Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A new discovery!

Let me preface this post by saying that I hate spinach. I take that back - "hate" isn't strong enough. Loathe. Despise. Abhor. Gag on sight. Strictly avoid like the plague.

That being said, I feel completely opposite about pasta. I live on pasta. I thrive on all forms! I devour on sight. I was clearly meant to be Italian. However, because of my feelings towards spinach I've always avoided pasta with any kind of (or hint of) spinach anywhere near it.

Therefore, for dinner last night I was completely shocked that I made the following recipe. I was even more amazed that I loved it! I am shocked beyond all reasoning that I am currently devouring the left overs.

We took a large pile of home-made, preservative free basil and garlic linguini fresh from the Farmer's Market. We tossed it in a large pot of boiling water (with just a splash of olive oil) and let that cook itself into a frenzy.
Meanwhile, we rubbed basil and garlic powder into some chicken and tossed them onto the grill in the back. As they cooked, we added more of the spices, a little onion powder, and a dash of olive oil to make it all stick together.
While all of those dishes were cooking themselves into a yummy goodness we took two large handfulls of spinach and a bunch of basil for spin in a food processor. The mixture was a little dry so we added water and olive oil.
When everything was done we drained the pasta and tossed it with the spinach and a good amount of parmesan. We piled it on a plate and put the chicken on top. (I flipped the chicken over a few times so there was some green on the chicken and it looked all pretty.)

We devoured it! It was absolutely delicious! We named it Leprechaun Pasta (because that was more fun than spinach pasta) and plan on making it over and over and over again! I tried to take pictures but the pasta just looked moldy. It didn't taste moldy and I loved it! Me, the gal who avoids spinach at all costs, loves spinach and wants to cook it again! Who knew?

Tonight for dinner? Left overs!

(And training for the race is going really well! Last night D.J. and I did a kilometer in 9 minutes. I was huffing and puffing and D.J. had to drag me the last block but I made it. I worked hard and did it! I'm so very proud!)

Monday, March 29, 2010

A weekend of fruit!

What a weekend! It was busy and wonderful! Here's just a small glimpse...

Saturday was the Forney job fair. In an effort to look slightly closer to my new age (I turned 27 on Wednesday!) I got a hair cut. This is the first time I've had my hair cut by someone other than the person who has cut it since I was in 7th grade. I was very nervous, but I loved the end result!
D.J.'s tennis team did extremely well in their tournament on Friday and he was super late coming home. So I stood on a chair in my bedroom and texted pictures to my mom, sister, best friend, and another friend in Waco. This was the final decision for the job fair. My favorite part was standing on the chair! And texting a thousand pictures while standing on the chair. Do you see Marley peeking over the ottoman? He was very confused by my actions!
After choosing the perfect outfit, it took us 20 minutes to choose shoes. I wore the one on my left foot. It was the most comfortable option I owned!

After the job fair, we bought a hanging pot of geraniums. I liked the fact that I knew the soil was right and it would be free of weeds and grub worms!

On Sunday, D.J. and I celebrated my birthday in style! We began with a trip to the Dallas Farmer's Market. I'd never been to a Farmer's Market. It was so much fun! We had a great time and bought just a few things...
From left to right, that's corn, pineapple, cantelope, spinach, home made pasta, onions, tomatoes, pears, oranges, strawberries, blackberries, plums, local honey, green beans, broccoli, and blueberries. YUM! Let's look a little closer...

My fridge looks so pretty! I've busted into that fruit drawer no fewer than 16 times today...

Do you see the size of that cantelope? Seriously huge size and seriously heavy! It's going to be a large part of my dinner.

These blueberries are the primary reason for my fridge raids. I can't remember ever eating fresh blueberries but now I can't stop eating them. I put them on my oatmeal and have snacked on them all day. So seriously in love!

These beautiful green beans? They're destined for a crock pot and some Italian dressing! I think. Any recipe suggestions would be most welcome! (Same with spinach. I've never owned a bag of spinach and don't know what to do with it other than put it on the pasta for dinner.)

