Poor neglected blog and strawberry balsamic jam

So this summer has been flying by. A trip to Memphis for my brother’s wedding, vacation bible school, a trip to Florida to visit the parents and our first trip to Disney World, all of which deserve their own posts.

So instead I’m going to write about jam. I got a big old thing of strawberries on sale and as seems to happen they were pretty ripe and needed to be used pretty quickly. So I googled and learned that making small batch jam is pretty easy. And I had all the stuff in the pantry, so I made this.

Strawberry Balsamic Jam

And it was so good! The kids loved it. We ate it on waffles.


Chicken Shawarma!

I’ve been somewhat obsessed by the idea of chicken Shawarma since seeing the Avengers earlier this summer. I scoured the Internet for recipes until I found one that sounded yummy, healthy, and easy. Two things I love about this recipe: the marinade and the yogurt sauce. Both are easy and made with simple ingredients.

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know that the state of Colorado is pretty much on fire, and temperatures are in the 100s. Since there is no way I’m turning on an oven and I’m avoiding the outside, I used the foreman grill to cook the chicken, which worked out perfectly.

Any way here’s the link:

chicken Shawarma at budget bytes

And a picture 🙂


BBQ chicken chopped salad in a mason jar

So one of my family’s favorite light dinners is our version of the California Pizza Kitchen BBQ chicken chopped salad. I am terrible about eating leftovers so I copied something that’s been bouncing around the Internet for a while – mason jar salads.

I put the ingredients in in the following order:

A tablespoon of BBQ sauce
A tablespoon of light ranch dressing
Fresh corn kernels
Lime juice

In theory,I should be able to shake the jar when it’s time for lunch. I’ll let you know how it goes.


Edited to add:

It worked brilliantly.



So last night I got dizzy. Like I think I’m going to pass out, my heart is racing, I should probably pull over the car dizzy. Then it happened again this morning. Twice. I went to the doctor and after ruling out a DVT (tamoxifen makes a girl high risk for those), we still don’t have a good answer. The best guess is my naturally low blood pressure dropped even lower causing the dizziness. I guess that happens sometimes.

When I was in high school, I had dizzy spells like this. I carefully practiced not being afraid, breathing deeply and ignoring my hypochondriac tendencies, until I pretty much had it under control by my young adult years. I could get by with, “it’s probably nothing.”

Until it wasn’t nothing. And all that calm was gone. There are so many possible side effects from the treatment, even this far out, and the medicines, it can make your head spin. So now I freak out. Every time. Because I had cancer. And because I have a family. And so so much to lose.

It’s been 4 years.

So when does the fear go away?

The hardest things

So there’s this boy in one of my middle school classes. Pretty decent musician. Which means he’s somewhat of a behavior problem. Because that’s the way it always is. Anyway, he was complaining because his part in the piece we’re playing is “boring”. I said, that’s funny since you chose that part. And he said, yeah, because it was easy.

And so I said, yeah, well the most significant things I’ve done in my life, the stuff I remember and am proud of, have always been the hardest things.

Teaching where I teach is truly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Every day I learn something new about myself and about my students, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. It’s like my job is bi polar.

Yesterday, a particularly difficult second grader had a wonderful day in music. Usually we give them school PBIS bucks to save towards a reward, but when I offered him one, he asked if I could have lunch with him instead. He didn’t want a thing, he wanted time. With me. How could I not go? So I didn’t do the photocopies, or my lesson plans. I just spent some time with him at his cafeteria table. And talked about how we both like jalapeños. He asked how his sister was doing in music. Fine, I told him. When I saw his mother later at conferences, she said it was all he could talk about that day.

And then I have a day like I had today. Not the worst day. But not awesome either. Mostly management. Not enough music. Pretty sure one of my students was making fun of me for half of the class, trying to derail my teaching. Luckily drumming is too cool and won out. I hear myself teaching and I don’t recognize my voice. I sound frustrated. I sound tired. In the teacher’s lounge, we all say the same things. Don’t take it personally, while we do the exact opposite, trying to figure out what we could have done differently.

And so I’ll go to school tomorrow, and it will probably be better. I need to listen to my own words.

The hardest things we do are the most significant.

Breadmaker pizza dough

I just had to share. I think I’ve blogged before about making pizza with leftovers. There was a time where as long as I put it on a crust and called it pizza, the kids would eat it. We had sesame chicken pizza, taco pizza, and more that I’ve forgotten. Anyway, last night I decided to make a pizza again and was too lazy to go find my dough recipe. As I was googling, I came across this one.

Breadmaker pizza dough

It was amazing. And easy. When the dough came out of the breadmaker it was the perfect consistency. I did my best pizza tossing (which I’m grateful no one witnessed) and put some leftover barbecue sauce, bacon, and pineapple on it with Italian cheese blend. The crust was amazing.

My sister, the pizza expert, says to poke the crust with holes before you bake it. And I’m glad we did because the dough would have bubbled up and made a pizza volcano. Which could be fun. But hard to eat.

Time’s up!

Fun guesses everybody! And as you can see its all done…


It’s a baby cocoon!

For my friend Laima’s baby who’s coming any day now 🙂

I was going to make a sweater, but I saw this pattern and had to try it out. My boy would have loved this thing. In fact he asked me if I could yarn him one in his size. Heh. Like a sleeping bag? I asked. Except with lots and lots of yarn, he said.

Guess what I’m making!

The phone is for scale.


Say a little prayer.

I know I should be boycotting the Internet today or something, but I keep scouring it for news of Susan, Toddler Planet. She’s been through so much this year and we all need for her to get better. For a million reasons. The most important being a couple kiddos she calls Widget and Bear. So if you have a moment and are of prayerful nature, could you send one her way?

Babybels wear pajamas

So yesterday the boy and I went to Costco and bought some of those babybel cheeses. As he is taking off the waxy part he says, “Mama, it’s like the cheese is wearing red pajamas!”

There are so many blog posts that I’ve had in my head, unfortunately I haven’t gotten around to writing them down. So I’m kind of going backwards.

Earlier this week, the girl decided to attach her homework together with spray cheese. Yep. Needless to say that was a redo.

On Thursday, I had a complete freak out before class. The poor librarian must have thought I was insane. I’m doing an Orff unit with the middle schoolers (that i plan to write about later) and there were no mallets in my class room. Couldn’t find them anywhere. And since I had just read what happened to Sophanne, I feared the worst. The class coming to music that day was the group I was a little worried about in terms of buy in and to not be prepared is asking for trouble. As it turned out, one of those students saved the day. The day before, if you’ve been following Colorado weather, it dumped snow and many of our teachers were stuck, including one of my teammates. When this happens, we often double up the classes in my room and have a movie fest. 60 kindergartners at once. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Anyway, I had asked one of my choir students to help clean up the room before they came and put away anything that she thought would be distracting. Thankfully, she was in that class coming down the hall, saw my distress and quickly showed me where she had hidden the mallets. I ❤ my students. Heh.

Over break, I actually knit! Ear flap hat and mittens for my friend and soon to be sister in law, 1940s watch cap for my brother and mittens for my nephew, the most happiest toddler.

Can't find any pictures so I'll leave you with a cool sunrise shot I got the other morning in the way to school.