Friday, November 20, 2009

Driving a Bobcat!

The nice man at White Bear Rental heard me saying how much I wanted to
drive one and got one out for me to play with. Awesome! Now I just
need a project!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Out with the old...

As I cleaned out my cupboards, I found these seasoning packets that
I'm almost certain I bought at my first apartment. In college. In
2003. That means they've moved almost as much as I have. And now they
final move: to the landfill.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Out with the old...

As in circa-Como-college-apt old. Which means these two packets of
seasoning have a) moved almost as many times as me, and b) have been
overlooked for the better part of FIVE YEARS. Five.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And the beat goes on, dadadoondadoon

So besides drinking Spaten at Gasthaus's Oktoberfest, what have the Rices been up to? Good question.

Eric's band, The Cold Open, played two shows earlier this month, their second gig at The Fine Line (a Friday night, no less!), and Jew Years Eve at the Kitty Cat Klub in Dinkytown with some other local (semi-)Jewish-y bands under the guise of celebrating Rosh Hashanah. It rocked, as all good Jewish New Years ought to.

I started an internship with Tiger Oak Publications (publishers of Metro Magazine and Minnesota Bride), working on two of their community lifestyle publications -- Woodbury and Maple Grove! Although relatively unpaid, my two weeks there have already been a good experience, and I can tell I'm going to walk away with a boatload of published clips, so hopefully that counts for something when I'm done.

Not a week before the internship started, so did fall semester at the U. Yup, I'm back taking classes, this time through the Dislocated Workers Program. This fall, I'm taking Principles of Nutrition and an online intro to public health class. So far, so good. That wonderful old feeling of not having done enough for class is back... yaaayyyyyy... :\ I think I block it from my memory, otherwise I wouldn't get so giddy about going to school, I think. Regardless, I think I'm learning a lot. Hopefully I'll get to put it to use in the not-too-distant-future.

I'm still on the hunt for an "official" kind of job. As in the kind that pays. The kind most normal adults have. In the meantime, lots of fun opportunities have presented themselves. For example, two weekends ago I presented a cooking demonstration for Sukkot at the Minneapolis Farmers Market, kicking off their "Sunday Cooks" series. I'm also teaching an Israeli cooking class to a handful of 8th/9th graders at Mount Zion's Chai ("High") School.

We have another viable offer on our condo, although we know better than to *actually* get our hopes up. All the same, we're house hunting seriously now. Lots of stuff out there, but not much that's decent, fits our specifications, AND falls within our budget (in fact, there isn't much outside our budget that fits our specifications, so that's less of an issue).

AND, our first anniversary is approaching. I'm under the impression that Eric hasn't figured out a present for me, so feel free to send him your ideas, as I'm sure he could use a little inspiration :)


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Love is in the air. Or maybe that's just the smell of fried food in the morning...

I seriously love our wedding photographer, Becca Dilley. She's funny, smart, can carry on a legitimate conversation with people she's met only a handful of times for extended periods of time, is a lover of beer and cheese alike (perhaps the Wisconsonite in her?), is a regular contributor to (and founding member of) one of my favorite websites/blogs, Heavy Table, and -- oh, yeah -- takes frickin' phenomenal photos. Particularly, of Eric and me at our own personal Mecca, the Minnesota State Fair. (I hope all of you enjoyed the state fair food at our wedding!)

It was essentially the engagement session that didn't happen because we were too busy. Moving. Across a country. And then getting married. Yeah -- that.

We had a ball. Check it out.

Can I have more funnel cake now, please?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My trip south of the border

As in, Iowa. Not Mexico or elsewhere. Specifically, the Iowa state fair. My friend Jenn accompanied me to her old stomping grounds, Des Moines, Iowa, for their so-called legendary fair.

Our first find of the day: Dutch letters. This trip to the fair is brought to you by the letter "S"! How fortuitous! That's my letter! "S" for Sara! I've had better pastries, but it was pretty good, filled with almond paste and topped with sugar. I'm not going to argue with that.

