Blackberry Cobbler And Grocery Shopping

When I go grocery shopping, I like to try to buy according to what is on sale. And not 20 cents off sale, but a significant portion of the price… $1.00 off a $3.00 product or this week blackberries, 6 oz. for $1.25 instead of $3.00. This tactic has helped me to eat fresh healthy foods while pregnant without blowing the grocery budget. That salad I added to the other day’s post was composed from great produce deals and was satisfying and good for the baby and I.

I think when we move I’ll be smarter about it and find a circular online or at the store before shopping so that I can see what’s on sale and plan meals accordingly. The way I do it now, I can’t plan ahead other than just knowing I’ll eat blackberries or spinach in the next few days but I can’t meal plan ahead anyway thanks to this first trimester business. For now, in addition to my produce purchases, I buy sale cereal or soup or frozen food to hoard until I’m hungry and it sounds decent.

Tonight I decided to make blackberry cobbler since those lovely blackberries are too tart to eat on their own. I had all the ingredients except for sugar and shortening. Doesn’t that make my pantry sound so healthy?? It’s kind of a lie because sure, I don’t keep sugar around, but I do have cinnamon toast crunch, Chex mix and fruit roll ups in there.

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Anyway, I have always been a baker, even as a kid I would bake sugar cookies on snow days since my mom didn’t keep junk in the house, but we always had the basics needed for a simple no-frill cookie. I’ve even got a signature cookie, but I’ve never tried a pie or cobbler or really anything beyond cookies and the occasional cake. Im definitely hoping to keep expanding my repertoire of cooking and baking this year, with reasonably healthy dishes, so it was a perfect time to try my hand at a cobbler, which is actually really simple!!

image  image  image Oh my god, this was good…. I see breakfast tomorrow morning.

Trying to De-Bachelor our Pad

I think I’ve mentioned before that our apartment tends to look like a dark, cheaply furnished bachelor pad. I’ve been trying to work on this since we moved, buying and filling a beautiful china hutch, replacing our brown comforter with a white down-alternative (hasn’t been photographed but has really brightened up the bedroom) and my project this week has been to paint the cheap black particle board bookshelves that flank the pretty hutch, dragging it down with their drabness. I also ordered a new dining room table as we no longer have one and we’ll be picking that up next week.
I found a rug for 20$ to put under the table that I rather like despite its being yet another Big Lots piece. The table is real, actual furniture and I will be showing it off soon! In the meantime, here’s my bookshelf makeover. While I love the end result, it took a long time and a lot of coats and is highly prone to chipping, probably because particle board furniture is not meant to be painted. Is this why contact paper is a thing? Anyway, by the time I was finished with this bookcase I did not, and do not, at all want to go through the hassle of painting the other one, but I must! It kind of reminds me of the time I drove from Louisiana to Maine (32 grueling hours) and never ever wanted to make that trip again, but of course I had to. I had my car with me in Maine, and the both of us needed to get back to Louisiana, so I just had to suck it up and do the whole damn trip all over again. so, yeah I have to do this painting thing again. And buy a new roller and tray since I had no idea how to clean/store them and so I didn’t. Gooogle probably could have helped me with this, but instead I asked C. when we talked last night and apparently by then I’d missed my deadline to salvage both since it had been 10 hours.

before, but with the new rug.
before, but with the new rug.

 

The after picture makes me sigh with relief.
The after picture makes me sigh with relief.

Sh;t Five Year Olds Said This Week

Me: it sure would stink if you got your candy taken away (a threat, to child A)
Child B, looking genuinely confused: it doesn’t stink when you lose your candy… Miss G, do you stink when someone takes your candy?

“You look like fiona”
“Who is fiona?”
“Princess fiona”
Me,not asking whether she means in ogre or human form, “thank you ”

“Why is your face pink ?” (Asked again)
” I think thats just what color my face is”
“You’re supposed to be white.”
Oh, okay then, my bad.

I come back from my lunch break with my hair in a ponytail instead of down
“who did your hair?”

They don’t actually say as many crazy things as one might expect, when they’re being crazy at this age it seems to be mostly physical movement and nonsense sounds. There is one kid who consistently cracks me up because he’s just this little guy but he has this very deep voice.he has a tendency of being very quiet but when he walks by me or the teacher sometimes he just says “hey” with a wave and the casual, deep-voiced hey out of this baby is just so weird and cute. You probably have to be there, but whatever. The teacher was imitating it to me at recess today and it was so funny because it was on-point and also she noticed too, I’m not alone in finding it so hilarious.

PreK is My Jam

So, I’ve been an active substitute teacher for two weeks now and have worked four days- one as a reading interventionist with 1st and 2nd graders, one hellacious half day as a first grade teacher, a day as a preK teacher and a  half day as a preK paraprofessional. The only bad day was doing first grade because the kids completely changed as soon as their teacher left and there was no getting everyone to be quiet and focus at the same time, or to stay on task, so it was chaotic and I couldn’t really get them to complete anything.

