July 20, 2017

Pinned/Did/Done 7/20

I'm back from a trip to a slightly cooler climate and while I get my bearings (truth: my favorite part of a trip is returning home), here's a compilation of what I've been accomplishing on Pinterest. 


Strawberry Cobbler. Something about this intrigued me. I made it and then put strawberry ice cream on top. It was good. It wasn't flaky or biscuity like a shortcake, but had a great flavor. I put regular sugar in it because I stay away from fake sugar.

Oatmeal Cookie Energy Bites. These did not roll. Even after a day in the freezer, they did not firm up. It was like an uncooked granola. I followed the directions exactly too. I loved the flavor but I didn't know what to do with it besides eat it with a spoon.

20 Minute Skillet Pasta. This was good and easy and didn't heat up the house on a hot day. I used chickpeas and didn't use GF pasta.

Copycat Texas Roadhouse Dry Steak Rub. We bought a bunch of steaks at Costco and, after the soy sauce incident, I couldn't marinate them in the way I usually do. I made up this rub instead and Scott really liked it. It was salty even after I cut the salt by 1/3, so I would recommend about 1/2 T. kosher salt instead of 1 1/2 T.

The Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Cake. I 100% prefer vegan chocolate cake because it's moist, fluffy, and does not dry out. I was going to make cupcakes out of the cake recipe I made a few months ago, but realized we didn't have any applesauce so I started searching for another recipe. I used regular 2% milk, not almond milk, and that didn't make this vegan at all. I really believe in the ACV method for a light cake and vegetable oil is so much better texture-wise than using butter. This was easy enough and tasted fantastic.

I made roasted veggies with chimichurri sauce a few weeks ago but it was from the recipes of the month at The Balanced Life. Since this is a paid subscription, I doubt I'm allowed to share but here's something similar that I found on Pinterest.

I modified it, anyway. Roast green beans, potatoes, broccoli, chickpeas, and whatever else you want for 25 minutes at 425 degrees. Drizzle a mixture of olive oil, salt, pepper, and minced garlic (3 cloves) over the top first. 
Make a chimichurri sauce and pour over the warm vegetables before serving. 


Storing anchor charts has been a hassle for the last few years. I never really made reusable ones before that. I came across this idea to roll them, label them, and use a new trash can to hold them...I set it up, now we'll see if it works.

I made a chart like this last year and it worked not even a little bit. I think I took it down halfway through the year. I'm trying it again. Fingers crossed.

I've pinned a ton of teaching ideas (I'm forever pinning teaching ideas), so I'll have to do an update on what works and what doesn't.

What have you pinned and done lately?

July 13, 2017

Links I've Bookmarked.

I'm taking off from the blog for a few days. Here's some links I've found myself coming back to more than once though. Thoughts?

Be back next week!


I've thought about microneedling...have you tried it?

Gretchen Rubin posted this the other day: what it's like to work at the Apple store. 

I want these shoes but can't quite justify it. They're just Keds. You don't have to click and I promise I won't make any money if you do.

I'm not a fan of flexible seating in the classroom but could never really explain why. This blogger/teacher has lots of good reasons. 

Has anyone used Diigo? I think it's like Evernote. Ideally, I'd like to be much more organized in my online life (hahaha) but I didn't last long with Evernote.

And the best link ever: All the Bachelor in Paradise spoilers from Reality Steve. You should read them.

Do you bookmark so many links that you can never find what you're looking for? Just me?

July 11, 2017

June Books 2017

The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin C
I found this to be a page-turner. I had a lot of trouble putting it down but I really found myself in skim mode toward the end. I skimmed the doctor's stories about his experiences in other countries too. A good idea, a good story, a little creepy, but not completely unforgettable (no pun intended).

The Good Widow by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke A+
This reminded me of something Taylor Jenkins Reid would write. It was twisty and kept me engaged enough to listen, listen, listen until the book was finished. There's very few audiobooks that I've finished in less than 24 hours. It's a thriller/mystery and that's all I'm going to say.

Until You by Denise Grover Swank B-
This was not as good as the first in The Bachelor Brotherhood series (last summer's Only You), but it was fine. I would describe some of her stories as dorky but she makes those characters SO likable. I never expect that to happen and I always end up enjoying the characters anyway. It's a perfect beach read.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti C+
I found myself really engaged in the first 1/4 of this book. As Loo grew up, she got to be less interesting to me (I LOLed at the "rock-in-a-sock"). Kids amuse me more than adolescents and there's a reason I don't read YA books very often. A lot of it came to be told from her POV and I didn't love that.
I liked the character of Samuel a lot and found Lily to be slightly off her rocker but maybe that's just me. Anyway, a decent book but not for everyone, I'm sure. It'd make a good movie too.

