Saturday, December 31, 2011

How I spent my winter vacation...

I have had another amazing winter break filled with lots of fun and quality family togetherness.  I hope you all have been enjoying your break and relaxing a bit.  I know most of us cannot resist the urge to do some planning or other schoolwork over our vacation times.  I hope whatever you chose to do, the time spent was enjoyable and productive.

My winter break:
December 23rd:
My winter vacation started on Friday December 23rd.  Thank goodness that we do not teach on the 23rd and my sympathies to anyone who does.  We did have one year we taught on the 23rd and it increased the holiday prep stress level to the nth degree.  We have a tradition of opening our family of five gifts on Christmas Eve Eve.  In the past we have had dinner out at a nice restaurant, but this year we decided to make a fancy meal at home.

I spent the day doing laundry, straightening up the house, and wrapping presents.  We also had lunch at a local restaurant and then did a grocery store run.  We had a delicious dinner of pork tenderloin, cheesy bacon potatoes, green beans, and crescent rolls.  Of course no special dinner would be complete without our standard Welch's non alcoholic sparkling grape juice.

We opened our gifts and I was completely blown away by the iPad 2 my dear darling husband got me.  I was completely shocked and spoiled, as we had ordered a Silhouette Cameo and lots of goodies to go with it for my Christmas present.  Greg also got me a new case for my iPhone, some cool retro headphones, and little speaker that attaches to my iphone.  I also got the Ally Mc Beal complete DVD set.  I used to LOVE that show when it was on.  The boys and Greg all got lots of great gifts.  We had such a fun night celebrating together as we always do.
The boys posing in front of the tree

December 24th:  We spent the morning watching the movie X-Men Origins.  Greg got a Blu-Ray player from me and it was the only Blue-Ray movie we had to test out.  What an odd movie choice for Christmas Eve morning, but it actually was a good movie that I enjoyed.  The afternoon was spent finishing wrapping presents, doing more laundry, and packing ourselves up for an overnight stay at my parents' house.  We went to 5:00 PM church.  This year we celebrated with my family on Christmas Eve (we rotate every year so my SILs can spend time with their sides of the family).  After church we had a delicious ham dinner prepared by my mother.  Everything was delicious as always.  After we finished up the dishes the kids unwrapped their presents.  The boys got so many wonderful gifts.  My family is very generous to the boys.  How blessed we are to be able to celebrate Christmas with them every year.  After they finished opening gifts the boys watched the Christmas Story in the family room and the adults opened gifts in the living room.  I got a new VS soft pink robe from my parents.  It is heavenly!  I got all my Lang Calendars (for school and home).  So happy to have my school desk pad again, as my mom was not able to find it last year.  I also got a J Crew GC, Regis Philbin's book, Il Bacio perfume, Tarte eyelash curler and some other goodies.

December 25th:  The boys were so excited to see what Santa brought them.  He was generous to all of us as always.  Lunch was prime rib, with loaded baked potatoes, and salad bar.  Yum!  We spent a lazy day of lounging and playing with all our new toys/gifts.  We ended up heading home after dinner.  The boys were happy to be back home so they could play with all their new toys.

Can you believe this is the most snow we have had this year?  We live in WI!  This photo was taken a week before Christmas.

Greg quick ran outside to capture the closest we would get to a white Christmas this year!

December 26th:  Greg had the day off and we spent an enjoyable day at home together.  Drew was busy building his new Millenium Falcon lego set.  I helped him by sorting out the lego pieces by color.  I also played Star Wars Operation with Cooper.  I think I missed my calling, and should have been a surgeon.  :)  I spent the rest of the day reading my new book and trying to get through my Google Reader.  We went out for dinner at one of our favorite local mexican restaurants.

December 27th:  I had to head back to my hometown for a dental appt in the morning.  I ended up meeting Greg and the boys at BD Mongolian's for lunch.  After lunch I went to JCrew and picked up a couple new adorable headbands.  I am addicted to JCrew's headbands.  Greg did some shopping at Sur La Table (I got him a GC) and then we all did a quick run through Trader Joe's.  It was a nice day spent together as a family!

