Monthly Archives: December 2012

My 2012 in Pictures

Holy Crap! It’s 5pm on New Year’s Eve and I’ve finally sat down to write a blog post. I have been meaning to write this all day. I know your blog reader is probably cramming up with this ‘2012 reflections’ stuff, but honestly this post is more for my fiancé and I than anyone else.  I’m really looking forward to a quiet night in with him tonight just to relax and think about the year ahead- should be a big one! Winking smile 

This year was amazing. Like any there were ups and downs. But I like to focus on the positives. I could go on and on but I thought I’d scroll through my iPhone and pick out some pictures from notable events that happened this year.

IMG_0276[1]

St. Patrick’s Day 2012. So fun. Seriously is it March yet?

IMG_0320[1]

The best part of 2012- Trip to Charleston, SC.

IMG_0318[1]

Whyyyyyy am I not there right now?

IMG_0333[1]

IMG_0377[1]

Shrimp n Grits, I will never forget you

IMG_0388[1]

The most memorable part of the trip

IMG_0633[1]

Memorial Day Camping Trip at Allegany State Park

IMG_0622[1]

IMG_0766[1]

My sister’s graduation in June.

IMG_0797[1]

Fourth of July! Love it!

IMG_0858[1]

Chris and Nicole’s Wedding

IMG_0853[1]

IMG_0892[1]

Eric Church Concert in Albany

IMG_1129[1]

Woodsman’s field days 2012- Great performance in the tug of war guys….

IMG_1149[1]

Woodsman’s 2012

IMG_1203[1]

Karley’s wedding- so excited for this girl and all the good things in her life lately!

IMG_1298[1]

I also moved to a new area and started a new job this year, both of which I love!

IMG_1397[1]

My first 5K- October 2012

IMG_1550[1]

First time cooking Thanksgiving Dinner 2012

DSC01526

This was last year on New Year’s Eve. Wow, what a great year now that I look through all my pictures. And of course- I started this blog! So far it’s been fun and I’ve learned so much from other bloggers. I can’t wait to see where it takes me. So grateful and thankful for everyone who reads and made my year great!

signature

New Year New Food

I’ve never been one to spend the money on organic food (I tend to be coupon/sale obsessed)   , but I have been paying more attention to which products are worth buying organic (some fruits, vegetables and greens) and which don’t matter (shampoo). Natur-Tyme is a great organic food store that popped up in my hometown a short time ago. When I went the first time I was in awe……..all of the awesome alternative cooking and baking supplies I have been seeing on blogs was right there in person!

I was the lucky recipient of a gift certificate to Natur-Tyme for Christmas!!!! Ahhh I went today and I went crazy! I can’t wait to try out some new recipes with the goods I got. Another great gift from Austin’s aunt was this book by Dr. Andrew Weil called True Food. I love it! It has tons of recipes that stress whole, immunity boosting and inflammation reducing foods. ‘

true_food

source

Can’t wait to try some recipes, but some of them have some complicated ingredients- which I was able to find at Natur-Tyme! Score!

Here is a picture of my loot:

photo

Sorry, I’m blogging from my sister’s computer and didn’t have the time to doctor up the picture. I got: three tubs of PB 2, expeller pressed canola oil, almond flour, almond milk, almond extract, quinoa, yeast flakes, steel cut oats and chia seeds. Can’t wait to try overnight oats with chia seeds!!!! The steel cut oats were a disturbingly good deal- that entire thing on the right was only $2.00. They are usually more than $4 at the store for Quaker steel oats.

image

Obviously had to stock up on PB 2. Three tubs should last me awhile! I put this in smoothies, oatmeal, and desserts. I’m excited about the almond extract also. I plan on putting it in oatmeal, smoothies, pancakes….and even waffles since I now got my new waffles maker! (Forgot to mention that on my previous post) I promise there will be some good recipes with my new goodies!

Any suggestions for what I can make with any of these ingredients!?!?

signature

So Thankful

coffee

When I was little I was slightly obsessed with Christmas. And was legitimately depressed on December 26th. Like I used to get sad when there weren’t any more Christmas commercials on TV. I’d like to pretend that presents were not one of the main reasons I loved Christmas…but let’s face it; kids love presents.

Now part of me wonders why everyone runs out and spends so much money. I already know my friends and family love me- so why do they need to get me a present to show me? And so many presents!?!? I’m so overwhelmed and shocked at the sheer amount of stuff that was exchanged not only in my family but everywhere I go. For what? I don’t know. I got most of my family and friends 1 or 2 gifts, and I’m left feeling like a horrible person since I didn’t get them the 3473204320 gifts that they got me.

