Saturday, July 31, 2010

Free TCBY Frozen Yogurt in Sugarhouse

All Sugarhousers, some sweet friend from our local TCBY has given me a BOGO coupon and asked me to share it with friends!

So here you go:

Sorry to all of my dear out of town friends that were salivating over my TCBY Frozen yogurt blog post earlier this week - no soup for you. This coupon is only for the grand re-opening of our new and hip TCBY joint out here across from the dollar theatre. 

Thanks, dear generous TCBY friend. You will def. see me and the Mr. again before this summer ends! 

Friday, July 30, 2010

More of Paperless in 2010

Replacing the Zip-Lock

(i made those peanut butter cookies last night. very yummy. recipe here)

Since we are determined to waste less, I've been wrapping our sandwiches in cloth napkins for our road trips, backpacking and climbing adventures. I liked it. I like having a napkin with me to catch the crumbs and wipe my hands and face after food - you know, i'm kinda sloppy. But my Mountain Man (who has been SOOOOo sweet to humor usual) hasn't been a big fan, because it does make the bread dryer/staler here in the dry mtn. climate. 

This week, I was at "the DI" (Deseret Industries Thrift Store - owned by the Mormon Church) and I found an old outdoor table cloth. I bought it for $1.00 and the wheels were turning in my head. You will see me buying fabric at the fabric store rarely. I really think that as often as I can, my materials should be as re-purposed as possible. So.... the table cloth is my water-proof layer, and the outside is fabric from a pair of old J.Crew khakis that have ripped so badly up the butt-seam that they are not repairable. 

I came home and immediately fashioned my own sandwich bag. Now, this is not at all my original idea. I have seen tons of these on etsy. I ran through a few drafts to find the best technique for me.
Mine is the only one I have seen with a folded velcro closure, which I thought would make food stay more fresh than the others I've seen. Although, a zipper may be best, but I'm just not ready to put that kind of money and time into these little friends.

This one is a bit sloppy because I was in a hurry to get it done so Landon could pack it for his climbing trip that evening. Being completely honest, I haven't measured a thing yet when it comes to sewing. But my seams, though a little haphazard, are usually a bit tidier than this one!

The inside can be brought out for easy cleaning. The re-purposed table cloth brings back memories of tye-dying on the pic-nic table during my early 90's childhood, and Fourth of July celebrations with my grandmother and lots of watermelon and homemade ice cream!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tree House

I'm not much into design, decor, and things like that. Not only do I lack skill, but I seriously lack resources and it's not really a huge priority for me, truthfully, to make over my house. Maybe some day it will be. Maybe if I ever have a child I will have that nesting urge that so many of you women do. Maybe if I become a  "home-maker" this will be a higher priority for me. Maybe if we some day buy our own home and plant some roots I will paint some walls and get some design inspiration. Maybe some day we will pay for television and HGTV will give me a nudge - probably not.

So I'm not sure if this is weird or wonderful. To me, it is wonderful...
I wonder the process... Do you have to make sure the bark is all off first? If there is still bark on there, won't it fall off as the tree gets deader and deader? Is it painted black, or did the branches actually grow and die that color? I don't know, but this place looks wonderful. I love the tree branch canopy. Love love love it.

I LOVE the idea of bringing trees INSIDE of the house. Of course, no trees should be killed for the sake of  home decorating. So only dead trees. But I love some of the ideas I have seen:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A new "taste" on Frozen Yogurt

In the last two weeks we have been to two self-serve, soft-serve yogurt joints. We had a coupon for each in the mail and I made sure to snatch them - buy one get one free ICE CREAM! What more could a girl want? And Landon was surprisingly into it. Usually these type of coupons make him call me a "sucker" for falling victim of the marketing ploy and going to spend money somewhere that we never would have gone without the coupon. But I didn't hear a word from him - I think my hunny might have a weakness for ice cream (I would go as far as to say that Landon is to ice cream as Hannah is to coffee).

Anyways. I was blown away by the first place we went. A new local self-serve yogurt place called YoWay. When we walked in, the place was filled with ultra modern decor and bright colors. I was confused at first until I saw other patrons helping themselves to a cone/bowl and perusing the wall. Oh!!! There's ice cream on the wall!!!  (how would I have known?) signs would be helpful.

