Friday, December 16, 2011

1st Semester=done!

I can't believe how fast this first semester of teaching went by! Is that how it always is your first year? It feels like yesterday was my very first day and I was a hot mess because I felt like the kids could see right through me how scared I really was! Ha! How far I've come! (I think I hide it very well ;)

This first semester has met me with great success and many challenges along the way. Throw being a youth leader, joining the church choir, and allowing the Lord to help me be a good wife in there... it got a little crazy. But the Lord was/is/will be always faithful.

I have already put on 3 programs this year, each one unique and fun. And a plus: it's always good to hear positive feedback from parents and my principal of course! AND the kids loved it, so that's what really matters.

I've been blessed with a wonderful choir, Celebration Singers, who performed 5 different times this semester already! And once was on TV at 6:45 in the morning! How amazing they are to get up and sing!

I've been given the great challenge of trying to get the students up to speed where they need to be musically. This has been good for me, because I am always making sure there is a purpose in everything I do. But also can be frustrating when 2nd graders are doing the same thing as 5th graders at times... so far kinder and 1st are the only grades on track! I'm excited for them when they are 5th graders to see what they are able to accomplish musically! And maybe this is just me because I'm love music and I'm a nerd, but how cool is it that these kids can now literally read music?? (pretty cool if you ask me!)

I just started teaching the 5th graders how to play guitar, because let's get real, everyone who play guitar is cool. They LOVE it. I mean, those 5th graders are a difficult bunch, but some of them were just the sweetest things: "Mrs. Nice this was so much fun!" I'm asking my parents for a guitar this Christmas!" (your welcome parents!) "Thank you SO much Mrs. Nice for teaching us!" <--my personal favorite

I'm very excited to see what this next semester has in store for me and my students. I am so blessed to be at the school I am at, with the students I have, the staff, and amazing supportive parents. What a blessing from the Lord! And the Christmas blessing are overflowing! Literally!

That's not even it all unpacked/wrapped!

My personal favorite. She must see me with my water cup every day! Love it!

So for those of you who have been praying for me and this semester at school, thank you! I have been blessed to the extreme and more.

Joyfully teaching,

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Busy little bee!

Wow. What a busy time of year this is!!! Not only is it super busy with school, but with church as well. So many exciting things going on!

I cannot express how excited I am for Christmas break to come!!! And only in 1 week!!!!! aaah!!! What will I do with myself?? I'm praying this next week flies by! Thankfully, this next week won't be as busy as last week.

Last week's festivities included the following:
Sunday: Young adult dinner with church
Monday: stay in!
Tuesday: Youth leader Christmas get together
Wednesday: Performing on TV with my choir at 6:45 in the morning... in the cold, Faculty Christmas dinner/party/thing, and Youth
Thursday: Our niece's 3rd birthday celebration!

Friday: A Christmas Carol performance that a few of my precious students were in. (I'm sorry, i just couldn't get over this girl's hat. It started off being a little to the side of her head, and eventually by the end of it, it was literally on the side of her head (as you can see). It was so funny.

One of my students was Tiny Tim. She was so cute!

And her little sisters were just precious little kids in the chorus!

Saturday: Breakfast with Santa at school (with the choir performing), and then choir performing at a nursing home, and then hay ride at church later!

aaahh... makes me tired just thinking about all of that! This next week won't be so busy. But I AM starting to teach my 5th graders guitar, so that will be fun!

I really can't believe that this first half of the year is almost over. It has flown by like no other. My first year teaching will be over before I know it! Right now, though, I am trying to focus on the moment at hand, and enjoy it to the fullest. :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

HEB love

If you don't live next to an HEB, I'm sorry. So very, very sorry. It's pretty much the best grocery store out there. And I'm not lyin'. If you do have the pleasure to frequent an HEB near you, (or even a Central Market!), you hafta, hafta, hafta, hafta try this ice cream!

Now, this isn't one of those ice creams that says 'Eggnog' and then kinda has a little smidge-hint of eggnogg-y sorts.


This ice cream literally tastes like the drink. To says "it's so good" would be an understatement.

So for all of you who don't live in the great state of Texas and don't have access to HEB, come on down for Christmas sometime and we'll get you hooked up!

