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Friday, December 31, 2010


It's so hard for me to believe that 2010 is coming to an end.

It's been quite a year for us. It's been...
full of change,
filled with uncertainty,
loaded with new blessings,
trying at times,
and in the end, we can look back and say it truly has been a great year!

To summarize our year:
*I went skiing for the 1st time when we travelled with Uncle Sam, Aunt Lisa & family to Copper Mountain, Colorado. It was an awesome experience & thankfully we all survived with no injuries! I can cross snow-skiing off of my bucket list.

*We put our house in Durham up for sale in early February. We feel blessed that we finally sold it in July. The waiting, and ups & downs tested our patience, our faith, and left us questioning our future.

*I graduated from Duke in May with my Master's of Science in Nursing Education. Now, I'm Sarah Tarr, RN, MSN, OCN!

*Chris graduated from UNC the following weekend with his PhD in Organic Chemistry. He's now, Dr. James Christopher Tarr!!!

*We made 2 quick trips to Nashville in the spring searching for places to live in Nashville. With the help of Craigslist, we later found our tiny little Nashville home!

*In July, we loaded up 3 cars & trucks + 1 very large moving truck and headed 8 hours west to our new home city of Nashville.

*On July 30th, we celebrated 5 wonderful year of marriage!

*Chris & I both started our new jobs in August. Chris as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Organic Chemistry at Vanderbilt & me as Full-time Adjunct Faculty in the School of Nursing at Belmont University. We both love our jobs!

*Sadly, we lost Chris' grandpa, Pa Tarr, in August. He was a wonderful man and is, and will continue to be, missed greatly by us all.

*We took a quick weekend trip to St. Louis. I crossed a visit to another baseball stadium off of my bucket list.

*I took a job as an author for a chapter of a McGraw-Hill Medical-Surgical Nursing textbook.

*For the 1st time since graduating from college & being married, we had the opportunity to spend almost two weeks at the holidays in GA with our families. It's been a great way to close out the year!

Again, it's been quite a year!!! We're looking forward to 2011!

Monday, December 13, 2010

what more could I want?

Since I was a child I thought I wanted to be a teacher...
I played "school" with my dolls & my sisters,
I made "lesson plans" and put grades in my "grade book",
I took my "class" on field trips and gave them spelling tests.

Sometime in high school, I decided that I wanted to be a nurse...
I loved nurturing people in their time of need,
I loved the example of nursing that my mom had established for me,
I wanted to join the ranks of the proud profession of nursing.
And that I did!...
I feel so blessed to have found a career that is so rewarding!

I have always loved books and loved to read...
My love for reading has always left me with the desire to be a writer.
I have been given a fabulous opportunity through McGraw-Hill and am now authoring a chapter for a Medical-Surgical nursing textbook!!!
I am soooo excited about this opportunity and the chance to be a part of such a wonderful publishing company.

I have been so blessed by the opportunities to be not only a nurse, but a teacher, and an author!
What more could I want???

Saturday, December 11, 2010

where i've been...

(obviously not blogging!)

busy, busy times...

getting Christmas cards designed & printed,
addressing & sending 40 Christmas cards,
packing Operation Christmas Child boxes,
sorting Operation Christmas Child boxes with WBC,
writing & sending Christmas cards to soldiers in Iraq,
Christmas shopping in stores,
Christmas shopping online,
making a few handmade Christmas gifts,
decorating the house for Christmas,
wrapping Christmas gifts,
shipping Christmas gifts
baking Christmas treats,
checking out Franklin, TN's Charles Dicken's Christmas festival,
practicing my piano prelude music for Belmont's pinning ceremony,
grading last minute assignments,
entering final grades,
making preparations for my trip to Durham in less than 1 week!!!,

This is such a busy time of the year, and I've tried more than ever to not get too caught up in the stress of the season.

I've been reading my daily Advent lessons and trying to focus on what this season is truly about. It probably sounds cliche, but I do mean it.
Belmont's Advent theme this year is centered around the hymn "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus". I've never paid much attention to it's powerful words...

Come thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all thy earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thy own eternal spirit,
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.

It's been busy, but I'm loving this Advent season...


***WARNING: These delicious treats are habit forming!***

Oreo Truffles

1 block of cream cheese, softened
1 package of Oreos, crushed finely
16 oz. Baker's white chocolate, melted
decorative sugars or sprinkles

Prepare a large baking sheet with wax paper.
Crush Oreos in a gallon-size ziplock bag with a rolling pin. Mix oreos and softened cream cheese until well blended. Form into 1-inch balls.

Dip into melted white chocolate allowing excess to drip off. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with colored sugars or sprinkles.

Makes approximately 36-40.
Recipe from Kraft Foods.

We are in love with these yummy treats!!!

why i heart CVS

Got this...

Paid...$6.61 & got $2 Extra Care bucks back!!!
Love it!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

thankful hearts.

My heart is overwhelmed with thankfulness...
so many things to be thankful for, so many of which I take for granted every day.

