A little faith and a lot of love go a long way…

Summer fun!

Today marks 3 weeks of summer fun! I’m still in “summer mommy” mode and it’s been GREAT! Here’s an update of what we’ve been up to!

We've enjoyed ice cream...

We’ve enjoyed ice cream…

...and played outside...

…and played outside…


...and we picked cherries!

…and we picked cherries!


(Oh and I recommend checking out the advice about washing cherries (or any berries) using vinegar to help keep them fresh longer!)

We’ve also…

...eaten more ice cream with friends!

…eaten more ice cream with friends!

We took a trip to Pittsburgh to visit friends and we went to Idlewild Park!

Thomas was the guest of honor on our trip to Idlewild! :)

Thomas was the guest of honor on our trip to Idlewild! 🙂





Additionally, we went to the Pittsburgh Zoo!

We compared Big Daddy Byron's height to the animals' heights at the zoo!

We compared Big Daddy Byron’s height to the animals’ heights at the zoo!


We like elephants!

We like elephants!


Then we came home and went to a carnival!

Vroom, vroom!

Vroom, vroom!

Oh and we found some time to swim!

Oh and we found some time to swim!

Then we took a tour of a farm!

I see you Bessie!

I see you Bessie!


As you can see, we have been busy, busy, busy!!!


I made a bucket list?

Oh yes I did! When my friend over at Reclaimed Gardening mentioned that I hadn’t blogged about my stint as a runner, I thought, why yes! I need to write about that and update my bucket list!

I have never been a runner. As a certified “fat kid” for basically my entire life combined with having the ACL’s in both of my knees reconstructed before I turned 24, well…that isn’t a recipe for a runner. In fact I hated running. Hate, hate, hate. However, during this past school year I was (secretly) inspired by two of my lovely co-workers who are runners. (You should check them out at RunReadMom and Pink-Runner!) So in April, another friend of mine and I took up running. Now, I should clarify that I use the term “running” loosely because I’m super slow and I don’t run very far at one time. BUT when we started, I scoffed at the idea of running for 60 seconds during the first day of our Run25K program and within 7ish weeks, I was running almost 6 minutes at a time. For me, that’s a BIG DEAL! So what else could we do but enter a 5K.

This is us waiting for our 5K to begin...

This is us waiting for our 5K to begin…


Finished in 47:58!

Finished in 47:58!

It was slow going because the route for this 5K was mostly uphill. No lie. We were not fully prepared for that. Our practice runs were in a neighborhood that was pretty flat for the most part. But we did it and survived! Running a 5K was one “secret” item on my bucket list that I crossed off on 6/1. YAY! Here is an update on the remaining items…

1.) Write a minimum of once a week on this blog for at least 52 blog posts this year (Whoo-hoo! I already have 2 in this week…what an overachiever I am!) – UPDATE:  FAILED

2.) Complete 52 intentional acts of kindness this year – one each week of the year. (This week I kicked it off by smiling and waving at a stranger in the urgent care place I visited today since I’m sick.) Update 6/21:  Still going strong!

3.) Lose 10 pounds – Update 6/21:  Um, no. Not even close. Not even with running. I just eat more when I run.

4.) Take a family trip to the beach – Booked for August!

5.) Tour a winery/wine tasting   Wonderful friends of ours took us to a large local wine tasting event in May and it was awesome!

6.) Spa Day (BOOKED FOR MARCH BY BIG DADDY BYRON – Husband of the Year!) – This was wonderful!!!

7.) Pay off one of my student loans ($5,075) – As of March 2013 there’s only $1800 left! – As of June 2013 there’s only $300 left!!!

8.) Clean out my car (Big Daddy Byron did this for me for my birfday! WHOO-HOO!)

9.) Milk a cow

10.) Finish my Master’s program with a 4.0 (1 class to go!)  DONE IN MAY 2013! WHOO-HOO!!!

11.) Try authentic Indian food

12.) Write letters to my kids for when they are older

13.) Go to the PA Farm Show –> Went on Saturday 1/12/13…fried cheese & milkshakes were UNBELIEVABLE!!!

14.) Set up my craft/work space in the basementDone At the end of Jan!

15.) Partake in Zumba

16.) Join a for real book club that actually meets, reads, discusses, and has fun regularly – and stick to it

17.) Take kids apple picking in the fall

18.) Take the kids to our local library once a week during the summer while I’m off

19.) Attend Chocolate Covered February in Hershey

20.) Make more time for me and my Loooooovvvveeee…..BIG DADDY BYRON!


Summer mommy is here!

This post is an hour in the making and I only just logged in. It took me that long to figure out how to load photos from my phone to my laptop which included everything freezing, me threatening to throw things, and now finally, jammin’ to my tunes as I begin to type. Amen that I didn’t break anything.