There may have been a musical based on it, but I doubt it included huge cigarette stands or deep-fried funnel cake-dipped pineapple on a stick. We've come a long way since Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Maybe the hype was about the free hard boiled eggs on stick. All part of promoting Iowa agriculture! We also got to try Tyson's fajita steak strips (terrible and dry, but that wasn't surprising), sour cream dip, and definitely something pig-based, but I don't remember what. The ag building also held free samples of honeys and jams. Yum!

We missed the butter cow, even though we were in the right building. Other fun activities of note: a terrifying trip down the giant slide, hanging out in the (excessively warm) butterfly tent, taking the sky glider across half the park (and the park is really small...), buying a cookie cookbook from 1962 (!!!), and riding on a tilt-a-whirl-like ride in the midway.

After bingeing on fried food (mostly on a stick) all day, Jenn and I (slowly) made our way to Bonanza's big ol' salad bar and downed our weight in leafy greens and grapes. Uff da.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Baby Girl! There's a New Baby Girl in the Family!

And I was so enamored of her that I only managed to get one shot of her over the course of a whole weekend. It's hard to take pictures when your arms are full!

And here's my brother and sister-in-law and their whole brood, after a day at the Madison Zoo.

XOXO Kierstyn,
Love, your Auntie Sara

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Camping @ St. Croix State Park

To those who doubted us: We successfully pitched a tent and survived a weekend at St. Croix State Park.

First came the preparation.

And that was just our non-perishable food. We're obviously not cut out for anything more intense than "car camping" at this juncture. Then, into the trunk went our spiffy new sleeping bags, the tent, air mattress with pump (we were really roughing it), the cooler full of deliciousness like hot dogs, bacon, and eggs, as well as all the other normal things you pack when you're going on a trip, like shirts, jeans, toothbrush, and sixteen books for 48 hours away.

Wait, what?


As proof for those naysayers, I have photographic evidence of Eric camping. Above is him helping set up our tent. No more than ten minutes later we were admiring our handiwork, and then, reveling in our ability to do what 8-year-old boy scouts can do (I'm chuckling as I write this, I was so proud), we went and saw a nature talk about black bears. Apparently there are 30,000 of them in Minnesota. I did not know this. The wonders of park programming! (I'm not being snarky -- it was a nice program and I would definitely recommend going to whatever's offered while in our fine state parks!)

And here is our dinner the first night, cooked over the fire my husband so lovingly built for me to cook dinner upon. Grilled cheese, baked beans, and salad (not on the fire...).

Later we roasted s'mores. Yumtastic.

"Early to bed, early to rise" seems to more of the way things work than just an axiom. When the rain started around 9:30 or 10 on Friday night, we headed for refuge in our tent. Without light or much room to move, we decided just to go to sleep.

This is me at 8:00 a.m. making breakfast. Without an alarm or sunlight to wake me.

Look at those eggs cracked over my Hot Salty Love in a Pan, cooked over the fire my husband built.

After breakfast, we went for a hike, taking the (one, lone) trail from our campsite a couple miles down to the old CCC camp site. Apparently, Roosevelt created the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, to create jobs after WWI. The men that signed up learned marketable job skills like carpentry and masonry, in addition to having a job (a hot commodity in those days). What we got out of it was an incredible park system built from the trails they created, roads they paved, and campsites they cleared. Seems like money well spent to me.

A handsome little froggy on our hiking path.

I don't sit still very well, so after lunch and lazing around for awhile (reading 1/4 of one of those 16 books I brought), I got out my cake baking supplies. Yes, my cake baking supplies. While camping. Cast iron skillet+Jiffy cake mix+apples= a fire-good time. (Story on that coming soon!)

In the time it took to cook the cake, we also prepped and ate dinner. Saturday night's menu included what we're calling "biscuit dogs," which are essentially pigs in a blanket cooked on a skewer over flames (hot dogs wrapped in Pillsbury refrigerated dough); glazed carrots (heck yeah), leftover baked beans, and -- eventually -- apple cake tatin.

