Friday, December 31, 2010

the last day of 2010

it's 64 degrees outside and i've spent most of the day on the couch watching movies. i did just run out to the store for some beer. maybe we'll take a walk...and then go back to the couch for more movies (and a glass of beer). great way to end the year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

home sweet home

we are finally home tonight after 14 1/2 hours of driving from new jersey. we had an extended stay at my parent's house because of the christmas blizzard. 18 inches of snow and a state of emergency, so we stayed an extra day and a half. we enjoyed the bonus time with family but my other set of parents were flying into columbia for a visit while we were still up in nj. so they were here a day without us, which was a shame.

the roads were still a bit icy up north when we left this morning, but we navigated fine. we did, however, get a flat tire when we were in delaware. they found a key (?!) and a nail in it, so a replacement was needed. but the people at the tire place were really nice. and they had free coffee and otis spunkmeyer cookies.

the snowy roads plus the hour-long tire fix made it an extra long drive. needless to say we're happy to be home, no matter how nice our visit was. (sorry, mom!) the kitties are happy to have us home too. they chose to cuddle with us instead of play outside (and that's saying much).

here's a really bad picture of me with a happy mokey purring away on my lap. (and a glass of wine:)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

annual party announcement

it's that time of year again! almost time for our annual post holiday, holiday party!

when: saturday, january 8, 2011, 7:00 PM until...
where: our house
what: good friends celebrating the end of the holiday season. plenty of snacks and dessert will be provided. BYOB. feel free to bring friends.

hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

prayers answered and a yummy winter soup

it may be odd that i'm putting these two things in the same blog post. but here goes...

after a few years (?) of fighting, chris's mom was finally awarded disability insurance today. this is huge, folks! she really is incapable of sustaining a job. and she's been living off of her ever-dwindling savings, which are not too far from drying up. we're not sure of the details or how much her new income will be, but we're just pleased that she'll finally have an income! prayers of praise! and big ups to my sister-in-law for heading down to MS to help with the hearings!

and, i made an amazing kimchi soup tonight, if i do say so myself. i love kimchi and i love kimchi soup. but i hadn't ventured to make it yet because i thought it would be hard to do. boy, was i wrong. here's what i did:

kimchi soup

heat a soup pan on medium heat and coat the bottom lightly with olive oil. add 1/2 onion sliced and saute until fragrant. add 4 chopped garlic cloves and a jar of kimchi (without it's liquid) (about 1 1/2 - 2 cups).

cook until fragrant (about 5 minutes). add whatever liquid came in the kimchi jar (about 1/2 cup), 2 cups of water, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1 TBS cooking wine (i use cooking sherry), 2 tsp chili paste (i used thai chili paste), and 2 tsp soy sauce. stir everything together and turn up heat to boil. (oh, i also added a little bit of vegetable broth because i had it in the fridge and felt like it needed a little more liquid. but the broth is not necessary.)

once boiling, add more spice as you see fit. i added a few pinches of red pepper flakes for a bit more zing. add a package of diced tofu (i like to squish out the water first by putting paper towels around it and putting something mildly heavy on it.) reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes. once done cooking, add 2 chopped green onions and 1 TBS butter.

good served with rice.

**none of these things are exact. i adapted this recipe from here. and i pretty much used what i had in my cupboard. so if you have something different, i'm sure substitutions would work for you too.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

radish salad

i just made this tonight along with potato and jerusalem artichoke soup. both were really good but i found the radish salad to be great. very fresh tasting. i'm sure it helped that i used radishes from the local farmers market. here's the recipe in case anyone's interested. (and where it said cilantro or mint, i used mint because the hubby doesn't like cilantro.)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

cuddle bug

i gave our cat, doozer, a bath tonight because he smelled a bit like rancid cat urine. ever since the bath he's been super snuggly. i think i should torture him like this more often if it'll increase his cuddliness. it's really cute.

we remember

3 years later

david waits in anticipation
March 23, 1954-December 2, 2007

Monday, November 29, 2010

the most wonderful day of the year

BRING YOUR PET TO WORK DAY! it's the most a-mazing day ever!

you may remember that my office did this last year and i brought mokey. this year i opted for doozer and he was just about as thrilled with me as mokey was last year. oh well, i enjoyed having him around.

even if he did hide behind my desk:

and under a blanket all day.

