Five on Friday

5 on Friday Logo - Final(1)

I’ve been looking around other blogs, and today I found this fun Link up party. I spent all afternoon looking at Carolina Charm’s blog. It is amazing what I have the time for when I am not working. Have I mentioned how much I love summer?

1. My favorite things party

I found the idea of a “Favorite things” party on Pinterest, of course, and I have become motivated to throw one this summer. July is going to be pretty free because our vacations will be done, so I am finding things to look forward to. I love the idea of sharing things with friends that I absolutely love.

2. This group of women:

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I feel like my first year of marriage has been very special. Nat and I have been around a lot of young married people, most of whom are our close friends. It has been really fun to experience the first year of marriage alongside a group of women that I adore. We unofficially are the “wives club.”

3. Strawberry season.

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Nat and I just got another gallon of strawberries and I am anxiously awaiting tomorrow when I will make  this strawberry ice box pie. Seriously, I can’t get enough of strawberries right now. I might turn into one!

4. Summer vacation is obviously on my list of favorite things.

I can’t explain how lazy I have been and how glorious it has felt. I have had a difficult time transitioning from the teacher state of mind, where I need to get everything done within my 2 day weekend. I am so thankful to be a teacher right now (and 90% of the school year).

5. Jesus Calling.

jesus callingI have had this book since last year, and I usually get stuck around April/May. I am trying desperately to keep up with it and make it through the rest of the summer/year. As I talked about in my last post, I am really trying to get into the word on a daily basis.

I won’t be able to link up next Friday because of my family vacation, but I look forward to doing this on a regular basis. Here is to Mid-week things and Five on Fridays!

-Sarah

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Mid-Week Things (a day late!)

To all of my teacher friends: Happy Summer!

I am sorry this is a day late. Summer break makes me forget the days of the week, and it wasn’t until 9 o’clock last night that I realized it was Wednesday. Anyway, I am only one day behind so that is forgivable, right?

1. Nat and I ran the Expo 10k in Knoxville on Saturday. I finished in little over an hour, and ran .06 more than I was supposed to. This is the 2nd race I’ve run with my Garmin watch and have realized i’ve run more than I was supposed to. It was a great race, and I feel really encouraged after running. I have been stuck at 4 miles for awhile and haven’t been able to push myself to run to 5 miles, but now I know I can and I can do it well!

2. I am excited for summer because I have a lot of good foods I want to make. I am finally going to try the brownie cupcakes and near the end of the summer it is my goal to make a bunch of freezer meals to help Nat and I get through the fall. I think that will really help me in the first few weeks (months) of the school year as I get used to the rhythm of the school year and football season.

3. IMG_0936We celebrated two of our friends getting married this weekend and it was so fun! It was nice to just spend time with our friends and be joyful. I can’t say it enough- we really have great community in Knoxville and we are so blessed to be where we are right now.

4. This week I have felt really challenged to make my summer purposeful and to spend time thinking about next school year, and also what I want to do in Knoxville since we have decided to make this place our official “home town.” Our community group has been reading David Platt’s “Radical.” At the end of the book Platt lists a challenge to live a radical life. I have already felt like I should be more intentional in praying and reading the Bible, and part of his challenge is praying for the World and reading the Word in a year.

I want to spend the summer really reading the word and also being more intentional in my prayer life. My prayers are usually “Thanks, God for the food and for my blessings..Amen.” I feel like I need more than that.

5. The other day, as I wasted time at work, I came across this article on Runnersworld.com. It had me laughing (even though it really isn’t funny) because it was so Nat and I. We both love running. We both count ourselves as runners. We love to run races and to challenge ourselves, but WE DO NOT RUN TOGETHER. Let me make that clear: we do not run together. I will ask Nat to run with me, but then 15 steps into our run, I automatically regret it. Nat loves running and naturally excels at it. I love running, but it is painful for me. I have to really motivate myself to get going. He gets frustrated with me because I am slow. I get annoyed with him because he is fast. After a few tries at running together, we both came to the agreement that we just wouldn’t run together. The only time we run together is if Nat is done and he turns around to come find me and get my butt into gear.

He is such a good husband. He doesn’t let me quit.

I hope everyone is having a great week! Happy summer!

Lasagna Soup

I know it is summer, and most people don’t like to eat soup during the summer. It is hot, it makes you hot, but let me tell you- lasagna soup is enough to make you change your mind.

I made this the other day for a luncheon we had at school to celebrate another teacher. It was decided that the cuisine was going to be italian. Quickly all of the sides, desserts, and drinks were volunteered for and all that was left was the entrees. I immediately panicked. How was I going to make something italian without it getting cold/not having an oven to warm it up in?