Look at that fire my husband built. Who knew?
Look at that tent my husband helped set up. Who knew?
Look at those carrots my husband ate. Who knew?
Look at Eric not shuddering at the thought of all the bugs we shared our tent with. Who knew?

Well. Now you know. And so do I.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Murphy <3 Cheetos

And sleeping. In bags.

Notice the paw at the bottom of the picture, wrapped around the Cheetos bag.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We don't ignore you on purpose

It just happens sometimes.

Things have been eventful around here lately, and there's barely been a night in recent memory that we've been without plans of some kind.

During the week I volunteer at the Youth Farm & Market Project at the Lyndale location, not far from our place. I work in the kitchen, helping the head cook get everything started, then working with the kids to help finish the food and serve it. The kids are great, and they know so much about what they're eating -- what they like and don't like (mostly what they like -- which often is everything), what flavors taste like (homemade ranch dressing, anyone?), and what a dish is missing. It's terribly impressive. The kids are exhausting, but it's definitely worth it. I know I'm learning infinite patience from it all.

I'm also working to get dislocated worker benefits applied toward MCTC's baking certificate program starting this fall. There are more hoops to jump through than I care to enumerate, so hopefully it'll all come together and be worth it.

And Noazim (Mount Zion 20s/30s) programming continues to be an ever-present item on my to-do list -- in a good way! We seem to be gaining support from the leadership and clergy, and next week present a proposal for a 20s/30s-specific service to the worship committee. Not only that, but we have a full docket of on-going and holiday-specific events planned, including apple picking for Rosh Hoshana (I love apple picking!), and the planning and organization for it all is like a full-time job some days.

I'm taking a writing class at The Loft right now on freelance writing for newspapers and magazines. We're only four weeks in and I feel behind -- but maybe that's because I missed last week's class to run the Torchlight 5k :) And before that class is even done, I start Lighting Boot Camp at the Minneapolis Photography Center!

Eric's mostly been busy with work and the band, including preparing for a pretty important gig at The Fine Line -- which you should make sure to come to! Tuesday, August 4th @ 7:30 pm. If you work in downtown, just grab some dinner and come over after that! OR, if you live in the suburbs, notice how early it is -- you can get home, change, make the quick drive into the city, and still get home in time to watch the news and get to bed at a decent hour. Check out for links to all the details!

Up next (hopefully): Stories from our camping trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Leo's Cookie Tower

Mama (and Daddy?) Buettner was nice enough to buy a log of cookie dough for Leo and Eric and I to make while we were babysitting last night.  Leo scooped the dough out of the packaging and onto the cookie sheets, then watched them rise through the oven door, telling us the whole time, "I'm gonna make a cookie TOWER!"

And he did.  Quite proudly, in fact.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tales from the 4th of July

I'm not even going to explain. If you know my family (or if you are my family), that's probably explanation enough.

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Cold Open @ DeMori's

Chances are if you're reading this, you were at the show -- but just in case, here are a couple of shots from Eric's band, The Cold Open, playing at DeMori's in Oakdale over the weekend.

They played about an hour of entirely new (*awesome!*) original music, save for a couple of particularly crowd-pleasing covers.

Yep, that's my man -- the money shot of him with his wedding band. Heh heh heh.

Check out their music on MySpace, follow them on Facebook or Twitter, and see photos (or upload some of your own!) on Flickr.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Kelsy & Sara Day

I'm not a parent. The rules about not having favorites don't apply to me. I can say with little to no hesitation that my niece/goddaughter Kelsy is my favorite of my brother's five (almost six!) kids.

That isn't to say I don't love the rest of them more than they can imagine, but Kelsy's always going to have a soft spot in my heart. She was assigned to me -- some smidgen of responsibility for her welfare placed upon my shoulders -- when I was twelve. That's younger than she is now, for those of you counting. Her mom and dad asked me to be her godmother and, while I only had a vague sense of what that actually meant, considering the days of that having any kind of official meaning are long gone, I decided it meant that she was supposed to be more important to me in some way than any other kid around.