(notice he wore his tie today. we are a professional office, after all).

most of the staff brought in their furry friends as well:

meredith and lexi
ginny and raffi
pam and gizmo
zoe and monty
mary dell and casper


Saturday, November 27, 2010

quote of the day

"don't just a book by what they looked like in high school."

so true, so true.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy thanksgiving

happy thanksgiving from two turkeys!

two turkeys

Saturday, November 20, 2010

harry potter assessment

i was very pleased by the movie. i've heard people say that it was boring and didn't really get to anything of substance. but if you've read the book, the first 1/2 is basically a couple of "kids" who don't know what they're doing and are scared and hiding. i think this was the best adaptation of the book and can't wait for the second 1/2 to come out in july.

Friday, November 19, 2010

harry potter

AHHHH!!! couple hours till showtime. can't wait!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


harry potter movie tickets are in-hand! can't wait!

Friday, November 12, 2010

the frustrations continue

the hubby got a call last night around 7:45 from dss saying that they had a 2 month old baby needing placement and asking would we take the kid for the night or the weekend. he said yes but asked them to call me to work out the details because he was at a work event. a few minutes later i got a call from dss asking the same question. so i said yes, we would take the child. so the guy said that i would be getting a call from the caseworker to work out the details. i ran home and cleaned off the cat hair from the various surfaces in the kid's room, cleaned the bottles, checked the formula, laid out some clothes. and then i waited. and waited. and waited for that damned caseworker to call. after 1 1/2 hours i tried to call the guy back but his number apparently can't be return-called. long story short, we didn't get a single call back. not a word saying that they found another home. nothing.

i am just so pissed at them for the inconsideration and the lack of professionalism. i can't even express it fully here. i did try to call him back again this morning and couldn't get through. i also tried my caseworker and she wasn't available. i think i'm going to call the foster care association. if nothing else they can confirm that this is how the process goes and that everyone is treated this way. slim comfort, but at least i'd know it wasn't just me.

Friday, November 05, 2010

making preparations

i'm rereading harry potter book 7 in anticipation of part 1 the moving coming out in a few weeks. it's the only book in the series that i have not read multiple times. it occurred to me that if harry were real he would only be 2 years younger than me.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

risotto recipe

i made a good risotto tonight and since i made up the recipe i thought i'd jot down how i made it for future references. i've been trying to use up the green tomatoes from our end of the season garden and this was a really good way to do that.

green tomato and pumpkin risotto

saute 1/2 onion in olive oil till soft.
add 4 chopped green tomatoes and cook on medium for a few minutes. add 1 chopped clove garlic.
add 1 cup arborio rice and mix around for a minute.
and 1 cup pumpkin puree and 1 cup white wine. mix well and cook until liquid dissolves.
add 1 cup of veg stock, stir and cook until liquid is dissolved.
continue adding 1 cup of veg stock at a time until you've added a total of 4 cups of liquid.
when almost done salt and pepper to taste. add a pinch of cayenne and clove.

so good!

as an aside, we finished insulating under the house last saturday. i'm really, really glad that we did it, even though it was laborious work. i'm home sick this afternoon and it's really nice to have a cozy, less drafty house to rest in. it's amazing what a difference it made. the floors are WAY less cold than they used to be and the house just seems overall less drafty. definitely a wise decision!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

crazy weather

i can't believe that it's almost november and we have had to turn the air conditioning back on for the past 2 days. this time last week if not for my stubbornness we would have had the heat on.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

weekend project

this is what we spent the majority of our saturday (and will spend a majority of our sunday) doing.

the insulating ready to be put in the crawl space
me putting the insulation up

insulating the crawl space.

it was hard work and it sucked royally. but i'm really proud of us for doing it. we're about 1/3 of the way through. we could've pushed on further today but we decided not to kill ourselves since there was no way we were going to finish today. so we'll pick back up tomorrow where we left off today. hrumph.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

more pictures from the fair

i've uploaded a few more pictures from the fair. check out the flickr set here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

saturday project

this is what we spent our saturday doing. on the one hand i'm very proud of having done this.* though, it took WAY too long to do so i'm frustrated at the various frustrations that we had during the project. but that's pretty much how all home improvement projects go in our house. so, par for the course.

