Monday, January 31, 2011

Why I Do What I Do

(all spellings kept the same except for names)

To Mrs. D (last name was spelled wrong and it was written on the board)
Title: Ws(Student's name) faverit Teacher
I Like Mrs. D shes my faverit teacher of all, like Mrs. M, I Wright this poem for the teacher I like the mosste her name is Mrs. D thats her name,
Its a pritty name it's priter name I'v ever herd, some times she letss uss play hangeman She wood normmily wood strt out frust when We play hangman,
It's time to go we go out the door she givs me a hug sometimes.


I have known this little guy since January 2008 when I taught him Math. In that time period he has changed schools four times and I have no idea of how many homes he has been in. He struggles in school, if you couldn't tell from this letter, he is immature for his age and he doesn't have any friends that I know of. His clothes do not fit and he smells of dirty gym socks. Every time I sub, he is always a kind courteous young man who jumps to help me and ask about my day. He tells me random stories and always gives me a hug. No matter the trouble he gives other teachers he never gives me any. He may lack a lot of school smarts but he doesn't give up and he tries his best for me. Which is all I ever ask.

This letter made me cry today, not only because he obviously put a lot of effort into this but I saw his face when he was working on it (didn't know what it was at the time) and it was one of the most determined faces I have ever seen. This was most likely more writing than he has done in weeks. He left this on my desk without telling me and when I read it, tears streamed down my face just thinking of all the people in his life who are failing him and yet he still takes time to be kind to little ole me.

He is why I don't give up and throw in the towel. He is the reason I go into the schools day after day and treat students the way I want to be treated. He is the reason I fight for change and accountability.

W is in 5th grade. Bless his sweet little heart.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Things My Kid Needs Vol. 1

Well, I'm sure she doesn't neeeeeed them, but her mother sure thinks they are cute. ;) I have been spending a lot of time on etsy and other baby sites looking up ideas for her bedroom. We finally have the built in shelf/desk removed & as I type this my husband is removing nails from that wood to move it outside and then we/he begins the task of fixing the holes and touching up paint. Our walls are a greenish color a light lime? It isn't dark and it isn't regular green but with the amount of windows we have in there it makes it bright & cheerful. I am planning on doing some hot pinks, oranges and turquoise in there. I also decided last night (at 3 am) that she needs a rug in there if we are keeping the floor how it is for now otherwise the floor will clash with everything. I do like this bedding from LandofNod but I would not be ordering the whole set, probably just the big polka dot sheets maybe one hot pink and one turquoise? Ahh, I wish I just had straightforward ideas. Anyhoo, any links or ideas would be appreciated in the baby room decor department.

In my travels of the interwebs I have come across a few items I believe she needs.. for example...

[ Source ]

Aren't these adorable??? These cloth blocks from Sister Sue Designs on Etsy. I love the little owl and the bright colors and I love blocks and my little girl will be owning a lot. Probably, because I also feel strongly about having toys that make you think and pretend as opposed to toys who do everything for you..

[ Source ]

This adorable hat (and little girl but she is not for sale haha) needs to be on my girls head! I love the colors together and those are the colors I would love to use in her bedroom! This is from Three Yellow Starfish's store on Etsy.

[ Source ]

Okay, these owls? I die. They are soo stinkin' cute. I can totally picture this sitting on her dresser (that still needs to be purchased haha). This is from I Sew Lucky's Etsy shop.

[ Source ]

Of course I have to have something reading related on her want list!! Let's not even begin to talk about the massive amount of books she already owns. (I have a problem!!!!) But this is just too cute. I also love the reading pillows, adult size shirts and the fun scrabble necklaces on this site. Perfect gifts for a reader! This onesie and other cute things are from Gibberish2's Etsy shop!

[ Source ]
I love Raechel's Ragmuffin shop!!! She has the cutest bibs/burp cloths and usually some pretty cute girly outfits on there. I love stalking it and her blog to see cute new things for baby girls!
So this is just a beginning of the cute things I have found on the internets that my kid NEEDS she needs them people hahaha.
What are your favorite Etsy Shops?
(I was not given anything for promoting these wonderful etsy shops, they are just things I have found that I like.)

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Weight of Water - Discussion #4

This is our last discussion on The Weight of Water. Like the other posts, this will probably contain some sort of spoilers. The recap covers the last section, my thoughts are random and the questions encompass the whole book. Any and all are free to comment. Discussion 1 is here and Discussion 2 is here and Discussion 3 is here. Feel free to add thoughts, opinions, questions, or anything else in the comment section.

Random Recap
In the last section, we learn of the difficulties the Hontveldts and Christensens faced being crammed into the cottage all winter together. We learn of what really happened the night of the murders and the time leading up to them. In present time, there is a huge storm and the storm pretty much brings all of their problems to a head and the reader learns what has happened to make Jean like she is.

