Spring Break 2013: And so it begins …

I started this Spring Break with two days at my weekend job! So that’s been fun! It actually is really wonderful to see all my friends there, and it is refreshing to do something COMPLETELY different from teaching munchkins.

On the home front, we began our day yesterday at Urgent Care for poor Scott. He has an ear infection and a (possibly) perforated ear drum! Poor guy. He has been pretty miserable. Hopefully the antibiotics and such will keep him on the mend! We ended our day with some chicken and rice soup and some good ol’ Top Gear. Last night brought us both almost 12 hours of sleep – thank goodness! All in all I would say this has been an eventful beginning to my spring break, and a rather rough end to Scott’s spring break. Get better Scott!!!

I got the recipe for chicken and rice soup from here and I added potatoes. I also used a rotisserie chicken because it gives it a bit more flavor. Mmm comfort food! Omnom.

Chicken and rice soup

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Holidays in Retrospect

And now that the holidays are “officially” over, I’m finally getting around to looking back at the holiday break. It was the most time I’ve had off consecutively over the holidays in forever, and I pretty much wallowed in it. That being said, it was also an utter whirlwind. We were involved in a wedding the weekend before Christmas (luckily it was also in Chapel Hill, so we didn’t have any extra traveling to do), we had a Christmas bon fire party, then there was Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and Scott flew north on Christmas Day in the evening to be with his family for a week, then I spent the following week dog sitting for the best dog ever for our friends who got married, party hopped on New Years Eve, and headed back to the mountains on New Years Day. Yep, a whirlwind. And now, for some photos.

The lovely bride and handsome groom getting ready for an epic bike ride to the courthouse to get married!!! It was about 40 and windy that day. Brrrrr!

Nick and Kathy on the way to get hitched!

Lovely Kathy and me at the party after aforementioned bike ride. (Scott and I opted out of the bike ride, but went to the courthouse!)

Oh, Kathy! You're glowing in this picture.

Went to a concert at the Haw River Ballroom – Ananta and I were matching!

Matching boots!

Kitty’s favorite spot under the Christmas Tree!

Kitty under the Christmas Tree

A Christmas Eve Party (that’s actually before Christmas Eve now) with a wonderful bon fire! Good company, singing Christmas songs, hearing the Hanukkah story, lighting the Menorah, hearing the Christmas story. Such a great tradition!

Christmas Eve Bon Fire!

We went out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve! The restaurant was packed – not surprising – and it was delicious!

Family dinner out for Chinese on Christmas Eve!

The lovely Christmas Tree on Christmas morning!!!

Mmm Christmas Morning!

Mom and I made flan for Christmas dessert! We were both surprised at how easy it was – and we feel very lucky because from talking to folks it is not always so easy!

Making a Christmas Flan!

My sweetheart and me on Christmas! It was such a blessing to be together for part of Christmas this year.

Scott and me, Christmas 2012

Sweet Cricket! We got to spend a week together while her humans were out of town and it was so fun!!!

Sweet Cricket!

New Year’s Eve with Ananta!

Ananta and me on New Year's Eve!

And another bon fire for New Year’s Eve! Christmas Trees burn so quickly!

New Year's Eve Bon Fire!

So there you have it – a recap of my holidays. It was a great couple of weeks, that’s for sure! Spent time with some wonderful people – family and friends – and enjoyed the time off! So grateful.

We give thanks.

My mom and brother joined us for Thanksgiving this year! We missed Dad and Dean and Scott’s family, but it sure was nice to have some family around! And we had so much fun, as we always do when we are together. We hiked up to Rattlesnake Lodge, watched lots of Downton Abbey, went for a walk at the Biltmore, laughed, cooked, ate, and had a great time!

It was a wonderful holiday! So glad to have a few days off with family! Scott and I both worked Friday and Saturday, so Mom and Parker headed home. Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. It was crazy! I am so thankful for my life, my loved ones, and the opportunities I have.

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Yesterday my brother turned 20!!! He is such a great guy and I am so proud of him!

Happy Birthday Parker!!!

 

And so.

There is a new window in the break room at one of my jobs.

This is the view.

Oh. My. Wow.

I live here! I love it. It is beautiful and I often forget that. Such a sweet reminder to look around and take in the beauty that surrounds us.

This week has been utterly exhausting, and it was even a short week at school! But it has been so good! I left Montessori this evening loving my job and I just got back from my most favorite yoga class. Constantly learning, always surprised, and happy to be living this life.

And next week is Thanksgiving!!! We have a turkey and we’re going shopping for the rest of the food stuffs tomorrow! I am so excited to have family coming to visit for Thanksgiving this year! This coming week is going to be a doozy. Only two days at school, then two days with family, then working Black Friday and Saturday downtown!

Bring. It. On.

A Whirlwind

Last weekend (the first weekend of October) was such a whirlwind that I have yet to write about it. Here goes! My mom arrived on Friday evening and we spent some time catching up. Then I worked all day on Saturday, followed by delicious homemade tacos for my mom’s belated birthday dinner, and a surprise visit to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge where we met up with some friends for dessert! It was so much fun to spend some time together, have a belated birthday celebration for my mom, and chocolate is always a good idea!

My mom baked some pumpkin bread on Saturday while I was at work, and on Sunday morning we made it into French Toast! We experienced this delicacy at Sunny Point Cafe, once upon a time, and have recreated it a couple of times since. It was super tasty! And it was so nice to sit and have a lovely brunch together.

