Monday, January 30, 2012

Winding Down



I feel like I already wrote about this, but last weekend was really an awesome one. It left me feeling completely refreshed and not stressed about my week ahead. Sunday we reluctantly woke up to run, but I had a really inspiring 6.5 miles despite the very cold temperature. We had a great morning at church, lunch together on the couch, registered for a 5k and a 10k, caught up with my mom and dad and then took the best nap. We tried a new spot for dinner that was just down the street and spent the rest of the night as Keith described "like the grandparents from Willy Wonka" meaning we hunkered down in bed around 7pm and watched SVU until our bed time. It's days like this that remind me just how much I love hanging out with my husband and make it hard to say goodbye when he leaves for work Monday morning. I just love being around him and making each other laugh all day long! Sure we annoy each other from time to time, but he is by far my best friend and the only person I want to hang out with for forever :-)

Hope you all had a great weekend too! 

Fighting A Losing Battle

Something that is CONSTANTLY in issue with my young artists is instilling in them the confidence to create without boundaries. So many of them are scared to just draw, and express without the fear of messing up or making things perfect. Many of them are just plain lazy though. I try my best to bring in projects that will broaden then and force them to try something new; I never want to set them up for failure with something that is too difficult or out of there skill set, but what I'm really asking is for them to just TRY.

Tonight was a night where I just felt completely defeated in that. Not necessarily by my students, but by the adults that I had in the room to help. I expect my students to push back a bit and say things like, "this is too hard", "can you just draw it for me", "I don't know what to do", and "I need another paper, I messed up". Those are totally normal things for me to hear. But tonight, after hearing just a small amount of that from the kids, I had an adult come up to me and say, "well why didn't you just bring something for them to trace, that would have saved you a lot of time". NOPE. That would have been exponentially more work for me, especially because I only get paid for the time that I'm with the students, not for the hours I put in preparing for my classes. It completely defeats the purpose to just give the kids something to trace, because then they aren't learning anything at all! The hardest thing was that after only minimal fight from the students I looked around the room and saw a majority of my helpers just drawing on the students papers for them, without much I could do to stop them. Why can't we just encourage them? Show them that they are capable? Not give them the easy way out? These kids need to be PUSHED and I know that this hour of art is supposed to be their fun time, but it makes no sense for them to just produce cookie-cutter traced pictures. They can do that at home.

I guess that I can take pride in the few students I have that really do try, and that love to make interesting and new things. Still its easy to get dragged down in the negative and it feels like I am consistently losing this battle of impacting my students because of the laziness of others. Now I guess I'm the one that needs to keep trying...

Some of the more interesting, uninterrupted vase drawings from tonights class... soon to become VanGogh sunflowers 



Sunday, January 29, 2012

Edwards Ave

I know we can't move in until March, but we're super excited our new house. We stopped by this afternoon just to take a look and we were further impressed by how humongous the back yard is. Our future puppy is going to LOVE it, and who knows... maybe it will be void of snakes ;)

Keith walking the fence line.

Our future deck! and we can pull our cars around back if we want.

View of the house from the absolute wilderness that is the backyard haha it's so huge!

Just a little view of the side.
Sorry there aren't many more, I need to upload all the photos on my phone, because right now it's full and I can't take more... boo.

Something random: I've noticed that my photos are pretty poor quality when you look at the blog page, so until I can change the layout just click on the photos and they will expand and look a bit bigger/nicer.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Double Feature

This morning instead of waking early and taking a long run, we stayed in bed as long as we wanted, ate a big breakfast including mimosas and watched a movie on the couch. It was just what I needed after a terrible day substituting Friday, bleckkkk. Talk about motivation to find a permanent job....

We finally watched 50/50 which made me laugh/cry equally. Ironic? Regardless, it was great. Now we're watching Captain America because Keith requested a "dude movie"... I'm blogging and he's getting our taxes started. It's been a really awesome day, which will conclude with a dinner date and making an appearance at a show that Keith's agency booked.

Here's to Sunday, starting with a run, church, lunch? naps and more hanging out.

Why can't the weekend last forever??

Friday, January 27, 2012

Resist

Just a little art teaching update for yah! I feel like I've been griping a lot recently about not having a day job that I completely forget to mention how much I love my afternoon job. I have a new group of kids this semester that I'm really really enjoying, and I have a small but strong group of middle schoolers that I think I'm going to be able to do some really great stuff with!

