Easter brunch 2007...this purple shirt, tie and vest came together as a combo from Mervyns (pre-Kohls) for like $12.99. He ended up wearing this vest with everything for the next three years.
Easter brunch 2007...this purple shirt, tie and vest came together as a combo from Mervyns (pre-Kohls) for like $12.99. He ended up wearing this vest with everything for the next three years.
It might be summer vacation, but that actually means, without stacks of papers to grade, I am working more than ever on class preparations and learning new things. Today I researched and analyzed college class attendance policies and I painted popsicle sticks for this whole group work idea I saw on Pinterest...I'll share more when it's done.
Here are three resources I have found in the last two weeks...
This article written by a women who owns a Mercedes and was on government assistance helps shed light on the judgements we can make in regards to social inequalities.
This comparison of how we define height and race is a great example of how race is socially constructed.
Man, I love Sociology.
The kitchen is underway. We're 36 hours in and I have been tear-free.
If I thought my house was a mess on Thursday...imagine how this site must make me feel...
The entire contents of our kitchen in our living room. I am dreaming of being ruthless about what to keep when we move stuff back in.
In the meantime this is our dishware...thanks to Target for having cute stuff that I am happy to use in the meantime.
And here is the kitchen renovation team of one hard at work while watching the World Cup finals this afternoon. He has definitely pulled off crazy projects before, but this will be his biggest success yet.
And hopefully I don't end up crying too much before it's finished.
A family friend took this favorite photo of Mac on her Canon Rebel...from that moment on I wanted one. I got one (film at the time) a couple years later and am now on my third digital Rebel...thousands of photos later. I just remember her handing me this photo she took of Mac and thinking I had to have this camera to document his life.
This photo has actually been in a frame sitting on the counter in our upstairs hallway for 14 years. I got it out tonight and it was sticking to the glass. I scanned it in so I could edit the messy edges a little and safe that toothless smile.
Oh man this has not been the week for productivity. Then this morning was a new low. I stayed up too late (1am) slept in too late (8:30) and had a mess all over the house.
Piles of clothes in our bedroom, crockpot out in the dining room, stuff scattered on the counters and all over the kitchen table, including the cute Target dollar spot items I had to have for no reason whatsoever. Then my desk held the cheer team car wash pre-sale tickets that I had to have over to the 48 girls (and one boy) by 10am.
Thankfully by noon everything was cleaned up, our bedroom was dusted and the bed was made. I reorganized part of my closet, caught up on emails and got on the treadmill.
I told my sister-in-law yesterday I had hit the seemingly inevitable "summer slump" where I foolishly feel I have all the vacation time in the world and get almost nothing done. Hopefully today I shook myself out of it...hopefully.
Tonight we went to our second concert in the park for the summer. As I said last July, it really is some of my favorite cooking all year.
For dinner I sort of made this salad, but I added chicken, crispy prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, parmesan crisps (that were actually more chewy than crisp) and concocted a creamy parmesan vinaigrette. I quickly wrapped each one up in a take-out box.
My mom was in charge of dessert and drinks. She introduced us to "brookies" (a brownie cookie combo) and made peach iced tea to combine with sparkling water and coconut milk to splash in it.
Just in case you were ever wondering where I might get this whole detail-oriented thing from...I did not inherit it from my Dad.
We are getting new flooring around here since our fourteen year old carpet has reached the point of no return. And, as is often the case, one project creates the need for more. Our 1976 kitchen cabinets combined with the new flooring will be way too much wood, so it's time to get creative. One day we dream of new cabinets and counter tops altogether. In the meantime we feel comfortable trying to update them ourselves.
The plan is to paint the bottom cabinets and the pantry. We will tear out the upper cabinets and put in shelving to try to open up the dark corner of the kitchen where we do most of our cooking prep. We will keep the light gray color of the back wall (the wall with the kitchen sink is actually tan, but will be painted gray). We are going to leave the one cabinet above the stove since that hides the hood ducts. The lovely 1976 tile counter is staying put, so our new cabinet color needs to look good with that and the flooring,
Here is the counter top, the new flooring and the paint color choices (with links so you can look at a bigger color swatch on your computer screen)...
I like all of them...I really like too many of them. And I would really, really love to hear what you think.
Would you mind taking a minute and letting me know which color you think works best please?
Almost seven years old, still small enough to fit in a cart, and at one of his very favorite stores, Party City. Mac has always been and always will be ready for a party.
Last week I cleaned out the jars in my craft room that had collected about a dozen year's worth of ribbon. There was a time that pieces of ribbon would always end up tied or stapled to a scrapbook page, but not in awhile, which meant it was time to not keep it all. Except so much of it was still so cute.
