Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in review

Inspired by a former classmate's blog... I decided to spend part of the last 2 hours and 15 minutes or so looking back over 2010 and re-capping it for you and me, because otherwise, how else is New Year's Eve really a special day if you don't take it and remember to look back over the year?


It seems like forever ago, but it was actually last January that we remodeled our downstairs bathroom and finished our laundry room! We haven't done an indoor project since :p lol!


I didn't write anything this month... and honestly don't remember much of it either... lol guess that goes with my 2011 goal of being better at blogging/status updates online.


We started our garden, which actually was one of our best gardens to date, we were getting tomatoes up until a few weeks ago!


April was a big month for us this year! We both went to Morro Bay for my Mother in law's 50th, and then I traveled to Oregon to see my friend (and cousin in law) Emily. Both great trips! The bike riding we did on her trip actually got us to get our bikes up and running, and now (on sunny days) Blake rides to work!

April was also the month that Roxie got into the garden (I had forgotten about that!), but it recovered really well.

Probably the biggest, life altering thing in April 2010 was that we started our CSA box! I can't imagine life without it now, and it is far from the first thing to go if we have to do budget cuts!


May had two main highlights just based on my blog (which I feel like I actually did pretty well mentioning main events on it). One was that we were starting to get our produce this month and I was loving the CSA, and the other was that we made the decision to stop trying to get pregnant and adopt. Big stuff! Not in the blog... or anywhere sadly... but big was that I cleared my credential! It took two years, and a lot of extra time, but its done, now I just have to pay to renew it! Yay!


Finished my hardest 2nd grade year ever, and found out that I was moving to 4th grade, and started my summer by working hard to get ready for that. I also started trying to make a few cookie batches each week. On our actual anniversary we attended the foster adoption orientation... and by our anniversary dinner a few days later decided to adopt internationally instead, but had to save for a while first.


Trip to Colorado, and moved me into my new classroom, and I started feeling okay about teaching 4th.


Biggest occurrence in August was Nancy passing away, which was a hard experience for me... harder than I thought.


Started teaching 4th grade, and lots of drama with it (seems to be good now though), and we bought half a bison!


Nothing too exciting based on blog titles... but I did get my hair cut short.


Fun trips to Big Bear, and Christmas of course. Also, my brother got engaged (though that might have been last month...)! And of course, we made the decision to start the adoption process.

It's been fun looking back... its been a great year... but I think 2011 can top it!

Happy New Year!

p.s. I was gonna be awesome and provide links to all the stories... but Blake wants me to be done... so you'll have to find them yourself if you are interested. :-D

p.p.s. I read all the books at the right... look quick because soon it will be my 2011 books!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Presents

I am blessed (spoiled really) when it comes to Christmas presents every year. This is mostly due to the fact that I teach at a private school, so I get lots of presents there, and both my parents and my husband's parents have been very generous with gifts even though we are "grown up" now. :-)

I love the sweater that my grandma got me...

I love the books I was given... including all of the ones I asked for plus Barnes and Noble money...

I am super excited with all of the food giftcards, which I estimate will pay for our date nights for the next few months!

I am blessed by the cash and grocery store gift cards that go to paying regular expenses...

I am excited to watch the detailed animal movies in the life set that we got...

I got many other small amazing gifts as well...

But my favorite gift is none of the above.

The best present I got this year was this one:

This is an item that I bought for Blake the first month that we started trying to get pregnant. My idea was to give it to him the month we found out. I hid it away...but didn't think about it much as it wasn't happening. One day Blake found it, and I told him my idea, and how it probably was just going to our kid someday. I don't remember what happened to it after that... until Christmas morning... when I unwrapped it... and knew exactly what it meant...

we are starting the adoption process!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Roxie's first 3 presents this year

My brother and his fiance were sweet enough to buy gifts for our beautiful lab, Roxie, with the one condition that they wanted us to film her opening them so they could see. I took the different clips, cut out Blake and my voices, threw on Glee Christmas music to it and here it is:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December CSA's to date

Our December boxes have featured lots of green vegetables like lettuces, sorrel, dandelion greens and feijoas. We were having trouble getting through all of the feijoas, but then we read that you can eat the skins, and now they are easy convenient fruits. We have even put them in a tasty salsa.

Another main produce that we have gotten a lot this winter is winter squash. Every week for a while now we either have acorn squash, spaghetti squash, or butternut squash. We have also gotten lots of carrots, which is also nice to eat raw as part of our lunch.

Its been fun to experiment with different recipes with the winter squash. They have ranged from as simple as just microwaving it and eating it as is to risottos, stuffing them, putting it on pasta, and this week I am adding it to a chili.

I have had to get a bit creative with the greens, just adding them to recipes even if they don't call for them so that they get used. Truthfully... there are not many recipes, even on the internet that use dandelion greens! We added them to a soup yesterday that was so good... I confess... I ate about 4 bowls of it for dinner!

Also, the week with the zucchini and the eggplant, I confess that I had a night where my primary goal was to use a bunch of the vegetables sitting in our fridge... so we just threw them all in a pan, stirfried it, and put the whole mess on pasta. Tasted pretty good though... so I guess we are improving!

