Sunday, December 30, 2012

Apple and Goat Cheese Sandwich

It's been awhile since I've posted a recipe, but I have a few on the horizon now. First, I have to share my new favorite sandwich!  Some protein, some carb, some fruit - what's not to love? : )

You'll need:
One gala or fuji apple
goat cheese
2 slices of sourdough bread

Core and slice apple. Set aside.

Lightly butter both sides of two slices of sourdough bread.

Grill bread on a skillet until very lightly golden brown on both sides.

Layer one piece of bread with a scoop of goat cheese crumbles and some apple slices.  Add second layer of bread on top.  Flip sandwich a couple of times on the skillet (you might lower the heat so the bread doesn't get too brown) so that the goat cheese and apple cook a bit. 

Serve with remaining apple slices on the side.

last gasp of Christmas

Like I mentioned earlier, I didn't really take many Christmas photos this year. Let's just say that my little camera doesn't exactly inspire one to try and capture the moment.  Here are two I did take though, which I want to post to commerorate the season. : )

Miss Paige, Christmas morning.  God Bless her. She waited to come downstairs until after I had walked Cooper and gone to Starbucks (!)  Her kindle ("Kindle Fire HD" - as she likes to refer to it) was waiting under the tree in a quiet manner.  We let P run the show, starting with her stocking, just waiting for her to notice her new device. Finally, she did. Here she is, reading the note from Santa (attached). She is thrilled with it!

Cooper, and his mini companion. Since getting Cooper, Paige has taken to collecting pugs. My mom got her 'Christmas Pug' at a winery.  Cooper is not at all jealous of Christmas Pug, although he did try to sit on him once. Incidentally, Cooper received a new antler and new bed for Christmas. He, too, is thrilled!

Onward with the new year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thinking about 2013....

What are your resolutions for 2013? I'm dying to know!
Merriest Photo Grid Christmas Card
Customize your Christmas cards this season at
View the entire collection of cards.
I could not figure out this year how to get shutterfly to let me upload my card to a viewable size, and without all of the other clutter, so here it is, in all of its non-glory. I do love this card!

We had a wonderful holiday; non-stop fun from Friday to Tuesday, with parties, visiting family, caroling, opening gifts, playing games, watching movies and lots of other fun stuff.  I took hardly any pictures and instead tried to just enjoy the moment.

In other news, Cooper is celebrating his 6 month anniversary with us (his forever family) today, and I am hibernating a bit.  It's good to be home!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dizzy December

I'm finally making time to post!  We are running a bit ragged over here.  I've had some extra work demands - which have been both frustrating and enlightening. Ed has been sick. And of course I'm trying to keep with all of my favorite holiday traditions. It's made for some tightly packed days.

A bright spot - with Miss P at school with me, we do spend a lot of time together.  And I have the photographic evidence to prove it! 

All of the kids receive an award sometime throughout the year for an area of achievement.  Each year, P has received hers for reading.  She is a reader like her mom. The other day we took a special trip to the Scholastic Warehouse and found some treasures, including a sought after Alie Finkle book for her.  Then tonight, she was reading this with me (the beginning).
Paige is getting another award tomorrow for overall hard work and perfect attendance. I'm so happy because she is one of those easygoing kids who tends to just blend in.

Speaking of standing out, last weekend, we saw the sweetest performance of The Nutcracker, featuring an adorable little friend.

Paige and future prom date.  Don't they just go together?

We checked 'make a gingerbread house' off our holiday list. We've lost count of all the holiday movies we've watched during weekend crafterganzas. 

Back to school biz, I took a day off of work to chaperone P's class field trip to 'A Christmas Carol.' After constant kinder, 3rd graders are such a joy. Tip: if you are going to chaperone a field trip - do a play! Today and tomorrow I'm scooting over to help them make holiday cards as soon as I can shuffle my group out the door.

On the agenda this weekend are holiday get-togethers, baking, and card mailing.  How is your month going?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

One jam packed weekend...

The secret to getting it all done....a cup of coffee at 4 p.m.!

Let me back up. It's been a busy but awesome holiday weekend. It's the time of year when I have to be uber organized in order to get it all done. I'm sure you know the feeling.