bedroom ceiling fan

*however, now that i see how relatively not difficult it was to install, it's silly that i was so anxious about it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

hello from the south carolina fair

is it bad to eat a pizza, a big bowl of french fries, and an elephant ear for dinner?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

great recipe- cashew nut curry

just made this last night and it was amazing. made a few adjustments: don't have a big enough mortal and pestle so i put it in the food processor instead. i also didn't have fennel powder, so i pounded some fennel seed and used that instead. and i didn't have curry leaves so i used a few pinches of curry powder as substitute. i topped with sliced green onions and served with jasmine rice.

cashew nut curry

200 gm raw cashews
1 medium onion, sliced
2-3 pips garlic
1/2 inch ginger, sliced
1 T coriander powder
1/2 T cumin powder
1/4 T fennel powder
a pinch or two of tumeric powder
7-8 curry leaves

some black pepper, crushed

1/4 cup thick coconut milk
2-3 T cooking oil

Pound the onions, garlic and ginger in a pestle and mortar till quite fine.

Heat oil in a pan and saute the pounded ingredients until fragrant. Add the powdered spices and a little water, about 2 tablespoons, and saute until the mixture turns a little darker and the oil seperates from the paste.

Throw in the cashews and stir to mix it into the spices. Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer and let it simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes. Add salt in between. While doing so add some water or stock if the mixture seems to dry. There should be some sauce but not gravy. It a dry sort of curry.

Sprinkle some crushed black pepper if you so desire. Serve with white rice.

Note ~ You may add some sliced green chillies just at the end of the cooking and sprinkle some fried onions over the top just before serving.

i found the recipe here which was a link from tastespotting.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


i am saddened and sickened by what happened today to the rutgers university student. it's a sad situation all around and it's things like this that make me disgusted at the world.

it was kind of appropriate that at the end of the day i stumbled upon this youtube video, which i really love. but what a sad thing it is that we have to tell our youth that they just have to make it through high school and then they'll be okay. wouldn't it be better if we could just make high school a better place? that's pretty much what i do in my job, by the way.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

catching up on pictures

i've been very behind in putting pictures up online. so i've finally caught up and have some shots of our recent weekend trips.

earlier in the month we went to charlotte to visit friends. they took us to the carolina raptor center, where they both volunteer. it was a pretty cool place and we got to see some neat birds.

red tailed hawk

it was a nature-filled weekend because adam and sarah found a nest of baby rabbits right outside their house in their front yard. they were so tiny and very cute (in a hairless squiggly sort of way)!

the baby rabits outside a & s's house

see all the pictures from the charlotte trip here.

a few weekends ago we also took a trip to devil's fork state park in pickens county. we camped just the two of us on friday and saturday night and on saturday morning we met up with 2 other couples for a boating trip on lake jocassee. it was a very rainy weekend, but despite the weather we had a great time! plus we rescued a troop of boy scouts. it was our good deed of the day.

our home at devil's fork state park
our camp site (which we accidentally stole from another couple. but it all worked out in the end.)

the boy scouts climb aboard
rescuing the boy scouts

our friends are delivered safely to their rondevu point
dropping them off at their rendezvous point.

the ship's crew
our fair crew.

all pictures from the camping weekend are here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

close call

we received our first call for placement this week. unfortunately we didn't get the voice mail message until after they had already lined up another home for the child. it would have been an 11 month-old.

but that definitely woke us up to the fact that we are indeed on their list and we could get a call any day now! yikes!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

beautiful dinner

this is what i made for dinner tonight. the picture doesn't do it justice, but it was really pretty. (and tasty too.

ratatouille tart
ratatouille tart made with a recipe from smitten kitchen

Sunday, September 19, 2010

the weigh-in

well, ben was closest in his guess of how much honey we would get this go-round. he guessed 35 pounds and we got 40! you'll win the prize of a jar of honey. (but you may have to wait until i see you again. sorry!)