My thoughts
I was slightly surprised how Maren's account turned out. I kind of felt she had been a part of the murders but was surprised at how it turned out. Obviously, her relationship with Evan was shaky and to find out that Anethe was pregnant was heartbreaking for her. Her sister was a horrid person and if one could slightly put the blame on the victim I could see kind of how she was at fault. Maren was forced into a very uncomfortable position, one that would change her life and shun her from what she knew and who she loved and it was mostly a lie. (If we can believe her account of her Anethe in bed together, cuz I mean deep down it might have felt like a neener neener to Evan..)

The whole storm situation and losing Billie was horrible. But it seemed to be written with such a lack of emotion that I think that was to show Jean's extreme detachment from everything. Normally, the death of any likable character may make me tear up but this was just so calm and detached. I am still convinced that given time Adaline and Thomas were going to have an affair and it is sad that Jean and Thomas's relationship ended, it did need to happen. It was very unhealthy.

Apparently, The Weight of Water is a movie.

Questions from

1. What are the similarities between Jean and Maren? In what ways are they different?

2. Atmosphere - the terribly rough climate and unbearably close living quarters -- plays a significant role in the characters' psychological states. To what extent are these external conditions responsible for the events of the novel?

I think the constant togetherness leads to a lot of aggravation and unspoken frustration. When you are cooped up with the same people day after day it gets irritating, the slight things are enormously annoying. I think Maren having to watch her brother and his wife soo touchy feely when her own relationship was so not like that and because of her odd feelings towards her brother it made it harder to accept the news that Anethe was pregnant.

I also think everyone on the boat being so close made the intimate moments shared between Thomas and Adaline more glaring to Jean and being able to hear Rich and Adaline make love was a little awkward. Being able to see Rich, and see how good a man he was and how not messed up (like Thomas) he was made Jean desire him in a way that was inappropriate and probably wouldn't have happened on land in their own homes.

3. Jean ponders, "What moment was it that I might have altered? What point in time was it that I might have moved one way instead of another, had one thought instead of another?" (p. 192). Are there moments in which Jean could have acted differently and thereby changed the course of the events that followed? If so, identify them. How much control do Jean and Maren have over their respective fates? How much does anyone?

1.) When she shouted at Adaline which caused her to fall overboard. 2.) Making a move on Rich. 3.) Sitting for too long at the house. 4.) Stealing Maren's account of what happened. They each had some control over the situations. Maren, could have pulled down her damn nightgown. Or she could have spoken the truth and have Anethe speak up for her. Jean, I think had a little less control on Billie going overboard but there were moments before the storm that could have altered things. Or making sure Billie never left below, but it's not like Jean threw Billie overboard nor did she really make Adaline fall overboard. Adaline was stupid enough to be out there herself.

4. It is often small resentments and indiscretions that lead to greater misdeeds. What small offenses do Jean and Maren commit? Do you feel these acts should be taken into account when determining their culpability for greater crimes?

5. Jean's story begins with a plea for absolution: "I have to let this story go. It is with me all the time now, a terrible weight." Similarly, Maren's document opens with an appeal for vindication: "If it so please the Lord, I shall, with my soul and heart and sound mind, write the true and actual tale of the incident which continues to haunt my humble footsteps." (p. 39). How do these pleas affect you as a reader? Does it make you more sympathetic to the characters, more willing to believe in their innocence?

For some reason, I feel more sympathetic towards Jean than I do Maren. I feel like Jean was honest and I am still not certain that Maren's account was totally truthful. Maybe if we had more info on the thoughts in her head like we did with Jean I would accept her words at face value but I have a hard time doing that with someone who took an ax and repeatedly hit two people with it.

I really enjoyed the 4 different discussions and hope you did as well! Any suggestions on anything to make it better for next month?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Letters to People Vol. 1

Dear Twitter,
I really did not want to use new twitter and then I did and I liked it. Then you stopped loading more than a page. I am not happy. I would like to easily be able to read all of the people I follow. I suggest you fix this before you get rid of old twitter (that still works for me) or I will not be a happy user.
annoyed twitter user

Dear Swagbucks,
I get that not everyone fits into the right demographic for your surveys. That is fine. What is NOT fine is having me answer about 10 minutes worth of questions to then tell me I do not qualify for the survey. WTF? I just wasted my time answering questions that obviously will be used for something and in return I get 0 Swagbucks. I suggest that if you have someone answer more than the basics (age, income, nationality, type of employment) you need to give them SOME Swagbucks. You irritate me and I get annoyed that I just wasted time. It makes me get all irritated and want to hate on the super mega store who exploits their workers, who you had me answer questions about, more than I already do.
Irritated Swagbucks user

