Wednesday, December 26, 2007


so as i just perused the previous blog posts, i realized that i have done the last 6 out of 7 of them. so instead of mcblog it should be called christina'sblog. oh well. haven't posted in a while due to many holiday events. Santa came with a christmas miracle on day 6 of laryngitis and gave me my voice back. it still sounds hoarse over a week later, but i am just thankful to have something. brainstorming sessions at work were difficult and also sarcasm doesn't translate well when written. also anxious to get back out skiing in order to train for the City of Lake 35K.

christmas was good. kind of a whirlwind. had christmas eve with my mom's family. steve and i hosted brunch the next day for them and family friends and then christmas night with my dad's family. picture above is from brunch with my 87 year old grandma. such a cutie she is (pic taken on my cousin's iphone, not bad). this post is kind of boring. below is a photo of the new cabled hat that i knit for my mom. i just kind of made up the pattern by combining about 3 other patterns. it worked out pretty well, although taking a picture of it posed some difficulty, it's hard to see the cables, whatever.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My own private hell

Quiz question: What do Ariel the little mermaid and I have in common? Nope, not fish tails. No, not the use of a fork to comb hair. Answer is-- it’s the loss of our voices. I am on day 3 (and it's looking like day 4 will bring more of the same) of not being able to talk because of laryngitis. It has been quite possibly one of the most frustrating things in recent memory. I have been carrying around a wipe board with me, making hand gestures, using facial expressions, text messaging and using steve as my interpreter. It is exhausting!!! The doctor said that there is nothing that can be done besides not talking or whispering, but my patience is wearing thin. It could potentially last up to two weeks. I have been doing a lot of knitting though so here’s a picture to show the weekend's work. A new hat and i finished the mukluks. also working on another hat right now.

It would be nice to end this post by writing about the new zen perspective on life this has given me or how introspective I have become or how once I get my voice back I will be more articulate and think more before I speak… but that’s not at all the case. Although it does give you a new appreciation for those monks.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Red sky at night, sailors' delight

Red in morn, sailors take warn. Anyways, so Kristen and I went for our first cross country ski of the season on Sunday. We headed over to Hyland Park Reserve in Bloomington. The snow was the perfect consistency for skate skiing; a lot of people had the same idea we did. We went late in the day and the sky was beautiful and cast a warm glow on all the bare trees and the frozen lake. Can't wait to go back and with the snow we got today, we should be set for a while!

also, in other news, we got our christmas tree tonight, or should i say, my christmas tree. the thing is heinous. the trunk is all gnarled and it is missing large patches of branches. that's what you get though when you go on the snowiest night thus far to go pick one. we couldn't really assess the tree's quality until we got it home. it will just have to do though.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


So this will probably be one of the only posts where we talk about the wedding until the actual wedding. wedding talk is annoying to others. So anyways, on Saturday Steve, Kristen and i went out on this snowy day to taste cupcakes (there will be no cake for us). Prior to the tasting i would said that if i were on a desert island with only one food it would be cupcakes. I was convinced that saturday's activites were pretty much a dream come true because i adore them so much--- well i was wrong. We all felt so sick after three tasting appts. that we had to cancel the 4th one. This was predictable i guess. The thought of eating one even today, three days later, is not appealing. although let the record reflect, i would do it. anyways, so we tried them from miel y leche, wuoletts and yum! bakery (above pic from there).

miel y leche chocolate, also ate 5 other kinds.

Wuoletts before and after. i think when we were done here it was kind of a turning point where the stomach ache really hit.
We spent the rest of the afternoon shoveling to work off the 200,000 calories we had just consumed.

Monday, December 03, 2007


Wow, who would have thought that getting chickens and having your entire family stay with you for Thanksgiving would lead to the least amount of posts in a month on McBlog?
Anyways, do you have some time on your hands, care about people who are hungry, and like to learn vocabulary? If so check out the December LINK OF THE MONTH at They will donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program for each word you know. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Chicken update

Well they are all still alive! They appear to be acclimating nicely to their new home. we have them in the garage (with two lights in their lair) to protect them during their first winter from the elements. At first they had a hard time getting along, but appear to have bonded over the cold at night and so the three snuggle together while they sleep. All and all it's been a pretty easy transition. its fun to show them to people and watch them chase each other. Still not tame enough to be held on a regular basis though. They have gotten noticablely bigger in just a week and a half.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

GREEN Thursday

For those of you in the area, Mall of America is having an old electronics drop off starting today until sat. Everything will be recycled. Let's keep that mercury out of the landfills people! here's more info.