It started off with a very fun and mellow family night on Friday at our neighborhood pizza joint. One of those places where you have to strategize to get a table.  Ed was excited to see the Pac-10 championship, Paige was excited to have dad i-phone time. I was excited to have a glass of wine and no kitchen duty.

Saturday morning, Miss P was up early for our mother/daughter December 1st ornament shopping date. She had her heart set on finding the cutest pug-themed dog ornament ever.
We headed out early to the mall, but no ornament found. We did enjoy a few fun new stores, and lots of sales.  Next, we hit our downtown neighborhood where the coveted dog ornament was victoriously procured. Finally it was off to Micheal's to get materials for Paige's pinnacle of the holiday season - her advent calendar.

No, it isn't a calendar of chocolates, like most normal people.  I search high and low for inexpensive goodies that she actually needs (like leggings from Old Navy on sale for $3 on Black Friday) and those get packaged up. 

The pattern goes like this: day #1 gift, day 2 'a clue' for gift #2. So on the odd days she gets a gift (12 total) and on the even days a rhyming clue for the next gift. This took me, oh, a few hours in Santa's workshop, with accompanying holiday movies. 

A few more decorations.

Today I actually returned to the mall with my bf : ) for a girls shopping trip - something I rarely do, but we are trying to make more friend time. It was a blast, with lots of chatting and sharing.  I got to do some grown-up shopping and scored a sweater, top and scarf at Banana. More great sales! It will be nice to have a few more decent pieces in my sadly lacking wardrobe.

Afterward, we got our younger set together for lunch and a playdate. They love each other, which we of course love. 

Once our friends left it was back to work! That's where the cup of coffee came in. Multiple hour work project - done. Dog walk - done. Laundry - done. Dinner - done. 

Blogging - done. : )

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

(our Fall mantel)

Greetings from Thanksgiving day!  We are enjoying a wonderful lazy holiday at home! A nice walk this morning along the city's turkey trot route, coffee, donuts and the parade, a nap, and playing with Cooper have all been on the 'schedule.'

Later we are enjoying a very simple and small dinner: herb roasted turkey, yummy broccoli salad (full of goodies), and crescent rolls.  For dessert - mini pumpkin cheesecakes!  Paige and I tried one earlier as it's the first time we've made them.  Delicious!

Ed is watching his beloved Redskins, and I've got a craft planned and a book to read. Games and a movie are on the agenda for after dinner.  Hope you too are having a wonderful day!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hard to believe this is my first November post.  I've been so busy with work (blah, blah, blah) that it's been tough to just take a moment to really experience each day.  With Thanksgiving break coming
up, I'm hoping to have some time to take a deep breath, look around, and enjoy life.

One thing I did enjoy doing yesterday was my first round of holiday shopping!  Last year, I started a dangerous tradition. An advent calendar for Miss P, that included - not a daily chocolate - but a small gift.  A few times the gift was a note that talked about something fun we'd do, and many of the items were quite small, but still - we are talking 24 gifts!  This post shows what last year's display looked like.

What I may do this year, is only do 8 or 12 actual gifts, with wrapped 'clues' and riddles in between. 
Here's a sampling of the loot.

Books are always a big item. I'm excited to start this series with her!

She's been wanting some boots and I found these at Target. One of my student's has these and they look so cute on her.  With shoes it's hard to tell if they'll work for the recipient, but I like to do slightly unexpected gifts. More fun!

Another boook! This author is awesome, and this particular theme is timely.

Can't go wrong with this movie. Found it on sale.
Finally, I got several pairs of leggings that were on sale, and then also buy one get one 50%.  Old Navy has the best sales.  I checked some of Paige's tags, and realized that my 8 year old had a pair of size 5 yoga pants she was still wearing, as well as a few 6x leggings. In fact, I don't think any were the right size. Now, she is petite, but the size fives were ridiculous and had become capris. She also had a lot of 6-7 shirts that were snug-ish. This helps me not feel so guilty about buying all these things. About half of them were needed purchases.

Off to church. More to come soon. Hugs!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Just hanging around

I don't want to let another day go by without posting, so allow me to do a quick photo dump. Hmmm...dump sounds so unappealing. Let's say photo party.