Dear Husband,
I so appreciate when you put away dishes (pretending that I don't have to ask about 10 times, I mean it did just take 3 days for you to take care of the counter full of empty pop bottles). BUT, you must put away the dishes where they go. Don't know where they go? ASK ME PLEASE. I mean I don't really understand how you can put away the crockpot and not put the lid with it, but I suppose those things happen. But, if you are going to put them away in completely opposite locations, could you please remember where the lid is? So we could make the amazing Buffalo Chicken Tacos that were posted on Iowa Girl Eats? Please and thank you.
your annoyed wife

Dear politicians/people who think they know everything,
We do not need anymore "new" teachers. There are plenty of highly qualified college graduates who are EXCELLENT educators who know their stuff and WANT TO BE IN THE CLASSROOM. However, government cuts, government requirements and gosh darn stupid mandatory state testing are part of the MAJOR PROBLEM YOU HAVE IN EDUCATION. Yes, there are some pretty crappy teachers out there, hence why I became one. How do you start getting rid of them? Well, the retirement incentives are a good start. Another? HOW ABOUT YOU ACTUALLY HAVE PRINCIPALS DO REAL Observations on new teachers? How about you make sure teachers ARE teaching? How about you make sure you don't give tenure to someone who is there for summer's off and because it is any 'easy' job?How about making sure PRINCIPALS are doing THEIR jobs? How about making sure hiring committees are fair and really DO have the best interest of the kids and it is not a who knows who competition? And how about, you please hire me because I guarantee I do care about kids, I do care about making kids into life long learners and I have high expectations that do coincide with state requirements without making learning 'suck.' But more empty promises and telling more people to become teachers is not going to solve the education 'problem.' I suggest scrapping the whole shebang and starting over again.
an annoyed unemployed college graduate who gives a damn and knows a thing or two about the education system that she speaks of

That felt pretty good. Carry on now.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

24 weeks.. holy shiznitzzz

So I am lazy and didn't put make-up on today and wearing grubby clothes. Instead of a picture of me.. how about a picture of the three diaper bags I am contemplating and your opinion on which one I should get???

All three of these are from Gussy. Here is a link to the main page of the Diaper/Totes.
I am leaning towards the gray/black damask with the hot pink ruffle. But I like the other two and just can't decide! So what say you guys which one should I order???

How far along? 24 weeks
Weight gain/loss: up 1 pound.. i officially am in the positive for weight gain.. while on the scary side i have gained around 8 pounds since Christmas... on the positive side it took me 24 weeks of pregnancy to weigh more than they day i found out i was pregnant...
Maternity clothes? all pants worn out of the house minus pj pants/workout pants.. i can wear some pre-pregnancy t-shirts and shirts but my expanding belly is eliminating all short shirts from the mix
Stretch marks? None yet, but belly is getting big.
Sleep? When I fall asleep I'm good.
Best moment this week? Discussing names with my husband and potentially coming up with a totally new name for our list that we both dig.
Food cravings: Jose Ole Mini Tacos.. yuummmmm
Gender: Girl
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? a ton! a lot a night and whenever i am sitting down it appears.. my husband finally felt her this week!
What I miss? my favorite foods tasting the same.. and the ability to eat just about anything for dinner and not having to have the thing that i was thinking about all day.. sooo food spontaneity ..
What I'm looking forward to: having my husband work on removing the built in shelf and desk in the baby room so i can do touch ups and painting touch ups!
Milestones: uhh i think reaching 24 weeks is a big enough milestone for now .. ahhh it is getting close!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Absolute Power

A good friend of mine has recommended David Baldacci books to me in the past and I never had time to check him out until now. I'm glad she recommended him.

Absolute Power is set in Washington D.C. and is about Secret Service Agents, The President, The Chief of Staff, lawyers and the filthy rich. Nothing better, right? I love me some political/lawyer drama.

The book starts out with the heist of the very rich Walter Sullivan, but during the robbery the burglar is surprised by the lady of the house and a very important visitor. He then witnesses a murder and cover up that no one would believe.

The book started out kind of slow and I was already to jump into the action but after the back stories were all laid out it flew by. I stayed up until almost 2 am finishing it last night. It was nice, even though you knew who did it and who was covering what up, to see how the police uncovered the evidence and the other bumps along the path. I didn't think it was outrageous or that there were any reaaaalllly unbelievable parts (I hate that about books). I thought it was a good, fun, thrilling read. It would also make an excellent movie.

I will most definitely have to check out more David Baldacci books in the future. Have you read him? Am I alone in my FBI/lawyer reading loving ways?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Meet Me Monday: For the love of blogging....

Some wonderful ladies that I have met through twitter, Katie & Miranda, are hosting a week long blogging feature called, "For the love...of Blogging" and I thought I would jump in and play along this Monday morning.

