Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Some Life Updates

Hello all :) Glad some of you will try Eric's Amazing Turkey Quinoa Delight. I know I am very lucky to have a husband who cooks for me. Believe it or not, we have only started to eat together (and by that I mean the same thing) in the last 6 months or so. We used to both cook and then attempt to eat together if the timing worked out. We have different taste in food, but we are getting more in sync.

I thought now was as good a time as any for some life updates. No, I'm not having a baby, but Sneaker Teacher is, so you should go visit her blog to say Yay! My life updates are not as interesting, but just in case you are wondering what I've been up to lately...

1. Work. We are about halfway through our second full week of school. My class is not perfect, but they are not bad either. I think the best way to describe my class is really sweet girls and really boys-boys. I also have 2 students who don't speak a word of English and getting another one tomorrow, wahoo. While that does complicate things a bit, I feel more on top of everything than I ever did last year and for that I'm thankful. I've been getting to work early, but leaving early and not taking much home at all. It's wonderful. I also tried something new this year where I e-mailed every parent within the first week of school to tell them how AWESOME their child was doing. It's saved me lots of random e-mails and I'm hoping it started our "relationship" in a positive way. It didn't take that long and the time has more than paid for itself so far. The only crap thing about work so far this year is getting a cold. I freaking hate child germs sometimes.

2. Working out. I've started doing boot camp two times a week with several friends from work. We are doing it through a great company and it's a private (as in only people we know) session. I LOVE the boot camp format, it's been SO different every time and didn't from minute to minute. It's perfect for my total workout ADD and it's great for my body because I've been sore in new places every time. It's an amazing mix of strength and cardio and definitely kicking my butt, in a good way. Highly recommend trying a boot camp if you ever have a chance.

3. Life. Life = crazy at the moment. Seriously, is there a pause button? I need like 2 days to just do NOTHING so that I can kick this cold in the butt, but instead it seems like more and more things just keep popping up to do. But, they are all good things. I'm especially excited about my cousin's wedding this weekend, wahoo! Maybe sometime at the end of October I can finally relax? Or not, I'm sure things will come up then too. I think life would be perfect if I had 3 days weekends and I could fill 2 days with fun social events and have one day completely off... yes, let's change the world to 4 day work weeks and 3 day weekends...

What is going on in your life these days?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Eric's Amazing Turkey Quinoa Delight

Last week Eric invented my new favorite dinner (also an amazing leftover lunch). I never would've guessed how great the combination of quinoa and tomato sauce is, but I guess that must be why people love Mama Pea's Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna, which I still need to try.

As you probably know, Eric is the real cook in our house. If I am interested in a recipe at all, it means it probably has no more than 5 ingredients and the less steps involved the better. Eric adds spice this, ingredient that... I like as simple as possible. This recipe is much more representative of my style of cooking than his and that's why I decided it was blog worthy. After all, who doesn't appreciate an easy, quick recipe? But if you are in the mood for a more complicated recipe, I highly recommend Eric's Sweet Potato Risotto!

I'll call this Eric's Amazing Turkey Quinoa Delight

*Vegetarians Note: I took this for lunch without any turkey and it was still amazing and filling, so the turkey is definitely not a necessity in my mind

Ingredients: ground turkey, quinoa, eggplant (+ any other veggies you want), tomato sauce, olive oil


1. Cook quinoa according to package directions (1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water, boil and simmer until water is gone). Eric likes to boil quinoa in chicken broth which I do agree really adds something.

2. Cut eggplant and roast in the oven on 400 for about 15-20 minutes. Eric also "seasons" the eggplant. Do whatever you want here, this is why I'm not the cook.

3. Saute ground turkey in tomato sauce on the stove until fully cooked.

4. Mix all together, and enjoy :)

Oh, I forgot to mention, this is a super ugly meal... but that will not affect the taste at all, I promise!



