Saturday, December 31, 2011

My first Pinterest inspired craft

Like the rest of the blogging world, or maybe even the regular world, I've been pretty much obsessed with Pinterest for a while now. I endlessly pin crafts I don't have time for, home decor that I don't have the space for, baby pictures that I don't have babies for, and wedding inspiration that I don't have the money for. It is a beautiful way to de-stress. It has really been a God-send while working on my grad school work because it is the perfect way to unwind in between assignments. It is so mindless that it's genius. Not like my reality TV addiction because my DVR is too full for it to be an in-between-assignments thing.

Anyways, two of my very best friends in all the world got married this year and since I save every invitation/thank you card/note card/etc on my french memo board, I knew this would be the perfect Christmas gift for them. We don't usually do Christmas gifts but I knew I would make an exception for this craft.  Here is the Pinterest version...

baby ornament or wedding ornament

Here is my version...

{thank goodness for Burt's Bees hand creme for Christmas!}

While some might say they may not be as lovely as the original, I thought they came out fabulous. {There are more pictures of the cream one because all of the other pics show last names & I don't think my friends want me blasting their last names on the blog} I love that you can see snippets of important information.

I did have a couple of issues, which would be something to consider if you are going to try this. First the ornament is a standard sized ornament, which ended up being kind of small. I searched everywhere for a larger one with no luck. Second, every ribbon I used look ginormous (probably due to the small ornament), so I left it out. I think that the fact that I did this craft around Christmas, when all the ribbons are mega sized didn't help. I wanted to find a charm that said "2011" but that was hard to find, too. Since I'm kinda OCD with this stuff, if I find a charm, I will totally ask for the ornament back to update it. :) This was super easy, though. Here's what I did.

1. Cut the invitation into strips, keeping the important info. intact.
2. Curl the strips around a pen to give it some body.
3. Insert the strips into the top of the ornament (after removing the metal piece, which pops right off) strategically. I kept "less important" information in the middle and then wrapped the names and dates around the edges. I also didn't use every strip, but used all strips with information on them.
4. Put the top back on. I wanted to use ribbon and charms but I put it on my tree with a hook and it still looked awesome.

I plan on doing this with my own invitation and it was such an easy craft that I can see myself making them with birth announcements, wedding invitations, first birthday invitations, and any other important document that you would want to highlight at Christmas time. My friend Kristin said it was the best Christmas gift that she got and considering she also got an iPad, I'd say it was a success!

Friday, December 30, 2011

What I did over Christmas break

What did I do over Christmas break? I'll tell you what I didn't do. And that's grad school work. I did have to deal with an issue over a textbook rental and that was a nice dose of reality for me. The beginning of the semester is just around the corner and it won't be pretty. I'm stressing just a smidge about all of the wedding planning and studying that I will have to do at the same time. Not to mention planning, teaching, correcting, and generally living my life. Ahhh! I got a lot of wedding things done over this break and I love watching that list get smaller.

It's funny, when you're watching Teen Mom marathons the break always seem so long and then it's Friday. While I did my fair share of watching movies, catching up on the DVR and blogs, I could have used a couple more days off. I only had 6 days off. I'm not counting weekends because that's not fair. And if you have anything to say about me saying only 6 days, leave the comment somewhere else. :) There should be an all-inclusive trip for two to somewhere tropical for a minimum of 7 days for teachers that have to work the days leading up to Christmas. It's that bad.

Anyways, I'm linking up with Jodi at Clutter-Free Classroom to share what went down this week. I figured it was time to link up on my personal blog since I've been able to give a lot of love to my teaching blog this week and I didn't do anything school related during break. Oops! Here are some highlights...

