Friday, December 30, 2011

A New Year

I've always said that New Year's is my least favorite holiday of all. I never really got into celebrating a new year, I just feel like it's another day, like any other. A new year isn't going to be a new start for me. In my experience, it takes more than a calendar changing to make major changes. So, in an attempt to get into the spirit, here are some memories of 2011 and things I look forward to in 2012:

Best moments/events of 2011

1. Moving to Florida
2. Getting a job (finally!) as a school counselor at Indian Trails Middle School
3. Going to the beach just because we can
4. Kelli and ZJ visiting me for my birthday
5. Being bone tired and physically/mentally/emotionally exhausted from packing/moving, laying on a half-deflated air mattress, and having Andrew say "I'm so glad I have you to do this with."
6. Remembering that we don't have to travel 10+ hours for Thanksgiving or Christmas

Favorite discoveries of 2011

1. Luigi's Italian Ice (lemon flavored)
3. Mezzaluna's Tuesday night pizza deal
4. The TV show "Walking Dead"

Saddest moments of 2011

1. Saying goodbye to my Lynchburg friends
2. Giving "Cat" away
3. Ohio State losing to Michigan

Things I look forward to in 2012

1. Our VA house selling
2. Finding a home to move into in FL
3. Trips to the beach
4. Having friends visit us in our new home in FL
5. More trips to the beach

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Very Etsy Christmas

My husband got me this for Christmas and I think I like it more than I'd like a tennis bracelet. I have a fascination with birds, especially those that soar in the sky and glide around without flapping their wings. My favorite song of all time is Paul McCartney's "Blackbird." I also love jewelry. That being said, allow me to introduce you to the cutest thing on Etsy that is now mine. I may never take it off:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Favorite Lines

I read a post on thepoineerwoman's blog the other day that sparked my interest, and made me want to get into blogging again. This one's plain and simple - favorite movie/tv lines that I think of on a daily basis. Or, at least weekly basis.

"If I woke up tomorrow morning with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised"
-Clark Griswold, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

This is quite possibly my favorite movie line of all time. I think the timing, the delivery and the content are remarkably hilarious.

"Break the wrist, walk away"
-Rex, Napoleon Dynamite

More often than not, when I'm walking away from a person, a situation or a place...I think of this line.

"I hate you and I hate your ass face"
-Corky St. Clair, Waiting for Guffman

I have learned to check and make sure my phone is off, but I say this a lot when I'm mad at something silly...or someone silly.

"We have so much in common, we both love soup and snow peas, we love the outdoors, and talking and not talking. We could not talk or talk forever and still find things to not talk about"
– Sherri Ann Cabot, Best in Show

This is the true measure of a friend...being able to talk or not talk forever, and still find things to not talk about.

"And THAT'S always leave a note."
-J. Walter Weathernma, Arrested Development

This one is used frequently when I (or anyone else) forget something...which is frequently.

"This is NOT pudding..."
-Random Whoville citizen, The Grinch who Stole Christmas

Andrew and I will pull this line out of the bag when we find out that something is not what we thought it was, or if we're eating something and it is disgusting.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fall in Florida

The things that I LOVED about fall, and will sorely miss, include:

1. The leaves changing
2. Wearing scarves
3. Ohio State football
4. Pumpkin spice lattes
5. Fall festivals
6. "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"
7. Making pumpkin baked goods (bread, cookies, etc)
8. Apple cider
9. Our annual Hutchtoberfest w/the Cooks
10. Anticipating snow days

Things I will LOVE about Fall in Florida include:

1. It is the end of September and it's still so warm - upper 80's!
2. Going to the beach in October
3. Swimming in the pool on the first day of fall
4. Pumpkin spice lattes
5. Seafood festivals
6. Ohio State Football
7. Knowing that it won't be snowing any time soon....or ever, really!
8. Wearing flip flops and shorts and t-shirts instead of jeans, hoodies and jackets
9. Have I mentioned the beach? It's still totally beach weather here
10. We can swim any day in November (thanks, Death Cab for Cutie!)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pen Pals

I have a pen pal. Her name is Elexia and she's in the 3rd grade. Right now she's learning her times tables and cursive, so I'm sending her word problems (practical applications.) She sent me a doll named Jessica and asked me to take pictures of Jessica around Palm Coast, doing what it is we do. Here's the first of many more to come.

Here's Jessica at the pool!

