Category Archives: Domesticate Me

Farmbox Direct: More Veggies, Please!

Farmbox Direct

A couple of weeks ago Farmbox Direct emailed me to see if I would be interested in hosting a giveaway to my (mostly) Nashville readers because they were about to launch free shipping in our area. Farmbox Direct delivers a box of local natural and organic produce to your doorstep. Ashley Tyrner is the founder of the company and a single mom that knows how time consuming it can be to make sure your family is eating the best fruits and veggies available.

True story: I wondered if they had actually read my blog because we eat lots of McDonald’s (examples: here, here, and here) and I didn’t know if I was actually a great choice for branding because french fries.

But a lot of what attracts me to fast food is the convenience so I thought maybe Farmbox Direct would be a mashup of convenience and health that might actually work for me. So I ordered a $40 Medium Box of Natural Fruits and Vegetables (See what’s in the All Natural Medium Box this week!)

They give you a list of what to expect in the box and you can make edits and swap out items you don’t like for ones you do. I ended up taking the radishes off of my list because what are they and chose more of something else (kiwis, I think). Read more about how the whole thing works here.

Last Thursday this showed up on our doorstep:

Displaying 20150702_172558.jpg

This is probably the amount of vegetables most people eat in a day, but for us this lasted us perfectly over the week. Otis loved all of the fruit, and Mark was sure the lettuce would be limp and lifeless but the salad we made was crisp and delicious. I used this recipe to make Smashed Red Potatoes. I have no clue how I’m going to use celery. They probably won’t make it to the next box.

Yes, I said ‘next box.’

I am a working mom that isn’t great at getting herself to a grocery store. It was really nice to take most of the decision making out of the equation and have a box magically appear filled with things that you aren’t embarrassed to feed your family.

And, unlike the CSA, I get to say, “Yeah, we aren’t eating brussel sprouts. You can keep those.” Because as much as I would love for us to become leafy green aficionados I also want to actually eat things that I buy because money, unlike apples, does not grow on trees. (Apples do grow on trees, right?)

Farmbox Direct is also a no commitment kind of thing. Technically, my next box is shipping next week, but if I realize our schedule is full and we won’t be home much I can cancel it or turn it into an all fruit box instead of a fruits and veggies box. For someone that enjoys the freedom of changing her mind, this is very nice.

Fun bonus: The packaging included 3 bags of water that are perfect for using in our cooler for camping trips. I kind of geeked out over them #noshame

Like I said, they are now SHIPPING FOR FREE in Nashville. And that’s kind of awesome. Like I also said, they are giving away one box of fruits and veggies to one of you so that you can get hooked try their lovely service out.

How to Enter to Win a Box of Fruits & Veggies from Farmbox Direct:
1) First, go like Farmbox Direct on Facebook and/or follow them on Instagram. (If you win they’d love for you to share a pic of your goodies and tag them in it!)

2) Second, let me know in the comments on this post how you get your veggies (do you garden? farmer’s markets? CSA? regular grocery store?). Extra imaginary points if you leave a link for a celery recipe I might like.

3) Third, do all of this before noon central time on July 10th. I’ll announce the winner on Monday, July 13th!

How to Bake a Pizza with a Broken Oven


Last spring I broke our oven. Yes. I broke it. I used it for something (first mistake), left it on ALL NIGHT LONG, was woken up by the smoke alarm at 2 in the morning, turn oven off, and it’s never worked correctly since. I think the thermostat went kaput (because that’s what happens when an oven is left on for 14 hours) so it would heat up fine, but you couldn’t tell it to warm up to 350 degrees and it stop. Nope, our oven was like, “Please. You’re an idiot and ruined your only tool for controlling me. I’m gonna just keep getting hotter and hotter and hotter. And you can’t do anything about it. Muahahahaha!”

This is why I hate cooking. Even my oven hates me.
beautiful kitchen

The oven that hates me.

Anyways, my oven’s hate didn’t stop my family from needing food. pizza in package

The food my family needed.

