I am sitting here with a heating pad on my back that wraps all the way around my chest. I can’t bend down. This body was not built for manual labor, no way. Today we continued our series of renovations and removed a carpet we glued down years ago. Many years later we would regret this when we wanted to remove it. We are moving things around in our loft, the farmhouse table is going to be in the kitchen area which excites me beyond belief. This hideous carpet has been bugging me for years, so I have been waiting anxiously to get rid of it. I already bought a new area rug to put in its place but it doesn’t arrive for a few weeks – I can’t wait for it!
This was before we removed the carpet. We did put the cats away, don’t worry.
Here the cats know something is going on and are spending as much on the carpet as they can. I believe Brother Bear thought this entire carpet was his new area.
Adhesive remover put all over..
Carpet all scraped up:
Area all sanded:
Area all clean now:
So it has been a full month since many of the Spring seeds were planted. How are they doing? Well I’m glad you asked. I have been waiting to do a post on this. I have been very anxious. I would like to post every time they grow a centimeter but I know that probably isn’t very exciting to you. So I wanted a whole month. I really keep things riveting here! Here they are today…!
But let’s go on a journey.. back to January 2013 to watch the progress… On January 15, the first one decided to pop up and greet us:
Then on January 16, more of it’s friends came out to play..
On January 24, we had alot of growth action that already happened in the 12 days since they were planted:
Then on January 28, the onions decided to start growing quick.
Check out this amazing guy, isn’t he beautiful? It’s New Zealand spinach.
Then on February 6, we had to pick favorites. This is always so hard. I don’t do it, I make Matthew while I sob loudly on the floor yelling “IT ISNT FAIR”.
Check out the broccoli roots! They are already growing out of their cups…
And this is yesterday. Hey spinach and kale – how are you guys doing? Kale, man I’m excited to see you!
Onions, I won’t eat you, but I’m very happy to see you looking so well.
Everyone this is cauliflower. Cauliflower this is everyone. Say hello!
Broccoli – you beautiful people.
So everything came up….. so now we just keep watering and giving hugs.
This was taken a few minutes ago. I almost fell off a chair, but I’m ok. The onions and cauliflower are so big they are in the light. Good luck guys. Also note the fan to the right that we put up in mid January. This keeps it windy so they aren’t shocked when they hit the roof. It also makes them very strong as they are growing wind muscles (my term, not technical).
The subject is very exciting – the 2013 garden has begun! Seeds have been planted for broccoli, cauliflower, onions, kale, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, brussels sprouts tonight.
Broccoli – 8 plants, hopefully as lovely as last year, stay away aphids.
Cauliflower – 8 plants (2 different kinds – hybrid, giant of naples), hopefully as delicious as last year, stay away aphids.
Onions – hopefully as lovely as last year, this was matthews pride and joy last year.
Kale – hopefully will be monsters like last year, stay away white flies.
Spinach – i lied in this post, we are growing it again this year. we have 2 different kinds – hybrid, new zealand.
Cabbage – never grew, please be successful so I can make halupkies.
Lettuce – never grew from seed, please be successful.
Brussels sprouts – never grew, please be successful because I love you so much
So there it is – what the Spring garden looks like so far. Sugar snap peas and carrots will be planted directly into the soil on the roof sometime in late February, early March. Whew! Lots of greens, very excited.
I know I say it every year but it always amazes me that this little seed can turn into this big guy. Man, nature is amazing, I can’t even understand how it does what it does. Thank you life. Thank you world. Thank you to the plant gods that I love dearly and sing and dance to in the garden circling our plants, showering them with love and hopeful dreams of becoming big and strong. I respect you nature. You are A+ in my book. I give you so little and you give me so much. Please love me back.
This is seedling box 1 of 2. There’s alot of things going on. I graphed everything out and wrote everything down but somehow a cabbage will get mixed up in the lettuce section and cause me anxiety for a week. It always happens. I swear they come to life at night and move around.
Shout out to the best helpers in the world too, Brother Bear and Xanadu Pluto. Xanadu just wanted a pencil I was writing with while Brother wanted every single seed packet. We could not find the cauliflower seed pack anywhere, turns out Brother Bear laid on it and it was completely hidden under his belly. He was also very fascinated with the Brussels sprouts. What a guy.
