Friday, December 4, 2009

Substitute teaching and other such fun

The last two days I have been substitute teaching at the high school. Their schedule is called Block Scheduling, so the day is divided into 4 90-minute "blocks". For the 1st and 2nd block, I had a Spanish I class with 13-15 students in each, depending on the day. 3rd block only has one student, an ESL student from China. I worked with her last year too when I subbed at the school, and she is one of my favorites. 4th block is Spanish II. We had a really good couple days, relatively. The first day was a bit more difficult, since the worksheets that the teacher left took very little time and the students had about 30 minutes of free time once they finished. Today was the same, except this time I was prepared! I brought cookies! For the 1st and 2nd block, I split the classes into teams and they competed for the right to choose which flavor of cookie the class would eat (I had to bring pre-packaged cookies since homemade goods are not permitted). For 3rd block I just saved out some cookies and my student munched while we chatted and played a game of hangman--it was actually a really good lesson for her since our hangman "words" were sentences and it helps with both vocabulary and grammar. In the 4th block we also played hangman, except we used Spanish sentences. Even though my background is in Spanish, the teachers don't know who the substitute will be while they are out, so it's impossible for them to leave a regular lesson plan for me. Since I don't know where they are in their textbooks ahead of time, I just have to make things up as I go if their assignments are finished early!
While I was at the school, H3 stayed with Laura, a lady who works as a night custodian at the middle school. She comes into work at 2:30, so she just brings H3 with her and drops her off with H1 until I get over there at 3:00. Yesterday Laura took H3 up to Petersburg for shopping and lunch at Cracker Barrel and today they put up decorations around her house. Laura is very good with her and H3 loves her. Apparently, she doesn't fuss at all while I'm gone! H1 and I like Laura too and I'm very comfortable leaving H3 with her when needed, so that's a blessing when I need to sub at the school for some extra money.
I'm not too sure what the weekend holds yet. Our plans are pretty non-existent, other than grocery shopping. Other than this weekend though, every other weekend in December is packed!
Oh, I'll have to put up some pictures of this later, but tonight, just before bed, H3 was playing near the dog's cage and all of a sudden decided to climb inside! It was so funny and I caught a couple cute pictures of it. Some wonderful moments can be captured on camera, but some of my favorites are just memories in my head, like H3 giggling on our bed while H1 and I tickle her, and that beautiful smile I get first thing in the morning when she wakes up. God has given me such a wonderful family and I treasure these times!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Aaaaaaand I'm behind again!

Well, yet again I'm trying to catch up on all that our family has been up to! Whew! I'm supposed to be decorating our Christmas tree tonight, so this is going to be a bit short. Where to start? Let's see.... The weekend of October 23rd, my wonderful father-in-law came to visit with Mathias, an exchange student from Denmark. They watched H3 for us so H1 and I could have our first date night out since she was born! We went to see Tim Hawkins, a Christian comedian, and then went to Applebees and split an appetizer. It was a fun date. While they were here, we also went to Norfolk and toured the Battleship Wisconsin, located at the Nauticus museum. It's a free tour and lots of fun!

On deck of the Wisconsin

The following Sunday, H3 and I headed for SC to visit my grandfather. It had been a year since we'd seen him, which is a little longer than usual between visits. We had a wonderful time chatting and watching H3 run circles in the house. She would start in the living room and run the loop through the kitchen and dining room and back into the living room. Before the trip she had just started walking during the couple weeks before, and by the end she'd gotten a pretty good grasp on it!
Sitting on Great-Grandpa's lap

Playing by the couch
We arrived home Thursday evening, and I had to turn around and substitute at the high school on Friday, so I was rather tired by the time the weekend hit and was happy to be home. The next weekend (Nov 14 - 16) my parents came down for a visit. It was really good to see them and my mom had a blast playing with H3 and taking lots of pictures. Since I'm an only child, H3 is the only grandchild on my side of the family. My mom really enjoys being a grandma. My dad enjoys his role too, of course, although judging by his choice in toys (dinosaurs and trucks), I think he may be hinting. That will have to wait for a bit though because I've got my hands full!

