Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekend Fun

While I do miss my husband very much, I'm trying to have a great time while he's gone.  On Friday night I went to a local well-known jeweler to look and get some ideas and pick up my engagement ring.  They're getting it all fixed up for me.  No, nothing is wrong with it... I'm just having some work done to make me a happier wife.  ; )  While I was at the mall, I may have purchased some delicious berry bark and peanut pretzel bark from Godiva.  It is good!

Saturday consisted of a 6-mile early morning run at Lake Hefner with my sister in-law, April.  We have a great time running together.  Next week we're planning on running around the entire lake.  I'm really looking forward to it.  
After our run I went to the store for a few things.  Once I arrived back at home, I took Ethan for a long walk, worked on stuff for my classroom, and relaxed all day.  I never did nap even though I probably should have.  
A friend picked me up and we drove across town to meet another friend (and her husband and infant) for dinner at BJ's Brewhouse.  It was so wonderful to be out on the town with my friends.  We're definitely going to have to do it more often.  

Here's a pic of me with my friend's baby, Emily.

Here's my attempt to eat healthy at BJ's Brewhouse...
I ordered the turkey burger (no bun) with steamed broccoli instead of fries.  
It was really good!  I'd get this again.  = )

Today consisted of laziness and shopping with some sugar.  Yes, woke up at a decent hour (8am) and made sugar cookie dough.  It's all prepped and ready to be cut out and baked tomorrow night.  On Tuesday night I'll decorate them, so stay tuned!
I also got together with a friend and her daughter for a lil' road trip to Norman for some shopping.  We attended a Trunk Show and I ordered a couple new items.  The items I ordered today are part of a clothing line I've recently discovered.  Everything is absolutely adorable!  Not only that, but they are super comfy!  I'll have to post pics of my new clothes soon.  

That pretty much explains my weekend.  Tomorrow is the beginning of longer school days.  Yes, I now have an extra 30 minutes to my work day.  I'm okay with that though because I'll still get out as planned.  Staying until June would NOT have been majorly fun.  

Well, it's Read Across America week and we have a TON of activities planned.  I need lots of sleep to prep for it.  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that I'm having extra before and after school rehearsals every day for the next 2 1/2 weeks.  It's gonna be rough, but I'm grateful to work with such wonderful students.  I am truly blessed!  

Off to bed!


18 days until Match Day 
and 81 days until Graduation.
Just sayin'!  

Speaking of Match Day, I have my outfit.  = )  I'm still not sure what to wear for graduation.  My guess is that I'll do some shopping in the Lou while I'm out there for Match Day.  Maybe I'll find something then.  I'm so excited!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rank List

Rank Lists are officially due tonight (ugh... the stress makes me nauseous).  David certified his over a week ago and we are confident with the choices.  We obviously want our #1 choice, but we have to protect ourselves by ranking other programs just in case. So, worst case scenario is that we'll end up somewhere south. And no, I'm not naming names at this time. You'll just have to wait and see what happens on March 17.  ; )

Here's what one of David's classmates posted as her facebook status tonight...
"If we talk between now and March 17 and I seem stressed, please don't take it personally!"

I'm definitely with her on that one.  Eek!  

On a very positive note, I reserved a location and time for David's Graduation Celebration.  I'll start planning the details after spring break.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Doctor Loan?

The solicitation begins...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Survey: Medical Research

If you can spare the time, please take 2 minutes to complete this brief survey. My husband is doing a small research project for a medical school grade and needs 100 participants. The survey is completely anonymous and responses will only be used for medical education purposes
Thank you so much for your help!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine Cookies

Valentine M&M Cookies
Source: Unknown
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. light brown sugar
2 eggs at room temp.
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 c. pink M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides.
Add in vanilla, turn mixer on medium, 
add eggs one at a time.
Add in salt, baking powder and soda.
Slowly add in flour and most of the M&M's.
Place dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Roll dough into walnut sized balls, place on a greased cookie sheet, press extra M&M's into the dough 
so they are on top and visible.
Bake for 14 minutes, or until golden and puffy.

I also baked more of my PB Banana Oat Cookies.  
*Both batches of cookies were prepared for tonight's PLC Meeting.
They were a hit!

