Wednesday, February 29, 2012

make it count

Today at school, I wrote "Happy Leap Day" on the board by the date, and I had about 6 kids ask me what that means. I guess that's what happens when it only comes around every 4 students would have been 5 years old back in 2008.  I guess I can't expect them to remember!

In honor of our extra day, J and I went out for Mexican tonight. We really wanted to make our extra day count, so what better way to do that then with chips & salsa, shredded beef tacos, and of course a margarita or two? (ETA: I went back and read my leap day post from back in '08 when I was a very new blogger, and it looked like I spent my extra day eating the same thing...when is Mexican a bad idea?)

Also...I listened to this song about 12 times in my car today. I wanted to make sure my extra day was only filled with the best (and I'm mildly obsessed)!

Did you do anything fun to make your extra day count?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spring Wish List

The spring catalogs have been piling into my mailbox over the past few weeks, and I can't help but create my imaginary spring shopping list. Chances are, I won't buy any of this, but I can wish, right?  

I would love this in ANY of the colors combos offered!

How perfect is this for a spring wedding?

Boden Denim Mini (except it doesn't seem all that mini to me!)
How fun is this bright skirt? 

It looks so comfy!

So happy!

I could honestly add about a hundred striped tops to my list this spring. 

I think I'm ready to get on the bright denim bandwagon. It has grown on me!

I'm just picturing how cute this will be with khaki or white shorts.


Totally out of my price range, but it's so cute!

What's on your spring wish list?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Menu Monday & Link Up!

Happy Menu Monday! Like I mentioned last week, I'm going to start hosting a link up for your weekly meal plans! I'd love it if you'd join in with your own menu on from your blog. No need for you to post on Mondays, and it's okay if you don't have pictures! This is just a way to get new recipes and ideas.

My Meals:

I had one nasty cold last week, and this soup was just what I needed. It was the perfect pick me up when my head felt like it was in a fog.

Yes, this was just as tasty as it appears to be in the photo! Maybe even better! 

J's Meals:

So much butter and garlic in this dish. How could it be bad?

This meal doesn't photograph well. The colors look so crazy!
Oh...and some green beans too!

Ok! Now it's your turn to link up...I'd love to see what you ate in your home this week!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Photo Wall 2.0

Back in the summer of 2010, I made it one of my goals to put together a photo wall. After a lot of thrifting and painting, I had put together a relatively cheap and fun gallery wall in the main hall of our last home.  When it was time to move to North Carolina, we boxed up all of our frames and they sat in that box for awhile. Late in the fall, we finally got around to unboxing and hanging most the frames, but I never shared the finished product on the ol' blog. Here's what it's looking like today...

I have a few more that I'd like to add, but we're considering a move this summer (within Charlotte), so I hate to put more holes in the wall. Regardless, I love what it adds to our living room!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Menu Tuesday AND a question!

Before I start out with my meals, I have a question for y'all...

Lately I've been seeing a lot of Menu Monday posts all over the blog world, I was thinking of starting a weekly link up on here. You wouldn't have to post your meals on Monday (which I am obviously not doing this week), you could just link up at anytime through out the week.  I just thought it might be a fun way to check out new blogs of others who meal plan.

Leave a comment and let me know if you're interested. I'll do the first link up next week!

And now, onto the meals!

My meals:

This was the second time I've made this meal, and it was just as good as I remembered it being last spring. It's like a very fresh version of beef stroganoff without the mushrooms. The mint on top is my favorite part!

This was a pinterest find. And it was very yummy, but mine didn't turn out as pretty as the picture from the original site. Also? I think my cast iron skillet was too big which made the cookie very thin. Either way, it was still a wonderful Valentine's Day dessert...especially topped with vanilla ice cream!

J's Meals:

In case you're curious, this was just as delicious as it appears to be in the photo! A wonderful, rich, and creamy pasta dish.

Bourbon Baby Back Ribs, Mixed Greens Salad, and Baked Sweet Potatoes

J stayed home from work on Monday for President's Day, and he worked all day making these ribs. Ribs that slow cooked all day...mmmmmm! What could be better?

Red Pepper And Gruyère Quiche

A wonderful quiche. We were going to make a veggie with this, but we forgot. Oh well...more quiche for me!

Both were a hit for a big Sunday night dinner! My husband was quite the chef this week!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

bad music, thin mints, and Mr. Pamuk

It was another lazy weekend around our home. Like last weekend, we didn't have any big plans, and I have to admit...I kind of love weekends like that.  Unlike last Saturday and Sunday, I didn't take a single photo this past weekend.  And I'm okay with that.