Friday night {Christmas Eve Eve} Picture me covered in gingerbread icing with mini marshmallows stuck in my hair running around like a teacher whose break didn't start until 3:30... true story. My family's Christmas Eve party was on Friday night, which was a lot of fun, despite the running around. (I removed the icing and marshmallows for the party)

Saturday {Christmas Eve} I actually braved the stores for a bit on Christmas Eve morning, which I've never done, but it wasn't that bad. I had a list and a plan and anything is possible with a red cup from Starbucks in my hand. :) I cooked and cleaned a bit then we headed off to the in-laws for Christmas Eve dinner. We usually don't get to do both sides of the families' Christmas Eve parties but since my family moved the party to Christmas Eve Eve, we could make both.  We went to the 11:00 service at church and it was beautiful. If it were appropriate to pull my camera out, I would have. The service ended with everyone standing around the big Christmas tree singing Silent Night. It perfectly portrayed the real meaning of Christmas.

Sunday {Christmas Day}

I know I already posted this picture, but is there anything more adorable than matching Christmas jammies?? We kept the tradition going by opening our pajamas from my mom on Christmas Eve and we thought this was her finest work. Hilarious! We had a perfect Christmas morning with coffee with eggnog instead of cream (try it and thank me later), classical piano Christmas music, stockings, and watching Princess play with her new toys. I cherish these moments because I know how special they are and how we will hold on to these memories once we have kids and can't hear the classical music over the chaos. :)

We then hosted our first Christmas dinner with both sides of the family and it was fabulous. I conquered a pork shoulder and dinner for 12 and our house was filled with so much love and laughter. I need to steal pics from my sister because she got some great ones.

Monday - We had a wedding cake tasting and it was SO. GOOD. I've had trouble finding a gluten-free bakery for our wedding but this one really took the cake. (hah!) I think I could live off their chocolate cake with peanut butter filling. ohmyword!

We also had round 3 of Christmas with the in-laws because Jeff's sister had to leave early on Christmas. It was nice to continue the celebration and check out this handsome fella rocking his Christmas sweater from Auntie Sarah & Uncle Jeff..

Tuesday - This was the only day over break that I literally had nothing planned. I savored every moment wrapped up in my Snuggie, getting lost in the drama of Janelle, Leah, Kailyn, and Chelsea's lives.  Jeff may or may not have found me in the same pajamas he left me in when he came home from work.

Wednesday - We had another cake tasting. Not as good. As is typical for my life, ordering a cake from this place will cost us less. Alas, I want the more expensive one. This used to drive my mom crazy when I was younger. I never liked what was on sale, which is ironic, because I love sales.

We then went to look at wedding bands but once again, I wasn't impressed with the selection. It seems like there is only one band that goes with my engagement ring and it is kind of masculine looking. Is that weird to say about a wedding band? I thought it would be a one and done trip, but I guess we'll be back for more!

Thursday - We had our meal tasting at our reception venue and for those attending the wedding... you are in for a treat! The food was SOOO good! I cleaned my plate which I hardly ever do.

Thursday night, I had my college bff's over for a Fab4 reunion. We had lots of wine, fondue, cheese & crackers, and laughs. I just love those girls and it had been WAY too long since we got together.

Friday - Today was our planning meeting with the wedding coordinator at our reception venue. Are you seeing a theme this week? It was so nice to check things off the list and they are so on top of their game! We got most of the little details situated and it was nice to get that done. We also had a date night at the venue's restaurant and it was a miracle that we ate something besides bacon wrapped scallops.

Saturday {NYE} - We are going to check out wedding invitations in the morning and hopefully pick one and order it.Then we are having some of our besties over to ring in the new year! There will be games and dancing and laughing and champagne and kissing at midnight. Oh, how I love NYE. I love 2012 even more!

Sunday - I plan on staying in my pj's all day. Ok, we may go to church, but then it's back in my pajamas.

Monday - We have our sweet friends' daughter's first birthday party and then I'll probably panic about what needs to get done before school on Monday.

The only thing missing from this break was 5 more days. :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The spirit of Christmas is still alive

The glitter and cookie crumbs have finally settled from Christmas and I have spent the last couple of days relaxing without having to worry about writing papers or wrapping presents. We had a fabulous holiday and the celebrating isn't over, yet! Jeff is seriously distraught if I turn the Christmas lights off before 11pm and I just know we will end up throwing our tree into the woods across the street again missing the trash pick-up for our tree again because we are still "enjoying the season". Luckily, I love it just as much as he does.

