Friday, February 28, 2014

But put me in summer and I'll be a... happy snowman!

"When life gets rough I like to hold onto my dreams

Of relaxing in the summer sun, just letting off steam..."

You and me both, Olaf!

Thinking warm thoughts...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Adventures in homemaking: Crockpot dinner and brownie time!

Yesterday when I came home from school I was looking forward to having some delicious leftover Taco Soup for dinner. I got out my tortilla chips, heated up the soup, sat down to eat and... YUCK. It went sour! : ( Less than a week old... I don't know what happened. But I needed something else to eat. So I made some clam chowder on the stove top... only to find, upon tasting it, that I had purchased the flavorless "heart healthy" version. That also wound up in the garbage, even after an attempt to flavor it with salt and pepper. Finally I just settled on cereal.

That wasn't going to happen today.

Instead, I put two pounds of beef roast in the crock pot this morning and added this Campbell's Slow Cooker packet:

Last year during a school luncheon, one of the teachers made Korean Bulgogi with rice and ginger carrots (it was a Hawaiian-Pacific themed luncheon). It was SO delicious and he gave us the recipes, but I have been kind of intimidated by the recipe since I got it. When I saw this Slow Cooker sauce (which I found thanks to my Target Cartwheel, one of my true loves) I was so hoping that it would be similar to that delicious steak we had at the luncheon. And it was pretty close! I served it over rice and made the ginger carrots as a side, which were very do-able. Here is the recipe:

Ginger Carrots
5 carrots, pared and sliced
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp cornstarch
1 TBSP white sugar
1/4 tsp fresh ginger (... I did use ground ginger from the spice cabinet)

Cook the carrots in a pot of water with the salt, until soft, for about 20 minutes.
In a separate pot, combine the OJ, cornstarch, sugar, and ginger. Stir until smooth.
Drain the water from the carrots and add them to the ginger sauce. Stir to coat. 

I don't necessarily think that this meal will be in our everyday meal rotation, but I'd be willing to throw it in every once in a while. It was nice to have something different!

I also made brownies for dessert, because I was feeling some brownies today. I always top my brownies with white chocolate chips. I started doing that once just for something different, and found that it is actually very very very yummy... so now I do it just about every time. : )

I hope you all had a delicious dinner as well!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Couch potato

It has been approximately a year since A and I moved into our house, and a little under a year since we discovered DirecTV. We used to live by On Demand from Comcast, but since we got DirecTV we have fallen in love with DVR. Here are the shows we have been DVRing:

1. The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

I'm sorry, haven't I mentioned lately how much I love Jimmy Fallon?

2. Modern Family

This is such an excellent show. We got the first DVD of the first season on Netflix, and then just ordered all of the seasons from Amazon because we knew we would love it.

3. The Big Bang Theory

I find this picture very funny : ) Also, hello, we named our dog Penny... 

4. Parks & Rec

This show is hysterical. All of the characters are fantastic; Ron Swanson is amazing. Also, Adam Scott is pretty nice to look at.

5. Hollywood Game Night

I love games. I love celebrities. I enjoy laughing. What's not to like? : )

6. Saturday Night Live

A. and I just can't stay up late enough for Jimmy Fallon and SNL... he has to get up for work at 4:45 every morning, and I usually wind up turning in a little after he does because I feel weird staying up late when he's in bed already. SNL has been hit or miss lately, but there are usually some good sketches on each episode.

7. Too Cute!

This was a recent find on Animal Planet... Penny and I love watching this show. She will sit in front of the TV and watch and listen to the puppies. Basically the show follows three litters of newborn puppies (there are also kitten episodes) through various adventures until they find their "forever homes."

In season, we record America's Got Talent, Who do you think you are? and The Sing-Off.

We also use our DVR to record specials and events, like the Puppy Bowl, the Super Bowl, the Tony Awards, the Grammys, Oscars, Emmys, etc (that way I don't have to stay up to watch them haha). I also have the Sound of Music live! recorded still, and recently we recorded the movie This is the End. I'm not a huge fan, but A found it funny. : )

What have you been watching?


Friday, February 21, 2014


Well, hello. I have recently become the most boring blogger in the land. My sincerest apologies. This past week has not been the greatest- DEFINITELY not the worst, but for some reason it felt like everything was converging in on me and I was in full-out panic mode. I seriously felt like I was in a small room that kept shrinking smaller and smaller around me until I was curled up in the fetal position, rocking back and forth.

