Sunday, February 28, 2010

Recipe 1 - Couscous with Turkey, Apricots and Almonds

My requirements for trying a new recipe included that it was something totally new and different to me. Not such a tough requirement since I'm pretty plain jane when it comes to food. So trying this recipe, Couscous with Turkey, Apricots and Almonds, was definitely a step out of the box.  I found it while trying to find a recipe to use up my leftover turkey.

 It's pretty easy to make.  Starts with making some couscous, which I had to google b/c I've never had it and didn't know what it was.  Then you saute a red bell pepper and add in turkey, green peppers, dried apricots and toasted almonds.

I'm not the greatest cook so I need easy, and this recipe was easy.  Mikey liked it, although he was VERY skeptical of the ingredient list.  He noted, and I agreed, that it needed a sauce.  Like it was kind of dry or something, yet tasty.  It was also incredibly filling.  Roo had some couscous but not the mixture b/c she had already eaten and just sat with us while we ate.

I'm on the hunt for more new recipes.  I've bookmarked a few I want to try, including a couple from some blogs that looked delicious.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Photostory Friday: My Favorite View

I should be watching the road, but this is my favorite view.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Friday Night Leftovers - 2/26

I'm participating in Friday Night Leftovers again courtesy of Sippy Cups are Not for Starbucks.

  • On Monday Danifred over at Sippy Cups are not for Starbucks wrote about preschool.  So, I had to share this, b/c I think it's funny.  Roo will likely attend "Tiny Bison" a preschool in the town that we live in, which is named after their high school mascot.  She will likely attend K-12 in the school that I teach in, and our mascot is the Warriors.  I think it will be funny how she'll be a "Little Warrior" among all those "Tiny Bison."  I promise not to send her with any weapons.
  • I don't like touching people.  I avoid it at all costs.  I don't even like standing too near people.  I don't enjoy shaking hands.  I have even pretended to be sick or a germ-a-phobe to get out of any touching.  Nothing traumatic, that I know of, happened to me; I'm just not a toucher.  I do hug my hubs, my lil Roo, my nieces and nephews, my parents and the occasional crying teenager, but both the parents and the teenagers are incredibly rare. 
  • We are in my favorite chapter in Econ - Price.  I love this chapter.  Yes, I'm a dork.  But I have tons of fun using Price is Right games to get the seniors brains going in the mornings.
  •  I got Wii Just Dance this week because these ladies look like they are having tons of fun.  I don't think any amount of coaxing will get me to wiggle my jiggle on camera though.
  • Roo's personality is just way too funny sometimes.  She has mega blocks that she plays with that are sort of like huge legos.  When she puts them away they have to be loose, not stuck together.  If Mikey or I play with her and put away unseparated ones she pulls them back out and separates them - yes we are horrible parents and were putting them away together just to mess with her and confirm her OCDness.
  • We've also been trying to decide if we should cut Roo's hair.  She's rockin a mullet like no other, but we can pull the mullet up into cute little pony-tails.  The problem is that she pulls out the ponies when she goes to daycare so I don't bother putting them except on weekends and weeknights if we are going somewhere.  The rest of the time she looks ridiculous.  She also manages to get some amazing bedhead.

        Thursday, February 25, 2010

        Dear Visa...

        Please stop making commericials that make me cry.

        I'm having a rough week and I don't need to be doing any more crying.

        Thank you.

        Wednesday, February 24, 2010

        What I meant to say on this very bad, no good, rotten, horrible day.

        I love the idea of WIMTS Wednesday that I found today.  I am playing along, although I will warn you that it's not very happy-go-lucky.

        When my friend made the comment that I was “starting be just like her as a mom,” and I replied, “I guess in a way I suppose.”  WIMTS was “Please don’t insult me like that.”

        And then on a more serious note… It was a rough day today.  Our school hosted an event and didn’t have school, but staff had to “guard doors.”  These WIMTS were from today

        When stranger-man in the hall today looked at my teary-eyed face and said, “gee is sitting here that bad?” and I said, “nope” and smiled.  WIMTS was “F-you, I just found out that one of my student’s father died this morning and you should move away from me now before I get up outta this chair and beat you senseless.”

