Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013: It Happened

Well, good thing I didn't put blogging on my Christmas  break bucket list. But truth is, I have been enjoying every second of my break!! I can't believe we've come to the end of the year!!

2013. It happened. And it's almost over. So here's a look back at all things posted. Some serious, some funny, and some just random as can be. It's mainly the posts that I myself wanted to stop and reread again while I was scrolling through the year.

January - Dang. I was sappy in January. My roommate turned 25 and I went on and on about things we did together. And we got the first good report about my dad. I was still hesitant, but a good report can go a long way after months of no good, very bad reports.

February - I attended the most incredible professional development I have ever been to and I immediately wished my family, friends, coworkers could all be there to experience it with me. And I'm not a fashion blogger, but dang my spring trends were on point.

March - I created a new blogging tradition of mine and got my first new pair of glasses since high school. I love them and am already thinking about getting a second pair for my birthday....... in July.

April - I hung out with the coolest, most phenomenal African kids I could ever possibly imagine. I was so blessed by that opportunity and cherish the time I got to spend with them. I had super popular post involving the Man BFF and Bro In Law, and I admitted to having a boyfriend, who I dubbed Duck Dude.

May - Glamping with the fam is always an experience. I was humbled by dad's cancer free status. I
had my first guest blogger. AND I hit 10,000 views. Woah, May! (p.s. I'm already past half way to 20,000 and anyone who says they don't look at their pageviews is lying).

June - I made predictions about pancakes that seemed to be fairly accurate and I put professional preacher's date on my resume.

July - I figured out I'm not so different from my six year old self and I turned a quarter of a century.

August - I got a pet coackroach and I prayed for my new students.

September - I had the pleasure of helping Duck Dude move into his new home. We decorated and got settled and now we're having fun exploring the area! Then I defended twerking Miley, to be specific.

October - I came up with my Top 10 list of teaching moments because I was tired of hearing people complain and then my blog became all things Baylor. Which you cannot really fault me for, because that's what I mean when I say I bleed green and gold.

November - I painted my new friend Hedwig and found glitter deer antlers that I'm obsessed with. And I want to buy these antlers from Target and glitter mod -podge them. And if you think I'm kidding, you are mistaken.

December - I went duck hunting for the first time ever in my life. I got serious about Christmas not once, but twice... and I blogged more than I ever have in an entire year. 

And if you ask me why I blog? This post is why. It's because I have this wonderful little place on the webz, that can help remind me of all the things I did this past year. And I love this little place. So much. 

Happy New Year blog land!!! Bring it 2014.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Xmas Break List

I have a few things on my Christmas Break Bucket List. 

1. Look at lights. I love Christmas lights and I have not yet driven around one neighborhood that is out of my way to look at lights. That will change as soon as I am on break. 

2. See Catching Fire. I finished the book over Thanksgiving break and now I'm ready to see the movie. I just haven't yet. Doesn't that sound like the perfect cold day after Christmas activity? 

3. Finish Serena. I started this book during summer at the ranch. The problem is I haven't gotten around to finishing it. It is a marvelous book and the movie is set to release in April of 2014! Must. Finish.

4. See Frozen. Idina Menzel? Count me in. I was recently talking to some of my former students who are now on the Varsity basketball team across the street. When we had Icepocalypse, they were at a tournament in Houston and their flight back was cancelled. So their coach suggested they all go see Frozen. She got this response, "Ugh, it's a "G" movie"... aka "We're wayyyy to cool for this movie." ....... It was all they could talk about at my tournament last weekend. They said it was sooo good. And if it's good enough for high school girls, it's good enough for me. 

5. Read Who Owns the Learning. What? A school book? I know... but I've heard such good things about it. If it keeps me entertained, I'm down to read a school book over my break. 

6. See Saving Mr. Banks. A third movie?? I cannot even tell you the last movie I saw in theaters... Despicable Me 2?.... and I have three movies on this list. But I realllly want to see all of them. Mary Poppins has always been a favorite in my family. Mom and I saw the broadway show in April... so when I first saw the trailer for this movie, it immediately caught my attention. Let's be honest... who doesn't love a Tom Hanks movie?