but, yes, we got 40 more pounds of honey! and it's so cool because it is so much darker than the first batch and tastes a good bit different. i think it has a "spicier" flavor. the hubby thinks it's less sweet. but either way, totally yummy.

this picture doesn't really do it justice. but you can get an idea of how much darker it is. the bigger jar is the first batch of honey and the small jar is the second.

our honey!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

more honey

we just took 17 frames of capped honey off our two hives. we'll be extracting the honey this afternoon. anybody want to take a guess at how many pounds we'll get?

i'll give you a few pieces of info that might be helpful in making your guess. last time we took 10 frames that were totally full with capped honey and we got 33 pounds. this time, our frames are not full. many of them are partially full with capped honey.

so leave a guess in the comments section below. and, of course, price is right rules apply.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

open for business

guess what arrived quite unceremoniously today in the mail?

that's right. we're officially licensed foster parents. now we'll see how long it takes to get a kid. i've heard people say everything from getting getting a child on the very next day to getting one a year after they were licensed.

Saturday, September 04, 2010


we were in charlotte this weekend visiting friends. on saturday night we were inside an ethiopian restarant enjoying a yummy meal while this was happening outside. we were not pleased.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

new orleans trip

i finally put my pictures from the new orleans trip up on flickr. i mentioned that i was down there for a conference and then stayed a few extra days. so here's what i did.

i arrived on tuesday afternoon and attended a work conference until thursday evening. i was fortunate to have met some really nice people at the conference who i could go out to dinner with. they had vegetarians and a vegan in their group, so i knew we'd get along food-wise and they loved to eat, just like me! we ate really good indian food at nirvana on magazine street on tuesday night and then had vegetarian jambalaya at scarlette o'hara in the french quarter on thursday night. it was awesome to get a good head start on some amazing food!

late thursday evening my sister flew in so we could hang out until sunday. we both were pretty tired over the weekend, but we managed to walk the heck out of new orleans, listen to some wonderful music, and eat, eat, eat.

we ate beignets for breakfast on friday morning at cafe beignet. and for those "in the know," no worries. we did also have them at cafe du monde as a late night snack on our last evening in town. i thought it was great that we could bookend the trip with beignets from 2 different places so i could compare them.

enjoying a beignet
rachel thought they were "okay," which was not enough enthusiasm for my taste. (my sister doesn't really care for sweets too much. are you sure we're related!?)

after filling up with sugar we spent much of the rest of the day just walking around the quarter, eating more yummy food, and listening to bands on almost every corner.

the smoking time jazz club
this was a particularly good band, the smoking time jazz club. i bought a cd of them for the hubby.

local beer + red beans with rice = yumms!
this red beans and rice from a little cafe was amazing!

rain and fleur de lis
ducking into the cafe was a great way to ride out the storm, too.

defending her fried catfish po boy from the pigeons
rachel got to experience a po-boy while she fended off the pigeons pecking her legs.

after taking a little afternoon nap at the hotel, we went out to dinner at an AMAZING african restaurant on royal street. i'm serious folks, if you're anywhere within a 150 mile radius of new orleans, stop in and have their black-eyed pea stew with coconut milk rice. i didn't take any pictures of the meal because i gobbled it down before the thought even occurred to me. they don't have a website, but i'll link here to their facebook page where you can look at their menu*. bennachin, 1212 royal street. seriously, folks, what're you waiting for!?

bellies full, we strolled on down to preservation hall to hear some cool new orleans jazz music.

sitting right up front

preservation hall jazz band

it rained most of saturday, which was a bummer, because there were a bunch of outside festivals and remembrances for the 5th anniversary of katrina that we wanted to go to. i was disappointed that we they canceled them. but we made the best of the day despite the rain. for the first 1/2 of the day we geeked it out by donning rain gear and walking around.

trampsing through the rain

we ate a pretty good new orleans style breakfast at old coffee pot. though the reviews were right in saying that the service is bad, it was rectified by the fact that the elderly waitress sang an off-the-cuff song to a bride-to-be eating at the table next to us.

