Thursday, March 29, 2012

recipe: crock pot chicken caesar sandwiches

Chicken Caesar Sandwhiches


2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 to 1 cup of your favorite Caesar dressing
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley or 2 teaspoons of dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
12 slider buns or 4-6 regular sized hamburger buns


Place chicken in a 3-4 quart slow cooker with 1-2 cups of water, cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.

Remove chicken from cooker and drain the water. Place chicken on a cutting board and pull chicken into shreds, discarding any fat.

Place chicken back in the cooker and pour dressing, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and pepper over the top. Stir until mixed evenly. Cover and cook on high heat for 30 minutes or until mixture is hot. 

Spoon chicken mixture on a bun and top with Romaine lettuce. 

They turned out amazing! It was one of the easiest recipes I have ever tried. Would be the perfect dish for a weekend at the lake. 

stop & think

I'm a complainer. Yep, I said it. I'm not going to lie, hide, or fight the fact that complaining is one of my best qualities. Ok, so maybe not my best, but I'm good at it. Why is it so cold out? (You live in Minnesota). I don't want to go to work! (Work = money). I have no cute clothes! (You have a closet full of clothes).  I'm too tired to work out. (You have limbs that are willing to move, GO). 

I may have been exaggerating that I'm good at complaining. That or I don't want to face the fact that I do complain more than I need to. I do know that I need to stop & think about what I'm complaining about. Somebody always has it worse off than you.  

Today marks the 5th day of communicating to my boyfriend solely through e-mail. He is in the Dominican Republic for the next couples week on his last clinical rotation. As supportive & excited I was for him, the thought of not being able to pick up my phone & call him made me crazy. 

The first day I cried. How am I going to do this? How will I know that he is ok? Who am I suppose to tell my random thoughts to throughout the day? & then it hit me. There are hundreds & thousands of people that do this everyday. I have to deal with it for a month or so while some people have to deal with it for over a year. After putting things in to perspective, I made a calendar. I filled that sucker up with activities like you wouldn't believe. Seeing it visually laid out for me somehow calmed me.

I'm making myself stay busy. Between working 2 jobs, training for my 1/2 marathon, dates with friends, weekend trips planned out of town, & spending time with family, I can do it.

 I have to do it. & I want to do it. There isn't any way around this so I might as well make the most of the situation I'm in. Right? Enjoy the "freedom" of not being glued to my cell phone. Enjoy hearing about his experience, even if I'm not hearing it from his voice. Enjoy getting a feel for what it was like before cell phones. Sure, we are spoiled with e-mail, but don't take that for granted. Be thankful for the communication that I do have with him. 

Long story short, next time we want to complain about something, stop & think. Do we really have it that bad? Find the positives in situations that seem so difficult. I promise, there is always something good that comes out of something bad. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

we all need breaks

After subbing for 2 weeks now, it is clear that no matter what class, whether the teacher tells you they are "a great bunch of kids" or "this is the worst class I have ever had", kids will be kids. 

I remember having a substitute teacher and thinking yes, today is going to be so easy, we aren't going to have to do anything! I realize that times have not changed when it comes to kids thinking this way. 

Yesterday, while subbing in a 5th grade class, I began by introducing myself. After assuring the kids that yes, I do like scavenger hunts, but no, that is not my last name, I told them about the 3 stars that I drew on the board. 

ME: "If there are any stars left on the board at the end of the day, you will get 10 minutes of free time before it is time to pack up"
STUDENT: "Yes! You are the best substitute teacher ever!"

Our education system is funny. It's as if we have forgotten these are kids we are teaching. Yes, I see the reasoning behind standardized tests and everything that comes with it, but kids still need to be kids. They need to play, socialize, run around outside, draw. They need "10 minutes of free time". 

&, much like kids, adults need these 10 minutes, too. Take a break and do something that relaxes you, excites you, takes you to a place that de-stresses you. After your time is up, take a deep breath & dive back in to your daily routine with a clear mind & focused attitude. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

pack it up

With the beautiful Spring weather we have been having, my legs have gone from running on the treadmill to pounding on the pavement, even if it means waking up the next morning with shin splints & sore knees. 

While running around town the other day, I began to think about where I am. Where I grew up. The place that I call home. I was running on the streets that are mine. Everything familiar to me yet I'm sure there are places I have yet to explore. 

23 years in one place. 23 years surrounded by (mostly) the same people that make up this community. & then that excitement inside of me came alive. As I am anxiously awaiting the day that I will say adios to this town, I can't help but get that giddy feeling just thinking of running on streets that are unfamiliar to me. I look forward to the day of exploring new sidewalks, seeing new scenery, being around buildings that I have no idea what they hold inside. 

