Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2 1/2 Weeks Down

I havn't posted yet about my new class this year. I just havn't found the words to describe them I guess. Had I posted about them the first week of school negativity would have been all too prevalent. The negativity is fading slightly, but I havn't come to terms that the school year really could be like this all year long. Usually the kids are quite timid the first day of school. New teacher, new students, new grownup surroundings in a classroom where more will inevitably be required. Was I in for a surprise. I barely survived the first day. The 35 fresh faces in front of me carried on like it was a ten year reunion. I was simply invisible to them. I actually told my principal that I wouldn't be coming back the next day. (in a half joking, half serious attitude) Never in my seven years of teaching had I experienced a first day quite like this.

While getting dressed and ready for my second day of school I had made up my mind that I would take no prisoners. I had to be somewhat congenial the first day. Day two would be a different story. I was ready for battle and needed to instill the fear. I even remember asking Tim if I looked like I was ready to battle before walking out of the house. I completely changed my tactics walking into the classroom. We would have no more frilly first week of school activities. Today would be reading, writing, math, science, history, etc. One right after the other. Believe it or not... I made some headway.

The beginning of the school year is always so difficult. I think I seem to forget that the kids are really still fourth graders and that it takes weeks of training to get them to the point that I just completed with my last class two short months ago. Really, beginnings of any kind are difficult. Things just take time to establish and grow. I have already been praying a lot more in my classroom in those moments of frustration. Maybe I'm the one that will grow through these kids. (Although I really don't see that being the moral at this point)

So I leave you with a tidbit of conversation in my day as the negativity wears off a little more.

Mrs. Romano: Student X did you remember to bring me your library card today? (I've been asking for the last 2 weeks)

Student X : No my parents and I aren't really big fans of the library.

Mrs. Romano: Well every time you don't have your card, your grade is dropping. So I hope you become a fan real quick.

Student Y: (In tears) Student Z called me a brat!

Mrs. Romano: Is this true Student Z?

Student Z: Yes, but Student Y said I was acting like a brat.

Mrs. Romano: (to Student Y) You know calling someone a brat and telling someone they are acting like a brat are the same thing.

Student Y: Oh they are? I didn't know that.

Mrs. Romano: (in my head) Ya right!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

And the secret ingredient is... Chevre!

Debra and I have been watching Next Food Network Star for the past few weeks. I've discovered there are two types of people who watch food network, those who are inspired to cook and those who are inspired to eat. Of course most watchers are a blend of the two. I've discovered that while I'm primarily inspired to cook, Debra is more inspired to eat after watching the show. Interesting tidbit, now on with the story.

Those of you following the blog remember that recently we discovered a local organic goat cheese farm. We loved the cheese we tasted and bought some plain chevre and some flavored with herbs. The timing couldn't have been better since the episode of NFNS was an Iron Chef competition and now we had a truly exotic secret ingredient to play with.

We were adding chevre to everything, on top of crackers, burgers, salads, nearly every meal had the distinct flavor of goat cheese in one dish or another. We were gourmets in our own kitchen. But my coup d'etat, and the product of my own Iron Chef competition with myself, was dessert.

I mixed fresh Canadian blueberries from Trader Joes with local apples, sliced, peeled and sprinkled with cinnamon. I spread the fruit in a baking dish. Then I added finely chopped walnuts, vanilla, and brown sugar to my plain, fresh chevre in a mixing bowl. I topped the fruit with a layer of this mixture and baked it all together. The result... a rich, flavorful dessert that kept my taste buds intrigued from the first aroma to the last bite!

Bon appetit!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Exploring Our Greater Backyard

It is the last weekend before school begins so we headed out for an adventure Saturday. We had some wineries to explore and check off the list. We think that we hit two of the best. The atmosphere was spectacular at these wineries. About 20 minutes from home we decided to travel to the furthest two on our list. Justin and Carmody McKnight. We love that the furthest wineries in Paso are only 20 min. from our doorstep. The picture below is Carmody McKnight. It was actually rated "best picturesque" winery in Paso. We picniced here in front of the pond. Well worth the short drive.
We also came across this quaint farmstand in Templeton called Happy Acres. We fed the goats, tasted many excellent goat cheeses, and walked away with lots of zuccini, watermelon, and herb cheese. They are certified organic and they sell their goat cheese to many of the restaurants downtown.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Skinny Jeans Arrrrggg!

