Saturday, October 8, 2011

I love......

I love the first part of the last part of the day
I love lazy Saturdays
I love roads sheltered by a canopy of trees
I love creating something new
I love sunlight pouring through tree branches
I love the mountains
I love the sea
I love friends who feel like an old shoe
I love genuineness
Adoraría dominar bien el español
I love this time of day

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hokie-tastic weekend

My dad is in town and we have kicked the weekend up right. On Thursday, we went to the Homeplace and enjoyed a delicious meal. Last night, we got a private tour of the stadium and related facilities and even saw Coach Beamer walking to the bus! Today is all about tailgating and watching the Hokies!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sweet baby Sawyer

 I'm an aunt! My brother and sister-in-law welcomed Sawyer Robert Koch into the world on September 14th. After a short time in the NICU due to some ABO incompatibility issues, he is home and doing well. I can't wait to meet the little guy!

Fall is here!

Ah, fall. I have been on a scavenger hunt for several weeks to find canned pumpkin because as soon as it turns slightly cold, I crave pumpkin. I make these great (low fat, low cal) muffins using 1 can of pumpkin + spice cake mix + chocolate chips. I couldn't find any canned pumpkin and then I came home from school last Thursday to find 32 CANS that Evan bought for me at the store (expires in 2014, so I'm good). I've already had my first pumpkin latte of the season and even had a little pumpkin ice cream;) Obsessive, nah, I just say I have seasonal enthusiasm.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


As we were sitting down eating dinner tonight I was reflecting back on our awesome day and I thought "I wonder what Jackie is going to write about on the blog for today". I started thinking, well what is my role going to be with all this... as I was eating... one of my favorite things to do... eating delicious food. So here is my update on today... today's food.
Breakfast was nothing special, but lunch was one of our favorites, Grama's Goodies! If you have not gone there yet, seriously plan a trip there for lunch this weekend or next week. Get the brown bagged lunch and you will not be disappointed! In your lunch you get a thick meat pile of a sandwich (choice of meat, cheese and bread), chips, bottled drink and choice of dessert (I highly recommend the brownie). This is true experience like one you would get in a Jersey Deli...not a big surprise since "Grama" is from Jersey.
This brings us to dinner, the inspiration behind the blog title. For a tad over 24 hours I have been marinating some tuna steaks. I had found a recipe in one of Jac's healthy recipe cook books and wanted to give it a try. The meal consisted tuna steaks, quinoa and a tasty mixture of spinach, minced garlic, onions, artichoke hearts, sliced olives and goat cheese. So I'm going to give a rough outline of the recipe along with my tuna steak marinade.
1/4 cup of Teriyaki sauce
2 spoons of minced garlic
couple dashes of sesame oil
couple dashes of ginger
couple dashes of orange mulling spices
dash of light salt
Dump into a zip-lock, lightly kneed into the tuna and refrigerate.
1/2 cup Quinoa
1 cup water
Boil. Reduce to a simmer cover and cook for 10-15 until water is gone and you can fluff with a fork. Once you get it covered and simmering start on the mixture.
Tasty Mixture:
2 cups of washed spinach
1/2 can of quartered artichoke hearts
1/2 can of sliced black olives
1/3 cup of diced onions
3 spoons of minced garlic
dash of goat cheese
Wash spinach and toss into a pan with a dash water and diced onions (med-low heat). Once the spinach is cooked, toss in in the artichoke hearts, olives and garlic (low heat). When you have this on low, start the tuna.
Cook the tuna steaks on a grill around 300 degrees for 4-5 minutes on each side.
Assemble and serve... possibly with a glass of red wine... I'm just saying.
So there you go. Our food for today, we will see what tomorrow has to bring!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day One of "Staycation"

Evan and I love to travel, but this year our travel plans hit a bump due to Enzo's leg surgery. We decided to make the best of the situation and do a "Staycation." We are sticking around southwest Virginia and making a deliberate effort to take advantage of all that this area has to offer: berry picking, local restaurants, visiting a new winery, the New River, Stepping Out (, catching up with friends and most importantly- slowing down.

Day one of Staycation involved sleeping in, chocolate chip pancakes, crafting for me and fun car stuff for Evan. On Evan's way back from his annual "Man Day" camping trip he picked up some peaches from a roadside stand outside Berryville, VA (the one in the Wendy's commercial:). So, we're ending our day by making one of our favorite desserts - Peach Kuchen (coo-ken).

I went to a small Presbyterian church growing up in Chester, NJ and each year they had a Peach Festival in early August that draws in the masses. Here's a local news report of the event. My mom is the redhead in the hat in the beginning The ladies in the church work for weeks making homemade peach ice cream (never had better), peach pies, and peach kuchen. Each year my mom and I would bake and work the day of the festival. It always shocked me how quickly the pies went. People went nuts over them!

This year, I'm not able to go up to Chester for the event so Evan and I made some kuchen here. It's a very simple recipe.

Peach Kuchen
1/2 cup butter
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1/2 cup coconut (don't worry if you don't like coconut, it's hardly noticeable)
1 (29 oz.) can of peaches or 5-6 fresh peaches
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sour cream
1 egg

Cut butter into dry cake mix until crumbly, mix in coconut and press into pan along bottom and sides. Bake 10 min. at 350 degrees. Then arrange drained peaches over base. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the peaches. Mix sour cream and egg and pour over top. Bake 30 minutes.

