December 2, 2016

Friday Phone Photos

Just a few pictures I took this week.

It's been a tiring one. We're also in a huge season of waiting when it comes to the army and what's next (spoiler alert: we don't know what's next) so unsettled is becoming the day-to-day feeling.

The dogs went hunting last weekend. It was windy.

And then there's a dead bird in the house (Jett's retrieved kill).

Jett started destroying this pillow (he got in so much trouble) and then Scout finished the job.

I started The Secret Keeper. It's taking some time to get into, but I think I like it better than The Lake House. 

A professor I had in college said this in an article last this week. "Teacher exodus" is right. There's no incentive to stay in the field, other than loving what you do 

Lastly, I get so frustrated with my day-to-day routine simply because I haul all this to work. Scott told me to buy a gallon jug (the water at my workplace is borderline undrinkable so I take my own), but I finally just bought a 48 oz Nalgene. That might help. I'm sooooo tired of filling up water bottles before I leave the house in the morning. I thought about keeping bottled water at work, but it just seems wasteful.  (Right?)

December 1, 2016

Confessions and things (S&T 12/1)

+I don't like Gilmore Girls.

Now that I have your attention...

+I also don't like tacos that much.
Sure, I'll eat them. But I will not actively seek them out.

+I (we) am (are) the worst pet owner(s).
We never sent in Jett's AKC registration paperwork. He's 2 1/2 years old.
When I found this paperwork a month or so ago, I decided to fill it out and send it in. I realized, since it required a signature, that I would, in fact, have to be Jett's owner.

I was just coming to terms with that fact when I realized you were required to list a co-owner and Scott might as well be on the paperwork too, and that also needed a signature. I decided to just wait and Scott could sign it himself.

+I'm a believer in vitamins, supplements, and protein shakes. However, I refuse to shop at GNC because I know someone who works there and this person is a terrible person. It may seem petty because it is.
(I hope the people from GNC see this.)

+We were reading a story about a snake a few weeks ago. A kid said, "I saw a snake like that!". I thought, I blew several snakes like that apart with a shotgun over the summer. I just smiled.

+I've read so many blog posts and informative pieces about bullet journaling that, frankly, it's embarrassing. The more I read, the more I'm convinced that it is absolutely, 100% not for me. But I still like to read about it.

+We were learning about the Civil War and a kid asked me if I was alive at the time of slavery. I didn't even bother to present the impossibility of this (because, really now, he asked the question in the first place). I just said no.

Stuff, Things, etc.

<!-- end InLinkz script —>

November 30, 2016

Pinned.Did.Done 11/30

The background to these Pinned, Did, Done posts is that I treat my Pinterest a lot like a to-do list and I don't pin a recipe or tip without the intention of actually trying it. Here's what I've done since the last (long, long ago) post.

Ways to make and freeze winter squash. I did this in July when I got an acorn squash from the local co-op. It worked and the cubes are still in the freezer, waiting to be added to soups and stews. (Pin)

Napa Valley Chicken. This was good. Really, really good. I didn't have any white wine opened, so I just used chicken broth for all of the liquid. I dredged the chicken in a mixture of flour and breadcrumbs (because they were right there) instead of just flour. Also, I put it over couscous instead of rice. (Pin)

I needed something quick to take to a potluck and had always wanted to try the claim that pumpkin+cake or brownie mix is good. These 2-Ingredient Pumpkin Brownies were okay. They were very gooey and very pumpkin-y. I topped them with my own homemade cream cheese frosting so that made them better. I believe that the frosting is the best part of any cake or brownie anyway. I still prefer an actual pumpkin brownie recipe (which doesn't have the intense pumpkin flavor), but these are fine in a pinch. I'm not a huge pumpkin fan, so if you are these are good for you. (Pin)

Cleaning a coffeepot. I was kind of shocked that this worked. However, you do actually have to wipe down the coffeepot and kind of scrub the inside to get the full effect. Just letting the mixture soak and then rinsing doesn't clean it. It does loosen all of the grime and staining and makes it very easy to wipe out. (Pin)