Here is Miss P and friends at our Halloween-turned-Giants-baseball World-Series party.  My friend Lorrie created not only a delicious dinner but a 'donut on a rope,' game too. Paige reported that it is much harder than it looks!
At the Halloween school carnival with a gal pal. Yes, she is dressed as our dog Cooper. This year, for the first time ever, she ran around with her girlfriends and had no interest in a momerone (mom+chaperone).  I should have stayed working at the bake sale booth! Bad news: my car was rear ended again, on the way home from the event. Ruh-roh.  No fun. I'll spare you those pictures.

P's tribute to Cooper, haiku style, at school art event.
Despite some rain last week, the warm weather is holding on! I continue to work my tail off and have been jonesing for weekends full of nothing. Just playing games, reading, taking lazy walks with Cooper (and catching butterflies), movies, puttering in the kitchen, and just sitting around and talking.

More on our exciting downtime events soon...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Craft time

We continue to bring on Fall, and I continued today to enjoy s-l-o-w-i-n-g down. (Although Ed would beg to differ that I actually slowed down enough). Exhibit A: Miss P and I made not one but two crafts. 

Craft 1: Have you seen this paper bag pumpkin? There are many variations on it. To make it you'll need:
lunch sack sized paper bag
orange paint
green paint
old newspaper
some kind of raffia string, preferably green
brown construction paper
glue stick
rectangular tissue box (optional)

To start, cover your work area with newspaper.  Stand up your paper sack, this is where you may want to insert a tissue box or other rectangular object to help your bag stand up.  Paint entire outside of your bag orange. Let dry.

Roll over the top of your bag (so about two inches of inside is now outside) and paint the cuff that forms green. Wait for this to dry.

Insert balled up newspaper into the bag to puff/round it out.  Then tie with raffia. My raffia was more brown, so I just snipped off the ends so you couldn't see it.

Finally, cut a strip of brown construction paper and roll it up like a tube. Use a little glue stick to help the tube keep its shape.  Stick into the top of the pumpkin. Voila!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I have found little pieces of heaven this weekend. 

You know how sometimes it takes being sick, to slow down.  That's been me.  Work has been chock-full in both an exhilerating, but also stressful (mostly) kind of way.  Lately, I have felt like a reading robot - so much of my existence is working on teaching kids how to read, and improving my practice on teaching kids how to read.  I am reading Gretchen Rubin's Happier at Home, and there is a couple of lines in the book I relate to: 'I always have the feeling that I should be working. I always feel pressed for time, as if someone were shoving a pistol in my back and muttering, 'Move, move, move!' Doesn't that sound  awful? But I have uttered almost that exact quoute to Ed. (Except instead of the pistol, I feel like someone is throwing rocks at me, or kicking me.)  Again, sad, right? 

But back to the bits of Heaven....we have a Monday off, so it is a three day weekend.  Friday night, Miss P and Ed watched a Halloween movie on ABC Family or Disney, and I finally finished 'Where we Belong,' by Emily Griffin, just in time to take it back to the library.  Then, yesterday was a semi-lounging kind of day, with some work built into it (on my classroom and reading practices of course). Paige is such a doll, she came along with me and helped without complaint.  Afterward we treated ourselves to Halloween/S.F. Giants themed pedicures. P loved it! She is a pamering kind of girl.  By last night the fatigue of my brewing cold set in. 

Today, I took advantage of my semi-sick state, and Ed's double header date (Redskins 1:00, Giants 5:00), to take the morning off. Sort of.  Was up with the dog at 7:00, but then back on the couch, reading and sleeping intermittently until 10:30.  So often I want to read, but it keeps getting put off.  Ed did the church routine and errands with Miss Paige, while I read, read, read, walked Coopy, and just had quiet time.  I have not thought about work at all!

Besides reading Happier at Home, I'm also reading Raising Happiness by Christine Carter, and had the pleasure of hearing her speak with some girlfriends last Wednesday.  I'm loving the concepts of mindfulness, gratitude, and using them to focus on happiness in the midst of the busy everday.  I'll share more thoughts and ideas on this soon.  A blog that I love Enjoying the Small Things, also embodies this idea. Kind of like Life is What You Make it, right?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Halloween is alive and well...

at our house! Miss P and I were definitely due for some mother daughter bonding. So this, our first October weekend, became Halloween-palooza #1 of 2012.
Paige's favorite activity was playing Haunted Hotel.  Got a good tip from my latest Parents magazine about playing with your kids.  An improv expert suggests saying and/or doing something unexpected or wacky to liven things up (for yourself.)  So this mask has been making appearances.
We also cleaned and decorated. We had debates over scary scary, or happy harvest themes. 

