Saturday, December 31, 2011

One Final Letter

Dear 2011,

I was going to take the time to honor you in a month by month recap of all that was awesome this year (much like the BFF). But as you quickly come to a close, I just can't be bothered because that is a lot of links.

So 2011, you weren't weren't amazing.  But I'm choosing to be positive. I was unemployed and then employed. I did some crafty things. I made new friends.  I watched a lot of How I Met Your Mother. I mourned the loss of my computer.  I lost some weight.  I had crazy adventures in second grade. I made new goals...and achieved some of them. I cooked a lot. I (mostly) stopped drinking coffee, soda and juice. I read a lot of books. I worked on The List.  

Now, I bid you adieu with a half-hearted good bye. I'm so excited for 2012. Resolutions, new goals, and a new list to come!



Friday, December 30, 2011

Fire! Fire! Fire!

You might be asking yourself...why is Amy's window wide open in the middle beginning of the winter? Well...

There was another toaster oven incident...and by incident I mean fire.  This time it was pretty bad.  Real flames...multiple flames...smoke billowing out like an angry Looney Toon character's ears...smoke detector going off...hence the open window.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Number 11

Way back in August I visited with some besties in the wonderful land of Michigan.  In three short days we toured Kalamazoo, ate breakfast in Holland, swam in the ocean Lake Michigan, went on a crazy dune ride, watched the sunset and a lightning storm from the end of a pier, rode in a golf cart, had a picnic, drove across the state, ate lasagna, went to a farmer's market, and climbed a mountain.

It was a small mountain. New Englanders would probably classify it as a hill.  But Michiganders call it Mount it counts.

Here's the thing about Mount side looks like a mountain with forest and trees and the other side is a GIANT sand dune.  Strange but awesome.  To protect against erosion, someone erected an enormous staircase up the side of the mountain.  Yes...stairs.

We climbed stairs up the entire side of a mountain which was probably harder than just hiking up the mountain would have been.  Luckily, there were resting spots every few flights.

We made it to the top!

There was a lot of graffiti on the observation deck but this was my favorite:

After exploring the backside of the dune for a bit we headed back down which was actually worse than going up.  Staring down all the stairs was such an optical illusion and I was convinced I was going to trip and somersault down 300 stairs.  My quads were quivering by the time we got to the bottom.

Apparently there is a yearly 15K (9 mile) race that ENDS by running up all 300ish stairs. That sounds heinous.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cooking with Amy: Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls Edition

So I blog stalk this cooking blog called How Sweet It Is.  Jessica is hilarious and cooks some delicious things.  Try as I might to replicate her recipes, I seem to fail every single time.

Previously, I baked The Most Delicious Cupcakes Ever and had a butter seizing situation.  I also made a mess because I used a mixing bowl that was too small.

Well...I used the same small bowl today and made a mess again.  <---Typical.  Earlier this evening I softened a stick of butter on the carpet near my baseboard heater. Don't worked wonders.  I set out with my small bowl to make Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Truffles. I mixed butter and peanut butter, vanilla extract, Trader Joe's rice crispy knockoffs, and confectioner's sugar.

Activities on the back of the cereal box FTW!

It was supposed to make a dough....but mine kind of made a peanut butter mush.  I checked the recipe again and again to see if I was missing something.  Jessica's PB balls looked like this:


Mine looked like this:

Tacky, smooshy and sticky

And that is AFTER I added an extra half cup of confectioner's sugar.  But as in most of my cooking adventures I said, "Eh, good enough" and stuck them in the fridge.  I got to melting the chocolate chips and gave those suckers a chocolate bath.

It wasn't pretty.  I couldn't quite get the hang of it.  I made ONE delicate swirl:

Hopefully they are delicious and worth the trouble.

Note: If you have a nut allergy you probably shouldn't come to my apartment ever again.  There is peanut butter everywhere...on the counter, on the stove, in the sink, on my clothes, on the microwave, on my camera, on the floor...everywhere.



About to make these:

But forgot to take the butter out of the freezer.  So naturally, this is happening:

Because how else does a girl soften butter to room temperature?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Number 19

309 days ago I wrote my first 5K post.  I walked the 3.1 miles on the treadmill and it took me 62 minutes.  It was exhausting and an accurate reflection of my (then) fitness level.

264 days ago I wrote about running on the treadmill for the first time.  I did several 1 minute running jogging intervals and survived.

