Drizzles of Sunshine: Changes

1. Big news on the career front. I'm officially moving back to first grade! I couldn't be happier and I'm so excited for this move. For those of you who are new here, I have been a teacher for 8 years and have been bounced from first to high school to middle school, all thanks to the poor funding of our public school system. Happy to report that that is on the up and up and now I have the opportunity of going back to my one true love... First Grade. Now I must dig through my garage and find my flash cards and glitter.

2. Last week, I morphed into a pre-pubescent tweenage. I read Divergent. I have totally jumped on the Divergent train and have set up camp. I'm hooked. It's no surprise that I like my reading material to be easy, mindless, and not at all thought provoking. Why? Because I find reading as an escape, not as a way for me to build brain points. (I think I might've lost some friends by admitting this.) With that said, Divergent got the job done for me. It entertained me for 3 days. My personal best. I couldn't put it down. I have no idea WHY my mind was so wrapped up in this but I fully enjoyed my brain vacation.

Now I really want to watch the movie because I'm interested in how they adapted it for the big screen and because the actors are GORGEOUS. Holy musculos! Four, Eric, and even Tris. Googly-eyes worthy for sure.

3. Joaquin is now fully walking on his own. I am both excited and terrified. I refuse to use one of those dog kid leashes on him because I think that is just plain WRONG but I feel like there is going to come a time where I am going to wish I could like the dog kid leashes like when we are in a crowded amusement park and he is jetting away from mommy and daddy. It's very hard to hold hands with a toddler that doesn't want to hold your hand. Sounds easy but it is damn near impossible sometimes.

4. I just got news that we are going camping in Yosemite this summer. I am trying my hardest to suppress my anxiety. I just imagine me struggling to get Joaquin to sleep in a tent, families of bears eating our food while I freak out with Joaquin in my arms, oh and sharing a bathroom with hundreds of campers. There goes my inner tweenager again. Man, I'm such a wuss. Tips on camping with a baby much needed. Tips on camping in general much needed.

5. I am officially a college student again. I'm taking 2 online courses where I have to listen to 14 podcasts about Children's Literature. I'm ok with it except for the fact that the professor's voice and semi-British mono-tone voice makes me want to kill myself. I'm on podcast 2. Pray for me.

Teaching and Eating

My two passions.

The fuel to my soul.

Teaching and eating.

 I wouldn't be who I am without these two things in my day. If you're new here, I am a middle school teacher. I also like to eat for pleasure as opposed to just for necessity. My ultimate dream job would be a food teacher but with elective classes on the chopping block (for shame!) I don't feel like that dream could be a reality right now. It'll have to wait.

So in the meantime, I find every opportunity to work food into my lessons. Language Arts Enrichment is the perfect place for that. We read awesome books and I find any mention of food and roll with it.

This month it is Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli.

I'll spare you the synopsis and steer you to where it mentions food. In the story, a popular food that the characters love is Zeps. In short, it's basically a sub sandwich. I rolled with it and transformed my classroom into a sandwich shop. I asked them all to bring in a sandwich ingredient and we built ourselves some stupendous subs.

My favorite part was naming our creations. I encouraged them to combine character names and important places with food names and they came up with creative labels.

Combo #1- Hamanda: ham, cheddar, lettuce and pickles.
Named after Amanda, one of the main characters.

Combo #2- Gobbles knot: turkey, Monterey jack, lettuce, pickles
Named after Cobbles knot, the town's impossible to untie knot.

Combo #3- Zepperoni: Pepperoni, mozzarella, Jalepenos
Named after Zeps, the name of the sub sandwich in the story.



Combo #4- The Maniac :All and everything listed above
Named after the main character, Maniac Magee.


So much fun!! The students enjoyed the lesson and I'm hoping they will always remember this fun activity and of course their amazing teacher. *wink*

Drizzles of Sunshine

1. House hunting. Does it make you cringe like it does for me? I think I live in one of the most expensive states in the  country which doesn't help my distaste for hunting. I just want something turn key ready, brand new, and next door to an A list celebrity. Is that too much to ask for?

