This and That

This is how the boys usually wake up during the week:


This is A helping me shop at Whole Foods, one of our new favorite stops:

These are the puzzle pieces of our popsicle puzzle that we are currently working on:

These are the watermelon margaritas B and I had with our nachos and tacos Friday night:

This is the great shrimp lo mein B made this Saturday night:

And this is the Mickey from Mickey’s 90th Birthday Tsum Tsum set that A got for J’s upcoming birthday:

Birthday Tsum Tsums will make for a very excited seven year old!

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Friday Favorites

We are definitely back in the swing of school, work, and basketball games. This weekend I’m looking forward to working on a narwhal project with J, finishing up reading The Library Book, and celebrating my Dad’s birthday on Sunday! Next week is going to just as busy as this one was, so I’m glad for the downtime!

The puzzle I got for the boys and I to work on this weekend.

A colorful beachside home.

Chicken chilaquiles that I learned how to make while listening to a podcast on the way to work.

Grown-up lunchables.

Tips for tidying up, but don’t take it too far.

Palm tree design.

The boots I have in my shopping cart at Nordstrom.

Sketchbook inspiration.

And finally, an Oahu travel guide.

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Don’t ask me how they got their name, because I have no idea. However, these little spiced cookies are my Dad’s favorite and my Nannie (my Dad’s Mom) used to make them every year. Now my Mom makes them, and we have all joined in at one point or another to help make multiple batches of these throughout the holiday season. Even though the holidays are over, you can still make a batch and enjoy the fact that they are slightly healthy because they have raisins.

Hermit Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and salt. Set aside.
  4. On medium speed cream shortening for about three minutes.
  5. Add sugar to butter and mix until light and fluffy about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Scrape down the sides and then add in the eggs and milk. Mix until it resembles cottage cheese (so slightly lumpy, but well mixed).
  7. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Mix just a little by hand (so it doesn’t puff out when you start the mixer), and then mix on low speed only until blended, then add in raisins and mix.
  8. Divide by scoopfulls onto parchment  lined pan.
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  10. Will keep in an air tight container at room temperature for 5 -7 days. In our house they rarely last that long.

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Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe

Nestled in a corner of Frontierland is Pecos Bill’s. We stopped here for lunch after we finished our morning in Adventureland, and before our fast passes in Frontierland started. I had visited Pecos Bill before, but hadn’t been in quite a few years because I was unsure how well the boys would eat the premade tacos. Obviously I should have checked the menu and reviews more closely because this was actually the perfect spot for the boys.

A and I split the beef tacos, and what you get on the tacos is just that, beef. Then you can make your way over to the toppings bar and add whatever you want to your tacos. This is an awesome way to split a meal and make it customizable. So as you can see we made our own choices…

J was on a macaroni and cheese kick this trip, so that was his choice:

We also saw some country bears on the way out!

Here’s a breakdown of our Magic Kingdom plan focusing on Adventureland and Frontierland:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean 
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Dole Whip Snack Aloha Isle
  • Pirate Adventure Kiosk
  • Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse
  • Lunch: Pecos Bill 
  • Thunder Mountain 11:40-12:40 FP x 2 A &B
  • Splash Mountain 12:35-1:35 FP x 2 J & N
  • Tom Sawyer Island
  • Haunted Mansion FP x 4 1:35-2:35
  • Peter Pan FP x 4 2:40-3:40
  • Finish pirate scavenger hunt

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Friday Favorites

Our winter staycation is officially over in two days. We are trying to slowly get back on our schedule before we go back to work and school next week. I’m also trying actively to not panic about the traffic increase due to a major road closure near us and if I’m going to need roller skates like Ross in that episode of Friends to get from class to class because of our main building being remodeled. And, it’s still raining! For now I’ll be working on some lesson planning, we’ll be playing board games, watching football, and doing some organizational preparing for the new year!

Places to go when visiting Atlanta.

Creating a mindful nighttime routine.

How to create an effective bullet journal.

Degas book to add to my reading list.

Chicken faijita bowls for lunch.

Ingredients to always have on hand.

And finally, subway tile backsplashes creating light in the kitchen.

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Happy Holidays!

Happiest of Holidays! We are cookie baking, about to be present opening, and spending lots of family time together! I’ll be back to share more Teacher Tuesday’s, recipes, Disney reviews, and more after the New Year!

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Friday Favorites

Pregame pep talk.

This week my grandparents arrived and we are looking forward to a weekend full of cookie baking, gingerbread house decorating, and our annual Feliz Navidad dinner. We’ve also got a couple of basketball practices and maybe going to see Mary Poppins Returns mixed in as well. And of course the boys are counting down the days to Christmas. Let the holiday festivities begin!

A calming playlist.

On creating a balance of home responsibilities.

Brush pens and dual tip markers on my list for my art journal.

White chocolate and cranberry biscotti for Christmas morning coffee.

Mail order caramel.

A new cooking memoir to add to my reading list.

Cilantro lime dressing for our side salad on Feliz Navidad.

Garland inspo for next year.

The biscuits I’m making for Christmas Eve.

Two weekend looks, one with buffalo checks and one with a cropped sweater.

Love this home that combines comfort, neutrals, and pops of color.

Lunch soup.

Finally, ringing in the new year with a holiday medley.

