Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween! And all that Weekend Stuff!

Stop by and see Shannon to create and link up your own wordle!

I'm doing my first 5K today!

Will be back with pictures. Of the whole day. I'm also doing a fantastic Halloween date with my honey starting this afternoon. Depending on weather, we're going to either go to a local winery OR see the movie "Paranormal Activity". Following that, we have tickets to the ghost tour in nearby Franklin, and following THAT is a drop in at my former voice teacher's house for a Halloween party! Busy busy busy and favorite kind of Saturday!

Happy Halloween All!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Bad Haiku Friday

5K tomorrow
We're walking 3.1 miles
A goal completed!

Ok, so the goal was to RUN a 5K within a year, and I will plan to do that next time...but since I'm going with a group that plans to walk it I can't very well run out ahead of them, right? Hopefully I'll remember to take pics!

You all should totally visit Laura and join in on writing your own haiku!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday's Ten: Halloween

So I swear I didn't mean for the whole week to be Halloween themed...but such as it is, I already had this post mostly written and want to still use it!

Today's Thursday's Ten is all about Halloween. You can write about your 10 favorite holiday candies...your ten favorite Halloween movies...your ten favorite costumes. In my case, I'm writing about 10 things I've been for Halloween. However, celebrating Halloween was not allowed growing up, so I fall short of the last 1 is just a clever one for my future!

1. an old lady (this is the only costume I wore as a child. My parents never celebrated Halloween because of it's "evils" but they did allow me to wear a costume in kindergaren when everyone else dressed up. Basically I got to wear one of my mom's old dresses and heels...)
2. an 80s girl
3. a cat
4. a cat out of the bag (I wore the costume and my roommate carried a paper bag. hey, we were college poor, ok?)
5. the lady who passes out the candy (yeah...still right out of college and not going anywhere to celebrate and dress up so...)
6. farmer/country girl (how cliche! Everyone does this one)
7. incompetent fast food worker (really this means that I served hot dogs and hamburgers to our students in my street clothes, but I sucked at it. So when they asked me what my costume was that's what I told them)
8. a magic 8 ball...oh, that was a fun one. Unfortunately I'm a perfectionist so I had to make the die with exactly the right amount of sides. Which is 20, just so you know.)
9. a nerd
10. a bun in the oven--I LOVE that idea for when I'm pregnant!

Ok, so you know the drill! Link up and grab the button...tell us more about your Halloween memories, traditions, etc.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Cordon Bleu Tenders

I have lived in the south for over 10 years now, and until recently had managed to not learn one of the key elements of any southern kitchen.

Frying food.

Let's just get this out there: I'm not a fan of most fried foods. Unless it is at the pub or just utterly amazing...I'm probably not going to get too excited about it.

But I found this recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu Tenders, and I just HAD to try them. So...a bottle of oil did I buy.

As with most Rachael Ray recipes I did adapt a few things. I will note them as we go.

Chicken (Tenders) Cordon Bleu

12 chicken tenders
1/4 pound deli-sliced Swiss cheese, cut into 1/4 inch strips (I used plain old Trader Joe's Swiss cheese!)
1/4 pound deli-sliced French-style ham, cut into 1/2 inch strips (ok. I don't know what French ham is, so I bought Trader Joe's rosemary edged ham and it was GOOD.
1 1/2 cups flour (I used about 3/4 a cup)
2 large eggs (used 1)
2 cups breadcrumbs (used 1)
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, a handful, finely chopped (skipped this ingredient)
1 rounded teaspoon, a generous palmful, poultry seasoning (I substituted Mrs Dash because I don't have poultry seasoning)
oil for frying
Dijon mustard, Dijonaise or honey mustard for drizzling/dipping

Using a small, sharp knife, cut each chicken tender lengthwise but not all the way through. Working with 4 at a time, cover with plastic wrap and gently pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Season with with salt and pepper and arrange slices of ham and cheese on top or each. Fold in half, to cover the ham and cheese, and gently press the edges down. Season the outside of the stuffed tenders with salt and pepper

Set up 3 dishes: one with the flour, one with the eggs beaten with a little water and the last with the breadcrumbs, parsley and poultry seasoning. Coat stuffed tenders in flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs.

