Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Cookie Tradition

Do you remember last year when I vowed to start a Christmas cookie tradition? [Read all about our Christmas traditions here].  My goal is to try making a new Christmas cookie each year.

I'm thrilled I squeezed in some cookie-making time because the 3 weeks leading up to Christmas were very busy. Now, these were very simple, but I needed simple among the craziness. So this year I made Rolo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies.

oh, and please don't mind the minor date mistake. Guess I was so excited for the upcoming year, it should say 2012.

These were great, just follow your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and wrap the dough around a rolo. After you roll the dough around the rolo, place the cookie sheet into the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. It prevents the caramel from oozing out.

I also like to incorporate the wrapping paper we used that year. This year I used the wrapping paper on the name tag and last year the wrapping paper was the back drop.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

i can't believe it....i met the peterskis

I'm really excited for two reasons.

#1 I met my favorite bloggers.
#2 It proved yet again how sweet my husband is for waiting with me for 3 hours to meet them. Oh, and I should mention we had to wait outside in the cold.

Last Wednesday we went into Georgetown to meet Young House Love. We actually got there around 4pm and did some shopping and grabbed dinner since the event did not start until 6:30. I've been following them on their book tour so I should have known there was going to be a line. I anticipated a line actually, but not one 2 blocks long.

They were giving away free homemade cookies and hot cider and we made some friends while waiting in line, but three hours is still three hours. We were so excited to finally get inside. Inside they were handing out wine and popcorn. 
We still had to wait in line as we headed upstairs. But at last we finally saw them!

When we got up to meet them, I pretty much just stammered over my words and sounded like a complete fool. They were so kind and energetic even after talking to their fans for over 3 hours.  My photo with them turned out awful (they looked great, but me not so much), so you can just imagine me standing there with them. It was quite the adventure and I'm glad we went.

p.s. I'm still waiting on there book to come as it was sold out everywhere, even on Amazon. Looks like it should finally arrive next week.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November Recap

After a full month of friends and family (we have been gone every weekend), I'm so thankful we live close to the ones we love. Yes, it made for quite the hectic month, but it was well worth it all.

Weekend by weekend, here's what we did.

November 3-4
We went home to Pennsylvania to celebrate Donna's (JD's mom) 60th Birthday. It was really a joint party for Donna, Scott, and JD but turning 60 seems to outweigh turning 28 and 35.

November 10-11
We drove back to Pennsylvania, but this time to West Chester for a college reunion. Love that gang. Walking on campus made us feel old once we realized we graduated almost 6 years ago. As much as I miss my roommates, I miss that city too.  We celebrated Vicki's new baby bump and got an update on the Kang's new food truck business.

November 17-18
We spent the weekend in National Harbor, Maryland celebrating JD's birthday. Everything was a surprise and revealed through a series of 3 poems; the final clue resulting in two surprise visitors, his dad and Audrey. I didn't take a lot of photos but here are a few.

November 24-25
Thanksgiving!! We got to soak in quality time with both families and eat a lot of great food.

Now... there's 4 weeks until Christmas. There's shopping to be done, papers to grade, projects to complete, and Christmas Cheer to be had! Hoping for December to go a bit slower.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Office Sneak Peek

Remember back in the summer when I was on a mission to transform our office (read that post here)? Well I got about 60% done and then school started.  We are hosting our first house guest this week so it got us back in business. JD went through a lot of boxes and reorganized the closet to accommodate a lot more storage. We are almost done. Just need to a few things. So here is a sneak peak.

Hopefully I'll be back with the whole reveal by the end of the week. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012


A post all about changes.

Let's start with the prettiest. Today I took a stroll outside and snapped some pics of the fall foliage. 

Next, our side table. I originally wrote about it here, back when my photography skills were awful.  I created this side table with my dad. For some reason it didn't quite feel right. I wasn't sure if it was the shininess, shape, or color. So, one day I took it outside and sanded it down. It now has more of an earthy feel and I love it. Nothing a little sand paper couldn't fix.


2nd, my world map art. I also wrote about this here, filled with more photos in terrible lighting. I bought a custom frame for it, but hated the color. For awhile I had it up without a frame, but then decided it looked bare. So, I painted the frame with some extra paint I had leftover from our douglas duo sign.
Here it is now...(it's been like this for months now)
Then, I sanded it down to expose some of the darker color.

4th, I dyed my hair...dark. I went this dark to help with maintenance because it fades so quickly and I needed dark hair for my Halloween costume, just kidding I just wanted a change for fall.
Just call me Katie Perry...kidding again.

5th, a small paint makeover. I had this piece of wood left over from making our side table. I was going to throw it away, but JD actually inspired this makeover. 

After: A coffee table tray.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Meet Triple B

JD and I are beyond excited to have another nephew. Meet triple B, Brady Bryn Black .

After an emergency delivery, he spent 2 days in the NICU. But now, mom and baby are doing great and are settling in at home. Becca is a true champ.