Here we are at the park where we walk the dogs every day.

Here she is at the lake at the park where we walk the dogs every day.

Here she is with uncle Andrew at the lake!

Here's Jessica and I at the lake. I think she likes it.

Here we are in St. Augustine (the oldest city in the United States) at the Oldest Wooden School House in the US.

And here is Jessica at my favorite place in the world, the beach.

There will be more adventures to come, stay tuned...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Move, Part 2

This is where we really started to see God's plan for the steps we've been taking for the past 5-6 months come together. I think it's best expressed through a timeline...

Wednesday, 7/27/11
8am - Load up the cars and drive to FL from Lynchburg, VA
11pm - Can't sleep. Check FL schools job websites. See a posting for a counselor at Indian Trails Middle School (ITMS). Apply for Job. Send principal email with resume and cover letter.

Thursday 7/28/11
2pm - Take nap and put phone on silent
2:45pm - Miss phone call from ITMS about scheduling interview for counselor position.
5:30pm - Wake up from nap. Listen to voicemail from school. Flip out.

Friday 7/29/11
8am - Call school. Am told my application is not visible.
8:01am - Call HR dept. Am told my certification is not visible, therefore my application isn't either. HR person contacts dept of education and finds certification - fixes problem. (sidenote: this could explain why none of the other schools have contacted me at all)
8:05am - Call school back. Application is now made visible to them. Schedule interview for 9am Monday morning.

Saturday & Sunday - wait impatiently....

Monday 8/1/11
9am - Interview at school.

Tuesday 8/2/11
9am - School calls. Set up 2nd interview for 1pm that day.
1pm - Second interview. Am told they can't tell me anything until Thursday when they submit their decision to HR.

Wednesday 8/3/11
3:45pm - School calls. They offer me the job, even though they haven't gone through HR. I wholeheartedly accept! (We've been in FL one week and I have my dream job...)
5pm - Go out w/Andrew, Mom & Dad to celebrate. I am FINALLY a school counselor!

Thursday 8/4/11
9am - Visit school board office. Get fingerprinted, drug tested and fill out a variety of paperwork. 1pm - Visit school, meet with principals and office staff.

Friday 8/5/11
10am - Visit school again, am told I can officially start Monday.

Monday 8/8/11
8am - My first day of work as a Guidance Counselor.

It is now Saturday and I've been a counselor for a full week. I absolutely love it! The school staff is great - very helpful and supportive. I already feel right at home. Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Move, Part 1

I desperately want to document how amazing this move has been so I'm going to just start writing.

Packing and getting the house ready was a mad rush and required an enormous, gigantic amount of work and effort. I thought we'd done a really great job of packing little by little from May-July, but boy did we have a lot left to do when it got down to the wire! We literally could not have done it without the help of some amazingly wonderful guys who helped up load the PODS.

Ask any of them - it was nothing short of a miracle that everything fit into the 16x8x8 little storage container. (Sidenote: If any of you Lynchburg folk plan on moving, call Marcel. The man is brain and braun, he masterminded how to fit all of our crap into one big rectangle.) We began exploring additional options at one point, and I even entertained the idea of trading my teeny tiny Jetta in for some kind of SUV just so we wouldn't have to leave anything behind! (I wasn't really in my right mind at that point...)

But - it all fit.

Every day we were bone-tired, painfully, supremely exhausted. We slept on a raft-like air mattress but I really think we could've slept standing up at that point. It was an adventure and we chose to see it as such. I've heard packing and moving can really put a strain on your marraige, but we grew closer and our marriage was strengthened by working together and choosing to be a team.

Ok, so we got the PODS packed and the house spotless and loaded up everything we'd need to live (while @ my parents') into our 2 cars. Both of the dogs were in my back seat. They tried to fit in the front with me, but as you can see, space was limited...

Meanwhile, Andrew's car was so packed, he couldn't see out of the right side of his car. Our solution? Walkie talkies, of course! He'd buzz me to ask if he could get over, and I'd let him know. I had the GPS and lead the way, and we worked well together.

Our 9-10 hour trip turned into 11 hours once we hit Georgia. The rain was in-freaking-tense. It was the kind where you'd put your flashers on, drove 25mph on the highway and prayed that you didn't veer off the road. We hit 3 20-30 minute patches of that madness and it was nervewracking, to say the least.