December 28th:  After spending the morning lounging in my PJs (and putting together a Vista Print order that took forever!) we finally headed to Barnes and Noble after brunch (which consisted of the boys eating their BD's leftovers around 10:30 AM).  All the boys got GCs from my parents for B&N.  We spent a few glorious hours there looking through books and getting Starbucks peppermint mocha and peppermint hot chocolate, along with splitting a brownie and the most amazingly yummy sugar cookie.  We ended up meeting Greg for an early (for us) dinner at Baker's Square across the street.  That night I finished up my Vista Print order that I had been working on ALL DAY!  I had some trouble because I did not realize you were limited to 10 free items, so I kept putting more free items in and the something previously free showed up at full price on my order.  After called customer service I got things figured out.  I am so excited for my order to get here and I got a ridiculous amount of goodies for $42.  I will do a separate post once my order comes in next week.  I had it sent directly to school because everything is for school.

December 29th:  I spent most of the day lounging around in my PJs (I'm not sure I would ever get dressed out of my jammies if I did not have a job, for reals;) ), doing some research on CCSS in math, catching up on blogs, and checking out pinterest for new recipes/ideas.  I spent the afternoon/evening watching Grey's Anatomy Season 1 on Netflix through Greg's new Blu Ray.  Amazing is all I have to say!  I still watch Grey's, but miss the original cast.  It was the perfect day spent at home lounging.

December 30th:  Another annoying rainy day here in WI.  Where is our snow darn it?  We went out to lunch at A J Bombers.  Greg has been wanting to go there for quite some time to try their burger with peanut butter on it.  The restaurant won Travel Channel's Food War.  It was such a fun restaurant.  Peanuts are transported via the ceiling and then dumped down a chute at the booth.  We were lucky enough to sit in a booth where this happens.  They boys thought it was so cool!  It was just a super fun restaurant with really good burger very reasonably priced.  We will definitely return.
See where the peanuts drop down into the bowl from the ceiling

So much fun for kids!
Last night Greg rented some DVDs from Blockbuster.  We watched Red Dawn with the boys.  I LOVED that movie back in the day!  Can't wait for the remake coming next year.  We squeezed in a delicious grilled salmon dinner with green beans and salad between our movie night.  We are so lucky that Greg is an amazing grillmaster!  We also watched Transformers 3 (can't believe I enjoyed it).  Then after the boys went to bed Greg and I watched Bridesmaids.  I wasn't expecting it to be serious.  It was funny and a good movie.

December 31st:  This morning I made Cream cheese sausage balls.  They were really good, but you have to flip them around or the bottoms get too crunchy.  Tonight we are going to a NYE party at our neighbors.  It will be a blast I am sure.  We live in an amazing neighborhood with tons of kids that play together and parents who have a great time hanging out.  I am really looking for a kid free night out!

January1st:  Tomorrow I plan on spending the morning in my classroom doing some organizing.  I got all caught up on grading and lesson planning before leaving for break, but I would love a few hours alone in classroom to get caught up on other things.  I am sure you can all relate!  We are having my parents over for an early afternoon turkey dinner with all the trimmings!  I just love a good turkey dinner.   The rest of the day will be spent watching the Packers and undecorating anything Christmas.  I do a lot of more winter type decor so it stays up through winter.

