Monday, February 10, 2014

Culture - Monuments Men and The Beatles

creative commons

This past weekend my husband and I watched both "The Monuments Men" and "The Beatles: The Night That Changed America".  Both got me thinking about culture.

"The Monuments Men" is based on the true story of the people who saved artistic masterpieces that the Nazis had stolen.  You can read more about the real story here.  In the movie two members of the team died trying to save the art.  I haven't been able to find out if any of the real monuments men died during their missions, but they definitely put their lives at risk.  At the end of the movie the question is asked, "Was it worth it?"  I had to pause for a moment on that one.  Would it be worth risking lives to save elements of culture?  After some thought, my answer is a resounding, "Yes."  What would life be without beautiful images, music, and literature?  Ok, many of us see more Instagram photos than Rembrandts these days, but the idea is the same.

This leads me to The Beatles.  On the CBS special, stars of today honored The Beatles by performing some of their songs.  After listening to Imagine Dragons singing "Revolution"  my husband made a very wise remark.  He said that you could record those songs today and they still would be better than most music out there.  I had to agree.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


"Clothes aren't going to change the world, the women who wear them will." - Anne Klein

While clothes won't change the world, it does sometime help to dress the part.  I have spent the last eight months in workout clothes.  I will even admit to not going out some days because it was too much effort to do my hair. (Since we have moved to the south, my hair has been a hot mess.)  Since I will be going back to work it is time to pull myself together.  Here are a few tips that help me on the style front:

1.  Have a pretty closet.  My wonderful husband helped on this front by making some changes to the master closet.  He was such a good sport - even putting up a chandelier!

2.  Have an organized closet.  I like to organize mine by color.

3.  Buy classic quality, rather than more.  This has taken me a while to learn, but as I have gotten older, classic clothes just look better on me.  I also have gotten sick of clothes just not holding up.  If anyone one has tips on places to get quality classic clothes, I'd love to hear them.  I have recently been experimenting with buying at higher end consignment shops.  Some good finds have been this White House Black Market Dress and this Tory Burch dress.  (Apparently the Tory Burch dress belonged to Angie Harmon.  I'm not sure if it's true, but she does live in Charlotte.)

"Fashions fade, style is eternal."

I would love to hear from others - fashion tips, where to buy quality clothes, closet organization, etc...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Thoughts on Education...

Education has been on my mind this week.  After a break from teaching due to our move, I am getting ready to go back to the classroom.  This district, like many others, is grappling with Common Core.  This week a friend also sent me a link to a video that her nephew sent, saying that it was how he feels about school. The video is powerful and thought provoking.  It is worth watching.

This is not a political post, or a post with some magical solution for education.  There are no easy answers.  

All I know is that there are thoughts that resonate for me:
  • The world that kids live in today is very different than the one many of us grew up in.  I watched a room full of third graders come alive this week when given Chromebooks and a meaningful task.
  • The Common Core isn't a magic answer, and it isn't the end of the world either.  I find it funny how political it has become.  Politicians, you figure it out.  In the meantime I will be here teaching.
  • Most teachers work hard and just want to do what it right for kids.  A teacher this week told me how she missed the Breaking Bad finale because she fell asleep reading her Lucy Calkin's book (reading and writing curriculum for my non-teacher friends).
I don't know, maybe this is too simplistic, but my mantra continues to be to go in each day and try to do what I think is best for kids.  This lady sums it up pretty well.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Am I Becoming a Foodie?

I find it funny that many of my posts have been food or recipe related.  Up until recently I hated to cook.  Recently, I've had some time to experiment, and cooking hasn't become so scary.  When I was younger I also was probably over the top health conscious, and didn't really enjoy food.  Now, one of my favorite pleasures is enjoying a good meal out.  Age has taught me balance.

Here are some of my latest food favorites:

Christmas Whiskey Lemonade Light - a family member made these at Christmas.  Mix whiskey, light lemonade, and diet lemon-lime soda to desired taste.  

Our pork chops were pretty thick, so I seared them and them put them in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  I may try this on the grill next time.

Today my husband and I went to Amelie's French Bakery for lunch.  So yummy, and so cute!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Resolution - Meditate

Photo by Moyan Brenn  -

I don't really make New Year's Resolutions.  I do more of a year end review and evaluation of life.  I wrote about the process in earlier posts. This year I have more of an actual resolution.  I want to finally commit to a daily meditation practice.  I have meditated on and off for a few years, but have struggled with consistency.

I found a great graphic describing meditation.  It keeps it simple, and is great for beginners and kids.  

To keep myself consistent, I made weekly sheets to record my time meditating, along with other goals

How about you?  Any New Year's resolutions or goals?  Anyone want to try meditation?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cutout Cookies Tips

I made cutout cookies for the first time.  Thanks to tips from the internet they didn't turn out half bad.
Tip One - chill the dough - I chilled mine overnight.
Tip Two - divide dough into smaller sections - this allowed me to keep dough chilling.
Tip Three - parchment paper is the best thing ever!  I rolled the dough between two sheets - no sticking!  It was also great for baking and decorating - easy transfer and clean up.
Tip Four - use an easy cookie cutter.  I remember my mom making reindeer and there were always limbs lost.
Tip Five - use a ziplock bag for decorating.  Put icing into ziplock, twist bag, and cut a small bit off of corner.

Cutout Cookies
1 1/3 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tbl milk
2 tsp vanilla
4 c all-purpose flour

1.  In a large mixing bowl beat butter.  Add sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Beat until combined.  Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until combined.  Beat, or stir in flour.  Divide dough into four sections and chill overnight.  I wrapped mine in plastic wrap.

2.  Roll a section of dough at a time.  I rolled mine between two sheets of parchment paper.  Roll to about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut with cookie cutters.  Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

3.  Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

4.  For icing I just mixed powdered sugar with milk until I got the desired consistancy.