Working as a reading interventionist went well because the largest group I had was six kids so it was easy to keep them on task and engaged. PreK has been amazing because there are two adults (a teacher and a para) for each class of 18 kids. This generally means that there is a familiar adult in the room even when there is a sub, so the kids don’t act out like they tend to when there is a sub. All of the kids, the first graders who handed me my ass included, are so freaking cute, but I think the kids can sense that I’m really pretty nice and also don’t know every classroom rule and so they definitely tested limits and I always had a group of kids harassing other students while another handful were asking me for snacks or the bathroom or complaining about kids taking things from them, etc. I just had to realize that I might not be the best at wrangling a classroom full of unfamiliar six year olds by myself.

Basically, I’m thinking of sticking with preK and I’ve already gotten to know two teachers who would like for me to come back next time they’re out, so I think the plan could work. I was actually supposed to teach high school English today, but the school I was going to be at has been on lockdown once this week (yesterday!) for gun threats and has been in the news three times this week for the same reason, threats of a shooting. I felt like based on that, this probably wouldn’t be an environment I’d be comfortable in, especially as I was already nervous about working with older kids because I’ve heard of teachers getting harassed and threatened and I don’t know if I’d be able to keep them from acting out. So, yeah, I threw that job back into the pool and I’m sticking to the little kids that I have loved working with. With the h.s. thing, even if the rumors hadn’t come to anything yet, I figure where there’s that much smoke, there’s going to be fire. Scary.

Our Apartment: The Settling in Edition

The last time I posted about our Virginia apartment, it was still an unpacked mess, so I thought I’d update with a few new pictures since we are more settled in now. Also I finally got the hutch I’ve had my eye on for over a month that I didn’t think I’d actually get. It is THE FIRST piece of furniture I’ve ever gotten to pick out for our home, as C. holds the purse springs and has chosen, without my even seeing them, the couch, coffee tables, end tables, bed frame, washer/dryer and etc. He did a great job choosing everything and mostly it’s bargain stuff anyway, aside from the  bed frame and washer dryer (which I loooove), but it was high time I got a little say in our decorating choices, and that’s why I’m so ridiculously excited about this new addition to our house. It’s just so pretty, and we don’t have a lot of pretty things as they are obviously mostly pretty masculine or neutral.

So, yeah, pictures.

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Cooking; A meditation

Today, I accidentally discovered what it is that I love so much about being alone in kitchen with my music, just cooking at my own pace. I had this great acoustic mix playing, had slowly and carefully prepped my ingredients at my own slow pace, not trying to be efficient or worrying about getting anything done before something else, because I did everything just one single thing at a time. My favorite way to cook is to spread what could be done over 45 minutes into a 2 hour ritual, to make it a sort of meditation.

So, there I found myself, swaying slightly and un-self-consciously to a lovely, strumming, jazzy song as I slowly, carefully, peeled two soft-boiled eggs for a cold ramen dish. I caught myself, just purely in a moment. That happens so rarely for me, I think so much, the same thoughts often roll over and over in my head, it’s not even anything new, it’s not even important, it’s just a constant rumination. And of course, I was still thinking my own little internal monologue while peeling, but it was just so much slower and softer than I am used to. When I take cooking slowly, and especially in the prep time when the over-sensitive smoke alarm isn’t crying out at my attempting to sear something, there’s just something so gentle and soothing about the little purposeful movements involved. This is a pretty strange blog post I guess, but I guess that’s what I wanted to explain- how different cooking can be from everything else, writing especially. It’s so outside the self in a way. Anyway, I’ll just leave you with that. A meditation on the meditation of cooking. A post with the most variations on the word “slow” I’ll probably ever write.

Astrological Naval Gazing

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I know that for most people, someone else’s astrological chart is about as interesting (or less so?) as hearing them describe a dream. Personally, I have my astrological sign tattoo-ed on my foot, so obviously as illogical as I may find the whole thing, I also relate to it. My scientific mind basically sides with the Big Bang theory pilot where Sheldon says the whole thing about believing that your personality is in some way shaped by the position of arbitrarily definied constellations at the time of your birth, blah blah obviously astrology is, at best, a pseudo science. But it is a pseudo science that I think is fun to explore, and as an older member of the millenial generation, I’m totally game for a free reading based on my birth date, time and location. Even though it’s irrational, I’m all like “yeah tell me all of the things about myself, that’s so cool, special snowflake, it’s as if they KNOW me… whatever… I don’t even believe in this, but it’s SO me!” You are welcome for the exaggerated internal monologue.image

