Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Leave The Shore Behind

Staying close to the shoreline has its perks.  There's comfort in the shoreline.  There's safety.  Familiarity.  When you stay close to the shoreline it's easy to get out when the waters get rough, or when you get bored.  In the shallow water you know exactly what to expect.  You can see straight to the bottom & out across the horizon.  Next to the shoreline you believe that you can see all there is to see, all life has to offer.  However, you're wrong.

All life has to offer does not exist next to the shoreline.  When you leave the shoreline behind, that's when you find out what life really has to offer.  There's beauty, excitement, & depth.  When you leave the shoreline behind you discover things that you never even dreamed could exist while you were still in the shallows.  Your eyes are opened to a world full of wonder.  

Even more important than all of that though is what you find within.  You discover bravery.  You discover strength.  You discover passion & desire.  Because when you leave the shoreline behind, you discover not only the world full of endless wonder & possibility around you, but you discover all that you are capable of.

Life isn't meant to be lived next to the shoreline.  It shouldn't be lived in mediocrity.  Settling & playing it safe are not the way to live.  It's not living at all, it's merely existing.

Stop playing it safe.  Find passion.  Passion in your work.  Passion in your hobbies.  Passion in love.  Passion in life.

There will be days full of rough waters when you miss the safety of the shoreline.  Days when you wonder why you ever left.  I promise you though that those days will be far outnumbered by beauty, excitement, & depth.

So leave the shore behind.  Because, the moment you do, you can start living the life full of passion that you were always meant to live.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What's Cooking Vol. 1

I suppose the actual Volume 1 would have been last week when instead of doing a normal weekend recap I gave you the recipes of the meals I had made for the week.  However, my blog, my rules & because I'm a tad bit OCD when it comes to certain things...this is now Volume 1 because I don't want to go back & change the title of my last post.

Anyway, on with it!  This week I made:

I'll spare you MY pictures of the breakfast casserole & liver because they aren't pretty...they are good though!

Actual recipes above, my alterations are below.

Southern Sauteed Chicken Liver
I didn't use bacon grease simply because I didn't have any bacon.  I used olive oil in the pan instead.  I also used ground red pepper instead of cayenne pepper because that's what I had.

One Pot Cajun Chicken & Sausage Alfredo
The only change I made to this one was to take out the chicken & make it just sausage.

Overnight Crockpot Breakfast Casserole
For this one I didn't cook the sausage before hand.  Mostly because I was lazy.  I decided at 11:30 at night that I was going to throw this together because I was still up.  Plus, I figured it was going to be in the crockpot for 7-8 hours & so the sausage would cook did.

Mexican Chicken
First, note that when you click the recipe above you also have to click on the picture in the pin to get to the recipe because there's a different one in the memo.  I royally messed with this but it all worked out.  I doubled it.  I didn't feel like measuring so I put in an entire packet of taco seasoning.  I meant to measure out the enchilada sauce, even had the measuring cup out, but then I spaced out & put in the entire can.  Then, I love cheese so instead of the one cup I should've used, I put in 2 so I could use up the whole bag.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Drinking, Diners, Ditching Dates, & Dallas

How's that for alliteration ha.

I'm actually still on the weekend.  #TeacherLife.  That means I can finally read & comment on blogs in the morning instead of waiting until my conference period at the end of the day or when I get home from work.  To all my fellow teachers: I hope you're enjoying your extended weekend.  To all y'all that are back at work today: I hope you had a great weekend & that Monday treats you right.

After work I headed home so that I could grab a change of clothes pack an entire duffel bag full of outfits & then made my way to Dallas.  Traffic already makes me stabby.  Rush hour traffic between Fort Worth & Dallas makes me even stabbier.  Before showing up at my friends' house I made a pit stop for a bottle of wine & one of the most random assortments of food for my supper (a little bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, a fried chicken thigh, & a little salami & cheese tray.)  While waiting for Helen & Erin to get home from a game, Caleb & I watched part of The Mick.  Once the girls got back we started getting ready.  

Our first stop was Ben & Jackie's to pregame, drop Caleb off, & pick Jackie up.  Trying to prove a point, the point that we're not old, we waited until 11 to head to the bars.  We took an Uber to Deep Ellum so that we could check out Truth & Alibi.  The concept behind the bar is really cool.  It has a candy shop store front & then you give them a password at the door & then you go through another door into a bar.  We danced & sang to 90s & early 2000s rap & hip-hop for a couple of hours & then grabbed ourselves another Uber to the Knox-Henderson area of Dallas so we could go to The DRAM.  My biggest pet peeve about this place was the bartender.  He was awful.  I wound up leaving a review on Yelp complaining about him.  We didn't last there too long before it was agreed that it was time for food.  Ben & Caleb wanted Waffle House so we took yet another Uber to meet them there.  I'm not even gonna lie, Waffle House was the best part of the night.  Not that the rest of the night was bad, I just love late night breakfast food that much.  It was after 3 am when we got back to Helen & Caleb's where I immediately found my way to their comfy couch for bed.