        When one of the nice young men I am proud to call my student looked at my teary-eyed face in the hall today and said “Are you okay?  Can I give you a hug?”  and I said “I’m doing alright, thanks for asking, how are you doing?”  WIMTS was “Thank you, I needed that.  Kids like you are why I do this job and you mean a lot to me…now see that guy over there?  Will you go kick his butt?”

        Sorry to be a downer as I played along today, but I’m hoping writing about it will help me feel better.  Plus I have so many WIMTS moments that I hope to play along again.

        Editing to add something here:   I didn't actually hug the kid...I'm not a hugger, especially not a teenage boy hugger.  Plus he was sorta joking with me b/c I make it pretty clear that I don't like people touching me (only exception the hubs, Roo and my parents),  I avoided the reception line at both my hs graduation and my wedding, but that's a whole nother post!

        Tuesday, February 23, 2010

        Photography - Aperture

        Since goal #8 is develop my photography skills I have been looking online for lessons and such.  I found Better in Bulk which has a blogography challenge, co-hosted by Manic Mother and this one was on aperture

        Manic Mother

        I think I have a pretty good handle on aperture, but I found the info and sample pictures a great refresher.  It took me forever to get in in my head that "large aperture" equals small number.  I also decided to add my pics to the challenge.

        So here they are:

        Small Aperture Pic: F 16

        Large Aperture Pic: F2.2

        I'm not going to lie; I love these two pictures.  Probably because I used them to try to explain aperture and depth of field to my dad, who is officially a senior citizen (self-proclaimed).  He clearly wasn't listening to me as I was explaining, because he said about the second picture, "I understand, but this one looks blurry to me."

        Aperture is one of my favorite things to play with when taking pictures.  I have a 50 1.4, makes a great lens for low light situations and allows me to play with depth of field when I have lots of light.

        In order to get the depth of field I want with my kit lens, I had to do some math. I have a 55-200 lens as well. If I have enough light, I can go to a focal length of 200 and then crank open my aperture to 5.6 and I have the same depth of field as my 50 at 1.4. You do have to have plenty of light (and hopefully my math was correct on this...). This has been really nice when taking, or maybe it is better stated as, trying to take, pictures of birds and having nice background.

        Monday, February 22, 2010

        Movie #2 - Up!

        This weekend Mikey and I watched the movie Up by Disney Pixar with Roo.  Another Netflix rental.  I was supposed to cancel our subscription, but I haven't yet.

        Well sometimes Roo watched,

        and sometimes she was more interested in TV in her head.
        Up is about a older man who attaches balloons to his house in order to float it to South America where he and his wife always wanted to go.  Of course on his way to South America he runs into some hiccups, namely a kid who is sort of a  stow-away on the house.

        I really liked Up!  It had a nice plot for adults to watch and lots of interest for kids, although Roo is still too little to watch an 1 hour and a half movie.  She really didn't watch much, but I could see my nieces (ages 4, 6 and 8) enjoying it.

        Well 2 movies down, 28 to go.  Maybe by the end my movie review skills will improve.

        Saturday, February 20, 2010

        Our new home away from home!

        We bought a camper today!  I couldn't believe it.  We love camping in the summer and had been bunking with my parents.  It will be so great to have our own space, even though their 5th wheel  is really nice.   I refer to it as the "Prairie Palace Wagon" because it is HUGE,  which is a Donner Party reference that no one ever gets b/c a: usually no one knows who the Donner Party was and b: if they do they have no idea about this particular reference.  (Which, I have to add, is exactly why I became a teacher b/c all this crap I have in my head is useless in day to day life unless of course you are a history teacher...but I digress).  So anyway I'm super excited to have our own and plan to live in it as much as possible this summer.  Vacay every weekend and being able to afford it is AWESOME!
        On to the camper...We drove about an 1 hr and 1/2 to a place b/c I found one online that I liked.  It had a queen bed that slides out and then twin bunks in the back.  Well we got to the place, found the one I liked and it was a dud.  It was used and not in good shape and the queen bed must have been exactly  six feet long b/c laying down my feet were flat against one wall and my head was touching the other (yeah, I'm ridiculously tall).  So I was dejected, but we decided to look around and found a few we considered and then found another one where the bed slid out, but was more like 6'3, was new, not used and quad bunks in the back.  We went to ask prices and it was actually cheaper!  So exciting.  So we pulled the trigger and bought it.

