Snow Day

A winter wonderland in Wisconsin!
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Around 5pm last night, my district canceled classes for today. We were one of the last districts in the area – heck, even Madison Public Schools had canceled. I was pretty certain we would be having a snow day, so like most other teachers (and hopefully students), I brought lots of work home to do. There was no way I wasn’t going to take advantage of a day off to not chip away at the mounds of grading I have. (A few too many negatives in that sentence.)

I slept in a little (by only thirty minutes) and had a nice relaxing breakfast of toast with sunflower seed butter on one piece and cream cheese and strawberry jelly on the other. Because Brody’s been sick, we have orange juice, which I love, so I had a glass of that as well. Coffee would’ve rounded out my first meal of the day perfectly, but I accidentally left the grounds in the coffee maker from last week (oops) and some mold was growing. Gross, I know. After a few runs with vinegar and water, it’ll be good to go for tomorrow.

Although Brody’s work was canceled, he still drove in for a few hours of work. To be as productive as possible while he was gone, I made myself a “to do” list to stay focused.
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I first graded literary analysis essays, ones that students turned in over a month ago. It felt SO good to get those done.

Taking a break from school work, I put on holiday music and wrapped some presents for Brody, my sister, and my mom. Our tree looks so much better with presents under it.
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Lunch was decent: chicken noodle soup from Copps (Brody bought it but didn’t like the strong oregano flavor), a few Triscuits, an orange, and three dark chocolate covered marshmallows.

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Have you tried these? They are fantastic. Since becoming pregnant, my sweet tooth has been a little off. While I still crave sugar, anything too rich does not taste good. At a holiday party last week, I took a chocolate truffle and could only eat half of it. That is crazy talk coming from me.

The power of the “to do” list worked its magic early this afternoon and forced me to read four chapters of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Did you have to read this in high school? This is my first year teaching it at my current school, and I am actually enjoying it (both the book and the teaching). I read it in high school but don’t remember being blown away like I was with East of Eden. While I don’t think many students are enjoying and liking this classic, I think they can appreciate it. Maybe they won’t totally get its importance until we finish the whole book.

Has my snow day been all work and no play? No sir-ree (is that how you spell that?). I cleaned out a few drawers in the future baby’s room closet, I showered, and I am writing this now. Wow – that makes me seem pretty lame. Brody and I are actually about to watch Midnight in Paris, which I LOVE, and maybe I’ll take a nap later on. See? I am fun…and lazy, like Moose.

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Happy Thursday!

Questions:
Did you have snow days as a kid? What did you do on your day off?
Are you a “to do” list maker?
What was the best book you read in high school?

Thanksgiving Weekend in DC

I left my phone in DC. On the way to the airport, I realized it was charging on my sister-in-law’s kitchen counter. Thankfully she is awesome and it arrived yesterday. Two days without a phone wasn’t horrible, but I did have a bunch of photos on it that I was hoping to share. So, you get Thanksgiving food photos a little late.

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Brody was responsible for the roast.

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All the men cooking. My SIL’s boyfriend and their friend Watson made Brussels sprouts.

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I made the Yorkshire pudding.

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Brody was SO proud of his roast. We sent this pic to his dad in Switzerland just to make him jealous (they can’t get hunks of meat like this over there).

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My plate. It kind of makes me want to gag now looking at it at 7:15am, but it was delicious. It was probably the best roast we’ve ever had. If you’re not a vegetarian and want a good piece of beef, order it from Whole Foods.

No picture but I did have pie after cleaning that plate: cranberry apple and pecan with a little vanilla ice cream.

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On Friday and Saturday I had froyo. Although there are places in Madison, none are close to where we live. This was pistachio and cookies and cream with coconut, mochi, and Oreo crumbles.

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On Friday, while I chose froyo, my SIL and her cat Lola had pie.

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On Friday night after seeing Lincoln (so good!), my MIL, SIL, Brody, and I had dinner at a Greek tapas restaurant. There were too many dishes and they all came out separately, so no photos besides this one of Brody and I.

