Wedding!

Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend the day at my cousin’s wedding.  Brandon and I are the same age, and even though there has been times where we haven’t see each other or hung out often, we are still really good friends.  Over the years we have seen each other grow up, through dating, parties, school, normal teenage issues, and so much more.  And now I was able to watch him marry the woman of his dreams.  Denise came in to our family awhile ago, and as soon as she was introduced I knew she was perfect for him.  Brandon has always been planning for his future.  He wants to be successful.  He created and sold his own computer company when he was in college.  He knew once he met Denise that he would again plan for the future, but with her right next to him.  She is sweet, loving, beautiful, and maybe a little crazy to want to join our family 😉 We welcome them with open and loving arms as husband and wife.

 

ps, I received a text from one of my best friends tonight that her and her boyfriend are going to be engaged soon! He went shopping for the ring with her mom, and they have begun the planning, but here is the twist….he hasn’t popped the question yet!  He is making her sweat for a bit!!  I don’t know if I would be able to handle that!!

Until again, alc

State Fair!

In the Midwest there is a lot of things we are very excited about that people from other parts of the country may not understand.  Some of these items include: 

  • Farm animals
  • Hunting
  • Eating local produce, meat, diary, etc
  • Actually knowing farmers who have live stock and crops
  • The farm smells that bring comfort (pigs, ponds, or soy beans to name a few)
  • Our Iowan mountains….that are really just rolling hills
  • Silos
  • John Deere families vs Case families, which I am part of a Case family…. thanks to my Papa
  • Swimming in ponds, creeks, and rock quarries
  • The weather’s never ending ability to change throughout the day.  You can go from turning on your air conditioning, to turning on the heat, to opening your windows, and back around again in the short period of one day…

A huge summer event that has become a favorite of mine is the Iowa State Fair.  It is huge.  It is fabulous. It is every year.  And it is open to everyone that wants to buy a ticket. At the fair there isn’t just rides and games, but there is food.  And all of this food is fried and on a stick. Those who are not from the Midwest may not understand how important it is to eat food that is dipped in batter, butter, and fried when you are on “vacation”.  This year my summer vacation was going up to the fair for the day with my mom and my 5 year old niece.  I had an amazing time with these two, and I can’t wait to head back next year with more of my family members.

Welcome to the fair!

Piggy!

Ribbon winning flowers

Little muckin!

Cruising along

Her own bag of cotton candy (one of my favorites ever!)

Too many options to choice from….

Just blow drying a sheep for show. Hello Iowa.

Myself and a pig!

Rocking the full cowboy gear 🙂

Some of the rides

One of the many, many, many pieces of food that was consumed that day

She does love fried pickles!

One of my prizes!

I continue to think about moving away after I graduate in May, but really could I leave this state that has taken care of me for 21 years of my life?  It is welcoming.  It is cozy.  My family is here.  I know and love how the state runs.  It is a good thing that I have time to figure it out still before any actions have to be taken.

What makes your state the best?  How are you comforted by it?

Until again, alc

Happiness.

I have already gotten into the habit of not updating my blog.  I knew I would do this, but I wasn’t sure when it would happen.  It was brought to my attention when my cousin mentioned that she missed reading it.  So here we go, round 2.

Fall is coming.  It is my favorite season.  There are so many different things that make me happy during fall.  Pumpkin spice lattes, beautiful colors outside, sweaters, adorable hats, boots, jeans, my hair not being frizzy, classes, holidays, and so much more.

I started my classes a few weeks ago and so far I love them, but I am a little overwhelmed.  I am taking 18 hours.  And working almost 30 hours every week.  But I have come to realize that if I am not fully loaded with a crazy schedule then I get bored.  So here comes me smiling and working my behind off to get it all done.  Here is a little lay out of some of my fall courses:

One of the classes is my Reading Practicum.  This course has me in an elementary school in town 4 days a week, and one of those days I will be teaching my own lesson plan that I have created.  The only downfall is that my class is from 8am to 10:30am…which isn’t that bad until I work til 3am….and then I am a little tired.  But I only have this happen on Friday mornings, and I know that I can handle it once a week.  I went on my school visit earlier this week, and I officially start on Monday.

Then there is Classroom Management.  This course is overlapping with my Reading Practicum.  It is an amazing course that teaching me how to interact with students while I am in teaching.  This includes fun activities like ice breakers, games, transition tips, ways to keep my room organized, and so much more.  My professor is soft spoken, but strict and has been teaching for years.  I have a feeling that she will be someone I will keep in contact with in years to come.  Classroom management is almost more than the actually teaching aspect of education.  Without having organization and communication there will be no classroom community.  And without the students being part of this community they will not be able to have the best educational experience possible.  I am going to work my best at providing this for my students.

