Monthly Archives: April 2010

Meatloaf

Dinner tonight was meatloaf.  Pat had to work late, so I thought I’d have dinner ready for when he got home.  I made Buffalo Chicken – Blue Cheese Meat Loaf from the Biggest Loser Family Cookbook.  Only 263 calories for 1/4 of the loaf, not bad at all considering it includes blue cheese & buffalo wing sauce!  I made it with ground turkey instead of ground chicken.  It was very tasty!

Of course Pat added more cheese and sauce to his serving:

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Blinded by the Light

When we painted our master bedroom, we took down the curtains that had been hanging over the windows in the room.  There are 3 large windows in our room with a semi-circle above the middle window.  The before and after pictures:

The semi-circle was not covered by the curtains.  This was not a problem when we moved into the house because there was an empty lot across the street.  However, as you can see through the window, new towhomes went up in that lot, and they went up fast.  I realized it was going to be a problem when I woke up at 5:30 AM and could see construction workers out the window… and with the light on, they could probably see me.

After we took the curtains down and painted the room a lighter color, it felt very bright in our room, especially early in the morning.  It’s been several weeks since I’ve been able to sleep in much past 7:00 AM!

We dragged our feet a bit on the blinds, but finally had them installed today!  We went with 2″ faux wood blinds, and we put in starburst blinds over the semi-circle.  They can be opened and closed, which is really nice – but to open them, you have to turn them one at a time.  I love how they turned out!

We put blinds in the guest bedroom and office too.  The couple who sold us the blinds were really nice, and were even willing to price match to a lower estimate we had received.  I’m looking forward to being able to sleep in this weekend, with not so much light shining in!

A New Love

I have always loved grocery shopping.  I like to take my time, look at new products to try and compare nutrition labels.  I could go grocery shopping every day if the stores weren’t so busy!  One of my neighbors recently introduced me to a new grocery store in Houston, and I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered it sooner:  Central Market.

They had such a great selection of produce, it was almost overwhelming.  One of my favorite features was the ready to go meals.  The packages come with all the meat and veggies you need, already chopped up, so you just need to heat them.  Pat and I tried the Thai Green Curry  – it took about 5-10 minutes to heat up in a skillet and was delicious for just $7.50!

I was also very impressed by the bulk section – over 600 items to choose from.  I decided to try some flavored coffee and went with the Almond Joy beans.  I ground them at home and found it actually came with almond slices, which were ground up with the coffee beans.  The beans smelled exactly like Almond Joy candy – the coffee itself had an interesting after taste – Pat thought it tasted buttery (and was not a fan), but I really liked it.  Since I was sick and working from home today, I decided to make some while he wasn’t around:

I’m looking forward to trying more new coffee flavors!

Black Thumb, Green Thumb

I’ve never really grown anything before.  My mom always joked that she had a black thumb, and the only live plant I remember in our house (aside from the occassional bouquet of flowers) was an aloe plant that needed to be replaced from time to time.  I never really took an interest in growing things, and aside from the aloe plant (which soothed numerous burn wounds growing up), I don’t think I really saw a reason to learn.

So you can imagine my surprise when Pat’s mom and aunt came to visit last weekend and announced that they would be helping us to replace the overgrown flower baskets on the fence around our new home as a housewarming gift.  Our house had not been lived in for almost 3 months when we moved in, and we never bothered with the dead plants we seemed to just ignore each day.

I actually had fun helping to pick out flowers for our new “garden” at Lowe’s – and then Pat’s aunt had a brilliant idea.  She suggested that we could grow food in the flowerboxes.  Just recently I was reading an article in Self Magazine about how to grow your own food and thought it sounded really cool, but would never work in the tiny patch that is our backyard (aka Bailey’s Bathroom).

We came home, and they helped show me how to empty the remains of the dead flowers, replace the burlap, put down new soil with miracle gro, and plant the potted plants (hey, I’m a beginner, no seeds for me!)… and I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome!  I feel a certain sense of pride knowing that I am growing my own food (even if I might only get a handful of plants a year) and I get excited each day I see a new bloom from the flowers.

In the garden I am growing  (okay, attempting to grow) tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, basil and strawberries.

Now all I need is an aloe plant for the house!

Adventures in Painting

After buying our new home, one of the first projects we planned was to paint.  The house had some interesting “designer” colors – some we really liked, and some just didn’t fit our tastes.  In particular, the dining room and master bedroom were a fairly bright shade of orange.  Orange just isn’t my color.  I’ve always loved red dining rooms, and we wanted something more neutral in the bedroom.  In addition to these two rooms, we also planned to paint the nursery – it had 3 light pink walls and 1 wall that was a really pretty sage.  It had a white tree painted on it, with a little frog prince on one branch.  Very cute, but not really what we had in mind for our office.

The same day we closed on the home we began to throw up some color samples:

We had never painted before, but we decided we could try to handle the painting ourselves.  We started in the dining room, selecting Laura Ashley’s “Cocoa Rose” as the color.  We went to Lowe’s, and they helped us figure out what supplies we would need.  Just the taping and putting down paper on the floors took forever.  Our dining room looked like a construction zone for several weeks, as we put on 3 coats of primer (which probably was not necessary)  followed by 3 coats of the paint.

We loved how the color turned out, but I think it was enough for us to learn a lesson on painting.  We had a few issues with painting the trim and onto the side walls, and we don’t know what colors the sellers used to paint.

It felt good to complete this project ourselves, but we decided to have someone else paint the office and master bedroom, and it turned out to be money well spent!

In the past year…

… I graduated from grad school, we got married, moved to Houston, both started new jobs, adopted a puppy, and then bought a house.  It’s been exhausting and exciting at the same time.  I’m not sure where I see this blog going, but I wanted to capture our experiences as newlyweds & new puppy parents as we explore a new city and settle into our new home.

We adopted Bailey in January from the HSPCA, where I volunteer.  We think she’s a chocolate lab/boxer mix. 

She was a little sick when we first got her (just an “upper respiratory infection”), but the vet warned us it could be something more serious.  After some anti-biotics, Bailey seemed to get better, but in less than a month she developed some neurological symptoms.  Her back left leg began to twitch.  She was diagnosed with distemper, and at one point, we were told we might have to put her down.  Luckily, Bailey is a fighter, and she seemed to make it through the worst of it.  She still has a constant leg twitch in her left legs, but she is able to walk and play, and is the sweetest puppy ever.

I’m not sure if it had anything to do with her distemper or the move, but she suddenly stopped eating her dry food.  We’ve had to switch to wet food for her, and we can’t seem to get her back to the dry food.  Any suggestions for picky puppies?