I looked up crock pot pasta dishes and there were a few promising crock pot lasagna recipes, but I have the tendency of trying something new and it failing when I have to bring it somewhere. So as I was looking, I remembered lasagna soup. This is cheesy and flavorful and delicious. The first time I made it, I ate 3 bowls before Nat even got home from football. I am not ashamed. I modified the recipe that I usually use to make it friendly for everyone. I also adjusted it to a crock pot recipe. Anyway, it is delicious and I hope you enjoy it. It is even better on a cold winter night when you need to be warmed from the inside out.

Lasagna Soup

2 tsp. olive oil

1lb Italian sausage

1 chopped onion

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2 T. tomato paste

1 28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes (These tomatoes can add some heat to the recipe, so if you don’t like heat I would just get plain diced tomatoes. That is what I used for the lunch. It is still delicious!)

2 bay leaves

6 cups chicken stock

8 oz pasta (I used bow tie pasta. I definitely would use a sturdier pasta. Macaroni is not going to do well)

1/2 basil leaves

salt and pepper

The best part of this soup is the cheesy deliciousness that you put in the bottom of the bowl and it gets all melty and delicious when you pour the soup over it. Seriously, mouth watering good.

Cheesy Good

8 oz ricotta

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp salt

ground pepper

2 cups shredded mozz cheese (for the top of the bowl)

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.

Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy and absorb all the soup broth. You may even want to consider cooking the noodles separately, and then adding some to individual bowls before ladling the soup over them. This would be an especially smart move if you are anticipating any leftovers. Right before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.

To adjust the recipe for a crock pot: I cooked the sausage/garlic/onions before hand and stirred in the tomato paste. I then dumped that combo + all the other ingredients into the crock pot. I kept it on the low setting until it was time to eat 3-4 hours. I cooked the pasta separately and just had it in a bowl to the side. That let the other lunch guests put as much or as little pasta in their bowl as they would prefer.

Strawberry Heaven

I am married to a strawberry farmer’s son.There are major perks: the main being the strawberries.

IMG_0921 There is nothing like a strawberry freshly picked from the ground. I am telling you- go to a farmer’s market, go to a stand, try a strawberry that is fresh- not from the grocery store. It will change your life.

I know, I’m being dramatic, but really, I love strawberries. Nat and I ate four quarts in a weekend with little to no regret. When I came home with our berries, I knew I wanted to make strawberry shortcake. One of my favorite combos is strawberries and cool whip, and it can only get better with a little cake, right?

The recipe I made was very simple and very yummy. My pictures are from my iPhone, but it seems like life nowadays is seen through an instragram filter anyway.

Strawberry Shortcake:

1.5 pounds strawberries, stemmed and quartered. (I feel like Nat and I ended up eating more than 1.5 pounds, but we also ate this in 2 days.)

5 tablespoons sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4  teaspoon salt

1.5 cups heaving whipping cream

Mix strawberries and 3 tablespoons sugar, refrigerate until juices develop- about 30 minutes. I cut mine before I made dinner and then let them sit until we were ready for dessert.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Mix the dry ingredients together. Stir in the whipping cream until just combined.

Put in an ungreased 8 x 8 baking dish.  Bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes

After it bakes, let cool slightly. Cut into pieces.

IMG_0908Usually with strawberry short cake, you are supposed to have a layered thing going on. Nat and I just put strawberries on top of the cake and then covered it with cool whip. Let me tell you, you can never have enough cool whip.

The First Year

Today is the last day of school. Actually, the last day of school is over.

Before I really get into anything thoughtful let me just say one big:

HALLELUJAH, THANK YOU JESUS! 

OK, but really, this school year is over and I am so thankful for summertime. I am incredibly reflective right now and a little sappy. I have learned a lot this year and I have grown a lot this year. Here are a few things.

1) I love teaching.

If you had asked me in January/February I would have told you that I wasn’t sure about teaching. I was exhausted, beaten down, and unsure of everything. I made it through that low point, and now, with one year under my belt I am certain that I am supposed to be a teacher. I am also incredibly hopeful knowing that it can only go up from here. I am no longer completely inexperienced. I have some (a very small amount) idea of what I am doing. There is still a long way to go and a lot to learn, but I hope that I always have something to learn.

2) Co-workers really are worth being friends with.

Only teachers really understand what it is like to be a teacher. Only teachers at your school really understand what it is like to be a teacher at your school. I have been blessed this year to be around supportive people who let me cry, scream, whine, and laugh inappropriately without any judgement. It has been fun to learn from more experienced teachers and also just get to know them as people, not just as teachers.

