Cream Cheese Chicken

Everything's better with cream cheese, right?  Here's another amazing recipe--with cream cheese in it, of course--that I got from my friend Erin's blog!

Cream Cheese Chicken

8 oz block of cream cheese
1 16 oz jar of black bean and corn salsa
1 pkg chicken breasts (4-5 chicken breasts)

Place chicken in the bottom of a crock pot and pour salsa over the top.  Place lid on crock pot and turn on high for 5 hours.  During the last half hour, drop cream cheese in crock pot and let it melt over the chicken mixture.  The chicken should shred easily when stirred.

Serve over rice, in a tortilla, or with tortilla chips.

Easter Pics

We spent Easter weekend in Wichita this year.  It was a great weekend and we enjoyed seeing both family and friends.  Let me tell ya, things are crazy when there are 6 kids and 4 dogs running around!!  Here are some pictures from Easter Sunday. 

The Pierce family (not sure why we only have a picture of them)

Ready for the Easter egg hunt

Carson & Connor

Adley & Brekkyn (whoa Brekkyn took a fall!)

The dogs

Delanie was too cool to look for Easter eggs =)

Us =)

Nieces and nephew (minus 10 month old Mason who was sleeping) - Delanie, Carson, Brekkyn, Adley, & Connor

Such a cute kid!

Adley was pouting because she didn't find very many eggs =)

Pinata time

Yay Hubby!

This is what he won yesterday!!

Yep, an iPad!  Pretty awesome, huh? 
He won it through a contest at work.  Woo hoo!  Great job, honey!  It will still be awhile before we get it, as it supposedly takes 4 to 5 weeks to order one.

Sure will be nice to have on our 8+ hour flight to Hawaii this summer!  (Which, by the way, is 9 weeks from tomorrow!)

Happy Tuesday!

Photogrpahy Follow-Up

Monday was my photography class.  Imagine this.  I walk in to the photographer's "studio" which turns out to be in an apartment complex.  Weird.  Good thing his wife was there or I would have felt slightly uncomfortable. 

The other "students" were all 40+ year old, stay-at-home-moms.  Nothing wrong with that, but I was hoping for someone a little closer to my age.  I guess that's what I get for going to the 2:00 in the afternoon session when most people are still at work.

Then {this is the best part} they all pull out their cameras.  Their high-tech, mega-expensive, DSLR (that's digital single-lens reflex for those of you unaware) cameras.  You know, the ones with the big lenses that "real" photographers use.  Out comes my little DSLR-wannabe.  Embarrassment.  I played it off, saying that a DSLR was my next step.  What I didn't say was that this camera was only two months old.

Whatever, the photographer didn't make me feel that stupid.  He said I may be limited on a few things, but would have most of the same options as the other ladies.

On the plus side, the class was very informative.  I learned words I've never even heard before (aperture, for instance, which controls the amount of light allowed in, which in turn controls the depth of field...I think).  I learned what some of the settings (AV, TV) on my camera actually mean. 

As a teacher, I know that just learning this stuff won't make me a better photography.  I need to practice.  And of course, when it came time to practice, my camera batteries died.  And I didn't have replacements.  Stupid me...  More embarrassment.

I will say that there is so much involved in photography.  It's sort of overwhelming.  I give a lot of credit to those photographers who take such great photos.  I'm just not sure it's in me.  I'd love to take a more hands-on class in the future.  And of course, get me one of those nice cameras.  Maybe someday.  Until then, I'll continue to pretend and use my lovely, little camera.

Sweet Love Story to Share

This is such a sweet story. I first saw it on 20/20 a couple weeks ago, and saw the follow-up story on the Internet today. I couldn't resist sharing! Make sure you watch both videos!

It's Gonna Be a Great Summer

We probably all know that last summer was my best summer ever.  I mean afterall, I got married, went on a tropical honeymoon, had the most awesome bachelorette party, and more.  I'm not sure I can top that.  But...I have a feeling this summer will come mighty close.

