Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Your Mayonnaise Questions Answered

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my mayo issues. Some of you had questions about this issue. I wanted to take a moment to answer those…

Hula Hank wondered if I should have “mayo submersion therapy”. To that, I say “Blech!”

Teacher Tom asked, “Do you like Miracle Whip? Tartar Sauce? Ranch? Or does your dislike apply to all creamy condiments?” To me Miracle Whip and Mayo are the same thing, so that’s a no to miracle whip. I do not like Tartar Sauce or Ranch dressing. Neither have the effect on me like mayo, but they are still pretty gross. White condiments are a bit of a problem for me except for one…blue cheese dressing. I love that stuff.

g asked, “Have you ever tried REAL homemade mayo? You could call it something else. Or is that even grosser?” Yah, that’s pretty gross. I know it’s just eggs and oil, but, ugh, even thinking about making my own mayo made me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

Kelly wondered about “mustard!?!?” I can do honey mustard sometimes. I don’t like regular yellow mustard. I’m a ketchup girl.

If you like mayo, you don’t know the problems that I encounter at catered lunches (which I often attend at school functions). I always find myself asking this question in a whiney voice, “Why can’t they just leave the mayo off the sandwiches. You can always add it, but you can’t take it off.” And then I pout. Sometimes these lunches are like a mayonnaise party. I don’t like those kind of parties.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Writer’s Workshop #8 – Halloween

This week’s WW topics are all about Halloween. If Mama Kat was going to grade this post, I would be marked down because it’s not really on any of her topics, but it is about Halloween costumes.

My costumes, throughout the years, haven’t been anything too exciting. I don’t even remember all of them. I think once I was a kitty cat, and then there were several years of those plastic costumes with the mask secured with a rubber band. Most of the time the rubber band broke before even getting the chance to trick-or-treat.

Then there were the high school years. I was so very original when I dressed as a baby four years in a row. Sweats, hair in pig tails, and a bottle with my favorite beverage, why not four years in a row?

College wasn’t much different. I wasn’t a baby, but a Kings’ fan for those four years. I wore my Kelly Hrudey jersey, my Kings’ hat, a pair of jeans, and wrote on my face. How easy was that?

College 01

Today my team and I were talking about dressing up for school on Friday. Ideas were thrown around like pirates or witches, and then I said, “Let’s dress as something so we can wear our pajamas to school.” They loved it. We’re going to go as tired teachers! Flannel PJs, messy hair, and slippers; what a nice way to dress on a Friday.

So, no, I’m not very creative with my Halloween costumes, but I sure am comfortable.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts Big

  • In celebration of a friend's birthday a group of about 10 of us climbed into a limo for a night filled with drinking pink martinis and singing our hearts out. We had a good time last night, but today I’m feeling it. I spent the morning with “pink” sloshing around in my belly and the rest of the day with a sore neck from crazy dancing. When did I get so old?
  • This past January I signed up for facebook with the urging of my friend Jill. The whole thought of it “weirded” me out a little bit. Everyone said how great it was to hook up with people from the past that you’ve lost touch with, but the few people that I was hoping to reconnect with weren’t signed up. That was until recently. A couple of months ago, one of my very dear friends growing up who I had lost touch with, due to moving cross country and out of the country and parents moving away from our points of contact, became a facebook member. Shawna and I reconnected on Facebook and she’s living in the Los Angeles area. We met up for lunch this afternoon and had a great time catching up. I still go back and forth on the whole facebook thing, but I’m so happy that we have become friends again.
  • I am so addicted to my new Victoria’s Secret bras. When they came out a few months ago I bought 4 of them. Just this week they came out with new winter colors! They are so pretty. I just bought 5 more. I love them!
  • I’m hoping that my crazy, crazy, crazy class is starting to come together. Last Thursday and Friday were the first two days since the school year started that I didn’t want to throw one (or more) of them over my classroom’s 2nd story balcony. Two whole days in a row – that is progress.
  • The new season of So You Think You Can Dance starts this week. I'm so excited! It's one of my favorite shows.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Writer’s Workshop #7 – Poetry

This is a poem I wrote a few years back shortly after my dad died. It’s “me” in a nut shell.

Random Autobiography

I was born in September.
I always hated that!
Always the youngest, the last to be 16, 18 and 21.
With blonde hair and blue eyes I’ve been told I look like my Dad by some and my mom by others.

Wanting to keep me safe on a weekend camping trip my parents tied two inner tubes together and set me inside. By Sunday morning I knew how to walk. I learned to ride horses shortly after.

Spending hours at the barn taking care of my horse, never wanting to go home. I slammed my finger in the front door while running outside to show my Dad how I could ride my bike and I broke my left arm in two places roller skating backwards at the Skatin’ Place. But I never injured myself riding horses.