More than in years before, I am especially grateful for the wonderful people in my life...
my family,
my friends,
my church family,
my co-workers,
my neighbors...

I pray that I never take the people in my life for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving friends!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

meatless meal update.

I have been neglecting to update you all on our meatless meal venture.

Lately we've kept it very simple with vegetable soup and baked sweet potatoes with some combination of vegetables.

Several weeks ago we did try Kraft Food's recipe for Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas.
We, especially Chris, were a little afraid of how they might turn out but they were absolutely delicious!

Here's the recipe:

2 red bell peppers
2 small zuchinni, coarsely chopped
1 eggplant, coarsely chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup of Zesty Italian dressing
1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of water
12 corn tortillas
chopped cilantro
Heat the oven to 425.

Cover a baking sheet with foil sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Toss vegetables and garlic in dressing. Spread into one layer on baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, turning after 10 minutes. Remove from oven & cool.
Combine 2 cups of the chopped vegetables and 1/2 cup of cheese and set aside.
Remove skin and seeds from peppers and coarsely chop. Add peppers to blender with water, garlic, cilantro, and remaining roasted vegetables. Blend until smooth.
Reduce oven temperature to 350. Pour 1 cup of vegetable puree onto bottom of greased 9x13 baking dish. Top each tortillas with 3 tablespoons of roasted vegetables and roll up. Place seam-side down in baking dish and top with remaining vegetable puree and cheese.
Cover and bake about 25 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted. Garnish with cilantro.
*I halved the recipe and it worked well too.
Hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

ribbon wreath

I have seen ribbon wreaths all over the blog world lately.

A friend at work is expecting a sweet baby girl, Autum in January and we are throwing a shower at work=perfect time to try making a ribbon wreath.

I used this tutorial but opted to use straight pins to secure the ribbons rather than hot glue because I hate dealing with hot glue strings.

I'm so happy with how it turned out!
I'll definitely be linking it up to some weekend parties...

coffee table

We bought a new coffee table at the market last month when my parents were visiting.
Chris actually spotted it and asked me if I like it.
I definitely loved it but was afraid it might be a bit too big.
We walked around & thought about it before deciding to buy it.
My dad came along & negotiated the price down for us so we got a super deal.

I absolutely love how it looks in our living room (so much better than what we had)!
The size is absolutely perfect...like it was made for our space!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I recently had fun making these cute cupcakes (strawberry with cream cheese frosting)!

Chris' boss has 3 precious children. Unfortunately, his youngest daughter, Paige was diagnosed in September with a malignant form of neuroblastoma. She is only 18 months old. Her prognosis is very good and she has so far tolerated chemotherapy very well.

In addition to praying and supporting their family emotionally, the lab and family friends have really rallied around their family providing them with meals every day of the week for the past few months.
We had the opportunity to make dinner for their family a few weeks ago.

We tried to create a kid-friendly meal so we made meatball sub casserole, a salad (with adult & kid toppings & dressings), and the cupcakes.

I stamped each of their names on one cupcake topper and stamped "Go Paige" on all the other toppers. I was happy with how they turned out & as we were catching up on their CaringBridge journal last night, we saw that they had posted a picture of our "inspiring" cupcakes.

So happy we could do some that seems so small to help others.
Go Paige!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

food fairies.

Recently we were incredibly spoiled by the food fairies.

You see, when my parents came to visit they made the trip with a cooler packed full of delicious food from home...
potato soup, chicken tortilla soup, pork chops, macaroni & cheese, lima beans, homemade beans & franks, sweet potato pie, pecan bars.

It was such a wonderful treat as we didn't have to cook all week and we got to enjoy yummy food from home.

Thanks again to the food fairies!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

catching up...

The past few weeks have been very busy for both of us with work and visits from family.

First, Abbey came for a visit over her Fall Break.

We had a great time shopping, eating, hanging out, doing a little line dancing & enjoying some great music at the Wildhorse, and playing a little Sunday afternoon football on a gorgeous fall day in the park.

The following weekend, my parents came for their first visit to Nashville.
Since they had never been to Nashville before, we felt obliged to show them the 'classic' sights.
We enjoyed eating at the Loveless Cafe on Friday night, spending much of the day Saturday at the antique market at the fairgrounds. (where we bought a coffee table that I fell in love with...pics to come!) Saturday night we saw Blake Shelton be inducted into the Grand Ol Opry hall of fame by Trace Adkins. Lots of good music and fun!

Here are few pictures of our time together...

Thankful for the time we had to enjoy family...

Monday, October 18, 2010

the gift of water.

Clean water is something that I take for granted.

Chris & I have been involved with Samaritan's Purse for many years mostly in regard to Operation Christmas Child (it's that time of year again & I'm soooo excited).

We have recently become aware of Samaritan's Purse "Turn on the Tap" project directed at providing resources for families in impoverished countries to have clean, drinkable water.

