Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Food Adventure #2!

Let me start off by saying I do know how to cook and I do it very well, thank you. But with it being just the two of us, sometimes it is easier, quicker and cheaper to run to Taco Casa for a burrito. Trust me, I don't need to hear about how all of that is bad for you. I hear it in my head all the time. Usually I go somewhere healthier like Chipotle or somewhere for a burger with no bun.

But I decided last night to cook. Just throw whatever I had in a skillet and go. There wasn't much to chose from I am sad to report!! So here is my meal. (It has no name though)

A packet of Uncle Ben's Boil in a bag brown rice 

1 red pepper

3-4 celery stalks 


2-3 Hardwood Sausage links
( I used jack Link's Original from Wal-Mart)

  • Have your man grill your sausage links outside on the grill to get the best flavoring. 
  • While he is grilling, put the Uncle Ben's Boil-in-a-Bag brown rice in boiling water, following the directions of the box. 
  • While that is cooking diced the red pepper, celery and garlic (if using fresh) 
  • When there is about, oh, five minutes or so left on the rice, get out your skillet/wok/pan add your oil and sauté the pepper, celery and garlic. I like mine to be a little al dente (I love me some crunch!).  
  • When the sausage is done and brought to you, slice them up.
  • Turn off heat to the rice pan
  •  I take the rice off, cut the package and pour it into my pan with veggies. Add sliced sausage. Stir to marinate the flavor for a few minutes. 
  • Turn off heat. 
  • Serve in a bowl.
  • Enjoy!
This was ready to be put into bowl #2
I did not add any spices to it. I enjoyed the flavors from the sausage and veggies. You can add any veggies and spices you want. So adaptable to any diet or way of eating. (gluten free, vegan, dairy free, etc) Think outside the box! 

Now, what are we gonna name this bad boy? 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Memory

Our family always goes out to the cemeteries and puts flowers on the graves of our family members. I have been doing it since I was a little girl. As an adult and living two states away, I take it more to heart and want to preserve our tradition. Now that my parents are getting to be older, I know they will not be able to carry on the tradition so I always felt the need to carry the load.

not my cemetery but you can find the source of the pix here
So one Memorial Day probably 7 years ago, I got this hair-brained idea I would just run home and help Mom and Dad put flowers on the graves. This way I would know the cemeteries and where our family was located. Great idea, but not thought through enough.

You see it is an 8 hour drive to their house and not all of it is interstate. This is basically one day of travel. You are pretty wiped out when you get there. Then you have to take in account you need one day of driving back. So I thought I'd just pop up there on the weekend. Yeah….haven't gone up there during Memorial Day since. 

But that trip instilled in me a bigger sense of family. We would walk the cemeteries and mom and dad would tell stories of each person. They may be the same stories, but I love to hear them. Like the great grandmother who died of TB and could not be moved to the new family cemetery, or a 5 year old passing the gun out of the wagon and accidentally shooting the 8 year old brother, and discussing the linage of how this family is related to our family. These are memories that have the potential of ending with my parents.  

So this year my parents went and did their thing, but I think it might have taken more out of them they they will let on to us girls. Their bodies are not as spry and their eyesight not as clear. I am thinking we may need to pass the torch to someone else for next year. Unfortunately, you have to remove the flowers after Memorial Day and I just can't drive up there twice and do that! 

I asked LT if we were going to put flowers on his mom's grave and he didn't know what I was talking about! His family did not do this. So I am asking you…did you and your family put flowers on graves during Memorial Day? If not, what do you do for Memorial Day, your tradition?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Tribute

Today is Memorial Day and I want to give a huge shout out and Thank You! for the VF-92 Fighter Squadron. This is the squadron my dad was on during the Korean War. I am very blessed my dad did not see much action in the war. Of course he would say he saw action every Saturday night! Ewww…but it still makes me laugh!

My dad has been out of the navy for over 55 years. I am thinking it is coming on to 60 years. He just turned 80 this year. The cool thing is this group of men have gotten together for the last 10 years at least in different states for a reunion. Unfortunately, because of the advancing years of most of the men, the group has not only shrunk in size, the meetings are happening far less. I think the last get together there may have only been about 5 of the original group. It is now mostly younger men.

I was blessed to be a part of this reunion about 3 years ago. We went to Sacramento. It was so cool to see the camaraderie of these men after all these years. These guys would sit up late telling stories. I think the wives ditched them early in the night too!

It does something to my heart to know that these men served our country and provided for our freedom. Thank you dad and the VF-92 Fighter Squadron.

