Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Some Homemade For The Holidays

Forgive me for the TERRIBLE blurry pictures (taken in dim light, on a dark carpet, with a camera phone...can it get any worse??). Our camera broke and blogging is not easy...nor is it much fun...when you don't have a camera.

Anyway...Some members of our family may or may not be getting these aprons I made for Christmas this year. I'm pretty sure those members of our family don't check the blog very often, so I think we're safe posting them here...but just in case... don't squint too hard to try to read the to/from tag.

Don't worry Brett... you are not getting an apron for Christmas. Your present is very masculine :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

I Love These!

Don't we all preface our gifts with some sort of disclaimer? I know I do!

You can print these out here from one of my favorite creative blogs!

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's That Time Again

Brendon took his mom to the White House Christmas party last night. She was completely thrilled!

I didn't get many details about the event out of Brendon (granted he was exhausted because he had to go back to work afterwards), but Jeri had plenty to say about the party. An avid people watcher, she was surprised that her attention was captured more by the decor (her second love) and she said she just sat around trying to figure out how she could recreate all of it in her home.

Jeri shares my feelings in that there is just something magical about being just don't want to leave when the party is over. She has no recollection of what she said when she shook the hand of the President - which I can understand because I was totally "starstruck" last year when I took my picture with him. He is absolutely charming!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Please Note...

In a few days we are temporarily taking our blog private (subscribers only).

We hope that if you are a current fan of our family blog that you will please send me an email to to be added to the subscriber's list.

We don't want to lose any of you readers ... even if we don't even know who you are ...if you read our blog and would like to continue to do so don't hesitate to email me.

~Taryn & Brendon

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Oh Yummy!

Just when I think I've risen above my shopping urges and committed to being frugal, Anthropologie mails me a new catalog...and it has this super-duper-cute-coat-i'm-in-love-with inside!


Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave

This past Saturday was the annual White House open house to show off all the wonderful holiday decor in the East Wing.
Here we are in front of the HUGE Christmas tree in the blue room. This year the theme was "Our National Parks" the ornaments on the tree were all representative of a national park. The ornaments were sent to each park and then local artist decorated each ornament and sent them back. My favorite was Lady Liberty...although it was hard to get a good picture of it.
They have such great decor ideas. They used lots of gold this you can see from the mantel in the Red Room.
We took our friends Blake and Kayla along. Here's the annual White House gingerbread house. This year it was made out of all gingerbread and covered in white chocolate. Yum! You could actually smell the chocolate when you were near it. We debated what happens to it you think someone eats it? I would like to volunteer to be that someone!

Afterwards we had lunch at one of my favorite DC restaurants...Old Ebbitt Grill.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Holiday Entertainment

Check out this website for a cute holiday advent calendar you can make from regular old white paper:

Laugh yourself silly at this website:

...or venture here to make a gingerbread house without all the calories (this one has been keeping me occupied for the last hour):

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What's A Girl To Do?

If you wondered why there has been a shortage of creative projects on here lately, it's because my cheapo sewing machine up and kicked the bucket on me :( It was a sad day to hear that it's such a piece of junk that it's not even worth fixing. Thankfully Christmas is around the corner to save me, and my parents have graciously offered to pay a certain amount toward a new machine. So my amazingly-talented-at-comparison-shopping husband went with me to the Pfaff dealer on Saturday to test drive new machines.

I went in dead set on not being swayed by their fancy pants machines and bells a whistles...but swayed I was. Now I am torn trying to decide what I want. Here are the current contestants (keep in mind I haven't even checked out other brands yet...sure to be more confusion and paralyzing ahead):

First up...the Pfaff Classic Style Fashion 2023. This is what I went in looking for. A great, heavy duty, simple machine that should last me nearly a lifetime. My favorite feature is the built in walking foot...which means the fabric will always feed through evenly. It's a lot more than I ever dreamed of spending on a sewing machine, but I guess I learned my lesson buying my first machine from Target.

Secondly we have the Pfaff Creative 2124..."pure embroidery pleasure" the brochure boasts. The owner of the store (I know...I's obvious what his motivation is) says if I'm going to get the sewing machine...I might as well spend $500 more to go to the bottom rung embroidery machine. It has a stronger motor...can do everything the sewing machine it can embroider. Visions of monogramming napkins, sheets, and towels were immediately dancing in my head. Oh all the cute baby clothes and baby blankets I could make with this machine. All the great gifts I could make for people with their initials embroidered, or special dates and names. And if this machine is going to last me a lifetime what's $500 amortized over a lifetime?? Then I remember "oh wait...I didn't come in here looking for an embroidery machine...I only need a sewing machine". Back and forth...every second I change my mind as to whether it's worth it.