Click on the link to learn more about how you can be involved in this amazing cause...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

burlap pillow wrap

I made a burlap pillow a month or so ago to sit on the chest opposite the foot of our bed.

I loved it, but it was just too boring.

I created this 'wrap' for it made from the same material I made one of the throw pillows on our bed. I added the gold buttons for a little flair!
It's just enough to spice it up a bit & was so easy!

i'm linking up to...

fall decor

I'm finally getting around to posting some pictures of my fall decor.

the mantle is simple, but i love it!

The vase filler is pine cones & wooden acorns from Hobby Lobby. There is a black sparrow on the left that you can't see very well & a bronze bird cage on the right (got it from the $1 bin @ Michael's...it was red & i sprayed it bronze).

I love fall at our house...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

meet me in St. Louis

We had a wonderful weekend in St. Louis!

It was a bit chilly, in the high 50s-low 60s, & very windy but we're just thrilled that we're not dealing with 100 degree temps anymore so we enjoyed it!

We were able to see:

-the famous St. Louis arch & the awesome greenspace around it...we even rode up in the capsule train 630 feet to the top...what a ride! It's so much wider & taller than I ever imagined. We stayed on the 26th floor of the Millenium Hotel & when we woke up each morning we could see the sun rising over the river & behind the arch...gorgeous!

-The Museum of Westward Expansion which is an awesome free history museum beneath the arch. Chris loved it & just like always, he read every word of every display!

-Busch Stadium where the Cardinals beat the Rockies in the bottom of the 11th inning. It was "Stand for Stan day" at the ballpark to honor famous Cardinal, Stan Musial. It was so neat to see such a famous baseball player honored.

-the Mississippi River...alas, I have seen the mighty Mississippi. Unfortunately, it wasn't as mighty as I had imagined. Oh well, it was still nice to see!

-the Budweiser Clydesdale stable & some of their infamous horses...they're so tall & so pretty!

-the historic Old St. Louis Courthouse where the Dred Scott case was 1st heard.

So glad we took the time to get away & enjoy some time together!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

st. louis bound!

By this time tomorrow we'll be on our way to St. Louis!
Looking foward to...

time away,
a Saturday afternoon Cardinals game,
seeing the mighty Mississippi River for the 1st time,
checking out the infamous arch,
not cooking (i really do love it, but i also love a break from it :-)),
fabulous fall weather (in the 60s),
cruising the city,
& most of all-time with my babe!

meet me in st. louis!

Friday, September 24, 2010

meatless meal #3...black bean lasagna

Thanks to Courtney for sharing this with us...

Black Bean Lasagna

9 lasagna noodles
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon of canola oil
2 cans of black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can of diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans of tomato paste
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro, minced
1/4 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes
4 egg whites, beaten
15 oz. of reduced-fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of fresh parsley
2 cups of shredded Mexican blend cheese

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles.
Meanwhile, heat oil and saute garlic & onion over medium-heat until tender. Add tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, water, cilantro, & pepper flakes. Bring to boil. Reduce heat & simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Combine egg whites, ricotta, parmesan, & parsley.

Coat 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of bean mixture onto bottom of dish. Top with 3 noodles. Cover with a 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/3 bean mixture, & shredded cheese. Repeat layers twice.

Cover & bake @ 350 for 3-35 minutes. Uncover & bake 10-15 more minutes until bubbly.
Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

up & running.

thanks to Hollie, my tumblr page is up & running...

it's totally fun...

check me out @ starrfaves!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I can't believe i've forgotten to share a mouse update...
(drumroll, please)
We caught a mouse just a few days after i posted about the mouse drama.

It was quite a traumatic event for me, so i will not recount all of the details (you really don't want them anyway).

i'm so glad that Chris was here to handle the situation
i'm certainly hoping this one was the only one

our food is back in the pantry,
Chris' sweaters are back in the storage box,
& hopefully our cozy home is mouse-free.

i'm thankful for small blessings!
(p.s.s.---this is my 300th post!!!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

what's new?...

*Fall is coming...my decorations around the house say so, if only the day-time temperatures agreed. Loving the cool mornings though.

*We're taking a mini-trip to St. Louis the 1st weekend in October. We have tickets to the Saturday afternoon Cardinals game!!!...super exciting!!!

*I got an 8-pack of Bounty papertowels last week @CVS for $3 (with tax!)...it was on sale for $5.49, i had $1 manf. coupon & $2 in Register Rewards. i so love CVS & Walgreens.

*We've been running a good bit in the past few weeks...up to 3 miles, working on adding a bit of speed now. I'm so loving my iLuv iPod armband that I got FREE as a prize from ZoomPanel.

*This weekend is the Tennessee Arts & Crafts Association festival @ Centennial Park...i can't wait!

*We're enjoying our meatless meals so far...this week's meatless menu, Courtney's black bean lasagna.

*i'm headed to Hobby Lobby tomorrow...can't wait to check out their fall stuff!