family · life

One crazy week

The weekend is here. This past week was CRAZY around here. It was my first full week of teaching. My class this year has 13 children. Let me tell you compared to the crew I had last year, who I enjoyed, this years crew is a lot calmer and excited to work. I do believe part of this is a numbers game. The more students you have, the more they feel they need to do to get your attention. This means children who struggle with self control are doing a lot more attention seeking actions. Children who are struggling with picking up on the academic skills need more help because they are distracted during the learning because they feel they are a step behind. I’m excited to see what fun things I can do with my students this year.

On the home front, Richard was traveling this past week. He left for San Francisco on Sunday. His flight was delayed twice. He returned yesterday and we were all happy to have him back home.

Blake’s school had a bomb threat on Monday. Some kid wrote the threat on the bathroom wall. They had to be evacuated to the HS, which is on the same campus. They were back in the building and learning in about an hour. Then on Wednesday there was a cyber threat made on the whole campus and they closed both the middle school and the high school for the day. Blake was furious at this disruption and was especially upset that this threat was made on 9/11. He saw this as disrespectful to those who lost their lives on that day. I love how much he loves school and the country. I love that he sees that this type of behavior is stupid and understands that most of it is attention seeking.

Both the boys had dentist appointments on Wednesday and I had one on Thursday.

Thursday afternoon I got a text from my neighbor telling me that Dixie had caught a groundhog in our backyard. Dumb groundhog! The dog is out on a run in the backyard and is out all the time. I don’t know why it got so close to her as they usually scurry away. But, this meant that I had to deal with the groundhog. Ugh.

Oh well… Richard is back home now. Today we are having a quiet morning and then we will watch the UCF football game and have pulled pork nachos for dinner. I need to go get out my crockpot and start the pulled pork.

I hope you had a great week and Friday the 13th with a full moon didn’t disturb your life too much.

blog hop · Education · family · life

Back to School Blog Hop- day 2

I hope you are enjoying my first blog hop, and even more I hope you join in the fun!

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Here is how it will go. I have posted seven different school/fall topics for you to use as blog posts. You can write them for seven days in a row, scattered throughout the month or however you so choose! Here are the topics: first day of school, favorite school supply, teacher who made a difference, apples, a new box of crayons, new friends and what’s in your lunchbox

All I ask is:

  • Please copy and post this image with your post
  • link back to my blog so we know who is playing along
  • have fun! remember you can take these topics in any direction you want… just use the idea as a jumping off point.

A Favorite School Supply

I decided to get a bit of help with this topic, so we discussed it at dinner the other night. Here are our answers:

Image result for mr sketch markersMe– Mr Sketch Markers. While I do like these for their smell, (Who doesn’t love a smelly marker?) I actually like these because they are strong colors, they last a LONG time and they write really well. They have a chiseled tip so you can get a fine line, bold line or some combination of both. When I taught first grade, they students LOVED when I corrected papers with these, especially if they got to pick the color/scent. I found this box of 22 markers this year and I will really enjoy the color selection while making charts and other items at school this year.

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Richard– old school trapper keeper. All the cool kids had them! It was a way to keep everything in one space. The teachers like them because it kept everything organized in one spot. There were 2 pocket folders, dividers and spots for all your important papers. Plus you can’t forget the flap that held everything in.

Image result for pencil case 3 ringBlake– a pencil pouch. He likes that this is a place to keep all your tools in one spot.  He prefers the ones that can go into a three ring binder. In his you will find: pens, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, color pencils and probably a lot of scraps of paper. He has used the same one for the last few years, I guess he really likes that one.Image result for loose leaf notebook paper

Colby– loose leaf paper. Colby loves to write, doodle and just create and craft. Loose leaf paper can be used for a variety of academic and non-academic activities in school, and trust me he uses it for both purposes!

Ok… your turn! What type of school supply did you like when you were in school? Or what type do you like now. Post about it on your blog and join up in our blog hop!


food · reviews · through my camera lens

Pub Cookies

Richard and some of his co-workers were having a craft beer exchange at work on Thursday. I decided that was the perfect reason to bake! I wasn’t sure what I wanted to bake. I started by searching through my pile of recipes we cut out the of the food network magazines. There I found a brownie recipe that used beer in it. I didn’t have everything to make this specific recipe, but I thought it was a good jumping off point to search for a new recipe.