As the school days continue to tick by, here's what I'm looking forward to:

Royals Games/Tailgates
We've already planned a big tailgate for the weekend of June 25 vs. the Cubs!  I'm hoping for nice weather!
Crawl for Cancer (May 14)
Technically, this is before "summer" is officially here, but I'm still excited!  Again, hoping for warm weather and not clouds/rain like last year.
Boating with Friends
We were so busy last summer, we only went boating with Josh and Rachel once!  Hoping to increase that number this year.  And I bet Brayden will look so stinkin' cute in his little swim get-up!
Float Trip with Friends
Not sure where, but supposedly there's one in the works!
Ray LaMontagne Concert at Starlight
This will be my fist trip to Starlight.  You can't go wrong with a concert under the stars on a warm, summer night. 
Duh.  Does this need any explanation??
We currently have three scheduled!  And yes, one is near the beach!  (Hence, the trip to Hawaii!)  I love weddings!
Taylor Swift Concert at Arrowhead
This isn't until September, but I'm excited anyway!  Since it's at Arrowhead, I'm sure there will be some pre-concert tailgating.
Possible Trip to South Carolina??
This is the newest of our adventures.  We might make a trip there to visit my cousin Brad and his gf, Lindsay!

30th Birthday Parties
I have two friends turning 30 in July.  Unfortunately, I'll be in Hawaii for the first.  But Erica--I have your birthday weekend reserved so you better plan something fun!  If not, I'll do it for you! =)

And of course, all the little things like going to our neighborhood pool, backyard barbeques, and sitting around a fire.  I.  Can't.  Wait.

Cousin's Bridal Shower / Weekend Trip to Iowa

This past weekend, Craig and I went to Iowa for my cousin Beth's bridal shower.  Though it was a cold weekend, it was fun seeing and hanging out with family.  It was also fun being on the other side (non-bride side) of a bridal shower, as three out of the last four I've been to have been my own!

The shower went well.  I was thrilled to get to use my punch bowl yet again!  I knew there was a reason I registered for thing that last year!  My advice to future-brides - register for anything and everything.  Now is the ONE time in your life when you can do that, and people like variety when choosing gifts anyway.

I offered to make chocolate-dipped strawberries for the shower.  I've always wanted a reason to make  "fancy" strawberries and this was the perfect opportunity.  They turned out pretty well, if I say so myself.  I should give credit to my dad and hubs who also helped! =)

Other highlights of the weekend include watching my grandparents play Pictionary on the Wii (pantsuit anyone??), eating at George's, visiting the new Hy-Vee (yes this is a highlight in the big town of Fairf), and watching my dad move the Prom parade barricades.  Only my dad...  And seeing everyone, of course.  I didn't take too many photos (shocking, I know), but here's what I have!

Finally Friday!

It's finally Friday!  I swear this has been the longest week ever!  Six weeks to go until summatime!  (Not that I'm counting or anything...)  I don't have anything specific to blog about, so here's a follow-up to some previously mentioned things and a few other random thoughts for today.

This Weekend
We're headed to Iowa for my cousin Beth's bridal shower.  Should be fun, except for the high temps in the 50s!  I shouldn't complain, but we've been spoiled with 80s for the past two weeks!  Regardless, I'm still wearing my cute summary outfit and sandals.  I'll deal with it.

Target Giftcard
Remember that $30 Target giftcard?  It finally arrived earlier this week and I put it to good use last night!  New sandals (on clearance by the way), new sunglasses (super cute!!), AND a hat.  I wish I had pics.  I also got a cute skirt and tank top at Old Navy with some money I won in our March Madness Draft.  I love free money and I love shopping!  I definitely added on a few days to my life last night. =) 

My Plants
They had to be moved inside last night.  It got a little chilly for their liking.  That's probably where they'll stay all weekend.  Poor things...

My Students
Half of my kids are sleeping.  That's right.  I'm that kind teacher.  They just took a test, and I allow them to sleep after they finish.  This particular class anyway.  They are my low-level, unmotivated, remedial kids.  If I don't let them sleep, they'd probably be talking about drugs, or getting arrested, or their paroll officer.  Yep, they are those kind of kids.  And I prefer sleeping. =)

Scary Kinnick Incident
He jumped out of the window of my car two years ago today.  Yep, true story.  We were on our way to our new house, which we had just closed on that afternoon!  As I was turning on a major intersection from a side street, Kinnick jumped out.  Luckily, the 87th street traffic had a red light and some guy jumped out of his car to help rescue Kinnick.  All I remember is shaking hysterically and looking back at Kinnick in the middle of the intersection like he didn't know what to do.  Such a scary situation.  I can't even imagine how protective I will be when I have kids.  By the way, happy 2-year anniversary to our house!