January 2nd:  A bonus day off.  Holla!  It will most likely be getting the house in order for my return to work on Tuesday.  Greg took the day off.  YAY!  Maybe one last lunch out as a family.    Then of course we will be watching the Badgers play in the Rose Bowl.  What a great way to end a fun family  filled winter break.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

11 in "11 Linky Party

11. Favorite movie you watched:
I am not much of a movie watcher, but now that we have a Blue Ray and Netflix that may change.  I would have to say that my favorite thing to do around Christmas is watch all the cheesy made for TV movies.  My must see list grows every year as I try to keep up as my DVR teeters around 100% for the month of December.  I have some faves that I must see every year (and the list is long).  My two favorite new to me movies this year were the following two movies:

10. Favorite TV series:
I have so many favorite TV series.  I absolutely love the show "The Middle" and can't tell you how many times I feel like my family is like that family (my two youngest walk around the house in boxers all the time).  Modern Family is equally funny.  I also love the RH of NY, NJ, and BH.  I cannot take Atlanta anymore and I have never watched OC for some reason.  I am a scripted reality TV show junkie.  I love Bethany, Rachel Zoe, Guiliana and Bill, and Tori and Dean.  I am excited for the new show with Rachel' former assistant Brad.  We will see if he is as funny and cute all by himself.  I do have some standards though, because I refuse to watch the lame Kardashians.  
9. Favorite restaurant:
My favorite restaurant is Bacchus in downtown Milwaukee.  The food is divine as is the atmosphere.  Our must have menu items are:  Sea Scallop – mushrooms, Sarvecchio parmesan, truffle vinaigrette.  Spinach – maple-glazed pork belly, mustard vinaigrette, poached egg.   Filet Mignon – bourbon peppercorn cream, sauteed mushrooms, potato mousseline.  “Cookies and Cream” – chocolate chip cookie bars with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

8. Favorite new thing you tried:  I guess that would be one of my new MAC Iced Delights Eye Bag/Silver.  Before winter break I did my eyes with this kit one morning and I had a boy notice that my eyes looked different (in the middle of math class).  Then at the end of the day he came to me for some math help.  Completely out of the blue he told me I "looked pretty today".  I guess he was really digging the smokey eyes.  :)

7. Favorite gift you got:  My sweet darling husband got me an iPad 2 for Christmas.  I was completely surprised by this, as I had already gotten myself a Cameo Silhouette and some other goodies for the Cameo as part of my present.  

6. Favorite thing you pinned:  I would have to say the BLT bites  appetizer.  I made them for Cooper and Drew's family birthday parties, Friday treat day at school, and for a Champagne Christmas cookie exchange party.  They are so easy, but definitely putzy to put together.  Who does not love bacon?  They are a hit whenever I make them.  
My BLT bites appetizer

5. Favorite blog post:  I guess my favorite blog post would be my Classroom photos Part I.  I love being able to look back on my classroom before school started and see how organized everything is.  That level of organization does not last too long!  I see that I never did a Classroom photos Part II post.  I have a teacher workday at the end of January so maybe I will have time to get the whole area behind my desk organized (it has been neglected due to my crazy busyness).

4. Best accomplishment:  I would say that attending the NCSM 2011 conference in Indianapolis was quite exciting.  I spent three days attending amazing sessions presented by key national leaders in mathematics education.  I have to say that I was soooo disappointed that it was being held in Indianapolis (exciting city that it is), but the Downtown Marriott where I stayed and the convention center were gorgeous. 

3. Favorite picture:  This is not the best quality photo because it was taken with my iPhone by my SIL on Christmas Eve, but I love it because it is the most recent photo of our family of five.

2. Favorite memory:  My favorite memory is our summer vacation to Green Bay and then Door County.  The day we were supposed to leave none of us wanted to go (and our resort was booked) so we made reservations at another resort and stayed an extra day.  We just did not want to leave our happy place AKA Door County!
The boys striking a pose

No trip to DC would be complete without at least two visits to Double Delights for gelato.

1. Goal for 2012:  My goal for 2012 is to spend more quality time with my boys and husband.  I am so busy with school and all the committees I am on, there are some weeks where I have after school meetings four nights in a row.  I need to find balance between work and home.  I absolutely love my job and the many leadership roles I hold, but I feel like my boys are being shortchanged in the process.  They are growing up so fast and I don't want to fill like I missed out on what is really important.  My professional goal is to move forward with the big changes coming out of our math review and the CCSS in math. Big changes are ahead and it is an exciting time, but I need to keep the balance I previously talked about.