So I thought this would be a great time to do a little kitchen tutorial in case you find yourself in the predicament of needing to feed your family a nutritious meal (store brand pizza!) with appliances that hate you (boo hiss, oven).

Step 1 – Get your equipment
For most any pizza you need a pan. Or something metal-ish to put the pizza on. Unless you aren’t supposed to put metal in ovens… or is that microwaves? Just do what you probably already do.

Here’s our pizza pan. Like cast iron pieces, I find that not washing things that go in the oven to be helpful because of seasoning and things like that. Ok. Fine. I just don’t wash our pizza pan every time. Sue me.

pizza pan

And now a gratuitous food shot for the foodies in the crowd (looking at you, Betty Becca and A la Mode).


Step 2 – Get your bake on
This is where it took some trial and error, but we finally perfected it. Since our oven just got hotter and hotter without any limits it required me to remember lots of math and equations about parabolas and how high field goal kickers kicked things to figure out how to actually bake the pizza. In the end it turned out that you let the oven go on with its bad self for 8 minutes (set a timer), then you turn off the oven for 5 minutes (set a timer), turn it back on for another 5 minutes (SET THE TIMER, MARIE), and then take the pizza out.

During those 18 minutes you will get to experience this range of toddler emotions:

happy kid

Yay! I love being mommy’s helper.

unhappy kid

What do you mean I can’t get in the oven? Dictator.

mind numb

Caillou. Caillou. Caillou. 


But I want to help you load the dishwasher! But I only want to touch the knives.

give in

I knew she’d give in. She always gives in. Muahahaha.

Step 3 – Enjoy pizza
After all of the blood, sweat, and fake 3-year old tears you’ll get to indulge in this:

cooked pizza

Delicious, right? Perfectly cooked even if your oven and your child are out to stop all of your attempts at being a good mother. Muhahahaha, Beaches.

eating baby
Yeah, whatever, Mom. Get me a drink, would ya?

Fun, miraculous, God-sized update! Our oven works. And we have no clue why. None. We were going to just live like this, but all of a sudden the red, thermostat light thing went off and it seems like it’s getting to the set temperature. Miracles will never cease!

Poor Mom Wisdom: Work with what you got, and what you got will work out.

A home

We have a home. Like, we moved into an actual house. With walls and everything. Oh, and a kitchen! THAT I USED. That’s right. I prepped two frozen meals for the week. Because that is how Marie-with-a-house rolls.

You guys. This is huge.

I know it isn’t like we won an Oscar, but I really do need to take the time to thank Tim Earls the most amazing realtor on earth and Kimberly Ripmaster the most amazing lending officer on earth.

Our home ownership story was not an easy one. The first house we put an offer on was refused because the bank decided to go ahead and foreclose it. We were outbid on the second house we put an offer on (and we even went over asking price!). And then we put an offer on the third house. On our home.

It took probably 2 months from the offer being accepted to moving in. It seemed like every week we’d get something that should have been bad news and brought us down. And every time either one of us (Mark or I) wanted to get down because we weren’t in our house we’d remind each other about the team that was on our side.

Tim was beyond patient. He took us to see a bajillion houses. Trust me. I counted. He let us look around, take our time, and would point out things we would never think about. Something I’ve heard a couple of times from friends is that their realtor seemed hesitant to put in lower offers. Maybe they didn’t want to look stupid? I don’t really know. But Tim was always willing to help us come up with a number that felt like a fair price to start the conversation with which is awesome. It also allowed us to get an AMAZING deal on our house.

Most importantly, he was exceptional about keeping us in the loop about what was going on. He answered any questions we had so quickly that I honest to goodness thought we were the only buyers he was working with. Which is impossible because he’s been #1 with his company since 2009. We never once thought Tim had forgotten about us or put our home buying needs on the back burner.

Kimberly was who I lovingly called our “mortgage lady”. Did you know that you can get girl crushes on your mortgage lady? You can. She was on top of everything. She had everything done with a quickness. The only reason that it took so long for us to close was because the seller’s side would literally take a week and a half to respond to EVERYTHING. She is now with SWBC  Mortgage and said that their closings average 12 days. TWELVE DAYS. Insanity.