I was so thankful when we pulled into my parents' driveway! I had to peel my hands from the steering wheel, and I doubt the dogs (who did so, so well by the way) will ever want to go for a ride in the car ever again, as long as they both shall live. They were real troopers, honestly.

So in one word, I'd describe the process of getting from VA to FL as "exhausting." I'd also like to say that we were so, so, SO thankful to have arrived safely and with everything we'd need for the next who-know-how-many-weeks. We felt so blessed and were just thrilled that the hardest part was officially behind us!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pros and Cons

These are the things I am looking forward to when it comes to moving to Florida:
1. Living near my parents. We get along really well, and the older they get, the more I get nervous about them being so far away. They're no spring chickens!
2. The ocean. It is the most relaxing place in the world to be. If I ever get a job, I look forward to swinging by the beach on the way home to de-stress. If I don't get a job, I'll go there as often as I can to soak in the sights, sounds and sun rays.
3. No more snow. We watched a movie the other night where the actors were shivering in the wet, freezing snow. No thank you. I've had enough of it and I'll be happy if I never see another flake as long as I live.
4. I only have one grandparent left, and she lives in Tampa, FL. That means I'll get to see her more than once every few years and I think that will be fantastic! I also have some cousins there and it will be so nice to see them more often.
5. Change. I really crave change every so often, whether it's a hair cut or re-arranging the furniture. This is a rather large change, and pretty much everything is going to change with this trip. I say bring it on!
6. The warm weather. We'll be near enough to the ocean that we'll have the nearly constant breeze keeping the humidity away.
7. Adventure! There are so many new places to see and explore there! I've already looked up the local festivals and have a few in the fall I'm excited about. There are a ton of nature preserves there, natural springs, and other outdoorsy things for us to do.
8. Visitors. I'd like to think that living in such close proximity to St Augustine, Disney, and other various travel destinations will give the Hutcheson Bed & Breakfast some business. (Friends - please come and visit us!)
9. The housing market. Once we sell our house, we'll have so many wonderful new homes (at bargain, clearance bin prices!)

Things I am not looking forward to when it comes to moving to Florida.
1. I will miss my friends here so, so much. They have become a family and a community to Andrew and I. That's the only thing that is really making this move difficult. It wrenches my heart to think about it, so I'll stop...
2. I don't have a job lined up. We'll be fine and I'm sure I'll find something, but I feel like I'm starting over from scratch. It's taken me 2 years to build a reputation in the school system here and I've worked hard to do so. Now, it's back to square one.
3. Packing.
4. Unpacking.
5. Moving is expensive. We have a PODS and it sounds perfect - we load it, they move and store it til we're ready for them to bring it to our new home, whenever and wherever that might be.
6. The dogs are going to be cooped up in my dad's workroom for as long as we're staying at my parents' and boy do these pups like to bark!
7. Living at my parents' house. Their house is amazing and wonderful and so are my parents, but we hope it's a short visit for the sake of our relationships.
8. Trying to sell our house from several states away. We'll see how this works out!
9. Scorpions, snakes and alligators. They live in FL, too, and I hope to avoid them.

That's all I've got for now. I am so very thankful for my partner in crime, Andrew, for picking up the slack when I get worn out and for being the bread winner and actually getting a stellar job in this daunting and recessed market.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Boxes boxes everywhere...

I was in the zone this weekend. I packed up every blanket in this joint (to take to Florida...where it's warm all the time) along with sheets and towels. I was really surprised at the amount of blankets that we have. Most are useful (comforters, throws, etc) but then there are the nostalgic ones. The Care Bear blankets my mom made for me when I was a baby, Andrew's dinosaur afghan that he's had since he was little. But many blankets!

Next, I boxed up the kitchen. I got about 75% of it done. It's no concidence that I boxed up all of my cooking gear first. No more cooking for me!

Thank you, Chick Fil A, for your wonderful boxes!

These have been my best friends over the past few days, and I feel like we're only going to become closer as the weeks pass.

Book Review of The Canary List

This book had a slow start, and there were a few spots where I was frustrated with the story-line (with the main character, Crockett Grey, being falsely accused and set up). There was not an overtly Christian message to this book, although there were a lot of nods to the idea of spiritual warfare. I was honestly hoping for more from this book. I am an avid reader of Ted Dekker and Robert Liparulo, and was hoping for more of a page-turner. The book was well written and kept my interest once I got into the middle of it, but it was not as exciting as I'd hoped. The ending is wrapped up neatly and I wasn't left with any questions, and I always appreciate that in a novel.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Side Salads

Andrew and I have a problem, and it is late night snacking. We can't seem to help ourselves, now that we have the summers off and are without a bedtime. I like to think that this worked for the good (Romans 8:28 in action!) the other night when he talked me into going to McDonald's somewhere around midnight to get $1 sundaes.

