Friday, July 27, 2007


Shawn and I just picked some more wild blackberries.....more jam to come! Yiiiiippppppeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tomato and Bean Stoup

I just got done making this, and from what I can tell so far, it's pretty good. Here's the recipe:

This recipe is straight from the Food Network cite...Thanks Rachel Ray!!!!!

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 small zucchini, sliced
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomato
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can small white beans or cannellini beans
1 (10 ounces) box, cut frozen green beans
Salt and pepper
1 cup fresh basil, torn or shredded
Grated Parmigiano or Romano, to pass at table
Crusty bread, to pass at the table
Add extra-virgin olive oil to the pot, 2 turns of the pan. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, stir then stir in the onions, carrots, celery and zucchini. Cook 10 minutes, then add in the stock, tomatoes and beans. Bring soup up to a bubble and season with salt and pepper, to your taste. Simmer 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and wilt the basil into the soup. Ladle up the soup and serve with grated cheese and bread.

Some of the comments on this recipe are:
*Add ground beef to make it a bit more hearty
*Definitely use the basil AND the cheese
*Let simmer a bit longer than recommended to get the veggies a bit softer
*Some didn't like the amount of pepper flakes and reduced it a bit
*Add an extra can of beans (this is what I did)
*Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches
*Add pasta or left over chicken to 'hearty it up' a bit

I hope you enjoy!!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A new addition

That's right folks, we have a new addition to the household (no I am not pregnant....but I do keep having those dreams....hmmmm).

We finally purchased a hot tub. Shawn and I have been talking about having a hot tub since we purchased our townhouse together over 3 years ago (yes, we owned a house together, and weren't even engaged yet - but don't freak out folks - he was living elsewhere, and I was living in it with renters - it was purely investment). We talked about getting a small hot tub while we were at the townhouse, because, we had a VERY small side yard. But, we really didn't want anyone else using the hot tub while we weren't home - well, because it's a big investment, and because of what could 'potentially go on' in a hot tub setting when no one else is home.....nudge nudge, wink wink! That's just gross to think about. Anyway, we found a GREAT deal at Costco. We ordered it, and it should be here in about a month. The reason why we went to Costco to get it is because of their return policy. Even if you don't want the thing in two years, you can return it. I am good at keeping paperwork, so this shouldn't be a problem. Where else can you get a hot tub with a return policy??? Needless to say, we are incredibly excited. It will be nice to relax in a hot tub again at night - especially when it snows out....which, by the way, is the best time for a hot tub....I'm just sayin'! :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Done and Done

I am finally done with the 750 page Harry Potter book. My life can resume.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

While reading Harry Potter......

So, I took a break from reading Harry Potter to go to Costco. When we got home we noticed that our next door neighbor is selling her house. OUR VERY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR IS MOVING!!!! I don't like it! Not one bit!!! I am hoping that we get some VERY quiet, VERY nice people living next door - - - maybe even some people who we'd like to hang out with. This isn't the cool part of the story though. We talked to the realtor for quite a while. The subject came up that I am a college instructor, and she, after a minute or so, asked me if I wanted to be one of their guest lecturers at their business development luncheons. How cool is that? Hey, look at me....I'm a professional public speaker. He he he he!!!!

I still feel like I'm 12. Shhhhh, don't tell!

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I will try my hardest to blog at some point in the near future, but Harry Potter arrived in the mail today. I have a feeling that 750 pages is at least going to take me a few days to read. Needless to say, I may not be posting until I am done.


Today Shawn and I made our first ever batch of Blackberry Preserves. Now, I could talk about the horrible man on the trail who cursed us out because our dog scared him - - - then came back and did it again.....but we had a good day today, so I will focus only on the positive. So, we went out on the walking trail, which is where there are wild blackberries growing, at about 11am and started picking. We only picked up about 6 cups because we wanted to experiment to see if this was something we really wanted to do (and it is, so we will be picking and canning again very soon). So, after about 45 minutes or an hour or so, we picked what we needed and headed home. When we got home we washed the berries and started making the preserves. All in all it was a fun day. The preserves came out great! Next time though we are going to use a bit more pectin because it should be a bit thicker. In the middle of making the preserves though, Shawn turns to me and says, "DoubleP, you are so funny. You are like a girl that grew up in the city and is now discovering all kinds of new stuff. You have a garden and are growing vegetables, and now you are making preserves at home and learning canning."

