Monday, January 31, 2011

Tsunamis, Three miles, and dinner from Philly

Mondays are getting really good around here. Usually I run around like a maniac on Mondays. I wake up late, run around trying to find clothes, and end up frazzled and late to work. Oh and most Mondays I end up forgetting something vital i.e. my computer, my lesson plans, or my lunch.

But since Christmas break my Mondays have been awesome. I am up on time, my outfit easily comes together, and my lesson plans are done and ready to go. It's a great feeling.
Today my classes started our unit on tsunamis. A quick intro via the BBC World's Best Nature's Fury, notes on tsunami causes, and key points for homework. In two days they will start a research project and wanted poster. I am really excited about this project and I hope to share more details if it is a success.

I left school on time and made it to the gym for a quick 2.8 miles (I rounded for the title and picture taking ease) and some arm work. I hadn't done any arm weights in two weeks and I know I will be SORE tomorrow.
I stopped by my grandparents on the way home from the gym and my grandmother looks great! She says she is still tired, but her color and spirits are good. Keep those prayers coming please! God is working some serious miracles/healing in her.
And lastly, dinner tonight was so good. I watched Rachael Ray's week in a day last night and decided to try her recipe for homemade steak sauce sandwiches. I had some quick steak int he freezer, a red onion, and a red pepper ready to go. The steak sauce is seriously good. And dinner came together rather quickly. Plus, Mr. R. can have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Win-Win.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bo-Go Deals and our weekly menu.

Publix supermarket had amazing deals this week on some of the staples we keep in our house. (veggie burgers, salad, frozen veggies, boathouse farm juice, cracker barrel cheese, and couscous) I am not one to pass up a deal and Mr. R and I made two trips to stock our fridge, freezer, and pantry. The cashiers think we are crazy with the amount of Morning Star Farm boxes we bought, but we saved $45 dollars with our coupons. And this weeks menu has been incredibly easy to plan.
Sunday: Honey nut and banana waffles with bacon
I make the pancake batter and add 1 mashed over ripe banana. Then I pour it into our well loved and VERY OLD waffle maker.

Instead of sliders I make one hamburger for each of us. And sub in a black bean veggie burger for the ground beef. We have a few jalepeno poppers leftover from Friday's dinner so they will make an apperance too.

Tuesday: Ham & Swiss calzone with broccoli and sweet potato fries
I use this recipe as a guide and place the filling inside a pie crust. I bake it for 12 minutes at 400 degrees and it tastes like an empanada.

Wednesday: Morning Star Farm corn-dog with baked beans and potato salad
Easiest dinner ever!

Thursday: Buffalo chicken meatballs with carrots & blue cheese
If these turn out they will be making a second appearance at the Superbowl Party this weekend.

Friday: Loaded Potato Soup with homemade Bacon Turkey Bravo sandwich
I have made the soup before and it is amazing. The sandwich is a Panera favorite ordered by Mr. R.

January Goals Revisited:

Marriage & Money:
  • Go on a date at least once per week: Mr. R and I kept this goals faithfully and it was the highlight of many of my weekends. We ate out three times and stayed in once. We loved Harry's she crab soup, the Cheesecake Factory Pineapple Upside-down cheesecake, and Jenna's enchiladas.
  • 30 minutes of unplugged talking time before bed: This goal is in process. We manage to be unplugged two nights per week. Other nights I seem to fall asleep with the TV on.
  • Save 10% of each of our paychecks toward baby stuff and home improvements: So far this isn't as hard as I thought.
  • Start college IRA for kids: We need to meet with our financial planner. Until then the money saved is in our joint savings account.
  • Cook 6 nights per week: I lived up to the goal three weeks this month. I got sick mid January and lived off of cereal and couscous while Mr. R ate Chick fil-a, Arby's, and Panera.
  • Include two veggies/fruits per meal: In progress. I can easily get in one, but two is hard! I am adding more salads to the February meal menu so hopefully I can be more veggie friendly.
  • Make sure I am getting two milks (sources of calcium) per day: Thank you Greek Yogurt and Cottage cheese doubles.
  • Run three days per week: I was on target for 2 weeks, sick for one, and this week I was just tired. I will get back on the wagon. Pinky swear.
  • Continue lifting arms and legs (4 days per week): Same as above
  • Start walking 5 mile loop on weekends: Easy peasy.