Mark and I can’t gush enough about this team. There is so much natural stress and frustration that comes from buying a house and there is no better feeling than trusting the people that are in your corner. Basically, if you’re in Middle Tennessee and looking for a realtor that you can trust then Tim Earls is your man.

With that said, I’m off to home owner mecca…Pinterest!

Hey, Mark! Where’s the Oven?

Also known as,  A Lesson in ‘No, thanks’.

There is another sweet older lady that lives downstairs. Not the crazy one with lipstick on her teeth, but a sweet one that brings toys for Otis (she used to watch kids) and gave us a loaf of bread at Christmas.

That loaf of bread happend to be Amish Friendship Bread. It was delicious. Well, last week she came upstairs to give us a bag of blocks and a blanket and she asked about the bread.

Me: It was wonderful!
Mark: I didn’t get any…
Me: Ya snooze, ya lose…
Neighbor Lady: Would you like your own starter? You can make some for yourself…
Inside my head: Oh dear. I don’t even know where our oven is…
Me: Um, duh! I love baking! You do bake it… right?
Neighbor Lady: Yes, you’ll have to bake it by Saturday. That’s Day 10. You just add some basic ingredients…
Inside my head and totally not listening to Neighbor Lady: Crapcrapcrap. Ingredients? I don’t have ingredients! I wonder if there are microwave directions…
Me: Yeah, I think we have all of that! Yeah, this will be great!
Neighbor Lady: Great! I’ll go get the starter for you.

Crap. “No, thanks! I don’t know where the oven is” would have been a much better answer, but no. I had to offer myself up to the Amish Friendship Bread altar.

Mark: You’re going to bake?
Me: Duh.
Mark: …

He don’t know me.

Neighbor Lady: Here’s the starter (hands me a ziplock bag of liquid) and the recipe. And don’t worry, if you lose the starter the recipe for it is on the second page.
Inside my head: Lose the starter? It can run away? Is it not dead yet? Crapcrapcrap.
Me: Thanks! I can’t wait until Saturday! Or should I say Baker Day! Ha!

Oh dear.

It was a Wednesday night. I had 2 days until B-day. Until Saturday the only thing I had to do was “Mush the bag”. Easy enough, right?

Mark: Did you mush your bag today?
Me: Crap.
Mark: Are you sure you want to do this? We can give it to my mom…

Baker Day finally got here and I realized it was do or die. I mushed my bag and started reading the directions. For the first time. I read the directions (past “Mush the bag”) FOR THE FIRST TIME.

Me: Do we have flour?
Mark: I think so.
Me: Salt?
Mark: Yes.
Me: Eggs?
Mark: Ummm… yeah. We have some…I think.
Me: Whatever it probably isn’t important.

So I got started. Here’s the thing, the only motivation that I had to make this bread was to get it off of my counter. I thought, “I’ll make it, be done and move on with life”.

But that’s not how Amish Friendship Bread works.

The very first thing you do with Amish Friendship Bread is make 4 more starters. FOUR MORE STARTERS, PEOPLE.  I went from having one bag of liquid bread to having four. If I read the directions all the way through I might have been able to stop it, but psh. Reading directions is for wusses.

After I scooped out the 4 starters, it was time to make the actual bread.

Me: Oh, crap. This thing needs instant vanilla pudding.
Mark: We have some!
Me: No, we have instant lemon pudding. And we have cook & serve chocolate pudding. Where did we get all of this pudding?

After a lengthy discussion about the difference between instant and cook & serve and whether we’d rather eat lemon Amish Bread or chocolate Amish Bread we decided to go with cook & seve chocolate pudding.

At this point Mark decided to tag team with me. I had most of the ingredients out and ready to go, but I guess I sounded like I was having so much fun that he just needed to get in on the action.

Mark: Cinnamon? Do you think we should put it in there?
Me: Why not?
Mark: Cinnamon and chocolate?
Me: You’re right. Take it out.

