Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thankful Thursday--May 31

Remember back in March and April and the beginning of May when I was just trying to get through two weeks at a time?  The rest of May kind of exploded the way my early spring did, and I am really thankful that this month is over.  Summer is my least favorite season, but quite frankly, I'm thrilled that it has arrived (meteorologically speaking, at least).  Hopefully the lazy days of summer extend a bit to my schedule!

I'm thankful this week, too, for the amazing women at St. R.  The hugs when I got back to work yesterday and the reassurance that events at church can and do go on without me was exactly what I needed.

Finally, I'm thankful for my friend K.  I'm in the midst of a couple of very crafty weeks (I'll share all when I get them finished!), and last night she invited me over to hang out for a few hours and be crafty.  She helped put together a project I'm working on and I worked on a project she has for work.  It was so nice to just decompress and work with my hands for a couple hours.  In fact, she offered to come over tonight and help with another one of my projects, so I'm looking forward to another chance at decompression (Have I mentioned that I'm thankful May is almost over?)!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Speechless Wednesday

Edit:  Well it works a lot better if I actually give you the picture, doesn't it?  Clearly, I am a bit scattered this week!

In case you've been wondering where I've been this week, it has something to do with these guys:

On Friday evening, my BFF called to tell me that her father had been injured.  Less than an hour later, I received the follow-up call that he'd passed away.  I've known Suz and her family for fifteen years now, so her news was a hard bite to take.  I spent Saturday, Monday and Tuesday with her and her family.  On Tuesday morning, it rained--poured really--much of the morning.  It stopped briefly during the funeral, but started back up at the cemetery and rained a steady, soaking rain throughout the luncheon afterwards.  Sometime in the afternoon, though, the clouds cleared and the sun came out.  After having been on their best behavior in dress clothes for two days (not to mention in spite of the chaos of stressed out adults changing their regular schedules), Steve and Linda's grandkids were ready for the pool.  Suz's little one Danielle absolutely adores her "Gabby" (Suzanne's niece Abbigail) as you can see in this picture (I adore little Abbi, too, so it's easy to understand).  I felt kind of sorry for Abbi's little brother Jacob, who got completely left out of the girls' mutual admiration society.

Please prayer for Suz and her family as they navigate this unexpected new life.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fitness Friday--May 25

So the big news of the week is that I am thisclose to breaking a weight loss barrier (the 200 mark).  I've done so unofficially (yesterday morning), but I don't quite consider it 'real' until my WW weight record reflects it.  I haven't been under 200 lbs since October 2010, right after I left GS.  I also hit the magic mark in the summer of 2007, just before my wedding.  (Yo Yo Much?)  Interestingly, in both cases I didn't break 190, so that's probably my bigger goal at this point.  But the 200 point is my current goal.  My WW center is closed on Monday, so I'm trying to decide if I'll go in on Sunday or Tuesday.  Whichever I do, you can believe I'll report back here!

I'm still fighting the cold I caught last week, though I'm mostly feeling better.  I'm just dealing with some lingering exhaustion.  Is it possible for a stuffy nose to keep you from breathing well/sleeping well?  That's my only guess.  Well, that and a faulty immune system! :)

Have a great weekend, and don't overdo it at your Memorial Day picnics!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thankful Thursday--May 24

This week, I'm thankful for my mom and dad, who celebrated 42 years of marriage yesterday.  42!  Wow.

I'm thankful, too, for my BFF Suz, who is letting me plan all of the decorations for her little girl's second birthday party.  I may be a little out of control on this one (how do I know?  Maybe it was having to call her to let her know a helium tank would be delivered to her house this weekend... Or maybe it was when I had to tell my husband to ignore the mock party set up in the living room...), but I have loved every minute of brainstorming with her via email, making lists, conducting research trips to half a dozen stores (and then going back to each of those stores to purchase the items that 'made the cut'), putting together the party favors, and preparing a huge box to ship off to her.  Yes, ship off to her.  I can't actually attend the party myself, so all of this effort is my gift to her little girl.  Who will likely not remember any of it.  I'm that thankful for her presence in my life and in the lives of my friends.