Since then I have done only a smattering of jogging.  In no way did I train for a 5K.  But I decided that I was doing a 5K whether or not I was actually prepared.  While not confident enough to sign up for an official 5K knowing that I would have to walk most of it, I designed my own totally unofficial 5K.

Today, in the presence of 6 high school lacrosse players, I completed the First Annual Unofficial Boxing Day 5K.*
It was windy and cold and I got side stitches and I felt like such an old lady pretending to run in front of high school athletes and I wanted to quit so many times...but I did it.  The whole thing.  All 3.125 miles (which yes, I know is technically a smidge more than a 5K).

I finished the First Annual Unofficial Boxing Day 5K in 52:03...which is 10 minutes faster than my treadmill 5K back in February.  I consider this a success.  You should too.

AND...I WON!  Consequently, in a one person race, that means I also came in last.

* I figured that since Boxing Day is a pretend holiday in the United States, it was the perfect day for a pretend unofficial 5K.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Number 14

I went camping the rain.  But before you begin to think I'm hardcore, let me tell you it's not what you think.

When I added "Go Camping" to The List, I envisioned tents, flashlights, a campfire and s'mores.  Today I had all of those things...except the campfire was made of colored saran wrap and twinkle lights.  Let me explain.

The second graders are finishing up a camping unit so today we turned our classroom into an indoor campground.  The kids made forest backgrounds...

complete with giraffes...

we tented sheets over the tables...

and set up the campfire.

I even snuggled got stuck in a tent.

So while I really meant #14 to be an actual outdoor camping experience, this will have to suffice.  Next summer camping outside, under the stars WILL happen.  For serious.


Thursday, December 15, 2011


Getting in the Christmas spirit...for real this time.

Tackling the lights.

After a day to recover from the trauma of putting up my tree, I got to decorating.  Yes, there is a giant hole in the branches.  Yes, my tree is still crooked.  Yes, it has no topper.  But it is still super awesome.

 In case you care, this is my favorite ornament of all time.  It's my birth year baby ornament.  (OMG I'm old!)  It is always front and center on the tree.

Now there is glitter and pine needles all over the place but my vacuum is too loud to operate after the hour of 7:00 pm so my floor will sparkle for another day.

P.S. I have a thing for blurred lights.  I love them and think they are whimsical.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bah Humbug!

Putting up my Christmas tree made a Scrooge out of me!

Things I learned today:

You (and by you, I'm referring to myself) need TWO people to put up a Christmas tree...especially if you want it to have any semblance of straightness.  

I hauled my tree out of the trunk of my car and into my apartment all by myself!  And from there it all went bad.  I quickly discovered I either A. don't know how to use a hand saw or B. don't have the arm strength to use a hand saw.  I mangled the trunk of my tree as I tried to saw off some of the bottom branches so it would fit into the tree stand.  

I got it up in the tree stand but it was super wiggly and mostly crooked.  So I took it down and started over.  On my second try my tree looked like this:

I know right?  It was at this point that I had a meltdown like butter atop a baked potato.  There was swearing and near tears involved.  I almost called my mom. (I had already called my dad once.)  I took a breather then gave it one more try.

The tree was up and still tilted but it was going to have to do.  Plus...I think the top half of my tree is not in line with the bottom half of my tree.  Case in point:

One and a half hours after I began...

It's the best I could do by myself and that will have to be good enough.  After all was said and done, I was covered in sap and had to dip my hands in nail polish remover.  I couldn't bear the thought of dealing with the tree for one more second so the lights and ornaments will have to wait.

Oh...and yes I screwed a hook into my wall to tie some baker's twine around the trunk of my tree to hold it up straightish and to (hopefully) keep it from falling over...

...that's how I roll.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oh Holy Afternoon

On Saturday, I headed to the home of Thoreau, Emerson and Alcott to hear a (mostly) Christmas, barbershop quartet chorus concert.  Yes, barbershop choruses (chori?) still exist...and no, there was no haircutting happening.  Just 40-50 men in their best Christmas ties ready to serenade.

I must admit, I was anticipating (and hoping for) bedazzled, sequin vests but sadly they were a shiny, snowy white.

They sang all my favorite Christmas songs and happily refrained from any of the stupid cheesy Christmas songs like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."  My eyes maybe, almost teared during "Oh Holy Night" because it's my favorite Christmas song of all time.  The "fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices" gets me every time.  I've loved it ever since Macaulay Culkin wandered into that church and made friends with the creepy old man in Home basically forever.