Today was a 12-hour work day.  I taught all day and then we had "parent conferences" this evening. While most elementary teachers had conferences, I had my PLC (Professional Learning Community) meeting (3 1/2 hours).  Call me crazy, but I LOVE these meetings.  We all learn so much from each other by sharing lesson plans, trouble shooting, going over technology, etc.  I'm so blessed to work with such wonderful musicians and teachers.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

You Know...

you're a TEACHER when.....
somebody asks you what your plans are for Valentine's Day and you reply by excitedly sharing the special Valentine music activities you have planned for all of your classes. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

SD #7: From The Kitchen

I woke up super hungry today, so I made the most delicious lunch using a new recipe.  It's times like this when I'm most excited that I most always have fresh spinach in my fridge.  I wouldn't know what to do without it these days.  ; )
Hawaiian Pizza
(Low Carb)

I highly recommend trying out this recipe.  It was outstanding and I can't wait to make it again.  In fact, I purchased another huge tub of fresh spinach at Sams today. Mmm...

Hawaiian Pizza
Tomato Paste
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese 
Turkey Ham (from Aldi; very lean protein)
Pineapple Tidbits (rinsed with water to get rid of as much sugar as possible)

Spinach Pizza Crust

1 cup loosely packed, fresh spinach
1 egg
1 cup loosely packed mozzarella cheese
1 tsp dry basil
1/2 tsp oregano

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chop the fresh spinach leaves (or pulse in the food processor). Mix with the rest of the ingredients.

Spread dough on a lightly sprayed pizza pan (I use olive oil Pam). 

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges begin to brown. 

From here, you can freeze or top the baked crust with ingredients and place under a broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Makes one, 12" crust.
Nutritional information for the entire crust: Calories: 323, Carbohydrates: 5, Fiber: 1, Net Carbohydrates: 4, Fat: 19, Protein: 32

I also baked the rest of the cookies and decorated them today.  Here are a few photos taken with my iPhone...

I'm about to try a cookie for sampling purposes.  
I'll be sure to post the recipe soon if it's worth sharing. 
To Be Continued..... 

SD #6: From the Kitchen

I made my special sugar cookies on snow day #6.  After making a batch of those, I decided I wanted to try making chocolate rolled cookies.  Here's a photo of the cookie dough taken with my iPhone....
cookies.... to be continued.

The past few snow days consisted of too many poor food choices.  I wouldn't let myself fall into that trap again.  So, I've decided to post my "Daily Eats" again for a few days.

BreakfastGreen Monster Smoothie-  1/3 frozen banana, frozen blueberries, fresh spinach, golden flax, vanilla protein powder, unsweetened Silk soymilk, water, and ice.
Lunch:  Green Monster Smoothie- same as breakfast, but in a fancier cup
Dinner: egg, 2% string cheese, Laughing Cow cheese, and baby carrots

I went to bed hungry.  : (  

Snow Day #7

Yes, today was snow day #7 for my district.  

David and I were tired of being prisoners in our own home so we attempted a trip to Penn Square Mall yesterday.  The highways were alright for the most part but all of the other roads were horribly slick.  It seemed to get worse the farther east we traveled.  Many stores were closed and those that were open closed at 5 or 6pm.  It was odd, but very awesome to shop with so few people at the mall.  I've never seen it so dead.  
On a happier note, we made some fun purchases.  I spotted an awesome casual sports coat at Dillards for David.  It fit him wonderfully and he loved it so it's now part of his wardrobe collection.  We also purchased a couple of OU jerseys and I bought some OU sleep shorts.  Now, as much as David is excited about all of these purchases, he's most excited about his new UGG slippers.  I really am not kidding!  I have two pairs of UGG boots and always go on and on about how toasty my feet are.  He's been jealous that he didn't have anything to keep his feet toasty warm, so I've been trying to convince him to get his very own shearling slippers.  He finally took my advice and said it was the best $100 he's spent in a long time.  LOVE it!  
The main store I needed to visit while at the mall was Teavana.  I was completely out of Earl Grey black tea.  So I bought some of that and also bought some Earl Grey white tea to try.  It's really good and is 100% decaffeinated.  It keeps me cozy warm.  Mmm.....
It was while we were at the mall last night when I was informed that we'd be out of school again today.  The news saddened me.  I love teaching, especially at my school.  I don't think I've taught a full 5-day week of classes since the first week after winter break.  That was a long time ago.  As saddened as I've been about missing school, it's been really nice to relax and hangout with Dave.  His time in OKC is almost over and he'll have to head back to STL.  We're treasuring every moment together.

