Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Hooray for three day weekends! That's how I felt last night after finally sitting down to relax after a whirlwind trip around the Carolinas. And by Carolinas I mean the western side of the 'ol north state. Anywho, while I was hoping to catch up on some sleep the lost hours were well worth the time spent with family and friends.

Since we live in close to the track we were positive we wanted nothing to do with being home during race weekend. Friday afternoon we hightailed it out of there and headed to Winston to for a quick visit. It was wonderful to visit with the fam (minus the Boo-man who is currently at Officer Candidate School in Quantico) and play a few games of cornhole.

Saturday afternoon Scott and Steve drove down from Raleighwood to surprise David. He looked like a little kid who had just been surprised with a trip to Disney World when he saw them. It was tough, but I'm glad I was able to keep my lips zipped long enough for it to stay a secret. That evening family and friends came over to the parental's house for more yummy food and cornhole. Oh, and drinks. LOTS of drinks. It was great catching up with everyone and enjoying the warm evening. I could have done without all the mosquito bites (my legs resemble those of a child's with chicken pox), but it's a small price to pay for a great night.
 Our little family
 Scott and Ashley talking shop
 We were so enthused with the game, can't ya tell?!?
 Daisy wanted in on the action too
Harrison and Ashley

Sunday morning we woke up bright and early to hit the road back to Charlotte in time for Hope! After another stellar service from Pastor Mike we scooted on over to Lake Wylie to see the Mobleys. They have a beautiful condo that overlooks the lake and it was the perfect backdrop for a little reading. We also found a place to take the princess swimming! Her relationship with water has always been hate-hate, with negative love. Considering she is part lab, she would rather die a slow miserable death than be put in a pool of water. Baths are the equivalent of hell in her mind. This loathing probably stems from the fact that the night we got her we had to soak her for almost an hour waiting for all the fleas to drown-bleck! Can't really blame her can ya?

We weren't taking no for answer though! After some coaxing we finally got her in and after she discovered the water was a heck of a lot cooler than sitting on the edge, she dove right in! Literally. Now, we're on the lookout for more dog-friendly places to take her. Suggestions welcome!
 David bribing her with a stick
So proud of herself!

It was a fabulous weekend all around and I can't wait to spend the summer doing the same!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Interested in Pinterest?

As if I needed something else to keep me from achieving any levels of productivity, I have found a new guilty pleasure-Pinterest. Pinterest is a fantabulous new site that allows you to "pin" all sorts of things that interest you. Hence the name, Pinterest. It's kind of like a virtual cork board.

Why, you may ask, would you want to do this? Because it is a super easy way to keep track of the things on your radar right now. For instance, I'm getting what is commonly referred to as "house fever". Symptoms range from plowing the internet for houses on the market, longingly looking for ideas in house mags, penny pinching for a down payment, etc. I have a bad case of house fever. Pinterest helps me keep track of all the precious ideas I see before I can put them into action. I would hate to forget one before this pesky house fever is cured!

You may also be wondering what kinds of things would you "pin". Put simply, anything! Engaged? Pin ideas for a DIY wedding. Preggers? Pin cute organization and nursery ideas. A foodie? Pin new recipes you want to try. A fashionista? Pin cute outfits you see and want to replicate. A world traveler? Pin places you want to visit. A photog? Pin different locales and poses you like.

As you can see it is pretty stellar! Since it is so new they are currently taking people through invites. Today is your lucky day though because I still have all five of my invites! You can also just request to join. Happy pinning:-)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cool 'N Easy Strawberry Pie

May is National Strawberry Month and I have made sure to get my fill! Here is a recipe I used when I found some at the local farmer's market:
2 cups fresh strawberries, divided
2/3 cup  boiling water
1 pkg. (3 oz.) Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
  Ice cubes
1/2 cup cold water
1 tub  (8 oz.) Cool Whip topping, thawed
reduced-fat graham cracker crumb crust (6 oz.)
Slice 1 cup strawberries; refrigerate for later use. Chop remaining berries; set side. Add boiling water to gelatin mix; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Add enough ice to cold water to make 1 cup. Add to gelatin; stir until slightly thickened. Remove any unmelted ice. 
  Whisk in cool whip. Stir in chopped berries. Refrigerate 20 to 30 min. or until mixture is very thick and will mound. Spoon into crust.

