January 31, 2014

Football Food

Don't forget to mail out your Sweetheart Swap packages by tomorrow!  
Our link-up will be on Thursday, Feburary 13th!

Skirt: LOFT // Sweater: The Limited 
(My fancy ponytail looked much better at 7am…at least that's what I told myself.)

The sickness will just not leave this house.  The general rule of thumb is that I bring the diseased germs home from school, I get sick, then Scott gets sick.  He always gets it 3 times as bad as me.  While I'm on the road to being able to breathe and speak normally (though I do succumb to a coughing fit after my daily cold smoothie…), he's still on the couch.  

I doubt we'll be doing anything fancy this weekend (and honestly, doesn't today feel like it should be freaking Saturday already?).  I plan on putting the finishing touches on my swap packages (sorry guys…I'll see the post office come Monday), maybe a light workout, some organization around this place, and some sleep.  

Apparently there's a Superbowl this weekend.

I haven't watched a Superbowl since 2011.  The Steelers lost to the Packers and Caleb, the Patriots fan in my 4th grade class that year, never let me forget it.  

However, if I was having a Superbowl party, this is what I'd want to eat…

Guacamole. You can't go wrong.

Black Bean Salsa.  Our favorite!

JalapeƱo Popper Dip.  This one really impresses the guests.

White Chicken Chili.  My favorite kind of chili.

Buffalo Chicken Stew. Easy as can be in the slow-cooker.

Pizza. Obviously.

S'mores Fondue.  There are no words.

Ice Cream Cake. Birthday Cake-flavored or Peanut Butter

No-Bake Cookies I made these for the Superbowl in 2010, and had to pawn half off on the neighbors.

…and the ever-popular Cookie in a Skillet.  

You use the big game as an excuse to make football food too, right?  What are you making?

January 29, 2014

That time I got a job based on a first impression…

….with one of the most competitive school districts in the state.

After I decided in August that I was going to be a substitute teacher again, I pulled out all the stops.  I put on a skirt.  I put on heels.  I took a Kindergarten job on the second day of school.  I remember looking at the job on the computer screen.  I had 2 minutes to decide: yes or no.  The clock on Subfinder was actually ticking down.

I took it. Needed to get the year started off right.

You see, I'd applied to the district back in May.  I hadn't heard anything from them.  I wasn't really shocked.  Just deflated.

During my one day in kindergarten, the principal saw me.  She called me brave for taking on kindergartners on the second day of school.  Definitely a good first impression.

I was back 2 days later, subbing in 1st grade.  I went into the office to ask the secretary if she had any other jobs coming up (a tactic the best subs use!).  The principal came out of her office and asked me if I wanted to teach 2nd grade.  The secretary said, "I was just getting ready to ask Mrs. Darhower that."  I said, "Sure!".  She wrote my name down for an interview as the principal referred to me again as the "brave lady who took on kindergarten the first week of school!"

That was a Friday.  The next Wednesday, the district office called to set up my interview (this is a very from-the-top-down district).  I went in on Thursday and interviewed at 8:30am with the principal and assistant principal (another secret: always pick the first interview slot available!).  I was at home by 9:15…the assistant superintendent called by 10:00 to offer me the job.

I was in my new classroom by 11am, rearranging desks.  

The next few days were a blur, but I know they involved a solid day (Friday) of working in the classroom, Saturday I spent shopping for school supplies in Springfield, and Sunday I spent finishing the classroom (Scott helped…then we went to Panera for breakfast…then he decided it'd be wise to invite people over for dinner.  I was freaking out.)

By Monday, I had 22 kids in that classroom.

I've changed my room around a million times since that first week of September, and this is what it looks like now.  I actually shudder when I think of the mis-matched bulletin boards I had going on there for awhile.

So now, it's January and I've finally got my act together.  Nice, right?

Let this be a lesson:  Always make a good first impression!

