2017 – The Year of the “Bucket List”

Last January, I decided my 2017 was going to be known by the phrase bucket list.

So was this year the year of the “bucket list?”

In 2017, I had so many different experiences some that could be said were part of my bucket list even though I do not have an official bucket list.

Travels

Zoos and Aquariums – Hubby and my Official Bucket List

Random

  • Got my first tattoo at 41 years old – I did not know a tattoo was on my bucket list.
  • Gluten Free – I have been gluten free for 11 months now!
  • Book Reading – I have read/ listened to 41 books during 2017. I’m almost done with book number 42 so I may have one more done.  Tanya would have been proud of me.

I think I crossed items off of my bucket list.  Memories were made with family and friends.  My 2017 was definitely the year of the “bucket list.”

So what is my word for 2018?  You are going to have to tune in on Thursday to find out.

Have a magical 2018,
Traci

 

P!nk’s New Album and Mom, What’s for Dinner? – Week of October 15, 2017 – Blog Post #16

We are now on the downward swing of my Write 31 2017.  Yeah!

My favorite artist is P!nk.  I adore her.  Her music is the soundtrack of my life.

On Friday, I got her newest album, Beautiful Trauma.  I already have favorite songs that I’ve played on repeat a million billion times.

Everyone interprets songs differently.  So when I talk about my feels and thoughts about my two favorite songs from the album, be reminded these are my thoughts and feels.

“I Am Here” – Oh my goodness.  I feel as though it is speaking to me about my current situation in my school district.  We are in academic distress.  One of the lyrics is “I’ve already seen  the bottom so I have nothing to fear.”  It’s my rally cry.

The song also tells me to live authentically.  Live my truth not another person’s truth.  The opening line is “I open up my heart.  You can love me or not.”  I struggle with this bit constantly.  It’s a reminder to live my truth.

P!nk

Finally the song addresses the age old question.  What happens when we die.  “Where do we go when we go.”  Since I am Christian, I believe I go to Heaven.

The other song that speaks to me is “Barbies.”  She addresses growing older.  Since I’m over 40, 42 to be exact, life is totally different from when I was younger.  Sometimes it would be nice to go back to when life was so much simpler.  When I did not have to adult all the time.  Maybe that is why I love Disney so much.  I’m able to put adulting to the side for a while and be childlike while I’m there.

Hubby and I are going to go to see her in Louisville during my Spring Break.  I’m so excited.  We were able to get the tickets before the price gouging.  I’ve read a lot of people complaining about the price of tickets.  $500 or more per ticket.  The price for our tickets was not cheap and a lot more than I would have spent but Hubby knows how much I love her.  Seeing her in concert is on my “Bucket List,” so he was willing to pay those prices.

Now onto our menu for the week.  Please continue to the next page.

Disney Quotes to Live By

I have a favorite quote that I say all the time.  It’s a simple quote that has a lot of meaning for me.  It’s “Hakuna Matata.”  The quote simply means “No worries.”

We live in a world where there is constant worry.

Continue reading “Disney Quotes to Live By”

Visiting the University of Louisville and Dinner

After we left the Muhammad Ali Center, we went to the campus of the University of Louisville.  One of my students played football there from 2010 until 2014.  Since I was down there, I wanted to visit the campus.

While we were at the Muhammad Ali Center, I talked to one of the people who worked there.  He knew who my student was which was totally cool.

It’s a totally beautiful campus.

There is an art center by where we stopped to visit the campus.  Outside the art center was different statues that I thought were cool.

A giant wishbone

The beautiful fall foliage on the campus

As I was walking around, I took a photo of the band they gave me to wear while I was in the Ali Center.  I love the saying – “Be great – Do great things.”

Here is more of the campus – So beautiful in the middle of the city

The sunset – I took this photo as we were driving down the highway.  I think it came out great.

We then got to our hotel and needed some dinner.  We ended up at this Mexican restaurant called Mi Pueblo Mexican Cuisine.  We had the best service.

We were the only ones in the restaurant until another customer came into the restaurant.  They were friendly from the get go and were cheerful.  We ended up leaving them a big tip when we left.

They gave us a sample of a street taco they were testing out.  Pretty yummy!

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel room and just relaxed for the evening.