Next is Parent Teacher Communication.  This is an online course.  And I have to work my hardest at completing my assignments.  It is easy to just put it off and not do anything for it, but I need to make sure that I keep up with this course….It is pretty interesting.  Teachers need to be able to communicate with not only the students, but with their parents (or their guardians), other cooperating teachers or staff members, the community, and their supervisors.  This course gives specific examples and makes them seem extremely personal for me.  I just have to make sure I get this course done….

I have never thought I would be so interested on the effects of language and our society until I started this course, Language and Learning. My professor has studied in many different regions around the country, and she is very well educated.  While I am listening to her lecture I am completely engaged and immersed into the information given.  I love TV.  And through this course I am learning the real facts on how the many forms of communication affect young students, older students……all of us.  This includes TV, books, texting, talking, the internet, music, and so much more.  I hope to do a whole post dedicated to this course later on in the semester.

I am so lucky that I am getting closer and closer each day to becoming a teacher.  Not everyone is able to work towards a career that they actually love.  I will be graduating in May, and then hello every elementary school who is hiring!  They will know my name 🙂

Overall this post is just a little look into my over simulated brain at this current moment.  I am home from work and wide awake.  This happens often.  I will be sleepy at work, and then when I get home I will be awake for another hour or two.  I need to try to get to sleep soon though, I am heading to the Iowa/Iowa State game tomorrow! I started as a Hawkeye back in 2005 and in the past 7 years I have not been able to watch an Iowa/Iowa State game live.  I was asked by one of my best friends to attend the game with him.  Not only do I get to go to this amazing match, but I am able to watch it in the 23rd row on the 50 yard line.  I maybe a little spoiled 😉

So off to bed to dream about this past summer.  This photo illuminates a perfect moment for me. What is your perfect moment from this past summer? Does it include being with friends or family or being alone?  Does your perfect moments change depending on the season? Mine do….just a little bit though. Usually the differences are between being inside or outside, although they normally include the same people.

Image

Step out into the grass and feel the dew on your toes.  Enjoy the moment, and take a breath.

Tomorrow will bring change.

Today notice the hope.

Remember the times slipped by and smile.

Until again, alc

School has begun and my life has now been shifted.

I am running out the door to class, but I wanted to put one photo as a little preview of what my next post will be about. (which I hope to complete tonight!)  So here it is and I hope you come back to read about the full story 🙂

And no, this photo was not staged.  I was just very lucky with the shot.

until again, alc

New outfit!

I have continued to update my wardrobe, and I have been trying to wear nicer pieces each day.  So far I have been pretty successful at this.  Here is what I wore last night to work.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and purchased a pair of jeans…. leopard print jeans.  I saw them at the store and they were on sale.  Bonus.  So here the beauts are:

I also purchased a new pair of black flats (seen in photo above).  I wanted a cute pair that were comfortable and would support me through the many hours I will be spending in the classroom while student teaching.  I have been looking all summer for a pair that are less than $50 and fulfill my needs.  I finally found a pair.  Regularly $60, but I got them for $29.  Again, bonus.  The only bad part is that I need to break them in.  And I ended up getting a monster blister last night…..

Today I will go back to my flip flops.  And I am off to go with a friend to watch her boyfriend play a game of soccer.  It has been years since I watched a soccer game, and I am super excited to spend time with her and to watch the game.

Until again, alc

Ideas for Pumpkins!

Since the weather has begun to cool down a bit, more layers are added to our outfits, and the smell of pumpkin spice is filling my room…I thought I would do a post about one of the pumpkins I decorated last year.  I have loved the fall for as long as I could remember.  As I have gotten older I have wanted summer to end to see the leaves change, watch football games, and drink hot coffees outside.  My mom is huge on noticing the small things in life.  One statement I have heard hundreds of times in my life from her is

Take note.

I now say this to my friends and family members.  This can be used for any situation.  At anytime.  During the fall season is when Mama says it the most.  “Allie, Take note of that tree on the right.” (the leaves have begun to change color)  “Allie, Take note of those squirrel nests.”  (my niece is the master at finding squirrel homes thanks to my mama’s teaching.) “Allie, Take note of that sunset.”  The possibilities are endless.