Mark: We only have 2 eggs. It wants 3.
Me: Uh oh.
Mark: Eh, they’re large eggs.
Me: Make it work.

By the end of it all we had taken out the cinnamon, replaced instant vanilla pudding with cook & serve chocolate pudding and used 2 (large) eggs instead of 3. Oh, and since we don’t have loaf pans we put them in a large rectangle pan and a circle pan. Needless to say, before we put the bread in the oven we said a prayer. Or two.

And that’s why, as we search for a house, I consider a kitchen completely optional.

Also, the Amish Friendship BrownieBread  was actually kind of awesome. In the name of Jesus.


Domesticate Me: Now with Bonus Baby!

Domesticate Me is baaack!

I know you’ve missed it.

But it’s back and, like everything else on this blog, babier than ever.

Here’s my question: Should you discipline babies? Specifically, 7 month old babies? That are really cute? And named Otis?

Yeah. I didn’t think so either.

The video is below. And I would just like to add that Otis has been like this from pre day one. The little guy likes things a certain way and he will throw a fit if he doesn’t get it. When I was in labor and our heart rates were being monitored Little Man would FREAK OUT when I moved or turned over. Nurses would come flying in thinking that something horrible was going on because his heart rate would drop out of no where. No, no. Just a very particular baby who likes things a certain way.

Adolescence is going to be awesome.

Anyways, here’s the video… enjoy AND let me know how soon your babies got whoopins so I can tell Mark when he’s allowed to start swatting. Because let’s be real. We ALL know I’m not going to do it.


Also, my fellow Tartar Saucer, Betty Becca, had a fun post pointing out the difference between domestic and domesticate… heh. She didn’t know about my Domesticate Me Show (if Snookie can have a show then so can I) which made me love it (and her) even more. Also, I think my skills at home are much closer to taming a wild beast than actually being artful in the home. So I vote that it’s still appropriate.

More Domesticate Me episodes can be seen here:
Saran Wrap
Wilderness Recipes

Domesticate Me: We’re Knitting! (and a contest)

When Mark’s mom asked if I would want to make a scarf I thought, “Oh my goodness. She’s been reading the wrong blog. She thinks I know how to knit! I’m going to break her heart!”

But her heart wasn’t broken because she’d already caught on to my domestic… disability. She realized all things crafty do not come naturally for me, so she helped me out by introducing me to this knitting circle/hoop/wheel/loom thing. And it’s, like, this magical device that allows people, like me, to feel like one of those uber-cool crafty people without necessarily developing the mad skillz of the uber-cool crafty people. The perfect activity, no?

Anyways, we decided to combine our craft (the scarf on the knitting loom) with the blog (what you’re reading now) and bring out the ultimate in Domesticate Me video footage… Marie watching someone (her mother-in-law) knit. Awesome cool, right?

*So I forgot to clip the beginning and end of the video to avoid you guys seeing the random chatter. I’m not going to go back and do it because me and this video have been tangoing for quite some time and I’m tired and you’ll just have to witness my uncomfortableness of talking while Mark and his dad are in the other room. Also, I’m sorry for that nervous giggle thing I keep doing. The whole time I’m thinking, “I have a guest on Domesticate Me! A guest! Oprah has guests! I am Oprah!” And anytime you think you’re Oprah you giggle. It’s a law of physics.

But, wait! There’s more!

A contest! You could win a scarf handcrafted by yours truly! I don’t have a picture of it because, well, I haven’t made it yet. But I do know that it will be red and black because that’s the yarn that I had left over (yes, you’re getting a scarf made by a knitting newb with left over yarn… trust me, it’s practically Dior).

So here are The Rules:

1) Drop a comment letting me know what the coolest thing you’ve ever created is. The ability and desire to create is one of my favorite qualities of God and I think it often gets looked over by the church, so let’s celebrate this wonderful and spiritual part of ourselves.

2) Drop this comment before I get back to work on Monday (so before 7:30 am CST, 1/11/10) .

