Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekend UPDATE!

The title is more of a joke for me than for you. On the announcements @ school we have a group of boys who give the sports UPDATE. And they yell update every time, I don't know why, bit it always makes me laugh.

FRIDAY: I was exhausted after this week. I think it was the amount of projects I have been doing with my students. The coolest part of the week was our classroom earthquake. (I'll do a post just on that soon). I was hoping to spend Friday night in wearing my pajamas watching a DVD. Mr. R and my co-workers had other plans. We ended up going to North county for dinner and drinks. It was really great fun and in the end I am glad I went. I did however indulge in all things fried, caloric, and ethanol heavy. (I will no be doing that in the future).

SATURDAY: I was like a little kid on Saturday wishing for the "rain rain to go away". I used my day in to sort out my closet, find more things to give to goodwill, and nap. Mr. R decided to take me out last night and we had a fun date @ PF Changs. The food as always was delicious (yum! Singapore Street Noodles), the conversation was hilarious, and I am more convinced than ever that we will be the weird parents the other kids talk about.

SUNDAY: I don't know if your house is like ours, but somehow in the 6 days between Sunday our house falls apart at the seems with clothes strewn all over our bedroom and dust and dirt collecting in front of our front door. This morning I put on my Cinderella clothes and got to work scrubbing, sweeping , vacuuming, and dusting. I also have a pork tenderloin in the crockpot for burritos tonight.

February Challenge ?!?

While reading Sharon's blog this morning, she mentioned a February challenge. I am enjoying my January challenge of cooking 21 meals weekly, and I am not ready to let it go. We saved $200 this month from eating in and cutting back on our entertainment costs (i.e. itunes, movies, Target impulse buys). But it is always fun to try something new.

So we have a new February challenge @ Casa Republican.
The plan is to run 20 miles per week for a goal of 80 miles this month.
Wish me luck!

(And Mr. R if you are reading this, I need new running shoes!)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday, blah! yuck!

I am glad today is over. I am actually looking forward to the end of the week.
It's been a blah week.
I ran a bunch
cooked a few dinners
met a new gym friend
I watched TV (How I Met, White Collar, and Community)
read my new real simple
found a new walking route for the dogs
burned my arm!
went to the doctor and am now supporting burn salve and band-aids
I worked on a few new labs for my science class.
did laundry
slept in until the absolute last minute each morning
rocked a new curly hair style
wore my new dress (a Christmas present from Mom)
broke in my new black flats
graded a few quizzes
made a test for my earthquake unit
Oh and tomorrow is Friday! Yay for Friday! I LOVE FRIDAY!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I hate the Real World, but I miss DC.

I hate it a lot! Something snapped in me when I turned 23 and I could no longer tolerate the lack of jobs, the obscene amount of drinking, and the utter incompetence and stupidity of the house members.

But I miss DC! And this year Real World is being filmed in DC. I am watching it in an attempt to cure a little bit of homesickness. I see glimpses of Georgetown with my favorite shops and restaurants, Dupont Circle, the mall, and even the metro (that I had a love hate relationship with). If they show Clarendon with Whitlow's, Shoefly, the crappy record store, my gym, my Whole Foods, my Crate & Barrel, and my old apartment I might just lose it.

I think a trip back is in order.

Dinner from HADES!

I didn't want to cook tonight, but to go along with our no eating out goal, I caved and made my way to the kitchen after tonight's run.

My plan for tonight was tomato alphabet soup with apple tomato salad.The recipe looked pretty unassuming, vegetables, pasta, vegetable broth.
And yet, 20 minutes in I am supposed to blend the veggies and broth before adding the pasta. (This step is after you saute the carrot & onion mixture, and then add the tomatoes, and vegetable or chicken broth).
My blender lid BLEW OFF mid cycle. Covering me and my kitchen in burning hot tomato soup broth! (I really think my arm has a second degree burn).

No, I did not take pictures of the kitchen disaster. I might look at this & laugh 2 months or 1 year from now, but tonight it's still not funny.

I managed to salvage 3/4 of the soup. (1/2 was still left in the pot & 1/4 was still left in the blender). I added the pasta and tuned the pot on high to boil.

Only instead of boiling, the pasta started to burn! (I know right!)Surprisingly enough, shaking the pot (with the lid on) saved the pasta from burning. And dinner was actually quite good. The soup tastes very rich & creamy although no cream is actually added. And of course a little Parmesan cheese doesn't hurt.

What I really wore...