So take note of the beautiful weather change, and an idea for pumpkins.  Carving pumpkins is a must.  I have never gone a year without carving a pumpkin for Halloween.  I love decorating for each holiday (take a look at my previous post https://aleecolton.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/fun-treats-from-the-past/ where I explain how to create some yummy 4th of July treats)

I love to give gifts.  Especially during all the different holiday seasons.  Not just Christmas presents, or birthday presents, but for all of the holidays.  If you are going to give them a present, why not make it a holiday themed gift?  Doc is a man that owns an auto repair shop.  I have taken my 1994 Honda there many a times in the past, and now my family takes their cars there for repairs too.  I love local mom and pop shops.  At Docs you can sit down and have a cup of coffee and shoot the shit for hours with the regulars.  Doc is like another dad in my life.  He is also my landlord.  I have been out to his home and had drinks with him and his wife.  His son is my neighbor, and I get along well with his daughter.  Overall I feel very comfortable at Doc’s auto shop, and I wanted to make him something that he could put out for the Halloween season.  So here is it!

Painted Pumpkin:

I decided to paint a pumpkin because it will last a lot longer, and I love to paint.  Also by doing this you are able to make it very specific and unique.

  • Get a pumpkin.  Make sure it has a good surface (not too many bumps or cracks, this will make it easier to paint)
  • Next draw out your design on paper, I did this and then cut the paper so I could put this on the pumpkin to make sure the design will fit.  You don’t have to do this, but I recommend it.
  • Once you have the design made, (and made sure the image fits) use a pen/sharpie/marker to draw out the outlines for the design.  This is will assist you while painting.
  • Use acrylic paint.
  • You can use water to make it more transparent or mix different colors to create a new color.
  • Start to paint!  Use any brush you feel comfortable with.
  • Let it dry, (it won’t take long at all).  If you are going to keep it inside you don’t need to put on a clear coat for protection.  But if you are going to put it outside you need to let it dry and then then use the add a clear coat.  I usually use a spray paint form of the clear enamel.  But any kind you find will work.  But the paint must be dry or it will smear and be ruined.
  • You can add any 3D pieces by attaching them with a glue gun.  Or glitter with glue.  Make it beautiful.  Make it full.  Keep it simple.  Whatever you want!
  • Once it is finished, sit back and enjoy your piece.

Here is my example I made for Doc: 

I didn’t take a photo of just the outline drawn on the pumpkin, but you can see it in this photo.  The blue is the start of the flames that went around the whole pumpkin.

Next step, white detailed outline around the blue flames.

Final product!  Blue flames with white detailed outlines. Done. Red lettering of Doc’s with black  detailed outlines.  Done.  It may have a few parts that I would have corrected or adjusted if I was going to make it again, but overall I loved the finished piece!  Doc told me that he receive a lot of complements, and he would like another pumpkin for this year!

Start thinking about what designs you will use for your pumpkins this year.  We have time before October, so get your brains working!!

Until again, alc

The students are Back

Living in a college town means a few things.  Football season is crazy and fun.  People bleed our school colors.  Our summers are the best because most of the college students go back to their hometowns.  And my family (my parents, my grandma, and my sister and her family) all live here.  We are locals.  When I finish school for the spring I stay here.  This is my home.  And I love it most of the time, but one of the big downfalls is what happens during the first few weeks of August every year.

Starting at the end of the summer each and every year the stores begin to put out their ads newspapers, magazines, and commercials on TV,  highlighting all the necessary items a student would need when they are moving into their dorm room or new apartment.  Yes, I have to admit that I usually take a peek at these ads, and sometimes I even begin to ponder if I need that cute container, or that bright colored foot stool.  But then I stop for a second and remember that, “Hey! I’m not a freshmen student.. And I know better.  So the ads are put away, and my checking account stays in tact.”

Next item is because I work downtown with the public, I see a lot of people during my shifts.  I also work in a parking garage, so this means I end up dealing with some very nice and happy customers all the way to the down right cranky and mean ones.  Those are the customers who have lost their tickets and end up having to pay for a whole day of parking.  Which they are not pleased about.  This week alone I have had about 20 lost tickets for these new families, and there is nothing I can do besides smile and explain to them that it is $18 without a ticket.  Then I hand them a receipt and a business card to talk to my supervisors if they have an issue with the situation.

It is crazy how some people will always blame their mistakes on someone else. I overreact about somethings. And I get stressed out.  And sometimes it is hard for me to let the little things go.  I like to try and take or have more control in almost everything I do.  I am working on this.  I know that I need to take a deep breath and relax, but this is easier said than done.  When I help these customers that end up yelling at me over something that I had no part in creating it makes me realize how silly it is when I overreact.  Isn’t it odd how when we watch someone else do something (that we do possibly do too) we then notice how dumb they look, and this is one of the first steps to wanting you to change your ways….