The children's play area inside the MacArthur Square Mall

Dad and Mom (I made a lunch from home that we brought and just bought drinks)
Playing in the children's area
The following weekend (Nov 21) I volunteered up at the Rescue Squad for a bit and then I spent Saturday afternoon baking for the church lunch on Sunday. H3 was quite the help. She sat at my feet, playing with a wooden spoon. At one point while I was kneeding dough, I looking down and she was sitting right next to my leg playing and the dog was laying next to her. It felt like a picturesque moment! The Thanksgiving luncheon at church was delicious, as always. The church provided turkey (deep fried) and ham, and then each family in the church brings a dish or two to share. I love all the food! It also gives everyone a chance to hang around afterwards. We do connect weekly in small groups, but it's nice to see everyone for a bit and chat longer than just over coffee before church. Our church is relatively small--about 60 adults and 40 kids, so we know a majority of the people.
This past week was Thanksgiving, of course. It was my first time cooking a turkey and it turned out surprisingly well. I made quite a few dishes, but smaller portions since it was only the three of us. H1 made the mashed potatoes--he's the best at those! I made rolls, jello salad, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, pumpkin pie and of course cooked the turkey. H3 seemed to enjoy sampling a bit of everything, although she wasn't so keen on the turkey or the green bean casserole, but I expected that. The turkey is still a bit harder to chew than chicken and she's not of fan of green beans unless they are purreed still.

This Black Friday was the first time I've ever ventured out, and I did so at 2:30am. I left H1 and H3 at the house to get more sleep and ventured out into the cold rain down to Walmart. They were having a sale on a particular item I wanted to get my Dad for Christmas and it was at a price I could afford, so I waited in line until 5am and got my mits on it. I'm sooo excited about it and hope he will enjoy it. I still can't believe I actually did something crazy like that, but I have to say it was worth it because otherwise I doubt we could have afforded it.
Today would have been nice to sleep in, but nope, didn't happen. I went to an 8am CPR recertification class and got that updated. Since I'm an EMT, I already had the training and certification and techinally it was still good for another year, but I wanted to go through the 2 hour course and get a couple questions I had answered about unique situations. I knew the guy instructing it and trusted him to give me the right answer. I can't say that for my last instructor.
Afterwards we took advantage of a coupon and got Christmas pictures taken at Sears. We were originally just going to have some friends take pictures but then could never nail down a date. With the coupon, we were able to get the sitting and prints for just $30. It's still more than I'd like to pay, but not awful and the pictures did turn out gorgeous!
Whew! Ok, so I did cram in more than I thought I was going to and my fingers hurt from typing so fast. Back to the tree! Good night!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Smells like Fall

Fall has most definitely arrived! This past week has been in the low 60s and 50s during the day, which is quite a break from our usual high 70s and 80s. It's even been cold at night, well, cold for here anyways. The leaves have begun to turn and it finally feels like Fall. To celebrate, we've enjoyed a toasty fire today and have been spending some time in the kitchen. H1 made a delicious cheesy potato soup for lunch. We'll have some leftovers of that for dinner, along with splitting a steak that I'm thawing out and some broccoli. There will even be enough for two lunches this week for H1 and 2 for H3 as well, and some to freeze for dinner. Mmmmmm!

