Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book Club Picks

So I'm kind of obsessed with Goodreads. As nerdy as it may sound, I have been having so much fun finding new books to add to my Want to read list and rating books I've already read. I just finished The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty. Find me on Goodreads to see what I thought...

As I've been thinking back on some of my favorite books, I started thinking about the books I have most loved discussing with others. So I came up with a list of the books I would recommend to book clubs looking for a new book to read. The books I picked are not necessarily the best books I have ever read, but they are worth reading and are great books to discuss for the content and the twists and turns that lie within. 
Book club picks

What books would you add to this list? My book club needs a new book for March!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Another check off the list {Krohn's Conservatory}

It's been a while since Drew and I checked something off of our Cincinnati Bucket List. This weekend we changed that when my friend Betsy was in town. We knew the weather was going to be glorious on Saturday so we decided to do something that involved the outdoors...enter Krohn's Conservatory, which can be found within Eden Park. If you live in Cincinnati and you haven't been to either one of these places, make plans to go. You won't be sorry.
The conservatory is beautiful and the special attraction going on now through March 30th is called Avant Garden. Did you pick up on the play on Avant garde in fashion? Clever, right? I only know that term because of Project Runway. Anyway...for about an hour and a half I actually felt like I lived in a warm climate and I loved every second of it. The conservatory was bursting with color, I could hear water flowing from a waterfall and I feel like I even added a few freckles to my collection because the sun has not kissed my skin in way too long! It was a lovely day and I can't wait to go back in April for the Butterfly exhibit!

I highly recommend Krohn's Conservatory to help you get rid of your winter blues!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Happy things on a Friday

God continually surprises me with his faithfulness. No matter how many things in your life that seem to be going wrong, he is always worthy of praise. After a few hard months, God has really been blessing me in big ways lately. Here are a few things that have been making me smile...

1. Our couples small group: Drew and I have been praying for what seems like forever for a group of couples to grow spiritually with and we finally found what we've been searching for! 
2. A special meal: One of my student's parents invited me over for dinner at their home after school one evening. My student's dad is from Kenya so they prepared me an authentic Kenyan meal complete with a traditional tea after dinner. I felt so spoiled and loved on!

3. Being a bridesmaid: My friend Bekah asked me to be a Bridesmaid in her upcoming May wedding. I said YES of course! She is going to be a gorgeous bride, right?
4. Songs from Frozen: This video is making me extremely happy. If you love the song "Let it Go" from Frozen, you have to watch it! I've only watched it about 10 times in a few big deal.
5. My sweet little family: They always make me happy. So thankful for them.
6. Blates: The blog world continues to bless me. I am so happy to have made such real and unexpected friendships from the internet. It still sounds weird saying it, but it's true. I got to spend my Valentine's eve dinner with Erin and we had a great time trying out a new Cincy restaurant.
7. Getting things for ridiculously cheap: My sister in law and I went to a frame sale at an old warehouse Downtown and scored big time. I got all of these awesome old frames for 15 bucks. I can't wait to play around with them!
So there you have it...things that are making me happy lately! 
What's been making you happy?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Craft Room Updates

Ever since we turned our office into my craft room I have been making small updates here and there. I'm so excited to share a few of them with you today. Here is my cute little space...
Office chair from IKEA
Gold Hello Pillow from Skoope Home Designs
Cork Map made by my sweet cousin
Gold Dipped Stool: DIY Tutorial here
Craft Table: Made by my talented Aunt Julee
3 Tiered Tin: Daily Deal from Pick Your Plum
Mini Ironing Table: DIY tutorial here
Giant Clipboards: Archiver's

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lemon, Parsley & Parmesan Pasta {RECIPE}

This pasta is delicious and so refreshing. The sauce is a take on basil and Parmesan pesto. The parsley mixed with garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon zest and salt make a wonderful version of a pesto sauce. Mmmm. You definitely need to make this.