Being a full time student (at least 17 hours per semester) and working part time (at least 25 or more hours per week) I am busy.  And I have to get a lot of work done in one week, or even in one day.  So when I am stressed out I have my own individual ways to cope and to relax.  I would much rather smile and be happy than be upset, frustrated, mad, or stressed.  And here are some of the things I do to help calm me down 🙂

Baking!  These are some awesome cake pops.

Riding the Harley

Enjoying the rainy weather…also known as my favorite weather of all time.

Watching sunsets with my family and friends.  I love how the colors change within minutes…

Cooking! Here is Mexican Chicken Casserole (recipe to come soon!)

Playing with pups. (This is Kaiser my parents’ dog) 

Little Miss Evie my bearded dragon. 

My favorite flower in the world, the iris. 

More to come for my list.  What do you do to stay relaxed?

Until again, alc

Out in the Garden

Living in the Midwest has taught me many values.  Respect each other.  Love.  Take care of each other.    Be happy.  Try to not stress out with the little things, but instead take a deep breath and relax. Keep your family and friends involved in your life.  Try to live off the land.  In the past year and a half I have become more connected in the city I live in.  I have been here for years, but some people think it is nothing but a college town.  I disagree.  This city is my home.  My parents are here.  My sister and her family are here.  My grandma is here. I know the side streets (maybe not all the names but I know the area 🙂 ) There is a chance that I will get a job here after I graduate in May.  I could buy my home here.  I could get married and raise my children here.  That is a big idea to get my head wrapped around. What if I should leave for a few years and then come back?  I love Midwest values.  I love the life I have had thus far.  I love the childhood I had.  I want to be able to keep those values, and possibly this environment.

Becoming more comfortable in this town has allowed me to meet more “locals” and this in return has keep me more grounded.  My family has always been into gardening.  I enjoy it, but I have never had a real garden of my own.  I haven’t owned my own house yet, and I have lived in apartments since I moved out of my parents’ house.  I am now in a rental house, and I have a fair amount of plants in pots, and I have fixed a few flower beds…and one tomato plant…but no garden.  Yesterday I went out to a garden with my sister and her little ones.    Her friends purchased about 40 acres of land a few years ago, and they have built their home and created a garden.  They said that my sister and her family can pick as much as they would like from the garden, and in return they help keep the garden and can/freeze the produce.

While we were driving up the lane to get to the garden, we had to stop and back up…it was a little muddy and instead of getting the car stuck we decided to get out and get our feet muddy instead.  While my sister was parking the car she told me to hop out and see if that was a turtle or frog out in the road.  I was standing there searching for this animal, and I couldn’t see anything.  I couldn’t find it.  And then I did.  How my sister spotted this tiny guy is amazing.  It was an adorable baby snapping turtle.  He just sat there and stared up at me.  He didn’t run away immediately.  Estelle was able  to see him, and I took a few photos and a video.  Then he ran over to the side and we went on our way up the hill to the garden.

Just a little cutie! Can you spot him?

We went out with a mission of picking tomatoes.  Or “matoes” as the little ones call them.   Hazel did really well helping me pick cherry tomatoes as T worked on the monster roma tomato plants.  Gabe came over and showed me that he picked a green bean, so we picked those too! Estelle was eating a tomato like an apple.  It was quiet and peaceful.  The color green was everywhere. This is how a summer day should be spent.   With your family.  Doing something that doesn’t cost a ton of money.  Something that will benefit you in the long run.  (My sister has made jars and jars and jars of tomato sauce, tomato soup, pizza sauce, stewed tomatoes, and salsa is on the way.) I was able to bring home fresh tomatoes and basil, and tonight for dinner I am having the best salad ever.  Here is the directions for one of my favorite Midwestern salads!

Tomato Mozz Salad:

  • Tomatoes (fresh from a garden is the best)
  • Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
  • Fresh Basil leaves (again from a garden is the best)

Directions:

  • Cut up the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese into small chunks
  • Slice the basil into small pieces
  • Put it all in a bowl and add in dressing (as much or as little as you would like)
  • Mix it up (or shake it) so all the ingredients are covered with the dressing
  • Let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes (I like it best cold, but room temperature is good too)
  • Enjoy!

Here are some photos from the amazing adventure I had with my family.