3) It is OK not to know everything.

I feel like I have embarrassed myself at least once a day this year, and while it is slightly humiliating, I am learning that it is definitely normal. I am OK not knowing all of the answers, because that means I still have a lot to learn! I want my students to know that I am human, and that learning never ends. Yes, it would be nice to have all of the answers, but I don’t believe that is realistic.

4) Being co-workers with your husband really is fun.

Nat and I have a weird life. Our first year of marriage coincided with our first year of working, which got even more strange when we found out we were working at the same school. I think we were a little nervous about what the dynamic would be, but seriously, it has been the most fun year. I love working with my husband, especially at a school that is big enough where we don’t run into each other all the time. It is fun to know the same students and to be a part of the same community.

5) My apartment will never be clean.

I have learned this year that my apartment will never be as clean as I want it to be. The laundry will never be done. We won’t always have a home cooked meal. My hair won’t always be clean.

Having a full time teaching job is exhausting. It is wonderful, but it is exhausting. I have had to let go of the type A part of me that exists this year, and allow life to get a little messy. I’ve chosen sleep over having laundry, just to make it to the next day. I am learning that that is ok. Summer is the time that is meant for cleaning/cooking/working out 🙂

6) It gets better.

I could cry thinking about this year. The beginning was tough, and I wasn’t sure if I did anything right. On the last day of school, however, my students said precious things to me, and showed me that patience with people pays off. I can’t base the entire year off of the first few months.

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I have learned so much this year. There are not enough words in the English language to describe how I feel today. My emotions are all over the place, but the emotion that is dominate right now is JOY. I am looking forward to next year, but you better believe it, I am going to enjoy this summer.

Mid-Week Things

1. Today is the last  “mid-week things” post of the school year! Hallelujah!

But seriously, today was the last Wednesday of the school year. We have 1.5 days left and I could not be more ready. We are just tying up loose ends at school and we will be done for the summer. I am just overwhelmed at the fact that my first year of teaching is over. There is a post to come about this on Friday.

2. If you didn’t know- it is strawberry season. I married into a family of strawberry farmers, which is awesome. Strawberries are my favorite fruit, without a doubt, so I am loving life right now. Anyway, I made strawberry shortcake on Saturday night, which lasted until Sunday. I am not embarrassed to admit that we ate 4 quarts of strawberries in a weekend. THey are so worth it.

3. My goal of running 100 miles this month isn’t going to happen. I am running a 10k on Saturday, which I’m excited about. Nat is a good encourager when I am unsure about running. He reminded me today “you paid for it. you are running it.” That is encouragement in the best way.

4. I am really excited about this summer. I’m excited about the rest, obviously. I am pumped about the vacations, of course. I am more excited about doing some projects, cooking some good food, and just getting things done. I’m looking forward to the Bible study I am doing and church and time for resting and hanging out.

5. I have a few posts coming up: lasagna soup (I know it is summer and soup isn’t a summer food, but this is worth it.) Strawberry shortcake, and my end of the first year of teaching post.

 

The Football Wife

Hi, my name is Sarah, and I am a football wife.

Somedays I feel like I need to introduce myself, especially during the months of August-November.

My life revolves around someone else’s schedule, my Friday nights are always filled, and I am living the single life most days of the week.

Last season was my first official season as a football wife. I have been a football girlfriend and a football fiance, but neither of those seasons prepared me for being a football wife.

It is hard to explain to people who aren’t around me often why I can’t do things on Friday, or why, if they do suggest getting dinner, I have to go at 6 because the game starts at 7:30 and I can’t be late.

I am a football wife and that is ok with me.

I know that Sunday afternoons are spent alone. I won’t eat dinner until at least 7:30 every week night. I know we are always going to be late to places during the week, because we never know when practice will be over. My weekend activities only exist on Saturday afternoons, because Friday nights and Sunday afternoons are taken.

I am a football wife, and it is not easy, but it is worth it.

I get to see my husband do what he is called to do.

I get to see the fruit of his labor at least once a week. I am lucky enough to teach at the same school he coaches at, so I get to see the young football players grow and persevere and also love my husband. I am so blessed to be able to be a part of my husband’s passion.

I am hoping and praying that this upcoming season will be better than the last. I am praying that every year it gets a little easier. I want to fall into my role of a coach’s wife with a little less resistance. I want to buy in.

This fall will be interesting. Year 2 of everything will be starting: marriage, teaching, football. Here is to hoping that a little experience will help make the next year better.