crazies as possible".  I will give John made props.  He did come and stand in the back with me until Four Year Strong was done with their set.  And then we left.  My knee was killing me but I toughed it out because John really likes them and I really love him.   
A few months later John informs me that Four Year Strong is coming back to Utah. And they are headlining.  I wasn't thrilled, but I figured he could be asking me to go to a worse show.  So I hesitantly agreed to attend the concert with him.
Well that concert was this past week.  The venue had been changed from a place we had been to before and really liked to a loading dock.  Like a legit loading dock.  It was literally a garage, half inside half outside.  You know what it's like attending a concert in a garage?  HORRIBLE!  The acoustics were awful.  There was NO space.  And it was kinda cold. John and I got there early enough to secure a spot right next to the stage.  In the grand scheme of things the best place to be if you want to be able to see a band like Four Year Strong and you are attending a concert in a garage and you don't want to me in the middle of the crazy people and the crazy mosh pits and the horrible body odor is right by the stage. The only problem with being right by the stage is that it often means being right by the speakers.  Shows like Four Year Strong tend to be very bass heavy.  Do you see where I'm going with this?  I left the show last week with what seemed like NO hearing.  And being right next to the stage didn't even mean I was immune from the mosh pits and BO.  In a venue that is literally a garage there is NO space. I still got the pleasure of not being in control of which way by body moved. I still got to be surrounded by the lovely aroma of BO. I still got the pleasure of crowd surfing idiots.  It was SO MUCH FUN. . . NOT!  
Luckily I have an awesome boyfriend that realized I was not enjoying myself.  After John had heard all the songs he really wanted to hear he guided me through the crowd of people and let me leave.  I felt bad because I know that John really likes Four Year Strong.  I just couldn't take it anymore.  I am not cut out for those kinds of shows.  I don't like not being able to hear.  I don't like not being in control of my body.  I don't like smelling BO.  On the drive home from Salt Lake John told me that he would not ask me to go to another concert like that again unless he absolutely could not find anyone else to go with him.  I am forever grateful for that. I don't think I could handle another experience like that.  I am not opposed to Four Year Strong as a band, but I am not a fan of what happens at their shows.
John and I both love concerts.  Seeing a band you love live is just so awesome.  I'm sure there will be many more concerts attended by John and I in the future.  John and I have learned about some great bands by going to shows such as Four Year Strong.  I hope to continue to expand my musical horizons by attending shows with John.  I just might stand in the back by myself from here on out :)


Friday, November 7, 2014

Roasted Garlic Clove Chicken

John and I LOVE garlic.  When I say love I mean we are obsessed.  Garlic is by far our all time favorite seasoning.  Whenever we cook anything (aside from dessert type things that is) we always add garlic.  It is just SO FREAKIN Tasty!  Any recipe that calls for an overload of garlic is sure to be a winner in our book.

 One night after watching some Ghost Hunters I decided to watch an episode of Ten Dollar Dinners I had recorded.  (After watching a show like Ghost Hunters I have to watch a less intense show before going to bed or else my imagination will run wild).  John came out in the living room and watched it with me (10 Dollar Dinners, not Ghost Hunters.  He thinks Ghost Hunters is stupid).  In this particular episode of Ten Dollar Dinners Melissa D'Arabian was featuring this Roasted Garlic Clove chicken.  John and I immediately decided that this was a recipe we HAD to try.  Melissa just made it sound so tasty.

In my attempts to be healthier (see previous post) I made a menu this weekend for this upcoming week.  Obviously the Roasted Garlic Clove Chicken recipe had to be one of the first meals we made!  I don't know how healthy this recipe is, but I'm going with it's healthier than heading out to McDonalds for french fries and a burger. 

Here is the recipe as it appears on the Food Network website (serves 4).  I obviously scaled it down a bit to fit my needs.  I've also included some cooking tips brought to you by yours truly.

