toot your horn tuesday!

Have you ever had one of those days where everything goes right? Yes, I said RIGHT.

Yesterday and today were those days for me.

I’ve been battling a cold the past week – it’s been a hard Monday and Tuesday, especially because I’m doing important lessons that require A LOT of energy. However, yesterday & today were a couple of those days that everything went right. Everything fell into place, like magic.

So I’m going to toot my own horn!

I’m teaching a new course this year, (Honors 8 Language Arts), and I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into creating the curriculum. I’ve spent HOURS researching online, brainstorming engaging, yet challenging lessons, creating TONS of rubrics, hand outs, and assignments. It is my baby – it gets the most attention of all my courses – and I’m only at mid-October… A lot of school year ahead.

Last week my building principal stopped in my classroom as my 8th graders were presenting group projects that they had been working on for a week, (an analysis of fairy tale stories from different cultures). They worked in groups of five or six and creating prezi presentations with required materials we had discussed weeks previous while reading Brothers Grimm tales & Charles Perrault. He could not have walked in my classroom at a better time. They nailed these projects. Grand slam, out of the park.

SO, fast forward to this week – every Monday we get an email from our principal laying out the week’s events and housekeeping items. He always writes a shout out to a staff member or group of staff that are doing something positive for the school – I look every Monday and congratulate whoever is given that extra pat on the back. I think you know where I’m going with this…

This week, it was me! image1-2

It was pretty cool to see my name, especially because of all the hard work I have been putting into this course.

Today, I had some students turn in their ending quarter project – a portfolio which is a collection of writing pieces, some vocabulary work, & a variety of book report requirements – I have had some amazing work turned in. I had no idea what some of my students were capable of producing until I’ve read some of the work turned in this week.

Word travels fast in our school, (some other teachers saw some of the portfolio work in my classroom), and my principal came by AGAIN, to look at these projects and tell me how impressed he was with the level of rigor, active involvement, and the overall atmosphere of my honors classroom. Seriously? I have never gotten so many compliments in my professional career as I did today and yesterday.

Today was one of those days… that everything went right.

I have about four hours of grading ahead of me tonight, with a pounding headache from my cold, but I am taking time to sit, reflect, and write about a job well done.

Take time to bask in the glow of something you have accomplished for yourself – it really isn’t done enough – & you deserve every minute of it.

Happy Tuesday :)

30 years & chopped salad

This post is dedicated to the best parents.parents marriage post

Today marks their 30th wedding anniversary. Over the weekend, my sisters and I treated them to family pictures, (something my mom’s been wanting to do FOREVER!), and dinner at one of our favorite family restaurants. It was amazing to spend quality time with one another – the hustle and bustle of a busy fall makes it impossible to plan events that all family members can attend; it was so special to have some time together.

My parents have shown me never to take myself too seriously. My mom and dad have the one of the best relationships, because they are constantly making one another laugh. I’m sure being married for thirty years does that to a relationship, but I feel like they have it down to an art. They’ve always had such a healthy balance – they appreciate their differences and they share their common joys.

I know my parents have had their hardships. They have been through times when things weren’t easy; however, growing up, they ALWAYS put us girls first. We always had the newest of the newest – clothing trends, electronics, (although, were strict on WHEN we got our first cellphones), sporting attire,ย  etc… the list could go on.

As a child, you’re oblivious to adult issues; bills, a consistent paycheck, feeding your family… Your biggest concern is where you are going to sleepover during upcoming weekend, or how you are going to get the newest Abercrombie & Fitch sweatshirt. If you were like me, you just assumed getting new shoes or new jeans was a given – things should be something that you just get from your parents, without even thinking of what might be coming in and out that month. My sisters and I were not raised as snobs, but my parents did always make it happen. We really were given whatever we wanted. Now, being an adult, I realized what my parents sacrificed for us, and sacrificed things just to make sure we were happy. It brings tears to my eyes knowing how much they cared for our happiness.

They have taught me so much about love, happiness, and what the word family means. I could ask for better role models and a better support system.

So, here’s to you, mom and dadย  – cheers to 30 mores years! <3 you both so much!


squash soup

Happy Friday! (& EM break for Minnesota teachers!)

I recently added a new recipe to greens n’ such; butternut squash soup. It is so tasty and perfect for these cool, crisp, fall nights.

