Boatloads of Cuteness

Our class t-shirts came in today! We have six different first grade classrooms at my school (Yes, six! There are a lot of us!) so we all chose a different color. My class has yellow so we'll be the sun-shiniest of them all : ) Anyway, one of my teammates found this super cute idea: We all started with a grid on a piece of paper, and each child in our class drew their own self portrait. The t-shirt company printed exactly what we gave them and ta-daaa!

The kids were amazed. "How did my picture get on there?" "How did they know my name?" I reminded them that we made the pictures. "But we made them in pencil!"

Here's a close up. I love how each portrait is so unique!

I just love my firsties! We'll be donning these for our first field trip which is on Monday! Wish us luck!


Everything's Bigger In Texas

Have I mentioned before how much I love Texas? It's true that everything's bigger there. The first time I visited Dallas I was astounded by the massive expanses of grass in every front yard. I'd never seen so much grass! Everyone is also extremely nice (you can't not be when you start sentences with y'all!).

This past weekend Max and I flew to Austin for a wedding and as we were touching down, the man next to me pointed out the capitol building, which is of course taller than the nation's capitol building (you know - everything's bigger...). I also just love the Texan state spirit. The state outline is everywhere, as is the state star. I found this one at our hotel:

And this guy was inside the lobby - to me it just screams Texas!

Before the wedding we got a mini photo shoot in... gotta love those camera timers ; )

I love this Texan the best! ; )

And then it was off to beautiful Lakeway! Max's buddy from high school was marrying his sweet Texas bride. The ceremony was just lovely - outdoors with lots of trees and gorgeous chandeliers! The couple incorporated a new tradition during the ceremony of locking up love letters to each other with a bottle of wine and two goblets and agreeing not to open the box until their tenth anniversary. I had thought the officiant was going to say first - open this on your first anniversary. But no, the tenth. I whispered to Max that we will have nothing to open on our tenth anniversary! Sigh.

Going along with the everything's bigger theme, there was a 15 piece brass band at the reception! So much fun!

I wore a dress gifted from my sister for my birthday - thanks, Lindsey!

I just loooved the bride's hair!

She had an outfit change, too! So clever! This is a photo I snapped of her with the groom's high school friends.

Yes, they're all boys. Max went to an amazing all-boys private school and in fact one of the "boys" in the picture was one of their instructors who holds a Ph.D. in something like Astrophysics (yes, teaching high school with advanced degrees is kind of the norm there - I did say that the school was amazing).

Before heading back to Scottsdale we brunched with Max's newly engaged aunt and her soon-to-be hubby! They took us to a fun spot that served neat dishes like like carrot cake french toast, yum!

Then it was back to Scottsdale. Luckily TSA let us through security with our wedding favors - we each had a cupcake-in-a-jar!

Texas, we'll see you again soon!

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving that we received the invitation for Max's holiday work party and it's a Monte Carlo theme! My husband in a tuxedo? Yes, please!

I'm loving that Safeway is carrying Starbucks brand hot chocolate! I wanted to purchase all the different flavors, but I thought that was ridiculous, so I just took home two. That's normal, right?

I'm loving that this Friday is Wear Your Favorite Jersey To School Day. I'll be sporting my Frank Gore 49ers jersey of course. And while I wish they'd broadcast more 49ers games out here in Arizona, I'm still loving that they're 8-1. Yes, 8-1! After years of those Be a 49er Faithful! commercials (i.e. they were losing, losing, losing), they're finally on a winning streak!

Finally I'm loving my lovey of four years now! This was the first photo we ever snapped together : )

What are you loving this Wonderful Wednesday? Link up here!


November 14th, 2007

Exactly four years ago today, on a blind date at a little sushi restaurant in California, I met the future love of my life, and the kindest, most generous and hands down most intelligent man I know. Luckily something inside me always knew my future husband would be ridiculously smart, so I was able to hide my shock when this new person told me things like Oh yeah, and I teach my own graduate level course at Stanford.

Exactly one year from that day, on November 14th, 2008, this same man proposed. We both always assumed that we would date our future spouse for some years before committing to something lifelong like marriage, however just a few months into dating it was clear that this was it.

Max, you have given me more excitement and adventure than I could have ever even imagined,

...more support than I could have ever hoped,

...and more love than I could have ever wished.

Thank you for a marriage even better than my dreams!


Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers and Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

When my sister was out last weekend we made my very favorite chicken dish - a lovely recipe I tore out of Cooking Light in January of this year. The combination of the fennel seed, rosemary, balsamic vinegar and peppers gives it so much flavor and depth!

Here's what you'll need...

For the chicken and topping:
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
Cooking spray
2 cups thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallot
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

For the potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds cubed Yukon golden potatoes
1/3 cup 2 percent milk
3 Tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt

*I double the amount of seasoning for the spice rub on the chicken and add way more rosemary since we have the huge bush of it in the back yard (seriously - if anyone wants rosemary just let me know ; ) I also put lots more mascarpone into the potatoes.

1.Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Peel and cut potatoes into chunks, cover with water in a saucepan and bring to a boil (since I use yellow or white potatoes often I just leave the skin on). Simmer for fifteen minutes or until tender (I leave mine on longer).

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, fennel seeds, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder and oregano. Brush chicken with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and sprinkle spice rub over chicken. Ass 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to the pan. Add chicken and cook 3 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken over and cook one minute.

4. Arrange browned chicken in an 11X7 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cook at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until done (mine always take longer).

5. Heat remaining oil over medium high heat. Add bell peppers, shallots and rosemary; sauté three minutes. Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat; simmer five minutes. Increase heat to medium high. Stir in vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook three minutes, stirring frequently.

6. Drain potatoes and return to pan. It's helpful to have a fun sister assisting (and the World Series on in the background). Add milk, mascarpone cheese and salt. Mash to desired consistency.

7. Serve bell pepper mixture over chicken on a bed of the mashed potatoes. Enjoy!


The Heart of Texas

I spied this painting pinned on my sister-in-law's Pinterest page and thought it would make a sweet housewarming gift (she recently moved into her first post-college place!).

I then realized that I could easily make something similar myself! I mixed a bright green (her accent color for her yellow room) for the background and changed the heart to red. Here's hoping it brings a little Texas cheer to Boston!

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