These mini cheesecakes came out beautifully. I had never made cheesecake before. I made the caramel sauce listed at the bottom of the recipe to go with them, and then I toasted some pecans and mixed them in with the caramel sauce. Since I topped the cupcakes with this, I got my pecan pie cheesecake without having to make a gigantic actual cheesecake. (Pin)

30 Minute Dinner Rolls.  These were easy enough to make but sometimes I can't tell if baking in Colorado is off because of the altitude or if it's me. I use the convection feature on my oven because I've done some experimenting and found that convection will negate the altitude. If I use "convention", I have to adjust the recipe a little and/or things fall flat.  These rolls were heavy and biscuit-like. They tasted good, but I was interested in something light and fluffy so I may try another recipe for Christmas. (Pin)

What have you Pinned and (actually) done lately?

Linking up with Jenn with What's Hap"pinning" Wednesday.

November 29, 2016

Why I stopped checking my work email at home.

I actually put this practice into place and had been mulling it over for a few weeks, and then Gretchen Rubin did a podcast episode about it. So I knew this was justifiable and I probably need to tell everyone about it in order to hold myself accountable. 
These are the reasons why I stopped checking my work email at home AND I deleted the app for it from my phone:

1. I'm not on-call. This is the biggest reason. I work 7:45am-3:45pm. I am not obligated to anything other than that. I spend time most weekends grading papers or writing plans. Or in the morning before work, grading papers. Or at night, grading papers. All teachers do these things and I'm okay with that to an extent. It can't all get done at school; there's not enough time. But I am not going to be on-call for parent questions or updates about what's happening the next day from coworkers/admin during my off hours. There is nothing that can't wait until the next morning.
Sometimes I do allow myself to check my work email on Monday when I wake up and check my regular email, just because it's nice to know what I'm walking into.

2. It was giving me anxiety. So I would get these emails in the evening. And then I would fret. And I would worry. And I would commiserate and complain with coworkers via text. And it would literally overtake my evening (not that I was doing anything other than watching Jane the Virgin, but still). I don't need that kind of pressure. In this case, ignorance is bliss. I can't do anything about it at 7pm anyway.

3. Weekends are for things unrelated to work. They just are. It didn't bother me quite so much when Scott was deployed and I spent a lot of time doing schoolwork on the weekends and was okay with that. Last year, it wasn't an issue anyway. This year is...different. Something had to be done in order for me to maintain sanity. Therefore, I stopped checking work email at home around the end of October.

4. Most people don't reply on the weekend anyway. Not because they have a personal policy against it (hello there), but because they're just busy with other things. So, me doing business on the weekend wasn't actually getting me anywhere.

What about you? Are you willing to *work* on the weekends?

November 28, 2016

My Thanksgiving break is over.

I did finish all of the Christmas decorating so that's something.

Made this.

First, motivation. Because it's Monday. Sigh.

Secondly. If you've never seen one of my November recaps, read this (if you're so inclined), because this November just added to the list, as a deployment ended in November. It's always November.


I'm not really sure where Saturday through Wednesday went. I spent a lot of time reading, cleaning/decorating for Christmas, walking dogs, and just puttering around. Scott has also been working on the basement remodel a bit more.

On Thursday, I did make pretty much what I said I would, minus the rolls because I didn't have milk. For an over-planner, I'm pretty bad at planning sometimes. After we ate, we made plates to take to the barracks and Scott was able to check in with all of the staff duties, which was really nice I thought. I remember the days in Alaska, where he'd have staff duty at the company on weekends and/or holidays (Has it really been 7 years since we got to Alaska? Yes, it has.)

Very interested in what's happening on that counter

We finished the evening with a Steelers game, which is always nice to see in Colorado.

I never eat Chipotle these days. I haven't craved Mexican food in almost a year, but I felt like this on Friday night. 

On Friday, Scott went hunting and then we went to look for a new dishwasher (!!!!!) and ran a few errands. The dishwasher will arrive in two weeks. #victory

On Saturday, I made a cake for Scott's birthday and I got him these...

I contacted Kori Clark monthsss ago after reading about her on Nichole's blog and thought there'd be no better gift for Scott (and no better way to spend any money I'd put towards a birthday gift) than to commission some portraits of the dogs.

Sunday, I went to the grocery store and the downward spiral of absolute misery began: another week is beginning.