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I sent Richard 3 different ideas (two different types of cookies and a different brownie recipe). He decided on Pub Cookies. So… that’s what I made!

Pub Cookies

  • 12 ounces stout beer
  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup bread flour (this will make them chewy)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 bag dark chocolate chips (I didn’t measure these I just dumped the bag)
  • 1 cup pretzel twists, broken into pieces
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  1. Put the beer in a sauce pan over medium heat. Cook down the beer until you have about 1 Tbsp of beer “extract” (watch the pan, I got distracted and my beer boiled over… oops!)
  2. Cream butter and sugars
  3. Add egg and yolk
  4. Add vanilla and beer extracts
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together flours, cornstarch, baking soda and salt
  6. Add dry to wet ingredients until just combined
  7. Stir in chips and pretzels
  8. Dish cookies onto a cookie sheet and put into the fridge for at least 3 hours
  9. Heat oven to 350
  10. Bake 12-20 min (start checking around 12 min, my batches both took about 14 min)
  11. enjoy!
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These cookies do NOT taste like beer. Yes this is a strong beer and it was concentrated by cooking out the water, but it still didn’t taste like beer in a chocolate chip cookie. There is slight bitter taste that brings out those notes in the chocolate chips. The cookies are very chewy and have a great chocolate chip cookie flavor. The hit of pretzel adds an additional salty feature. (The original recipe calls for honey roasted peanuts. I would add peanuts, but not honey roasted)

family · life · through my camera lens

15 years

15 years ago today I was walking through the Florida Mall. Yep I know this for a fact…. why you ask? 15 years ago today I married my best friend. It was fun to go through my F/B photos to find some pictures of the two of us together. There aren’t many actually, but that’s ok. There were so many memories to see… In our fifteen years we have lived in 3 houses in two different states. We both have changed jobs too many times to count/list. We have stood side by side to cope with loss and joy. We both see that we bring out the best in each other. We make each other laugh, think, grow and smile.

I’m excited to see what the future hold, but one thing I know for certain… we will be together for the adventure and it won’t be dull!

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family · life

Running in circles?

So today found me scrambling in the morning! Richard was diagnosed with strep and finally got on some meds. But, this did not help with sleeping. Colby was coughing all night and the dog was wandering around the room. What did this mean for me? Lack of sleep.

When the alarm went off at 5:30 I said… I’m not getting up. I should have I had already been awake for about an hour.

I decided it was time to take Colby to the doctor and have his cough/lungs listened to by the doctor. They have walk-in appointments from 8-9. I was there for the first appointment. What did we learn? His lungs are clear, stop using your inhaler as it isn’t doing anything right now. Keep using your Flonase. Try taking some cough syrup at bedtime and see if that helps you sleep. It might be an upper respiratory infection, and there is nothing we can do for that. Come back if it gets worse or doesn’t go away by next week… Thanks!

Ok so now I need to drop Colby off at school and then drive to work. I did manage to do all this and arrive at work just before we open the doors at 9am. It wasn’t much before 9am, but hey I wasn’t getting there after the students… that is something.

After work I headed to the grocery store. We have a block party on Sunday so I needed to decide what I was making for a dessert. I forgot to add the ingredients for everything I was making to the shopping list. Hey at least I remembered before I went shopping. I had already said I would make homemade pico de gallo. I also decided to make lime bars.

At least the weather is nice here even it means that the pollen is awful and therefore everyone is sneezing, coughing and rubbing their eyes. I’ve learned there is no win in this, so I’m going to enjoy having the windows open the nice temps.

family · food · reviews · through my camera lens

Sweet Potato Hash with bacon, cranberries and pecans

Every Thursday for the last month or so, Richard and I have been going out to eat. This is the time the boys have their theater class. Over the years, we have always said we needed a night away that the two of us could just enjoy time alone and now we have found it.

Each week, we have gone to a different restaurant. Sometimes we go to known places, but most of the time we are testing out different local joints.

A few weeks ago we ordered an appetizer called “Sweets”. It wasn’t described as a sweet potato hash, but that is exactly what it was, and we loved it! It was a white sweet potato, pork belly, candied pecans and cranberries.

Well, I decided that I needed to try to replicate this dish. I found a recipe on One Sweet Mess, that was similar to what I wanted and then Lori-ized it.

