Monday, May 25, 2015

My New Hobby: Herb Gardening

I was in Kroger two weeks ago and saw little pots of herbs on sale for $1.50.

"Hmmm...OK," I thought. "I can do this."

I took the plants home, sat them outside, and abandoned them for approximately 6 days.

Thankfully I mentioned my new (not-yet-started) hobby of herb gardening to my family when everyone was over at our house on Mother's Day. I announced that I was going to plant the herbs in the ground, and everyone - in unison - was like "DO NOT plant mint in the ground. Mint will take over everything."

After that, I had the fear of God put in me and decided I did not want a house over-run by mint.

This was our minty future.

Last weekend, when my abandoned herbs finally looked withered enough, I decided I better do something with them before they died. I found some old pots underneath the house and got to work.

I planted the mint in a separate pot, per my family's instruction.

Mint (potted separately), Parsley, Cilantro, Thyme, and Basil

My herb plants have survived for two weeks, making me an expert on all things herbal.

For instance, when it's time to trim the parsley, here's what you need to do:.

1. Get a pair of scissors.
2. Cut parsley plant down to a nub.

Um....I think I did that right. I'll keep you posted.

I'm really looking forward to this new hobby of mine. 

It's nice to see the rewards of my menial labor.

Friday, May 22, 2015

On the Day Before My 28th Birthday

It really doesn't feel like my birthday is tomorrow, and it especially doesn't feel like I'll be 28.

I met Brian at the golf course when I was NINETEEN!!! To me (a mere $8/hour beer cart girl), the mid-twenty-year-old Brian was so intimidating. He was an adult. He had a career. He had an MBA. He had a condo.

Now I'm married to him, with a house, a mortgage, a career of my own, high-maintenance dogs, a driveway full of his cars, a landscape plan, an herb garden and OH MY GOD MY HEAD JUST MIGHT EXPLODE.

So much responsibility.

If you ask Brian about how responsible I am, he'd laugh.

He'd tell you about my habit of walking away from the dinner table and leaving all of my dirty dishes sitting there because I expect someone else to clean it up for me.

"Kelly, do you have servants coming behind you to pick up your plate?"

Brian annoys me even more than dirty dishes.

If I had a chance to share some life lessons with those who are younger than myself, here's what I'd tell list form.

It's my birthday and I'll make lists if I want to.

Lessons for You, From Me:

1. Your significant other will annoy you. They'll probably annoy you more than any other person in the entire world.

2. The grass always looks greener on the other side.

3. As an adult, you will be expected to cook dinner and clean up your dishes, unless you have servants.

4.  Pets live a long time and are expensive.

5. Children live even longer and are even more expensive.

4. Be really smart, but don't make it too obvious.

5. Less is always more.

6. You are where you want to be.

7.  All eyes aren't on you.

8.  Don't talk just to fill a silence.

9. Eating alone at a restaurant isn't the worst thing ever.

10. Brian's gonna do what Brian wants to do.

11. Don't stay inside on a beautiful day.

12. It's OK to pay someone to do things for you, like painting a room or landscaping your yard. Ain't nobody got time for that.

13. Exercise is the best anti-depressant.

14. Everyone has the right to a bad mood. It's better if you acknowledge it openly and warn those around you. Just say these five words - "I'm in a bad mood."

15. A reliable car is the best car.

16. "Unique" is the polite form of "weird."

17. When most people get to the end of their life, the only two things that matter to them are their spouse and kids. (My pastor said that in a sermon several years ago and I have never forgotten it).

18. Work hard and don't expect recognition.

19. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

20. Take risks. You'll have more fun. (Not to be confused with making stupid decisions. Avoid those).

Monday, May 18, 2015

Outdoor Patio Set

Our Canine Good Citizens destroyed our previous patio set, as evidenced in this picture here:

It was a fairly old set that we had back at the condo, so we weren't too heartbroken over replacing it.

Brian spent a lot of time searching Craigslist for the perfect outdoor dining set, and his patience paid off! He specifically wanted a bar height table and chairs, so it narrowed our options quite a bit.

Here's the "new" set that we got from Craigslist last week:

This set bought new from Crate & Barrel is over $700!!!! Sheesh. We spent about a quarter of that.

With the previous set, you'd sit about eye level with the top railing. I prefer this set because I can see out into the woods much better -  there is so much to see in our woods!!!! You name it and we've probably seen it.

Now that the weather is warm, I can have my evening ritual of relaxing on the deck with a drink after work. I love observing the wildlife.

Last year I cut back on my wine consumption (I was falling asleep at 8 PM!), so I've substituted wine for seltzer water. I like to buy the lemon-lime flavor, add some ice, a splash of cranberry juice, and a fresh lime.