Ingredients:
8 chicken thighs (I used bone-in.  She doesn't specify but in the recipe she mentions cooking skin side down)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head garlic, separated into whole cloves and skinned, about 20 cloves (John and I probably used 10 or so for just the 2 of us)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon flour
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 lemon, juiced (I didn't have a lemon so I just used lemon juice)
bread for serving

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Salt and pepper liberally and allow to temper on a cutting board while you prepare the garlic. 
In a large ovenproof saute pan over medium heat, cook the whole garlic cloves in olive oil and butter, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. (Might I recommend waiting until ALL of your garlic is skinned before adding any garlic into the pan.  You would think this would be obvious, but John and I just kinda started cooking and threw garlic in the pan as we got it skinned.  This resulted in some cloves being a bit on the crispy side).
Remove the garlic from the pan and set aside. Increase the heat to medium high and brown the chicken skin-side down until the skin is golden and crispy, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over, sprinkle on herbes de Provence. Add the garlic back to the pan and place hot pan in oven. Bake the chicken until cooked through, about 25 minutes. (It took our chicken, just 2 thighs, bone-in, about 20 minutes).
 Once the chicken is done, remove chicken thighs and garlic to a platter. Place the pan over medium-high heat and sprinkle the drippings with flour and stir to incorporate. Deglaze the pan with the stock and lemon juice. Pour the sauce over the chicken on the platter and serve with bread for sauce-mopping and garlic-spreading.


sorry for the less than pretty picture.  I was so excited to eat this I forgot to take a picture until halfway through the meal

John is not a big fan of sauces so he didn't use any of this sauce other than what was already on the chicken.  I thought the sauce was DELICIOUS!  I poured some over the top of my bread, the chicken, and the mashed potatoes we had.  Because John and I love garlic so much we were eating the cloves with the bread.  The cloves sort of spread into a delicious garlicky paste with a butter knife but I will admit to just sitting them on top of the bread and eating them that way. Seriously we love garlic!
As you can tell from the picture, I was so excited to get this deliciousness into my belly!  I forgot to take a picture until half way through my meal.  This chicken (which we served with spinach and mashed potatoes) is definitely a recipe for us to hold on to and make time and time again!

Stay tuned for more tasty recipes.  But have no fear, I will not be strictly posting about food from now on.  I have a Halloween party to document, my first (almost) completed Pinterest craft, and a bunch of other things coming up to blog about. 

Until next time!

~Tara


Black Bean and Couscous Salad

Sometimes when I get bored at work and have forgotten to bring a book with me I get on the good ol' internet and search for recipes.  I definitely don't NEED any more recipes in my arsenal considering the fact that I have had a subscription to Cooking Light since 2011, but it's not like I keep my magazines at work to flip through.  Last week I was searching allrecipes.com list of "healthy recipes".  I stumbled across this recipe and realized that: A. I had actually had all of the ingredients on hand to make it and B. It sounded both delicious and relatively easy to prepare for my lunches.  Here is the recipe, with some tweaks and tips.

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked couscous (I only used like 3/8 of a cup because that was all the couscous I had at the house and since I was just making it for myself I figured that would be enough)
1 1/4 cup chicken broth (according to Cooking Light the proper ratio of liquid:couscous is 1 1/4 cup to 1 cup.  Scale this down accordingly.)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
8 green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup frozen corn, thawed (I just used a can of corn, drained)
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained (I just used one)
salt and pepper to taste

I also added some halved cherry tomatoes because I thought it would be tasty, which it was.  I think I used 8 or 9 tomatoes total. I wasn't really counting thought

Directions:

Bring chicken broth to a boil. Stir in couscous. Cover pot with lid and remove from heat.  Let stand 5 minutes.
In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, and cumin. Add green onions, red bell pepper, cilantro, corn, beans, and tomatoes (if using of course).  Toss to coat.
Fluff the couscous and break apart any chunks. Add to the bowl with the vegetables and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


I LOVE the taste of both vinegar and cumin.  I used a bit more of both and added some to my tupperware of salad when I packed it for work. I was able to make this from start to finish in about 20 minutes or so.  That includes cutting all of my veggies.   This recipe is really tasty.  I packed some tortilla chips with my lunch and used this almost as a salsa of sorts.  But trust me this recipe stands well on its own.  It refrigerates really well and is delicious cold.  If any of you ever decide to make this and add anything else PLEASE let me know.  There were a bunch of suggestions on allrecipes.com if you want to explore those.

Yay for eating healthy and trying DELICIOUS new recipes!