What is your favorite quinoa dish?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Give Me Back My Summer Weekends

It's September 18th, meaning that it is not even technically the end of summer and I already I would do anything to have a summer weekend back. I mean, I hate to be picky, because all weekends are good. However, this weekend I was reminded of just how exhausted I am after a full week of kindergarten. Of course it doesn't help that one of my *darling* parents this year decided to send her son to school with a temperature TWICE and now me, and the two others who work in my classroom are all sick. Hopefully if I rest a lot today I'll be able to fight this off, but I swear I spend a good portion of the months from September to June fighting something!

Anyway, back to summer weekends, I love them.


Last Saturday night we went back to the restaurant where we had our rehearsal dinner. They said there were no reservations available so we went early to catch a table in the bar area. We ended up with the best table we had ever had, perfection! Look at this view:


And this food!


And our waiter was SO nice. We told him we had our rehearsal there the year before, so he gave us a Happy Anniversary dessert. I should also mention this dessert was heavenly.


And Cape Cod sunsets...





Fall weekends are good too, when they involve tailgating...





Unfortunately BC did not come through for us yesterday, but it was still fun. It's only Sunday and I'm already looking forward to next weekend. My cousin is getting married, wahoo :)

Now time to spend today doing as little as possible until it's time to go see Katie's new house!

What did you do this weekend? What is your favorite thing about summer weekends?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Turning Off the Perfectionist

Whew! How is it ONLY Tuesday?! I've survived 2 full days with the kids and all I can say is, I am SO exhausted. Training kindergartners (and their parents) to understand the concept of schools requires at least 10 hours of sleep a night and since I keep waking up at 4 am thinking about all that I need to do, I'm lucky if I get 7!

Growing up I was not a perfectionist at all. Just ask my mom. I drove her insane with my careless cross outs on my homework, and my absolute refusal to recopy something just because there were a couple of mistakes on it. I was not the kid who practiced piano for hours, or cried if I didn't get the answer right in class. Nope, not me.

Then, I started teaching. Suddenly the overwhelming need for perfection took over. Except when 21 5-year-olds and their equally unpredictable parents are involved, there is absolutely no such thing.

Never ever will I have the perfect class. Never ever will all the parents be satisfied. Never ever will all the children learn to read without any bumps. Never ever will every kid skip into the classroom in delight to be there. Never ever will every kid being a good sport during math games, or a good listener during lessons. Never ever will every lesson go as planned or every faculty meeting be productive.

I know this. I do. But in my mind, I still strive for it. I still think, maybe if I take the time to check in with every parent in the first week of school then maybe they will not all bombard me at Curriculum Night wondering how little Johnny is doing. I still think, maybe if I get to school a little earlier then I can make a visual for this activity and no one will ask "what are we doing again?" right after I just explained it. I still think that maybe if I revamp my beginning of the year letter for the sixth time maybe I can prevent all the ridiculous questions.

This may sound irrational to you, but when you consider what parents, principals and the general public actually expect of teachers, it's really quite rational. Nobody can get hurt and/or upset and everyone must reach grade level and if they are already beyond, don't even think about boring them. You get the gist.

So, here is how I plan to quell the perfectionist in me this school year. All of these ideas could be used to tame any perfectionism in you, even if you aren't crazy enough to teach the five-year-olds.

1. Delegate. This year I plan to use my special education aide better. I'm going to meet with her once a week during what used to be a pretty silly consult time and tell her all the plans for the next week and what I want her to do. She's a certified teacher so I can really rely on her to do more planning. If I am going to have kids in my class that demand tons of differentiation, I should use the support I am given the best I possibly can.