This year we also got a new grow light system going on. This used to be the old set up. It was one small 24×12 shelf with 3 6500 CFL bulbs.
This is the new system. It’s a 48×12 shelf with 4 4ft 6500 fluorescent bulbs. We looked at premade kits on all the garden websites but they are so overpriced. $200 for 2 bulbs and a light fixture? You out of your mind. So we went to Home Depot and bought our own supplies. This setup cost about $70. *High Five*
Have you started anything with your Spring Garden yet? While at Home Depot we were overly excited to see they have a full selection of seeds, trays and supplies all ready to go. Last year I don’t think they got their seeds until March. I hope I had something to do with it as I constantly went there every single day pleading for potting mix. The garden section manager eventually just gave me his business card so I could call him for updates. I felt both cool and pathetic.
Happy garden planning!
You know why I love having a garden? Because it’s January, feels like 22 degrees out and I can look in my freezer, grab some frozen soy beans I preserved a few months ago and have fresh edamame in a few minutes. It feels like summer now! Minus the 3 pairs of socks I have on and that I’m sitting in front of a heater.
In just a few weeks the 2013 garden will be started. We will start plotting the outline, and then seeds will be started inside. This year we’re going to move some of the boxes around, try a few new vegetables, not grow some and continue to glare at the person who constantly shuts off our hose in the laundry room.
Here is a table on what we’re hoping to grow this year..
Yes Will Grow: The usuals, vegetables we have grown before.
New First Time: New vegetables we want to try growing.
No Won’t Grow: Grew them, but decided not to this year.
YES Will Grow
NEW First Time
NO Won’t Grow
Sugar Snap Peas
The yes column is pretty self explanatory. These are the usual cast of characters and have grown successfully on the roof.
New this year we’d like to try Brussels Sprouts, lettuce and pickling cucumbers from seed. Last year we had lettuce but it wasn’t from seed. Also, we had success last year with regular cucumbers but I want pickling cukes so we will try Kirby cucumbers. I’m obsessed with Brussels Sprouts so that is understandable.
There are a few plants that we have grown but most likely won’t grow this year. The red beans grew amazing and looked like tentacles, but we would rather green beans. The spinach was successful as well but besides cupcakes we really don’t eat it. Lastly, our luck with potatoes has been good and bad. Some years they grow great, some years the heat kills them. For the amount of soil they need, and how cheap they are to actually buy in the store (compared to the price of seed potatoes) it might be most economical to just not grow them this year (even though this breaks my heart). Also this year I really don’t want to grow flowers unless they’re Rhododendrons or varieties like this. Growing flowers just doesn’t excite me as much as growing a pumpkin.
Welcome the year 2013!
Although I will promise you I will be writing the year 2012 on everything until at least July. I don’t make resolutions per say, but here’s a few things I look forward to, and hope to push in the next 12 months.
I turn 30 this year, and it’s totally ok. You know when you’re young and you think 25 is old, and then you turn 25 and you glare at your self in it’s youth. That’s how I feel about 30. 30 isn’t old. 30 is still young. Will I say this at 40? We’ll see. But I welcome 30, even though I’m very curious what the next decade will bring in life events.
Continue to take care of myself. This year during June I started working out regularly for the first time in my life. Now it’s January 1st and not only did I lose multiple sizes in clothing and currently 17 pounds, but I feel great. I realized before how much I was just sitting at my computer and not being active. I started to feel tired and not motivated. Now with the help of monitoring myself everyday and knowing when I need to get up and move, it’s made me feel alot better about myself and become aware of what I need. I also learned how to eat better this year without starving myself. You can still eat that piece of fudge, go for it, but it’s about learning when to stop. This is hard when the fudge is so good, but once you learn to control yourself, it becomes quite simple to just “stop”. I’m proud of myself for finally learning to take care of my body and I hope this continues. One thing I want to give credit to is the Nike Fuel Band. I received this a few months ago and I have to say it’s been very helpful with reaching my daily goal. Sometimes you don’t quite realize how inactive you are being, and then you look at your fuel band at 8:00PM and realized you haven’t moved much at all. Each day I need to get to 3,000 fuel points. If I look at it at night and I’m not close to it, I will either get up and exercise (usually either running or dancing – I find dancing is a powerful workout) or take a long walk. Do I need to get a carton of eggs? Ok, well instead of going to the grocery store a few feet away, let’s walk to one 2 miles away. The fuel band really helps encourage to have a daily game with yourself. If you need to get motivated, I really can’t say enough good things about it. If you get one, be sure to add me to your friends, you can motivate each other on this and a little push sometimes really helps.
