Friday, February 26, 2010

turkey trouble

So I spelled "pancake" wrong in the title of my last post. It really was a typo. I promise I know how to spell.

And now, so I don't waste a whole post on defending my spelling errors, a quick snippet of a conversation had in class today...

One of my reading groups is reading a book called Eat Your Vegetables and Drink Your Milk. It's (surprisingly) about eating healthy and taking care of your body.

After reading a few pages, one of the girls shares with the whole group about the time she ate too much turkey at Thanksgiving and she had a horrible stomach ache. This would have been a good time for me to tell them about how over eating is bad for us, but she went on to tell us that she spent the whole night "on the toilet". Before I could stop her, she graphically told us about this night and the odors it left behind.

Ten year olds have no shame.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

pancakes are love

I've blogged about this before.

This is nothing new.

In fact, I have posted a picture almost identical to this.

Sorry if you find my blog to be repetitive, but I still want to share.

This was my supper last night. It never gets old.

My husband is the best. That is all.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

on a positive note...

Happy Happy Happy:

I have 5 boxes of Girl Scout cookies in my kitchen, with more on the way.

Field Trip to see the Virginia Symphony on Thursday. I really love this field trip.

Reading aloud to my students. We're currently enjoying a nonfiction book about the Holocaust (Hana's Suitcase), and they're more engaged than I've seen them all year. I love exposing my kids to things they've never learned about before.

My toenails which received a pedicure last week. A much needed pedicure after a very long day.

Apolo Ohno. I love this man.

Purchasing a ticket for Atlanta to go to this...

The chips from the Mexican restaurant last night. They were way better than normal.

Making plans with my mom for my spring break.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Back from Illinois

My weekend away was spent touring Laura's campus, eating yummy food, drinking a LOT of hot tea, debating environmental issues, and a little bit of Olympic watching (I have a tiny crush on Apolo!). We also saw a play on her campus Saturday (Killer Joe), and I still have mixed feelings on it. Great acting, but the story was a little too intense for me.

When I flew out Friday afternoon, I felt pretty sick. I had a sore throat and my whole body ached. It didn't help that it was snowing in Indiana, so our drive back to Illinois was a long one. Saturday I was feeling better, and by Sunday, I think I was back to my normal self.

Sunday afternoon Laura took me to my first Vietnamese restaurant. SO delicious! I am now on a quest to find one in my town.

I got Phở Noodles, which I really can't believe no one has told me about before now. Rice noodles, broth, green onions, lime, cilantro, basil, and bean sprouts? This meal was made for me. I was going to take a photo, but it looks like I ate it before I had a chance to do so.

Me and my wonderful host and friend!

Before leaving, I decided to try a Bubble Tea. I've heard of these before, but again, had never tried it. I got a Chai Tea, and again, I was really in love. The "boba" took some getting used to, but I was quickly a fan.

My trip was super fun. And it made me miss having my closest friends near by. I guess the good thing is it forces me to travel and go visit them, which is always good for the soul. Even though I wasn't feeling so great, I loved having a weekend away from the usual routine. Here's hoping that I get to do it again soon!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Coffee Break

This past weekend, J and I visited a local coffee vendor that roasts their own coffee. I am not a big coffee drinker (it often makes me feel sick), so I usually stick to hot tea, but I love a nice cup of coffee here and there. Especially some decaf after dinner. J on the other hand drinks a few cups a day.

I might be sold though after reading the flavors of coffee this place sells. Swiss Chocolate Almond? Pecan Pie? Milky Way? Even this ho-hum coffee drinker wants to invest in about 5 pounds of this stuff.

We went with just the signature blend this time, but next time I am requiring some Mudd Slide in my coffee!

However we did get this loaf of chocolate coffee bread while we were there. That helped cure my sweet tooth...

How do you like your coffee? I like mine with a little cream, a little sugar, and a few donuts...or thin mints!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

College BFF

During my sophomore year, I was asked to live in a house (for the following school year) with seven other girls. I knew most the girls, but Laura was a stranger to me.

