A Day in the Life

I’m really only writing this post for me. So sorry in advance. Lifestyle post and such.

A day in the life of me right now is… interesting. exciting. exhausting. very full.

(Yes, I know all of those periods should be commas, or I should at least capitalize the words. Beh.)

4:30 am – Wake up. Seriously. Grab Colin from the crib. After a week of waking him up this early, he hears my approaching footsteps and smiles really big, which makes getting up 15 minutes early to nurse him totally worth it. We head back to my bed where I nurse him while relaxing for a few more minutes, and I read a really sweet email from my husband from after I went to bed last night.

4:45 am – Put Colin back in his crib (thank God he’s a quick nurser!) and head back to my bed. My hair doesn’t look awful, so I grab 15 extra minutes of sleep even though I just slept 8 hours (last night was thankfully a night I could go to bed at normal time).

5:00 am – Hit the snooze. Nine more minutes of heaven. Probably a bad idea but I totally don’t care.

5:10 am – Grudgingly turn off my alarm on my phone. Take my medicine and realize there is no more iced tea left. Darn! I have enough pop at school to make it through the day, so I microwave some water for hot tea while I fix my hair (that’s a loose term on this fine morning) and get dressed. Luckily, I was thinking about what to wear while nursing, so that at least was easy. Pack my lunch, make my tea, and head out. You can probably tell by now that I’m not a morning person!

5:30 am – In the car “early” today! I have to leave no later than 6:00 if I want to get to school by 7:30 AND there is absolutely no traffic, but I don’t like those odds and there has been a bit of construction lately, so 5:45 is on-time and 5:30am is normal. Turn up Q102 and wait until 6am for Jeff and Jenn to start.

6:00 am – See a giant black dog on the side of the windy, country road and in my sleepiness scream out, “It’s the grimm!” Obviously I’m a little too obsessed with Harry Potter.

7:00 am – Arrive at school. Usually I sit in the car for 5 or 10 minutes and put on makeup, but today was just one of those days. I head up to my room and realize that I left my desks in a huge mess and that I have very few plans since it’s the beginning of school and I’m still forming and shaping this new French program. I start my day, thanking God that I have first period planning and a chance to wake up until I’m not so grumpy that I can’t carry on a nice conversation. An administrator drops by to let me know that 100 (yes, 100!) kids have signed up for French Club during club time, but she was nice and didn’t overwhelm me, so I have 20 kids who will be joining my club starting tomorrow. I’m speechless. Who knew languages could be cool?

8:40 am – My kindergarten class arrives, and by this time, I’m nice and caffeinated. Somehow I’ve also managed to plan for the day, type and print materials, make all my copies, and rearrange my desks in a new order. Go me! My K kids today are excellent and not too scared of all this brand new French craziness I keep saying to them. I also see a second grade class after them and prepare to switch gears for middle school.

10:30 am – Time for my middle school exploration class. They do a great job with their impromptu conversations even though they are nervous to get up in front of the class for the first time. My class rug comes in during this period! Yes! I unroll it during the next period (French 1) while they are working on their journals (bellringers). I’m happy that it’s only the fifth day of school and I’m using 80% immersion yet they understand me fairly well. I’ll beef it up in the next week or two as we get deeper into vocabulary they’ll need.

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1:15 pm – Time for fourth grade, so I’m switching gears again. They are too smart and catch on too quickly so I need to beef up my curriculum. As I’m teaching, I make a mental note to start the next section in their class as soon as possible. After that is third grade, and finally my LAST intro to French class. I’m glad that I can finally put this lesson away and start focusing on other things for the next week.

2:45 pm – French 2 kids arrive from the high school and help the third graders with me until they leave at announcements, and then we start their class. Since there aren’t many of them, we sit on the rug (their suggestion lol) and continue our review/revision of French 1. School lets out for K-8 at 3:00, but we go until high school dismissal, which is 3:30. This is the easiest class for me since I’ve taught it so many times and since the class is small, so I can be more casual. It’s nice to end the day with something I feel completely comfortable with.

3:35 pm – The Fr2 students leave, and I actually have a bit of energy, so I finish my afternoon snack and work for a bit. I discover a ton of new teachers and resources on Edmodo. Yes! I don’t have a ton of elementary resources, so this is actually super helpful.

5:00 pm – Crap. It’s later than I like to leave because of the drive. I pack up and head out. I stop half-way home for gas, but I talk to my mom for the first 2/3 of my trip as she is driving home, too, so it passes quickly. I spend the last 1/3 listening to Canadian French radio on Sirius XM.

6:30 pm – Time to hit the print shop since my invitation printer is broken. It’s a quick process since they are getting to know me pretty well, haha. Head home to my family but stop on the way for more tea bags (see: start of my day).

