Monday, August 31, 2015

1 Week Down

Well, one week is down. And now starts another Monday. Here’s a glimpse of the lovelies that I have been praying for since August 1st:

- My student whose parents are going through a divorce because the dad just came out that he was gay.
 My student whose mom was just sentenced to 6 ½ years of prison and she now lives with her 80 year old grandmother and 18 month old baby sister.
- My student who has a 24 year old mother. Luckily, my student is infinitely more times responsible than her mom. I love her.
- My student who I found out on Friday is a serious hot head. He can flip a switch and almost fight two different people on the way of me escorting him out in the hallway.
- My student who spent most of the year at alternative school. He hated his math teacher last year, which has translated into him already hating me. We had a talk where I straight up told him, “I am on your side.” His only response was, “I don’t like school.”
- My precious little new student who refuses to write. His handwriting looks like a 1st grader.. so he simply doesn’t write.

I am excited for the school year though. I love the challenges these students represent and I know there are more stories than the ones I have listed above.

I had a very relaxing with me and Koal girl. We worked on inputting parent emails, did a little shopping before a giftcard expired, and meal planned for this crazy week coming up. Then Saturday night was a thrilling night of watching Mulan and eating grits on the couch.   It was as glorious as it sounds.

And as Li was singing “I’ll make a man out of you,” I couldn’t help but think about  my boys  who got in the fight. Get ready boys. I’m gonna teach you math. And respect. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pot of Italian Wonder

It's the first week of school... so I, obviously, decided to try out three brand new recipes this week. I found them on Pinterest, duh. I went searching for easy, quick recipes that I knew I could make after a 12 hour day at school. 

The first one was a raging success. It's called the Italian Wonderpot and it did just that. Travis' uncle ended up being at our house for dinner which was perfect because we had more than enough food. Find the recipe here... I followed it exactly for this first time.. however, you could definitely add many more ingredients.

The best thing about this recipe? There's no boiling the noodles first and then combining everything. You literally put it all in the pot.. turn the heat on and let it cook! I doubled the onion and tripled the amount of red crushed pepper so it had a nice little spice to it! 

When I do it again.. I could see myself adding mushrooms, ground turkey or chicken or sausage, definitely more spinach, and squash or zucchini. I feel like it's one of those get rid of a lot of things in your pantry recipe!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

We Really Gouda Together

Wanna hear something funny? Growing up I thought I didn't like cheese. 
I was just letting that sink in. Now I am 27 and I do not have the metabolism I had growing up and I love cheese. I feel like that did not work out in my favor. However, now I am married and I have all kinds of cool serving platters and pretty things. I like to use, said, pretty things... especially when we have people over! 
Last week we had a little going away party for ESPN Caroline. I decided to make a cheese plate. I did about 2 seconds worth of research and knew I would use the resources I had. 
1. Marble Platter from Crate and Barrel. 
2. Cool Slate things you can write on with chalk..... or officially "slate place card holders with soapstone chalk" You might have seen these during our Bachelor nights too. I love these things!! Whenever you have people over it makes things look that more fancy! I've already considered buying another set of 4! 
And 3. Cheese. Way back at Easter I blogged about our Scramily. Well one weekend when Sammie's mom and I were both having a girls weekend at Baylor... they introduced me to smoked gruyere cheese. It might actually be the BEST cheese ever invented. 
And then there's gouda. How can you deny a cheese when there are memes like this?!
And then there's the classic. Cheddar. That rounded out the cheeses that I wanted. I picked them out from Sprouts I found a white cheddar that was crumbly, but still very, very good. What's more American than a cheese plate? Needless to say it was a hit. 3 was definitely enough for this platter.. but I also have a wooden one that would probably hold 4 or 5. 

Bring on football season and cheese plates. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

180 Days

Thanks for being patient as I began my school year last week. It was a little bit of a rough week for me and the last thing that was on my mind was the blog. Sometimes life happens and that's ok. 

Today, I greet my 98 math students. 98 different life stories. 98 souls I can touch. 98 personalities I get to do my best to figure out. 98 confidences I can shatter or build up with my words. 

Then there's athletics. 115 7th grade athletes. 65 8th grade athletes. That many more stories, personalities, and confidences. 

I love the beginning of the school year because it's a fresh start. These students get to decide who they want to be this year and what they want to accomplish. I am continuously praying for them. I hope they see me as someone they can trust, someone who is on their side, someone who they can come to. I do so much more than teach them how to find the unit rate. I spend a lot of time making sure they can multiply and divide fractions; but I spend the entire year trying to show them how to advocate for themselves. 

I didn't sleep last night (I technically wrote this on Sunday.. but I already know this part can be included.. it happens every year), because I was so anxious to meet them. I know from today on I have 180 instructional days to teach them things like how to find the surface area of a triangular prism. But I also know I have 180 days to make a difference. 
"We raise our white flag. We surrender,
all to you, all for you.
We raise our white flag. The war is over.
Love has come, your love has won."
Bring on the 15-16 school year. As a "Mrs.", of course! 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Backyard Paradise

Duck Dude and I love being outside. We love hanging out in the backyard, we love the trails behind our house, and we love grilling anything!! 