My family has driven to Arkansas, twice, on family vacations and I have stood in both Texas and Arkansas at the same time. I think that is where I learned the art of eye rolling.

We went to the Grand Canyon and after looking over the edge, we turned around and left after hearing the news that the Colorado River was flooding. I’ve shoveled sand into sandbags to keep it from flooding a friend’s home.

As a 4th grader, I watched my teacher have a nervous breakdown over a bad boy who I thought was cute (which, turns out, is a pattern for me) and nearly had a nervous breakdown of my own when my Dad was my math teacher in 6th grade. I watched the Challenger blow apart in mid air on television in junior high science class and baby mice being born in 10th grade biology.

At 17, I moved from California to the New Hampshire seacoast to attend college and ended up staying on the East Coast until I was 25; also living in Providence and Boston.

My car was buried for a week under 4 feet of snow in an April Fool’s Day storm.

And I have sat in obstructed view seats watching the Bruins at the “real” Boston Garden – totally worth it.

I’ve eaten the best ever Italian food alongside mobsters on Federal Hill in Rhode Island, sipping limoncello as an after dinner drink.

I’ve kayaked on Keleakua Bay in Hawaii with spinner dolphins and snorkeled with sea turtles.

I spent a summer traveling around Ireland. “Gotta do 10 or do it again,” was our motto when pubbing in Dublin. We did it again even after doing ten.

I’ve cruised the South of France and long to go back to London’s busy city streets. Africa was a trip of a lifetime and driving around Italy for 3 weeks is my definition of heaven. I carry a list of the top 50 places I want to travel to around with me. Seven places have been checked off. Someday, I will cross off number 50 and start a new list.

I bought my first home at 28 and have learned to paint with color. There isn’t a white wall in the place. I have killed more hydrangeas than I care to admit, hoping to someday have a thriving (or even surviving) plant or two of them. I love having a backyard to sit in, but the upkeep has become the bane of my existence.

Teaching is my job, but often it feels like my life. I love kids, but not sure if I want any of my own. It might be selfish, but I like my free time too much.

Looking for the man of my dreams I’ve dated mostly nightmares. I’ve never liked the ones who are good for me and have fallen hard for the ones who aren’t.

If music played while life happened (like in the movies) I think the world would be a better place.

My Dad passed away recently. It’s hard. I am sad, but I don’t always have the time to be sad; worrying about my mom. But, this too shall pass. At least I hope so.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tasty Tuesday


This weekend Miss Emily came over for a few hours and we made some cookie bars. I used my usual cookie bar recipe, but we added a new ingredient. Pretzels! A few weeks ago I saw these on Etsy. I love salty things and all of a sudden pretzels with chocolate chip cookies sounded like a fantastic idea!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Pretzels

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt (or less because the pretzels are salty)
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces chocolate chips 1½ cups pretzel sticks, broken into pieces
¼ cup chocolate chips, for topping
¼ cup peanut butter, for topping
¼ cup pretzels, broken, for topping

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter or spray a 9×13 Pyrex dish.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
3. Using a mixer, mix the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs and the vanilla extract. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix. Gently stir in the chocolate chips and broken pretzels.
4. Spread the dough evenly into the greased baking pan. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on top.

5. Remove from the oven and begin to cool.
6. In the microwave, heat peanut butter and chocolate chips in separate bowls. Using a fork, drizzle the melted chocolate and PB over the top of the cookie bars. Sprinkle the broken pretzels on top.

7. Let cool to set up the melted chocolate and peanut butter. Cut into bars. Makes about 32 cookies.

Enjoy! If you like salty and sweet, these will be right up your alley! I recommend Rold Gold Pretzels. They taste better than the generic brands which often taste stale.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday With a Five Year Old

One of my favorite people came to visit yesterday. Emily, my friend Kristen’s daughter, got to spend the day at my house all by herself, without her silly older brothers tagging along.

Emily was quite excited to have some “girl” time.  Her mom called me the night before to tell me that when she picked Emily up from school Friday afternoon Emily asked they were going to “Auntie Kim’s” house right then.  When Kristen told her not until the next day, Emily wanted to know how early she got to come over.  Ahhh, how cute.

Emily arrived at 11:00.  After saying goodbye to her mom and older brother, we got right down to business.  Our first activity was baking.  Emily has quite the sweet tooth and loves to help in the kitchen so I bought everything we needed to make some bar cookies. Emily is a great help in the kitchen.  While I measured, she poured everything into the mixer.  Once the cookie dough was finished, she helped with the clean up (licking the spoon and bowls is my favorite part too).