In the big beautiful house we would all be sharing, there was room that had to shared. I didn't know Laura, I didn't want to share a room, but for someone reason, I agreed...and six years later I know that it was God tugging at my heart telling me to suck it up and just share the room with this girl who I knew nothing about.

I think back now to how much I wanted my own room, and how afraid I was to share a room with a total stranger, and I laugh at my insecurities and worries. God definitely had a hand in placing this friendship into my life.

I knew it would all be okay when she agreed that we should paint our walls hot pink and have a flamingo shower curtain in our bathroom.

In addition to sharing a room, we also drank a lot of hot tea, ate a lot of Grandma Utz potato chips (no really, we ate a TON), took a lot of dumb photos, shared a lot of clothes, listened to too many songs on repeat, and we had a lot of political arguments.

You could also find us singing songs from Wicked into our ice cream cones...

Or pretending we were one of the snotty rich girls on The OC.

Or just looking happy and excited on charter busses....

I know she will probably read this and be angry at the pictures I chose to share with the interwebs. Sorry, friend.

I cannot wait to fly out to Illinois and visit her this weekend! Here's hoping that the forecast stays clear and I can safely fly out there for a weekend of fun!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Summer Vacation 2010: Planning

After this past summer's crazy road trip to the midwest, J and I are planning an even more extravagant summer vacation for this year. We'll call this "Team Jachel Summer Vacation 2010". So appropriate.

I am very blessed to have my summers off (truly the best part of my job!), and J is lucky that he can take several weeks off at a time at his company. We've known that we wanted to travel overseas this summer for quite awhile; however, we're having a bit of trouble deciding where exactly we should visit.

For awhile we tossed around South America (Brazil, Argentina, Peru), but we're kind of torn between that and Europe. J has been to Italy, but I have never left North America, so it's all new to me.

If we did Europe, we're looking at Spain, Portugal, Southern France,Germany, Belgium, Switzerland...honestly, all over. We're hoping to go for two weeks in July.

The question mark below shows just how confused I am. So many choices!

So, here is where I need your help. For those of you who have traveled to any of the places I listed above, what advice would you give me. Where would you go, what would you call a must see? I know I listed a huge range of places above, but that's because there's so much I want to see, and I don't really know where to start. I want to hear where you've been that you loved and think I need to go. Or tell me where you went that was an awful experience. I want to hear it all!

Last spring when I posted about our midwest trip, and asked for suggestions of places to stay between our main destinations. I got some great tips from a few of you all about places to visit and stay along the way. I'm all ears again!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day my friends! J and I don't do much to celebrate this holiday, but that's fine by me, especially since I teach elementary school! Everyone knows that there's nothing better than an elementary school card exchange. Let me give you a peak at my decorated envelope of goodies that I received on Friday....

Here's a closer look at all the treats! This year's most popular cards included Harry Potter (!!!) and Animal Planet.

My most prized possession from the day though, was this singing AND dancing stuffed dog. One of the little boys is my class brought this for me. He sings "Upside Down" by Diana Ross but with the voice of an old man who is a smoker. Layla was pretty freaked out by him at first, but as you can see below, they're good buddies now.

What I will do with this dog, I have no idea. But he's provided some great entertainment in the past few days.

I'm sure that none of your valentines can compare to my singing and dancing dog, but I sure hope it's a good one!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fractions < Layla

This week has been lacking in blog posts because this week has been extra full of hair splitting fractions. Yes, fractions. I have about two weeks to teach 24 ten year olds how to master the art of adding and subtracting fractions, and finding equivalent fractions (common denominators I haaaaaate you). Two weeks. Go here for my feelings on this (because seriously, Teacher Girl says it all so well and I agree with her 100%). I come home each night and I want to die. Well, die and drink wine and eat a lot of cheese. And sometimes some peanut M&M's...

But that's all beside the point. Fractions are killing me. And I am on the verge of making a paper chain of days to countdown to my summer vacation (86 days).

But do you want to know what makes it all better? What makes me feel sane at the end of the day and remember that there's more to life than crazy kids and mathematics? This dog does that for me.

