Thursday, April 30, 2015

Adopt a Shelter Pet Day

Today is Adopt a Shelter Pet Day and Pepe and Scout would like to remind you to "adopt don't shop." How cute were these two as puppies? And how much did cameras improve between 2003 and 2008? I think Pepe's was taken on film and developed at Wal-Mart and Scout's was taken with a digital camera! 

We adopted Pepe from the Humane Society in Oxford when we were dating and Ryan had just moved into his house on Salem Road. I had a scholarship that required volunteering. Of course the pound was the worst idea in the world for me. I wanted to keep them all! Ryan finally offered to adopt ONE dog if I would find somewhere else to volunteer. We named his after our favorite bartender from the boat in the Galapagos.

Scout was adopted from our neighbor in Jackson who runs the Animal Rescue Fund of Mississippi. He came to stay with me one night while Ryan and Pepe were dove hunting. Just for the night. That was nearly 7 years ago! I mean, how precious are those eyes? 

We love these two and can't imagine life without them! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Scout Does Yoga

Scout is the ultimate yogi. His moves include down dog (pictured above) and up dog nearly every time he gets up from a nap. Probably not a bad idea!

In the mornings, I have to guard my yoga mat because both dogs will make a bee line for it as soon as it gets rolled out. My full-time temp job for a local marketing firm has ended (I'm now there just part-time), and I'm so ready to get back into the yoga class at my gym! 

There's definitely no peacock move in my near future, but I have found it very inspirational to do yoga with others! My normal classes haven't been an option during this job so to keep up my yoga skills (if you can call it that!) I've done yoga videos on YouTube. My mom found a 30 day yoga challenge from "Yoga with Adrine" and we have both done most of it. If you've never done yoga, it would be a great place to start! The episodes are usually 20 to 30 minutes and Adrine seems like the type of person I'd love to know (according to her Instagram feed!). 

And if you need a laugh, check out Tim Hawkins "Yoga Pants" on YouTube. 


Monday, April 27, 2015

Paint Nite

Before Sunday night, the last time I remember painting a canvas was my senior year of high school in art class! Kristin and I took a "Paint Nite" class at Bar Louie and had such a great time. I honestly thought it was going to be a paint-by-numbers type of deal. But it wasn't - the lead artist stepped us through each layer.

I think this is the first time we've been around each other and not smelled like horses! Her boyfriend, Brandon, joined us and was our muse/photographer. Kristin was my first friend I met in when we moved here. Her riding stable had a Living Social deal going on and we had e-mailed a few times about Ryan and I coming for a ride. We went and had a blast and she and I talked the entire ride. Imagine that!

The artist stepped us through each later. First we did blue, then we added white streaks and made wisps for clouds. Then we did the tree truck and branches and then layered on various shades of pink and purple for the leaves.

Ta-da! Cherry trees! 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Grains of Grace

This weekend our church participated in the Feed My Starving Children's mobile food packing program. It was amazing! Over Friday evening and Saturday, over 1,089 volunteers packed 272,160 of "manna packs" that will feed 746 children every day for a year.

Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit Christian organization that is anti-hunger. Their philosophy is that feeding the hungry is the first step in solving larger, social issues. They partner with NGOs to deliver the packets to countries affected by natural disaster and enduring economic despair. Last year, the country that received the second most amount of food packages was North Korea. NGOs pay for the shipping and provide FMSC with an impact report as they distributed the food through missionary partnerships at orphanages, schools, clinics, refugee camps and malnourishment centers. And 99.6% of the food packed, actually reaches its intended destination. The power of prayer!

Each manna pack included vitamins, vegetables (dehydrated), soy and rice. Each table worked to fill, measure, seal and pack the manna packs. It went by so fast and I met some really nice ladies. The experience also made me more conscientious about not wasting food.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Garden VI

Well I didn't follow my own advice in that last post about not having blogger going on the phone and computer at the same time and lost my first attempt at this post!

I'm happy to report that the daisies in the front bed are starting to bloom along with Sweet William.