Finally, I'm thankful for our EfM class.  On Tuesday night, we celebrated the graduation of half of our class at the Diocesan graduation ceremony.  (Side note:  I'm thankful that our Diocese has a facility as beautiful and rich in history as our Cathedral to celebrate these occasions, and thankful that I have St. R to go on Sundays!  I can't imagine worshiping in a place as large and empty every week.)  After the ceremony, everyone--the graduates, the mentors, priests, and other participants--moved into another room for a reception.  While there was a lovely buffet, our group found itself squeezed around a table with crab dip, crackers, and a pound cake to share among ourselves.  We talked about our class, about the graduation ceremony, about what is next for us.  And as it grew dark outside and the hall emptied of people, we stayed at our table, talking and sharing with each other.  It was truly an awesome experience, and I am thankful for it.

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A look at the garden

After yesterday's tease about the garden, I felt that I had to share a picture of the garden with you!

On the left is Container Two, which holds our two tomato plants.  The Old German (who may or may not be nicknamed Germie) is on the left; Grandma Mary is on the right.

On the right is Container One, which holds our pepper plants and our herbs.  The peppers are in the center of the container; Pepe, the Garden Salsa Pepper (not a jalapeno, like I thought) is on the left; Tila the Tequila Pepper is on the right.

Photobombing the picture (and waiting patiently for me to throw his ball) is Zep, right in the middle of the picture.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Melton Point Garden 2.0

So like I said last week, we've replanted our container gardens.  Last year, we set it up like this: two Better Boy tomatoes in one together with a jalapeno and a poblano pepper plant, as well as a few herbs; in the other we put the Rutgers heirloom tomato with the third Better Boy and a few more herbs.  We felt that the tomatoes were crowded last year, so this year's garden looks more like this:

Container One will hold all of the herbs:  basil, tri-colored sage, rosemary, lemon thyme, and oregano.  In the middle of this container (the herbs are around the outside) will be two pepper plants: a Tequila Bell Pepper (I think we'll name her Tila.  Bonus points if you can tell me why.) and a Jalapeno.

Container Two will be the Tomato Container.  We've purchased two heirloom varieties this year (from a Franklin County farmer I met at the Farmers Market!):  Old German, a variety noted as great for slices, and Grandma Mary, a small meaty variety that is supposed to be good for salsa and sauces.  Having my own Grandma Mary, I'm particularly partial to that one, and I'm hopeful that it will do well.

Monday, May 21, 2012

More trim painting

Remember last Monday, when I told you I was done switching all of the trim on the MP over to black?  I lied.  Not on purpose (at all!).  I just forgot about the bathroom window.  The window is just to the right of the back door, and it is set in like the door.  Which means that there was a bit of green trim around the window still.  I noticed it on Monday afternoon when I showed my mom the door.

Here's what it looked like before:

And here's what it looked like in progress:

And here's how it looks now!

So now I think I've swapped all of the house trim out for black!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fitness Friday--May 18

J and I are definitely on two sides of the physical fitness coin this week!  I earned my much coveted 25lb charm at Weight Watchers on Monday (so I'm down 25.6 pounds in 20 weeks), and actually walked 6 miles (split between two three-mile walks) that day, too.  I think I'm getting ready to register for a 5K and start to add a little jogging to my schedule.

J, on the other hand, completely overdid it when he took up running a couple weeks ago.  After weeks of taking it easy, his knee kept feeling worse, so he finally went to the doctor to get it checked out.  Two doctors visits later (including a sports medicine doc at UK), he's learned that he has some kind of bursitis.  While painful, it isn't serious enough an injury to warrant surgery or casting, and we're grateful for that!  J is looking at 4-6 weeks of ice and care before he can ease back into exercise.

How's your physical fitness?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ol' Zep

Yes, that's Zep.  On the living room couch.  Yes, this is the dog who isn't allowed on the furniture.  He did this right in front of me.  You can just barely see the pitiful "I'm old, and this feels nice" look he gave me.

A friend once commented that Ol' Zep would make a great name for a bottom shelf bourbon.  I don't think he had this pitiful look in mind for the cover art.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Green Thumb--We might have one!

Remember last year, when I said that J and I have black thumbs?  Well, me managed to successfully keep half of our tomato plants alive (now there's an optimistic statement!), and both of our pepper plants made it through the season (one of them produced several peppers; the other produced one or two, but it lived!).  The most successful items in our container garden, though, were the herbs.  The oregano and basil were outstanding!  We killed the cilantro (twice), but we managed to hold on to the rosemary.  In fact, the rosemary and basil came back on their own this year, so we consider those an extra success.

On the whole, we dubbed our first season of container gardening a success.  While we might not have four green thumbs between us, we figure we at least have one, and that we should put it back to good use this summer.