Monday, August 1, 2011

God's Grace

Today I had a real need to hear from God, and I was driving home from Salem and I heard two songs that soothed my heart.

I Am by Jill Phillips

Wait and See by Brandon Heath

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Craft Day

This afternoon I had some ladies over for some much needed craft fun. It was great motivation! I finally completely a piece of artwork for over the mantle. I saw a similar concept last year when Evan and I took our road trip.  

I had a bit of a moral dilemma with if it is ok to cut up pages of the Bible as art, but I figured God was cool with it. I picked some favorite verses, I think some of the other ladies have gotten inspired to do a similar project of their own. I sense a trend!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

To be a dog...

I've been reflecting on my life a lot recently, and I've realized that there are a lot of basics I need to get back being the most important.

Long before we bought a dog, we knew what we'd name it. Cheesy, I know, but for good reason. One day over a year ago, I was at a book store and I came across the book The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It had great reviews and involved two things that Evan loves - cars and dogs. So, I bought it for him. The story is told from the perspective of a very wise dog, Enzo. His owner, a race car driver, named him this because Enzo Anselmo Ferrari was an Italian car driver and entrepreneur, the founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team, and subsequently of the Ferrari car manufacturer. So we decided we would name our dog Enzo.

Throughout the book, you see that Enzo just "gets it." He does not discriminate due to age, race, or social class. He forgives and loves. I found online the things we can learn from dogs, and I've included it below. As I stare at my Enzo peacefully napping at the foot of the stairs awaiting Evan's return home from work, I contemplate how I can learn a thing or two from him.

Unlike humans, dogs do everything from the bottom of their heart, whether they wag the tail or bark. Have you ever seen a dog that suffers from the inferiority complex? Have you ever seen a dog that pretends to be someone he is not? I haven't. Actually, there is a lot of natural life wisdom that we could learn from dogs. So, what is the simple dog wisdom? What your dog can teach you? Here is a brief summary of dog life lessons, and feel free to add more if you have thoughts about it! 

- Give and accept affection, freely and often;
- When someone kindly prepares food for you, devour it smiling like it's the best meal you've ever eaten;
- Always be curious about the world around you, especially when new people come into it;
- Take naps;
- Forgive friends who don't have time to play;
- Go out of your way if they do;
- Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy-ride;
- Get the most out of the experience of fresh air and wind in your face;
- When family members come home, always run to greet them;
- Protect your territory;
- Run, romp, and play daily;
- Be loyal;
- Never pretend to be something you're not;
- If you want what is buried, dig until you find it;
- When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close and nuzzle them gently;
- Don't bite when a simple growl will do;
- On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree;
- When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body;
- No matter how often you're scolded, don't feel guilty and pout. Run right back and make friends;
- Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Enzo blew a flat

On Saturday night during a stay with Enzo's dog cousins in Ohio, Enzo lept from the stairs and landed weird on his back left leg. After a visit to the emergency vet, the X ray showed that he fractured his tibia. We visited our vet in Blacksburg yesterday and she said, surgery is needed. So, Enzo is now at the Vet School at Virginia Tech in preparation for his surgery. He'll have 3 pins put in his leg, and then the big challenge will be to keep him off of it for 4-6 weeks. This will be tough seeing as he is 4 months old and all he wants to do is play. He's in good hands, and so I'm confident that everything will go well.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Enzo the dog, part II

Enzo Part Deuce (hehehe, deuce)

 Enzo is perhaps the greatest dogs that ever existed. He is such a handsome little guy who loves to play, and he is also a big fan of curling up and cuddling. Yesterday we tried out the harness and took him for a walk. I figured he would make it to the end of the driveway and then want to head back, but not Enzo. We walked for about 1/2 a mile which for a 3 lb. dog with tiny legs is equivalent to marathon.

We've noticed that he likes the outdoors (as evidence by taking a flying leap at the glass door, ouch) and likes to nibble on toes. He is a persistent little guy, after many attempts he was able to hurdle the small step from the deck to the kitchen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Meet Enzo

Meet Enzo!

Here is our little guy! We pick him up on May 7th. He is a cockapoo, and we are so excited to bring him home! Let the puppy-proofing begin!

Monday, March 14, 2011

End in sight (sort of)

My journey with National Board Certification is about to hit a significant milestone - the dreaded March 31st deadline. I will be mailing a carboard board to San Antonio, Texas. The contents? My worth as a teacher. Well, not really, but a heck of a lot of work. About 100 pgs. of work and 2 DVDs of taped lessons that prove (hopefully) my master teaching. I have cried, screamed, and pushed through the work (sounds like child birth). Evan has been patient & supportive every step of the way. I have had a few friends that have been my cheerleaders through the process providing me with encouraging notes and laughs to alleviate the stress. I hope to pass the 1st time, which is not the outcome for most candidates. Even if I don't, I know that I can do something this difficult, which is lesson I needed to remind myself of. I feel like I've gained a greater appreciation for free time which I will have in abundance after March 31st. Upon mailing my package, I will hit another significant milestone - turning 30 on April 3rd. So, what will I do to celebrate? VEGAS! More to come on that adventure...