Here are some things that my younger students made this week, learning about the resisting effect of wax crayons and watercolor paint. They particularly loved writing "secret messages" to each other with white crayon which could later be revealed with paint haha






Yep. Art Teacher Hands. Got a little out of control this week haha

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dinner Talk


Please excuse this drab photo, but there were a few recipes that I wanted to share with you about tonights taco night. We are pretty routine when it comes to tacos at home, but once I saw this recipe for crockpot beer chicken on pinterest I knew we needed to try it. Super easy, super quick, CRAZY tasty! We both agreed this may be a new staple. I also tried my hand at some homemade refried beans and was pretty happy to find that it was much more simple than I may have thought. Now I have enough beans for like the next month though haha

Anyone been cooking anything good lately? I'm always eager to try new things!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quotable

Last week I mentioned a book that I had received and was starting to read called An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. I'm still only about half way through but there are some amazing things that I'm learning that I felt needed to be shared. I am completely in love with the way she speaks about food, and her philosophy on cooking.


If we are to weed, today, through all the advice for how to eat better, and choose what we ourselves feel most able and like best to do, we must regain our faith that cooking can be advantageous, something that helps eating well make sense. 


[This book] doesn't contain "perfect" or "professional" ways to do anything, because we don't need to be professionals to cook well, any more than we need to be doctors to treat bruises and scrapes: we don't need to shop like chefs or cook like chefs; we need to shop and cook like people learning to cook, like what we are- people who are hungry.


Resources for simple cooking often do more harm than good. A fast-and-easy cooking magazine I picked up recently seemed contrived to scare its readers off. The magazines advertised recipes for "boil-and-toss pastas" and "last-minute omelets" ... ALL pasta is "boil and toss". A lot of perfectly wonderful meals are "boil" alone. You don't need a shortcut for either, but to reserve the three dollars you might have spent on the magazine and use it for buying salt and decent olive oil ... There is plain deceit in hawking "last minute" omelets. Omelets happen almost instantly, no matter what you do to speed them up or slow them down. Suggesting there are special "last-minute" ones is akin to selling tips for breathing air more rapidly- if you have an egg, you have a meal that needs but a quick tap to be cracked open. 


I can't wait to finish reading, and then read this again and again! Or maybe I'll let you borrow it haha

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Five Things

This week:

Our cat brought in a snake, and it gave me a bad case of the Mondays. I also decided that this winter has felt more like Spring than all of last Spring did. 60 degrees and sunny in January? Confusing, but I'll take it. I only slightly wish there was snow on the ground because then Theo wouldn't be able to find those pesky snakes.

That whole moving thing that I mentioned? Well, we found a house! and it's perfect, way more perfect than the others that we saw. We're moving in on March 1st, so lets just hope that February passes nice and quickly. I can't say that I'm EAGER to pack everything in our house, but it's been awhile since we made an in-town move, so I think with all our experience moving thousands of miles away this will feel like a breeze. and I hope this new house isn't infested with spiders... or snakes. Pretty please?

That preschool job I was excited about? Turns out I'm not done job searching yet. They are definitely interested in having me work there, but they want me to start as a substitute next month. I'm going to go with it and see what happens but I'm REALLY hoping that I can find something full time soon. Fingers crossed! I'm not losing hope yet!


Last week I taught my students about primary and secondary colors, and how to mix their paint to create a color wheel. I was so surprised by how few kids really know how to do this! I was so happy to see how excited they were to try new color combos and experiment with paint.

Lastly, there is nothing better than a good ole fashion dance party. Sunday night Keith wanted to watch football with friends so we went to Trent's apartment and had dinner with his fiancĂ© Jordana and her sister Sammie. After the game the boys headed to the porch to smoke their pipes and we ladies turned off the lights and pumped up the jams. Is it embarrassing to say that my legs are kind of sore from all the dancing we did? It was totally random, and such a blast :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Community

I mentioned this already, but this week was extremely busy. The ironic part was that all of the things we had to do were great, and included catching up with friends... but at the end of the week Keith and I are both just as tired and excited for a semi-planless weekend. 

Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of joining my favorite ladies in Nashville for dinner at Chuy's while our men were bro-ing it up at the newly opened Buffalo Wild Wings. It's been way too long since Jamie, Carolyn, Jordy and I have all gotten to get together and it was really great to have a few hours set aside to just enjoy each other's company. Even Sage got to join, and was such a little sweetie while we talked endlessly about Jordy and Trent's upcoming wedding. After dinner we met back up with the boys and had a little more hang out time before we needed to head home and get to bed. The only thing missing? The Meyer's! We all miss them lots and lots :(





Friday, January 20, 2012

Fans

Last Saturday night Keith and I had the pleasure of cheering on our favorite team from Philly... the Flyers! Long story short, our Georgia friends Chris and Jordan got tickets to see a handful of Predators hockey games because their favorite Atlanta team lost their franchise, but they weren't able to make the drive for last weekends game so they passed along the tickets to us. We were more than happy to watch the Preds play but got even MORE excited when Jordan emailed the tickets and we saw that they were playing the Flyers so we could ditch the home team and cheer for our favorites! We had such a great time at the game, but unfortunately the Flyers did not do us proud :/ Regardless, we were excited to see how many people in Nashville were also sporting orange... we weren't the only crazy people there cheering against the home team haha




Click here and here to see pictures from our other hockey game adventures here in Nashville!