From now on, it has a new life along with my wrapping supplies. The plan is to knot and staple bunches of it around gifts wrapped with my seemingly endless roll of kraft paper.
Did I take photos of our family and friends on the 4th of July? No.
Did I take photos of the fireworks? Nope.
The four desserts were documented though...they are actually the only thing I took photos of. I made a s'more pudding cake and angel food berry skewers. A family friend brought a tray of stuffed and white chocolate covered strawberries that were amazing. And my mom managed to make rice krispie treats that were thicker than any I have ever seen...and two days later were as soft as the moment they were made...I tested this by devouring one before dinner tonight.
At the end of July Mac will have his 18th birthday, so I thought it would be fun to countdown to it with eighteen of my very favorite photos of him.
The first one is from his few summers of swim lessons at the local high school. Summer swim lessons were my favorite. I loved the smell of the sunscreen, watching him jump off the diving board to his teachers, and especially wrapping him up in a towel when he got out of the pool.
Swim lessons were a little tricky for Mac, as they can be for a lot of kids. However, he was trying to swim with partial paralysis on half of his body from cerebral palsy. It was one of the many times in Mac's life, where he tried and then he tried harder. Sure, he'd get frustrated, but he kept swimming.
The craft room has been torn apart and sort of put back together, so I managed to get to this pile of fabric today and made the wonky banner I had in mind. I was thinking if the blue was one third on the left and the red was two thirds on the right, that it would kind of look like a flag. I decorated the mantle with it (along with this free print-that I edited a bit and this one-although I changed the font) just in time to host a party on the 4th of July later this week.
And, since I had a set of squares leftover, I made one smaller banner to share. I know the 4th is coming up quickly, but I already have this packaged up in an envelope and will get it in the mail to you tomorrow. Just leave a "pick me" and make sure the email address you check often is linked. I will email the random winner tomorrow around 4pm so I can hopefully get your address in time to run to the post office around the corner before their last pick-up of the day at 5pm.
Once upon a time, pre-blogging, there was this...sharing literally hundreds of scrapbook pages. Since I found out it was coming to an end this week, I dug back into the "NoraScrapsMac" archives.
Lots of colors and patterns...and most importantly memories.
The closet in my craft room will soon(ish) be a built in couch. This means I need pillows...lots and lots of pillows.
I do not drink coffee.
We don't really have a coffee maker...although we store a super cheap one out in the garage cabinets in case we are having a party. I have also been known to ask others to bring coffee and make the coffee since we have pretty much no clue about it. Sometimes I forget to even plan that and my poor siblings have to run to 7-11...like they had to on Easter morning.
However, I have been addicted to Starbuck's iced mochas (with only half a shot of espresso) for way too long. So I guess that means I kind of drink coffee.
Since I sort of do and do not drink coffee I have no idea how to make coffee and therefore I was intrigued when I learned about Trader Joe's coffee concentrate. I tried it a couple of weeks ago and now there is no going back. A splash of the concentrate (because remember I do not drink coffee), a squeeze of chocolate sauce, a single pump of vanilla syrup, milk and some ice cubes and I have got a drink that tastes too good and is tempting to drink too often.
Even though I don't really drink coffee.
I have been lucky enough to have a craft room since we moved into our house fourteen years ago. Sean still likes to joke that every other box we moved in with was labeled, "craft room".
At first I was in this small bedroom with it's unusual indoor window and double doorway, then I moved to the room down the hall that is now the guest/wrap/gym for four years, and then I came back again to this room six years ago. It's the best little space.
Being the compulsive re-arranger that I am, there have been frequent readjustments over the years. That means I have had a link to photos of my little craft room on the blog sidebar that have been outdated for awhile now. In the last year I've done little things like covering the couch to big things like a large standing desk and couldn't help but move other stuff around too.
I mentioned several weeks ago that I have some new crazy craft room ideas. Granted, it is time to finally admit this is no longer quite as much of a craft room as it once was. Teaching prep and cheer booster president-ing (because that's a word) are usually happening a little more than making stuff, so that will be reflected a little in the new set-up.
It is all officially starting tonight...Sean's taking stuff down off the walls and filling in the holes as I type. But before it all changes here is a look at how it has been...
So these are the official before photos. Unlike the laundry room before photos from back February that I still haven't shared an after version of, hopefully I will have after photos in a few weeks.
As I mentioned earlier this week, Mac's cousin graduated from high school and we went to a party for her this past weekend. I am so exited she'll be attending the state college I teach at in the fall. And since I recently spent six years as a student, I put together a kit of everything I found to be supper handy.
I included this note...
Mint gum to help you stay awake during a boring class
A mini stapler to make sure your assignments are always stapled in case you have a mean teacher like me who will take points off. And you can be someone else’s hero when they forget to staple their paper.