Today we are supposed to introduce ourselves and our blogs. So, hi. I'm pinkflipflops and I like to read, drink wine, bright colors, try new recipes and talk. A lot. I am also pregnant with my first child and due in May. ;) Very excited about that.

My blog started as a place to write my thoughts on books, reviews and connect with other nerds who enjoyed reading. Since then, I have started a group read where anyone can join in and we discuss an agreed upon book once a month. This month we are reading The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve and February's group read was just voted on and we will be reading Shanghai Girls by Lisa See.

I also have random thought posts, rants, at least one weekly pregnancy update, recipes and just a lot of random. Hence, the name, Many Thoughts of a Reader. Not everything here is books.

So, take a look around and please leave a comment and tell me something about yourself. Do you like wine? Got a kind for me to try? Favorite book that I just haaave to read? Let me know!

I also just was awarded the Stylish Blogger Award from mchupie over at ...And Baby Makes Three. (GO CHECK OUT HER ADORABLE BABY GIRL!!)

As part of the award you are supposed to share 7 things about yourself and link to some of your favorite bloggers. So, thanks for checking me out. Learn a bit more and the check out some of my favorite blogs. ;) Hope to 'meet' you soon!

1.) I love coffee and almost always prefer it to be just plain black coffee. I do not understand the Starbucks hype and very rarely am willing to part my money for so-so taste. However, I will say that the peppermint mocha is amazing.
2.) I watch The Biggest Loser but I watch it about a week late, on demand and I barely pay attention until the weigh in/voting off. Or if I notice someone whining.
3.) I like to plan running training plans but then never seem to get past week 2 and never actually run a race.
4.) I am not a fan of blogs that post pictures of the food they eat but then don't tell you how they made it. Um, thanks for showing me that delicious dish but how am I supposed to make it??
5.) I can waste an entire day on the Internet. Easily.
6.) I very rarely go to the movie theater and watch a movie. Even with free movies on demand I very rarely watch movies. I do not believe I have watched a single movie this month so far.
7.) I love Ohio State. It gets a bit ridiculous. What some people find amusing, is that I went to MSU and support them, but to an extent. My number 1 love is and will always be THE Ohio State University. Except, that I am a little peeved at their football team and Mr. Jim Tressel for their little rule breaking that occurred and the fact the ones in trouble got to start in a BCS football game when they should have had to learn a hard lesson and sit out. So what if they would have lost, which they would have. Integrity is more important. Sad.

Some of my fave ladies that you should love as well!!!
Blair @ The Heir to Blair
Raechel @ Finding My Feet
Lisa @ Lisa's Yarns
Amber @ Girl With the Red Hair
Jenny @ What The Blog?
Papps @ Our Arduous Journey
Kelly @ She Wears a Red Sox Cap
Dee @ TTC and Other Random Musings
Julie @ Book Hooked
Amy @ Somebody's Parents
Kiri @ Elbows, Knees and Dreams
Amber @ Musings of Amber Murphy
The Up North Writer Mama @ The Up North Writer Mama
Erin @ School Teacher by Day, Superhero by Night
Kelly @ Kelly Teaches

Make sure you check out Katie and Miranda's blogs for a blog hop (to meet more new peeps and for a week of excitement!)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

February Group Read is...

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See! We had a 3-way tie, but using I came up with this selection.

May and Pearl, two sisters living in Shanghai in the mid-1930s, are beautiful, sophisticated, and well-educated, but their family is on the verge of bankruptcy. Hoping to improve their social standing, May and Pearl’s parents arrange for their daughters to marry “Gold Mountain men” who have come from Los Angeles to find brides.

But when the sisters leave China and arrive at Angel’s Island (the Ellis Island of the West)—where they are detained, interrogated, and humiliated for months—they feel the harsh reality of leaving home. And when May discovers she’s pregnant the situation becomes even more desperate. The sisters make a pact that no one can ever know.

A novel about two sisters, two cultures, and the struggle to find a new life in America while bound to the old, Shanghai Girls is a fresh, fascinating adventure from beloved and bestselling author Lisa See.

I broke the book up into 4 different sections for 4 different discussions. If while you are reading, you would wish to make a guest post about anything in the book, let me know. If you have questions/things you want included in the post on Friday, email me sometime the day before so I can add it in. I really enjoyed the discussions we had in January even though none of us were really fans of the book! I have the large print edition of Shanghai Girls because it was the only copy left at my library, so I will be off page wise from most of you. I broke it up by the names of chapters. If you have any questions please feel free to ask!

Discussion # 1 Beautiful Girls through the end of Soaring through the Night Sky – Feb. 4th
Discussion # 2 Eating Wind and Tasting Waves through the end of Scents of Home – February 11th
Discussion #3 Eating Bitterness to Find Gold through the end of The Air of this World– February 18th
Discussion #4 Fear through the end of the book– February 25th

Happy reading! Hope everyone can get a copy of this one and participate, it sounds very interesting!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Shrimp Scampi

This was super easy and very yummy. And gave us A LOT of leftovers. Lots of extra lunches. I think we had 4-5 lunches from it. SCORE! I used a recipe I found in Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals as a guide and this is what I came up with.

