prayteachlove

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

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. 🙂

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Pinterest Update

Well, I figured it was about time that I updated about Pinterest.  Because that is one obsession passion that I still have.  I don’t have pictures of everything I’ve attempted, but here goes…

Awhile ago I made homemade applesauce in a crockpot.  It was deeeeeelicious!

I should be a chef.

I should be a chef.

Then one of my best friends had a birthday less than a month after she had her first baby.  What does every new mom need? LIQUOR.  So I made her a liquor bouquet.

 Ta-da!

Ta-da!

 

liquor bouquet 2.jpg

I also attempted some recipes that I found though I have no pics…those mini chicken pot “pies”…tasty! As well as a chicken cordon bleu casserole…also yummy except for the fact that it included rice. (Due to my gastric bypass I can’t eat rice.) But because I’m an idiot I made it with rice anyways and hoped for the best which ended in violent vomitting. Yes, you’re welcome for that image.

In addition to pretending to be a craft domesticated wifey, I crossed another item off my 2013 bucket list. I went to the PA Farm Show in Harrisburg, PA.  It definitely smelled like a farm…but after a couple minutes you don’t notice it anymore.  Other than that, it was awesome! The kids had a blast and espectially loved the animals!

My cowboy Gorilla!

My cowboy Gorilla!

 

Exhausted from the fun!

Exhausted from the fun!

Big Daddy Byron and I loved the food! The fried cheese and milkshakes were to die for. Seriously the best I’ve ever had. Besides the entertainment for the kiddos and the scrumptious treats…THEY HAD WINE! There were several different wineries set up in one area and you could taste test and buy right there. This mama doesn’t play so I rolled up (at 10:30 am no less) and told them to start pouring because I was tasting EVERYTHING they had to offer. By the time I was done the stroller was loaded down with 4 bottles of wine and I was much more relaxed. (In all fairness 2 of the 4 bottles were a birthday gift for my mom and I had to wait in line to taste at 10 am…so I was not alone in my morning wine-scapade.)  I’ll drink to that!

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So this is Thanksgiving…

Call in the search parties! I have been found alive and well! (If you were offering a reward you can just make the check out to me…thanks.)

As anyone in education knows, November is the most hectic month of the year. After my last post in early November I had to kick it into high gear in order to be ready for conferences, complete my standards-based report cards (which are way more in depth than a typical report card with a percentage or letter grade), keep up with my normal work load and grad work, and squeeze in some time to be a wife, mom and oh yeah…get ready to host Thanksgiving dinner.

pics4learning

Mmmm, turkey….***this is not a picture of my Thanksgiving dinner though…want to know why? Keep reading…

#1 we live in a small townhouse…that means we do not own a dining room table large enough to fit more than 4 people…and even that is stretching it. So we sit everything out on the stove and table and what little counter space we have.  Then everyone goes at it buffet style and we eat in the living room.  Though we set a table up there, (that makes everyone extra squished but we try), most people just chill out wherever and eat and that is totally fine with us.  We are flexible like that.

#2 I didn’t even make Thanksgiving dinner.  Oh I hosted.  And I worked real hard tearing open packages.  But I sure didn’t cook.  Look, I’m a Capricorn which means I’m nothing if not practical.  Not only do I live in a small townhouse, I have a husband, 2 year old and a 1 year old, an 85 pound dog, and a job that requires that I basically live at work for the 3 weeks leading up to the holiday.  I refuse to add to that stress by cooking a 10 course meal. So I happily ordered my holiday meal (pies and all) online from a local grocery store that does catering, promptly picked it up with my son at 8:30 am on Thanksgving morning and by noon we had a beautiful meal set out and all I had to do was sip my wine and throw packages in the oven to heat up while enjoying my family and friends. Sounds like the perfect way to show my gratitude for being finished with 3 weeks of no sleep and constant work.  Also sounds like one of the ultimate ways to Fake It. SCORE.

Oh and I also didn’t use the nice china that needs to be handwashed. Hell no I didn’t. I spent $6 at Wal-Mart to buy 12 plastic tumblers and 12 plastic plates in fall colors that are sturdier than paper plates/cups but nothing fancy (obviously for $6).  Then I splurged and bought two packs of plastic forks, knives, and spoons. Happy Thanksgiving from the classiest broad around.

Next, I will conquer Christmas…

pics4learning

I’m coming for you next Christmas!

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Super Mom? Super FAIL!

I really want to be THAT mom. The one who has it all together. The fashionable career woman who balances her work and motherhood with considerable ease. I have yet to truly accept that I’m not that Mom. So I keep trying. And I keep failing. But the upside is that I am getting quite a few laughs out of my feeble attempts. 🙂

With Hurricane Sandy giving all of us East Coasters a good scare, I got to have an extra 2 days with my family. I thought it would be fun for the kiddos and I to make some cream filled chocolate cupcakes. They are supposed to be gourmet. I’m not even posting the link though because you’ll soon see it was not worth it.

For my baby girl’s 1st birthday earlier this month I made another kind of cupcake from the same site and they were ok but dry. I figured that was because I’m a pretty horrible cook/baker so I probably messed something up.