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Saturday was devoted to football. My SIL and her boyfriend invited a bunch of their friends to a bar to watch the Ohio State vs. Michigan game. There was some drinking involved, including a Lindsay Lohan shot: a red headed slut with a splash of Coke. Ha!

Hope you are all recovering nicely from the holiday festivities. It always takes me at least a day to get my head back in the game.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

A Weekend of Stories

As promised, I have a few movie reviews and two mid-book “talks” to give. The fact that it’s a week “late” shouldn’t matter, right?

I love talking about books and movies! In particular, I love getting books in the hands of my students. It makes me so happy to see a student who probably hasn’t read an entire book for years finish a book I gave him/her. Modeling how adults interact with books (and movies) and each other regarding books is so important. Some of my students come from text deficient environments – their parents don’t read the paper, they don’t keep books in their house, and they don’t share books with each other. It’s sad but when there are more pressing needs (food, job, money, etc.), I get why books take a back seat.

Just like movies, books transport use to new places and new situations. As Kelly Gallagher names it, books provide us with “imaginative rehearsals” for the real world. Of course I will never be like Katniss, living in District 12, and participating in The Hunger Games, but with every book or movie, we can learn a little about ourselves and maybe even become better people.

So as you recall, my sister rounded up some of the most cheesiest movies (besides The Hunger Games) from the last few years: Dolphin’s Tale, Joyful Noise, Big Miracle, and We Bought a Zoo. Keep in mind my sister is 27, I am 29, and my mom is 58. No kids, just adults and hours of feel good Disney.
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After raking, we started with The Hunger Games. This was my third time seeing it but my mom’s first. Unfortunately she hasn’t read the books, so she had some questions along the way. I was very happy with this film’s adaptation of the book. Of course the movie is never as good as the book, but this one came pretty close in my opinion.

Post-teenage blood bath, I took a nap. For two hours. Apparently raking for two hours wore me out and I needed to spend equal amount of time sleeping. It was glorious. My mom is super 80’s and uses electric blankets. I was all warm and cozy and slept like a log.

You know that groggy feeling you have after napping? I had major fog brain, but a nice two mile walk with the family and dogs took care of that.

That evening we watched We Bought a Zoo. I was looking forward to this one and had tried multiple times this summer to convince the kids I nanny for to choose it whenever we went to Redbox. Overall I liked it; it was a cute, feel-good movie. However, I did think they overdid the plot line involving the mom who had recently passed away.

When I wasn’t watching movies or napping, I was reading Loving Frank.
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This book follows the relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress (they were both married). It’s well-written but not a fast moving book. It’s interesting to see how both were breaking all kinds of social codes from that time period. I believe that although it’s fiction, parts of the book are based on Wright’s and his mistress’ actual lives.

And now, a week later, I am watching New Moon as I recoup from a girls’ weekend up in Minocqua. I have some great pictures to share, and hopefully it won’t take me a full week to get my s*** together.

Happy Sunday night!

Cottage Clean-Up

Greetings from northern Wisconsin!

It’s a girls’ weekend at the cottage. Brody caught a flight to DC for some family matters, and the dogs, although male, don’t count because they’re not human and they can’t help with clean-up.

My sister, Laura, and I met in Oshkosh last night to drive the rest of the way together. We stopped at Panera for dinner, and I impressively ate a roasted turkey avocado BLT sandwich while driving without spilling much on me. #unsafedrivingsuccess

Upon arrival at 9pm, Moose hightailed it for the lake. He loves to “fish.” At 5:30am, he was again out there.

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For about two hours this morning, the three of us raked, bagged, and dumped leaves. It went by quickly and the dogs kept us entertained. Unfortunately, they were lazy and didn’t feel like helping. Jerks.

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The eight bags of leaves took up most of my trunk, but Laura still managed to squeeze in the back.

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We worked hard this morning and now we have some movies to watch.

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My sister brought these movies. Some I am more excited to watch than others, like Joyful Noise. Ehh…not my thing. I am looking forward to watching The Hunger Games for the third time, though, and We Bought a Zoo. I’ll give a brief movie review of these tomorrow.

