Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Don't get your hopes up.  I'm sure many of you saw that title and got a little giddy, excited, nervous, dumbfounded, annoyed, etc. But, that's not this post at all.  After my last post, I figured I was in need to give my small audience a little humor.

First, I am no where near ready to have kids.

That being said, I have learned a lot about my future parenting skills through my first year of teaching.  First, let me start by saying I am scared to death of being that teacher parent.  I have high expectations of my students and while I'll have high expectations for my child, at this point, I would have a hard time separating parent-mode and teacher-mode.  

But, throughout my first year of teaching, I've learned several things that I MUST teach/do with my child before sending them off to a teacher... I feel like I need to create a different tab on my blog so that I can make this an ongoing list.  ...Sounds time-consuming, so I'll do it here for now. 

Objective #1: Require my child to be aware of current events.
Trust me, I don't expect my child to want to watch the news.  But, I can settle that a few different ways.  They could set the table while the news is on, I'll subscribe to a magazine like Time for Kids, or simply force them into discussions at the dinner table about what's going on around the world.  Why? Consider these teachable moments.
  • While introducing our Social Studies unit on explorers and looking at a world map... "I've always wondered, what's on the other side of the world?"
    Clearly, we have some students in our society still debating whether the world is flat or round. 
  • While discussing past wars and how they compare to the current one....  "I don't get it.  Are we the Iraqis?"
    Nope.. we're still known as the Americans.
Objective #2: Teach child to understand the difference between private and public family facts.
Ha, this one is obvious to just not do.. but I had to find a way to share it.
  • While doing an opening activity where you go around and share interesting facts... "My interesting fact is that my mom has been married 6 times."
    ...You're right, Billy, that is interesting.
Objective #3: Thoroughly explain troubling events.  
Caution: This may be offensive.  I want to make it clear that s/he was totally serious when s/he said this and didn't understand why it would be so offensive.  S/He really wasn't trying to be funny and truly did have a misunderstanding
  • I don't even remember what we were discussing that brought this up. "I don't understand why we spend so much time searching for the cure for cancer.  I already found it."
    "Oh really? You have? What's the cure?"
    "Hair extensions and wigs." 
If you're a parent and reading this, take a few moments and simply talk to your child about what's going on in the world or clear up misconceptions.  Remember, I teach fifth grade. :)   Despite the terrible things that I hear kids say, there are these candid moments that make me love teaching students of all different backgrounds.   Hope you enjoyed these as well.  I'll keep thinking of more to add. I'm sure there are plenty... I just need to write them down.


I'm Alive!

Wow! It's been so long since I last wrote an update. Clearly, there's a lot of updating to do.  But, I need to do some checking in so that my extended family and friends know that I'm still alive.  Hi Grandpa!  That said, expect this blog to be a lot of rambling.

This post in a single picture.

First, I'll admit it.  I failed at my New Year's goal.  It was too ambitious for this year with all the traveling.  I still try to cook, but I'm at the point where buying a weekend's worth of food for two people is about the same as eating out.  Any greens don't last until the next weekend and we certainly can't eat them all in one sitting.  I did make some grilled chicken, mashed 'taters and asparagus so that Scott could have decent non-frozen leftovers, but I think we waste a lot of food.  I think I've done a new recipe every month like my goal states, but I haven't documented it or put much creativity into it. It's just new to us.

The driving back and forth combined with sleeping in 2-3 different places is starting to get old.  Really old.  I used to appreciate the drives.  I'd catch up with the news on NPR, relax from a stressful day, and if I'm lucky, watch a sunset/sunrise.  Now, it's construction season! Ugh.  I don't think there's any possible thing that can make driving through construction multiple times per week exciting.  But, I'm listening to new podcasts and updating my iPod to accommodate the additional half hour or more of time.

More so than the construction, I feel like I'm literally going crazy sometimes.  For any frequent traveling female, I have no idea how you live out of bags.  I tend to wear the same wrinkly clothes over and over (I suppose that's just me being lazy) but lately I have been forgetting items.  Take today for example.  I woke up and realized I left pants at home.  Therefore, I had to dig through my closet at my parent's to find something suitable.  I ended up with an old skirt... thank goodness I haven't changed sizes much since early college.   Then, I was at school and noticed the beautiful weather outside.  Over the weekend, I saw it was going to be a nice week so I packed running clothes.  I spent a good chunk of time convincing myself I was going to run while at school (I don't particularly love or even like running).  I went home to go forth with my plans and guess what?! I only have dress shoes.  Since I haven't mastered running in tennis shoes, I'm certainly not going to upgrade to heels.  Alas, I'm stuck here blogging and trying to convince myself to do something like a workout DVD (boo!).  I don't think I've worked out in like 2 months.. (and I'm left wondering if that is or isn't an exaggeration.  Yikes!)

Overall, I'm finishing up my first year of teaching and Scott's in his last week of his second year of med school.  Don't celebrate yet, while I'm wrapping up school, he'll be in his intensive study period.  Then, it's the STEP 1 Board Exam.  The score, combined with some other things, help determine you're likelihood of getting where you want for residency.  So, it's pretty stressful.  About 8 weeks left until both of our first actual week long break.  We'll be moving to Kalamazoo during that short break, but I plan on enjoying every waking minute of it.  Then, it's right into the Kalamazoo hospitals for rotations and me into my summer jobs.

All in all, we're nearing the end stretch.  We found our place for next year (contract pending), and are excitedly awaiting living together both on the weekends and during the week.