Toasty Fire
Cheesy Potato Soup
After the soup, I made Peanut Butter Popcorn squares--a childhood favorite and incredibly simple to make (recipe below).
After the squares, I made a peach cobbler to go with dinner.
I must say that it smells divine in this kitchen, especially with the fire going! As I'm typing I can hear H1 out back chopping up more wood. I've been working on H3's scrapbook in between bakings. I'm hoping to have a few more pages done before my father-in-law arrives on Friday. I feel bad having my mess out on the kitchen table, so I'm going to have to stash everything somewhere before then.
Another project we've been working on this past week is the front of our house. Even though we are just renting it, I couldn't stand the mess. We put some grass seed down to help with our dirt yard (almost the entire front is black dirt, which turns to mud of course when it rains). The front planter bed is a mess too. While I'm not quite willing to spring for new rocks to line it, I did rearrange the concrete blocks and we have added mulch. Below is H1 working on that.
Before adding mulch to the right side
With mulch on the left side, and H1 working to dig up the walkway
H3 discovered how to get in and out of her toybox this week. Oh what fun! It does provide her endless amusement though. She loves to drop toys into it, then crawl in to get them and throw them back out.
Peanut Butter Popcorn Squares recipe
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
8 cups popcorn
Bring corn syrup, sugar, and peanut butter to a boil in a large saucepan, stirring constantly. Add popcorn and toss with wooden spoons to coat. Press into buttered 9x13 pan and let cool. Cut into squares and enjoy!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lovely outing

Today H3 and I enjoyed a trip to Newport News to meet some friends for shopping/lunch. We browsed through Kohl's and Lifeway Christian Bookstore before heading to Panera Bread for lunch (smoked turkey sandwich and black bean soup for me with a chai tea latte, spaghetti for H3 since she didn't want my lunch--normally she does). We then went to Michael's to pick up some crafting supplies for Robyn and I got some idea's for H1 and H3's Christmas stockings.

In my family, Christmas stockings are a pretty big deal My grandmother (mom's mom) handmade mine and my parents and they are extremely elaborate with tons of beadwork. I'll have to post pictures when I take mine out from storage. Anyways, part of the tradition is to add a little pin to the stocking each year. H1 and H3 have stockings, sort of, but aren't the same as mine and my folks so I'm going to attempt to make them. My grandmother is no longer able to do so, even though she was going to try at one point when H1 and I first got married. Again, the detail work is pretty incredible so I'm not 100% sure I'm up for the task but I will try! I did find pins to add to our stockings this year when I was at Kohl's, so now I have good motivation.

Anyways, back to the outing. It was so nice to be in some adult company! H3 is delightful, of course, but her conversation is a bit limited in depth. H1 usually doesn't get home until late, so often days go by without me talking to anyone except for H3 until late in the evening (my choice, I have to admit). I don't usually mind it because I have a million and one projects I'm working on around here, but occasionally the contact is nice! Dean and Robyn are such a sweet and fun couple too. Even when we do nothing I still enjoy hanging out with them.

Robyn taught me to make pan rolls a couple years back, which is what I made tonight. The house smells delicious and they went perfectly with the chicken. She taught me how to do the chicken too! She bakes hers in the oven, but I've been using a crockpot. Today I buttered the chicken (a whole one, minus the innerds) and added McCormicks Grillmatessalt-free chicken seasoning to it and stuck it in for 8 hours. It just fell off the bone by the time it was done. So yummy. H3 loved it too and ate about twice the amount I expected her too. I think my favorite part about it is that it takes about 5 minutes of prep to take it out of the packaging, butter it, put the seasoning on and stick it in the crockpot. By dinnertime it's ready to go and I didn't have to do a thing all day. Ahhhhhhh. Thanks Robyn!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Projects and such

Yesterday H1 surprised me and took the day off of work! He did have a good excuse, seeing as the football team didn't get back until 11:30 last night from their game and he didn't get home until 1am after waiting around for parents to pick their kids up and getting uniforms in the wash. After getting plenty of sleep (waking up around 10am), he started on some of the outdoor project we needed done, like trimming the back hedges, chopping up the wood on the side of the house, washing the siding on the front of the house, and cleaning up the front yard. I am sooo grateful to have all that done.