7:15 pm – Get home just in time for dinner (thanks, babe!) and sit down with my family. Colin is in the swing, so I catch up with Clark and Jason and spend a few minutes just hanging out with Clark.

7:45 pm – Nurse Colin before he goes to bed and play with him for a bit. He’s got some huge smiles for me, though, and I try to capture them on camera. Here’s the best one I got since everything was shaky. He looks a little crazy, haha. Put him to bed soon after.

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8:45 pm – Say goodnight to Clark after hanging out with him again for a few minutes and pull out my laptop. I really shouldn’t write this blog post, but it’s rather cathartic and I need a few minutes to myself, too, that aren’t in a car.

And here’s how the rest of my night is going to go:

9:30 pm – Gotta hop in the shower even though I’m exhausted and just want to sleep. If I shower and blow dry my hair tonight, it will be good for two days and I just need a quick refresher shower tomorrow night.

10:00 pm – Cut invitations, print postage, and box them up for shipping. If I feel like I can stay awake at all, I’ll at least make a to-do list for tomorrow, but I’m hoping to work at least for a little bit.

10:45 pm – Go to bed, hopefully. It’s going to be only 6 short hours until I wake up tomorrow.

 

Honestly, with all the driving my life is a little too full right now. But would I trade it? Absolutely not. I love, love, love my job and even though the drive STINKS, it’s only temporary. Moving will come at some point and it will all be better. And besides, Fall Break is only 7 weeks away, so I will have 3 weeks to catch up and plan ahead pretty soon. Then things will be much better. And with the support of my amazing husband, who is somehow keeping up with full-time grad school and two kids as well as job applications, and looking forward to my sweet babies getting excited when I come home everyday, who could really complain? It’s complicated, but I’m also blessed in so many ways.

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In Our House: Cooking Essentials

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I’m not a perfect cook, but I’m definitely a good cook. Not trying to toot my own horn, but there are very few complaints in our house about food. My friends and family ask a lot for recipes and tips, but it’s not always easy to do. Here are some of the hurdles I’ve been facing.

I’m really not that adventurous of a cook. I don’t know a lot of foods or recipes or ways to cook. I’m just learning to be adventurous in eating and trying to translate that to our kitchen. And most of our food is quite fattening 🙂

I’m also not a measuring cook. I’ve learned this is why I’m a terrible baker, haha. I throw things in and they work. It’s not magic, by any means; it’s experience. Things go wrong. Sometimes the food is just bland. Sometimes it’s a disaster and we order pizza instead. But that’s how we learn, right?

And so, this has lead me to writing this post to answer the question I’m often asked: what do you keep handy in your kitchen so you have what you need to “throw things together”?

Spice “Rack”: olive oil, canola oil, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, basil, parsley, dill weed, Italian seasoning, paprika, onion salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, fajita seasoning

Pantry: Cans of veggies and beans, diced tomatoes, white rice, instant mashed potatoes (for thickening only!), lots of varieties of noodles, cream of mushroom soup, tomato soup, chicken stock, beef stock, onions, potatoes, flour, sugar

Fridge: sour cream, butter, some kind of white wine, a beer, milk, large jar of minced garlic, lemon juice, shredded Parmesan cheese, assortment of shredded cheeses, Velveeta

What essentials do you try to keep on hand?

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Menu Planning Help

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Update: I will soon be sharing each of these recipes so if you want to know how to make them, stay tuned!

I started an iPhone photo dump last night (actually, I didn’t realize my iPhone did it automatically to my computer lol!) and as I was going through photos planning photo dump posts so you can see what we’ve been doing since I got pregnant (sorry), a brilliant idea struck.

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You know those times when you don’t know what to cook? It happens in our house a lot. I’m a great cook with lots of ideas, but nothing sounds good. And, often, when I finally decide to make something and we are just kind of blasĂ© about it, by the time it is finished we realize how good it actually tastes and that it really did hit the spot. But when we go to restaurants, we have the same problem unless there are pictures. We both tend to gravitate towards menu options that have a satisfying-looking photo accompanying the description, or else we stick to something we’ve had before.

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So, beginning with the very few pictures I have on my phone, I’m going to start a menu photo book labeled with what is on the plate. It just means remembering to take a pic with my phone before we start eating, and then labeling and printing that pic later. I’m not going to do any fancy laminating or anything – just throw the pics in a binder and let them sit on a shelf until we can’t decide what to have. But seriously, what an EASY life hack to help us out! Do you have any great menu planning ideas for those nights when you don’t know what to have? Leave a comment below!

