Category Archives: favorite things

Reasons I Love Thanksgiving


  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade
  • The National Dog Show
  • Relaxing with coffee & family watching those two things
  • Comfy sweaters
  • The food: turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, cheesy potatoes, sweet potatoes (clearly – potatoes), veggies, those jellied cranberry slices, strawberry pretzel jello. 
  • Finding seasonal bandanas for the family pups and special turkey meals of wet cat and dog to give them. 
  • Wine. 
  • Everyone working together to clean up after dinner.
  • Everyone sleepy and relaxing after dinner with football or Christmas movies on TV.
  • A day that is centered completely on family, good food, & hanging out at home. 

weekly gems

   A walk with Madison in the park.

harry potter forever

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Like most children of the 90s, or really, any human being with an imagination and a heart, I will never NOT love the Harry Potter books and anything related to them.

It’s almost time for my yearly re-reading of the books. I can feel myself getting itchy. I keep thinking about how all the Harry Potter movies on Blu-Ray and the new illustrated edition of the first book are at the top of my Christmas wish list.

The need for a  Harry Potter fix is only being increased by the knowledge that people I know with have gone on the Harry Potter Studio Tour or will be visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Either experience would have me over the moon with joy!

Since I won’t be having an authentic butterbeer or pumpkin juice anytime soon, I’m going to have to curl up with some tea, pull out my plain old original copies of the series, and read away.

Maybe I’ll even imagine I’m in the Gryffindor common room while I’m at it!

weekly gems

Enjoying our new outdoor space so much!

Have a great weekend! 

weekly gems

Backyard bliss

weekly gems


Delicious drink “Love Elixir” at dinner this weekend.


things that are making me happy (and thankful)



  • My amazing husband Daniel. He works so hard every day at his job as a teacher, is fiercely loyal to his family and friends, is ridiculously passionate about sports – both watching and doing,  adores animals as much as I do, and watches all the same TV shows as me (unless they are about crime). He is my best friend and the love of my life.
  • My awesome family. Not only do they give provide me with role models to admire and be inspired by , but I am especially grateful for all the help and support they’ve given me during this first year teaching at a high school with a new school model AND with my knee injury and surgery. I love spending time with them – they are always on my side, they always make me laugh, and they will always watch crime TV shows with me.
  • My kick-ass friends. They put up with all my random, silly, and long text messages, non-stop Snapchats of coffee and pets, my early bedtime, and my weak sarcastic ability. They are hilarious, creative, sweet, caring, fiesty, and fun. I love them to death and can’t imagine how I’d get along without them.
  • My wonderful co-workers. I have been blessed to have truly great colleagues and mentors almost every place I have ever worked, but this year having a staff that supports each other as much as this staff does is absolutely essential. I don’t think any of us would have made it this far, trying to implement his new school model and make positive changes in school culture, without each other. No one “pulls rank,” no one refuses feedback, no one is unwilling or too busy to help anyone else. We are truly a team and I am so grateful.
  • My pets. I don’t have kids, and no, my pets aren’t like my kids. My pets are my pets – they are animals who love unconditionally, harbor no bitterness or ill will toward anyone, and find happiness in all the small moments. They brighten my day and the day of everyone who interacts with them.
  • The “basics” that aren’t really so basic – a place to live with working heat and a sound structure, located in a safe neighborhood. Clean, running water I can get by walking two feet to a faucet. Enough nutritious food to eat and the ability to choose what I want to eat. Shoes, a winter coat, gloves, and hat that are all in good shape. Clothes in general that are in good shape. Safe transportation. Access to the Internet and a computer in my own home. All the things so many of us take for granted on a daily basis.
  • Health care – including vision and dental. I know this is a sore point for some people in this day and age with Obamacare and all, but I can’t imagine not having it. I have maintenance prescriptions I require for health conditions, I get sinus infections a couple times a year, I hate cavities, and you never know when an emergency or a random accident will occur – like tearing your ACL on a trampoline on a school field trip. I am so grateful I have insurance to help my family and I afford the care we need.
  • My college degree and job. My job that is my dream job. It truly feels like every experience I have had, particularly since I was in high school myself, has lead me to this teaching position. A lot of the experiences were challenging, but they all prepared me for where I am right now, which is exactly where I want to be. Not only is my job, despite its intensity, emotionally and intellectually fulfilling, but it is also contributing to my family’s financial security. I am grateful for that because I know how difficult not being in such a positive situation can be.
  • And of course, the random, little things that seem silly to be thankful for but really enrich every day life: COFFEE, funny TV shows, interesting podcasts, good books, really good books,  an evening spent cooking and baking, a hot bath, that thrill you get when you’ve had an extra productive day or when you get an unexpected compliment, a cold beer after a long week at work, finding a coupon for your favorite grocery item, a sunny day, easy traffic on your morning commute, killing it in your workout, catching your new favorite song on the radio, making someone else laugh without expecting to, beating that level of Angry Birds you’ve been stuck on for weeks, a fantastic night of sleep, no line at the gas station or drugstore when you’re in a rush, a clear night sky so you can see the stars, the existence of HGTV, listening to music while driving by yourself in the rain, seeing someone do something nice for someone else for no reason but to be nice or polite, hugs from small children, kisses from dogs, and so, so much more.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Watch It: Perry Mason