And we made these Chocolate Chip Ghosties! How long has it been since I posted a recipe on the blog?!!

Here it is:

Chocolate Chip Ghosties
ingredients -
1 roll refigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 container white ready to spread frosting
candy eyes

Heat oven to 350.
Knead cookie dough and flour in a bowl until well mixed

Roll out dough onto a floured surface.
Cut out cookies with ghost cookie cutters and place on an ungreased cookie sheet

Bake 10-12 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned

Cool, then spread layer of frosting over each cookie. Finally, add the candy eyes.  I definitely prefer them to last year's Ghostie.

Have you started Halloween-ing?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

San Diego!

Just got back from a whirlwind San Diego trip for Ed's 40th.  We stayed at the Hard Rock, and felt like we were in Vegas. Lots of socializing, pool time (it was hot), good food, and sports related adventures. I am more of a low-key girl, so I had to rally to keep up. You know, I am most comfortable sitting on the floor playing with my daughter and my dog.  But I guess a little glamour (if you call touring husband's old fraternity house glamour) helps break life up a bit! :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Cooper gets his 'literacy' on.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy Fall!

Still crazed at work. However, finding perspective. Have you ever had a time your in life where there was such a significant/upsetting challenge looming over you, that you wished your biggest problem was an everyday one, like work stress? I have. And as I remind myself of this, I am comforted!

Saturday was a great day to experience some balance. On the first day of Fall, we joined two other families and headed to Bob's Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay to kick off the season. Of course, I started the day with a Starbucks pumpkin scone. We left with a wheelbarrow full of pumpkins for $20!

Lots of places to play and picture taking opportunites abounded. Not pictured are the several haystack mountains to the left and right.
Per tradition, after the patch we all headed to the beach for some more play time. Love how soothing the beach is. 

Today I've enjoyed some puttering home time. So needed. Now I'm back in action! : )

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mom down

Fridays lately have been kicking my behind. 
Transitioning my 30 kinders to full day and boot camping into rituals, routines and all the curricululum....and trying to do an awesome voice is done.

And teaching+momming has temporarily worn me down, Friday being one of the more challenging days. Here's an example schedule:

1. Once we are up and ready, Paige, Cooper and I make our first stop of the day at Starbucks, getting drinks for me and my friend S.

2. Stop 2 is at S's house, where Cooper has a Friday playdate with S's dog. 

3. School/work.

4. Teach from 8:20 - 2:10, with one 30ish minute break.

5. After school, collect P and friend(s), they hang out and play in my classroom, while I wrap things up. If I don't finish in time, stuff goes home (who am I kidding, something always goes home), and possibly return over the weekend.  

6. Pack up girls in the car and head to p/u Cooper. Transition girls/Cooper from friends' house to home. School is a good 20 minutes away.

7. Set up girls' snack and oversee playdate , clean up, etc.

8. Take friend(s) home. Another 20-30 minutes back.

9. (optional)Additional stop that comes up, some errand that has to be done right then - last night it was a trip to Grandma's house.

Now, I know for my friends out there with multiple kids, at multiple schools and sports and activities, this doesn't sound too bad. But for me, I am a mom done.  It doesn't help that P and E drive me crazy, by chatting and lingering at each spot, when all I want to do is go home and collapse on the couch with House Hunters.

Today, though, I've been given a treat. A break. A day off. I've packed up  E and Miss P and sent them to the Stanford/USC game with friends. I am doing the following:

1. blogging

2. going for a walk/run with Mr. Cooper.

3. shopping for tonight's party.

4. reading at home outside.

5. showering and getting ready for girlfriend's party.

6. pre-party with friends?

7. 7:00 p.m. - party time. Theme is 'Favorite things.' Bring your favorite $25 item for a yankee swap! 

The universe must have known what I needed. I wish you a break this weekend as well! Hope to back soon with some Fall inspiration....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

recent ramblings

This is one of those times where I have a lot to say, and a little to say. So I figured I'd just start writing.

-My creative self has been loving work; planning interesting lessons and providing new experiences for my students. I also have no shortage of crazy stories! However I have little time for anything else...

