Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 in review...Top 10

2011 has been a wonderful year! As we approach 2012 I thought I would recap a few exciting things that happened in our family this past year...

1. In early 2011 we adopted our youngest child, Stanley Benjamin Frank.


It has been a great joy to see Stanley grow, and grow...and grow. He has turned from a scared little 3 pound puppy who could not climb the stairs (http://www.karafrank.com/2011/01/big-day-in-frank-household.html), into a big, chubby, adorable, sweet, hilarious dog who keeps us laughing each day.
He has made the world's best playmate for his sister, our first love, Punky Lynn Frank. We cannot remember life before Punk and Stan.
2. We moved into our newly renovated house, and turned it into a home. Here are some photos of this fine specimen of a 'house' before/during construction...


3. We celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary.
My mom thoughtfully got us this chocolate brown cake that says "Happy #2"
She thought nothing of the saying until I opened up the box and laughed so hard I spit all over the cake.

4. Stacy and I traveled to Colorado for a spontaneous trip. Just because. And had a blast.

5. We traveled to Napa Valley, California with 6 of our closest friends for a trip of a lifetime.

6. We vacationed in Aruba. We relaxed, swam, and plotted our futures.

7. My cousin Jen got married!

8. Jeremy rode a horse.

9. We learned how to landscape our yard. We did not love this task of 2011.
 10. My mom, sister and I traveled to Chicago to fulfill a my lifelong dream to see, THE OPRAH SHOW! Absolutely a dream come true.
2011...a great year!

Here's to another year of amazing friends, awesome blog readers, an incredible family. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year.
Be safe.
Don't drink and drive.
Wear sunscreen if you're on vacation.
Give your kids/dogs/spouse/friends a extra hug just because.
Don't steal an orange from a random tree, you could be arrested.

All my love,
Kara

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas break

We had the great pleasure of celebrating the wedding of one of my oldest and dearest friends this past weekend.
Stephanie and I met in Kindergarten.
I started a few months late in the year as I had transferred from a public school to this new school, a private school.
Stephanie and I were matched together, she was supposed to be my buddy, and help me acclimate to the new school. 
She was not very pleased about this task, and let me know it.
All of the Kindergarteners had 5th grade buddies, and she had two.
When I arrived, they gave me one of her buddies so we each had one.
She did not like this.
Later in the year, we put on the annual Kindergarten circus, and I 'stole' her part in the circus.
She did not like this either.

However, despite the theft of her 5th grade buddy, an the crushing defeat of the Kindergarten circus part, we still became instant friends.
And, 23 years later, I was honored to attend her wedding in Arizona.

We flew down to Arizona a few days early as it was Christmas weekend. And we don't celebrate Christmas. So we had nothing better to do.

We rented a car. I made some joke to the car rental guy because our name had an asterisk next to it on the car rental reservation board. I asked if the star meant that we were the customer of the day, and therefore should be upgraded to a fabulous car (instead of the Nissan Altima we rented).
The guy seemed to think it was funny, though Jeremy did not, and he upgraded us to a Camaro.
And so we drove this sucker for the next 4 days.
And it made Jeremy look like he was selling something illegal on the side.
He just did not look quite right in this car.
We celebrated Christmas in Arizona, the ways Jews have done for centuries. 
We ate Chinese food, and saw a movie. 
Turns out Chinese food in Arizona is not quite as good as Chinese food in Minnesota. Our steamed tofu dish is pictured below. mmmmm.
And then we proceeded to drive around aimlessly for the rest of Christmas day, desperately trying to find something to do. To no avail.

