Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The whirlwind

The last few weeks and months have been so busy with schedules, family things, traveling, teaching, working... It is finally sinking in that I can stop and catch my breath, even if it is just for a few days. There's more on the near horizon (a.k.a. this coming weekend), and the calendar is far from empty, but for right now I can sit a bit.

Teaching is over for the year. For the last day of class I "made" brownies (from a box mix) with cream cheese frosting (from a can). I was trying to make them slightly relevant, hence the red, white and blue pretzel m&ms. We had a "guest speaker" and I think the kids enjoyed it. It's been a good year. I do need to jump into planning lessons for next year before the time gets away from me, but I think first I should take a break. It's probably best for me and for future lessons if I step away for a little bit (especially since the thought of beginning again is pretty intimidating at the moment).

Grading- In the words of Uncle Ben (I think?) from Spider Man 1: "With great power comes great responsibility" (and of course there's James 3:1). I have certainly been conscious of this as I have been grading research papers and final exams. It's finally done. Final grades mailed last week. Whew.

Muffins- Sometimes you just need to do a little baking. My take-off on Leah's white chocolate almond muffins are pretty much my favorite muffin. I use regular whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup each brown and white sugar, and regular (not Greek) plain nonfat yogurt. I add chopped almonds, semisweet chocolate chips instead of white, and dried cranberries. Nuts, dark chocolate and dried cranberries might be my favorite combination. (Now that I think about it, I could use chopped fresh cranberries too...the tartness might be a good contrast. Plus, it could mean less sugar?)

I was very pleased with my canned stewed apples, and I think if I do any canning the year is will be more of that. The canned peaches didn't turn out as well as I wanted. They just don't have as much flavor as the ones I froze. This summer I'll only buy an amount I can fit in my freezer. I do like the peaches pureed into a smoothie/thick juice drink with watermelon. I have a feeling I'll be doing this a lot this summer. Another of my canned goods we haven't really gotten into much is the apple butter. It isn't something we use very often in general. We don't eat much toast/bread, and when we do I'm the only one who puts that kind of thing on it, and then only rarely. I didn't make much, but I think I'll use what I have to substitute for applesauce in baking. I need to make some baked oatmeal for the week. Maybe tonight when things have cooled off a little (wishful thinking, perhaps). Or I'll bake it in the crockpot.

I spied a visitor last week when I was sitting grading papers on the back deck:

And that's just a bit of recent life.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day gift

I'm really ridiculously proud of myself about this. I haven't done anything "crafty" for a while.  I used to do projects all the time, but life is so busy.  Who has time for things like that?  Then of course there's that tendency to start a project and not finish it.  And sometimes perfectionism rears its ugly head and gets in the way. 

I found this tea wreath on Pinterest a while ago.  I pinned it right away to my "Projects" board (a.k.a. "really cool ideas that I would love to do but don't really have the time for").  I love tea and thought it was a great idea.  I knew it was going to be one of the first ones to try.  I even bought the clothes pins a few weeks back.

I decided the the wreath would make a great Mother's Day gift.  I found a huge pad of scrapbooking paper at T.J. Maxx for $3 and bought some new tea (you can never have too much tea).  I had been saving a cardboard box to make the wreath back.  The cat has been using it to hide and play in all week.  He was upset when I cut the seams on the box to start the wreath.  He was still trying to jump "in" the flattened box. 

The entire project took a little longer than I thought it would, with trying to make my hot glue gun behave and the paper cutting.  It still only took about one and a half hours, I think.  It wasn't too difficult (the hardest part was cutting the center of the circle and positioning the clothes pins at the right angles...and no, neither is perfect).  I was really pleased with how it turned out, and I love how it looks.  My mom likes it too.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Coming off a crazy weekend with practically no down time.  Mostly good, but still.  One of these days (maybe) life will (not) slow down. 

I just ate a salad of spinach, romaine, mango, almonds, hard boiled egg and cheddar with balsamic vinaigrette.  Weird yes, but it actually kind of worked. 

I stopped at the grocery store for just a couple things and came home only to realize all the things we didn't have. I really needed to do major shopping trip.  Oh well, not happening for a few days.

Cleaning- another thing that's not happening for a few days. 

My sister had a baby.  I'm bringing a meal over later.  I'm cheating and using Philadelphia Cooking Creme.  Sometimes it's OK to cheat.  I also made no-bakes (that was "Preacher cookies" to us growing up).

Top priority this week is finishing preparing a final exam and other class materials.  Just 2 more classes left of the school year!  I am so ready to be done and have a break, but I also can't believe it's almost done. 

Coffee this afternoon, to hopefully get over being short on sleep and meet a self-imposed deadline for today.  I may or may not put mint chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream on top.  Shh, don't tell on me. 

How's Monday in your neck of the woods? (Who am I kidding?  Is anyone actually reading?)

And to leave you with something actually worth reading, here are 15 Tips on Blogging from John Newton.
I bet you didn't know John Newton was a blogger!