Refrigerate for about 6 hours or until firm. Top with sliced berries.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rainbow Weekends

Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from a distance but disappear when you get up close to them. 
John Shirley

The end of David's long visit is approaching the end. I'm happy to have had him here with me for almost two weeks, but until he lives here full-time I'm gonna have a hard time saying good-bye! We did have a great time and as I mentioned before, his timing was impeccable. Our week as a whole was pretty laid-back, but that made it even better. Our biggest adventure of the week was a trip to Walmart for celebration ice cream. What were we celebrating? It was Thursday and we wanted ice cream, and that sounded like a good enough reason to us!

Yesterday we ventured out to the Farmer's Market in Concord. I absolutely adore fresh fruits and veggies and buying local always makes me feel like I'm kind of saving the world one potato at a time. Anywho we ended up with a few favorites: strawberries, sweet potatoes, a watermelon, asparagus, cucumbers, and tomatoes! Then we trotted across the street to the Food Dog (Food Lion to all you real people) for our bacon and lettuce. Needless to say we were very happy campers with our homemade BLT's washed down with juicy watermelon.

After we were released from our food coma we moseyed on over to the pool for some sunshine and summertime (I wish!) fun. Too bad the pool was closed! We managed to still have fun catching up with some of our neighbors and enjoying a few drinks. It was about the time people started shouting to newcomers not to sign a lease (I'll save that fun rant for another post) that we scooted on home.

That afternoon found us at my little's graduation party! It was so great to see Amy and Baily and catch up on everything. By the time we left it was cemented in David and my minds that we needed to get to Raleighwood ASAP.

The only picture I took all weekend

Then, we scooted across town to see David's brother, John, off to prom! He and his girlfriend looked great and it was so neat to see him off. Thanks to scheduling (stupid exams, who needs to pass college anyway?!?) conflicts I missed ALL of the Wardlet's proms (minus my own that is), so I'm making sure we see all of John's. No, I don't have any pictures (I'm really slacking in the picture department these days), but I'll try to get them from Mama and Papa Mobs to post. 

We kicked off Sunday with an amazing service at Hope Church. If you're looking a church home in Charlotte, now is the time to come! We are going through a membership series and all the core beliefs and principles of the church are being shared. This week is triple coupons week at Harris Teeter (victory!) so I spent about an hour and half trying to figure out how many free items I could get. We ended up with a bunch of random stuff I wouldn't buy on a normal week, but, hey, it was free! The final total? $42. The savings? $64. I'd consider that a success. They're doing it until Tuesday if you're interested!

We are currently relaxing and enjoying our last few hours together. By relaxing I mean that I'm blogging to all your wonderful peeps and he is getting a good workout playing NCAA on the PlayStation.  It's amazing how much movement occurs while he's playing a video game. Maybe somebody needs to remember that it's only a game. . . Happy Sunday!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thankful Thursday-It's a Great Day to be Alive

WE ARE DONE WITH TESTING!!!! At least the first round anyway. Can you tell I'm excited?!? We still have remediation and retesting, but the craziness for the majority of people is done. Some other things that I am grateful for:

*weekend with family and friends ahead*
(we are fortunate enough to get to see a great friend of mine and celebrate her graduation as well as see David's brother, John, off to prom!
*nice weather*
(I was very happy to have the return of sunny days and warmer weather after a gloomy week)

*triple coupons at Harris Teeter*
(yes, I realize this makes me sound uber lame BUT it's a great way to save some moola!)

*daily coupon websites*
(once again, I realize this makes me lame. Places like Groupon, Living Social, Restaurant.com, etc are awesome ways to try new things pretty cheap)
If you're interested in joining Groupon, shoot me an email and I'll give you a code so I can earn credit:-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Feeling Loopy

You ever get that crazy, loopy feeling? You know, the one where everything is funny. I’m there. This typically happens when I am burned out after going nonstop. Or when I recognize that something crazy is the inevitable. Well, I’m there and the sad part is I can’t see it going away any time soon. All of the teachers on our team were discussing funny things the kids had done that day (you want a good laugh? Go hang out with a group of 8th graders) and I could not stop laughing. It just seemed that all of their cuckoo for cocoa puffs-ness has finally reached its breaking point. It’s hard to blame them though. They’re in the middle of a three-day testing extravaganza and their poor little brains are F-R-I-E-D. Expecting any real work out of them would be equivalent to asking Daisy to drive a car-madness.