Our Christmas celebration was extended throughout the entire month of December starting with festive attire & great friends.

Seriously, the only thing more hilarious than buying a festive sweater vest & turtleneck from Walmart is buying one from Savers!

We celebrated weekend after weekend, day after day, and it was perfect. (I would show you pictures if my camera wasn't from joke. I don't bring it around much anymore. Maybe Santa will bring one next year...)

We hosted our first Christmas dinner at our house this year and I was surprised at how well it went. I successfully replicated the most delicious meal I've ever had (which included de-boning a pork shoulder) and both sides of our family got to spend time together We usually bounce from house to house on Christmas and it was nice to be able to have everyone over and not have to leave.  I would love to make Christmas the holiday we host except next year, I want to stay in my pajamas all day.

One of my favorite things that we did was attend the 11:00 service on Christmas Eve at church. I have never been to a late holiday service and apparently I have been missing out. The service was filled with music and scripture that revolved around the Christmas story. Our pastor made it relevant and even told us it was okay to close our eyes. (we didn't!) The service ended with the entire congregation standing around the Christmas tree in the rotunda singing "Silent Night". This service had a great impact on us and it really helped the both of us to see the true meaning of Christmas.

Growing up, we would get to open one gift on Christmas Eve and it was always our Christmas pajamas. Now that I no longer live with my parents, they still gives us our Christmas pajamas and Jeff gets them too. This year.. we matched! The look on Jeff's face was priceless when he glanced over and saw the same pair of pajamas in my hands!

I also loved opening gifts on Christmas morning. We decided to just do stockings this year. Jeff put 110% effort into this task and even googled "stocking stuffers". Too bad I wasn't better at updating the blog, I could have provided him with a list. He didn't need it, though. He did good! I was so happy to get the movies The Help, Crazy Stupid Love, and Just Dance 3 for the Wii, among other things. We did break our no gift rule when we found a new entertainment system, which we needed, and decided that this would be our gift. St. Nick Jeff still wanted to wrap it and put it under the tree. How sweet is this??

Princess had the most gifts and she couldn't wait to play with each one.

I hope that you were just as blessed as we were this Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

change of plans

I was going to post a bunch of updates from the past couple of months but there is SO much to share! As I looked through the pictures, I suddenly remembered why I haven't had time to post! Considering that my mother (Hi, Mom!) is the only one who has asked if I've updated recently, I'm sure that the posts won't be missed too much!

In other news, the semester (for grad school) ends on Wednesday!  HOLLA!!  :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'm making a comeback!

Busy is officially the understatement of 2011. I can count on one hand the amount of times that we have not had a million and one things to do. While I am incredibly blessed and grateful for these times with friends and family, my poor blog and house has been seriously neglected. When I started this blog, I thought for sure it would become my online scrap book of our life. I guess I should look into having someone else write it for me! I used to have a lot more time at the end of the day to blog-hop but I swear, I registered for grad classes and that was the end of my life as I knew it. True story. Grad classes started the first week of September (my last post) and end in just a couple of days (hmmm). While I still have a handful of things to finish for classes, I can't possibly critique another classroom visit, special ed. law, or language assessment. I need some mindless blogging. :)

For my own purposes, since I'm pretty sure I'm the only reader of this thing now, I will be updating with highlights from the past couple of months. Hopefully once I'm updated, spring semester won't bog me down again.

I'll be back in a bit with... August/September! (hah!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Karson & Kennedy's Homeroom - I need your help!!

Please go check out my teaching blog to help my class win a contest!!!

Voting starts Wed. 9/21 (tomorrow) at 6am. Vote early & vote often!!

Thank you! Thank you!! :) :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wedding Week: The Reception

We had a blast at the reception. Cocktail hour was great because the weather was fab. The food was delicious and the DJ was a lot of fun. What more could you ask for?!? I really wish I could link up to the photographer's website because some of the pics from the reception are downright hilarious! Here's some of the pics I do have.

Mr. & Mrs!!

First Dance: Rascal Flatts - I won't let go
One of James' friends performed the song.. live acoustic.. *sigh*

Cutting the {gorgeous} cake!!