In order to make myself feel better about this, I ordered a planner...I looked at Plum Paper's site many times over and just could not find a cover I liked. I know this sounds ridiculous but I couldn't justify spending $32+shipping on a PLANNER if I didn't like looking at it. I would end up hating it and discard it by February (which is exactly what happened with last year's knock-off Day Designer). I also didn't want to order a Happy Balance planner simply because it was the same price and I didn't know what I was getting for that money. I'd never held one or seen a review anywhere. I'd just noticed them on an Instagram account and thought Neat.

So, I went to Erin Condren to drool over that watercolor design I brought to your attention months ago. Lo and behold, EC was having a 30% off sale and I was sold. I paid what I would for a PP or a HB planner (minus shipping...always minus the shipping) and since I've had ECs before, I know what I'm getting. I would like to run a study of 4 or 5 different planner brands, used side by side for a few months, in order to really be able to tell someone what they're getting for their money and what is the best use for each. I adored my plaid EC back in 2012 and I did use my EC in 2013-2014 to death. So while they are bulky, that is not a deal-breaker. I think I used them fully because I paid so much for them, therefore I'll be stuck with this one whether I like it or not. If I buy cheap planners, I'll buy more. I spent $40 at least on "planning"-like materials in 2016, including what I use for school.

And that was the highlight of my weekend. Other than that, we sat on the couch and watched The Crown and Shameless. It was wonderful.

November 25, 2016

Christmas listing...

Yesterday, I listed a bunch of things I'm thankful for...which means that today I show my gluttonous side. That's how Thanksgiving works, right?
Just kidding...

I wasn't originally going to make a Christmas list this year, but my mom asked me what I wanted and then Scott asked me what I wanted, so here we are...

Kindle Paperwhite. I have an iPad (from 2011) that is in good shape and I use it for everything, including reading on the Kindle app. It's just so inconvenient to take places because it's huge, so mostly it just sits on my nightstand. A Kindle would be a breath of fresh air.

Planner --Either a Plum Paper planner in the new year but I can't decide on a cover I like.

Or a Happy Balance Planner. They come in 6 month installments, which is perfect for me. 

Pilates ring.--what I'd love is a reformer but I don't have a thousand dollars lying around or the space for such a contraption.

Slippers. I think I like these ones?

Northface fleece. This one looks nice and fuzzy on the inside.


I'm linking to Pottery Barn just because they're pretty, but I'm not picky. I love new throws. 

A new Penn State sweatshirt (or two). When you live far from home, people represent themselves by their "home". I need something new to wear to work on Fridays. I was wearing my Happy Valley t-shirt at Costco a few weeks ago and a man with a PSU shirt on said "Class of '86...I'm on the alumni board". It brings you together, with complete strangers, in a new place.

This one. 

I'd like socks too, but I'm going to put that in small letters because last year that's all I got from both my parents and from Scott.

In reality, this is just a list of things that I would like and will likely eventually buy for myself. I would really REALLY like a new dishwasher (the one in this house is from 2003) and I would really REALLY like new living room furniture. However, when Scott asked me what I wanted and I said, "What's something WE want?", he laughed and said, "Oh, is that how new furniture happens?".

Fingers crossed.

What's on your Christmas list???

November 24, 2016

Thankful Thursday (S&T 11/24)

As it goes, I'm going to post some things I'm thankful for on this Thanksgiving. I mentioned that I was following along with The Balanced Life's 30 Days of Gratitude and I have, indeed, been writing down 3 things I'm grateful for each day.

My biggest gratitude goes toward this deployment being over and, fingers crossed, life just resuming to normal in many regards. Life won't always be easy or perfect because that's not how life works, but it will be rounded out in a way that it hasn't been for the last year.

This is the list of what I've been writing down. It goes in order, starting November 1st, but the items/people/things are specific to each day. They are random and some are funny. But it's really easy to tell what kind of day I was having by looking back at the 3 things for that day.