However, we did witness this distributing scene on the highway. Yes, that is a dead cow in the back of the truck. We tailed this truck for many miles trying to get a closer look. We were certain that this was a fake cow, or somehow a joke, but it appears that it was 100% real, and 100% disgusting.
The day after Christmas we did a little shopping. And then some more driving. I love to look at neighborhoods and houses in different cities. We found ourselves driving through a beautiful neighborhood in Scottsdale, Arizona, lined with citrus trees.
Big beautiful trees laden with beautiful oranges and lemons.
And so what did I do?
Scream for Jeremy to stop the car immediately so I could jump out and grab an orange.
Law abiding Jeremy did not want me to be arrested over the theft of a citrus fruit.
Food loving Jeremy, kind-of wanted an orange. So, we drove through neighborhoods, in the aforementioned totally conspicuous vehicle, quietly doing drive by's until I could find a tree that was in the ideal position for a grab-and-go.
We found a tree, I jumped out, grabbed an orange, and then a lemon, and ran for my life. Certain I would be arrested for citrus theft.
But I was not.
We made it out alive, and free from jail.
And it was a totally delicious orange.
 And then we went to a wedding. For a beautiful friend. Who is going to have an amazing marriage.
Yes, we look a little crazy in the following photo.
 Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A tale of 4 hams

As previously mentioned, I am Jewish. I don't keep strict kosher, or really kosher at all, but I don't eat ham. Bacon? Yes, because it is delicious. Ham? No. Seems wrong. Ya know, bacon's cool because it's deliciousness outweighs it's non-kosher-ness. But ham, it's not even good.

Now, my friend Greta, over at "A New Type of Nesting" (http://newtypeofnesting.blogspot.com/2011/12/best-vendor-gift-ever.html) blogged about a really awesome gift that she got from a vendor at work. A whiskey sampler kit. Now I don't drink whiskey either, but I would think that was cool. And I would pretend that I drink whiskey. Really...I would probably re-gift it to my brother-in-law or something, but regardless, cool idea.

I too get a lot of vendor gifts at work. Really thoughtful things that people spend a lot of money on. And this year, there has been a particular trend in vendor gift giving that I am less than excited about. Hams. Yes, the aforementioned not-so-deliscious and definetly-not-so-kosher, HAM.

These suckers must be expensive too! They're huge.

To date, I have recieved 4 of them. 4 gigantic hams.

1 ham arrived at my house and was received by my dog walker who called to alert me that, "A giant ham has arrived at your doorstep". I promptly asked her to take it home with her.

As the days passed, so too did the hams. Another given to a coworker to share with her family for Christmas. A gift certificate, specifically for a "7 pound ham" at Honebaked Ham, given to a another coworker.
And finally, just now, the 4th ham arrived and I stood there, shocked, not sure who should receive my ham next. Do you want a ham?

Thank you thoughtful vendors for the kind gift of a ham. I am Jewish. And that is really just an excuse to say that I don't eat ham because I think it's kind-of gross. But in the future, turkey would be great. Or just donate a ham in my honor to the food shelf. I will be happy to know that others are enjoying their ham. While I enjoy my Chinese food.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Demolition Derby

It's demolition derby for me at work this week! I don't talk about my job on here because, well, that just seems too personal. (As though talking about how my husband dances with my dog is not personal...but whatever, that's my logic)  However, this is pretty fun, so I thought I would share it.

However, after several years of work, we finally demolished a building that I work on. And it's pretty exciting. Maybe I'm the only one who likes to see buildings being destroyed (safely and intentionally).
But it's pretty fun...
So here goes...day 1 of building demo!

And the best part, when I stopped by to watch the demolition around noon, I found a line of about 5 old men, sitting in their cars, watching the demo, eating lunch. It was adorable. Apparently it's fun for everyone to watch buildings being destroyed.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pet Peeves

 (I don't know who this lady is, but she was on the phone, and wearing an awesome Mumu so she made for a good graphic)

I get a lot of voice mails everyday at work. Voice mails from all kinds of people. However, there is one thing the same, for 99% of people who call me, no matter the purpose of the call. It is what I call...the voice mail formula.

It starts with...

Step #1: Hi Kara this is XYZ person from PDQ Company.