January 28, 2014

Stuff and things. 1/28

1.  USAA sent me a new debit card.  Thanks, Target.  Now I have to memorize a new number.

2. Scott is knee-deep in college.  6 graduate classes.  All math and chemistry.  This semester is going to seem like a deployment, in a strange way.  And honestly, for as much time as he'll spend on campus, I'm really lucky I have a job to keep me busy.  There will be more on the job tomorrow…I still need to tell you how I got it in the first place!

3.  It was 19 degrees yesterday and won't be much better today.  Also, I haven't had a haircut since October.  It's starting to show.

4.  I found myself explaining to Scott what a Naked palette is.  You see, some people I work with use them.  They brought them to work recently and, finally, I got to see what one looks like in real life.  You know, not just through my computer screen.  I really want to believe you all when you talk about how amazing $52 eyeshadow is..but I see what these people do with it.  Based on the Naked palette in live action, I totally wouldn't buy one.  (I think Scott gave a big sigh of relief when he realized the upshot of the story wasn't "I want one".)

5.  A dog.

6.  And again…

7.  Scout isn't as snuggly as he used to be.  He's "free and independent" (to take a chapter title from a Little House book). I don't like it.  I'm going to trade him in.  I require a snuggly dog.  

Any stuff or things to share?
P.S. I really appreciate all the interest in yesterday's post about breakfast…for next week, I'm going to put together some lunch ideas.  That's where I struggle.  (Really…I think I'm going to take oatmeal for lunch today..)

Also, Don't forget that this is the last week to shop for the Sweetheart Swap!  Packages should be mailed out this weekend!

Sweetheart Swap

(And that reminder is more for me than it is for you, because I need to get myself to a store…)

January 26, 2014

Healthiness in 2014: Breakfast

Chances are that if you've written a blog post at anytime in the last 2 weeks, I read it yesterday.  I'm slowly climbing out of my Robitussin stupor, just in time for school tomorrow.  That's figures, right?  I'm recovering from 36 hours on the couch and now Scott is sick.  As soon as I feel a sore throat creeping in, I immediately think the worst: strep.  Because I've never felt pain like that before.  Then I thought: flu.  Because I was stubborn enough not to get a flu shot.  
Anyway, several hours of blog reading and 1 1/2 seasons of Damages later…

We've all read those healthy living blogs that make us believe everything we're doing is wrong, right?  You see, for me, it goes in a cycle: read blog about workouts/healthy food consumption, roll eyes and go eat marshmallows.  Next time, I read, roll my eyes and go eat ice cream.  Soon, I start to think that maybe those bloggers are onto something and soon I'm eating vegetables for dinner and only eating ice cream a couple of times a week.  Eventually, coupled with workouts I was already doing (because the gym has been a steady part of my routine for a few years now), I start to feel and look good.  Then, I get bored, get a job, get a life, etc, and I stop caring.  I start to feel bad.  Like I'm not doing all that I can for myself.  Then, the whole cycle starts all over again.  

However, I think a lot of us are truly doing the best we can with what we've been dealt.  For some, it may be squeezing in a 5am run before work/kids get up.  For others, weekend Zumba classes because the work week is too busy.  For me, it's the motivation to attend group fitness classes after work and eat real food for lunch and dinner when all I really want is to lay on the couch while eating quesadillas.  

So I'm going to address some of the things that I think are important when it comes to health.  Because, I admit, I DO feel better about myself when I know I'm eating well and exercising.  You know you do too…

So I'm going to show you what I truly believe has made a difference in the way I feel over the last few years. 

I'm going to start with an easy one for me:  Breakfast.  I'm notorious for starting the day really, really well and then pulling out the chips and hummus for lunch.  It's a flaw.  

I don't know what gets you out of bed in the morning but, for me, it's breakfast.  Or coffee.  …How about both? I was never a breakfast-eater until maybe 3 or so years ago.  It's depressing how many years I spent not enjoying what is now my favorite meal of the day.

I also am trying Lemon Water as soon as I get up in the morning.  This website talks about the benefits of you can get from this.  Have you ever tried it?

