Happy Birthday, Husband/Jare/Jerry/Smelly/Jared/Red/HandsomeMan!
(I thought y'all would appreciate a little down-low on my nicknaming habits)
He is now the big 2-6.
I am not.
(The amount of time it will take me to become the big 2-6 is the same amount of time that has passed since I got my braces off and learned to differentiate between the gas pedal and the brakes.)

Instead of listing off 26 fun facts about my man, please enjoy reading a few useful tricks I have learned from Jared since getting married. He's very hygienic. Maybe you'll learn a thing or two, too.

₪ How to get pretty teeth. Rinse with Crest 3D White every time you brush. It doesn't leave the nasty mouthwash aftertaste, but it does leave those pearly whites pearly white.

₪ How to vanquish pimples. Pierce the white part (needles work) and squeeze till you hit the volcanic root. Highly satisfying, in a kind of disgusting way. (I haven't experienced any scarring from this, but I hear it's happens to some people, so be careful.)

₪ How to exfoliate face. Keep a plastic container of baking soda in the shower. Rub  a quarter-sized amount all over your face. Rinse. My face feels like cashmere now.

₪ How to cover blemishes with concealer . . . Let's just say he grew up with sisters. I did not.

And with that, here are a few things my husband has learned from me since getting married:

₪ How to go as long as possible without having to shower. Dry shampoo, Stridex face pads, body spray, scented deodorant. (I've experienced many a time-devouring Finals week in my college days.)

₪ How to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Bread, cheese, bread. Grill. Skillet. Broil. Whatever. How could he not know this already??

₪ How to belch on demand . . . I grew up with all brothers. (Don't worry, it only happens when all the boys get together and have plenty of sugar in their sweet little systems.)

I'm so grateful for Jared and all he does for our tiny family.
Happy birthday, coolest friend ever!

Husband Is Old

What started out as an oops-I-was-sick-all-weekend-and-now-I-have-two-essays-to-write-within-five-hours morning became an oh-my-lanta-what-a-delicious-Monday morning when I walked into class and the kind girl sitting next to me offered me a homemade snickerdoodle cookie.

The morning became even brighter when my teacher pulled up a page full of puns. Remember Punday Monday? If not, you can probably find some old ones by searching them in the top right search bar. It's been a long time. Too long.


Also, my husband thinks I'm the most scholarly babe in the universe.

And the cashier in the grocery store thinks my burn scar is cool . . . er, hot.

Punday Monday

There's something you should know about me:

I don't love baking.

Worst Blogger ever? Nah, I'm a'ight. It's not that I hate baking--I just prefer cooking. You know, meat-and-mashed-potatoes cooking, with some veggies roasting in the oven (alright, baking in the oven).

That's why the only dessert post you've ever seen on here was my Oreo Truffles post. No baking required. Just mixing and freezing.

My anti-love (but not hate) for baking was seared into my being at a temperature of 400 degrees when I brushed my arm against the inside of the door to my lave-hot oven while it was baking some chocolate lava cakes to heart-burning perfection. That was about six days ago. This is what remains.
I'm not sure it's ever going to leave, but that's ok. For a baking injury, I have to admit it's pretty rad.

The Girl Who Lived

I've been keeping something to myself.

For a little while now.

And Jared says it's time for me to stop being selfish and just share my secret with you.

A while ago I was studying. In the library. As I do.

I had my Hot Tamales on the left side of my desk, and my Sour Patch Kids on the right side of my desk.

As I do.

These are the safest candies to have on hand, because they start to damage your mouth after just a handful or two. This ensures that you will not overindulge without even realizing it, as is wont to happen during particularly focused study sessions.

So anyway, I'd had about five Hot Tamales before my mouth started burning. At this point, I switched over to the Sour Patch kids. I was about seven in before the crystals of sourness began to make my tongue bleed. Not ideal.

I probably should have stopped at this point, but the deeper I got into my homework, the more clearly I could hear the sour little squeaks from the kids on the right ("eat us!!") and the spicy threats from the devils on the left ("if you don't eat us, we will steal ALL your bobby-pins . . . again"). I knew the candies only wanted to cause pain, but as if in on the scheme, my stomach let loose a low and angry grumble.

"Oh fine!!" I whisper-yelled as I threw up my hands.

Grabbing one red-hot devil and one sour green kid, I popped both into my mouth simultaneously, expecting my taste-buds to dissolve.

. . . and . . .


Not a thing!

The sourness had softened the spicy, and the spicy stole from the sour. My taste-buds underwent no dissolvance! They had tamed each other!

The moral of the story is that when you are entertaining two candies that are unbearable to the tongue in considerable quantities, try marrying them to each other and they may mellow up.

My Secret

If I decorate for Thanksgiving while listening to Michael Buble's "Cold December Night," does that make me an oxyMORON ?

If so, don't tell me. I'm happy this way.
Well, minus the husbandless thing.

My husband has been interviewing on the other side of the country for 7 days and I am going insane.

My friend Dottie posted this amazing recipe a few weeks back from this blog. It was incredible and easy, which for some reason doesn't seem to be a common theme around here. I thought I'd pass along the joy:

Korean Beef

1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 - 1/2 cup brown sugar (I like it sweet so I usually do closer to 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup soy sauce (I use low-sodium)
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced 
1/2 - 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers (to desired spiciness)
salt and pepper
1 bunch green onions, diced (don't skip this!)

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown hamburger with garlic in the sesame oil. Drain most of the fat and add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper and red peppers. Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Serve over steamed rice and top with green onions. 

