Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More Glitzy Toddlers

Oh Toddlers and Tiaras....last week's episode focused a little more on weight more than I'm comfortable with.  Mostly because the focus didn't seem to be on being healthy, but on what the pageant director called "Barbie-perfect."  We have all read the articles on how unhealthy Barbie would be if she was a real person so to tell little girls that this is what wins seems unnecessary  I know that facial beauty is the focus of most of these competitions.  I know childhood obesity is a big problem.  But do you think that a 8 year old should be counting calories?  I was broken hearted when one kid was shoveling a piece of pie into her mouth so her mom wouldn't catch her. 

Now, totally off that topic....one mom bought a red limo for her daughter that is used for pageants only!!!  How crazy is that?  A big, RED, limo for a 5 year old.  And then this poor little girl was late for both of her categories, almost missing one completely!!!  And then mom was upset when she didn't win anything.  I don't have kids and I don't participate, but even I am aware that points are deducted for lateness in all of these?

Monday, January 30, 2012


I am officially registered for my School District and School Building Leader exams!  I am terrified and a little excited.  I am completely NOT ready to leave teaching at this time but reviewing for the tests along with doing the internship always gets my brain spinning.  I have an idea in mind for what I would like to do but am not sure the kind of position I want will become available any time soon.  (They are few and far between)

I hate studying for tests.  I can promised you that this means there will be a couple of posts in the coming months about how much I hate it and how much I can't wait for these tests to be over.  Apologies ahead of time and any recommendations from anyone who's already taken these wretched things will be appreciated!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Running Motivation

I am having a hard time lately choosing the run over a trip to the gym.  I made it out on Saturday for an enjoyable run and a walk  on Sunday.  The past 2 days...nada.  I know that I need new sneakers and new running clothes are always a strange motivation but I just don't want to go shop for them.

I should be able to get to the gym tonight after my seminar but I am so tired I can't even think about it.  I'll put my stuff in my bag and just make the best of it.

So, tell me, what motivates you to get outside for a run?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Huge Loss

 Sunday morning I got up and was doing my little morning routine when I stepped on the scale.  I was quite shocked when it told me that I weighed 29lbs!  I picked up the scale thinking something must be stuck somewhere, shook it, cleaned off the feet and set it back down to give it a second try.  Again, 29lbs.  As much I am working on losing some weight over a hundred pounds in a few days is extreme, even for the miracle pills they advertise on the web.  I pulled the battery, gave it a minute and then tried again.  Same thing. 

Since I am not dead I know that this means the scale is done.  Time for a new scale...if a scale is going to be wrong it needs to at least be realistic enough for me to believe!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Delicious Experiment

This week I bought kale at the farm stand near the condo.  I had visions of recreating a greens side-dish I'd had a couple of weeks ago.  They were sauteed in oil with garlic, maybe some lemon and who knows what else.  They were amazing.  However, probably not so healthy.

We got 6-8 inches of snow overnight in Saturday so I spent my morning vegging out on the couch with coffee and trying to think of how to cook up what I already had here.  The recipe experiment I settled on was Kale Chips.  After reading quite a few variations, I decided to go simple.  They are AMAZING!!  Not to mention super-easy and healthy.  These little chips are light and crispy, with just enough "green" flavor.  I think they'd be really good on a cheese plate  or as a garnish but I am eating them as lunch with a slice of toast topped with light laughing cow cheese. I have to find a way to incorporate this into my regular cooking routine.
Yummy lunch!
Here's what I did!

1 Bunch Kale
Olive oil
Kosher salt

Wash and dry the kale, I used a salad spinner.  Cut off the stems and ribs and tear the leaves into pieces.  Mine ended up all sorts of sizes, maybe 2-3 inches for most.

Toss with about a tablespoon of oil and kosher salt to taste.  (I like a little, if I were sharing with Sarge he would want more!)

Bake in 350 degree for about 12 minutes, until nice and crisp but not burnt.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Love my coffee a little more today

I am tired this morning, I was at school last night until 9 and will be out again tonight for our final winter concert so I'm going to keep this simple today.  The concerts are fun but exhausting.  I was only page turning and helping with lights and I was still beat by the time I got home.  So, today's blog is short, sweet and about one of my favorite things, which I needed desperately today, COFFEE!!!

