Friday, June 25, 2010

Now for something completely different

Well, not really.  I've blogged about our garden before, so this could end up sounding very similar to past posts, but I'm not in the mood to go back through them to check.

Also, the photos I am going to post aren't really from my garden.  It has begun to rain outside, so I'm relying on trusty ol' google image search to spruce up this post instead of going out and taking my own pictures.   (**Disclaimer: If you stumble across this blog and notice that I have used one of your photos and would like to be properly credited for it, please let me know in the comments section!**)

I might have mentioned this before, but L and I are pretty sure that the previous owners of our house invested a lot of time and money into their gardens.  This is a great thing for the L family because neither of us is very good at gardening, nor do we have the time and money to create such an elaborate element to enhance our house.  We moved in to the house mid-December and really had no idea what was going to pop up once spring hit, and now that we're in July, I can't believe that new flowers and plants are budding all.the.time.  I swear, every week, I walk through the garden and find something new.  On many occasions, L and I have referred to the garden as a fireworks show: Just when you think it's over, another one explodes.  When our tulips and lily of the valley faded away, we were sad to see them go, but we had no idea how much thought and energy went into this garden, and if it keeps up the way it has been going, we'll have blooms all summer long.

 This is a pretty good representative of our garden.  Totally.

The latest discovery at Casa L is the hollyhocks.  When it first started sprouting up, we thought that it was probably some sort of weed, but since L and I don't know what anything really is, we figured that we'd leave it alone.  Fast forward a couple weeks, and now the plant is as tall as I am, and I can see that we're going to have light pink and dark purple blooms!

I like that hollyhock kind of looks like peonies!  I was sad when our peonies died off, so I'm excited to have another feathery looking flower in our yard.

L's mom says that once our hollyhock has fully bloomed, she'll teach me how to make a hollyhock doll which would turn out somewhat like this:

Cute, eh?

Along with the hollyhock, our hydrangea plant is forming the prettiest white puffs of flowers (though the size of our hydrangea makes it difficult for one to get through the gate on that side of the house.  I like to call it our jungle.).  Soon enough they'll all look like the image below!

Gotta love the puffs!

The last update to our garden is what I actually planted.  I had never planted vegetables before, so I decided to give it a go with the intention to not actually follow the directions on the package, plant the seeds in the dirt, and water them (and if they died, I'd try again the next year and perhaps even follow the directions).  I am all about the topsy turvy tomato planter this year, and decided that it would be a good way for me to attempt to plant tomatoes with our limited space (and for some reason, tomatoes in a pot intimidate me).  There was already a hook set up, so I put in the seedlings (upside down, of course!), threw in some dirt, and watered them.  Apparently my approach is working so far because we now actually have some baby tomatoes starting to grow!  I've even gone so far as to give them some vegetable plant food, so hopefully that means we'll have a bushel of tomatoes in a month or so.  I'm thinking that next year, I'm going to pick up a couple more upside down planters and use them for bell peppers and squash/cucumbers.

What mine will hopefully look like once our tomatoes get bigger.

The other items I planted (this time actually in the ground) were green beans and cucumbers.  I am well aware of the fact that I have definitely planted them too close together, but I feel bad thinning them out, so we'll see how they continue to grow.  M inspired me with her Tee-pee trellis for her beans, so I picked up one of my own, and though the beans aren't old enough to be crawling up it yet, I have a feeling that it will have been a good investment.  L loves green beans (his mom grows them every year, so I'm excited to be able to walk out my side door and pick them out of the garden and use them for meals (or just as a snack)

Beans, beans, the magical fruit!  The more you eat, the more you toot!
The cucumbers also seem to be coming right along, so I'm hoping that we'll have a few of those as well to eat soon!  If we have an abundance of cucumbers, I want to try my hand at pickling a few of them, so if you have any good pickling tips or recipes, let me know!

Could really go for one of these right now with a little Italian dressing...mmmmm!

And who says you can't live in the cities and have your own little vegetable garden?

Thursday, June 24, 2010


When a potential employer states after the interview that they will be calling either on Friday or Monday to let you know the outcome, one would expect to hear back by the following Tuesday at the latest.  It is now Thursday, nearly a week after the fact, and still haven't heard anything.  I'm tempted to email the lady I've been in contact with, but I think I'll wait it out and give them until Monday to respond to me.  I can't handle another rejection this week.

I feel like so much of my life right now revolves around waiting.  Waiting for jobs to be posted, waiting to hear back, waiting for subbing to start up again, waiting for a dog...

There seems to have been a little bit of progress made on the whole "K wants a dog, but L says not right now" bit.  A couple weeks ago, I was at work and L was home alone all day.  When I got back, L mentioned how he wished we had a dog because it can get lonely in the house (as much as we love Dwight, Darla, Spinelli, and the Degus, they aren't the most social bunch and we can't exactly play rough or take them on walks).  So, of course I jump on this and proceed to send him pictures of puppies from, but he caught on to my evil plan right away and wasn't going to give in.