The happy couple before all of the dancing broke loose!

That wraps up wedding week! Hope you enjoyed the pics! In 9 days, another one of my bff's weddings is taking place and I hope to have pics to share.. my camera is just so tempermental these days.  SO many weddings lined up for 2012. Love is definitely in the air!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wedding Week! The ceremony!

Donna and James had a perfect day for their outdoor tent ceremony. It was late May but it felt like a perfect summer night, which made it that much nicer to be sitting out by the lake. The whimsical tent and springy green bridesmaid dresses added nice touches to the already beautiful decor.  Here are some pics from their ceremony.

Beautiful bride waiting for the ceremony to begin!

James, waiting for his bride :)

The sand ceremony

 The vows

 The kiss!

Mr. & Mrs!

And they lived happily ever after...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wedding Week! The details!

Lots of details go into a wedding and these were only bits of all of the gorgeous details that made Donna & James' wedding day so special.

This was their card box. Originally, they had a box that was way too small but this ended up being the perfect fit. The heart in the front was handmade and one of a kind!

I love a sand ceremony. The white represents Christ and how He is the foundation of their relationship. The green represents Donna and the black, James.

Each table number was painstakingly made using a wine bottle that came from the collection we had on display in our old apartment and personalized labels. Donna and I got together to work on these one night, thinking they would be no big deal. Turns out, it is quite a feat to get labels to stick perfectly straight and smooth on a wine bottle. After a few near smashes (on purpose), we agreed that paying someone to do this would have been a good idea. Oh, well! They looked great!

This was the scene on the kitchen table while we worked. Too bad those bottles were empty!

We were so proud of this bunch!

Ready for it's close-up at the wedding!

The centerpieces were perfect! They were super low, which made for easy conversation over the table. The orchids and black rocks brought a certain elegance to the table. The ballroom was on the dark side, so the LED lights in the vase and the candles around it, made for a romantic glow that was just lovely.

The cake was a real work of art. It went perfectly with their lakeside decor and had so much personality! I only wish that I had been able to have a slice. I heard it was delicious!

Next up.. the ceremony!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Wedding Week! The Parties!

Donna is my bestest best friend and she got married back in May*, to James. It could not have been a more gorgeous day and the setting was to die for, overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. The details were simple and elegant, perfectly complimenting the lake setting and spring vibe. And Donna, she looked absolutely stunning!

 Before we get to the actual wedding, we had lots of parties to attend! Here are some snippets of the pre-wedding festivities.

The engagement party!

The bridal shower!

The bachelorette party!

Sorry, this is the only one you're getting!

The rehearsal dinner!

*Disclaimer: My camera isn't so hot these days so I was holding out for more pics from other people from the wedding before I went all wedding crazy on the blog. I hoped that I could use the pics from the photographer and link back to her, but I wasn't able to do so without buying all of the pictures :( That's why there is such a big time gap between the wedding and the pictures.  Regardless, enjoy!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Blogger - 1, Sarah - 0

So, remember how totally excited I was to be able to schedule my posts? Well, I scheduled them alright. For September 2012. Hah! Total fail! Since I copied & pasted, they were all scheduled that way. Really, I was just trying to build up suspense for my next post. :)

This week has been ca-ra-zyyy! Which is why I didn't even notice that my posts weren't doing anything, because I haven't even logged into Blogger. On Monday, I went back to school and the kids joined me on Tuesday. Whatever the word is for more than exhausted, that's what I was. My kiddos are too sweet but oh, how quickly I forget that they are really babies at the beginning of the year! I also started a Before-School Monitor position so I am leaving at 6am because I need to be at work a half an hour earlier and oh my word, I am tired at the end of the day! I have had a medium iced coffee and THREE diet cokes EVERY day this week. I swear I don't usually have that much caffeine! We had today off to kick off a nice four day Labor Day weekend and it was SO needed. I "slept in" until 7:00am and then did not change out of my pajamas all day. I caught up on all of my blogs and continued reading The Help (which I am loving). It was heaven.