Honestly folks, I can't make up this kind of love. It really makes me forget about my bad days.

That dog is my saving grace. There have been many a day in my three years of teaching that I come home and I am so ready to quit, but then I cuddle with this smelly mess of a dog and let her lick my face, and I am suddenly calmed and able to remember that it will all be okay. Amazing how one little dog can do that.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lucky FIona Winner!

Thanks to all who played along in my Lucky Fiona leash and collar giveaway!

There were 56 entries, and lucky #52 was the winner...

Here is a our pretty winner....I stole her picture from her mom's blog:

This is Chief, whose mom is the wonderful D.A.R. over at Midwest Paradise. Congratulations! Send me an email at innosimplelanguage{at}gmail{dot}com

Saturday, February 6, 2010

perfect day

This is my snow/Nor'Easter day. We've had pretty much non stop rain since yesterday afternoon, and then around noon today, it turned into snow. There's a possibility of tidal flooding in a few hours, so needless to say, we're not going anywhere. We've stocked up on the necessities (red wine, beer, pita chips and horseradish hummus), and we're taking it easy today. I'm about fifty pages away from finishing Half Broke Horses (thanks to my friend Rachel for recommending this one!), and then I hope to start Firefly Lane, which several of you have blogged/tweeted about.

Pretty sure there couldn't be a more perfect way to spend my Saturday!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lucky Fiona Giveaway!

So remember last week when I did a wristlet giveaway since I love you all so much? Wasn't that fun?

Good news. Time for another giveaway from another Etsy shop that I just adore! If you're a dog owner, you'll be especially excited by this one!

Here's Layla modeling what you could win (my apologies for Layla looking away from the camera like a grump...she can be quite the princess)

One person will win a gift certificate from Lucky Fiona for a custom collar and leash set. The gift certificate will be good for one year so you can pick a style and pattern that you love. Thank you to Shannon and Alex for offering this up to my readers!

Here's a little bit about Lucky Fiona...I stole this from their shop profile:

Our dogs are not boring and we felt their collars shouldn't be either! We love vintage fabrics and prints and we sit up at night thinking of ways to incorporate them into pet products and accessories. (Actually we sit up at night because the dogs hog the bed) Please enjoy our creations- we pride ourselves on making durable and beautiful products that spark conversations!

Layla and both of my parent's dogs have Lucky Fiona collars, and we get compliments all the time! How could you not when your dog is wearing a collar that is this cute?

You have two chances to be a winner... let me tell you how:

1 entry - Leave a comment telling me who will be wearing the lovely collar and using the leash if you're the winner.
2 entries - Become a follower and make sure you tell me you're a follower in your comment!

You must comment by 5PM EST on Monday, February 8. I will announce a winner that night.

Pretty simple! Again HERE is the link to the Lucky Fiona store (soooo cute!) and you should also visit their BLOG where they feature lots of specials and sales! And LOOK at all these cute pups wearing their LF collars....adorable, right? You know you want to enter!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

...cuz they stay in the jar

The other day I was reading my facebook "wall to wall" history between me and an old pal (who I just learned is also a blog reader, hi Hil!), and I was reminded of a hilarious story to share with you all.

Back in the spring of '06 I did my student teaching at a school in little town that was really, quite honestly in the middle of nowhere. In fact, it was pretty much in a "holler".

To help you understand this school a little better, every class in the school had about 4 kids with the same last name. There were also about eight staff members at this school with that same last name. There was also a kindergarten teacher who ran the town mafia (for reals) and weighed about 400 pounds and taught five year olds from a rolling chair. Additionally the principal once made this comment at a staff meeting...

School Social Chair: And we hope you all come out Friday night for our staff social for dance lessons. It will be a lot of fun!
Crazy Principal: You've all heard of Dancing with the Stars, this is our version called Dancing with the TARDS. No offense special ed!


It was at this time that I realized I was teaching for what might be one of the most under qualified and incompetent principals in all of America.