Sweets


Yesterday I shared this photo of oreo cookies on instagram and had a few people ask me for the recipe. I'm not going to type out the entire thing, but you should definitely try it out here! They were so simple to make, and a nice twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie. I omitted the chocolate chips because of my chip hater husband, but the oreo bits were more than enough to keep me happy too. I always love when I can make dessert without having to buy a million things at the store... all I needed here were some oreo's (totally got the Kroger brand) and I'm pretty sure I'll be devouring all those too haha. The other plus? I got use my new cooling rack! I can't believe I went for so long without one!

Let me know if you make these, I would love to hear how they turn out!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Travellers

Phewwwww.... finally a moment to sit down uninterrupted this week! I have no idea why, but it's just been ridiculously busy around here and I'm pretty worn down. All I'm doing is counting down the hours until Keith and I can have a quiet, no plans evening tomorrow night together. It's going to be amazing :)

So, in an effort to backtrack, let's talk about last weekend! Our beautiful friend Janelle, her boyfriend Christian and their dog Coaltrain were on their way back from an epic road trip from Pennsylvania to New Mexico and stopped in Nashville along the way. We had only planned on hosting them Friday night and Saturday, but we were all having such a great time that they ended up staying Saturday night and Sunday; heading out on Monday morning. It was refreshing to have visitors that we didn't need to make extensive plans for, everything was just really natural and we spent all our energy enjoying each others company and eating lots of great food! Friday we had dinner at Mas Tacos and had drinks back at the house with Trent and Jordy. Lunch Saturday was at Mitchell's, then we spent some time at the dog park before dinner at Burger Up and honky tonkin downtown. Sunday we FINALLY got to have a meal at a new burger spot, Pharmacy and then dinner at PM. So much goodness in one weekend! It had been years since Janelle and I have seen each other, but it was so great to catch up on each other's lives and have a fun weekend together. Here are some photos:

Janelle and Coal

Janelle, Jordana and I. we were so silly that night! Check out more pictures here: here

Mitchell's

dog park

Christian, Coaltrain, Keith and I lounging

doggy love :)

Having a paleta before dinner!

Burger Up


Downtown




VERY yummy burgers!

and great sodas too!

more sunny dog park

PM

walrus

so much sushi!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

To Read

I have a generous amount of photos to share from this weekend, and great stories to tell but the gloom of this day has forced me into a gloom of my own. For now I'm going to do some yoga, and read this fascinating book that my parents sent today. I think an unexpected gift was exactly what I needed today.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Update


This week has been a lazy one on my part. It's my first week back to work for the year and already I'm home... not working. After school programs were cancelled tonight because of the SNOW we're getting. Don't confuse that for excitement, it's more like shock! This whole week I went out with no coat on, last night I woke up sweating and wishing the fan was on, and today... it's snowing? Nashville: you continue to blow my mind daily. Since I haven't updated much in the new year I figured I would bring you up to speed on what has been going on with us recently:

I know that Keith and I have a tendency to surprise people with big exciting news, and we definitely have some potentially awesome things in the wings, so I guess it couldn't hurt to let people in on the secrets just this once. It's not a surprise to many that we aren't totally in love with the house we live in. It was a perfect little refuge from our one bedroom apartment in Philadelphia and the price is certainly amazing, but it definitely has it's flaws, the largest of which is not having central heat and air. I know I was just commenting about how it hasn't been very cold here this winter, but relying on electric wall heaters is still not a party even when it's in the 40s. I've spent a couple days here recently wondering if I would ever be warm again (dramatic much?) but then I remembered that this past summer was the hottest of my life without A/C. and did I mention buggy?! So many bugs in here! Gross. Regardless we have begun the hunt to find a new house in the area. We're still planning to stay on the east side of town and still planning on renting, but just hoping to get a little more bang for our buck house wise. We found a place this weekend that we were pretty set on and thought was going to be "the one" but they ended up changing their mind about not wanting pets. But that's ok! We aren't in a huge rush, and obviously we're moving to better our situation, so we don't want to get ourselves into something unless it's right. I looked at 2 more places today that have potential, so maybe by next week we'll know!