Playing the waiting game and doing much better.

My grandmother is on her way home today. The fluid is off of her heart and she has been released from the hospital. They aren't sure what will happen next, but the doctors are pleased with her progress and she is coming home. I am grateful for the good news and pray she continues to gain strength. But for now we wait.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stuff I am thinking about...

  • My grandmother has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. I have no idea how to process this. I don't do well with sickness or hospitals. I know both of those things lead to death. And honestly I have lost two many people in the short 28 years I call life.
  • I am not asking for heart felt comments or words of wisdom. I am trying to wrap my head around what this diagnosis means to her and my family.
  • I am trying to soak up as much family time I can.
  • I am exhausted all the time.
  • I want answers about why her and why now.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Steak for dinner (times 3)

My 1st cookbook was purchased in 2006 when Mr. R and I were one month into marriage. He couldn't take eating spaghetti 6 nights a week and I broke down and asked Ms. Rachael Ray for help.
Rachael Ray is famous for her rollover meals. She makes one meal and uses the leftovers to make two subsequent meals. And most time you have no idea that you are eating leftovers. Or atleast Mr. R doesn't realize her in eating leftovers. (And that my friends is a good thing).

Meal #1: Steakhouse Dinner
Grilled London Broil (marinated in A1 bold and spicy sauce for 1 hour)
Caesar Salad (from a bag)

Meal #2: Southwest Steak Salad (Friday Night's Dinner)
  • 1 bag of salad
  • 2 cups of roasted corn
  • 2 Tbs. chopped jalepenos
  • 1/4 c. of cheddar cheese
  • 1 c. of grape tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cucumber chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1/3 of the london broil diced into bit size pieces
  • 1/2 cup of cooked spanish rice
  • 2 Tbs. of spicy ranch dressing
Meal #3: Steak Frittata (Saturday Brunch)
  • 1 cup of diced potatoes (or home fries)
  • The final 1/3 of the steak (in bite sized cubes)
  • 1/2 green pepper diced and 1/2 red onion sauteed
  • 1/2 cup of cheddar or provolone cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, pour into hot sauté pan, firm up the eggs on the stove and then finish in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

My new fave!

It's pink.
It's 100 calories.
And it tastes sinful.
And the bonus. It can be eaten everyday as a source of calcium.
I know this sounds like an ad, but the new red velvet yogurt is seriously good!
If you love red velvet cupcakes even half as much as I do...go buy this yogurt!

Can your house survive an earthquake?

Today my students participated in what they call "the best lab ALL year!".
The final lab of our Earthquake unit requires my classes to build homes that will withstand the three types of earthquake waves, totaling a 6.0 magnitude Earthquake.

They must design a blue print, "purchase" supplies using a set budget, and build a four walled house (complete with a roof and a door).
The creativity and high order thinking that my students do is amazing. The houses are always unique and the designs really reflect their personalities. I actually wish I could bottle some of their creativity for myself.
Out of the 16 houses built today, 10 survived the 6.0 earthquake!
Perhaps I encouraged some future architects and civil engineers today.
And if not, this was a fantastic way to start my weekend.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Funk. Funk. Funk.
I am in a funk. I woke up this morning with a bad attitude and kept it ALL day.
Thank goodness for loud pop music blasted on a 30 minute drive home.
Katy Perry might just be the best thing that happened to me all day.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday Words:

25 weeks!
I cannot believe I am 25 weeks along. I am starting to feel BIG.