As we rolled up to the drive thru, I saw that they had a side salad on their $1 menu. On a whim, I ordered that instead of a hot fudge sundae (I know! What was I thinking?!)
Here's the thing - it was awesome! For $1 it is a decent sized salad, and seemed very fresh. I stopped on my way home tonight and picked 2 up to go with dinner! It's cheaper than buying a bag of mixed greens and it comes with your choice of dressing. It's a win-win.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Florida bound

In a month, we'll be living in Florida. Right now, it really doesn't seem quite real.

My parents retired in Palm Coast, FL last fall, and this spring, Andrew got a job teaching AP Physics at a high school there. I'm very excited to be closer to my family. My parents aren't getting any younger, and I am looking forward to living near them again. I haven't lived near them for more than a few weeks since 1999 when I left for college!

So we have our house on the market and are waiting for it to sell. The last bit of June and all of July seem like a total waiting period for us. Waiting for me to hear about the ten thousand jobs I've applied for, waiting to sell our house, waiting to pack, waiting to move. It's really not very all.

I've been fervently looking for a job as a school counselor down there, but there really aren't many openings. I haven't given up yet, but it's not a promising job market at the moment, so I guess I'll just plan to be a professional beach bum :) I do look forward to the constant ocean breeze and the warm weather year-round. I'll be happy if I never see another snowflake ever, ever again. Granted, that means no more snow days...but we'll have hurricane days to look forward to! And did I mention that we're only 10 minutes from the beach??

It's an exciting time for us, but also a time of being patient and trusting that God has a plan that is far beyond what we can ask or imagine. When I talk with God I feel like He says to me over and over: "Just trust me." Looking back over our last move (to VA) and several other circumstances where I wasn't sure how things would turn out - He has been 100% faithful and has proven His trustworthiness over and I have nothing to worry about!

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I have a new love in my life, and it is dehydrated vegetables. As I posted recently in a post about Summertime Snacks, I discovered these in the organic aisle of my local Kroger. They're healthy, locally grown and delicious! I'm choosing not to do any research on whether veggies lose their nutrients in the dehydration process. Ignorance is bliss...

So I went out of my way this afternoon to swing by Kroger and pick up a tub or two of veggie chips. Much to my dismay, they were out of the usual selection and only had dehydrated okra, and green beans.

Heaven help me, I am head over heels for them! FINALLY a vegetable I can adore wholeheartedly! Maybe it's the crunch, maybe it's the light dusting of salt that covers them, or maybe it's the delicious, earthy taste that makes my heart skip a beat. I'm not sure, but I do know this: I will never be the same.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Me and my crafty ways...

I started a major project the other day. It won't be done until we've moved to FL and I have access to a sewing maching - but here's the beginning:

As we were packing, we discovered a whole lot of tee shirts that we've been holding on to for years for sentimental reasons. We haven't worn some of them in over a decade but the memories they ignite are worth saving. So - I'm making a quilt out of them! I cut up 36 squares, and plan to sew them together. I made a quilt for Andrew when we were in college, and I'm pretty sure I'm up for the task.

I started with a 12x12" template for the squares and tried to cut out the most interesting part of the shirt:

This was my senior class t-shirt. Go Bulldogs, class of '99!

This is the finished stack:

And here are the disembowled remains:

The oldest shirt award goes to Andrew's middle school track team shirt. It is 17 years old.

Stay tuned for updates - this is gonna be a good one!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thank You Notes...

I saw the hilarious and sarcastic Jimmy Fallon do this on his late night show and think it's hilarious, so I'm totally mimicking him. It's the greatest form of flattery...right?

Thank you automatic paper towel dispenser in public restrooms. That 5 inches of transparent, seethrough towel that you give me to dry my soaking wet hands is clearly sufficient. Thanks.

Thank you chick behind me in line at the store talking on your cell phone for the whole world to hear. I love hearing about what a jerk your boyfriend is and no, I can't believe he did that.