While the cookies baked in the oven, we went upstairs to the art room for some creating.  Emily loves arts and crafts.  She could draw, color, paint, cut, and glue for hours.  If glitter is involved she can do it even longer.
Em 031

Once the cookies were finished baking, we had to add the toppings.  I drizzled the chocolate and peanut butter on top and Emily added the pretzels.
With the cookies all finished but needing to cool we went back to creating.  Emily made some beautiful artwork including this lovely abstract portrait of me…
When the creations were finished we checked on the cookies to see if they were ready.  They were.  I cut us each a piece and we enjoyed it thoroughly.  
Em 014 About 4 hours later her mom called to see how I was doing.  Emily and I made her family a plate of cookies to take with her when her mom picked her up.  After a fun-filled day, Emily left for home with her mom.  Before she left, she asked if I could save some cookies for her to have the next time she came over.  So I wrapped up a few cookies to put in the freezer, kicked off my shoes, and spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch.  The best part of being an “auntie”…we have a great time together and then she goes back to her own house.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Writer’s Workshop #6 – The Mayo Story

If you cover one eye and squint this is a story about my birth, WW topic #2 (or events leading up to it).


Those of you who know me know that of the many things I dislike, mayonnaise is probably what I dislike most. I have posted about how mayo makes me nauseous. Tasting it, seeing it, smelling it, and even listening to it disgusts me. Blech! This aversion to mayo does not come from a bad experience (however there have been some bad experiences due to this aversion). I was just born with it. Here’s the story…

Both my parents are mayonnaise eaters. Growing up, they put mayo on a lot of food, weird food – sandwiches, avocados, tuna, artichokes, even tacos. You’d think that mayo was in the genes (just like our blue eyes), but clearly it was not.

When my mom was pregnant with me she had morning sickness just once over the 9 months. During the work week, my dad usually made sack lunches for the day while my mom got ready in the morning. One morning however, my mom made the lunches for the day – sandwiches for she and my dad. As she spread the mayo on the bread, I apparently had had enough with the mayo already. My mom remembers that the sound and feel of it spreading on the bread was just too much and it made her sick. Ya, I know the feeling.

So you see, this is hatred started in the womb. Mayo and I just don’t mix.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tasty Tuesday


Next to Italian, Mexican is a close second as my favorite type of food. Although I don’t cook it as often (probably because we have great Mexican restaurants nearby), I have a few recipes in my repertoire. This is one of my favorites and it’s so easy!

Carne Asada Tacos

2 pounds thin grilling steak like skirt steak or flap meat (I use flap meat)
1/2 cup tequila
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
4 cloves garlic crushed
1 medium onion chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Tabasco
Warmed tortillas (16-20)
Taco toppings – salsa, cilantro, cheese, guacamole, etc.

1. Mix juices, garlic, onion, tequila, Tabasco and pepper in a large ziplock bag.
2. Poke holes in the meat and add it to the bag, marinating both sides.
food 0343. Marinate in the refrigerator, for 6-8 hours, turning the bag every hour or so.
4. Remove meat from marinade, reserving marinade.
5. Place the meat on a preheated grill.
6. Turn steak after 5-7 minutes and brush steak with remaining marinade. Cook an additional 5-7 minutes.
7. Cut into thin slices, against the grain.
8. Place a few slices of steak on a warm tortilla and add salsa, cilantro, or guacamole to your liking.
The flavors in this Carne Asada are amazing! If you want to make it even more authentic, try making your own corn tortillas like the ones above. They’re easy and even more delicious than store bought.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Some Lovely Blogs

Just this past week I was honored with an award. I know what you’re thinking…it must be the Nobel Peace Prize, but no. I was awarded the “One Lovely Blog” award by Domestic Spaz. I very much appreciate this award.


In order to accept this award, I had to agree to bestow the honor onto others. The rules of the "One Lovely Blog Award" are…

  • Accept the award.
  • Post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
  • Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
  • Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I have recently “met” some new-to-me bloggers by participating in Writer’s Workshop.
1. And If It’s a Hero
2. Let’s Have a Cocktail
3. Unknown Mami
4. Island Roar (not from writer’s workshop, but a very cool blog – which is produced in Martha’s Vineyard - that I’ve been reading for a couple of months now)
5. Teacher Tom (also not from ww - about a boy preschool teacher...lots of fun)

Most of these blogs have more comments than I have readers, but I'd still like to honor these blogs that I have recently discovered.
I am such a rule follower so only choosing 5 bloggers kills me. However, since it is my blog, I’m only choosing four. These are blogs that I have added to my blogroll and read regularly. Go check them out!

Thanks again Domestic Spaz!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Suffix –less

In California, one of the 2nd grade language arts standards is prefixes and suffixes. Students are required to know how a word can be changed by adding a prefix or suffix. There are quite a few that they need to know so we start on that instruction at the very beginning of the year.