Close up of Sweet William (dianthus barbatus). There are also some lilies coming up which I think are Lily-of-the-Nile.

In the backyard, the banana trees are continuing to grow up, up, and more up.

This bed has gotten some TLC as it now boarders the patio. Which is 95 percent finished. 

And in the garden: herbs, pobalano and bell peppers, tomatoes, strawberries and a watermelon are off to a good start. 

I'm most excited about this "Mr. Stripey" heirloom tomato and can't wait for my first tomato and grilled cheese sandwich. 

The strawberries are continuing to bloom and some have very tiny strawberries. 

Big hostas along the side of the workshop.

And the back of the workshop has a little room that opens to the back yard - I'm slowing moving out Ryan's things and turning it into a potting shed! 

Watch my garden grow III, IIIIV and V.  Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Blogging Resources

I’ve mentioned the Blogger app to several blogging friends and everyone seems to enjoy it. In fact, the only downside to using it is that you'll be further deterred from taking pictures on a “real” camera. But you are more than likely doing that anyway, so, might as well make it even easier to blog them! 

Go to your App Store and search for Blogger. I'm sure there are other great free ones but this is the one that I use. It comes right up and looks like this:

Once it’s installed and you open up the application, you’ll see some options.

My method is to write a post and load camera pictures. Then “save as a draft.” You can also publish straight from the app BUT when I do that my pictures are the wrong size. So I usually just log on to the computer to change the pictures to "large" and then hit publish. If the image resolution is set too low in the settings, then your pictures will look grainy. So it's best to upload them in their original size and then re-size later on. If anyone has a solution to this let me know! 

WARNING: Make sure to not have blogger open on your computer and the phone at the same time when you are creating a post. I did lose a post once because of this!

Another great free resource is Canva. It's a free and simple graphic design program. I haven't played around with this too much but I did create my new header using the program.

And if you just want to edit your photos fotoflexer is super easy to use.  If you're interested in learning how to put a Pinterest "pin" on your posts, here's a great tutorial

Anyone else have any favorite blogging resources?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dancing Horse

This post is really for my horse friends so please bear with me while I lapse into the equestrian world for a minute! Last week the UK's Charolette Dujadin became the first rider to hold Olympic, world, European and World Cup titles simultaneously with her horse Valegro. She won the World Cup Dressage competition for the second time with a score of 94.19% - just shy of beating her own world record. 

A few weeks before the competition, she was interviewed by the BBC (you can find it on YouTube) and she said that since the Olympics she’s been called the woman with the "dancing horse." 

It’s the perfect description of this amazing sport that is considered one of the hardest levels of athleticism for equestrians. These horses are super smart, well-trained and like to put on a show. They know they are performing and want it as much as their riders!

I’ve only attempted the most basic level of dressage and it is not easy. The rule in dressage is that the easier it looks the harder it is on the horse and rider. The horse I rode in Jackson, Dakota, could do the diagonal stepping across the arena (called piaffe). However, he could go right but not left. Just like humans, horses have a stronger side of the body! He could also do flying lead changes - in the video that's when it looks like the horse is skipping across the ring at a canter.

Thank you for indulging my horsiness for a moment!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Pro-cycling & Margaret Mitchell

Saturday morning we went downtown to watch the Bikeville Classic. It's the Professional Criterium National Championship and there were over 500 cyclists from everywhere. These people are series! Ryan's parents were here visiting, and it's so great to have so many options of what to do (although I'm pretty sure they were worn out by the end of the day because my pedometer read 18,500 steps!). 

Volkswagon was one of the big sponsors and they had the above print screen with racing bikes in front. They also had a waffle stand with all the fixings and the waffles had the VW logo imprinted. 

After spending time downtown, we ran some errands and Dennis helped Ryan with some yard projects. Pictures coming soon! 

Saturday night we went to the Greenville Little Theater to see "Don't Cry for Me Margaret Mitchell." It was the hilarious account based of the true story of the re-writing of the screenplay for "Gone With the Wind." 