7. Become Jennifer Lawrence. Because she's witty, and not afraid to talk about food, and awkward, and sassy, and rocks a short hair cut way better than Miley, and I love her. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Black Eyed Pea Casserole

So, I realized the purpose of waiting so long to post about my black eyed pea casserole was I have just been waiting for it to be close to New Years! That’s the whole reason! I promise I didn’t forget about it at all! So here it is! It is marvelous and you should definitely have it for New Year’s. It has Duck Dude’s approval as well.

1.5 cups dried black eyed peas (I cheated because I needed something quick. I used can)
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1.5 cups rice (I used whole grain rice)
3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 10 oz can of Rotel
3 cups of fresh spinach, cut into strips
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 cup diced jalapenos

This is the recipe I used when I discovered about cooking rice in chicken broth. I’m still amazed. Cook the onions in little olive oil. Then add the garlic and rice in chicken broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook the rice according to the package.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Scrape the rice into a large bowl. Add peas, rotel, jalapenos, spinach, and 1 cup of cheese. (The spinach looks like it's over taking everything, but just remember it cooks down) Mix together, then pour into casserole dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Spread remaining cheese across the top, then bake another 10 minutes.

I threw out some sour cream and guacamole to dollop on top. It was yum times twenty-seven. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Little Drummer Boy

The little drummer boy is a Christmas Classic. It's also a highlight for church Christmas pageants, singing trees, or musicals. It's a fun song... One that can incorporate drums into church music without the old people causing too much uproar. One that the crowd typically remembers years down the road. I know when I was involved, we did an awesome version of the song that started with one drummer and ended with an entire drumline!! And at the end when they hoisted their drumsticks up into the air, the audience erupted into applause. 

Take the church down the street PrestonWORLD... Prestonwood. Here's their performance this year: 

(Here's a link to Prestonwood's video of the full song)  #betterquality

Amazing. I know the long, arduous hours that are put into a show and I fully appreciate their commitment to getting thousands to come watch their phenomenal production. 

However, I cannot help but wonder, is the real meaning of the song lost with these over the top, flashy, eye-catching performances? 

To be honest, the Bible says nothing of flying drummer boys or entire drumlines. 

But for the first time, I heard a line that really caught my attention. 

"I played my best for him." 

It doesn't say he played an errorless piece of music equivalent to the Mozart Symphony No. 40 in G minor. He played his best.

He doesn't ask for perfection. He asks for our best

If I slip into coaching mode, I ask my athletes for their best. And I know what I mean. I want 100%. I want everything they have. I don't want half of their effort. I want all of their effort. I want them to show me they care enough to give it their all. 

It's the story I've heard a hundred times, but a hundred and first does not hurt. Christ doesn't ask for us to live without mistakes, but he does want the very best we can give him. 

So whatever that drum may be in your life, play on

Psalm 98:4-6
(4)Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
(5)make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
(6)with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Carb Baby

My mom calls me her carb baby. Because I love carbs. Like, if I had my choice of eating whatever I wanted, it would be carbs and starches all. day. long. I'm lucky I do like vegetables, but I love carbs. So it may be surprising that one thing I have not conquered is cooking rice. I have never been good at it. I do not know if I put too much water or not enough, or maybe I cook it too fast, but it never comes out tasting exactly like rice should. I really just need one of those fancy rice cookers, but until then, I am stuck trying to figure out how to make rice taste like rice without using an Uncle Ben's pouch that you stick in the microwave. 

Cue the day I made a black eyed pea casserole that I still haven't blogged about.... and it suggested something. Cook rice in chicken broth for more flavor. Hmm, alright. So I tried it and had the most wonderful rice I have ever cooked. Not only did it come out perfect, it also came out with flavor! And it was an awesome dish. I really will blog about it sometime.

So last week, I had a teriyaki chicken thing I was trying and there was a pouch of rice in it. I still had chicken broth, so I thought I'd try it again. Perfect!! Again!! 

I either suddenly know how to cook rice, or I have discovered a much easier way to cook rice while adding more flavor!!!!!! I like to think I discovered it, however, do not google it because a lot of other people will tell you they discovered it too and then you will just feel like you've been left out of a secret club for years. 