A mini hole punch so you can put class handouts in your binder
Hand sanitizer to keep germs away
Kleenex so you don’t have to use toilet paper from the bathrooms and you won’t be the student constantly sniffling in class
A flash drive to save your work from the library computers
A bright pink flash drive holder so you don’t forget to take it with you
Carabiners for your flash drive holder and one to hook your car keys in your backpack so they are easy to find when you are tired from a long day at school
Pencils for note taking and scantron tests…with extra lead and erasers.
A set of bags to keep stuff organized in your backpack
I packed it all up in box for her to store the extra supplies and wrapped it (and then forgot to get a picture of it wrapped).
All of these things might be a little random, for instance I don't usually give Kleenex as a gift. Despite that, it was super fun to brainstorm all of these little details and, hopefully, this "kit" will help her be well prepared.
Mac's been going to Disneyland a fair amount this year since we surprised him with an annual pass, but Sean and I had not been there in almost seven years. Sean and Mac had received free one day park-hopper tickets for volunteering with the cheer team at a 1/2 marathon last year, so we went on Monday for a fourteen hour day of all things Disney.
Mostly the food...the three of us tried a ridiculous amount of food.
Sean and Mac laughed at my inability to draw in an animation class...I insisted that I can't help but be an abstract artist. My sister met us for a couple hours with our nephew and nieces to make a trip over to Tom Saywer's Island together. We rode a few rides, saw a parade, a couple shows and simply sat on a bench people-watching.
Oh and we ate...did I mention that?
We went to a party for two high school graduates this weekend. One is Mac's cousin and the other is the oldest son from their neighbors two doors down that they are super close with. Since the neighbor is a teenage boy Sean and I do not know terribly well we went with the safe gift...cash. I have done this before, but it was a little less work this time.
Instead of rolling up little dollar diplomas, I just stuffed twenty-five dollar bills into an eight-ounce mason jar. They are so packed in there they practically pop out when you open it. I punched out a circle of cardstock, used my typewriter for the front, and hand wrote a note on the back. Some twine in the high school colors and the gift was all set.
Last week, all of this was waiting when Sean and Mac got home from school. I had a little too much fun with buckets to celebrate summer starting. They both got water blasters and bubble wands. Then Sean got a bouncy frisbee and bocce game. Mac got a dice game and also a pair of shoes he has wanted since he worked hard to earn all "A"s and "B"s this school year.
I made sure I had a bucket and water blaster too...have to make sure I am prepared for water fights in the front yard.
I know pretty much everyone is out of school for the year, but here's the "Happy Summer" tag just in case you are still wrapping up any end of the year gifts.
It was a mess. It had a pile of receipts waiting to be entered into our budget spreadsheet. There is a file with 501C3 paperwork for the cheer boosters and paperwork from a meeting I attended last night. Scattered around are at least six random scraps of notes waiting to be written in my planner...I even had phone numbers and notes written on the back of a piece of turquoise striped wrapping paper. There was a second glass of iced coffee that I had no business having and a small mason jar of vitamin D that I have to keep out to remind me to take since my levels have been low.There were pens, pencils, three items to mail, my phone, paint chips and a laminate flooring sample I picked up while dreaming at Home Depot earlier this week.
I'm am writing this about twelve hours later and, thankfully, the desk is completely cleaned off.
This is it...summer vacation starts later this week and I am out of my mind happy about it. Mac and Sean will have a couple weeks off before Mac starts cheer practice and Sean teaches summer school. Yet even with practices and a little school, the schedule is still pretty darn relaxed. Here's the list of what I hope to get to this summer...
Figure out three vegetarian dinners
Make a batch of popsicles
Read actual books...maybe on the front porch...with filled "summer glasses"
Play a round of water games like when Mac was little
Crochet while aimlessly re-watching a few episodes of Friday Night Lights
Build a fire in the fire pit
Buy a 4 drawer file cabinet, paint it a fun color, and fill it with everything I need to teach five classes next fall
One of the counselor's at Sean's school is getting married this summer so they had a shower for him today. We purchased a big cutting board they had on their registry...which I could have easily come home and wrapped in one of the too many papers I have collected. I decided it needed to be wrapped in dishtowels instead.
Ten years ago I got a sister-in-law. We are married to two brothers that live almost 2,000 miles apart.
I have only been with her in person seven times in these last ten years...we have probably spent around 24 days together out of the last 3,652.
Yet, she is one of my very best friends. We started emailing each other when we were planning their trip out here for Sean's birthday and seven years later we have continually emailed each other almost five days a week. Mostly about nothing and completely about everything. We have shared every happiness and every stressor.