Anyhow, two weeks later, he held a dance assembly for the whole school to attend. We took my kindergartners to this assembly of scantily dressed 10 yeard olds who, I kid you not, danced on stage to the beautiful song "GOODIES" by Ciara and the rapper Petey Pablo (North Carolina, c'mon and raise up!).

Anyhow, Let me share some lyrics from "Goodies" for you all, just in case you've never heard this fine song...
I'm not going home with you. You won't get no nookie or the cookies
I'm no rookie.
If you ain't Sexy, independent I ain't wit' it so you already know.

Appropriate for five year olds, right?

The sad part is, this all actually happened. This principal sat in the back of the cafetorium (cafeteria/auditorium) and smiled. I starred at my fellow student teachers, and I think we all didn't know whether we should laugh or cry.

Thankfully, I teach at a school now where this would never happen. However, I will have you all know that upon writing this post, I visited this school's web page, and this excellent man is STILL leading this school. Reassuring, isn't it?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

snow day cooking

Since I've spent a lot of time indoors, thanks to the recent snowstorm that came through our city, I've done a little baking and some cooking. Saturday morning I desperately needed to make chocolate chip cookies, but we had no chocolate chips. When I was about to cry and force my husband to drive to the grocery store in the snow, I discovered 3 full size Hershey bars in our freezer. Still don't know why we had these in the freezer, but for the record, they are great chopped up in your cookies!

I need to confess to you all that one of the only reasons I make cookies, is to eat the dough. Below is evidence of that. I've also recently decided that I need to have less shame on my blog. Less shame = showing you pictures of my snow day attire.

Prettiest girl in the world, right? Greasy hair plus pajamas and over-sized sweaters are one of the best parts of snow days!

Here's the cookie recipe I used. Thanks to Ariana for sharing this on her blog! She gets all the credit!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Beat butter with sugars.
Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Stir in dry ingredients (baking soda, salt, flour).
Try not to over beat during any step. You're wanting to just combine all ingredients.
Drop by spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 8 minutes for perfect cookies.

There ya have it! We've also made chili (J's recipe) and Creamy Orzo and Chicken with Vodka Sauce. Both were delicious! If you want what the orzo recipe, email me! I don't have it typed up, but I can if you want it!

What do you like to make on snow days? Also, do you enjoy being a bum (like me!) on your snow days?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I know there are several of you (Megan and Newlywed Nextdoor!) who have already devoted a post to this, but I just have to do it, too!

Tonight is the LOST premier, and we're just a little excited here. And by "a little", I really mean we're freaking out and can't wait to have a few of our hundreds of questions answered. Some of the biggest questions I have:

  1. Who is good and who is bad? I need to know this. They cannot finish this show without telling me who is on which side.
  2. What in the world is the smoke monster?! I have some ideas as to what it might be, but it still baffles me!
  3. Why does Richard never age? This one's been bugging me forever. Does this have to do with how the island heals people?
  4. Why did these people get sent to the island? This is one big question with so many possible solutions. Who knows if they'll even answer could open a whole 'nother can of worms (ughhh, I hate that phrase)
  5. And one the most important question of all: Who will Kate end up with, Jack or Sawyer? I love them both. It's hard to choose!
(image source)

(image source)

Man oh man, I cannot wait! What questions do you have that you hope get answered before the series ends? I'd love to hear 'em!

Also, just for fun, I have to share this picture! When we were on our honeymoon, I made J take this picture of me because the forest we were visiting totally made me feel like we were on the island! I was trying to convince J that I could hear the whispers. He just tried to pretend he didn't know me.

See? It's very "islandy" if you ask me!

Monday, February 1, 2010

welcome february

Hello there February. You are one my favorite months. I think it has something to do with the fact that you're only 28 days, and by the end, it's close to spring. It also doesn't hurt that you started today with a snow day, and you're giving me another tomorrow. It's always nice to sleep in on a Monday and wake up to blueberry waffles and orange juice.

I am excited for our time together this year. I am looking forward to the LOST premier(!!!), visiting LES in Illinois, the Winter Olympics, and hopefully a big box of assorted chocolates on the fourteenth. February, it sounds like it's gonna be a great twenty-eight days!