after walking around for far too long in the rain, we hopped the streetcar and went to the aquarium of the americas. i was a bit worried about it being too crowded, but it wasn't too bad. i had heard the hubby talk about the aquarium for years and i was really pleased with it.

these are happy rays.

shark teeth!
too bad the hubby wasn't here to see the teeth on THIS guy!


after another late afternoon nap, rachel and i ate dinner at another really good restaurant, the green goddess. this place was very "new orleans." i can't really tell you what that means except that it was unique, quirky and had a very different menu. the people were odd and nice and very attentive. and they had lots of veggie and vegan things. i will say that the food was overpriced, but it had a lot of local stuff so i guess it evened out that way.

rachel enjoying her food at green goddess
rachel enjoyed her eggplant stuffed with crab (the proceeds of which, along with my meal, went to help the fishermen in the gulf.)

that night, for our last night on the town, rachel and i went to the house of blues for a tribute concert to treme'. treme' is a historically rich area of the city that got decimated by the storm 5 years ago. there have been multiple documentaries about the city (one of which i watched on pbs earlier in my week down there) and hbo even made a new series about the area of town. so the concert was thrown together to raise money for the make it right foundation (which was started by brad pitt and is tasked with building environmentally friendly, sustainable houses for people in this neighborhood). the concert was amazing. it brought together new orleans artists of all types to rock the house and the people were going crazy. i'm sad to say i don't remember the name of all the musicians, but the people in the crowd sure knew who they were. they were singing along and dancing to almost everything.

erma thomas
erma thomas being a true diva.

rebirth brass band


this guy was awesome. i think he'd had a bit too much to drink and at the end of the concert they couldn't get him off the stage. he kept doing "one more round" after another. hilarious.

carnival man and indian chiefs
the carnival man and the mardi gras indian tribe dancers.

rebirth band and a bunch of dancers tore the roof off the place. after this, all the rest of the singers/musicians came back on the stage for a final song or two or three.

before this trip i had only been to new orleans one other time. it actually was where the hubby and i got engaged. but during that visit i really didn't get the chance to get a feel of the city. so it was really cool to me to be able to tramps around and get to know it a bit more. it also made me get to know my husband's culture a bit more since he grew up going down there quite often as a kid and young adult.

*so when i looked at bennachin's facebook page when i was in new orleans it had their menu posted there. but now the facebook page doesn't have it up there. i'll leave the link just in case they do anything with the site in the future.

Monday, August 30, 2010

a rant at dss

so i got this email from our caseworker today:

"I need you to sign this confidentiality form. I will fax it to you and you may fax it back to me on tomorrow. I just received your home study on today. I will be sent off on this week to state office. I will also be mailing sled forms for your back up providers and the form for them to go and get fingerprinted also and a confidentiality form for them to fill. These are forms that need to be completed by them. I will not whole up anything. I am putting them in the mail today.

If you have any questions please feel to contact me.

Thank you,


do i need to even comment on the grammatical errors in this? or how difficult it is to understand what the hell she's talking about? and the email was written in light baby blue lettering (which is a pet peeve of mine on professional emails).

you may remember that we had our home assessment a month and one day ago today. we were told at that time that we were almost finished with this process and we would receive our certificate in about a month. so now the month is up and sure enough, the paperwork hasn't even been sent to the state office! WTF!!!??

and to add to all that, there are more forms to fill out? and forms to be filled out by our friends? couldn't we have done all of this concurrently with all the other forms we were waiting on?

so now we're going on month 9 of what should be (by law!) a 120 day process. it's just so typical it makes me sick!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

who dat!

i'm really excited to be in new orleans this weekend, which happens to be the 5th anniversary of hurricane katrina. i came down here for a conference this week and am taking advantage of the conference hotel rate which is extended a few days after the completion of the conference.

the feeling of vibrancy and pride toward this city has been so palpable since i've been here. it's just such a great place. and i'm really pleased to be able to celebrate the resiliency of the community on this anniversary as they have festivals and different events around town.

as two side notes:

the hubby and i got engaged in new orleans. that was my first and, until this week, only trip here. i really wish that he could've been with me for this trip because it reminds me so much of him and his family.

and, the packers* are staying in my hotel. they're some really big guys.