Cool breezes
Teacher friends
Shameless (new episodes while I grade papers)
Good mail days
Clear skin
Showing up on time
Friday nights
Hot chocolate
Puppy snuggles
Kindess of strangers
Enjoying a book
Not having to go anywhere
Good audiobooks
Kids who kind of listen to me
Working ahead at school
Coworkers who are friends
Nice parents (of students)
Sweet potato fries
{insert name of particular student}
{insert name of particular student}
The end of Girls on the Run
{insert name of friend}
{insert name of friend}
Professional development days
Girls on the Run is officially over
Puppy playdates
Clean sheets
Tomorrow Scott comes home (I wrote this 3 times)
Today Scott comes home (I wrote this 3 times)
Deep breathing
Days off
Scott (I wrote this twice)
Christmas cards
When the dogs go hunting (I get to relax)
Text message support
Sleeping in
Hallmark Christmas movies
Clean floors
Pumpkin cookies
Shameless (starting the series from the beginning with Scott)
Christmas decorations
The ability to help others (I saw a homeless dog so I bought him/her a bag of food...Scott said "most people give that guy cash, you did it the smart way"...because I had time, I was able to spend 30 minutes driving to Target and back again to drop it off...which leads to the next item on the list...)
Time off
Jett and Scout (The other day, Jett ran off while I was walking the dogs and I was so worried about the little ginger...I pushed the vibrate button so much that he ran back to the house and was apparently clawing at all the doors, wanting to be let in, but I was still in the field with Scout. All's well that ends well.)

What are you particularly grateful for? If you're in the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving! If not, it's almost Friday :)

Stuff, Things, etc.

November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Food Round-Up.

This year, it's yet to be determined if we're eating at home or going somewhere. I kind of like to use Thanksgiving as an excuse to experiment and create a menu. So I'll make all of this whether we eat it the day of or the day after. Military life is weird when it comes to holidays. You do what you can with what you have.

Scott is making a turkey, and I'm going to make macaroni and cheese, homemade rolls, and a grown-up green bean casserole. I'm also planning to do something with pecans and cheesecake. Fingers crossed.

If I were looking to concoct a real feast though...I would try beer bread with spinach and artichoke dip or regular spinach dip. Or maybe baked crab dip. 

As for side dishes, Brussels sprouts with cranberry and feta would be good (if you like that kind of thing...I don't :).
I would prefer oven-roasted sweet potatoes, but I think I'm going to try a new macaroni and cheese recipe this year. Sweet potato casserole is also a family favorite.
And then this is our turkey recipe that Scott makes every year.

Desserts? I'd go with pecan pie or lemon chess pie or pumpkin cookies.

Also, here's last year's Thanksgiving post. It's mostly desserts.

Are you trying any new recipes this year?

November 21, 2016

Let's recap.


After being up very late on Tuesday night, I started to lose track of the days.

Sorting through 9 months of mail

Wednesday, Scott unpacked his bags and we went for lunch and ran some errands. 
It was 80 degrees so I wore shorts. 

Thursday, we went for breakfast and stopped at Lowe's for the second time in 24 hours. 

I had this breakfast quinoa at Over Easy and it was amazing.
 I've made this before but think I need to try again. 

Then I had an appointment on base because I managed to sprain my fingers a few weeks ago. It wasn't one big thing that did it; I jammed my hand on something and then just lots of little things added to it: picking up, lifting things, dragging things...

Scott is threatening to give me a manicure.

By Wednesday, my right hand was extremely swollen; twice the size of my left. I couldn't write or type.
So I got a splint and a regimen of Motrin and heating/icing regularly. It's getting better now that I've started taking care of it and stopped ignoring it (never a proven tactic).

This was just the beginning.

Then, Thursday night, it snowed a few inches which was welcome (who am I...) and I went back to work on Friday. 

The happiest dog in all the land.

I spent the weekend watching Hallmark Christmas movies and pulling out decorations. 
Hallelujah to no school. 

November 17, 2016

262 days

It kind of kills me that he was on a plane for 36 hours and he looks more awake than I do. 
This welcome home ceremony was at 2:00am Wednesday morning.

262 days is a long time. 
This deployment was no joke for either of us.  
But, as it always somehow does (despite the crawl-along pace), 
the welcome home ceremony arrived and deployment #4 is OVER. 
(Deeper thoughts to follow.)

Stuff, Things, etc.