Friday, September 30, 2011

My Next 5 Pinterest Projects

I've said it before, I puffy heart Pinterest. I have already made a poster for my classroom based off of a pin, some delish wine slushies and my zucchini casserole I made was also a pin. But, I want to do more! According to Pinterest, I have 92 pins. That is 92 projects/recipes/great ideas that I must do. Tonight. Well, not really tonight. But soon. Maybe tomorrow :)

1. Wedding Invitation Ornament
I have already bought the ornament and I found a couple extra wedding invitations. I still have my bouquet too, so I plan on using ribbon from that. I will definitely post when I do it :)

2. Christmas Wreath
Is it weird that it is still September and I bought my wreath frame and some bright green, red and white yarn a couple days ago?

3. Pet Silhouettes

I loved the look of silhouettes when I was planning the wedding, and I wanted to do it, but all I saw in my head was the people at Disneyland who cut them out freehand. I never even looked up online tutorials or anything. Dumb me. BUT I would love to make two of these cuties: one for Allison and one for Gus. I even have the perfect place to hang them.

4. Mummykin

Do I even need to comment on this cutie-patootie?

5. Mini-Pies
This was an idea I discovered during wedding planning. I thought the individual pies would make the most lovely favors. But with a guest list of 200+ it wasn't happening.  I rediscovered it on Pinterest last weekish. I have two gallons of picked berries in the freezer and a bunch of wide mouth half-pint jars ready to be filled with pie goodness.

Narrowing down my 92 was really hard. maybe I will do this again next Friday or the Friday after :)

I will leave you with one of the funniest things I have found on Pinterest.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Recipe Thursday: Oktoberfest Edition

I would like to note that yes, it is September and Oktoberfest always happens in September. One time I knew the reason. Now I don't.

Part of the fun of this challenge is finding the new recipes that I will try each week. This week's recipe is from a culture that I have never cooked from and contains some cooking techniques I have never used before. For recipe 4/16 for my 30 before 30 list, I take a trip back to my mother land, Germany.

In 2006 I went over to Germany to travel around during the World Cup for about two weeks. During this trip abroad I saw a ton of really cool things, drank some yummy German beer and ate a ton of delish food.  Here in the states, there isn't a lot of German restaurants, and the ones that I have seen don't have (one of the) yummiest side dishes I had while I was over there: Kaese Spatzle.

Spatzle is a noodle/dumpling thing. Kaese Spatzle is a cheese version of this. Think German Mac-n-Cheese.
I had pretty much given up ever tasting this again until this weekend when I was watching the Food Network and the 5 ingredient lady made Spatzle. I watched what she did, and it seemed easy enough. While she used ricotta in her recipe, I knew it wasn't the same thing I had 5 years ago. So, I turned to the king of all cook books:
And what do you know, there was a recipe for Spatzle AND for cheese spatzle. Who knew, I had the recipe this entire time? I also did a quick search on and found several other recipes too. I combined the one from the book and one from allrecipes and here is what I came up with:

Kaese Spatzle
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, sliced
1 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk together eggs and milk in a separate bowl. Mix both until smooth. It should be about the consistency of pancake batter. Let it sit about 30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If you don't have a spatzle maker (and who does??) set a colander on top of the pot. I put mine on it's side because my pot isn't very deep. You want to make sure that the water in the pot isn't touching the colander.
Put part of the batter in the colander and push through the holes into the boiling water.

Remove the colander and watch the little noodle dumplings float to the top. When they float to the top they are done. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl with a handful of the cheese.
Repeat this process until all the batter is cooked.

In a large skillet, melt the butter and saute the onions until caramelized and yummy. Add the spatzle noodles and the rest of the cheese and mix until blended.

We ate ours with chicken apple sausage and a cucumber salad.

So, how was it?
I was really nervous about making this. I have never made noodles and definitely never cooked by pushing batter through a colander, but it couldn't have been easier, and it was fun to make too. I am really happy to say that this was really good. The Mister had never had spatzle before, so he didn't have anything to compare it to, but he liked it. I actually liked this better than the homemade mac-n-cheese I made earlier this summer, and it was easier. I also want to try to make some other versions of spatzle now. You should try this out, it is a nice change to other starchy side dishes and it looks fancy :)

What dishes do you make that are a little different?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's in a name?

I just found out today that my little blog's name, is actually something naughty. A couple of my friends informed me that if you Google "First Time Wife" a bunch of websites about wife swapping come up! And I am not talking about the ABC show here.