Heat a couple of inches of frying oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot enough, small bubbles will rapidly surround the handle of a wooden spoon when submerged. Fry chicken tenders in batches for 7-8 minutes, until deeply golden and cooked through. Place finished tenders on cooling rack to keep coating crisp while you finish cooking the rest.

Serve 3 tenders per person drizzled with Dijon or Dijonaise or honey mustard and a green salad dressed with vinaigrette alongside.

My rating, along with Anthony's, was that they were quite good. However, I prefer my food less fried, so I will probably experiment with a healthier way to make these. Plus, I prefer my food to have a bit more of a "zing" and flavor, so I will probably experiment with lemon juice, rosemary, and other spices and herbs to dress this recipe up a bit. Once I've experimented I'll let you know what my revisions are!

So basically, it's good "as-is" but I see the potential to be BETTER.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Titus 2 Tuesday: Marsha

I read a very disturbing blog this morning by a former classmate of mine. He was literally preaching on the evils of Halloween and how we as Christians are letting demonic activity into our lives if we participate. It was well-written, and he stated that he had researched every point, which I'm sure was true. And I understand and respect the viewpoint. However, I came away pretty disturbed.

The thing is, it was disturbing to me on more than one level.

On one level, I'm disturbed any time a fellow Christian presumes to be more holy than another. Last I checked we are all sinners in need of a Savior. And last I checked, none of us has a corner on all the answers.

On another level, it's disturbing to me because it's how I was raised.

I know Halloween is a touchy subject among my fellow Christians, so I'm not going to go any further into it. Suffice it to say, I've been on both sides of the beliefs on celebrating Halloween, and while I understand the reasoning behind denouncing the holiday, I prefer a more balanced viewpoint myself--understanding the history and celebrating the present.

All of that to say, it really got me thinking.

My parents were certainly not balanced in their beliefs on manners such as this. The churches I grew up in for my young years were not either, and while the church I attended and fell in love with as a teenager was still my parents "standards" that governed my life.

So where DID my balanced viewpoints come into play? When did I learn to think outside the box and believe more and differently than I had been raised to believe?

I can't pinpoint a specific time and place that this began to change, but I can pinpoint an individual who was instrumental in helping me realize that not fitting into the typical mold of Christianity was not necessarily a bad thing.

Her name was Marsha, and she was my professor for quite a few of my education courses. She was tough and didn't take crap from anyone, but she loved us and wanted to see us succeed in the classrooms we were called to.

I found out pretty early on that Marsha and I were two of the few liberals on Trevecca's campus. It definitely bonded us, as we had to stick together! :-)

Marsha was the one who approached me my sophomore year and told me that her neighbors were looking for a babysitter they could trust. I immediately said that she should give them my number and she stopped me by saying "there's something you should know first..."

That's how I began babysitting for the two little girls with two mommies...that's how I fell in love with a family I never would have been allowed to socialize with growing up...that's how I began babysitting for several same-sex couples because it was next to impossible for them to find loving and capable people to care for their children in this area of the country.

One day one of the mommies told me
"I'd love to meet your parents."
Confused, I asked her why. Her response startled me.
"I would love to meet the people who raised a daughter to be both a Christian and accepting of others. You make no secret of your beliefs and viewpoints, yet we have never felt judged or not tolerated by you. You love us and you love our babies."

I didn't have the heart to tell her that my parents would probably not be who she should meet. It was the influence of people like herself and of Marsha who helped me realize that life is not always black and white...that snap judgments should never be made...and that everyone is loved by God, therefore I am called to love them.

Marsha and others have helped me in my classroom full of different faiths, my city full of refugee families from around the world, and my daily life where I meet other people just like myself--broken and unworthy, yet called to be His children.

Marsha moved to another state to consult for their education system when I was a junior. She and I have kept in touch periodically and she's always excited to hear what new things are going on in my life.