Take more fashion risks. Have you always wanted that shiny purse box but wasn’t sure what to wear it with? Figure it out. You don’t need to pair it with a sparkly dress, just wear it with your grandma winter coat. You can wear anything, don’t be afraid. I just got this bag and I’m in love with it. If a little thing like a shiny bag will make me happy, then I’m going to accept that smile.
Stop and tell someone you love them. Make sure that person you actually love or that might be weird for a stranger on the street. Have pets? Tell them you love them. Pets need time out of every single day for your devotion. They become good critters because you are a good critter friend. Let them know how special they are to you.
February will be the month of Matthew and my 10 year Anniversary. Who knew that 10 years ago when we first met in a college dorm in Pittsburgh that eventually we would have everything we have today, because we did it together. It’s a good feeling to realize you created what you have. Be proud of it and keep working towards better.
Keep exploring the new. Stay ahead of the curve, learn new things, push yourself, don’t be afraid of the unknown. Doing the same thing is boring, don’t fall into that trap. If you learn one thing, learn 2 more and then put them all together. Who knows, it could be something amazing, but you don’t know unless you try. Changes don’t come overnight, be patient. If you’re proud of what you’re doing, then you’re doing great. It will come.
See more. I live in one of the greatest cities in the world but don’t take advantage of it as much as I can. Make sure to see a show before it ends. Want to try that taco place? Do it. Go to a park and do nothing. Show NYC how much I love it.
Get a washer and dryer. Make my dream come true.
I was in San Francisco a few days ago. I was only there for about 19 hours so I didn’t get to see much, but wanted to share the experience. This was my first time on the West Coast, it’s so sunny in California – how do you guys see?
This is how I travel. It’s really the necessities.
Watching live TV 35,000 feet up in the air is probably one of the most exciting moments of my life. Sadly the Nets lost and I had a Knicks fan next to me.
I had IN-N-OUT for the first time. I thought it was very cheap, but taste wise it was just ok. (I’m sorry!)
The next morning I met one of my best cat friends Melody for a very early breakfast. Melody moved to San Francisco a few months ago and I have missed her so much. She was nice enough to meet me very early for french toast. We talked about cats the entire time.
This is us. What a beautiful pose she made!
San Francisco. It’s very bright. That’s my suitcase too. It’s very bright.
I did not pay to use this, instead I just took a picture of it.
I had Mexican, a chicken taco and chicken tortilla soup. The taco was great but I still think this recipe for tortilla soup is the best.
Me and Miss Golden Gate Bridge. I also said hi to the Pacific Ocean and Alcatraz from a distance.
I don’t usually get to see palm trees.
Then I flew home on a red eye. Note how much Virgin America looks like a night club.
But it’s ok because I can order unlimited “free” Mighty Leaf tea from my screen at any time I want. I love it!
If you know me then you know I am tea obsessed. If you come over, I will serve you tea. If you see me, I am probably drinking tea. I dream of tea at night, dark english breakfast tea. I have started lovely friendships with tea exchanges. It all started as a young girl where everyday before school my mother would make me toast and tea. Let’s not discuss if this is ok for a 8 year old to have, but I fell in love with it immediately. So when we were in London, Twinings headquarters was my number one spot. When I went in I told the employees how excited I was and I’m not sure if I freaked them out or they thought I was sweet. Either way, they did throw some free samples my way. If you’re ever in London, go here. Go have afternoon tea too. Drink tea all day. It’s totally ok!
Let’s go in!
Magical fairy land..
Of tea! Every kind!
Bags, loose, pots – have your pick…
I happily skipped down the aisles filling up my bag with tea. Matthew asked me “Really, you need that much?”
Why, yes I do!
