Ode to Running

Ode to Running
What's the point of running?
What reason could there be?
Running twenty-six miles
Makes no sense to me.

We have planes, trains, and automobiles,
Helicopters scooters, and boats.
And if you really, really need to
You could even ride a goat.

With all these options to move you
Why would you want to run?
Compared to running for hours
Riding a goat sounds like fun.

Running makes you sweaty
And tired and cranky and sore,
And running around in circles
Can be really quite a bore.

But the worst part of running,
What drives me out of my mind,
Are the Chipper Happy Runners
Who are Chipper and Happy all the time.

They get up at 7 am
To run too many miles
And whether it's Mile 1, 5, or 10,
Their faces are covered with smiles.

I fear that I'm outnumbered,
And they're trying to wear me down,
They're trying to make me chipper,
But all I can do is frown.

But I'll be nice to the Chipper People
And I'll tolerate their smiles,
Cause they have so much friggin' energy
Maybe I can ride their backs for awhile.
-Dawn Dais

Due to the unnecessarily ridonkulous heat here in Southern Cali, I have put a hold on running. I tried a couple of times in the past few months, but because I don't have access to a treadmill, running outside has been only a wish from the stars (that phrase totally came out of my poop chute). Meaning, running outside is something I refuse to do. Running in 106 degree heat? Ummm...no thank you, Sir.

Surprisingly enough, my body has been craving a good run, which is a break from the french fries and Red Velvet Ding dong cravings it usually has. So if you crave something enough, God says, in his baritone voice, "OK." poof Prayer request accepted. Thank you, Sweet Baby Jesus.
My new school has a pretty sweet Fitness Center that the teachers have access to and the moment I found out that they had a treadmill I jumped at the chance to use it! I mean, it's no 24 hour Fitness in there, but if I close my eyes and block out the sweaty stench of puberty, it is worlds better than running outdoors in Hades Southern Cali.

It was my first time on a tready and it was a little slice of ego-pie for me. Outdoors I can only run for about 20 minutes at a 10:00 pace before having to take a minute to pick my lungs up off the pavement. But on the treadmill, I ran for a full 30 at an 11:00 pace with both of my lungs A-okay. It was nice!

I miss running. I've also been reading this hilarious book, T lent me.
Dawn Dais is so comedy. I want to be her running buddy. She wrote that poem up top, that pretty much forced me to laugh snot bubbles out of my nose. I don't have any immediate plans to run a marathon or even a half because my goal is to keep working up to it. I want to do more 5Ks then 10Ks, then eventually run some halves and fulls. Who am I, Miss I can't remember to take my inhaler, to run something I'm not ready for. I run to beat of my own drum.... or something like that.

Here's to cooler days, faster runs, and craploads of motivation to get me off my butt imprint in my couch.
  • Are you a runner?
  • Treadmill vs. Outdoors, which do you prefer?

He's a Fungi

A couple of weeks ago I had a Pampered Chef party.... it's like a Tupperware party but with cooking toys... and with much more fun and eating involved. I have to admit I was super hesitant to host one at our house because I'm not crazy about those type of parties, but when my friend Minda (Hi, Minda!) told me there was food demos and taste testing involved, my tummy decided, YES!

Needless to say, I purchased and received so many amazing kitchen who's it's and what's it's galore (You want thingamahbobs? I got 20!) and I don't regret it one bit. Everything they have to offer is legit. And here I give you, my new AMAZING toy!
I decided to break this bad boy in with ingredients that would make it sing...Sweet sweet sounds.

Project Wifey Wife Week #21
Beef & Mushroom Sandwiches
adapted from Cooking for Two & More by Pampered Chef


1 beef strip steak (about 12 ounces or so)
2 Tbs. butter
3 cups of fresh white button mushrooms, sliced
3 Tbs. Sour Cream
2 Tbs. snipped fresh chives
Sprinkles of Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste
Potato Bread Rolls

1. Heat Skillet over medium heat until HOT. Sprinkle steak evenly with Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste. Place stead in skillet and cook to your liking, turning only once.
Remove steak and let stand on carving board for 15 minutes. This allows the juices to settle. Thinly slice on a bias.
2. In the same hot skillet, add butter and swirl to coat the pan. Add the mushrooms and saute until brown.
"Don't crowd the mushrooms or they won't brown."-Julia Child

Best advice EVER! What a difference it made. They were juicy and brown.

