Wednesday, July 28

more pickles

Since I have a bunch of cucumbers, I made a double batch of freezer pickles on Sunday. I particularly like freezer pickles because they keep for a long time (in the freezer--duh!). Contrary to what you might think, I'm not the hugest pickle fan, but I have to do something with all of these cucumbers. And, it is nice to open a container of pickles in January when the gardening season is far off.

special delivery

Background story: a package (business-related) that I ordered was delivered to the office today. It was in my name.

FedEx Guy: Do you know Angela Law?

Me: I'm Angela.

FedEx Guy: Do you live on Lindberg Avenue?

Me: Yes I do.

FedEx Guy: I deliver a lot of puppy stuff to that address.

Me: Yes you do.

(Alice enters the room)

FedEx Guy: And there's a puppy--no surprise there!

Tuesday, July 27

holy cabbage, batman!

Here's a picture of the gargantuan cabbage I harvested from my garden today. Unfortunately, the other two cabbages in the garden are nowhere near this size, but, I'm sure I will have more than enough for a batch of sauerkraut.

In other gardening news, I picked my first ripe tomatoes of the year on Sunday (cherry tomatoes). Today, I noticed a few of the Big Mamas are getting ready to ripen. Maybe next week...

I'm in dire need of tomatoes--I have a fridge full of cukes and am dying to make tomato, cucumber, onion salad.

Sunday, July 25

the road

We had a long overdue Movie and Margarita Night last night. In the DVD player was The Road. You might recall that I read the book last year and enjoyed it very much. I felt that the movie was very true to the book so I don't have much to add besides the fact that I enjoyed the movie, as depressing as it was. Oh, and I still think Viggo Mortensen is awesome.

mount assisi sunken gardens

Jake was away this weekend, so I thought it might be a good time to schedule a longer motorcycle ride. The Mount Assisi Sunken Gardens were on the list for an upcoming Do Johnstown! article so I thought this would make a fun bike trip. Honestly, if we wouldn't have already had this scheduled, I would not have suggested this yesterday, due to the temperature (above 90 is too hot for motorcycle riding, in my opinion). But, since we already had it on the books and were looking forward to it, hot weather wasn't a good enough reason to cancel.

We took longer routes there and back. On the way there, we took 271/22 and when we came home, we took 22/160. So, it was a pretty nice ride. Plus, there's a lot more shade on the routes we took than if we would have taken 219.

Once we got there, we walked around the gardens for a bit and Brian snapped some photos. The gardens were very nice. I recommend going when the weather is a little cooler, though. They had some pretty cool concrete benches and whatnot, but you couldn't even sit on them because they were too hot.

All in all, I give this a thumbs up. It's definitely a place I'd like to visit again.

Saturday, July 24

too many vegetables

Between the CSA and my garden, I have an overabundance of vegetables in the fridge. Besides trying to squeeze in a bunch of veggies at dinnertime, I've been processing things for later use as well. So far this year, I've frozen a few containers of garlic scape pesto, made pickles, froze peas, and froze swiss chard. The latter two I did last night. I took a chance and didn't blanch the peas, so we'll see how that goes. I found one person on the internet saying they didn't have to be blanched, so I went with that suggestion.

I still have much to do, though. I need to make some freezer pickles and freeze even more vegetables. It seems like a lot of work now, but I won't be complaining in the winter when I don't have to go to the store to buy produce.

the blvd

Someone gave us a gift certificate for the Boulevard Grill so we went there for supper Thursday night. We got our old standbys--I had the crab cake sandwich and Brian had a Philly cheese steak. I guess we should have ordered something more expensive because we didn't use up the certificate, so we'll be going there again next weekend, but just for drinks.

Wednesday, July 21

12 hour shipping

Due to our new exercise program, I needed to buy a pair of tennis shoes. I had an old pair, but I wear them while gardening, so I didn't want to wear them in the house. I ordered the shoes late Monday night from Zappos with the expectation that I'd receive them in a couple of days. Imagine my surprise when I came home from work on Tuesday and the shoes had been delivered! I couldn't have gotten them sooner if I had run to the store myself. Now, that is service!

Monday, July 19

surf n turf

We had our somewhat annual surf n turf party on Saturday. I say somewhat because we couldn't agree on a date last year, so we had to skip it, but we did have it for a couple consecutive years before that. The menu was similar to prior years: king crab legs, prosciutto wrapped scallops, beef tenderloin, stuffed mushrooms, garlic bread, and confetti chopped salad. For dessert was biscotti and key lime parfaits. This year, it was just the three of us and our parents, but the guest list can also vary from year to year. I didn't make the desserts, but I did cook the rest of the food on the grill, as usual. It's a challenge scheduling all of the cooking times, but I pretty much have that down pat at this point. This year, I chose a non-cooked veggie side dish to make things slightly easier on myself. Anyway, I think the party was a hit and I'm sure we'll be doing it again next year.

Saturday, July 17

shredding: day 3

Don't worry--I'm not going to blog about every day of the 30 Day Shred, just the ones worth mentioning in my opinion. Yesterday, I had to take a day off. I was just too sore to exercise. I definitely overdid it on the first day. I probably should have just taken the second day off, but that seemed like giving in too easily. But, exercising on top of sore muscles didn't improve the situation and I needed a day off.