Every now and then I read a blog that makes me smile and I learn a little bit.  As I sit with my morning cup of coffee (okay, my 2nd cup) I appreciate it a little more.  On NPR's blog The Salt I just read that in 17th Century Istanbul you could be decapitated for drinking coffee!!!  Check out the article here.  I had no idea that coffee was as controversial as alcohol at different times and places or that drinking was punishable by death.  Seems a little extreme, doesn't it?

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Bread Machine

When I moved in with Sarge about a year and a half ago we had to put stuff in the previously unused attic.  Currently we have two of many things and too many things altogether.  However, we found a bread machine in the attic most likely from the previous owner.  It was in it's original box with the directions, etc. so I decided to use my day off to play with it!

Today's experiment, and hopefully the first of a few successes, is a wheat bread.  I chose a combination of wheat and white flours because I didn't want it to be too dense.  I had to play with the water/dry ingredients to get the consistency right for the dough in the "first mix" but I think I got it.  As I type it's rising and smells pretty good.

Here's the end result...very yummy!  The pictures I tried to take all came out poorly but it tasted very good.  Not too dense and enough wheat to make it a little healthier.  I don't know that I'll use it again while I'm by myself but I think when there are two of us again I'll start using the bread machine more often.  Too easy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Moonshiners Finale

A week late and I finally got around to watching the Moonshiner's finale.  I've learned that prohibition and moonshining led to the development of stock car racing among other random facts that may come in handy if I ever make it to Jeopardy.  The names on this show just keep getting better, too.  Tim, Tickle, Popcorn and Bang Bang.  I am going to miss this show, though I enjoyed the moonshiners more than the ABC officers that were followed.

It seems that our star is trying to make as much cash as possible so that he can go legit because moonshining is so dangerous, not to mention illegal.  Tim and Tickle end up making a fruit brandy to make some extra money and end up with almost 600lbs of bananas to make $100 gallon.  He did save up enough to go meet with investors and that's how the series ends, with Tim getting into a private plane...if that moonshine (which will be called "White Whiskey" for who knows what reason) ever ends up in a liquor store near me I'll definitely pick up a bottle!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ammo, ammo everywhere

Last night was unpacking a bag of groceries I'd picked up the previous day and as I got to the bottom of the bag I thought it was heavy for being empty.  I figured that I'd missed the eyeshadow palette I'd picked up, though I thought it was already on my dresser.  It was a bullet!  And I can't figure out how the heck it ended up there. 

This is something I almost expect when Sarge is home; there are bullets everywhere.  Snap caps most often (which are for practice and not explosive) but others are always floating around, too.  They fall out of packs and bags after a day at the range and I never know where they'll turn up.  We actually spent some time before deployment sorting the loose bullets and then giving some away. (Yay!)  Last fall I was doing the "purse changeover" and had a bunch fall out of my purse.  How do they end up in these odd places?  I'm sure I'm not putting them in my grocery bags or purses!  What work-related odds and ends do other people end up with in their homes?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2 down

and 2 to go!  My first two performing groups sang last night and were fantastic!!  I wrote recently that teaching music is often about more than the music.  Last night it was totally about the singing and the music!  2 more tonight and then I'll be done with performances for school until this spring.

On another happy note, I sang my last performance for the season Sunday night.  Yay!!!  It really did go very well and my mom came with me which is always fun.  She hadn't seen this season's program and I love having her in the audience. 

I'm already in rehearsals for this spring's concerts with one group and I'm sure SWE won't be far behind.  We were already talking about our two upcoming performances at Sunday's concert.  We're doing one "regular" concert and an opera night fundraiser.  I'm kind of excited about those and now it's time to start thinking about an aria or two...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lock N Load Java

I have a new favorite coffee!  I ordered some because the company seemed to be absolutely great.  After ordering I really think that it is. Lock N Load Java is veteran owned and run, a small-ish company and the coffee is top notch!