City girl turned country signing off!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


In case you haven't heard, there is a man that came back from vacation from Belize with some 'visitors'. Here's a link to the story:

Remember when we were kids and there was the rumor that went around about the spider that laid it's eggs under the skin of a person. All of a sudden the skin opened up and out crawled hundreds of little spiders scurrying in all directions? Of course this is one of those things that isn't true......except, when I hear stories like the one above, maybe it's not too far off. Ewwwwww!!!!! That settles it, I am never going to Belize.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

There's simply no good excuse.....

Have you ever had one of those days where you just wanted to stay in bed all day? Today is one of those days for me. The weather is gorgeous! I have all of the windows in the house open and I am loving every minute of it. But, I know I should workout - - - I have to loose those pounds I gained over the last month - - - but I don't wanna. I think I am going to have a full fledged temper tantrum............................followed by the inevitable hour on the treadmill. *#%@&!*(@*^&#$*^%

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Introducing Braden Edward McEfee

A couple of our good friends just had their third baby. His name is Braden (pronounced Brayden for those of us pronunciation challenged). He is adorable and amazing!!!!! Congratulations to the McEfee Family on their newest little bundle of joy!

I got 'em...

Yep, that's right. I am officially enrolled in CPR and First Aid and Photography. I hope that I will be able to sit through a 5 hour class for CPR with my back the way it is. I think I will just have to take lots of Advil with me that day. The following day is First Aid which is 4 hours, so I don't think that one will be too much of an issue. And, the photography workshop is only 2 hours so I should be ok during that time too. Good thing this is only for three days. The thing that sucks about it is that it's all in the same week. Too bad it wasn't spread out......but, who am I to complain? I get to take CPR, First Aid (and get my certifications back), take a photography workshop (and get to display my photography at Sierra College for a couple of months), AND......the best part......IS THAT I GET PAID TO DO IT!!!! I am incredibly excited about that.

Enough about that - the treadmill is calling my name!


Sometimes when I feel a bit down on myself, or am depressed, or feel like a terrible college instructor, this is what I do. I go to and look at my reviews from students. Here's what some of them have said:

"She was an AWESOME teacher! The best i've had so far. Class was never boring, she always kept it interesting. She's easy to talk to and her class is easy if you do what she says and study! :( we're gonna miss u (she moved)"

"very approachable and easy to talk to. encouraging so it makes public speaking not as bad as it seems. fair grader once you get the basis of what she expects on outlines. understanding professor and great class for such an intimidating area for people"

Pretty good I think! :)

Monday, July 16, 2007


Apparently Sierra College has a week of classes that instructors can take. Yesterday I checked the mail and got a schedule and a registration form. The classes I am hopefully going to take are CPR, First Aid (both classes give a certification - thank God because mine have lapsed), Photography and of course the semi-mandatory Department Meeting. Oh yeah, the best part??? The classes ARE FREE - and even better than that - THEY PAY ME TO TAKE THEM!!!! Yep, that's right, they are paying me to take these classes. I just hope that I can take the CPR and First Aid classes because only 10 instructors out of like 500 or 1,000 can take that class. I faxed my registration form in promptly, so I hope I get the classes. We shall see though. I don't really want to pay for something I don't need to.

I was so excited to get this guide in the mail! Shawn and I were downstairs on our computers when I opened it up and got all excited about being able to take class again. He said to me, "DoubleP (that's his nickname for me meaning "Precious Princess") you are so weird. People are normally relieved when they are able to stop taking classes". Nope! No sir! Not me! I can't wait to take classes again...thus the desire to get a second masters degree. :) We will see how that one works out though.

Oh yeah, and yesterday at church we got to talking to a guy who trains guide or working dogs. Shawn and I decided that once Tess is no longer with us, that we are going to do it. You get a dog at about 8-10 weeks old, and you lightly train the dog, mainly through socialization and basic commands, and then you give the dog back at about a year to two years old depending on how busy the intense part of the training program is. PERFECT!!!!!! This way you have the company of a dog all the time, restaurants, movie theaters, vacations, etc... and you don't have to watch the doggie get old and die (which is what is preventing us from ever getting another dog).