But, I was feeling good enough this morning, so we did day 3. I have to say that it's getting easier already (not that it's easy, just easier--I still can't quite make it through all of the exercises without stopping, but I'm working on it). We measured our waists and weights this morning so that we'll be able to gauge our progress.

Today's session did make me tired, though. I've been ready for a nap ever since we finished.

Thursday, July 15

shredding: day 2

Last night, I was so tired that I dreamed that I was tired. And, I kept waking up, so needless to say, I was pretty beat today. Top that off with my muscles being sore from my feet to my shoulders and I had one long day. Being sore and tired as I was, I wanted to get exercising over with as early as possible, so we did it before supper again today. I had a rough time getting through the DVD, but did manage to make it, though now my muscles are even more sore (though as a bonus, I was relatively alert this evening until just a little while ago). I only hope that I can walk tomorrow, as I wasn't doing such a hot job of it today. I guess the good news is that it's working.

Wednesday, July 14

30 day shred

I've always been fortunate to be on the thin side. Sure, I try to watch what I eat, but I've never been much of an exerciser. Brian and I have always lifted weights (more in the cooler months rather than in the summer), but I've never been one for cardio.

I gained a few pounds after having Jake, but didn't really worry about it since all of my clothes still fit. Last year, I apparently hadn't put on one of my business suits in a while, and when I did, it did not fit at all. Reality set in. We started lifting weights again, but I wasn't seeing any results. We talked about the P90X workout, but that's a little further than I want to go with my exercise routine. There's a less intense version called P90, but that, too, seemed like too much of a commitment. Then, I heard about the 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels (from the Biggest Loser show, which I have never watched, but apparently everyone else has). It seemed like it would fit both my schedule and my needs so I ordered it from Amazon and it arrived in the mail today.

Brian was anxious to start, so he came home early and we did day 1 before supper. What a workout! It was pretty tough, but I feel like I might actually get some results from this. Of course, I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do on day 2 seeing that I can no longer lift my arms above my head.

Assuming we see some results from this 30 day program, we're going to try to maintain said results by coming up with our own exercise regimen (mixing weights with cardio and a little yoga).

As much as I hate to admit it, I guess once you hit 40 exercise has to become part of the equation.

Sunday, July 11

harvest

Lots of activity in the vegetable garden. We finished the last of the snap peas last week. They were good as always and I planted just the right amount so that we didn't OD on them.

The garlic came out last week, too. It seemed a bit early to me, but it had to be done. Some stuff could have come out earlier for that matter.

I picked the first cucumbers of the year, and consequently made the first pickles of the season. I'm always looking for the perfect pickle recipe so I tried a new one this year. These were refrigerator pickles. I always do a batch or two of freezer pickles, too. I would like to find a good garlic pickle recipe. The ones I made today had garlic in them, but there was a lot of sugar so they are going to be more sweet than garlicky, I would think.

The gourds are growing like crazy. I think I have three vines and that was probably two too many.

The tomatoes and peppers look great, too. There are lots of green tomatoes (and I planted a ton of varieties this year) and there are a bunch of tiny peppers. We even had one of them in our brunch today (a cubanelle).

This is turning out to be a great year for gardening!

Saturday, July 10

airplane!

We hadn't had a Family Movie Night in a while, so we were due (I spent all of last month renting Season 2 of True Blood). Our family movie list is getting short, so I've been resorting to movies from my youth. Airplane! went over well, so in coming months, we're going to check out similar movies such as Hot Shots and The Naked Gun, and quite possibly the sequels to these movies as well.

Monday, July 5

the fourth weekend

We had a pretty good weekend again (this makes three in a row). We kicked it off by having Judy over Friday night for drinks and snacks. I learned an important thing that night--I like beer. But, not just any beer, raspberry lambic. It was so good. She brought over four different flavored lambics (the raspberry was my favorite). I had never had a lambic beer before. The next time I go to Southside Saloon I'll have to order one, rather than my usual vodka on the rocks.

On Saturday, we went to a 4th of July picnic at my cousin's in Portage. It was a good time. There were quite a few people there. They had a bouncy for the kids and that really went over well--it was a good way to keep them busy all afternoon.

Sunday was family day. We went on a nice motorcycle ride to Ligonier and back and then stopped at Papa John's for a pizza. We were hoping to go to Pizza Man's Pizza for supper, but they were closed, so we had to settle for take out. Later that night, Jake and Brian put on a fireworks show. It's surprising how long it takes to go through $30 worth of fireworks (small stuff, of course).

While today was spent catching up around the house, it was nice to have a day off in which to do just that.

new path

The guys put in a new garden path for me this evening. It's a little rough at this point, but we went with the quick method of turning over the sod and laying the rocks on top of it. So, it still needs filled in and whatnot, but I'm going to wait for some rain before messing with it further. Some rocks will surely need reset after everything settles. I did this same method with my checkerboard herb garden and it turned out just fine, so I'm sure this will too.

I have one other path planned, to complete the path around my vegetable garden (one of the 3 sides is currently done, the fourth side is the driveway). Today's path didn't look like it put a dent in the rock pile, so I'm thinking we might end up with some extra rocks till all is said and done. So, I've started making contingency plans in case that happens. But, at least we won't need any additional rocks.