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Lowest Key Birthday

January 21, 2015

Hi friends!  Yesterday was my birthday, and I think it was the most low-key birthday…ever?  Which was fine.  It’s all downhill after thirty anyway, right?

I went for a run in the morning:




…and then headed up to school to teach.  After teaching I came home, read my book, and took a nap while Lila napped.  WATCH OUT, WORLD.  Thirty-two is going to be crazy.

I had a (small) glass of wine before taking Lila to our 6:30 Little Gym class.  Some things are totally necessary.  Like drinking a little before at toddler gymnastics class.


Ryan teaches on Tuesday nights, but before he left for campus, he cooked a lasagna that we could have for dinner because, as he said, “You shouldn’t have to eat leftover vegetarian chili as your birthday dinner.”  Can I get that made into a t-shirt?

The lasagna was tasty:


…and enjoyed with an episode of The Bachelor.  Pretty dang good birthday.  Hope you had a great day!



Sunny Days

January 19, 2015

Hey friends!  I’m working backwards here with pictures from my phone, so bear with me.  We’ve had a great long weekend of SUNNY weather– what a nice break!  Temps have been in the 50’s, the sun has been bright, and we’ve taken advantage of it all weekend long.  I just got back from a nice run– did the first three miles by myself, and then picked up the dogs at the house to walk a few more:


Last night, I cooked up some vegetarian chili featuring beans and sweet potato:2015/01/img_4523.jpg

It was delicious, especially considering the fact that it was a totally “pulled from the pantry” meal.

Yesterday morning, we played hooky from church and enjoyed a beautiful hike instead.  Lila has become quite the little hiker.  The hike we chose was 4 miles total, and I bet she walked 2 of those miles on her own.  The rest of the time, she hitched a ride in the Ergo, which is still going strong.  The first time she hung out in it, I think she was about two weeks old,so it’s safe to say we’ve gotten our money’s worth.2015/01/img_4504.jpg2015/01/img_4488.jpg2015/01/img_4515.jpg

On Saturday, we hit up the Botanical Gardens.  They’re doing their “dog days of winter” special right now, which means that a part of the gardens (a giant open field in the back) gets turned into a dog park! They’ve added a dog agility obstacle course this year, which our dogs really had very little interest in…but Lila thought it was fun!






Hope you’ve had a nice long weekend! Off to enjoy our day off work!


January 15, 2015

Hi friends! Just playing a little bit of catch up over here.  The first full week of school is almost done– one down, fifteen to go.  As I mentioned in my last post, I’m teaching all five days of the week this semester, which is a bit of a shift– I’m not used to going up to campus every day!  Still, the reason I’m teaching all five days is exciting– when we first moved here, UAH barely offered anything in the way of creative writing.  The classes they had offered, in recent years, were offered sporadically (“I hope not sporadically!”) and without any real regularity.  And now, this semester, I’m teaching two sections of fiction writing– both of which have filled over capacity.  It’s nice to see the students excited about creative writing.  And it’s nice to teach fiction instead of freshman comp. :-)

Beyond teaching, we’ve been eating pretty healthy:2015/01/img_4364.jpg

I ended the holidays feeling like we (I) had indulged wayyyyy too much, so it’s nice to get back on the healthy train for a little while.  I’ve also managed to go to yoga for two weeks in a row, which must be a new record (sad but true).

Lila has been prepping herself for a marriage proposal from Prince Harry:



And she also started taking classes at the Little Gym again after taking a break in the fall:


And finally, Ryan went out of town last week and my mom came to help out with Lila.  We loved having her here– Lila is still talking about how much she misses Honey. :-(


That’s about it for us– looking forward to the upcoming long weekend.  Hope you’re keeping warm!!

Back to School

January 7, 2015

Well, today is our first day back at school.  I know I say it every year, but this break felt both very long and very short.  This marks the first time ever that my teaching load is spread out over all five days of the week.  In grad school, I taught four days out of five; at Penn State Altoona, my classes were ALL jammed into Tuesday/Thursday; and here at UAH, my teaching load has been Monday/Wednesday/Friday.  So we’ll see how this goes. Winking smile

Last night, I made a comforting soup for dinner—it’s been cold here!  In fact, the high tomorrow morning is 6 degrees and they’ve already placed the schools on a delayed start.  Welcome to the South—where they delay school because cold.