Christmas is not about gifts. I actually didn’t even think about it once when I was looking forward to it this year. I was looking forward to seeing family and friends, FOOD, drinks and enjoying my time off.

copyrightedFT

Overnight French Toast Bake- SO GOOD!!!!

 

And enjoyable it was. I’ve finally grown up and realized that the gifts are secondary- the fact that I am able to enjoy Christmas with so many people I love is the only gift I need.

frankfunny

That being said- I can’t believe how much stuff I received! It really is unnecessary- but my family sure knows me. I received lots of cooking and fitness goodies.

stuff1

New cookie sheets, rolling pin, and meat thermometer. I had a run in with undercooked chicken and ever since then have been extremely paranoid when cooking chicken. I tend to hack it up and destroy it in order to be 100% sure it is cooked. Those days are over!!

processor

FINALLY got a food processor- Can’t wait to use…anyone have any good pesto recipes?!?! I can’t tell you how many recipes have been thrown to the wayside because I didn’t have one of these babies. And a blender is NOT the same thing.

gear

New workout gear- so I can stop wearing the same two-three shirts and 1-2 pairs of pants at the gym. I wash them! I swear! When I first moved it wasn’t a big deal because I was new at the gym and nobody noticed me. But now that I continue to recognize people I progressively am getting more and more self conscious about the fact I own 3 workout shirts.

Can you believe how lucky I am??? Can’t wait to try out all these (and other) new goodies out! Hope your Christmas was as blessed as mine. Today will be spent lounging around trying to dig out of the 16″ of snow we received last night. Wish it would have held off until next week so I could have gotten an extended vacation.

What is your favorite fitness/food gift you received this year????

signature

White Christmas

IMG_1746[1]

Merry Christmas Eve! Hope everyone is having as blessed and happy a holiday as I am. I haven’t put up anything on the blog in a couple of days considering I’ve been traveling home and participating in lots of holiday parties and fun.

We got home Friday and drove into a straight up blizzard white out as soon as we arrived in our hometown……I have to say it was the first time I was really actually happy to see snow. Looks like it will be a white Christmas after all! Evey one has been complaining about not having snow…I’m over here thinking WHO CARES!?!?!? But honestly, if it doesn’t affect my driving or ability to get to work..it’s actually kinda pretty.
IMG_1726[1]

We went to party after party after party this weekend…and I’ve consumed way too much food to admit on here. I did end up making some yummy recipes that I’d like to share… including

White Chocolate dipped Christmas Strawberries

IMG_1715[1]

Nearly overdosed on Christmas cookies but I managed to make more…only ate two while making this batter because my body was literally rejecting any form of sugar by Monday morning.

IMG_1739[1]

These were the peanut butter kiss cookies I usually make…modified base made from Dashing Dish’s peanut butter protein cookies! They came out delicious and no one could tell they were ‘healthier’. I’m not going to go out on a limb and say they are healthy…I’ve had way too many cookies in the past two days and none of it could be considered healthy. But hey…it’s Christmas!

Made it to the salon today and got a Christmas manicure. I never get manicures…but I love it!

IMG_1727[1]

It’s been a great weekend and holiday. I feel so incredibly blessed for all the love in my life. I really have no words for it .In my thoughts are people that aren’t as fortunate as I am to have such loving family and friends to spend the holiday with. Hope you Christmas is just as blessed! Happy Holidays XOXOXO

IMG_1738[1]

can you see someone hiding in this picture!!?!?!

 

signature

White Chocolate Almond Protein Oats

I’ve been having a rather crappy week :/. I came to the conclusion today that I’m just going to have to take a few days off from working out. It’s completely devastating to me. It’s like I lost a body part. It feels wrong….but my back has been getting progressively worse. I saw a physical therapist twice this week which has been helping, but my body seems to be rebelling and in order to completely heal I think it’s just better to take it easy.

I feel depressed about it, especially with the holidays it’s not like I’ll exactly be consuming my normal amount of calories. I also started to feel like I was coming down with something today- GREAT just in time for my week off and Christmas. Perfect!

Anyway, I’ll stop my pity party and move on to a more positive note- the delicious breakfast I made myself this morning!