2. Prioritize. On Monday mornings I am going to set goals for the week. I'm thinking 3. Then, that is going to my major priority, anything else that gets done is just a bonus :)

3. Say No. Self explanatory. I'm going to do it. Every time I do, I'm going to celebrate.

4. Leave the work, at work. I always hear about the greatness of not taking work home, but I never really considered it. Frankly there are some tedious tasks that I would just rather do in front of the TV rather than staying at work an extra hour to do it. However, recently my best friend Katie mentioned that she was trying not to take any work home this year and I started to consider it more seriously. I still think there will be times that I will do work at home, especially during report card and conference time. But last year I was at a point where I was constantly taking work home. This year my goal is to leave work at work at least 3 nights a week, and hopefully more.

Are you are perfectionist (at least in some areas of life)? How do you tame the perfectionist in you?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wine and Love

Hi everyone, happy almost end of the week :) I had lots of blog topic ideas for this week, but then I got sucked into the world of kindergarten and I'm reemerging with only enough brain power to do a Wine and Love post, but that's okay- I like these! Thanks Nora for hosting as always...


Pass the Wine Please

1. School started this week. I'm already annoyed at the frustrating level of flexibility I am supposed to exhibit on a minute by minute basis. Most notably, I cannot tolerate parents who do not inform me of the name their child is called ahead of time and then insist I change all 20+ places their name appears in the classroom.

2. Although I prefer teaching to the boring act of tutoring all day and driving between a million places, my body seems to disagree. I slept soundly 99% of the time in the summer, bam the school year starts and I'm back to my unnecessary 4 am internal clock wake ups. Why, oh why?

So Much Love

1. On Sunday Eric and I went into Boston to take a harbor cruise and eat a delicious North End dinner. Other than learning that I should not ever get on any moving object without ginger gum, it was a good time :)



2. Though I had to Labor on Labor Day, it was made up for by my mom's delicious brunch after. I want Caroline to come home every weekend so we can have brunch every weekend :)

baked apple french toast


fruit salad




roasted potatoes (by Eric)



3. Today I met half my class (the other half comes tomorrow, all together on Monday) and I really liked them. I know it probably won't last, especially with all 21 together on Monday but for now I am going to enjoy the honeymoon phase.

What are your wines and loves this week?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Favorite Things- Wedding Style

I hope everyone is having a great long weekend :) Mine has been busy, but good so far. Tomorrow I am tutoring in the morning (I know, "labor" on Labor Day, what is that?!) and then headed to brunch at my parents house to celebrate Caroline visiting us for the weekend, yay! I figured now was as good as any to post some pictures of the wedding Eric was in on Friday, particularly since Eric is watching some kind of Star Wars marathon right now. I should pay attention since Star Wars is a huge interest of a lot of my kindergarten boys... but I prefer to bond with them about something I actually understand, like baseball...

Consider yourself warned, I took well over 300 pictures at this wedding. I promise I will not post them all, just a few favorites. And, for those of you planning weddings- a few wedding details :)

First off, can I just say if you are not a particularly religious person (aka don't plan to get married at a church, by a rabbi etc), I highly recommend having someone you know marry you. Eric's dad was the officiant at this wedding and it really is just the way to go. I could write a novel on this, but I'll resist. You get to write your own ceremony, you get to talk to someone you know, love and trust during your wedding ceremony, and *most importantly* you don't have some random dude in all your photos.


Apparently this is not allowed in all states/countries which I think is a real bummer. We can add this to the list of laws/rules that annoy me. I'll tell you the other ones later.

The wedding took place at a beautiful barn so even though it's still technically summer, there was an autumn feel to it...






The food at this wedding was also amazing. There was a pasta buffet, I don't even know what I got but it had to be the best food I've had at a wedding. Eric said his butternut squash raviolis were also amazing. There was also a meat station which I didn't visit, but I'm sure was good. As someone who has eaten straight bread at more than one wedding because there is nothing I can eat, I have to say, I freakin LOVE buffets. I didn't have one at my own wedding so I don't really know anything about them other than, I love attending weddings with them. That is all.

In typical small-world fashion, one of my friends from work (who used to work at my school as an aide and now teaches kindergarten in a nearby town) is also friends with the bride from childhood so we got to see each other. Love when things like this happen.


