Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kentucky Alarm Clock

I'm not complaining. No matter where you live...there's some sort of natural disaster to be had. In choosing to move to Kentucky we just traded earthquakes for tornadoes. I understand this. But when you wake up to this in the morning at oh, say about 4:45am earthquakes start to sound pretty good.

***warning this video is extremely LOUD

We didn't discover until after we signed the lease, that there was a civil defense siren (or tornado siren) only a house away. As you can hear, these muthas are loud. LOOOOUUUUUD. There's no getting away from the noise once they start going off. Luckily tornadoes have been scarce since we've lived at this house and we've only heard it a few times before this. Also, just to point out, these went off in the damn dark. It's pitch black outside and you can't see a damn thing much less if there's a tornado bearing down on your home. So you and your husband then have the option of sitting in the bathroom with the dogs for a half hour or going back to bed. Which would you choose? Todd choose to go back to bed. I watched Family Guy. I guess we've been desensitized...

The sirens this morning went off for roughly a half hour. We were good - nothing struck down immediately around us. Although Elizabethtown, KY, which is about 60 miles south of us, was slammed really hard by a tornado (no reported deaths thank goodness), and a few smaller tornadoes have popped up here and there causing lesser damage.

For anyone wondering, yes it does hurt my dogs ears. They kinda go a little batty when they go off. They turn around in circles, get low to the ground, whine and bark. I've seen the dogs that are strictly outside dogs paw at their ears when they go yeah, poor things.

They have a saying out here, just like they do everywhere - if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes. It's true. It's so completely true, and needless to say this is just one more of those things that keeps us on our toes.

'til next time...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guest Post - Tab from Geektastic

Our apartment has what I think has to be one of the world's smallest kitchens.  It's euphemistically called a “galley” kitchen.  The term refers to the small kitchen found in a ship's berth and basically just means “you are the proud owner of a tiny ass hallway-shaped kitchen”. 

If you are looking for a new home, I would definitely advise taking how much you use your kitchen into consideration when making your final decision.  Adapting to a small kitchen was much easier for me (a total non-cook) than it was for Kris (he loves to experiment in the kitchen).  If you love to cook and entertain, a good size kitchen should be a priority.

If you're already struggling with a small kitchen, I feel your pain and I am here for you!  Most of the advice I give in this post falls under one heading: Become a kitchen minimalist.


The most important piece of organizational advice I can give you is to maximize your space.  Work with what you've got, but use your cabinet and counter space logically.  Also, be flexible in where you put things at first.  As you cook more, you'll get a better feel of where things should be.  It took me a few months before I got a setup that worked really well for me.

Nesting items are your friends.  Bowls, measuring cups, measuring spoons, and pots can all be nested to get the largest number of items in minimal space.  They make magnetic measuring cups/spoons and ones that snap together for even easier organizing!

There's no such thing as a “junk drawer”.  When you're pressed for space, you can't afford to waste a drawer.  We do have a “miscellaneous” drawer, but its contents are all things we use on a daily basis – pens, cords and chargers, Post-It notes, batteries, stamps, and upcoming bills – and they are all neatly arranged for easy location.  The old adage “A place for everything, and everything in its place” is important in a small kitchen/small living space situation!


We literally have one cabinet for non-perishable food.  Lack of storage space means we shop for the week and we only buy things we know will get eaten.  The upside is a lot less wasted food, but it does mean that crafting a grocery list is serious business!  There's little room for impulse buys.  If you're a non-list user, this can be hard to get used to.  (Just ask Kris!)

Double-duty dinnerware is a must!  It's common to have both a casual and formal set of dishes (and glasses, depending on how fancy you are!), but you may not have the cabinet space for that luxury.  Find one pattern that you really love that is durable and appropriate for entertaining.  We purchased white porcelain square dishes that look great and are sturdy enough to survive several trips through the dishwasher.  The most important thing I learned working at Crate & Barrel is the durability scale of dishes.  It is, in order of highest to lowest, bone china, porcelain, stoneware, and earthenware.  Porcelain is the most common choice because it's more prevalent and more cost-effective than bone china.

Go function over form!  Unless you're an avid cook, skip the high-end specialized appliances and go the more practical route – only buying things that will get regular use.  Save counter and wall space for functional kitchen items (canisters, small appliances, etc.) and limit yourself to one purely decorative item that you absolutely love.  As a collector, I know how difficult this can be.  Even though he is rarely full of cookies, George (my zombie head cookie jar) is the unofficial mascot of the house and makes me happy every time I see him, so he's definitely worth the counter space he takes up!

Outsource (When You Can)!

This kitchen cart may not look like much, but it's hands down the best purchase Kris and I have made for our home.  It adds a little bit of extra counter and storage space, while still giving easy access to things like dishtowels and cookbooks.  If you have the room, adding kitchen furniture can beef up your storage power.

Use your kitchen's strengths to compensate for its flaws.  To make up for our very limited cabinet space, I keep my dry baking ingredients and spices on the counter, where we have a bit more space.

Racks and external shelves can also free up space.  If you have the right kind of kitchen, you can install pot racks and wall units for even more storage.

Keep it Clean!

The most important things I have done to make my tiny kitchen work are routine daily cleanings.  The rare occasions when I have put it off make a HUGE difference in the kitchen's functionality.  Even if I can't get to anything else, I always try to clean up the kitchen.

Weeding out expired items in the fridge and cabinets regularly is a MUST.

An empty sink = a more relaxed you.  Dishes are my least favorite chore, but my mini-kitchen looks even smaller when they aren't done.  As you can see from the pictures, a sink full of dishes would be hard to miss!  I always feel better when I don't have a dirty sink eying me from across the room.

