Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday at Reno Riverwalk District

John finished his bike ride just after I had finished my jog on Sunday. Then we drove down to the Reno Riverwalk District to catch an Earth Day Picnic. There were crowds of people everywhere, waiting in lines spilling out the doorways of the local merchants downtown. Earth Day couldn't draw this big of a crowd could it? I had expected families and children but these were adults, around our age. Where the heck did they all come from?
Temperatures in the high 80's. Spring is here!!
Turned out the Wine Walk had just begun, an event to benefit a featured charity every third Saturday of the month. For $20 you get a decorated wine glass you can keep and an ID bracelet that allows
you to sample wine at about 36 participating merchants.
John and Daly at Truckee River
Wake skating on the Truckee River
You can't tell from these photos but there were tons and tons of people everywhere! Sunday was a warm, sunny day and people were littered all along the Truckee River in their swim suits bathing in the sun or swimming in the water.  Meanwhile people were gathering in and outside of pubs, bar hopping and others peering at their maps of downtown to find the next place to visit for their wine sample.
Lunch at the Wild River Grille
While that sounded like fun, we settled at a restaurant along the river called Wild River Grille to have lunch on their patio.  John ordered the fish and chips and I picked some sort of grilled vegetable wrap -- it was yum-yum!!
People sunbathing along the Truckee River.
It was a nice day, but then I think every day is a nice day in Reno. Sunshine or snow, we are really liking it here.
Jogger crossing one of the many pedestrian bridges over the Truckee River.
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Friday, April 20, 2012

My Earth Day Project

With Earth Day around the corner, projects from those trying to do their part are cropping up here and there. This Nevada block "N" was created out of recycled water bottles in honor of UNR's Earth Week festivities.

As for me, I was inspired by a bottle garden on Urban Green Survival's blog.  Check out the blog post with a very helpful video and a photo of the finished project (then the next steps make make more sense to you.)
Supplies needed for bottle garden (click for larger image)
For SUPPLIES all you need is:
  1. a 2-liter plastic bottle and five or six small plastic bottles (used from work)
  2. a permanent marker and a pair scissors
  3. caulk (tub and tile sealant)
  4. planting medium (I got the 8 qt. vermiculite from a home improvement store for under $5)
  5. plant food (32 oz. herb and vegetable plant food for under $12)
  6. sponge (a dollar store is a great place to get cheap, plain sponge)
  7. herb seeds (such as cilantro, basil, parsley, etc.)

Click for larger image.
Then CUT the water bottles:
  1. I used one of the bottle caps as a template to draw five circles around the top of the 2-litter bottle with a permanent marker.  John drilled starter holes in the center of each of the five circles with a drill bit for me but you can easily use the sharp point of your scissors or something else to puncture a hole.  Then with the scissors, I cut along the permanent marker line (the cuticle scissors I used are perfect for the job because it has a curved tip).
  2. Cut the smaller bottles so they form a tray or a small planter like illustrations 3 and 4.
Again, if you watch the video and read the post on Urban Survival's blog, what I'm doing may make more sense.

The smaller bottles fit in the five holes of the larger 2-litter bottle.  Then you will use the sealant to hold the mouth of the smaller bottles to the 2-liter bottle.  The seal job does not have to be perfect since the water flow will go between the inside of the smaller bottle into the larger bottle; no water actually will touch sealant.

I used five smaller bottles instead of six to have some room between the bottles but if you can fit six, go for it.  I just found it easier to have extra room for when I apply the caulk (which now has to dry) so I will have to wait until tomorrow to fill the smaller bottles with planting medium and move on to the next steps!

To be continued...
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Western Scrub Jay

Spring is definitely here and I hope it will stay for good.  I've heard it can snow even through June and I believe it.  In one week we had a sunny day and I laid out in my bikini and the next few days, we had a blizzard!

Everywhere flowers and trees are in bloom.  I haven't had a chance to take photos of the magnificent views and have only captured them with my eyes.  I did snap a few shots of this California Western Scrub Jay (click the image for a larger view).
California Western Scrub Jay
Lately the weather has been warm enough for us to open the windows and patio door to let the gentle breeze in.  Havi and Elgy love it because they can hear the sound of birds chirping even better.