From the Director's Notes in the program: In early 1939, movie-maker David O. Selznick really did stop the filming of his masterpiece "Gone With the Wind" because he hated the screenplay. Selznick really did fire then director George Cukor and replace him with Victor Fleming, who happened to be directing "The Wizard of Oz" at the time. Selznick and Fleming actually woke screenwriter Ben Hecht from his bed early on a Sunday morning, really did lock themselves in with little to eat but bananas and peanuts for an entire week while the world banged at their door. Ben Hecht really had never read the book; Selznick was really losing money every day; the pressure was truely mounting; and all signs pointed to certain disaster

If you love the movie and the book, I highly recommend finding this play somewhere near you! It made me want to revisit the Margaret Mitchell house in Atlanta. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friends & Garden Talk V

It's hard to believe we've know these people nearly 10 months now, and at the same time it seems like we've known them forever. What do they say about being in the trenches together? Maggie (pictured in blue) used Jim Henson's quote on her blog: "There's not a word yet for old friends who've just met."

Perfectly describes these friends (and a few others who couldn't make it!). We've celebrated birthdays and nearly every major and minor holiday together. Comforted each over cancelled date nights, long weeks of night shifts and the frustration that comes when your other half is utterly exhausted.

And, at the same time, we've also managed to have a lot of fun! Tuesday night we celebrated Jennie's 29th birthday at our house with sweet potato pie and a cake. Craig's parents and grandparents are visiting from Colorado and joined us to! We loved getting to meet them and hearing stories we plan to tease him about very soon :)

So thankful for these friends!


And on to the yard and garden. If April showers really do bring May flowers then we should have a beautiful May! I think we've had all-day rain nearly every day this week. The plants are loving it! Everything just seems so green. In the back yard we have:

Hostas and azaleas - I believe the smaller hosta on the right may be a 'orange marmalade'. 

The banana tree has put out many little banana trees that will soon be finding new homes with the sweet people in the first picture.

The vegetable seedlings have all managed to survive their first week in the garden. The hot pepper mix plant is looking particularly well. 

The strawberries have put out flowers that are now turning into tiny berries. Won't be long!

The May apple (thank you May for identifying for me!) and hydrangeas. Along with a box wood. I've got some more weeding to do in this bed!

There are several varieties of hostas in the backyard - on the left (I think) is blue 'dixie cup' and on the right is hosta of the year. 

And on the side and front of the house we have:

My grape vine just came back to life out of thin air it seems.

I can't remember what these flowers will look like but they are about a foot tall right now. Will be reporting back on this!

Zinnia seedlings are all putting out their second round of leaves -- Net informs me this is a good sign!

Daisies coming up in the front bed along with several types of lilies. My azalea is still in full bloom.

Other garden posts: III, III, and IV.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What's for Supper?

Continuing on my quest for practical, some what healthy and budget friendly supper options these five dishes fit all categories. Plus they really don't require sides - a nice bonus when you are short on time! Do you know that every Tuesday is Fresh Market's sale day and their organic ground beef and chicken breasts are $2.99 a pound. Milk is usually the same price too. It's the best deal in town!

Sunday Night Stir-Fry

This was a combination of multiple recipes and a lot of vegetables that needed to be eaten. Many stir-fry recipes call for hoisin sauce which I did not have but found a great substitute online. And then lost the link so just Google it!

The key is to cook all the veggies for about 2 minutes in the skillet as space allows. Remove to a plate and cook the cubed chicken until done. Add hoisin sauce and 1/3 cup water with 2 teaspoons corn starch. Add back in the vegetables and heat thoroughly. The leftovers were good cold the next day!

Chickpea and Roasted Red Pepper Patty

I made Chickpea and Roasted Red Pepper Burgers with Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise for Mom when she was here visiting and we all gave this recipe 5 Stars for tastiness, healthiness and budget factors! The sauce (not pictured) topped it off perfectly. I served Ryan's hamburger style with a sesame seed bun, but it was very filling without the bread! Served with roasted sweet potato fries. 