When we moved in, we had a terrible, rickety tin patio cover that looked like it was smiling at you because it was warped so badly. There was also this black fence that housed their dogs. We've since learned their dogs were so mean they had to be kept in that black fence rather than the backyard. Look! I found the old picture online (thanks zillow)!! 

We immediately took down the fence. It made the backyard look 3 times as big. Next was the patio cover. See ya. Wouldn't want to be ya.. That made our backyard look like this.

We got the table from Duck Dude's parents and it's lovely. We sit out there with friends and family, but knew we would enjoy it more if it was covered. Duck Dude talked with a friend of his who owns his own landscaping company out in Lubbock. Two weekends ago he came down and the TWO of them built our entire pergola!!! 

Y'all. It's so, so pretty! It's 20 x 16 feet of cedar glory!!! The biggest difference so far has been the temperature of our downstairs living area. It's so much cooler inside from the shade of the pergola outside!!! Which has been fantastic seeing it's been 104+ for the last 10 days! Yes, the boys chose to build this thing on the hottest days Texas has seen so far! 

But this thing was no where near finished... not when you're married to Duck Dude. No sir. It "needed" a roof, lights, and fans!! So, the next weekend, the family got involved. Friday night included the guys coming over to build the roof. Sister Laura Pocket and I were outside for a little bit, but we soon figured out we could sit on the guest bed upstairs and have a much better view!!! :) 

 Saturday included Duck Dude's dad coming over to do all the electrical "stuff." While they did that, the girls and Naked Nick ran errands to Wal-mart and Lowes and other Wal-mart and Sam's and back to Lowes.. and back to Wal-mart...... but! We found the perfect new cushions... AND Naked Nick helped me get them for 50% off!!!

So, after two weekends, one hose down for heat, 5 stitches for a hammer to the chin (sorry Brandon!), approximately 112 mosquito bites later... we have the perfect backyard paradise for us!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Our Favorite Restaurants

Last night Duck Dude and I joined a whole bunch of my former athletes for team dinner!!  It's always fun for the girls to see Duck Dude... and it was a restaurant I have been wanting to take him to! A hole in the wall BBQ feed store. Which led to today's post.

Our favorite restaurants! We love trying new places and finding new "spots." Some of these are hole in the walls, some chains, and one grocery store. Seriously! They are in no particular order. Maybe it will give you a new idea for dinner this week!

Feedstore BBQ
Location: 530 S White Chapel Blvd, Southlake, TX
Food type: Good, old fashioned BBQ
Atmosphere: Laid back, casual
Specialty: My favorite is the brisket!! Or the cobbler!
Price: About $10/plate

Whiskey Cake
Location: 3601 Dallas Pkwy, Plano, TX
Food type: Craft American
Atmosphere: Date night or Brunch Time
Specialty: Whiskey Cake... the first time we went we only got this because it was a friend's birthday.. Now I know NEVER to skimp out on it ever again!!! Plus to die for craft cocktails!!
Price: Average of $17/plate
Must Know: This place is crazy busy... utilize the call ahead seating or know you could possibly wait up to 2 hours... but it is SO worth it.

Market Street
Location: 3800 Long Prairie Rd Flower Mound, TX
Food type: American
Atmosphere: Outside, Casual
Specialty:  Every Thursday night our Market Street has buy one get one free burgers and live music outside in the courtyard. We've also done the salad bar and taken it outside.
Price: Average of $10/plate
Must Know: They also have $2 beers and $4 wine on tap!

Hook Line & Sinker
Location: 3103 Lemmon Ave Dallas, TX 75204
Food type: Seafood
Atmosphere: Casual
Specialty: Everything seafood! I crave shrimp and oysters from here!!
Price: Average of $15/plate
Must Know:  There is minimal indoor seating. We have always sat outside at the picnic tables.. it's a better experience anyway! Be ready to valet here.. we have also watched cars be towed away for parking across the street in the shopping center.

Baja Grill
Location: 1212 William D. Tate, Grapevine, Tx
Food type: Tex-Mex
Atmosphere: Casual
Specialty: Margaritas
Price: Average of $12/plate
Must Know: A great hang out spot.. specifically for after volleyball games. Issa's queso rivals that of Mattito's!

Fireside Pies
Location: 5717 Legacy Drive, Suite 110, Plano, TX

Food type: Pizza and Craft Cocktails
Atmosphere: Casual or Date night
Specialty: My absolute favorite is the Balsamic Roasted Chicken Pie
Price: Average of $14 a pizza that can easily be shared with 1 or 2 people!
Must Know: Do have a gluten free crust for an added $4

Location: 304 Grapevine Hwy, Hurst, TX

Food type: Sushi (Sashimi and Hand Crafted Rolls)
Atmosphere: Casual
Specialty: They have some of the best and fresh rolls I have ever tasted. The Baja Fresh roll, Salmon Mango roll, and Ember roll are 3 of my favorites!
Price: Average of $13/roll
Must Know: You get your money's worth of sushi here! I have never found a place like it! Also Tuesday nights are $1 sake night! For real!!