As scary as change is, I'm ready. Don't get me wrong, this town is wonderful, but there is so much more out there than we can even imagine. I want to meet new people. People that know nothing about me, my past, my flaws, my mistakes, just a blank slate friendship waiting to be started. 

I'm asking you to join me. If you have lived in the same town your whole life, try somewhere new. Even if it be for 6 months, a year, heck, 2 years. Go surround yourself by people that are unfamiliar to you & landscapes that aren't flat (I mean really Fargo-Moorhead, you couldn't give us a couple hills?)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

DIY: spring wreath

Spring has officially sprung, even though it has seemed as though it has been here for a while. I came across this Pinterest idea & thought I would give it a whirl. I spent around $40.00 & bought all my supplies at Hobby Lobby. 


1 twiggy willow wreath
1 grapevine wreath
Florists wire
Wire cutters
Silk flowers

***I chose not to hot glue the flowers in to the wreath because they were pretty snug in there already. If you are choosing to hang this wreath on the outside of a door, I would suggest hot gluing the pieces in to place. 

1. Secure the two wreaths together by twisting the florists wire around

2. Pull apart the silk flowers and stick them in to the wreath, making sure to follow the same pattern & flow.

If you want to add a little "Spring Fever" to your front door, e-mail me at:

Friday, March 23, 2012

recipe: clif bars

Homemade Clif Bars


1 cup old fashioned oats
3 large biscuit style shredded wheat cereal, or 1 cup un-frosted spoon-size shredded wheat
1 cup raisins
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray an 8x8 pan lightly with cooking spray
Place raisins in food processor and pulse until lightly chopped (I don't have a food processor so cut up the raisins myself. It was sticky & time consuming, but it had to be done!)

Add the shredded wheats, oats, cinnamon & salt & mix until it is all incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, honey, vanilla, & peanut butter.

Add the oat mixture & chocolate chips & stir until combined. Spread in prepared pan & bake 15-18 minutes or until edges are light brown.

Let cool & cut in to squares. Enjoy!

For original recipe, click here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

recipe: runzas

I had never heard of the word runza nor did I know it was food until a little over a year ago when Aaron made them one night. I was a little hesitant to try them but after one bite, my mouth (& stomach) fell in love. I asked his mom for the recipe (one that has been in their family for a long time) & have since made them for my family, friends, & for a baby shower. I have not come across one person that didn't enjoy them!


1/2 pkg. yeast
1 c. milk
     1/4 c. butter, not margarine
     1/4 c. sugar
     1 t. salt
     3 1/2 c. flour
     1 egg

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
     1 onion, chopped
     2 c. chopped cabbage
     2 T. butter
     1/2 t. salt
     1/8 t. pepper

*** I have made these a couple times now & wanted to experiment with this batch. I used ground turkey instead of ground beef & used whole wheat flour instead of regular flour. 


Place all dough ingredients in a bread machine. If you do not own one, like me, I put all ingredients in a bowl & use a blender. It is a little more difficult but it works.

Brown beef and onion.  Wilt cabbage in butter; add to beef mixture with salt and pepper.

After letting the dough rise for 40-60 minutes, roll dough very thin and cut into 6" squares.  Place 1/4 c. meat mixture in center.  Pinch edges to seal.  Place, smooth side up on greased baking sheet. 

 Bake 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

& enjoy! I usually dip mine in ranch for a little extra flavor. Also, Aaron & I have tried different fillings such as taco (ground beef, taco seasoning, lettuce) & pizza (red sauce, pepperoni, cheese), both of which were very yummy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

full circle

When this came in the mail a 2 weeks ago, life got real. 

Like most girls growing up, I played "school". Transformed my bedroom in to a classroom, created a fake class list, & talked to my imaginary students (please tell me I wasn't the only one). 

In high school, I remember looking to the future, mainly looking at student teaching, & thinking, there is no way in heck I will be able to do that. Well, 23 year old Carrie, you did it. 

In college, I remember looking to the future, mainly looking at substitute teaching or a full time teaching job, & thinking, I'm still too young to teach by myself! Well, 23 year old Carrie, you are doing it. 

I got the phone call for my first subbing job last week. After I hung up the phone, I smiled. This is it. This is what I've wanted, dreamed, "pretended" to do ever since I was a wee little lad. It was only fitting that my first subbing job was for my former 6th grade teacher. Not going to lie, I felt like I was still that little 6th grader. Maybe it was because half the kids were as tall as me or maybe because I was back in the same hallways I use to walk through, whatever it was, it was weird. But a good weird, if there is such a thing. 

& then the dry erase marker was busted out... 

