Thursday, May 31, 2012

Random Ramblings

  • I have some of the best news to share! In 2007, I applied for a fellowship to travel to Stanford University and learn about Colonial America. I was accepted into the program, but realized it would fall on the weekend of my wedding. Obviously, I didn't go. The next year, I was invited back to the same program, but was pregnant with the twins. Again, I was unable to go. Well, a few weeks ago, my district level coordinator sent me an email regarding a teaching fellowship to Colonial Williamsburg this summer. He said many people had already applied, but there were about 4 paid spots open. So, I applied, thinking it was a shot in the dark. I got the acceptance email this morning! The Teaching Institute includes my airfare, meals, teaching materials, accommodations in one of the Colonial Houses, and tours of Williamsburg, Yorktown & Jamestown. I'm such a nerd for history, so this makes me one HAPPY girl. I'm going to hate being gone from the kidlets for an entire week, but this really is a chance of a lifetime.

  • Today is my last day with students - thank goodness! I swear the reason teachers & students get 2 months off is to cool down and prevent them from going postal on each other. Students are taking exams this week, and I had almost an entire class of kids not bring a single thing to class. They seemed to remember to put on clothes, get their fancy iPhone, iPods, and other stuff they aren't allowed to have - but couldn't remember a flipping pencil or piece of paper. I may or may not have used the phrase "hulk smash!" to describe my anger, lol.

  • Our anniversary is this weekend. You would think putting two people together with a surprise pregnancy and 3 children, an ex-wife/ex-husband to deal with, and the stress of two full time jobs would have done us in - but we have had such a wonderful, smooth, dare I say argument free (knocking on wood) year? . We work together wonderfully, and love all of our children. I can't wait to spend many more years with my husband! Now if I could only figure out the perfect "paper" gift for him...

  • The girls' father flies out to Germany this weekend. He has a new job that requires him to attend training there for several weeks at a time, then he'll come home, and fly back out. It sounds like such an amazing opportunity. The only downside is how long the girls will go in between seeing him. Natalie especially asks about him, and they've gotten used to seeing him every 2 weeks or so - they know that if Emma isn't here, they should be getting to see their dad.

  • We hope to go on a mini vacation this summer to the beach. My co-worker's sister has a condo over Father's Day weekend that we hope to rent. I'm not sure how sane we'll be for taking 4 kids to the beach alone, but I know the kids will have a blast!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Must Haves

I figured I'd come up with a list of stuff that we see as must haves for summer. We're trying to do as many things we can that are free (library, mall play area) and indoors during the hottest parts of the day, but I also knew we'd need some fun things to keep here at home. So here's our list:

Puddle Jumper


We LOVE our Puddle Jumpers. After going through almost every flotation device out there, we finally found these. They are perfect for the girls to have more freedom in the pool, without being dunked underneath the water.

Spring Float


The girls had these spring floats when they were little, and we're buying Corbin one as well. They are sturdy enough that I feel comfortable letting go (and not holding onto the entire time), and the shade is great for the hot summer sun.

Water Squirters


We have a fairly large collection of water squirters - from Thomas the Train, to Gabba, and a decent supply of ones we found in the Target $1 bins. When we don't have time to get in the pool, a bucket of water and some squirt toys is a great way to cool off.

Tricycles & Cozy Coups


The girls have had their Cozy Coups since their first birthday, and they still LOVE them. They have also mastered their tricycles that they were given last year, and I'm sure next summer will be ready for a real bike with training wheels.

Sidewalk Chalk & Bubbles

Go ahead and buy the bulk sizes - it'll last longer, and be cheaper in the long run!


Swimming Pool


We had a plastic kiddie pool last summer, but that wasn't going to cut it this year. I took the girls to Target to pick up an inflatable pool (I figured they probably had one with Princesses on it), and the girls snubbed their noses at every one - except the BIG pools. So after some talk with the hubby, we decided to invest in an Intex pool. Eventually we want a nice, in ground pool - when we are in our forever home. So this pool provides us a nice, temporary solution. The girls already LOVE it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Strep

The past week has been pretty hectic. My mom messaged me last Wednesday at work to say that Audrey was running a fever and had thrown up several times. By the time I got home, she threw up 5 more times, took a long nap, and was out for the night. My mom took Natalie to her house for the night, just to give Audrey some space. The next morning, I called her pediatrician because her throat hurt her and looked to be pretty red.