White Chocolate Almond Protein Oats

Cook time including prep: 5 mins Serves: 1

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1 cup water

half a scoop of vanilla protein powder

1-2 tablespoons of slivered almonds

small amount of white chocolate chips

1/2 tbsp of almond butter

sweetener*** optional (I omit)

Directions: Put water and oats in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir in protein powder, and pop back into the microwave for 30 seconds. Top with white chocolate chips, almonds and almond butter, and sweetener if needed.

oats2

signature

Christmas Classroom Fun

Four more days. Four more days. Four more days…..the week before Christmas vacation has been traditionally crazy for students and teachers. I’m just trying to get through it all…..A couple of fun things going on are keeping me optimistic and hopefully will make the week go by fast:

First- our completed holiday door decoration: Ugly Sweaters. This was the kids’ idea. Judging is tomorrow. WE MUST WIN!!!!!! I threatened to sabotage other teachers’ doors taught the kids about being a good sport and about how as long as we have fun that’s all that matters.

ugly sweaters

Yes, my students photo-shopped my picture onto a cat’s face. This is why we must win.

In order to combat week before break craziness, I implemented a reward system in addition to other reward systems I’m doing in some classes. Each class can earn three stickers per class period for behavior, effort and being prepared for class. At the end of Wednesday the class with the most stickers will receive ‘treats’ (Not sure what said treats will be. I envisioned Little Debbie Snacks. They’ll probably complain. Oh well).

IMG_0106[1]

Yeah…not sure how effective it’s going to be since it only goes until Wednesday (I have block scheduling and the last time I would see a class before break would be Thursday and Friday). Also, I have a feeling once the classes realize they’re losing, they’ll give up. Oh well, it’s fun and just another something to pass the week.

IMG_0105[1]

Had to change ‘xmas’ in order to be politically correct!!!!

Also, I’m pretty excited about this Pinterest find for teaching. Wasted no time today putting it into action. This eliminates the need for my random post it notes throughout the week of my to-do lists. I like making to-do lists, but I have the constant adding and crossing out. Instead of using the post its-I will make one of these sheets and just have a running list for the week. The next week, I’ll start a new one. Hope it helps make me more organized.

IMG_0108[1]

 

Anyone have any classroom ideas to help the week go by faster??? Please!!!

signature

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza!

This weekend was packed with holiday fun. Friday I attended a Christmas party with my co-workers, and Saturday was Austin’s office party.

IMG_1674[1]

Last night at the party!

Today I got to work in the kitchen making several of the Christmas cookies that I had been planning on. I made three batches, and I am saving two more batches for when I get home next weekend. This has been months of planning in the making! Obviously I am on blogs and Pinterest a lot so there were a lot of options when I was planning on what cookies to make this year. I narrowed it down to five different kinds:

1) Chocolate brownie cookie thumbprints with Nutella

2) Peanut butter Thumbprints with White Chocolate Hugs

3) Sugar Cookies

4) Pecan and White chocolate chip cookies

5) Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

 

I set out to tackle the Nutlla thumbprints, sugar cookies and white chocolate chip cookies today. I ended up using a mixture of different recipes to get to the final product.

nutella 3

I originally got the Nutella idea for cookies here, but I wanted the base to be a little ‘healthier’. One of my favorite blogs, Chocolate Covered Katie, had this recipe for brownie cookies that I used for the base. Then, instead of rolling the dough in hazelnuts, I rolled them in pecans. I pressed my thumb into the ball, baked for ten minutes, and the result was rich, delicious, glass of milk on the side chocolate pecan hazelnut cookies!

NUTTELLA

Please excuse my disgusting cookie sheets….

NUTTELLA 2

 

The second ones I tackled were a bagged organic sugar cookie mix that my mom had given me. Simple but good!

sugar

 

The last, I took this low fat chocolate chip cookie recipe from Skinnytaste. This website never lets me down! I wanted to doctor up the cookies by adding these different ingredients:

YUM

With these rich and delicious ingredients, you won’t even be able to notice that the recipe has only 4 tbsp of butter and 1 egg white!

PECANS

They came out delicioussss! I had one too many of these in the tasting process…woops! I highly recommend this recipe for lower-fat chocolate chip cookies. It subs applesauce and you can’t even tell. Literally these were the real deal.

COOKIE 1

Let’s hope I get cookie sheets for xmas…..

COOKIE 2

I froze most of the cookies to take home for the holidays next weekend. However the main reason I wanted to make some this weekend was to give some to co-workers this week. I was going to wait until Friday, but I don’t think I’ll be able to!

gift

Hopefully I will blog next week about the other batches of cookies I’ll make. Happy Holidays and have a good week!

Question: What cookies are you making this year? Trying out any new or do you have a tried and true favorite?

signature

Working out while dealing with injuries

I am dealing with back pain of unknown origin…I thought I had this problem fixed earlier in the year when I was visiting a physical therapist. For the last 3-4 months I’ve been fine and working out more than ever before.