Step #2: I am calling about blah blah blah blah.
At this point the caller usually goes on for an unecssarily long time about the subject of their call. They go into great detail about something I probably don't need to know. And they tell me what color socks they are wearing, what they had for dinner last night, and the name of their cat at age 6, talking at a pace so slow you can hear turtles flying by you.

And then...here it comes...the point of my lifelong frustration....
Step #3: Please call me back at 123456789952418. Phone number spoken in such a fast tone you would think it was the disclaimer at the end of an advertisement for a new medication. And then they don't repeat it.

So you spoke really slow thinking that I was going to write down every word you said...but then you spit your number out so fast that I can no longer call you back because I don't know your number. Makes complete sense.

I need a vacation.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Great gift

Every year the company I work for does a "White Elephant" gift exchange. Essentially, you bring in something you have that is...worthless, hilarious, ugly, funny, dumb etc...wrap it up, and then we play a dice game and trade gifts.

Yesterday morning I was feaverishly searching our house for something to bring as my White Elephant gift. I asked Jeremy if he had anything I could bring as my White Elephant gift.

He looked at me. Ran into the closet, searched around a bit, and then came out with a blue candle in hand.

"Here, take this, it smells terrible" He stated proudly, holding up his find.

I looked at him. Silent. And then said, "Jeremy, I gave that to you for your birthday."

Pure silence entered the room, and was only interrupted by the scared sound of Jeremy stammering saying, "Uh, uh, I've got to go to work now". And he runs out the door.

Thanks for the lovely White Elephant gift.

(Though I do have to admit, it did smell kind-of terrible)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stanley, the naughty, adorable, misbehaved, hilarious dog.

I would like to write a children's book, and that would be the title.

Stanley, the naughty, adorable, misbehaved, hilarious dog.

The first book would go something like this...

Stanley's Grandma Beth dropped off a bag of toys to donate. Stanley's parents were going to donate these toys to those children who did not have any toys.

Stanley had other ideas.

Stanley the naughty, discovered the toys.

Stanley, the misbehaved tore open that bag of toys. He wanted the toys for himself.
 Stanley the hilarious, climbed into the bag of toys, intended for children who have no toys.
 And Stanley the adorable smiled innocently as he stared up from his kingdom of toys.
 Stanley's mom said, "Enough fun for Stanley, I will have to hide the toys so you do not ruin them!"
But that was not good for Stanley. He wanted those toys. He wanted them for himself.

Little Stanley barked and barked for a very long time. Longing for his toys. Stanley had not learned the most important lesson of all, the lesson of charity. Turns out that's a hard lesson to learn when you are a puppy. Stanley has all the toys he needs, and has to learn to give to others who don't. That too, appears a challenging lesson when you have four legs.

Poor Stanley, the naughty, adorable, misbehaved, hilarious dog. And his sidekick sister, Punky.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Email from my mom

Another entry into the category of...emails from my mom. 

The set-up: Jeremy and are going to Arizona in a few weeks for a wedding. We have family in Arizona and my mom wanted to make sure we got together while we were in town. 

I just talked to T**** and W**** and told them you will be in Scottsdale. They would really want to see you if you want to.  They want to take you to the Roaring Fork.  It is a really good restaurant that has big ass burgers and happy hour. There is Chompie's too.

Now, I'm not entirely sure if the restaurant calls them "Big Ass Burgers", or if that is my mom's name for them...I'm also not sure what the happy hour has to do with it. I guess we will find out. I picture Jeremy asking the waiter for a "Big Ass Burger", and the waiter looking at him like he's both rude and bizarre. 

Love my mom. And her emails. They never cease to make me laugh.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cookie season

We do not celebrate Christmas. 

Usually, this does not bother me. However, when it comes to baking cookies, it does bother me. Because, I like cookies more than the average human being. Therefore, I really need an excuse to make cookies. And I will not let religion dictate my cookie baking. And therefore, I present you with ...holiday cookie baking day.