After the Farmer's Market, we headed off to Home Depot and Lowes to buy my birthday present: a new kitchen faucet! Whlie we were there we spied these little beauties:

They were on sale so we snagged four of them! We don't know what we've gotten ourselves into, but sometime this week we will begin the first season of the Hammond Fruit Orchard.

We might even get blueberries this summer! The internet says a blueberry bush can grow 8 feet tall and produce 18 pounds of berries in a season. Our bush is only a few sticks at the moment, but she's already over a foot tall - pushing that 2 foot mark. This makes me happy. Her name is Gwendolyn.

D.J. picked out a blackberry vine. It reminded him of childhood summers at his grandparent's house. This plant hasn't been named yet. Once again, suggestions are welcome!

We have a beautiful, long raspberry vine named Elaine. Did you know raspberry vines have little bitty thorns? They don't hurt that much but they are a little prickly. We're still trying to figure out how to grow raspberries but we think they can grow side by side with blackberries!

And finally, here's our grape vine! It has three blooms, no leaves, and no name. I'm not sure what to do with this one but we're excited about the possibilities.

Now we need to decide where in the back yard to plant all our little plants. We're going to plant a plum tree back here somewhere as well. I'd love to have a big shade tree somewhere and another tree way back in that far corner but trees cost a good chunk of change so for now we're going to stick to our fruit plants!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Creative Passion

"Find something you're interested about and keep tremendously interested in it."

Julia Child

A revelation, a decision, and some contemplation

If you asked my friends to describe me, none of them would use the words "athletic" or "fit". I never have been coordinated, graceful, or capable of any sort of athletic task. I realized and embraced this fact at the age of 10 when I finished a summer full of tennis lessons actually worse than when I started. My lack of athletic ability didn't mean I was less of a person - my talents just lay in things like crafting and teaching. To each his own.

Since that fateful summer I've used my lack of athletic ability as an excuse to not be active. Combine that with an intense propensity to emotional eating, and you find the person that sits in front of you today. In the months before I met my sweet husband, I was determined to change my life. I lost 45 pounds and felt fantastic! Then we started dating and I suddenly cared more about spending time with him than doing something that was so very difficult for me. (I feel so very awkward on the recovery boards at Curves. My lack of athletic ability is matched only by my lack of musical awareness. I can't follow a beat and I can't march in place. I look like a fool at Curves!)

During the school year we dated and planned our wedding, I had a horrific set of circumstances combine at work to create a nightmare beyond description. I left that position broken and withered. When I didn't get a job at the beginning of this school year, I crawled further into my hole and convinced myself I could do nothing and was a large waste of a person. It was an ugly time for me but I hid it all behind my standard smile. For months, I faked the joy everyone knew me for. It is only in the past few months that the clouds have started to part and I can see the sun again. I'm finally "me" again and it feels good!

In those nasty months, I attempted to loose weight again as proof to myself that I wasn't worthless. Because of complications with some of my medications I couldn't lose no matter what I did. This further reinforced the lies I heard in my head and I completely gave up any attempt at health.

On Tuesday, I finally convinced myself to go for a walk. While I was walking I realized that I would benefit from a good, hearty competition among friends. And thus, an idea was born...

At the end of May, my little sister, my best friend, my husband, and I will complete a walking 5K. We are going to train for the next two and a half months and then pick a date and race blind against each other. We're in three seperate cities so we'll have a buddy time us as we do our best to haul tooshie for a solid 5K. Everyone will put $5 in the pot and the fastest time wins it all! While I would love to win, the biggest reason I want to race is to prove to myself that I can do it - that I can work hard at something in the athletic realm and succeed. I'm so excited about the possibilities and so proud of myself for being so determined. I know I can do this and I can't wait to cross the finish line in May - no matter what my time is!

I apologize for the length of the post but I needed to pull the skeletons out of the closet. It's time to move on with a fresh start. Thanks for loving me through it all!