2. I am addicted to Starbucks and I'm embarrassed about it. I used to think it was cute that they knew my name but now I feel like they think I'm a lazy bum that can't make her own damn coffee. But one thing's for sure, they still don't know how to spell my name right so that must mean I don't go there too too much, right? I'm safe for now. 

3. I'm backed up with my magazine reading. They keep coming in the mail and I have no time to catch up. If I can't peruse through a magazine, what does this say about my time management skill? I miss you, magazines. 


4. I've reached a dreaded phase in parenting: hitting. When Joaquin is mad he starts to hit me... in my face. I know this is caused by his inability to communicate his frustrations but what is a loving mother to do? Spank? Yell? Cry? So far I've just begged and pleaded with the kid. I know I have to nip it in the bud but is said bud too young? Must. Not. Google. Anymore... Advice appreciated. 

5. I am proud to say I have dramatically cut down on carbs. It's been hard because rice has been such a staple in my existence but I've overcome the urge to eat it with everything. Sweet potatoes and cauliflower have set up shop in my fridge and I have never felt better. Now if I could only give up chocolate. 



Garlic Sriracha "Fried" Chicken

I really wish I could take the heat of spicy foods. I try and try the spicy salsas and hot sauces but my tongue fails me each and every time. It's embarrassing. Tongue...you embarrass me. I can't seem to wrap my brain around the idea of people eating crazy hot shit like ghost peppers. I also can't fathom running a marathon but I guess people like torturing their bodies. I wonder if I would be less of a wimp if  I train my tongue with spicy like a runner trains their legs for pain marathons. Hmmm.

So, consider this recipe one of my training. I made this for my wonderful Mexican hubby who can eat wonderfully Mexican food with wonderfully spicy peppers. I hope Joaquin inherited daddy's ability to eat wonderfully spicy foods.
 
 
Ingredients:
 
2 lbs. chicken drumsticks
1/3 cup Chili Garlic Sauce
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup olive oil
salt
pepper
Panko Bread Crumbs
 
1. Mix, chili, yogurt, mayo, oil, and seasonings in a bag.
2. Add chicken and marinate for 1-8 hours. The longer the better.
 
 
 
3. Coat with Panko Bread Crumbs.
4. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.


 
Mission Complete!
 
 
 
The spice level on these bad boys are equivalent to a defective jalapeƱo. In other words, it's not that spicy. The mayo and yogurt really cut the heat. I guess I chickened out last minute and grabbed what I knew would hide the hotness. Next time I'll be daring and throw in the whole bottle. Next time. 
 

 

 


January 2014 Favorites

Month one down. It flew by and now we are on to the next. I feel like I didn't have many favorites this month because I feel like it went too too fast. Nonetheless, a few things still caught my attention.

1. HIMYM
I've been quite disappointed with this final season because I feel like they're dragging their feet. I like the episodes but not for the final season. They are entertaining but I wish they would keep on the path of meeting the mother. This last episode though.... THAT makes my favorite for the month. Can we talk about the mother's rendition on La Vie En Rose? We bought my sister in law a ukulele because she fell in love with this rendition and I will ask her to replay that song for me at each meeting. I also put in my early birthday request for a ukulele and I hope to one day play this song as beautifully as this chick.



On that note, if you're a fan, have you heard of the theory that the mother dies in the end? I thought it was ridiculous until I really sat and thought about it. It's starting to sound pretty likely. What do you think?

2. NPR's Snap Judgment Podcast


OBSESSED. I feel like an old person listening to talk radio because I grew up thinking that all the hip young folk listen to catchy music on the radio. Then I grew up and discovered that a lot of music on the radio sucks. So, hello talk radio. This podcast is your afternoon story hour of real people recounting amazing things that have happened to them. In the background, music and sound effects couple the words oh so perfectly. I can't get enough.