Southwest Salad

Salad topped with sliced avocado, black beans (one can drained and rinsed), roasted corn off-the-cob, roasted red bell pepper, grape tomatoes, red cabbage and cheese. The only cooking to this recipe was roasting the red bell pepper and corn on-the-cob on my griddle. Easy, peasy! Topped with chicken nuggets and spicy dressing from Chick-fil-A (courtesy of Ryan's food allowance at the hospital!). 

Tex-Mex Beef Quesadillas

These Mexi Cheeseburger Quesadillas were a great twist to Mexican night. Honestly, I could eat Mexican food every night and be perfectly happy! For the cheese I used a mixture of pepper jack and cheddar. We had some guacamole on the side along with salsa and sour cream. 

Panko Crusted Chicken Stuffed with All Good Things

These Panko Crusted Chicken Stuffed with All Good Things looked fancy but were actually pretty easy to pull together. Slice chicken breasts and then stuff with a combination of ricotta cheese, grape tomatoes and spinach. Stuff the mixture in the chicken and secure with toothpicks. Brush a beaten egg over the chicken (I added this step - not in recipe linked above) and dip in panko bread crumbs. Brown each side in the iron skillet and then pop the skillet in the oven for about 30 minutes or until chicken is done. I served with wild rice. And salad would have been a nice addition.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Non-Birthday Birthday Party, Swamp Rabbit Trail & Corn Hole

This past week Ryan switched from the internal medicine side of the hospital to the pediatrics side (this happens every three months). He told me that one day he had a 530 pound patient and the next a 900 gram infant - meaning the adult was 280 times bigger than the baby! The best part of this rotation is that his schedule has gotten better and he has every Sunday in April off.

He worked his first overnight shift in the NICU on Friday night and I stayed home with the good intentions of ironing and cleaning. I ended up going to yoga after work and stopping by a friend's house to visit. By the time I made it home, I crashed on the sofa with Mad Men and a frozen pizza. I was out before 9 p.m. C'est la vie!

Saturday morning I tried to stay out of the house so Ryan could get a few hours rest. It's so hard to be home and be quiet! I headed to Blue Ridge Equestrian in Travelers Rest. It's the same barn I did the summer camp with last year, but it has moved to a new location. Which has worked out great for me because it's now only about 15 minutes from our house. The property is gorgeous and you can see the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background!

A trainer from New Mexico was teaching a Hunter/Jumper clinic. I just watched but it was so good and I feel like I learned more being able to listen to him than trying to ride and listen. 

Saturday night we celebrated this nice guy! Maggie threw a "not a birthday party party" for Richard.  

Ryan and Craig playing ladder toss. All three of the med-peds male residents were off on Saturday afternoon -- that hasn't happened since before Christmas! 

Maggie and Richard with Luka photobombing. Such sweet friends! 

We ended the night with s'mores and the burning of everybody's "burn or shred it" piles of hospital papers. Sunday morning we went to church and then met up with Pace & Alex for a Swamp Rabbit Trail bike ride from our neighborhood to Traveler's Rest.

It seemed like a long way to TR! The trail is over 20 miles long and goes from Greenville thru the Furman campus and into Travelers Rest.

Our destination was the Swamp Rabbit Brewery where we had pizza from the restaurant next door and ribs and wings from a food truck in the parking lot. Don't judge: we were starving!!!

Love these two! It's been so fun to renew our friendship with Pace and we are crazy about Alex. He's such a nice guy. And our wedding was their first trip together and his first time to Mississippi. Pace has always called me "Sis" - picking it up from Sis when they became good friends our freshman year. She thought Ryan's name was "Ron" for well over the first year we were all friends. Everyone thought it was kinda funny and Ryan was too nice to correct her. So to all of their friends here we are "Sis & Ron." In her defense, our neighbors here thought I was saying Ron too and finally asked one day, "Is your husband Ryan or Ron?" They had had a major disagreement about his name. I need to pronunciate more!

I'm not much of a beer drinker but they did have a white cherry that was very tasty.

Pace and I dominated the guys at corn hole. Ryan was impressed - I hardly ever win when we play games!

This was by far my longest bike ride and I am so incredibly sore this morning. No longer making fun of people with padded bike shorts!