Have a nice, relaxing Saturday!

Crazy Friday Night

Hey-oh! Livin’ it up over here. It’s been a wild night! (to be read very sarcastically)

After school I needed to run four miles and also exercise the dogs. I did both by running with Moose for three miles (Frankie freaked and didn’t want to leave our yard – rain coming?). Moose was struggling for the last mile – we ran the first two in 9:50 but the third in 10:30. I dropped him off at home and ran the final mile solo as fast as I could. The Garmin clocked my speedy (for me) mile in 8:30! My short legs were moving.

Now this is where my Friday night gets outta control.

I had a leftover taco salad…

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same dinner from Wednesday, same photo

I graded…

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I ate this Nutella snack pack and watched the first episode of Downtown Abbey…

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I crawled into bed at 9:15pm…

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And I believe it or not, it was a good night. Plus, I need a good night of sleep tonight because I am supervising a high school dance tomorrow night.

I hope you had a great Friday night, too!

Life is Busy Again

Hey! I got a random bit for you. Thanks for sticking around as I readjust to life as a working adult again. I promise I am not as scatterbrained as this post makes me seem.

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Even though Moose loves human food, he is often too lazy to move to get it. Maybe this popcorn wasn’t tempting enough.

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Aren’t Real Simple recipes amazing? This one was great, but Brody and I decided it needed a little something extra. Red pepper flakes? Garlic? Crumbled bacon? Cream? All four?

This week I also made Cuban pork sandwiches and enchiladas, AND I baked these (but with plain Chobani instead of oil). Love Jenna’s recipes.

I think that because I have been such an amazing cook/wife this week, Brody felt I deserved a few presents:
1) A giant oatmeal chocolate chip cookie from Potbelly’s
2) A gift card to Starbucks (It was a gift to him but he’s super anti-Starbucks. He’s actually never set foot in a Starbucks in his life.)
3) A women’s Keep Calm and Chive On shirt

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I can’t wait to be twinsies with Brody and send in a picture of us to The Chive.

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I found the bar section at Woodman’s. It is a thing of beauty. So many bars. I went for a handful of “lady bars” as JP calls them. This new-to-me bar was kind of blah; it almost crumbled as I ate it. Brody had a better experience; he accidentally grabbed the chocolate coconut and liked it. He thought it tasted like a Samoas Girl Scout cookie.

Sons of Anarchy. Whoa. That was some intense s***. Some of my thoughts (numbered of course):
1) Poor Tigey (sp?). That scene with his daughter was so horrible.
2) I know Clay is up to something – there is no way he came clean about Piney because it was the right thing to do.
3) Please don’t let Jacks (or is it Jax?) turn in to a version of Clay.
4) Tara seems like more of a badass now: smoking, agreeing to carry, the bangs and darker eyeliner.

On the exercise/running front, I am running a leg of a marathon relay this weekend. The North Face Endurance Challenge is up in the Kettle Morraine area, and two friends of ours are running the 50K. I cannot imagine running that far. I’m nervous about my 6.5 miles of trail running.

In case you’re wondering, WordPress still sucks big time! I am soooo annoyed. Grrr…

Questions:
What shows are you excited to start watching again?
What’s your favorite lady bar?
What’d you cook or bake this week?

S-S-Saturday and S-S-Sunday

Hey! How was your weekend? Good? Mine too!

Bloggers seem to love alliteration as much as they love pumpkin in the fall (which I do not mention in this post). At least I can blame my alliterative tendencies on my profession. However, when thinking over my weekend, most of which was spent in the Minocqua area for Brody’s firm’s annual get-together, everything seemed to start with an S.

Sweat
When my alarm went off at 7am Saturday morning, I did not have a good feeling about my six mile run. With a few glasses of red wine in me from the night before and less than eight hours of sleep, I was nervous. But, my sixty minute sweat session ended up being amazing. The weather and scenery were perfect. I love fall running!