"Why was the mushroom invited to all the parties? Because he was a Fun guy (Fungi)!- Ian Bo Be-an

Best joke EVER.

3. Toast bread on a buttered pan, mix sour cream and chives, and schmear as needed.
DE...wait for it...VOUR! This sandwich was so juicy and savory, Hubby and I were in food bliss!! I LOVE this sandwich!

  • Have you ever hosted a sales party at your house?
  • Any corny jokes? I love em!

Teacher Talk Tuesday: Rockin' the Schoolhouse

I've told you time and time again that I HATE math. I'm pretty much the only Asian on this planet who is painfully bad at math. I probably had many disappointed friends in HS who copied off my homework only to discover that I didn't know JACK about prime factorization. (BTW, my 10 year reunion is next month...CRAZY!)

Now that I am teaching math, I find myself reteaching myself how to compare mixed fractions before I lay my head on my pillow each night. I do lots of math, and show my work, and watch lots of YouTube videos on how to explain the divisibility rules. So far, I'm smarter than ever in math and actually enjoy being a student again.... a student to myself... a teacher teaching herself? Totes McGoats!

Today I showed my class my favorite Schoolhouse Rock video! Hopefully I can instill the love of math into my little students so they wont grow up to be like me, hating math, and still counting on my fingers under the blackjack table. (I actually don't do that anymore.)

I still count my 3's times tables like this. It puts the fun in functional! WOW, I need to go to bed!

  • Tell me your BEST Math trick or way to remember something!

Drooling Over Spitz

I think I found my new favorite place to eat in Downtown LA. This has to be the  BEST place I've eaten in a looooong time. This place made my eyes roll to the back of my head while I had a delicious food-gasm.

The Place: Spitz is a hip European Style quick service restaurant located in Little Tokyo. To me it was half trendy bar, that had a good variety of beer on tap, and half little eatery that serves LEGIT Mediterranean style food. I loved the feel right away

To be completely honest, whenever I travel to Downtown LA, the fact that I'm a plain Jane nerdy pants girl comes out like crazy. I feel so insecure because there is nothing "hip" or cool about me. I beg Hubby to take me to Urban Outfitters for new clothes beforehand, but he always shuts that idea down.  However, I didn't feel like that at Spitz. The people here didn't give off that "I'm a hipster and you're not" vibe.
The insecure nerd in me liked that very much.
Can I point out that AWESOME light fixture that was hanging at the center of this place? That my foodies, is a Gyro Spit! Beautiful art is what I call it. Since hubby is the quintessential man and is obsessed with meat, I think I will buy this for our living room...you know... just for him. I'm such a good wife like that.

The Menu: I appreciate any eatery that has it's combos down to a science. This menu was exactly that! The fact that they offer such amazing combos tells me that there aren't money hungry douchebags that work behind the scenes. I imagine that they are heavenly angels with a gift of food, spreading joy all around the world. I love you, angels.

I also like the fact that there aren't a million things on the menu. Don't forget that those places that offer too much can never get anything perfect...instead everything is mediocre. Since Spitz doesn't do that, the things that they do make, are sheer perfection.
As you can see, LA seems to agree with me. They coined this place "Best Cheap Eats". If you've ever been to LA there are many many cheap eats, so to be named THE BEST is really saying somethin'!

The Eats: With all this good food around, it was bound to happen. In mine and hubby's game of "Mine is better than yours" he beat me out cold. I mean, don't get me wrong, we both had things that made us shiver in delight, but his....should win a gold medal or something.
I decided to try to be healthy and opted for the Falafalite Wrap Combo with Tzatziki and chili sauce with a side of fried pita strips and hummus. Because nothing says healthy liked fried pita strips right?
It was DIVINE. So flavorful and refreshing. Great combo of crunch, smoothness, freshness, and Oh My Goshness. I dream about those pita strips and they are begging me to make sweet sweet food love to them! They were crispity strips of perfection that were only made better with their hummus.
Hubby knew what to get because he has the convenience of going on his lunch break sometimes (although he says it's packed like sardines in there at that time). He ordered the The Classic (Beef & Lamb) Combo Zesty style (zesty feta and pepperoncinis) and....
the item that single handedly beat my meal....