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Sweet Potato Hash

  • 1 lb bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces (I only put 1/2 into the hash, the rest is in the fridge)
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, I microplaned mine
  • ½ cup-ish dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup


  1. Toast pecans in the oven then set aside
  2. prep all the veggies
  3. Cook bacon in a large skillet (I used my cast iron) over medium-high heat until crispy, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Reserve 2-4 tablespoons of bacon grease, discarding the rest.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium and add the sweet potatoes to the pan with the reserved bacon grease. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Try to refrain from stirring the potatoes too often so they have a chance to become crispy.
  5. Add the onions to the pan with the sweet potatoes. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook, stirring often, for an additional 2 minutes
  6. Add maple syrup and cook until the sweet potato are softened. [I had to cover the pan and cook it longer in order to get all of the sweet potato cooked correctly (I covered my pan with a cookie sheet)]
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cranberries, toasted walnuts, and bacon.

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Next time— I will use more of the bacon grease to impart more flavor. I will cook the onions first, then the garlic finally adding in the sweet potato. I would also add salt in to the onion and sweet potato step. I would also either add more maple syrup or add brown sugar. It needed to be sweeter. You could probably also add a bit of cinnamon. We will be having this again. I will find a way to make it taste even better, but it is good!

family · food · life

a drink in hand

Richard and I don’t drink very often. It’s not that we don’t like a drink now and then, or that we feel it is a “bad” thing to drink… it just isn’t something we do often.

Right now it is snowing. It has been snowing since before noon and we are getting snow through the night. We already have 1.5″ of snow. This snow is snowman snow, maybe we should make a snowman after dinner?

Richard came into the kitchen to help make dinner. We are making flank steak and sweet potato hash (recipe to come, probably tomorrow). We really enjoy working together in the kitchen and are pretty good as working together without getting into each others way.

I had just finished prepping my mise en place for the hash and Richard handed me a drink…. why? Why not? Some nights just call for it. Well, I should go check on the bacon and continue making dinner.

family · life

Saturday is family time

Today was one of those busy days. We spent the morning/early afternoon running errands. Hair cuts, Costco and lunch at DiBellas were on the agenda.

While we were at Costco, Colby suggested picking up ribs to have for dinner. Richard took over the cooking dinner tonight. This gave me the opportunity to work on my progress reports. I have almost completed 14 out of 20.

Richard started the ribs on the grill pan and then finished them in the oven. When they were done, Richard cut up all the ribs and then we enjoyed them for dinner. When dinner was done, Richard helped clean up everything. Then he proceeded to help me clean the stove top and went on to clean the microwave.

A while ago Richard and I had a conversation about everyone helping around the house more. I stated that I shouldn’t have to ask the three of them to do this or that, they should just see that things needed to be done and do it.

Over time, we have pointed out things that the boys should notice that needs to be done and do it. This included things like running the dishwasher, cleaning the table and a few other things. The boys aren’t always great at seeing what needs to be done, but hey it’s a start.

Richard on the other hand has stepped up way beyond my expectation. There are so many times that I go to do something and it has been done. We also do a lot of things together which gets them done so much faster. I’m glad that we had that conversation and that it touched him in a way to see that it helps with me.

So it doesn’t matter if we are doing something active or just cleaning the house, it is nice to be together as a family.



family · life · through my camera lens



Today is Richard’s birthday. Richard and I have been together over 15 years now. He is my rock. I know that no matter what is going on in life, Richard is there for me. Together 09_30_r_01we deal with life so much better than we do apart.

Most people talk about finding someone who makes them whole. Richard and I have never felt this was the case. We do not complete each other, because we both had our lives together before we got together. I feel that instead we bring out the best in each other.

I love seeing Richard with our sons. He is showing them not only what a good father looks and acts like, but what it is like to be an honest, caring and responsible man.

Happy Birthday Richard. Thank you for everything…. and so much more!

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family · life

14 years

Wow two days in a row you get two posts from me!

14 years ago today I was in the Florida Mall. How do I know this? 14 years ago today Richard and I got married in the lobby of the hotel in the Florida Mall. We have been through a LOT in our 14, well actually 15 years together. I can not imagine anyone else by my side during the good and bad, the happy and the sad, the calm and the chaos.

Richard and I are only only husband and wife, we are best friends. I love the fact that we balance each other out. We don’t complete each other since we are both complete people, but instead bring out the best in each other. We recognize each other’s strengths and aren’t looking to change each other.