I changed the auto-post, so hopefully this time you will have something to read this week since I can almost guarantee I will not have the brain cells to post anything again until next weekend.  Enjoy the long weekend! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teacher Week!

It is Teacher Week over at Blog Hoppin' and as my girl Babbling Abby would say, I am 12 kinds of hooked! I was up embarassingly late last night reading teacher blog after teacher blog and all was right in my world. Let's just say.. I ended up starting my own teaching blog and Jeff was waking up when I was going to bed. Oops! It's that time of year, folks! :) 

You're probably thinking.. she started a teaching blog?? She can't even update her regular blog!! True. However, the teacher blog world is seriously exploding and I NEED to be a part of it. I've been linking up to posts with literally hundreds of teachers around the country, sharing best practices, funny stories, and starting legitimate friendships with these girls. Add that to the SERIOUS loot that ended up in my car today from Target, Walmart, and Staples, and you've got yourself a teacher that is R-E-A-D-Y to go to back to school. Well, except for the fact that I found out this morning (which was already super late to begin working on my class) that my room is off limits because the hallway isn't finished. I'm sorry, what??? School starts in one week and I don't get paid to go in early. So instead, I shopped til I dropped with a serious plan and a serious budget. I will post over on my new teaching blog, which is Diary of a Fifth Grade Teacher, in case you are wondering, with the details of my shopping trip because I think that only another teacher could appreciate the wholesome goodness that is taking over the trunk of my car.

This also may be the first and last time I link the two blogs because I'm not sure how I feel about the two overlapping. However, my classroom makeover WILL be making an appearance on this blog because I'm pretty sure I will have THE coolest classroom of all this year. I have a total overhaul planned and I have less than 12 hours to get 'er done. Yikes!

Teachers everywhere would cringe at that last sentence because anyone with a classroom, and perhaps those without, knows that you can't unstick 30 desks off a waxed floor (with your hips because nothing else works!), climb a pile 25 chairs deep, move said chairs, desks and tables back to where I left them when school got out, go through three cabinets of locked supplies hidden from summer school people, take down four bulletin boards, rehang four bulletin boards, create a math & science word wall, update state standards with the Common Core standards, oh yeah, and write complete lesson plans with activities for the first three days of school, in 12 hours. I need a nap just thinking about it! But oh. my. word. I am so excited about the changes that will be taking place in my classroom this year. Teacher Week got the spark ignited and it is a beautiful thing.

I would also like to take a moment to make the following announcement:

Even though I have lotsa goodies lined up to be automatically scheduled, I would like to officially declare this Wedding Week here at Life, Love, Dinner! This is the best time because I figure, I am so crazy occupied with Teacher Week that Wedding Week is the only thing that will make me want to leave!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to our regularly scheduled program

Summer is winding down and I have been SO busy y'all! I have just discovered that I can schedule my posts to publish at a later date and boy, do I have some great posts lined up! They include day trips, a bachelorette weekend & a co-ed vacation, the first of many DIY wedding projects, (hopefully) a classroom makeover, WEDDING WEEK!, and more. The bff's wedding pics are FINALLY up and I plan on having myself a grand old time highlighting all of the gorgeous details that she included on her special day. So while I'm soaking up the last days of summer, bloggy here should be catching everyone up on my whereabouts over the past few weeks. LOVE it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Late Bloomer

Somebody's thumb is turning green! It's about time, too, because a couple of weeks ago, my thumbs actually turned brown. No kidding. Too much time in the sun one week and I had spotty brown thumbs. Not cool.

It is probably true that our hydrangeas have acid reflux from the abundance of lime I poured in the soil, as indicated by the brown spots on the leaves. (Maybe I have acid reflux, too?) The lime is supposed to bring out the rich shades of blue and I NEEDED those baby blues. But.. my hydrangeas are still alive! Not only are they still alive but we have our first gorgeous bloom! A singleton! Our neighbors probably think there is something wrong with us because I keep going outside to look at it and then yell for Jeff to come look at it, while grabbing my camera. I then fight the urge to cut the thing and throw it in a mason jar. I almost wish I were kidding about all this, but it's 100% true.

