Monday, February 23, 2009

Geography Club???

It is good to have laughter at work....

On Friday I went to get lunch at Burger King with a couple of friends at work. As we walked back in the building, I noticed that there was a sign on the front door.....

Yup! Those are my middle school yearbook pictures! Embarrassing...I know. =)

One of my co-workers is getting her MA in Elementary Education and is doing observation hours at the Junior High I went to. It came up at lunch the other day...but then I totally forgot. I could not figure out where those yearbook pictures came from! She finally fessed up. We got a good laugh about it and I had to bring the sign home to show Adam and Mom and Dad. I don't even remember being in the Geography Club! says I wasn't so good at it either!

Do you have this much fun at work?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Showering the Bride

I am standing up in my friend Bridget's wedding in April. We (the other bridesmaids, me and a lot of help from mom!) had her bridal shower yesterday at Mom and Dad's house. About 60 people were invited and luckily only 31 adults and 6 kids responded that they were coming! That is still a lot of people to feed for a sit down meal in Mom and Dad's house, but it went really well! Bridget had a great time and that is the most important part!

Dad and I hanging the streamers the night before. Thanks for your help Dad!

Dad made this awesome banner for the front door.

Hmmm...why didn't this turn?
Anyway...the cute favors!
(We had Mexican for lunch, hence the margarita glasses)

The set-up before the people got in there. 5 tables and 36 chairs!

Mom's adorable idea to put the sour cream, guacamole and salsa in margarita glasses as serving dishes on the tables!

Everyone enjoying lunch

Playing the "Almost Newlywed Game"
Becky (the MOH-Bridget's sister) recorded Tony answering questions about Bridget. We asked the questions to the group, Bridget answered, and then we played Tony's answer. It was hard!

My friend Kim and me. Since I was taking all of the pictures, I thought I would take one of the two of us!

Bridget and Tony opening gifts
That one is mine!

Bridget, Tony and his daughter Madi in front of the cake
Hope you had a great time Bridget! We had so much fun planning it for you!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Open Letters

I have never written an open letter...but this seemed like a good week to do so.....

Dear University,
It is not nice to advertise that you have 5 campuses in nice locations and then really only offer classes at two of them. It is also not nice to say that you have a grad program designed for certified teachers working full time and then make their life miserable as they try to finish the program while working full time with their real students.


Dear Professor at Said University,
I know your class is easy. I shouldn't complain. But it is really stupid. We spend so much time wasted, talking about topics other than primary math and science. I would like to learn about primary math and science. Also, please don't make "proclamations" like "You should never do anything over the number 5 before Kindergarten" and "Kids younger than Kindergarten shouldn't ever do anything on paper including practicing their name or experiment with writing". That is not true. I work with many people more qualified than you who think it is a good idea to count above 5 and practice writing. Also, the Kindergarten teachers would kill us if we never exposed them to anything above 5 or a writing utensil.


Dear My Friend's Eggs,
Please make a baby for my friend. She really wants to have one. She will be a very good mom. Let those swimmers in!


Dear People in Chicago,
Why don't you wear a hat or scarf when it is 0 degrees outside? You make me look like a crazy person because I do. 0 degrees is very cold.


Dear Univent people,
This week my classroom was blowing air that was 44 degrees a good part of the day. That is very cold. You should go sit outside when it is 44 degrees with a bunch of preschoolers and tell me how you feel.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad and Adam!

Sunday was dad's birthday and tomorrow (Thursday) is Adam's birthday, so on Sunday night we went to dinner with Mom and Dad to have a dual birthday celebration. We went to Entourage in Schaumburg. None of us had ever been there before and it was delicious! We all thoroughly enjoyed our food and to top it off, Sunday is "Family Night" which meant free soup and dessert! I highly recommend it!

They brought out birthday cake for Dad and Adam...yummy!

The 4 of us...sorry I didn't realize your eyes were so squinty Mom!

Dad and Mom

Me and Adam
(After several tries...I was having major fat neck issues!)

The wrapping paper Mom made for Adam with John Deere stickers!

Delicious See's candy from Mommom and Poppop straight from CA!
Adam was so excited!

The yummy cake mom made with candles with colorful flames.