So I’m writing this as Summer Mommy.  Summer Mommy is fun. She’s relaxed and laid back.  She doesn’t wear make up and rarely wears anything even remotely constricting. I never really give it two thoughts. Then this morning happened. I scheduled multiple appointments today.  As I waited to see my chiropractor, there was a pretty girl sitting across from me.  I could smell her from where I sat. Ok, that sounds creepy but I swear I wasn’t sniffing her.  She just over did it on the perfume but had she not bathed in it I think I would have liked it. Her outfit was summery and cute and every accessory matched – necklace, bracelet, earrings, shoes, purse. Her finger and toe nails were beautiful.  She checked her make up two times which was subtle but perfect for what she was wearing. Took her mirror back out to fluff her bangs.  I smiled to myself. Oh, to be young and care about my appearance again. I was mentally calculating her age.  Probably early to mid twenties. WAIT! What is that!?! As she “fixed” her hair I noticed it. Wedding bands. She’s married?!?! See, in my head, people who are married are older. They are MY age. They have kids like me. They are tired like me. Or, they are supposed to be.  She’s married?! Does she have kids? I am freaking out in my head that this lady is married, probably has kids, and looks awesome. The next obvious step is to take stock of my appearance in my head.  Even though I’m not wearing perfume, I showered this morning so I’m feeling good. But then I remember I totally did not brush my hair as I ran out the door to my earlier appointment. No make up. Yoga pants and t-shirt. I did remember to put on my wedding rings today so I sort of have jewelry. My nails are kind of trashy – green and black zebra print. One is broken.  Good Lord, why is she looking at me?! Then I watch has she takes out a mirror and changes up her pony tail so that it’s more of a messy bun. This chick even has bobby pins she pulls out of her coordinated purse and re-styles her hair. I run my hand through mine and try not to make a scene as my fingers get stuck in a knot and I trap myself in my own hair.  Thankfully I escape without being noticed as she’s too busy playing hairdresser. Please Lord, do not let her have children. People with toddlers don’t look like that. Do they?

After my 3 minute mental freak out I calmed down. She may have looked nicer than me but I was definitely winning when it came to personalities.  She didn’t make eye contact with anyone else who walked in. I smiled at everyone and said hi and they did the same. One mom came with her son who was probably 12-13. We joked about the game he was playing on his iPod as he waited for his mom. She completely ignored him.  One of the ladies who worked there reassured the pretty girl that it wouldn’t be much longer. She kind of sighed and acted like she was in a ton of pain. (Um, you’re not in that much pain lady. You’re lifting your arms as you re-do your hair and you’ve been fine when it’s just you and me.) My chiropractor (who it turns out was hers too) happened to walk past with a new patient and was all, “Oh, hey Kari! How are you? How are the kids? I’ll be with you in a bit” and then it was, “Hi _ _ _ _, I’ll be with you in a minute.” Definite difference. Pretty girl didn’t smile once while we waited. So though she may have looked better than me on the outside, behind my summer hobo look I had it going on.

Speaking of my current status of “summer hobo” I’m enjoying it. So when we were invited to a Father’s Day cook-out, I figured I’d make a dessert instead of buying it last minute like I typically do when I’m working.  This of course means that my love affair with Pinterest continues.  Since recently we and some friends of our have enjoyed making s’mores together I thought I’d take a Pinterest and S’more inspired dessert.  Simple, right? Just a few key ingredients…

Marshmallows...I can figure out marshmallows, right?

Marshmallows…I can figure out marshmallows, right?

I began my melting the marshmallows. I couldn’t remember if I was supposed to add butter. Doesn’t butter make it so the marshmallows don’t stick to the pot? I debated for about 5 minutes then figured, everything’s better with butter, right? As I was trying to get the above photo though, they kind of…burned. I figured that would just add a little extra “roasted” flavor and kept going.

Next, I added the Golden Grahams.  Stir, stir, stir.  I got this! I was feeling proud. This wouldn’t turn out like the curdled cupcake incident. I spread the mixture into a container evenly.  All that was left was sprinkling on some more marshmallows and chocolate chips. I couldn’t possibly mess that up!

WRONG! I grabbed WHITE chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate!

WRONG! I grabbed WHITE chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate!

Seriously?! By this point I thought, screw this, chocolate is chocolate and I’m going with it. No one would be surprised – my close friends and family know that I was not blessed with any kind of cooking or baking skills. So I ended up taking this…

and it was a hit! Pretty tasty if I do say so myself. :)

and it was a hit! Pretty tasty if I do say so myself. 🙂

I might be a summer hobo who can’t cook but I’m loving every second of it. 🙂


It’s summertime!

Well, well, well…look who’s back…ME! 1 week ago today I wrapped up year 8 of teaching. The year, like each year, had its challenges from time to time but overall, it really was a fun year! Thankfully I’ll be heading out of the classroom on a high note…oh wait, what’s that you say? You’re wondering why I’m leaving the classroom? Well, that’s because I applied for and got  the job of MATH COACH for my building!!! Who-hoo! I’m excited beyond words but guess what?  I am terrified too! The previous Math Coach retired but she was amazing! I have some seriously big (& colorful!) shoes to fill.  That makes me super anxious. I don’t want to let anyone down. My mentor has given me some sound advice to cut myself a break, especially the first year, & recognize that I can’t please everyone. Unfortunately I’m a people pleasing perfectionist. Hence my anxiety. Thankfully I’m more excited for the new challenges ahead & determined to do my best more than I am scared or anxious though.

The MOST exciting news however is that it’s summertime….and my next post will be an update on my role as a summer mommy who has already had some Pinterest successes…and failures of course.