Friday, May 29, 2015

Have a Lovely Weekend!

I'm trying to start up my summer cocktail tradition again.  First on the menu, these tart and refreshing Cuban Mojitos!
It's been a crazy couple of weeks around here, and I'm primarily talking about the weather!  After 3 dry, drought-filled years in Houston, I am now being told that the norm is actually having a super wet and rainy spring.  Who knew?  And it has been rainy with a vengance lately!  We've been pretty lucky around where I live.  While some of the highways in my neck of the woods have flooded over and stranded people, most of the residential areas in SE Houston have been less severely affected.  We discovered a couple of roof leaks at our place and thankfully that's been the worst of it for us.  All of S's family was similarly unaffected.  I did have a friend who got kicked out of his apartment due to structural instability from water damage, though, and another friend who's living room habitually floods during strong storms, so not everyone I know escaped unscathed.  My thoughts are definitely with all of the people in Houston, as well as the flooding victims in the San Marcos and Wimberly areas west of Houston who are dealing with more extreme situations.

And while not nearly as serious as all of the rain and flooding, my own personal complaint is that the puddles and flooding left by the rains here in Houston are also a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and they've been eating me alive!  I swear, I have over 20 mosquito bites on my ankles, ass (they bite me through my damn workout pants!), and arms and they balloon up so it looks like I'm hiding gumballs under my skin.  Ugh.

In other news, I've been on console all week this week, which as usual has kept me pleasantly busy and my days have been flying by.  This week went so fast!  Super excited that yet another weekend has arrived.  The last couple of weekends have involved being productive around the house (I'm trying container gardening!), taking the pup out and about (Houston is super dog-friendly), bar trivia with friends, Memorial Day weekend barbecues and pool parties with friends, and cooking up some good food around the house and this weekend we're planning more of the same. 

Also a quick shout out to my brother J who just celebrated his 32nd b-day yesterday.  Happy Birthday!

My attempt at an anti-mosquito garden filled with lemon balm, marigolds, rosemary, and lavender.  Pandora LOVES playing with the plastic containers that the plants all came in...  silly dog!

There's also an agave plant that has proven to be quite hardy and some random grass that I'm hoping to replace with lemongrass sometime soon.  Haven't noticed less mosquitoes yet, though.

And my own personal little herb garden.  One thing all of this rain has been helping with is keeping my little container garden thriving.  I'm sure as soon as summer comes in full force that these flourishing little herbs will not be faring so well.
Pandora is such a funny, ball-obsessed goof.  She will happily carry a tennis ball around in her mouth all day, tongue hanging out in this goofy little grin.  She is so cute.

And S is obsessed with turning Pandora into a water dog.  She'll wander around in knee-deep water, but isn't a fan of swimming.  We took her to this dog park after her vet appointment last weekend and she was happy as a clam until she fell into the deep end and had to paddle back to the edge... she got over it pretty quickly though.
Some beautiful peonies I bought myself last weekend at Trader Joe's while we were out and about.  Also purchased about $150 in groceries with a heavy focus on nuts, dried fruits, and frozen vegetables.  Ah, TJ's, I do love you so.
And last night I tried my hand for the first time at a grilled beer can chicken.  It turned out super moist and delicious.  I used this recipe and although I didn't have za'atar for the rub, the seasoning still turned out superb!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

So Wonderfully Exciting!

My apologies for being MIA for half of May, but there's been some excitement - B had her babies!!!  The twins were born on Wednesday, May 6 and are both healthy and content!  And therefore I have been whipped into an "honorary aunt" and "hopefully helpful friend" frenzy.  I've been cooking/baking like crazy to make sure the new parents don't go hungry.  Their freezer is currently stocked with black bean enchiladas, chicken spaghetti casserole, spring vegetable minestrone soup, my grandma's chicken soup, my mom's chili recipe, a shepherd's pie, and this shredded pork, which was delivered with tortillas, salsa, and avocado to make tacos.  I also made B some of these lactation cookies.  I'm so happy for them and of course I show my happiness through food!

Other than baby news, we've started up Pandora's intermediate training lessons.  She's already partially on her way to learning "heel" and we're also working on getting her to listen to commands with distractions (aka, squirrels).  She really is such a smart and happy dog and we're keep saying how lucky we are that we found her!  We reward her for her good work by taking her with us to dog friendly restaurants (she LOVES making friends), trying out new dog parks, and giving her fun new squeaky toys that are most definitely not allowed in the bedroom at night.

That's about it for now.  In honor of the two new additions to B and J's household, I present my new favorite YouTube video, an Astronomically Correct Twinkle Twinkle:

(top image from B and J's baby shower invite, as created by the ReigningParties Etsy shop)