The little ones and T working away

Estelle checking out the corn

Gabe eating a green bean.  Can not getting any healthier than that! Straight from the plant, straight to his tummy!

Myself with fresh peppers in hand

  I have amazing people in my life that influence me to make each day better than the past.  They know I have some bad habits that I need to change, and I am very lucky that they are supporting me in my changes.  What can you do to make your day better?

Until again, alc

Day 3….

I have started it!  I have been counting the past 3 days, and reminding myself of what my sister said….

it takes three weeks to change a habit…think of food as fuel for your body- giving it fake ingrediants and expecting to run well doesn’t make sense. you can do this boo!

So I am working on my day 4 of no pop.  This means only 17 days left until my habit it broken.  I have notice that I have used pop as my crutch for many different things.  When I am bored I drink pop.  When I am hungry, I drink pop.  When I eat I drink pop.  When I am stressed out i drink pop.  When I am sleepy I drink pop.  I need to make sure that I look at all food and drink as in fuel.  It is so important that everything that goes into my body will be in there to give me energy and keep me healthy.  Mtn Dew is a drink that does NOT benefit my body any in form.

I know this is going to be hard.  But I am going to do it.  This is not the first time that I have tried to stop drinking pop, but I have never been able to do it.  This time is different.  I am only 25, but I am getting older as the days go by, and I need to make some changes to live a better life.  So here goes to the start of day 4……

Any more words of advice?

until again, alc

Hamburger Cookies (make them for little ones or for big ones!)

I was lucky enough to make these in one of my summer classes this year, and I had a blast making them.  In my course we had to work with a partner and write a lesson plan and then teach it to our fellow classmates, as if they were actually the students in a grade between K-6.  Two of my fellow friends taught us (as 2nd graders) about assembly lines through making these cute and delicious treats. There was 7 of us in a row and each of us had a very important part to do in order to make the awesome finish product of the Hamburger Cookie.

Ingredients needed for Hamburger Cookies: 

  • Vanilla wafer cookies (these can be name brand, Nilla Wafers, or store brand)
  • White frosting (you can make your own homemade, or you can get it already made in a can)
  • Food coloring (you will need red, yellow, and green)
  • Wax paper
  • Mint cookies (again, these can be name brand or store brand. Or another form of thin chocolate cookies would work)
  • Coconut flakes

Steps:

  • Color the frosting red for ketchup, yellow for mustard, and orange (made out of yellow and red) for the cheese
  • Color the coconut flakes green for the lettuce (you can do this easily by putting the green food coloring into a baggie with the coconut flakes and shake it until the flakes are dyed green.
  • Next take one of the vanilla wafer cookies and put on the red frosting on the cookie.  (This will be the bottom bun)
  • Then place the thin mint chocolate cookie on top of the red frosting.
  • Add the yellow frosting on top of the cookie.
  • Place the green coconut flakes on the yellow frosting.
  • Take a new vanilla wafer cookie and put the orange frosting on one side of the cookie.  Make sure you put the frosting on the flat side, because the rounded side will need to be on the very top for the round bun.
  • After you have put the orange frosting on the “top” bun attach it to the rest of the hamburger cookie.

The layers can be mixed around depending on how you would like to create the cookie, and if you would like to add more or use less of some of the materials that is perfect too!  The best part about these adorable cookies is that you can change them to fit you, or the people creating/eating them.  On the internet there are a lot of different recipes on how to create these.  For example when I made them we used green frosting as the lettuce, but when I make them again I will use green coconut flakes instead.

You can also make these yummy “french fries” to go along with the burgers.  I have not made these yet, but here is how to make them.  (I can’t wait to make these too!!)

Ingredients needed for French Fries:

  • 1 (10 ounce) package peanut butter chips
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • Frosting dyed red
  • Paper muffin cup liners

Steps:

  • Melt peanut butter chips with milk in the microwave, stir until smooth.
  • Then pour the mixture into a foil lined and greased 9 inch baking pan.
  • Let this cool completely at room temperature.
  • Lift out of pan and invert on a cutting board.
  • Remove the foil, and the cut the cooled mixture into about 3 inch by 3/4 inch strips.
  • Fold the cup liners in half (pressing out the creases) and then in half again.  Point under, and then use this as the holder for the fries.
  • Add on some red frosting on top (or on the side) for some ketchup.

Here I am enjoying my burger! Yummy!

 

I didn’t make these fries, but I wanted to make sure to include a photo of them completed for a reference.

 

Enjoy making these, and post a photo if you do! I would love to see how you used this recipe as a starting point, and then what you did to make some changes.

 

Until again, alc