new year, new you. 

The cliches have begun! And yet, each year I believe them more and more. This is the year I’m going to turn it around (as I’ve said so many years before), this is the year I lose that unnecessary weight, and this is the year I embrace myself, and discover all the things about myself I’ve never let come out before. 

  
But truly, this time I mean it. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not ok with my body. It’s become a burden, and I want it gone. Three years ago I bought myself a pair of leather leggings-the fabulous, chic and so super trendy leather leggings. They no longer fit. All I want is to wear them again. I actually love them. And nights out in the city are calling their name. I hung them up on a hanger in my room and there they hang. I got rid of the bad food in my house, and have been making a super conscious effort. I went to the gym every day already. It’s going to happen this year. 
And then, my realization that I need to be more in tune with myself is a serious one. J is taking a job that he’s travelling a lot for, and I’m gone to be left alone. Normally he’s here to entertain me, but I’m going to be all alone. I feel like this is such a great time to get in touch with myself a little more. What am I into? I feel like I’ve spent so many years trying to get through school, get a job, and not enough time finding out who I am. I think 2016 is such a great time to find that out. It can only make all J and I havr goin’ on all that more special!

  

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bye, bye baseboards.

Today was our first real day working on the house.  Like, really working on the house.  My parents came down to see the house for the first time.  They were really excited about it, and they definitely put me to work.  We spent all this morning cleaning out the refrigerator.  It seems like a meaningless task, but I could promise that it hasn’t been done in several years.

There was mold growing in between the pieces of the interior of the refrigerator.  It was really pretty nasty.  My mother and I scrubbed and scrubbed.  At least now, the first time I go grocery shopping, my groceries will go in a squeaky clean fridge.  And we cleaned behind the fridge, on the walls, and half the kitchen is wonderful.

The second half of the day was spent doing the real work.  I wanted to tear off the baseboards and throw them out.  Fifty years of caked on paint was not doing it for me.  For $.89 a foot at Home Depot, it was cheeper to just buy new baseboards for the room than strip them down and repaint them.  So, we went to buy new baseboards today.

While there, we also bought paint and all the accessories needed to paint, and all kinds of things we needed to spruce up the living room.  This week we are going to be painting and attaching new baseboards and the living room and kitchen will are going to be fresh and wonderful.  New coats of paint in two rooms of the home, and on our way to great new renovations in the kitchen as well.

Here are some great pictures for you to gaze at.  The more work we do, the more pictures I’ll post. These will mostly be of the living room, but here’s the goods.  Happy to be a homeowner!

IMG_3961tearing off the baseboards!

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holy moly, what a project this will be.

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my darling working hard, while I’m shooting photos

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the drywall doesn’t even go to the floor…this house is sort of a mystery to me.

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and this is the best photo of them all.  There was a make-shit outlet on this wall, and we had to remove it.  Underneath we can see the original color of the baseboards in the house.  When we went to the store to buy the new baseboards, we took a sample of this with us, and I was actually able to peel back years of paint.  I’m sure there were at least five layers I could visibly see.  However, mint green might as well be the best one.

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the big news.

Well folks, here’s the big news!

My wonderful boyfriend and I bought a house!  Well, actually, I bought a house, but we are planning to build a wonderful life together in it.  We are beyond excited.  The packing has begun, and the painting is about to start!

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So, this is why I’ve been absent.  Searching for houses, starting a new job, going through all the motions of getting this house, and now we are about to start all kinds of renovations and repairs.  I’m very excited to start that whole process, and share some of that with you, too.

Our first hurdle in this home buying quest is some of age related issues in the house.  Our house was built in 1951, and throughout the years, there have been many layers of paint caked on the walls.  The latest owners decided that the best practice for painting was more is more.  We are finding that our baseboards and wood trim in the house is beyond being salvaged.  Huge gobs of paint and gunk have been built up for the last thirty years.  I’m afraid a fresh coat of paint will just make it look freshly gunked up, and gross.  So, we are looking at some pricing, possibly room by room for new baseboards and trim.

We’re probably going to start with the living room.  I promise to post some pictures soon.  I haven’t had a chance yet, as we’ve been doing some serious cleaning right now.  But I promise to keep you all updated on all our renovations.  I’m so excited to start!  I’ve always dreamed of putting together my own home.

So there’s the news!  Sorry for my absence.  But there will be soooo much more to come.

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mc donalds spicy jalapeno chicken sandwich.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a commercial for the McDonald’s jalapeno spicy chicken sandwich.  It is very rare that I am excited, or out of my mind about a fast food sandwich.  I try to make it a very big point of my life to not ever eat that kind of food, and so rarely do I crave it.

But I saw this commercial, and I was dying.  I wanted to try that sandwich so badly.  Last Friday I came home from school, and was in bed by 8:00 PM.  J hadn’t eaten by the time I went to bed, and he went out and got himself one of those sandwiches.  I was so jealous.

Needless to say, I decided to try to make a homemade, healthier, less processed version of this sandwich at home.  I bought myself some nice chicken thighs (I only used them because there were no good looking breasts at the store).  I breaded these bad boys with a breaded spice mixture, and roasted them in the oven.  I sliced some jalapenos, and smeared my onion roll with a greek yogurt, cilantro and garlic sauce that I made as well.