-I have managed to finish a couple of books though in the last week. How? Oh yeah, there is nothing on T.V.* I've become quite the intellectual lately, reading every evening in front of the fireplace with my smoking jacket. 

*except for The Real Housewives.

-Along with higher academic standards, third grade brings P.E. and a mile run requirement. First time out, my daughter was that girl who walked and complained her chest hurt. We have now started a run-at-home regiment. (See above photo). I may or may not have initially overreacted, calling myself an irresponsible mother and threatening to take away sedentary activities.

-One of my girlfriends just told me she had an almost identical discussion with her same age son, also kick-starting a home boot camp. His claim - running made his leg hurt.

-For the past couple of years, I've been crazy for lemon bars, and I've now added key lime pie to my list of favorite desserts. I've been indulging a few times a week. Yikes!

So basically, I'm teaching like crazy, and then reading and eating pie. Oh, and 'expanding' Miss P's horizons. What are you up to?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Family Photo Party

Holiday family photo outfit

I'm so excited to link up to the fun happening over at I pick pretty and 4ever29! See button below.

These ladies are hosting a fashion party of sorts...asking readers to brainstorm and share outfits 'suit'able (ha ha) for different occasions. This is just the kind of light diversion I need at Back to School time!
This week's challenge is the lovely family photo shoot.  One of my favorite things each December is opening the mail and oohing and ahhing over all the beautiful and fun cards.  In fact, my main regret over having just one child is that I can't show off feature multiple cuties in matching dresses.  (My collage above shows two little girl outfits because I couldn't decide on just one!)
Shucks, I guess I should have also included the latest in doggie couture for Cooper. 
I am big into denim, so as you can see, I chose to go with cream and denim, with splashes of red for a little holiday cheer. Tune in next week for 'Girls Night Out' wear!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Simple pleasures

Solo trip to Target...

Chicken tortilla soup simmering on the stove...key lime pie for dessert...
an extra day off night with the husband...

and three, count 'em, three new release books from the library in my hot little hands!  What to read first?? What a night!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Goodbye August

Hi Blog world! It's been awhile.  In the last two weeks, I've been busy meeting, greeting and training my 30 kindergarten students, celebrating Miss P's actual 8th birthday and sending her off to third grade. The top right corner photo is her newly decorated writer's notebook.  Upper Grader!

The school year started with the usual drama. Miss P was switched to a new class just before the first day, and even into week two, the kindergarteners were shuffled between classrooms and schools to make sure each room had 30, and an even distribution of girls and boys. Sheesh! Luckily, I have darling families, and I finally feel like I've got a grip on things.

P's birthday included a trip to her favorite - Build-a-Bear - dinner with family, and a busy weekend of hitting friends' birthday parties. August is a birthday bonanza month around here! Tomorrow is Ed's grandma's birthday. 

Otherwise, I've been spending my precious downtime devouring Gone Girl. Have you read it?  

It's Friday afternoon and as Paige's playdate wears down, I'm looking forward to a weekend that includes some fun and relaxation! I hope you have a good one too... 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Daughter Day!

After a stressful week re-entering work life, Paige and I had a much needed Mother/Daughter Day! 

This girl and I love each other so much.  A few weeks ago we were walking Cooper before bedtime and she was talking about her dream house. This led to a conversation about her growing up and leaving us someday.  Tears followed (from her, not me!) P said she never wanted to leave us, and that if she did, she would have to live next door.  I told her I was all for it!

Back to our fun day, we hit Barnes and Noble first, and I splurged on some stuff for school and a few magazines.  Paige got a new book that's been on her list. I told her, no more new books until you finish what you already have! Like mother, like daughter. : )

We had a delicious lunch at CPK, their menu has expanded with some yummy new items. We, however, got our standard favorites.

Strangely, the stores we went to seem to be in a really in-between stage: not a lot of inventory, half Summer, and a little Fall. Aren't the back to school wardrobes usually ready to go by July?  (Perhaps Old Navy isn't the best example?) : )  The plan was just to get one outfit for the first day and return in few weeks/month to really stock up.  Instead we got four cute tops. Three out of the four have dogs on them. We did not get the sparkly $40 crewcuts purse above that Paige was longing for. 

Today a run (for me), grocery shopping, a possible matinee, and a pool playdate are on the list. Are we trying to fit every last ounce of summer? Yes!