Friday, July 29, 2011

Back to Work…

Oh, how I have enjoyed the summer.

The swimming…


The eating…


The beach…


The time to read…


The golf…


But alas… it is almost time to head back to work.  I love my job, and I am so blessed to work at a school with wonderful people, but it’s still always a little bit sad when summer comes to an end.  Yesterday, I went back to work.  Not “for real,” just to start getting my bearings and start thinking about the beginning of the year. 



Everything looks so bare!  (And clean!)  You know, as hard as it is to go back to work, the minute I stepped into my classroom, I got a little bit excited.  You know how in January, you have this feeling like no matter what mistakes you made, you get to start over with a clean slate?  Well, teachers get to have that feeling in August, too.  Very cool.

One thing that I spent time doing yesterday morning was going through my journals from the past 4 years. 


Look at all these notebooks.  Every single one is FULL of writing.  It was cool to see the changes I have gone through in the four years that I have been a literacy coach. 

Unfortunately, I got a call on the way home and my little munchkin had a fever.  :(  I hated that she wasn’t feeling well.  But there is not much that is cuter than my three year old making her “sad face” and saying, “Mommy, I’m not feeling very good.” 



She took her Tylenol like a champ and a popsicle helped a lot. 

Guess what I am doing tonight:  performing at another baseball game! 

liz dancing

(photo credit: Encaptured and Co.: Fine Art and Event Photography)

This time I think I will dance sans Jersey Shore Bump.

Can you believe it?  Twice in one week?  Maybe I will make dancing my part-time job.  Oh wait—it already is.  AND… Sadie and I are going on a big trip next week.  Anyone want to guess where we are going?  I am getting so excited. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Couscous Salad (a.k.a. Throw it All In and Mix)

Yesterday was kind of an unproductive day around here.  I started about ten different things and didn’t really ever finish anything.  Do you ever have days like that?  I had lots of plans for the day which included going to the gym, doing some paperwork, and going to the grocery store.  I did eventually get the paperwork and the grocery store chores done (although I DID have to send Ryan back to the store for two things I forgot). 

Last night, I made two things for dinner that really did not go together.  One item worked.  The other didn’t. 

First, I made southwestern egg rolls.  They were… eh… ok.  Not fabulous.  I stuffed egg roll wrappers with chicken, cabbage, corn, black beans, and salsa.  It sounded good in my head.  But… they just really didn’t have a lot of flavor.  And as luck would have it, the pictures didn’t turn out. 

I made a couscous salad to go with it.  I mentioned this salad recently when my sister Adrienne made it at the beach. 

Couscous salad

This is one of my favorite side dishes.  I started with garlic and olive oil flavored couscous.  Cook according to package directions, but when you add the couscous to the boiling water, you also add grape tomatoes, a clove of fresh, minced garlic, a few basil leaves, green onions, cucumber, and chopped onion.  No specific amounts—just however much you like.

couscous salad 2

So at least I have leftovers for lunch today.  This salad is so light and flavorful.  The veggies aren’t cooked, but because you add them to the hot couscous, they soften just a bit. 

My goals for today are to exercise, unload the dishwasher, and clean up around here.  Let’s see if I can get to all that.  :)

Oh, and here are a couple more shots of the munchkin swimming.  We took her to the pool on Sunday and she was like a little fish.  I am so proud.




Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sometimes You Gotta Be Brave…

Happy Saturday!!!  I have exciting news to show you!  I think no matter what I say, seeing it for yourself is way better.  So look at what my little girl did today!

She was just on the verge of swimming by herself.  We were able to get 2 private lessons with an amazing swim teacher and whoa.  I think the video speaks for itself.  I am amazed and so proud!  She is so proud of herself for being brave.  I can’t wait to take her to practice tomorrow.

So, speaking of brave…

I was brave tonight, too. 

Tonight was Jersey Shore Night at the Gastonia Grizzlies Game.  And my dance-fitness company was going to be performing at the game. 





I decided to make a nice poof.  Snooki style.  The husband wasn’t even embarrassed.  He even sat with me.  We did a 5-minute demo on the field before the game, and did some dancing throughout the game. 






We enjoyed some nachos… I mean, you’ve gotta eat some kind of junk food at the ballpark. 


There was lots of laughter.


And at the end… I was in a dance contest on the field with 3 other instructors.  Oh, did I mention we were blindfolded?100_8570


Oh, the things I did tonight that I never thought I would have the guts to do.  But sometimes… you just gotta be brave.

What a fun evening!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lots of Dancing and Easy Chili

Happy Friday!  TGIF!  This has been a busy week for us, for a summer week.  Ryan started back to work and he is enjoying his new job!  Today I taught Zumba in the morning and then helped with a class tonight!  Whew!  I am tired, but it’s definitely a good kind of tired.  I was counting and I have taught or taken 5 classes this week!  I’m gonna enjoy some rest tomorrow… well… sort-of.  I DO have some dancing planned for tomorrow night.  More in a minute.

First of all, I would like to talk about a product that I bought this week. 

Yes.  I bought Joint Juice.  I think it might mean that I am officially not in my twenties anymore.  I’ve had knee issues ever since high school and cheerleading.  I’ve been through times where they didn’t bother me, and then there are times when they bother me a lot.  After talking with many different people and lots of self-diagnosing with the help of the Mayo Clinic web site and Web MD, I’m pretty sure I have some issues with cartilage deterioration.  I hate to speak too soon, but I’ve been drinking this about a week and a half and my knees feel so much better than last week!  I’m doing some other things, too, like taking Glucosamine Sulfate, but I shouldn’t really feel the effects of that for several more weeks. 