UPDATE: The event has been called off due to the unexpected number of items dropped off on Thursday. Rumor has it that cars had to wait in line for 2 hours and caused by traffic congestion. 5000 cars came through and 1 million pounds of electronics collected. wowsers!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Home to roost

We (accompanied by Kristen) drove out to the Anoka Ramsey Farm yesterday and picked up our chickens. So far so good. They were pretty shy and huddled together the first 24 hours. Since then they have been running around and seem to be quite happy. We ended up getting two month old hens because we found out the survival rate is iffy at best (especially in winter) for younger chicks. Also the farm doesn't sex their birds until they get a bit older and we can't have a rooster.

Let me introduce them to you:

The Princess of Wales AKA Lady Diana, a Silver Ameraucana
The famous "Easter Egger" with eggshells in shades of green & blue. Originally a cross-breed of the South American "Araucana" breed and another breed, today the Ameraucanas sold by the commercial hatcheries are more like a "mix" that don't involved any purebreed Araucanas and don't adhere to breed standards. This breed is also very hardy.
Egg Laying: Good (3/wk)
Egg Color: Green/Blue
Egg Size: Medium
Comb Type: Pea Comb
Crested: No
Feathered Feet: No
Number of Toes: 4
Hardy In Winter: Yes
Bears Confinement: Bears confinement well
Especially Docile: Yes
Setter/Broody: No
Personality: Fun

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a Barred Rock
Barred Plymouth Rocks or "Barred Rocks", as they're called, are one of the most popular dual-purpose chickens on small farms today. Their heritage is unclear with reports of different crosses, but what is clear is that they're very friendly, great layers of large brown eggs and able to withstand cold weather quite nicely. Though they tolerate confinement, they're most happy when they get to range freely. All varieties of Plymouth Rock aside from the Barred and White varieties are relatively rare.
Egg Laying: Very Good (4/wk)
Egg Color: Brown
Egg Size: Large
Comb Type: Single Comb
Crested: No
Feathered Feet: No
Number of Toes: 4
Hardy In Winter: Yes
Bears Confinement: Bears confinement well
Especially Docile: Yes
Setter/Broody: Yes
Personality: Smart, plucky and docile

The Duchess of York, a Buff Silkie Bantam
Of all the ornamental chicken breeds, the Silkie Bantam is the most popular and most loved. Can't you tell why? They're the lap dog of the chicken world, complete with hair-like plumage and an incredibly sweet temperament. Unlike lap dogs, though, Silkies don't freak out when guests come over. Silkies were originally bred in China, where they are still kept (and eaten) today. They have black skin and bones and 5 toes instead of the normal 4. In addition, Silkie hens make wonderful mothers and are even known to adopt baby ducks if given the chance!
Egg Laying: Good (3/wk)
Egg Color: Cream or Tinted
Egg Size: Tiny (bantam)
Comb Type: Walnut Comb
Crested: Yes
Feathered Feet: Yes
Number of Toes: 5
Hardy In Winter: Yes
Bears Confinement: Bears confinement well
Especially Docile: Yes
Setter/Broody: Yes
Personality: Sweet, tame, mothering.

I bought the coop off craigslist from a guy in Woodbury. The thing weighs a good 300lbs or more (Thanks Anton for helping me pick it up). It was a rabbit hutch, but with a few alterations it will serve as a perfect chicken coop.

We installed a piece of wood across the whole thing for the birds to roost on (they prefer to sleep there instead of on the ground). For now the coop is in the garage. Once they get a bit older and more tolerant to the cold we will move it outside. We will move them outside in the spring.

The far right side has a separate area for them to use as a nest. They will not begin to lay eggs until they reach 18-20 weeks.

Monday, November 05, 2007


I took the day off work to be home for the new counter top installation. Christina and I researched lots of options to replace the laminate counters in our small kitchen. After several weeks we finally had them put in today. We got Silestone, a man-made solid surface. We also reconfigured the cabinets to make room for a new sink. Unfortunately the farmhouse apron sink we chose has a small crack and we need to replace it before we can install all the plumbing and new faucet. Further annoying is the fact we can't get a replacement until December because the are temporarily out of stock. Here are some before photos to compare to the above after:

The kitchen as it looked when I moved in. Yuck!

A few days ago before I ripped everything out and cut up the sink cabinet.

The installation went super fast. They came beforehand and used a digital camera to measure everything to fit the imperfections in the old kitchen.

Other upgrades? I put in some missing siding under the window trim Christina finished painting yesterday, I took my Jeep in to have a nail removed from a tire and fixed and found out I needed a new catalytic converter, and I got the last signature needed to secure a small animal permit for the CHICKENS! Upgrades!