Happy December!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Big 2-4

So my birthday was on Sunday. Mike probably got so sick of me saying it, but it really didn't feel like my birthday! Maybe it's because there are so many new factors in life:

1. I'm married

2. I live in a new city

3. I have a new and busy job

4. I'm just getting older... (not really new, but kind of)

Regardless of it not feeling like my birthday, it definitely was. Mom and dad came into town which was nice. A new thing now that I don't live 5+ hours away! They came to church with us, and then we enjoyed some lunch over at Luigi's. I have to say, that restaurant has one of the best atmospheres in town. The inside is like a giant patio, and then there's a separate-ish kind of room that acts as an actual room. Plus, there's live music almost every day, which I love. Next time you are in town, we'll go to Luigi's. : )

Then for dinner we went over to Laurie and Erich's house for burgers! I had to open my gifts before dinner was even ready because I got an awesome fryer!!!!

We were going to need it to fry up the variety of amazing french fries set before us!

Regular cut, curly, spicy sweet potato, onion rings... the whole shabang! My family knows me well. : )

Oh, and of course the adorable card from my nephew and niece Ethan and Eva. LOVE 'EM!

You need lots of oil for these bad boys to crisp to perfection. A whole bottle+!

Got to get them just right!

Workin' those fries with some class!

Well, besides french fries, of course my night was full of entertainment from the little ones. Ethan is now walking around (for the most part) and is as adorable as ever.

I mean really though!!!! SO CUTE!

And Eva is just as spunky and crazy as ever.

I know it's a little fuzzy, but believe me, she's got some dance moves. : )

But she is still just as cute!!!

So proud of her new tennis shoes!

What a sweet picture of Eva and Pop!

And what would a Cleveland/Wimberly/Niswander get together be if there weren't any musica!

Ethan LOVES the drum.

So, with loving family around, (miss ya Ty!) it was overall a good birthday. I did manage to eat way to much and my night ended with me throwing up, but hey, your birthday only happens once a year!

Thank you for all your birthday thoughts and wishes!

Big grown-up 24 year old,


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Teeth of Wisdom

So yesterday Mike had his wisdom teeth removed. All four of them. I was sad I wasn't able to take him, or pick him up, but I was able to take a half-day and be with him, so I guess that was second best. : )

SMILE! : )

Unlike when I had my wisdom teeth pulled, his mouth is free from swollen-ness, he's not really in any pain, can talk normally, remembers (almost) everything from the surgery, and did I mention not really in pain?? He even still came to help at youth last night! Crazy man!

I was in a daze when I got mine removed. I remember somehow getting into the car, then I woke up in my bed to my 2 best friends Amy and Natalie greeting me, I think with ice cream. And my mouth is just bloody, and drool is everywhere.

Pretty sure they tried to give me some water and it just went down my whole face and body because my mouth was still numb.

It was one of my shining moments in life.

However, I was quite a fool and the following day went jet skiing. I thought, "I'm not in that much pain, I can handle it!" Pain did come and the next day I was resenting that decision.

But enough about me, it's Mike's teeth that got pulled. We had already stocked up on jello, pudding, apple sauce, ice cream, and some frozen mashed potatoes, so that was good and ready to go! I did somehow manage to completely ruin the first batch of pudding because when it says "stir constantly", it really means it. And while burning chocolate pudding to the bottom of the pot, I managed to completely ruin the pot, so pot #3, down.

I really need to get some new pots and pans. I just keep putting it off. They are so expensive!

Well I felt horrible about ruining the easiest thing on earth to make. I thought that it might possibly be salvageable, but no. It still smelled like burnt marshmallow of all things, and it was super lumpy... my second batch was much better thanks to the constant stirring. : )

J-E-L-L-O It's aliiiiive! (Does anyone else remember those commercials??)

Mike thinking "well I guess this is my life now..."

"I'm so excited about this pudding!"

"I think I'll eat more jello."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Made it!

So, tonight I took upon the challenge of the "Yummiest Peach Cobbler". I was a little excited. Ok, I was really excited because:

1. My peaches that only cost me $2 were ripe and ready and I could smell them as I sat at the table.

2. I had watched a video explaining how to blanch peaches to make their skin easy to peel off- which by the way is genius! So I was pretty eager to see how that would all pan out.

Pretty nice if I don't say so myself. : )

**However, I do have to say this... either the people that made that video didn't need to slice their peaches and were just eating them whole like this for some strange reason, or they have some secret hidden in their back pocket, but it was almost IMPOSSIBLE to cut these suckers! When the peach has the skin on it, I usually can slice it half way and then twist it to get it off of the pit. That did not happen. I really don't know how I got the peach off from the pit, but it happened and I'm just glad it did. : )

3. We were having friends over tonight for an Arrested Development watching get together. (Which if you haven't seen that show, you need to. It will make you laugh.) But we ended up just talking instead, and that was cool too. And we laughed a lot.