As vocal as the birds are, they can hear the snapping from my camera's mechanical shutters over their own chatter so they don't stick around very long.   Except for the quails, they seem to enjoy being photographed.

By the way, I had thought this bird was a Blue Jay, but it's a scrub jay and an entirely different species of birds.  Check out some interesting facts about them by following the links beneath "References".

Yard Service

I hired a couple guys to mow the lawn and look who they sent! Even worse, they were working on the wrong yard.
These two are up to no good ;-)

At Home

The radishes have teeny weensy leaves!  I should have radishes in about 20 to 25 more days. 
Radishes - Day 3
My attempt to make chocolate dipped strawberries was just short of a success, LOL.
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Elgy is waiting to stretch on the yoga mat with me.  Lately I've been limping around from post-workout soreness.
While Havi naps with John. We rarely see her resting when we're around so moments like these are too precious to let slip by.
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Our Easter Weekend

Last weekend John and Maggie were in town for business and even though their time was pretty much devoted to their work, we managed to spend some quality time together while they were here.

One of the nights we went to dinner at a newly opened restaurant called Ling and Louie's. It's a chain restaurant, though there are only six at this time, that started out of Arizona. They're gauging their success in the market by starting in smaller cities. I have to tell you about it in another post when I share my restaurant report for the past month. :)

The highlight of our weekend was Easter.  For the appetizer, I made Mother-in-Law Eggs (click the link for the recipe) but used jalapeno-stuffed olives instead of pimento-stuff olives.  Our Easter Dinner was ham, roasted veggies, baked sweet potatoes and salad.
For dessert, I made Lemon Pudding Cake (the recipe is from Real Simple) with a few changes and a substitution.

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled 
  • 3 large eggs, separated 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces 
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 1 teaspoon tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus (Maggie suggested more zest and it turned out great!)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/2 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I decreased the salt because the butter I used had salt)
  • 3 teaspoons turbinado or some other coarse sugar (my mom-in-law suggested powdered sugar as a garnish since I couldn't find coarse sugar)
It's very easy to make, light and yummy, and great with tea.  This serves four but each of us could have indulged on the entire baking dish full ourselves!

What a nice weekend we had and it was sure nice to have John and Maggie over.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Help for My Two Brown Thumbs

I sowed some Cherry Belle radish seeds and this morning when I looked, they've started to germinate.  I removed the greenhouse (a plastic bag which covered the pot).  What else should I do at this point?  I see little fuzzy roots...should they be above the soil level?  I wasn't sure so I poked them back into the potting mix.

Day 1 - Radishes
Radishes - Day 1
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Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter

I am outside with the girls enjoying our beautiful Sunday in Reno. Beergarita by my side while I soak up the sun on our patio. Soon I will start prepping Easter Dinner of ham, and sweet potatoes, greens and salad--and deviled eggs of course. John's parents are in town and he is out on a bike ride. Wishing you a Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Beauty Contest

I received a letter in the mail yesterday addressed to our family. It read that 'our daughter has been referred to [the organization] as a possible candidate who may enjoy modeling, acting, or learning stage techniques that will help empower and enable her to accomplish her future goals.'

Well how did they know that our girl is a beauty queen in training??

The letter went on and revealed that [the organization] wrote to tell us she is eligible to compete in this year's official state pageant.'

What?! Our Havi?  I shouldn't be surprised, really.

She already knows how to sing...and blow kisses...and smile graciously (although she looks more like Robin Williams) than a pageant contestant.  By golly I think I better accept the invitation and take her to the Open Call sessions!!
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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Google Offers $5 for $10 Starbucks Card and help Create Jobs for USA Fund

For today only, buy a $10 Starbucks Card eGift through Google™ Offers for just $5! Google™ Offers will donate $3 to the Create Jobs for USA Fund (up to $3 Million) to help more Americans get back to work.

Go to or click this link to visit Google Offers to purchase.  I receive no incentives for this post.  I just want to share the savings with you.

A couple things you need to know so you'll have a smooth transaction:

1. You will need to sign in with a Gmail account.
2. You should have a payment card registered with Google Wallets/Google Checkout account. Otherwise you'll need to set one up.  There is a limit of one card per household.

Just print out the Starbucks Card and bring it into any participating Starbucks store. Or transfer the amount onto your registered Starbucks Card to spend later.