Tonight I was starving when I got home, so I whipped up a batch of my Easy Chili


I know it’s weird to make chili when it’s like 1000 degrees outside, but I love it.  I modified this recipe and made it with ground turkey tonight.  I used fresh onion, garlic, basil, and parsley.  Love having fresh herbs on hand!

Okay, so tomorrow night… I am doing something fun!  I will be dancing on the field at a baseball game!  Can you believe it?  There will definitely be pictures tomorrow!!!

Finally… tonight is my parents’ anniversary! 


They’ve been married 39 years!  OMG!  What an accomplishment!  Happy Anniversary, parents!!!  Love you!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

And the Slacker Blogger Award Goes to…

Wow.  I sure have been a slacker lately, as far as blogging goes.  The main culprit: pure, straight-up laziness.  Not that I have been sitting around the house doing nothing.  But our meals around here have been all but creative and interesting.  There has been a lot of leftover eating, and a lot of PBJ.  But that’s ok.  Things happen. 

I’ve also been really lazy about taking pictures!  As a matter of fact, my camera batter has been dead for several days, so I have been using my BlackBerry camera! 

One of the highlights from this week has been a lazy lake day with a few friends.  On Tuesday, I headed out to see a couple of friends for some “floating.”  If you are wondering what floating is… well… it involves sitting your behind in a float on the lake and enjoying the water and weather! 



It was so nice.  The weather was hot and hazy, but the lake helped cool us off.  We were very relaxed until…


I spotted something.  Look at what was swimming around the dock near us!


(photo credit goes to Deb Tomberlin)

Well, I am sure you can imagine how quickly that got us out of the water!  I don’t know what kind of snake that was, but a snake is a snake.  I didn’t care WHAT kind it was… I just wanted to be AWAY from it.  Do any of you know what kind of snake this is?

Happy Thursday!

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Trip to Little Italy: Petite Lasagnas

Wow, do I have some deliciousness to share with you.  Here’s a preview…


Read on for details!

TGIF, Friends!  How was your Friday?  Ryan and I spent the morning playing golf.  The weather was absolutely amazing.  It was only 80 degrees, which is highly unusual for July.  In fact, just 2 days ago, it was 105!  Crazy!  Just as we began to tee off on the 18th hole, it started to rain.  Perfect timing.  It was a nice, relaxing day. 

remember yesterday I told you about how I stumbled upon the blog, “Can You Stay for Dinner?”  There are such great ideas on this blog.  Today, I tried another idea from Andie, the author: Petite Lasagnas.  When I read this post, I knew I had to make these little tiny lasagnas.  I love anything that is individually portioned: cupcakes, tarts, muffins… I’ve even been known to cook meatloaf in my muffin tins. 

I made very few changes to the original ingredients.  I only swapped turkey for extra lean beef (had it on hand) and used fresh basil instead of dried.  I just eyeballed my measurements. 



These are very easy to assemble.  Just follow the instructions on the blog post. 

While you wait for them to cook, you can use up your leftovers by making spoon-sized lasagnas.  (Only a huge dork like me assembles a spoonful like this and photographs it while I wait.)



And when they’re done… YUMMMMM.  This is comfort food made very simple and cute. 



Add a simple green salad to round it out if you want.  Or don’t. 





Enjoy!  And thanks for the idea!  Be sure to visit Can You Stay for Dinner? for this and other fun, creative recipes. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lell’s Cafe and Fun with Egg Roll Wrappers

Happy Thursday!  It’s Friday-Eve!  I hope all of you have had a wonderful week!  Today has been a fabulous day, and I cannot wait to tell you all about it. 

Ryan and I are taking advantage of these last few days of our “together vacation.”  I am still going to be on vacation until the second week of August, but the husband goes back to work on Monday.  :(  I am so happy for him because he is starting a new job and he’s very excited… but I will miss these summer days that we’ve had together.

We went on a little day-date today to Lell’s Cafe, here in Rock Hill.  I’ve been wanting to go there for a while.  It’s locally-owned, which I love, and I also love that they use locally-grown ingredients.  In fact, they don’t even decide on their specials until they see what the farmers bring in!  Love that!




As you can see, the third special was a Neapolitan Salad with three kinds of tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, herb-vinaigrette dressing, and provolone cheese.  O.M.G… this salad was amazing.  It was like eating summer on a plate.  It was so tangy and fresh.  I was sad when I ate the last bite.  Every tomato slice/half was fresh and delicious.



Ryan had a quesadilla which he also enjoyed.



I liked that Lell’s displays works by local artists—and actually this piece “The Dress” was created by someone I know! 


What a coincidence!  Each chair had a little tag with a cool quote, too. 



So if you are local, be sure to stop in and visit Lell’s Cafe.  You can visit their Facebook page to get the daily specials!

Now.  On to the Egg Roll Wrappers.  I can’t believe I have never played with these before!  This all started yesterday.  I was on Twitter and noticed that a @StayForDinner was one of my recommended people to follow.  Then about an hour later, a friend mentioned the same blog on Facebook.  So I thought I might check it out.  What a cool find.  You definitely should go visit Can You Stay For Dinner? and see all of the fun food ideas.  I was looking at the Buffalo Chicken Rolls and thought those sounded delicious.  An hour and a trip to Earth Fare later, I was putting them together.


YUM.  But I wanted to try my own variation.  I had a pork roast in the fridge, so today I slow-cooked pork, and tonight I put together these egg rolls with pork, cabbage, and shredded carrot. 






These were EVEN BETTER!  I ate four (Good thing I taught Zumba tonight!) and Ryan just ate two and we both loved them.  If you click here, you can see a great tutorial for making egg rolls.  I am planning a dessert egg roll in my head right now… I guarantee this won’t be my last time playing with these egg roll wrappers.  I also bought wonton wrappers, because they are just so cute.  There’s got to be a million possibilities for these.