To prepare, J removed herbs from the container (placing them temporarily in small pots) and refreshed the soil.  Then, he moved the herbs, together with a few more that we purchased, into one container.  Last year, we overcrowded the containers (leading to the death of two of our Better Boy tomatoes), so this year we have designated one to tomatoes (two plants) and the other to herbs and a pepper plant.  I need to pick up the tomato plants and the pepper plant this week, and I'll have pictures to share when I do!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A New Look...

Remember back in March when I decided that our back door should really match the rest of the doors/shutters at the MP?  I ran to HD on a whim and bought black exterior paint and threw up a first coat on a pretty afternoon.  After the first coat, it pretty much looked like this:

And it stayed that way for a couple of months.  To be fair, it cooled off...and then got really hot...and I got really busy...and really, we all know I don't have the longest attention span when it comes to projects around the MP.  At all.

Well, last week I came up with an awesome new project (for our bedroom...which is its own graveyard of not quite finished projects).  In a moment of restraint, I decided it might please J if I would finish a project before starting a new one.  So Friday afternoon I pulled out the tape so I could do some detail work on the door, as well as give it a second coat.

Rather than tape off the glass, I just painted right onto it.  After everything was nice and dry, I went out Saturday morning with a razor blade to slice a clean line at the edge of the window and scrape everything clean.  It was actually useful because the previous owners left some paint behind on the inside of the glass when they painted the doors to sell the house.  It's nice to know that the glass is actually clean on both sides now.

So previously, the doors were white, and the trim around the doors was green, which matched the back of the house.  When we painted the back of the house off-white a few years ago, I decided not to paint the trim around the door (not just trim, it's a funky four inch inset area).  I didn't know what color the doors would be changed to, but I knew that I wanted them to match the trim/inset so that it would all just blend together.  I really like the way it all turned out.

Ignore the mess on the deck that's reflected in the door.  That's just a preview of tomorrow's blog post!

Have a great week!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Saturday smells like...Elbow grease...and bananas

J and I are enjoying one of those incredibly rare weekends when nothing is on our calendar.  Since J's knee prevents my typical response to this kind of weekend (let's go adventuring!!), we decided to stay home and see what trouble we could get into around the house.
Considering that it is just now mid-afternoon (and that we slept until late morning), we've found a lot to get into!  I finished off the back door project (the one I started back in March), and J did the necessary 'Spring start-up' work to get our container gardens ready for the summer growing season.  J made us banana smoothies for breakfast (brunch? lunch?  It was after 12:30 when we had them...and anyway, Zeppelin had most of J's after he set it down on the deck for a minute.), and I started laundry (currently washing the fourth load of, I'm just guessing here, seven to be done).  We found the smoothie recipe in my new WW Fruits and Veggies cookbook.  Incredibly easy, I've put the recipe at the bottom of this post.  I gave J a much-needed haircut, and he's currently in the kitchen working on stock for something.
Still to do today?  Finish the laundry before it rains (and puts a stop to laundry-doing so the sump pump can do its job) and grocery shopping.  I am absolutely delighted at much we've gotten done today!

Mine is on the left, J's on the right.  Both glasses were filled to the brim with one serving.
Banana Smoothie--We started with the WW recipe, but y'all know J tweaked it a bit!
Peel & slice a banana; wrap in plastic wrap freeze 30 minutes
Put in blender (J used our food processor) with 1/2 cup fat free milk (J used 2%, which we had on hand), 2 ice cubes (or three...), and a few drops vanilla extract (J used our Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract from Williams-Sonoma--yum!!)  (also, J added a pinch of sea salt)
WW suggested sprinkling with unsweetened cocoa powder, but we don't have any of that on hand, so I drank mine plain.  It tasted like a great banana milkshake.  J added a dollop of peanut butter, a drizzle of honey, and a little nutmeg to his, and it tasted like a peanut butter milkshake.
As printed in the book, this recipe has 4 WW PointsPlus.  The way J made mine added up to 5 WW PointsPlus.  Since I didn't watch him make his smoothie, I'm hesitant to estimate the points in his version, but I'm sure it added at least two or three points to my total.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Week in Review

I completely fell back off the blogging wagon this week, but I had great intentions (and even thought about what I could write) every day!  Since I'd already been thinking about it, I decided to give you a full week in review.  To make it fun (and because posts with pictures are prettier), I'm going to tie every day back to this picture:

This is a picture of B, her mom, Baby E, Superman and Superkid

Melton Point Monday:  What have we been up to?  Well, St. R's 50th anniversary absolutely commanded our time in the last week.  Long days at work led up to the actual weekend, which was actually three events--Race the Rector (see pic), a Derby Party, and the 50th anniversary church service (complete with Dixieland Jazz band!) followed by Dinner on the Grounds.  Now, I was intimately involved in Race the Rector planning, but moderately involved in the other events.  J, as a vestry member and by extension of my role in all of it, got to be involved in most of these events, too.

