First Snow!

>> Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ryan called me from work saying, "It's snowing!". Of course, I was hoping that those little snow flakes would move north to our place. About five minutes later the ground started to turn white. I called the dogs, grabbed the camera, and headed out to enjoy our first snow of the season.
Lucy was busy licking the snow flakes as they fell, and Athena was posing for pictures like the cutie she is. After the photo op, Lucy and Athena played while I sipped on my hot chocolate and tried to catch a few snow flakes too. I love today!


Christmas Shopping!

>> Friday, December 18, 2009

I had a wonderful day with my ma yesterday! We started the day with brunch at Mother's Bistro. I had a Greek frittata and my mom had the special frittata with potatoes and other lovely goodness. The atmosphere is so elegant and comfortable at Mother's, and the food is amazing!

After brunch we headed out on a shopping extravaganza in downtown Portland and NW 23rd. I don't want to give away details and ruin Christmas, but we did good. After shopping for hours, very hard for me, we went back to my mom's and admired the tree and talked about the upcoming week. It's amazing that my mom and I have never gone Christmas shopping together. It was so much fun, and really took the pressure off finding all the "perfect" gifts. I'm still struggling with getting a few gifts, but the wrapping is done and I'm ready to celebrate!


And so it is...

>> Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So much has happened in last few days. My heart is about to explode with the thought of March being only three months away. Why March? Because March 27th will be the date of "The Big Day" as many are referring to it. Ryan and I, however, are referring to it as the day for our big party in celebration of our marriage. Weird, marriage:-). I can't believe how quickly it already seems to be approaching. I feel good though; I have no stress. Ryan has been full of great ideas and is great at helping me to simply make a decision. So, things done: the dress is bought and here, the site of the above mentioned party has been booked, colors picked, flowers just about finished, and music in the works. All-in-all, everything is going well on the wedding front.

As for all this time I have off, it seems to be taken up by plenty of fun things. I'm going Christmas shopping for the first time with my mom this week. We're doing a little brunch before hand. I'm very excited. I'm visiting a middle school this week as well. I want to catch up with as many girlfriends as possible. I feel as though I haven't had friends for the last few months, excluding my MIT-ers of course.

I'm also working on my unit for The Great Gatsby that I will teach in February. I want as much of the planning done before hand as possible. We'll see.

Ryan has made crazy progress on the new room and bathroom. With the help (motivation) of Harley, Ryan has: set the shower, installed the fan and light, and hooked up the heater. In no time we'll have it finished! To say the least, VERY EXCITING!

Well, I hope you all are enjoying the winter weather and enjoying the preparations for the upcoming holidays. Till next time!


The End is Nearing

>> Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's been a long road these last five months. But, it's the last week of school, and I have only one assignment left to finish. There are so many things I want to accomplish during the next month I have off. More to come... I must finish this last assignment!


Tonight's Dinner

>> Sunday, November 29, 2009

My mom would make this dish every now and again when I was kid. It always felt like a special occasion when she made them, maybe this is why I always have to gear up for the "big production" before I pull out the lean ground beef and start chopping the onion. Truth is, these meatballs are super easy to make, and the sauce can't be messed up. You can even make the whole dish ahead of time and throw everything, meatballs and sauce, in a slow cooker for all the flavors to mix and mingle.

These hearty sweet and sour meatballs have become a favorite of Ryan's and mine. It will be one of those dishes I make until I'm eighty, and that our future children will be sick of by the time they're ten.

So, try out the recipe below for a good almost-winter dinner. I serve the meatballs over jasmine rice. Dry sake is a nice touch too. Enjoy!

What you'll need for the meatballs:
1 lb hamburger
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
(I always add in a little cayenne pepper)

What you'll need for the sweet and sour sauce:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 (13 ounce) can pineapple chunks
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 small green pepper, chopped

To make the meatballs:

Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs together. Shape into balls. (Insert joke here)

Cook meatballs over medium heat, turning occasionally until brown, about 20 minutes.
Place meatballs in a bowl and set aside.

