Sunday, March 30, 2008


Lately all I seem to be thinking about is money! I make a decent amount as a teacher since I have my Masters degree + 15 more hours.

Unfortunately, with teaching, the raises are extremely small from year to year. The only way to get a decent raise (and it's not even decent compared to most companies) is to get another degree or take more classes. I only have 1 more "step" I can move up unless I go to get my PhD, which is NOT happening!

My side job (harp) is doing really well. However, I still keep thinking about money and how I wish I could make more.

My FI and I are only going to be able to live in my house for so long. We can live here with 1 kid, but not with 2. So...definitely within the next 10 years (hopefully!) we will need to upgrade to a bigger house. Well, that's definitely going to take money! Kids take money!

We would like to buy a bedroom set when FI moves in in the fall - bed, dresser, nightstands, etc.. Also, the master bedroom needs to be painted. The master bath and guest bath, as well as the kitchen, could use updated flooring. Ah!

I wish there were some way to make some more extra money. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of free time with playing harp on most Saturday afternoons.

I'm good at typing - does anyone know of any side jobs that involve typing? I'm fast, so I could get it done quickly.

I think I'm just stressing myself out too much! I just don't want to be one of the many people who are always in debt. I'm not in debt now (other than my mortgage) - thank goodness. FI has a bit of debt but hopes to have it paid off (other than student loans which are probably going to take forever to pay off) by the time we are married in October. We want to start the marriage out with no debt (other than the house and his student loans). I'm working on building up my savings even more so we can buy some of these things and complete some of these projects. I know they will help with the resale value of the house when the time comes for it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Snails are what we make out of our leftover pie crust. When we were little, sometimes my nana would make a whole batch of snails and not make any pies. We used to have tea parties with nana. She would make snails, put milk in her Beatrix Potter teapot, and then read us a story or two. Fond memories.

Snails are very easy to make.

  1. Make the pie crust mentioned in a prior post.

  2. Roll out the pie crust.

  3. Spread some margarine on the crust.

  4. Top with a cinnamon sugar mixture.

  5. Roll up the crust like a jelly roll.

  6. Cut into small pieces.

  7. Bake at 375 for a few minutes (I have no idea how long - just keep an eye on them).

They are most delicious when they're warm right out of the oven. They're also good when cooled, though.

Which fabric?!

My mom is going to make me some new valances for my kitchen windows. The window treatments from the last owner (actually the first owner made them, I think) are not the greatest. Here's a picture. I don't really like the triangle look.

My mom is going to make me some box pleated valances, like this:

Here are my fabric choices so far. My kitchen has white (well, maybe slightly off white) walls with light wood cabinets. I tried to take a picture of the kitchen, but it came out dark for some reason. The only color in there right now is a bowl of fake lemons and a plate with lemons on it. My appliances are black. The first one with the diamond pattern is a goldish yellow color. Originally, I thought I wanted plain yellow valances. I kind of like the damask one, but can't decide if it's really quite right for kitchen valances.

What do you think? Please leave me a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pies!! (Part 1 - crust recipe and lemon)

Friday was my fiance's birthday. His favorite pie from my nana's pies is lemon pie. It's also one of my favorites. My sister's birthday was Monday. Her favorite pie is blueberry. Well, I couldn't disappoint one of them, so I made both pies. I took several pictures of the steps and will include the recipes.

It definitely took a while to make them. They were really yummy, though. Definitely worth it!
Pastry for 2 Crust Pie

Makes 1 9-inch double crust

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup Crisco
  • 5 to 7 tablespoons ice water (I don't know why ice water - but it works!)

1) Spoon flour lightly into cup. Level off. Sift flour and salt together in bowl.

2) Cut in Crisco with pasty blender until mixture forms particles slightly larger than grains of rice.

3) Spring with ice water, 1 T at a time until all particles are uniformly moistened and will barely stick together.

4) Shape mixture into a ball. Divide. Roll out each 1/2 on lightly floured pastry cloth.


Scintillating Lemon Pie

(Note: This is very different from most lemon pies. It is NOT a type of meringue. I don't like meringue pies. This is delicious!)


  • Pastry for a 2 crust (9 inch) pie, divided (recipe above)

  • 1 1/2 T sugar

  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

  • 3 lemons

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 1/3 cup butter

  • 3 T flour

  • 3 eggs

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

  1. Prehead over to 375 degrees. Roll out 1/2 of the dough into 9-inch circle. Cut into 8 wedges. Place wedges on cookie sheet.