I realize you might not always want a chicken flavor with whatever you're cooking, but I feel you could use it a lot of the time. The teriyaki chicken turned out decent, however I still think I like the PF Changs frozen bags better. But now, I know how to cook rice. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Student Presents

Student presents are a funny thing. 

I'm down with the edible ones.... if I like you. If I do not like you and we spend most of our days going tit for tat, I'm probably not going to eat your food, because most likely you poisoned me and want me to die.

I'm not down with jewelry. Most of the time I do not like it. It's just too risky of a choice. And then I feel like I have to keep it and wear it at least once so the student can say, "Hey! That's what I gave you!" 

One time I got a wreath.... now it hangs above my calendar in December. That was cool.

One time I got nail polish.... that student might have gotten extra credit. We had a nail polish bond that no one could break. 

Candles are fine. As long as they smell good. If they smell bad, then I think you hate me. 

I'm down with just a thank you card. I love when the parent forces the kid to write me a card. I still treasure it whether it was done by torture or not. 

Then every now and then you get something real special. 

Like this. 

A clipboard.. from an athlete.. who knows I love my clipboards and get very superstitious about them. And who knows my favorite color pallet right now is navy, gray, and gold. And knows that all the things I yell while coaching are really just because I love them. And now, I love my clipboard. 

Happy Friday.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's Not for the Gifts..

Part of my weekly schedule includes Tuesday night at sushi with my now sushi family. I do not think I've ever done an official blog on sushi night, but it gets mentioned here and there around these parts. However, this blog is not about my sushi family, just a conversation that occurred while at sushi Tuesday.

Tom is a sweet little old man who often gives us advice. I love listening to his stories of taking his wife of well over 50 years out on their first date and he loves listening to us talk about abbrevs and hashtags. So when I mentioned something about setting up my Christmas tree over Thanksgiving break and Tom bah-humbugged me... I was completely thrown off. 

Wait, a second!! Tom, why do you not like Christmas???   

Cue Tom's rant about how Christmas has turned into nothing but about money and stores do not care about Christmas, they care about profits, and everyone just blinks over Thanksgiving to get to Christmas to lavishly spoil people with gifts, and it's only about money and so on.... 

While I do think Tom has a point for some people, I tried to explain to him this:

My favorite part about Christmas is not the gifts. I hate surprises. I'm terrible at buying gifts and it stresses me out each year. My favorite part about Christmas is the songs. The Christmas carols that we get to sing about Jesus' birth. I can sing alto, second soprano, or soprano for almost all of them and I love each and every part the same. It reminds me of the years decades I was in the Christmas show at church. It reminds of the fellowship I got to have with all the cast-mates through practices, dress rehearsals, and shows. The insane amount of clementines that us "angels" ate while waiting to dance in our songs. The sled I got to sing in with this awesome quartet (shout out to Point of Grace). The time we had such a quick change to make it from singing to our angel costume we stripped in the hallway as we were running. Traditions. Christmas Eve traditions. Picture traditions. New traditions that I'm making now that I live in the real world. School traditions with my students. Sausage balls on Christmas morning. Looking at Christmas lights. Looking at the one house by my moms house that is ridiculous every year. And the one house that always has the guy falling off a ladder while trying to hang lights. 

It's way more than just gifts. It's holiday cheer. It's Joy to the World and Peace on Earth. It's excited my whole family will be in town. It's that one time it actually snowed on Christmas morning. It's reading the Christmas story. And singing O Holy Night as many times as I possibly can because it's my favorite of them all. 

I think Tom already had his mind made up, but I know why I love Christmas, and it's not for the gifts.

I was originally going to talk about the Little Drummer Boy. Oops. Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Big 12 Champions

I've heard it before.. Why does Baylor think they're all that and a large bag of Tostito chips??

Well, let me tell you.

It has less to do with the whole chips thing, even though we are going to the Fiesta Bowl (see what I did there)... And more to do with we've had 20 years of being low man on the totem pole and we are just reallllllllly and I mean realllllly excited to be a formidable opponent!!!