While we were relaxing, I figured out how the Wi-Fi works on my camera.  I had tried to figure that feature out for the past month.  I love it because I can download the photos onto my phone.  So cool.

I can also use my phone to take photos remotely.  Yeah!  I’ve wanted a remote for my camera for a while.

On the next blog post, we are gong to visit the Highlands area of Louisville for breakfast and then the Louisville Zoo.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Have a magical day!

Traci

 

 

What Kind of Recipes are You Looking For?

IMG_0202In order to know what direction this blog needs to go, I have a favor to ask my readers.

What kind of recipes are you looking for when you come to my blog?  Please follow the link to a VERY short poll.  It’s only 2 questions long.

Poll

Thank you so much!

Happy Eating,
Traci

Our Autumn Beauty Maple Tree

We have only once deciduous tree in our yard.  It’s a autumn beauty maple (at least I think that’s the name of it).  It gets gorgeous during the fall.  It has not completely turned yet.  However since the lighting is great outside today (sun shining), I decided to take some pictures of it.

Enjoy the beauty:

Coffee

I love coffee so much when we go to Walt Disney in late March/early April, I’ve trying to find ways for me to have my morning cup.  It’s part of my breakfast routine.  Unfortunately they don’t have a coffee maker in the hotel rooms but we have come up with a solution which is buying a resort cup so I can have my coffee in the morning and the rest of the family can use it for other drinks.

Several years ago, I was wanting Keurig.  I thought it looked totally cool and economical because I am the only coffee drinker in the house.  A week for Christmas, I told my mom and Hubby.  They both wanted to get me the machine.  Finally it was my mom who got me the machine and Hubby got me the K-cups.

I love using the K-cups but it can get expensive.  I bought the reusable K-Cup but it was a pain because you had to take the insert out in order to put the filter in.  I still have it but use it rarely.  I got another reusable K-cup but it did not have a flat bottom.  So it was a pain to put the grounds in because the grounds could fall out and get all over the place.  At Easter time this year, I found Cafe’ Cup reusable K-cups.  There was four in a pack with a scoop for the coffee.  I love them because they are flat.  I use them all the time instead of K-cups.  The only problem is from time to time, the lid does not seal.

The best part of using reusable coffee filters is the economical benefit.  I can buy ground coffee for cheaper then K-cups.  One of y favorite brands is the Target’s Archer Farms Ground Coffee.  Some flavors I have liked are the Caramel Apple flavor, Autumn Roast, Pumpkin Spice, S’Mores (summer flavor), and Dark Chocolate truffle (summer flavor).  As you can see, I love flavored coffee.  I usually get it when it’s on sale.

Another coffee I like is from a local coffeehouse – Boston Stoker’s.  I usually 1/2 pounds of this coffee.  Two of my favorite blends are Snickerdoodle and Highlander Grogg.  Both are delicious!!!!

I also like another local coffeehouse – Winan’s Chocolates and Coffees.  I’ve discovered 2 favorites – Cashew Crunch (I believe that’s the name) and Buckeye (which is named after the delicious chocolate peanut butter candy).

Finally my favorite non flavored kind is from Tim Horton’s.

Another benefit from using a reusable coffee filters is not putting all that waste in the landfills.

What is your favorite coffee or even tea?

(No one has reimbursed me for my thoughts on these coffee flavors and reusable coffee filters.)

What I pack for breakfast, snack, & lunch October 15

Breakfast

 

Lunch:

 

For a snack on my way home, I’ll either have

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Or

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That is I’ll eat it if I’m hungry.

I also have either a small handful of almonds or chocolate covered raisins between groups of students.

My travel bag

Today we are leaving for our big vacation. We are traveling to Charlottesville, Va for the night. Then we are traveling to Charleston, SC for the week. Then we are on to Atlanta, GA for 2 days and Huntsville, AL for a day before heading home.

I’m notorious for packing way too much food when we travel. I attempted not to have too much. We have the family snacks and then mine.

I’m going to talk about what I packed in my travel bag.