This puts me in a little bit of a pickle. You see, I started blogging in August but I had really been wanting to write a blog for quite sometime. The thing that was holding me back? Deciding on a name. When I finally settled on "First Time Wife" I thought that it fit. I am a newlyish married lady writing about our life and whatever fun crafty/cooking projects I try out. Now I feel like I kind of need a new name. According to the blog stats, there has been one person who got to my blog using the search term "first time wife sharing."
The first name that pops into my head is "The So-and-So Family," but the mister really wants my blog to be semi-anonymous, meaning my friends/family know about it and can read it, but you couldn't google my name and my blog would pull up. I agree with that statement. I had a class of middle school students in the computer lab at school today, and they all started google-ing their names to see what would come up. It would just be a matter of time before they put my name into the search engine. A few of them have tried to friend me on Facebook already. (I decline them, by the way. Facebook is for friends. I am not their friend, just their friendly teacher.) OR do I try to come up with another "Wifey" name? I suppose I should also point out that the Mister doesn't really like the name of my blog either. He asked me if that means I will be a "second time wife."

Changing the name of my blog would be easy enough, and it wouldn't effect the URL or anything. So, do I change the name of my blog or do I leave it as is?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

#2: Run Another Half Marathon

Found this little gem on Pinterest today :)

I have never been a runner. In middle school and high school PE, I dreaded mile day. I wasn't fast and I couldn't run very far without losing my breath. I hated it. During my first term of college I took the ultra-hard class "Jogging and Walking." In that class we had to do a mile and a half. I hated that even more. About three years ago I found The Couch to 5k running program. I looked through it and decided I can do a 1 minute jog and a 3 minute jog. This seems so easy, I can do this. So I did. I downloaded a couple podcasts that would tell me when to jog and when to walk, and I wrote out my schedule on a calendar. And I took it one step further, I actually went out and did it. I signed up for my first 5k with my teaching buddy E, and I was ready to go. She is such a champ (seriously she's a super runner), and stuck with my slow butt the whole run, and I finished in about 34 minutes. I was so proud that I had accomplished running 3.1 miles. Then I kind of stopped running.
Me & E After the Run Like Hell 5K

Early Spring 2010. I decide I should start running again. I download the "Bridge to 10k" program from iTunes and get on the treadmill at the gym. Somehow  I decide it would be a good idea to run the Portland Marathon in October 2010 (10-10-10 to be exact). I then con a couple girlfriends into running it too. the marathon was the hardest thing (physically and emotionally) that I have ever done, and I cannot see myself doing another full marathon ever again. I did finish it however, in 6 hours and 10 minutes.

Since the marathon last October, I went running exactly 2 times: one 3 miler with my running buddy, and the 2.6 mile 4th of July Mini Marathon that my town puts on every year. Last year at this time, I was nearing the end of my training for the Portland Marathon. If I haven't blocked out the whole memory, I believe this was the weekend that I had to do a 20 mile training run. What a difference a year makes.
Me with my space blanket after the Portland Marathon Last year
#2 on my 30 before 30 list is to run another 1/2 marathon. I signed up for The Holiday Half in mid summer, but last week was my first week of training. I had to do a whole 3 miles on Tuesday and Thursday and 2 miles on Wednesday. Those 3 miles kicked my booty.

I have found, for me, it is much harder to motivate myself when I am running alone. My running buddy, K, who I did the marathon with got herself knocked up (from her hubby) so she is out of the running business and I am doing this thing solo. I did ask if the Mister wanted to do it with me, but he did not seem one bit interested.  Last year on a long run day, K would show up at my house at 6:30 or 7 am and we would be of for a 6+ mile run like it was no big deal. Right now I feel like I have to bribe myself with a cookie to do 3 or 4 miles.

Replace the carrot with a cookie and it might work

Let's get something straight, I don't really like the act of running. What I like is the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a race or a long training. I am hoping that I find my motivation, otherwise this is going to be a long 12 weeks.

Here is the training schedule I am using, if you are interested.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Shellburg Falls

On Saturday the Mister and I realized it would probably be the last nice weekend for awhile so we decided to get outside. When we first started dating, we would go hiking once or twice a month. However, we have not been hiking all that much and the finger gets pointed directly at me. I don't really know why I haven't wanted to get out and hike, but I haven't. Anywho, Saturday we loaded up Gus and headed over to Shellburg Falls.

According to our hiking book, Shellburg Falls is near Silver Falls State Park, but has fewer people, no parking fee and smaller falls. The Mister and I have never been there, and the same hiking book labeled the hike "Easy" so I was in.
The hike starts out with about 1.5 miles on a gravel road through private property. There were several cattle guards and at first we were nervous about Gus walking over them (the Mister even carried him over one) but Gus seemed okay with it. Finally we reached a sign that pointed us up a couple stairs and up a dirt path to the falls. The falls were pretty light, but that is to be expected this late in the summer. When we got there we took a trail to the pool at the bottom of the falls, and we took Gus off leash to enjoy the water. I'll let pictures tell the rest of the story.

This weekend adventure is Gus approved.
The hike out was also somewhat eventful. Remember the cattle guards?
Oh yes, that is a cow in the middle of the way out. Gus was not sure about these giant creatures, and sort of hid behind the mister as we walked quickly past.

