I DID just quote Miley Cyrus on my blog header.

(And yeah, I sort of hope you're humming that song the whole month too.)

imprint service project!

Yesterday we went to Detroit to help out with the newest CDC project - revitalizing an old warehouse.
So... I know it might not look like that much, but we organized so much stuff & got so much done! They'll be selling discount home improvement stuff. I can't wait to see the continued progress!


suggestion & internal debate

First of all -
Manda, do you remember at Lynz's wedding when we were talking about our quest for the perfect mascara? I may have found it.
Must buy in "glam black", of course.

Second -
More & more of my students are discovering (& reading?) my blog, and it's sort of weirding me out. I don't necessarily want to make my blog private, but I'd also like to maintain some privacy and not have students telling me my salmon pizza looks gross. I like keeping in touch with family & friends and sharing the random/mundane events of my life with those who care to read but... I don't know what to do. Maybe I should just start writing about grammar and literature - - they'd tune me out quickly!


elephant rock

Doug's Grandpa Jack passed away last Friday. We drove to Missouri on Sunday morning for the viewing and funeral. It was a sad loss for the family, but there was a seed of hope, as the pastor told the family that Grandpa Jack had accepted Christ earlier in the week.

On Monday morning before the funeral, Doug took me to Elephant Rock - a place he and his brothers used to visit as children. It was freezing, but still really beautiful and the rocks, um... rock! (Ah, the pun. Never tire of it.)

The funeral was at 2pm (an hour earlier than our local Michigan time), and we left for home around 4:30 their time/5:30 Michigan time. We got home around 3:30am Tuesday morning. It was a flying trip, but I'm really thankful we were able to support Doug's fam and say goodbye to Grandpa Jack.


recently i'm... (3)

I'm getting really lazy with blogging. I might only ever do these updates from now on:

Reading: Ministries of Mercy by Tim Keller. Have only read the introduction so far.

Listening: to Zooey gnawing on a bone.

Watching: Okay, guilty admission. I watched quite a few episodes of The Secret Life of the American Teenager over break. I hate/love it. One of those weird shows that annoys me but I can't stop watching it. Go on and judge.

Cooking: I've been doing really well with my New Years Resolution! While my mom and sisters were here last week, an amazing breakfast (if I may say so myself) - Pineapple Upside Down Monkey Bread. SO GOOD.
Cute, Jay.

Eating: Yeah, it's that time of year. SWEET BLISS.

Wishing: Selfishly? That we'd have another snow day tomorrow. We had one Monday, but I was already planning on taking the day off. We went to Missouri for Doug's grandpa's funeral. Academically, a snow day would be awful. But for me, personally? Let's be honest.

Thinking: I'm surprised by my attitude toward winter this year. I always think snow is pretty, but this year I find myself much less annoyed by snow & cold. It's probably because we have a garage this winter... plus, it helps that pretty much the entire country is cold these days.

Craving: Nothing (see picture above, ha!)

Excited About: Easter break! I know I just said I'm enjoying winter this year, but I'm mostly pumped about a vacation with Doug! The two of us haven't gone on a vacation together, just the two of us, since our 1-year anniversary. We haven't solidified our plans yet, but I'm excited nonetheless.

Laughing At: Evgeni Plushenko's desperation & pathetic creation of a "platinum medal"after losing to Evan Lysacek (rightly!) in the Olympics. (And laughing at myself for caring this much about men's figure skating!)

Annoyed With: The Olympic coverage, and the fact that I can't stay up to watch all of Ladies' Figure Skating!

Feeling Bad: That it's 5:30 and I haven't started dinner yet...

Grading: Um, still working on those portfolios. Whoops.

Loving: My sophomore girls' small group and our discussion on Philippians.

Reminiscing About: my visit to Italy back in Fall 2006 with my Oxford BFF.


weekend update: v-day

What a fabulous weekend.

