Blog Facelift

I spent close to three hours tonight trying to give my blog a facelift!  (Productive, I know.)  Technically, three hours while also watching my Monday night shows so it wasn't a total waste of time. =)  My goal? Make a new, more personalized header.  Mission: complete!  Though it took a while and lots of trial and error in Microsoft Publisher, I'm fairly happy with the outcome.

I also tried multiple new "backgrounds", though for some reason, I kept going back to the original black and white.  The one thing that bothers me with it - the header is too wide for this particular design.  Any fellow bloggers out there know how to fix that?  I could probably shrink the header somehow, but it seems like it'd be easier to widen the page.  Anyone, anyone?

Here's my next favorite design....I like this one because the header fits better.  What do you think?  I'm open to suggestions!

Oh, one more question for bloggers.  How do I change the color of my blog post titles?  I can figure out how to change every other color, but can't find that.  Help!

Irish Cream Cookies

I've always enjoyed making cut-out cookies.  Sure, they take time, but to me, it's fun!  (I know my mom wouldn't agree with that.)  Here's a recipe I got from my friend Lauren.  Cut-out cookies with Bailey's Irish Cream.  What could be better?  It's my new favorite cookie recipe!

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk (That's the yellow part for those of you that don't bake often. =)  If you don't have a fancy yolk separator, just do what I do.  After you crack the shell, pour the yolk back and forth between shell halves.  Eventually the egg white will just fall out.)
1 egg (regular)
1/2 cup Irish Cream
4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder

Refrigerate for minimum of 2 hours. Bake at 350 for 6 to 8 minutes.  (I refrigerated overnight and baked for closer to 10 minutes.)

1/2 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp Irish Cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 to 3 tsp milk
Food coloring of your choice (I prefer the gels over the liquid.  Way more color choices and it requires so little gel.)

All ready to go!
Rolling out the dough
Cutting the cookies
Ready to bake
My favorite food coloring.  I got this one at Michael's.

50+ cookies to eat!  Yum yum!

Cookies, anyone?


Weekend Recap

Sunday night means back to school tomorrow.  Our first full week in I don't even know how long!  In fact, I think this may only be the 3rd full week this quarter.  Maybe 4th, but even that might be pushing it!  The countdown to Spring Break is officially on!  Only two weeks to go.  Even better, we say adios to February tomorrow! 

Anyway, back to my weekend recap.

Friday night was the last MV basketball game for the year.  Time flies, as I feel like I just posted about the last football game!  Craziness!  Anyway, the dance team performed their light show.  Major crowd pleaser, as always!

Saturday was a lazy day.  The hubs watched college basketball for over six hours.  It was a good day according to him....KU won and both Texas and Duke lost.  Last night we headed to our favorite night spot, Barley's, and met up with our friends Erica, Travis, Alissa, and Alissa's friend Jamie.  We enjoyed dinner and drinks (maybe one too many for me--sad when four beers puts me over the edge) and the cover band The Magnetics.  Unfortunately, I have no pictures to share. =( 

This morning, Craig left for 3 days in Scottsdale, AZ for a leadership thing for work.  Lucky him.  Here are some pictures he texted me this afternoon.  JEALOUS!

Since I had the day to myself, I did what I do best!  Shopping and baking!  I spent about three hours at the mall.  Got some new things at the Limited and at Forever 21.  Now I'm ready for our trip to San Fran!  And in honor of the month of March, I also made some shamrock cookies!  I'll save the pictures and recipe for my next blog post.

I hope you all had a great weekend as well!

Welcome Back Winter...

This is how I feel about the snow this morning...

I'm honestly surprised we are having school. Happy(!!!!) but surprised. The roads were pretty bad!  Luckily, I left my house at 6:40, an entire 20 minutes earlier than normal.  I don't want any more snow days this year, so I'm just happy we're here!


Made My Day

None of the horrible moments in teaching can even compare with positive ones.  Here's an email I got from a student's mom.

Thank-You so much for the Wonderful post card! I'm so happy with Regan's enjoyment with math this year.
She (and we) know it has everything to do with you as her teacher. You make it fun and she really enjoys your class.

What a wonderful & thoughtful note!
I will keep it in Regan's scrapbook to view for years to come :)

Thank-You for just making my day!!!

Thank YOU, Regan's mom, for just making MINE. =)

Winter Blues

I'm nearing the end of a 4-day weekend.  Though I've enjoyed the extra days off, I'm ready to get back into the swing of things.  I've been in a sad/tired/blah/weird mood all weekend long.  I think I have the winter blues.

I'm sick of the cold.  I'm sick of being cooped up inside all the time.  I need some vitamin D.  I wish tanning beds weren't so bad.  (Maybe a spray tan will help?  I'd like to get one of those before our Spring Break getaway.)

