Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Totally Made my Tuesday!

Tonight is the night Rockefeller Center lights the giant Christmas tree! For me this is the start of the holiday season. It was a tradition (my 4 years at St. E's) that a group of us would go into the city and stand in the freezing cold, snow or rain to see the tree lit IN PERSON. Of course we were there for the live music and sheet spectacle of a ginormous tree and millions of tiny lights! Nothing beats those memories of frozen fingers, frozen toes, the magic of the giant tree, Christmas spirit being shared between total strangers, and of course the year we were close enough to TOUCH Nick Lachey. (This was of course back in 2001, when he was still cool.)
I no longer live in Jersey, just a 30 minute train ride from NYC, but the Christmas tradition still continues. Mr. R and I will be watching the tree lighting ceremony from our living room this year, complete with hot chocolate, cookies, and plenty of Christmas spirit.
Let's face it, I love holiday memories, Christmas traditions, and any chance to sing Christmas carols.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sending Christmas Cards!

Christmas cards are an important tradition in my family. Much thought gets put into the theme, the photos, the message, and the meaning. My family has been making homemade cards since 1986 and I love that I am able to keep the tradition going.

My dad, the family artist, would ALWAYS hand draw our card and have it printed each year. My job was to add glitter or a bit of color here and there. My mom was in charge of addressing the envelopes, and as a family we would go to the post office and mail the cards.

I will never be the artist my dad was, but I am pretty adept at photoshop and I have to say I am very proud of our card this year.

Here's a sneak peak!

The words in red are from the song Seasons of Love. If you have seen the musical Rent or watched a Macy's commercial in the past month, they should ring a bell :) And the words in black are how Jeff and I measure our year.

Hopefully the cards will be printed, addressed, and mailed before Friday!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A quick road trip scrapbook!

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook
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And menu monday returns...

Sunday: Roast beef au jus sandwiches with roasted brussel sprouts.
Monday: Walking tacos (minus the chips and eating dinner out of a bag!) with spanish rice
Tuesday: Rotisserie chicken Caesar salad (chicken from Publix & salad from the bag)
Wednesday: Loaded potatoes (topped with broccoli, bacon, tomato, and cheese) served with green salad
Thursday: Shrimp scampi with rice and peas
Friday: OUT!
Saturday: Crockpot French Onion Soup with blue cheese, strawberry salad.

If you are a pen and paper planner and want the cute image I posted, as my image, to plan your menus on, download it here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday! Can you handle it?

I have a few missions today,
find a DSLR camera,
gifts for Mr. R's nephews,
and brothers.
Oh yes, and to stay under budget.
Wish me luck!

Advent Calendar LOVE!

I need to just put it out there that my mom is AMAZING. She is the the South Jersey Martha Stewart. She makes holidays magical... with gorgeous decorations, homemade meals, and gifts that are thoughtful, meaningful, and memorable.

Growing up my mom always made or bought an advent calendar every year. It was the HIGHLIGHT of my Christmas season. I loved counting down the days to Christmas. Some years we counted down with chocolate and others we counted down with activities.

This year I decided to follow in the footsteps of my mom and create an advent calendar for the Republican household.

I used a tutorial by Ali Edwards and made ornaments with pictures on the front and activities on the back.
And the activities are...

  1. Make a Christmas treat to take of the 7th grade team and send to Mr. R's co-workers.
  2. Host the grandparents for dinner and Christmas music.
  3. Pick a name from the giving tree @ school/church.
  4. Make a small stocking. Drop it off on someone’s door as a surprise.
  5. Make and address Christmas cards.
  6. Donate to goodwill.
  7. Decorate gingerbread houses with friends.
  8. Make matzo ball soup and celebrate the Hanukkah miracle.
  9. Take food to a local food pantry.
  10. Decorate our tree.
  11. Go downtown to see the Christmas lights. Get Starbucks red cups.
  12. Ice Skating at the Amphitheater.
  13. Watch a Christmas Story and order Chinese Food (tradition)
14. Visit Bethlehem (in PonteVedra 12/10 or 12/11)
15. Finish Christmas Shopping
16. Go to a Christmas concert/performance
17. Host a gift wrapping night
18. Make hot buttered rum
19. Eggnog French Toast for breakfast or dinner
20. Carriage Ride in downtown St. Augustine
21. See Disney decorated for Christmas
22. Go on a tour of neighborhood lights
23. Attend the Holiday Regatta of Lights (downtown)
24. Go the the World Golf Village Festival of Trees
25. Attend the grand illumination

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from the Republicans!

Here's just a few things we are thankful for this year...

Simon & Sophie
Our families (extended, traditional, and adopted)
Our friends
Our jobs
Mini vacations
And the soon to be appearing littlest republican!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Yes, I realize it's freezing (45 degrees TODAY!)
And I am at the Jersey shore!

Why you ask?
For pizza.
But not just any pizza. The best pizza in the ENTIRE WORLD.
... or at least the East Coast.
I hear the Chicago pizza is pretty too.

Mr. R has not had Mac & Manco in three years and I felt that we needed to fix that freezing temperatures be damned.