Pinterest inspired (dry) cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries for my daughter’s 1st birthday.

Up close shot of the birthday girl’s big cupcake!

So tonight we embarked on our second cupcake-from-scratch adventure. First Big Daddy Byron gave me a tutorial on how to use the Kitchenaid mixer. He even made me repeat the steps back to him.

You don’t scare me Kitchenaid mixer!

However the Gorilla thought you were loud.

So far, so good…

All was going well.  Binxy was playing happily. The Gorilla was being such a good helper.  Then we put the cupcakes in to bake.

My first clue that this was not going to go as planned….they are overflowing…

Apparently my idea of “3/4 full” is different than the rest of the world’s idea of filling a baking cup 3/4 full. I swear I filled them according to the directions. Did I get a ruler out and make sure I was PRECISE? Hell no, we haven’t instituted the Common Core in our house so no I did not! (Teachers, you’ll get that. Everyone else, you will not. Sorry.)

But we kept plugging along…I pulled the cupcakes out when I was supposed to and besides having overflowed they looked pretty tasty. Then I actually tried to get them out to fully cool.

First cupcake I got out and I knew this was a complete fail. The birthday cupcakes from Binxy’s party? Too dry…these bad boys? WAY TOO MOIST. Completely fell apart.

I was not to be deterred by some moist cupcakes though. Oh no. I had to continue on. So I whipped up the cream filling though I had not yet determined exactly how I was going to fill cupcakes that fell apart if you walked past them faster than a 0.5 mph pace.

So, I was supposed to mix this all together until it was “spreadable.” Um, how about blew right past spreadable and ended up at “pourable.” This was not a cream, it was a liquid.

Still, I could not be stopped. We were going to make cream filled gourmet Pinterest cupcakes and nothing would stop me. I had to be that mom. “Look at me! I work a gazillion hours a week but occasionally I find time to whip up some delectable gourmet cupcakes for my little family! Don’t you wish you were me?!”

I took a little taste of the cream. Not totally horrible but who the hell decided it was ok to tell people to put a “dash” of something in a recipe? What exactly is a dash? I can tell yout his – it is NOT 1/8 of a teaspoon. Turns out, 1/8 teaspoon of almond extract in this particular recipe equals a super sweet almondy-cream. GROSS.  Even that wouldn’t stop me though.  My babies needed these cupcakes, even if they tasted like trash that had been sitting in the hot July sun for 48 hours because we all forgot the trash guys don’t come on the 4th of July holiday.

As I realized I had to somehow get this fluid cream into the center of the cupcakes which had alread deteriorated, I began to get anxious. We had just had a hurricane pass through yet I was more panicked about these damn cupcakes. So I found a few that looked like they might not completely cumble all at once and began to work.

Look, I kinda did it!

So I filled 3 or so cupcakes and was admiring my handiwork. In that 3 seconds that I took to myself in which I could feel the beginnings of pride start to replace the ball of anxiety in my gut, I looked at the bowl of cream. CURDLED.

You think curdled cream filling will stop this determined mama? You’re outta your mind.

By this time the Gorilla was busy torturing his baby sister who was busy torturing my ear drums with her screams. I deftly lifted her to my hip, gave the Gorilla my signature side-eye and threat of an early bedtime (which I never follow through with…sign me up for Parent of the Year!), and finished the job I began.

Ta-da! Gourmet curdled cream-filled chocolate cupcakes courtesy of a big, fat PINTEREST FAIL!

Can I have more chocolate crumbs Mama? Let’s forget about that cream though.

There are three things you can count on though…

1.)  This will definitely be submitted to that Pinterest Fail site at some point.

2.)  This cannot keep me away from Pinterest nor did it curb my desire to be that mom.

3.)  Big Daddy Byron will eat these cupcakes. He will eat anything. Ew.

 

 

 

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To Pin or Not to Pin…

DUH. To pin.

Just because I’ve been working like a maniac does not mean I’ve gone cold turkey on Pinterest.  Oh no, my friends. Quite the opposite. I’m still unstoppable.  In fact, I even organized and hosted a collaboration meeting of the minds with my colleagues focused on using Pinterest for education. WINNING!

Don’t worry…we don’t actually drink at the Pinterest collaboration. Image: http://www.despair.com/collaboration.html

We had a great meeting on Monday and I’m super pumped about the ideas everyone shared. Besides the Pinterest-focused collaboration, I also got brave and attempted to make a recipe I saw on Pinterest.  Baked oatmeal. (Check out http://www.sugarfreemom.com/recipes/personal-sized-baked-oatmeal-with-individual-toppings-gluten-free-diabetic-friendly/ for the DELICIOUS recipe.)

From this…

 

…to THIS! Someone get me my own cooking show.

These are super tasty and can be frozen and eaten later. Bonus since I don’t have time to sit down and eat breakfast in the morning. I’m a grab and go kinda girl

Additionally, my student teacher is earning herself some bonus points in my book….she has figured out that the way to my heart is through my stomach and delivered delicious PINTEREST-inspired strawberry cupcakes to me.