Who do you have to thank this Memorial Day?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Whirlwind Weekend!

Music is so important to me. LT and I were talking how when you hear a song, it brings back so many  memories and emotions,. This weekend has filled me with so many memories!

I attended the Wildflower Festival in Richardson, Texas. It is an arts and music festival lasting Friday, Saturday and Sunday with concerts all day and the headliners at night. We paid $30 dollars and listened to Loverboy, Kool and the Gang, Foghat, Joan Jett, and the Wallflowers. We ditched watching Cheap Trick and went to the other stage to see Wallflowers. Yes there was two stages! Plus two little stages for different local bands playing every night. We did not go Sunday. Why? 1) we were too tired and 2) we are not big country fans so we took the day to recoup with lots of naps! Oh to be getting older.

Let me shake down some of my memories, let you live vicariously through me! You may have seen them from my Instagram. Not a follower? You need to get your mouse over to the side and join me! 

Look at how packed it was at the main stage! We were packed in there like sardines! Lt manned the camera so I can get a picture with our friend Stacy. You know when you go to a rock concert, you never know who or what you will see. If you can see the wild hair cut on the two girls with the pink hair. Oh mylanta!! I can't believe someone not only willingly shaved their hair into this style, but thought it made them look good! But you  know, they didn't care and just rocked the night away. And it gave me something to look at since I am a huge people watcher!

Foghat started our night off rockin' it hard. They still got it! It was a packed house! Of course you have that group of people who make it not so fun. That was the group in front of me. 6 foot men who blocked me from seeing Joan Jett. Oh well, I have seen her 3 years ago, so it eased the pain some. 

Can you believe she is STILL rockin' the leather one piece? I wish I looked half as good as she does at her age. The crowd was going wild! Only one person had to be carted off by medics, but it was his stupid fault for drinking and smoking what he was smoking. He passed out and his friends ditched him. Then the medics carted him off. How sad is that all the way around! But didn't stop us from rockin'!

Wallflowers ended our evening on a more sedate note compared to Foghat and Joan Jett. But it was perfect. We actually got to sit down for this one, and our feet and legs thanked us for that. We learned that we are getting older and can't do the things we used to do. Anyway, towards the end John Popper from Blues Traveler comes out and jams with the boys! It was an unexpected and pleasant surprise. All of the people who left early really missed out.

All and all it was a great night with my man beside me. We attend every year. Do you have any festivals where you are that you just HAVE to attend? Do you make a calendar so you know when all the festivals are happening? Yes I do a calendar…don't judge, I just don't want to miss anything!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Is Life Really That Hard?

Is it? I mean, we all have our ups and downs, days that seem bi-polar and days we just really want to chuck it all and move to the beach. But we don't give in, we don't give up. What makes a person give up?

We all have different childhoods, different home lives, different parents. That is one of the things that makes us unique. Our backgrounds help to shape who we will become as adults. Sometimes it is out of our hands what our backgrounds are but it is up to us to shape who we will become; not let the negative drag us down, but use it as a lesson and rise above it. There are those who consciously make decisions that are not positive, productive, or helpful. These decisions are negative and destructive. And yet they make the decision, whether on their own or through guidance, to turn that life around and save themselves.

But what makes a person take their own life? What makes life so horrific and painful that you would want to end it?

I am sitting here pondering this thought because I received a phone call last night. A gut wrenching, horrible call…a former student had committed suicide.

There was no tears at this point. I went straight to anger. I was and still am angry at this person. How could you do this? How could you overcome all the crap in your past to give it all up now? Why did you not get help for your pain?

Is suicide the answer? Yeah, you have ended your pain on Earth, but then what? Where do you go and what would that be like? You may have ended your pain, but you have double and tripled the pain of those you left behind. Your beautiful young daughter will never know you and what have you taught her? If you thought your childhood was bad, what have you done to hers? What have you denied her with your actions? Did you not think through how your actions will affect others?

This post may seem dark and angry, and it is. But I must say, this is the second death of a former student I am facing this school year. Both of these students were ages 21-27. Both had daughters. Both had families that loved them. Both had decisions they overcame, survived and flourished. Obviously both had inner pain. Both chose to escape their lives permenantly.

I still can not wrap my mind around this. I just can not fathom a life so horrible and painful that I would want to leave my family and love ones. Yes, I understand the mind can be a big ol' wacky place and make you believe things that are not true. I also totally believe in mental health issues that influence our thoughts and actions. It is just sad to see a life purposefully ended so young.