After many wardrobe changes and my need to match Mr. R. I settled on my new watercolor dress, (thanks Mom!), black cardigan, and the flats you saw in my previous post. I felt totally comfortable in the dress and was actually dressed appropriately for the venue. I think my biggest fear, besides public nakedness, is being under dressed and a swanky party.I think I also have a new favorite drink to replace my current obsession with white sangria and mojitos. It's called the Washington Apple and it tastes just like a candy apple. Yum!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Mr. R is joining the rotary. We got invited to an event for young people who belong to old people clubs like the rotary. T I went through a mild wardrobe crisis over this event. (Danielle, I know you told me to wear the black dress, but I didn't think I could pull off the pashmina.)

I want to look professional, cute, but also thin and put together. Yes, I realize this is a lot to ask from a dress, that I bought from Target.

I ended up going with this ensemble and hoping for the best. Let's all cross our fingers that I make a good impression.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

10 things that make me happy on a Monday.

The man I married is not a morning person or a Monday person. He would much rather skip Sunday all together because he knows the Monday is right behind it. I however accept the fate that Monday is always coming and I might as well embrace what the day has to offer.

1. Pumpkin spice coffee that can be made in the Keurig. I love all things pumpkin and who doesn't love a cup of coffee that can be made in under 3 minutes.

2. Block days at school. (This translates into 90 minute class periods and no need to rush my lessons)

3. Homemade soup for lunch.

4. A new package of my favorite black pens.
Publish Post

5. Being picked up by my husband in my now clean car with a much needed oil change.

6. Puppy walks by the lake in weather that feels like spring and doesn't require a sweater.

7. Spin class, 600 calories burned.

8. How I Met Your Mother & Big Bang Theory on TV.

9. Spiced Apple Cider to drink.

10. Dinner leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

And of course I love these guys too!

Weight Watchers

I have struggled with my weight since I was seven. I was never naturally thin. And it wasn't until my early 20s that I actually learned how to fuel my body properly. The whole idea of calories in needs to equal calories out...

In the past 4 years of marriage I have steadily packed on the pounds due to poor eating, lack of excercise, and putting myself last on the old "to-do" list. With the help of weight watchers over the past year I have finally learned that I need to take time for me and make sure my nutritional, emotional, and physical needs are being met.

How does this translate to everyday life?

Nutritional: Total food costs go up (produce is more expensive than canned or boxed), fast food/processed food costs go WAY DOWN, Mr. R is not always happy with what's for dinner, we no longer drink soda, meals must be planned in advance, the crockpot is my new BFF, I can no longer "just pick-up" dinner, my skin is clearer, and I have more energy.

Emotional: I have had to be more honest about my feelings. I had to learn to start sharing how the actions of other effect me. I had to learn to "rock the boat" sometimes. I think I have become a better wife. I am more open than I have ever been in my life. I started a blog. I think I am a better friend. I am more outspoken with my opinions.

Physical: For my own sanity I need to workout at least 3 times a week. (This does not always happen). I am much less hungry on days I run than days I do not. My body likes afternoon workouts and will perform much better in the pm hours. I have grown more comfortable with the gym and having to run/ workout next to other. I am becoming better at comparing my body to others. I am starting to appreciate my body for what it does not how it looks.


Are lazy days around here. We take our time getting out of bed and coffee is a standard requirement. It's also my day to grocery shop, make my lesson plans, catch up on laundry, and make or tentative menu for the week.

Massive laundry piles are turned into clean clothes ready to be worn this week.
Butter, beef stock, onions, and French Baguettes are turned into a yummy dinner via the crock.
(The pic above is precooked, I promise it looks so much better after 6 hours in the crock).

Piles of papers turn into actual grades.

And late afternoon runs with Mr. R turn into my favorite part of the day :)Seriously, this soup is amazing. We had ours with a green salad. For more recipe details click here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

61 years to celebrate & dominos!

My grandparents celebrated their 61st Anniversary yesterday. We hosted a huge party at our house last year in their honor, but this year things were a bit more mellow. Mr. R and I were invited to their home for BBQ and Mexican Train Dominos. This is by far my grandmother's favorite game.

I was a little stumped at what to get them for a 61st anniversary present, I mean they really have everything and they are not fans of going out to eat. (I come from a long line of crazy hippies who constantly worry about processed food and restaurant quality. I swear I get it honest!). I found a cute card about perfect pairs @ Target and one of the examples was popcorn and a movie. This was my inspiration, a container of caramel popcorn with mixed nuts and the Julie & Julia DVD. (My grandmother has been talking about this movie for quite sometime).