3) One comment = one entry

4) Don’t bother entering if you’re related to me because I’ve either made you a scarf already OR plan on making you one before the end of the year. So I’d hate for you to ruin your birthday/Christmas/just because surprise.

5) Get an extra entry if you can identify the most embarrassing point, for me, in this video. Heh.

So that’s it. I hope you enjoyed the video and my lovely mother-in-love, Connie, with her mad crafting skillz! And go here if you want more info on how to do this awesome and EASY craft.

(Comment or I will think you don’t want my scarf and I will cry. Ask Mark. I’m like a faucet. Turn it on. Turn it off.)

Domesticate Me: Recipes for the wilderness

I’ve been swamped getting ready for Nashville Marriage Studio’s debut at a bridal show.  Yeah.  This is going to be a great bridal show, and I’m excited to be a part of it.  However, I’m not good at this stuff and I’ve been stressed out and I’m not sure that anyone should really blame Mark if he kills me in his sleep.  Right now, I would kill me in my sleep.  I’m that annoying when I’m stressed out.

Despite all of this, I hate leaving all 3 of you (Secret Agent CT, my mom, and my mom-in-love) hanging when it comes to blogging entertainment.

So, here’s my question:  Does anyone have any recipes or food ideas for when Mark goes out on rock climbing trips?  Stuff that’s easy and would be appealing even when it’s like a million degrees outside?  Any of you white people have any recipes for trail mix*?  I’d appreciate it.

*Yes, I did call some of you “white people”.  Because, well, you’re white.  And white people have recipes for everything.

And, yes, I did ask for a recipe for trail mix.  I asked for a recipe for mixing pretzels and M&M’s.  Someone please help me.

Domesticate Me: Shopping

I wear contacts.  I love my contacts because for most of my waking hours I believe that there is nothing wrong with my eyes and that I have naturally perfect vision.  The same way I have naturally perfect teeth

The contacts do such a great job of convincing me that my vision is perfect that I forget I wear them.  This is great except for the fact that sometimes remembering that I wear contacts would be a good thing.  Like when I’m at the store.  And I need to buy contact solution.  For the contacts that I never remember I wear.

It never fails.  I put my contacts in and use a bottle of contact solution that wheezes when I squeeze it because it is so empty.  I think, “Remember to buy contact solution when you go to the store”.  I go to the store and the only thing I remember to do is pick up Doritos and to sneak a peek at the latest US Weekly. 

And then I return home to an empty bottle of contact solution.  Every. single. time.

I assumed that short of vision correcting surgery this would be something I would suffer with  forever.  Except I didn’t know that I’d meet Alice.  Alice Dot Com.

So, this Domesticate Me video is actually ME giving YOU advice.  Because I believe in returning favors.  You’re welcome.

Internet References:  Well, it’s pretty much just where you can buy pretty much any household good for VERY competitive prices and free shipping.  I’m not sure if this deal can get any better.  I really don’t.

Domesticate Me: The Dishes

I was going to write about my experience with The Shred, but my whole body is aching.  Even my fingers.  So that will have to wait, and we’re just going to move right on to a Domesticate Me video.  Because you love them so.  Right? 

Of course you do.

How do you do dishes when you don’t have a dishwasher?  The last time I was in this predicament was when I lived in a dorm and all I had to do was eat the same meal (microwavable mac ‘n cheese) out of the same bowl every. single. day.  I don’t think that plan will fly anymore.

And my second question, do you think there is a way to train cats to do dishes? 

Let me know your thoughts.

Internet References:  Elisa Doucette from Ophelia’s Webb reminded me of this troubling form of water torture.  Thanks so much!  And HUGE sorries if I didn’t say your name correctly.  Need to start making more Internet friends with Kim’s and Jill’s.  Names I can’t screw up.

Oh, and there is a point where I say “don’t hate me” because I moved from my dad’s place to my husband’s place.  I don’t mean that in a “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful”, I mean it in a “some people are passionately opposed to living with your parents after you’re an “adult” and don’t hate me because I did.  And liked it” kind of way.  That is all.