Well I decided it was time that I finally gave into the skinny jean craze and so I headed to our local Forever 21 to find the cheapest pair to try on. The only reason I want these jeans is so my tall boots will fit over my jeans without having to cram my jeans in. (No offense if you rock the skinny jeans) After picking out multiple styles while hoping not to run into any students in the same aisle I headed to the dressing room. Sidenote: if anyone has been in the monstrosity of a building that the San Luis Obispo Forever 21 is you know it can be an overwhelming place to say the least. My beef with the store comes with their dressing rooms. They must have at least 5 different fitting rooms all around their store in every department. After walking vigorously to the back of the store, keep in mind I'm trying to avoid any potential run ins with students, I realize that the particular dressing room is closed. I head in the direction of two others, upon being directed that they were open, to find they are closed. Now I have circled the store and have found someone to tell me that the plus sizes dressing room is open. Another side note: plus sizes in that store are a waist size of 30. I realized this when the largest size jeans came in a 29 in the regular section. What on earth! I quickly replied to the sales "teen" that the plus size dressing room is not open and she is mistaken. She then directs me to the castle. Ya, the what? Apparently the castle is an open dressing room and I just have to find it. Why is there a need to have 5 different dressing rooms that are always closed? Upon making it to "the castle" I find a huge line. The girl asks if I would like to go to another fitting room, apparently the plus sizes rooms are open. No thank you! I am staying put. And by the way, the plus sizes room is not open.

So the real fun begins as I cart my 8 pairs of skinny jeans in various colors into the dressing room to begin to try on. No joke, I cannot get the first pair over my ankles. Oh man. I'm quite sure I lost about 2 lbs just walking around to find the dressing room. I was bound and determined not to have to get my skinny jeans in the plus sizes. They call them skinny jeans for a reason, not plus jeans. So I attempt pair number two. Up to my calves! I am realizing that I am going to have to put a little more work into getting these on I'm afraid. With pair number three I am starting to breath harder and could quite possibly pull a muscle with the contortions I am attempting. So pair number three actually made it all the way on. I was mortified! I really should have brought a pair of boots in to try on with the jeans, because wearing them on their own is simply never going to happen. I quickly decide to take those off and put them in the maybe pile. Getting them off took some time. I don' t know what the deal is and why some people just look adorable in their skinny jeans. Maybe it is because they are 21 and not pushing 30. That probably should have been a huge sign that my days at Forever 21 should be over. I have a coworker (52 yrs. old) that has a few cute items from the store that she calls Forever 50. Apparently it was not my day, I didn't even attempt to try on the shirts I had picked out. I was too exhausted. Or maybe it was my day, because I actually ended up leaving the store with 2 pairs of these so called skinny jeans. What have I done...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weekend of Celebrations

We had such a blast at Christion and Megan's wedding this weekend. It was extra special for me because I went to high school with Christion and got to see lots of his family and many high school friends I havn't see in over 10 years. It was also a great mix of all of our SLO friends. You know its a good wedding when you look around and everyone is out of their seats and on the dance floor.

I also got to celebrate my good friend Devon. She is getting married in September so Iwas able to share in her joy as well.

The shower was at Devon's mom's house in Shell Beach. She is such an incredible hostess. Check out this fun idea... Vegetable cups made of pete moss filled with parchment paper, vegetables
and ranch dressing inside. Everywhere I looked I was inspired with decorating ideas.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Week in Vegas

This probably doesn't look like the Vegas picture you remember... because it's not. We sidetracked to Hoover Dam one day in the 110 degree heat so Tim could marvel at the engineering wonder of the dam. We took the dam tour, walked across the dam bridge, etc. (The phrase never got old) I would say I was a good wife as I walked in the heat all the way across the dam with Tim so he could take a picture of the intake tunnel. ?? I won't mention the part of the trip when he was a good husband and picked out my size pants in various styles in the Banana Republic outlet as I searched the sale rack.

Most of our Las Vegas experience involved food, food, and more food. We ate well to say the least. The trick was attending the time share talk at the hotel for $150 in meal vouchers on the strip. This restaurant was the Mesa Grill which is Bobby Flay's restaurant if you watch the cooking channel. Best pork tenderloin I ever ate...

There's just something so magical about the Bellagio water show. We could have sat there all night and watched it.

Les Artistes Steakhouse at the Paris Hotel. The best seared scallops and risotto I have eaten.

Tao restaurant at the Venetian. You must go there when you are in Vegas!

Only in Vegas do you open your fortune cookies to read this....

I know I have been raving about the food, but this curry shrimp dish at Tao inspired us both to try and start experimenting with cooking tastier dishes.

Just a few people we met on the strip.

Baby Boy Coming Soon

I was in Watsonville last weekend showering my sister. She is due Sept. 29th! I can't believe it is getting so close already.

Fair Time

Living in Paso this year only a few blocks from the fair made for two entertaining weeks. You could hear every concert from our front yard (slightly muted from in the house) . We found a great spot just up the street where we could see the grandstands of the concert arena. You can't beat free concerts from your hillside. We listened to Justin Beiber, Aerosmith, Sammy Hagar, and Offspring for free.
These were pics from the Keith Urban concert that I won tickets to. So fun. Keith actually went into the crowd and walked all around while singing one of his songs. It was the best concert I have been to this date. Keith is very funny and genuine on stage. You can tell he really wants to be there performing for you.

These pics are from the second time we went to the fair. It was obviously all about the food that night.