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris A+
Ahhh so good! I couldn't stop reading. I finished this in 24 hours too. I was thrilled when NetGalley sent me the ebook, and I sat with the Kindle until it was done. It's 100% thriller, down to the last page, but isn't disturbing like Paris' first book Behind Closed Doors. BCD gave a lot away at the beginning and The Breakdown doesn't do that at all. They're quite opposite in that way.  I made a couple of good guesses early on about what was happening but it unfolds in a really frustrating and satisfying (at the same time) way and I wasn't able to predict everything. I found that the title seems to have a double meaning too.
I would recommend this to just about anyone.

Never Let Me Go by Chevy Stevens A-
This was so hard to read. Domestic violence really bugs me in books and movies more than regular violence ever could. I had trouble putting it down, as it was an easy read and flowed from past to present and back again really well. I didn't love Sophie's POV chapters because that part came across as very YA, but it was necessary to the story, I suppose. (Spoiler in white: I really had trouble once the dog almost died. Violence against pets makes books hard to read.) It was tied up a bit too nicely toward the end but the rest of the book was interesting enough that I could overlook that.

Those Girls by Chevy Stevens C+
This was hard to put down. I really like her writing style. It flows. It's easy to keep going and going. She writes a good narrative. There's not a ton of depth to the characters but there's just enough to give you what you need to know. Anyway, the first half of the book was so good that I read it in one night. The second half led to a lot of skimming. I won't say it was predictable but it was just "easy".

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham C+
This is okay. It's YA, flashing back and forth between modern-day and 100 years ago. It was fine. I wouldn't seek it out. I think I got it for $3 on Kindle.

Didn't finish:

The Dry by Jane Harper. This wasn't so bad that I couldn't finish it. I just got bored/annoyed and made the decision not to. I never wanted to turn the audio on and I know I would've been in full skim-mode if I'd had a hard copy. I think some of this may have to do with the fact that I started it weeks and weeks ago, found really amusing things to listen to in the meantime, and then couldn't get back into it.

40 books for the year at the official halfway point. It's worth stating that I read all of these in the first half of June and I read absolutely nothing for the second half. I have two to three books started for July and two new kids' books I hope to use in August to begin the school year, so we'll see if I finish all of those by the next Show Us Your Books.

Linking up with Jana and Steph!

July 10, 2017

Currentlyyyy 7/10

According to the framework of the Four Tendencies, I'm an Upholder. Lately, I've felt like a rebel. I don't want to do things I usually do. I didn't realize this was happening until I started writing this post.

Watching. I watched an entire season of Younger on Saturday and another entire season on Sunday. That's a legitimate, quality show. Good writing. Good plot. Likable characters. You don't see that much these days.

Reading. Nothing. I don't want to read. I'll have my book link-up ready to go for tomorrow but I'm just not in the mood to read at all. Or if I ever am, it seems to be for non-fiction.

Eating. My diet has been the worst lately. I think I'm going through a period of serious rebellion. For almost a month, I was on a pretty strict high protein, low-carb diet and now I just don't care.

Drinking. Lots of iced coffee. I went to DD the other day and the iced coffee (that I tasted after I'd left) was so bad that I went right across the street to Starbucks. I think they may have brewed it wrong? Usually their iced coffee is just fine.

Listening. The Cult of Pedagogy podcast.

Sad about. Nelsan Ellis. This is really depressing. 

Buying. Lots of school supplies.

And that's currently. 

Linking up with Biana

July 7, 2017

5 Friday Photos.

I grabbed 5 pictures from my phone and these are from the last two days. 

I'm handing in my basic card early again this year. Let's go to fall and, actually, skipping straight to winter is okay with me. 90s every day is getting old. 

We're heading back to doggy daycare today. Hopefully it's as successful the second time around.

I can't stop with the Bachelor franchise podcasts.

Change of command was yesterday. More on that next week. 

Talk about convenient: I was in the field with the dogs last night when I saw a rattlesnake. Since I had my phone (because I was listening to a podcast, obviously), I called Scott and he came out on the four-wheeler to shoot the snake. Much easier than all that nonsense I had to deal with last summer. 
(is it time to move yet?)

July 6, 2017

Confessions 7/6

+This weekend was the first time I've hiked since probably last August. Someone should take my Colorado card away.

+I've not read Harry Potter and all those tweets about the 20th anniversary last week were annoying.

