Monday, November 30, 2015

Polenta Fries & New Jammies

I forgot to post this photo earlier -
I am thankful for you taking the time to keep up with Greg & me.
We enjoy documenting our lives and having this visual reminder of our experiences, but it's more fun when you're reading along!
(Yes, that's a crocheted turkey hat, and YES, I put it on each year to celebrate Turkey Day!)

I got some new jim-jams at Target recently . . . 
they're a beautiful mix of blue and gray with a GOLD stripe running through the plaid!

The top's a little short for my longish torso,
and the material is extra wrinkly,
but I still like them.

Though I put a different set of jammies on my Christmas list -
these are still from Target, but they are made of a different material and they fit better.

Plus, could this pattern be any cuter?!

I used a new product this past week - polenta!
It's corn meal, pressed into a cylinder and cooked.
I cut it into fries and baked it like fries with salt and pepper.

They got crispy (quicker than I expected - oops!)
and were delicious with ketchup.
The texture was very chewy and I don't do super great with corn-based things, so I probably will stick with baked potato fries and baked sweet potato fries.

I also have been revamping and cleaning my office (also the guest room).
I hung up these photos in lovely frames in a tiny area between my desk and the bookshelf
(one whole wall of my office is covered in bookshelves, which hold curriculum binders and supplies, as well as professional resources).
I took these photos at a vacation on the lake with my extended family and they always
help me take a deep breath and remain calm.

Then I hung up some meaningful decorative objects on the wall behind my desk.
The plaque says "Christie: Follower of Christ" and it has a verse that's meaningful to me.
The little hanging says, "Make a joyful noise until the Lord," which is also a Bible verse.

It certainly is more fun to work in here when the room feels organized and serene
(though it's a highly used room and it's a constant JOB keeping it organized and serene - most of the time I don't succeed!)

The full moon definitely affected our classroom on Sunday . . . 
our students were WILD!
Hope your life isn't wild this week (except in the areas you WANT to be wild!!!)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving Road Trip

On Thanksgiving, Greg & I went to Green Valley, Arizona, to visit his Mom and Step-Dad, Dan.

The Man:

On the way out through downtown Chandler, we saw the initial stages of the construction of the Tumbleweed Tree

It was a cloudy day.

This is what the desert looks like most of the way down there.
Not the prettiest drive.

The sky was beautiful!

South of Casa Grande there are a bunch of pecan groves.

And then we come across Picacho and Picacho Peak!
(I just looked up the translation of "picacho" in Spanish, and it means "peak"!)

This is Picacho Peak:

I hiked up to the tippy top point once a few years back.
It was a hard climb and the park service had drilled hand holds and bars into the rocks along the way in certain spots to help people get to the top.

Then we came to the ostrich farm!

They were hanging out . . . 

It started getting hillier as we got farther south.

And it got cloudier and windier, too!

When we get to Tucson, we're only about 20 minutes from Green Valley!

The University of Arizona (in Tucson) has a rivalry with Arizona State University (in Tempe, in the Phoenix metro area).  Both have a mountain near their campus that has a big A on it.
When they play each other in sports, ASU (gold and maroon) paints the Tucson A gold or UofA paints the Tempe A red & blue.  It's silly, but a sort of fun tradition.

Arizonans do NOT think that peas belong in guacamole!!!

The Tucson freeway has these pretty artworks of things nearby.
The Lowell Observatory is on the far left.

There's the San Xavier Mission!

The desert gets a little more colorful and pretty down near Tucson.
The brush has lots of different colors.
And the Mission is bright white in the middle of all the browns, golds, greens, and yellows.

Then we arrived at Greg's Mom's house, where
we were treated to lots of lovely yummy Thanksgiving food:
turkey, cranberry relish, potatoes, gravy, wild rice stuffing (new and interesting!) . . . 
Greg and I took pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and rice pudding for desert.  Yum!

We were able to hang out for a few hours before we needed to head home again.
Here's downtown Tucson on our way through . . . 
it's beautiful with the mountains right behind it!
I believe that tallest peak in the clouds to the right of the tallest buildings
is Mount Lemon.

The setting sun made the clouds light up pink and purple.

And then we were home to snuggle kitties and fall into bed!
I hope your Thanksgiving was full of joy, family, God, and food!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Stormy Thanksgiving Eve

As we prepare for Thanksgiving tomorrow, our skies are gray and menacing - 
and I'm thankful!!!

This is great weather for baking, cooking, snuggling, and nesting.
Whenever we get rain, I want to clean, organize, and cook nutritious meals
to make the house smell delicious.

It's chilly in the mornings lately.

The cats just want to sleep and eat, as usual!

Greg took this week off work and it's nice having him around.
He's been organizing, too, and getting some tasks done around the house.

But he's also been playing the guitar - yay!

Since it's chilly, I get to LAYER!
It's great to wear something other than dresses
even though I love dresses.
blouse: Merona from Target
sweater: Xhilaration from Target
pants: SoHo Apparel from Ross
socks: Target
shoes: Moccasins from Minnetonka Moccasins

 Allistair "helped" me get the Thanksgiving lesson all ready for the 1:1 Classroom on Sunday!

This time of year
Whole Foods has earth worms, ladybugs, and praying mantises for sale!

I have been trying out some new plant-based recipes lately,
and this vegetable stew was a winner.

I sort of cobbled together a recipe from a couple of other recipes . . .
leaving out things that don't work for me/us, and adding things that were in my fridge or cupboard.
Mine ended up being a tomato-based stew with peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach.

It made lots of leftovers, which are now in my fridge!

I also made a vegetable risotto this past week, and it's my new favorite meal.
It's fluffy rice, cooked in vegetable broth, with vegetables (mine has peas, carrots, spinach).
I have lots of the leftovers from the risotto left in my fridge, too.

I will DEFINITELY being making both of these meals again!

In addition to meals, I've been experimenting with snacks.

I am in charge of desserts for Thanksgiving Day, and
I decided to try pumpkin chocolate-chip muffins (also plant-based, meaning no animal products).

Because they're also gluten-free, I will change the recipe next time to half the sugars, half the oil
to take care of the slight sink in the middle of each muffin.

But it also turns out that I can leave the batter to "rest" a little before putting in the oven, and that has a similar effect.

Juvy has taken to sitting by the front door when she needs something and 
RACING into the house as soon as we open the door.

It's very cute.

Sunday afternoon, Greg got the pleasure of sitting on the couch with four cats!
from left to right: Stephen, Allistair, Claude, Greg, Juvy
They love Daddy!



May your Thanksgiving Eve be full of snuggles, too!