Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Basil Chicken and a Sore Booty

Have I mentioned how much I love holidays? I do! Yesterday my hubby and I packed up and headed out (in the rain, mind you) to hike Dragon's Tooth trail. We drove and drove, but found it! It was a 2.5 mile hike up, and then 2.5 back. The first mile and a half wasn't bad - but the last mile up was quite tough. It was pretty much sheer rocks, which isn't great for an unathletic dog (and her semi-athletic mom). We ended up tying Maggie up as we climbed the last little bit - and she whined like a baby. However, the view from the top was awesome, and I was quite proud of us. We made it down without event, with plans to get back in to hiking like we used to do in our dating days! :) My behind is not so sure about these plans.

Jonathan enjoying his snack!

Maggie enjoying her first rest break.

We made it!!

Quite a view!!

Where's Waldo?

Now, for a recipe. April stole this one from Rachel Ray, and I stole it from her. It's pretty simple and quite tasty. Just don't read the label on the fish sauce!

Basil, Chili, and Garlic Chicken
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce (we use low sodium)
2 tbsp fish sauce (seriously, ignore the label)
4 tsp sugar (we use splenda)
2 tsp crushed red pepper (we use a mix of black and red peppers)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced onion (we leave this out)
3 tbsp chopped garlic (about 8 cloves)
1/2 lb. rice noodles
1 1/2 lb. chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup torn basil leaves

Mix water, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and pepper until dissolved. Set aside
Cook rice noodles in salted water (they stick quite a bit, be careful!)
Put oil in wok or skillet and cook all onion and garlic until soft but not brown. Set aside.
Put oil in a wok or skillet and cook chicken on one side - then turn and cook other side until no longer pink.
Add water/sauce mixture and garlic/onion mixture to chicken and cook until fully done. Remove from heat and add basil leaves (torn) until they start to wilt. Serve chicken/sauce mixture over rice noodles.

I hope yours is as pretty as April's. Either way, it'll taste good! :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

3 Day Weekend

I am so, so excited about this three day weekend. We don't have a lot planned - but it will just be nice to have an extra day away from school. The weeks after SOL testing are always rough, because the kids seem to think school is over. I'm trying to do some last-minute units to wrap things up and get them ready for fourth grade. Anyway, 13 more days (not counting the one last personal day I plan on taking sometime!). Speaking of school, ALL of my kids did pass their History SOL test. Yep, 100%. Super awesome - never happens at my school and it happened in 3 of the 4 third grade classes this year! Wahoo!!

In other, more exciting, news - we put our house on the market last night. We are listing it for about $14,000 more than Jonathan paid 3 years ago....which is more than most have sold for. But, it is 9,000 - 13,000 less than the other two listed in our neighborhood right now. We'll see what happens. We did go look at that house in Blacksburg and we loved it as much in person as in the pictures we had seen. We're researching some comps in the neighborhood and history of the property to see what the best offer would be. The only problem, of course, is that we have to sell one to be able to buy one. This house is definitely perfect for our family - and is exactly what we want, though. It has a very nice, flat yard, a guest bedroom AND guest full bath on the lower level, a family room with a fireplace, a nice patio and deck, and 3 bedrooms on the upper floor. Should bode well for the 5 kids we're planning on! ;) Oh, I hope this is the one!

Tonight I will cook Indian food for the 2nd time in my life. Granted I use kits to make it, but still! April and Jeremy (and Tad) are coming to enjoy it with us. Yay for good friends! :)

And, today I'll leave you with the only 3 pictures taken during the Lower Girls Reunion on Wednesday. Ironically they are all of me and Baby Cara. I don't really mind....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fly in the Soup

My husband just said, "Not to be a fly in the soup, but it's pretty boring when you're not a teacher and you read a blog about SOLs." So, here's to a blog that has nothing to do with SOLs.

We're thinking about buying a house. There are two main reasons for this. We want a yard and we like the interest rates right now. However, we're slaving away at paying off my student loans, and a higher mortgage is going to really put a damper on this. So, we're trusting God to help us make the perfect decision for our situation.

Up until this weekend, we'd decided to wait until next Spring. Then we found a bunch we liked that are in our price range. And today I found one that is a little out of our price range, but I think it's my dream house. Oh my gosh, I drool just thinking about it. It's in Blacksburg, which is ideal. It has 1/2 acre of flat land, which is hard to find in our price range. It has 4 bedrooms (3 upstairs and 1 downstairs), 3 bathrooms (2 upstairs and 1 downstairs), a good sized living room, a remodeled master bath with awesome tile and fixtures, and the best kitchen on Earth. It's been remodeled and has white cabinets, light greenish walls, and stainless steel fixtures and island. It's painted so nicely, it looks super nice, and we both just love it. We haven't even been in yet - this is just from pictures. We're going Friday (or hopefully sooner) to look. I really hope it isn't sold by then - sweet houses in Blacksburg go FAST! I know if it is "our" house, it will be there and they will accept a lower offer AND we will sell our townhouse. But, oh, I love this house.

In other news, my lower girls are coming to visit! Ashley is fanatical about Macado's, so we're heading there while she's home from FL. Christy is bring baby Cara and Mary is coming, too. We'll miss you Lo! It's so fun to catch up with them - and adding Cara to the mix just makes it better.
And last on today's agenda....my new IPOD. I happened upon $100 in Wal-Mart gift cards and spent them on a new IPOD nano. I love it. It makes running so much more fun and quick! I'll have a prize for the best recommendation for a playlist that will keep me motivated during my daily runs. Heavy metal lovers need not apply. Oh, and my ipod is blue. That makes me a good wife. Everything in me wanted the pink one, but I knew my hubby wouldn't be too keen on borrowing a pink one. How cool am I?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Stick a fork in me....