Max's Wine Dive
Location: 3600 McKinney Ave #101, Dallas, TX

Food type: American
Atmosphere: Date night
Specialty: Gluten Free Chicken Fingers!
Price: Average of $15
Must Know: I have always been really pleased with the servers.. they can answer a lot of questions about wine and I always learn something.

Location: 2810 E Trinity Mills Rd, Carrollton, TX

Food type:  Tex-Mex
Atmosphere: Casual
Specialty: Queso with chorizo on corn tortillas. Yum.
Price: Average of $13/plate
Must Know: The tableside guacamole is big enough for 4 people! But very good!

Rex's Fresh Seafood
Location: 5200 W Lovers Ln, Dallas, TX

Food type: Seafood
Atmosphere: Date night
Specialty: Any of the fish entrees are out of this world!!
Price: Average of $27/entree
Must Know:  The quality of the food here is outstanding.

Got a new date night place? Feel free to let me know! We love to celebrate anything!! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Big Girl Job

My little bit.. My tinker toy.. My blonde... got a big girl J-O-B!!!!!!!!

She has accepted a "Sound Board Operator/Producer" position with ESPN Central Texas radio!! She had the best time interning with David Smoak and Craig Smoak while she was at Baylor and I know they will treat her well as a big girl! During the radio shows she will have a microphone in front of her while running the sound board.. she will also be filming/producing videos for their website!!!

 The worst/best part of the entire thing... she has to be down there on August 16th!!!! So my time with her back in Dallas was short lived... she is heading back to the Wack!!! Bad news: she not sure where she is going to live yet! Good news: wherever she ends up, you can guarantee I will make an appearance!!!

She is excited to be beginning a job in the industry that she wants to stay in! For a while she considered going into PR.. but she wants to be a sports broadcaster and I am so glad she's getting to start in radio!! She said she is most looking forward to "being back in Waco with a community and college athletic program that I am obsessed with. I'll also be producing Cowboy games and other NFL games so it's going to be a treat to be paid to listen to football."

I am so proud of her for taking the first step in reaching her dreams!! One day I know she will look back and say I took this job because it was one step in the right direction. I cannot wait to see where it takes her!! Keep reaching little bit... you are going to do magnificent things!!!!

And if you're ever driving through Waco, tune into AM 1660!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wood Guestbook

Wedding Wednesday!!! A true wedding post! About our guestbook! 

I wanted a guestbook that we would use.. or put somewhere other than on a coffee table and never look at it. I searched Pinterest for ideas and settled on wood guestbook. Anywhere from 70 to 95 dollars on etsy. While $70 seems like a little amount when planning a wedding, it was something I did not want to spend. I showed it to Duck Dude and he said "oh yeah, I can make that." 

He bought seven 1x4s from Lowes. He used 5 to create the actual guestbook and used the other two 1x4's on the back to make them stay together. He stained the wood with a "box gray" stain. I picked out the monogram I liked and he free-handed it with acrylic paint and added our wedding date in the corner. He completed it with a matte gloss sealant so it would not scratch off..... EVER Because he's stuck with me FOR-EV-ERRR!!!!! Muahahaha. Just kidding. Kind of.  

We picked out sharpies that matched our wedding colors and were ready to watch it fill up with signatures! 

Now our beautiful collection of people who love us is hanging in our guest bedroom. That way when anyone spends the night they can find their signature and be reminded of our wedding night!! Sometimes I go in the room just to look at it! I find new signatures every time. There are some that make me laugh and some that put the biggest smile on my face!

I would not trade it for the world!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Chicken Mango Quesadillas

I am back! Blogging is so much easier when you are on a schedule!! Yesterday my schedule was high school volleyball tryouts. It's my schedule today too.. but I got responsible and blogged last night. (which is difficult to type in the future tense, fyi.)

What's not difficult to type about is the easiest quesadillas ever. As I typed that I thought to myself, it's technically not the easiest.. just cheese would be easiest.. so I will rephrase my statement to the BEST adult quesadillas ever! 

Chicken, Mango, Avocado, Pico, and CHEESE. Last night was a night where I was tired and wanted something easy. If you've figured out, I do not like to compromise good food for easy. I knew we had tortillas left over. Duck Dude checked and we had a perfect 4. I still had not been to the store since Jamaica, yikes, so I went to get the essentials! There is this grilled fajita chicken that you heat up in the skillet that makes life real easy. I could not find my mango pico de gallo, so I had to make my own. And my love for avocados has gone no where. 6 ingredient quesadillas. Yum. 

I called in my professional flipper and he got busy spraying the tortillas with butter so they would be the perfect crispyness on the outside. He flipped them 2-3 times and then we used a pizza cutter to slice 'em up! 

I know you can put anything in quesadillas, but have you ever tried mango? 
They were so good I did not even eat chips. I ate the quesadilla and salsa and am excited we have leftovers. Even if I have to fight Duck Dude for them.