Here's the lowdown on our lazy weekend...I'm sure most of you readers don't care so much to know what we did at every moment this weekend, but I love looking back at these posts. So there.

Friday Night: We went to dinner with the wonderful Katie and her husband at Paco's Tacos. I had a delicious margarita with my tacos made with fresh orange juice. I have been craving another one since then! We came home to catch up on How I Met Your Mother, and then went to bed before 10. We're wild and crazy, I tell ya!
(also...the HIMYM episode of Lilly and Marshall's housewarming party? What a boring and not funny episode. Any other fans agree?)

Saturday AM: I was somehow up much earlier than normal for me on the weekends, and I managed to get to the gym for the 9AM cycle class. I must admit...great class, but the instructor (who was easily 65 years old) played the worst music. When I go to any workout class (especially cardio), the music is my favorite part and motivates me the most. This woman started with U2 which seemed cool, but after two U2 songs in a row, everything became German club/rave music. It was horrendous. Oh well...I still burned calories, that's what counts...right?

Saturday PM: Met my friend Sarah for pedicures and ended up getting a manicure too. And my favorite part? The massaging chair. My back was in a major need of that rolling feature.

The rest of the afternoon included a walk with my dogs, finishing the most recent episode of Downton Abbey (PS THIS IS AWESOME. I love that Mary's includes Mr. Pamuk!), and eating a whole sleeve of Thin Mints. Thank you Girl Scouts of America.

And then today.... Today has consisted of a trip to Trader Joe's and Target, reading, and making a recipe binder with all my magazines. I didn't bring home a single school item to work on since we have work days tomorrow and Tuesday. I normally do some sort of school work on Sunday afternoons, so it was nice to not even think about it!

OH! And! My baby brother and I talked on the phone and he told me about his first college tour that he went on this weekend. That's a crazy thought to me. He was 7 when I went off to college in 2002, and I'm not quite sure how he's almost at that stage. Pure craziness!

Hope your weekend has been lovely and lazy as well!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pinterest Finds: Teacher Love

It's been awhile since I shared some of my recent loves from Pinterest.  As a teacher, this site just continues to amaze me. The number of teacher materials and ideas I see on here each week just amazes me. I started using Pinterest last May, and I wish I had kept count of the number of things I've incorporated or used in my classroom that came from Pinterest. It's probably somewhere around 20-30.  It's treasure box of ideas that have made my job much easier, and it's made the school day much more fun for my kids!

Here's some fun things I've pinned lately...

How fun are these cute, free, printable postcards to give to your kids when they need a little pick me up? That's something we can all use a little of during these long days in February and March

Now that I'm in a "common core" state, I'm always looking for helpful resources that meet the new standards and objectives!

Source: via Rachel on Pinterest

I'm thinking of printing a copy of this for each kid to glue into the back of their writing journal. This is something a lot of my kids struggle with in writing.

I love this visual writing rubric. Might not look the same for 4th grade, but I'm thinking of ways that this could be used in writing in the upper grades. The students have a much better idea of what's expected if it's modeled for them. Why not give them a specific model for their essays?

Symmetry is always a fun concept to teach, but I think this would help the kids connect to it even more. Love how they displayed this!

Anyone else love foldables as much as I do? This wiki is full of good stuff!

I think this is GREAT for students who need an actual visual to help them remember what to do next. I have 2 or 3 who I'm really thinking would benefit from this.  Even in 4th grade, this is definitely a wonderful tool.

And finally...just for laughs

Oh, Sally! Those words go through my head almost every day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The story of us...

After seeing link ups on a few others blogs, I thought I'd join in the fun.  If you want to join in too, visit  her blog!

1. How long have you and your significant other been together?
We've been together for 7+ years. 
This was our first night as an "official" couple in December 2004! This much is hilarious about it. Mainly J's sideburns.

2. How did you meet? {What's your "love" story?}
I've blogged the whole "love" story before, so I won't retype the whole thing. But to sum it summer during college we were interns at an engineering firm, and I fell for the guy who fixed my computer. Naturally, I had a computer that had a lot of problems that summer!  Good thing I had a savvy IT guy I could call!

3. If married, how long have you been married? If not, is this the guy you hope to marry? 
We have been married for 3 and a half years. Our wedding day was July 26, 2008.

