Just a little blog about me and mine.

Why I’m Always Tired on Mondays April 27, 2009

Filed under: family,food,gardening — Katie @ 2:52 pm

PL is in the middle of finals, so I’ve been trying to be as helpful as possible around the house so she can just study.  It’s a nice feeling to be so useful, and I actually enjoy thinking of especially nice things to do to make PL’s life easier and happier (like buying PL and her classmate chocolate peanut butter cheesecake brownies from the Farmer’s Market or getting a pot of coffee ready to brew whenever she wants to turn it on).  1, 2, 3…Awwww.

Her law school study partner has been at the house almost all day everyday since last Monday except for sleeping–which they aren’t doing a ton of anyway.  I realized that when someone is around for an extended period of time your normal routines become public–cooking, cleaning, exercising, eating ice cream at 11pm. Our closest friends have been around while we’re doing laundry or dishes, but even with them we usually just hang out with them and save other chores and cleaning for another time.  Since PL and her friend were studying, I continued on with my usual activities, but felt a little self-conscious at times about putting our household operations on display. For example, I wanted to organize the pantry, but felt like that would make me look way too OCD and industrious. (fyi: I did eventually organize the pantry, but did it while our guest was gone.) 

So, here’s what I did while they studied, and studied some more, followed by more studying. 

I started by weeding flower beds in the yard and then sprayed lots of Roundup on more even more weeds since pulling them up wasn’t going very fast. I  made a little more progress in our front yard garden bed, but it was really hot by noon so I went inside and took a shower.  I organized the pantry-it did actually need it by the way-and went to Lowes (along with half of the population of Atlanta) to buy some plants.

With the plants unloaded from the car, but with the sun being too hot, I stayed inside and watched Superbad on DVD…I just love Michael Cera.  The whole time I had laundry going too, lest you think I just sat around and did nothing for 2 hours.   

As it was getting dark and cooler I planted Gerber daisies and Mexican heather by the mail box and spread some grass seed on our giant dirt patches in the backyard…probably an exercise in futility but one can dream of having grass one day.  (I’ll post pictures soon…after I find the camera and remember to take them, and upload them)

Then I cooked a yummy dinner of apricot glazed chicken (I checked our recipe blog and I never posted that, so I’ll get on that soon too), sauteed yellow squash, and green beans for my law student.  It’s not too hard of a recipe and really delicious, but it does involve the food processor. 

I went to Sunday school and church and stopped at Chipotle for lunch.  I enjoyed sitting under an umbrella on their deck by myself watching the cars and street traffic, but I didn’t stay too long since I had other errands to run.  After lunch I went to the Farmer’s market–and got all our weekly groceries there.  That’s right, all of them, which I don’t normally do but I’m reading yet another Michael Pollan book and felt like we needed organic milk this week. 

When I got home I prepared 60 pounds of chicken leg quarters for the dogs to eat-I used every container we have for the dogs’ food plus a couple more that I found and they are now set for their meals for 20 days. I only cut myself once, and just in case you were wondering, it takes me 2 hours to get that much chicken ready.  In case you are also wondering what in the world I’m talking about (I did say my normal private routines became public) our dogs eat a raw diet…and it makes them very healthy and happy.  Luckily PL’s study partner already knew that our dogs ate this, so she was intrigued but not grossed out by the fact that we had 60 pounds of raw chicken in our kitchen.  Damn dogs.

After filling our freezer with containers of chicken, I went back outside and planted pansies in the flower bed by the front door, planted our side yard flower bed (moss rose, more pansies, and some other flower that I thought was pretty but can’t remember its name).  Daylight was still my friend so I planted herbs in the backyard herb garden-basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, flat leaf parsley, mint, bee balm (no clue what this is good for but it makes pretty flowers), and sage.  I had enough daylight and energy to put mulch around the newly planted things and hang up the bumblebee windsock that I bought.   

After a shower since I was covered in dirt and mulch, I cooked organic tofu stir fry with garlic, carrots, broccoli, snow peas and green and orange peppers (peppers cooked in a separate pan since I can’t/don’t eat them) and brown rice for my law student plus her study pal.  I am totally a keeper. 

Then I did another peculiar chore that is not usually put on display–I made vegetable bags for me and PL.  So, vegetable bags?  This is a long story, but we learned a long time ago that we actually will eat more vegetables if we cut up fresh vegetables and put them in bags for at least a few days during the week.  When we pack our lunches we can just throw a bag in our lunch box usually along with some fat-free ranch dip.


Vacation Planning April 23, 2009

Filed under: travel,Uncategorized — Katie @ 2:01 pm

Our vacation is getting closer and closer, and while I wait impatiently for it, I’ve been looking up things to do while we are there. PL and I did have a discussion that we might intentionally leave our computers behind and have a no email or facebook vacation–which actually sounds lovely. The only snag is that Emory parking registration takes place at 7am one day we’ll be there (which of course is like 4 or 5 am local time in Las Vegas and we aren’t sure the hotel has free wi-fi even though it’s super fancy). This important task might get assigned to my dad, since he did such as good job getting online and getting us Peachtree Road Race numbers when we couldn’t be at a computer that day.