I'd love to hear your small kitchen advice - Throw a comment my way if you have any tricks or tips!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Are you kidding me? How in the world did I let these slip by me unnoticed for the last 30 some odd years?

I had the munchies the other night and for some reason it popped into my head to grill the PB&J I was getting ready to make myself. It was probably one of the best ideas I've had in a long, long time. 

There's something I should tell you about myself...I don't keep up with fads very well. I'm usually completely oblivious to most of them...until they aren't cool anymore wherein I suddenly discover them and fall in love. Yep, I'm that chick that rocks things about a year or two after they've died out. So I wasn't very surprised when I googled 'Grilled PB&J' and a bunch of different results came up. Evidently this was another fad that slipped past me completely unnoticed. Late to another party - which by the way, I don't mean to give the impression upsets me in the least bit. It doesn't. I find it pretty damn amusing. And just another indicator of my inability to fit in with the herd.

Anyhoo, back to the gooey goodness. Another one that I'm going to feel silly even typing up - but juuuuuuuust in case there's someone out there that hasn't thought this one up yet, here goes

Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Make yourself a PB&J and then butter one side - you can use regular sliced bread, but I found that it gets a bit more droopy in the middle than something such as french bread slices (my preference)

Melt butter in a skillet and cook the unbuttered side of the sandwich first. Once cooked to a golden brown on the first side, flip to the buttered side and cook to a golden brown.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar (liberally in my case) and enjoy!

Word of caution though - give it a moment to cool off before you tear into it. The first one I tried, the peanut butter was hot enough to drip out onto my chin giving me one hell of burn.

You can also try slicing up some bananas and slipping them in! Or for a dessert, maybe sprinkle some chocolate chips on it??? Fricking yum!

'til next time...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Interview with Tab from Geektastic!!!

My friends, I introduced you to my pal Tab earlier in the month. She is the author of the blog Geektastic and my Featured Blogger of the Month. Tab was kind enough to take time and answer some questions that I shot her way a while back.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Tab - I'm 28 and I live in Colorado with my husband, Kris, and our kitties, Sullivan, Darby, and Zed.  I'm an only child and we moved around a lot since my dad was in the Air Force, so I'm pretty shy and kind of a loner in real life.  I love books and movies, and I'm a total pop culture junkie.  I drink mass quantities of Dr Pepper and I love anything to do with robots or zombies.

What got you interested in blogging and what is the story behind your blogs name?
I've always been interested in writing.  I wrote short stories from the time I could put pen to paper, and in high school I worked on my school's literary magazine as the editor-in-chief and on the newspaper as a reporter.  I also worked on my college newspaper, writing stories and editing articles.  I found out about Blogger and figured it would be a good way to have an online diary.  The more I blogged, the more I started reading other people's blogs and it just snowballed into an obsession!  There are so many talented writers out there - I totally got inspired.  The name just came from describing my ideal blog.  I write about a little bit of everything, but much of it has a geeky spin.  I wanted my blog to be fun and geeky as well, and the word "geektastic" just popped into my head!

What do you think is the most challenging part of blogging?
There are so many!  For me, I think it's finding a balance between blogging and my offline life.  When I get really passionate about something, I tend to put everything I have into it, so I'm constantly thinking about how I can make my blog better and more interesting.  Luckily, I have Kris to remind me to come back to reality once in awhile!

When your not busy blogging, what can you be found doing? Any favorite hobbies?
I mostly read and watch movies.  Going to see movies in the theater is one of my very favorite things!  We also get together regularly with friends for game days, and we play everything from Settlers of Catan to Scene It.

We know from your blog that you have three adorable kitties Darby, Sullivan and Zed - tell us a little bit about them
Sullivan is the oldest.  She's the most like a traditional cat - she's friendly and affectionate with us, but definitely has her surly moods.  She's Kris's kitty.  She loves to lay on his desk and watch him play World of Warcraft!

Darby is our mini kitty.  A coworker rescued her from the warehouse where she worked a second job.  She was under-sized and missing a leg, so her mom abandoned her.  She's still small for her age (although she chunked out a bit after we got her fixed!), but she gets around really well and is very cuddly.  She's my kitty and my blog writing partner - she loves to sit in my lap while I'm writing!

Zed is our newest addition; he's only 8 weeks old!  He's our first boy kitty and he's pretty adorable!

I'm a sucker for love stories - would you mind sharing how you and your husband met?
We met at work, actually!  We worked opposite shifts at a 50s diner.  I decided to stay and get something to eat after my shift and Kris didn't have a ticket book to write orders in, so the manager told him to ask to borrow mine.  When he came up to me, I was reading and he said, "Can I borrow your book?"  I thought he was talking about the book I was reading and I started to hand it to him!  It was pretty much love at first sight for both of us. :D  We dated for six years before we got married in 2008, and in August we'll have been together for ten!

Who or what are your most revered style icons?
love retro styles, especially rockabilly and mod styles, but I'd probably call my personal style a cross between The Ramones and Garth Algar (from Wayne's World).  I'm definitely a jeans and T-shirt girl!

Share a little secret - what's something most people don't know about Tab?
Most people don't know about my hot temper.  It's something I try to suppress for the most part, and only the people that know me best have seen it!

Star Wars or Harry Potter? 
Definitely Star Wars.  We have a life-size stand-up of Darth Vader in our dining room!

What is your biggest goal for the next year? What things can we look forward to in the future on Geektastic?
I think my biggest goal is to connect with more bloggers and increase my readership.  Since I am shy, it's been hard for me to be the one to contact others, even just through comments, but all of my experiences so far have been positive, so I'm anxious to make more blogging friends!

Thanks so much, Tab, for taking the time to answer these questions and let us get to know you a little more! Don't forget to stop by and say hello to Tab - you can find her at any of the links above!

'til next time...