This afternoon is the homecoming parade and homecoming game at H1's school. We'll be heading over there sometime this afternoon for that--not quite sure when. In preparation for the big day, H3 was checking out some hats at the local Walmart. I had to inform her that as much as her daddy likes the NY Giants, that's not the game we're going to today. Haha!

I don't know if you remember waaaaay back when we moved into this house and I posted pictures of the mess, but I do have an update on one of the messy rooms! The second bedroom in this house was initially being used just for storage and was piled floor to ceiling with boxes. Through lots of hours of organizing, donating, and filling trash bags, here is the result! Hallelujah! Granted, it's not completely done and there's still a lot more to do, but I can at least see that there is a floor in there, more or less.

Another project that I've started recently is H3's baby scrapbook. Below are a few pictures of what I've done so far and the mess that I'm making on the kitchen table in the process. It will be so nice to have that second bedroom done so I can relocate this project in there!


Gooey fudge mint chip brownies

This recipe is a favorite around our house, especially with H1 and H3. H1 says they remind him of Andes mints, which are his favorite!

Gooey Fudge Mint Chip brownies

1 cup margarine or butter
4oz unsweetened chocolate (I use Baker's chocolate squares)
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 bag Hersheys mint chocolate chips
Chocolate syrup

Grease 9x13 pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 350. Melt margarine and chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in eggs, vanilla, and sugar. Stir until just combines. Stir in flour. Add 1/2 bag of mint chips and a couple squirts of chocolate syrup. Pour into pan. Sprinkle remaining ships over batter...minus a small handful. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream and sprinkle ice cream with remaining chips!


Monday, September 28, 2009

Fun times in Norfolk

Yesterday our family met up with Amber, my college roommate, at Schlotzsky's in Norfolk. I think that place is my favorite sandwich shop in the world! It's a little chain out of Texas and they have the most amazing sourdough bread. The original purpose of our trip was to check out an acoustic festival being held at the park next door. It wasn't quite what we expected and the atmosphere wasn't an enjoyable as we'd hoped either. The music was nice, but from the advertisements we thought there would be more of it! They did have a book fair alongside it though that featured local artists. I bought a book for H3 entitled "The Little Pot" and the author signed it for her. The story is about a little fruit pot who was trying to figure out what the potter meant for him to be. It's a very cute story based out of a verse in Galations and well-illustrated. I hope H3 will enjoy it!

After browsing the book fair, we stopped into Nauticus, a local naval museum. Since the festival was free, we didn't bring a lot of money with us and didn't feel like paying the $11 to see the exhibits, but then we discovered that the self-guided tour through the USS Wisonsin (a WWII battleship that served in the Korean War and Gulf War as well) and accompanying exhibit were free! We took about 1 hour to browse the exhibit and the ship and it was then that I really wished I hadn't left my camera at home! In the rush to get out the door for church I completely forgot it! Amber took a couple pictures so I'm going to try and track down some from here. Anyways, I was pleased to note that the tour was very stroller and wheelchair friendly, so maybe one of these days I can bring my parents here or Grandpa. I'm sure he'd enjoy taking a look at it! The Wisconsin was decommissioned in 1991 and is technically in mothball state, waiting to be permanantly retired as a museum ship. We did find out though that the engines were cooled and sealed in such a manner as to prevent rust and would be in perfect working condition if needed again! They are kept at a constant temp of 40 degrees!

There seem to be a lot of festivals in this area over the next couple months and most are free, so hopefully we'll get to explore a few more of them and in the future I will try to remember my camera!


Monday, September 21, 2009

H3 Birthday and Misc

H3's little first birthday party was a success! We went down to a park and had pizza, cake, and chips with my college roommate and another family (Dean, Robyn, and their 3 beautiful daughters). H3 looked very happy throughout the whole thing and even marked her slice of the cake while we were singing happy birthday to her. I can't believe my little one is a year old. How fast she's grown! After food, we took the kids over to Fort Fun, the delightful playground at the park. Granted, it had been drizzling most of the time so everything was wet, but they had fun anyways! I like taking H3 there on nice days during the week and we swing. It's probably the nicest playground I've ever seen and wonderful for kids.

