Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bye-Bye Birdfeeder...

Well, it looks like I'll have to say goodbye to the birdfeeder. I actually really enjoyed having it. I got to watch the birds up close, and I felt like I was doing something good by feeding them. (Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch??) Alas, I guess all good things must come to an end. The birdfeeder got a little out of control...
Exhibit A: The back porch belonging to the mean old man (aka my neighbor) who lives below me. Apparently birds are quite messy eaters. I have no idea how this is even possible, but there were birdseeds literally covering his back porch and grill. Exhibit B: The squirrels began eating the deck. I wanted to feed the birds, yes. But feed the squirrels? No. They started coming in droves and eating the dropped seeds off the deck, which I was not happy about, but could live with. Then they started eating the actual deck. Not okay guys.
The squirrels left their nasty footprints on my incredibly dusty grill. (Haven't used the grill since I moved in.) The dust alone isn't cool, but nasty squirrel footprints are even worse. Before taking it down, I had to get some pictures of the birds coming to eat.
Some little guys eating the seeds the bigger birds dropped... probably before they took the mouthfulls down to my old man neighbor's porch.
Exhibit C: The ridiculous number of birds that began visiting the feeder. I couldn't get close enough without scaring them away, so you can't really see that there were 4 birds on the feeder, 3 birds on the porch, and another 3 waiting their turn in the tree... ...That is until a huge blue bird scared some of them away. (Wish he worked on the squirrels.)
Exhibit D: Nasty squirrel caught in the act! Squirrels are rodents. They are disgusting. I totally agree with Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City when she says: "You can't be friends with a squirrel! A squirrel is just a rat with a cuter outfit." Amen, sister!
Seriously? The number of wild animals on my back porch began to feel a bit Noah's Ark-ish. Not to worry. I can train my big mean guard dog to bark at the squirrels and scare them away, right?
Wrong. Lucy couldn't care less about the rodents overtaking her patio. I even gave her the "watch" command. All she did was turn her head, look at the squirrel, sigh, and lay her head back down. Way to go, Luc.
All of this to say, the birdfeeder had to go. It will soon be enjoying its new home on my parent's back porch where there is no wooden deck for the squirrels to eat, and no mean old man living below them spoiling their fun. Enjoy it, mom and dad.
Next purchase? A hummingbird feeder.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I'm a cooker!

As we all know, I do not cook. Its not necessarily that I'm bad at it, I just haven't ever really tried because I don't know what to do. I don't know what goes with what, or which spices you're supposed to use, and I'm always afraid the meat will be undercooked and everyone will get salmonella poisoning.

Last week I decided that if I'm old enough to be getting married, its time for me to learn how to cook. In 9 short months I'll have a real live husband to feed, so I better start practicing! So Logan and I bought a crock-pot, and I've been cooking up a storm ever since!

The first thing I cooked was an orange pork roast. Since I was breaking in the crock-pot, I decided to take pictures along the way. (Well, and to prove to the nay-sayers that I actually did cook!) So here's the roast in the crock-pot, sitting on top of the onions and covered with the maranade ready to be cooked. This little genius invention is what made my meal taste like it was made by a gourmet chef. My crock-pot is my new best friend.
Here it is... ready to serve! It might not look that great, but the taste was wonderful. Logan said it tasted like something he'd eat at a really nice restaurant. I know you're thinking "He has to say that!", but I took leftovers to work and let several people try it. They all had similar reactions. Here is the final product. The roast was so tender that it was literally falling apart. I understand this to be a good thing. I'm still working on learning how to fix more sides other than the regular green beans and corn, but for my first time, I think it turned out well! Since the orange pork roast went over so well, I tried another new recipe. This one was lemon chicken. I really stepped it up a notch this time because I had to brown the chicken before putting it in the crock-pot. (Is it sad that I had to google how to brown chicken? Don't answer that.) Here's the browned chicken, ready to start cooking.
Feeling confident, I also made up my own salad. (I realize this isn't rocket science, but it's baby steps, people!) I got spinach leaves, cut up strawberries and kiwis and used a light rasberry vinagerette dressing. Turned out good!Ready to eat! I stepped out of my green bean comfort zone and this time made broccoli with a little parmasean cheese sprinkled on top. This meal was really good too, but the orange roast is still my favorite.
Surprisingly, I'm really enjoying cooking. And you know what? No one got salmonella poisoning either! I love how easy the crock-pot makes things. My plan is to gain more confidence with the crock-pot, and then move on to... the oven! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We Have A String Quartet!