Pregnancy Highlights:

Size of baby: Piper is the size of a head of cauliflower.
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Gained 5 pounds. I am packing it on now.
Maternity Clothes: I have three pairs of maternity pants that I LOVE. But somedays I can still slip into my stretch jeans. All pencil skirts and fitted/tight pants have been relegated to the back of the closet.
Gender: It's a girl!!! Piper Jayne Martin
Movement: I feel her kicks mostly at night and when my bladder is full.
Sleep: I am now a side sleeper. And I steal all the pillows.
Poor Jeff gets a sliver of bed and one sham.
What I miss: Diet Coke and Sushi
Cravings: I wake up STARVING! And I could eat bowl after bowl of cereal.
Symptoms: Tiredness (constantly...morning, noon, and night).
I could even wake up from a nap tired.
Best Moment this week: Date night with Jeff at Acapulco. (Fajitas, sweet tea, and good conversation. I couldn't ask for much more.) And we found a chair and fabric for Pip's nursery!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Being Married to Greg

I often compare my life with Mr. R to the TV show Dharma and Greg. Mr. R is super conservative, he reads the Wall Street Journal, he loves to save not spend. His idea of a great meal includes steak or various parts of a pig. He loves baseball, apple pie, and the 4th of July. He is never without a book. He laughs at pithy jokes and witty comments. His vocabulary is OUT OF THIS WORLD. He only shops at GAP and Banana Republic. He thinks thrifting is a dirty word. He has an appreciation for antiques, family traditions, and good wine. His ideal boy's night includes red meat, cigars, and policy process. He writes and reads papers about conflict in the Middle East, Korea, and Southwest Asia. On his nightstand you will find books about Reagan, Giuliani, and most recently travel guides to Europe. His suits take up more room in the closet than my dresses. His tie collection is enormous. And he is in need of a pair of cufflinks.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.

I do feel I should mention that my red meat loving husband ate a mango, cucumber, tomato salad tonight and didn't complain once.

Million Minute Marathon

Happy Literacy Week!
Today the state of Florida went for a world record of reading for 1 million minutes. Each child enrolled in a Florida public school read for 20 minutes today. When you total the number of students reading at every public school in the state we read for over 1,000,000 minutes today!

My students were super psyched to be going for a world record. Even my students who say "I hate reading" happily participated. We flexed our reading muscle today with a little pre-vocabulary stretch and a quick post read bookmark decorating cool down.

It's days like this I love being a teacher.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What's for dinner?

This is a dreaded question in my house.

Most weeks I am prepared and have a weekly menu and grocery list set and ready to go by Sunday. But this weekend I was busy. Jeff came home! I went shopping. And we celebrated my grandparents 62nd anniversary over cake and ice cream. Menu Monday/Sunday just seemed to escape me.

Tonight Mr. R and I hit the gym for a quick 3 miles and stopped at Publix on the way home. And in the produce section inspiration struck. I am telling you, this is the best dinner I have made in a long time.

Introducing... CRAB CAKE SALAD!
1 bag of baby lettuce
1/2 of a cucumber cut into small chunks
1/2 container of grape tomatoes
1 avocado
1/2 - 2/3 cup of mango salsa
1/2 red onion diced
2 crab cakes
1/3 cup of monterey jack cheese

This dinner took literally 15 minutes to make. And Mr. R raved about the flavors. This salad will be making an appearance again VERY soon!

Monday Morning Rush: (but not this week!)

This morning I woke up my normal time, but with lunch already packed, breakfast in a bowl (thank you Lord for oatmeal), and clothes already clean and ironed. There was no need to rush. In fact this blog post in being written while I lazily enjoy my coffee and random DVRed TV.

I am thinking that Monday Morning might just be the best part of my day.

Today I have quiz planned, more earthquake notes, a project to collect (and grade), and homework to assign.

Post work I am back to the gym with Mr. R for treadmill runs and arm work.