In college, my best friend and I used to go to my parents house, spend the whole day baking up a storm, and then deliver cookies to our sorority sisters. Now that we are out of college, and "grown up", we still want to do the exact same thing. So, I gathered some friends (minus the college BFF who was on a fabulous and well deserved vacation with her husband), and we proceeded to make our holiday cookies.
turned into...
1. Chubby Hubby Truffles   http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2011/11/30/peanut-butter-pretzel-truffles/

2. Thumbprint cookies   http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/05/18/chocolate-thumbprints/

3. Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites  http://twotinykitchens.com/2011/02/23/peanut-butter-pretzel-bites/

4. Really disgusting toffee that did not turn out at all. It stuck to your teeth and was just really not good. But I mean if you want some, I can totally give you some. 

4. and of course....sugar cookies to decorate

You need not celebrate the holiday to enjoy the cookies.

Friday, December 2, 2011

We are absolutely honored...

That we have been invited to the White House for a dinner. Well, Jeremy, and "whoever he decides to bring".

It is really so thoughtful of dear old friends Michelle and Barack to invite us for a little supper. We are honored.


And not just an email from Michelle Obama, but Barack himself took the time to send Jer a little note. He really went above and beyond his presidential obligations.
Now really...here are my SPAM questions. Who is writing this stuff? Why are they writing it? What do they get out of it? Okay, so I have a lot of SPAM questions. I have a lot of questions about most things. But this one is pretty ridiculous. 

I would like to meet the dumb people who respond and think they're really going to the White House. Now those are the people I'd like to meet for dinner.

In the meantime, what should I wear for our dinner with the Obamas?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Date Night

Jeremy and I went bowling on Monday.

Little known Jeremy fact, bowling is a very important sport to him.

In fact, if there ever was a sport in which he excelled, bowling is it. He has his very own bowling ball. Took bowling class. Was on a league. He's pretty much a step away from a pro.

He had asthma growing up, and is incredibly risk averse, so bowling was a safe sport. No risk of injury or asthma attack.

Monday night it was my turn to plan 'Secret Date Night', and so we went to a local restaurant (http://www.bryantlakebowl.com/) for their 'Date Night' special. 2 entrees, a bottle of wine, and a round of bowling for two...$28! This restaurant is the strangest concept, but somehow, it really works. Delish semi fancy food and old school bowling (i.e. no computer scoring). The place was packed.

We ate...
and then we bowled...

I could not believe there were no computers to score the bowling. Jeremy said this was a glaring point of generational difference in our 2 year age difference. I do not remember bowling pre-computer scoring. Jeremy can hand score a round of bowling like nobody's business.

Check out this score card! I had no idea what any of it meant.

However, I would like you all to note the ending scores. Kara is the top number, Jeremy is the bottom number.

Yes, the self-proclaimed-semi-professional bowler, Jeremy, beat me by only 1 point. Or pin. Or whatever you call it. Booya.

Bowling, a totally under-appreciated sport. If you can call it a sport. More of an activity.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fun with frames

Men, you may not be interested in this one. Perhaps you are. Jeremy thought it was pretty cool. In a more than slightly uninterested until it was hanging on the wall, kind of way.

I have been looking for a way to hang my 'fashion necklaces'. Not the nice ones, I have a jewlery box for that, but the big fun ones, that get jammed into the jewlery box and make everything a tangled mess. I found something for sale that was pretty cool, and then decided to make one myself. Since I had luck with the travel photo project (http://www.karafrank.com/2011/07/travel-photos.html), I thought I would try again.

I bought an old, solid wood, antique frame (from one of my favorite stores...http://www.artandarc.com/). I sanded it and then painted it white. I added a nail to each side to ensure it was stable as it was certainly not new.

And then I framed my dog. Because he's handsome. And deserves to be in a frame.
I marked of places for the jewelry hooks at 1 inch increments inside the frame....
And then asked my dad to drill small holes on those lines so I could put in my cup hooks (purchased at Target). Thanks Dad!