For the first time in my life, I stayed from kickoff to the end of the game!!! That rarely happens!! And on top of that it was 25 degrees, felt like 14, and I legitimately could not feel my toes. But I did it!!! I made it through!!!! And we are, for the first time ever, Big 12 Champions!!!!!!!! Over Texas, over Oklahoma, over Oklahoma State... Do you see why this is so exciting?!

If I didn't think my tears would have frozen on my cheek, I might have cried!!!

So I promise, we're not trying to gloat. Just let us be that dang excited.

And then Baylor is so awesome.. They said because we're big 12 champions you do not have to work the next 2 days!!!!!! Oh those were actually snow days? I took them as celebration days!!!

Look at my Aggie!!! He was a wonderful sport!!

My coworker down the street!! 

The boys and bear claws!!

Rush the field! Or stand on the field.. Take a picture.. And get to the car to thaw!! 

Floyd Casey. I love you. You will always be the stadium I grew up coming to and the stadium I will remember during my college years! However, I am excited for what the future holds! For future bears and for future Big 12 Champions!!!!!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Icepocalypse 2013

That's right. There's ice. Which means the city of Dallas shuts down. School was cancelled by 7 pm which was fantastic, because that means I have more time to drive to Waco. Uh huh. No ice storm is going to stop me from going to the last game at Floyd Casey Stadium. The high for tomorrow in Waco is 28. So today, I'm bringing you the top 3 extremities I'd prefer to lose to frostbite.

1. Right hand, middle finger. This is due to the fact that this finger is already only performing at 50%. I jammed it in the student faculty volleyball game and my old body can't seem to make that knuckle work. So go ahead frostbite, take it.

2. Left foot, pinky toe. The one that goes wee wee wee all the way home. I know it's used for balance, but I think my balance can take that hit. Growing up I had a friend who's pinky toe didn't touch the ground... We called it the raptor toe. He was fine. And I end up putting that little toe up on the toe next to it.... That's a really weird statement. The pinky toe can go.

3. Right hand, ring finger. I realize this would make me have a 3 fingered right hand, but hear me out. I've always wanted to be left handed... So this would probably force my hand in that situation. Everyone loves lefties. And no one ever taught me how to hold a pencil, so I have this really weird writing bump on my ring finger. It seems to hold pencil lead, pen ink a lot longer; it makes my cuticle look awkward which, in turn, makes my nail bed an unusual shape. Manicurists never know what to do with it. So, I'd be ok with losing that one.

I don't know if I've ever spent time pondering which phalanges I would want to lose, but then again how often do we have ice storms in Dallas? If you're in the metroplex, stay safe and warm! I'm off to finish packing 7,836 layers for this football game.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Winter Centerpieces

My winter centerpieces are finally finished. Just in time for this arctic weather heading for us tomorrow.
It's Texas and I've lived here my entire life, but the weather still surprises me. Anyways, my centerpieces are pretty. I might be biased, but they are exactly how I imagined. Glitter and burlap. The perfect juxtaposition. 

This was my first time using mod podge and glitter. I was very pleased with the turn out. Being a math teacher, I looked for ratios of mod podge to glitter for a long while.... however the best advice I read was make it look like clumpy sand. If you do it that way, you only have to make one coat. 

I started off trying to tape a perfect line for glitter. Then I got frustrated. I free handed it. The little imperfections are fine by me. 

And the greatest of these is love. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"How was hunting?!?!?"

A question I've gotten many times so far this past week and a half. Either I was reallllly excited and told everyone or people look at my Facebook on-the-line more than I realize. 

How good was it? 

So good I live tweeted it. 

So here's a recap in tweets and pictures. (You don't have to be wearing camo to read this, but it will probably help set the mood.. Just a thought)

4:10 - "Welp guys. It double date duck hunt time. I'll be live tweeting my thoughts. Ready go:" ..... So my grammar slash editing ability is hindered at 4 am... Note made. 

4:16 - "Rise and shine and God give us the duckies, duckies. #dddh2k13."
Ohh clever twist on the Christian Classic. Should have hash tagged preachers kid. 

4:39 - "is it a requirement to talk about hunting the whole way there? Oooo.. IKEA. I want to redo my bedroom." 
Made it 29 minutes without talking about something besides hunting. Almost half an hour. Basically a full New Girl show. I'll take it. 