We are now an aunt and uncle to 2 nephews and 4 nieces. We love them all. Someday....we'll give them a cousin ;)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

the battle continues....a new migraine approach

For those of you who know me or have been reading for awhile know I'm a migraine patient. When I first saw my neurologist in 2008, I didn't quite realize what that meant. He told me to treat any pain above the neck as a migraine. He told me life as a migraine patient was not easy but was hopeful we could treat them.  At that time my migraines were more of monthly occurrence. A minor bump in the road but life went on. I got this, no big deal.

Now, four years later, "migraine patient" has a new ring. In 2011 my migraines became a weekly thing. I believe stress plays a big factor among other things. Cancelled plans were frequent, we'd take advantage of days I "felt good" because tomorrow I might be sick. A few times we'd drive to the grocery store and by the time we got there, I was so sick we'd turn around and head back home. I'm not saying this in search of pity, I'm just simply explaining what life is like. Before I go on, I must say I am beyond thankful to have a such an understanding husband who takes care of me, prays over me, and understands how I feel. Without him, this struggle would be ten times worse. If you know JD, he oozes with compassion, unlike myself.

 My mom always encouraged me to fight back and not to give in to these life-suckers. So, in times when I just want to cry and give up (which happens a lot), I use my time to research, experiment, and see what works. I tried gluten free for 3 months and didn't see much of an improvement.

After talking to a few acquaintances, I decided to see a naturopathic doctor. Nothing against my neurologist (who I still see), just adding something new to the mix. After a long appointment, I left feeling energized and again hopeful for a new direction. In short, I'm trying to get as healthy as possible through a combination of diet and supplements.

Through more research, I stumbled upon Kris Carr. Maybe you'd heard of her? She was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in 2003 and has completely changed her diet and is alive and doing better than ever. You should listen to her story. It's inspiring if nothing else. So, now I'm juicing. She swears by her green juice.

So, that's where I am on this crazy journey. I'll see how I feel within the next 2 months.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mexican Casserole

I'm back with another recipe. Wow...three blog posts in three days. I'm on a roll.

We love casserole dishes during the week. They're usually pretty quick to make and always last for two meals. I've been on a Mexican kick lately. We made this dish the same week me made the Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup because they both used some of the same ingredients. We used the same package of tortillas, chicken, and corn bread for both meals. Double success.
The photograph didn't come out so great and it looks a bit like slop but it was quite tasty. I adapted this recipe  from After reading a lot of the comments, I sauteed an onion in garlic, then added the chicken. I didn't add any water and didn't drain the corn. I added about 3/4 cup of salsa instead of 1/4 cup and I didn't add the tortillas because I wanted them to be crispy and just served them on the side. And by served I mean to myself and JD. ha.

I'm not a fan of the boxed corn bread and made this recipe instead and it was very good.

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup

I've got a few new recipes to share.

First up, Chicken Tortilla Soup from The only thing I did differently was add some corn. We made this last night and it was flavorful and super healthy. The best part was the homemade tortilla chips. Have you even made them? They are soooo good and so easy to make. JD and I both preferred these over the store bought kind any day. We had left over corn bread that we made from another meal and it was a great addition.
I often refer to my own blog when looking for a recipe I previously made that I want to make again. I realized it was hard to find what I was looking for so to help myself (and you) I organized all my recipes. Click on the recipe picture on the right side bar and everything is sorted into category.

Are you ready for fall? This soup got me excited for cooler weather, sweaters, and boots.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

a new school year

Some of you may have saw the picture I posted on facebook, but I wanted to document a new school year here on the blog too. This is the start of my 5th year teaching and every year except one, I have moved classrooms.

This year I moved into a brand new portable. It's much cleaner, brighter, but also smaller. It looks pretty spacious now, but this week with 29 kids, there wasn't much room to spare.
i have since gotten a new longer white board that extends all the way to the all stars bulletin board

back of the classroom

It all came together literally 30 minutes before the students came for open house when the final repairs were being done. My portable got broken into and vandalized over the summer. Paint was splattered all over the front wall and the window was broken, but everything was replaced just. in. time. Looking forward to a new year and wishing the same to all my teacher friends!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

summer's end + mississippi trip

Summer's over but I really can't complain because it's been a very productive 2.5 months. Let's talk about my summer bucket list for a moment. Here is the updated version. Please enjoy my color coded key outlining what I accomplished, areas in which I made progress, and things I just didn't get to.

Things to note...I'm about 70% done in the office so look for an update soon, I ventured into the card making business hobby, which I really enjoyed, and loved every minute spent sleeping in and relaxing by the pool. The life of leisure has come to an end. 

 On another note...I never got to share pictures from our Mississippi/New Orleans trip. We went down to the coast for a Douglas family reunion and had a blast. The humidity on the other hand fogged up our glasses and camera lens (as you can see in the first picture) as soon as we stepped outside.

It was great to meet so many distant family members and learn about our Douglas roots.