It amazes me that my grandparents have been together for so long. They are wonderful role models for how to stay married and continue to grow in love for each other. They lived through the great depression, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. They raised two daughters, three grandchildren, and always opened their home to whomever needed a place to stay. They are complete opposites, my grandfather is constantly on the move and a bit hot tempered (I am very much like him) and my grandmother is patient, calm, and has never to my knowledge raised her voice. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to still have them in my life. I can only hope that Mr. R and I are as committed and loving to each other at that age.

After dinner Dominoes ensued. This is a very heated and competitive game in my family. I won the first two rounds only to be stomped later by my grandfather & husband.
And as usual Simon had to be part of the action.

Oh , and this is my Uncle Robert. He is my grandfather's brother and a financial guru. I love when he comes to visit because it is almost like Dave Ramsey is sitting in my living room. Let's hope a tiny bit of his wisdom rubs off on me in the coming weeks.


I am breathing a sigh of relief that this week is over! My week wasn't horrible, but it was very intense. Crazy parents, lots of emails, end of term grades, tornado warnings, extra hours, and finally Friday @ 2:30 came.

I didn't have big plans for the evening, just a run, mellow dinner, and TV shows with Mr. R. I actually came home and slept for an hour before doing anything on my list. I guess I was that tired. It's funny how our bodies just demand rest every once in a while. We ended up going to the gym last night so my run was on the treadmill. I know people have very mixed views on the treadmill, but I like how I can monitor my pace and incline. I ran four miles with varying inclines from 0.5 to 4. I was a sweaty mess by the end and drank 32 ounces of water over the course of my run.

I need to slip in a Mr. R story here. I never carry enough water for my runs whether at the gym or on the road. I had no idea Mr. R. even noticed this. He saw my sweatiness and need for water yesterday and actually stopped his workout to get me more water. (I think this gesture made my night!)

We had a few errands to run after the gym and I wasn't feeling up to cooking dinner. We opted for Publix sushi and peanut butter on toast for dessert. (Truthfully, I was still hungry after my sushi and needed 2nd dinner, hence the pb and banana toast).

I seem to be talking about TV a lot on the blog and I promise I do accomplish more than just watch television! However last night I watched TV for 2 hours straight! I am so loving NBC this year, Park & Recreation is my new favorite show! Also, have you seen White Collar on USA yet? I think I am in love.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

macaroni, cheese, and babies

In response to yesterdays post, today was much better and I didn't need to grovel. Can I get an AMEN?

On to today...

I am in the midst of a project with my 7th graders and its one I think they are really enjoying. I can't wait to see their presentations on Monday & Tuesday. I was also able to sing Jimmy Buffet's Volcano song to my kids today so that makes for a fun day as well. (And no, I really cannot sing).

I was home at a decent hour today and all of my grades are posted! Thank the LORD! And after much talk with my team & my husband I have decided to grade less and technology more. I am hoping this really gets my students more engaged and excited and takes a little more off of my daily plate.

I made mac & cheese for dinner. This means that we have had no meat for 6 nights this week. (And Mr. R has not complained once!) I think we accidentally went vegetarian for the week. As you know, I stocked up on fruits, veggies and cheese @ Costco on Saturday, but didn't buy any meat. I made a list of things to buy @ Publix for my planned weekly meals, but I never made it to the grocery store. This meant I had to be creative with what we had on hand and thus the birth of accidental vegetarianism. (I should be forgetful more often!)

Lastly, we come to my recurring blog subject, babies. I go through phases of really wanting a baby and then, like a faucet, my desire to be a mother shuts off and I am lusting after new clothes or a trip to Europe. More recently though, I have had babies of the brain and I think Mr. R and I are becoming more comfortable with the idea of a bunch of little Republicans running around. I even had the nerve to think of names for the little people today. I guess in my daydream we had three little Republicans, two boys and one girl... a Lucy Katherine, Finn Thomas, and Jack Hudson. (I am sure the names will change and I promise we aren't pregnant yet, I guess I just have it on the brain!)

(Pictures of tonight's dinner to come, I took them on Mr. R's phone and he is republicing they are MIA at the moment.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


This is really a Danielle word, but I think it is the only adjective that can truly describe my day. As you know I am a teacher and grades are due tomorrow. I am currently burning the midnight oil. On top of millions (I exaggerate) of grades to enter, I have had lots of emails filling up my in box. I needed a minute to just vent and take care of a few outstanding issues and somehow managed to miss an important meeting! I know! Clearly, time management is not my best feature. Today is every sense of the word was craptastic. And yes, it was ALL MY FAULT.

I wanted to come home and wallow in my own self pity and sorrow, but Mr. R was insistent that we go for a run. I put up a fuss, by gave in and slipped on my running gear. And I must admit Mr. R was right! (That man is a genius) 4 miles and lots of girlie pop music later...I am loving life, making dinner, and feeling awesome.

