Thursday, March 29, 2012

gratitude attitude

This week, I'm thankful...
  • for the beautiful (albeit windy) weather.
  • for a productive, yet restful, Spring Break.
  • that Jazzy got a clean bill of health at the vet Monday. And that I didn't have to take her.
  • for Brad, who always makes me smile.
  • that its' now warm enough to run outside in the morning with Jazzy.
  • for rain last week.
  • that I bought Starburst jellybeans to put in the candy jar Grandma Lu brought me at Christmas (the Fostoria one from great-grandma Mary). 
What are you thankful for this week?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Break...

I meant to post a lot more this week. But then we decided to paint our bedroom, I went shopping, I attempted to get ahead on homework, we babysat Wes, I realized I actually have homework this week (over Spring Break?! seriously?!), and just now, the whole relaxing thing sucked me in. 

One of my students wears a headband like this sometimes. I first noticed it back in November. Or maybe October. She let me inspect it, and I've been meaning to make one ever since. Now that it's Spring Break I finally made time.... that's what March Madness is for - crafting in front of the TV.

This is one of my new favorite breakfast things. Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake. It's amazing. (And after I declared that, Brad told me I need to be more selective with my use of "amazing," but I disagree. Lots of things can be amazing or one of my favorites, just not the best.)

It's a good thing I don't go clothes shopping very often... (I do find lots of good deals, though - I only paid retail for one item in my pile of six.)

I decided a trip to the library was necessary, to get ahead in my classes. Yep, this is what getting ahead looks like!  :)

Brad read to Wes about how to catch fish.

We also painted our bedroom and bathroom and are in the process of replacing all the outlets and switches, but that's a post for another day.

What have you been up to this week? Do you overuse any adjectives like "amazing"?

Monday, March 19, 2012


The Kansas Creative Quarterly is a webzine first published in Summer 2011. I accidentally ran across it a couple of months ago. The editor, Leanne, was calling for submissions. On a whim, I e-mailed her a few of my photographs.

You can check them out here! (You have to scroll down the page a bit to get to me.) While you're on the site, browse the other creative submissions. It's an awesome project!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

the views

This was the view last night on the way home from house hunting in Cottonwood Falls (for Barb & Jeff, not us!)...


In contrast, this was my view for most of the afternoon today...
a bunch of homework (with a bunch left to go over the break),

a little March Madness in the background,

and some wistful glances at a project started but not yet finished...  (hopefully during the KU game tonight - Rock Chalk!)

I have to admit I prefer last night's view to this afternoon's. Soon enough, I won't have to worry about the homework view!

Friday, March 16, 2012

attitude of gratitude

This week, I am thankful...
  • for good things happening in coworkers' lives
  • for financial security
  • that you care enough about my life to read this
  • that after Spring Break, my students will be ready to write their research paper (meaning that we are done researching, citing sources, and taking notes!)
  • for time and the possibilities that lie in the future, even when it's difficult to wait to know which will work out
  • for our Kindle Fire
  • that my kids sing along to my Pandora stations while they work
  • that Spring Break is NOW!  (and happens to coincide with March Madness)
  • that my husband who loves to cook (and is done with basketball, so cooks almost every night!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

the plunge

I've been thinking about it for over a year. I mentioned it in my 26 things post. My thinking about it made Brad think about it, and a few weeks ago we took the plunge.

We bought an e-reader.

(cue collective gasp)

Our Kindle Fire is not just an e-reader. It's a kinda-sorta tablet. Not an iPad, but we definitely weren't ready to shell out that kind of cash. My entire calendar, all my to-do lists, and even a few games are on it. No more stack of papers on the ottoman!

(No, I'm not going to stop reading physical books. In fact, I've probably read 2-3 times as many of those as e-books since I got it. It's an addition, not a substitute.)

The kicker (at least for me) was when we realized that we wouldn't have to use our budget money. We had almost $100 in credit from trading in textbooks and video games. Then we added our Christmas in February cash from Grandma & Grandpa Loganbill. And picked out a refurbished one.

I love it! I wasn't sure, even after we ordered it. I had a few moments of buyer's remorse, despite the fact that my awesome librarian, Heather, assured me that I would love it.

I was also afraid that I would have to spend lots of money to read. I've bought one book so far... and haven't even gotten around to reading that one, because of my new favorite thing (see next paragraph) and the fact that I have to read lots of children's lit and that pretty much consumes me these days. 

My favorite part? Checking out books from the library. It's so cool to just click, click, click and have a book right there to read. (And it's super easy.) I also really do love having my Cozi family organizer app that keeps all my lists in one place.