Dinner tonight is TBD, but maybe I will get inspiration from a trip to the grocery store. If not I hear oatmeal is a great dinner food as well :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The nursery part 2:

We have a chair!
Yesterday I went shopping with Danielle and Betsy, the goal being to get Betsy a fridge for her new casa. She closes Thursday, so say a prayer that all goes well.
We didn't find the perfect stainless steel fridge, but I did find a chair for Pip's nursery!
It is super soft, so comfy, and it reclines!
It's also a little kooky with the Ikat print so it will blend into Casa Repub just fine.
We moved the chair into Pip's room today and I can't stop sitting in it. I hope she will love it just as much as I do.
Thanks Danielle for taking the photo!

Also check out my baby belly in the photo below.
You can totally see my bump!
This week is week 25!

Sweetheart Sunday!

Nothing makes my heart sing more than Sunday.

It's 11AM and I am still in pajamas.
I have a brunch date with Mr. R in an hour.
Target is calling my name.
The stenciling will be completed today.
My curtains from World Market came in.

I just L-O-V-E Sunday!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mr. R is home today!

I cannot tell you how exciting this is for me. Of course I am ecstatic to see my husband again. (I seriously missed our morning talks, bedtime cuddles, and crazy dinner time political scuffles.) But more than anything I am ready for a return to normalcy.

My schedule has been totally thrown for a loop with him being gone. I haven't made it to the gym. And my life has been ruled by these two pups. Morning walk, afternoon walk, dinner, night walk, bed. Oh, and this baby in my belly loves to do gymnastics at night.... Not so conducive for sleeping. Mr. R being home won't really change much when it comes to our commitments and demanding pups. But an extra pair of hands does make life so much easier. Plus he is really good at polishing off leftovers, paying bills, and folding clothes. (I hate doing all of those things.)

In other news... I started a Bunco group! Random I know. But a conversation at school resulted in the realization that more girls nights were needed. Girls night usually = game night. And I remembered the few times I was invited to play Bunco back in DC. It was really fun, and loud, and an excuse to drink wine and make new friends. (This is always a win-win to me). So the YAYA Bunco club of the Bay has been created and will have its first gathering/game night on 2/11. And in even better news one of the lovely ladies already stepped up to host!

I have a shopping trip planned this morning with two of my favorite ladies. And when I return I should be in the company of my main man. Thank goodness for Saturday!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dear Maternity Pants,

You are amazing. Piper and I can breathe now. You are now my new best friend!
Hilary & Pip

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baby Talk: Week 24

Dear Baby,

I have been wondering what you are up to lately. I feel you move so much. You seem to kick all over my belly and move from side to side. I am wishing we had a sonogram machine at home just so I could watch all your movements. I think you are a want to be gymnast or acrobat.

You have been through quite a lot these past two weeks.
  • You shared your first flu virus with me last week. I hate to say this but I much prefer morning sickness to the flu. At least with morning sickness I could breathe out of my nose.
  • This weekend you were along for the ride as I tried prenatal yoga for the first time. It was so relaxing and I realized that I do not stretch nearly enough. I wonder if you were as mellow as I was by the end?
  • You also came with me as I shopped for maternity clothes. I am hoping those stretchy waistbands will give you more room to grow.
  • You continue to grow and I am starting to see less of my feet and more of my belly. It was so odd to look down and see baby. I am afraid that one of these mornings I am going to wake up and be all Piper from my neck down.
I am slowly making progress on your nursery and I love that I am going to get to be as pink and girlie as my heart desires. I am not sure if you will be a girlie glam girl or a tom boy but for the first few years I will be dressing you so we are going glam and pink for the time being.

Your Grandpa met your dad for dinner last night and gave him your highchair. It was made by your great-grandpa and I hear it's beautiful. You will be eating in style my girl.

Just 16 more weeks and you will be here! I know we aren't ready yet, but it's exciting to think about. We keep telling your fur siblings about you. I know they can hear your heart beat. Can you hear them? If so, I apologize for all of that barking. They sure are loud! Can't wait to meet your Miss Pip!