4. It just feels good to make something from scratch, especially something that only cost $2 because I already had everything else on hand. Oh yeah! Bargain! (thanks to HEB!)

5. It also feels good to make something from 1 of the 527 recipes I've copied off the internet for that "someday-I'll-make-that" kind of meal.

6. Oh, and I almost forgot! The real kicker. If for no other reason, I was finally able to use my lovely green apple Kitchenaide stand mixer!

Let's just say first off, I'm not one to read directions of any kind unless they are to drive somewhere unfamiliar. So of course, I look at this device and ask Mike (who, obviously wouldn't know anything about it),

"how do you work this thing?"

And he as always asks back, "Well did you look at the directions?"

Of course not! Who does that?

So I fiddle with it for a whole 10 seconds and totally figured it out... except I couldn't figure out how to get the actual "mixer" part of it off. Our friend Sarah Beth showed me that one!

But the mixing process was cool. I could mix stuff together...

and then go somewhere else and it was still mixing! Perfection! : )

I must say a HUGE thank you again to my wonderful parents for such a lovely gift.

So this is how the peach cobbler turned out.

It was pretty yummy. Perfect with some vanilla ice cream! Super easy recipe! We'll have just a little bit for leftovers!

Completely satisfied,

Friday, September 30, 2011

Death by French Fries

What is one thing that you could eat every day for the rest of your life? That even if it is completely bad for you, it wouldn't matter, because this is just a hypothetical question anyway!

Would it be ice cream?

What about chicken fried steak?

Mac and cheese?


I would most definitely say mine is french fries in any form and fashion. I've realized over the last year or 2 how much I really do in fact, love french fries. When I order them at a restaurant, I really don't want to share them with people, but I will if I must... and for some strange reason, no matter how full I'll get, if there are fries left on the plate, they. will. get. eaten.

It's really a strange phenomenon. nom, nom, nom...

Curly fries are definitely a top pick as well as potato wedges. I also go for the really crispy fries that are a little more cooked than the others and have a little brown tint to them. I like the texture and the crunch. However, I don't really care for crinkle-cut fries unless they are a little crispy on the edges. And none of that McDonald's crap. Those aren't even real potatoes anyway.

But one thing is for sure: I gotta, musta, needa, betta have my ketchup. And a lot of it. When fast food places only give you those 2 small ketchup packets, I'm like, "What the heck man? Don't you realize that will only get me through 5 fries??"

Which is why I have a ketchup packet stock-pile in the middle console in my car. Just sayin'. You never know when you might need some more ketchup.... except I should probably clean that out and start over because they might be a little old... but who will really notice, huh?

All I know is, french fries and ketchup are the best. And just know, that if you ask for one of my fries, I will share with you. only a little begrudgingly. Just kidding. But seriously.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tasty Kitchen

Ok, so, I've become obsessed with this cooking website/blog/heaven/thing called Tasty Kitchen. Basically, anyone anywhere can put a recipe on this site, and people and rate it and review it, and it's awesome.

I currently have 8 tabs on my internet open of recipes from Tasty Kitchen that I want to make. And I just spent the last 30+ minutes looking at even more recipes specifically for a crock-pot.... Good thing it's almost the weekend.

I tried to make it simple so you could click on the picture and go to the recipe, but it did not want me to do that... but if you go to the website, just type in the name!

One of those recipes on my tab is for "The Yummiest Peach Cobbler". Not only does the recipe sound easy, but it looks dee-lish!

Another one is for "Quick Pickles". I love pickles and this just got me excited because I've kinda been wanting to make my own pickles, but without the jars and the canning and all the work. So this recipe was JUST up my alley.

The next one is "Chocolate Peanut Butter".... need I say more?

Ok, this one looks super easy AND it's perfect for the fall season that is upon us! "Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese"

This next one actually sounded a little complicated... but the picture looked SUPER yummy and heck, who knows? Maybe I'll attempt this for a special night! "Prociutto-wrapped Chicken Stuffed with Basil and Cheese".

Then I got on my little crock-pot kick and started looking up a bunch of recipes for the slow cooker. (for those days when I KNOW I won't want to do a single thing after work) This first one is "Crock-pot Spicy Chicken Soup". I like spicy, but I may need to tone it down a little for my husband...