Matthew doesn’t like tea, I’m not sure how this relationship has survived this. One day I talked him into having tea with me and I thought I would serve him a dessert tea, something chocolate and mint, it would be delightful and he would fall in love with tea! Then we would go on daily tea dates! Unfortunately Matthew burned his lips on the hot tea and cried. So I drank his tea. He never has tried it again. He was curious on the smells though…
What a fun time!
Some of my loot! I would highly recommend the Queen’s Jubilee tea…
Yesterday we rented a car and drove to Columbus, New Jersey to go to one of the biggest flea markets I’ve ever been to. Besides the usual inside booths, the outside was filled with never ending rows of people selling their junk and treasures. It seemed everytime we rounded a corner thinking it was done, there was another field filled with tables and items to root through. Going to flea markets was a big thing in my childhood, we would go to the local one every Sunday and some other ones during the week. Right before vacation every year we would even set up our own stand and sell to make some extra money. I was always the kid selling the RL Stine Goosebumps books who was not going to give you a deal because did you have any idea how good these books were? I remember sometimes my parents would leave me alone at the stand and I would have to sell tables worth of their goods. Folks would come up to me asking how much my parents items cost or questions about them. I would glance up from my Nintendo Gameboy and shrug, 50 cents for that kitchen table, sure take it. But those RL Stines – no deal is being made.
It was a fun journey. We found some items that we wanted, and some that we didn’t really need but had to buy. Road trips are always supposed to be filled with eating horribly, so there was some treats to be had along the way too.
This was at a rest stop along the way. My sunglasses were just found broken in my bag but I decided to wear them anyways.
For breakfast we split a Cinnabon. I also got tea, they didn’t even ask me what kind of tea I wanted out of 20 options. Instead they just gave me a Lipton tea bag and told me to take it over to the hot water station. I was not in New York anymore.
There we arrived! This picture was taken at the end of the day, at the beginning, there was cars to be found everywhere. We had to park very far away which was good because of the amount of fudge I would soon eat.
Once inside the flea we came across a store that sold almost every game you could think of. We love board games so we just stood and stare in amazement. Two games I didn’t see: Ask Zandar, a classic in my opinion, and Candy Land Lotto which was my childhood favorite.
I found what I believe is the best pie dish ever. This gem here cost me $5 and was sold by a very stylish older woman who I had to promise I would take good care of this for her. It’s one of those things that you know you’ll always love and will always make you smile. I’m in love with it. I’m pretty sure it was made for me.
We bought 2 baseball gloves. Matthew has brought up the idea of going to the park and catching baseballs for years so at $10 for 2 gloves, we found this to be a great deal. The guy who sold them (who I believe is Joseph Galm’s father?) was very nice and gave me encouraging words that I could participate in this sport and not get hurt. The baseball though.. that’s another story.
We were trying to find a cheap baseball after buying the gloves. Matthew thought he saw some earlier in the day so we went back to these stands but couldn’t find any. Eventually we came across one baseball that had signatures all over – who was it signed by? Babe Ruth? Little League team? No idea. The booth belonged to a older man who when he saw us popped out of his pickup truck. “How much for this?” Matthew asked him. “One dollar” the man said. Now it’ gets tricky. Matthew shook his head and put the ball down. Matthew thought $1 was too much. I wasn’t sure what to do so just looked at Matthew to the older man and back and forth again. Then the older gentleman started to yell at Matthew “OH! ONE DOLLAR TOO MUCH FOR THIS MAN HERE! CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS. ONE DOLLAR, TOO MUCH MONEY”. Then I grabbed Matthew’s arm and tried to push us away. We walked off as the man continued to yell at us down the rows “ONE DOLLAR IS TOO MUCH FOR THIS MAN THERE. ONE DOLLAR. ONE DOLLAR”. By that time I was crying with laughter. Eventually we found this baseball.. and paid $2.50 for it.
After the stress of the baseball man, we needed lunch. We got a pepperoni pizza pretzel roll from the Amish market stand. It was delicious.
Matthew got this winter coat at a military store that also sold guns. Would you like to see someone awkwardly standing in a store while her other half poses in front of a mirror with a complete wall full of guns behind her? That was me.