-It was a rough week at school (slash rough year). My 5th hour class was in the computer lab finishing up papers, and when the bell rang, I went back to my room for lunch, and there was Doug, sitting at my desk with a bouquet of flowers.
-Dinner: very yummy Toasted Orzo Chicken Soup:

-Then, to celebrate the beginning of BREAK, we went to see Valentine's Day in the theater. (We probably go to 1 or 2 movies a year - I'm just not a huge fan of the movie theater experience.) It was pretty cute, overall. Can't stand some of the actors, but I enjoyed the way the movie poked fun at a lot of relationships/types of people in relationships. Plus, last line of the movie was hilarious.
-Morning - Doug took Zooey to a park in the morning while I did some laundry and tinkered around the house.
-Night - We went out to dinner with Debbie & Kress. The boys thought it would be fun to go to Greektown, so we went to a restaurant called New Parthenon. Yikes. The place was packed, which wasn't surprising, so the waiters and staff were... frenzied. We had made reservations, so our wait wasn't bad. Our waiter brought us bread, and as I was getting ready to butter mine, Doug pulled the plate away from me and turned it so I could see a weird little red dot on the plate. I asked what it was, when he pointed to our table, where there was a big, red drop of BLOOD on our table. He covered it with a napkin and proceeded to tell us that our waiter's finger had been bleeding and dripped on our table. When our waiter came back, we noticed that the upper right corner of his apron was covered in bloody finger prints - as though he had been repeatedly wiping his hand on it! He apologized and went off to bandage his finger and change his apron while other staff members cleared our table and wiped it off with a rag. No disinfectant, just a quick wipe down. Gag.

After a brief discussion, we decided to stay at the restaurant and give them a second chance. We got saganaki, which was my first experience seeing the "OPA!" in person. Our meal came shortly after. I had ordered chicken souvlaki, which was okay. About halfway through his meal, Doug stopped eating and laid his fork next to his plate. I looked at his fork and saw a piece of plastic that said "65". We decided we were full. The manager came over and we got a 10% discount. We made sure to commemorate the occasion with a photo before we left though.
(Please note "blood" gang sign...)
Despite being grossed out by the blood & plastic, we were actually in good spirits and just cracking up about the whole experience. We grabbed dessert in Royal Oak and went back to the Townleys' for a bit.
-Church & communion (I mention this because our church has the best communion bread EVER)
-Park with Zoo. Such a blast.

& 2 pics of Zoo doing what she does best - being a freak:

-Lazy afternoon - laundry and Olympics
-Around 5 I decided to make dinner, checked my cupboards for ingredients and whipped up Grilled Chicken Parmesan with homemade tomato sauce! Didn't take too much effort to make it a cute Valentine's dinner for two.
-Doug ran to the store for some chocolate ice cream while I made fudge sauce. When he returned with the goods, we had chocolate sundaes with bananas and watched PAIRS FIGURE SKATING! (Seriously, best husband ever.)

This is the life:


snow day!

Ode to the Snow Day
Winter, you can get me down
And sometimes make me wear a frown.
Your cold temps chill me to the core;
Going anywhere becomes a chore.
Still, I love to wake after the night
To see a fresh coat of sparkly white.
It's a sight beautiful to see,
Especially 'cause it means no school for me!
(a 7-minute Rachel Parton creation, 2.10.10)

It was a productive day:
-Slept in until 8:30.
-Made some oatmeal.
-Lounged around on the computer - blog & Facebook stalking.
-Snapped some pics of the snow.

-Shoveled the deck & walk.
-Finally mailed pics to Victoria.
-Went grocery shopping.
-Doug came home for lunch.
-We made Zooey balance an apple core on her nose. This was trickier than it looks.

-Doug went back to work.
-I cleaned the kitchen.
-Danced to iTunes mix.
-Had a photo shoot with Zooey.

-Thought about doing laundry and decided to work on a gift instead.
-Cleaned the family room.
-Doug came home from work.
-Made Salmon Pizza for dinner. I know I said I was making soup, but I saw spinach in the fridge that would go to waste before much longer.
This is one of our absolute favorite meals. It's possible I've shared this recipe before, but it's totally worth the risk of repeating myself. If you like salmon, you MUST try this recipe (from Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book):

2 6-inch Boboli bread shells
1/4 c. creamy Caesar salad dressing
2 c. torn fresh spinach
2 oz. smoked salmon (no bones or skin)
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
2 T. thinly sliced green onion
1 t. capers, drained (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Place Boboli on baking sheet (I use tin foil over pizza tray). Lightly spread some of Caesar dressing on Boboli.
3. Top with spinach, salmon, half of Parm cheese, green onion and capers, if desired.
4. Bake for 8-10 mins. Drizzle with remaining Caesar; sprinkle with remaining Parm.