So cheesy... the sauce is key... and thin crust...
Are you drooling yet?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Philadelphia Day Trip...

You will have to excuse my blogging absence for the next few days. Mr. R. and I are on a crazy THANKSGIVING WEEK road trip. The stops include Va, DC, Philly, South Jersey & Central Jersey.

1. Obligatory LOVE photo
2. Constitution Museum
3. French Toast @ Sabrina's
4. Independence Hall
5. Liberty Bell
6. A visit to Betsy & Ben's house
7. Cheesesteak!
8. Anthropologie Flagship Store
9. Rocky Steps @ the Museum of Art
10. Visit the Flying Monkey @ the Reading Terminal Market

Monday, November 22, 2010

A day in DC with Mr. R

You will have to excuse my blogging absence for the next few days. Mr. R. and I are on a crazy THANKSGIVING WEEK road trip. The stops include Va, DC, Philly, South Jersey & Central Jersey.

Mr. R has to take in a few meetings with the BIG boss down in DC today and I am along for the trip to do some shopping at Tyson's, Trader Joe's, and Georgetown! Hopefully today's itinerary will look a little like this....

1. Tyson's Corner shopping for me (while Mr. R is working the business scene)

2. GEORGETOWN! (I need some cool wrapping and invites from The Papery)

3. DC Cupcakes (Caramel apple cupcake? Yes, please!)

4. Clarendon (our old 'hood)

5. Obligatory Holiday photos by DC landmarks (do you think the 50 trees are out yet?)

6. Drinks with friends (Whitlow's I miss you with all my heart!)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

11/21: Welcome to South Jersey

The original home to the Republicans...
Our first stop is Woodstown, NJ where Mr. R was born and raised.

Mr. R's family...
Farm land...
Mr. R's summer job for YEARS!
So cold! (The high is 52 degrees!)
My mecca for coffee. Why or why do we not have Wawa's in Florida?
My favorite Italian Restaurant (in New Jersey)
Mr. R's alma mater... Yes, for 4 years he was a Woodstown Woodie!

You will have to excuse my blogging absence for the next few days. Mr. R and I are on a holiday road trip visiting friends and family in the Northeast.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

11/20: Thankful for holidays

I love holidays. I love the vacation time. The chance to slow down and enjoy family time and some me time. I am so looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with our families this year and visiting old friends. Currently Mr. R and I are traveling the east coast by way of 95 marking off the states as we listen to NPR, sing along to 80s music, and make bad jokes about the people driving around us.
The pups have new chewies and a few toys to keep them busy too.

Hope you all are having a fantastic weekend!
And hopefully we don't get stuck in Richmond, DC, Delaware, or Turnpike Traffic!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful for friends.

I think the best friends in life are those that let you now where you stand. They are the people you can tell your whole life story to. They are the people who listen, judge you, and love you anyway. I have had very few best friends in life.
In fact, I only count three.
Nicole is my best friend and we met at 18. She was letting her head be slammed into an closing elevator door and I was crying my eyes out over being homesick. She made me laugh, I stopped crying, we bonded over diner food and tequila shots. She is my best friend to this day and also the reason I can no longer stomach tequila. I can call her and talk about nonsense for hours. She can call me about work and I try to give good advice. We graduated together. We were roommates for a summer and hall-mates for two years. She kept me sane through organic chemistry labs and I helped her in physics. She stood next to me as my maid of honor at my wedding. She cried with me during my first year of marriage when life was tough. And she helped me pack up and prepare for my new life in Florida when we left DC. Nicole holds no prisoners. She doesn't lie or sugar coat. You could trust her with your life. And I am so honored that she has chosen me to be her friend.
Meet Danielle.
We teach together. My first year of teaching she was too cool for me. My second year we bonded over a love for science and the overwhelming demands of teaching middle school. She laughs with me, cries with me, listens to my silly stories about republican stuff, and gives me fashion advice. (Example #1: NO HOOKER SHOES AT SCHOOL) She was the first person I told when I found out I was pregnant. She shared in my relief that it finally happened and rejoiced with me that our baby is actually healthy and growing. Danielle is the reason I started running again. She also keeps me honest about my weight watchers points. She keeps me real and grounded. She is our teacher of the year for 2010-2011. She deserves this award more than you can imagine. Her dedication to the school and her students is unfathomable.
And lastly, there is Mr. R. I never thought I would have a best friend who is a boy. But as we become more comfortable with each other (in each year of marriage). I find myself sharing my innermost secrets with him. I want him to know my hopes, my dreams, and my random thoughts. I love coming home and comparing our days over dinner. I love our talks in bed at night. I love that we read together and I am starting to understand his passions. I love that I share more than a bed, a ring, and a name with my husband. Life is so much better when you have someone you love, you can talk to, and you can trust.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I got soul, but I'm not a soldier...

Today I am thankful for advanced technology.