        Some pics that I 'borrowed' from the dealer webpage...

        The Floor Plan

        The "Front" which I kept saying was the back and Mikey and my dad kept correcting me.

        The back - you can see the queen bed slide out.

        The inside looking toward the queen bed.

        The bunks in the "front."  Yes I only have one child, but I hope to have more someday and if not she's got lots of room to play in the event of bad weather.

        Best part?  Mikey hasn't gotten buyer's remorse and he always gets buyer's remorse.  He buys a pack of gum and doubts himself; he also got it about our house and all of our vehicles.  Sooooooo annoying.  I hope he doesn't get it b/c this camper if perfect for us.

        I should also add that we are not "real" campers and do not "rough it" at all.  Our new camper has a huge Air Conditioner and a nice little place for a TV and we already have read how to take our DVR with us.  It also has a bathroom with a shower and has a huge refrigerator  and a microwave.  We have also discussed getting one of those things that gives you internet access anywhere, but sure what the coverage would be here in Nowhere, particularly as we go farther from Somewhere to camp.  We do spend most of the time camping outside our camper, but we like to have options in case it is too hot or raining.

        Now if the weather will warm up long to spring?

        Friday, February 19, 2010

        Photostory Friday: Kidarazzi?

        I may have created a monster.  If she see that camera she says "pick-ure, pick-ure."  Unfortunately being a kidarazzi doesn't make her any more inclined to pose or even smile for her mamarazzi.

        PhotoStory Friday
        Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

        Friday Night Leftovers

        I'm participating in Friday Night Leftover's put on by Sippy Cups are Not for Starbucks.

        • Roo seems to be on the mend, but I might take her to the doctor tomorrow anyway.  Stinks to pay the copay, but at least I'll know that nothing has settled into her lungs and that she doesn't have ear infections or anything.  Mother's doubt sucks!
        • I can't tell my left from right well.  In my post for Photostory Friday, I noted how we think Roo'll be a lefty b/c she uses her left hand to color and the proceeded to post pictures of her coloring with her right hand.  She really does use her left more though.  I do have trouble with the whole left/right thing.  My kindergarten teacher had me convinced I'd fail and be in K forever if I didn't correctly tell her left/right, which led to me cheating to pass that little test.  I also think it created some kind of mental block over left and right.
        • I *LOVE* the Olympics.  I didn't get into them too much last time up, but this year I have been tuning in every night.  What's weird is when I was younger I loved to watch figure skating and that is one of the events I am not really following this time.  With exception of the Russian men's skater who is a jerk and a poor loser.
        • Jillian Michael's and her 30 Day Shred is still killing me, but I have to admit has been getting slightly easier every day.
        • Mikey and I are hoping to look at a camper tomorrow.  We both enjoy camping in the summer, but only 'fake' camping with a little home on wheels that includes air conditioning, showers, innerspring mattresses, etc.  I really like the looks of it online, but we'll see. Mikey and I are not always the best at agreeing on things like this and unfortunately he is not one of those "anything to make you happy" kinda guys.

        Thursday, February 18, 2010

        Book #1 - Finger Lickin Fifteen by Janet Evanovich

        I should probably have clarified some things when writing my goal about reading 30 books.  First of all I won't be counting pictures books, because I will probably get somewhere in the neighborhood of a 1000 of those read in a year as part of the nightly bath, book, bed routine.  Secondly, I should note that I also probably won't read anything with much substance.  When I read I am mainly looking for TV in my head.  Nothing that makes me work to get the meaning of the sentences or anything like.  It's not that I can't read 'sophisticated' books, I just don't want too.  Third, if anyone out there is looking for a great place to find reviews on current books you probably won't get them here.  I'm a library junkie.  I go once a week-ish to pick up new books with/for Roo and to get a new novel.

        Ok, so here goes the first review!