Training days down: 2
Days until the race: 59

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Perceived Reality

In my head, I am confident the puppies will be able to share the bones on the floor.
In reality, they snap and bite each other as they fight.

In my head, Marley will wait patiently for me to scoop food into his bowl.
In reality, he runs in circles and bites my toes.

In my head, I planned on being up and dressed before DJ left for work this morning.
In reality, I didn't even make it out of bed.

In my head, the puppies playing in the snow are cute and adorable.
In reality, the snow clumps around their paws and they come in shivering and wet.

In my head, I wanted to spend the whole day yesterday sewing.
In reality, I spent the day untangling fabric and thread and attempting to take my antique little machine apart to clean it.

In my head, I will have a beautiful garden this summer.
In reality, our yard is full of more weeds than anything else - like dirt.

In my head, I'll lose 100 pounds by working out once.
In reality, I ate 100 pounds of spaghetti last night for dinner.

In my head, I will sell my crafts on Etsy and make thousands of dollars.
In reality, I haven't even figured out how to work the website.

In my head, laundry folds itself and everything stays clean.
In reality, my husband had to take a shower without a bath mat because it's sitting in the washer, forgotten.

In my head, my children will be absolutely perfect and will never talk back or draw on walls.
In reality, they'll probably come up with stunts I can't even begin to dream of.

In my head, coffee is good for me.
In reality, I take a legal addictive stimulant and pump it full of sugar and preservatives and suck it down like it was my life blood.

In my head, Post-It notes are the best things in the world.
In reality, FREE Post-It notes are the best things in the world.

In my head , I can cut my hair short for spring and have it long by winter.
In reality, acutally I might be able to do this. I'll have to mull this one over!

In my head, the first day of spring is a sign that you're safe to pack away your heavy winter gear.
In reality, we got 3 inches of snow on the first day of spring and were in desperate need of the thicker gloves!

1. No, I'm not pregnant or trying to get pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant any time in the foreseeable future. I have no idea what antics my children will attempt and I won't find out for SEVERAL years. I'm just offering my musings for the day.
2. I don't drink coffee that quickly. But I do drink it fast. And often. And in large volumes. (Did you hear that Starbucks is coming out with an even bigger iced coffee size? If I remember correctly it'll be half a quart. That's my kind of coffee! They created it specifically for people in the southern states who have to suffer through the worst heat known to man. They finally figured out that we need lots of cold stuff in the summer and those little venti sips weren't cutting it!)
3. Yes Marley bites toes. I have scabs. And scars. He barks too. (And he just slammed into the dinning room table and made an all new noise I've never heard before.)
4. There is only a small bit of truth in this post. Bonus points to those who can find it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Break

This week is D.J.'s spring break and I'm amazed that it's already Thursday! Where did the week go? We've had a blast! Marriage is layer upon layer of fantastic!! :) Here's a general over view of what's been going on lately:
  • Mom came to visit last week during her spring break. She was surprised by a nice, cleaned out guest room. And a mint on her pillow. Granted, the mint was several years old and she was strongly discouraged from actually eating it, but there was a mint on her pillow nonetheless!
  • For my birthday, mom bought me the cookbook I've been covetting since October. She also bought me new tennis shoes! I've been wearing my previous pair since is was about 15. It was time for some new kicks. They're comfy and cute and very white! They also have a good splash of purple. This makes everything better.
  • Once D.J. got home from his tournament on Friday, we headed to Waco. It was a wonderful, relaxing four days where we got to enjoy family and friends. And my sister bought a car! We got to be there with her when she signed the papers. I think I took about 150 pictures of the salesman and the paper work. Megan could create an entire scrapbook from that few hours of her life! :)
  • On Tuesday, we went to the grocery store and saved well over $100 on sales and coupons. It was almost 60% of our total bill. We also got two gift cards to spend on our next trip!
  • On Wednesday, we took the dogs to the dog park. It was way more fun than we ever imagined! We plan on returning often!
  • The dog park included a section of lake where dogs were encouraged to swim. Marley jumped right in next to the huge chocolate labs. Cua took a little more encouragement (read: we threw her in against her will) but we actually got a few pictures of them swimming side by side. It was adorable!
  • When we got home, the dogs were nasty from the mud at the lake so we filled the bathtub to the top and let them swim in the tub. My arms are still covered in scratches from Cua's protests.
  • When D.J. attempted to hop in the shower to rinse the soap off the dogs, he discovered the hot water heater had gone out and he was standing in ice cold water.
  • D.J. drained the hot water heater and attempted to pull out the defective heating elements. Of course, this didn't go as smoothly planned. We ended up eating cold fast food at around 9:30 Wednesday night. I don't suggest you try to re-create our evening!
  • D.J. is outside mowing the weeds while the cinnamon roll dough rises on the oven. I'm attempting to catch up on the laundry and not peek at the dough too often.
I'm thrilled to see the sun once more and am madly in love with the little colorful blooms popping up all over town. My heart loves flowers! I'll post pictures soon of the craft projects and decorating we've done recently. The Hammonds have been busy little bees!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I don't know why I chose that title for the post. I avoid the news at all costs. I cry too much. Regardless, here we are with a newsy update from my corner of the world.