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Anyway, I found a website where they will make and analyze your birth chart for free and I thought it was awesome because I had a friend who did it for me once by hand and I did a lame version myself using a book where I highlighted the sections relating to the placements of things when I was born and got a similar result but with much more work and it wasn’t as cohesive. So, if you’re into this sort of thing at all, it’s pretty cool to have it all laid out neatly without the hours of poking around in a book going from index to text and back again. It was pretty damn accurate except that, as a libra, it’s always assumed that I’m super beautiful and vain and I’m definitely more sometimes pretty and in no way classically beautiful, but I guess astrology shouldn’t be trying to predict how I look because how in the world does when I was born mean anything about how my genes combined to affect my appearance? (I know, you’re saying the same thing about personality…)

I was going to link to the site I used, but every time I try to paste on wordpress it just adds to to my title and it’s terrible like that. So, if you want one, it’s from about.com and I found it by searching “birth chart” on bing. Sorry for the lack of linking skills, I don’t even get it. (The options for linking in posts are always grey-ed out and unavailable to me).

Happy weekend everyone!

The First Day of Fall at Fort Monroe

When I woke up this morning and stepped outside, it was obvious that the weather had perfectly aligned itself with the autumnal equinox. I mean, it was suddenly, obviously fall. The air was a cool 60-something degrees, the leaves rustled in the breeze, some guys with huge power tillers or something yelled to each other from the lawn below. Aside from the loud machines and yelling it was the perfect fall morning and, magically, it actually came when it was supposed to. I decided it was the perfect day for a run at Fort Monroe, which I think is still my favorite place in Hampton.

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I discovered a new path at the end of the boardwalk and some as-yet-unseen fortifications. I had to take a couple pictures of what I lovingly refer to as the moat, as well, because I am still awed by the fact that there are actual moats, not just around fairy tale castles, but around real forts in the good ol’ USA. The general consensus is that my reaction to this is over the top, but whatever. I think it’s awesome and I want to live on the hill surrounded by this moat and pretend to be a princess. Basically, this moat makes me feel like Amy Farrah Fowler when Sheldon gave her a tiara. If you don’t watch The Big Bang Theory you have no idea what I’m talking about, but doesn’t everyone watch it? I’ve even looked up that specific clip on you-tube just to watch her flip out over and over. It’s great.

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Well, now that I’ve reached the limit on how many times one can say “moat” in a blog post, I’ll quickly sum up my run. It was my fastest pace yet despite a heavy wind that made me feel like I was barely moving. I ran 1.8 miles in 17:42, making for an average pace of 9:51/mi. Mile one pace 9:46, mile two pace was 9:57. I would feel a lot better about this is my 5k wasn’t in less than two weeks, shit!!! I still have only gotten as far as running 2 miles in a row, so I’m still 1.2 short of where I need to be I guess I shouldn’t have slacked off in the beginning of September. I’m kind of stressed about the race anyway because I’ll have to go really early, figure out where to park, and it’s going ot be very very crowded and I hate crowds and hate things where I don’t know where to park or where I’m going, etc, so this is way out of my comfort zone. I’m definitely going to have to pep talk myself into actually showing up, but I will! I will!

Life Lately ( and Cat Pictures)

First of all, I was really proud of myself a moment ago when I realized that the 3 pints of Ben & Jerry’s I purchased a week ago are not ALL gone. There’s a pint and a half in the freezer still, which is holy cow not even normal for me. I was a lot less proud when I reflected on the fact that I ordered a full combo plate of chinese food and a side of (eight!!) crab rangoon last night and there are no leftovers. Like, at all. So. That’s why I wear yoga pants all the time.

In other “news” I ran 2 miles straight this morning!!! I was shocked necause I hadn’t run since my last update and that last run was LAME. I really like my caps today, sorry. Anyway TWO MILES, and I even managed to run the second mile faster than the first in under ten minutes. That’s my first negative split, too! I guess chinese food is good fuel, I’m just kidding, it was probably despite the chinese food that I had my longest run yet. 2.01 miles in 20:26, though, I’m pumped!! Even though I’m the only one who cares, mile one was in 10:23 and mile two was in 9:57.

I also got a job this week and busted my butt tuesday and wednesday filling out and scanning paperwork and proof of this and that. I passed a three state background check with a probe into any DHS-type stuff, I mean, obviously I passed, but whatever, I am going to pretend that there’s some hidden accomplishment in not having a dark criminal past since I had to pay so much for my life to get snooped on. Got a TB screening yesterday, submitted that straight away and all that in such a hurry because there’s a training monday and then not for another 3 weeks, so I HAD to get my paperwork in in time to get looked over, approved and still give them time to invite me to training because it’s “invitation only”. Doesn’t that make an unpaid 7 hour training sound so much more appealing? No? Yeah… not to me either, but what does sound appealing is being done training asap and getting to work. I’m pretty excited about both the variety of ages I’ll get to work with (preK to grade 12) and getting to make my own schedule and pick and choose between grades and districts when work is plentiful.

I don’t really think I’ve done anything special this week aside from what I’ve just recapped here and it was pretty mundane, but I figured I’d do a little round-up anyway.

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