Most people in my close group of friends haven’t been to Las Vegas, so I don’t think they know much about it other than the gambling parts. If gambling was all you could do there, PL and I probably wouldn’t be going back. We did do some gambling on our visit, but it doesn’t seem all that fun to me to pay $5 to play roulette and then lose that $5 in just a few seconds. The same goes for Blackjack–most tables have a $5 minimum bet, fancier places have a $10 minimum, and that’s just for a single hand. What we did last time is just have a certain amount of money we were willing to spend for the entertainment value–maybe $50 each–and then when it was gone that was it. We had fun playing the games (treating them more like arcade games where you pay just to enjoy them and don’t expect to come home richer), but then didn’t lose tons of money in an attempt to win back what we lost. We did play some of the slot machines and video black jack things (since most of those are 1 cent, 5 cents, 25 cents and a a dollar to play), and didn’t really win much but had fun with it. Our one big mistake is that we didn’t take the cocktail waitresses up on their offer of free drinks. That was stupid! They just walk around and give you alcohol for free, but I’m sure they don’t lose any money doing that since you get competitive and lack good judgement when you’re drinking.

As a side note before I mention some of the attractions we hope to see, I want to describe the overall vibe of Las Vegas a bit. It’s kind of a strange vibe, but I never felt out of place. There are older, retired people who hang out at slot machines and smoke–oh, I forgot that some casinos are smoky which is nasty, but most were ok. There are young, single guys who are just not as cool as they think they are. There are white, straight couples who wear American flag t-shirts. There are foreigners who seem to be spending lots of money. There are couples way too dressed up, even in the middle of the day. There’s a lot of families too, which even though there are plenty of family friendly things, most of the kids I saw were either pre or post-meltdown. I’m a world-class people watcher so it was fun for me. When I’m some place like New York I feel very un-cool and for some reason–even though no one notices me–I want to not look like a tourist. In Las Vegas, everyone is a tourist, and I’d never be so tacky as to be from the midwest and wear a fanny pack, so I’m quite hip.

But here are some of the fun, somewhat bizarre, truly amazing and otherwise really cool things we hope to see and do. Today I’ll list a few attractions we saw last time and hope to repeat. Later I’ll post some of the new things we hope to see and do.

Fountains at the Bellagio
Probably my favorite thing in Las Vegas. (Think those diet coke bottles with mentos times like a billion, and a lot more class). Every 30 minutes between 3 and 7 p.m., and every 15 minutes until midnight a huge body of water comes alive with a choreographed foundation show set to different kids of music (mostly classical but also some show tunes and popular hits). It takes up a giant city block, so there is plenty of space to find a good spot to watch it, but the best view might be across the street, on top of the …

Eiffel Tower at Paris


This is an exact 1/2 replica of the Eiffel tower, and for a small fee you can go up to the top. It’s a great view of the city lights as well as the surrounding landscape. Prior to going to Las Vegas, I had never seen the wide open desert before (I had been to El Paso/Juarez so it was similar but not as scenic), I got to experience a little landscape that’s different from the Southeast. So I really enjoyed the flight into the city and some of these high-up views of the surrounding mountains and desert. There’s also a restaurant up here, but I’m fairly sure it costs more than we’d ever pay for a meal.

Volcano at The Mirage

Every hour on the hour during the evening, a giant “volcano” erupts in front of The Mirage hotel. It’s not mind-blowing even with the water, fire and music, but it’s fun to watch (and free), so it’s worth trying to be in that part of town some point in the evening to see it.

Conservatory and Botanical Gardens at the Bellagio

There are free seasonal exhibits at the Bellagio, and like everything else in Vegas, it is done on a huge scale. When we went to Las Vegas the first time it was in December, and the Conservatory was decorated for Christmas and it was very pretty. It’s all plant based, so there are lots of very interesting plants, but also all props are done Rose Bowl Parade style with everything being plants, seeds and flowers. I’m not sure if we’ll be there for the Spring or Summer exhibit, but either way it will definitely be something we check out.


Time Wasting Website Review: This is Why You’re Fat April 22, 2009

Filed under: food — Katie @ 12:04 pm

Oh Americans…we can’t find a food that can’t be made a little better by adding cheese, bacon, or deep frying it. I present This is Why You’re Fat. It’s a fascinating blog of some truly amazing foods. I’m happy to say for the future of my cardiac health that most of the foods look disgusting to me. Additionally, since I don’t smoke pot, things like the snack food pizza (pizza topped with doritos and corn dogs) aren’t anything I crave on a regular basis.

I do have to confess that I think this might be the best omlet ever (chicken fried steak and gravy omlet with cheese and onions):

However, I’m afraid that meatloaf with a delicious macaroni and cheese center might sound gross, but it’s slightly intriguing. And a deep fried grilled cheese just looks amazing.