Last week we went to the grand re-opening of a TCBY down the street that has now morphed into one of these self-serve technicolor yogurt places. 

The flavors were wonderful and creative and you can have as much as you want!

Then there are a gazillion toppings to choose from. From fresh fruit, to cereals, candy bars, to nuts and all kinds of sauces. Wow. My guess is that children would need serious supervision.

And then, the moment of truth:

See, they charge you by weight. TCBY was .39/oz.

With our buy-one-get-one coupons at both places, our grand total was a little shy of $5. And Landon didn't even pile his bowl high and get crazy. We decided that $5 was about what we would think reasonable to spend for both of us at an ice cream joint. $10 seems a bit out of hand! We wouldn't go back without a coupon, that's for sure. 

Our experience at these self-serve modern yogurt joints was pretty fun. You should check one out if you have one near you!

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The dungeon

We have an amazing little room in our house. It's laughable, really.

Our house was built in 1917 when these Utah homes were heated by coal through the winter. So we actually have a storage place for coal on the side of our house, and a little opening into our "shelf basement" that is built into the brick of the house where whoever lived here 90 years ago would shovel the coal into the bottom of the house in order to keep all 4 rooms of this little Bungalow heated.

Every house on our block has a shelf basement. It's a scary place, really. The ceiling is so low that Landon can't stand up straight in the room at all. Being 6 inches shorter than Landon, I can stand up between the boards - but this weekend while I was making the bed, I banged my head pretty hard more than once. Ours is surprisingly free of spiders. And someone not too long ago "finished" the basement with drywall and carpet, which is much better than our neighbors' houses, I am told, that have dark basements with broken concrete floors.

Being as our place is so very little, we decided to use our (VERY SMALL) second room as Landon's study instead of a guest bedroom. So the double bed had only one place to go except storage, the basement. dum dum DUM!

Follow Me:
it's okay if you laugh.
or cry.
but please still come to visit!
trying to get a privacy curtain here

uneven steps

I had to get a little creative to make this room function in the way that we needed it to.

I hung a curtain from the pipe in the ceiling to cover the back of the room. 
Creepy, huh?

This room is also a spare closet,  laundry room, and storage.
that's our dirty laundry

view of the "ceiling" from the bed - I think that is the bottom of the kitchen

Hope this doesn't scare you away! 
If you want to come visit during ski season, you can have a free "room", great company and my delicious cooking, but we'll make you earn your keep by shoveling coal.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Veggie Meat

In our effort to be responsible consumers and eat only ethically raised meats, we end up eating a lot of vegetarian around here. Which isn't bad. We still get plenty of protein. But one thing that I have desperately been missing is breakfast sausage. We can find free-range chicken and grass-fed beef and cage-free eggs, organic butter, cheese, milk, yogurt, etc...but when it comes to breakfast sausage, I think it has been years since we've enjoyed it here at the McBrayer household.

So we decided to just give this little guy a try. Landon and I do not really do meat substitutes in our meals at all. If we are eating vegetarian, then we made sure to have some protein-rich beans or quinoa or something. We don't toss in meatless chicken and tofu - it just feels weird (nothing against that stuff, though).  So this was a rare whim for us.

One morning we decided that a hot breakfast would hit the spot. So I threw together a family favorite of ours (from when we lived a little more carnivorous), "Jasper County Hash". When I squeezed the "sausage" out of the tube, I was a little surprised, though I"m not sure why. It just looked like refried beans, actually. I had a hard time breaking it apart - the beans were extremely sticky. I threw in about a tsp of butter and turned the heat up a bit and was finally able to break it apart and get it cookin. It's weird that this stuff doesn't really need to cook at all - it's just beans, after all. Then I cracked and scrambled the eggs with it and it looked like it was supposed to. 

The Hash tasted pretty good. Now, I couldn't tell if I was just enjoying it because it sort of smelled like breakfast sausage and I wouldn't know the difference anyway because it's been so long since I've enjoyed some. Or maybe it's actually pretty decent. Landon said that it "tasted weird". It's something that i think we will be willing to try again some time! 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Don't be afraid; just believe

Yesterday morning during my Bible reading in Mark,  I came across this verse that I never took much note of before.