The problem with that equation is that for the last 7+ years, my brother and his family have lived nowhere near us -- anywhere from a 4 1/2 hour car ride to a 4 1/2 plane ride (at minimum!). So the part about presence being more important than presents that Chris and Paula impressed upon me when asking me to be her godmother -- that wasn't much of an option once they moved, unfortunately, and the "ce" turned into a steady flow of the "ts" variety to compensate for my absence.

But not last week! No sirree! Chris had a last minute trip to the Twin Cities for a buying show and asked me if I wanted to spend a couple of days with my beautiful, nearly grown up niece. Of course I do!

We did all kinds of super fun stuff. The great part about hanging out with your 13-year-old niece is that you get to be a kid again. We meandered around Rice Park when the St. Paul Central Library wasn't open yet (drat!) and briefly walked through the Landmark Center.

We checked out the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden,

then walked Lake of the Isles. Yes, that's her poking a fish with my permission. I'm only slightly ashamed (of myself for letting her, and of her for wanting to, but since it's already dead, it seemed less egregious).

We had ice cream at Sebastian Joe's before lunch (!!!), and rounded out our midday eating with a turkey-bacon-croissant melt (with salad greens, I swear!) at French Meadow Bakery.

And all of this was before seeing "Up" in 3D, going shoe shopping @ DSW, and then to Borders to get Kels a new Manga novel.

I'm pretty much the best aunt ever. And way, super lucky.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The gaunlet has been thrown: the Rice family weight-loss challenge

My birthweek festivities turned into a license to eat like a linebacker for a month. And one month turned into two. And three pounds to lose morphed into a full twelve (twelve). Since Eric is notorious for avoid all fruit and most vegetables (and could probably stand to lose more than five pounds), the situation seemed ripe for a plan.

The challenge: the first to lose five pounds and keep it off for a week wins!
The prize: the loser has to plan, shop for, and prepare dinner for both of us for a week.
Bonus: a reason and way to use all/as much as possible of our weekly CSA share.

Check in at Food if by Land, Food if by Sea to check out the foods we make to reach our goal!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Flowers and Humidity

Two of my strongest memories are the smell of the old fern room of the Como Conservatory and the sight of the RC Cola machine at the entrance to the fern room. I remember my dad taking my brother and me -- it seems like it must have been a hundred times, but in actuality was maybe less than a handful. We'd walk the inside and make our way around the loop, stop at the RC Cola machine to get a can of our favorite soda, then open the doors to this magical, misty, musty room where the stone floor was just damp enough to make you question your step and the dank, humid air got caught in your throat just a little. I'd get some change from my dad and throw one coin after another into the moss-covered wishing pond that was fed by a trickle of water fed down the rocks.

They tore down the fern room a couple of years ago to add on a new visitor's center that serves as the gateway to the zoo grounds. That was in 2005. They've *almost* gotten the smell back. But, they probably won't ever have an RC Cola machine waiting for me again. It'll never be the same.

But that doesn't mean that it isn't a great, cheap way to spend a questionably cloudy Sunday. Clutching our suggested donations (Ooh! Paper money!), my friend Katie and I crossed the river and made our way to Como Park.

The Sunken Garden smelled intensely of orchids, and had the biggest lilies I've ever seen (but none of them seemed photo-worthy, apparently, so don't bother searching for a shot of them).

We made our way outside to the Japanese Gardens. The overcast sky made for some great photos.

Back inside, we found ourselves in the North Garden. It didn't hurt that the temperature difference coming in from the brisk air outside made our lenses foggy. I dig the ethereal quality it gave the few shots I was able to get.

The center area ("Palm Dome") looks a little worse for the wear, unfortunately.

We didn't venture into the zoo part of the grounds, but I'm so excited! The new polar bear habitat, Polar Bear Odyssey, is set to open in 2010! Poor bear(s) won't have to swim in heart-wrenching circles all day, everyday anymore.