Your Mama

***FYI: A weekly picture will come a bit later. Mr. R is out of town and I am not so great at self-portraits.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Here Comes the Sun!

Finally after two days of rain we have the sun! Just in the the knick of time too. I was beginning to question if Florida could remain the being the sunshine state with our recent weather resembling Seattle that of Seattle, WA.

Today was a teacher planning day for me, which means no kids and a guaranteed quiet classroom. I was able to catch up on grading, post grades for report cards going home on Friday, and make lesson plans up to Valentine's day.

Tonight I have plans for an awesome girls night with teacher friends and tacos. It's a great distraction from missing Mr. R and doing laundry and cleaning the bathrooms.

Why don't bathrooms just clean themselves?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rainy day progress!

It's pouring in my neck of the woods and I have an empty schedule! Glorious! I am however making serious progress in our media room.

Last time we talked (or should I say I wrote and you read), we discussed my stenciling the walls. The walls are almost complete (pictures to come promise!).

I have moved onto the windows which are currently covered in mini blinds and vertical blinds.

The plan is to switch out the mini blinds for wicker shades (thank you Home Depot).

Flank the shade in batik curtains from World Market.
They are currently on there way to Casa Republican.

And to hang our vintage art prints.
Mr. R and I have been collecting vintage prints during our travels and we have a mini collection going now. I am excited to display a few more from London, Paris, Italy, Turkey, and of course Florida.

Now we just need a few IKEA frames and time to sand and paint our end tables.

Martin Luther Monday

Mr. R left this morning for the great white north. Not Canada, Washington DC.

It's raining. And while I should be bummed that my fun outdoor plans are cancelled. I am looking at this as a blessing. Rainy days are perfect for naps. And yes I mean naps, in the plural sense. Today just might be a two nap day. The bed might not even get made. Shocking words I know!

In the mean time I will sit here and enjoy my cereal, plan a little more nursery decor, and catch up on your blogs. And to be honest, murder she wrote is already on in the background.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pretty Please?

I think this pregnancy has made me indecisive. Normally, I know exactly what I want and I can picture how things will look in my head. And I almost always go with my gut.

Now my gut contains a baby girl and most days my brain feels very crowded and mushy.

So dear readers, I am asking for your opinions on nursery bedding and accents dear readers. Be honest and pick your favorite. Also, better ideas are always welcome.

I have two dueling nursery ideas going.

Nursery #1
The first is a modern nursery with a leaf print stencil (for the accent wall) and dotted bedding in pink and brown. The crib and changing table will still be white.

Accent Wall Stencil: stencil will be white on the seafoam/teal walls
Gulliver changing table (same design as the crib we will use).
The second nursery is very girlie. Damask pink and green bedding with a damask wall stencil. The crib and changing table will also be white.
Wall stencil: this is the stencil I actually used in our bedroom, but I think it could work in Pip's nursery as well.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


This morning upon waking up all I could think about was lasagna. I wanted to eat lasagana for breakfast and I was pretty sure I would want it again for lunch and possibly dinner. My second thought was, who am I Garfield?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sorry for the Inconvenience

Mr. R. here. Hilary is sorry there have not been many new posts lately. As you probably know, she is currently recovering from the awful cold that I had last week.

But I daresay she could be writing new blog material right now. I left her home all night to go to my monthly Republican Executive Committee meeting, and all she's been doing is watching "Murder, She Wrote." Thank you very much Netflix!

Of course, this means that I've had to be subjected to more than my fair share of "Murder, She Wrote" every night this week. I HATE that show. The acting is absolutely terrible - even when they land A-list guest stars. All the episodes (even those filmed in the 1990s towards the end of the show's run) look like they were filmed in 1984. Apparently the mullet was a popular hairdo for a longer period than I remember.