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We’ve been enjoying our last chances to “drive over the mountain” before it closes for an entire year and every errand is going to take a lot longer (as is our drive to work…bring on the podcasts!).

I’ve been crafting and drawing in my art journal to deal with my current prednisone always on brain (one of the side effects of having asthma with kids who give you germs in the south in the winter).

We picked up McDonald’s for lunch on Saturday after J’s game and J chose hot cakes, because obviously.

I was reminiscing of my sister and I making sugar cookies when we were little, just the two of us. It’s funny now because sugar cookie making usually consists of five fairly loud kids. I probably shouldn’t include fairly.

We had an early riser this week. That’s not typical during the school week, they like to save their early rising for the weekend, ha!

And finally, you know when you are eating and suddenly have this uncomfortable feeling someone is watching you? That’s Dasher.

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The Beach Club Review

When I was a kid going to Disney my family always stayed at an Epcot area hotel. My parents liked the convience of being able to walk into a park, or take a boat instead of dealing with the buses. Since it was A’s 10th birthday celebration we decided to stay at The Beach Club for our trip, because A’s favorite park is Epcot. I was interested to try The Beach Club since it had been probably about twenty years since I have stayed there. Here is a breakdown of our experience!

We stayed in a garden view room, which I liked because it was quiet and not too far from the entrance to walk to Epcot. I was not pleased with our first floor room, so I requested to change it and they moved us to the second floor, which was much better.

Our room overall was very nice, but I will say it was a bit dated and they didn’t put a dust cover on the box spring, which was odd. The boys loved that they didn’t have to share a bed, and I liked the larger balcony to sit out on in the mornings before we got started with our day.

The Beach Club is the closest resort to walk into Epcot and I have to say, you can’t really beat that convenience. We walked out the first night to watch the fireworks and just stood on the bridge.

It’s also a short walk to The Boardwalk resort, where we got Ample Hills ice cream, and wandered into some of the shops.

The pool at The Beach Club is also one of the best pools of all the Disney resorts. It has two water slides, a lazy river, and a sand bottom. It also can only be used by guests of The Beach Club and The Yacht Club. They also have a good arcade that kept the boys occupied until our room was ready.

The Beach Club has an east coast feel, so it doesn’t have much overt Disney decor. However, we really enjoyed the welcoming and family friendly atmosphere. The resort has a character meal, two restaurants, a lounge, and a quick service area with muffins, Mickey waffles, and other pastries. Several mornings we grabbed items from the quick service area for breakfast.

Every cast members we encountered was great, and we loved being able to walk into a park. If you are considering one of the deluxe Epcot resorts this would be my choice!

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Teacher Tuesday – Classroom Learning Essentials

One of my favorite blog posts to follow is Momfessionals’ Teacher Tuesday’s. Inspired by those posts I thought I’d share some of my college teacher essentials! I teach communication courses, and I’ve collected quite a few book ideas, shows/movies, and learning games over the last fourteen years.

First up are books that we have read, discussed, or I’ve incorporated into classroom concept connections:

1. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind highlights intrapersonal and interpersonal communication usage, and how it can create change.

2. Creativity, Inc. is one of my favorite books about organizational collaboration and how it creates a creative environment that employees can effectively communicate ideas within.

3. The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down is a book I read in a sociology course in college and have carried with me sense. It’s one of the best books on intracultural communication you’ll ever read, and one of my favorite books overall.

4. We discuss things “going viral” in our discussion of mass media and communication and Contagious is a great in-depth read of this idea.

Next up is some of my favorite shows or movies that we have discussed, critiqued, or done classwide activities on:

1. My go to for our discussion of metacognitive strategies to avoid burnout. In Two Week’s Notice Sandra Bullock’s character end up quitting her job after suffering from workplace burnout. We watch segments of it and I usually try to skip the ending because it’s not really relevant, but my students almost always convince me to let them watch the end (the romantic comedy part).

2. Full of communication issues and workplace breakdowns, Parks and Recreation is a show I pull lots of examples from. One of my favorites is Kaboom where they are convinced to build a playground just based on a persuasive pitch.

3. The episode Conflict Resolution from The Office is one we do a classwide activity on, breaking down the win-win-win strategy.

4. And for when we talk about SCADFISH nonverbal communication, I’m looking forward to us watching and discussing Inside Out!

You probably wouldn’t think of playing games in a college classroom, but there are several that I use to help break the ice at the beginning of the semester, help students strategize speech topics, prepare students for delivering speeches, and working on group collaboration. Here are some of my favorites!

1. Top that Toast Card Game. I’m so excited to add this one into the mix next semester. We are going to use it when we discuss ceremonial and impromptu speaking.

2. Snake Oil is a game idea shared with me by a fellow faculty member. We don’t play by the traditional rules, but mix and match the cards that the students have to then turn into one minute persuasive presentations.

3. Taboo is a great game to work on effective delivery, where students have to maintain eye contact, avoid vocalized pauses, and keep a steady rate while trying to get students to guess the word.

4. Every semester I do a marshmallow challenge group collaboration activity. However, I found the collaborative game “Junk Art” while Christmas shopping and my creativity wheels started turning with an idea to make a more permanent group collaboration activity. I’ve got it on my teacher fund list!

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