We ended our day with a BBQ at my BFF's house. Look at her cute little daughter!
Such a fun way to spend the day!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Top 5 Teacher Essentials

1. Time Timer

This is brand new to my classroom this year, and it is a Game Changer. (yes, the capitals,bold and italics are on purpose) The red part goes away as the time goes away. I have really noticed it making my students stay on task more and focused. For example today, I asked them to write/brainstorm for three minutes, and I set the timer. I saw kids look up at it while they were working, and for the most part they worked for those three minutes. Pre-Time Timer, I have done this same activity and the kiddos whined and complained about how long it was taking. I also see that I stay on time more then I did before.

2. Big Binders

If you don't know AVID, this video won't mean very much to you, but it is entertaining anyway :)

As a teacher I have three big binders that I use everyday: one for my seating charts and attendance, a second for my lesson plans and a third for lesson materials (the last two are being combined, slowly). In my seating chart binder, I use folders as dividers. I put student work that I am ready to give back in those folders and it helps me to get it back to them promptly.

3. Getting ready the night before
Seriously, how did it take me 7 years to realize that picking out my clothes and packing my lunch the night before will make me 1000 times less stressed in the morning? It might be because the first two years I was teaching PE and wore workout pants and a Nike shirt every. single. day. (That was fabulous.)

4. My paper planner

Last month I was at the dentist setting up my root canal and I pulled out my planner. The receptionist said it was "cute" that I still used a paper planner. Really? Cute? I use my planner for both work stuff and personal stuff. I have meetings, assemblies, doctor appointments and my running schedule in there. When I plan things, I need to be able to look at what is going on before and after that day. I have tried to use the calendar on my iPod or my phone to plan things, but I need more than just a black dot telling me that I have something planned. I also use the margins to set reminders for when I need student volunteers for an activity or the month's birthday's that are happening.

5. GREAT colleagues!
E and I at the annual end of year staff golf tourney

I am so fortunate that my teaching "partner" is also my friend. This year, E and I each have our own rooms, and we are next to each other in the portable buildings outside the school. We have both talked about how awful and lonely it would be if we didn't like the person we were out there with. Everyday we have eaten our lunches out on our front porch together, and have just enjoyed the 30 minute break in our day. We also walk with each other into the building for our twice daily trip to check our boxes, use the rest room, etc. It's also nice to have someone to look at something (a lesson, room arrangement, etc) with a fresh set of eyes when I can't see how to fix the problem.

I don't want to leave out the rest of my staff. There are some great people that I work with, and I love coming to work!

6. My students- For reals, there are some fabulous students that I teach. (There are some not so fabulous ones, and some days it feels like there are more of them but if I make a tally, the good ones win out.) They are truly the reason that I love my job. Middle school is such a funny age and I laugh every. single. day.

Teacher peeps- what is essential in your classroom? If you are not a teacher, what is essential in your life?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Recipe Thursday: Corn Chowder

Recipe 3/16 for my 30 before 30

I did not grow up with a mom who used the Crockpot. In fact, I can't think of a single Crockpot meal that I had before I got married. I started to get interested in the idea of a Crockpot after the Mister and I moved in together. We were both working full time and sometimes I was just so pooped after work I just couldn't imagine cooking. This was fine when I lived alone, I just ate a lot of cereal and PB & J, but after we bought our house, I started to feel guilty and a failure as a wifey (to-be).  For the wedding we received 2 Crockpots and then I started my search for recipes. I started with a book, but wasn't impressed. So, I turned to my friend Google,  and then I "met" my hero. This woman used her Crockpot everyday for a year and blogged about it.

Friday, I had a root canal. This did not make me calm and relaxed. For a couple of nights before, I was worring about all this stuff I wouldn't be able to control, but then I realized, I could still control dinner on Friday night. I decided that I would pull the Crockpot out and have dinner cooking while I was having my procedure done. Do you know what works perfectly in a Crockpot? Soup! And I assumed that soup would be the perfect meal post-root canal. So I turned to her blog and read through a couple of her soup recipes when I clicked on her Corn Chowder recipe. Bingo! I had several of the ingredients already, and it sounded yummy. I cut her recipe in half, and added some garlic and jalepeno. The Mister and I also discussed what we want to change for the next time we make it.

Corn Chowder

1 box chicken stock
1/2 red onion
1/2 red bell pepper
1 chopped carrot
1 jalapeno
1 (16 ounce) bag of frozen corn- I used super sweet white corn
2 red potatoes
1 teaspoon minced garlic

The beauty of this is how much can be made the night before. Pretty much all the prep work. I chopped all the veggies the night before and put them all (except the onion) in a food storage bag. The onion was put in its own bag.