  2. Mix sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl. Sprinkle over pastry wedges. Bake at 375 for no longer than 5 minutes, or until set. Remove from cookie sheet and set aside.

  3. Grate vellow part of rind. Set aside.

  4. Cream sugar, butter, and flour in mixer bowl. Beat in eggs. Beat in lemon juice. Stir in reserved ring.

  5. Roll out remaining pastry to form 9-inch pie shell. Place in pie pan.

  6. Pour lemon mixture into prepared pie shell.

  7. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

  8. Arrange baked pastry wedges on top of filling and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until filling is firm.

Yum-o! Here's a piece all ready to eat!

Crazy Easter weather

Easter was crazy! My mom came over for lunch. Later in the afternoon, we went to Home Depot, which is like 10 minutes away. In that 10 minute span, I think we had flurries, blowing heavy snow, sunshine, and sleet. Only in St. Louis!

Here are a few pictures of my deck. I think we might have had a bit more at one point in time, but it melted. This was from the morning, I think. Then it snowed again (I think more) in the afternoon.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Tonight, I'm going to the Fox with my parents and my sister to see The Wedding Singer. I'm not so sure how I feel about a movie being turned into a musical. We'll see how it is. My dad got nice tickets in the Box from work. I'm not sure I'd pay to go see it, but I'll take a free ticket!

Feeling blue

I wish I weren't so "girlie" (for lack of a better term) sometimes. When I get feeling blue I lose all motivation to do stuff. I've been feeling lonesome lately (could be partially related to hormones). I realize how much I talk to my mom; it's great that we get along and talk so much. However, it would be nice to talk to some people my own age. I mean really talk and hang out, not just post or email.

That's the only thing I regret about playing harp so much at weddings. I'm usually not able to do a lot on the weekends because I play so much. I miss out on things with people because I'm busy. I tend to have to schedule things in advance if I really want to go to them, which unfortunately doesn't work with a lot of people's schedules.

I have worked really hard on spring cleaning the past few days. My plan is to continue today. However, I have absolutely no motivation to do so right now! All I want to do is lie in bed, read, and watch TV. This looks like a nice bed to spend the day in! (Too bad it's not mine.)

I'm going to go have breakfast in a few. Hopefully playing some loud music from iTunes will get me motivated. It would be helpful if it were a little sunnier out, but oh well.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sucessful day

I accomplished quite a bit today! I thoroughly cleaned the living room and upstairs bathroom. I had some junk in a corner of the living room, so it took a while to clean up. I ran quite a few errands - Marshall's, Michael's, Walgreens, Wal-mart, Target, and maybe 1 other place.

In a few minutes, I'm off to play Bunco with 11 other teachers from my school. It's always a good time - lots of talking and laughing.

After Bunco, I'm off to Shop N' Save to take advantage of the $10 off today. I have quite a few items to buy for Sunday's birthday lunch for my FI (March 21st) and my sister (March 24th). I am going to make some yummy steaks with hazelnuts and a cherry Madeira sauce. We will have either broccoli, cauliflower, or zucchini as a veggie. I haven't decided yet. I'm going to make some easy mashed potatoes from Yukon Gold potates. For dessert, I'm making blueberry (sister's fave) and lemon (FI's fave) pies.

I will try my hardest to take pictures of all and post the recipes next week.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oh, the joy of cleaning!

This afternoon I've been cleaning some. My first task to tackle was the kitchen. I did quite a bit of picking up (went through mail we got while on vacation, went through the stack of random papers, etc.), washed the dishes that needed to be washed by hand, started a load of dishes in the dishwasher, and cleaned. I mean REALLY cleaned. I got up on top of the counter so I could dust the top of the cabinets and the fridge. Ew - it was dusty up there! I cleaned out the microwave. I cleaned the floor with my Swiffer Sweeper. In the near future, I plan to scrub the floor by hand. My last bit to do today is to go wipe the front of the dishwasher - I forgot to do it, but the floor is wet right now.

This is what I wore while cleaning (except not just black and white). I got out my nice pearls and everything!

My kitchen floor definitely needs to be replaced. The tile is peeling up in a few places and gets dirty extremely easily. Dirt shows too easily. This will be a project to think about doing sometime this year. It would need to be something that I could do (well, maybe moreso that FI and my dad could do). We won't want to hire anyone to do it.