Here's what you'll need:
-2 cups flat leaf parsley leaves, packed
-2 garlic cloves
-1/4 tsp. red-pepper flakes
-1/2 tsp. lemon zest plus extra for garnish
-Salt and Pepper to taste
-3/4 cup EVOO
-1 pound fusilli or other twisted pasta
-1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Start by making the parsley pesto sauce. Add the parsley, garlic, red-pepper flakes, lemon zest and a teaspoon of salt in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. While the machine is pulsing, slowly add in a stream of olive oil until well blended and smooth
2. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta as directed and drain. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.
3. Toss cooked pasta with the pesto and Parmesan then add the reserved water.
4. Garnish with extra lemon zest and Parmesan. Season with pepper if desired.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Snapshots from a perfect Valentine's day

My Valentine's day was lovely from start to finish. I got to sleep in because we had a work day at school so I had time to make myself a warm drink to start off the chilly morning. I loved drinking out of my new Kate Spade Koozie. The quote on it will always remind me of my sweet Papa Arnie.
I got home early and found this adorable print waiting on the doorstep for me from inameliart. I now have 5 of her prints and I love every single one! Cats+hearts on Valentine's day=purrrfection.
Drew and I actually thought ahead this year and made reservations at one of our favorite spots called Grand Finale. We braved a snow storm to get there and we were pleasantly surprised with how few people were there due to cancellations. We had a very romantic, cozy evening and ate until we could not take another bite. Drew went big and got a rack of lamb and I got the filet wrapped in bacon. Mm.
We drove home through inches of snow, but it was beautiful and since it wasn't busy out we just enjoyed the beauty and quiet of the snow. We got home, got comfortable and then exchanged cards/gifts. Drew got me flowers and I made him an Adventure book...just think the movie UP.
I am beyond blessed to be so well loved by my friends, family, my sweet husband and by my heavenly father. "My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God." 1 John 4:10 MSG

I hope you all had a great Valentine's weekend!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Why being a teacher on Valentine's day is the best...

I have always, always loved Valentine's day, but since becoming a teacher I have treasured it even more. We celebrated Valentine's day early in Room 308 because teachers have an inservice day today. My kids always amaze me with how much love they have to pour out on their teacher. They just want so badly to show you how much they love you in any way they can and it is the sweetest thing in the world. We can learn so much from those sweet little minds. I hope you all feel very loved today!! Make sure to tell the people around you how much you love them. Happy Heart Day! XOXOXO

Need a last minute Valentine treat for the kiddos in your life? These sweet Valentine's are perfect!

Monday, February 10, 2014

A few of my favorite LOVE stories

Nothing beats a good love story so I thought I'd share 5 of my favorite loves stories with you today...

::The Princess Bride by William Goldman
I just recently read this book after having loved the movie for years and years. I have to say that as usual, the book outshines the movie. The characters are amazing, the love story is an adventure and it will keep you laughing out loud the whole way through.

::The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
 If you haven't read this book, you need to! Whether you are in a relationship or not it will help you understand how you need to be loved and how to give love to others. There is a quiz in the back that helps you figure out your love language. My husband and I read it together at the beginning of our relationship and we still refer to it regularly.

::Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
This book is one of my all time favorites. It's a story based on the book of Hosea in the bible and tells the story of a man called to love a woman who is not the typical marrying type. It is a powerful story of unconditional love.

::Emma by Jane Austen
I had to throw in a classic to my love story list. This book is witty and fun. It is about a girl who is obsessed with matchmaking, but can't seem to make a match herself without messing things up. You just can't go wrong with a Jane Austen love story.

::Crazy Love by Francis Chan
This book is about the crazy love that God has for his children. Why he loves us unconditionally after we screw up over and over again I'll never fully understand. This really is the best kind of we absolutely don't deserve, but that I am so thankful for.

And then there's this love story about a boy named Drew and a girl named Allison. He dropped his watch in the parking lot and then she randomly found it. Click over here if you want to read our love story. Personally, it's my favorite of the bunch.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

When you have a friend who loves cats as much as you do...

Today is my dear friend Courtney's birthday. Thankfully we share a love of cats. 

When you have a friend who loves cats as much as you...