Thank you family of 5 who are walking at a snail's pace in front of me, spread out side by side and taking up the entire aisle at Target, making it impossible for me to pass you and walk like a normal human being.

Thank you driver who doesn't know that you can turn right on red. I appreciate how attentive you were when you learned the rules of the road to get your driver's license, and the 5 minutes I wasted waiting to turn right at a red light while the entire road is clear.

Thank you cashier who hands me my receipt, cash and change in one stack. That's going to fit so neatly into my wallet, because all 3 of those things go together. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to stand there and separate them, putting the coins in the zippered compartment, and the cash in it's little section while everyone behind me has to wait. I'm sure they appreciate it, too.

Thank you shopping cart with the one wonky wheel. I like the whole store to know where I am at all times, so it's convenient that and you announce my arrival so loudly. Thanks.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Veggie Bundles

Last night I grilled out. I'm pretty sure the entire neighborhood was jealous of the smells eminating from my deck. BBQ chicken and marinated veggie bundles!

It was delish. I chopped up some zucchini, squash, small white potatoes and mushrooms and threw them into a piece of aluminum foil along with a dash of olive oil and spices.

They cooked on one side for 10 minues, and then I flipped them over for another 10. I wish I took picture of the finished product, but they went quickly. I think they would also work served on top of rice or whole wheat noodles. Maybe next time...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summertime Snacks

Well, I'm back on the healthy kick again. When I'm home for the summer, I try to fill my house with healthy snacks because those will become my only options.

Last week we stocked up on fruits.

Today I got these veggie chips from the grocery store - they're dehydrated (I think?) and are from a local farm. They are delish! This was after I'd eaten most of the zucchini and green bean pieces.


Tonight we had baked salmon, rice and green beans with a fresh summer salad. Here's to eating right!

There's nothing like being in a bathing suit to make you want to get your body in shape. Maybe I'll hang one on my fridge to keep me accountable!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

They say it's your birthday...

Well, this is it. I turned the big 3-0 on Friday.

For those of you who know me, you understand that birthdays are a major ordeal to me, and should be treated as such. I was a middle child and growing up, this was the one, single day a year where I got to choose things. Where we went out to eat, what kind of cake we had (always marble with chocolate icing, always) and what kind of things we did. It was great. The 364 other days of the year, I had to simply go with the flow.

When Andrew and I first got married, he had no idea what he was getting into when it came to b-days. My mom always had a themed party that she threw, it was a big ordeal and I loved it. One year it was circus themed and we made hot air balloon cupcakes. Another year, our back porch was transformed into Candy Land. We're talkin' some serious stuff here. So Andrew's really had to step up his game over the years and I've been impressed with what he's come up with. It's one day a year that's all about me and I take it pretty seriously.

That being said, this year I have been absolutely, positively dreading my birthday. Highly unlike me. Last year when I turned 29, I thought "Well, I have a whole year until I have to really freak out."

Time's up!

So here's where I am with this: I don't feel 30. I don't feel the least bit 30 years old. I don't look it, that's for sure (although I feel like that has something to do with my being 5'2") and I just don't feel like it's real - at all.

It's not that 30 seems super old to me or anything, it's just that I feel like I should have accomplished more by now, or that I should have more to show for 30 years. This is me being completely honest.

For starters, my biological clock is screaming at me. My brain and my heart are doing a pretty good job of not paying any attention to it. Translation: I'm not ready for kids. I do not posess an internal, maternal instinct. Shouldn't I, by age 30? Most of my friends have kids, or are currently prego. Why not me? I just don't have any desire yet. I love kids, I enjoy my friends' kids - but I'm not in a place yet where I have any stirring or remotely any desire for one of my own. Maybe something's wrong with me, I don't know.

Then there's my career. I earned my M.Ed in School Counseling in 2009. Two years later, I've had a hodge podge of jobs semi-related to counseling but haven't even really started my career. Loooo-ser. That's what it feels like. I get it - the economy is in the crapper and there are budget cuts all across the nation in the realm of education, but doesn't do much for the ol' self-esteem that I'll turned 30 on Friday, and then file for unemployment the following week when I'm officially laid off. Awesome...

I'm not going to apologize if this is super depressing, it's just where I am at this station in life.