Now, that I've updated you... stay tuned and I'll try to write a more enjoyable post.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

January in Review

Phew! We made it through January.  Going into January, I was dreading the month: terrible weather, crazy schedule, getting back into the groove, etc.  First, let me say how relieved I am that we skipped the terrible weather.  I did have a treacherous longer than necessary drive, but overall it wasn't too bad.

Once my winter break was over, there were only three January weekends left.  Here are how those went for me:

First weekend - spent the weekend at the Devos Place/Amway Hotel to talk to Fair enthusiasts about the possibilities of using QR Codes in marketing.  Luckily, I was able to have Scott tag along with me to this conference.

Second weekend - I took around 42 middle schoolers to Shipshewana to a water park/hotel for the weekend. While this was fun, it was entirely exhausting.  I am happy to say that it went very successfully thanks to some great leaders and even more entertaining students.

Third weekend - I went to a Youth for Christ conference to get energized to spend more time with the kids that  I spend the second weekend with.

All were very refreshing, and fun weekends... but boy, it left me exhausted.  Needless to say, I failed at my New Years goal.  I guess I fall in that 92% of American's who fail at their New Year's Resolutions (statistic heard on the radio...).  However, I think the above clearly states why I wasn't making elaborate meals over the weekend.  Cooking was about the last thing on my to-do list.  I did try two meals this past weekend...ad I'm not joking, they were disgusting.  I was going to just post them for the sake of meeting my goal, but I figured it wasn't fair to you if I posted and convinced you to make something I found disgusting.

Anyway, I successfully made a delicious meal last night, and figured I'd share. :)

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu w/ Mashed Potatoes

Chicken Cordon Bleu
(I estimated most of my amounts, but I'll estimate for a serving of 4)

  • Chicken Breast (however many people you're serving)
  • Black Pepper
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1/4 cup of Swiss Cheese
  • 2 tbsp. Reduced-Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped ham
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit 
1. Salt & Pepper Chicken Breasts on both sides
2. Combine Cream Cheese and Swiss cheese in bowl (mine came out like a thick paste)
3. Combine bread crumbs, about an 1/8 tsp. pepper, and 1 tsp. EVOO in another bowl
4.  Heat remaining 1 tsp. of EVOO in an ovenproof skillet
5. Place chicken in skillet and brown on both sides (about 2 minutes per side).  Once done, move chicken to the center of the skillet so that they are touching.
6. Spread cheese mixture on chicken (it was really thick... so I used my hands)
7.  Sprinkle ham and then top with breadcrumbs
8.  Bake in the oven until chicken temperature reaches 165 degrees (about 7 minutes). 
9.  Enjoy!  

Next, Delicious Parmesan Potatoes! :) Seriously, they are yummy.
  • 1 1/2 pounds of Yukon blend potatoes
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • You can add 1/3 cup chives, but I didn't have any
  • Salt and pepper to taste
1.  Boil potatoes in salted water until you can break apart with a fork
2. Mix everything else in a bowl
3. Add potatoes and mix with a potato masher (I don't have one... so I just used a low speed with a blender)

Voila - you have a delicious meal.  :)  I paired it with steamed veggies and bread. If I made this again (which I will), breadsticks would have been a better bread pairing.   It was delicious (and we have plenty of leftovers!)

P.S.  I had a chocolate craving for brownies topped with 1/2 cup cream cheese,  1/2 cup powered sugar and strawberries.  I liked it. 

Let me know if you try it. 

In other news, Scott has been extra creative lately.  If you're a facebook fan, I now have a more creative timeline header. 

Now, on to make some homemade chicken wings for the Super Bowl (speaking of which, I'm not too excited about either team).

Feel free to pin the recipe above to pinterest:

Pin It



Sunday, January 8, 2012

Surviving the Holidays & Resolutions

Well, today is the last day of our vacation.  I'm definitely sad to see the return come so quickly, but I'm somewhat ready to get back in the routine. I just am not looking forward to the drive that comes with that routine.

Our first holiday together went smoothly.  We have done the whole sharing holidays with multiple families for a few years now, so this one wasn't all that different.  Sadly, schedules forced us to miss one of the Christmas', but we were able to successfully get to four others.

In the middle, we did take a short vacation in Canada (thanks to Scott's family).  For some reason, I've married into a family that decides to travel north during the cold months rather than south. ;) It's okay, it's always a pleasant trip.

Some pictures from the trip:
Butterfly Conservatory

The Gorge

While the new year has just begun, I have already accomplished something on my bucket list:

We went skiing! Sorry, we didn't get any action shots.  Don't we look darling in our helmets?  :P

I suppose bucket lists makes a nice transition to New Years Resolutions. I just asked Scott his, and he replied, "I don't have one."  I don't know if I have some "new" resolutions, but I do like to keep goals throughout the year.  They're basically on-going and have been for a few years... things like trying something new (skiing), eating healthier, exercising more, becoming more organized in my classroom, etc.  However, after watching Wheel of Fortune, I think I'll copy Vanna White's resolution.  She said that she wants to make a new recipe every week.  I feel like I've done that numerous times over break, but I like this goal.  Unfortunately, I'm not home to cook much for the week, so I'm going to say that I'll create (well, copy), one amazing meal per month. Or, at least cook an entire meal that I hope to be amazing.  Don't worry, I'll share.

While this isn't my amazing meal of the month for January, I did make a new recipe tonight: Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake.  Here's a link if you want to try it.  It was an odd concoction, but good.  It should make for decent leftovers for Scott during the week.  Feel free to share your favorites.

Well, I have an early night planned, as school starts in the morning.  Happy New Year! :)
They picked the right resolution.