Plus, the premise of the show is just ridiculous: Nosy old busybody Jessica Fletcher writes murder mystery novels - and yet everywhere she goes people close to her seem to get bumped off. That's one heck of a coincidence! And for a town of like 4,000 people, Cabot Cove, Maine must have a worse murder rate than Detroit.

Anyway, hopefully Hilary will be feeling her normal blogerific self tomorrow and update you with the latest baby news. So mom and dad (I know you're reading): Let my wife rest. She'll be back soon.

Monday, January 10, 2011

No thank you, Mr. R.

Mr. R is all about sharing. In fact the only thing he will refuse to share is sips from his soda. He is all about having his own Coca-Cola.

I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised that Mr. R. chose to share his virus with me.
Today I felt a little warm, a little light headed, a little stuffy, a little sore... but I blamed it on being pregnant. By the time I walked in the door my fever was 101 and I have been relegated to the couch. Luckily, I can still take Tylenol and Pippa doesn't put up much of a fuss over orange juice.

Send some get well vibes my way if you can... I have a big week ahead of me.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Roasted Pear Salad

One of my favorite running/eating blogs belongs to Megan of MegaNerdRuns. She lives local so she is my go to for possible races to run in Florida and restaurants to frequent. One of her favorite lunch stops features a roasted pear salad and I have been wanting to try it for a long time.
Photo credit: MegaNerd

Today I figured why wait? I bet I can make it at home.
From what I can tell, the salad contains, baby greens, gorgonzola cheese, red onion, pecans, and roasted pears.

I am a "use what you have" cook so my salad contains spring mix, strawberries (I like color and additional fruit), red onion, and blue cheese (in the form of the dressing).
I found out that you should roast pears one at a time on the stove top in a really hot pan. This did not work for me as I had three pears about to go bad and no time to watch the pears cook and pray they wouldn't burn.
Instead I chopped my pears into big bite sized chunks and combined them with 1 Tbs. of butter and 2 Tbs. of brown sugar.
At first I planned to use 1/4c. of sugar, but ended up only need half of what I planned.
(Live and learn).

I put the pears in a 9x13 pan and placed them in my 450 degree oven for 10 minutes.
They smell delicious when you take them out and they are squishy and brown.

I added them to my salad did a quick toss with the blue cheese dressing.
And served it in my favorite bowls. (Thanks Cubbage Family!)
I am not sure if this is the same salad that MegaNerd raves about, but it is GOOD!
It just might be my new favorite fruity salad.

Steppin' Out Sunday

So today Mr. R made it outside of the house. Praise the Lord!

He is not the nicest when he is sick... although neither am I, so I am grateful he is feeling better and that we could get fresh air, see and talk to other people, and run a few errands.

We made a successful trip to Costco and the bill was under $100!
Our loot should last us at least 2 weeks (with grocery store supplements). I really am trying to be better about my meal planning and making sure the food we buy does not go to waste.
Our Costco haul contained: Seafood chowder, salmon burgers, crabcakes, mango salsa, red potatoes, demi baguettes, butternut squash, strawberries, cherries, asparagus, vitamins, and taziki sauce.

This afternoon the crock-pot made a second appearance with butternut squash soup.

2 pounds butternut squash cubed, 1.5 T of butter, one green apple, one red onion, 2 teaspoons of ginger, 1/4t cayenne, 1/8t all spice, 1/8t cumin, 3 cups chicken broth.

Saute your diced onion and diced green apple in the butter.
In the meantime place the cubed squash, chicken broth, and spices in your crock-pot.
Add your onion, apple, butter mixture to crock, stir, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 5 hours.
In batches blend your soup. (I also added a 1/2 a cup of fat free half and half)
Serve in pretty bowls with a chunk of bread, a tablespoon of crumbled bacon, and salad.
FYI: You could totally make this your veggie meal of the week by omitting the bacon crumbles and subbing vegetable broth for chicken broth.