I really need to figure out the chipmunk situation we are having because if one of those devilish cuties kill my only flower, I may need to take out the entire population. I keep finding holes close to the root of the plant and in the mulch. They have even mustered the courage to dig up my school plants that are temporarily living on the front porch and we all know how I am with repotting plants The only solution that I've found includes a ramp and a bucket of water. We all know I would never be so cruel but they need to get a life.

While my solitary bloom is impressive, here's the real whopper of green thumb proof. Last year, we received a beautiful potted calla lily plant as a housewarming gift. I'm not sure why I receive so many plants as gifts. When the plant started dying, which was to be expected under my care, I began pulling the dead leaves off but the whole stem kept coming with. After I nearly ripped the whole thing out, I finally hit up Google. I discovered that apparently these are bulbs and I was to cut the stems and put the plant in a dry dark place and then pull it back out in the spring. Off to the garage it went until I discovered it when I took out the recycling, sometime in July. Um, happy spring! Well, there was a little green sprout in there even thought there was no sunlight or water.

I put it out on the counter and watered it and lo and behold, it grew. Then it grew some more. It won't stop.

It's actually a little out of control and experiencing some serious phototropism. (The adaptation that plants make when their stems bend towards the sunlight. I only know this because I am a science teacher, obviously not because of what a stellar gardener I am.) Like the rest of my plants that are supposed to flower, there's not a single bloom. Still, I am so impressed that I may buy another plant. Fall is coming and mums sounds nice to me. Perhaps I should get the pot that has been sitting in the garage since November. Maybe that is blooming, too! :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summertime and the chili's simmering..

I am fully aware that there is still technically well over a month of summer left. The central air is on, the hydrangeas are (finally) starting to bloom, and we have a freezer full of italian ice. However, I made chili twice in the past week and there is not a leftover in sight.

Chili is a big hit in our house and I'm proud to say that the reason is not because I don't know how to cook anything else, although it used to be. We have both been itching for the first signs of fall and this was it. If you could see the look on Jeff's face when I tell him that I'm making chili, you would know that all is right in the world.

I usually make it on the stovetop but since I've fallen in love with my Crockpot (and stopped being afraid to leave it on while I wasn't home) I've discovered a whole new world. This the easiest recipe to begin with but when you throw the Crock in the mix, it's not even fair. I know that I'm a bit late to the party but I'm not sure how I lived so long without owning one of these badboys. My dear Crock was inherited from my future mother in law and I'm hoping we'll get another when we get married because there's no telling what I could do with two Crockpots going on the counter. I digress..

Before Jeff was diagnosed with Celiac, I used the chili seasoning packet from Ortega or McCormick. Since this was pre-diagnosis, I wasn't checking labels but after buying a life time supply at BJ's, I realized that one of the first ingredients was wheat. On a quest to bring normalcy back to our kitchen, I decided to make my own seasoning. WHAT. A. DIFFERENCE. Jeff said that my chili is not only my best meal but his all-time favorite meal. This is a great compliment, even from a man who will eat anything you put in front of him without coming up for air.

Chili Seasoning

Adapted from All Recipes


4 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. crushed red pepper or 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. white sugar
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Mix all seasonings well. Add 2 tbsp. for every pound of ground meat.

This will make enough for two batches, but double, triple, as necessary. I make a huge batch and put it in a jar so that I can just scoop out what I need. I also tweak the salt and sugar when I'm making larger batches. I just dip my finger in the seasoning to see if it is too sweet or salty and modify as necessary.



1 pound ground turkey
32 oz. can crushed tomatoes
16 oz. can tomato sauce (plain)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 medium sized tomato, chopped
16 oz. can of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
16 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup salsa
Frank's Red Hot sauce (optional)

1. Brown turkey on stovetop until fully cooked and drain the fat.

2. Move the turkey to a large pot on stovetop or the crock pot. Add canned tomatoes, kidney beans, salsa, onion, tomato, and seasoning. Stir well.

3. Simmer on low for at least 30 minutes on stovetop or 4-5 hours in Crock pot. Add Frank's Red Hot to taste after it has simmered a bit. Too much too soon and it will be really spicy!