Yes, it was warmer than usual over the weekend (in fact almost 70 on Sunday), but also very gloomy.  Grey, cloudy, and gloomy.  Warm and sunny would have been preferred, but I guess that'd be too much to ask for.

And now it's supposed to snow four out of the next seven days.  Oh joy.  That's just what this girl needs.

Only eight more days until March.  I.  Can't.  Wait.  St. Patty's Day, Spring Break, even March Madness (and I'm not even a college basketball fan).  Bring it all on!!!!

Thank goodness for Monday night t.v.  My FAVORITE t.v. night of the week.  90210 AND The Bachelor.  Two of my guiltiest pleasures!  Speaking of the Bachelor, did you see Chantal O's parents' house!?  Holy geeze!  It's like a mansion!  Sometimes I wonder if these are really their homes or staged by ABC.  Either way, I'm a sucker for the Bachelor.  Love it!

As this night draws to an end, Craig and I are celebrating with a glass bottle of champagne.  Why not, right?  (Actually, we're cheers-ing two weeks late to the birth of our friends Josh and Rachel's new baby Brayden.  Better late than never, right?)

Happy ALMOST March!

Mommy & K's President's Day Photoshoot

Neti Pots and Tea Kettles

Ugh.  I've been sick all weekend!  Sore throat, achy body, and a beyond stuffed up head.  Not fun.  I stayed home from school today, and hope that with all the extra sleep I've gotten lately, I'll be back to my normal self (and school) tomorrow.

I'm very thankful for a few things while sick.  1) Emergen-C - who knows if it actually works, but it can't be bad with all the vitamin C.  2) Puff Plus with Lotion - my poor nose is already super red.  I can't imagine what it would look like without the good kleenex.  3) My neti pot - AMAZING!!  What's a neti pot, you ask?  Read on...
I first heard about a neti pot on Oprah many years ago.  Dr. Oz recommended them for anyone who suffers from bad allergies or frequent sinus infections...that's me!  I rushed out and bought one.  At the time, both the pharmacist I worked with (Hal-that's you) and my mom thought I was crazy.

Here's how it works.  You fill it with warm, salt water, then pour it in one nostril.  If it works correctly, it should go through your nostril, into your sinus cavity, and back out your other nostril.  It took some practice in order to get the hang of it.  The purpose is to clean and rinse out your sinuses.  Or in the case that your head is beyond stuffed, like mine, it helps loosen some of that "stuff" and allows you to actually try and blow your nose.  You should have seen some of the snot that came out!!  Gross, I know, but proof that the neti pot is doing it's job!  Using the neti pot has been the highlight of my last few days.   

Craig has also been great!  He has waited on me hand and foot and taken care of things around the house.  We're never been big celebrators of Valentine's Day.  We exchange cards and that's about it.  Craig knows my thoughts about flowers: I'd rather have the money to go buy a new shirt.  This year, since I've been sick, he surprised me with a red tea kettle I saw and liked a while back.  I know, dorky, but it's really sweet of him to remember and surprise me with it.  I'm too lazy to take a picture, but it looks kind of like this.

I hope you are all having a happy Valentine's day and were able to get out and enjoy the weekend's nice weather!


Here's why I love Friday!

Jeans days at school

Chipotle for din din (only I get a burrito bowl)

Hawaii, Check! San Fran, Check!

I huge weight has just been lifted off my shoulders!



After researching Hawaii, studying price quotes, changing our minds about where to stay, changing our minds again, and asking advice from everyone I know that's ever in their life visited Hawaii, I finally gave our travel agent the go ahead (i.e. our credit card number) to book our trip!  Whoop whoop!!!!  I'm so excited!  The main reason for our trip - my high school bestie lives there and is getting married!!!  Friday, July 1 is her big day and I'm looking forward to standing up as a bridesmaid in her wedding!  (Maybe I should try on my dress and make sure it still fits...) 

We fly in to Honolulu/Waikiki on Wednesday, June 29...just in time for my bestie Sarah's bachelorette party!  We're staying right on the beach at the Outrigger Reef (the location of the ceremony).  We plan to take in some touristy activities in Waikiki in our spare time, such as a Pearl Harbor/city tour and possibly the Dole Plantation and North Shore.
The Outrigger

The North Shore is known for its big waves, but apparently they aren't as big in the summer??

After three eventful days on the island of Oahu, we fly to Maui, where we'll stay for three more days in an ocean-view room at the Royal Lahaina.  We're getting a rental car--none other than a convertible!  I can honestly say that I don't think I've ever been in a convertible!
The Royal Lahaina Resort

I've been told to pack light, as convertibles have very little space for luggage.  Yikes!  Have you SEEN me back?? We're staying for 7 days & 6 nights...which means I'll need take 10 swimsuits, 8 dresses, 6 pairs of shoes, 8 tank tops, 3 cover-ups, 5 pairs of shorts, 2 skirts, and 3 beach towels.