My Antenna-less Car
Funny story.  I was in a huge hurry to get to work on Tuesday, and as I backed out of the garage, I heard a noise like I'd hit something.  Turns out, the garage door didn't open all the way (Craig said it did this one other time recently) and my antenna broke off.  Oops.  I didn't even think to look in my rearview mirror to make sure the garage was open.  Oh well.  I've noticed that a lot of other cars don't have antennas either.

Photography Class
Is on Monday!  I'm super excited!

American Idol
I can't get enough of it!  I lost interest there for awhile, but the past three weeks have been fantastic!  Last week's performances were the best ever!  I've also enjoyed the recent guest-performances like Sugarland and Kelly Clarkson!  My Idol faves: Haley, Lauren, Scotty, and Casey.  And, I heard this on the radio...apparently Haley and Casey (both from Illinois) are dating.

Since it's 3:30 and I'm free to leave school, I'm off!  TGIF and have a wonderful weekend everone!

Good News For All You Shop-a-Holics!

Apparently shopping makes you live longer.  Don't believe me?  Check it out here!

I always knew retail therapy made me feel good, but now there's evidence!  

Has it Really Been 5 Years?

Tonight marks the 5-year anniversary of when an F-2 tornado tore through the heart of my beloved college town, Iowa City, Iowa.  Five years since I survived my very first (and hopefully last) tornado!!  It's hard to believe it's already been that long!!  I'm terrified of tornadoes (and probably always will be), so for me, it was quite the experience.

I remember many of the details of that day.  I remember what I had for dinner that evening, and I remember that it was unusually warm for April.  I remember what I was wearing and that it was a Thursday (big night out for college kids--officials said that probably helped prevent injuries and fatalities).  I remember the storm, the tornado sirens, and I remember camping out in the basement while my heart pounded nervously.  I also remember hearing for the first time that a possible tornado had struck campus.

Of course, when news of a tornado spreads, what do college kids do?  Go explore!  I was one of the many thousand that ventured out to investigate at 9pm that night, despite the warnings against it and down trees and power lines.  I could not believe the devastation.  The debris.  The chaos.  Nor could I believe that a sorority house a block from my apartment was demolished, yet somehow my apartment complex narrowly escaped any damage.  I got lucky, that's for sure!  The night was a crazy, chaotic I will never forget.

After exploring the night of, we ventured back out the following day in the broad daylight to get a better understand of how bad the storm really was.  Flipped cars, crushed cars, uprooted trees, snapped telephone poles, missing walls, missing roofs, and bricks ripped from houses are a few of my most vivid memories.  Another thing I remember is splattered mud everywhere and the smell of gas.  The whole thing was very surreal and such an unbelievable sight.  Like something only seen on t.v.  This was the ONLY time in my 5 1/2 year college career that all University classes were officially canceled.

Could it have been worse?  Sure!  Was it the worse tornado that's ever hit a town?  Absolutely not.  But the fact that it hit a metropolitan area and center of a college campus made it a very rare event.

Eventually, the debris was cleaned, walls were re-built, and life went on.  I know it seems cliche, but it was very touching to see a college community and town come together after such an unexpected, unusual experience like the tornado of '06.

I pulled some old pictures from Facebook.  With the exception of the first, all the pictures below are photos that I personally took of the storm damage.

Downtown IC/University of Iowa Campus.  If you look closely, you can see dust and debris in the air.

You can see mud splattered all over those cars

The bricks were torn from the side of this building.  You can also see through the roof!  (This apartment complex shared a parking lot with mine!)

Can you imagine getting hit by one of those?

Front view of the sorority house - this made national news ("Good Morning America") by the way.

Ravine of the sorority house


Probably one of the worse houses...yet the tv on the 2nd floor is in perfect place

Well, hello couch.

No walls or roof, but dishes still in the drying rack!

The historical St. Patrick's church that was destroyed.  You can see through the roof!