~Tara


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Attempts at Being Healthy. . .

Over the past few months I've started gaining some very unwanted weight.  Before anyone jumps to conclusions, NO I am NOT pregnant.  There are a couple of possibilities as to why I'm packing on the pounds.  Either my family's history of thyroid problems has decided to manifest in me or I've become a lazy bum that eats a lot of junk food. Or both.  I think it's a little of both personally.

Back in April I went to my doctor for a routine "hey I need to refill this prescription" check up and the PA decided to do some blood work while I was there.  Ashley (my awesome little sister) had recently discovered that she had some thyroid problems so getting this blood work done wasn't completely a waste of time and money.  They called me with the results which were "you are borderline for hypothyroidism.  Come back in 6 months to get it checked again".  Well 6 months  is up and I have started showing a LOT of the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.  I've gained weight (like 15 pounds. . .NOT FUN), I'm tired ALL OF THE TIME, I'm a grouchy grouchy grumpy gills, I'm depressed for no apparent reason, and I am always cold.  I would say my dry skin is attributed to this as well, but I live in Utah after living in Houston for years. My skin has ALWAYS been dry since moving to this desert.  So yeah, making an appointment to get my thyroid check should probably be high on my priority list.

While there is a good chance I can blame my weight gain on my thyroid, I think my eating habits might have SOMETHING to do with it.  As it turns out, junk food is good.  And fast food is a lot easier than making dinner after working for 10+ hours a day.  There have been more than a few nights over the past few months  that John and I just don't feel like cooking. So off to McDonalds or Chick-fil-a we go. It doesn't help that we live so close to pretty much any and all fast food restaurants Provo has to offer.  Sometimes a girl just wants some french fries and a fountain Dr. Pepper!  Needless to say, while a lot of fast food restaurants offer some healthier options these days, if you are already at McDonalds, why choose a salad when the hamburger or hot and spicy chicken sandwich is on the dollar menu?  It's a horrible decision, but SO tasty!!!! 

I finally have reached the point where I'm having to buy new clothes to accomodate my weight gain.  As someone that lived comfortably in her size 4-6 pants for years and years, going up to a size 8 or 10 has NOT been fun.  And nothing makes me feel worse than going to H&M and having to buy pants in the PLUS SIZE section because their sizing is stupid and apparently all 145 pounds of me is considered a size 14.  Way to boost my ego H&M. . . way to go. . .   A lot of people might say "seriously Tara you only weight 145 pounds and you are all upset.  That's below the national average.  You have nothing to complain about".  I know that is all true.  But I don't have the money to afford a whole new wardrobe.  I do have the money to NOT go out to eat all of the time and to make much better food choices.  I also have a gym membership that is all paid for and good for the next year and a half or so that I am NOT getting enough use out of.  And I have an awesome friend that is as dedicated as I am to potentially running a half marathon a year from now.  The key word there is POTENTIALLY.  We'll see how it goes.  So while I know I am not "overweight" I could be making much better decisions.  And I want to feel better about myself.  I have what my sisters and I call the Biggerstaff Belly.  Us Biggerstaff's tend to carry all of weight in our midsection.  So when I gain weight, it's simply in my tummy area.  It makes me super self conscious.  I like looking cute and wearing cute bathing suits and all that good stuff. But this summer I was not feeling good about myself while out on the boat in Connecticut.  So I have a good 7-8 months or so to get my butt in gear and feel better about myself.

First up: a Thanksgiving 5K with one of my best friends Ky.  The 2 of us ran the Rex Lee Run back in March, so we know it's possible.  We are just hoping to not INCREASE our time from that first race!  With very little training we ran the Rex Lee Run in about 40-ish minutes.  It would be great if we could shave 10 minutes or so off that time.  Ky and I have realized that just vowing to go the gym doesn't work.  We have to have a goal to work towards, so this 5K is perfect.  We'll see how that goes. I will definitely keep you posted.

I also am making a goal, right here for anyone that might read this to see, to eat healthier!  I actually really like cooking and trying out new recipes. I have discovered a lot of new foods that I really like that are healthy. Avocado?  Delicious!  Quinoa?  Love it!  Couscous? Fantastic!  I hope to share some of the recipes I find and try out.  And if anyone has any suggestions for recipes I should try please share!