        I started reading Finger Lickin Fifteen the night of my birthday.  I love Stephanie Plum novels.  They are light and easy to read books.   I have read them all in order; starting a couple of summers ago when I read the first 10 or so of them.  They are based on the character Stephanie Plum who is a bounty hunter, albeit not a very good one.  She has an off/on boyfriend Joe Morelli and a smokin hot (well he is in my head anyway) friend/boss, Ranger.  In this particular installment, Stephanie's friend Lula witnesses a murder and then the murderers are after her for witnessing it.

        I really liked this book - perfect for the TV in my head thing.  I also noticed that I always say the friends name in my head as Lulu, instead of Lula.  Took me 15 books to notice it has an 'a' at the end.

        I also wondered about the possibility of Stephanie Plum movies.  So I just did what I always do when I wonder about things, I googled.  Apparently Katherine Heigl has been cast to play Stephanie in One for the Money.  Not who I would have suspected.   Plus it says that the movie has been in the works since 1994, so I wonder if it will actually ever get made.

        Wednesday, February 17, 2010

        Movie #1 - The Ugly Truth

        Mikey and I have a Netflix subscription that we've actually decided to end so I'm a little worried about making my 30 goal. However, the library has movies that can be rented so I'll just have to start checking those out. I probably won't go to many current movies. I much prefer my comfy chair and my own snacks, plus the handy pause button for bathroom breaks.

        So...The Ugly Truth stars Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler (I'm not going to lie, just had to look up his name).  Has an interesting plot - Heigl plays a tv producer at a small morning news show that is struggling to get viewers.  This part sorta reminded me of a local morning show here.   Butler is a guy who tells the 'Ugly Truth' about love and relationships, lands a job at the morning to show to try to save it and helps Heigl's character land the man of her dreams.  The rest I found pretty predictable frankly.  It was a good movie, but not one I'd rate as a must see and definitely not a re-watcher.

        Goal Update: Progress?

        So far so good on Goal 1 - Exercise 5 days a week. I have to say that doing Jillian Michael's 30 day shred about killed me yesterday, so today I went for a good walk. I'm going to try to do the 30 day shred again tomorrow - we'll see if I make the whole 30 minutes without dying.

        Goal 2 - Brushing teeth is pretty easy with it being a goal, which is why I made it one. I HATE brushing my teeth. I always have. I do it, b/c it's gross not to, but was down to once a day, which I know isn't good for me. But did I mention that I HATE it?

        Goal 6 - De-clutter and maintain my house is going okay. I have a good solid maintain going and I plan to start doing one organize project a day at some point, probably when school slows down a bit - which may be summer. Maintain is important to me. Our main living areas and bedrooms are pretty well organized, just need to focus on my scrap/craft room and our pantry area.

        Most of the other goals are a 1 at a time kinda deal, so I'll update them as I do one. I'm going to post my first movie review here in a minute and I'll finish my first book tonight and try to post a review of that tomorrow.

        Tuesday, February 16, 2010

        My first sewing project!

        I really wanted a sweet camera strap cover for my birthday, but I absolutely could not pick one from the sites that have them available.   Then I found this awesome tutorial which was thankfully super easy to follow.  My sewing skills are a bit rusty since the last time I sewed in 8th grade making a bag.

        I am really happy with the results.

        I used two different fabrics because I couldn't decide which one I liked better.
        I really wanted a pocket for my lens cap.  I have almost lost it about 100 times so I think it will be really handy.
        I put two pockets on it so that I could keep a spare SD card in one.
        I really love it!
        Roo modeling the finished product.

        The only thing I would add to the tutorial is that if you want to take nice pictures of it, and you only have 1 nice camera, take the pictures before you put it on your camera.  I was so excited that I actually made something that I put it on before taking pictures.

        Also, thank you, thank you, thank you to Simply Modern Mom for such a great tutorial.  I am a true beginner sewer and I am so excited to sew more.

        Sunday, February 14, 2010

        Saturday, February 13, 2010

        My hate/love relationship

        Poor Roo is sick. She has a cough and sometimes coughs so hard that she cries because it hurts, which then causes her to cough more. It breaks my heart. Her little eyes are all glassy and she has been refusing to eat much, presumably because her little throat hurts. It is the saddest thing ever. She won't sleep unless someone is holding her. I hate when she is sick.