Then...(this is where Brendon really thinks I'm a sucker for a sales pitch)... they tell me they have this machine, the Pfaff 2140, used for only $1, usually retails at around $8,000. What a bargain! I'm a sucker for a bargain! (And a sales pitch). This machine is the Rolls Royce of embroidery machines. And take a look at all those stitches on the lid! There are hundreds of them. This is only $200 more than the bottom rung embroidery doesn't it make sense to pay the extra little bit of money to go up (are you sensing a pattern here)?

What would you do if it were you?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving vacation. It was kind of nice to not travel, and get in some R&R! Brendon's brother Clayton came to visit us from Fort Knox in Kentucky and it was wonderful to have him here. Brooke (one of my college BFF's) and her husband CB were here as well because CB is from it was great to see them!

Brooke, Taryn, & Kayla enjoying 'Two Amys' pizza...Brooke's fav place to eat.

Of course we took Brooke and CB on a White House tour while they were here. Here we are on T-day playing a new dice game we learned called "Greed". I must be pretty greedy, because I lost every time!...But here is me being greedy and getting away with it. Can you tell I had a good roll? :)CB's mom invited us to her home for a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. It was so wonderful.Here's Clayton showing us how big of an eater he is :)And here are all the leftovers they sent us home with. Holy moly! We've been eating leftovers every meal for days now!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fall Frolick

Sunday after church we took a trip up to Shenandoah Park to see the Fall leaves. Thankfully they held on much later than "season-ly normal" this year because we didn't have a chance to get around to it before this weekend. They were still gorgeous, albeit a little more sparse than they probably were a week or two ago.

We stopped by "Little Washington" on the way there. Such a cute little town. We dreamed about being so rich one day that we could easily rationalize the exorbitant rates to stay and dine at the Inn at Little Washington.

We also stopped by one of the numerous apple farms along the way to grab a bag of delicious fresh from the tree apples.

Once we got to camp we enjoyed our hobo dinners which Blake lovingly called "cigarette steak" and finished things off with yummy s'mores.
You can't really tell because my camera is far from fancy and amazing...but the leaves were still quite beautiful behind us!

Our fellow travel companions, Kayla and Blake
The wood foragers looking very official. Actually I think I gathered the most wood thank-you-very-much.
What a beautiful roaring fire! Good thing...because it was CHILLY as evident by my red nose.Kayla and Blake dueled with flaming swords...we had to pull them off each other.

Kayla (much to the boys' chagrin) had tons of fun experimenting with "gourmet" campfire recipes. Here she is delighted with her creation of an M&M stuffed marshmallow. Ha ha.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I've been tagged by my brother-in-law Brett:
A. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning.
B. Each player lists 6 facts/habits about themselves.
C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. I brush my teeth with hot water. I don't really know why. But I do. And I've been told this is weird.

2. I have a "happy food dance" I do whenever I'm eating...but especially if I'm eating something delicious. I just kind of bounce up and down slightly in my chair and move side to side. I don't realize I'm doing it...I'm just so happy to be eating.

3. I think I can make anything I see. I've done it for as long as I can remember. I'll see a dress in a store and I'll draw it and put it in my notebook as if I'm going to make it someday. Sometimes I actually do make the things I see and succeed. But often, they are complete failures. Like the time I decided I wanted my pink BCBG pumps to be tan BCBG pumps. I bought spray paint and nude nail polish...tried everything. It worked...until I wore them out the first time and they started peeling. I get this trait from my mom - who tells the story of how when she was a kid she painted her bike with tempera paints and the first time it rained it washed away and she was so embarassed as she rode home on her bike dripping with paint.

4. I hate gum. Hate it. It disgusts me. I hate to see people chew it...cannot STAND when people put it on their plate at the table...I can't even handle hearing the word without getting grossed out.

5. I would much rather read a book than watch tv. I don't even really like tv, with the exception of a few sitcoms. I hate reality shows! But I love books. I could read all day and all night.

6. The Kenny Chesney song "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" was written for me. Ok, not really...but it might as well have been. Fast shiny cars do nothing for me...but four wheel drive pick up trucks and anything made by John Deere or Case International makes me swoon. Among my skills I include the ability to drive a huge 50 foot tractor pulling a huge 50 foot landplane behind it.

I tag:
1. Colleen Speer (because it will finally force her to post something!)
2. Cody Leishman
3. Holly Nelson
4. Jamie Adcox
5. Melissa Stevenson (blog something new for heaven's sake!)
6. Jolanda Rae

Monday, November 12, 2007

Eighteen Months

Happy 1 1/2 year anniversary Bren. Love you most!

Getting Cuter Every Day

As the swelling and puffiness goes down Baby Gracie is getting pretty darn cute...
(Grandma, Rylee & Gracie)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Introducing Gracie McKee Leishman

9 pounds 1 ounce...19.5 inches...7:31 am...November 8, 2007


Last night I flew into Phoenix and surprised my brother and sister in law. My mom knew I was coming (she is also visiting them) so she snuck away to pick me up. They were shocked when I showed up with Mom.

