Sunday, December 4, 2011


After years of blogging here, I've decided it's time for an upgrade. Please join me over at to see my new digs!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chili Season (vegetarian-style)

It's officially chili season in our house! In the past, I made traditional chili with meat, beans, chili seasoning, and cheese. However, since we're always trying to eat a bit healthier, I came across this Weight Watchers recipe that has quickly become our favorite chili (yes, the husband loves it!) to make. And, get this, it's vegetarian! You won't even miss the meat, because bulgur is a whole grain that, once cooked, has a meaty consistency to it. Add all the awesome vegetables in there, and it's soo delicious. It makes great leftovers, too, since all the ingredients soak in the delicious flavor. 

*Note* I make the recipe almost exactly as printed below; however, I only use 1/4 of a poblano pepper, because I tend to like things on the milder side. Even cutting the darn pepper makes me tear up and start coughing. This Irish-German gal just can't take the heat. I also add one whole bell pepper to supplement the rest of the poblano pepper. It works wonderfully!

Bulgur and Bean Chili


1 1/2 tsp olive oil   
 1 cup(s) (chopped) onion(s)   
 2 medium poblano chile, or cubanelle peppers, chopped   
2 Tbsp chili powder   
1 Tbsp minced garlic   
2 tsp ground cumin   
3 cup(s) water   
 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes in tomato puree   
 3/4 cup(s) uncooked bulgur   
1 tsp table salt, or to taste   
 1 cup(s) yellow corn, fresh or canned   
 15 1/2 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained   
1/2 cup(s) cilantro, leaves, fresh, chopped   
1/2 tsp fresh lime juice, or to taste   


  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and pepper; sauté until almost tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add chili powder, garlic and cumin; sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add water, tomatoes and their puree, bulgur and salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in corn and beans (and a bit of water if chili seems too thick); simmer, covered, over medium heat, until corn and bulgur are tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cilantro; finish with a squeeze of lime juice. Yields about 1 1/4 cups per serving.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Home Updates

I'm excited to share some home updates with you, seeing as we decided to do some flooring on a whim last Saturday. Thanks to a great deal ending at the beginning of November, Randy and I scheduled a flooring place to rip up the old vinyl flooring in our bathrooms, laundry room, kitchen, and breakfast nook, lay the new ceramic tile, and move all the necessary furniture for said project. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to actually pay a company to do it all.  It took two guys two days to complete, and I didn't have to lift a finger. Awesomeness. Here's the end result:

And just as we were putting things back in order after the flooring, what should happen? Our sink faucet begins spraying water out of the side of the base like it's a super-soaker. My typical reaction would be frustration and annoyance; however, I just happened to be eyeing some new, modern facets at Home Depot the other day. So, it was a good time to look for a replacement. Then, Randy had to mention possibly replacing the sink, which was fine with me. Our old sink was only 7" deep, which meant that if you used the sprayer in the sink, you'd inevitably get wet. I was good with a new sink, too. Randy, the wonderful, handy person he is, replaced the sink with no problems. So, I can happily report to you that I have a new sink (that also came with a nice faucet) all before we host our family's Thanksgiving feast in a couple weeks. Excellent. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October Wrap Up

Is it seriously mid-October already? Where has the time gone? I've been working like a dog at school. From day one, it's been crazy busy. I currently have 98 kids on my caseload.... yikes!!!! I do have a friend to help me out at the middle school, but overall, I'm still responsible for these kids. It's hard to fit much else in between therapy, evaluations, meetings, and PAPERWORK. Ugh. I hate paperwork. Therefore, because my life has been insanely busy, I figured a wrap-up of the October events would be more efficient than a bunch of small posts. Without further ado,

- In early October, Randy and I met my cousin and his awesome wife in Austin for the weekend. We really wanted to experience the "weirdness" that Austin is trying to keep.... however, it was slightly disappointing. I was hoping for a quirky, sustainability-minded city with a heavy influence of live music, but instead, I just found a dirty place with lots of homeless people. Not quite the Emerald City of green-living I was hoping for. And I definitely prefer St. Louis over Austin for the live music scene. Overall, Randy and I were both glad we decided to move to the Dallas area... much cleaner for sure.

- Last weekend was a weekend without a husband. Randy went road trippin' up to Wisconsin to have a "sports-a-palooza" weekend with his friends from back home. He flew to St. Louis, so he could meet his friends for a road trip to see the Packers vs. Rams football game. Although he's not a huge fan of either team, Randy said the experience was cool, as the stadium was pretty historic. Then, by the grace of the sports Gods, he and his friends were able to get last-minute tickets to the St. Louis Cardinals game, in which the Cards clenched the National League Championship title. Needless to say, Randy was in heaven. He had a blast, no doubt.

While he was away, I enjoyed a little quiet time with the pugs, visiting with family, and hanging out with my SLP friend and co-worker. We enjoyed a matinee at the movies. We saw 50/50, which I would definitely recommend. It's an interesting twist on the typical story of a person diagnosed with cancer. And, unlike many of them, it has a good ending. Definitely a good combination of drama and comedy.