Hopefully I can start some good, healthy habits that will get me back on track.  Being healthy can be fun, right?

Here's to working out and eating right!

~Tara

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What a Summer. . .

Hello everyone!

It has been a crazy summer for John, Griz, myself, and our newest addition Jimba!  This crazy summer is why I haven't posted literally all summer long.

In May John and I moved into our own rental house in Provo.  It's nice having the house to ourselves.  We can cook when we want. Cleaning seems to be easier when its just 2 people making messes. And overall just having the 2 of us, plus the pups, is so much fun!

At the end of May John and I drove to Houston for my best friend's wedding.  The drive was LONG!  We drove from Utah to Houston all in one go.  I drove through the night because John and I just didn't feel like stopping.  It was a long drive, but totally worth it. Houston welcomed us in fine fashion with a downpour :)  The wedding itself was SO MUCH FUN!  I hadn't seen any of my high school friends for about 4 years, so it was nice catching up with some of them.  And seeing Missy get married was so sweet. I am so glad we made the trip down to Houston for this very special occasion!  I am hoping to get back to Houston for a longer trip soon.  Pics will be coming soon!

June was a fairly quite month.  It mostly consisted of settling into the house. The big news of June was us adopting Jimba from the Humane Society.  We had been wanting another dog, but thought we should wait until after our Connecticut trip to get one.  I couldn't resist checking out the pups on the Humane Society website. When we found Jimba we instantly fell in love. We got in the car, drove the humane society and adopted him within a couple of hours. When we met him at the Humane Society his name was Chatanooga.  John and I both thought that name was stupid.  We had decided before we ever met Jimba that the next dog we got would be named Jimba, after our 2 basketball players- Jimmer Fredette and Kemba Walker (Jimmer from my team BYU and Kemba from John's team UCONN).  Little did we know that Jimba actually has some mad skills.  He can climb and jump over baby gates like a champ.  He is our little escape artist.   Jimba is such a cuddle bug.  He loves laying on my lap and taking naps.  He and Griz get along great.  Griz has a bit more energy than Jimba does, but for the most part they are best friends.

In July John and I visited his family in Connecticut. We went camping in upstate New York, which was so much fun!  We camped on an island in Lake George.  It was SO BEAUTIFUL.  I absolutely LOVE boating and camping so this was the perfect vacation.  Aside from the rain storm and caffeine headaches the trip was a blast.  After we finished our long weekend of camping, John and I spent a day in Rhode Island.  We did some sight seeing and then met up with John's sister to go to a Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives featured restaurant. It was pretty tasty.  We finished our trip to Connecticut by visiting a restaurant called The Place with a few of John's Aunts and Uncles.  I absolutely adore all of John's family.  Spending time with them makes me so happy. I can't wait to officially join the Fede family so that I can claim these wonderful people as my family too.  The Place is a way cool restaurant that is only open in the summer. It's an outdoor restaurant that features grilled corn on the cob and roasted clams, just to name a few items.  The Place has few menu items, but patrons are invited to bring their own sides and appetizers, as well as beverages.  It is such a fun atmosphere and SO DELICIOUS!  I am just beginning to enjoy seafood such as clams and OH MY GOODNESS these were so good.  Seriously I was spoiled to try my first clams in Connecticut.  Utah seafood just doesn't compare to freshly caught New England seafood. I always enjoy my time in Connecticut.  John's family is so much fun and I always get to experience new things. I can't wait until we get back there!

August was again a pretty uneventful month.  We threw a birthday party for John, which was fun.  Our house is a little cramped when we get 15-20 people in it, but it's so much fun to have friends over for a good time.

I know it doesn't sound like we were that busy, but with me working a full time job and a part time job, I really am busy!  I get home around 730, which leaves me just enough time to cook dinner and eat before going to bed.  I am trying to prioritize my time a bit better and make time for the things I enjoy.  I do have lots of blog posts in mind so stay tuned!  Also I will be posting some pics from our Summer so that you can see what we have been up to instead of just reading about it.  Pictures make everything better right?

Stay tuned for pics and updates soon!

~Tara