Thursday, November 01, 2007


our friends (my friend elissa's cousins) at the lostview farm need your help. becca, chris, charis and jay are planning to remodel their single family farm house into a space that is suitable for two families to have their own areas. they moved from the city a few years ago to a farm in WI to create a more sustainable life for themselves. they are planning a green remodel and have entered this contest and need your vote. they will win $5000 towards their project. you will have to register quickly before you can vote, but it is pretty painless.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Muppets take Halloween

above from right counterclockwise: swedish chef, Dr. bunsen honeydew, kermit, beaker, another bunsen, waldorf, animal, piggy, janis.

for you to compare- everyone, except janis and the swedish chef, is pictured.

the group costume was a hit again this year at my friend matt's party. we didn't get quite as many characters as we would have liked, but is still looked good. it would have been nice to have a gonzo or oscar the grouch. As it turned out, two randoms showed up as another dr. bunsen honeydew and beaker. we let them in the picture; the more the merrier.

A photo for our wedding invitation? steve was really in character all night banging his drum sticks, rattling his chain and yelling one to two word phrases at people. as for me, i kept my eyes closed a lot. i didn't really want to go the extra mile though and talk in a man voice all night.

kermit serenading piggy with the rainbow connection song.

long lost siblings!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chickens and pumpkins...

Yes the kid above looks happy. But five minutes after this was taken he was crying. Seems he got a little to close to a rooster and it pecked at him pretty hard. Come to think of it, this photo may have been taken after that incident. Regardless, this all went down when we visited the extensive chicken, duck, and goose facilities of Christina's Chickens in the City teacher on Nicollet Island. This little island, on the Mississippi River between downtown and NE Minneapolis, is like a time capsule and all the houses are on the National Registry. The tour of the coop was the second and final part of the class Christina took to prepare for getting our hens.

More chickens.

Here is the side of the hen house, taken from their garden.

Thanks to Kelsey and Aaron's foresight my skull pumpkin turned out pretty great. They had a pumpkin carving party Saturday and had all the tools including templates to do it right. The skull was three out of four pumpkins on the challenge meter. It was super fun!

Here is the little animal Christina and Kristen made based on Martha Stewart's advice. Can you guess what it is?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cupcake and pumpkin heads

just had to post this picture of my friend Jennifer's twins, Anneke and Rowan, wearing the hats that i knit them. they look very toasty.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Operation Redecoration

these pictures are a bit belated (although I can imagine no one has been holding their breath for them), but they represent untold hours of reclaiming furniture, fixing plaster, painting, decorating, etc. We aren't totally done yet, but you get the gist of it. for those of you who haven't been over in a while you will probably not recognize a single piece of furniture (ok, maybe one) it's all in a better place now at ARC.

This is Steve's friend Pat's childhood dresser. we sawed off all decorative, curvey wood pieces to make it look at bit more modern, also painted it and installed new hardware. We decided to leave the incredible hulk contact paper in the drawers. kind of wish we had a before picture. oh well.
you got a glimpse of this in the dinner picture, but here's the whole room. it is nice to have it all done and be able to relax after work at night. now on to work on the upstairs.... urgh.

ps. if it isn't evident, i love halloween decorations!!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The government and the environment

I forgot to post on Monday about the importance of BLOG ACTION DAY. Basically it was organized and backed by the UN to have bloggers post about ways to live a more environmentally friendly and sustainable life. You don't have to build a rain barrel or get chickens to make a a difference. Just swap out a couple of energy guzzling incandescent light bulbs and replace them with compact fluorescent (CFL) ones. Or, save water by turning off your faucet while you brush your teeth.

While I have you thinking about your stance on the environment and ability to change now might be a good time to see what '08 presidential candidate is the best fit for your views. I was pretty surprised by my results when I took this eleven question quiz. The original MPR quiz is not as user friendly, but it has links.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chicago photo journal

Here are a few of my pictures from the botanical garden, the ball park, millenium park and the zoo.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

We're Engaged!

I asked Christina to marry me on Thursday and she said yes!

We had planned a trip to Chicago months ago on account of a sweet airfare deal and the need for a vacation. Little did Tina know I was also planning to propose. We were picked up at O'Hare Wednesday night by my friend Matt. Thursday morning we got a behind the scenes tour of US Cellular Stadium from Matt, since he works for the White Sox.

After leaving the ballpark we caught a Metra train to the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. It was chilly and a bit windy, but the rain held off and the sun came out throughout our visit. The garden is amazing. After meandering for over a couple of hours we came into the Circle Garden. It contained several varieties of Christina's favorite flower the Zinnia. Because of a gardener's not-so-stellar timing I made sure we snuck into one of the adjoining side enclosures. Without explaining the entire scene let me say this-- I kneeled to which Christina thought I A) fell down or B) was kidding. Also she was so surprised that I had to ask for her to answer my question. After catching the Metra train back to Chicago we took in Millenium Park and the Art Institute, then met a bunch of friends for dinner. It was a wonderful day.

> Later this week Christina will no doubt post several photos taken at the garden.