I don't want to sound like a hypocrite. I have had pain and issues (oh so many issues) in my past that are affecting my present and future. But, honestly, I am getting help working through them so they do not continue to affect my life or influence my decisions.  I am not a goody-goody who has all the answers, or thinks their way is the right way (although sometimes it is…yes it is an issue I am dealing with). I just want to say that we all have different levels of pain and issues that affect are life, but hopefully do not control our life.

All of the good I thought I might have been doing from my last post now seems silly. I mean, do I really make an impact. Trust me, I know I am a blimp in my student's life. But somehow I wonder, was there anything I could have done? I know the answer is no, but it doesn't ease my pain.

I guess the lesson I should take from all of this is that life is truly short. We will make mistakes but we do not need to let them weigh us down and drown us. We do not need to be too prideful and not ask for help. We will have pain in life and we need to learn to either manage it or get help. We need to reach out and make contact with another person, even a hello to someone whether you know them or not. You do not know what demons may have a hold on them and you could be the one who encourages them that day with your smile or hello.

We all make decisions, right or wrong. We only get one life to live. Please live yours.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Leaving the Nest

Ring that bell, long and loud…be proud!
As you know, I teach at an at-risk campus in which the students are semi-self paced. They work at their pace but we set the goals. Students graduate any day or time up until the last day of school.

With that said, I just had a student graduate. There are just some students who touch your heart more than others. And he is one that has touched mine.

When students graduate, we make a big production of it. We have the students wear the cap and gown and they ring the bell hanging on the wall. This signals to everyone in the building what they have accomplished. We are also attached the Central Office, so all of the big wigs come out and celebrate with us…cheering, clapping and handshaking.

My student and I were getting our picture taken together after the big hoopla and you know what he said? He said "You saved my life Ms. H." Say it with me now…"awwwww".

He did it! Proud "momma"
Do you want to know something? I don't feel that I really did anything special or life altering. He was a student that came to us with very low credits, so low I thought it would be next year when he would graduate. But by going over his schedule with him, building a rapport and encouraging and celebrating success, he focused and completed ahead of schedule.

But that's the thing. As a teacher, especially at my campus, you NEVER really know if you do make a difference in a child's life. You just hope you instilled some values, self worth and knowledge. But to have a student specifically show me that whatever I did mattered, it touches my heart and revitalizes me.

So, today, as I am at work, I am re-energized to continue teaching. I totally believe it is the rapport and relationship I build with students that makes a difference.

Just remember, you may not even know it, but your actions and words influence others. You never know what you do or say makes an impact, so make sure your impact is a positive one!

Monday, May 12, 2014

What I Learned from Mom

  • A HIGH WORK ETHIC: Growing up, I would do what all kids do and try to get out of going to school. Mom always saw through it. She would say I could stay home, but if I was sick enough to miss school I was too sick to do anything after school with my friends. I was no dummy and wanted to hang with friends, so I would go to school. To this day, I go to work unless I am running a fever or am vomiting. But I am learning to play hooky.
  • IF YOUR GONNA PLAY, YOUR GONNA PAY: Whenever I would go out with my friends, I would have a curfew. I think my curfew was earlier than the others which was a total bummer. So of course I would get home after curfew. The next morning, mom would get me up extra early (like 6 am) and get me started on house work and then go and work the garden. To this day I am more conscience about my actions and the cause and affect of decisions. Sometimes I make the right one, but sometimes I don't.  
  • IF YOU MESS WITH THE BULL YOU GET THE HORN: She was the disciplinarian in the house. I knew never to cross her. Heck as a little girl wanting crawl into bed and sleep with my parents I knew to go to dad's side and not her's! She always sent me back to bed! With mom, I knew my boundaries and if I crossed it, what would happen. I guess this has instilled my high expectations and integrity.
  • A LOVE OF GARDENING: Momma always had a vegetable and flower garden. There is such fond memories of working the garden and reaping the rewards. I have transplanted Irises and day lilies from momma's flower garden and after 3 years, I am finally getting an iris bloom! Theses bring back such memories! I always feel closer to her even miles away when I am planting and taking care of my flowers.
  • DO ANYTHING FOR FAMILY: Mom would do anything, give anything, even give up anything for family. She always made sure we were first. Seeing her sacrifice for the family has made me appreciate family even more. Watching her has made me become the sacrificer: Others before self. I give up my happiness or joy for others. 
  • ROLE MODEL: When my mom was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration, her eyes were always dry. The dr recommended her wearing contacts. That is when I started to wear contacts. I hate putting anything in my eyes. I was a big baby about it, but when my 66 year old mother (at the time) could do it, by good golly, so could I!
My momma means the world to me. We have not only a mother/daughter relationship, but a friend relationship as well. She is the woman I can talk to about life and feelings. I am finding out, as I get older, how much alike we really are. Now if I could just cook HALF as good as her, I would be closer to her equal. Man, that woman can cook!!