Green Smoothies.  I really put in as much green as my blender will allow.  I stick with spinach, but you can use whatever greens you prefer. Scott has recently gotten himself into smoothies too, and the amount of spinach and almond milk we go through each week is kind of obscene.  If I don't have one for breakfast, I often have one right after school.  It's not about the energy, it's about the greens.  It just makes me feel better, after I often snack my way through a school day.  Scott likes adding celery to his smoothies.  While this initially didn't appeal to me, celery gives it the best texture and makes it more of a meal replacement.  I'm a fan of it now.
Frozen Monkey Smoothie.  These are more like milkshakes for breakfast.  You won't regret it.
Oatmeal.  I have oatmeal 5 out of 7 days a week.  Sometimes it's in the form of oat bran or regular oatmeal, but my heart is with the steel cut oats.  I love them with a little bit of almond milk and a spoonful of apricot preserves.  Yum.
Yogurt.  We've been doing a lot of parfaits lately too.  Plain greek yogurt, drizzle of honey, diced apple,  and then some granola.

Fun fact: I only like my apples diced.  I don't like to eat them whole. (This is a smaller serving in a small bowl that I used yesterday because I wasn't feeling well…usually I use a cereal bowl.)

Baked oatmeal.  This stuff is way too easy to make.  Perfect for a weekend breakfast that you can easily portion out for the work week.  I like to put a little maple syrup on top of the pumpkin baked oatmeal.
Overnight Oats.  This was more of a summertime breakfast for me, but regardless, you can't go wrong!

Also, I'm a big fan of almond butter, any form of trail mix, or granola as I'm sipping my morning coffee.

What do you eat for breakfast?  I used to be a breakfast-skipper because I hated eating early in the day.  Now I plan what I'm going to have for breakfast before I go to bed.

Is there any topic you'd like to see me mention on this Healthiness series?  I was thinking lunch, quick dinners, workouts, skincare (something I'm really working on!), etc.  Any preference?

January 24, 2014

Stripes and spots

Dress: Express // Booties: Target // Scarf: Land's End

It is desperately time for me to get my act together.  I promise you that I've been wearing nice clothes to school.  Cute clothes.  Most days, I think I look pretty good.  In fact, I've accumulated practically a new wardrobe since moving to Missouri.  I have new stuff I haven't even shared with you!  I mean, I don't know WHY I don't take an outfit picture each day anymore.  The only excuse I have, truly, is pure laziness.  I hate my backyard.  I hate the way the sun shines in my eyes.  I hate that I can't find a good angle by propping the camera on the deck like I used to.  I hate the look Scott gives me when I say "….can you take a picture?…please?".  

And my skin and hair aren't exactly glowing after a day at school.  

Anyway, here's to getting back on the wagon.  

I'll start today with some stripes and spots.  Am I the only one who still randomly mixes patterns?  It's widely accepted in the blog world.  Does it apply to the I-live-in-the-midwest world?

See?  Everyone looks good in stripes and spots.

Collar: Wal-mart (I think) // Tags: Petco

January 22, 2014

Dear 21-year-old Kristin,

Enjoy the fact that you haven't worked out in 2 years and are a size 4, despite eating french fries for dinner and Doritos for lunch.  See how that works out for you in another year.


Don't worry about that boy you think is perfect.  Yes, he's cute.  But it'll end after 7 months.  Admit it: you know there's no chemistry there.  Some things are more important than "super cute".  Also, please stop being so shallow.

And don't ever spend $40 on a set of shampoo and conditioner again.  You can't afford it.  

Appreciate real friends.  They are few and far between.  It took a few years of college before you made a real one.

Please stop eating so many boxes of Nerds.  I know they're your favorite food.  Grow up.  

You're about to embark on your education classes. Only 3 more semesters to go! Enjoy it while it lasts.  Real teaching is great, but not nearly as fun as student-teaching.  Too bad you didn't get paid for that gig.  You'd never been poorer, but you'd also never been happier to be a teacher.  Making it a real job will take away the novelty.