Now, Audrey does not like going to the doctor. At all. She won't even step on the scale to be weighed without clinging to me for dear life and scaring the rest of the patients. So I reallllly talked up being brave, and even bribed her with a toy. I'm proud to say she was weighed, measured, had her blood pressure checked, temperature taken, and a throat culture (ok, she cried after that happened) without the need of 3 adults, a priest, and some holy water. The bad news is about 2.5 minutes after the culture was taken, the nurse walked in and said "strep".

So I called my mom to see if she'd keep Natalie, at least until Audrey had taken a dose or two of her antibiotic. The last thing we need is to have everyone in the whole house sick - trust me. My inlaws kept Corbin that night, so he wouldn't catch it (and to be honest, I'd be terrified of a baby that small being so sick). I'm so thankful that our families are so close to us to help out.

Anyway, Audrey ended up getting a new baby doll and carrier. Her name is Corbin, lol (that's what she names all of her baby dolls). She seemed to be on the mend this weekend, but Sunday began running a pretty high fever again. She woke up yesterday fine, and seemed fine when I left this morning. Let's hope this sickness is gone for good!

And on that note - only 5 more work days left for me - wahoo! And some pics:

The non-sick kiddos


The morning Audrey got sick - I was SO worried he would get sick, too. Also, Corbin is pretty much over bottles. He only wants food, and will do everything in his power to nom on anything anyone else has.


Audrey's new baby


They missed each other


Poor little Bean

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Turkey Veggie Meatloaf

Being a parent means that you need to teach your children healthy eating habits. Which, sadly, means I can't toss my children frozen nuggets and Easy Mac every night. But it also means finding slightly deceitful ways to get my children to ingest veggies.

Introducing Turkey Veggie Meatloaf - which we tell the kids is actually steak (because that's what fancy princesses eat at restaurants). And I also don't tell my husband I used turkey instead of ground beef, muwahaha.




Ingredients:
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 zucchini
1 white onion
1 red bell pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup couscous OR breadcrumbs if you don't know what the heck couscous is
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
Glaze:
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (we love Sweet Baby Rays)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1. Preheat your oven to 400

2. Chop up the veggies and toss into a food processor. Or, if you're like me, put into one of those slap chop things that don't work for crap. You want them chopped small, but not liquid-y. The smaller they are, they harder it is for children to say "eww, what IS this?"

3. Mix the ground turkey, egg, couscous, and Worcestershire sauce. Add in the chopped veggies. It's really best to mix meatloaf by hand, even though it feels absolutely disgusting.

4. Cover a baking pan with aluminum foil (hello easy clean up) and shape your meat into a loaf. Try not to have the edges touch the sides of the pan, because you want room for the fat juices to escape and the sides to brown (my favorite!).

5. Mix up the remaining Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and BBQ sauce. Spread on top of the loaf.

6. Pop it in the oven for 30-35 minutes, and voila - dinner is served

I usually double the ingredients when I made this (because it does take me a while to freaking slap chop my veggies), and I freeze the second loaf (without putting the final glaze on it). It's a great way to pull out dinner when I get home from work.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Best $2 Ever

I've been in search of cheap, fun things for the girls to do this summer. We've already signed up for a dance class at a local church (4 lessons for $15), and we'll be visiting two local libraries for preschool story time on Tuesdays and Fridays (it's free and air conditioned). I'm sure we'll head to the mall's play area, and we've just invested in one of those mid-grade pop-up pools for the backyard.

I picked up a few things at the local Dollar Tree store, and these water pumps are a HUGE hit. I got my car cleaned, the flowers watered, and the porch mopped off, lol.







Her face kills me, lol


Can you guess who got squirt 1.6 seconds after this picture was taken???





Fakest smile ever


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

8th Grade Day (A Few Days Late)

I'm fairly sure I'm still recovering from our 8th Grade Field Day on Friday. We spend the entire day out of class with 330+ students - having an awards ceremony, games, lunch, basketball game, ice cream, and year book signing. I also got a pretty nasty sun burn on my shins, lol.










The countdown is on - 3 full days, 3 exam days, and 3 teacher work days left!

And if you'd be so kind as to click the link below - we've fallen out of the top 10 :(

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Happy 6 Months, Little Man!

I can't believe he is half way to being a year old!





Friday, May 18, 2012

8th Grade Dance

Last night was our 8th grade dance. Every year, the PTA moms go above and beyond to put on a really nice night for our students. I took Audrey for the first half of the dance, but she wasn't having it. I actually ended up switching and bringing Natalie back for the second half, and she had a blast. Unfortunately, it was starting to get dark and I didn't have my flash - so no pictures of the actual dance. The last dance was We Are Young and then entire 8th grade (all 300+ of them), crowded on the stage waving their arms - like something you'd see in an 80s movie. Overall, it was a very fun night.






 
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