First, when I ordered coffee for myself I also ordered some for Sarge.  Anyone who knows us will tell you that it's one thing we both love.  A LOT.  Anyway, I missed the section where you can enter the address for the package going to the troops. (They have packages you can send specifically to overseas soldiers as well as ordering for yourself.)  I immediately emailed their customer service and it was fixed the same day.  Sarge got his coffee before I did!!!  Now,  I think mine was back-ordered, but still, that is impressive.  When it arrived, there was a hand-written note on the invoice.  Dorky, but I though that was particularly nice.

When my Warrior Blend arrived...the package is awesome.  Don't you think so? 

I brewed the first pot Sunday morning while I was "un-decorating" my condo.  It smelled good and tasted even better.  It actually helped me to stay motivated for the two hours it took to take down and put away all of my Christmas stuff.  It's now in two bins ready to go to the basement afterschool one day this week.

FYI:  I was not compensated for this post, I just really loved the coffee!!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Teaching music

I was watching Treme earlier this week and Antoine said something to a kid that made me smile.  "Every jazz musician was in the school band.  It's where you learn."  Later on his co-teacher said that their band was about "More than music."  It sounds so trite when boiled down to those two sentences from an HBO show, but it really says something about what I spend my days doing.

My students are currently preparing for their concerts next week.   Yes, we are working on our music and I want them to be memorized and we are making some attempts towards real musicality at points.  We've spent hours learning correct pitches and rhythms (and some learned incorrectly that we're trying to fix!) and working on lyrics in English, Latin, Spanish and Italian.  However, it's about also learning to be a part of something.  Learning to be respectful to the other musicians and the audience.  It's about learning to listen, respond and strive towards something more.  So when my kids were singing Mozart today, it was about singing Mozart.  But it was also about so much more that they don't even understand yet.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Toddlers and Tiaras

I must have an thing about Southern accents!  Last night I was loving Toddlers and Tiaras.  This particular episode featured a mom who is a coupon queen and her couponing pays for her daughter Alana's pageants.  These little girls are so cute, funny and a little wild sometimes.  My favorite for the night, Alana, did a Daisy Duke routine all hyped up on Mountain Dew and I had to laugh.  I was also a little horrified at watching her momma do the routine along with her from the audience.  Alana captured my heart though when she squeezed her belly all up during her final interview and said "I showed my belly to the judges.  Look at this big thing.  They don't know a good thing when they see it."  She was sooo cute!!  That is a little girl who is happy being herself and really did look like she enjoyed all the parts of the pageant.  I am hooked on the show and I really did enjoy seeing a girl who wasn't screaming, throwing tantrums or being forced into practicing.  Then again, the girl who came in 2nd overall was more along those lines...is that the cost of winning?

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I read a post about cop-speak yesterday (here) and began thinking about how much of it gets into your everyday life when you are married to a police officer.  I remembered when Sarge and I first started dating and when talking on the phone he'd say "Stand by One."  It took a couple weeks before I realized that he meant "hold on a minute."  I'd be talking to no-one and totally confused!

In the last two years I've learned about EDPs ( Emotionally Disturbed Person), that a magazine is not reading material, a red-light taxi takes someone back to the station, and "take the ride" refers to someone being tasered, not a roller coaster.  I also had to learn that it's a tour, not work.  Have a good day at work is not equal to having a safe tour.  There is a certain amount of lingo that goes along with being married to a cop and I'm still picking it up.  (The Army has a whole different set of acronyms and words, another post for another day)  Anyone else have things I need to add to my vocabulary or have funny stories like talking to no one after hearing "Stand By One?"

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Monday night I was finishing up some work to get ready for the crazy school week ahead and got totally hooked a new reality show.  Moonshiners is about the constant cat and mouse game going on in Appalachia between law enforcement and the moonshiners.  It is hysterical.  I think I was pulled in by Tim, the "lead moonshiner" who wears a pair of denim overalls, no shirt and a boonie hat almost exclusively.  The outfit is so stereotypical I was sure it was contrived.  Then the cops in their head-to-toe camouflage show up and I realize this show is in a completely different world than the one I live in.

