Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Stuff & Things

I was pumped when I checked my bloglovin feed this morning and saw this linkup happening today. I always end up missing it during the week, no matter how hard I try to remember!

-So. How was your Christmas? Mine was nice. It's good to be home with my parents.

-It was the first Christmas without my grandpa. Instead of going to my grandparents' farmhouse, where we've gone since I was little, we went to my grandma's new condo. We didn't sit behind him in church, or crowd around his chair for a photo, or listen to him laugh when he won at cards. But we did share stories, look at old pictures, and hold on to the memories we have.

Phew. Happy times.

-Let's talk about holiday eating. Hmph. The first day we were here, my grandma enlisted us to come help frost all of the cookies she baked. As grandma's do, she started pushing food at us the second we walked in. Both Christmas Eve and Christmas day included delicious, home-cooked feasts and leftovers that will haunt and tempt me for the remainder of this vacation.

-Presents are cool. My family loves to give gifts. Both Justin and I got a lot of really nice things and are very thankful. This is one of the gifts I'm most excited about!

Photo from

-Why is there never enough time?! I love coming back to my parents' house, but I hate that there's never enough time to see everyone I want to see or spend enough time with everyone. Leaving to go home is always rough.

I hope you had a good Christmas, and enjoy the rest of 2014!
Xo Steph

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Fun

I may have done this survey thing before. But I'm following Angi's lead. 

4 names people call you other than your real name:
1. Teacher
2. Weeb
3. Stephie (DON'T call me this. Unless you're my grandpa.)
4. "Hey". I don't get this as much as anymore, but every once in a while I have to remind my students my name is not "hey". 

4 jobs I've had:
1. Janitor
2. Office Assistant
3. Cashier
4. Teacher 

4 movies you've seen more than once:
1. Just Friends
2. Anchorman
3. Forest Gump
4. Newsies

4 Books I'd Recommend:
1. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
2. Anything by Sarah Dessen
3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
4. The Harry Potter series

4 places I've lived:
1. Michigan
2. Minnesota
3. Wisconsin
4. Florida

4 places you've visited:
1. London
2. Denver, CO
3. Nashville, TN
4. New York City

4 places you'd rather be right now:
1. Somewhere warm and dry
2. With my family
3. In a big city somewhere
4. Europe

4 things I don't eat:
1. Meatloaf
2. Sloppy joes
3. Onions
4. Sushi

4 of my favorite foods:
1. Potatoes (see: french fries, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, etc.)
2. Pineapple
3. Pasta
4. Ice cream

4 TV shows I watch: 
1. The Big Bang Theory
2. Pretty Little Liars
3. The Pioneer Woman
4.  Reruns on Netflix 

4 Things I'm looking forward to this year:
1. Christmas
2. Visiting friends and family back home
3. A real teacher "Summer"
4. Taking on some new home-improvement projects.

4 Things I'm always saying:
1. "Use your walking feet, please"
2. "Did you wash your hands?" 
3. "No, Jethro!" 
4. "That is/was/is gonna be a hot mess"

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Advent Thoughts

I promised you a recipe in my last post. It's sitting comfortably in my drafts right now. This is just one of those posts that need to happen sometimes.

I'm feeling very overwhelmed.

I've accidentally double-booked my calendar more than once already this month. I just keep saying 'yes' to things and committing to things because it's Christmas and you can't let people down at Christmas, right?

Today we had a two-hour delay. I got an extra half hour of sleep, but starting late just threw off the whole day. Being two hours off schedule during the school day just messes everything up. Teachers, am I right? We only had four days to start with this week, and the thought of trying to fit everything in is giving me anxiety.

We have a choir concert/worship ensemble performance this weekend. Tonight we cut a much-needed practice short so people could watch the Packer game. Now we have to make it up another night. Only in Wisconsin. For the record, I am not watching the Packer game. 

Yesterday I was playing organ for church. I realized halfway through one of the hymns that I only had one of the two pages in front of me. I had to improvise the refrain. For four verses. It was terrifying and I couldn't get back on track after that.

Isn't this the season of peace? Why does it feel so stressful and busy? Instead of focusing on preparing for Jesus, I'm getting caught up in kids' Christmas programs, shopping, traveling, appointments, meetings, and I totally have the wrong attitude.

I need to take a breath and focus. I hope you remember to do the same.

O come, o come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the son of God appear. 
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel 
Shall come to you, o Israel.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Life Lately

Oh, hey. Hi. I'm blogging. It's been a while. Here's what's been happening.

I saw The Sound of Music four times in a weekend. The students did great. Of course I'm a little bit biased, but the director did a great job too. I was very impressed by the dedication and hard work that everyone put in to the show.

Then we took a mini-vacation. After months of hardly seeing each other and devoting evenings/weekends to the musical, we decided we needed a night away. Obviously we could have used more than a night, but we took what we could get. We went to the Christkindlmarket and spent the night in the city. The next day we walked around down town, visited my brother-in-law, and went to a couple of museums.  I took a bunch of pictures so I could make this its own blog post, but that didn't happen.

Top Left: A view of our hotel room. Top Right: Our hotel was in the old Pabst brewery. This was right outside.
Bottom Left: These gentlemen were playing some delightful tunes at the Christmas Market. Bottom Right: Downtown shopping.

And we saw the Lion King. Going to the theater is one of our favorite things to do together. This was honestly one of the coolest shows I've ever seen. Whether you're a fan of musicals or not, I absolutely recommend this one. The costumes, set, and music were fantastic.

Oh yeah...we hosted Thanksgiving. By some miracle we whipped our house into shape in enough time to host 20 of Justin's family members on Thanksgiving. It was actually a lot of fun. Everyone brought a dish so we didn't have to cook everything. Everyone took something home so we didn't have a ridiculous amount of leftovers. And it was great to crash in my own house at the end of the night.

I shopped on Black Friday. A little. Okay. I also shopped a little on Thursday with my mother-in-law. People in our town don't seem to get too crazy on Black Friday. We hardly waited in any lines and parking wasn't too bad. Of course, there weren't a whole lot of great deals to be had.

Look out for a recipe post coming up! Aside from Thanksgiving, there hasn't really been a proper meal cooked in our kitchen in quite a while. To be fair, I'm not sure if this qualifies as a "real meal", but I cooked up one of my favorite quick and simple dinners tonight and want to share!

Xo Steph