Then I talked to my mom. She had some great words of wisdom for me, and in a very mom-like fashion, she made me feel a little better about myself. She reminded me of how much I accomplished during my 20's (graduated from college, got married, bought a house, figured out what I want to do with my life and pursued my M.Ed for 3 years, and graduated with the aforementioned M.Ed) and then said that that was a very productive decade - now, I get to enjoy those accomplishments. A strong, firm and blessed marriage, and two degrees.

I'd like to believe her that the hardest years are over. I guess we'll see...!

So as I was gloomily dreading this monumental and depressing day - my husband took it upon himself to plan a surprise weekend for me to ring in the new decade.

I had no clue what was going on.

He didn't budge, either. I had absolutely no idea if we were staying here, travelling some place, or what. He kept telling me that I would find out the day before my actual birthday, but I went absolutely insane trying to figure this out!

I realized that even if it turned out to just be pizza in the basement with a movie, I couldn't care less. He'd done the impossible - he made me excited about this birthday that I've been fearing for a while now. God bless him.

Thursday night, Andrew revealed the big surprise to me and it far exceeded my expectations. He and my dear friend Kelli had been plotting for a couple of weeks to have him fly her and her darling little miss ZJ down to VA to visit for a long weekend.

Joy of all joys!

Kelli and I lived together for 2 years in college, worked together for 2 years in Columbus and talk/email all the time about how we miss those days. The idea of sipping coffee with her, going to Panera for lunch like we used to (on a very consistent basis when we were co-workers) and simply sitting together once more in the same room was absolutely perfect.

So we spent the weekend eating great food, sipping coffee, getting pedicures, strolling around downtown, shopping, having lunch at good ol' Panera, and just enjoying one another's company. It was wonderful and enriching to be with Kelli, one of the most sincere and genuine people I've ever met.

And so now I am 30.

Having a great friend and a wonderful husband by my side made the transition from one decade to the next much smoother and more enjoyable.

Thank you, Kelli and Andrew for making my weekend splendid!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

When I'm 64

In case you are new to my blog, I love The Beatles.

My mom lived in England in the 60's when they were just getting started and was a part of Beatle Mania. She introduced me to them.

For the past...I don't know...decade or so, I've wanted to make a video for my mom's 64th Birthday to go along with the Beatles' tune "When I'm 64."

This was the year - today is the day - my mom is turning 64! For the past few weeks, I've been putting together a story board and it was SO much fun to watch it come to life! My dear, sweet and very talented husband was all about it. We had an absolute blast taking pictures, editing the video and laughing hysterically the entire time.

Please click HERE to see the finished product. Enjoy!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Z is for...

Z is for Zoo, Zippers and Zebras!

A few years ago, we went to the Virginia Safari Park. It was SO much fun, and is probably my favorite thing in this area. I highly recommend it.

It's also been called the "drive through zoo" because that's exactly what you do - you drive through the zoo and feed wild animals out of your window.

There were Camels:


(please note the horrified expression on my face, those things were terrifyingly vicious!)


And my favorite, the zebras:

It wasn't until we were on our way home and Andrew was looking through the brochure with all of the warnings (probably should have read that part first...) that we learned you are not allowed to feed or pet the zebras.

We did both.

Of all the animals there, they seemed the most like a "normal" animal. Aren't they just striped horses? I used to ride horses and they are easy to feed, so I followed the same "keep your hand flat" rule and all went well. What a strange rule to have...

I'm sad that this A-Z blog challenge is now over :( I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Y is for...

Y is for Yodelling, Youngsters and Yum-yum sauce!

I had a really hard time thinking up something that started with a "Y" to write about! Then I remembered yum-yum sauce.

This is a white sauce served at Japanese restaurants, for those of you who are unaware.! I'm sure it's insanely unhealthy, but it is irresistible as well.

You can dip anything in it, really, but I think shrimp work the best with it. I usually pretend to accidentally drop one in when I'm trying to dip...because then it's completely smothered in the yum-yum! Andrew simply pours it all over his rice and whatever else he's dining on at the time.

At take out places, you can typically as for as many containers of it as you want. This is amazing because then you can either use it all in one sitting and be a total glutton, or save it to try as a dipping sauce with various veggies (which, in turn, makes them rather unhealthy...still gluttonous, but with it.)

I need to stop because I'm salivating. Anyway, if you haven't ever had it - go out right now and get a meal from Yamazoto's or Tokyo, or Koto's and enjoy the heck out of it! And also, bring me some...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

X is for...

X is for Xavier, X-Men and X-rays!