Let me just tell you, this was unbelievable.  I am often gun shy about cooking without a recipe.  I never trust myself, and I always feel like I’m going to screw it up and it’ll taste like crap.  This time, that was not the case.  I felt so confident I could remake that sandwich, I just winged it.  And it turned out soooo good.  J and I ate the crap out of those sandwiches, and both sat back in our chairs like….oh my god.

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Here’s what I did:

Bread Crumb Mixture
1 cup bread crumbs (I used old bread crumbs J made from old bread and spices)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. cayenne (more if you really like it spicy!)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Mix together your breading.  I salted and peppered my chicken, and floured it easily on the cutting board I was using (I only made two sandwiches, because there are two of us).  I also made an egg wash with two eggs, salt and pepper, and a little kefir (for tang) and a small squeeze of dijon mustard.  After the chicken was floured, I put it in the egg wash, and then patted it into to bread crumb and spice mixture.

I baked my chicken in the oven at 350 until it was done.  When it was done, I added a slice of pepper jack cheese, and left it in there for about 30 more seconds so it got nice and melty.


Sauce

1 small container of Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp cilantro
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste

I mixed all this madness together.  I went lighter on the garlic, because I didn’t want it to take over the spicy flavor.  But, the cilantro and the lemon brighten it, and add a little acidity to our mixture here.  We need that to help cut our spice.

Then, I assembled.  I toasted my buns (hehe), spread them with the yogurt mixture, added my crispy chicken, and layered some beautiful sliced jalapenos.    And enjoy!  These bad boys were to die for.

If you have any suggestions, or modifications, please tell me.  This is a make again sandwich in my household!  I can’t wait to make this again, and indulge.  Enjoy, everyone!IMG_3795

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stress.

School has started, and all I can say is I am stressed.  I’m feeling a little frustrated with getting my lessons planned and ready with a Jenni amount of time preparation.  I try to remember though, that I have OCD, and I like to have these things prepped like days ahead of time, and that’s not really how the field of education works.  At least not for newbies.  I’m trying to remember that, truly.

But, on top of school stuff, J and I have our secret little project going on, which I am not ready to reveal to you all yet.  Things are coming to a serious head with that, and I’m trying to take care of a million things as once.  It’s been taking up so much of my time, and managing that precious time is becoming very stressful.

Needless to say, bedtimes get earlier and earlier, workouts are starting to be skipped, and my “to-do” lists are getting longer and longer.  I’m hoping a reprieve will come soon!  Or at least if Labor Day weekend comes around, that I can have three days off.  Haha.

Hope you’re all doing well, and faring better than I.  It’s only 7:30 here now, but I’m already thinking about throwing in the towel.  I’ve got some stories to read for tomorrow’s class, and then it’s comatose in bed until I pass out.  Goodnight everyone! Much love.

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first day of school!

Today was the first day of school!

I can’t even describe to you how exciting today was.  First of all, I actually slept last night.  It may have been the glass of wine I had before bed that helped me drowsily fall into my slumber, but either way, I slept soundly.  And then when I got up and I was rushing around this morning, even though my clothes were all laid out, my lunch was maid, and my coffee was already cold-brewed.

Getting to school, I was so nervous.  I had a lot of things to get done before the kids arrived, and not a lot of time to get it done.  I had butterflies, but at the same time I was totally wired.  I was singing in the hallway, and waiting at the door; I shook every kid’s hand as they walked in.  I was really excited.

The kids this year seem really nice.  Definitely a rowdy bunch, but I can’t wait to work with them this year.  I sense a lot of personality and charisma in this group.  I also think that this year is going to bring a lot of learning for me.  I feel very lucky and very fortunate for that.

J promised to take a picture of me this morning, for my first day of school, but he went back to bed before he could fulfill his promise.  So, I have no first day picture for you.  But, I wore a great navy blue dress with nude heels.  If I couldn’t wear my Charger gear, I at least wanted to wear my Charger blue!

So, to all my fellow teachers out there, I hope you all had a great first day.  And if you haven’t started yet, I hope your coming first day is amazing.  I hope your year is filled with happiness, joy, and amazing kids.  I hope you have great learning opportunities, passion in your classroom and practice, and hope for the future!  Happy first day of school, everyone!

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hello world.

Instead of giving you the run down of where I’ve been, let’s skip all that, and just trust that my life has been a roller coaster.  I’ve been working my butt off this summer, and getting ready for the school year this year, and some very exciting news I will divulge soon.

But anyway, today was the first day of school for me.  I am back at it, teaching seventh grade English.  After my stint doing my long term substitute teaching for a maternity leave, the school hired me full time.  I am beyond excited.  I feel so strongly that I am in a place that I am going to not only love, but be in for a very long time.  Teaching in Itasca School District 10 is an amazing experience.  My long term sub job was such a fabulous experience, and I can’t wait to be here all year.  I feel welcomed, I feel like I fit in, I feel like I am part of a family.  Just listening to the speakers today, and the beginning of the year events, and I could not be more excited.

I have spent part of my summer getting my room ready.  It’s no where near ready, but when it is, I promise to post pictures.  Pinterest has been my best friend for this year, and I have loved making all the crafts for my room.  Keep your eyes peeled for pictures, once it’s all ready to go (at this point, it feels like that might be December…but hopefully soon).

Needless to say, working all summer, getting my classroom ready and “shopping” around for some amazing new life changes has kept me completely out of the loop all summer.  I’m sorry, but please know, I’m back everyone!  Keep your eyes peeled for exciting new updates in my life.

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