I love all 120 of “my kids”. I really do. But we’re at that point in a vacation with other people where you need some time off. I remember going on vacation with my best friend growing up, Kelley (mentioned here) and after about five or six days of constantly being all up in each other’s grills, we had had enough. I’m there. They are all truly wonderful kiddos, but I’m losing it. And I’m not the only one, they’re feeling it too!

Today, a kid came up and asked if he could just sit down for a second. I should probably mention when we in the hallway and they were switching classes. I asked him why didn’t he just go to class and sit down, but apparently Science was too far of a trek. Can’t say I really blame him either. I usually just holler if I need Mr. D or pick up the handy dandy telephono.

I think we’ll all be glad to get back to some semblance normalcy next week. By normalcy I mean, not crazy schedules with random times though next week isn’t looking too promising right about now. I’m thinking I’m just going to have to invest some money in Starbucks stock and buy out their supply of lattes to reach their levels of energy. I mean, hey, if I’m gonna give them all my money I should at least get some kind of return.

Happy day to all!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy Thoughts

Something to remember when life seems to be more than you can take. . .

Monday, May 16, 2011

Home Again, Home Again Jiggity Jig

It has been awesome having David home this week. I actually feel like we're a normal married couple now! The past few months of our young marriage have been interesting to say the least. And while he is not home for good just yet, he's one step closer. His timing couldn't be more perfect either-we are in the thick of testing.

Even though it's the kids taking the tests it is still crazy stressful on the teachers. Making sure you say exactly what you're supposed to say at exactly the right time without affecting the testing environment is enough to make a person lose their mind! I have read our test administration book cover to cover more times than I'd like to admit, but I'm still terrified I'm going to say one wrong word and screw it up for all of them! Throw in the fact that we still have to teach and they still have to learn and we have a recipe for disaster. Needless to say, I am very grateful for the timing of David's visit to Charlotte.

I have all these married friends who say how they wish their husbands were gone this long. I stare in disbelief at each of them. While I firmly believe time apart is healthy in a marriage, too long can have the opposite effect. In our case of four and a half months, we are about four months and a week past our sell-by date. I commend all the military families that have to do this to the nth degree. I would fail miserably as a military wife.

I married my husband so we wouldn't have to be separated; what a novel concept! I will admit it has been nice to pick my own movies at the Redbox and not having to make supper every night has been quite a treat. BUT not having someone to remind me when I'm being a crazy girl or help me make decisions (I'm probably the most indecisive person in the world. I have trouble figuring out what to eat as an after school snack) has stunk. Though I'm pretty sure he has loved not being around for those crazy girl moments where I cry over commercials with puppies and I highly doubt he missed catching up on the latest relationship on Glee. Then again that does give him an excuse to serenade Daisy and I with Katie Perry songs. . . but I digress.

I'm just counting my blessings and taking full advantage of our time together and I'm pretty much ignoring the fact that he is leaving in a few days. Whoever said living in a fantasy world is all bad sounds like a pessimist to me!

Peeps Treat

Every Easter (well at least the past two Easters) I've made this cake. While it's nothing fancy it doesn combine two of my most favorite things-Peeps and cake! Here is the recipe for my Peeps Sunflower Cake:

3 packages Peeps Yellow Marshmallow Chicks
1 standard box cake mix (yellow cake is my cake of choice)
2 containers of chocolate frosting
1 bag chocolate chips

Prepare cake mix according to package directions for making two 8” round cakes.  

Place one round cake on a plate or cake stand and top with chocolate frosting. Place the second round cake on top of frosting. Frost entire cake with chocolate frosting.

Place Peeps around the outside of the cake with the tails pointing out.
Place chocolate chips on top of the cake in a circular pattern.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Thankful Thursday-This I Gotta See

This gorgeous Spring day finds me at another Thankful Thursday. Like every week, today I have MANY blessings to count!

*not having crazy weather*
(despite the humidity we are lucky not to have all these nutty tornadoes and floods)

*living where we are, when we are*
(I’m preparing a unit on the Holocaust and with each image and survivor story I become more and more grateful to live in a free country with all the blessings I have)

*school parents who support the teachers*
(our team really lucked out with some awesome parents who take time out of their busy schedules to help our students succeed)

*having my hubby home*
(I am so happy that David will be home for TEN whole days! eeeeek!)