A refreshing little treat. :-)

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Canine Good Citizen Update!

I was scrolling through my phone the other day and I noticed I had so many pictures of Pippa giving me the stink eye.

I guess she doesn't like her picture taken. :-)

GOOD NEWS: Pippa passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test on Wednesday night!!!!

The test involved several steps:
- loose-leash walking
-sit, down and stay
-come when called
-not getting distracted in a crowd
-being separated from the owner for 3 minutes
-greeting a friendly stranger
-greeting another dog

Pippa had no trouble passing the test (unlike some other dog I know).

Otis actually did pass the test last year (I think they just passed him so he wouldn't re-take the class!), so, believe it or not, we're the proud owners of TWO Canine Good Citizens!!!!!!!!!!

Here they are in all of their glory:

I definitely want to continue more training with Pippa so that she can be a therapy dog. To be a therapy dog at Duke, her next step will be the "Love on a Leash" course, which requires 10 site visits. I can't wait to get her started with that!

She is just so laid-back and awesome. She brightens everyone's day!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Monthly Sister Night

A few weeks ago, I was saving some dinner ideas to Pinterest when I realized I would likely never make them. Most of the recipes were pasta dishes, and Brian doesn't usually get excited over pasta.

That's when I had a light-bulb moment.

I texted my sister and asked if she'd be interested in getting together once a month to cook dinner. Even though we live relatively close and work in the same city, we often go long stretches without seeing each other or getting an opportunity to catch up.

Once we set a schedule (Tuesday nights once a month), we agreed to rotate who would be in charge of cooking.

Last night was our first get-together and I made Crunchy Taco Cups and Mexican rice. In hindsight, I actually think Brian would like this recipe; however, the taco cups are bite-size. Brian would need about 20 of them to make it a meal. :-)

The Taco Cups were super easy to assemble and they turned out really good!

It was a nice night outside, so we had dinner on the deck and spent a lot of time chatting.

I'm really looking forward to more nights like this. Even if you don't have a sister nearby, a monthly girls night with your best friend would be a great alternative.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Favorite Authors

I need a new book.

I downloaded "Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness" on my Kindle on Saturday and I finished it in 4 hours. It was about the Cleveland kidnappings. Remember that psycho who kept 3 girls chained in his house for ten years? Very disturbing story, but it's one of those books you can't put down.

I actually decided I might re-read one of my favorite books this week instead of buying a new one, which leads me to this blog post - my fave authors.

These are the only authors in which I've read every book they've ever written. Each author is very different in their style and genre, but they are all so incredibly talented.

Y'all know that my idol in life will forever be the infamous Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa!), but these authors are my inspiration. They've each impacted my personal writing style, and I always pay close attention to their literary choices. Seriously, they are AMAZING!!! I could talk about it all day.


These three books. Man, oh man. Don't ever make me pick a favorite.


These books are thicker than the Bible, but don't let it be intimidating. I'm obsessed.


I had never been into thriller/suspense novels until I read these. They are so addicting!

So there you have it. Proof that I'm a total nerd. :-)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Landscape Design

Right before we started our kitchen remodel, Brian was determined to improve our landscaping this year. I'll admit it needed some work, but I wasn't too keen on making a sizable investment.

We ended up hiring a professional, Danielle, to do our landscape design, and we're tackling it one phase at a time. Danielle did an awesome job with the design and had a lot of creative ideas.

I definitely recommend hiring a professional for something like this. With a large wooded lot, we're fairly limited as to what we can plant since there's not much sunlight. Danielle was very knowledgeable about what would work and what wouldn't work.

I do an okay job tending to my potted plants, but beyond that, I'll admit I'm helpless when it comes to yard work and landscaping.

It will be a struggle for me to keep my potted plants alive!

Whenever I want to help in the yard, Brian always gives me the option of "picking up sticks." Um, no thanks that sounds awful.

Brian and I both worked this fall to clear the weeds from the area at the top of our driveway, and ever since we cleared it out, it has looked really bare.

These are the BEFORE pictures:

Since we didn't want the top of our driveway to be a huge eye sore, we chose this area as Phase 1 of our landscape improvement project.

Here are the AFTER pictures of that same area:

We ordered a custom address plaque that will go in front of the big rock, but it hasn't arrived yet. I think it will definitely add the finishing touch.

As for the other side of the driveway, our mailbox was previously protruding from a bush.

As seen here in this BEFORE pic:

Here is the new-and-improved mailbox area:

Now we just need to paint the wood post to spruce it up a bit.

The to-do list is never-ending. *sigh*

One project down. A million more to go.