I've been cooking and baking up a storm during the snow days.  I'll save that for a future post so all of my "wordiness" doesn't get in the way of those who are just waiting for my foodie posts.  lol! 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Snow Day...


Can you believe that tomorrow will be our sixth snow day of the year.  This is absolutely crazy!  Apparently I brought all of that St. Louis snow back with me.  Too bad Oklahoma isn't better prepared to handle this stuff.  
The hot topic for conversation today was how we're going to make up all of these missed instructional days.  I'm glad I'm not the one who has the responsibility of making these decisions.  With that being said, I pray that I will have patience and understanding when everything is decided.  

Here are the current options up for consideration:
Extended school days (so we can make up instructional time before state testing)
Saturday school
Using some or all of Spring Break
Adding days to the end of the year

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy Adoption Day!

It was 4 years ago when I fell in love with this furry, four-legged, sweet, little cutie.....

 He wanted to go outside to play in the snow on the patio.
We LOVE our pup!
Happy Adoption Day, Ethan!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Jenn's Natural Protein Bars

A friend of mine is currently on the South Beach diet and is having great success.  In fact,  I'd even say that she's enjoying it.  ; )  I'm so proud of her!  Anyway, she was interested in my running protein bar recipe I posted the other day but was curious as to if it could be modified to be more South Beach friendly.  This would mean replacing the Jif PB and the honey with natural PB and agave syrup.  I felt like needed to figure out these modifications myself.  Oh, darn!  ; )
It turned out that some measurement modifications were necessary, but I think it was for the better.  The natural PB is a much sturdier PB and I couldn't get near the amount of oats stirred in, which means less carbs.  The fewer carbs the better in my opinion.
Here's what I came up with today...

Jenn's Natural Protein Bars
(South Beach Friendly)
1 cup natural creamy peanut butter 
(I used Trader Joe's PB. Ingredients: Peanuts, salt)
1/2 cup agave syrup (I used TJ's)*
1 1/4 cups protein powder (I used GNC)** 
1/3 cup quick oats (I used Walmart's Great Value)
2 Tbsp. flax seed (Whole Foods)

Microwave peanut butter and agave syrup in a microwave-safe bowl for about a minute. 
Stir well and add protein powder and flax seed until well blended.  
Add oats and stir well.
Mix might be kind of crumbly.  
Pour mixture into a lightly pammed 8x8 pan and pack mix down. 
Chill for about an hour and cut into bars. 
I get up to 36 bars out of this recipe.  
They are small, but are rich and filling
These freeze well!

I took these protein bars (along with non-diet friendly items) to a "girly party" tonight with a bunch of girlfriends.  Not only were these things disappearing, but they were disappearing FAST. The women loved them and couldn't believe they had protein powder in them.  Several women asked me for the recipe.  
Moral of the story: I should probably be more confident about my "healthy" creations and encourage others to be healthy with me.

Nutella & Dark Chocolate

Today, Feb. 5, is World Nutella Day.  This was the perfect excuse for me to create another recipe. Sadly, my first attempt was a disaster.  I tried baking cookies with Nutella, but they didn't turn out at all. That was my first official failed creation.  My recipe creating was on an incredible no-fail streak, so it was about time.  It actually feels good to mess up in the kitchen for once.   

I did, however, use the rest of the Nutella to make a dip.  It would go fantastic with fresh strawberries or bananas, but I will be serving it with graham crackers at a party tonight.  The dip consists of Nutella, Philadelphia (no substitutes!) cream cheese, a splash of half and half, and a dash of salt. I whipped it all up with my nifty KitchenAid hand mixer and stuck it in the fridge to keep chilled before serving this evening. (And no, this stuff isn't low-carb or healthy by any means, so I don't eat any more than a small sample.)