After the concert, I headed home to bake crack cookies saltine toffee for the first cookie party of the season, and construct a GIANT snowflake out of popsicle sticks.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Adventures in Second Grade: Field Trip and Santa Edition

As you may know, yesterday I spent sort of a disastrous day playing teacher. Today my work bestie and I took the second graders to a play.  Riding on a bus with 60 seven year olds is no ones idea of a good time.  They spent the entire bus ride waving to every single car that passed us. Every single car.  At one point when a Toy's R Us truck passed the bus the kids had a collective conniption.  It was like we told them we were headed to Disney World.

When we got back from the field trip we squeezed in a 15 minute recess.  During those 15 minutes, three different kids cried.  THREE!  And I didn't do anything this time...promise.

I did however, almost ruin Christmas for my entire class.  I read aloud the book Silver Packages (which p.s. almost made me cry). 

In the book, a poor boy in Appalachia waits for gifts to be thrown from a train. He wants a doctor kit but gets socks, and hats and mittens because he needs them to keep him warm. After I read the book, I was telling the kids how much they should appreciate the gifts they receive because some kids don't get any presents.

A boy looked at me horrified and said, "What?  You mean Santa just doesn't visit them?  Like he can't find them or something?"

OMG.  I can't imagine what my face looked like while I tried to back pedal and explain that I meant some kids will only get a present from Santa and not their families. Yikes.

Attention other adults:  Just so we're on the same page, Santa brings one present and the rest are from mom and dad...right?


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Don't Even...

How many people did you see bleed today?  Because I saw two...and that was two too many!

It all started when I agreed to play teacher today because the teacher I work with was absent.  The kids were crazy sauce because they are getting psyched about Christmas and tomorrow we are going on a field trip in the snow.

First, I made a kid cry.  I was teaching a writing lesson (that bombed p.s.) on choosing more exciting verbs.  But second graders don't write action verbs they write entire stories consisting of I had... and I went.  So a boy cried because he couldn't handle it.

Then, we were doing a science activity.  The kids were observing gravel and salt and they were allowed to smell the items.  Although we reviewed the correct way to smell items in science (wafting), a boy stuck his nose into the cup full of salt and exhaled. The salt flew out of the cup, got in his eyes and stuck to his face.  A quick rinse in the sink and a trip to the nurse and he was as good as new.

Second graders still don't have wonderful body control and while packing up two kids bumped heads and a nose bleed ensued.

Tears: 2
Nurse: 2

I left work with my mind set upon stopping at home to change then heading straight for the gym.  On the way home I had a similar yet more serious experience as the camel sighting. I saw a person lying on the sidewalk in the rain.  In two seconds my brain went from "there is a person on the sidewalk, that can't be good" to "why would a person be on the sidewalk" to "OH MY GOD THAT IS A PERSON ON THE SIDEWALK!"

I pulled over my car, threw on my flashers and ran over to him wondering what I would find when I got to him.  He was an older gentleman out for a walk in the rain who had fallen and was bleeding from the face in several places.  I didn't have my phone with me so luckily another gentleman pulled over and called 911.  The older man insisted he was fine and live only 200 yards away but we called 911 anyways. Let me tell you...the 6 minutes we waited for the ambulance were some of the longest minutes of my life.  I didn't know whether to talk to him or take off his hat to see if I should try to stop the bleeding.  <----This is why I am not a nurse.

FYI: In a small town when you call 911 for a man who has fallen down and cut his face, an ambulance, a firetruck, a police car and a police SUV show up.  The EMT's knew the man (apparently this has happened before), cleaned him up, and (I hope) drove him home.

After all of that, I still jumped in my car and went to the gym...and sat in traffic on the way because there was a giant accident.  Today was crazy.

Other possible titles for this post:

Small Town Living: Medical Emergency Edition

Amy Plays Teacher: And Maims Some Kids

Today HAS to be a Full Moon


Apparently it's Going to Snow

Today Was Crazy


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

CRV Drivers = Not Nice Drivers

Dear CRV Drivers,*

Why are you all up in my grill today?  You need to stay out of my way.  Especially when I am in the turning lane and you are in the going straight lane even though you are going to turn.  Just because you didn't want to wait in the turning lane traffic does not mean that you get to cut me off.