This seems accurate.

Luckily, tonight I feel much better. First of all, I have the knowledge that this week is behind me. Secondly, I had a wonderful date night with my husband. A's parents took Penny for the evening so we didn't have to worry about getting back to the house in time to let her out, or think about how wired she would be when we got back. It was nice just to have a night out together with no distractions! (Also: Red Lobster's Lobsterfest. Yum. I am so glad I wound up with someone who loves seafood as much as I do.)

Thirdly, my winter concert was last night, and I am beyond relieved that it is done. I don't know why I was so worked up about it. My kids weren't as prepared as they could have been, what with all the stupid snow days and two hour delays (necessary, but still annoying when you're preparing for a set concert date) but they still did a good job and produced some solid performances. I think deep down I was anxious that it was my first concert conducting two groups - until this point I have always done half (or a third) and then another director(s) has taken over with another group. Plus, before the concert, my video camera decided not to work (so I have no recordings, and therefore can't do performance evals and have to change around my lesson plans), and I also got a runner in my nylons, and the lining on my dress kept riding up because of static. I was exhausted by the end of the night and did not want to wake up this morning.

Love MF and my favorite Cam. : )

But I did, and I made it through Friday, and the week. 

The other thing that has been stressing me out lately is the latest budget issue for education in my district. There is a huge shortfall because of some mess with the governor and pensions, and they are talking about raising school district taxes- a LOT. People are (understandably) freaking out about it. I am personally panicky about it because I am terrified that I will lose my job again. Was it the worst thing that ever happened to me? No. Do I have more financial responsibilities now? Yes. Do I ever really want to go through it again? Absolutely, positively NOT.


Anyway, this weekend my parents are picking me up and we are going to visit my brother in the D.C. area. I am excited because there is always something interesting and different to do when we visit them. We might also meet up with my cousin and her husband, and they are both very fun to be around. I think it's going to be good for me to get out of here for a little bit and leave all of my work behind for a day. Also, family time is healing for me. <3

One of my favorite pictures of me and my brother, ever... a completely ridiculous New Year's Day in the Magic Kingdom. Other tourists were taking pictures of my brother like they were taking pictures of the actual Disney characters. So, so, so many laughs.

In a vein of positivity, here are some other good things about this past week:
- The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. DUH.
- Finished "The Beyonders" series by Brandon Mull. SO GOOD. I am in book series withdrawal. Right now I am in that floundering phase between two books.
- I haven't been as dependent on my phone... I actually forgot it at home one day. WHAT.
- When I was feeling completely down on Wednesday, bff C stepped up to the plate with a Kid President video and lots of texts. 
- I planned a trip to Pittsburgh in August with my three best girls, C, B, and S. I am so excited!
- I have fantastic students who are helpful and resilient. 
- It was a full week of school - we did have a delay Tuesday, but it's the first five day week we've had since Christmas. Maybe that's why it lasted forever!

Okay... I'm out - early morning trip tomorrow, lots of driving. Have a great weekend, everyone! Again, thanks for sticking with me through this rough blogging patch. I'm sure I'll get my groove back soon. : )

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Everyday I'm shufflin'

I haven't been too inspired to write much lately... I am in a blogging slump. The ugly weather has me in a very lethargic kind of mood, and I have also been busy trying to catch up with things for work.

For today, I decided to go back to a post I did last June (which seems like a million years ago), where I put my iTunes on Shuffle and posted the first ten songs that came up...

...and here they are!:

1. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) - Journey
2. Zak and Sara - Ben Folds
3. Push - Matchbox Twenty
4. Just Around the Riverbend - Pocahontas
5. Written in the Stars - Aida (Original Broadway Cast)
6. Where are You? - Spamalot (Original Broadway Cast)
7. Black Roses Red - Alana Grace (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Soundtrack)
8. He's a Pirate - Pirates of the Caribbean
9. Running - No Doubt
10. There You'll Be - Faith Hill

Wow! It's hard to pick a favorite out of these, but I can't lie... if I were to just pick one to listen to out of the bunch, I'd probably go with Pocahontas. : )

Everyday I'm shufflin' shovelin'.