        But there is a love part. See my little Roo is an independent runner of a little lady. She doesn't sit much, she doesn't cuddle - she's a mover and a shaker. The only holding I get to do of her is right away in the morning and then for the nightly bath, book, bed. Other than that I get the occasional kiss and hug, but only after begging. So call me a terrible parent, but I love that part of her being sick. I love her being snuggled against me and calling for me. Mikey likes it too, but both of us hope she feels better soon.

        Poor Baby...

        Friday, February 12, 2010

        Photostory Friday: Color me happy

        I thought this looked like a fun way to blog on Fridays so I thought I'd give it a try today.  So here goes my entry for Photostory Friday.

        PhotoStory Friday
        Hosted by Cecily and ???

        Roo has started to color now.  The first few times we gave her the crayons she mostly tried to stick them in her mouth, but now she colors.  It's not much, but I like her little lines on the paper.  It also looks like we might have a lefty, but I know that changes as they grow.


        Wednesday, February 10, 2010

        So far so good

        I know it's only been one day, but so far I've been holding up my daily goals.  I need to get some kind of counter for my pepsi goals.  I'll have to work on that.  I'm having one today so I guess I won't have one for a while.

        I was looking around to see if other people had blogged about being 30.  I think my google skills failed me on this one.  I did find this one which is not really what I am blogging about, but then I'm not much of an artist.   This one seems a little more similar, since I am a mom and that is a major focus of mine.  I added it to my google reader.  Seems like I have a lot in common with her.


        My birthday yesterday was a really nice day.  I started by getting Roo up and dressed and then we opened the card my mom had given me.   It had money in it and played "Girls just wanna have fun,"  which Roo loved and was dancing her little booty off too.

        We had a late start at school for a teacher inservice.  The teachers sent me flowers (we pool money every year and send everyone flowers on their birthday - it's nice).   Some of the kids also sang.  I had one kid tell me I "wasn't that old, just middle-aged."

        At home, Mikey brought home Chinese for supper and got a roll thing from DQ, which was super sweet.  We ordered a sewing machine for me which was my gift from him, but as a surprise he also told me that he had taken Friday off of work.  I have it off of school as well so that is a nice treat.  I also got cards in the mail from my MIL and SIL, was nice.  I am excited to use my birthday money to stock my sewing supplies and get some nice fabric to do some projects with.  I'm hoping to make Roo some clothes and make a purse for myself.

        I also have been reading more and more blogs.  I love reading what other mothers write - seems like we all go through pretty similar things and can learn from each other.  I also have been looking for fun sewing projects.  I have been posting on several of the blogs I have on my google reader, even though the only way I know how to comment is to actually go to blog (if anyone is reading this that has a way to do it just from reader, please comment!).    I still feel sorta funny when I comment - like why do they care what I think - but I hope that if anyone comes to this blog that they will comment.

        Tuesday, February 9, 2010

        Today is the day...

        It's my birthday.  I'm 30 years old.

        I’m not sure why turning 30 is having such an affect on me.  I know I’m not “old,” but I’m also not “young” anymore.  Something about that bothers me.  It’s like I don’t have any more excuses to not be an “adult” at all times.  Before turning 30 it seemed like there was always “later.”  Now later is here and I want to be better 30+ than I was 29-.

        To help me be better at 30 then I was before, I decided to come up with 30 goals for my 30th year (although technically it’s my 31st year as I have been alive for 30 already, but you know what I mean). 

        I wasn’t completely successful coming up with 30 goals.  So far I only have 22, but I figure in a whole year some more will come to me.

        I almost reconsidered a few just because I thought, “well this will be embarrassing if people know that I need this to be a goal in order to do it,” but the truth is the truth.  For example,  #2 – brush teeth daily, you might be thinking “really? She needs a goal for this?  What a wackjob!”  But that’s the fact, I do need a goal.  I HATE brushing my teeth.  Hate it.  So I figured make it a goal, it’ll be come a habit and I’ll be set.

        Other goals are maybe a little too easy.  For example, #23 – Go to Europe might sound like a crazy dream of a goal but I already have plans to go with aunt and my cousin’s school group.   I’m pretty excited about it and hope that goal #4 and #8 work into #23 nicely.

        So Happy Birthday to me!