Salt and black pepper to taste
1 pound angel hair pasta
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound baby shrimp bag
1 cup chicken broth

Cook your angel hair pasta like you normally do....

In a frying pan, evoo around the pan and 3 tablespoons of butter on medium heat until the butter is all melted. When the butter is melted add the garlic for about 2 minutes.

Then, add in the shrimp. Add salt and pepper. I would want more shrimp next time but this was a frozen 99 cent bag special, so I used what I got cheap. Cook the shrimp until it is warm.

Then, add 1 cup of chicken broth to the shrimp.

Turn up the heat and bring it to a boil. When it boils, remove it from heat and mix it with the pasta.

Mix it really well and add parsley on top.

I also made garlic bread to serve with it. Yum.. nom nom nom

Verdict? Kind of blah. I think maybe more garlic would have helped and more of the chicken broth/butter mixture. Maybe next time add some more garlic or add garlic powder and maybe a tablespoon more of butter and just a little more chicken broth? It needed something, but I am not sure what. Overall, it was very good.
What is your favorite pasta dish?
don't forget to vote for february's group read! the poll is up on the side bar and i will annouce the selection tomorrow!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Weight of Water - Discussion #3

Like the first two discussions, be prepared for spoilers. This discussion is over pgs. 135-191.

Brief Overview

Maren and John settle into Smuttynose and she hates it. They take on a boarder, Louis Wagner, who seems to be a bit odd and creepy. Her sister Karen moves to America and is a reaaaaaaaaal peach. And John's brother also moves in with them. Karen and Maren have the weirdest relationship ever with neither of them ever really being just nice. There is always some kind of manipulation going on. Karen, keeps from Maren the fact that their brother is coming to America and.. dun dun dun.... MARRIED! Maren is jealous of just about everyone and Louis gets weirder.

Jean takes more pictures and puts the moves on Rich.. Whaaaat?

My Random Quotes/Thoughts/Questions

What is up with Maren and harping on everybody's teeth???

It seems Maren really does not want her sister to be happy after how Karen treated her and that she blows off Louis liking her sister because she wants his attention to herself, even though she finds him slightly creepy. She can't seem to handle competition.

"She made some effort to ix her face, but this effort was largely unsuccessful in the way that trying to reshape a molder bit of rubber will be futile enterprise, as the elasticity of the rubber itself will cause the object immediately to resume its original shape." - pg. 158 ( ouch. what a thing to say about your sister, ESPECIALLY YOUR DEAD MURDERED SISTER)

picture of Skillingsbolle

[ Source ]

Rommegot Recipe , Skillingsbolle Recipe , Krumkake Recipe - pg. 160

"We have periods when I think our coming together was a kind of accident, that we're wedding because of a string of facts. And then maybe the next day, or even that night, Thomas and I will be so close I won't be able to remember the words to a fight we had two hours earlier. The fact of the fight, the concept of an accident, will be gone -- it won't even seem plausible." pg. 166 (I can totally relate... we can fight like cats and dogs and be better in like 2 seconds.. it is quite strange.. you can be so angry and then move on..)

Yikes, Jean hitting on her brother-in-law is surprising. Do you think she honestly liked him or did it to hurt Thomas? Would just anyone have worked if they were present?

I found Maren's testimony was quite confusing. Between the broken English and the jumping around it was kind of hard to follow.

Questions from

1. The Weight of Water is concerned with the subject of jealousy and its consequences. Discuss this theme as it emerges in the exchanges between Jean and Maren and their families.

2. How does Anethe's arrival on the scene affect this relationship? (Maren & Evan's)

Okay, the comment section should allow everyone to comment and add on to each other. Here's to hoping it works. If you want to add any of your questions/thoughts/words you looked up do so in the comments. If you want to submit any before next week's Discussion on (pgs. 192- end over all novel thoughts ) email them before Thursday night.
Discussion 1 , Discussion 2

don't forget to vote on february's group read! poll is up on the sidebar..

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Tacos

I love Buffalo Chicken Wraps at Bdubs and when I came across a recipe for Buffalo Chicken Tacos in my Rachael Ray 30 minute meals, I was like ummm why have we never made them before? So I fixed that little problem! Here is my twist on Buffalo Chicken Tacos.

5 burrito style soft tortilla shells (what we had)
Two skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
hot sauce (i used enough to cover the chicken)
2 ounces shredded cheese
3 tablespoons ranch dressing
shredded lettuce (i eyeballed what i thought we would need)
2 carrots shredded
2 tablespoons water

First, I put enough EVOO on the pan to cover the bottom and then put my chicken breasts in. I seasoned both sides with salt and pepper.