When I was a little girl, I was one of the pickiest eaters. Some nights, my parents would try anything to get me to eat dinner – they refused to give in to a picky eater, too. I remember multiple times I wasn’t allowed to leave the table until certain things were eaten. My parents would clear their plates, along with my sisters, and would do the rest of the dishes; the lights and bustle in the kitchen would dim and quiet. They would move into the family room to watch TV or do whatever was on the family agenda for the night, and I would be left sitting at the kitchen table, with a dimly lit chandelier over my head, and a cold plate of food. There would be other nights where my mom would let me leave the table, but would cover my plate with Reynolds wrap and stick it in the fridge. Later in the evening, when I would complain I was hungry and wanted a snack, my mom would take my plate out of the fridge, warm up my meal, and set it in front of me to eat.

Now, for the record – this is not a pity party – I don’t blame my parents one bit for not giving in to me and my eating habits. My youngest sister, Justine, has some picky eater tendencies, and it is so frustrating trying to make dinner for her, (even now, when she’s almost 18!). There were some nights I would go to bed hungry, but eventually, I learned I needed to eat what was put in front of me, (except for when I wanted a puppy and stopped eating for over a week – I wouldn’t eat until I got one. More to details on that story at a later date – ha!).

Long story short – my mom used to try to get me to eat squash during this ‘picky phase.’ One of her tricks was smothering it with butter and brown sugarย  – it worked! I would gobble it up! I still LOVE to eat squash with brown sugar and butter, but now, being older, I try to keep things healthier. This soup was the key! It has just enough buttery flavor, without defeating the purpose of eating a helping of veggies. It was delicious!

You can find the recipe here.



random monday-ness

monday quoteToday was my first day teaching since the first week of school.

I’ve had a student teacher with me the first seven weeks of school, and since it was such a short time, I wanted to her to get the most out of her time with me. I pushed her into teaching full time pretty quickly. A lot of teachers love having a student teacher – they’re able to sit back, relax, give a little feedback, and take a break. I, personally, hated it! I would sit at my desk and tap my foot, (not rudely, don’t worry), and bite my tongue so I wouldn’t interject with an exciting topic. It was extremely difficult!

Today, I was back.

I had a late night over the weekend, and we have conferences until 8pm tonight, but I have never felt so energized on a Monday morning. I was exciting to get up, move, and talk to my students. I loved leading the discussions, helping with questions, and making jokes.

It was the best Monday I’ve had in a long time :)

engagements & details

I love to host. This was discussed in this post about my cousin’s baby shower. A week ago – hence the quiet front – I hosted an engagement party for one of my best girlfriends. Natalie is a sassy little Italian who has the biggest heart. We met in our British Literature course in college during our sophomore year. She sat in front of me and started creating a to-do list. I was glancing over her shoulder in awe at the detailed list she was putting together – she had her night mapped out in fifteen – thirty minute increments; shower, fold laundry, eat, etc…

My planner had the exact same to-do list.

I knew we had to become friends.

The next class period, someone had sat in her spot, so she moved up a row and sat next to me. We had met before at a party, (we had some of the same circles of friends), and talked about how much we hated the professor – a skinny, bearded man, who had a very pungent BO smell, and the rest.. you can say.. was history.

Fast forward almost ten years.

She got engaged to the man of her dreams on the fourth of July and is getting married next October 17th. She asked me to be her Maid of Honor, (and only bridesmaid standing up with her at her wedding), and I planned an engagement party for her for on October 4th.

Tony and I wanted to host everything outside on our patio. I bought really cute string lights and Shepard hooks to drape around our patio fire and furniture. I put together the best floral arrangements. BUT the weather in Minnesota, truly is unpredictable, and the forecast on the Friday before the party predicted that the temperature was going to be a sizzling high of 41 degrees – WAY too cold, even for Minnesotans to be outside for this type of event. Now, the beer dabbler on the other hand- bundle up and head on out – but not for an engagement party.

We had most of everything planned for the main floor of our house, but we needed more space since we weren’t going to be using the patio. The back up plan was the basement. We vacuumed, dusted, cleaned, vacuumed, moved in outdoor furniture, vacuumed – do you see the pattern here? A lot of work!

We ended up having around 45 people – the MOST I’ve ever had at my house – and it was a beautiful night! My heart was warmed by compliments on my decor, clean house, and good food, (see where I catered from below). I have learned to savor these moments & it has definitely been worth it!


Food: Catered from Lunds and Broaders in Minneapolis, it was an amazing selection of spreads, caprese skewers, roast beef finger sammies, turkey wrapped asparagus, and an amazing cheese plate.