I am a dog lover, but I can't handle them getting sick or dying. It kills me to think that someday Tess won't be with us. And, I don't think I could handle that twice. And, this way we are giving back to the community. It will be intense I am sure - and I will be sad to see the dog go, but there is a better end this way. The dog now gets to do what it loves - - - work! Dogs get so happy when they are able to work and please their masters. How cool is it to be able to be a part of that?

Enough for now!!! Until later.....


Is it just me or is it strange how people change as they get older?

It is just strange to me where people's lives take them. Through different sets of circumstances, outside forces, decisions made etc.... where people land. You obviously have control over it (mostly), but there is an element of survival and comfort. People settle all the time - crap, I have settled. Not for the things some people settle for, but definitely settled (examples: not going on for a PhD, not starting my own business etc...). But really? My question is this: where could I have gone had I not settled for just a masters degree OR not starting my own business OR getting heavily involved in a church right when we moved OR applying for colleges a year before we moved OR choosing to live in a different house OR taking our investment and lived somewhere more affordable OR had kids a few years ago OR had gotten married younger (we could have gotten married a number of years before we did - crap, we knew we were going to get married, but chose to wait for a number of reasons) OR chose not to buy the townhouse in San Jose OR decided to get a new car with high car payments .....all of these things I could have decided to do, but didn't. Where would my life be?

Had Shawn and I waited to get married another year or so, I would have been well into a PhD program and I can tell ya, my life would have been worlds different than it is now. Any of those decisions could have lead me down a very different path. I think the point here is, is that there is a higher power at work in my life. God has a major place, especially with decisions made. But, any of those decisions could have been 'permissable' and even possibly 'beneficial'. But, I think all in all, I am so thankful of where I am at now. Shawn and I get to spend a lot of time with each other (at first that was hard, but now we found a really good medium and really like it) that we wouldn't have gotten to spend had we chose to do things differently. We may have been in a different house, in a different state, working at different jobs than we are now. But, all in all I wake up every single day thankful to God that we are where we are and in awe of how blessed we truly are. Would I want to be in a different place? Maybe! A PhD would be nice.....having a stable job would be nice.....getting that new car would be nice (except for those payments which I refuse to pay) in a different area would be get the point! But, like I said, all in all, I am happy where we are. We made good decisions, we didn't compromise, we did what we thought was best, we prayed a lot - and looking back, I don't think I could have done things differently even if I tried. It's just interesting to think about where I could have been had I even made one decision differently!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

8 pairs

Yes, that's right folks, I have purchased my husband 8 pairs of the same exact shoes. For those of you that know my husband, you know that he ALWAYS wears the same shoe no matter what. There are a few times that I have gotten him to wear a sneaker - yep, that's right, he sometimes wears sneakers....but rarely! We have been unable to find the particular shoe that he wears (it looks like Airwalks, but alas, they are NOT Airwalks otherwise they would be really easy to find!). In case you were wondering, these shoes are ONLY sold at Payless Shoe Source - not my first choice for buying shoes, but hey, he found a pair he really likes and I am ok with that. Like I was saying, we have been unable to find the shoes anywhere - Payless does not carry them anymore because they carry the look-a-like Airwalk shoe that sells for $7 more than this one. So, to avoid the crisis of having the shoe discontinued in the near future and to avoid the incessant complaining that they do not carry his shoe anymore, I decided to wait until they were having their BOGO sale (buy one, get one half off) and get him the max number that I could order in one transaction - 8 pairs of shoes. Hopefully he won't need shoes again for another 3 years - and by that time he will be 30 and hopefully have changed his style a bit (I won't count on it though, he's had the same style since he was 16, but one can hope right?).

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I knew someone who...

I knew someone when I was in high school who said that if you have a fall back plan, you are sure to 'fall back'.

Here's my philosophy: You should have a fall back plan! If plan A in life doesn't work out, by all means, have a plan B. Because if you don't, what's out there? You no longer have plan A, you no longer have plan B - after that, it's simply a 'what can I find situation'. What do you think?

Too much

There is far too much to blog about - so, my default will be posting a new recipe. I could have blogged about my students, who are once again driving me batty (not all of them, just ONE student in particular). This student NEVER looks at the course calendar, yet, will send me an email in a second to find out what is due for the next class session.....uh, yeah moron, try looking at your calendar BEFORE emailing your professor to answer your asinine questions. Sometimes I feel like I am teaching kids to walk, or better yet, potty train...but I digress.