This morning I took a half day from work and Mr. R and I made a trip to the sonogram office for an official ultrasound with 3-D imaging. Our baby is very stubborn and uncooperative so we do not know the gender yet, but we did get to spend 40 minutes on the ultrasound table watching our baby wave, suck its thumb, flip around, and practice saluting.
As I teacher I meet ultra-proud parents every year that tell me their child is advanced, gifted and brilliant. Today I saw myself in 10 years and I am TOTALLY one of those parents. As our baby waved and did beautiful flipturns in my uterus. I was already saying he/she is very advanced in waving and will be an excellent swimmer just like his/her mom. :)
I promised myself that my blog would not turn into a baby crazy chronology of my pregnancy, but there are just some stories I really want to share and save to look back on someday. I also really like sharing these moments with Mr. R. He could not stop smiling at the picture on the monitor above us. He watched for every shift, movement, and facial expression.

I am so grateful that ultrasounds exist and we will get to have so many of them. Being able to see the baby every four weeks is an amazing privilege and I am so thankful I live in a country where this technology exists and is so easily accessible.
Oh, and the title of the post comes from a favorite song of mine by the Killers. The song, All the things that I've done, is great to run to and the chorus states; "I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier". Our baby must have saluted 20 times in the appointment today and I couldn't help, but laugh at all the times I have listened to and run to this song in the last few months. Perhaps, this baby will share my taste in music? Or maybe we have a future soldier on our hands?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm thankful for today coming to a close.

Today I felt as though I was running constantly, but at the same time going nowhere.
I had papers to grade.
Grades to post for mid-marking period averages.
Meetings to attend.
Plans to write.
Substitute plans to leave.
And a boatload of copies to make!

I was on my home by 4:00pm with a night full of laundry, packing, dinner making, and cleaning to attend to.
But in all seriousness I feel like I haven't done much at all.
Maybe my todo list is JUST TOO LONG.
Or maybe, I just really need a vacation....

Today's photos are of Simon and Sophie who totally know how to relax and enjoy.
Sometimes I think they are on a permanent vacation :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's my favorite time of year...

not just because Christmas music is on the radio and Target looks like a winter wonderland. But because COSTCO is now stocking EGGNOG!

And you know what that means, EGGNOG FRENCH TOAST!
I am not a fan of EGGNOG the drink or plain French Toast, but when you combine the two I can't get enough! I ate three pieces for dinner and I am already dreaming about eating more for breakfast. If you want to make the recipe from scratch, allrecipes.com has a great version found here.
But, if you are like me, (and you just ran three miles, and you feel like you might DIE if you have to wait more than 15 minutes for dinner), pour the eggnog out of the carton and into a pie plate, soak day old Italian bread for 5 minutes. Put the soaked bread in a buttered (or in my cases PAM-ed) frying pan and cook both sides for 4-5 minutes.
We also had a frittata for dinner made with leftover potatoes, bacon, tomatoes, onion, and shredded cheddar. I think eggs taste so much better for dinner than with breakfast.
What's your favorite holiday food?

Thankful for running...

I am not running very far or very fast these days, but it still feels good. Today was all about three miles which were not as easy as I thought they would be. But the sweat felt good, the need for an internal pep talk felt good, seeing those miles tick down felt good. And the calories burned.... felt GREAT!
Running makes me feel like me.
It makes me feel free from the weight of work and emails and deadlines.
Running makes me feel strong and sexy.
And to be totally honest, running makes me tired.
The shower, my new body wash, and my soft (so incredibly soft) bed are calling me.

Here's hoping you make time for a little "me-time" this week as well!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'm thankful for...

lazy Sundays with homemade breakfast
easy errands
time to catch up on chores and laundry
and a whole day dedicated to thanksgiving on the Food Network!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Baby Name Blues...

Mr. R is not fun at all. When it comes to picking baby names, he sucks at the boy ones. He likes ONLY ONE name, Jefferson. Have I mentioned his name is Jeff? We are not having Jeff Jr. Not happening, people.

We are all set on girl's names. In fact the one we chose is pretty rockin! But that is for another day...
So, instead I sit and type about the boy's names that Mr. R refuses to admit are cool. So I am pandering to you dear readers. What do you like?


Friday, November 12, 2010

I am thankful for an honest hairdresser...

I woke up last week with a desire to cut my hair. I NEEDED a haircut! I went to see Heather after work today and she told me I needed a TRIM, NOT A HAIRCUT. We went back and forth, with a little pleading on my part, but in the end she was right. I needed some brutal honesty.

And now I have good hair! She also works her magic with highlights.
I have already changed into PJs as I type this so I will owe you a picture...
See you tomorrow :)
Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I am thankful for our BIG (but currently very little) announcement!

The Republican household is growing!
Coming Spring 2011 we will be parents!
Our question is how do we tell the pups that they won't be the ONLY babies in the house?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thankful for coffee creamer...

I know it may sound silly, but I love coffee. I am addicted to coffee.
And more than anything I love Starbucks coffee because of the holiday flavors.
Pumpkin Spice
Peppermint Mocha
And those red cups!
I just don't love the $4.00 price tag.
So today, I am very thankful that CoffeeMate has stolen all of Starbucks flavors and put them in bottles that Publix sells for 2 for $4.00.
Now I just need some red cups and whipped cream.