I needed a piece of fudge, so I got some chocolate peanut butter. I love fudge so much. It’s dangerous. It’s delicious. This was amazing. I asked for a quarter pound, but the 8 year old (seriously) who rang me out said it was a bit over. Ok, I guess, pull my arm, I will eat half a pound of fudge instead. Ok, Ok.
Do you know Whoopie pies? This is a childhood favorite from always visiting the Amish markets. The Amish know how to make their pies. These can be described as one of the sweetest pastries you will ever eat. It’s full of cream with a cake like top and bottom. I got this pack of chocolate, pumpkin and oatmeal. I took it to a debate party we were attending later that night and basically whoopied everyone else, we were in a sugar comatose. I made a horrible choice of this morning eating a piece of a leftover pie, now my day is moving very slowly. I’m going to eat broccoli for the rest of the day.
Also bought from the Amish, the best sour dough bread ever. The smell of it – oh god. I also got organic freshly ground peanut butter. I never had fresh peanut butter, I don’t think I can go back to the stuff in the jar now. I wanted a jar of red raspberry jam as it’s a favorite. I bought this thinking it was local freshly made, then when I got home i realized it said “Made in Ohio”. I was fooled!
On the way home we stopped in a Cracker Barrel to have a early dinner. I never ate in a Cracker Barrel, only heard about their large portions. I got a baked potato, a side order of mac and cheese and a cup of cabbage stew. I ate about 25% of it. Matthew said he was disappointed in my ability to finish a full American meal like this, but there was no way. How can potatoes grow that big?
Anyways, to my surprise Cracker Barrel has a gift store full of cute holiday items! What a great idea, after I finish dinner with a full belly, have me walk past Christmas trees decorated with my favorite people: snowmen. Just give me one of everything, I need to go to the car and lie down. I got these Snowmen Christmas ornaments, and Peppermint Bark because it’s a favorite. We are ready for Christmas. It’s October 12th. Bring it on!
I have been in the mood to change things around our loft space. I will soon be painting the walls around my desk area, but before I get to that I wanted to change the back of our front door. Lately I have seen great ideas involving chalk board paint, but I wasn’t sure where to do this. Then one day after coming home once again after forgetting to send out the mail (4 days in a row) I thought to myself “I need a reminder right by the door”. There the idea of a chalk board on the back of the front door was born. We can use the door for lists, reminders and more importantly we can leave happy messages to each other.
Chalk board paint is a pretty easy process.
Prepare where you’re painting. For the door I just cleaned and wiped it down.
Then I used some painters tape to tape the edges. I eventually did the entire thing. Xanadu helped.
She really helped.
This is the chalk board paint. You can also get colors but they are sold in smaller cans. You can find this at Home Depot by the spray paints.
I had to apply 2 coats to the door for it to take evenly. Let it dry a few hours in between each coat.
Now here’s the hard part.. let it dry completely. It needs to sit for 72 hours before you do anything.
72 hours later: Then you take a piece of chalk and use the side of it to completely cover the paint. This creates a coat on the paint to protect the paint and seal it in. Then you erase it completely with a chalk board eraser. Do not clean it with water until 10 days after painting.
Now comes the fun part! Get the chalk out!
Halloween is soon, let’s be festive and decorate the door too!
The door is finished, and ready for any loving notes you want to leave. One thing has been added to the door: Send mail out!
Have fun.. the ideas are endless!
DIY frozen pesto cubes! Perfect to use for easy dinner recipes!
If you are growing herbs in your garden then right now you might have alot and not sure what to do with them. Do you dry them? Do you use them as is? How about we make delicious pesto and freeze them? Yes, let’s do that! Here we will use our fresh parsley and basil. Just think about in December when it’s freezing out and you’re in a bad mood because your boot has a hole in it and you stepped in a big slush pile. You come home, cranky, boil some pasta. What to put on top.. pesto… from your garden.. oh the summer time memories.. everything feels better now. 🙂
What can you do with pesto besides put in pasta? Use it as a pizza sauce. Marinade chicken or steak or shrimp in it. Use it as a vegetable dip. Make soup. So many options!
Let’s make some pesto and freeze it!