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Snacks for me and Hubby (kids won’t touch them):
Trail mix (2 types)
Pistachio, cashew, and almond snack mix

Snacks for only me:
Wheat thins (small bags spicy buffalo and sundried tomato and basil)
Snack mix (walking taco flavored)
Homemade granola (breakfasts for the trip)
2 containers of individual creamers (for beach house – only thing I put in coffee)
Dentyne Ice gum (lots – love it)
2 go picnic – salami with cheese (lunches for this week)
2 go picnics – hummus (lunches for this week)
Freeze dried pineapple
Freeze dried mango
2 containers of random bars and peanut butter/almond butter packets – even though I don’t particularly like peanut butter)
Instant coffee
Fruit punch (1)

Other stuff:
Books (6)
Notebook
Folders with puzzles and coloring pages for boys
Folder with puzzles for me
Mechanical pencils
My purse
My camera

Strawberry Picking

 

Yesterday the Imaginative One and I went to the zoo to check out the new dinosaur island exhibit.  On the way there, I saw a sign about strawberry picking so I asked him if he wanted to stop and pick some fresh strawberries.  Since he loves strawberries, he told me yes!!!!  So I followed the signs and found the farm.  

The owner showed the Imaginative One how to look for ripe strawberries by sight.  Strawberries stop ripening once they are picked.  He also told him to check the ripeness by tasting it.  So we tried a few freshly picked.  YUM!!!

We filled the basket to the top and even a few more so that it overflowed.  It was an experience that we will not forget.

The Wee One was not with us but enjoyed the fruits of our labor.  I had to tell him to stop eating the strawberries because I was afraid he would get a tummy ache.  

At one point, he was running through the house holding a huge strawberry singing “I like big strawberries, I cannot lie.”

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Letter to Moore, OK

The Imaginative One has decided to write a letter to those affected by the May 20th tornado.  He was saddened but also proud of the people of Moore, OK.  Here is his letter:

Dear people of Moore, OK:

I heard about the tornado.  I am sorry about the people who were hurt or killed.  I heard some sad stories but also some stories of real heroes.  Like a teacher who was found under a car with 3 kids under her.  Also one about a lady who telling about her experience of how her dog who was swept away from her during the tornado.  Suddenly they heard a sound and discovered the dog was just hidden under the debris and came out when he heard her voice.  

I am sure some of the missing people will be found but before they are found let’s hope they are okay.  God be with them is my plea.  

If I could, I would go down there to help search for the missing people and give some of my clothes, toys, books, and other things to the kids who have lost so much.  

My prayers are with the people who live there.

The Imaginative One – May 21, 2013

My new favorite foodie place

Last month as I was getting ready to shop for my foodie pen pal, I decided to visit the Second Street Market.  I had driven by it many times but it was closed so I couldn’t stop.  The boys and I went and got lunch before heading to another place.  The Greek salad I got at one of the vendors was so good.  It was the best Greek dressing I’ve had.

I tried to get back there but my Saturdays were busy so it was not feasible.  Note:  It’s only open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.  It’s closes at 3 on all 3 days and I drive by it at 4 so I cannot stop.  

Last Saturday, I made the trek down to the market before heading to my digital photography class.  Foods I discovered on that day were a granola called “Triple Threat.”  It has cranberries, white chocolate, and walnuts.  Not too sweet, great as a snack.  I also discovered Rahn’s Artisan breads.  Their bagels are delicious.  Spice Rack and Bulk Foods has unusual tea combos.  There is not a lot of variety but that’s okay because I’ll eventually try them all.  I got Fruit Sangria, Coconut Truffle, and a Hazelnut Toffee teas.  My tea infuser from Charleston Tea Plantation has been put to work.  

So this week, I decided I was going to go once again to the Second Street Market and buy some local goodies for my foodie pen pal.  (I’m not going to disclose what I bought for her.)  The boys had gone north east to see their cousins so Hubby and I had free time.  We went out to see Gatsby on Friday night and went to the market on Saturday.  Two dates in two days – virtually unheard of in these parts of the woods.  We almost went on a third date to Sam’s Club but that would have been too much.  One of the dates was to celebrate our anniversary.  The other was to celebrate my birthday.  