Trina gave birth to baby Gracie today so we went to visit her with the kiddos in the hospital, then we took them back home and have been entertaining them all day.

Tonight I am watching Rylee (4) and Cole (2) while Justin is at the hopsital with Trina. If you haven't played with a 4 year old and 2 year old in a while...let me tell you you are missing out.

After I told them "horsey" was too tired to let them ride me around the house any longer Rylee insisted we play 'duck duck goose'. Duck duck goose is quite amusing with a 4 year old that doesn't quite understand the rules of the game, and a 2 year old who has no idea what he's doing. Cole plopped one "Duck" on my head and then ran around screaming like a crazy person.

Then we played hide and go seek. I 'seeked' first and did the obligatory "where are you...I can't find you" for about 5 minutes before I found them in their painfully obvious spots that only a 2 and 4 year old can think are hidden. When it was my turn to hide I tried to find a place that would be easy for them to find me so I jumped on top of the top bunk. Surprisingly they didn't find me for a while and went outside of the bedroom to look for me. I heard them look around downstairs and they finally came back upstairs to the bedroom and Rylee said "Where is her, Cole?" and Cole said "Her's gone". Rylee said back to him, "Yep, her's gone" and Cole made a face like he was going to cry and said, "Sad!" Ha ha! Coming from a 2 year old it was hilarious. I guess maybe you had to be there.

Aunt Taryn got ahold of Cole's hair...but his faux hawk only lasted a few minutes before he ruined it rough-housing :(

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Whew...Glad That's Over

Brendon and Nate both finished taking their GMAT tests. They both did exceptionally well! We are so proud of and thrilled for both of them. Yay for Brendon and Nate!!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Halloween Treat...Colleen!

One of my bff's from my hometown drove down from Penn State last night to spend the evening with me. We haven't been able to coordinate our schedules for a visit since our weddings a year and a half this was a much anticipated visit! We spent the night eating Thai food, looking for cute trick or treaters, and catching up on the hometown gossip. What a successful night! We are trying to lure her and her husband back soon to visit again.

Thank you for coming Colleenie Weenie!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

For The Wee Ones

I finally finished Rylee's dress. I had put it away for a while because I ran out of fabric. I think it turned out pretty well considering I didn't use a pattern. Maybe I'll be regretting that come fitting time if it's totally wonky, though.
Here is the baby Gracie's dress and Rylee's dress. And of course I had to make a matching purse. And you can't really tell but the round things are fabric flowers...for who knows what...maybe sew them onto flip flops??
And I didn't want Cole to get jealous of the I made him this reversible superhero cape.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Another Weekend Come And Gone

Wow the weekends sure fly by!

This weekend I finally got around to making our house ready for fall. Out with the light summer with the thick down comforter. Out with the open toed shoes and flip with the boots and uggs. I also dusted and re-organized some shelves that hadn't been touched in over a year. It's about time!

Brendon studied hard (he's taking the GMAT very soon) all day Saturday...and to reward ourselves we gussied ourselves up and went to a steak dinner at Ruth's Chris. I think the waitress was kind of dissapointed because we stuck to somewhat frugal items, and I had a $25 off coupon. :)

I had not sewed/crafted in at least a week because of B being sick...and real estate after Sunday evening I had a few quiet hours to watch a "Heroes Season 1" marathon on tv (I've always wanted to get into that convenient there was a marathon on)...and I worked on Rylee's dress while I watched. Now I just have to make a few finishing touches on the dress...add the buttons, etc. I hope hope hope that it actually fits.

Sorry this post is so boring. life is boring sometimes :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

When You Have a Gratitude Attitude...

When we were young my mom had these tapes - the "Brite Tapes" (OH MY GOSH...I found them online). They were supposed to be punishment when we did something wrong. I think Cody had to listen to the "work" one a lot - ha ha. I remember the "gratitude" one the most...maybe that says something about my disposition as a child. They were never really a punishment for me. I loved listening to the catchy tunes and coloring in the was my idea of a good time. I am chock full of "gratitude attitude". I am especially grateful for our health. Brendon was very sick this past week. One night while he was getting water in the middle of the night he passed out and I woke up to the sound of breaking lamps, dropping glasses, falling guitar, and dropping books and candles. When I came out to see what was going on I found him unconscious and I was quite scared. He woke up after about a minute and the story ends well, but I laid in bed the rest of the night thinking how quickly things could go wrong in life and how very much I love my husband and don't want to go through life without him. We really take our healthy bodies for granted until we get sick. It makes you think "Wow, I'm really glad I don't feel like this all the time". So...that's my rant and rave for today...I am so grateful for my health (and for my husband's health).

Monday, October 22, 2007

GHS Homecoming

Yay Tiff! You look great. Nice zebra dress you've got there! :)