+I can't fold a burrito properly to save my life. I want to make a freezer breakfast like this to have on hand for weekdays, but alas...it would all fall apart.

+I wanted a fountain Pepsi the other day so I stopped at the shoppette on base. They only had fountain Coke. I got back in the car, drinkless.

+I stopped at another gas station that I knew would have fountain Pepsi but I usually don't purposely go there because it's too close to where I work.

+I got out of the car and opened the back door to rearrange the groceries I'd just bought because a watermelon kept rolling around. When I did, a bottle of kombucha and a bottle of soy sauce (both glass) fell on the pavement. All over my shoes, completely shattering. I really needed the Pepsi after that.

+I walked into Scott office last week and he said Oh, there's a dragonfly in here. He kept shuffling papers while it took me a full ten seconds to realize he was referring to me in my new sunglasses. 

Scout doesn't do selfies (with me).

+I've been putting up bulletin boards at school and working on things at home too. I don't do summer well. 

+I've unfollowed a lot of blogs lately. If I don't feel that, on some level, we can be friends, reading your blog will likely turn into hate-reading and that's unproductive.

+I've been watching Saved by the Bell: The College Years. 

And that's all for today (got to save some for next time).

July 5, 2017

The first 4-day 4th of July Weekend in which Scott has been in Colorado

I've been sticking to a M, T, TR, F posting schedule for the last month and that is 100% purposeful. I want consistency and predictability when it comes to my blog life because I know I tend to really read blogs that are consistent. I can't drum up five posts a week, but since it's a holiday week, I skipped yesterday and am doing today instead. It's obviously a calculated process. How do you come up with your own posting schedule?

Scott is never here for the 4th of July, and the army gets a 4-day weekend so it's usually completely wasted on us. We tried to pack a lot in.  (He was here the first year but we knew no one, had no friends, and we painted cabinets all weekend. I've tried to block all that out.)

Saturday, we helped friends pick up some furniture using our giant truck. Then, we bought a push-mower, had bbq for lunch, and did some outside chores around the house.  A giant storm pushed through in the evening and I professed to Scott how much I hate thunderstorms and I'm ready to move north and he thought I was crazy.

Sunday, we got up at 4am to go fishing on the South Slope of Pikes Peak. It was a 2 hour-ish drive, it was hourssss of walking through the woods, swatting bugs, and breaking a trail where there wasn't one. This is the opposite of my preferred activity. However, my battle wound of a nasty brush burn from sliding down the side of the mountain proves I was there. Also, some really terrible tan lines.

That's Pikes Peak at 14,000 ft., so our elevation wasn't much lower.

Then we ate ice cream for dinner, I took a Benedryl, and went to bed at 7pm.

Monday was VET DAY.  Scott joined for this trip. I left with a significantly lighter wallet but, hopefully, now doggy daycare can move forward. Then, we cleaned out Scott's office. Change of command is tomorrow.

Yesterday, I caught up on all of the things around the house that needed to be done..did some organizing and sorting...prepped things for the rest of the week, and then we went to my friend's house for dinner and fireworks. I made cupcakes.

I have a mile-long list of things to do today. It's already Wednesday but that means change of command and block leave is sneaking up on us a little too quickly. If that's possible. 

Hope you had a good 4th!

July 3, 2017

Bachelorette Thoughts (since it's an off week)

I drowned myself in 4 hours of The Bachelorette last week, plus the recap podcasts (Rose Pricks and Here to Make Friends). That was a productive use of time.

+Eric is actually a cool guy when he's not speechifying or stuck in his own head. I genuinely started to like him (I'm sure he'll ruin it with more yelling, though).

+Oh Kenny. Why did you have to speak your piece/peace to Lee? You won. Leave. I wasn't crazy about you to start with because I don't know if "professional wrestler in Vegas" fits with "lawyer in Dallas".

+I really liked Anthony. It made me sad when he left.

+The same with Will. I felt like she didn't get him a fair chance after he mentioned that he "usually" dates white girls. He's obviously there for Rachel, so I doubt that "usually" makes a difference. 

+That being said, Rachel is good at being the Bachelorette. Her maturity and common sense will be hard to match next year and it makes Jojo look like a child (because she just picked the person she seemed to like the most, future be darned).

+I've taught Number the Stars for several years and I finally got to see Tivoli Gardens. Fun.

+Oh, speaking of maturity....have you noticed that Rachel hasn't mentioned Nick? Remember how Jojo kept talking about Ben? Gag.

Are you watching? Darn the holiday for messing up this viewing schedule.

We've had an oddly busy weekend, so hopefully I'll have a recap to share on Wednesday. Happy 4th!