We're hoping for more down time/time to relax in Maui, but did book a snorkeling excursion!  We loved it so much on our honeymoon, we want to do it again in Hawaii!  Let's hope the scenery below water is a little better than it was in Jamaica...
One lonesome little fish.  And a jellyfish.
And that I improve on putting on my snorkel mask.  Craig still makes fun of me for this pic.
I'm honestly not sure how I survived.
Anyway, back to Hawaii...

My parents are also going to the wedding and vacationing with us.  It should be a great experience!  Who knows - maybe my mom and I will come back with one of these??
By "these", I mean a coconut bra...NOT a girl!
141 days til the wedding (thanks to your Knot page Sarah for the countdown)....which means 139 and counting til we land in Hawaii!

Though we're going to Hawaii this summer, Craig and I also decided to take a mini-vacay over my Spring Break.  We realize that trips like these will be hard once we have kids, so we're taking advantage now while we're footloose and fancy free.  I found some pretty reasonable flights through and was pretty confident I could find a hotel on Hotwire.

Here's how Hotwire works.  You tell it what city you are traveling to and it responds with available hotels, prices, star-ratings, and the area of the hotel...BUT it does not give the the name of the hotel until you book.  No changes or refunds and all bookings are final.  Talk about nerve-wracking!

I have used Hotwire before and was able to score a Hyatt hotel room in downtown Denver for around $80!

Anyway, I put in my info for San Fran.  My friend (aka the Hawaiian bride-to-be) recommended we stay in the Union Square area, so I narrowed it down to two options.

A 4-star hotel priced at $131 or a 3.5-star hotel priced at $100.  Like I said, it's a nerve-wracking decision.  After reading the facts on Hotwire, I decided the hubs would be happy to save over $100 by choosing the 3.5-star hotel.  Same general area, one-half star lower.  Can't be much of a difference, right??  And the 3.5-star category includes hotels such as Sheraton, Hilton, Hyatt, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, and Crowne Plaza.  Can't go wrong with any of those I wouldn't think.  Time to submit and see where we're staying.  Drumroll please........

The Warwick San Francisco???????

What??  I didn't know that was an option!!  I thought I'd be staying at a Sheraton!!

Here's what it looks like...

Lovely.  Just what I had envisioned for my SB11.  Psych!!!!

It was built in 1913!!!!!!  Seriously?!  This is NOT where I want to stay!  The last time I stayed at an ancient hotel like this, I saw a ghost!!!  Grrrr....I'm pretty disappointed. :(

On the plus side, there is a bar.

I'll try to be optimistic and be thankful I'm able to go on vacations in the first place.  But seriously, here???? :(  See if I ever use you again, Hotwire!

We don't have specific plans for San Fran.  We'll be there from Sunday, March 13 through Wednesday, March 16.  Obviously, we want to see the Golden Gate Bridge.  We would also love to visit a winery.  Other than that, we'll just go with the flow.  Recommendations are welcome!  Just over four weeks until we go! 

BLT Pizza

Here's an amazing BLT pizza recipe.  Pretty easy too!

1 pizza crust
3 Tbsp mayo
1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 tomato, chopped
6 to 8 slices of bacon, fried to crispy and cut into small pieces (or you could cheat like I did and buy one of the packages of real bacon bits in the salad dressing aisle)
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Spread pizza crust on a cookie sheet and bake per package instructions.
3) Combine mayo, mustard, and pepper in a small bowl.
4) Spread mixture over the baked crust.  Cover with tomato, cheese, green onions, and bacon.
5) Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese starts to melt; remove.
6) Cover with lettuce and serve hot.

Yummo!  It was excellent!

TS to KC

I love Taylor Swift and she's coming to Arrowhead next fall!!!  I really want to go, but can't seem to find any friends that are big fans like me.  Craig said he'd go with me, but really??  I know deep down it isn't at the top of his "to do" list.  Hmmmm....any takers??

Flash Mob KU Style

I think this is pretty cool! It happened at last night's KU/Mizzou game and they aired it a few times after commercials. Craig's reaction, "I want to watch the game not an episode of glee."

Glee or flash mob KU style---whichever it is, enjoy!

New Furniture

Having friends over last night who hadn't seen our couches yet reminded me that I never posted pictures on here.  Here's our new couch, chair, and ottoman from (of course) Nebraska Furniture Mart.  We love them!!!!

View from the top


Chair and ottoman

Kinnick thinks he rules this spot

But when he's this cute, he's probably right

Not just an ottoman, but some storage space too!