I'm so very thankful for her influence and the influence of countless others who helped me to just get out of my box!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday's Memory: The One With The Crazy Connection

This incredibly special piece hangs in my bathroom where I can see it every morning. Not coincidentally, it hangs where it is in full view when I step on the scales.

If you look closely, you can see the wrinkles in the paper and the scuffs of the frame.

It will never change. It's how she gave it to me.

Martell found it in her daughters possessions after she tragically died, and for "some reason" hung onto it. Well...when I willingly entered in recovery she knew the reason. She gave it to me with the statement that she was sure Jennifer would have wanted me to have it.

I was humbled, honored, and grateful. For weeks, it hung in my bathroom and I thought no more of it than a treasured gift from a friend and her daughter who I will never meet this side of Heaven.

And then I invited my "support group" to my house one day. The first two to arrive were Martell and LaJuana. LaJuana being the interior designer immediately started walking through to see what new additions and colors I had added since the last time she had visited. For some reason she walked into my bathroom.

I'll never forget the tone of her voice.

"Where did you get this?"

She and I were alone upstairs at the time, and when I told her that Martell had given it to me and that it was originally Jennifer's she was really quiet...

And then Martell came up the stairs. LaJuana then explained to the two of us that she had created those papers--the paraphrase of the verse in that particular style and font for a young women's retreat she had done for the church that Martell and her family had attended at the time of Jennifer's death.

Full circle.

The odd thing was that LaJuana told us that she didn't think the retreat had gone well, and all these years had just hoped that one person was helped by what she had done there.

Knowing LaJuana, many lives were touched that she'll never know about.

But I have been encouraged and inspired by that retreat for years now.

(Martell, LaJuana and I on women's retreat later that same year. THAT is a story all it's own that I will share here someday...)


Nerds, Nerds, Nerds...

What a weekend!

My friend Nicole came into town for awhile this weekend, and we made a trip to Cheesecake Factory, Teavana (a new love for both of us!) and of course, the ever famous Trader Joe's.

I was glad to see Nicole for a few hours! We've known and loved each other since middle school so it was a great time of catching up.

Yesterday evening was spent simply hanging out with my beau. I was going to cook vodka pasta, but I kind of forgot about defrosting the sausage...oops. We'll be doing that meal Monday instead.

Today has been a rather busy day, beginning with a service at one of my babysitting clients churches (their baby boy was baptized today) and ending with Trunk or Treat at our church. Our kids came up with the idea to be nerds, and they actually pulled it off really well.

In the middle of the day we ran some errands, but managed to stop at an overlook to admire the fall colors that appeared here in TN this week!

We're cute, aren't we? Keep that image in your'll need to remember that we actually look like THIS.


Transformation into complete and utter nerdiness.

Our friend Pat actually found a Geek Squad shirt (label and all) at Goodwill.

To further prove our nerdiness, we built a pyramid out of the nerd candy boxes.
And handed them out as the night went on...

Our "Bully Toss" -- threw beanbags at a cool kid who hates nerds. The kids LOVED it.
I didn't want to post pics of our students faces on a public blog, so I'm sorry you can't see how incredibly well they pulled the nerdy look off, but this girl cracked me up. Kick Me sign and all.

By the end of the evening, however, I was freezing and my feet hurt (I don't know WHY I brought heels to wear tonight when I'd been wearing them all day. 9 am to 9 pm is not a good plan for heels.

I only wish Anthony or Kat had taken photographic evidence of how I burrowed once we got back to their apartment. 3 blankets piled on me and I STILL couldn't get warm! Fall has arrived.

(Oh, and to prove that I'm a klutz...somehow I managed to catch my shoulder in the car door as I was leaving their place. It HURTS still! Something tells me a bruise is forthcoming...

But the cold and pain were worth it. The kids had a BLAST.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Weekend Wordle and Six Words

Shannon is hosting weekend wordles as usual--here's mine for this week:

I found white fudge oreos already!