String Quartet? Check! I'm really excited about this one. I've been to weddings before where the thing I remembered most about the string quartet was how out of tune they were, so I really wanted to make sure we found a good one. I came across Forte Strings and was so impressed with their sound! All four of them are members of symphony orchestras, one studied at Juilliard, and one has performed for Yo-Yo Ma. (And we all remember how much I love Yo-Yo Ma, right?) Three of the members also graduated from TCU, which doesn't necessarily make them amazing musicians, but it makes them fellow Horned Frogs, which is almost just as good in my book.

If you're interested in hearing music samples by them, here is the link:
Next big project on the list? To decide on a caterer... one that will feed the masses and not leave us poor and living in a cardboard box after we pay the bill.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy 4th of July!!

This year I spent July 4th out in the country at Fern and Chris' house with Mike, Leanne and some other friends. I wasn't able to go to the lake with Logan because I had planned to buy my wedding dress with my mom and Logan's mom the day after they left for the lake. (After visiting every wedding dress botique in a 40 mile radius, I found THE dress. It's beautiful, of course! Can't post pictures though -- you'll have to wait until April to see it!)

Anyway, on the way to Fern and Chris' house we stopped to buy fireworks at this huge fireworks stand. I bought what I thought at the time were the "big" ones... until I got to Fern and Chris' house and saw the TWO tables of fireworks they had. (I still liked mine though.) :)
After buying the fireworks, we passed this strange thing. I think it's a lady - but he/she definitely wasn't wearing a bra. And he/she had some sort of green stuffed animal standing up on the back of her motorcycle. Weird.
Table 1 of all the fireworks we had. And table 2. Ridiculous, right??
Chris is known for his ability to cook amazing meats. He has his own big smoker in the backyard. We had at least 2 different types of sausage, chicken, and beef. I'm pretty sure we all had the meat sweats. Here's Stevo and me enjoying the food.
Turns out my camera has a "fireworks" setting, so I took some really great pictures of our fireworks. The neighbors would shoot off one at a time, but we had "professional" guys doing ours, and they'd all get together and light several at once. Safe? Probably not. An amazing fireworks display? Absolutely!
Leanne loves palm trees, so she was super excited when she found Palm Tree fireworks.
Fern and Chris.
So when the boys were busy setting up the next round of fireworks, we got creative with sparklers and the fireworks setting on my camera. We took turns spelling out stuff with sparklers! (Don't knock it 'till you try it.) I had Mike make a heart so I could send the picture to Logan. Mike wasn't happy about this, but he did it anyway. :) After all the fireworks were finished, we had ice cream (and beer) for dessert. Apparently Mike slept.
I had a fantastic time! I hope everyone else had a good 4th too!

Happy Birthday to Me!

I'm so far behind on my blogging! For a couple of weeks there it seemed like every day I had off from work was spent doing wedding stuff! Fun, but exhausting.

So this year we played the birthday thing low key. Logan and I hadn't been to Margarita Ranch in about a year - actually since my 27th birthday. (This place's margaritas and queso were the catalyst for us joining Weight Watchers last year, so we've had to attempt to erase it from our memory.) But since it was a special occasion, we met my parents, Mamaw, and Ross and Jessica there for dinner.

After dinner the waitors brought me cake and sang happy birthday to me. Not sure why Logan has such a mischevious grin in this picture, but it's cute anyway. :)My mom, Jessica and me. Sweet Mamaw was able to come! I love this woman! (She's so tiny!)So at first I thought this gift from my parents was really random. They got me a bird feeder for my back porch. Turns out, I love the thing! I've really enjoyed watching the birds come and eat. The squirrels pick up the scraps the birds drop on the deck, but I've seen some really pretty red birds and blue birds chowing down out there. Good gift guys!Ross and Jess!The next weekend, Mike and Leanne had Logan and I over for a homecooked dinner. Leanne is an AMAZING cook. Anytime she offers to cook something, I'm there. (Not to help of course - to eat! I have no idea what I'm doing in the kitchen.) Anyway, she made pulled pork tacos and they were fabulous. For appetizers she made bacon wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cheese. Best part of all - they were fat free since it was my birthday. (Calories don't count then, right?)I had a great birthday this year! Thanks to my parents for the Margarita Ranch dinner, and to Mike and Leanne for having us over - again. :) (I bought a crock pot yesterday, so you'll be getting an invitation for dinner soon. Maybe I can return the favor and cook you guys something good?)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Introducing: Mike and Leanne Goodspeed!

On June 13th, Mike and Leanne had a beautiful wedding ceremony in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The best part (besides the fact that two of our best friends are finally hitched) was that Logan and I got to go on vacation! The wedding was on the beach of the resort where we stayed, the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar - and it was fantastic. I've posted too many pictures to count, but take a look at them and see just how beautiful this place is, and how much fun we had!