She mentioned the word, "sistership" in one those many emails and it has stuck.
She is celebrating a ten year wedding anniversary today...but I just wanted to celebrate the ten year sistership anniversary too. Love you Steph.
A couple photo notes...It rained on her wedding day in Iowa and the girl from California was the only one with an umbrella. I don't know if that makes me wonderfully prepared Midwesterner or a total wuss California girl who needed an umbrella. And, yes, one the photos includes the great black eye of 2010.
I have been a fan of yoga mat flip flops for the last couple summers, but last month I tried on a black and silver pair of this brand and was amazed. I am an old 38-year-old lady that loves some good arch support and these really have it. I know they're not cheap, but they are surprisingly worth it.
Next I want this lemon and grey pair.
I present to you, yet again, proof that I am the worst food blogger ever. I should have styled a plate or something to create a "pinnable" image of this recipe I concocted over the weekend, but I decided to snap a photo with my phone and sit down to eat it right away instead. Therefore this chicken might not look like much, but it was surprisingly good.
Brown Sugar Dijon Grilled Chicken
Flatten the chicken breasts between two layers of plastic wrap. Combine the remaining ingredients, adding as much salt and/or pepper as desired, in a shallow baking dish. Place the chicken in the dish making sure to cover both sides in the mixture. Marinade in the refrigerator for at least three hours. Grill the chicken over low flame until it is cooked through.
This is a small recipe since two chicken breasts will easily feed the three of us dinner, so you can always double or triple the amount. I served the chicken with homegrown, sauteed summer squash with grated parmesan cheese, fresh corn cut off the cob and sauteed in a little butter and we tried this rice dish...which turned out to be really, really good.
We had some loooong cheer booster board meetings this past school year, partly because we could easily get off topic a little and, thankfully, laugh together a fair amount of the time. One of those times was when they teased me for sipping water out of my mason jar mug...wondering if it was moonshine to help me get through the meeting.
When it was time to come up with an idea for little end of the year thank you gifts, I decided everyone needed a "moonshine mug" in school colors.
I ordered grommets and straws from this shop, then Sean drilled a half inch hole in each jar lid.
I added a note and we wrapped them up. A mason jar could be a little tricky to wrap...but not when you make some fabric bags.
I have been chasing families down all week to gather last minute RSVP's for tonight's cheer banquet.
I do not really have anything nice to say about that process (how can people not respond?!?), so I will leave it at that.
The senior gifts are wrapped...the thank you gifts for the board members are done...and I have a few last photos to add to the 12 minute slide show after I take them at the end of the year assembly this morning.
Tomorrow, May 31st, wraps up my first year of being booster club president. It's been an invaluable learning experience to say the least.
And since they decided to re-elect me, Sunday June 1st, is the beginning of my second year as booster club president. Here's hoping that I might know what I am doing now.
We barbecued some tri-tip this weekend, along with lots of corn cut off the cob and twice baked potatoes. These potatoes very well might be the first real thing I ever learned to cook when I was a teenager...you know, right after hot pockets and macaroni and cheese. So that means almost 25 years of twice baked potato making now...and they are still as good as ever. This is my current "recipe", but it really is a throw things together kind of a dish.
Twice Baked Potatoes
Bake potatoes at 400 degrees for one hour. Remove potatoes from the oven and carefully slice them in half lengthwise. Scoop each potato into a bowl. Combine hot potatoes with all the ingredients, reserving half of the the shredded cheese.
After smashing the potatoes together with the ingredients salt and pepper as desired, scoop mixture into a buttered casserole dish, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return to the oven for 10-20 minutes until the cheesy crust is puffed slightly and golden brown.
Tomorrow, to kick off the holiday weekend, I am catching up on grading. I just added it up and I have eighteen assignments to get entered from the three classes I still have at the community college...and that's all from this past week. At least everything is organized into neat piles...these bow binder clips are my new favorite thing.
We usually get my brother-in-law a gift card to his favorite remote control car store for Christmas and his birthday every year. Now if someone got me a gift card for one of my favorite stores like Anthropologie it would make me awfully happy. Regardless, getting him a gift card time after time kind of made me feel like I wasn't trying hard enough.
So I asked my sister for a list of his favorite beers, Sean and I read up on them, spent a little too much time in the individual beer bottles aisle, and put together a dozen different bottles of new beer for him to try based on what we knew he liked.
That's a decent gift, right? But then I decided the gift had to look cute too. The carriers the beer came in were completely covered in ads for the store, so it would have been like rebuilding an entire box to cover them up, so we ended up at the dollar store for a container. We quickly found a bucket and got in line and then it occurred to me...balloons.
I added some curly ribbon when we got home and we had ourselves a party.