For the sauce:

Mix brown sugar and cornstarch in the same pan you made the meatballs.
Stir in pineapple (with syrup), vinegar and soy sauce.
Heat to boiling, stirring constantly, reduce heat to simmer.
Add the meatballs.
Cover, simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.
Stir in green peppers.
Cover and simmer until green peppers are crispy-tender, about five minutes

(Thanks,Betty Crocker)


Welcome to the "new" blog!

I have decided to focus on the blog more and Facebook less. I will be posting on a larger variety of topics. It seems like all I've been writing about is school, house, school, house. (I feel like I should throw in ROCK). Is that show still on? Anyway, check back for recipes, pictures, and other odds and ends. Thanks for reading!



>> Saturday, November 28, 2009

This Thanksgiving flew by. Ryan and I made the journey up to my dad's for the day and dinner. We had a great time and realized that turkey is meant to be smoked. I made an apple pie, the turkey gravy, and a sweet potato dish. The dinner was enjoyed. Little Kylie Rae is growing up so fast. She also happens to have a crush on my man, typical little sister:-).

I'm trying to finish all my school work this weekend and Monday. So far, so good. It feels great to have an end in sight. I'm looking forward to Christmas, "Winter", break. I'm hoping to texture and paint the dinning room and living room walls and ceilings. Wish me luck. I'm pretty motivated. However, with all this school work, I may be in a coma for the first week!



>> Saturday, October 31, 2009

Greetings from Tully's on 78th! I must say I haven't been productive this last week, and it makes me wonder, WHAT IS GOING ON WITH ME??? I should be busy, I am busy. But it's not with what I should be busy doing. I should be writing my assessment plan, finishing a unit on Frankenstein, and I should be reading all those wonderful "teacher books" I absolutely treasure. I think I'm afraid to go all out. Wow, I said it. Once I start reading and writing, I don't stop. Suddenly, nothing matters and time gets away from me. What is wrong with this? Nothing, as long as I don't plan on going to class, seeing Ryan, having friends, or feeding the dogs. OK, enough with feeling sorry for myself. I'm working steadily now. Actually, I'm blogging.


Fall is Here!!

>> Thursday, October 29, 2009

Well, the backyard was seeded just in time for the rain, and blades of grass are shooting up everywhere. Whoo hoo! I have been busy making soup, student teaching, and going to night classes. I'm excited for the upcoming holidays which means some much needed free time!!!

My mom had her annual Autumn party this last Sunday. We made tacos, carved pumpkins, watched football, and even tried Mitch's new inverter machine (scary). It was a great evening, but of course we missed Ryan greatly! He is doing well up in Alaska, and we're planning on him coming home for the wedding in March.

I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and hopefully a dive vacation late December. Ryan and I are starting to get antsy:-).

I hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween!


Jazz it Up

>> Sunday, September 13, 2009

Last night, Ryan and I went out for TJ's birthday to a fabulous jazz club in the Pearl District. The food was Greek inspired and the music was definitely worth the cover charge. The evening was just what I needed: relaxing, energizing, decadent, and full of friends. It's so nice to be out with friends and enjoying the company. Our friends are so easy... in a good way:-). Happy Birthday, TJ!


Nichole is Leaving the Nest

Nichole is moving to D.C. and will be missed greatly! Although I'm sad she is going so far away, I'm also so excited for the adventure she is embarking on. Good luck good woman and do stay in touch. I would hate to have to come to D.C. to find you and give you a hug:-).


Student Teaching

The school year has begun and I have found myself in the thick of it. Attending night classes after being at the high school all day has given me a new appreciation for my home. Nothing feels better than the couch, a good movie, and Ryan next to me.

My new classroom consists of: two freshmen classes, a junior honors class, and a senior college prep class. They are great! The freshmen are my favorite for sure, but the other two classes are interesting as well. The freshmen aren't jaded yet. They still listen, care, and seem genuinely interested. I dig it.

The big surprise is the technology in the classroom. I'm old school, but I didn't realize how old school. Needless to say, this will be a huge learning experience for me. I will learn to master the computers and Smart Board as well as all the other teacher stuff that goes with a classroom: classroom management, assessment, lesson planning, counselor, and educator.

Not the big surprise, I'm SO excited! Ryan always says, "You're always excited". To that I say, "And?".