- Fall weather has finally arrived in Texas!!! Hallelujah! I suppose I should clarify that statement with this: There are no changing leaves... no falling leaves to rake up. Rather, the temperature has not exceeded 90 degrees in the past week. It's been soooo nice outside! The past couple days, it's been in the upper 60's and actually quite chilly at night. I busted out the down comforter, which was nice to wrap up in. (Disclaimer for those wondering about fall in Texas: we do have colorful leaves that will make an appearance in late November/early December, as our first frost isn't until mid-late November).

- We finally can say we've survived the biggest state fair in the country... the State Fair of Texas! It was really nice, actually. Although it was pricey, I'd go again next year. The food was good. The attractions were fun. Randy liked the car show. I liked the dog demonstration, where they had trained rescue dogs do frisbee tricks, long jump into water, and race.

- This coming Saturday, we're taking a trip to Six Flags Fright Fest. I'm pretty excited.... it's been a long time since I've been on a roller coaster, and I'm hoping I'm not too old for them. When we were walking past the rides at the state fair, I was looking at all these whirling rides that I used to love as a kid. All I could think about was getting dizzy at just the sight of them. I think my age is starting to set in. I hope this won't be the same response when I see these roller coasters, because I used to love me some roller coasters!

Hope your October has been eventful (but not as busy) as mine!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Retail Therapy

Work lately has been stressful and exhausting. With a caseload that is nearly 100 kiddos, I've been feeling a  bit run down, and it doesn't help that I've been getting over a little cold.  This weekend was just what I needed. I slept in (with the help of some nyquil), relaxed with some family members for a belated birthday party, and strolled around town on this lazy Sunday looking for some good deals. And boy, did I get some!

Fall is in the air with the weather finally cooling down into the 90's. And while I try not to clutter my house up with seasonal decor that will be stored in the attic for the majority of the year, I do have a soft spot for wreaths and candles. So, when I went into Michaels and saw some wreath/candle centerpieces, I just had to  make one. This is what I came up with....  (I think it looks nice in the space and could be used for more than just the fall season with an easy candle switch).

And then, I wandered into Pier 1, a store I hardly frequent because I could buy out the whole darn place in the blink of an eye. I've been itching to get these (whimsical, but awesome) peacock curtains that look like they were always meant to live in my home. I eyed them almost a year ago, and after getting a belated birthday gift adorned with peacock ribbon from my cousin and his wife, I was inspired to meander over to the curtain section to just see if the curtains were still in stock. Not only where they in stock, but they were on sale. *Cue angelic song from above* Needless to say, a pair of peacock curtains are happily hanging in my dining room. They look lovely, if I do say so myself.

On a side note, we finally got around to hanging up a picture we picked up from Home Goods a week or so ago. Even though we originally bought it for the dining room, I think the breakfast nook was a better space for it. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Sorry for the absence to the blogosphere.... I've been focusing on surviving the first (and usually the worst) two weeks of school. I began in early August with optional trainings and conferences, which was a nice way of getting back to work. Seeing my coworkers and friends was a nice welcome back to a full-time job. Plus, getting paid extra to earn CEU's was nice, too.

Then week one of professional development began. Since I'm at two new schools (one elementary and one middle school), it was the third year in a row of meeting new people and moving a crap-load of stuff into my room(s). Ahh... I'm a pro at it now and know better than to throw any moving boxes out! Despite the hassle of moving, meeting new faces, and learning new systems, I was relatively pleased how everything was going. Both schools are very friendly, and I can't beat the 15-minute commute (with only 5-minute commute between schools). So, week one seemed pretty harmless.... except for the daunting task of coming into someone else's system and cleaning up whatever mess she may have left.

Week two, however, has been the beginning of stress. By that time, the kids have arrived at school, and the nightmare of scheduling begins. My elementary school was pretty much a breeze, as kids don't move around too much during the day. But holy geez louise, middle school is a whole other story. There's got to be a better way to organize a middle school schedule. I'm talking 4 different lunches that change depending on 4th period teachers' schedules, seven periods that go from funny, nonsensical times like 8:13 until 9:27, and teachers that feel like little Johnny missing one class period two times every grading period will just put him so far behind with no hopes of graduating the 8th grade. *Whew* Exhausting. And of course, speech must be accommodating.... even though state law mandates the prescribed speech services must be provided fully. Somehow some teachers don't understand that. Alas, my mantra this year is (in Tim Gunn-style) "Make it work."

That brings us to this week. The first full week of seeing kids officially. It feels good to get back to working with them again... kinda like what I went to school for 6 years to do. Not paperwork. Not sitting in meetings. Working hands-on with the kiddos hoping to make a dent in whatever they need help with. And I must say, the kids (both elementary and middle school) are really great. For the most part, they're respectful, funny, and good kids. Kinda refreshing.

Let's see if I can hold on to this good feeling before too many evaluations are needed and reports are due. Ahh... did I mention that I'm *this* close to booking a cruise for this coming summer? It's a-gonna happen :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

goodbye, hair!

It's that time! Chop, chop! Hello, pixie cut. It's nice to see you again!