*UPDATE: i was wrong; it's not the packers staying in our hotel. it's the chargers. goes to show what i know (which is nothing about football, obviously).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

movie night!

love it! so far we've eaten dinner on the sofa and watched 28 days later, which the hubby insisted he thought i would hate. i did not. and neither did he.

not sure what's next. maybe ice cream and the science of sleep. or ice cream and evil dead ii. or maybe ice cream and both. definitely ice cream though.

whoot whoot! movie night!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

absence makes the heart grow fonder

the hubby and i checked one of our beehives today for the first time since we extracted the honey over a month ago. by the month of june we were getting really tired of this hobby because we felt like we always had bee-related duties hanging over our heads. but since we've not seen them in a while, it really was good to open it up and say hello. we had to cut the inspection short, though, because it started to lightening and get overcast.

we did, however, learn one thing from the hive today. the bees do not like to be sung to. the hubby was singing a little song to them and they immediately got all feisty (when they had previously been calm) and stung both him and me*. maybe he came across a little taunting, but i thought it was sweet. he just said that was one of many in a long list of rejections from women.

*and, if you were wondering, i think "they" are totally right about the fact that if you get stung enough your bee allergy decreases. i used to swell up pretty bad when i got stung and the last 2 times i have barely swollen at all. it still is sore and hot, but nowhere near as bad as it used to be. pretty cool.

Monday, August 16, 2010

i love good food

OMG, i think i just had *the best* meal ever. homemade tortellini soup with white beans, spinach and lots of garlic and rosemary (recipe courtesy of my mom) with locally made bread and freshly made salad with purple cherokee grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and garlic. mmmmmhh, summer food makes me happy!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

new orleans trip suggestions

in a few weeks i'm going to be taking a trip to new orleans for a work conference. i'm fortunate in that my sister is going to join me later in the week and we're going to take an extended weekend to kick around, relax, and just visit this cool city. i've only been to n.o. once. actually, that's where the hubby and i got engaged.

but i've not spent a lot of time there and want do some "neat stuff." i'm just not sure what that neat stuff will be yet. so if anyone has any suggestions on must-dos, leave a comment.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

dss update-august

a few people have been asking and it's been a while since i posted an update on our progress for dss foster care certification. we essentially did the last thing we needed to do about 1 1/2 weeks ago (on july 29). we had to have a "home assessment" which was different than all the other home meetings, inspections, etc etc that we have had thus far. dss contracts with an outside organization to come into our home and meet with us for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. the woman who conducted our assessment was very nice. she asked a ton of questions about our upbringings, our policy on disciplining children, our families, and so forth and so on. she also took a quick glance at the baby's room to make sure that everything was in place. that all went pretty well.

during that meeting we asked the woman how long we were from the end of this seemingly never-ending process. she said that she had to type up the report and give it to her supervisor. her supervisor would approve it (or not) and then send it to our dss caseworker. the caseworker would approve it (or not) and send it to the state office for foster care licensing. they would approve it (or not) and then send it back to the dss caseworker. then the caseworker would issue us our certification. that, apparently takes about a month. hrumph.

i coincidentally ran into the supervisor of the woman who conducted our home assessment at a social work function this past friday. i introduced myself and she told me that the home assessment woman spoke very highly of us. that was nice. but the supervisor said that she had not yet received the written report of the assessment. i asked the supervisor if, in her opinion, this part of the process would take 1 month and she said yes, at the very least. she went on to say that the state office has lost a lot of employees to cutbacks so they're processing paperwork very slow these days. surprise surprise.

so, the long-and-the-short of it is that we've completed everything we can (or at least i assume we have. we keep getting calls and emails from our caseworker asking us to sign some new form or another.) and we're just waiting to get our certification. at that point we will be "open for business!"