Many of us may recall the woman who touched the cloak of Jesus and was healed from her lifetime of bleeding because of her faith. Well, do you remember that she touched Jesus among a huge crowd of people who were following Jesus as he accompanied the "synagogue ruler", Jairus, to his house to heal his dying daughter? Along the way, the woman touched Jesus and her faith healed her. Jesus spoke to the woman and then continued on to help his man's daughter. Men rushed to Jairus and said, "Your daughter is dead, why bother the teacher any more?"

Jesus ignored these men and turned to Jairus and said, "Don't be afraid; just believe." (Mark 5:36)

He then goes to this man's home and raises his twelve year old daughter from the dead.

Yesterday I received an email informing me that I didn't get the job at the Ouelessebougou Alliance. I was in major dismay, as I am now working only part time at ACSI, which is very little pay (i NEED a job NOW!) and I thought that this job with the Alliance was perfect for me. I was already very emotionally invested into the organization and very excited about possibly working for them. I guess my mind-frame was that the job was already mine. Which was foolish, I see. This position would have utilized all my skills and experience and fits my passions and my heart so perfectly; I still can not imagine something better. I was so frightful - if this position is not for me, then what is?

And after I received the email from the Alliance, and after I sifted through these thoughts, the thing that came to my mind was what Jesus had said to Jairus when the men told him that his daughter was dead, "don't be afraid; just believe."

Although my faith and my trust are not always steadfast, my God is.
I will not be afraid.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Climbing in "Secret"

(we climbed the cliffs behind me, opposite the lake)
Cecret Lake is a beautiful mountain lake nestled between quartzite cliffs at the top of Alta Ski Resort. Only a mile hike from the highest parking lot, it is a crowded destination over the weekend, especially with the very hot temperatures we've been suffering in the Salt Lake valley.

It was a beautiful hike full of wild flowers, streams, and my favorite smell in the world: pines in the sun!

Most people were just taking a Sunday hike up to the lake. I had to laugh at all these people with their trecking poles and hiking boots - this mile hike was very undemanding on a well worn trail. 
(view of Cecret Lake from the cliffs)

The lake was beautiful. I can only imagine the freezing temperatures as this lake is made entirely of snow melt. It is, after all, located in the middle of a ski resort. 

We saw many meandering streams leading down into the lake (and coming from the lake)

We even saw snow that was dirty and compact from the ski season (some with fresh ski tracks, even!)

We climbed on a few walls. One was above the lake, with beautiful views. Our stay there was short because the only other party on the wall was a family of 6 (adults) and they were ridiculously obnoxious. 

We went to a second wall that was just below the lake with a bustling stream, snow, and a lot of other climbers.

I wish I had pictures of Landon climbing instead of me belaying while he is climbing. I tried to take a picture once (with landon's cell phone - we forgot our camera again), and almost pulled landon off the rock for lack of climbing slack. So, no pictures of climbing, sadly.

Here's a picture of my mountain man reflecting on yet another wonderful day on the mountain. Actually, I think the words coming out of his mouth at this time were something about how he would "huck that cliff" come ski season.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Littlest Birds Sing the Prettiest Songs

One of the challenges of moving into a new house is making things from the previous house work in the new house - with weird shaped rooms, painted walls, less sq.ft., etc...

Our bathroom is the smallest room in the house, so I tackled it first. It's been a little bit of a challenge because it has an old-fashioned iron tub with a circular curtain. It actually took me 3 plastic curtains to enclose the tub and I was bound and determined to use my previous cloth curtain, even though Landon was pretty sure we didn't even need it (wah!?). I love this curtain. Mom found it for me at a garage sale in 2002 and it's just perfect for my taste.

At that same garage sale, we got some towels that are now very old (considered they were purchased used eight years ago). And then we have the wonderful towels that we registered for in 2004. So we decided to replace the old old ones with some tan towels. Boring, I know, but I thought that we would just have a very neutral palate in the throne room - the king could care less anyway.

But I felt like with the blueish-gray walls and my tan motif, something was needed to tie everything together.

So last night while Landon was out climbing with a guy he met Saturday night at church (hooray),  I sat down and tried to tie it all together with birds. 

Birds. Silly, I know.

So I painted a little birdy picture for the bathroom that uses the tan color of my linens and the white, which is the accent color in the bathroom.