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Snooze
After the run, breakfast, relaxing, and lunch, I couldn’t stop yawning. Expecting to take a little forty-minute cat nap, I crawled into the giant king size bed. Two and a half hours later, I groggily crawled out of bed. Oops. I had no idea I was that tired. Sadly, I missed out on playing euchre, but the snooze was pretty incredible.

Salmon
The food this weekend was delicious! Saturday night is the more formal night of the two with a nice sit-down dinner. The two dinner entrees were beef tenderloin and salmon – I obviously chose the salmon. It had a sweeter, ginger glaze and was cooked perfectly. No food pictures were taken because it wasn’t appropriate, but trust me – I ate well (and a lot)…including dessert.

Sons of Anarchy
When we arrived back home, Brody made a beeline for the couch. I got the laundry started and then joined him. We had very important business to take care of: finish watching season four of Sons of Anarchy.

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Source
Season five starts tomorrow on FX – wahoo! I’ve said it before but who would’ve thought I’d like a show about bikers who run guns? Apparently there are LOTS of Sons fans out there! We’ll have to chat Wednesday or Thursday about the season premiere.

Sister
Moose and Frankie had a weekend at home with Aunt Laura (my sister).

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Due to some storms, there was some cuddle time on the couch, but they also made it to the park. It was so nice to not have to board them or bring them to a friend’s house for the weekend. Thanks again Laura!

Questions:
Do you watch Sons of Anarchy? Predictions?
How long is a nap for you normally? How often do you nap?
What’s something you did this weekend that starts with S?

WIAW Summer Staples #4

This morning, I went on to Jenn’s blog to see what the new theme was for September…but guess what? It’s still August! That means it is still summer staples. Good times.

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Breakfast @ 7:00am
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This meal, which was definitely a summer staple for me, was eaten in the car on my way to work. I need to buy supplies for overnight oats because this was difficult to eat while driving. Yup – not safe.

Snack @ 12:00pm
At our first in-service day of school, we had a long meeting that started at 10:00am. I failed to eat a little something before and was starving by noon and had to pee like nobody’s business. Looks like I’ve got to train my bladder again. Anyways, I grabbed a handful of mixed nuts from an emergency stash I keep in my gym bag.

Lunch @ 1:30pm
Over what would’ve been a lunch break, I ran a few miles with two coworkers. We’re going to try to run one day a week, probably three miles, after school. While it was fun to run with new people, running at noon on a hot, sunny day was not very fun.
insert lunch photo here…or lack of photo
I came back sweaty and hungry. So hungry, in fact, that I didn’t even think to take a picture of the massive salad, yogurt, and handful of Starburst candies I ate. Whoops.

Snack @ 4:45pm
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This snack bag was consumed before a trip to the dog park with my friend Jena and her pup Ruger. These have become a staple in our house because every box has a coupon on the inside: $1.50 off two boxes. I wait until they’re on sale and then only spend $2.25 per box. Feel free to call Extreme Couponing to nominate me to be on the show.

Dinner @ 7:00pm
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I cut up a chicken breast into small chunks, bathed them in an egg bath, and dunked them in a pool of garlic breadcrumbs (P.S. Do you like all of the water imagery I used there? My brain is back in school mode.) They baked for fifteen minutes. On the side were packaged Alfredo noodles, sautéed Swiss chard (from my garden!), and a side of BBQ sauce. I did pretty good with my greens today!

Dessert @ 8:15pm

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So this happened, but it was basically meant to happen. You see, after dinner Brody and I were about to watch an episode of Sons of Anarchy when I was thinking how we hadn’t had Dairy Queen for a while. No joke, ten seconds later, Brody proposed going for a treat after the episode. He was reading my mind! Or, most likely, he just knows me really well and recognized there wasn’t much to eat for dessert in our house. I had a medium hot fudge sundae and loved every bite of it. Brody had an Oreo cheesequake Blizzard.

Questions:
Do you eat in your car? What is the most difficult (i.e. unsafe) food you’ve ever eaten while driving?
How often do you get Dairy Queen, ice cream, or froyo?