Here's some ideas if you need a potluck contribution. 

June 30, 2017

4th of July Food

Thank you to everyone who left a kind word on my post yesterday. I knew I would eventually have to write about everything we've been dealing with. You can only keep that all inside for so long. When I asked Scott if he cared whether I shared, he said How can people support you if you don't tell them?, which is obviously the truth. He's clearly much more open than me. Even the other night, I said something about "clearly things don't always work out" and he was all "There's a plan. Yes, they do". So any confidence I have these days can be attributed to him.

But to everyone who read my post, thank you. The support and encouragement means so much. It's very telling that I trust and love this community enough to explain things in a way that I don't always do with those I see on a daily basis.


And now food. Lest we forget that I used to make a lot of different dishes...

Just a few ideas in case you need something for a holiday get-together. This is the list I would pull from. As it is, I'll probably just be taking dessert to a friend's house.

Black Bean Salsa, or add mango, as an appetizer I will fill up on and not eat anything else. Or maybe guacamole or guacamole with sweet corn.

Pulled Pork for a main course. With rolls and coleslaw. I need a coleslaw recipe.

Dessert...I usually come up with something for the 4th, whether Scott is here or whether we're with other people or whether I'm by myself.
Cake Batter Rice Krispy Treats. These are intense.
Birthday Cake S'mores. A twist on a bonfire treat.
Lemon-Lime Coconut Bars. Refreshing.
Patriotic Sugar Cookie Pie. I had used blue frosting instead of blueberries because we were in Alaska when I came up with this because #expensive.
Reeses' Ice Cream Cake. Our favorite.

Drinks...my version of rum slush or regular cherry limeaide.  Or sangria.

What are you making for the 4th of July?

June 29, 2017

The Longest 31 Days of My Life

Trust me when I say I went back and forth (and back and forth) on posting this. I'm hesitant and, honestly, feel ill when I think about putting so much of myself out there. (seriously, I'm starting to sweat.) 

However, it just is what it is and, if you're going to read this blog and follow along with my life, I do think it's important that you all know where I'm coming from. This army life has shaped the choices we make and the way we live, so this is just the latest installment of that. 
This blog is full of countless other examples over the last 7 years. 

The trip Scott just came back from was only 31 days but it was definitely classified as a deployment. It wasn't temporary duty (TDY), it wasn't training...it was actually called a deployment. While it was *only* a month, it was, I'm pretty sure, the longest month of my life.

We found out in April that this would be happening. We didn't know if it would be 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, or more. This has never happened before and there was no set timeline. We started prepping for as if he'd be gone all summer (again). There were many tears on my part. The worst part was that he'd just gotten home from Afghanistan a few months before.

There were a lot of moving pieces on my end of this deployment. To make a really long story short, we had decided back in December that we were going to do a cycle of IVF in the spring. Since spring had unexpectedly brought a deployment, and we didn't know if he would be gone for weeks or for months, we immediately got on the doctor's schedule and paid for it and made that May's priority.  Scott left mid-May, which meant I got to take on everything that goes with managing the house, the dogs, my job, and IVF all by myself. This was not for the faint of heart. I gave myself more injections than I could count, drove to more appointments than I care to remember, and I missed an entire week of school. (Okay, I did count: it was more than 40 injections.)

Just as I had started to feel normal again (which takes weeks), I found out that the IVF didn't work.

Then, I was left to shoulder the emotional and mental burden of that by myself.

I won't even pretend to play this off or act like it was no big deal. In fact, I'm aware that people go through much worse and, looking at it through my military wife lens, it was just another roadblock.

When I look at it through lens of the regular person that I am, it was a really big deal. It was almost too much to handle because I couldn't even talk to Scott about it. We only talked twice in 31 days. We were able to text, only because he has a government phone for work. We weren't able to make any decisions or decide what to do next. And I told myself nothing was going to change in a couple of weeks and attempting to have long drawn-out texting conversations would just stress us both out. I just told the doctor that I would call for a follow-up appointment when Scott got back. I'm pretty good at compartmentalizing at this point, apparently. This is just the latest lesson in how to be a military wife, I guess.

We have plans to not be active duty for the next few years. There's a way to earn active duty time while doing other things and that's what Scott will be doing. So hopefully this most recent stint will be the last in that long list of what he has had to do in Colorado.

So anyway. That's the story of the longest month of my life. I had thought that the year I was alone in Alaska had taught me more than I would ever need to know, but these 31 days did ten times that. For that, I'm grateful, even if that seems to make absolutely no sense sometimes.