This past week I introduced “-less”. As with most affixes, once you teach it to 7 year olds, they add it to everything. After showing them “homeless”, “painless”, and “careless” hands started popping up on the carpet showing me that they were ready to give it a try.

After “dogless”, “catless”, and “goldfishless” I stopped them before they went through all the pets. I showed them a few more, “harmless” and “penniless”. More hands popped up to offer “runless” and “boneless”. Oh, good, we got one. After a few more explanations, they got better - “boneless”, “shirtless”, and “friendless”.

As I added the new ones to our chart, one lone hand remained. As I called on the student, “hairless” was added. Of course, that is a great example using the suffix '”-less” so I added it to the chart. While I did so, we talked about the meaning, “without hair”. This caused my entire class to roll around on the floor laughing.

school 001

What is it about that word “hairless”? It is a funny word. For an adult, there are many images that it conjures up and most of them are funny. What I wonder is what little kids are visualizing when they hear that word.

Are there any words that make you laugh?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Writer’s Workshop #5 – Top Ten

David Lettermen has gotten himself into a bit of trouble over the last week. If you haven’t been following the news, here’s a quick rundown. Earlier this year Dave married a long time girlfriend who he has a son with. Just last week, he announced that he had been unfaithful (gasp!) with women from his staff and last month he was a victim of extortion over these affairs. Of course, since his announcement and recent apology his ratings have gone through the roof (gosh, I love America). So here I’m hoping to capitalize on his misfortune and see if my ratings too go through the roof too.

Top Ten Things I’d Rather Do Than Have Sex With David Letterman…*

10. Talk to a 1-800 customer service representative

9. Listen to someone spread mayo on a piece of bread

8. Have sex with George Clooney

7. Tie a 2nd grader's untied shoelaces

6. Clean my kitchen floors

5. Sit in a staff meeting while my boss pulls on his neck.

4. Have sex with Hugh Jackman
Project2 hugh-jackman-shirtless-stallion-07

3. Drive on the 405, anytime of day

2. Watch golf on television

And the
#1 thing I’d rather do than have sex with David Lettermen …

Have sex with Gerard Butler

*There are a few that I’d really rather do. Can you guess which ones?


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tasty Tuesday

delicious3I am so enjoying using my new cookware. It’s so pretty and cooks so well. One of my first recipes using it was pasta with vodka sauce. It was better than ever!

Pasta With Vodka Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
12 ounces pasta – I use penne or ziti
20 basil leaves – chopped

1. Start pasta water boiling.
2. Add oil, butter, and garlic to a pan over medium/high heat. Saute garlic until soft, but not brown.
3. Add vodka to pan. Reduce by half – about 3 minutes.
4. Add stock and tomatoes. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer for about 10 minutes.
5. Cook pasta while sauce simmers. Drain
6. Stir cream in sauce. Bring to bubble and then remove from heat.
7. Toss pasta and sauce with the basil leaves.
8. Enjoy with some parmesan cheese.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Writer’s Workshop #4 – BFFs


Kristen and I have been friends for a hundred years 28 years. (Wow, I just calculated that in my head and can’t believe it’s been that long!) I am an only child, but she is just like a sister to me. We are very similar and also very different, if that make sense. She has been “adopted” by my family and I have been by hers.

She and I met at the barn where we rode our horses. We are 4 years apart so for a few years she was actually my babysitter. If my parents went away for a day or two, she would come stay over and “watch me”.

Being in her “care” was fun we watched movies, made popcorn, rode our horses, and talked. I idolized her as a kid. One time, when she stayed with me while my parents went out of town, another friend and I talked her into calling in sick for us to our school. She agreed and while she called the school office, sounding like such an adult, we rolled around on the floor giggling. We got ours though, because the afternoon we played hooky we laid out by the pool and all got really bad sunburns. Fun times! Just last year Kristen and I went out for wine with my mom and we told her that story. We promised mom that was the only time it happened. I’m not so sure she believed us.

In high school, college, and early adulthood we were inseparable. Most everyday we saw each other, hung out, or caught up on the phone. Over the last ten years though our lives have gone in different directions – mine towards my career, hers towards her husband and three kids (some of my most favorite people.)


Even though we don’t talk as often and see each other even less. We have each other’s backs for the big stuff. We don’t miss a birthday or Christmas. When her dad was diagnosed with cancer I drove to her house in my pajamas. When my dad had his heart attack, she was the first person I called. She dropped everything and came right over to help me pack. She watches my dog when I go away and I babysit her kids.

She knows and loves me no matter what and I do the same. Kristen is my oldest and dearest friend.