Tell me…what is one thing you learned from your mother?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is teacher appreciation week. The time to shower your teacher with gifts of some sort to say thank you for educating, nurturing, babysitting, putting up with my child. If you are an elementary or even middle school teacher, you will rake in the gifts. If you are a high school teacher, gifts are hit or miss.

I never got into teacher for the money, or gifts, obviously. Maybe a little for the summer off, just kidding, but not really. You know, it's funny. I never expect gifts, kudos, or acknolwedgement while doing my job. Actually, I feel awkward when I do get a thank you or complement. I am just doing my job. I will say, some parents should be handing out big ol' fat thank you's for teachers spending a day with their child! LOL.


So today, I want to thank all of my fellow teachers out there. Your sacrifice and bravery are just a part of what makes you the outstanding teacher you are.

  • Thank you for loving and putting up with your students even when you are doing both at the same time! 
  • Thank you for the hours upon hours you spend not only grading their work, but creating the lessons to reach and teach your students. 
  • Thank you for being a mom, dad, friend and disciplinarian all rolled up into one giant ray of sunshiny cheerleader.
  • Thank you for giving students the skills to cope and survive this crazy life.
  • Thank you for being just what that child needed on that particular day/moment.

And in honor of teachers, here are some funny quotes I found on Pinterest. Because laughter makes it all better!

And for you English teachers and grammar police out there…


Monday, May 5, 2014

Mental Health Day..Yes, Please


Yep, I took a Ferris Bueller's day off. I played hookie from work on Friday. Well, technically, they knew it at work, but I still did it!

As a school teacher, I do get a great amount of time off: Thanksgiving (1 week), Christmas (2 weeks), Spring Break (1 week), and assorted days off (Memorial Day, Easter, etc). But this year was a little different. My spring break went differently then planned. LT's mom was put in the hospital and passed away. So my break really wasn't a mental health break. I was so blessed to have that week off to be with her (even through she never knew we were there) and LT.

But this makes for a cranky Laura towards the end of the school year. I still have a month to go, June 5, and I swear everything was getting on my nerves! I knew I needed a break. So I did what I was not raised to do…take a day off for no reason.

You see, in my family, you go to work or school unless you are vomiting or running a fever. I have lived by this creed. Even I have my breaking point, and boy am I glad I do! My day off was absolutely amazing! And I took it all by myself! Another first!

On this amazing blessed day, I went to Canton. It is First Monday Trade Day about 1 1/2 hour drive away. Think acres of crafts, collectables, food and garage sale items. All of this under the most pristine blue sky with just a hint of breeze. 

When I was driving down there, I thought I need to document this for my blog. You know, fodder. But wouldn't this defeat the purpose? Wouldn't this become another thing I "had" to do and not be able to enjoy myself? So I decided "no". No I would not do anything to record my day. I would just experience it. Soak up the Vitamin D and just be.

And you know what. I loved every minute of it. I actually felt myself recharge and my soul taking a deep cleansing breath. The Lord gave me the perfect day to make my day perfect. And you know what else? I am blogging about it even thought I had no plans to do it! 

What is my purpose: to let you know it is ok to take a day for you. It is ok when you feel the need to recharge, do it. It is ok to put yourself first. It is ok to be.

This is LT climbing mountains in California. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Liebster Award!!

Yay! How exciting! I was nominated for a Liebster Award. Imagine my surprise! The Liebster Award is given to small up and coming blogs and it is also a way to support each other by spreading the word. Thanks Laura!!

So here is how it goes:
Thank the person that nominated you and link back to their blog
Answer 11 questions from the nominating blogger
Provide 11 random factoids about yourself.
Nominate 11 small blogs you feel deserve the award
Create 11 new questions for you nominees to answer. Sounds fun, huh?

Well, let the games begin. I was nominated by Laura @ Thrifty in Pittsburgh. Thank you so much for the love and support!! Laura wants to know:

1. What made you decide to start blogging? It's funny. I just have always had this drive, pull, calling to blog. I could not quiet that voice telling me to start and so I did!

2. How did you chose your blog name? This was really easy. You can read the full story under "about me", but basically, when LT and I started to date and things would get a little rocky whether in our relationship or our jobs/family/life, or we would take an adventure, he would always comfort me and say "We got this, babe." And you know what, we always have!