She did not give me cupcakes with holes in them…the tops got a little stuck on the lid of the container. They were still super tasty. YUM.

Do I still look like I have it all together? Am I faking it well? I hope so. Just in case I’m not though…I’m going to go Pin some more things that will help me get my life in order. 😉

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Money and More

Of course this entry will be somewhat Pinterest related…however I thought I’d explain a bit about my family’s quest to become debt free. In January of 2012 Byron and I had the opportunity to participate in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at our church. What a blessing! We weren’t going on extravagant vacations or making big purchases before this life-changing experience, but we were nickel-and-diming ourselves…and couldn’t figure out why we never had enough money. So long story short, throughout our experience with FPU, we were able to become credit card debt free and we have stayed that way. (We didn’t have a ton of credit card debt, but enough that we were uncomfortable.) Our biggest debt, besides our mortgage, is student loans. We have about 4 billion dollars in student loans. Ok, maybe not that much but it sure feels like it. Between Byron’s associate’s degree that took 3 years (he just had to get kicked out of his first school so he finished at another…long story), my bachelor’s, and my master’s, we owe Uncle Sam some serious cash. Our big plan was to start paying that as soon as we got the credit card debt taken care of. Not so. You see, we are a family of 4. I work full-time as a teacher. Byron works part-time and is a full-time stay at home Daddy. And then our house fell apart. Seriously….new roof needed, van needed major repairs and most recently, our bathroom caved in. It’s been…fun…so we haven’t paid on any more debt in the past couple months…HOWEVER we also haven’t accrued any new debt (besides the interest accruing on the student loans), which is a major accomplishment in our eyes. We will get there one day…we will be debt free. It’s just gonna take some time.

So how does Pinterest tie in with us being so broke we can’t pay attention? Well, I wanted us to be super organized to help us with our finances and just around the house…so I got the idea of a “family life binder” from Pinterest and I made one! It’s got calendars, to-do lists, cleaning lists, meal plan lists, shopping lists, etc…it’s been pretty helpful, especially since during the school year Byron and I don’t see each other much with me working days and him nights/weekends…we can look at the binder and see if things have been done or still need to be done, add things to a grocery list, etc. without actually having to talk…because we don’t get to do much of that from August to June.

Our family life binder

Next, I saw all these pins about people freezing meals in bulk.  So I figured I’d give it a try. I have made breakfast burritos, tuna casserole, and Byron made lasagna, all frozen and ready to go.  (Stop giving a side-eye to the tuna casserole…I don’t care how bad tuna smells, I will eat it. Don’t judge me.) Typically I buy cheap frozen meals to heat up for lunches while I work but this will be a little tastier and hopefully help save moola.  It didn’t cost much to make at all in fact. Most of the ingredients for things we already had. We still haven’t figured out how to do healthy on a budget. We are on a pretty strict food budget and it’s not much at all for a family of 4.  Plus Byron and I agreed when we started this that our kids will not have to make sacrifices. Our financial decisions are our responsibility, not theirs. So we try to keep things as healthy as possible for them, but that means we eat lots of pb & j and cheap frozen meals. Don’t mistake this though – I am not complaining one bit. It’s our decision to budget our money the way we have and do this. It works for us right now and we are fine with it.

Tuna Casserole…don’t be a hater!

You may be asking yourself, (as I would certainly be), why is this chick blogging about being frugal when she’s got some hot pink fake nails?! You are correct…I get my nails done.  Correction:  I used to get my nails done.  Then I didn’t for a couple years for financial reasons…then last week I started again.  We decided (yes, my husband has a say in my nails…it’s his money too) that it was time to budget for me to be able to do it again.  No, I am not a diva.  Here’s the truth – I have anxiety and when my nails aren’t professionally done and fake then my hands look like a wild animal mauled them. It’s very embarrassing for me and causes even more anxiety so this summer we had to make some other financial decisions and it led to us being able to budget for this and thinking it was enough of a priority to put our money towards. The end.

The next few things aren’t really related to money…just Pinterest.  Oh well, it’s my blog and I’ll pin if I want to! 😉 Layered jello is my new favorite thing thanks to Pinterest. Just because it’s pretty. (I’m not a huge jello fan, but the Gorilla likes it and I’ll eat it if it’s around.) I’ve made a couple different batches over the past couple months, all different colors. It take time for each layer to set but is otherwise easy. I do other stuff while the layers set.

Layered Jello

We also had some friends over this summer and instead of ice/cooler we had a laundry basket and filled it with frozen water balloons for a more festive feel. It was pretty festive…until some of the bottles ripped through the balloons that were melting and water filled the bottom of the basket. Ah well!

No ice for us…just frozen balloons…that you really can’t even see…oops

At the same little fiesta I did Pinterest-inspired treats…raspberries stuffed with white chocolate chips, inside out chocolate strawberries, and fruit cones. Big hits and EASY.  SCORE!

Yummy…

Speaking of finances though, I officially go back to work tomorrow and the school year officially starts Wednesday…so it’s off to bed…wish me luck!

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