I actually was hoping to hang out with her even more but for some reason the whole night went by SO fast that before I knew it, it was over.

Of the close to 400 photos taken on Friday night, only 4 have me in them, so I might as well post them all right?

Me and Eric's mom after she pulled a me at my wedding and changed into shorts. If you are going to take a break from the party to bring the grandmothers home, you might as well benefit right?


Me and Erin, Josh's girlfriend... future sister in law? Boy I hope Josh doesn't read this blog, there is already been enough talk about his future wedding ring this summer. Erin would appreciate a good awkward moment though, if I did decide to bring it up again :)


Me and Eric's dad- there were some serious issues trying to take this photo. New wedding rule, all photos must be taken before 11pm. Maybe it should be 9 if I am involved.


Other fun details of this wedding included a photo booth and a sausage stand for some food on the way out. I'll have to post our photo booth pictures as they are hilarious, we started out in the first picture with Eric, me and his brother Mike, but by the last picture I think there were like 8 of us in there. It's cool for the bride and groom too because it prints one set of pictures for me and one for the bride and groom to go in a scrapbook.

Overall great wedding and a lot of fun. I'm back to loving weddings mode :) Tell me your favorite part of weddings and/or something awesome you saw at a wedding once!

At weddings I love: short but personal ceremonies, cake and/or ice cream sundaes, beautiful flowers, great music, dressed up friends and family, dancing, cocktails, photo booths, programs especially ones that explain how you know the bridal party (this also goes for wedding websites that do the same thing), out of town bags with water and snacks, flip flops, donation to a meaningful charity in lieu of favors, and basically any personal touches that are important to the bride and groom :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ready for the Long Weekend?

Thanks for all of your interesting responses to my post "Does Confident Improve With Age?" I was actually happy to know that others feel that in some cases it hasn't :)

Last night Eric and I headed to his cousin's rehearsal dinner. He is getting married tomorrow night, very excited! Of course the rehearsal dinner provided lots of opportunities to use the new camera...



I also took about 20 pictures of Eric's other cousin's son, who I love, but unfortunately you'll have to be facebook friends with me to see them- I don't like to put kids on the blog without talking to their parents about it first. Maybe I'll remember to tomorrow night and you'll get to see the ring bearer in action. When I first started dating Eric, he was not even a year old and now he's going into 3rd grade next week. Kids make time fly I tell you.

Have I mentioned yet that I have two students in my incoming K class who were born while I was setting up my first classroom? I'm obsessed with things like this.

Anyway, we've got a long weekend coming up (Canada has this too right?) and I thought you might want some book recommendations. I've been on a mystery kick lately so here are three mysteries I recommend...


Last week I tweeted that I needed a new book and I wanted a mystery. Nora came to rescue immediately with this fabulous recommendation. I was basically glued to this book from the minute I downloaded it. It's about a girl who's dad is killed and mom disappeared when she was little. It switches between telling the story of that night and present times where the family is trying to figure out if the man who was arrested is the right guy. I really liked all the characters and it was the type of book I just could not put down.


I've been a huge fan of Lisa Gardner books this year (I think I've read all the Detective DD Warren books now). They take place in Boston, and they are impossible to put down. This book was about a police officer who has supposedly killed her husband in self defense, but many of the facts don't add up. Every time I thought I had it figured out, a new twist would come in. This book was definitely more far fetched than the other two, but not in a crazy way.


I've been meaning to read this book and watch this movie forever, but finally got around to it this summer. Both the book and the movie were good, but I obviously read the book first and therefore think it was a bit better :) Yet another suspenseful book about a girl found murdered and the mystery of who did it. Like the other three books, they give you a suspect at the beginning and it keeps you guessing throughout the book, did he do it, or did he not?!

Does anyone have any good mystery recommendations? I don't know how I'm going to go back to normal books now after being on the edge of my seat the past month! What are your plans for the weekend?