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Sunday, December 4, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
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.
Posted by jb.little at 2:49 PM
Sunday, November 6, 2011
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:
Posted by jb.little at 11:21 AM
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
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!
Posted by jb.little at 3:15 PM
Sunday, September 25, 2011
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).
Posted by jb.little at 3:03 PM
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 :)
Posted by jb.little at 6:25 PM
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Posted by jb.little at 11:48 AM
Thursday, August 4, 2011
This Sunday, I'm going to a baby shower. Now, it's been common knowledge that baby showers really aren't my favorite places to be with all the silly baby games and the ooing and ahhing over baby items of which I know nothing about. But, for good friends I make an exception. DeAnne, a former co-worker, is having a baby boy soon, and while I already helped throw a baby shower at school for her (I know, I know... I threw a baby shower. Amazing!), I wanted to be there for her "friend" shower. Instead of getting her another gift off her registry (which I did for her school shower), I wanted to make this one a little more special. So, I made something for her and baby Blake. Behold....
Posted by jb.little at 11:48 AM
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Up until now, I've not been much of a house plant-type person. Usually forgetting to water or fertilize them, I often end up throwing them out. But I'm turning a new leaf. I'm starting to practice the responsibility one needs to be a good caretaker of flora. Meet my new additions:
Posted by jb.little at 11:08 AM
Monday, July 25, 2011
I've been doing a little research online lately about living walls (aka vertical gardens), and I think I want to try it. They range in size from small to large. These are some examples...
Posted by jb.little at 1:18 PM
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
In addition to my post below, I thought I'd share a little Vegas with y'all. The Dancing Fountains at the Bellagio was one of the coolest free things to see in Las Vegas. Enjoy....
Posted by jb.little at 6:45 AM
We're back! Las Vegas has officially taken (a little of) our money. After tirelessly comparing hotel deals and prices, we decided on a 3 night, 4 day stay at the Monte Carlo. And although our hotel rate (with included free buffet for 2 per day) was very reasonable, the longer you stay in Vegas, the more money you will inevitably lose.... and I'm not just talking about gambling!
Posted by jb.little at 6:37 AM
Friday, July 15, 2011
Posted by jb.little at 11:28 AM
Monday, July 11, 2011
Randy and I have been doing some talking lately about grown-up things, like his next job maneuver, what we want/don't want out of life, etc. I can't tell you how many times we've discussed making X amount of dollars versus having more benefits/time off. It's always seemed absurd to me that employees can be okay with only ever having 2 weeks vacation, no benefits really to speak of (high deductible health care plans don't register as a benefit in my book), and long days (10-12 hours a day, on average). Our conversations usually leave me wanting to sit down with the owner of the company and give him a piece of my mind, mainly consisting of studies showing health risks of employees that are overworked & down-in-the-dumps employee morale that slow company production and growth. But, alas, that will never happen.
So, our very serious conversation yesterday about this matter took a whimsical turn when I (very aloofly) suggested that we sell our house and move into a tiny house. Therefore, we'd live mortgage free, allowing Randy to quit his job, become a part-time musician, and free us both up to travel in the summer. How wonderful! Except, my whimsical seed took a fast root into Randy's brain. While I know we are both very naive on this subject, we most certainly wasted a good couple of hours searching "tiny houses" online yesterday afternoon.
There were definitely a few things we quickly learned. First off, a "tiny" house (some being only 90 square feet) will probably be way too small for us to begin with... or ever to end up with. Our idea quickly expanded to a possible "small" house, being less than 900 square feet. This one in particular was one we liked. But then, we were faced with many issues of which we know absolutely nothing about, like where to build (land can be pricey and most neighborhoods have restrictions on a minimum house size), city regulations, and other ins-and-outs of daily functioning. And of course, price plays a major factor in the mix. If we want to be mortgage free immediately, we'd need to somewhere in the $50,000 range or less, which is near impossible after buying land, hiring a contractor, and paying for materials. Like I said, it was just a whim. But fun to think about, nonetheless.
If you're interested, here's where it all got started....
Posted by jb.little at 11:41 AM
Monday, July 4, 2011
July has been a busy month already. Yesterday, I threw a birthday party for my husband and my grandpa... with a 4th of July theme. Hopefully my husband likes red, white, and blue, because with his birthday being on the 4th, he's doomed to have very patriotic birthday every year :)
All in all, everyone seemed to have a great time. The drinks (read: Sangria) and food went over well, and the cake and cupcakes were great, too. I'm glad everything went off without a hitch, because our weekend didn't start out so soothly. After a deep freezer debacle and our air conditioner capacitor going out, things were not looking so hot. Subsequently, because the air in our house was out, my cake's icing starting dripping off. So, after refrosting it (and changing up the design), everything seemed to fall into place. Here are some of the pics of the evening...
Posted by jb.little at 5:01 PM
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
It's booked. Our trip to Vegas is official! I'm so happy to be taking my husband away on a little vacation, since he hasn't had a real vacation in over 4 years (the week off to move to Texas doesn't really count...). So, we'll be spending 3 nights, 4 days in Sin City at the Monte Carlo. And while we don't really have much of an agenda, I'm thinking we'll have no problem finding things to do. Shows (kinda pricey), gambling (what's that? the slots are calling my name...), lounging by the pool (the only thing to do outside in July in Nevada). Whatever we choose, it'll be better than Randy's typical 10-12 hour work shift.