Street Cart Fries!!! Let me just tell you so you know what I say is TRUE... "French Fries topped with tons of garlic aioli, feta cheese, diced onions, green pepper, tomato, kalamata olives, pepperoncinis, and chili sauce."

People, people!! Get out your bucket lists, this will need to be on there. This is genius-osity at its best!
Since hubby is such an amazing man, he let me have half of his meal. And me, being such a great wife, traded half of my meal, too. Secret to a happy marriage #1- it's all about give and take.

Overall: This place is a must if you're ever in LA. I know that I will beg the hubs to bring me here...maybe tomorrow? These chefs know what they're doing. The flavors combine perfectly to make your mouth appreciate every ingredient of love that was put into your combo. Even though this is a quick-serve restaurant, you can tell that they make each combo to order. They can't make these things ahead of time!! I give this place an A+.
GO to this place!! Like, NOW!

Teacher Talk Tuesday: Bad Words

I miss first grade....
Student: ::Raises hand in a panic:: TEACHER!!!

Me: Yes?

Student: Marcus said a BAD WORD!

Me: ::thinking uh oh, here it comes:: ::pulls student aside:: What did Marcus say to you, hun?

Student: He said the G WORD!

Me:: G word?

Student: He said ::whispers:: Jesus!

If kids are thinking Jesus is a bad word...we are doomed.

*One of my favorite moments teaching first grade*

Phil A. O'Fish

I want to start by saying that you are more than welcome to use chicken for this recipe. I realize that there are many people out there, most of which are in my Google circle of friends (I still don't get Google +) do not like fish. I don't understand this blanket of a statement. I mean, there are so many types of fish out there. I really can't see how you can dislike all fish. Wouldn't you say that's a little racist? Animalist? Fishist? Do I have to even say it? There are many fish in the sea. And in the ocean for that matter. So, in conclusion, I ask that if you are a fish hater, give another type of fish a chance before you go around hatin' on all fish. And that was your PSA on Fish lovin'.

Ok, ok, I keed. I understand a hate for a particular food... remember all the foods I can't stand? ::shivers:: If someone tried to feed me something on my list, I'd SOOOOO unfriend them off of my Facebook.

Week #20
Tortilla Chip-Crusted Fish with Creamy Salsa & Cilantro
adapted from Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook. Awwww.

2 white fish fillets (Halibut, Tilapia, or any other white fish)
1/2 Tbs ground cumin
2 Tbs melted unsalted butter
1 Tbs fresh lime juice (I put  loads more. I love my citrus!)
2 handfuls of tortilla chips (hint of lime flavor FTW!)
3/4 cup medium salsa
3 Tbs sour cream
2 Tbs fresh chopped cilantro

Remember when my hubby brought home a freggin' XL satchel full of fish? I had the pleasure of gouging my fingers trying to fillet them all. I just had to point that out again. Point is, I have no idea what these fish are called. I don't know if they're halibut or some exotic fish that we just poisoned ourselves with.
Dear Phil,
I am so very sorry for doing what I did to you. You are such an honorable creature that put its life on the line for my selfish food dreams. I hope you can forgive me one day.
Love, Me

After hours upon hours of poking and snipping plus 5 band-aids later, I finally "filleted" it.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook for 10 more minutes.
In the meanwhile,

Top with the salsa mixture and cilantro, and put those fillets atop some yummy cilantro rice. This really was a great and refreshing dish! And for all you fish haters out there...give it a try. If you don't like it, give it to me, no questions asked. I'll take care of it...and take care of you, friend.

  • Fish lover or hater?
  • Cilantro lover or hater?

Teacher Talk: The First Day of School

Whew! I made it through my first two days of school! I'm trying not to think about the fact that there are 178 days left of school...but who's counting?

