Friday, August 27, 2010

SO much to learn

I had the first class of my M.A.Ed. program tonight. And I loved it! If you know me, this is no surprise. I enjoy school and love learning new things/concepts. I'm particularly excited about this class because I know that I will be learning stuff that can actually be put in to practice to make me a better educator. I want to teach high school English, and I feel that I know my subject matter really well, but since my undergrad degree was not an Education degree (rather a B.A. in English), I don't feel like I know how to best teach students the material in an engaging and relevant way. Enter this class--"Curriculum & Development." It is all about how to educate in the 21st century--and is about more than just incorporating technology and a multi-cultural awareness into the classroom. We talked about the education of the whole child--not just using their brain as a depository for knowledge (i.e. facts & numbers). Obviously the world has changed drastically from our "Little House on the Prairie" days (honestly, sometimes I wish I had lived then, in that simpler time...) not to mention just within the last decade. However, relatively speaking, the basis for our educational processes/methods have changed very little. My teacher shared some staggering statistics about American education in comparison with education in other countries...I won't bore you with them, but they definitely made me even more aware of what I had suspected: American education is in a sore state--(but this definitely does not mean there aren't some great teachers out there trying their best). I'm excited to learn all I can to become one more of those teachers who are giving it their best shot to see students become ethical, productive, responsible, compassionate citizens.

Many thanks for humoring me with this all-too-exciting post about my first night class! I know you've been on the edge of your seats. :) And if you are even remotely interested and have an extra 20 minutes to spare, watch this video on creativity & school that my teacher played for us tonight. It's quite entertaining, and it definitely gave me something to think about.

Monday, August 23, 2010

egg-in-a-hole + this & that

We enjoyed breakfast on the back patio together this morning...I betcha can't guess whose plate is whose... :)
The "Egg-in-a-Hole" is a breakfast treat that we used to eat at my sweet cousin Laura's house when we were kids. Don't know why I haven't made one before now--YUM.
<Have you ever had/heard of an egg-in-a-whole?>

While we were eating, I noticed this tiny bead of water on the chopped off stalk of my basil can also see a *tiny bit* of new growth. [Kelly (my sis-in-law) told me that if I cut the stalk completely instead of just snapping off the leaves, it would produce more...let's hope!]

on to the "this & that"...

Paul started school today, so we spent the morning printing out syllabi, organizing notebooks, and ordering his textbooks. If all goes as planned he should be finished with his B.S. by the end of next summer. YAY. [just a side-note: he is off work until September due to a lack of orders--good: allows him to focus on getting started well this semester; bad: no $.] Then he left for a flying lesson...not sure if everyone knows this or not, but he is pursuing his pilot's license--he wants to be a commercial pilot eventually. And he is so excited about it--which makes me so excited about it! He started flying in May, and was hoping to have earned the 40 hours he needed for his private license by the end of the summer. However, he ended up having to switch instructors and airports a couple of times which set things back a bit. But as of last week, he is now getting into a regular routine of about three lessons a week. And, I have to tell y'all the story about his new instructor--when they met for the first time, Paul said they both kept looking at each other, trying to figure out how they knew each other. They finally realized that Paul's step-dad coached them in little league basketball, and they played football together in 8th grade! Hadn't seen each other in years. Neat to see how God brings things full circle. He is so pumped about flying. I can't wait for his first solo flight--I can go up with him!!
Here is a pic of the kind of plane that he is training in: Cessna 152
I also started school today--or had orientation--my first class is actually on Thursday night, 5-9pm.../yuck/. I'll also have class on Saturdays 8a-3p.../double yuck/. Orientation lasted from 4-7p, and when I left, I was def on INFORMATION OVERLOAD. *But* I'm really excited about what I'm going to be learning, and so far, I've been super impressed with Union U and its people!

This past weekend, one of my roomies--Diana-- from sophomore year came for a visit...SO good to spend some unhurried time with her! We really had a pretty low-key weekend: stayed up late Friday night just catching up; slept late Saturday morning; shopped a little that afternoon; played a game of Farkel--in which Paul had a last second stroke of luck to beat us both!--, baked some cookies, and watched a movie that night. [Side note: I introduced her to Nutella at breakfast Saturday am and she's hooked...consider this your formal introduction, if you've never tried it. GO.BUY.SOME.NOW.] She will soon be joining the National Guard--eek! but I so admire her confidence and determination. She's one of my favorites, and it was so good to catch up for a couple of days.
Right before she left on Sunday am.     

One last thing, I have to tell y'all that I tried Iowa Girl Eats' recipe for sweet potato fries, and we--yes I said WE-- are hooked! [Y'all know this is a breakthrough for Paul. He ate sweet potatoes-a vegetable. They were NOT fried.] The recipe is SO easy and simply delish--I've already made them twice. Just slice up your sweet potatoes--I like mine pretty thin so they get a bit crunchy--drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt and black pepper. 425degrees for 15 min., then 450degrees for 5min, stirring occasionally. Did I mention they were divine? Also, I tried her recipe for French Dip (Sandwiches) a la Crock Pot. It was super easy and also yummy. (Although my roast cooked much, much quicker than the 8 hours she says--mine was done after about 3.5 on low.)

Thanks for enduring such a random post. I just had to squeeze it all in. :) 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

check-out-line impulse buy with no regrets...

Why, oh why, is it for a limited time only?!?! That is torture! I'm not a big chocolate fan, but I'm so there with anything coconut. M&M's got this combo just right-- they are scrumptious.