One by one, I screwed all of the cup hooks into the pre-drilled holes, with my hands. Very easy. A child could do this part.
Put two nails into the wall, align with the picture hanger on the back and...voila!
Lovely, organized necklaces that actually look really pretty on the wall instead of a jumbled mess in a box.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Yup, still giving thanks

I am thankful for the greatest family in the world. Yes, I know you think you have the greatest family, but you would be wrong. Mine wins. Okay, so I'm sure yours is great too. But seriously, if you don't know the story of my very first college experience, I think I should share it with you at a later date, and then we'll decide who has the greatest family ever.

But anyways. They're awesome. And supportive. And ridiculous. And when I'm feeling overwhelmed, like today, they call me to complain about having too much stuffing at our Thanksgiving dinner. And they make me laugh hysterically. (sorry guys, I know you didn't think it was funny, but honestly, I think its about the most hilarious thing I've heard in a long time. really? Everyone is all upset because too many people are bringing stuffing.) They are awesome.
Example: My mom has spent the last month trying to find a new winter coat for me because I'm always cold. Yes, she has searched every store in town trying to find the warmest coat possible. Spent probably 20 hours on this project. All to find me the warmest coat known to man.

Random Thankful item of the day:  I am thankful that puppies grow into dogs. Now this may seem like a strange thing to be thankful for, but I am. Puppies are adorable, here are mine:

 
Stanley Benjamin Frank age: 6 weeks

Punky Lynn Frank  age: 8 weeks

Adorable, right? But then they turn into dogs. And that is so much better. I'll give up the cute any day in favor of this...

So I'm also thankful that puppies turn into dogs. Because dogs are calm. Dogs do their business outside. Dogs sit on the couch with you for extended periods of time. Dogs can walk a significant distance.

I'm thankful for my family, and I'm thankful puppies grow into dogs.

Have a great thanksgiving! You will find me spending the morning coloring the turkey in the newspaper. Oh yes, my markers are ready. Let the coloring begin.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving thanks

There are days when you feel really annoyed with life, and things going on it, and feel less than thankful. And I would be a total liar if I said that I just put on a happy face and remember how grateful I should be. No, I mope, and complain, and wallow. And then, eventually, the people around me bring me back up to a feeling of gratitude.

Case in point: Really crappy week last week. Just some drama. I was an unhappy person. Friends called with sympathy and said...let's get ice cream. Time to bring you out of the aforementioned crappy mood. And as it turns out, ice cream solves a lot of problems. Or maybe it's the people who drag you to the ice cream.

And for this, and others like them in my life, I am so grateful and thankful for my friends.

You know what else I am thankful for??

The perfect chair.

Yes, the perfect chair.

I have been trying to 'complete' my family room at home. We had this amazing chair that I absolutely adore in the room. I swear, if fire struck our house I would leave all other possessions in favor of this chair...
It's my Room and Board Pierre chair. And, I love it with all my heart.

However, as hard as I tried, it just didn't fit in our family room. And there was no space in our bedroom. Until I found this baby....
This lovely chair was discovered at Crate and Barrel. A floor sample marked 70% off because they wanted to bring in a new style. I was in 'chair love' again. I saw the chair in the store and had an 'aha' moment.

My cow chair should go in the living room, the zig zag chair in the family room. And life will be good. And I will be grateful for chairs. For the perfect chairs.
Here she is. The new chair. And the cow chair looks awesome in the living room. Meant to be. Living in chair bliss. And the husband is living in bliss because I am no longer driving him nuts about how the room is not 'pulled together'.

So I am grateful for friends. And chairs.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Week of Thanks (and turkey)

In case you missed the memo, this week is Thanksgiving! And so...a week of things that make me THANKFUL! I hope you will all take a minute to think about what makes you thankful as well.

I am very thankful for this....
I am thankful for this guy, who likes to have dance parties with our dogs. Singing and dancing to One Republic's 'Good Life', with Stanley Benjamin Frank as his dance partner. (Stan is bizarrely good on his hind legs!)




Not Pictured: Kara holding Punky, also dancing around the room.