After brunch we reunited with my mom’s friend (they drove up together) and went to see my school. It’s so fun showing fellow teachers (and more importantly, mom and her friend) my classroom and telling them about it! As brief as the visit was, it was absolutely marvelous to spend some time with my mom! I went to work on Sunday afternoon and my mom and her friend headed back home. Thanks for coming to visit Mom!!! Miss you already!

Been so long!

This week has FLOWN by! It has been so busy. LIFE has been so busy! I wish it would just slow down sometimes! Geesh. So let’s back track a bit.

Last Friday after work I went with two of my coworkers to a funeral for the Wine Studio in Asheville. Fun theme for a going out of business party! It was a great evening, tasty wine, delicious munchies, a cute pooch, and good company. And this skull amidst the roses!

Sunday was a glorious day! We started off with some yoga and then made brunch (which was more like lunch). Gump’s Very Superior Pancakes! They are our favorite! It ended up being a very productive day! I ran some errands, made some phone calls, did some laundry, and spent a glorious couple of hours making scrumptious chili for dinner. It was so meditative to follow the recipe and add more things to the pot of simmering goodness! It was our dinner for three nights in a row and we weren’t even beginning to complain! I made cornbread to go with our chili too. It was all so good. We are so ready for soup/stew/chili/chowder weather!

This week has been very busy, and exhausting, but rewarding all at the same time. As much as I may be in a grumpy mood sometimes, it is hard to stay grumpy when I have little munchkins giving me hugs and wanting to snuggle! They’re pretty irresistible, my friends at school! Yes, they have their moments, but they can be really sweet! One of the most wonderful images from this week is one that I have to paint for you. One of the assistant teachers brought her sister in law to school for the day, and she also happens to be a Montessori teacher. In after care she brought her guitar outside to play and sing songs! The children, after a few moments, gathered around her and all crowded into the same little play structure to listen and sing along! It was so sweet to see them all so excited!

Some days were not-as-great. Yesterday I felt like the world was against me for a good chunk of the day. This goes back to where I said that when you’re feeling grumpy it’s really hard to stay grumpy because the kids are so loving. Remember? But sometimes you just feel grumpy again after you leave work and sometimes you’re tired and sometimes you hit all the lights red on that road that you HATE driving on downtown and sometimes you stub your toe on nothing when you’re walking through the kitchen and sometimes you forget to unpack the groceries when there are refrigerated items and sometimes your mailbox looks like this after all those other things happen and it makes you want to scream!!! Yeah. Sometimes. And sometimes you feel much better after you have the chance to talk to your mommy on the phone, who magically makes everything feel better and pulls you out of your grumpy funk. Thanks Mom!

And in marvelously stark contrast, today I came home unreasonably giddy and hyper for no apparent reason (though, now that I think about it, it could be that I drank caffeinated tea at work this afternoon) and bounced around the apartment giggling and being silly! And then I got really excited about the fact that it’s almost time to break out the Bean Boots!!! I hardly got to wear mine last winter because it wasn’t actually winter here in Asheville and mine are insulated (read: too hot to wear every day otherwise I might). So I’m hopeful and excited that it might actually be cold enough to require insulated boots this winter! After spending a winter in Massachusetts (in which it snowed a bazillion feet and was quite chilly) last winter felt pretty lame in comparison. And who doesn’t love his and hers Bean Boots!?

And that will be all for now. Just wanted to update you since I’ve been gone all week!!! Perhaps I’ll be back sooner for my next post! I’ll work on it. Sorry y’all!

Cast Iron

Friday, June 15, 2012: We recently got some cast iron and let me just tell you, we absolutely LOVE cooking in it. It makes up for the fact that our dilapidated electric range doesn’t heat evenly and it is simply super satisfying to cook in! We had pasta with fresh squash, onion, and garlic. Yum!

Death by Chocolate

Saturday, June 9, 2012: Today has been a busy day! Farmer’s Market and grocery shopping this morning, a few random other errands, and (most importantly) making Death by Chocolate!!!

This goes back – way back. And it’s very strongly associated with a family friend. Since forever. When my brother and I were little we used to go to this friend’s house every spring (ish?) (you know how time and memory works for kids … it was warm outside and there were flowers, so we’ll go with spring) for a party. When their plants got bigger/spread they invited folks over to take the excess! This friend’s garden was all marked very clearly as to what could be dug up and taken and what must be untouched. And, more importantly, there were lots of other kids to play with, an awesome backyard, and good food. And even more important than that, there was Death by Chocolate. There was always Death by Chocolate. So Death by Chocolate and Ann Carr and Lee were pretty much synonymous for us. Now, of course, they mean much more to me … but then it was a different story.

We’re going next-door this evening for a lovely little dinner party and I decided it called for Death by Chocolate. And boy have I been channeling Ann Carr today! She’s pretty much been in my kitchen with me all day. We did things a little bit differently this time, but only a couple of minute details. The rest is the same. Except, of course, I don’t have a glass trifle dish, so that’s a bummer. (Note to self: when we have a bigger kitchen I will need a glass trifle dish/glass serving bowl.)

What’s that? You want a recipe? Okay. I’ll share it with you – and it’s SUPER EASY!

1 9 x 13 chocolate cake, cooled and crumbled

1 box chocolate pudding, prepared according to directions on box

1 12 oz. container whipped topping, thawed

Several crushed Heath bars (or similar)

3/4 cup strong brewed coffee or 1/4 cup coffee liqueur

Layer as follows: half of crumbled chocolate cake, half of coffee/coffee liqueur drizzled over cake, half of pudding spread over cake, half of whipped topping spread over pudding, half of crushed Heath sprinkled over whipped topping, and repeat with the other half of everything! Refrigerate until serving!