Posted by jb.little at 1:16 AM
Sunday, June 12, 2011
I'm cheap. It's been a way of life for most of my life. I've been raised on the idea of buying only what you can afford with cash (minus a car and house payment), and when buying, buy only things on sale/clearance. It's been a good way of life for us, since grad school delayed my getting a "real job" for a couple years.
However, moving to Texas and getting a significant raise in salary, I've begun to enjoy splurging a little here and there. After a bad hair dye job, I decided to pay for a good hair cut (which means more than my $8.99 Great Clips coupon). And now, I've spent a small fortune (in my opinion) for some mineral makeup. Well... not just any mineral makeup. It's BareMineral makeup.
I used to use Physician's Formula Mineral Foundation, which was a bit pricey but had a better effect than a liquid foundation. But, after trying a really nice, expensive brand of loose mineral makeup, I'm hooked! I went and had a tutorial done yesterday where I actually got my makeup done by someone trained. It was really nice! I totally used to be one of those people who never understood why others paid for expensive makeup brands. But, I'm definitely converted, because the result is just so much better.
Posted by jb.little at 1:54 PM
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
It was a productive day in the crafting department. Definitely feels good to get back to being creative!
Posted by jb.little at 6:45 PM
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
After my hair dye catastrophe, my curly hair wasn't too happy with me. After my hair cut, moisturizing treatment, and Redkin distressed hair moisturizing mask (which is a miracle in a bottle for curly hair!), my curls made their appearance again. As much as I complain about curly hair, it's nice to have them back.
Posted by jb.little at 6:41 PM
Monday, June 6, 2011
I wasn't planning on getting a haircut.... actually, I was going to let my hair grow long again. But..... when champaign blonde met golden blonde, disaster happened. I could tell as I was stepping into the shower to wash out the color that something wasn't right. The ends had a bit of a green tint (think summer chlorine + blonde = greenish nastiness), and there was no curl to be found on the top layer of hair. Yikes. After washing it all out, I starting picking out my hair, and sure enough, had clumps of fried hair. Not cool.
I've had this happen once before in high school, and that was the last time I'd had a mishap with at-home hair color. Maybe (just maybe) I'll start going to a salon to color it..... as I got a little, kind lecture from my stylist at Ulta. But, after a moisturizing treatment and many inches cut off (I wanted to go super short again but decided against my "just chop it all off" tendency), I have a cute, versatile bob that will look good both curly and straight. I've had something very similar before, so it's nice to be back. Here's a few photobooth pics...
Posted by jb.little at 3:20 PM
Thursday, June 2, 2011
This week, although it's been a shortened one, seemed to drag on foorreevveerrrr. I'm so ready for the summer! After an out-of-state move, a new job, Texas education systems, and a caseload of up to 86 kids (eek!), I'm ready to recharge with something else besides work. I've become more energized when I think of house projects, craft projects, and cooking. But alas, I have one. more. day. Icandothis.....
Today, however, was a crazy day at school. Our school invited parents to attend the award ceremony where kids get awards like "most improved," "good citizen award," and "perfect attendance." I decided to attend, since I usually don't get to enjoy these celebrations due to paperwork, therapy, etc. I must have picked the right day, because it was quite the experience. Within the hour, I saw a mother pull down her shirt and breastfeed her baby during the ceremony in front of a few hundred K through 5th graders. Yikes. I can only imagine a kid going home explaining to his parents what he saw... Thank goodness our assistant principal quickly escorted the lady to a more private and appropriate place to conduct her business. Believe me, I'm an advocate for breastfeeding your child.... just in the appropriate place and time. THEN.... I also noticed an interesting parent sitting in the front row with his/her significant other. I say his/her because I'm not quite sure what he/she was. A girl? With stubble? Dressed in men's clothing? But with boobs? Geez louise. Again, not raining on transgendered people's parades, but it was just the weirdest sight to me. I should come to these more often.
So, anyway.... back to how it's almost summer. Hallelujah. I figured I'd end this post with a list of things I'm inspired to do (at this moment) for the summer.
* paint/update bathrooms .... I could really go all out here with new fixtures, mirrors, refinishing cabinets, etc. But, we'll see what the budget allows.
* get back to crafting... I have some silkscreening to do, as well as fusing glass & sewing
* cook! I just bought a book by the Sneaky Chef. My friend, Dominique, has turned me on to her recipes after letting me try some baked goods. Yummy!
* get some exercise in.... I really need to utilize our wonderful neighborhood to walk and get some exercise. Now that I have the summers off, I have no excuse to be "too tired" after work
What does summer have in store for you?
Posted by jb.little at 5:18 PM
Sunday, May 22, 2011
I must say, I've been in the "house project" mood since putting in the new floors in our main living area. I love the way it makes everything look cleaner and warmer. It was definitely money well spent. And now, with the summer just around the corner (which means more free time for me to get things done), I'm looking for the next project to get started on. I'm thinking the bathrooms.... really one of the only places that remain unpainted. I've been thinking of starting with our master bath.
Right now, the wall color is pretty vanilla, but I was hoping to create a nice spa feel. A color I was liking at the moment was a light sea glass green like this....
Posted by jb.little at 3:55 PM
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Posted by jb.little at 5:16 PM
After 2 days, lots of sore muscles, and a large dose of patience, we have almost finished the new flooring. Here's a sneak peak...
Posted by jb.little at 1:50 PM