*less than a month left of school*
(I think that statement speaks for itself)

Disclaimer: I tried posting on Thursday, but Blogger was having issues!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Momma Always Said. . .

To say Momma knows best is an understatement. This woman seriously knows what she is talking about. After being a nurse for over twenty years and raising five children she has her share of stories. Some good, some bad, some so unbelievable it's hard to imagine them actually happening. Yet, in all my life she has never been anything less than wonderful in all situations.

Yesterday (Mother's Day) I was thinking about how fortunate the other Wardlets and I are to have such a stellar momma. She is the definition of incredible. There was a hashtag going on Twitter for five great things about your mom. There is no way I could narrow it down to five. This woman is that awesome. I shall do my best though:

  1. Her sense of humor. My momma has the greatest sense of humor. Whether it is through her random cards or her favorite games to play (Trailer Park Wars if you're wondering, and yes this does actually exist), she always finds a way to get a giggle out of a situation.
  2. Her generosity. I honest to God do not remember my mother ever buying anything for herself, and I mean anything, until we started making her. She would always buy us clothes or books or anything we wanted, but never thought to take the time to spoil herself. She is constantly thinking of other people and doing everything she can to help them. Anyone and everyone is family in Jenny's house!
  3. Her work ethic. She is one of the hardest working people I've ever met. Sometimes it's a the doctor's office she works at, and other times it's at a swim meet. Wherever she's needed, she works her tail off!
  4. Her strength. She has not had it easy yet she doesn't let that stop her from loving life. She is the epitome of an optimist always looking at the glass as half full. It is inspiring how she continually picks herself up whenever someone tries to knock her down. 
  5. Her support. She has never given up on a single one of us, which is saying a lot considering there are five of us to keep track of! She has always supported whatever we wanted to do even when no one else would. For instance, we are all very well aware that being a teacher is a hard job with a pitiful paycheck. Yet, when I told her I was switching my major she supported me 4000%. All she cared about was that I would be happy, and that alone gives me the courage to never give up.
These are just a few of the amazing things that make my momma awesome. If you haven't met her, you should. What makes your momma awesome?

My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." 
-Forrest Gump

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Quiet Part Dos

As I mentioned in the previous post, Quiet, instead of giving up a material object for Lent I was going to refocus my attention and prayer time with quiet. Instead of listening to music in the car, I turned off everything and used that time to talk with, and more importantly listen to, God. I’m not going to lie, it was very difficult at first. My habits had me wanting to roll the windows down and crank up the radio on the beautiful spring afternoons. I was able to get over that one pretty quickly. I struggled more with trying to stay awake on the way to school!

I leave for school before most people even hit the snooze button for the first time. Heck, it’s practically still nighttime when my alarm rings at 4:15 in the morning. Keeping the radio off as I tootled on down the road in the rattletrap car was tough. My eyes got heavier and heavier the closer I got to school. After a week or two of this it was like my brain finally realized I wasn’t giving in and let me stay awake. Gotta love when those brains actually do what they’re supposed to do!

Every morning I would hop in the car and just start talking to God. It was a smidgen awkward at first because it was kinda like talking to myself. I kept trying though. Day after day, week after week I talked to God. I praised Him for all He was doing in my life and prayed to Him about my struggles and everywhere in between. Each morning I felt more prepared for the day than I had the day before.

In the afternoons I would debrief about my day and really try to listen. I focused on listening to what He wanted on my heart instead of what I thought I needed. Every other time I got into the car I kept the radio off. Even if I was just going to the grocery store I used that time to listen to the quiet.

It was a truly remarkable experience. I cannot believe the ways God worked in my life over those few weeks. He showed me what it was to really pray and wait for a response instead of jumping the gun like I usually do. It’s amazing what comes out when you let your heart speak what it actually wants to speak. I am thankful for this experience and have kept up the morning tradition! 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answer. If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.
 Phil 4: 6-7

Was your Lenten experience a positive one?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thankful Thursday-Stars and Stripes

Well if you ask me where I come from
Here's what I tell everyone
I was born by God's dear grace
In an extraordinary place
Where the stars and stripes and the eagle fly
-Aaron Tippin

This week started off a bit different than most others; the world received the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed. I got chills the second I heard the news. I remember sitting in Mrs. Vey's 8th grade LA class watching the news coverage of the attacks on September 11, 2001. I remember seeing the planes crash into the World Trade Centers over and over again in complete shock. To hear that the mastermind between those horrible images was dead was a chilling feeling. Almost eleven years later and I still can't shake the strange feeling I felt that day. Now, I didn't know anyone who died and I'd never lived in New York or walked past those buildings. At that point in my life I'd never even flown on an airplane. But I still felt it deep down. I can't imagine the pain the families of those lost felt and I hope that these recent events add some closure to their tragic tales. 