There has been a lot of cilantro lately, and we are not getting through it! Oh well... the worms are happy.

I considered for a bit giving up on posting my box each week considering that I forgot to take a picture the last week in November, and then didn't post for 3 weeks... but I reasoned that it wasn't really about my faithful readers (because I realize that most people probably would rather hear the personal stories over the veggies we get each week... I don't blame you...) it was about keeping a record. I would love to see how this year's veggies compare to next years around the same time. Or... if I have way too much free time at some point, I can do a pretty excel chart of what produce we get when, how much we get of each etc. But perhaps even more than that... the goal of recording what produce we get really gets me to write, and write significantly more than I was writing before we started our box. So... even in months where I have to do 3 boxes in one post... I will still try to post.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Great Big Bear Weekend

Soon... hopefully... there will be pictures of the last two CSA boxes... though realistically, that will be after we get our next one Wednesday. I would load them up now... but my camera is downstairs and I don't really want to get it!

I wanted to say that I just enjoyed a fabulous weekend in Big Bear with Blake's family. I truly love my in-laws, and Graeme's girlfriend is so fun and easy to hang out with. Every trip to Big Bear is unique and fun in its own way, but this was an especially good one.

First off, Blake and I both took the day off on Friday so that we didn't have to deal with traffic. This was already a great start. We made it up the mountain in about two hours, and then had the afternoon up there relaxing.

We played some horseshoes, but quickly discovered that neither of us are really that good at it! Apparently, according to the official rules you are supposed to play to 40... after about a half an hour of playing, and we were around 3 points each (though, discovered later that we were harder on ourselves than we were supposed to and both could have moved up about 10 feet), we decided that there was no way we could play to 40 lol! We decided to play till someone got 5 points instead. Blake did eventually beat me, but it was close... and I was rooting for anyone to win at that point (45 minutes of play time or so).

We watched a movie inside, and we played some Wii. When everyone showed up (Graeme and Jami (brother in law and his girlfriend) and Lori and Kris (mother and father in law)) we had a great time just sitting around and catching up.

The next morning was a glorious lazy one where we started being productive around 10 (just drinking coffee/ having breakfast, chatting and dealing with the dogs before then). In this case, being productive meant getting the Dicken's houses that Lori and Kris have been collecting for years out of their boxes and somewhat set up on the table. Every year, part of the kid's weekend is picking out the newest addition to the collection and setting up the new arrangement of the town. As a side note, I love that its not written down and predetermined where everything goes, but instead is a new unique layout of the town every year, including the new one, not just sticking it in anywhere.

Around noon, Lori took us girls out for a surprise excursion, while the boys stayed behind and played horseshoes. The surprise turned out to be a spa day! We started with massages (which I had never had before, and spent about half of the massage wondering why in the world I hadn't!) and manicures for Jami and I, and a pedicure for Lori. The mani/pedis included lots of just fun bonding time (and I am shocked... but my nails are still intact! From Saturday! That never happens!).

We headed back, picked up the boys, and went to town to choose our new Dicken's house (for those curious souls, we ended up choosing a stable this year). We had lunch (dinner? it was about 3) in town, and then headed back to the cabin.

There was another bit of segregation here as the boys focused on the Dicken's village, and the girls focused on getting the Christmas tree lighted. (It is a really awkward shaped tree this year... partially caused by Lori and Kris' tradition (though it doesn't happen every year) to get a live, still in pot tree, that gets planted in the yard after Christmas. This sometimes results in less than picture perfect tree, but is still awesome that it doesn't have to die for the holiday).

Once the boys finished, they came and joined us and helped finish decorating. There was another productive lull here, where Lori and Blake took the dogs for a walk. When they returned, we had another surprise (kinda random though) kazoos!

Lori had bought us each a kazoo, and we spent the next chunk of time trying to play along with the Christmas songs we were listening to as a group. At the time we thought we sounded pretty good... but the recordings tell a different tale lol! I discovered that playing a kazoo is really just humming with something that distorts your sound... but it was still fun, and a lot of our attempt was spent laughing.

We watched Scrooged after that (another tradition to watch a Christmas movie during kid's weekend) and then finished off the night with some Wii games with Jami and Graeme.

Sunday was a bit of a lazy start, but was mainly cleaning up and getting ready to go.

The funny thing is that as I type it, it really doesn't seem like that much stuff... or anything super impressive, or things that people would look at and say, "Wow! You did that!" But it was really a great weekend. I think the biggest thing that drives weekends like this is the dynamic of the group, and this dynamic was perfect. Better for me than the last couple of kid's weekends simply because of the gender mix-up of the group. In the years that Graeme isn't dating anyone, he brings a guy friend. Then there are four guys to two girls, and I feel like they tend to overpower the weekend. Having it even means that we can split up and do things that we each find fun instead of Lori and I just doing what the majority wanted to do.

The other big dynamic thing is that it was small and intimate. We are going up there again for Christmas, and although I love everyone who will be there, somehow just adding a few more people can change the feel of the weekend drastically.

The one and only downside is that taking Friday off and having the weekend in the mountains made me feel really disorganized at work today, and I am very eager for the two week break that begins at the end of this week!