3. Poutines


I had the second Poutine in all my life. Then I thought, "Wow. I'm way behind on my Poutine quota." This stuff is magically delicious. If you don't know what  Poutine is, it's basically a Canadian dish that layers French fries, gravy, and cheese curds. You had me at French fries. As you read that, you either cringed or became curious and as I typed that I cringed a bit. It doesn't sound good but holy hell it IS good.


That's pretty much all that resonated with me in January. Let's hope for my exciting things in February!

Valentine's Day Dinner for Two

Baby is finally asleep upstairs. The lights are dim and the glow of the baby monitor adds a soft romantic touch to the atmosphere. The sweet sounds of Mickey Mouse Fun House plays in the background as we snuggle together on the couch. Then, it happens... we fall asleep. Yup, that's about how romantic it gets here, folks. I'm tired. He's tired. Snuggle on the couch means pass out on the couch.

As much as we try and plan date nights (At least once a month, I used to say), life gets busy and that romantic night we so desperately need gets pushed to the back burner. Babysitters are few and far between when grandparents aren't in reaching distance so we have to make do with what we have. My language of love is always to cook a comforting meal and my Valentine's Day meal is no exception. To my husband and me, a nice dinner at home is just as sweet sometimes.


Valentine's Day Chicken Pot Pies

Makes 4-Yay leftovers!

Ingredients:
1 Stick of Butter
1 Small Onion; chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen carrots
1/4 cup parsley; chopped
1 pound cooked chicken; cubed (I used a rotisserie) 
1 package of Crescent Seamless Dough


Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

3. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gently stir in the stock, milk, salt, and pepper and let the liquid thicken up.


4. Toss in the chicken, corn, carrots, and parsley. You can use the traditional peas but I hate peas and they will not set foot in this house mouth.






 5. Roll out your pie crust and cut out adorable hearts. I die. It's too cute.


6.  Divide the filling among four 1 1/2 cup ramekins and drape the dough over the tops. Seal by pressing gently on the sides of the ramekins and be sure to cut a few decorative air holes on the top. Don't forget our cute hearts. It's not Valentine's Day theme without the hearts, don't cha know. Brush the tops with a beaten egg to achieve that golden brown color.




7. Bake the potpies on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes. De-vour.





I'm not sure if potpies are an aphrodisiac or how many romantic points it will give you but it sure is cute and delicious. And this is perfect if you're no longer into the crowded restaurants and over priced V-day meals. It's all about that warm fuzzy feeling...in your stomach and in your heart. Awwwww.

My Paper Resolution

This year, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to bring paper back. I'm bringing paper back. (Sing to the tune of I'm Bringing Sexy Back.) I've always been in love with pretty Thank You cards and Photo Cards with fancy fonts. And don't even get me started on funny and witty birthday cards.
 
My goal is to send more snail mail because I think it is an underrated art form. I LOVE getting a handwritten card or even a fancy photo card because it's not only cute as heck but it also breaks up the junk mail and bills you usually get in your mailbox.
 
Since I missed sending out my Christmas cards this holiday season...which technically was LAST year so this doesn't count as breaking my resolution, my plan is to send cards on another fun holiday. I love doing this because it's unexpected and no one will ever suspect that you are just very very late on your holiday cards. After we got married, I sent pretty New Year's cards to the fam, complete with our wedding photo. It was a HIT! When Joaquin was born, I send out his birth announcements as our Christmas card and everyone swooned.  I felt like a sly little fox.


I've already stocked up on my cute pens, my Forever Stamps, and blank card sets and wrote down all of the birthdays I need to remember. I'm ready!

The stationary gods were pleased by my offerings and I received an email from Tiny Prints. Perfect Timing! I couldn't resist their wonderful Valentine's Day photo cards.  The red and pink hearts just called my name and Add a picture of my baby, you say? DONE. I love how simple it all is. All I had to do was pick my favorite design, upload Joaquin's adorable picture, customize it to my liking and BOOM...done! Easy Peasy.



See, instead of me looking like I forgot to send out my Christmas cards, I look ahead of the game by sending sweet cards on Valentine's day. So Sweet.
 
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