Baby Plant Update April 21, 2009

Filed under: gardening — Katie @ 4:20 pm

April 21st baby plant update:

1. Tomatoes and Peppers are growing strong and have real leaves.



2. The Basil just sprouted! We got these seeds as a favor from a baby shower, and planted them a few days ago. (and, I really like this picture)


3. The garden bed…looks pretty much the same, and still isn’t finished.


We’re having a lot of people over to the house for a party on May 2nd, so I hope that by then I’ll have the garden bed ready, or I’ll at least just move the tools to the shed.


People are commenting on blog posts from a month ago, so it’s time to update my blog more often

Filed under: family,fitness — Katie @ 9:50 am

I’ve felt busy lately, but I guess I wasn’t doing anything exciting enough to write about.  Or, just too busy to realize I was doing some fun things along with all of the work.  Lots of work.  Then some more work.  But I feel bad complaining about how much work I’ve had to do lately when PL is studying 19 hours a day right now for finals.  Things have slowed a bit this week at work, so it’s nice to try to get organized and dig through several piles of papers that I didn’t touch last week since I worked on just one huge project all week. 

It’s also nice that I don’t have a crazy week this week since PL has her first final tomorrow, and I can keep her fed and keep the house from becoming a disaster area.  She’s also a sucker for people who can’t take care of themselves–her words, not mine–so a panicked classmate has been hanging out at our house a lot studying with the calm and brilliant PL.  I have absolutely no clue what they are talking about most of the time, so I just cook for them and then go to the back of the house to read.

PL and I did actually spend a few hours together, awake at the same time even, over the weekend.  On Saturday we ran in the Sweetwater 420 Festival 5k.  We’re up to a point where we can run for 25 minutes or so straight through, but we’re slow and that doesn’t get us very close to 3.1 miles.   We took some walking breaks, and it was also a really hilly course…but we finished and got a cool t-shirt.  It’s really motivating to me to run in a crowd like that, and to start in the same place as the really fit looking people.  We quickly fell back in the pack though and our pace group is the group of slightly overweight, slow people who need to walk a lot–which we totally are–but we think of ourselves as being in the fit group so we’ll keep running until that’s true.  Now that the semester is almost over, the weather is nicer and it’s staying light later, I feel like we will be able to run more regularly.  We also started putting star stickers on the calendar on the days we run, and it might be silly, but it is extra motivation to see lots of stars up there.


A new sort of GPP April 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 4:35 pm

Julia has a blog feature called GPP–Gratuitous Pet Photo. This is of a similar sort, even taken by Julia, …except for it’s someone’s actual child, not a pet. I’m told they need a little more supervision. This was taken at a friend’s wedding this weekend–it’s me and a cute, nicely-named fellow named Atticus Abraham. He’s telling me he has a belly in this photo.



ATNTFTB: A Novice In Search of Bounty+ Bonus Baby Plant Update April 3, 2009

Filed under: gardening — Katie @ 6:09 pm

There’s a renewed interest in gardening taking place these days, and the New York Times just published the first article in a new series on starting a vegetable garden.  The first article, today’s All the News That’s Fit to Blog, is by a Minnesota writer who, along with his daughter and girlfriend, hope to start their first garden this Summer.

It’s less of a “newsy” article and just good reading.  Here are a few enjoyable parts:  “So, in the stifling whiteness of January, I resolved to plant a brand new vegetable garden. The plan is to transform my family’s diet, save a few coins, make over the property — and, maybe, receive a congratulatory note from Michael Pollan for my new green virtue.”

He also consults a gardening expert and gets advice on what he should grow.  He wants to grow things he likes to eat, and also things that are easy to grow.  Easy to grow? The garden expert he consults tell him, “Easy is a relative term.”

He concludes:  “My garden, as it lives in my mind, is perfect: undulating and bountiful and soft underfoot. Sometime in the next week, though, the first dumb green shoot of that artichoke will grope its way out of the dirt and start screwing everything up.”

Right now my garden is also still perfect in my mind, aside from the fact that it’s not ready yet.  The baby plants are hanging tough.  They graduated from the dining room to the living room near the window.  Here’s what they look like right now–taken on April 2nd.


The tomatoes (on the top right and bottom right ) are getting stronger and a few peppers (in the middle right) are finally starting to sprout.  The Brussels sprouts and broccoli (middle left and bottom left) are pretty tall but kind of weak looking and flopped over.

Since the last set of photos, I had to thin out each pot to just leave the strongest plant.  The logic there is that not every seed will sprout, so you plant 2-3 in each pot and then keep the weakest one.  I didn’t like doing that, since it seemed like such a waste of good plants, so I think in the future I’ll just put one seed in each pot and not worry about it if some don’t sprout.  On the top left section of plants there wasn’t anything planted so when I thinned out the seedlings to leave just the strongest in each pot, I just left everything there–so that explains what’s going on up there if it looks strange on the photo.

The next step will be to transplant them to their own bigger pot when they develop 2 sets of real leaves. Right now everything just has a matched set of tiny baby leaves.  The leaves there now are just the seed leaves. Everything that has has sprouted so far comes from seeds that are dicots (remember AP biology?) so there are 2 leaves at first. Something like corn is a monocot and will just have one leaf when it sprouts.