1. I have been attempting to follow the Fly Lady's baby steps. So far, I'm doing okay. I'm discovering that changing habits is a long process but I'm doing much better.

2. Since I've been staying home I haven't been wearing make up very often. It felt like a waste of time and make up if no one was going to see me but the dogs. The past week or so I've been wearing make up daily and have been loving it!

3. As a part of that "changing habits is a long process" ordeal, I've never been good at washing my face at night. Since I've started birth control I haven't had any pimples and haven't even attempted to wash my face at the end of the day (unless that happens to be when I'm finally getting in the shower). I'm on a lower hormone level now and I've noticed my skin and hair have changed. Now that I'm wearing make up again, my face has returned to the status of an adolescent. I look even more like a teenager now. It's sad.

4. I've also developed an odd red patch on my forehead. I have crazy odd allergies, so this isn't an unusual occurance for me. It'll go away in a few days. But until then, I have a perfect red heart smack in the middle of my face. It makes me smile.

5. Yesterday, a friend came over and helped me get my sewing machine in working order. We marveled at the knobs that we had no clue what to do with and had major fits trying to thread the bobbin. After about 20 minutes of fiddling and getting covered in sewing machine oil, we were successful. Now I just need something to sew!

6. D.J. has a uniquely special relationship with my grandmother. No one else in the family relates to her quite the way D.J. does. I don't understand why she loves him so much more than she loves me, but I know he happily returns the affection. As a part of that affection, he was extremely excited to see the sewing machine (a hand me down from that grandmother) set up and ready to use. He was much more excited than I expected him to be and promised to find me fabric for a sewing project ASAP.

7. We are not gardeners. We are not excellent on the lawn maintenance side of things. We don't let the yard grow out of control, but it's covered in weeds. One of the dandelions had grown so large I decided to name it Walter. I was sure the freezing temperature and the foot of snow would kill it. No such luck! He had set up shop very close to the house and was protected from the snow by the roof overhang. The snow only watered him. Yesterday, I got fed up and we killed Walter. Well, we attempted to kill Walter. At ground level, the stalk had grown to a whopping 1 inch diameter. (That's a big weed! I kept expecting it to talk and spread rumors. I was totally prepared to call in Larry Boy!) The solution? Cut the dirt out around the tap root until he slides out of the ground. Then soak the area with vinegar. Amazing, huh? I was reluctant to kill it with chemicals because of the dogs but vinegar is cheap and non-toxic to puppies! I'm loving it!

8. Today my plan is to clean the bathrooms, wash the towels, do some painting, dig up more weeds in the hopes of planting a garden, and teach myself how to sew again! I'll let you know how it all goes... (I also need to grade papers for a friend. I should get moving, huh?) I think my skin just might be begging for a break from make up. So I'll cover my pimples with toothpaste and call it a day! :- )

What's the news in your corner of the world?