I could have blogged about the rafting, or better yet floating trip and super soaker wars we had over the weekend near North Lake Tahoe with my sister and her husband, which was really fun, but I am thinking something a bit more exciting for our annual rafting trip.

I could also have blogged about the fact that I finally found all of my Victoria's Secret products from living at the townhouse in the Bay Area. I came across my Sweet Temptation and Love Spell Body Spray and Bath Gel - Oh how excited am I? Once, about 3 or 4 years ago I walked by a man who I worked with on occasion and was wearing Love Spell - - - he literally stopped me, asked me what scent I was wearing because he wanted to get it for his wife, and then said to me, "wow, I am blushing, I need to get out of here - I will be waiting outside". Apparently Love Spell works.

But, I shall not blog about all of that. Instead, I will post a recipe that I make at home. It was served at a restaurant near San Jose State where I used to teach classes. Oh how I miss working at San Jose State. If I had my choice, I would transplant San Jose State to Placerville, students and all. I loved working there. Anyway, here it is:

Bell Peppers
Eggplant (optional)
Salmon, Chicken, Beef, Tofu, Lamb (any meat that BBQ's well will work)
Rice (Jasmine or Basmati will work)
Butter (I use no cholesterol butter substitute)
Extra large bullion cubes
Balsamic Vinegar
Marsala wine

Veggies/Meat: Cut veggies BIG - maybe 1 inch pieces (leave the mushrooms whole), put them on skewers. Make sure you put the protein on separate skewers - meat and veggies have different cooking times. Spray with some olive oil spray, a little salt and a little pepper. Cook over on open flame until done.

Rice: Any type of rice will work, just allow for proper cooking time. I really like the herb and vegetable rice medley that is sold in a package at Trader Joe's - but I make it with plain white or brown rice. Any rice that you use, either cook it in chicken broth, or add bullion cubes (I use 2 cups of rice with appropriate amount of water and two extra large bullion cubes). In addition to that, I add a bit of country crock, extra calcium butter substitute. Shawn likes real butter, but then again, he likes butter on everything. :) You can add the butter either during the cooking process (which is what I do), or after it's done.

Sauce: I make a Balsamic reduction to spoon over the rice/veggies/meat. Dice shallots and saute on low heat until soft. Add balsamic vinegar and marsala wine and let simmer until it's reduced by about half (make sure it coats the back of a spoon). I don't have specifics on how much to put in the pan, but I add and taste as I go. You can't get the sauce wrong as long as you do it to your particular taste. Last time I made it I didn't reduce it enough, but I thought it was still good. I love vinegar. :)

Serve as follows: rice on the bottom of the plate, skewers on top of the rice, and spoon the sauce over the top.

If you do it right, it should taste really good, lower in calories and fat than you would get in a restaurant. This recipe is sure to impress your guests. It's simple and delicious!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Still Prayin'

I contacted the Chair of the Comm Dept. at Sacramento State again to find out where in the hiring process they are. I am eager to find out what the fate of the next semester holds. I really want to pick up some classes at Sac State (2 to be exact - or more if possible). He said that the hiring process has been delayed a couple of weeks, but that "I have not been ruled out in any way". I hope that's good news. He said that I was on the hiring list - now all I need is God's favor. My heart is hopeful. :) So, if you remember, please pray that I get a couple more classes, preferably at Sacramento State.

I was invited to a bible study on Thursday nights - of course I want to go, but will be showing up quite late due to my class being on Thursday nights. :) I am going to keep up with them, and for the next 5 weeks I will not be able to attend, but will be in full swing after that. I talked to the facilitator, and she said to just come when I can - so I will miss the actual bible study part (which is the part I really want to go to), but probably be able to at least fellowship with some ladies after my class.

This past weekend was GREAT!!! I will post some pics as soon as I locate my camera again. Some good friends of ours came up and spent the weekend here with us. We went hiking, watched lots of movies and attended the beer festival downtown Placerville (which I am not quite sure I will ever do again). :) We did decide this weekend though that we are going rafting a few times this summer. Shawn and I are probably going to plan a rafting trip every year, starting small this year. It should be a good time. :)

Until later....