He was pleasantly surprised with the variety and smells of the place.  It was super busy but that’s a good thing.  Vendors were selling their wares.  We watched a man making a bowl on his pottery wheel.  We heard a bluegrass band singing while little kids were dancing.  We taste tested different infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars.  Then we got our lunch.  It was so busy that finding a table was virtually impossible.  Luckily for us, as he got his fried egg sandwich a table opened up.  I got my Mediterranean veggie sandwich and Greek salad.  It was a great date!

Next week, we are hitting the World A Fair to taste test foods from all over the world.  We love going there.  I’ve already have a list of foods I want to eat there so I’m excited!

 

14 years ago today . . .

Let me take you back further than 14 years ago because that’s where this story begins.  It was September of ’97 and the fall quarter at the college I attended.  I was running late to one of my classes because I was doing my teaching practicum at a school that was 45 minutes away from my college.  I didn’t have a car so I was riding public transportation to and from the practicum.  

I walked into the the teaching reading class and there was no seats.  Hubby was there and practically pushed one of his friends out of their seat.  Unfortunately for hubby, the professor found me a seat next to her.  

A few days later, I had a art class and guess who was in my class.  Yes, hubby!  A few weeks later, the professor of the art class had a sick family member so 3 classes were canceled.  We went over to my dorm room and just talked.

In October of ’97, we began dating.  Our first date was at the Spaghetti Warehouse in downtown Dayton.  

In January of ’99, I began student teaching.  During the time I was student teaching, we had a big snow/ ice storm that caused school to be cancelled for multiple days.  I ended up visiting at his parents’ house for a week so that I was not in the stuck in the dorms.

I also ended up with either a stomach virus or flu.  On the day I was sick, he went with his sister to find me an engagement ring.  

Since school was cancelled was closed for multiple days, my student teaching was extended for about 3 days.  My last day of student teaching was St. Patty’s Day.

The next day, I had class and all I wanted to do was sleep and rest afterwards because I was exhausted.  Hubby was insistent we go out.  Since it was a rainy/ dreary day, we didn’t get to go where he wanted to – Glen Helen Nature Reserve in Yellow Springs.  Instead we went looking for apartments.  He was ready to move out of his parents’ house and I was getting ready to graduate from college in a few months.  The first place we visited ended up being nice so he got on knee by the stairs in the apartment and asked me if I want

ed the apartment and him.  We were engaged!

That weekend we went to Pittsburgh to visit my grandma, aunt, and cousin.  It was the first time I had been back there in almost 14 years.  It was a nice way to celebrate out engagement.

Our plan was to live with each other for a year, plan the big wedding, and then get married.  My grandpa put a stop to that plan.  He basically told us that he didn’t want us living in sin even though we had made a commitment to each other.  We decided to follow my grandpa’s wishes of us getting married.  We picked a date that was on a Saturday for the following year and then began marriage counseling.  We were going to elope a month an

d a half after we were engaged.  

We ran into a snagfu while planning the elopement because we needed witnesses.  We decided to ask hubby’s dad and my grandpa.  If we asked them, then the rest of the family was going to be there at the wedding.  We ended up having 12 people at our elopement.   Eleven were family members.  One was a family friend.  

It was a Thursday morning at around 11 am if I’m remembering right.  I only had classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I took the day off.  It was als

o World Day of Prayer.  Our current pastor married us and then we went out to eat at First Watch.  That night we went to see Shakespeare in Love.  

14 years ago, today we were married.  Two days later, I turned 24.  A month later I graduated from college.  A year later, we had our big wedding and honeymoon at Walt Disney World.  A few months after our big wedding, I began working at my current job.  When I decided to marry my sweetheart, it began a snowball effect of life changes.  I cannot believe it’s been 14 years!

Enjoy pics from our bigger wedding a year later
relitiveeve


bubbles distorycake ilsewalk2 ringexchange

What I’m Thankful For – Last 10

11.  Hubby – He’s been such a brave soul trying the new foods I’ve been cooking.  A lot of them, he’s actually liked 🙂  Yeah!

12.  My favorite book series – Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone series, Joanna Fluke’s Hannah Swenson series – I love visiting my “friends” and catching up with them.

13.  Spring is almost here!  It’s a time of rebirth and renewal.  

14.  My family – They are very important to me.

15.  Foodie Pen Pals – I’ve done it in October, November, January, and February.  I love shopping for a new person and trying to figure out their likes and dislikes.  Then I get my package in the mail and I get to try new foods from different places in the US.  Okay my last one was from five minutes from the house.  This month the person who is sending me my box is from further away so that’s exciting.