Any recommendations on flooring? I want it to look nice, not show dirt so easily, be easy to clean, and not be too expensive!

My next plan is the living room. I need to put away a few things, dust, and vacuum. Not too bad.

I also have to figure out what I'm cooking tonight. Hm....

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cute video

I saw this on Bryn's page and thought I would post it for people to watch. It's a really cute video of a little girl giving a synopsis of Star Wars. Enjoy!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dinner tonight

A post not about vacation. :-) I will post some pictures of the beautiful Caribbean soon.
Tonight I made a quick and (fairly) healthy dinner for FI, my sister, and myself. I used a little bit of olive oil, added some chili powder, a dash of salt and pepper, and some fresh lemon juice. I cooked some cut up chicken pieces in the "sauce" (for lack of a better word). It cooked quite quickly.

Since I was out of town I don't have any fresh veggies. I heated up a frozen veggie medley and then we had some instant mashed potatoes (the kind that you only have to add water).

Not too bad of a dinner. It would have been even healthier with more veggies or half of a baked potato instead of the mashed. However, it is much better than we would have done eating out! Luckily, I am going grocery shopping tomorrow to get some healthy food!

Vacation - part 2

We went on one of the larger ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet (not the largest, though) - the Voyager. They actually have a small ice rink on the ship! We didn't go ice skating, but we did see the ice show. It was actually pretty good. I think it could have been better if they had more space. It was about a half of a rink, so the skaters really had to be careful with their jumps.

Our waiters were great, as always. Antonio, our main waiter, is from Portugal. The assisant waiter, Umit, is from Turkey. They provided excellent service. Our head waiter went above and beyond by getting the chef to make us a special pie!

There were a large amount of Texans on the cruise since it left out of Galveston. Boy, do I wish I had a picture of this one lady's hat and shirt. You would not believe it! Several of the men seated near us in the dining room wore their cowboy hats and boots to dinner. Luckily, we had a table of 4 so we didn't have to make small talk. I don't mind southern accents, but my sister is not a big fan of them.

The best food we had was at Portofino's, the specialty restaurant on the ship. It is a small restaurant, so you get great service. You have to pay a $20 cover charge per person to go in, but it is SO worth it. I get the same thing every time. I don't know the real italian name for the dishes, but I will explain them. For the appetizer, I get eggplant manicotti, basically. Instead of a noodle, the eggplant is sliced incredibly thin. It is filled with a yummy ricotta cheese mixture and served with a bit of olive oil and tomato sauce. The salad is delicious - lettuce, gorgonzola, candied walnuts, and an amazing house dressing. For the main course I always get filet mignon served with truffle mashed potates. The filet is SO tender, even when cooked medium well, and the truffle mashed potates have such a unique flavor. The best part of the meal is the flourless chocolate cake, which is AMAZING!

Yep - eating healthy definitely did not happen on the ship! It's back to healthy eating tomorrow. Between the cruise and the stress of parent-teacher conference week before the cruise I have put back on a few pounds. :-(

Vacation - part 1

My parents took my sister and me on a cruise this past week to the beautiful Caribbean. Unfortunately, I am still quite pale. :-) My dad has had some malignant melanoma, so we stay out of the sun now! We spent a lot of time reading in the shade. My sister and I also played several games of Scrabble (yes, we're nerds!).

Here are a few pictures. These are all towel animals our stateroom attendant Jimmy would make for us. We would find them in our room when we came back from dinner.

My favorite is the dog. He's listening to my sister's ipod.

The sidesways monkey :-) I need to learn to rotate pictures...

Yummy salad dressing recipe

Before I went on vacation, I attempted to make a salad similar to the yummy salad at Bottleworks. The dressing isn't quite as good, since it isn't their exact recipe. However, I think it was a pretty good substitute.

For the salad, I used field greens, baby tomatoes, crumbled goat cheese, sliced almonds, and croutons. The dressing recipe is below. It's super easy to make.

Vanilla Vinaigrette
Serves 4 (2 T servings)

1/3 cup olive oil
3 T white wine vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 stp. tarragon leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. sugar

Combine all ingredients and shake well.

About 166 calories per serving and 18 grams of fat.

Yes - definitely not a low cal/low fat dressing. It's the olive oil. However, they say you need some olive oil and good fats everyday. So, this dressing could be your "good fat" of the day.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Ok, so I fibbed...