Highlights so far:
  • I have an expanded vocabulary with phrases like "Nip Joint" where moonshine is sold to those who'd like to drink it
  • I learned that both and drinking  moonshine can kill you.  I didn't really need another reason not to try it, but there ya go.
  • Turns out that Tim is a volunteer fireman and former Army.  Not all "bad guys" are all bad, I guess.
  • "Always treat your shotgun like it's loaded.  And then keep it loaded cuz that's the point"

Seriously, I could not make this up if I wanted to.  I am fascinated and honestly don't know who to "root" for.  As a LEO wife I feel for the cops, but this Tim guy is sort of endearing.

*watched the 2nd to last episode Tuesday night and Tim did some research on going "legit."  I can't believe how much money from liquor production goes to taxes!!!  I am going to appreciate my wine a little more now...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Back to Work

My gym bag is packed, the coffee was brewed when I got up (love the timer!) and I'm getting ready to head back to school this morning.  The warm weather disappeared overnight and the high today is supposed to be 25 instead of the 50-60 it was the last few days.  I just want to stay in, snuggled up on the couch with Hazel.  Instead, I am getting dressed and heading out to work.  It's 1 week to the concert so I am in overdrive all week.

I woke up almost an hour before my alarm today, though I didn't get out of bed.  Does this happen to anyone else?  I call it my Sunday night sleep, because I rarely get a good night's sleep on Sunday.  I can't turn off my brain and I start to think about all the things I should have done and all the things I still have to do.  I did everything I could last night to outwit this.  I set out my clothes, put together a lunch, even washed and dried my hair so I only have to touch it up this morning. It used to be falling asleep that was the problem, now it's more that staying asleep is.  Is this just getting older?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Immersion Blender

I am such a dork that I asked for an immersion blender for Christmas.  It was all I had imagined and possibly more.  So far I've made parsnip puree (inspired by all those episodes of Top Chef) and last night an acorn squash soup.  Thanks to this nifty little blender I was able to make some healthy veggies even more delicious without ruining how good they are for me.  I used a little tip that I got from the nutritionist at Canyon Ranch and substituted broth for most of the cream/milk in each of the recipes.  I totally forgot to take pictures, so you'll have to trust me that they look as good as they tasted.

Do you look at recipes like I do?  I knew what I wanted to make for each of these but couldn't find recipes to match.  So I looked at quite a few and created my own using the amounts of liquid, etc from 2-3 recipes as a guidelines.  Here's what I came up with for the soup. (I used an Alton Brown recipe, a couple of random recipe websites and what was in my fridge to create this)


    1 Acorn Squash, cooked-almost 2 Cups 
    1tps olive oil 
    1/2 Onion, chopped 
    2 C vegetable broth 
    Salt and Pepper to taste 
    dash of ground ginger 
    dash of ground nutmeg  
    dash of cinnamon 
    1/2 C light cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half, clean out seeds. Place flesh side down in a baking dish. Fill with water up to about 1/2 inch. Bake for 45 minutes.

When cooked through, scoop out flesh and set aside.

Finely chop onion and sautee in 1 tsp olive oil in a medium saucepan.

Add 1/2 cup broth and then cooked squash. Stir in the rest of the broth and spices. Simmer for about 10 minutes.  This made a giant mess until I turned the heat WAY down...it's very thick so the burbles and bubbles will made a mess of your stovetop!

Using an immersion blender, blend soup together and blend in the 1/2 Cup cream. When blended, simmer another 10 minutes

Serving Size: make 3 1-Cup servings

Number of Servings: 3

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions 2012

2 years ago I started my first blog about my New Year's Resolutions.  I had 10 of them for 2010 and I don't think I did well with most of them.  I finally finished dropping those 10lbs just last week...2 years is better than never, right?  I did do some good reading and have expanded my repertoire of healthy recipes. 

This year I'm not going to make quite that many but here are the three I've come up with that I am planning to keep.

1.  Continue to work on living healthier.  Running, cooking and eating well and losing a few more lbs are all part of this.
2.  Not stressing over things I can't control.
3.  Enjoy life with Sarge when he gets home.  Appreciate the little things!

I know they're simple and not exactly "trackable" but it's what's in my heart.  What, if any, are your resolutions?  Happy New Year!!