I got Adam an Obama scrapbook type coffee table book with pockets with souvenirs and memorabilia.
(It made me throw up in my mouth a little bit to spend money on something like that)

Mom and Dad got Adam The Audacity of Hope and Dreams From My Father
(Dad almost kicked Mom out when she came home with those books!)
You can tell how much we love Adam to spend actual real money on Obama merchandise!
Happy Birthday Adam and Dad!!! Love you both!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Going to Morocco

It is true! I am going to Morocco to visit my sister. I booked the tickets last weekend and I am still SUPER excited!!!!! I spent about 5 hours one afternoon searching the Internet for the best fares. And let me tell you....the one I found wasn't easy to find. After navigating a UK airline, converting pounds to dollars and euro to dollars and figuring out what "hold baggage" is....I finally did it! Chicago to Memphis to Miami to Madrid to Marrakesh! Maybe I will get an award for the most layovers in one trip? =)
I am counting down the days....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Yummy Valentine's Day Dinner

I know it is cheesy, but I love Valentine's Day. Well....I really just love all holidays. I love decorating and celebrating and all that jazz! Adam and I decided to have a low key Valentine's Day by staying in, cooking dinner together and then watching a movie. We also decided to do small gifts for each other.

Flowers from Adam!

I went over to Mom and Dad's on Saturday morning after Religious Ed to make Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies for Adam. They are his very favorite and I wanted to surprise him with them. One batch was ready to come out of the oven while I had my hands messy putting a new one on a tray. Mom decided to help me take one batch out of the oven....and boy is that parchment paper slippery! The whole tray of 12 cookies slipped right off the tray and into the oven. Don't worry mom, I still appreciated your help!

The intact ones were yummy!

For dinner we made Lasagna Roll Ups. We found the recipe on a Mr. Food pasta recipe card mom gave me last year. This is what they looked like before we put the cheese on top and put them in the oven. They were really easy to make. Of course, I added extra cheese, but otherwise we stuck to the recipe. For the sauce, we made the Ten Minute Marina Sauce from the Mr. Food recipe card. It was also very easy and very tasty.
Ten Minute Marinara Sauce
About 4 cups
Enough for 1 pound of pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 cup water
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat; add the garlic and saute until golden.
2. Slowly add the water, then the tomatoes; stir in the remaining ingredients, and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I really wanted to try to the cheesy bread that Jen has blogged about twice (round 1 and round 2). The recipe is from the King Arthur website. I have never made real yeast bread before, so I was a little nervous. The recipe called for Unbleached Bread Flour. At the store there was Bread Flour and Unbleached Flour. But not Unbleached Bread I went for the Bread Flour. Jen, what did you use?
The starter

After sitting overnight. It is not bubbly like the recipe said....hmmmm?

After mixing in the dough and letting it rise again, I spread it out and added the cheese. Instead of the expensive Gruyère cheese (at $12.99 a pound), I used a blend of Italian cheeses and cheddar.

I rolled it into a log and then let it rise one more time before cutting it into 4 pieces and putting it in the oven.

This is what is looked like coming out of the oven. It was bursting with cheesiness, but the bread didn't exactly look right. We were a little nervous, but ripped into it anyway. It was delicious!!! If you love cheese even half as much as I do, you will love it. Erin, you know you need to try it!

I also made meatballs from scratch for the first time. I can't offer a first hand opinion on them, but Adam said they were delicious. I used a combination of ground beef and ground Italian sausage meat. Adam ate 2 meatballs and we each ate one Lasagna Roll Up, so we have enough left for about 8 more meals!!

Adam made me a pot for Valentine's Day. I LOVE it! I told him it was the best present he has ever given me. He made the stencils himself and spray painted the hearts on. He will probably be a little embarrassed that I am blogging about it....but I just love it! It was so thoughtful!
I hope everyone had an enjoyable Valentine's Day....whatever you did!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Two funny stories from my preschoolers over the last couple weeks.....

(As you know, I usually wear my hair down and straight. What you might not know is that it is naturally wavy. I don't have as much control over it when I leave it wavy, so I don't usually wear it that way. I occassionally wear it wavy to work and apparently one Thursday a couple of weeks ago, it was the first Thursday I had left it that way. My T/Th students were shocked by it and the following conversation ensued...)

Child: Miss Stephanie?
Me: Yes?
Child: Miss Stephanie.....did you take a shower today?
Me: (???) Yes, (child name), I did take a shower today...(with a quizzical look on my face)
Child: .....(with a knowing look on his face)...Did you want to look nice for school today?

Too cute!

The next story happened this past Wednesday. The staff in the building sign up to bring treats on Wednesdays. It is the best part of Wednesday mornings to go into the lounge and chow down. The treats this past Wednesday were great! One of my co-workers made the Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic dip (one of my favorites!!) and I was really chowing down. I could tell it was pretty strong, but I didn't care.