4. If you are married, where did you get married at? Big or small wedding?  
We got married in Midlothian, Virginia. Our wedding was on the large size with around 200 guests.  We got married at the church J mostly grew up in, and we had our reception at an old house that sat on a beautiful, large lot. I was nervous getting married in July, because Virginia can be terribly humid at that time of year, but we ended up having gorgeous weather. 

5. Do you have any nick-names that you call one another? Do share!
Honestly? Nothing very exciting. J actually has 4 names plus a last name, so sometimes I like to call him by all 4.  And he'll call me Rach. And I guess we'll say things like "honey" or "babe" but that's about it.

6. Name 3 things you love most about your honey.
3 things i love most? I don't think I could stop at 3. We'll call this 3 things that first pop into my head.

He makes me laugh like no other. Especially when talking for the dogs.
His intense ability to organize things...I give him a hard time for this, but I really do love it. Y'all should see the spreadsheets this man makes. His ability to stay organized helps me tremendously. 
He's not afraid to fail and he's a go getter. Sitting on the sidelines is not for him.

7. Tell us how he proposed? 
J proposed to me in Washington, DC outside of The Kennedy Center overlooking the Potomac River, after watching My Fair Lady.

8. Is he a flowers and teddy bear kind of guy for v-day, or strawberrieschampagne, and rose petals?
Ummmm...neither one. If you know us, this probably isn't a surprise.  I always ask for chocolate (because I love a good excuse for a box of assorted chocolate), but that's about it.

9. Are you a sunset dinner on the beach kind of girl, or pop a movie in and relax on the couch?
While I love the adventure of watching the sunset, I sure love time at home. Most Friday nights are spent with a beer on the couch catching up on all of our favorite comedies from the week. 

10. Tell us one thing you'd like to do with your significant one day. If you could do anything? Go anywhere?
Live overseas together! I think we'd both agree that our favorite thing to do together is explore new places. So the thought of living in another country and having all sorts of weekend trips in new places right at our fingertips sounds like a dream come true. This won't be happening soon (it's a rather hard thing to do with two big dogs), but one day!

11. Tell us what you plan on doing on this Valentine's Day.
Poor J has a lot to live up to. Those elementary school students know how to do Valentine's Day. It's my favorite school holiday because the kids all shower you with love, and come on! Who doesn't enjoy getting 26 cards plus sweet tarts and blow pops! J may be my Valentine the other 364 days of the year, but on Valentine's Day, my kiddos usually win over my heart!

But to honestly answer the question, we're "celebrating" on Wednesday because he has a Tuesday night commitment. He'll be cooking dinner for us, I'm making a dessert, and we'll probably watch a movie together at home. Very low key. 

12. Are you asking for anything this Valentine's day?
Just long as there are no orange cream chocolates, I'll be happy! (those are the worst!)

13. Give us one piece of advice of keeping a relationship strong and full of love.
Communicate with one another. Say what you mean and mean what you say. And laugh!

14.  Show us a picture of what love means to you.

August 2008 on the Oregon Coast during our honeymoon.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Menu Monday

Happy Monday!

Here's what we've been cooking this past week....

My Meals:

Slow Cooker Bratwurst, Potatoes, & Sauerkraut with Pumpernickel Bread(and German beer!)

I found this recipe in my Real Simple magazine from last month.  It's definitely different from my usual, go to meals. In fact, I sort of surprised myself by even wanting to try it, but it certainly didn't let down. We loved this meal.  I raved about it to my mom on the phone today. If you're looking for easy recipes to try in your crock pot, this is one to try!

Marinated London Broil with Mixed Greens Salad with a Lemon Vinaigrette

This is my favorite salad: mixed greens, sunflower seeds, can of drained and rinsed white beans, and a can of drained artichokes. I could eat it with every meal.

Smoked Gouda Ravioli in Brown Butter Sauce with Shallots

This was the ravioli we bought on Saturday at the Farmer's Market in Davidson. Here's a quick recipe  for the "sauce." It would work with any sort of ravioli or tortellini.

2 shallots, diced
1 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of brown sugar

1. Over medium high heat, melt butter
2. Once butter is melted, cook shallots for 2-3 minutes
3. Add in brown sugar and stir until butter becomes brown and caramelized

Once the sauce was done, I tossed in my cooked ravioli and mixed it with the butter. They were a perfect pair! 

J's Meals:

It had been like a whole month since we had last had this for dinner. I'm sure you knew it would be in the rotation soon! I just can't get enough!