While the chicken was cooking, I cleaned and shredded the carrots.

Washed and shredded the lettuce.

Then, since my chicken breasts were mammoth size I broke them up into pieces to make sure it was all cooked through and we wouldn't die from salmonella. You could shred the chicken, but I never have the patience. I just left the chicken in smallish chunks.

When the chicken was browned and fully cooked through I put it in a bowl and dumped the hot sauce in and stirred it around. I only put enough to cover the chicken, because I was not sure how hot it would be (flavor wise) I would recommend more hot sauce. Probably around 2-3 tablespoons.

Then, in another bowl I mixed the 3 tablespoons of ranch, 2 tablespoons of water and a handful of the cheese together to make a sauce. I would also recommend maybe using 5 tablespoons of ranch for more sauce.

Then, I added the carrots and lettuce to the mix. The amount of sauce I made was perfect for the amount of carrots and lettuce I had.

And viola! This is what mine looked like before I rolled it back up. I added more cheese on top.

Verdict? I really liked it and so did my husband. I ate 2 and he had 3. Next time I make it, I will add more hot sauce, use more lettuce and more sauce mixture. The 2 carrots were perfect and I wouldn't probably add anymore of those. We both liked the crunch it added. I did also like the extra cheese on top, as I am a cheese freak. And maybe I will get the patience to shred the chicken haha. It was very yummy!!!

What are your favorite taco toppings?
don't forget to vote for the feb. group read (it is on the sidebar!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

23 weeks

23 weeks wowzers!

How far along? 23 weeks
Weight gain/loss: down 1 pound.. soooo i've gained almost all of the 7 pounds I lost back since around Christmas time...
Maternity clothes? all pants that I wear in public but i am still wearing mostly my own shirts with a few maternity shirts
Stretch marks? None
Sleep? For the most part fine..
Best moment this week? got to hear her heartbeat again today at my appointment, it was 145 bpm and she was moving around like she always is. i worry she will never sit still.. ;) also we ordered our crib and mattress and the mattress arrived yesterday and our crib JUST arrived!! i am so excited to get it up.. but we are still waiting on the bathroom renovations to be done to work on her room. i do feel much better knowing it is purchased and in my home! also have my baby shower date planned.. april 16th ;)
Food cravings: sweet stuff
Gender: Girl
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? Yup, mostly at night and in the later afternoons or about 15 minutes after i eat and i am sitting down
What I miss? not worrying about what to wear all the time.. i hate spending money on clothes i am not going to wear a long time so i am trying not to buy much stuff and it is hard!
What I'm looking forward to: setting up her room!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sizzling Sixteen

Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series is one of my guilty pleasures. I freaking love them. They are hilarious, light and just a little steamy without going into the eye rolling. If anything, sometimes I am wanting MORE action. Stephanie has far more morals than I do. I would totally be letting Ranger and Morelli seduce me whenever. ;)

It's taken me a bit of time to get around to the 16th installment (it came out LAST YEAR summer) but the wait list at my library for her books usually ranges between 400 and 500 people eeeek. I just happened to pop in yesterday and saw A COPY (rest still all checked out) sitting in the book express so I snagged it. Last night I had a lovely snuggle in my bed as I laughed out loud and rolled my eyes at the adventures of Stephanie, Lula (ex ho turned office filer) and Grandma Mazur (Stephanie's hilarious grandma).

This one only disappointed me in one aspect. There was hardly ANY action for poor Stephanie with either Ranger or Morelli. I like it when she gets all hot and heavy with one or both haha. But like I said, she has morals. ;)

In this book, bounty hunter Stephanie is on the lookout for beefy Butch Goodey, Chopper (who has a pet alligator), Lenny Pickerall (who stole toilet paper from rest areas) and McCuddle (who is a 70 plus year old bigamist). Of course there are hysterics and some slight drama when Vinnie, her boss and cousin, gets kidnapped by his bookie for being almost a million in debt to him. Lula, Connie (office assistant) and Stephanie have to find him and find cash to bail him out.

It was a super fast read and super funny. I read a couple hours last night and about an hour today and it was done. Fast and fresh and funny, just what I need every now and then.

What is a guilty pleasure read for you?

don't forget to vote in the sidebar for a feb. group read!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Homemade Tomato Soup

I have never made tomato soup and I really have never been a fan of the canned stuff. However, as I was trolling through The Brunette Foodie's website, I saw a recipe for tomato soup and perhaps it was weirdo pregnancy thing, it sounded good. So I asked my picky husband, hey what do you think of homemade tomato soup? And he said, as long as it came with grilled cheese it sounded good. So, off I went to make my own version of this recipe.