If you are like me and use ground ginger instead of fresh ginger, I advise you to learn from my mistake. Do NOT add a half teaspoon of ground ginger. Use a sprinkle. If you really enjoy spicy foods, maybe do two or three sprinkles, but I think the correct ground to fresh ginger ratio is something like 1 to 6. But even with adding a little too much ginger, it was still amazing. Also, I don't have fancy oils, so I used olive oil instead of sesame. No biggy.

Now for dessert.

Oreo Truffles (as learned from my once-roommate Sarah Kay)

1 package Oreos (any kind)
1 package cream cheese, softened
dipping chocolate (I used almond bark)

*Each Oreo used will produce about one truffle. If you'd like to use half the package of Oreos, only use half of the cream cheese.

Step 1: Crush Oreos in a bag or pulse them to smithereens in a blender.
Step 2: Add softened cream cheese to Oreo crumbs. Mix with mixer or with hands. I personally like the lasagna method--sanitize hands and dig in.
Step 3: Form into small balls (smaller than a cookie dough ball, I'd say) on parchment. Freeze for at least twenty minutes.
Step 4: Melt dipping chocolate slowly and stir often, so it does not burn.
Step 5: Dip Oreo balls in melting chocolate. I haven't tried this, but they might come out nicer if you use a toothpick to dip.
Step 6: Put dipped balls back in the freezer for at least a few minutes. Keep frozen until you decide to devour them. Enjoy!

Dinner & Dessert

This morning, my head popped off the pillow (really, it does this--I'm that morning person you all hate)
and thought, "Gee whiz, my husband comes home today! I'm going to make the place pretty and wear something besides sweats and a ponytail to pick him up in."
(Even though ponytails are his favorite. He tells me 5 times a day.)

"Pretty hair, pretty hair," I thought to myself. "How can I get pretty hair?"
And then it occurred to me. My crimper I loved in junior high school! I hadn't used it in ages.

How obvious! How inspired! How positively brilliant!
How do you like me now, husband?

Hello, 90s.

Husband's out of town again (more interviews/ditching Laura for warmer places),
so I'm spending a lot of time in library cave-desks.
My study sessions are super spicey.
Feet on the table or bust.

Hot Study Sesh

Halloween began with some quality library time and locker candy for lunch.

This is the point at which I thought, "Hey. I have cute Halloween decorations. How have I not even planned for Halloween candy? CANDY??!? WHY NONE????" Locker candy is not greater than OR equal to Halloween candy.

I promptly left the library to go buy Oreos, cream cheese, almond bark, and food coloring. You know where this is going. Oreo truffles indeed. Jared is addicted to Oreos but had never tried the tasty little monsters, so I whipped some up. I'l give you the recipe later or something because ladies, these bring the boys to the yard. My freshman friends who taught me the knowledge know.
Upon arriving home, Jared bi-passed the truffles and brewing wassail and made a beeline to the bed for a two-hour nap. This was great, except that I had plans that involved people-watching on UVU campus (I love hanging out on other campuses--and I know how to party), which was sure to be void of any costume-donning lifeforms if we waited much longer. But I had kept the poor boy up late with my teary female time-of-month antics and he gets up gross-early for work, so I let him be, let him be-ee, let him be, let him be-e-e. Eventually, someone got antsy and accidentally woke him up with loud talking on the phone . . . on accident.

UVU was indeed void of most all costume-donning lifeforms by the time we arrived, but we did see some unreal pumpkin-carving action and found FREE CANDY in the halls, so no sorrows there.

Upon realizing that our stomachs were full of only sugar and no nutrients, we took Jared's time-and-a-half Halloween pay as an excuse to buy dinner. What we stumbled upon was the most amazing barbecue I have EVER experienced. Jared had remembered seeing an interesting little place called "Bam Bams BBQ"[stet ;)]. It's at 1708 South State Street in Orem, if you're interested.
We stopped in, and were immediately obsessed. The smells. So great. He got the ribs and I got the pulled pork, and what looked to be enough for leftovers was gone in ten minutes flat. Gash. New birthday dinner place. Also, if you're a potato salad person at all, theirs is hands-down the best. On our way out we helped ourselves to the FREE CANDY lying in heaps every foot or so on the tables and got ready for our next adventure.

I had spent most of the week fake-pouting about how we'd have "nothing to do" on Halloween because newlyweds "have no friends." (I use quotes for those phrases because they're not 100% all-the-time true, but I probably could've removed the quotes because they're 80% most-of-the-time true. Can I get a holla from my other 20% in the crowd--the newlywed homeys?) Turns out that there was plenty to do.

We had grand ideas of gathering a group and going to a haunted house. However, these plans appeared to become null and void when we realized that (a) haunted houses cost cash monay, (b) haunted houses are far away, and (c) there would be no group to be found. But alas, all fell into place when we found a Castle of Chaos ten minutes from our apartment and some KSL VIP tickets for $12. We got on that real fast with our time-and-a-half Halloween pay.

All fell further into place when we made our way through the entry line and were paired with a group of three 17-year-old guys with braces who had signed the waiver agreeing to let the actors touch them. Fifty minutes later we stumbled out, best friends with those scarred boys. It was astonishing how girly their sweet little screams became when those brave souls were shut inside coffins and strapped to operating tables. Castle of Chaos was fo' sho' not a let-down (at least not for the low price we paid).

Even though Jared never found an opportunity to bust out his creepy Slender Man costume, we went to sleep happy, with visions of Christmas swirling into our heads.
(That's what I get for watching Nightmare Before Christmas twice in row.)

Hope your Halloweens were as spontaneous and filled with FREE CANDY as ours were!

Halloween, I'm Judging You


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