Helen being the awesome person that she is made breakfast & coffee in the morning.  At about noon I got my act together & drove back to Fort Worth.  I was supposed to have a date in Dallas at 1:30 but the more we talked, the less into it I was so I wound up cancelling on him.  Instead, went to Brewed to get myself some coffee & then found myself on the couch the entire day.  The day got away from me so fast.  I was supposed to have another date that night in the Stockyards, but for the exact same reason as day date guy I cancelled.  (I'll have a post sometime in the future about dating & go more into exactly why I wasn't into it.)  Instead of that date I watched like 3 different movies on TV before falling asleep on the couch.

I planned on being so productive on Sunday.  I was going to go donate blood, I was going to go grocery shopping, I was going to meal prep...I did not.  I cancelled my donation appointment & moved it to a couple of weeks from now since I just got over being sick & then can also start taking my iron supplement.  I get turned away a fair amount & when I do it's always because my iron is too low by ONE stinkin point.  

I did go grocery shopping & hated life almost the entire time.  I waited until just before the Cowboys/Packers game was supposed to start in hopes that everyone would be watching the game.  Wrong.  Once I managed to escape the store & get back home I put the groceries away & that's where productivity ended.  I watched the Packers beat out the Cowboys in one of the most intense second halves of a football game I've seen in a really long time & then got to see the Wild come from behind to beat the Blackhawks 3-2.  I was very pleased with the outcome of both games.  Sorry Cowboys fans.  There was a part of me that was torn going into the game but at the end of the day I am a fan of Aaron Rodgers, & Jordy Nelson even though he didn't get to play.  

An insane storm came through, I'm talking thunder, lightning, heavy rain, & tornado sightings.  I can only assume that this was Texas throwing a fit over both a Cowboys & Texans loss.  The rest of the night was spent watching TV just trying to stay up later than my roommate so I could sleep on the couch...again.  For real sometimes I just love sleeping on the couch.  Especially gigantic, comfy couches.  Why did I have to stay up later than my roommate to do so you ask?  Well because it's his house, his couch, & he's somewhat passive aggressive & condescending.  26 days until I move!  I will miss the couch though...

Friday, January 13, 2017

Ready For A 3 Day Weekend

What I Was Up To

This whole being back to work full-time is an adjustment.  Between that & still being sick the first half of the week all was quiet on my blog front.  I had plans of doing a post on Tuesday about being back in the classroom full-time but between being exhausted & only having spent 5 days in the classroom, I didn't really have anything to say.  (The first Sh*t My Students Say of this school year will be coming the end of this month though...I've already got material.)  I also had plans of writing a travel related post on Wednesday.  But, again exhaustion won out.  I didn't have anywhere specific to talk about yet so I was going to do a "where I hope to travel this year" post but I was too tired to think.  This week was basically:

5:30 wake up
6:30 leave for work
7 get to work
7:30-1:30 teach
1:30-3 kid free time
3:30-9 get home, watch Shameless, eat supper, go to sleep

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Good Reads From Around The Web
Amber's Predictions of what is going to happen to blogging in 2017

5 Misconceptions About Life - Michael

Amanda's tips to avoid this big photography mistake

Bella's easy tips on how to switch from Blogger to WordPress

Donna's fun look at how being patient can pay off

Things That Made Me Laugh

Moments I'm Grateful For
6. Seeing snow in Texas
7. Getting back into meal prep
8. Nyquil
9. Shameless
10. Finally being able to enjoy a beer on my back patio
11. Officially being a full-time employee & not just a sub
12. Work days that fly by fast

Thursday, January 12, 2017

10 Hashtags You Should Be Using On Instagram

About a month ago I got turned down for a teaching job & decided right then & there to sign up for Helene's Instagram For Success Course.  I spent a weekend watching the videos & decided to start putting a couple of the items into effect.  Less than a week later I was offered a different full time position at the same high school that had previously turned me down.  With that in mind, I knew I'd be taking the steps slowly.  I still want to go back & watch the videos over again & decide what I want to do next as far as which tips to focus on.

For the past month the only part of Helene's course that I've been following is the portion on hashtags.  However, that portion alone has helped my account immensely.  I can only imagine just how much more growth I will see once I start adding in the other aspects as well.

So what kind of results am I talking about here?

In one month on hashtags alone I have seen:

My likes grow by 270%
My comments grw by 515%
My followers have almost doubled

Here are 10 hashtags that I love, including a few by awesome bloggers that you should also be following:

1. #mylifeas - Yours Truly
2. #notentirelyperfect - Stephanie @ Not Entirely Perfect
3. #photosinbetween - Helene @ Helene In Between
4. #pursuepretty
5. #flashesofdelight
6. #theeverygirl
7. #thehappynow
8. #abmhappylife
9. #myunicornlife
10. #livecolorfully

Monday, January 9, 2017

Back On The Meal Prep Wagon

It's Monday which means normally in this little space of mine I'd be recapping my weekend for y'all.  However, let me sum it up for you real quick: Nyquil, Shameless on Netflix, meal prep, & getting my teaching stuff out of storage.  There ya go, real hard hitting stuff.  