SOL tests are OVER! VGLAs are finished, signed, and turned in. Kids have officially shut down. All of these things mean one thing - I am officially a babysitter. No, that's not true. Since we have FOUR WEEKS left (why 4 weeks after tests? Darnit, I don't know!) I have units planned. We'll see how that works out. Here's what we have planned. A novel study on Charlotte's Web. A SS unit on Jamestown. Math units on multiplication, lapsed time, and possibly GCF and LCM. I'm sure you don't care. I just needed to let you know that we are done proving ourselves to the Department of Education in Richmond. Now, they just have to answer to me! Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, May 8, 2009

In Demand

Apparently I'm in high demand this summer. My three (ahem, two and a half) months off are quickly filling up. Speak now if you need me at your event! Here is what's up so far...

9 - Mother's Day with Lois (my mom is in AZ)
13 - VGLAS are due, hallelujah!!!
15 - SOLs are over for us! We did it!!
29 - Keith concert with Sheri
30 - Angie and Derrick's wedding

6 - Running a 3K (I know, weird) at Green Hill Park, Salem with my hubby
11 - Last day of school
14 - Kelley and Jonathan come to VA for a day!
20 - My first 5K with Kelley in Spartanburg - check it out! http://www.candlelightrun.com
27 - My sister's wedding shower in Bristol
28 - Head to the beach (what beach you ask? who knows!) with my lower girls and baby Cara

3 - Back from the beach
4 - Freedom Blast 09 - Green Hill Park
11 - Lingerie shower for my sister in Bristol
26 - Our one year anniversary - Head to the beach with the Bashams

1 - Back from the beach
8 - My sister becomes Mrs. Smith
11 - Training at work
15 - My 2nd 5K (hopefully) - Green Hill Park, Salem
26ish - Back to school, so soon?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Friend of the Week - Sheri

Sheri is going to really appreciate being my second friend of the week. She knows how stressed I am (she is) this week about SOLs and VGLAs, so the fact that I'm taking the time to write this should be a great feeling, haha! Sheri is my 3rd grade teaching buddy. We trade off kids every afternoon, and trade off complaints and compliments about them each afternoon. She gets me. She totally, 100% gets me. That's hard to do.

Did I mention we used to live together? We lived together and are STILL best of friends. Quite a feat, right? Actually, I've had great roommates throughout my adulthood. But, anyway. When I signed a lease with Sheri I barely knew her. It was at the end of my 1st year at Macy and I needed a new roommate and wanted to head over to the Burg. April A. suggested Sheri (who I didn't work with so hardly knew), we went that day to look at apartments, and were future roommates an hour or two later. It was great. We had so many good times just hanging out and going off (SOL time is stressful, cut us some slack). She was an awesome help during my first (and second, and third...) year in 3rd grade. Oh, and here's a great story. When I was planning to go to India to visit Kelley (Friend of the Week 1) and her hubby and new baby, I was going by myself. That is until one day Sheri walked in my room and announced that she was going to. WHAT? Yep, her awesome parents told her not to pass up the opportunity. So, we got shots, passports, malaria pills, and new modest clothing and headed out.

We had a blast. So what if we got stuck in Moscow with no ticket, passport, or translator. We made it back - granted without Sheri's luggage, but you know how that goes. Unfortunately, she grew up and bought a house and I grew up and got a husband with a house, and we are no longer roommates. But, we are still BFFs for sure! Oh, and we are going to see Keith Urban for her birthday. I must love her, right? I have more pictures of us on my computer - but VGLAs are calling my name, and I know she'll understand that. I love you Miss Miller!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I Did It!

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to get back to running more like I did last summer. I decided I'd make myself run a 5K or two by the end of the summer - I even looked up where some around here were that weren't too expensive. I kinda had this goal last summer, but with wedding planning it kind of went out the window. Well, today - I met my goal! Now, granted it was at the gym (24 laps at 8laps for one mile) and I was pretty much by myself. But, it felt good. I've run 3 miles before, but usually I had to work up to it for awhile. I've only been really back running for a month or so and before today the most I ran without stopping for water at least was a mile and a half. Today, 3 miles (5k). I guess my new goal could be a 10K, but I get bored senseless after 3 miles. Just had to pat myself on the back - which is okay, cause it's MY blog, right? :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Are you Kidding Me?

Here's the reason for my stress today.

My kids were packing up to go home for the weekend and copying down homework in their planners. I wrote Social Studies: S.S. SOL Test next Wednesday! They copy it down. Then a few of them say, "Is it a practice SOL?". Um, excuse me? This conversation followed:
Me: No!!! It's the real one?
Kids: WHAT?
Me: Guys, seriously. Why do you think I've said, "We only have one week until our SOL tests start" all week?
One of the Sweeties: I thought you meant we still had a whole week.
Me: We did! I've been saying that since Monday!
Kids: Ohhhhhhh. Then scramble around to pack all 3 of their interactive SS notebooks into their backpacks to study. Heaven help us.

On a lighter note, they all did pass the practice test from 2007 we did last week. 15 pass advanced, 4 pass proficient. So, they may not have known the test was next week (I still don't know how!), but they at least know the material. Now, let's not talk about the reading test. That's in 2 weeks. Wonder if they know about that one?