I woke up bright and early yesterday and walked into my newly decorated classroom. (SO much better than before!)
I tried to make it not only enjoyable and inviting for them, but for me as well. I'm definitely a sucker for cute wall clothes!

I love my noise tracker! It sounds an alarm and flashes red when my students are not using their "inside voices."
"No Excuses, find solutions!"

And of course there is my little corner...my safe haven. The "Teacher's Desk."

My little bumble bee and my welcome plant. Both make me feel good just being there!

Can't forget my little Eeyore and Bumbles!

The first day went really well! My students are such sweethearts! And even though half of them don't speak a lick of English, most of them still laughed at my jokes. If that day was any indication of how my year is going to go, then it is going to be a GREAT year! I had such a rough bunch last year, I think The Lord really felt I needed a break! I hope I keep getting this:

Me: Does anyone have any questions? Any questions about what we talked about today?
Little Girl: ::Raises hand:: You're pretty!
Me: ::Heart melted, tears loaded, smile activated:: Thank you!

::le sigh::

Do(ugh)-Not Stress Out!

Twas the night before middle school and all through the house, the teacher was stirring and wanted to kill a mouse... because she was going out of her MIND!!!

I know that didn't sound remotely rhymey or cool, but I really don't have time to sit here and write you a story. (That's a combination of stress and freaking out talking.) Of course, I really shouldn't be blogging, but I needed a break. I've been planning and stressing and crying and prepping all day. Moving to a new grade is a ton of work! And my wonderful husband has been ironing and cleaning and stearing clear of the evil teacher monster that is whirling through the house Tasmanian Devil style. Quite frankly I have no idea why he stays around, I can be rather unpleasant when stressing about work. Please tell me I'm not the only one....please.

To begin my day, I really wanted to kick it off right, so I made doughnuts. This definitely made me feel better. Except for the extra dishes and kitchen mess I handed myself. I like to make my life extra challenging... ok, I'm just weird. Actually, it wasn't that challenging. This is possibly the easiest doughnut recipe around. AND it's healthy! See, doesn't that make you happy?

Project Wifey Wife Week #19- The Sweet
Healthy Doughnuts
from Deceptively Delicious

1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sweet potato puree
1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
1 large egg white
1 Tbs soft tub margarine, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour or whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon

orange juice
powdered sugar
vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat doughnut mold with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, pumpkin and sweet potato purees, milk, egg white, margarine, and vanilla. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon, and mix until incorporated.

3. Pour the batter into a gallon-size Ziplock baggie and cut the tip. Squeeze the batter into the doughnut mold.

**Tip** Use a tall glass to hold your baggie while you fill it. BAM, easy fillage!
Bake until tops are lightly brown and toothpick comes out clean when inserted, 20-25 minutes. Let cool on rack and dip in glaze or dust with powdered sugar or stuff into mouth. Your pick.
Doughnuts are rings of happiness. They are two smiles put together. They are responsible for making my thighs look like tree trunks. They are delish.

  • Are you a doughnut fan? You better be.
  • Send me good vibes tomorrow. It's my first day of school!

Teacher Talk Tuesday: Decor and Damon

The first day of school is next Monday.
We all know little kids get ready for school in the same fashion as most of us did growing up... buy new clothes, new kicks, a new Jansport backpack, a cute new lunch box, school supplies, 25 different Hello Kitty erasers that you won't use because they are too cute...no? just me? But how to teacher's get ready for school?

WE WORK! And to make matters worse... they don't pay us for any of this prep time. NADA! They give us only ONE paid day to come in and set up but that day is also filled with Staff meetings.

Why do we subject ourselves to this madness? My friend Matt will tell you how it is....

Money is not my motivation for teaching... it's TEACHING.

A week or two before the school year begins, you can find teachers cleaning their classrooms, putting up paper and posters on the walls, organizing materials, and putting books in their new homes. What, you thought classroom fairies did that for us? I wish!

Because I was involuntarily transferred again (via budget cuts) I had a whole lotta moving to do.

Trip# 3 of 5 I have to make with my materials
My poor lil' Rav...he is tired. And so is my back. 