This is the view from our room. The waves were HUGE while we were there. (10 to 15 feet tall.) When the waves would crash onto the shore, it would rattle the sliding glass door onto our balcony, and sounded like thunder. It was great for falling asleep to! Standing at the porch, looking back into our room. From the front door, leading into our room. The biggest bed ever.Bathroom.
I went into Leanne's HUGE suite while she was getting ready for the ceremony. This was her balcony. What the picture doesn't show is that it wraps around the other side of the building too. Amazing. From her balcony we could see them setting up the ceremony site.
We could also see the boys swimming and making the cabana boy fetch their drinks. Mike, Stevo and Jeff in the infiniti pool.Ah, I do love my Logan.
Mike, walking his mom down the aisle. Leanne and her dad coming down the aisle. The ceremony.The kiss!
Jason, Jeff and me during cocktail hour. Logan wandered back down to the beach... and lost one of his shoes in the waves. Look at that face. How can you not love it??We sat with Jason and Stephanie at the reception. Love them!Logan and me. Jeff, me, Leanne, Mike and Jason.She's officially taken, fellas!Their cake topper. So perfect.
Logan, Mike and me.
An open bar means tequilla shots all around!Oooohh, looks like they didn't go down easily.
Bonding time with the guys. Jeffrey and me. Love that guy!

More male bonding.Mike and Logan toasting Leanne and Mike's dads. Leanne and Mike making their entrance onto the beach for the bonfire.
Sparklers!!I LOVE this picture.
We made s'mores on the beach.The sunrise view from our room the next morning.
As we made our way to breakfast, I stopped to take some pictures of the hotel. This is standing at the front, overlooking the infiniti pool, and I'm standing at the top of a fountain.
This is the view of the hotel when I turned around.
One of the pools had a gorgeous flower on the bottom made of tile. The other pools had different tile images in them too. We climbed up this spiral staircase and ended up on the rooftop deck with a fantastic view.
Logan and me. And with Jason.
Leanne gave me one of the reception centerpieces for the room.
Logan and I ordered roomservice and had dinner on our balcony one night. I ordered the "grilled vegetable salad", which ended up being cold, grilled vegetables stacked high over one piece of lettuce. Oh well. Breakfast the next morning. Yummm.
Logan enjoying a "Lava Flow" in the infiniti poolWe ate lunch at Cabo Wabo downtown. They make a mean margarita!
The wall art heading upstairs at Cabo Wabo was amazing.
An official Cabo Wabo margarita, made with Cabo Wabo tequilla, of course!
Logan asked to borrow Stephanie's english to spanish dictionary. Little did she know he'd be looking up inappropriate words...
...and that she'd soon be helping him with pronounciation.
On the way to our next stop we passed a bar that had dollar bills covering all the walls and the celing.
We stopped at an outdoor market, where I bought this ridiculously huge sun hat that was too big for me to take home on the plane. Oh well. Logan thought I looked like I belonged in a rice paddy with it on anyway. :)
Next stop: Margaritavilla!Bucket 'o Pacifico
And a bucket 'o Corona. The perfect afternoon.
Later that night we had steak at the ocean front restaurant with Jason and Stephanie.
These huge hurricaines were all around the patio we ate on.
The next night Logan and I went to the authentic Mexican restaurant at the resort. The people eating next to us caught tons of fresh fish that day and had the chefs there cook it for them. They had so much left over that they gave Logan and I each two pieces of Mahi-Mahi cooked two different ways. It was fantastic.
I ordered enchaladas, but only made a small dent in them since I was so full from the fish!
After dinner, we met Mike and Leanne at the tequilla bar for drinks. This place has over 150 different kinds of tequilla!
The beautiful bride! I love that dress. (And she wore it with cute blue heels!) Mike and Leanne showed us how they tried to learn how to dance on YouTube... ...and it went well until Mike got a little frisky.
The next day Logan and I finally got to spend an afternoon on the beach. Before this day no one was allowed near the water because the waves were too big. Okay, check out this next picture sequence. It cracks me up. Logan had no idea it was coming.
Check out the crabs chilling on the rock.
This is what our resort looked like from waaay down the beach.
This proves the water must have been pretty warm - I got in. :)
Later that day I was sitting by the pool and I'd just finished my lunch. All of the sudden this bird flew right up and started eating my leftovers! I started to shoo it away, but then I saw just how pretty it was!
This is the life.
After spending the day at the pool, Mike, Leanne, Logan and I went back to the steak place for dinner.
The day we left, we woke up and instead of seeing a sunrise, we saw it raining over the ocean way in the distance. I had to have my favorite breakfast one more time: Chilaquiles. I NEED to find a place here that has these. Goodbye Cabo! We'll be finding a way to come back soon!