Don't worry about not being engaged at college graduation.  I know all those other people are.  I know.  But seriously, build a bridge and get over it.  You're going to meet someone amazing and be better for it.  Then he will move you to Alaska.

Speaking of…those PA Education Standards you spent 2 years memorizing?  Forget them.  You'll never get to teach in Pennsylvania.  (You should probably take an Alaska History class if you have a chance though…)

And speaking of boys…just wait it out.  I know that everyone seems like they have it figured out, but you don't believe in that high school sweetheart stuff anyway.  Your parents met at a bar and they've been married for decades and had kids on purpose.  You'll meet your husband at a bar too.  Give it a year or so.

Don't order that college class ring.  You'll wear it twice.

Get the drinking out of your system now. By 22 1/2, hangovers start to last all day.  You'll never drink vodka/cranberry or rum/coke again.

7 years from now, you'll have had 4 years of teaching experience in 2 different states at 2 different grade levels.  Please stop trying to find a job in Pennsylvania.

I know you think your 20s are going to last forever.  They won't.

And I know you swore off military guys after what's-his-face.  We'll see how that works out for you.

Lastly, don't be afraid to leave home.  Traveling is the best thing you can spend your money on.  I'm glad you splurged on a Caribbean vacation after college.  There's more traveling in your future, for sure.  Don't be afraid of it.

28-year-old Kristin

January 21, 2014

8 Weeks with the Clarisonic Mia

I bought a Clarisonic Mia 2 in mid-November.  I've been using it for 8 weeks now.  Here's my 3-week-in review.

So many of you have asked for my opinion because, let's face it, this little piece of vibrating plastic is expensive…I did some research before I splurged and I'm glad that many of you trust my opinion!  Either that or you're using me as a guinea pig…but hey, I'm the one with slightly clearer skin*, so that's okay!

*A miracle cure, it is not.  I don't think such a thing exists.  I do like it though.


1. Much more durable than I gave it credit for. This thing has fallen on the floor an embarrassing number of times since November.  No obvious damage.

2.  My skin is much smoother.

3.  I do get the occasional noticeable pimple, but since my skin feels so much cleaner in general, they don't bug me as much.

4.  I don't moisturize at night anymore after I use it.  I had painfully dry skin when we lived in a northern climate.  Here, it's not as bad, but I do feel the need to moisturizer after I use a regular face wash at night (like Noxema) because it dries out my skin terribly.  The Mia facewash seems to dry it out in a good way, so I try to go to bed without lathering up and I've noticed that my skin in much smoother in the morning when I do it this way.

5.  I do, often, use it twice a day.  In the morning, I put on moisturizer afterward and then wait 1/2 an hour or so to put on make-up.

6.  Many of you mentioned you were sure if you'd use it regularly after you splurged on it.  I like the results enough to use it twice a day most days.  Do I always feel like it?  No.  But my skin feels ten times better after I do.  I've always been a really loyal face-washer in the first place (which is why I couldn't understand why my skin has always been so disobedient), including when we're on vacation, camping (that one time), etc.  It's something I have to do every night because I know I'll pay for it in the morning if I don't.  Spending $140+ on something used to wash my face encourages the habit.

7.  When my January spending freeze is over, I'm going to buy a new brush head.

8.  The only thing I don't like is how dependent I've become on it.  The idea of running out of cleansing gel scares me.

I found this picture from 2007.  Look how clear my skin was!  What has happened to me?

I thought your skin was supposed to get better as you get older?  Or something like that…

(My skin is not, by definition, bad.  It just never seems as nice as it could be.)

I think that environmental factors play a large role in whatever skin issues I perceive to have.  The germs floating around at school make me crazy, as does the wet air in Missouri.  My skin was painfully dry in Alaska, but it was clearer!

Anyway, I recommend the Mia2.  Go for it.