To make this kid-friendly, adjust the spices.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Oh, so random.

We have been busy around here! I thought that by not working in July, I would be able to enjoy August with no stress and no checklist. Nope! Luckily though, when I'm not at appointments, exercising (because I've seriously done a lot of that this summer), or running errands, I've been hanging with this crazy little girl

and snuggling with my sweet kitty

Last week, my sweet baby Princess, went in for surgery to have a mammary tumor removed and get some teeth pulled. To say that I was a nervous wreck, is an understatement. She is recovering well and although she is usually a big snuggler, she has been looking for lots of extra loving, and I am eating it right up!

I was able to knock a couple of big items off of my wedding to-do list, which is a HUGE relief! A couple of more things to do before I head back to school and we are right on track! 8 months! :)

Speaking of school... we start up in three weeks and as usual, I have mixed emotions. I love the beginning of the school year, the new kids, the new supplies, oh, how I love the supplies! I also love the fall. If the Fall in New England was a drug, I would not be able to get enough. It is almost embarassing how many fall scented Yankee Candles I am about ready to bust out of the cabinet. At this point, I'm just about ready to kiss summer goodbye. As much as I really needed this time away from working with kids, the free time can be a killer. What is there to do when everybody else is working? Endless errands, cleaning, and eating, that's what. This is the first summer that I didn't work, so it is going to be difficult to get used to waking up at the crack of dawn again, grading and planning in my free time, and only having a couple of hours to get anything done.

I already knew that I was being a terrible blogger due to my lack of entries, but I was also informed of it this weekend. (I'm looking at you, Donna :) My biggest fan!) It's just so hard sometimes! I am currently addicted to teaching blogs and have been spending more time reading than writing. I am so busy that I have two episodes of Teen Mom AND two episodes of New Jersey Housewives on the DVR to catch up on. It's that serious.

You know what else is serious? The Hunger Games. Um, it's out of control. Usually the blood and violence is too much for me, but I can't get enough of Katniss and her badass self. If you haven't read it, I would go pick it up. Right now. Also on my "to read" list that I never really got to this summer.. The Help, The Kite Runner, Water for Elephants, and Jodi's new one.. Sing you Home. Love me some Jodi Picoult.

I'll tell you one thing that wasn't on my summer reading list that was just put there. Making Content Comprehensible for English Language Learners. I'm off to read Chapters 5 & 6 for class tomorrow. I may even do some highlighting and mark up the text and such. What a rockstar.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Supporting local growers

In between huffing and puffing and chatting during our walk, Leslie and I found a roadside flower shop. Little Grace, who had to be around 11ish, was selling fresh picked flowers for $3 a bunch. Not only was that a complete steal, but we were able to support a local grower and help this little entrepreneur on her way to starting her own biz. Love it!

We went back after our walk to make our purchases, since we don't normally stash money in our bras, at least not while exercising, but when we got there, Grace was nowhere to be found! Like any good business owner, she had a cute sign posted, so we waited.

My budget blooms are looking gorgeous on my kitchen table, but Leslie used hers as centerpieces for a dinner party, and gave a bunch away to each of her guests. Talk about a great hostess! I couldn't help but spy some beautiful hydrangeas in the back of Grace's garden and I'm hoping that they make their way to the flower shop!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Slumber party!

This weekend we had a sleepover with our sweet niece, Elizabeth.

First, we hit up the beach at my parent's house.

We dug holes and jumped in them.

We made seaweed hair and mustaches.

We caught some rays and watched the surfers.

And we spent a lot of time jumping over the waves.

Then, we headed back home to play. These two are a riot together.
It's easy to forget who's two!

She is a great helper in the kitchen.

Even if she eats the ingredients right off of the pizza, with no hands.

And she LOVES to be outside.

Poor girl wore herself out! I wasn't far behind!

It is non-stop fun when she comes over and I would have her sleep over every night. Actually, when I asked if she would live with me, she said yeah, sure. Then when I asked her when she wanted to move in, she told me Saturday. Love that girl!