And then I made three papier mache birdies (maybe more later). I put the finishing touches on them this morning and Landon has yet to wake and see them, so I'm not sure if they are staying (and I can't figure out how to secure them anywhere!). But he loves the painting, which made me feel awesome.

It's definitely not Pottery Barn or HGTV, but I like it. It makes me feel good to make my living spaces more personalized and make this new little bungalow more of a home for us. And I did this all for a final price of $0. Nada! I had the canvas and paints already, and the papier mache was super cheap because I just made the bodies out of a hollowed-out egg and tinfoil, cardboard from a 6-pack of beer, and a newspaper that appeared on my front porch a few days ago. Easy.

The king wasn't so fond of paper birdies around the throne. 
Bye Bye Birdies.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back to the Book

I've been searching online for online Bible reading guides or devotionals. I sifted through a few devotionals and decided to reject them - I really don't want to be reading other peoples' thoughts about the Bible right now, I simply want to read God's Word - alone and nonscrutanized. I've been doing a bad job at this lately. I'm good with a schedule. If I can put together each day within a schedule, I will actually go running 3 miles and read my Bible....but I've been without this discipline this summer.

The last few days I have really been convicted of this. Landon and I rented  "The Book of Eli". It's the kind of movie that I don't usually like with the dreary colors and the end-of-the-world feeling of doom. I'm afraid to write too much about it in case you are inspired to rent it. But the book of Eli is actually the Holy Bible. And the words within give great power to those who have treasured them in their hearts. And I know that this is actually true, not just some plot for a killer Denzel flick.

And last night at The Rock we were reading Matthew 4 about when Christ was led into the desert and tempted by Satan. And the teacher pointed out that Christ defends himself with scripture. He defeats Satan and overcomes temptation by using the Torah scriptures that he studied in his Jewish upbringing - the Words of God which are in the Bible.

After all, in Ephesians 6, in order to stand up against the Devil's schemes, Paul introduces the believer to the Armor of God and in all of our holy armor, the only method of offensive attack that he gives us is "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God"(17).

I do desire to be a hearer, learner and do-er of God's Words which are in the Bible. It is harder these days because there are so many excuses and ways to keep busy. Yet, I know that there is no greater way to draw nearer to God than through meditating on his Word and prayer. I am grateful that God has given me everything that I need to know him more.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Things I'm Loving Lately

It's been 4 months since my last "T.I.L.L." post and I was hoping to do one per month, so it's about stinkin' time, don't you think!? Thanks for the suggestion, Anna. I love writing these posts.

And I love reading all of your "things i'm loving lately" too, so c'mon ladies, let's see your lists too!!!

Living in Sugar House
(photo by Rurik)
This week we went to a late showing of "Robin Hood" at the dollar theatre and it was absolutely packed - on a Monday night! Last night we walked to our local ice cream shop and then rented a red box on the way home. I love that we have fun local places within walking distance. Tonight is the Farmer's Market and I am so grateful for such an exciting community for us to live in!

Our Car: Jetta Sportwagen TDI 
It's awesome.

Watching FIFA World Cup Soccer 2010

c'mon, it's a funny picture

Trying them out for the first time since my childhood. I cut them (paid to have them cut) about 2 months ago but they are finally long enough to swoop them to the side a little bit. Not sure if I can't handle them long-term. But on days where I actually style them, they're fun.

I am so enjoying my life with my husband. He's been cooking every day this week, unpacking boxes, and loving me in the sweetest ways (he even went to see Eclipse with me - can you believe it!?). I'm trying to savor my time with him this summer - once the school year begins he is a machine and is quite consumed with all things philosophy - as he should be. I do savor these carefree days with him because I know that fall semester will arrive soon and with it, another 9 months of 15 hour days of hard work late into the night, also trying to balance his love for the outdoors and a wife that wants to see his face. He's pretty wonderful - my Mr. McBrayer.

Iced Coffee
My favorite summer beverage (surprised!?). However, I've tried it ONCE at McD's (three years ago) and do NOT like it there. blech. 

Landon and I made a very quick trip to Colorado for the 4th of July. We surprised my parents at their cabin and helped them work on their deck project for the weekend. I wanted to make a trip home before my job interview this week in case I got the job - I figured I wouldn't get the chance to go home for a long time. It's always wonderful to see family.

(and just a disclaimer. in the instances of people and coffee I am always loving them, not just lately)