Unfortunately, the teacher who was in the room before me left a lot of stuff packed into the cupboards. Guess who had to clean that out? Luckily there were some much needed materials that I didn't have to buy.
After almost a week of cleaning, organizing, and getting my new materials, this is all I have to show for... a few bulletin boards and clean cupboards. Lord, help me.

I'll show you the finished classroom when I'm finished.

Truth be told, I'm still a kid at heart though. I can't wait to wear my new comfy kicks...

The teacher Mary Janes
And carry my cute new lunch bag!

And best believe I've been building my new teacher wardrobe!

  • What do you remember about getting ready for your "First Day of School"?
  • What kind of backpack did you have?

Budget Scmudget

Well, hello there August... you look rather chipper today!

Can you believe that it's August already? It was like it was just the other day that we were enjoying the days of July...ahhh.. memories. Since it is the beginning of the month and the beginning of the week (Double Whamo!) I decided to take you on a walk with me through my monthly money management system.

But Joanna, isn't this a blog about food? Why yes, yes it is, but Hubby ain't huntin' for dinner and we have to budget right to get the most bang for our buck at the grocery store. Am I right or am I right?

Last year during mine and hubby's engagement, we took couple's counseling at our Church. Our pastor is so amazing and we learned so much, including how to manage our money. He taught us about Dave Ramsey's Envelope Management System. Truth be told, I have yet to master this system. This year, Hubby and I really want to buckle down so we can save up for a new house and some rugrats.

So, Mr. Budget, we meet again. Let's be friends and work as a team, instead of you pooping on my head this time. Ok? ::puppy dog eyes::

What is this infamous "Envelope System"?
It's a way to control your spending to the very last penny and get you to not spend beyond your means. When you use your debit card, you are essentially "swiping blindly", which is extremely dangerous for Mr. Budget, especially if you don't write your purchases down afterwards.

What do I need?
Besides a lot of will power, you will need a budget sheet, envelopes (DUH), and your cashola.

I created my own budget sheets on Microsoft Word according to the bills we have. I suggest that you make your own to accommodate to your own spending as well. Some of you might not have stupid association dues to pay, so it wouldn't make sense for you to have it on your sheet.
The first page has all of our household bills that we pay online. We do not have envelopes for these things because we pay them online, not in cash.
**Helpful Hint** After you pay your bill online, write down your confirmation numbers and date you paid it, just in case. If you lose the bill, you'll still have proof you paid it!

The second page has all of our miscellaneous items that we pay in cash from our envelopes.

I keep our monthly budget sheets in a binder I found at Target. I have pre-made one for each month of the year.
I've also added pocket dividers to hold any bills.
I've also included sheets of paper so I can write exactly what I spent and where. This is extremely eye-opening and can show you that you might be addicted to Target.
And at the very end, I have a paper folder to hold any receipts or bills I might need at the end of the year for tax purposes.

For the envelope part, I found this mini-accordion file that I've categorized to fit what we need cash for.
To fill your envelopes, first decide how much you want to budget in each category. Then, when you go to the bank, take out ONLY what you budgeted for and put them into your envelopes. I fill these up at the beginning of the month and once you've spent everything from that envelope, that's it! Once it's gone, it's gone. There are no re-fills!

You can dip into other envelopes, but that's on you. If you want to use grocery money for shopping at Target, then you better have a good explanation for your hubby as to why you're eating ham sandwiches for dinner again. Essplain yourself, LUCY!

I know, I know. This is where your will power comes in. Most of your spending will need to be pre-planned so you can remember to take out cash from that envelope. You have to really ask yourself if you need to buy that RIGHT NOW and if you don't have that cash on hand, the drive back home to get it will really put it into perspective for you.

In a Nutshell
  • Don't spend beyond your means and don't spend beyond what's in the envelopes
  • Think about your purchases beforehand
  • Stick to your budget and the pay off will be GRAND... hopefully a HUNDRED GRAND! teeheehee
  • Stay organized and be diligent with writing your purchases down.
  • Stay strong my friend.
  • Try to win the lottery.
As much as I want to hope that it'll help for you... I hope that it works for us, too. I'll update you guys at the end of the month. Hopefully by then, I will have saved enough money to move to the hills of Malibu. ::crosses fingers::

  • Share your best budgeting tip!