January 19, 2014

Pinned. Did. Done. 1/19 (and a winner!)

Allie from A Day in a Joyful Life won my Birthday Giveaway!  
Congrats Allie!  Your Starbucks card is in the mail!

It's been awhile!  The last Pinned, Did, Done post was in July!

Since I'm still regularly trying things I find on Pinterest, here's the latest batch of pins I've conquered.

Breakfast Oat Bran.  What can I say?  I like big bowls of mush for breakfast.  I eat oatmeal almost everyday and a hot breakfast trumps a cold breakfast.  Plus, I'm not allowed to buy cereal.  It ends badly with an empty cereal box a day or so later.  This oat bran is tasty.  I like adding just a bit of brown sugar and some almond butter.

Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha Latte.  Delicious.  Easy too.  

Coconut Vanilla Granola.  I burned this a little bit.  Also, I don't have fresh vanilla beans lying around because I'm not Ina Garten.  I used canola oil instead of coconut oil too. It still tasted good though.  The reason why I rarely make granola is because I eat it too quickly (see cereal reference above). This was gone in 3 days.

Peanut Butter Pupcakes.  You're going to think I'm crazy, but I kind of assumed this would be perfectly edible for human and dog alike.  Flour, peanut butter, honey? What's not to like?  I did not put the "frosting" on.  They, however, don't seem like something a human would like to eat, and the smell of them (think: pb and flour baked together) kind of nauseated me. They are definitely for dogs only and Scout-the-dog enjoyed his treat.

Clean-Eating Sweet Potato Casserole.  A healthy alternative to this sweet potato casserole my family makes each Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I liked it.  

Buffalo Chicken.  Shredded buffalo chicken is one of my new favorite things.  We put it on salads, on quinoa, in tortillas.  Try it.

Mason Jar Soap Dispensers.  I tend to half-ass crafts.  Which is why my dispensers aren't holding up as well as I'd like.  I put two of these together relatively quickly and Scott drilled the holes through the lids for me.

What have you been making from Pinterest lately?

January 17, 2014

Excuses, excuses

I truly apologize for screw-ups with the Sweetheart Swap partner-pairings.  I'm sorry the images I sent were teeny tiny.  If there is anything you want to know, please email me.  I will certainly get back to you (unlike the jewelry store lady from Kranich's whose emails go continually unanswered…*)

Why everything is behind/late this week:

1.  I spend 9 hours a day focused on 22 seven-year-olds.  They are incredibly needy.  I spend all day not only teaching, but constantly brainstorming on how I can get concepts cemented into their little minds.  I do A LOT of teaching off the cuff. I'm now proud to say that "context clues" and "schema" are part of their vocabulary.  2nd grade is alllllll repetition and I leave school each day with a slightly sore throat.

I forget where this came from, but I love that middle sentence there.  Describes me perfectly.

2.  Which leads me to… One of the reasons I didn't get to swap-partner-matching until late Wednesday night was because I was taking a night class on Tuesday.  Every Tuesday until the end of time, I have a 3 hour night class.  Okay, until March.

3.  Which leads to…utter failure.  I've had 2 frappuccinos this week (purchased with a gift card, but still).  I don't know how I'm supposed to get through a 3 hour night class without one, guys.  I just don't know.  I'm not supposed to be blowing money at Starbucks this month.  Oh well.  Back on the wagon I go.

4.  Which leads to…one-third of K-Cubed (Kayla, Kristin, Kristin) is moving away.
So I had to spend an evening saying good-bye. This is one of the hard parts of army life.  The three of us will always remember how we became acquainted at a meet-and-greet and bonded at an organic make-up party over a disinterest in GMOs.  I still have the $18 purple eyeshadow, and I've still only used it once.

Now we're K-squared :(

We'll miss you Kayla!