They are to the winter season what pumpkin delights are to fall.
As long as I don't find the 5 pounds that I've lost lately because I've found them...we're doing good.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Bad Sad Haiku Friday

My heart is sad now
I have cried a lot of tears
Hate saying goodbye

It will be good to
Watch Grey's and then some chick flicks
Let myself chill out.

(I HATE saying goodbye. Have I mentioned that yet? When I'm saying it to the couple that has essentially filled the role of parents where my flesh and blood were not able to...yeah. It sucks.)

*this blog will return to it's normal cheery and sarcastic schedule shortly. please excuse the crying mess. don't slip on the tears on your way out...*


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday's Ten

I've been spending quite a bit of time this week helping some dear friends move. I'm actually quite bummed about it (you can read more about it here), but have treasured this time packing up their memories with them. It seems right that I'm the one to help them with this move--I helped when they bought this house 3 years ago.

We've giggled a bit as we've thrown things into boxes and I've said "you're gonna wonder why in the world you have this when you get to Atlanta"

Of course, it's got me thinking.

What random weird things would I make SURE I took with me to the next house?
I'm not talking scrapbooks, Bibles, electronics or anything like that. Everyone assumes those things go.

I'm not even talking about the dishes from my grandmas house. I'm talking about the everyday, ordinary items that I would make sure stay with me no matter where I go. Some of them are sentimental and some are just plain stupid.

Here's 10 of mine:

1. my iPod alarm clock radio. It was a gift from LaJuana and Randy one year, and I love falling asleep to it.
2. a stuffed white tiger from Anthony. Her name is Zoe. I know, it's corny. But I love her.
3. Nicole and Lora's Big Book of Quotes. It's a relic from high school, and full of expressions that my friend Nicole and I created.
4. my exercise ball. I've had it since college. I use it rarely, but it will always travel with me.
5. cables for random cell phones and electronic equipment that is long dead or broken. I mean, what if I have a new piece of electronics that exactly fits that charger? Then I'll have an extra...
6. speaking of...3 old cell phones. 2 of them I still have plugged in for an extra alarm on days that I'm reallllly tired. one of them won't even turn on (it completely died) so I can't recycle it...but I can't get rid of it. what the heck?
7. my NAP blanket. Also a gift from Anthony, but seriously the warmest most comfortable blanket EVER.
8. flowers that I have dried--a couple from weddings I was in, and a couple from Anthony
9. a framed poem/song that a former roommate wrote for me when I graduated college
10. papers written by former students, and the 8th grade blues they wrote every year.

So there you have it. And believe me, there's more :0) What about you? What random things would you absolutely put in the boxes to move across the country, city, or street?

Grab the button and sign up if you're participating! You can make up your own list too, if you don't like today's theme. There really are no "rules" :0)


Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I've been growing my hair out for the past year or so. Today I had it cut to donate for cancer patients. I LOVE the new cut, and was so happy to see my stylist Stacey again! Here's the most recent picture I have of it down...unfortunately not a great picture at ALL. I kind of forgot to take a "before" pic...
Oh, but here's a funny pic. Anthony and I watched Izzy one afternoon and I was in his kitchen baking cookies. I realized at one point that I was wearing a dress (left over from church that morning), was barefoot, and was holding baby in one hand and scooping cookies with the other. Naturally I made A take a pic. This was about a month ago: On to today!

After the cut: enjoying a celebratory nonfat pumpkin spice latte (ok, so the whipped cream makes it not so nonfat)
side view Photobucket

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Titus 2 Tuesday: Jessica

Hop on over to Bethany's blog to join in!

Jes and I have been singing together on the same praise team for a couple of years now, and she and her husband are good friends. We were even in the same small group for awhile. Jes and I clicked pretty easily, both loving children (she's a high school math teacher) and in general.

Jes is one of those people who radiates positivity. She has a beautiful smile and is genuinely just a *good* person. You know the type, I'm sure. Rare to find, but once you do you'll hang on to that relationship for life!

She also has a great way of telling a story--particularly when her students are involved. Swapping teaching stories with her has been one of my favorite things over the years--because she can make any situation funny!