Another  little exciting bit: I've been interviewing for new day jobs! I love my after school job SO MUCH, but it's just not enough to keep me occupied and to pay the bills. I've tried substituting but I don't get calls consistently enough, so this week I really put the pedal to the metal on finding something permanent. So far I've interviewed with a preschool who is looking for a teacher in the 4 and 5 year old room, and I have 2 more interviews lined up for similar things. I never thought preschool would be something I was interested in, but I really loved the feel of the place I went to yesterday and I felt like it could be a really good fit! Plus, they don't have an art teacher ;) I don't really know what my next big step will be career wise, and I think I'm still in the waiting period with that, but this could be a really great help for our family in the mean time.

Things are still going great with Keith's new job. He's been booking some shows and building up contacts slowly but surely and I could not be more proud! He even finally got a spot on their website. Isn't he the cutest??

Our half marathon training is really coming along! Although I'm still nervous I won't make it the whole distance haha. I had some set backs last week and after feeling like I would have to start at square one with training I had a really awesome 6 mile run this morning. Isn't it crazy how just one great run can change my outlook on all of my training? I know that there will be good days and bad, but I'm just hoping for more great runs like todays ! Keith and I are planning a couple longer runs this weekend so hopefully everything will be a success. Also: my 21 day yoga challenge is going really well! Anyone else sign up?

We are currently LOVING our farm share, I just feel like everything has been extra good this week, and we've made some really delicious meals. My current favorite are: greek yogurt with a pinch of cinnamon and a nice spoonful of local honey, chicken parm with breadcrumbs from our left over butt pieces and a sauce Keith made from stewed local tomatoes, chicken with a honey balsamic glaze and turnip mash, and lastly, open faced pulled chicken sandwiches with homemade sauerkraut and both kale and turnip chips on the side. I was pretty nervous about how we were going to take to local/seasonal eating but we have really stepped it up and made some AWESOME things we never would have thought of otherwise! Maybe all those years of Food Network watching have really paid off?!

Hmm anything else? Nope, that's really all that we have going on these days... looking for a house, trying to find a day job, running and eating awesome food. Sounds good to me! Now I'm going to go make some popcorn with our local kernels, and have some watermelon jam on crackers for dessert... you should be jealous haha.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Stretch

This WILL be a good Monday. I insist! I started with a little running around, and errands but the rest of my morning has been surprisingly relaxing. I had a spectacular breakfast of nonfat greek yogurt, fresh honey and a dash of cinnamon... I may even have it again for lunch haha. Then I started the 21 day yoga challenge, at the recommendation of my good friend Sara. For anyone who had a resolution of getting fit, trying or continuing yoga, I would HIGHLY recommend this. I started with the intermediate and this mornings sequence felt REALLY good. It was only about 15 minutes long, and something that is easy to accomplish during the day. I'm hoping to get into a schedule of completing it in the morning before breakfast.  


If you decide to give it a try let me know, I would love to hear what you think! Now I'm going to get ready for my first night back at work, can't wait to see my students!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Highlights

I admit that I'm a little late on this, but at least it's still January? Obviously I've already done a recap of our year, but I thought it would be fun to make a few lists of highlights and favorites from the past year... this is mostly for us to have something to look back on in another year, so I'm sorry for bombarding you with 2011 nostalgia.

Top Moments of 2011

  • Both of us starting new jobs! 
  • Buying a second car
  • Celebrating our first anniversary
  • Going back to Philadelphia for the first time since we left
  • All the awesome weddings that happened and babies that were born!

Favorite New Restaurants
  • Burger Up
  • Mas Tacos, Por Favor
  • Eastland Cafe
  • Mitchell Delicatessen
  • Grilled Cheeserie

Favorite Albums
  • Adele: 21
  • Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More
  • Ryan Adams: Ashes & Fire
  • Florence and the Machine: Ceremonials
  • Iron and Wine: Kiss Each Other Clean

Top Movies We Saw
  • Moneyball
  • Midnight In Paris
  • The Help
  • Bridesmaids
  • Crazy Stupid Love
  • The Muppets
  • No Strings Attached
  • Love and Other Drugs
  • Larry Crowne
  • Black Swan

Favorite TV Shows
  • Parenthood
  • New Girl
  • Modern Family
  • Parks and Recreation

Favorite Food Network Shows because that warrants its own category haha
  • The Great Food Truck Race
  • Next Iron Chef
  • Worst Cooks in America
  • Chopped Allstars

Best Trips We Took
  • Philadelphia!
  • Thanksgiving and Mom's wedding in Georgia
  • Summer and Winter in Florida
  • Lake Junaluska
  • NYC in January
  • Day trips with visitors: Mammoth Cave, Lynchburg, Lexington

Most Disappointing But Made the Most of it Trip
  • Bald Head Island (thanks Hurricane Irene, womp)

Favorite Pictures of Us excuse our narcissism









Now in 20 years we can look back at how fun and young we used to be. Here's creating many more highlight worthy memories in 2012!