SUPER fast & easy!
My variations:
-I always add red or green bell peppers.
-Tonight I sprinkled some mozzarella with the Parm - yum.
-Red onions are equally awesome.
-I am a light dressing person, so I never drizzle any Caesar on after I take the pizza out.

Now I'm going to get some chocolate, cuddle with Doug & read.


recently i'm... (2)

Saw Lyndsay's version of my little list on her blog & was reminded how quick & fun it is to update this way!

Reading: Finished Ragamuffin Gospel - still reading Philippians with sophomore girls and I & II Samuel in my small group. Also, reading a lot of Whitman and Dickinson poetry in preparation for my kids' explications.

Listening: Pretty rad mix recently, including, but not limited to: Modest Mouse, Arcade Fire, Cat Stevens, Animal Collective, Iron & Wine and Jay Sean. What?!

Watching: Hated last week's episode of Modern Family.

Cooking: This week's menu - Toasted Orzo Chicken Soup, Mom's Mac n' Cheese, and either Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina or Roasted Chicken with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Last week's Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia:

Boys loved it, I thought it was somewhere between "eh" and "mediocre".

Wearing: Birthday gift from Doug -

Wishing: I was going somewhere warm next week.

Thinking: I want to memorize more Scripture (and wish I could quote Romans 1-8 like this!)

Craving: a frappe from Puerto Rico (remember those, Jeanette?!)

Digging: my dog's balancing tricks

Excited About: BREAK

Laughing At: hamster on a piano

Hoping: that we get a snow day tomorrow... (esp. after it was announced as a possibility over the PA on Monday morning...)

Annoyed With: distance

Feeling Bad: for throwing snow on Zooey while I was shoveling. Well, not feeling that bad.

Grading: college & career portfolios

Loving: flannel sheets and heated blankets!

& I like Lynz's addition of:

Planning: a fun weekend with the Townleys!



"The only thing of my very own that I contribute to my redemption is the sin from which I need to be redeemed." - William Temple

"Righteousness before God on the final day comes solely from God, and any attempt to add requirements of human invention to what God has freely given amounts to a rejection of the gospel." -Frank Thielman

"Grace proclaims the awesome truth that all is a gift. All that is good is ours, not by right, but by the sheer bounty of a gracious God. While there is much we may have earned - our degree, our salary, our home and garden, and a good night's sleep - all this is possible only because we have been given so much: life itself, eyes to see and hands to touch, a mind to shape our ideas, and a heart to beat with love. We have been given God in our souls and Christ in our flesh." - Brennan Manning

"If we but turn to God, that itself is a gift of God." -St. Augustine


twenty-nine problems...

... but a birthday ain't one?*

Happy birthday to my dear friend Jeanette!

I hope your first birthday as a mother is filled with love, blessings & dimpled laughter. Love & miss you lots.

*J-unit, you know I be reppin' my boy Jay for you til the day I die.
Albeit, very white, nerdy reppin'.



Dinners so far this week:

Mom's Pulled Pork & Mom's Cornbread - YUM.

Spinach & Cheese Rollups (recipe here)

Tomorrow night: Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia

Also, Zooey sulking in her cage because we won't let her beg by the table during dinner:

Random things at school:
-Monday morning I tripped over a box in the computer lab and fell.
-Yesterday a student pricked my finger and the science teacher told me what type of blood I have (O Negative, if you were wondering - universal donor!).

Birthday update:
-All my students sang to me, multiple times throughout the day
-My friend & co-worker Katy had one of her classes line up and each student gave me a Jolly Rancher and said a reason that I made them "jolly"
-Doug made dinner (chicken tetrazzini!) - DELICIOUS
-Doug (& Betty Crocker...) made a wonderful cake
-We watched a movie & cuddled.

It was a delightful birthday!