I found out on Saturday morning that I finally passed my EMT test! Woohoo! It's done, over, finished, no more headaches from studying! My test partner and I are both very excited. For now we are just volunteering at the rescue squad. I may pursue a part time job later in that field but for now I just really enjoy volunteering. This certification is also for the Boy Scout camp during the summer, so it's a relief to have that done now.

I've got mac n' cheese in the oven for H1's school today--a farewell/congratulations party for his principal who was promoted to assistant superintendent. I know she'll do a wonderful job because she's a wonderful, talented lady, but we'll miss her at the school. She was a delight for H1 to work for. Time to get that out and over.

Until next time!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back again!

We returned last night around 11pm from a quick weekend trip to OH to visit my folks. What a whirlwind--but a good one! Friday was my b-day, and in the morning H1 made me yummy pecan pancakes with peanut butter on top! A friend from church brought over some wood that he had cut down on his property so he and H1 spent some time getting it further chopped and situated. Then, H1, H3, and I went to lunch at Applebees. H1 had to leave at 2:00 to get ready for a football game that night, so I gave H3 a bath and she helped me pack (more like unpack what I was trying to pack) and we loaded up the car. H3 and I arrived at the game around halftime and then met up with H1 afterwards and at 10pm we set off for Ohio! The drive was pretty nice, actually. Very quite and little traffic. H1 and I took turns driving so both of us got some sleep (H3 slept the whole way) and we arrive around 8am. After breakfast and a nap for H3, we took a few minutes to celebrate a belated b-day for me and an early b-day for H3 before heading to the park by the lake (Erie). Dad grilled chicken for dinner and we accompanied it with corn-on-the-cob. Yum!
Sunday morning we visited my parents church (minus Mom because she wasn't feeling too good) and then returned for lunch. Mom was starting to feel better so we decided to visit the Cleveland zoo (so glad that my grandfather gave Mom a wheelchair so she is able to go to some places like this where she couldn't before). The zoo was a pretty decent size and the exhibits were laid out well--especially the Australian one. I don't think I've ever been that close to a kangaroo or a koala! H3 seemed to like the big cats (a.k.a. the tigers). Dinner was pizza and leftover cake and we went to bed early. Monday we pretty much just packed and chatted for a bit before leaving at 11am to head home. We were originally expecting to be home around 9:30 that night, but hit a few holiday traffic jams. Oh well. At least we made it back and H1 got a few hours of sleep before school today!
Today was the first day with the kids back in school. He said it went ok, but not as well as he was hoping. His schedule is a lot different than last year, so that will take some getting used to--if they will ever give him any details about what he's supposed to be doing! This week will be pretty busy for him. He has a game tomorrow night (Wed) and Friday night, and then Thursday night after football practice he's meeting H3, me, and a few friends at the park to celebrate H3's birthday. He'll only get to stay for about 30 mins though because he has worship practice at church too! Our worship leader is gone this Sunday so H1 is filling in.
I don't think H3 will be to offended about getting cake twice in one week. I hate to spoil her too much, but my parents really wanted to celebrate her birthday with her even though it was early and I wanted to at least do something the day of as well. I requested presence, as opposed to presents, at her little party. The park there is pretty nice and probably has the best playground I've ever seen. There's just a couple people college roommate Amber, and then our friends Dean and Robyn and their 3 girls. This is to celebrate that H3 is a year old and that H1 and I made it through our first year as parents. Hurray!

Below are some pictures from our trip.

H3 surprised us by making a dash up the stairs--her first time climbing them since we don't have any!

Getting a ride on Daddy's shoulders

Dad and Mom, H1 and H3

Opening her birthday presents

Mom and H3 at the park

Dad grilling chicken

H3 getting some cake!

