Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday, now that it's Saturday and all

I used to be so good about doing this every Thursday. Eh, better late than never.

Today I am thankful for:
  • the grace of the good Lord
  • my family and friends
  • the health of my family and friends
  • my own health, although I've now completely lost my voice, am coughing my guts up, and am pretty grumpy that I paid the doctor $30 and got two shots to feel...worse
  • my job, and the students I have the opportunity to impact...I pray every day that I'll impact them in a positive way
  • the people I work with
  • getting to have some really good conversations with some really good friends this week
  • the news that several sweet girls in my life have babies on the way...God is good!
  • the microphone my principal brought me so that I could still teach even though I've lost my voice...I looked a lot like this, minus the hat and guitar (try not to be jealous):
  • a chance to recoup, rest, clean, and maybe even sew this weekend
  • making myself stay late after school yesterday so I could finish up my lesson plans...I don't like to stay late on Fridays, but I really don't like to work over the weekend or come in at sunrise on Mondays
  • feeling like I'm finally getting into my routine and feeling a little more "normal"...relatively speaking, of course :)


Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I'm back. Been gone a while. I've been very busy and very "blah" at the same time. Does that even make sense? School has started and life is jam-packed, but I've been spending significantly less time on the computer, and thus have neglected the ol' blog. I haven't even read anybody else's blogs. Just. Not. Feelin' it. I've gotten a few emails and facebook messages asking where I've been, so those made me smile. Thanks so much, yall! I'll try to get back in the swing of things.

*I really like my new class. Very feisty, and very smart. This should be a fun year.

*I've got sinus troubles, which is (sadly) nothing new. Breathing is pretty fun, and I miss it. I'm rapidly losing my voice. Should make for an interesting day tomorrow.

*I've missed my blog buds. It may take me a while, but I'll get caught up again.

*I just want to sew and sleep this weekend. I hope I can make that happen.

*It's really, really bad hot here. I know we'll see 90s until October, but I'm so over it. Recess on a sunny playground at 1:00 is hellish.

*It's very dry here. I miss the rain. Maybe we'll have some again someday.

*Remember that time when payday seemed to get farther and farther away instead of closer? Yeah, I do.

*Yesterday was a day where the bad news just kept coming. If you're a praying person, I know some people who would really appreciate those prayers. As my wise friend Julie Conway Evans said...I know bad things existed when we were kids, but we were sheltered from them and life was easy. This grownup thing takes some getting used to. (Oh, and I'd put a link to Julie's blog here...but she doesn't have one. Shall we get on that, darling JCE??? Kidding! Kind of.)

*My fab cousin Jerry stopped to eat supper with us Sunday night on his way back to Atlanta. It was a small group, but a good one. Love my family, and love visiting with Jerry. Doesn't happen nearly often enough. Daddy made his world-famous enchiladas, which is always a good thing.

*I took my very last leftover enchilada for lunch today. I carried it on a glass plate. I took it out of the microwave. I immediately dropped it on the floor, watched the plate shatter, heard the screams of children, and saw my tasty enchilada ooze onto the floor. It was a sad moment. A billion thanks to Mrs. Brenda who made me get a school lunch so I wouldn't go hungry. At least it wasn't fish nugget day.

*Mimi, her friend Mrs. Linda, and I went and saw "The Help" on Saturday. From seeing the previews, I was expecting it to be wildly different from the book, and it wasn't. Overall, I loved it. Really, really great story. They took me to Waffle House afterward for lunch. The three of us have had some adventures together, and I'm glad to add our outing Saturday to the list.

*I'm hoping I'll be a better blog friend soon. Thank yall for loving me anyway.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Life these days

I haven't felt very "bloggy" these days, so if any of you are still with me, I apologize. I've had plenty to blog about, but I just haven't gotten around to sharing it. I will, hopefully someday soon. Life's just gotten a smidge busy lately.

1. I turned another year older. My family and friends really helped make my big day precious, and I love them for it. I'll share more about the commemoration of the day of my birth (fancier than "birthday") later. It was a good, good day.