Ok, this one.... this recipe, just has my name written all over it. It made me want to go to the store and grab all the ingredients and make it now! Who cares if it wouldn't be done until 9:30 tonight?? It sounds amazing!!!! "Crock-pot Buffalo Chicken Soup"!!!!!!

And the last one I have, and just because I've only recently realized just how much I love mac-n-cheese (I know, crazy, right?), is "Crock-pot Mac and Cheese".

Who doesn't love thick, creamy, hot, cheesy-perfection????

If this website is new to you... beware. You will find amazing things. And then you will promise to yourself that you will make all these amazing things at some point in your life for people, and they will "oooh" and "aaah" at your creations. And who knows, maybe you actually WILL make those amazing things and people will eat them up and love you for it. But until then, I haven't made it to the kitchen, I've just been stuck at my computer, addicted to this website.

Someone help me!

Mike?... Mike?...

He probably can't hear me because I'm whispering. I lost my voice.

Oh well. I'll just look up a few more until he comes around. : )

Check it out! And let me know if you ever make something from it, and I will too!

Searching and Cooking,

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Temple Grandin

This past week was one of the busiest weeks I've had yet. Something was planned every night of the week, which was fun, and made the week fly by! On Wednesday I went to see Temple Grandin speak. If you have no idea who I am talking about, read below, watch the movie, and read one of her books. She is incredible.

The Temple Grandin presentation was very inspiring. Temple was diagnosed with autism in the early '50s when the term 'autism' was just beginning to come around. She didn't speak until she was 3 1/2 years old, and obviously had several challenges ahead of her. Doctors said she should be institutionalized, but her mother was dedicated to helping Temple achieve more in life. Despite those challenges, Temple is a leader in the autism world for her incredible intellect (she has her Phd!!!), is a professor in Colorado, and has discovered humane ways to care for cattle that almost 1/2 of the U.S. slaughterhouses use today.

That's Temple. She is always wearing something 'ranchy'. : )

A characteristic of autism is that of fixations. Temple was fixated on a machine that she would try to dream up that would offer her a stimulating feeling that she longed for from human contact, but because of autism, would reject any physical contact made. After working on her aunt's ranch in Arizona, she saw the cattle being put into this cattle chute to hold them and to calm them down if they needed vaccinations or branding or something like that. This device fascinated Temple and she literally made her own cattle chute for herself to calm her nervousness and anxiety, and that would later help her accept and give physical contact to others, and also help her understand her emotions.

Temple speaking. It is really incredible how far she's come.

Temple signing someone's book!

Temple signed my book! : ) And I only have 2 chapters left! Who wants to borrow it?

It's an incredible story. The thing about Temple is, is that she is so aware of herself and her thoughts. She thinks in pictures, which most of us do. But with Temple, if you say the word 'shoe', she literally can picture any shoe she has actually seen and know who was wearing it.

It was really neat; at the end there was time for questions and a lot of people in the audience on the autism spectrum went up and asked her questions.

I would highly recommend everyone watch the HBO film about her life, called Temple Grandin. It stars Claire Danes, who does an incredible job of taking on Temple's voice influx and mannerisms.

Well, I hope you are enjoying your weekend as much as I am.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My creation!

I was all set and ready to make a peach ice cream smoothie, but only to remember there was no more vanilla ice cream. I didn't think mint chocolate chip or cookie dough would be very tasty with peaches, so I thought about going to the store- keyword, thought.

I decided to be bold. To be brave. To go where no one has gone before. To do the unthinkable. (not really at all... but fun to think so) I looked up some alternatives to making peach smoothies without ice cream, and then decided to just whip out my own lil' version.

In a blender, I started with some ice, then sliced up the peaches. (which was a good thing too, because they were beginning to get all kinds of soft and stuff...) Added the peaches, threw in a whole container of raspberries- 1. because I LOVE raspberries, and 2. because I was worried that later in the week they would end up looking somewhat like the peaches, with mold or something. Anyway, ice, peaches, raspberries, a splash of milk (my splash was very small, you probably could not tell I even added anything), a drizzle of honey, and then one of those personal, small sized yogurts from HEB that was peach flavored. (why not?!)

And what came out of this adventurous start was a yummy, fruity, refreshing peach/raspberry smoothie!

Pretty, huh?

Oh yeah! It was tasty!

Lisa's Peach-Rasp Smoothie
some ice, maybe 2 cups? maybe more...
2 peaches
a small container of raspberries
a splash of milk
a drizzle of honey for about 3-4 seconds
a small container of peach yogurt

I know, I think writing and creating recipes is my gift. Enjoy!