Of course, I will need to grovel a little more tomorrow to make up for my missing the meeting, but even if that goes badly the ipod and my Nikes will be waiting to make it all better.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I want grilled cheese!

That is a quote from one of my favorite TV shows, Big Bang Theory. ( I highly recommend giving it a try if you have 30 minutes to spare on your Monday night).

The main character Sheldon, requests grilled cheese when he is sick. I am not sick, but I did have an incredibly tiring day. A new project started with my classes at school, 3 mile run in the early afternoon, quick snack while grading a few last minute papers, working the ticket booth at the basketball game, and finally home to my pups. (where I am now eating a dinner or grilled cheese).

They are the best greeters! Hope you had a great Tuesday and guess what, only 3 days left of the work week!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Messy house, messy kitchen, messed up dinner.

While the title of this post is very melancholy, today was a GREAT day. I slept in, had a leisurely breakfast, did laundry, caught up on my saved TV shows, and napped. I even had a great run @ the gym, 600 calories burned. However...this is what is still on my to-do list.

Laundry still needs to be washed.My luggage needs to be unpacked.
My kitchen needs to be cleaned.
My dining room table is buried under those piles, I swear.A few papers need to be graded.

And lastly I need to make my way to bed. Back to school tomorrow!
Ok, so I have bared all my dirty little house secrets.
Hope you aren't too disgusted & we can still be friends!
Off to clean LIKE CRAZY!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Girl's Night

To be someone's girlfriend is a special honor. It's an unspoken bond of trust wrapped in a friendship that grows, changes, and is even more cherished overtime.

I think of myself as an independent person who can stand just fine on her own. After all, I grew up with a mom who made it clear adulthood is very much you against the world. But life is hard, and the journey of my 20s is often very lonely. I am so grateful to have a group of friends here in Florida that I can share my struggles, hopes, lamentations, and triumphs with.

I am not sure where you are in your life, but I am in a place where marriage has already come and I am happily settling into daily routine with my husband. (It only took 4 years!) We are at a place in age and in marriage where children are the center of our conversation. (But the question is always ... ARE WE READY?)

It was wonderful to be able to share my concerns with friends and listen to their struggles and realize these problems that I am facing are just a natural part of grown-up life. Of course it was also wonderful to eat yummy cheese and fruit and salad and bread and dessert. (I think I gained 5 pounds in 5 hours!)
While this post is rather long winded...I am just trying to say how wonderful it is that God gave us girlfriends. And I will remember to say a prayer of thanks for each one of them today!

(All photos by 5k to Marathon. Our hostess & amazing friend!)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

There's No Place Like Home!

I pulled into my driveway @ 8:00 last night and have yet to unpack. It is wonderful to be home and be greeted by puppy kisses, my wonderful husband, (who CLEANED & DID LAUNDRY) and to sleep in my own bed. I will update posts with pictures tonight or this afternoon. Today the plan is to wash the new mound of dirty clothes I brought home, make our bimonthly grocery list & head to COSTCO, and finally spend some much needed quality time with Mr. R.

I also have Haiti on my heart right now and I am trying to decide what action I need to take. I have been thinking about sponsoring a child through World Mission for a while and I think a child in Haiti might be the right step for us. I was also thinking about doing a clothing drive at casa de Republican to send to the may people who have lost everything. I will keep you updated if you want to help out or donate. Also if you have any better ideas I am all ears.

Friday, January 15, 2010


If you haven't discovered this about me already, here's the scoop. I am cheap. I know the proper term is frugal, but I think cheap fits me just fine. I like to find the best deal, and I am deathly afraid of getting ripped off. I also like a healthy bank account which means I shouldn't be writing too many checks!

But back to my main point, as our conference came to an end. I went back to a few of my favorite presenters and exhibitors and told them about my school, my district, and the new motto we have in Florida; "Teach more, do more, but use less". I told them about how Brain Pop has changed my teaching and engaged my students. I told scholastic about our cut in student funding and how programs that cost $129 are out of my league....

And guess what! They gave me stuff FOR FREE! I got a new program to teach livings for FREE! It's interactive, engaging, and amazing. My students will love it & it was FREE! Brain pop gave me a one year classroom subscription FOR FREE! (I do need to remember to email the guy to make sure it goes through). And our media specialist managed to get us a weekly reader express trial for FREE!

The purpose of this post is not to brag about my good fortune at our conference, but only to say that people understand what teachers are going through these days. They know our classroom budgets were slashed and our raises are nonexistent. They know our students are coming in without supplies and that we are being asked to teach more and do more with much less than we have ever had. These exhibitors and presenters are not immune to my stories and our plight. BUT THE GREAT NEWS is that THEY WANT TO HELP! And if you just ask they will!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I am a presenter!