Well, I fibbed when I said I wasn't going to post again for a while. Obviously I'm not doing too well with the packing right now! :-) I've packed some stuff. I'm waiting until my sister gets home to pack a few things. I want to ask her opinion about how a few outfits look. She's my "wardrobe consultant."

I watched an SNL skit on
Mary's blog. It made me think of a YouTube video I like. Every time I hear the song "Soldier Boy" I think of this video now. I think it's lined up pretty well.

I also think the Daft Punk video is interesting. Someone posted it a while ago on StlWed. I wonder how long it took them to get the choreography right? It wouldn't be so bad when it's slow, but when it speeds up I think I would lose track if I lift my arm, my leg, which leg, etc. I thought the StlWed bride's comment was funny when she was wondering about how the girls came up with this idea.

It went something along the lines of..."So, maybe we should put on sports bras and tiny shorts." "Yeah - and let's write words on our body and dance to this song and then record it." "To top it all off - let's put boxes on our heads!"

What is your favorite YouTube video?

Tagged again!

The fabulous Jenn tagged me.

The rules:Link to the person who tagged you. Post the rules on your blog. Share seven random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog. Tag seven random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs. Leave a comment on their blogs so that they know they have been tagged.

I'm pretty sure everyone I know has been tagged by now, especially since I did this earlier this week. If you happen to read this and you haven't been tagged - tell us 7 random things about you!

1. I'm definitely not a neat freak. However, I am really particular about the way my money is in my wallet. All the bills have to be facing the same way - no upside down or backwards bills. Also, the one's have to be first, then the five's, etc. I have no clue why it bothers me so much when they're out of order!

2. I just bought my first lottery ticket ever a few weeks ago.

3. I wish I wouldn't have quit ballet when I was younger. I didn't like having to leave slumber parties early for dance class. I took for at least 5 years - can't quite remember how long. I always thought pointe and toe shoes were so beautiful, but I didn't stick with dance long enough.

4. I would love to have a kitten and puppy "farm." I feel so bad for all the animals in shelters and get so sad when I see them in their cages. I would love to adopt more (I have a cat named Melodie) but just don't have the time or space right now. I hate that the animals don't have loving homes. I would love to adopt as many animals as possible and give them a loving home at a "farm," for lack of a better word.

5. My sister calls me T-Rex. She thinks that my arms are short, just like a T-Rex. Well, I'm short, so yes - my arms are short! I have tried to explain that they are proportionate to my height. However, anytime I reach for anything up high, she makes T-Rex arms and laughs at me.
6. I love flowers but hate to garden. (I don't like to get dirty). Luckily, my mom likes gardening and me, so she helped me plant some beautiful flowers in my yard. My favorite are my tulips - yellow, orange, and red. I wish they would last for a long time, but unfortunately tulips do not. We're probably going to add some more flowers sometime this year.

7. I have never been camping. I'm not really an outdoor kind of gal. The closest I've been to camping was staying in a cabin at French camp in Minnesota a few summers many years ago. I have absolutely no desire to sleep on the hard ground in a tent where bugs could be crawling around. I HATE bugs and creepy crawly things.


I leave EARLY Sunday morning to go on a cruise with my parents and my sister. I'm really looking forward to it. I should be packing now, but I hate packing! That's what I will be doing this afternoon. I won't be posting again until after my vacation. Tomorrow I have to play at a wedding in the afternoon and then I have game night with a few friends.

I know I'm going to have a million blog entries to read when I get back. I didn't read any for a few nights due to parent-teacher conferences and had about 150 to read. Yikes! I think it while take a while to get caught up on them and all the StlWed posts when I return.

I can't quite remember what islands we're going to, but I'm just going to post a pretty picture of somewhere in the Caribbean. Beautiful! Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I've been tagged

I have been tagged by the lovely Amanda. Here's the rules: Link to the person who tagged you. Post the rules on your blog. Share seven random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog. Tag seven random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs. Leave a comment on their blogs so that they know they have been tagged!

1. When I was in elementary school I attended a summer "camp" at our local library. One day they had a burping contest. I can make myself burp easily - nothing huge, just a small burp. However, none of the other kids could make themselves burp. I won the contest and won a certificate to KFC!