Tuesday's Talents:  Look back at the picture above.  See what they all have in common?  Yep, the entire family received medals in their age groups.  So they all ran or walked (well, Baby E rode on B's back) three miles.  It's a pretty awesome family achievement, but I think the 'talent' part of this picture is Superkid.  He's six (remember when I made the cake for his party?), and he beat the rector!  The race was named Race the Rector, and everyone who beat the rector got a commemorative button.  While I fully expected plenty of serious runners to earn this designation, I didn't know if a small child could run the whole race, much less do so at a faster clip than Fr. J.  The Superkid definitely has a talent for this running thing.

Wordless Wednesday:  Well, this whole post is incredibly wordy, but you've got the picture above and I'll keep this part of the wrap-up brief!

Thankful Thursday:  When we woke up the morning of Race the Rector, it was raining.  Not just raining, mind you, buckets of water were falling from the sky, together with thunder and lightening. I was bummed.  It is so hard to drive around placing race signs while in your heart you know the weather is going to keep people from coming out.  B, in her awesomeness, had faith that the weather would break and brought her family (even her mom!) out to run.  She was right, thank goodness, and the streets were dry by race-time.  But even if they hadn't been, I am just so thankful to this family for not seeing the rain and rolling over and going back to sleep!  I'm thankful this week, too, for J who really gave so much of himself to help with the race (even walking the course in the rear of the pack to be sure everything went smoothly on that end with a bum knee).  Finally, not related to the race, but I'm thankful for the families at St. R who have just opened up their lives to me.  Last night I got to hang out at a Little League game with one family and tonight I'll be cheering on another youth at the High School Regional Track Meet.  I'm so thankful for this wonderful extended family that I've been given at St. R.

Fitness Friday:  Not my fitness (though I did walk a lot of miles in preparation for Race the Rector), but B's family above definitely deserves some recognition.  Superman is an elementary school PE teacher and obviously takes fitness seriously, but I just think it's so awesome that the whole family values fitness (especially B, who gets me out every Monday morning for a great walk!!).  With regard to our physical fitness, I'm still thisclose to my 25lb charm.  I'm not exercising nearly as much as I was, and I know this has something to do with stalling on the weight loss front.  J has hit a speed-bump in his fitness quest and we expect he'll be getting an MRI on his knee next week to determine how long he'll be sidelined.  We'll keep you posted!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Walk this way

I'm in the midst of race-planning this week, which means I'm a bit stressed.  The best thing about this race has been how 'local' it is--unlike the Thin Mint Sprint, where I had to drive twenty minutes to get to the course, I've been able to walk the Race the Rector course frequently, both for recreation and for work.  This week, I spent two mornings walking the course to notify the neighbors about the race (we don't want anyone backing out of their driveway into a runner or walker!).  It's funny how two miles can turn into five (which is what I walked both Tuesday and Wednesday to cover the whole course) when you're walking up each driveway or sidewalk to the door and back (and again...and again...and again).  There are about 275 houses on our course, and I've now seen them all.  Together with my weekly Monday 4.5 and the 1.25 J and I got in Sunday afternoon, I've walked more than 15 miles this week.  Crazy.

So to commemorate the many miles walked this week, I decided to share a picture I snapped of my shadow while walking on the beach last month. Happy walking!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

This and That

First off, I added a 'finished' burger picture to Saturday's post, so be sure and check it out.  Yes, it did taste every bit as good as it looks!

Second, remember waaaaay back in August when I wrote this post about how to make a cupcake topiary?  And then never mentioned it again?  Well, we're still working on the topiaries, and some are even starting to take shape!

Once we've got more finished I promise to take the time to write out a proper tutorial.  Until then, I'll leave you with a picture of the cupcake bakery in our living room.

That's 18 dozen cupcakes, about enough for 3.5 topiaries.  We're making 100, so that gives you an idea of just how many of these faux cupcakes we've made!