But hey,

This is false.   I am extremely bothered by the cold.  I’m ready for summer.  Now.

Anyway, the soup.

I made meatballs with ground beef, parmesan cheese, an egg, minced garlic, grated onion, some Italian seasoning, and some garlic salt:


I cooked those in a heavy-bottomed pot then removed them once they were browned.  To the pot, I added onion, celery, red bell pepper, and zucchini:


Cooked until soft.  Added 2 tbsp. tomato paste; one can of diced tomatoes; 8 cups beef broth. The meatballs went back in as well.

This was brought up to a boil, boiled for 5 minutes, then reduced to a simmer and cooked for about an hour.

Topped it with more parmesan and ate it with crusty bread for a delicious dinner!


Gotta get moving—those freshmen are probably SO excited to see me!  Winking smile

Happy Wednesday!

Good Luck in 2015

January 3, 2015

Morning, friends!

It’s 7:15 and by some miracle of God, Lila is still sleeping, so I thought I’d blog about our “good luck” eats from New Year’s day.

Do you eat black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s day?  I thought it was a thing that everyone did/knew about, but I guess it’s just a southern thing.

These black-eyed peas actually kind of count as a fifteen minute meal—the prep was done in fifteen minutes, and then you just have to let them sit and simmer.  So easy!

In a heavy-bottomed pot (my new Christmas present!), I heated some olive oil and then added a chopped onion, chopped celery (bought it pre-chopped to save time), and a chopped green pepper.


I let these cook and soften for about ten minutes.  Then I added 1 tsp. garlic salt, 1 tbsp. brown sugar, and 1 tbsp. liquid smoke, plus two cans of black-eyed peas (drained and rinsed):


And two links of slice chicken kielbasa sausage:


Cooked that for the remaining five minutes, and prep was DONE:


Whew.  Just under the fifteen minute mark. Winking smile

I added two bean cans of water (you could easily use chicken broth), brought it up to a boil, and then reduced it to simmer for another hour.

We enjoyed it for dinner with some garlic-maple sautéed kale:


Hopefully this delicious meal will ensure our good luck in 2015!

Hiking into 2015

January 2, 2015

Hi friends. One of our goals for this winter is to get outside, even when it’s grey and cold out (which is, umm, every day).

We made good on this goal yesterday with our first hike of the new year.










Not the prettiest day, but the fresh air sure felt good!

Welcome to January!

Welcome, 2015

January 1, 2015

Hi friends!  Welcome to 2015!

One of my (many) goals for this year is to..wait for it…blog more.  I go back and forth about this space– some days I wake up and think I should just shut it all down; other days, I get the urge to blog twice a day again.  That urge usually goes away very, very quickly (as you can tell by the sparsity of posts over the past months.

Anyway– I’m not here to make excuses or promises.  But yes, it IS one of my goals to blog more regularly in 2015.  We’ll see how that goes.

I have to admit, it’s tempting to blog about Christmas (and, err, Thanksgiving).  But I’m not going to.  I’m just going to say that we had a wonderful holiday season with both of our families, and leave it at that.

And our New Year’s Eve?  That was a little less wonderful.  We had plans to go to a friend’s house for a NYE party, but poor Lila woke up from her nap by getting sick all over her new big girl bed.  Needless to say, we were home for the night.  :-(

It was actually a good night, though.  We’ve been around friends and family like crazy for the past 2-3 weeks, so it was really nice to have a low-key New Year’s Eve.  And I *do* mean low-key.  I took the dogs on a walk:


And read to Lila before bedtime:/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/047/10541918/files/2015/01/img_4060.jpg

Before we realized we wouldn’t be going to the party, I had spent the early afternoon making this bacon and onion marmalade:

DSC_3323DSC_3314 DSC_3321DSC_3318

Um, yeah.  It was amazing.  After Lila went to bed, we had it for dinner on crusty french bread with melted sharp cheddar cheese.  #winning

We watched Boyhood last night (so good!), and called it a night.  It wasn’t wild and crazy, but it was just the night we needed, I think.

Other goals for the new year?  Run more.  Try new fitness classes at our gym.  Drink more water.  Ah, the usual.  :-)

But that’s another post, I suppose.  What are your goals for 2015?

Happy New Year!  Hope 2015 is a great one for us all.


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