3. Where do you see your blog in 5 years? Wow, 5 years. Still blogging away, telling my stories and helping others climb "off the shelf" because together, support is given, things get done and life goes on. We just need to go on more positively. Really, we got this!

4. Waffles or Pancakes? Favorite topping? Between the two? Pancakes with butter and maple syrup. I am so boring! I do love a stuffed french toast though!!

5. What's at the top of your bucket list? Oh gosh. A couple of things on my list could get done at the same time… maybe... possibly. Go to Alaska and see Kodiak Island and see the humungous grizzly bears and the Northern Lights. It's a twofer!

6. What is your guilty pleasure? Pecan cluster Blizzards! There are hardly any Dairy Queens around me so this really is a guilty pleasure. I have to travel a ways to get one if I am just dying for it. I usually succumb once a year though, in the summer!

7. Describe your dream vacation. My sister and I have been to Italy a couple of times and this has always been our dream trip (sorry LT): To spend a couple weeks/month in Tuscany, Italy living in a country house and just soaking up the culture.  We would paint, cook, explore, shop, travel, and visit museums. Since this is my "dream" vacation I will already be fluent in Italian! It would make it so much easier.

8. What is one thing you are surprisingly good at? Reading the weather! I used to be able to read the clouds and tell what was going to happen. Came in real handy in Kansas during tornado season! I don't get as much practice in Texas, but still love to look at the clouds!

9. What is one thing you are surprisingly bad at? Folding sheets. I can NEVER get the fitted sheet to fold right. It ends up looking like I wadded it up!

10. What is your favorite blog post? All of them? Do I have to chose one? OMG did that sound arrogant? I'm sorry. They just all have a piece of my soul in them. Ok. Narrowing down to one. Ack it is hard!

11. What do you love best about blogging? Connecting with people! I just love the groups I have joined. They are so supportive, even though we have never meet. Plus I love when people comment and I see how small a world it really is and I am not the only one at there with that thought, or experience. It makes me feel connected with life. I love to form bonds!! But not in that freaky stalkerish way. LOL!

11 random factoids about me…
  • I am the baby of the family of three girls
  • I was on a made for TV movie as an extra, but got some face time
  • My other "job" would have been tornado chaser and I have chased a tornado or two before
  • I have an obsession with minions. Yep, those from Despicable Me. I own one and I am also addicted to Minions Rush game on my phone
  • I love teaching at risk high school students!
  • I love music especially 80s hair bands. If you pulled beside me in a car, I would be banging my head to a song, and singing out loud!
  • I own a gazillion notebooks to write notes and such. You can find them all over the house. Thankfully I don't keep a diary and leave it for LT read it!
  • On my first date with LT, I rode with him to a bar to play darts. This is big! I made it a point to meet a date somewhere and never ever get in the car with them! WTH! It must have been love at first sight.
  • I buy makeup when I am feeling frumpy or fat because with make up…one size fits all!
  • I am constantly cold and always carry a cardigan. I have even been known to sleep with an electric blanket into the beginning of summer
  • I have an irrational fear freakout over grasshoppers.

I nominate….

Ella at
Jennifer at
Charlotte at
Maria at
Brandy at
Ashlee at
Amanda at
Holli at
Kristen at
Sarah at
Beth at

Inquiring minds want to know…
  1. Why did you decide to start blogging?
  2. Who has influenced you most and why?
  3. Where have you always wanted to travel?
  4. What is the best advice you ever had?
  5. Beach or mountains and why?
  6. What actor/actress would you want to play you in the movie about your life?
  7. What is your most positive attribute?
  8. Where do you see your blog in 5 years?
  9. Where is your most favorite place to visit?
  10. What is your favorite quote?
  11. What is your favorite blog post?

I can't wait to read the answers!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I Got What?

Being a Kansan, I never had this problem. Is because of the location? The weather? The immaculate house my mother insisted on keeping especially when I came home after curfew and she made me get up extra early to clean as punishment?

All I know is I have the dreaded ALLERGIES! I have never had them before. ARGH! Why has it waited 10 years after moving to Texas before showing up. What I know is I have allergies and they are kicking my booty!!

I think this is Karma. I used to snicker or roll my eyes when I hear someone say they have allergies. It was because they used it as an excuse. Now Karma has come for me and giving me a great big heaping helping of it. I apologize to all allergy sufferers everywhere. This blows.

Don't worry, this too shall pass. Or as Lt says "It is what it is". 4-6 more weeks and I'll be right as rain!!