Here we are, on snow day #5 of the school year (2nd in a row of this week). This winter has been brutally cold! As a teacher, I of course enjoy the snow days (any teacher who doesn’t enjoy them, even a little bit, is lying to themselves and to you). However, as a high school swim coach, I’m not a great fan of snow days getting in the way of practice. Since I can’t control the weather or the district’s calling of snow days, though, I try not to stress out about it and fully enjoy my snow day. A key component of that enjoyment, for me, is watching Perry Mason reruns.

Perry Mason is an American court drama that aired from 1957-1966 on CBS.  Every time I have the day off of work and I have the opportunity to catch a rerun, I do so because


  1. Perry Mason is a smart show. Like a lot of people, sometimes I attempt to take care of things on the computer or play around on my phone while also half-paying attention to what’s on TV. I can do this with Bones (one of my all-time favorite shows), Law & Order, Body of Proof, etc., but I can’t do this with Perry Mason, not without missing a key detail. The show is well-written, with its focus based on the relationships and motives of its characters, rather than on shocking acts of violence, intense action sequences, or emphasis on technology.
  2. The acting is fantastic. Raymond Burr starred as Perry Mason, earning two Emmys during the show’s duration. Barbara Hale, who played Mason’s secretary Della Street, earned an Emmy for her role on the show as well.  William Hopper, the actor who brought Mason’s private detective Paul Drake to life, was also nominated for his work on the show.
  3. In addition to wonderful acting by the series regulars, Perry Mason often featured guest stars past and present viewers would get a kick out of seeing. Such stars included Dick Clark, Robert Redford, Leonard Nimoy, Cloris Leachman, and Bette Davis.
  4. Perry Mason is mostly formulaic. Most episodes begin with a scene or two introducing the soon-to-be defendant and victim. Perry somehow gets introduced and linked to defendant. Someone is killed. Perry and the police both begin their investigations. The evidence keeps pointing to Perry’s client. A hearing or trial occurs. Perry presents his case and ends up revealing another person as the lead suspect. More often that not, that person will end up confessing on the stand. The episodes almost always end with Perry, Della, and Paul, and sometimes the client who was just proven innocent, chatting and laughing in Perry’s office or in a restaurant. A lot of people don’t like it when their shows are formulaic, but as someone who thrives in routine, I enjoy it – especially since every show includes a new mystery to fit into that formula.
  5. It’s a black-and-white blast from the past. I love watching reruns with my dad, who remembers watching them with his late mom when the show was originally on air. The men all wear suits, trench coats, and hats, and the women all wear pencil skirts and have their hair and lipstick perfectly in place. It’s a fun trip back in time to an age that many people view as classy and more wholesome, but via storylines that remind you no time was truly an age of innocence.

Perry Mason episodes are currently shown on MeTV and the Hallmark Movie Channel.  You can also find full episodes available for streaming here.


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things that are making me happy

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  • All the kinds of flavored coffee Dan & I got for Christmas
  • Staying safe & warm during this terrible weather, and the fact that my friends and family are, too
  • The perfect planner for a new year
  • New leggings to wear while rocking workouts at the gym
  • Speaking of workouts…I’m loving prepping for my first masters meet and participating in Tone It Up’s Love Your Body series!
  • Working ahead to finish the second half of swim season strong
  • Cuddling up with Madison, a good book, & a cup of tea
  • Sending and receiving hilarious texts with friends
  • Marathons of favorite TV shows
  • A good night’s sleep
  • Only 36 days until pitchers and catchers report!

What is making you happy as of late?


things that are making me happy

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  • The photo above, which is my church’s weekly bulletin, because it shows the church’s weekly schedule for this week includes Dan and I’s wedding!!!!
  • Baseall
  • A good book
  • Funfetti cake
  • Naps
  • Singing loudly while driving my car
  • Early Sunday Starbucks treat
  • Visits with and calls from great friends
  • Finding a hilarious new favorite TV show
  • Sunshine and cool breezes
  • A clean house
  • A happy Madison

What is making you happy as of late?

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