5.  Which leads to Thursday…I had an appointment to have another cyst removed from behind my ear. Uh huh. I know. 

Anyway, I first went to the doctor in November.  She referred me to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist.  I went there in December.  He made an appointment to cut it out yesterday (Thursday).  Since November, it's been shrinking.  This week, it decided to completely disappear.  Therefore, I spent the morning wasting time at the doctor's office (and then at Starbucks) when I could've been utilizing my prep period to make copies or something at school.

6.  This leads to…I haven't seen this week's Justified OR this week's Downton Abbey.
My parents watch Justified (which is possibly the only show we have in common…they started it before I did).  When my mom said, "Oh, Justified is on tonight", I said, "That's right…I like Timothy Olyphant." She said, "Kristin, everyone like Timothy Olyphant".  I told Scott, and he said something along the lines of "Yeah….I watch for Timothy Olyphant."

Last season in a nutshell

Also, Boyd.

So.  Yeah.  

Me too, buddy.

*I got Scott a necklace for Christmas.  The chain broke within a week.  She's trying to "help me out".  I'm bored with the whole thing and I don't feel like sending them any more money.

January 15, 2014

In my make-up drawer…plus a giveaway

I hate buying make-up.  It's just not my thing.  I like the way make-up looks on me, most of the time, but it never looks quite as good as I think it should.  There's plenty of bloggers out there who live and breathe make-up.  Some, like Joey, are cool about it.  Some people, however, lost me when they started posting about make-up because I really don't care about it.  As long as it makes me look okay, I'll wear it.

You know how some girls are "shoe people"?  Or "purse people"? I'm finding that there's "make-up people" too.  I will never be one of them.

A brush.  For powder.  This is my 2nd brush in 2 years.  I wash it occasionally.

Powder.  The most important part of stuff that covers my face is that it cannot be Cover Girl.  I may already be breakout-prone, but I'm convinced that Cover Girl would make even my dog breakout.

Blush.  Also not Cover Girl.  I remember to put blush on about 3 days a week.  Using the same brush, obviously, that I use for powder.

Eyeshadow.  I like the palettes of different colors, but I usually stick to browns/tans/shimmery stuff.

I use this brush to put it on.

I don't like the little wands.  Brushes really help me achieve maximum eyeshadow coverage.  I don't follow the instructions on the palette.  I just mesh the colors together until it looks good.  My eyeshadow, I guarantee, never looks the same two days in a row.

Eyeliner.  Always in dark brown.  I put it on after the eyeshadow, and it makes a nice little outline this way (kind of like when you were a kid and you'd color in the picture with a lighter crayon and outline it with a darker one).

Highlighter.  This is recent.  I was out of eyeliner.  Buying eyeliner is an absolutely necessary thing, but it's also annoying.  $7 every 2 months is hard.  When I went to buy my usual, I found this one.  2-in-1? It will make me look more awake?  Like I actually spent time on make-up?  Sure thing!  I really do like it.  I smudge some on after I do the eyeliner (whether that's how it's supposed to be used, I know not).

Mascara.  Ah, conundrums: my favorite mascara is Cover Girl.  The one in the red tube.  I've gone through many mascaras over the years because I always did like experimenting with that.  This one is the best for me.  I'd never tell you it's the best for you, because plenty of people (*cough* bloggers) have said a particular mascara is the best and it's definitely not been.

Lips.  I use Carmex multiple times a day, and I swear by it.  I carry lipstain to add a little color if necessary (I usually forget) and I have some lipgloss, but I think my mom gave that to me last Christmas.  It's Clinique, so clearly I didn't buy it.

There you are.  Now, please tell me what I need to do/buy/try.  My ears are open!

I'm part of a really great giveaway (jealous I can't enter) on Jane's blog today.  
Check it out if you like Lululemon, workout gear, gift cards, or all of the above!

The Sticky Note Addict / Radiating Sunshine / Growing Up is Actually Kind of Fun
Borrowed Heaven / Win $125 to Lululemon! / Many Waters
Scattered Seashells / Free Borboleta / McDancing Through Life
Kristin's knook / It's The Journey / Poppiness
a Rafflecopter giveaway