2. I don't eat anything that lives in water - no lobster, shrimp, fish, etc. A lot of people think I'm pretty odd. I think it's due to my texture issues that I have with some foods and that I don't like the smell. I also don't like any kind of melon.

3. When I get married, my name will almost be the same as my future sister-in-law's. The only difference is that her name is Amy, not Aimee.

4. I'm kind of a pack rat. I really hate to get rid of things, because you never know when they might come in handy! I actually managed to clean a lot of stuff out of my laundry room/storage room with my mom the other weekend. I need to continue to weed out stuff, though, so that my FI can actually move in in October!

5. I have had some very memorable "big" birthdays. I turned 13 in Hawaii on vacation with my family. I turned 16 in St. Malo, France while I was studying abroad during the summer. During the summer of 2001, I was also studying abroad in France. I turned 21 in Paris. My friends and I actually went to TGI Friday's to eat because we wanted some American food.

6. Most people who hear me play the harp assume I majored in music. When I tell them I'm a teacher, they think I teach music, not 2nd grade. Not even close - I don't even have a minor in music. I love music and harp but was worried I would get sick of it if I had to practice hours and hours each day. I ended up getting Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and in French. Over a year ago I got my Masters in Education. Harp is just something I enjoy doing on the side. Yes, my interests are quite varied.

7. I'm going to miss my sister (MOH) when she moves out. We fought a lot when we were younger. However, we've become good friends as we've gotten older. She moved in about 1.5 years ago when she moved back home from Chicago. It's fun watching shows like Project Runway with her and making snarky comments about people. She's probably moving out in May. I will be living by myself again, then, until FI moves in at the beginning of October.

I'm going to tag Yara, Teresa, Amanda, Melissa, Sara, Amber, and Sharon.

Makeover pictures

Lauren posted about this website a few weeks ago. Since I am home due to the weather, I thought I'd post a few pictures. I couldn't figure out how to copy them from the site, though, so you get the before picture and the after.

I think this one is actually pretty close to my hair color now. It might be a bit lighter.

I had another one of me with really dark hair but I accidentally deleted it from my email and didn't feel like making it again. Let's just say it wasn't good looking. I don't look good with really dark (almost black) hair.

What do you think about me going lighter - kind of like in the second picture?


Today is our SIXTH snow day this year. We are now missing 1 full week of Spring Break (including the day after Easter) as well as tacking a day onto the end of the school year. Bummer! At least we still get 2 weeks and 1 day off - thank goodness for year-round school!

Here's what it looks like outside my house:

I live in the school district in which I teach, about 10 minutes from my school. I guess they're worried the weather is going to get bad during the day and it will be hard to get the kids home. A lot of school districts are off today as well. I will admit the sky looks pretty bad. We'll see what happens!

I'm going to try to work on cleaning a bit and maybe see if I can get a few things together for my vacation. It's kind of hard to pack this early, though, because I will need a lot of the things before I leave. However - not the warm weather clothing! I might work on digging out my capris and short sleeved shirts today and ironing them and digging my sandals out of my closet, too.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

This week

This upcoming week is going to be really busy.

Things I am looking forward to:
  • It's the last week of school before cycle break!
  • Wednesday is the Season Finale of Project Runway.
  • Attending a game night with some friends next weekend
  • I have Friday off!
  • Friday is G&C night.
  • I leave a week from today for vacation.
  • Monday we're having a Read-In in our classroom to celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday, which is actually today.

Things I am not looking forward to:

  • Tuesday and Thursday nights we have parent-teacher conferences.
  • Because of P-T conferences, I will have two 12+ hour days at school.
  • It's supposed to snow and ice again this week!
  • I have to pack for vacation. This is a very long process for me!
  • Getting up insanely early on Sunday (probably around 4 AM) to get to the airport for our flight.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Saturday fun

This morning is a morning of relaxation for me. In less than an hour, I'm going to a massage. I LOVE getting massages. It really helps my back after playing harp and really helps relieve my stress. After that, I have an appointment for a haircut and color. I love getting my hair done, too. It relaxes me as well.

After that I'm going to run some errands to get ready for the cruise. We leave a week from tomorrow! I have to run by Target and Beauty Brands to get various supplies.

I have to pay a few bills today (definitely not fun!) and work on making my packing list. Not quite sure what I'll do with the rest of my day.

Yeah! Readers!

I'm glad to see some comments from some people this week that I didn't know even read my blog! Hopefully I'm not too boring...

Have a great weekend!