I went back to work full time last week so getting back into a routine was necessary.  I used to meal plan & do meal prep all the time.  I was good at it & I liked it.  Then, I moved up to Fort Worth, got a roommate, & got sort of bad at it.  Having to cook in a kitchen that doesn't feel like yours & having to share fridge space made me just not care as much.  I had planned on starting meal planning again once I moved into my own place next month, (33 days!), but I got a wild hair & decided to just make life easier for myself & make all my food for the week.

So, instead of my typical recap I'm going to share with you what I made this week.  I spent less than $40 at the grocery store to make all of this.

**I slightly altered the recipes either in the what went in it or how it was cooked, my alterations are what I have typed out.  If you want prettier pictures & the original recipes links are provided above each picture.**

I only made the gravy from scratch.  I bought biscuits & eggs to go with it.

1 lb - ground pork sausage
3 Tbsp - bacon grease
1/4 c - flour
3 c- milk
salt & pepper to taste

1. Brown sausage in frying pan.  Once cooked set sausage aside but leave drippings in the pan.
2. Add bacon grease to the pan.
3. Stir in the flour until golden brown.
4. Whisk in milk until smooth & thickened.
5. Add sausage back into the mixture, season with salt & pepper, simmer for 15 minutes.

14 oz - pizza sauce
1.5-2 lb - chicken breast/tenders
1 Tbsp - olive oil
1 tsp - oregano
1 tsp - garlic powder
1 pkg - sliced mozzarella cheese
2 oz - sliced pepperoni

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
2. In a small sauce pan, simmer pizza sauce for 20 minutes to reduce
3. Heat olive oil in a frying pan & sprinkle oregano & garlic powder on both sides of chicken
4. Cook chicken for 1-2 minutes on both sides, just long enough to brown it
5. Place chicken into a casserole dish, as small as you have while still allowing the chicken to fit in one layer.
6. Cover the chicken with sliced mozzarella, then cover with pepperoni slices, followed by pizza sauce
7. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes

Suppers - Cheddar Bacon Ranch Potato Soup
The best part about this recipe is that it goes in the crockpot.  Crockpot cooking for the win!

1 - small onion, diced
2 pkgs - Microwave Ready Three Cheese Little Potatoes (before you go searching at your local grocery store...they're at Walmart)
1 lb - bacon
32 oz - chicken broth
4 Tbsp - flour
1 oz - ranch dressing mix
2 c (1 pint) - half & half
1 c - sour cream
2 c - shredded cheddar cheese

1. Dice onion & cut potatoes in half
2. Place onion, potatoes, & broth in crockpot on low for 4-5 hours
3. Mix flour, ranch dressing mix, half & half, sour cream, & cheese packets from the potatoes together.
4. Mash up some of the potatoes, making it as smooth or chunky as you desire.
5. Add bacon, cheddar cheese, & flour mixture to the crockpot.  Let cook for 1 hour on low.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Start To 2017

I hope that y'all had a great start to 2017.  I have been a tad MIA from blogging as far as reading & commenting on all the blogs.  I apologize.  I have been sick & also trying to get back into the routine of balancing a normal job with getting stuff for me done as well.  Have a great weekend everyone!  I plan on catching up on a lot of sleep.  Linking up with Amanda.

What I Did

1. I started a new teaching job on Monday.  On Tuesday the kids came back.  That means you can look forward to more Sh*t My Students Say posts in the future & a post next week about what it's like being back in the classroom full time after having been on a semester break.

2. Like clockwork I got sick.  Since at least freshmen year of college I have gotten sick at the start of spring semester.  This is my 5th year as a teacher & guess what?  Sick.  Only this time I can't just skip class & because I only started on Monday, I don't have any time off.  Nyquil has been my friend.

3. I actually came home to this waiting for me last Friday.  In December I participated in a blogger gift swap & I got this sweet gift from Ashley at Bits & Pieces of Me.  It has different good deeds such as "mail homemade cookies to a friend" & "set the road rage aside"

4. I started watching Shameless again.  I binge watched a lot of this show a few years ago but haven't watched it since then.  I had planned on finishing Dallas when I came back but they pulled that from Netflix.  I also tried watching Narcos but was distracted by other things so quit part way into the first episode because I wasn't reading the subtitles to know what was going on.

Moments I'm Grateful For
1: Watching the sunrise over Palo Duro Canyon
2: Starting a new job
3: Having amazing students in my 3rd block
4: Getting 3 new books in the mail
5: Picking up the 8th book in the Left Behind series at the library