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Summer Bucket List 2013

Last year’s Summer Bucket List post was one of my most popular on TBP, and still gets traffic. I knew I definitely wanted to do it again, not only because of popularity, but because Clark is so interactive right now! So, without further ado, here is our Summer Bucket List for 2013. I’ll periodically post pictures of some of the things we do. These may not apply to you, and some of them are very, very simple, but my goal this year was to take pleasure in the small things in life and to stop and enjoy these moments that we all skim over in taking them for granted. Click on the image for the high-res version. I hope you enjoy our list!

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Updated House To-Do

Yes, I know. I’m posting an updated list without posting pictures! That post will come this week – I promise! We are no where close to finished or decorated, so they are going to be some *beautiful* pictures lol. You can always follow this list on the House To-Do List page above ^^^.

Clark’s Bedroom (aka Rainbow Room)

80% finished

  • Paint ceiling
  • Prime and paint walls
  • Rip up orange shag carpet
  • Change out or paint doorknob
  • Paint inside of closet and take off doors
  • Paint radiators

Living Room

10% complete

  • Paint ceiling
  • Prime and paint walls
  • Rip up green shag carpet
  • Change out ceiling fan (move ceiling fan?)
  • Change out or paint fixtures
  • Change wiring and add new electric fireplace insert (that isn’t 40 years old and a fire hazard)
  • Paint radiators
  • Paint inside of firebox, possibly paint concrete “stone”

Office (Formal Dining)

0% complete

  • Paint ceiling
  • Repair paneling wall with spackle and sand
  • Prime and paint walls
  • Prime and paint trim
  • Paint radiators
  • Rip out green shag carpet
  • Change out or paint fixtures
  • What to do with phone box?
  • Replace Light fixture

Master Bedroom

0% complete

  • Spackle, sand, and paint paneling
  • Replace ceiling fan globes
  • Separate closet lights from ceiling fan
  • Remove dimmer switch
  • Add closet rods
  • Paint radiators

Kitchen/Informal Dining

0% complete

  • Replace industrial light fixture and patch surrounding area
  • Paint ceiling
  • Take down border
  • Paint paneling bright white
  • Replace side door and screen door
  • Change out/paint hardware/fixtures
  • Replace faucet
  • Paint radiators
  • Add peel and stick vinyl tiles on floor
  • Separate main light and dining area light into two different switches
  • Expand pantry all the way to the side door
  • Add in a cabinet/counter between fridge and oven

Bathroom

0% complete

  • Replace subflooring
  • Replace faucet/plumbing/shower head
  • Replace bathtub
  • Remove medicine cabinet over toilet – add more open shelving/towel rack
  • Replace toilet and make sure toilet pipe is not leaking
  • Replace tile
  • Update vanity hardware
  • Replace seashell-shaped counter/sink and faucet
  • Replace floor tile
  • Update vanity light fixture
  • Update industrial light fixture/fan and patch surrounding area
  • Sand and paint ceiling
  • Take down wallpaper and paint bathroom

Colin’s Bedroom

60% complete

  • Paint ceiling
  • Tear out paneling and patch with spackle
  • Paint walls and trim
  • Paint closet inside
  • Paint radiators
  • Remove brown shag carpet
  • Refinish hardwood

Basement

0% complete

  • Paint everything (rafters and underside of main-level floor included) bright white
  • Replace back room door window with plexiglass
  • Add better lighting in cistern
  • Replace broken window in back room – glass blocks in all basement windows?
  • Update bar in back room
  • Fix broken toilet
  • Add water barrier between kitchen plumbing and breaker box (seriously, why did they put the breaker box directly below the kitchen sink???)
  • Replace basement door (something with a frosted glass panel?)
  • Add full panels and banisters to stair rails
  • Concrete stain on floor?

Exterior

5% complete

  • Replace rotted wood trim/paint other wood trim
  • Repair and paint porch ceiling
  • Power wash siding
  • Add permanent step to front door (steps?)
  • Replace porch railing – change porch railing setup
  • Add front path to porch
  • Box off gas meter from view
  • Update house number and wood paneling on front
  • Paint concrete on front/side of house
  • Take out backyard flower boxes
  • Add a backyard stone patio
  • Add a firepit
  • Add a large garden
  • Stain concrete floor
  • Repair gutters in back
  • Replace lamp post
  • Remove flag pole
  • Prettify the front with flowers, etc.
  • Replace messed up water spigot
  • Fix driveway and seal
  • Fence off side patio and add access door for trash cans

The Big Stuff (depending on Grandma – not financed by us)

The stuff on this list will very much depend on my grandmother since we aren’t buying the house. We don’t mind doing smallish things to help, but these things are much more expensive!

  • Remove old boiler, pipes, and radiators, and add in duct work
  • Install furnace and HVAC
  • Update electrical throughout house
  • Update plumbing throughout house (there isn’t much, but what plumbing there is leaks)
  • Replace all the windows
  • Kitchen remodel
  • Back porch addition