*This letter does not apply to the people I know personally that drive CRV's because I know it wasn't you!

Also, grabbing a yogurt off the grocery store shelf, opening it and proceeding to feed it to your kid while standing in the exact middle of the dairy aisle is NOT okay.

Now that I'm home and all fired up, I've got a date with Lisa Loeb and a sink full of dishes.  Be jealous.


Monday, November 28, 2011


Watching The Grinch Stole Christmas...

...while eating Thanksgiving: Part Deux... a heat wave.  It hit 63 degrees today in the state of Massachusetts which is unheard of for November 28th.

In other news, I fully admit that I judge people who go shopping on Black Friday. People (in general) are crazy when it comes to stuff: i.e. a squirt of pepper spray to the eye in order to cut in line or a full on riot over $2.00 waffle makers.  Do people really love waffles that much?

But...and here is where you get to judge me right back...I have my moments of crazy also.  Take for example, this evening.

I am at the gym and super sweaty (you're welcome for that image btw).  

I am headed from the gym to a meeting so I brought a clean shirt to change into...but I accidentally leave the clean shirt in the car.  So in my infinite wisdom, I decide to take off my sweaty shirt and just zip up my fleece all the way.  I figured I would just throw on the clean shirt in the car.

So I get to my car (which I responsibly parked under a street light) and there is someone sitting in the car across from me.  I most definitely was not going to strip in front of Mr. Random.  I pull out of the parking lot and just assume I'll figure out a new plan on the way.  My plan turned out to be this: change from fleece to t-shirt at 30 mph on a dark road.  The whole 45 seconds it took me to change I kept thinking this would be an awful time to hit a deer.  The cops would find me topless on a dark road blaring Christmas music.

File under: # this is my life, # this is why I'm single


Friday, November 25, 2011

Exciting Friday Night

This is happening...

Just me, a pair of scissors and a mirror.

Cross your fingers!

And just as I foretold back in July, my hair grew longer and I cut it again. 

Cooking with Amy: Thanksgiving Pie Edition

So Thanksgiving has come and gone.  Hands have been traced, pilgrim hats colored, pies baked, turkey (and stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, bread, cranberry sauce and pies) eaten.  Food coma accomplished.  The Black Friday ads were scoured and I hemmed and hawed about battling the public at large for a new laptop.

Ultimately, I decided that I am incapable of making a decision so I slept in then ate left over pie for breakfast.  Last year I conquered the best biscuits ever, cherry pie and pumpkin cheesecake.  This year I attempted a healthier (if there is such a thing) dessert.  I made a lemon custardy thing with a graham cracker crust.

First I crunched up some cinnamon graham crackers.

Which I managed to do without popping the bag!  <---Respect.

I mixed eggs, condensed milk, lemon juice and some lemon rind then poured it into my pie crust.  FYI: Juicing lemons + dry hands = OUCH!

I baked my pie/custard thing for 15 minutes but it was still liquidy.  So I baked it some more.  Eventually I gave up and took it out even though it was still wiggly.  Everyday Mom insisted that because it was custard-like it would set up.  I believed her.  Perhaps one reason it was so gooey was because the recipe called for 11 oz of condensed milk but the can was 14 oz so I just poured it in until I thought it looked like right.  I will (probably) measure it in the future.  But after some time in the fridge it looked like pie!  Like custard!  Like lemon goodness!

It was delicious and everyone loved it.  Obviously.

After all was said and done, I headed home with Christmas songs on the radio and marked the start to the holiday season by watching ELF!  The time has officially come to go Christmas crazy.  Deck the halls, sing your fa-la-las, bake those cookies, put up a tree, send holiday cards, string the lights, watch Elf every day, cut paper snowflakes, knit a scarf and be merry.  I will be doing all of this and more starting today even though it is 60 degrees out on the day after Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful:

That sometimes my parents drive me crazy
because it means that they love and support me.

That my brother won't be home for the holidays
because it means that he is healthy and working hard.

That sometimes my socks get wet when I let the dog out
because it means that some days are full of puppy cuddles.

That I don't get to see my friends as often as I would like
because it means that I have people to confide in.

For living paycheck to paycheck
because it means I have a job.

For the lines and poor customer service at Walmart
because it means that I am buying chocolate peanut butter.