3 large tomatoes
3 carrots
1 small onion
16 ounces of Chicken Broth
mozzarella cheese
enough EVOO to go around the pan
black pepper
Italian Seasoning
Garlic Powder
(I tend to never measure seasonings and just eyeball it)

First, I chopped up the carrots and onions.

Then I put the EVOO into a soup pan and threw in the onions and carrots. I put the garlic powder in also with the veggies. I cooked them until they were soft. (Basically, the time it took me to cut and somewhat peal the tomatoes.)

While the onions and carrots were cooking, I peeled the tomatoes (mostly, it is hard work!) and chopped them up.

Then I measured out 16 ounces of chicken broth.

Into the pot with the veggies went, the tomatoes, garlic powder and the rest of the seasonings. Then I brought the soup to a boil and let it boil for about 1 minute. Then I lowered the temp to simmering and let it go for about 45 minutes. When there was about 18 minutes left, my hubby did his thing and made us some delicious grilled cheese!

Our bowls with our soup and mozz cheese on top! Yummmm..

And the yummy grilled cheese!
Verdict? Hubby said, "this is waay better than I anticipated homemade tomato soup and nothing like I thought tomato soup was, but in a good way." I also wasn't sure what to think with the carrots being very chunky and I guess I envisioned something different, but it was super yummy! I loved the flavors and enjoyed dipping the grilled cheese in it. Definitely a fan of this over the canned stuff!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Italian Mini Meat Loaves

Yum! This was the best meatloaf I've ever had! My husband took a bite as soon as it came out of the oven and said, "this is a a repeater!" So, needless to say yay! I based my recipe off of the one I found in my Rachael Ray 30 minute Meals Cookbook.

1ish pounds of ground sirloin
1 large egg, beaten
2/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
handful of mozzarella cheese
½ small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.

First, take the meat and make a well. I was worried about my well, it was fine.

Beat the egg. And then add it to the well.

Add the Italian bread crumbs, cheese, onion, garlic, tomato paste to the well.

Then form 4 mini loaves. It was fun to play around with the mixture. I was a little bit leery of it all forming. But it formed magnificently!

Use EVOO to coat the mini loaves and then pop it in the oven for 18-20 minutes.

Finished product.. nom nom nom

Served with my favorite, Velveeta Shells and Cheese on the side!
Verdict? Delicious! And will definitely make again. My husband loved it, though he claimed he could do with maybe some marinara sauce. He would like it as a gigantic meatball haha. I think I would add more tomato paste, but the flavor was amazing. The onioin/garlic did a fab job and the bread crumbs were great as well. Very juicy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Weight of Water - Discussion #2

As, like the first discussion, be prepared for spoilers. This is over pages 65-135. Feel free to add thoughts, opinions, questions or anything else. Here is a link to the first discussion. Anyone is free to contribute, the more the merrier!

Very brief Overview

In this section, we learn of Jean and Thomas's early life together and especially the time after Billie joins their family. Jean reveals certain parts of Thomas's past to Adaline because she is jealous of their relationship, things the general public does NOT know about the poet. We also hear more from Maren. We learn how she met, married and moved to America with John Hontveldt.

My thoughts / opinions / questions

"I learned that night that love is never as ferocious as when you think it is going to leave you." pg. 71

What does this quote mean to you?

I tend to agree with it. And what teenage girl wouldn't? I mean can you think of all the times you thought everything was ooovveeer because of a relationship ending?? When the end of something is near it seems like people either fight harder for it or make it seem more important than it ever really was.

pg. 73 Celia Thaxter - was an American writer of poet and stories who was from Portsmouth

Was anyone else surprised about the story of Thomas's scar? I'm surprised Jean married and had a child with him, ESPECIALLY since he IS STILL a drunk. pg. 87

"We have a way of making love now, a language of our own, this movement, signals, long practiced, that differ only slightly each time from the times before. " pg. 93 SOOO FREAKING TRUE.

"That a man pays only a little tax on the land he actually owns, and is not filling the pockets of the idle, who do no work at all. " -John talking about life in America pg. 100 (hahahahahahahhaahahahaha .... oh how things have changed )

I really enjoy reading the parts of Maren's account much more than the present day stuff. It keeps me wanting to know more and keeps me interested in the book, where when Jean is the narrator it tends to drag.

a map of the Isles of Shoals

[ Source ]

Question from
1. "No one can know a story's precise reality," Jean points out (p. 117). Discuss the significance of this statement as it applies to Jean's reading of Maren's journal. Should she -- should we -- believe Maren's document as truth?
Okay, the comment section should allow everyone to comment and add on to each other. Here's to hoping it works. If you want to add any of your questions/thoughts/words you looked up do so in the comments. If you want to submit any before next week's Discussion on (pgs. 136-192)email them before Thursday night.
Also do not forget to submit a suggestion for February's Group Read. Click here to leave a suggestion, poll goes up on the 18th!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

February Group Read Suggestions

Okay ladies, (cuz umm I don't believe there are any gents) what books do you want to read in February?