Dinner, old school

>> Thursday, August 6, 2009

On the top of my summer to-do-list is, "Make dinner every night". I have accomplished this goal thus far... for the most part. Tonight I decided to make an old family favorite, Betty Crocker's Stuffed Green Peppers. My mom used to make these when we were kids, and surprisingly, we loved them.

My mom is a great cook of about ten specific meals. I love her spaghetti, her hamburger corn pie, and her amazing hostess skills. When you go to my moms, you are the guest. And it's good to be the guest. Somehow she remembers what everyone's favorites are and plans accordingly to who is coming. She is the greatest.

So, as I was scrapping out the membranes of the green peppers, drinking my new favorite Valpolicella wine, and listening to Ben Harper, I found myself drifting back to being ten and waiting patiently for dinner to be served. Dinner was always somewhat hectic at our home. The boys were running around or playing Nintendo, my dad would be watching TV or in the garage, and my mom and I were always setting the table and making dinner. I wouldn't say we had "chores", but we had roles, and I knew mine. Now, while I set the 14 tables at the restaurant, I can't help but think my life has come full circle:-).

Sitting down and having dinner as a family was a finish to the day when I was a kid. I hope to carry on that lost tradition in our present culture. So tonight, Ryan and I will sit and have Stuffed Green Peppers with wine. I love a well balanced meal!

Cheers! Thanks Mom!


Salmon Fishing!

>> Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ryan and I decided to take a break from the heat and go Salmon fishing with Joe in Depot Bay, OR. I'm so happy we did! Everyone caught their limit, 3, in record time. The boat left a little before 7 am, and we returned by 10:30. There were many throw backs with 12 anglers on the boat, and the poles were dancing all morning!

As you can imagine, we have some salmon to smoke, eat, and freeze. I hope you enjoy the video below!


Summer: The beginning of the end

>> Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer break is quickly approaching its end, and I'm starting to panic. I didn't organize a single closet, I failed to re-organize the kitchen, and blogging once a week turned out to be just good intentions. However, my reading list is shorter and working five or six days a week turned out to be a good use of time.

I'm looking forward to returning to school and beginning my internship experience. I'm finding myself a little sad about working only one day a week at the restaurant once school starts, but that's the way it goes. I'm thankful for the one day a week... and the wine discount:-).

Speaking of wine, the wine dinner with Small Vineyards was beyond amazing! Savory food and perfect wine pairings created an atmosphere that was intoxicating. Conversation flowed heavier than the wine, and the laughter was contagious. One couldn't help but smile and shove more food in their mouth:-). I was surrounded by girlfriends who enjoy good food and wine as much as I do. White wine is growing on me, I must admit. However, the Barbaresco stole the show paired with a medium rare ribeye steak. The whole night was spectacular. A big "Thank You" to Thomas Kelly and Small Vineyards!


The Infamous Crash...

>> Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The weekend started out great! Ryan, TJ, and I were off to get me new riding gear to go dirt biking. So, with my new outfit, "gear", we drove off past Brown's camp to find the perfect camping spot. Once unloaded, we fired up the bikes and took off.

The wind in my hair, my new get-up looking good, and finals a million thoughts away, I got comfortable on my Honda CR 125. The boys took it easy on Saturday, letting me settle in. After riding for a few hours, we set up our tents and made sausage dogs over the camp fire. Talk turned to memories and future plans for riding and camping all summer. I turned in early around 8:30, falling asleep while reading Love in the Time of Cholera.

Sunday morning was beautiful. We ate breakfast, geared up, and rode away. We started going on some fun trails. I was doing really well! After a few more trails we came upon my new arch nemesis...

Ryan and TJ went up the steep rocky incline perfectly. Ryan gave me some detailed instructions before making sure I wanted to try the "big hill". I snickered and said, "yeah, I can do it!" The boys gazed down as I revved up the two-stroke motor and took off, determined to show that I could do it too.

Well, the bike hit the power band at just the right moment, threw me off, popped a wheely, hit a tree, went vertical, and fell right on top of my right leg. Ouch! Ryan ran down to get the bike off me while I tried to figure out how to breathe and let the tears fall.

Thanks to my gear, I didn't break my leg. It's bruised down to the bone from my knee to the top of my ankle. So for now, I'm laid up and not moving. The doctor said I should be walking by Friday IF I stay off my feet and ice, ice, ice. Ryan is taking great care of me. However, I don't think I can eat take-out another night:-).