Take it easy, world : )

Monday, February 10, 2014

Oh the weather outside is weather...

Today's message is brought to you by mean, old, stinky jerkface winter.

Last week, my schedule went like this: Weekend. Snow Day. Work Day. Snow Day. Two-hour delay. Two-day conference. One-day weekend. And today was a two-hour delay.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that I work in a field where I don't have to go in to work if it is unsafe to drive. Since A. got a truck, I have been less worried about him driving over the mountain to work, but I still don't like it on the mornings when we have inches of ice on the roads. The thing is, with this much winter weather, it is impossible to get anything accomplished right now. Some of my kids take advantage of the extra practice time. Most do not.

I am just so, so, so tired of frigid temperatures and snow and ice. 

It needs to go away. Go. Away.

Remember the summer, when everyone complains about how it's too hot? Give me that any day!

I found this on Google Image search and it cracked me up. : )

There is another "major storm system" predicted for this week and I'm just like.... whyyyyyy.

A. and I were both sick this past week, and that was when the ice storm happened, so our driveway never got cleared off. We were both so miserable and in NyQuil comas, so it just wasn't going to happen. Last night's snow covered the ice on the driveway, so at least we had traction when leaving for work this morning! Luckily, we're both pretty much back to normal, so if any more snow does appear we should be able to get rid of it.

...........and end rant!

I have been trying to keep the winter blues away by reading (I'm in the middle of the Beyonders series by Brandon Mull... if you like YA fantasy/science-fiction, it's very good) and trying new recipes, or at least resurrecting old recipes that I haven't made in a while. In the past week I've made caramel corn, turkey enchilada pie, shrimp stir-fry, chocolate chunk cookies, and pot roast. Tomorrow I'm planning for chicken, mashed potatoes, and ginger carrots. I also finally sorted all of the wedding photos and am clearing a path through the wedding stuff that is still covering my office!

View from a snowy walk around my development a few weeks ago... the snow's higher now.

In other news, I'm performing in a recital this weekend and it has been pretty nice to focus every day on practicing and making my own music. It's been a while since I have performed "professionally" other than singing in church. Hoping I don't get a resurgence of my sickness and that it goes well : )

Hope all of you out there are staying healthy, warm, and relatively happy in the midst of this winter nonsense. Thanks for sticking with me through these long winter weeks!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Some random thoughts for a Sunday morning

Well, I went to start typing this and was interrupted by the sound of Penny retching... so that was a fun way to start the day!


- First random thought of the morning - Bath & Body Works Black Cherry Merlot soap. Oh my gosh. Smells so good.

- I have started to realize that although I love my Target Cartwheel app, it might be encouraging me to spend more at Target than usual, instead of the other way around. (Badges! Savings! Target! Yay!)

- I bought two pairs of new shoes this weekend... first time I have bought new shoes in a long, long time. Could finally get rid of some smelly flats. : )

One of the pairs, which I bought at Target... of course

- Bestie C came to visit this weekend and even though she doesn't feel well, I am so glad she came. This week felt 20 years long and I needed some girl time!

- February and March are about to take off. It is band festival season, winter concert season, and musical season. I look sadly at my weekends for the next two months realizing they are all consumed by school.

- Taxes done! We were told we would have to owe over a thousand dollars, and spent the ride home talking about how we are going to budget our lives since we owe on taxes. Then we got a call shortly after arriving home from our tax lady informing us that she forgot to click the "jointly filing" button, or something, and we are actually getting a refund instead. SO MUCH RELIEF.

I was looking for a clever tax cartoon and found this instead. It made me giggle. : )

- Also, so much tax stuff is so over my head. In high school we should have had a class on taxes and how they work. Instead of, I don't know, my electives on Shakespeare and computer coding (I have forgotten everything I learned in that class)

- C and I watched 10 Things I Hate About You last night. Love Heath Ledger singing. Love Joseph Gordon Levitt. And all the other people - who apparently still have careers but in movies and TV I have never heard of.

Fun fact from IMDB: The original song Heath was scripted to sing was "I Think I Love You" by the Partridge Family. Also, a real marching band (Lincoln High School) offered marching band services and the recording of "Can't Take my Eyes off of you" for the movie.

- Super Bowl later today.... meh

- Puppy Bowl later today - HECK YEAH!

And with that, have a great week everyone : )