Fast Forward 10 mintes....
I went and got my deaf and hard of hearing kids off the bus.
As we arrived at the coat speech and sign language....

Child: mumble mumble....snack?
Me: You brought a snack today?
Child: something something....snack?
Me: Are you hungry? Do you want a snack?
Child: NO! You eat snack????
Me: ??? Yes. I had a snack.
Child: (places crook of elbow over nose and says, "Uuuuk!"

You know you have gone crazy with the garlic when a 5 year old thinks your breath smells bad!

Erin is Famous!

I was at Religious Ed today (which is held at the school I went to for Elementary School) and a mom pointed out that there is a display with pictures of Erin up in the front hallway. They are doing a collection to send materials to her site and wanted to put up a display to show the students what they are working for!

My Love/Hate Relationship With Heat

...Well it is really more "hate" than "love". I love heat...but the "hate" part comes in when it doesn't work!

2 weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night to a really bad smell. I couldn't figure out what it was, but after running around the house making sure nothing was on fire, I realized that it smelled like it does when you turn your furnace on for the first time in the winter. That made me feel a little better. But then I realized that my furnace wasn't working. It had somehow tripped the breaker and when I flipped it still wasn't working. Since it wasn't an emergency, I went back to bed....cold. Adam's dad came over in the morning and thought it was the control board, so he had an HVAC friend come over after school to look at it. It was the control board and it needed to be replaced. He did hot wire it so that it bypassed the control board and I could have heat until I replaced it.

Well...then I had a decision to make.... Do I replace the control board on an old furnace? And risk something else breaking? Or do I just get a new furnace? (Side note, I have had many problems with it the last 3 winters!)

I decided on a new furnace! When I moved in, my home inspector told me that the thing was on its last leg and so I am sure when I try to sell my place, the next home inspector will REALLY emphasize that to the buyers. I figured that I would rather buy a new one now and get use out of it than wait until I need to sell and lose bids because of a geriatric furnace! you can oooh and ahhh over my beautiful new furnace!

This picture is another example of heat-related stress for me. This is the univent in my classroom at school. We had really bad heating/cooling in our building and they FINALLY replaced the system over last summer. And is is worse! Throughout the winter, my univent has been very temperamental. Sometimes it likes to blow air that is 102 degrees. Then it decides it is too warm and opens up the vents from the outside and blows in air that is 37 degrees. But then it decides that is too cold and begins blowing 102 degree air again. All in the same hour! The maintenance people have been out a million times and it had actually seemed to be getting a little better. Still blowing cold air a couple times a day...but at least not the crazy extremes 3 times every hour!
I was satisfied with that. Well...then came the news this week that because Illinois is crazy and corrupt and has not released its budget money...we (the school district) are broke. So they are making HUGE cuts, firing top level administrators, cutting teaching positions, riffing all assistants, cutting school budgets by 10-20%, freezing pay increases, cutting ALL fieldtrips and lowering the temperature to 68 degrees in every classroom. Now, 68 doesn't sound SO bad. 68 in your house wouldn't be so cold. But whatever it was supposed to be at before was cold. So you can imagine what 68 feels like! Luckily, we have a really cute school mascot and school spirit wear and at least I look cute in my Ducklings sweatshirt.....EVERY DAY!
So those are my heat problems. I hope you are staying warm this winter at school and home!
P.S. Don't worry too much about the budget cuts. The district has asked Pepsi to come remove the light bulbs from the vending machines in every school, so we will be saving lots of electricity that way. That will surely pull us out of the hole!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Just Keep Swimming!

Just thought I would share a couple of pictures that the assistant in my classroom took of me today! We are doing an ocean theme and I put on my real flippers and a pretend mask to show my kids how to play with the ocean scuba gear!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Binders and Tabs and Crocodiles...Oh my!

It finally came! My starter kit for Vacation Bible School 2009! I love when I get my starter kit! I always tear into it like a little kid on Christmas morning. I am totally excited because instead of the usual bound boring director's manual, this year there is a way cool rockin' binder! It will be so much easier to copy pages and use the info in the manual like this. Also, it came with divider pages with tabs and even pre-made stickers to go on the tabs for the different sections! I have started looking at the crafts and picked out my favorite and I am learning the names of the Bible Buddies. I like Jacques the Croc! Of course, I have also been jammin' to this year's music in my car since Saturday morning. It always takes a bit getting used to.....but I think most of it will grow on me.

The kick off to VBS 2009 at Church of the Holy Spirit has begun in full force and I'm ready with my crazy cool binder!