Fast forward to this past week: The family I currently nanny for was out of town and needed a dogsitter for their Golden Retriever, so I agreed to watch Chloe.  Now, if you've seen Pixar's movie UP, you might remember a dopey and lovable dog named Dug.  Chloe=Dug.  If the animated dog popped out of the screen, what you would have in front of you would be Chloe.  We had Chloe spend father's day with L's family and then she spent the night at our place.  L fell in love with her.  He wouldn't let me keep her at our house for the last two night because "She made [him] too happy."  Last night, I was browsing through petfinder (L calls it my "puppy porn" because I look at pictures of puppies nearly as often as men look at nudie pics) and came across this adorable face:

She is a Newfie/Lab mix and when I showed this photo to L, I didn't get the usual, "Oh great" response.  This time I got an "Oh great, how much does this one cost?" instead!  Which leads me to believe that he is slowly coming around to the idea of us getting a dog sooner than later (though I'm probably wrong and misinterpreted his response).

EDIT: Apparently I posted this only a couple of hours too early... I got a rejection email regarding the job I was hoping to get only hours after posting :-(  K=Failure at getting a job.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


When L and I lived in our old apartment, we were there for over 3 years.  During that time, I think we broke a total of 2 glasses and 1 plate.  Since moving into the new house only 6 months ago, L has somehow managed to already break 1 plate and 3 glasses (2 of the glasses within a 24 hour period!) which is making me a little nervous regarding the fate of the rest of our dinnerware.  Thank goodness he has managed to not break any of the Fiestaware dishes that we received as wedding gifts, but he has shattered a few of the glasses we were gifted.  Apparently he has a case of butterfingers or he just really has something against our current dishware.  I think we'll be needing to take a trip to Target sooner than later to pick out some plastic dishes and cups specifically for him!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Jerk-Light Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

Apparently this is the summer of new meals for the L family and we have already discovered a couple that will remain on our menu of dinner options.  Earlier this week, I made a recipe that I found online and it turned out to be super tasty!  We will definitely be making this one again.  The only thing about this recipe is that it requires for you to be planning ahead, as you need to marinate the chicken the day before you actually intend on cooking it.


Jerk-Light Chicken w/ Pineapple Salsa


4 large cloves garlic, chopped
3 green onions, chopped, including dark green stalks
4 serrano chiles, unseeded, chopped (see Cook’s Note)
1⁄4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1⁄2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts and thighs
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1⁄2 cup peeled, seeded, finely diced cucumber
2 cups finely diced pineapple
2 tablespoons fresh mint

1. Place all marinade ingredients in blender; whirl until smooth. Place chicken in 2 large zipper-style plastic bags and place bags open side up in large bowl. Divide marinade between the bags. Press out air and seal. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours, turning bags several times to redistribute marinade.
2. Prepare salsa: Combine all ingredients in nonreactive container (plastic, glass, or ceramic). Gently toss to combine and refrigerate well sealed up to 1 hour.
3. Take chicken out of refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Adjust 2 oven racks, one to upper third level, the other to lower third. Preheat oven to 400°F.
4. Arrange chicken in 2 large, shallow baking pans; discard marinade. Roast 25 minutes. Switch pan positions, placing the one on top on the bottom rack and vice versa. Roast an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve chicken topped with salsa.

The marinaded chicken was delicious and the combination of the pineapple salsa with the spice was great!  For our sides, we grilled up some extra pineapple and had corn on the cob.  It was a very yellow meal :-)  We were so pleased with this meal that we ate it for the rest of the week.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Here We Are Again.

Around this time last year, I was just finishing up my last days of student teaching, cleaning out the classroom and saying my goodbyes to the friends I had made throughout my time at the school.  I was also conscious of the fact that the chances that I would have a full time teaching job for the fall were slim to none.  For as much as I would have liked to have had a full time job offer, I was okay with the fact that I most likely would be spending the following year seeing new students nearly every day and battling those who were convinced that they could trick me into letting them out early for lunch or that they never have to be quiet for SSR.  It would take me awhile to realize that Starbursts would become my best friend regarding classroom management with all grades, but once I did, life got a whole lot easier. 

This year there was no grades to post, or classrooms to lock up, but I was left with the anticlimactic realization that I was indeed on summer vacation.  I am again realizing that the chances of getting a full time teaching job is slim to none, and this year I am less okay with that.  I've expanded my job hunting to online teaching, and that has lead me to a successful phone interview that I participated in earlier this week, and am on my way to my second phone interview with the same people next week.  Although it is just a part time online job, it would be perfect because I can continue to sub while gaining more teaching experiences to add to my resume.  Hopefully, I successfully woo Monday's interviewers off their feet and they decide to hire me on...

Please, my readers, keep your fingers and toes crossed for me as I continue the job search for the elusive full time English teaching position.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Momentous Occasion

In my family, there are 4 children- K, LC, Z, and P (all girls and I am the oldest).  This past week, the last of us girls successfully graduated from high school!  It's still hard for me to believe that the time has actually come where all of us are either adults or just on the edge of adulthood.  I don't feel like I am old enough to be where I am (though I suppose I am still only 23...).  I mean, I've already finished my BA, obtained my teaching license and am only 2 classes shy of my M.Ed.  I'm also already married, own a house, and have been talking about having kids in the next 4-5 years.  I am an adult now and it's sometimes hard to believe that I've made it this far.  I mean, seriously...
How did L and I go from this...
 Prom 2003 (only our 6th date)
... to this?
July 18, 2009 (copyright Studio Blue)

And how did we (K, LC, Z, and P) get here?
P, K, Z (LC was stuck in Duluth)

I hear the years only go by faster and faster...