So, yes. We took the plunge. And I'm so glad we did. What fun new things have you been enjoying lately?

(And now I'm off to make yet another list of -physical- books I need to check out from the library.)

Sunday, March 11, 2012


You know you're a grown-up when your idea of a good Friday night is carpet shopping and babysitting your friends' toddler.

We picked out what we want (Shaw carpet in Rice Bowl - it's the upper left sample on the left board) and where we want to get it (Village Decorative, a place in town). Their prices included carpet, pad, installation, and removal of the old carpet... and were still lower than other places we looked. We'll order it and schedule installation sometime this week.

On Saturday Brad worked in the yard, I did laundry, and we went shopping for exciting things like new socks and running shoes (okay, so the shoes are exciting). Today we have lunch with mom, dad, Marcus, and Cynthia. Since then I've been working on homework - feeling a little bit ahead of the game this week. We'll see how long that lasts.

So, all in all, a pretty productive weekend. It will be a hectic last week before Spring Break, but then... a whole week of time off!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


The single most amazing lasagna in the whole world? My Grandma Donna's.

The only thing is... you have to plan ahead because it has to refrigerate overnight (which might be the reason we always have it a day or two after I'd intended). Otherwise you probably have to cook the lasagna noodles. (I don't know this for sure because I've never made another kind of lasagna.) And then the sauce isn't as thick, and that I do know, because I have eaten other kinds of lasagna. I'm telling you - it's worth it.

1 1/2 lb. hamburger
uncooked lasagna noodles
1-2 jars spaghetti sauce
3 c. cottage cheese
2 beaten eggs
12 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese, plus extra for topping
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Brown hamburger, mix with sauce. In separate bowl, mix all other ingredients. Layer in 9x13: hamburger/sauce, uncooked noodles, cheese mixture. Repeat layers as needed (I usually do two full layers). Let sit covered overnight in refrigerator. Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours or until done (poke knife through noodles). Sprinkle with additional mozzarella cheese when removing from the oven. Let six 15 minutes before cutting/serving.

I definitely halve this, and it still lasts several meals.

In the interest of full disclosure, I don't really measure stuff any more. I just mix some of each cheese, dump some parsley in, etc... I feel more like a real cook when I do that. 

The best. Ever. I'm pretty sure Brad falls in love with me all over again every time I make it.

In other news... I pretty much got the green light to do both my elementary and secondary practicums in the same semester, which means that I will graduate in December! Thank goodness. (I still have a weird feeling that they'll change their minds, but maybe I'm just trying to be cautious with my optimism.) AND my administrators have both said they'll work with me in terms of professional days for at least a good chunk of the 80 hours of time I'll need off to do the practicums. So good news on those fronts. (Also... did you know that the plural of practicum can be either practica or practicums, except no spell check that I've found recognizes practica as a word? Yes, I looked it up.)

AND, for a limited time, Dairy Queen is having "Buy one blizzard, get one for 99 cents" deal. You should go grab a couple. We sure did.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

a little thing

When we bought our house we knew that, despite being fairly new, it was a bit of a fixer. We started in the day we closed and have worked here and there ever since.

I have said several times that I never knew what I could "live with" until I was going to have to be the one to figure out how to fix it and pay for that fix. We've lived with a lot of less-than-ideal quirks. Some of them are big, like three bedrooms worth of stained carpet. Some of them are small, like the rusted and broken vent covers:

 after.... (yes, the wood is the same color. the second picture is just a bit darker, lighting-wise.)

before... (the slats just started to come out in the last couple of weeks, so we haven't been living with this for three whole years)

I had no idea how nice it would be (and look!) to have those replaced. Sometimes it's the little things (that tide you over until you have the energy and money for the big things).

End the Madness

Over the past few years, as I've mentioned here before, the state of Kansas has seen some tough economic times. These budget shortfalls have led to severe cuts to public services, not the least of which has been education.

Now that things are getting better, our governor is proposing that, instead of restoring any cuts that have been made, we need to cut taxes and reform the tax codes (the issue of how those tax cuts will affect Kansans, especially those who can ill afford the "reforms" proposed, is a whole other issue that I'm not quite knowledgeable enough to tackle. I'll just say that I don't believe the proposed plan is what's best for Kansas. You can read a little bit about it here or here.). Now, I'm all for allowing people to keep more of their hard-earned money. But at what cost?

Several pro-education groups in Kansas have started a petition to "End the Kansas Madness" and restore funding to Kansas public schools. It's simply the right thing to do, for the future.

You can click here to sign the petition. Because a great public education is great for everyone, not just those who receive it.