Long story short - there's a titanuim rod in my leg. A few months ago I had it x-rayed and here it is!

X-rays absolutely amaze me. They seem somehow magical and I, for one, am appreciative.

Monday, May 2, 2011

W is for...

W is for Wendy, Winning and Water.

In 2005, Kelli and I started a hydration campaign. We got ourselves a couple of $1 water bottles from Target's dollar bins and, since our offices at the AHA were right next to the bathroom, we drank ourselves silly on h2o.

This lasted a few weeks...but we gave it our best shot.

Since then I've tried to start up a hydration campaign on my own again without much success. That is until last November/December when Jaime and I made a trip to Ollie's for a couple of Eddie Bauer water bottles. They cost $3 and have changed my life. I don't know how I ever survived before my little blue bottle. It goes with me to work, and I use it constantly at home to hydrate myself. For a while, Jaime and I were drinking 4-5 25oz (ok, mine's 23oz) bottles a day! We decided there may be such a thing as over-hydrating so we've since cut back.

We've overcome many obstacles, my little water bottle and I...first there was the time I left it my car and then it snowed and I had to literally dig my car out to get to it...and more recently, the school where I work stopped providing us with filtered water. I had no choice but to bring in bottled water from home and refull it myself. (Ghetto? Maybe - but it's that or drink water from the water fountain shared by 300+ 12-14 year olds, which makes me want to vomit.)

The benefits of hydrating your body are endless. It helps to flush out toxins, improves the quality of your skin, and help you sleep at night!

Do yourself a favor - add more water to your routine! You won't regret it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

V is for...

V is for Violins, Veracity and Virginia!

I was born in the great state of VA and am happy to call it home again. I've spent a total of 23 years living in this state, with a brief, 7-or-so-year hiatus in Ohio. It was cold and miserable, and minus the great friends and great shopping, I hated it.

So we moved back to VA in 2006.

But it is the weather that is driving us further south, in the hopefully-near future. Virginia, I have loved you. You have mountains, ocean, beautiful fall foliage and some of the most wonderful people in the world. I'll miss the excitement and hope of snow days, hiking through the hillsides with Samson, and the alligator-free lakes. But I look forward to warmer weather, being close to the ocean and my family, and the threat of hurricanes (ok, maybe not that last part).

VA, it's been real.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

U is for...

U is for Unicorns, Underwear and Umbrellas.

I have a habit of buying the cheapest, shortest-lasting umbrellas ever made. When standing in front of a selection of them in a store, I always pick the $5 one. Never fails.

It lasts maybe two rain storms, and breaks.

Then I'm back at the store, buying another two-use umbrella.

But then, last summer, I splurged on a $12.99 umbrella! I'm happy to say that I still have it and it's still going strong.

Please let this be a lesson - learn from my mistakes: spend a few extra dollars and purchase a worth-while umbrella. You won't regret it.

Friday, April 29, 2011

T is for...

T is for Tea, Ties and Teachers!

Teachers are the unsung hearoes of our world. In a recent article I read on, teaching ranked as the #3 most stressful job in the nation, second only to careers in the medical profession.

I come from a long line of teachers. My grandmother was one, my mother was and so are all 3 of her sisters. I also married one of the world's best teachers. And, even though I am planning for a career as a guidance counselor, I have spent the past two years in the classrooms of some of the most wonderful, caring, dedicated, underpaid, underappreciated people ever.

A typical day in the life includes getting to work at 7:30am, making copies, answering emails, making sure students don't kill each other before school even starts, monitoring classrooms, hallways and bathrooms, listening to students who have drama going in their lives, listening to fellow teachers who have drama in their lives, monitoring situations between students who don't get along, keeping an eye on hyperactive students who can't focus, watching a lunchroom full of students who are constantly trying to get away with something, providing boundaries and discipline to 100 different children a day, considering 100 different learning styles, grading papers, entering grades into a non-user-friendly online gradebook, planning for the next day, preparing materials for the remainder of the week, taking a verbal beating from a parent whose student is failing because they haven't turned in work for 4 weeks, motivating every student to pass a standardized test a mere 3 weeks away from summer vacation...

...oh yeah, and teaching lessons.

I have the utmost respect for teachers who dedicate their lives to the profession, because that's what it takes to be a great teacher. It's not just a job, it is a lifestyle that these brave people have chosen. It doesn't end at 3pm and it doesn't end in June when school lets out. It's constant and I applaud those who are up to the challenge.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

S is for...