For the awful lip syncing during the Macy's Thanksgiving parade
because it means that I have a TV and can afford cable.

That I've been stranded in the airport
because it means that I've had the chance to travel.

For my heating bill
because it means that I am warm.

That Santa is about to appear on a float
because it means that I can FINALLY get excited about Christmas.

That you read this cheesy post
because it means that I have the freedom to write.

What are you thankful for?  


Tuesday, November 22, 2011


What a strange sounding word.  And not quite the word to describe today.  But the word I am looking for escapes me at this moment.

I had a super fast day at school/work.  I played "Break The Ice" with competitive, aggressive boys, had grade 2 lunch group with three awesome space cadets (and I mean that in the nicest way possible so don't judge me), and had lunch and "consult" time with super fab colleagues friends.

After school/work I hauled ass to my favorite dog-loving car dealership.  Today there was one of those little black and white dogs with barely any fur, and permanent bug eyes.  A Boston terrier I think?  Its owner coaxed it onto the couch next to her where it proceeded to lick itself silly.  One and a half hours later, a basic service and 5 pins to hold on those flappy splash guard things and I was out of there.

I was psyched to drive by the gas station that had gas for $3.36.  (At my home gas station it is $3.65.)  I pull in, turn off the car, uncap the cap and find that the advertised price was ONLY for gas card holding members!  For regular credit card holders it is $ .06 more.  FALSE ADVERTISING!

When I got home, I consulted my T-day recipes and made my shopping list which I proceeded to leave at hopefully I picked up the important things!

Reheated left overs from last night for dinner and used my flat naan to make some garlic bread.  And in typical Amy fashion, I accidentally lit my toaster oven on fire.  NBD.

Tomorrow is a half day and I get to play teacher because the "real" teacher is taking off for T-day early.  We have a busy day of word searches, indoor recess, and Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving planned.  I was supposed to take off for Maine but apparently there is ANOTHER storm that is going to screw up my travel plans.  WTF Mother Nature?

Also:  At some point (when I finally replace my camera charger) I promise to put photos on my blog again.


Monday, November 21, 2011

English Muffins and Chocolate PB

In a 2.5 day week Tuesday = Thursday.  So it's practically Friday already!

I haven't slept well in a few days so this morning was a bit rough.  I toasted an english muffin while I was getting dressed and burnt the bejesus out of it.  But alas, it was my last one so I figured it was nothing that a little peanut butter couldn't fix.  Turns out I was wrong.

I spent the day wrangling 7 & 8 year olds, avoiding Christmas music on the radio and wandered the aisles of Walmart in sweats this evening.  <--- I promise that I'm not as trashy as this makes me sound.  The sweats were intended for the gym and Walmart is the only place where I can find my beloved chocolate PB.

Aside from the breakfast blunder, today flew by. Tomorrow is going to be busy.  School/work, car service, library, laundry, packing for Maine, grocery shopping, and hoping the men at Toyota don't judge me for the disaster that is the inside of my trunk.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cooking with Amy: Naan Edition

I had another Breadventure this weekend.  I came across a simple recipe for naan (pronounced: naan).* The secret ingredient to the naan was yogurt.  Greek yogurt in an Indian bread.  Hmm.

I mixed the water, yeast and sugar and waited for it to get all foamy.  But it didn't.  So I dumped it down the sink and started again.  I assumed (incorrectly) that I used water that was too hot and killed the yeast. second go around yielded the same results.  No foam.

But I forged ahead anyways.  I mixed the rest of the ingredients but left out this flour:

for obvious reasons and got to kneading.  Well it looked like dough.  I set it aside and an hour later it still looked like this:

the yeast did not do its thing thus my dough didn't rise.  But I cooked it anyways.  At first the dough bubbled up like it was supposed to:

But when I flipped it, the bubbles sank and my bread turned out more like a tortilla pancake then a naan.

I probably went wrong in many ways but I am going to blame the yeast this time.  At least they kind of looked like naan.

I threw some crock pot bbq chicken on top and a few fresh mozzarella bits and made myself a little pizza.  It was delicious.  Even on a pancake-naan.

* I know that the letter A in the word cat is a short vowel...and the letter A in the word same is a long vowel...but what about when the letter A makes the sound that it does in naan, or at the end of Santa?  Long or short?  Is there a medium vowel? 

File under: #Things I should know as a second grade teacher paraprofessional.

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