16.  Going to the beach this summer – I love Charleston, SC.  We finally made a commitment to go to the beach.  Yeah!  I get to eat at my favorite restaurant there.  The boys are going to get to go to Piggly Wiggly.  They want to dump sand on grandpa down there.  We are going to Charlottesville, VA either on the way down or the way back.  

17.  the zoo – I love going there.  

18.  Coffee – Enough said there!

19.  Chocolate

20.  Being a teacher – There is nothing more fulfilling as teaching especially when the students have learned something new and are excited about it.

What I’m Thankful For – First 10

One of my challenges for Healthy Self is to make a list of 20 things you are thankful for.  It was suppose to be done on Monday.  Monday was such a crazy day for me so I didn’t get it done.  Yesterday I was just LAZY plus because of the changes in the atmosphere – AKA snow coming in – my head was bothering me.

So today I’m going to make my list:

1.  Snow day – I’m suppose to be testing today so this does stress me out some.  However I got almost half done on Monday because I knew this was a possibility.  Go me because these tests are L-O-N-G and one on one with the student.  

2.  The Imaginative One – He always gives me a run for my money with his random knowledge.  He loves to learn but doesn’t like to test (discussion in car the other day).  

3.  The Wee One – He had a music program on Monday night.  If he had a chance, he could have directed that program.  He was on top of the whole production.  There is a special needs student who visits his classroom.  He is so gentle and caring with the little boy.  During the production, he allowed the boy to play with his tie because he knew that the little boy needed that.  He also loves to learn.

4.  Losing 15.5 pounds in 2 months – On Monday, a retired teacher subbed in my room so I could test.  She hadn’t seen me since either September or October.  One of the first things out of her mouth was “You lost weight.”  Made me feel good that someone noticed my effort.  I’m down 2 pants sizes!!!!!  

5.  Learning to eat new foods – I never in a million years would have thought I would have loved eating shepherd’s pie made with sweet potato/cauliflower mash on the top.  I was absolutely delicious!  I also never thought I would make double chocolate chip muffins with avocados.  Actually I would never have thought I would eat avocados.

6.  Cuddles with the dog when he’s not sensitive to weather (shakes and won’t leave me alone)

7.  Cuddles with the Wee One 

8.  The Imaginative One showing affection or appreciation towards me – These moments are fleeting but appreciated.

 9.  Being able to cook healthy foods for my family – I constantly tell the boys how lucky they are their mom cooks them dinner.

10.  Photography – I love looking at nature in a different way when I’m taking photographs.  Nature is cool!  I also love taking pictures of the boys growing up.  I have a few pictures of my childhood.  I really wish I had more.  My memories are visual in nature and I really wish I had the picture to go with my memories so I could share them with the boys.  

Sunday prep

This week I have parent teacher conferences so I’ll be working late days. I made sure Hubby has food to feed both boys on Monday and Wednesday. I also need to make sure I have plenty of healthy snacks.

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Ranch flavored veggie chips in individual bags

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Carrot sticks

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Italian Sloppy Joes

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Asian Chicken Burgers

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Ham and cheese scones

20130224-214751.jpgAlmond Protein Pancakes

20130224-214819.jpgCelery Sticks

Sunday Food Prep

Sunday Prep 2So today I took time out and did some prep for the week.  Tomorrow I’ll be cooking a roast for burrito bowls.  The soup is for lunches and I ate it for dinner on Sunday night.  The Parmesan chicken is for one of our dinners.  I’m going to eat mine with the roasted veggies.  The breakfast apple crisp is my breakfast for 3 mornings.  I’m going to eat it with Greek yogurt.  The bbq pork is first going to be a dinner and then will be pork fajitas.  Yum!

 

Now what?

Now that I’m back to losing weight, I want to make mini goals. This way I’m not overwhelmed.

Goal #1 – healthly BMI

Goal #2 – reach the 130s/ get into single digit pants’ size

Goal #3 – look svelte and awesome at my 20th class reunion on August 3rd – Hopefully in my 120’s by then. (Graduated at 120 pounds)