Books we have already read..
The Weight of Water
Water for Elephants
The Color Purple
The One That I Want
The Secret Garden
House Rules
American Wife
Firefly Lane
The Reader
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Awakening
Pride & Prejudice
I See You Everywhere

Add suggestions in the comments! A poll will go up on the 18th to vote on all the choices. Feel free to suggest more than one. ;) Anyone is free to join and very much welcome! Tomorrow I will be posting the second discussion on The Weight of Water.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

22 weeks

22 weeks
I feel as though today was photo of a weight loss beforehand photo shoot hahah

How far along? 22 weeks.. yikes!
Weight gain/loss: my bathroom is under construction so I did not get weighed this week but I will put it at either 1 pound down or even.. maybe even up 1 pound.
Maternity clothes? i feel as though i have yet to find cute looking maternity clothes. i just look fat and the pants fall off. i don't understand this loooove of maternity clothes i hear from people. probably the same people who don't have regular pants fall off their ass all the time!
Stretch marks? no
Sleep? I have been sleeping in a lot. I get my best sleep between 6:30 when A gets up to go to work and about 9 o clock on days I don't need to be anywhere.. yikes!
Best moment this week? buying cute new clothes for my little girl!
Food cravings: anything sweet
Gender: Girl
Belly button in or out? In
Movement? rockin' around in there!
What I miss? nothing right now
What I'm looking forward to: Our bathroom being finished and A knocking out the shelves and desk in the baby room so I can get stuff done in there!

Today, I had a not so nice experience of almost passing out in front of a class of 5th graders!! I was able to get out of the room and walk around. Then I got an orange juice and propped my feet up for a bit. But holy moly, that was not cool!

If you had to name my baby girl, what would you name her?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My kid owns cuter clothes than me

I did a really good job of not buying anything for the baby until we found out if it was a boy or a girl. I am not a big fan of gender neutral clothes and while I did browse, I just never found anything that I HAD TO buy. Of course, until the week BEFORE we found out where I went and splurged on about 8 pairs of baby legs/baby socks. So cute. My mom did buy 2 Halloween outfits, 1 girl outfit and 1 neutral skeleton outfit before we knew but we did pretty darn good. Since then, our little girl has been spoiled by me and others! Here are some pictures of things I've either purchased or gotten as gifts...

My friend made me this blanket for the carseat. The ribbons represent our team colors OSU/MSU/U of M.

My SIL gave our little girl these. The one on the left is a 3 month size and the other is a 6 month size.

Ok, I got these fleece pants yesterday and they are soooo soft. Target has INSANE deals right now and I got those for less than 4 bucks! They are 18 months but every girl needs her fleece pants!

How stinkin' cute are these? I got the sleeper on sale yesterday in a 12 month size and the green/brown outfit (size 9 months) from Kohls. 16 bucks for both!

Ahhh the monkey! I die. I got both of these from Target yesterday as well. The sleeper is a 6 month size and was around 5 bucks and the other outfit is a 9 month size and was under 4 bucks! All together I walked out of Target pay 12 bucks for the pants, sleeper and outfit!

Okay, I freaking LOVE these oneies. They have the cutest bow on them! I got those in a 3 month size and the sleeper in a 12 month size on sale at Elder-beerman yesterday! These were a total of something like 14!

GO GREEN! I got the adorable itty bitty hat and bib from my aunt and uncle at Christmas and my mom's friend got us the sweatshirt for Christmas!

Okay, I am in LOVE with the dress. It is 12/18month old from Old Navy and I love it! My friend and mom weren't as in love with it, but I am envisioning pairing it with skinny jeans or leggings! I gave the pink/polka dot outfit to my husband on Christmas. It has the cutest elephant on it and it says Daddy Loves me! It is in a 9 month size.

I kind of have a rule against buying newborn sizes but the 2pack on the right was on sale for 4.99!! She will wear them at least once ha. I got them at the Carter's Outlet. The onesie on the right is from the Gap Outlet. Super cute.

Here is one of her THREE!!! (yes why she needs 3!!! is beyond me) Christmas dresses. I bought this right after Christmas at Kohls. I had eyed it up earlier in the season and I love it. It is not overly Christmasy and it is fun and hot pink. haha. My mom has bought her a really cute dress and apparently my MIL did too. Where she is going to wear them all I have no idea. Since we are only doing 2 days of Christmas. Whatever.
I am trying to stay away from (as in I am not) buying the pale pink baby color. ewwwwww. I love buying clothes for her and wish I could look as cute as she will in them! And the sad thing is, she owns waaaay more than this. My mom has a bunch of stuff for her and my friend does and my ML. And my aunts. Oh well, bring it on!!!