4:51 - "we just turned north on 75... My idea of where Bonham is was completely off!!! And isn't colder up north? Crappp." 
5 am grammar isn't any better and Bonham isn't in east Texas. Got it. 

5:02 - "just brought my Michael Kors purse into Racetrac with me... So I still look like I know what I'm doing?" 
I honestly felt like Michael Kors would be okay with me glaming up the camo a bit. New marketing strategy?

5:11 - "I felt like I was in a secret club with everyone in camo in there. 'Hi..' 'Hows it going?' 'Are you my boyfriend?' 
This was actually a really funny part of the trip. When we came out of the bathroom there were all sorts of camo people in the gas station. I almost cuddled up to the guy at the counter before I realized that was not my Duck Dude. Yikes. I know understand how that little bird feels.

5:19 – “Man, I just got me a flatbread… with turkey… AND cheese!!!!”
Duck Dude’s bro in law was super excited about his turkey and cheese and I cannot say I blame him. At this point we were getting close and I was getting super excited that it was about time for his sister and I to start layering up.

5:27 – “Ahhh, shoot. I haven’t been using the hashtag. #dddh2k13 #dddh2k13 #dddh2k13”

5:46 – “I got pads on my feet…. Ohh that’s just a toe warmer!!! #dddh2k13”
For real, they were like pads, however I will not judge them because they kept my feet warm.

5:59 – “We’re about to freeze our camo little hineys off!! #dddh2k13”

6:26 – “Let the action begin!!”
I do not think you could pay me to get in the water, even with waders on.

Here’s where I actually took a break and soaked in all the duck hunting glory……. Or I just kept my hands in my gloves because it was too cold to do anything else!

8:45 – “My baby Koal”
 I was so proud of her!! If you ever get a chance to watch a dog actually hunt, take it. 

8:46 – “Breakfast is served. #glunting #dddh2k13”
I love Coleman stoves. If you do not own one.. put it on your Christmas list riiiiight now!!

And then the tweets of all the post hunting pictures begin. I did not shoot any, but I sure loved taking pictures with them like I did! Ain’t no shame in that game. Don’t we look good?
Can you tell who is who? ha

I cannot tell who is more camouflaged. Us or Koal?


Camo, gun, dog. Awwwww.
It was such a marvelous morning… followed by a winless afternoon by our football teams. But we didn’t let it get us down, because we are duck hunters.

I believe there will be a dddh2k14.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Toast to November

I did not mean to take a break last week, but hey! It happened and it was refreshing. However, I am going to try to combine my toast to November with a few new items that are now in my possession. So take it away November!

Here's to drawer organizers. You made my bathroom drawer look a million and one times cleaner. I appreciate you for this and I promise to never let it reach that state of disaster again. 

Here's to burlap reindeer. Meet Dasher. He entered my life when Duck Dude and I entered Kirkland's looking for decorations for his mantle. I just could not pass him up. He. is. adorable. 

Here's to finding at least one pair of flats I like. They're not black and I still need a black pair, but these keep growing on me. Now I want a black pair exactly like them. Guess I have to go to Nordstoms. 

Here's to Christmas Carols. I sing them year round, but it's about November when people do not look at me quite as strange as they do in June. Again, how could I not pass this pillow up. I love it. 

Here's to gold bathroom soap dispensers. You read that correctly. I broke my soap dispenser a while ago... but it was so pretty. So I've had two on the bathroom counter. One that's pretty. And one that actually works. While I was at HomeGoods, I finally found a soap dispenser that was up to my standards and would match my yellow/gold bathroom. She's just as pretty, if not prettier, than my last. 

Here's to unreal beauty. My red head sister captured this picture on Thanksgiving morning out on the ranch. It's beautiful and reminds me how much greater God's power is than my own. Just unreal. 

Here's to big guns. Because I live in Texas and I like to embrace any and all stereotypes thrown at me. I like big guns and I cannot lie... all you other states can't deny.. 

November you were wonderful and I am extremely thankful for all the memories I made within your 30 days. Hi December, I love you. 

(full recap on hunting tomorrow)