Nutella Dip

Philadelphia Cream Cheese
Half and half
Salt, to taste

Combine equal parts Nutella and 
cream cheese in a mixing bowl.  
Mix well and slowly add  half and half (doesn't take much) 
to make it smooth and creamy.  
Add a dash of salt to taste.  
Refrigerate. Stir well before serving.  
Enjoy with fresh fruit or graham crackers.

Trader Joe's 72% Dark Chocolate is my absolute favorite.  And yes, I've eaten Godiva and numerous imported European dark chocolates, but TJ's is still my favorite.  Meet the beauty I purchased before moving back to OKC....  

17.6 glorious ounces of 72% Dark Chocolate
(cue sound effects:  "oooooooohhhhhh, aaaaahhhhhhh")

 "Hello, Love!" 

 Melt nothing but the best.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Clusters 
(Ingredients: TJ's Peanuts and TJ's 72% Dark Chocolate)
I also made...
 Almond Clusters
(Ingredients: Raw Almonds and TJ's 72% Dark Chocolate)

A taste of heaven!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Match Day is 6 weeks from today!  Hooray!

PB Banana Oat Cookies

This is a recipe I came up with recently and have been working on perfecting during my snow days.   My husband loves these and has been requesting them since my first experimental batch.  It really is the only cookie he wants to eat right now.  
My Father In-Law came over for a bit today and had a sample.  He loved them so much that he ate several more cookies and told me he must have the recipe.  He was amazed that they are free of butter and flour.  
These cookies are "healthy" compared to the normal cookie. There is NO butter or flour.  The worst thing about it is the brown sugar, but 1/2 cup is not a lot when it's spread out over 2 dozen cookies.  The recipe only calls for 1/2 a banana (1 whole banana is just too much in my opinion).  If you don't care to enjoy the other 1/2 immediately, wrap it up and stick it in the freezer for your next Green Monster Smoothie.  If you are craving chocolate, feel free to add 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (Ghiradelli are my fav!).
I hope you enjoy these "healthified" cookies.  Be sure to let me know what you think!

Jenn's PB Banana Oat Cookies

1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jif & will be experimenting with TJ's natural PB soon)
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated Splenda for baking
1 large egg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 banana, mashed
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients except oats and nuts. 
When blended, mix in the oats and nuts. 
Using your fingers, form 1-inch balls (dough will be very wet and sticky) and place onto an un-greased cookie sheet. You don't want to make them too big because they do spread. 
Bake for 9 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely on the cookie sheet. 
Makes around 2 dozen small cookies.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day #2 Update

"These pretzels are makin' me thirsty!"

David and I were bad... REAL BAD.  We made pretzels today in 3 different varieties; original, cinnamon sugar, and savory (with Penzey's Sunny Paris seasoning and their granulated garlic). These were ridiculously good.  The recipe can be found at Allrecipes.
This weather and the snow days are not good for our waistlines.  At least we're creating memories together while he's still in town.  

Snow Day #3

Starts tomorrow...

That's right.  School has been cancelled for tomorrow.  I'm so grateful they are putting safety first.  If they didn't cancel, I'd either have to get a sub, run to school, or hitch a ride from somebody with a big truck.  

We are stuck!  Nobody is getting in or out of our apartment complex today.  They are trying, but are only getting stuck.  It's BAD!

Snow Day #2

It's still cold.


I made homemade protein bars last night.  Yum!
I'm still working on perfecting the recipe, 
but here's what I have so far....

Jenn's Running Protein Bars

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup (heaping) honey*
  • 1 1/4 cups protein powder** 
  • 1 1/3 cups quick oats
  • 2 Tbsp. flax seed
  • Microwave honey and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl for about a minute. 
  • Stir well and add protein powder and oats until well blended.  
  • Add flax seed and stir well.
  • Mix might be kind of crumbly.  
  • Pour mixture into a lightly pammed 8x8 pan and pack mix down. 
  • Chill for about an hour and cut into bars.  
  • I get about 25-30 bars out of this recipe.  They are small, but are rich and filling.
  • These freeze well!
* The honey (glucose) will be burned off quickly during a workout.
** I combine vanilla and chocolate protein powder.  Banana is great too!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

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