Friday, August 06, 2010

dust bunny

boy, i think i need to sweep the floor more often! check out this dust bunny in the corner:
dust bunny

august garden

our garden is still going pretty well, despite the hot dry weather mixed with occasionally violent and sporadic rainstorms. i spent a good amount of time last weekend weeding and tying up the tomatoes and eggplant, which were falling all over the place.

the tomatoes have reached over 6 or 7 feet high and i've had to cut them a few times. yet they still keep growing. we've got 3 different varieties of tomatoes growing and only 2 of the varieties were producing any fruit. that is, up until last weekend. i noticed the second row of tomatoes had a few little green babies growing on it. and tonight when i went out there i realized that there are a good bit of tomatoes growing really high up there on them. so that's great news! we'll have tomatoes for a long time if they keep producing. and the ones that have ripened (and have not been eaten by bugs) are so delicious!

the eggplant is also going gangbusters. we've had so much eggplant this year, i've had to be very creative. baked eggplant, fried eggplant, eggplant parmesan, etc etc. the hubby's not a big fan of eggplant in general, but i think i've found ways to cook it that appeals to him.

the okra is so tall it's rivaling the tomatoes! whenever i grew okra in the past i would just get one or 2 a week. now we're getting several a day, which is cool because that's enough to make some good meals with. i made stewed okra and tomatoes last weekend and it was amazing.

and speaking of amazing, we picked the potatoes last weekend. that's my first try with growing them and MAN! i'll tell you what! fresh potatoes are the. best. thing. in. the. world. i'm serious. compare a freshly picked potato to a store-bought one and you'll see they're totally in different categories. i made a torte with potatoes, yellow squash and herbs last weekend and it was fabulous. last night i tossed boiled potatoes with butter and chives from the garden and i didn't know what to do with myself, they were so yummy. seriously folks, who knew how good these little guys could be?
who knew how good these guys would be

here's the hubby showing off the newly picked spuds.
freshly picked tomatoes and the hubby

Sunday, August 01, 2010

weekend recap

last weekend we were out of town at my family reunion in pennsylvania. click here to see the pictures from the weekend.

for now, a quick recap on this weekend. this was a busy but great weekend. worked all day saturday on the garden and yard. it looks beautiful now, though i have not pictures to show for it. last night was a baseball game with folks from my work plus the somali children. it got rained out after 3 uneventful innings. today i jarred salsa and made blackberry jam. i also made homemade bread and a fantastic dinner of local butter beans, home-grown fried eggplant, stewed okra and tomatoes (both homegrown), and cornbread. and tonight we skyped our first session with chris's sister. it was just like visiting in person! good times.

Monday, July 19, 2010

boo hiss to usc

usc announced today that they're shortening the hours at the blatt pe center. they're no longer going to be open on weekends and they're cutting out the morning classes so they can open up later in the morning to save money. so this means that they will no longer be offering the cycle class that i've been attending all summer.

i'm so, so bummed about this. this is the first time i've exercised consistently in i don't know how long. i was just starting to feel really good and more in-shape! urgh!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

what happened with the bees? and the honey?

as you can see from the video in my last post, we did catch the bees. and there was a queen in there. so we (i say "we" but it was mostly the hubby who did the catching. what a sweetie!) scooped up the bees and put them in a box. and there they've sat for almost a week now. does anyone have a need for a few honey bees and a queen? we've been feeding them with sugar water so they're still alive. but they won't really be much use if they continue to sit in there for too much longer. we also checked our hives and they both have queens and are doing fine.

so, what are we doing with the honey?
honey jars
putting it in jars, ya big dumb dumb!

bottling up the honey
sticky process!

honey bottles
look how pretty it is.

also, we've gotten a lot of questions on the DSS stuff. we're, of course, waiting for them to do the LAST step in the certification process! we finished our classes almost 3 weeks ago and they told us that the last thing we had to do was schedule with an outside agency to do a "home assessment." that's where they come in, look at the baby room and ask us a few questions to determine if we're really ready to get a kid. so i've been waiting and waiting for them to call us to schedule that. i've emailed and called my case worker so many times she's stopped answering me. so i don't know what the holdup is there. BUT, once we're done that step, we'll be completely certified. so we've been working on the baby room. it's pretty much done. check it out:

baby room

baby room

they sell these stick-on things that we put on the wall and on the toy box. it instantaneously transforms a room with so much ease. totally cool! and how cute are those safari animals? very cute!