I guess it caught up with my body because….I have been experiencing a lot of back tightness and numbness that now goes down my leg. Since I’m not living near my old chiropractor I had to go see a new one….who was useless. I think I need to go see an actual physical therapist to see what is going on.

In the meantime, I feel like (and everyone is telling me) I should take a break from high intensity workouts, but I am experiencing a great deal of anxiety with not working out. Not only do I have anxiety that I’ll gain weight, but I love the feeling I feel after working out really hard. The anxiety that I might have to take an extended break of any sort is really starting to build up.

sleepy frank

On the other hand, I know that if I push myself and ignore the pain, something could SERIOUSLY go wrong and I could really hurt myself. This week I have been doing arm work outs, focusing on cardio, and took two (eek!) days off. Today I designed a mobility/stretching workout to see if that helped at all.

IMG_1668[1]

I went through the workout three times. To my dismay, the numbness/pain is pretty much the same. I am planning on calling around to different doctors and seeing what I should do. It stinks because I am in a new town and am not in a position to get recommendations except from the internet. So for now I am in a standstill and I am just planning on doing low impact stuff for the next few days. I literally cannot bear the thought of not being able to work out.

Any advice? How did you deal with working out with an injury?

signature

How to teach counterclaim

source

 

***UPDATE: I recently have been doing video lessons for my students to watch at home and come to class with the notes already completed. This saves me time in the classroom to work with individual students who are struggling. Here’s a FREE video I made describing to students how to do counterclaim!

How to Teach Counterclaim

I tackled counter claim for the second time in two years today….and this year it worked!

For anyone who doesn’t know, the new common core requires students to write argument papers that include students showing both sides of an argument, being able to counter the reasons why the opposite is wrong. This is called a counterclaim. This is really in depth, difficult material for middle school students. Just starting to write an argument paper is hard, let alone understanding the intricacies of an argument and counterclaim.

Last year I had a rather unsuccessful run with my 10th grades regarding counterclaim. They just.didn’t.get it. It definitely was clear in the final essays that they had no idea why they would be stating the opposite view’s reasons. This year I knew I had to REALLY spell it out for them. I put together a lesson that stressed guided practice with the strategy before I had them tackle it themselves. The procedure went as follows:

1. Teacher given example

2. Teacher led practice

3. Group work practice

4. Do it on your own

The notes and example with guided practice sheet can be found here.

Then, students got into groups and came up with claims and counterclaims regarding three different issues. I gave them this graphic organizer in which each group had to come up with

1. A claim or thesis about the issue.

2. What the opposite side would say (counterclaim).

3. How to prove the opposite side wrong.

The issues I chose were school uniforms, videogames, and smoking.

Students did great with this- it really was a simple way for them to come up with counterclaims. It really got them talking/arguing as well!

Then, students were given this note sheet instructing them to try to come up with a counterclaim for their OWN thesis.

 

Now………. Your own thesis and counterclaim

Claim/My Thesis:

 

Counterclaim (what would someone who disagrees with you say?):

 

 

Prove them wrong using evidence from one of your articles

Students used articles we previously read in class to prove the opposite side wrong. By the end of the class everyone had relevant evidence to prove the other side wrong. Phew! Crisis avoided!

signature

Mint Chocolate Chip Protein Shake

I drink a lot of delicious protein shakes, but none of them are really original enough to call my own recipe. This one I had for a snack yesterday I think qualifies.

skake

Okay, so it doesn’t look the best but….

It was so good! Here’s what I threw in the blender:

1/2 cup cottage cheese (I know it sounds gross but it’s a must!)

1/2 water

5-6 ice cubes

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

2 drops peppermint extract

sweetener optional** I don’t use it!

Be careful with the extract- a little goes a long way!

Most of my protein shakes I’ve adapted from Dashing Dish and they have all ended up being delicious!

IMG_0667[1]

Cake Batter

IMG_1083[1]

Banana Split

My go-to favorite is chocolate peanut butter banana!  If the shake has more than 250-300 calories I generally have it as a meal replacement. If the shake has less than 250 I have it as a snack. The protein powder I uses has 100 calories per scoop. It’s called Designer Whey.

What are you favorite protein shakes? Protein powders?

 

This would be a perfect snack to have after the full body rep-based workout I completed today:

IMG_1660[1]

Burpees do not exist in the Iphone’s mind…..

The plank to push’s were brutal. Hate those!!! MC stands for mountain climbers by the way. If you don’t know what any of the moves are, feel free to just Google them. Just remember- I’m not a fitness expert- I just do what works for me!

Have a good rest of your Monday!

signature