Jes and her husband Michael just had their first baby (Finnegan--Finn) a couple of months ago. It's been so fun to watch them transition from pregnancy to parenthood. They are both so laid back and relaxed...and they are just fantastic parents.

Jes reminds me that I can take it easy...that I can look for good in every situation
...that I can be funny and sarcastic and still be kind.

I have great friends...and I'm honored that Jes is among them.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday's Memory: The One With Fire On My Board

See this girl?

Young, skinny, cute haircut...

I was her once.

She was also a baby teacher (although the highest compliment she may have ever received from her co-workers was that she came in a veteran teacher).
She loved her job passionately, and dreamed that all her students would succeed.
And sometimes they succeeded in driving her absolutely mad.

One class in particular that first year was dubbed "the class from hell". We, as teachers, have one of those every few years, more frequently if we are blessed to be in inner city or metropolitan areas. And mine was my 6th period 6th grade choir. To add insult to injury, I also had to oversee this class's dismissal procedure so I was given approximately 15 extra minutes with them every day.

Lucky me.

One afternoon as I was standing at my door one of those students came to me. She was among the last to be dismissed, and quite frankly I was ready for her bus to be called so that I could just get some peace and quiet! This was not to be had for a few moments though. The following conversation ensued:

Student: (tentatively)
"Miss B? Um...someone said something really mean about you."

Me: (trying not to show that I really have no interest in this topic of conversation...after all if I'm worried about what a 6th grader is going to say about me I've got bigger problems anyway.)
"Oh yeah?"

Student: "Yeah, they did." (pauses, looking down. then brightens as she says) "I can't tell you who it was but I can tell you what they said!"

Me: (stifling a yawn and resisting the urge to check down the hall to see if anyone had let students go for late bus line-up yet)

Student: (with exaggerated pauses)
"Well, she SAID...'If she's teaching our class...then who's running Hell?"

Me: (trying oh-so-hard not to burst out laughing)

Intercom: (calls students on her bus)

Me: (running down the hall to the other teachers in the 8th grade wing)
"You guys are gonna LOVE this!"

Now, after telling the story most people probably would have thought little of it.
However, I have a little sadistic streak.
(after all, I did teach middle school)

You see, I knew exactly who had said it (not hard to narrow down as she was the chief troublemaker in the class) and I knew I could make her squirm.

So the next day in the 8th grade reading class I was teaching (don't get me started on how I was given that class and a 7th grade one as an afterthought and had to figure out how in the world to teach reading when I was still trying to figure out how to teach music! and especially don't get me started on how I loved teaching those 2 classes so much that I'm still considering getting a Master's in Language Arts just so I can do it all day...)

Anyway, in the 8th grade reading class I was teaching I approached the boy who always sat in the corner doodling and consequently had about 3 grades out of the 10 he needed. And I said

"Manuel, how would you like to get full credit for xxx assignment even though you didn't turn it in?"

Naturally, he was intrigued. And asked how that was possible.

"Can you draw fire?
"Sure Ms. B"
"Can you draw it on my board?"
"All right. Take the whole period if you like. Fill it up."

This did raise a lot of questions as I tried to teach class and he cheerfully drew flames on the board behind me. So at the end of the period I let the 8th graders in on the joke. They apparently are as sadistic as I am and thought it a wonderful plan.

My 6th graders came in the door as the reading class exited and we began business as usual. Funny looks exchanged all around, but no one dared open their mouth about it.

We went through warm-ups and had even sang a song before a brave soul finally raised her hand. (which was an accomplishment in and of itself with this particular class, believe me!)

"Um, Ms. B? Why is on your board?"

Without missing a beat, I simply replied

"Oh that? Well, I thought I'd multi-task today and do both my jobs at once."

As the culprit sank in her seat with cheeks as red as the flames on the board, we continued on singing. Most of the students didn't understand what I had said, but I only needed her to. I didn't have to yell, pull her aside, or embarrass her at all to get my point across. It just took a little creativity. And you know what? She didn't give me any trouble for the rest of the year.

Guess that young teacher wasn't so naive after all.