Unfortunately, it's finals this week. Although my professors are being more than understanding, I'm missing all the presentations and last day excitement before summer begins. I may be able to make it tomorrow, but it doesn't look like it. My flowers are also suffering a little. Not to mention Lucy and Alley. My mom took Athena for the week, which I'm so grateful for.

So, I will post pictures as soon as Ryan transfers them to my computer...


The Remodel...

>> Friday, May 29, 2009

If work, school, and planning a wedding isn't enough, Ryan and I have also been remodeling the house in chunks. As of this month, the backyard is on our list . Ryan assures me we will have a beautiful patio and grass in the next month or so. And with our progress over the last few weeks, I think we're on track!

We split and stacked at least 5, yes five, cords of wood! The backyard is clear and surprisingly huge! Athena and Lucy are devastated they can't play "Queen of the Hill" anymore on the wood piles, but they are enjoying running around and digging to find lost tennis balls and other mysterious objects.

With the wood in it's own area, I can finally start to visualize my dream outdoor space. Now, all we have to do is plant and pour... it shouldn't be too hard, right?

My mom and I planted a wide variety of flowers out front, and they still look great a month later! The hanging baskets are full and vibrant. The porch swing seems to be my resident space for reading the endless amounts of articles and chapters for this summer session of school.

I'll keep you posted on our progress!



>> Monday, April 20, 2009

That's right, Ryan and I are engaged as of March 29th. We are excited to begin this new stage of our lives together and look forward to creating many more memories. As for the details, we aren't sure yet, but will let everyone know when we do:-). For pictures from our engagement weekend in Friday Harbor, check out Ryan's website.


School Update

>> Monday, March 23, 2009

The semester is at the half way point and I'm feeling it! The group work seems overwhelming, the readings are insightful, and the hundreds of new lesson plans are being kept safe in a vault for that first year of teaching on my own.

The most interesting thing I've learned so far is the need for inter-thematic units= lessons that can be used across multiple disciplines. For example, just think if the math, science, English, and history departments worked together in order to teach all the effects flight has had on humans. It could be very interesting for all involved. One can hope...

Speaking of hope, I hope everything I'm learning now is practical enough for everyday use in the classroom. I hope there is a classroom for me to teach in once I complete school. I hope to have the knowledge needed for teaching the students of today. I hope to make a positive difference. 

Did a teacher make a difference in your life? Good, bad, indifferent? What is it that makes you remember that teacher?


Work Weekend...

>> Monday, March 16, 2009

Although nervous at first, Ryan and I couldn't be happier with the results of the work weekend! We had twelve handy friends come over on Saturday morning to paint the kitchen, primmer trim, and sheetrock. Of course there are the random trips to Home Depot, wiring, and all the measuring that took place as well. I'm always amazed at the amount of work a group of people, with the same goal, can accomplish. I will post pictures of our progress and the work weekend this weekend. With that said, here are the thank yous:

Bev: Thank you for your skills with measuring and sheet-rocking! Thank goodness for your girly tools too:-).

Harley: I'll make sure to take you as often as I can to Home Depot, you really know that place.

Sandy: Thank you for your time and great suggestions! Your painting talent is pretty great too.

Don: I'm not sure of all you did down in the "man cave", but thank you for all your help and time!

Mom: Did you acquired patience before, or after, raising kids? Either way, I could use some of yours! Thank you for your help on the trim and clean up. I couldn't have done it without you.

Mitch: I still can't believe you stacked all that wood! Thank you!

Joe: Hooray for no more kitchen fan that doesn't work! Thank you for coming over and all your help!

TJ: Ryan voted not to thank you, but of course I will:-). Thank you for spending your Saturday setting the french doors! I love them. Ryan says thanks too.

Matt: Thank you for putting in the door! It looks so nice:-). I know you could have been doing a million other things on a rainy Saturday, and I'm happy you decided to come over and help.

Stacey: Thank you for your help and the handy tools you brought over. It was nice to chat and get that kitchen painted.

Nick: Well, I'm not sure what you did down there either, but I know I saw you with lots of power tools working away. Thank you for your help; the room looks really nice.