S is for Silliness, Sock hops and Songs

A few years ago I got a silly chain email with directions on making a "soundtrack to your life." I looked into it and decided I'd fill one in for myself.

Two weeks later...after carefully selecting songs from a variety of favorite artists...and borrowing cd's from's the finished product. I wouldn't change a thing!

OPENING CREDITS: "Square One" by Coldplay or "Suddenly I See" by KT Tunstall

WAKING UP SCENE: "Sleeping In" by The Postal Service" or "Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane

AVERAGE DAY SCENE: "Times Like These" by Jack Johnson

BEST FRIEND SCENE: "Walking Out of Stride" by Badly Drawn Boy or "The Puppy Song" by Harry Nilsson.

GIRLS NIGHT OUT SCENE: "Hit 'Em Up Style" by Blue Cantrell

FIRST DATE SCENE: "Clark Gable" by The Postal Service or "Nice and Easy" by Frank Sinatra

FALLING IN LOVE SCENE: "Passenger Seat" by Death Cab for Cutie or "Do You Want to Know a Secret" by The Beatles

FIGHT WITH SIGNIFICANT OTHER SCENE: "Consider This" by Anna Nalick or "Long Day" by Matchbox 20

BREAK UP SCENE: ""What If?" by Coldplay or "Cold Hands (Warm Heart)" by Brendan Benson

"LIFE'S OKAY" SCENE: "The Hardest Part" by Coldplay

HEARTBREAK SCENE: "I Can't Seem To Make You Mine" by The Clientelle or "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You" by Colin Hay

CONCERT DAY SCENE: "Let Me Roll It/Back in the USSR" by Paul McCartney

LIFE ON THE ROAD SCENE: "Clocks" by Coldplay

RUNNING AWAY/MOVING OUT SCENE: "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" by The Postal Service

MAKEOUT SCENE: "American Woman" by Lenny Kravitz

LESSON LEARNING SCENE: "Faith my Eyes" by Caedmon's Call or "We Become Silhouettes" by Postal Service

DEEP THOUGHT SCENE: "Half-Life" by Duncan Sheik or "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds

FLASHBACK SCENE: "100 Years" by Five for Fighting

PARTY SCENE: "You Rock My World" by Michael Jackson

HAPPY DANCE SCENE: "All I Wanna Do" by Cheryl Crow

REGRET SCENE: "Blackbird" by Paul McCartney

LONG NIGHT ALONE SCENE: "It Never Entered my Mind" by Miles Davis or "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind" by Ray Charles

DEATH SCENE: "On Your Porch" by The Format

CLOSING CREDITS: "Such Great Heights" by Iron & Wine

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

R is for...

R is for Romance, Recipes and Retro TV Shows!

Here are some of my favorite Retro TV shows from the 80's:

1. Saved By The Bell.
How ridiculous is this show? I loved watching this show as a kid and thinking that's what high school was really going to be like. Who remembers the Hawaii episode where 17 year old Zach falls in love with a woman who has a 6 year old child?! And Kelly Kapowski gets into a relationship with a lawyer...? Really? He has to be in his late 20's/early 30's. Illegal? I think so.

2. Full House.
"Have mercy" - I was madly in love with uncle Jesse. This show doesn't ever get old.

3. You Can't Do That On Television.
Why did my parents let me watch this show?

4. The World of David the Gnome.
This was a cartoon about a gnome who lived in the forest and rode on a fox. Anyone?

5. Hey Dude.
I loved this show about life on a dude ranch. Every girls goes through a horse phase, right?

6. Fraggle Rock.
I loooooooove puppets! This show had it all, as far as I was concerned; adventure, a catchy theme song, and puppets! "Laugh your cares away...worries for another day..."

7. Perfect Strangers.
Cousin Larry and Balki Bartokomous got into some sticky situations...always good for a laugh!

8. Double Dare.
Who didn't want to be on this show?! I loved it and always fantasized about competing in the final challenge - sliding down into a giant sized ice cream sundae to retrieve a tiny red flag before the bell rings...!!!

9. The Snorks.
Another beloved cartoon about a group of mysterious under water creatures...

10. Hey Vern, It's Ernest!
This show is soooo obnoxious but boy did I love it as a kid. We currently have the first season on DVD, courtesy of my in-laws.