Friday, August 13, 2010

oh, the lovelies i have found today!

Well, at the moment I am sitting at a desk watching eight students work on 20th Century U.S. History work...yes, I'm subbing high school history today and it has been EASY-PEASY! I've only had a few kids in each class because the majority of this teacher's students are ninth graders and are on their "Freshman Retreat" today. They have just come right in and gotten right to work with hardly any talking, so that has left me with TONS of free time blogs! I am seriously sitting here trying to keep from smiling to myself because I am ecstatic about all the fantastic ideas and freebies I am finding! I just keep linking to more great stuff at every site...

Here are a few of the finds that have made my day:

This is a site where artists are invited to contribute a print that is totally free and available for PDF download. From their mouth, "this project [...] is to help art lovers feed their souls with art in these difficult economic times and to help artists promote their work." New prints are added on Mondays.
Here is the latest...I'm quickly becoming obsessed.

 This will be perfect for my room (which I spent all day yesterday cleaning out and organizing...saving that for another post). It is one of our little extra bedrooms turned my office, reading nook, crafting space, etc. Most importantly, my room does not have to suit Paul's decorating taste! :) I can't wait to get home to print and frame this baby!

They have lots of other great prints--from whimsical to industrial and everything in between...check 'em out!

First of all, don't you just love that name?! I'm always a sucker for a good play on words. If you are a mom, then you will definitely want to stop by this site. I'm already picking out stuff for our [non-existent] kiddos. Paul will be thrilled, I'm sure. This site features tons of shops that sell all things homemade. Here are a few of my favorite picks...

a reversible denim coat from louloubellbaby. how sweet is this?

this cute cute mobile from KLT works

and lastly, this sweet print, "For the Love of Books," from's another "print"--I told you these were becoming an obsession! 


You proably guessed already, but this is a (mostly) food blog by a girl who's motto is: "Eat Well. Run Often. Travel Far." I completely agree! Well, maybe not so much with the running part...I really wish I would get motivated in that department. But with the eating well and traveling far, I am definitely on board! Anyway, her blog is full of great (and healthy) recipes (they look and sound great, I'll let you know when we try one!), pretty photography, and fun stories. In her most recent post, she talks about the Iowa State Fair and all of the interesting, mostly deep-fried foods you can find there. She mentions a "Cornbrat on-a-stick (bratwurst dipped in corn dog batter & fried)" and how she hoped her husband didn't see this vendor because he would try to eat their entire inventory. Sadly, I fear this would be the exact same scene if Paul came even remotely close to the Iowa State Fair...cornbrat on-a-stick = heart attack on-a-stick. I was so excited to find this blog, because I've been hankering for some new recipes lately! Maybe I'll try these soon...
Baked sweet potato fries.
Paul tried sweet potatoes (only because they were fried!) for the first time last summer at one of our pre-wedding parties, and he liked them. Can you believe it. These will be healthier since they are baked...Wish me luck with his finicky tastebuds!

4)  a couple of home/interior design blogs...

Absolutely LOVE this woman's style.

LoVe her style too. Her baby's nursery is just perfect. I love everything about it!

Hope you enjoy these fun finds as much I am. :)


Happy Friday!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

1 year!

We celebrated our first anniversary this past Sunday, August 8th. And as cliche as it is, my, how time flies...counting the time we dated, we've been together nearly 6 years! A lot has changed since 11th grade (for me) / 12th grade (for him) Spanish class--but a lot has remained the same--he is still making me laugh with his shy but goofy self. I'm so thankful the Lord brought us together--we balance each other perfectly

We celebrated with dinner at P.F. Chang's. (Paul's first time there, and only my second.) YUM. Our waitress was the sweetest--$4 off our ticket and a free dessert [i.e. the best cheesecake ever.]

perfection on a plate.

After dinner, we went to the Paradiso and saw "Inception" for *free*--thanks to some 4 or 5 year old movie passes (a gift from Paul's mom) that I recently found while cleaning out a drawer from college...yay for no expiration date!!

And on Tuesday, I realized we had not eaten the top layer of our wedding cake! I seriously almost started crying. How could we forget that?? So I got it out of the freezer and we re-enacted the cake cutting a couple days late...

Paul was skeptical after it being in the freezer for a year, but it still tasted delicious :)

The first year had its moments, as I'm sure every year will, but I wouldn't trade our life for anything. I love that we are a work in progress, that there is no definitive destination or arrival time set to achieve "the perfect marriage."  

[P.S. Thanks for enduring a post that is a bit sappy for the average reader :)]


pretty much all we did on our vaca to Panama City Beach...and it was lovely. That is one of my favorite things about going to the beach--you don't have to do a thing, if you don't want to! Aside from eating out a couple of nights, going to the outlet mall in Destin one morning, and a little daredevil action on our last night [see pic below], we just sauntered from our room to the beach and/or pool every day all day. {bliss}

Here are a few pics from the week...

don't mind my Casper-ish face caked with 50 SPF :)
ready to ride the SLING SHOT...
buckled in...
300 feet high...100 mph...5 G's

  SO MUCH FUN! we screamed & laughed the whole time 
and would do it again in a heartbeat!

Isn't God awesome?!
                                          Taylor Marie                                          "there's sand in my toes!!"

the whole crew!
We had the best time! I'm so thankful we had the chance to relax and just enjoy each other for a few days before life gets hectic again--school starts for both of us in 2 weeks-ah!   
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