Today we presented to over 150 people @ a conference of techies, computer science gurus, and master teachers. Talk about a humbling experience! Believe it our not we had a packed out session with people standing in the back. We even ran out of informational cards to give out. I was having people come up and ask me for my email, which I guess as the closes to a Paris Hilton autograph moment as I will ever get.

Beyond just my little session I attended four others and my brain is just swimming with new lingo, facts, databases, and web addresses. I feel as though I need another week just to sort through and digest all of the new information. I also need to weed out the super cool stuff that I love, but do not really need or won't use in my classroom. I know I have goldfish syndrome where I am attracted to the pretty lights, but not necessarily the most practical solutions.

I am really excited to go back and share with my colleagues. I wish everyone could have the chance to attend and learn what is readily available, easy to use, and also (the magic word) FREE!

I know I spend a lot of time lamenting about poor student participation and more work on me, but I really think if I would step back and give more technology a try I would have very little to complain about. I think I was more engaged today than I have ever been at any teacher training or staff meeting and that was simply because I had new material, new technology, and a really cool speaker to listen too.

I know this is the year to do more with less and I think I just might have learned the right tools to accomplish the task.

Blogging from my 1st Teaching Conference

Today I attended session 1 of the Florida Education Technology Conference. Not only did I meet Moby, my favorite cartoon robot. I heard Ed Begley Jr. speak about going green in your classroom. Considering I am 3/4 hippie & 1/4 indie, I was all over his plans for digital textbooks and incorporating green education into my science classroom. This morning I was actually at Sea World, amazing pictures to come! I didn't pack the cord to my camera so you will have to wait until Friday to see the amazing sea dragons that are currently mating in the new column tanks in the Sea World Aquarium. Don't worry we did do more than sight see today. I picked up a bunch on new technology ideas for my classroom and my wishlist for our amazing PTSO has become a mile long. I had no idea so much stuff was out there!

I also can't forget to give a few shout outs to my partners in crime here in Orlando. I am here with Lindsay who gets me into trouble, makes me laugh hysterically, and will gladly do anything to get her name in raffle. (I think I have raised my hand to ask questions get raffle tickets more than I have in my entire life!). I can't forget Lynn who is the reason I am really attending this conference. She applied for our presentation slot and got us accepted and our admission paid for! I am just hoping we get another chance to come back next year!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sophie looks how I feel.

Feeling a bit under the weather today, let's hope it passes quickly!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Oh my gosh it's cold!

In fact today's temperature high (43) is only 10 degrees warmer than the temperature of my home state NJ! We even had flurries this morning in some places. I know, I am shocked too!

As much as I wanted to stay huddled in my bed and wrapped in my snuggie I did venture out to do a few errands & accomplish some major "honey do" projects in the house.

Our den/TV room is finally painted! We did the first coat in November, but neglected the trim, windows, and certain areas needed a touch up. Especially where the stenciling used to be.

We finished painting a little after 2:00pm. I showered and headed to Target where I found adorable heart shaped silicone bakeware. (I am a sucker for hearts & all things Valenintes). I also braved Walmart for a few deals on toiletries I'll need later this week when I head to Orlando.

For dinner tonight I made a heart healthy meal in the shape of hearts! I know, I am dork. I made BBQ chicken in the crock (use the same recipe as lazy chicken just switch out the tomato sauce with BBQ sauce), topped with caramelized red onions, served on cornbread muffins. We also had a garden salad (not pictured).

I can't believe how quickly my weekend flew by!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

How to feed a Cowboy's fan on playoff night.

In case you didn't know, tonight my husband's beloved Cowboys play the Philadelphia Eagles, my hometown team. We are a house divided. I am rooting for the Dirty Birds to make it to Miami. He has been wearing his Romo jersey all day.

My photo of the day is a series of shots of tonight's dinner entitled Taco Mess.

Make Spanish rice either from scratch or the package. To be honest, I am a Lipton girl.Using your new Rachel Ray pans, (I really love them! Thanks Mama Republica.) brown ground beef, turkey, or soy crumbles. Add taco seasoning, black beans, & sliced black olives.
(Be like Sandra Lee and feel free to use premixed seasonings & canned olives). While you're at it mix up some homemade guacamole with an overripe avocado.
Mix together your Spanish rice & meat mixture. (Thus the taco mess)Top with your favorite taco fixings.
Serve with in your new latte bowls, that you got for Christmas and are in LOVE with.