Isabella: Thank you for entertaining the cat and making some great potatoes in the fire:-). Your help with painting the doors is also appreciated:-).


CoCo View 2009

>> Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ryan and I took our second annual trip to Roatan and had a great time! We left at 11:59 on February 27th and didn't look back:-). Our trip was filled with amazing diving, good friends, and even a little pedal bike riding. 

Our dive boat was filled with 18 fun-loving divers! Every dive was unique and full of life. Thankfully, I've finally acquired a taste for the tiny sea critters which transforms every dive into a treasure hunt. Ryan took about 500 pictures all of which can be found at



>> Monday, February 2, 2009

Ryan and I had a great time the past two weekends up in Hoodsport,WA diving with friends. Ryan takes amazing pictures with his underwater camera! He is having a blast testing out all the bells and whistles:-) The pictures will be posted shortly...I promise! As for the diving, the octopus are out in full force right now, and the visibility is pretty good.

My first dive of the weekend was the biggest learning experience yet. Alex, Harley, and I had a great dive where I really had to pay attention:-). I'm so used to having the best dive buddy ever, Ryan. However, I've noticed I have become lazy in: navigating, searching for the smaller sea life, and overall awareness. I'm not planning on trading in my buddy, yet it was nice to gain some experience, and confidence, with Alex and Harley. 

On our second dive, Harley and I went one way and Ryan went the other. Unfortunately for Harley and I, Ryan found a giant pacific octopus and played/took pictures for a good forty minutes. Not to be out done, Harley and I found plenty of fish, a HUGE wolf eel, and other fun critters. Above is the head of a giant pacific octopus. The horns are up, and you can see one eye right below one of the horns.  

Weekends at "The Yellow House" are always full of great food, good laughs, and enjoying good friends. Ryan and I feel so lucky to have found a place where everyone is there to have a great experience in the water and top-side. 

A special shout-out to my mom for always taking great care of Athena on such short notice! Athena loves time at "Grandma's" house:-). 


"The Animals"

>> Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I know this is a subject many of you already hear about, however I think Athena, Lucy, and Alley Cat deserve a little post of their own. 

Athena: After having her eight(8), yes eight, tumors removed from her eyes last summer, I was feeling like maybe she was on the downward spiral at the tender age of five. However, being the trooper she is, Athena has made a full recovery and is good as new. She is still getting used to sharing time, space, and attention with the other two animals, but as we all know, she is still everyone's favorite:-). 

Lucy: Also a fan favorite, recently got her ear bitten off by the neighbor dog through the fence... not cool to say the least. About 1/2 an inch is missing from her left ear, but she doesn't seem to mind too much. It has healed up nicely, and she stays her distance from the fence. Lucy and Athena seem to really enjoy having a play partner in each other. 

Alley Cat: Oh, Alley Cat. She runs the house! I can't believe I actually love a cat. She is sassy, fat, and cuddly. Although she has the most annoying squeak instead of the traditional "meow", I still don't mind when she wakes me up in the middle of the night trying to find the most comfortable spot on my face. Alley keeps the dogs away from her food with the slightest glance. Lucy and Alley have always peacefully co-existed. Needless to say, Athena and Alley haven't. However,  Alley and Athena have FINALLY gotten used to each other... well, Athena dosen't bolt across the room when Alley enters anymore:-). 


The Best Service Ever!! Look into it, get it, and love it! This company delivers organic (local, when available) fruits and veggies to your door. You choose the frequency and the amount of goods you need. It comes straight from the farmer. I'm serious, my beets were still covered in mud. I boiled the beets with a little salt, and enjoyed all four in less than 10 minutes. They are friendly, fast, accommodating, and straight up cool. For a busy student who also works, I couldn't be happier knowing every week I will be stocked up on organic/local produce. 


The Beginning

Today was the first day of my Masters program, and I'm stoked! Life feels great. Things are finally taking shape in a concrete way. It's interesting how out of reach some goals seemed not long ago, and now they are right in front of me. This last month has been like finishing a great novel: you want to know how it all ends, but at the same time, you don't want the ride to end just yet. As a wise woman once told me, "The time has come to grow up and shake hands with the world" . I think I'm ready to do just that...


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