Saturday, May 22, 2010

Garden Update

The good news is we are leaving KY, the bad news...I have to find another way to get my gardening fix. With the higher cost of living in the Northern VA area, even with a nice raise, we'll probably have to downgrade to a townhouse. The thought of this gives me a twitch. Perhaps I'll be able to find another elementary school in need of some landscaping TLC. For now I'm going to enjoy my garden. I've been doing some work getting it ready for when people come to look at our house. Hard to believe that a little less than 2 years ago it looked like this:

Oh, how I hated those holly bushes! Today it looks like this:

There is still a little bit that I would do to it (a couple of bare spots), that I probably won't get a chance to do, but I like it. DD can pick the flowers, it gives the house some nice curb appeal and it just makes me happy. Who wants to bet that the person who buys our house doesn't give 2 shits about gardening? Here are some of my other gardening areas:
I bought this white salvia at the end of last year for $0.33/plant. DH told me it was dead.

My rain barrel mecca:

I got this little oak sapling on Earth Day last year. It was the first tree we planted.

And finally...What garden would be complete without a vegetable garden? I hope my neighbors take me up on my offer to take the veggies when we leave. I'll cry if I think about them just rotting on the ground.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pittsburgh trip

This weekend we packed the kids and the Schnauzers into the car and headed to Pittsburgh to visit family. We left at 8:00 pm on Thursday, hoping everyone would sleep in the car.
Our first obstacle was in regards to our GPS. Let me just say that if our GPS had nuts, I would have ground and pound them like Chuck Liddell. That stupid thing directed us through the countryside of Shelbyville for 20 minutes, only to bring us out the next town over. I almost threw it out the window! Luckily we were able to pull over and clean out the crate we had Coco in cuz she had already thrown up the first of 5 times!
The rest of the trip went pretty well except, earlier in the day, Rocky had eaten one of DD's multivitamins and farted noxious gas every 15 minutes or so. Did I mention that he slept on my lap for 7 hours?
When we got to my parents' house, I had to bathe Coco because she was, literally, soaked in vomit and stomach acid. It was awesome. I then had to clean up Rocky's poop, cuz he was so excited to be out of the car that he dumped on my parents' carpet. Oh yeah...and there was also the cat vomit that had crusted to the floor from my parents' cats. My parents were in CA all week, so there was no one to clean it up. After all that I jumped in the shower and scrubbed my skin off.
Friday we chilled with the inlaws and met Hubby's coworkers for drinks at a place called Mad Mex. I got a Kristy's Big Sister's Red Velvet Burrito.
On Saturday we went to my nephew's birthday party. It was at one of those inflatable bouncy house places. After about 20 minutes of watching the kids bounce Hubby and I decided to leave and get some lunch. We went to this awesome Italian pizza shop called Mama Lucia's. It was great to have real pizza again, not the ketchup and cheese on bread that they have around here. I also got an Italian hoagie. It was so good I would have married Mama Lucia if I could have.
After the party we went to a dog park. It was the first time the dogs have been off of their leashes outside. They loved it! We thought Rocky would get kicked out after 5 minutes, but he was really well-behaved. Look how happy they are:

On Sunday we had DS's First Reconciliation at church. When we lived in Pittsburgh we attended a Ukrainian Catholic Church. In KY there is not even a Byzantine Catholic Church, so our priest invited DS to participate in their ceremony. It was really nice to be back in church. Everyone remembered us. One of the old Ukrainian ladies commented on how big DS had gotten. It was a beautiful ceremony. Here is a picture of DS with the priest:

After the ceremony we went to my parents' house and had a BBQ, then we headed to the local amusement park called Kennywood.

DD loves roller coasters. It was really fun. DS won a stuffed animal and they both got light up toys. We ate french fries with cheese at the Potato Patch and even met up with Hubby's childhood friend that he reunited with on Facebook. It was a good time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stuffed shells

I hate wasting food, so I'm always looking for ways to use up leftovers. On Mother's Day I grilled some yummy pizzas. One was shrimp, sweet corn and roasted red pepper, and the other was mushroom, spinach and red onion. They were very good, the problem was that I had veggies leftover because I had to buy a big bag of spinach and a whole package of mushrooms, but I only needed a handful of each for my pizza. I started thinking how I could use the leftovers and decided to incorporate them into the stuffed shells I was making for dinner last night. Here's my "recipe":

1/4 large onion
1 clove garlic
handful of spinach
handful of mushrooms
1/2 roasted red pepper
palmful of Parmesan cheese
handful of mozzarella cheese, plus more for topping
pinch of black pepper
1/2 lb ricotta cheese
salt to taste
1 egg
12 large shells, cooked al dente
marinara sauce

Throw veggies in food processor and chop until small. Mix in cheeses and beaten egg. Spoon filling into shells. Spoon marinara into the bottom of a baking dish. Place shells in dish. Spoon more marinara on top of shells. Top with mozzarella. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until sauce bubbles.

DISCLAIMER: If you are thrown off by my obscure measurements or undetailed recipe, then you probably shouldn't try making this dish and should just order a pizza.