2. Shark Week...always a highlight in my summer.

3. Work started back up. Meet the Teacher is tomorrow, and school starts Thursday. I'm excited to welcome a brand new batch of schoolbabies!

4. The movie based on "The Help" comes out Wednesday. I'm pumped to see it, but the previews almost make it look like a comedy. The book certainly was not. I just hope they stay true to the book and haven't made the movie too "cutesy".

5. I've spent somewhere around $378,211.59 on supplies to get my classroom ready and prepare for the new schoolyear. I always forget what an expensive month August is.

6. I went to renew my car tag last week. I live in a county that is trying desperately to avoid filing for bankruptcy, so all the satellite DMV offices have been closed in an effort to save money. One location for everybody...inefficient to the max. It was unpleasant, to say the least. I am, however, thankful to have the money to buy my new sticker and for a safe, reliable car on which to put a tag. I am blessed.

{I took this when I was only about halfway in the line. Excuse the hideous gray bar that cuts off 1/3 of the picture. I'm still trying to figure out my new phone.}

7. This sweet girl came to the big city, and we got to enjoy lunch together. I had so much fun getting to know her better. We should definitely do this again, and Lauren, let's make it lunch for three next time!

8. Tomorrow promises to be a really, reeeaaallly long day, so I'm going treat myself at Starbucks in the morning. My favorite: Iced Passion Tea (unsweetened). If you've never tried it, you need to find the nearest Starbucks location and take care of that ASAP. Report back.

9. The Bachelor Pad started tonight, and I've been pretty excited. I need some mind-rot TV to look forward to every week.

10. I'm way, super duper tired. Like, real bad. I'm going to bed, which I've wanted to do for two hours now. Just call me Grandma! Sweet dreams, and I'll be back soon!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Do they have beans in Heaven?

I'm not sure, and I reckon nobody reading this is too sure, either. I can only say that I hope there are beans in Heaven, and I bet they're made using the recipe I'm about to share. I'll let you know when I get there.

I love beans and eat them all the time. They're tasty and a seriously cheap, filling source of protein and fiber. Black beans have long been my personal favorite, but I'm starting to accept kidney beans as a close second. I made a new bean recipe last night and it was amazing. Amazing! The cookbook calls them refried beans, but they are NOTHING like the gross, gelatinous bean glob you get from a can. This may just be my new favorite way to cook beans, although I made a few changes. This would be great as a burrito filling or just as a dip.

Refried Beans with Cinnamon and Clove (adapted from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper, p.135)

olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thinly (I chopped the onion in half and then sliced the halves. It's easier to keep the onion still that way.)
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 fresh jalapenos, seeded & white membranes removed, finely diced (You can leave the seeds/white membranes if you like things pretty spicy. You could also omit this completely or substitute a hotter pepper if you want.)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon (or more, to taste)
1/2 tsp. ground cloves (or more, to taste) (Ground cloves were $5.29 for a tiny jar at my grocery store, so I opted to use some pumpkin pie spice that I already had at home. It was a great substitute if you don't want to spend that much on ground cloves.)
one 14-oz. can of whole tomatoes, drained
two 14.5 oz. cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I use the dark ones because they're a prettier color, but light ones would work just as well.)
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp. butter
salt, to taste

*Pour a generous amount of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Saute onions and garlic about 5 minutes or until they begin to turn translucent.
*Add the jalapeno, cinnamon, and cloves/pumpkin pie spice. Cook about 1 minute, being careful not to burn the spices. Add the tomatoes, crushing them once they're in the pan. Saute for another minute.
*Stir in the beans and water. Bring to a slow boil, smushing the beans as they cook. (I just used the back of the plastic spoon I was using to stir, but I reckon a potato masher would work great, too.) Scrape the bottom of the pan often to make sure the beans don't stick.
*Simmer until the beans are thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in the butter, and add salt & pepper as needed.

I ate this as a dip, with tortilla chips and some of my beloved Cholula hot sauce (found on the Mexican food aisle). Try this if you're looking for a unique new way to fix beans!