-You exchange cat cards and cat gifts
-You send text messages with pictures of your cats
-You tag each other in cat pins and reference cat jokes
From Cat versus Human
-You get your cats together for kitty play dates
-You introduce each other to all of your favorite cat websites including Cat Bounce, The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee and Cat vs. Human
-You compliment each other on all your adorable cat clothing
-You dream of throwing a cat party like this one. #pleasedontjudgeus

Crazy Cat Ladies 4 Life.
Happy Birthday Court!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chipotle Chicken Chili {Recipe}

I've been so anxious to try a recipe from Pioneer Woman's newest cookbook and the Superbowl gave me the perfect excuse. I checked out her Food and Football section and picked the Chipotle Chicken Chili recipe. It turned out amazingly delicious and I will definitely be making this chili again.
-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
-1 large onion
-4 garlic cloves (minced)
-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
-1 12 oz. bottle Mexican beer (I chose Dos Equis)
-1 14oz. can diced tomatoes
-3 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced
-1 14oz. can black beans (drained and rinsed)
-1 14oz. can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
-1 14oz. can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
-1 Tablespoon chili powder
-1 Tablespoon ground cumin
-2 teaspoons salt
-1/4 heaping cup masa harina (corn flour) I found this in the Mexican aisle at our Kroger
-Juice of 1 lime
-Sour cream for topping
-Grated sharp Cheddar cheese for topping
-Chopped cilantro for topping

-Heat the Olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat then add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Stir them and cook for 2-3 minutes until they are soft
-Add the bite sized chicken pieces into the pot
-Stir the chicken around and cook until lightly browned
-Pour in all but 1/4 cup of the beer
-Add the diced tomatoes
-Add the minced chipotle peppers
-Add all the beans
-Stir to combine then add the chili powder, cumin and salt
 -Bring the chili to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 45-60 minutes until sauce is thick
-After the allotted time, combine the masa harina with the remaining beer.
 -Whisk it with a fork until it's smooth then pour it into the chili
-Squeeze in the lime juice then stir it around and let it simmer for another 10 minutes
-Serve with sour cream, cheese and cilantro
 Thank you PW for yet another amazing recipe!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

On having the same job as your spouse...

For those of you who don't already know, my husband and I are both teachers. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine to be in the same career field as my husband, it just worked out that way and I'm so glad it did. Want to know what it's like to have 2 teachers under one roof???
Paper clips and shredded post it notes are almost always found in our dryer

Snow days are the BEST when we are both home together. Our snow days always include a donut run to Bonnie Lynn Bakery and we make sure to stay in our pajamas as long as humanly possible.
We throw around teacher lingo like differentiation, MAPS, ERB, Common Core and perfectly understand one another.

We always come home with lots of good kid stories...we should seriously write a book.

We get lots of free professional photos of ourselves. Every year we are required to get our picture taken for our school ID badges and I guess they think that we want wallets of ourselves each year because we get them free of charge. Let's just say I need an idea of what to do with all these professional pictures of us besides give them to our grandmas and throw the rest away.
We are never, ever bored. We always have something to copy, cut out, glue, color, grade, etc. while we watch t.v.

Having our Summers "off" together is bliss, even if we do usually spend them working. Someday we plan to take RV trips with our kids and just take off for weeks at a time just because we can.

Once a year we each get buy one get one free Chipotle on Teacher Appreciation day. Ah-mazing!
We know all the cool kid vocabulary, shows, hot items, etc. I own about 15 rainbow loom bracelets.

We know and understand what it really means to see the light bulb go off for kids when they finally get something because of us. It is one of the best feelings in the whole world.

All in all we love being on the same schedule, being able to help kids and being able to completely understand each other in the career we have been chosen to take on.

Romans 12:5-8 MSG: "So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelous functioning parts of Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't...if you teach, stick to teaching."

Do any of you have the same job as your spouse or are we just weird??

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Hello/Goodbye Link-up #7

XOXO Banner available in my shop! Picture taken by Kristen at Ella Claire.
Hello February, Goodbye January
Hello having waaaaaayyy too much fun with conversation hearts
Hello homemade Valentine's Day Cards  
Hello Insurgent, Goodbye to The Storyteller
Hello new IKEA Chair, Goodbye old ugly office chair
Hello Goodreads, Goodbye not remembering what I read and when
Hello to my wonderful student teacher, Goodbye feeling pulled in 1,001 directions
Hello Superbowl and yummy food (I participate purely for the snacks)
Hello Season 6 of Parks and Rec, Goodbye watching episodes on Netflix
Hello Heart Shaped Pies

Link-up Rules:
-Follow my blog in whatever way you choose: Bloglovin, Facebook, GFC
-Grab the Hello/Goodbye button below and add it to your post or link your post back to my blog
-Go visit some of the other bloggers who linked up and see what they are saying hello to this month

This link up will be open from February 1st-4th and will reoccur the first of every month!

Nestful of LOve