The next day, I started by sauteing the onion and garlic in a bit of oil on the stove.
Put all veggies into the Crock (including onion & garlic)

Add the corn.
Cover with chicken stock.
Cover and turn on the crockpot (4-5 Hours on high, 8ish hours on low)

Write a note for the Mister to turn it to warm and use the immersion blender in case I am incapacitated when I get back from the root canal.
I cooked mine on high for about 5 hours. Usually I always cook on low for longer, but I started this after I was home from my half day of work and before I took my happy pills that the dentist prescribed.

I felt okay enough to finish out the recipe myself, so after taking 3 Advil, I turned the Crock to warm and used the immersion blender. (I didn't own one, but the Mister did for his protein shakes he used to drink back when he was buff... before I met him. Love you Mister!) The Immersion blender is fantastic for soups and sauces. Makes them creamy and yummy without having to transfer steaming hot liquid into an upright blender in small increments. Get one!

So, how was it?
The Mister ate his with leftover French bread. I just ate the soup. It was good  but, we both wanted more potato, and I think half a block of cream cheese during the last 30 minutes of cooking would boost the flavor and creamy texture tons. With these additions it will make it into my pink book for sure!

The next day the leftovers were even better (isn't that always the case with soup?).

Do you have any favorite soup recipes or are you a Campbell's family?

Monday, September 19, 2011

#12 Clean Out The Spare Room

It's about to get real up in here folks. Our house has three bedrooms. The master (obviously), a room we use as an "office" (but might as well be called DVD storage) and a third room. Before the wedding (15 months ago) this room was nicknamed "the wedding room," as it held all of the stuff and projects for the wedding. Well, it hasn't gotten any better. Now it just holds a bunch of junk, leftover Christmas decorations that didn't make it out to the garage (it's cold in January) PLUS all the left overs from the wedding. Want proof?

The Mister will be so mad that these pictures are out here for all to see, but I said I was keeping it real. In my dream world, I would transform it into one of these lovelies:
I love the little bins and the shelves as well as the memory board. And the wall color is just perfect for a spare room.
How amazing is this? It looks like a scrapbooking store! Look at the drawers under the desk too. Swoon. The Mister's grandma has a room that looks like this at her house. No joke, they have peg boards up on the wall. It truly does look like Scrap Happens. In reality, I like to do my crafts in the living room. It's not the best set up, but I can catch up on my shows while I am getting creative.

So maybe I make my extra room look more like this:
How welcoming is this guest bedroom? Of course I would always have a tea set ready :)

When it comes down to it, I have a long ways to go before I get to any of these "afters." Right now the room looks like this:

Boring? Yes. A catch all? Yes. A thousand times better than it was before? Yessir. Yes, there is still some stuff to do, but I don't have an anxiety attack when I open the door to iron or to get a dress out of the closet in there.  

Stuff left to do? That old TV can go to Good will and there is a box of random video games and computer parts (see the printer?) There is also a box of my Great-Grandma's China that is all wrapped in bubble wrap (see it under the ironing board?), that I need to display. Right now we don't have a hutch, so that is the safest place for it. There is also some wedding cards that I have kept, because I want to do something with them, but I just can't figure out what. The Mister said I just put everything under the bed. That is not true. There are a couple of tubbies of craft stuff under there, but I think that is fine for storage for now (until I get my dream room anyway).

As much as I don't want to admit it to my mom, she was right. It didn't take that long to clean up. Once I got started, it only took about an hour and a half.

Any ideas for my wedding cards? What would you do with a spare room??

Sunday, September 18, 2011

30 before 30: Sunday Update #2

This week's update isn't much of an update. This was my first full week back at work, and I had a root canal on Friday, so  the list was not at the top of my mind. I've still been flossing pretty regularly, and cooking at least one new recipe a week. I also blogged 5 times this week, but really nothing new to check off. I did look up some local cooking classes that are happening in October. Details to come!

Have a great week!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What the heck is a Missoni?

Am I the only one who didn't get the memo about the Missoni line at Target? The Target website actually shut down twice because of it. And Lame-o Me had to google Missoni to see what the check it was. I learned that Target has a 400+ piece collection the ranges from clothing, to accessories to home stuff. I guess it all came out on Tuesday and by Wednesday it was pretty much picked through. I did some window shopping online browsing, and picked my favorites from the line. (This was not in depth research. I looked at one website. I reserve the right to change my favorite if I find something later. I also have no idea how much this stuff costs. That could also change my mind about my favorites quickly :)

Missoni at Target Bathing suit: Too cute! I could live without the headband though.
Missoni for Target Pillows: I'm a huge fan of the patterns and the bold colors/textures, however I don't think the Mister would love the colors.
The boots. The scarf. I die. Hurry up Fall weather!!!
Finally, look at that bike. I puffy heart love it.

We're you a part of the cool kids this week and hear about this Missoni stuff? Any fabulous things I missed out on???