This news reminds me of all that I have to be thankful for because you never know when it could be ripped out from under you. 

*the American soldier*
(We are free because of the brave)
*my students*
(their humor and resilience in tough situations in inspiring)
*lost giftcards*
(it's like finding free money at the bottom of your purse!)
(they are wonderful. The end.)
*fresh fruit*
(I snagged some strawberries from a local stand and they are delish!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

All I ever wanted
Had to get away
-The GO GOs

Long time no post! The long awaited Spring Break kept me away for the past week and a half, and I can't say I'm sorry. A week off from school spent with family and my hubs was exactly what this tired teacher needed. I'll try to keep the recap brief!

Break started off with a fabulous visit with the Ward clan. We piled our massive amount of luggage (it amazes me how much we bring for a two-day visit) into the rental car and strolled on up the road to Winston Salem. We had a fabulous visiting with the triplets and my parents, including our first annual Easter Scavenger Hunt. Saturday was filled with shopping and napping before heading home.

Easter Sunday began with a beautiful service at Hope Church and ended with full tummies with the Mobleys. Pastor Mike did an incredible job sharing the momentous day! We had a marvelous time hanging out with everyone and devouring massive amounts of food. I'd been trying to eat healthy in preparation for our beach trip, but all bets were off when Grammie's famous coleslaw made an appearance at the table. The meal was topped off with chocolate peanut butter eggs (a must at every Easter!) and my Peep sunflower cake (recipe to come).

On Monday morning we began the relaxing leg of our break. We headed straight to the beach once we got to Mount Pleasant. After four glorious hours of reading and resting, aka a glimpse at heaven, we decided we'd exposed ourselves to enough skin cancer. To say we were sunburned is an understatement. I would say we weren't completely and totally roasted. Thank heavens there was a Harris Teeter nearby that carried a 16oz bottle of aloe. I'm embarrassed to say we used more aloe than sunscreen this trip. Maybe I'll try that whole "keeping my skin youthful" thing next summer.

Tuesday took us into downtown Charleston! Whoot whoot! Anyone who knows me knows that Charleston, along with Disney World, is one of my most favorite places in the world. I woke David's booty up super early so we could get the free breakfast and get going. In case you're wondering, the Holiday Inn Express in Mount Pleasant has a banging continental breakfast! Anywho, David was wonderfully patient as we spent hours wandering around the market and in and out of shops. I'm sure you're just dying to know what fantastic trinkets we ended up with. My favorite purchase was a set of pictures that spelled out Mobley. A picture of the pictures to come! David's big purchase was a handmade wooden chess set from Russia. While I'm excited he finally found one he likes, I am SO not excited about learning to play and losing time and time again. I'll pay anyone interested in taking my place at the chess set:-)

Wednesday and Thursday were filled with mornings on the beach and afternoons in the movie theater. While we missed the major storms, it was still kind of yucky out. We don't see movies at the theater very often so when we do it takes hours of painstaking deliberation to determine what film is worth $10 a person. I mean if they're going to rip you off to that extreme you better well leave the theater smiling gosh darn it. Not to mention we are two of the most indecisive human beings on the earth who decided to get married. This leads to years spent making decisions. Please do not ever ask us to pick a restaurant or a movie-you may put us in early graves. Needless to say, "Water for Elephants" and "The Lincoln Lawyer" did not disappoint! 

Friday morning began with none other than the Royal Wedding! The beautiful Kate Middleton got to live out every little girl's dream of marrying a handsome prince (even if he does need to invest in some Rogaine) and becoming a princess (or duchess, whatever). I even got David to watch some of it with me after he saw Kate. His exact words were, "knockout". My response? "Heck yea she is!" We believe in honesty in his family. After we were all weddinged out we headed to the beach before making the long trek back.

Put simply, it was an incredible vacation and I'm currently trying to come up with ways to convince David we simply must go back. Any suggestions?!?