Directions: Blend all ingredients together. Put in ice cube trays, freeze for a few hours. Take out and then package in freezer bags. Can it get more simpler?
From the recipe/ingredients above I made 2.5 batches of it which equaled 6 cups of fresh parsley and 1.5 cups of basil. I also made a quick batch of just basil pesto.
Gather your supplies.
I have 2 bags of walnuts just in case. I totally didn’t need all those but I’m overly prepared (in life). I have so many bottles of soy sauce in the pantry.. just in case.
EASY Ricotta and Tomato Tea Sandwiches that you can make ahead! This easy recipe makes a ricotta garlic mixture to spread on the bread! Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes in the bread - perfect for a afternoon tea party or baby shower!
salt and peperjust a sprinkle
5fresh basil leavesminced
16pieces of whole wheat bread
Add diced tomatoes to a small bowl, add olive oil and salt and pepper. Mix and then cover in the refrigerator, letting it chill for at least 1 hour.
In a separate bowl add ricotta, basil leaves and garlic. Mix so basil and garlic are completely mixed up with the ricotta.
Cut your bread into shapes with a heart cookie cutter.
Spread some ricotta mixture on a slice of bread. Add a small spoonful of the diced tomatoes mixture. Add additional basil leaves on top if desired. Finish with top piece of bread.
Serve and enjoy! Or keep chilled in the refrigerator until the next day.
You want to marinade your tomatoes overnight. Just a little tablespoon of olive oil goes a long way.
Mince your garlic and basil. Smells so good!
Add your ricotta. Store overnight. Tastes so good!
Right before your tea date, get your bread ready. You will basically be able to do one heart per piece of bread.
Well aren’t they lovely…
Now put some ricotta on top of each one.
Top with a fresh basil leaf..
Or a marinated tomato.
Serve fresh or throw in the refrigerator if your friends like to be late (*cough cough*).
It really feels like the end of summer. Matthew will be attending a electronic music festival until Sunday and then Tuesday we begin teaching for the Fall semester, so we wanted to get a last “summer day” in there. The answer: the beach. This was the first time at the beach all summer for me, and it was a good day of just plain ol relaxing.
Taking the subway out about 90 minutes will get you to Rockaway Beach which is our favorite NYC beach. Upon getting there, we knew we would need some shade to survive, so we were going to rent a beach umbrella to lay under and read for hours (my Kindle is amazing for reading in the sun). Surprisingly to buy a beach umbrella cost about the same thing we expected to pay to rent one, so we now own a neon pink beach umbrella!
The funny thing is that we weren’t really equipped to get a umbrella into the sand so when we first put it in, it immediately came out and blew down the beach. As I ran after the umbrella trying to catch it but always missing it by arm lengths, children shouted to their parents to look at the girl chasing after her umbrella. It was just one of those experiences… Finally I caught it!
Then we began the afternoon which always starts with attending sunscreen crazily all over. This reminds me of how I used to look as a kid when my dad applied sunscreen to me except he never really rubbed it in. I have pictures for proof. Thanks Dad.
Then it was lunch time, and I was starving for my first meal of the day. We picked up deli sandwiches on the way. I was a little “eh” about my orange cheese, but it was pretty good to be honest.
The real winner of the day were these pretzel crisps. Have you tried them? You need to, immediately. You should stop reading right now and go buy some!
I forgot how good it feels to just bury your feet in sand and do nothing but close your eyes.
Matthew didn’t go into the ocean, but I sure did.. many times! I forgot how fun it is to just let the waves knock you down, and then try to catch one to swim in. It brought me back to my childhood vacations spent at the beach, I would play in those waves for hours everyday while covered in sunscreen.
Thanks for the good day beach! Next summer, we’ll be sure to spend more lazy days there..
We’ll bring along our umbrella too!
Our kale in the garden is out of hand, it’s basically taking over. So last night I decided to pick some to make kale meatballs! Not only are the ingredients easy, but the directions are as well. While eating dinner Matthew proclaimed “This is the best spaghetti meal I ever had in my life”. Good job kale! 🙂
We put these meatballs on the grill and boy were they delicious! So if you are grilling this summer, try this recipe. I like adding sticks inside them once they’re done, makes eating fun!