H1 and H3 with the cake before it was eaten


Monday, August 17, 2009


We're home!!!!!! We actually pulled in around 8:30am on Sunday after driving through the night from NY. All of us were exhausted, but so glad to be done with the drive home. The house is currently a mess and looks like a hurricane hit it, but I'm hoping to have it cleaned up sometime tomorrow. Originally, I planned to have more done, but when we arrived yesterday, we had to turn around and take a trip to Lows and get a new faucet for the kitchen sink--the damage on the old one was irreparable. Since we were out, we went grocery shopping too. The fridge has been empty! By the time we returned, H1 fixed the sink, dinner, and H3 was put in bed, we were so tired that nothing got cleaned! Dinner was good though. Grilled salmon salad with a homeade honey-mustard vinegrette. Mmmm! Compared to camp food all summer, it was wonderful. Not that the food up there is bad, it's just not like home.

Camp was amazing though. 2 months and we got to do so much: 2 5-mile hikes, cliff jumping, climbing wall and repelling, shotgun, archery, swimming in a beautiful lake, canoeing, and H1 got to go kayaking and sailing (I went last summer, but not this time). There's a lot to do up there and we're already looking forward to going back next summer--probably right as I finish cleaning up and getting organized from this summer! Anyways, here are some fun pictures from the summer.

H1 and H3 on a hike around the lake (5 miles)

H3 at the Adirondack Museum

H1 and H3 in front of the museum

Hanging out in the lake

Scooting around the Health Lodge

Me at the shotgun range


Playing in the sports field

Me at the archery range

Massawepie Lake (where the camp is)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Home on the 15th

A little over a week left before we return home to VA! The Adirondacks are beautiful though and this has been a great summer overall. It started out a big rough, with one of the other staff members (and friend of mine) getting appendicitis and taking a trip to the hospital for surgery. He's back at camp though and it's good to see him feeling better. H1 has been busy working on the waterfront again. He's been teaching a few classes, like sailing, swimming, and canoeing, but has mostly been working on some odds and ends projects that have needed to be done for years--like repainting canoes, builing boatracks, etc. He's enjoyed it and has had a great time seeing friends again.

H3 and I hang out in the health lodge during the day, cleaning up scrapes, cuts, and sprains as they come in--well, I do the caring for and she does the cheering up. Everyone loves her, staff, scouts, and scoutmasters alike. It's hard to frown when she's smiling at you. She's been such a trooper. Hardly a fuss the entire time she's been up here. Despite her schedule changing drastically, she's been happy and content most of the time.

I wish I could upload some pictures of our trip now, but will have to wait until we get home. There's only dial-up here in the health lodge, and it's too far to get to town in the evenings. Suffice it to say that our free time on the weekends has been great! Last weekend we went to a restaurant called Tail of the Pup and had ribs and pulled pork bar-b-que. Afterwards, we went canoeing across Tupper Lake and went cliff jumping. Got some pretty good pictures of the trip, but not of anyone jumping. My friend Alinda got some of the jumping pictures, so I'll have to get those from her. H3 hung out with one of the other guys while H1 and I jumped and swam. It was one of the most beautiful days of the summer and the water was perfect!

Oh, today H1 and I took a short drive after lunch during a break and picked some rasberries. Oh so yummy! I'm hoping to go blueberry picking when we get home and then apple picking in September. I love fresh fruit!

I have to get back to work, but there's a short update. More updates and lots of pictures in a week or so!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

A few pictures from the trip

Here are a few pics from our week here in Ohio! I'll have to post more later and explain about this whirlwind week. The trip visiting has been good with my parents, but everything else in life (details for summer) have been insanely stressful!

Grilling at the park

Playing in the popcorn bowl

H3 checking out the grass

Hanging out with me in Target

Standing in the kitchen

Sitting in Grandma's lap