& that is when I realized things have come full circle

Thursday, March 15, 2012

state hockey

Last weekend my family, along with a couple hundred other Moorhead hockey fans, headed down to St. Paul for the weekend for the High School Boys State Hockey Tournament. My family has gone for the past couple years now, even if the Spuds don't make it. After a win the first night & losses the following 2 nights, we ended up bringing the 4th place trophy home. 

The car ride down was less than spectacular. Anyone who has driven anywhere on I-94 knows that there is nothing to look at other than fields & a few trees here & there. Thank goodness for my mug of coffee & Pinterest.

I'm tired. Which in turn makes me not want to sit here & type out some of the details from the weekend. With that said, here are some pictures (& a few words). 

Chris & his friends...

...& Brian & Nelly with their friends

Marcus enjoying the energy balls that I made

The fish (I mean kids) couldn't get enough of the hotel pool

Although Kendall loves to say the word "hockey", she was a bit more entertained playing with the chair than actually watching "hockey"

Watch out! We have a 2 year old on the road!

Great weekend with family & friends. But seriously, can we just win a dang state championship sometime soon?! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A few things

A few things I am loving on this chilly, gloomy Wednesday morning.

This hairstyle. Since I have to have my hair up at work, & want something a little more "unique" than the average ponytail, I have been on the hunt for easy DIY updos. I tried this one a couple days ago & it turned out surprisingly well. It was easy to do & stayed the whole night (always a sign of success if you hair doesn't fall out an hour after you did it).

This camera bag. When I bought my DSLR, I bought one of those ugly black camera bags to go with it. Mainly because we were leaving for Hawaii soon after purchasing my camera & I didn't want to bring it there without a case to keep it protected in. I love that this bag looks more like a purse than a home for my camera. Hmm, when do I get paid again?

This picture. As we are getting older & it seems as though someone is getting engaged every Friday on Facebook, this picture starts to have more meaning to me. More often than not, when someone gets married, they forget about their friends. Their girls/boys night. As much as you love your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, you will always need your nights of random story telling & wine sipping with your close friends. I mean, where else can you vent about your significant other?

This outfit. Can I steal it?

This backpack. I'm a sucker for stripes & this has sucked me in. This backpack makes me want to go back to school just so I can swing it on my back. 

This writing. To die for. Why can't my pencil make these letters? 

Special thanks to Pinterest for providing me with envy towards the above items. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

5 reasons why today is a great one

1. My workout, minus the fact that I couldn't get Pandora to work on my phone so ran to complete silence for an hour, was great. The feeling you get after a workout that seemingly goes your way yet kicks your butt is wonderful. A perfect jump start to my Monday.

2. I signed up for a credit card at the bank. I'm not sure why this makes me happy but it does. Possibly because it's another "sign" of growing up (& hopefully not a sign of excessive spending in the future).

3. I used 2 coupons today. I simply do not understand why people don't make a bigger effort to use them. Don't expect to see me on the next episode of Extreme Couponer though. I just find a wee bit of happiness knowing I saved 50 cents on the can of chalkboard spray paint I bought. 

4. I went in to the district offices and found out that I can start substitute teaching next week! I have orientation tomorrow morning & then my name will be put in the system. I am so excited to get back in the classroom & earn a little cash along the way. 

5. Lastly, I backed in to a parking space for the first time. Guys, come on, it's a big deal. You know, had to use the whole rearview mirror thing so I didn't accidentally back in to the car behind me. Alas, I did it. Ahh, the little things in life...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

bring on the shin splints

Another year, another half marathon. I signed up a couple days ago & am already looking forward to May 19th. A part of me wanted to go all the way & sign up for the full, but I decided I'm only half crazy.

nothing but the best

I met Mel my sophomore year of college, her freshman year. We had the same class together, & it wasn't until we were paired up for the same classroom observation teacher, that we started talking. 

The girl & and I had numerous things in common. Some of which being those freaky "no way, you too?" moments. 

She is one of those friends that is always there for you, always ready to make you laugh, & always up for a lunch date to Panera (oh how I miss those!)

In just 2 weeks, she is starting a new adventure & will be student teaching in Australia for 6 weeks. This is the same program that I tried to do with my student teaching, but was unable to go due to lack of interest from my other classmates. I am still bummed that I was not able to get that experience, but am SO happy that Mel will! 

Mel has created her own blog to journal about her time "down under". I expect to read about her teaching stories, the food, the weather, & of course those cute Aussie boys that we all  keep hearing about. I wish you nothing but the best. Your bubbly personality & contagious laugh will have the kids falling in love with you! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

serves you right

Everything in life we learned in Kindergarten. The same goes for how you should treat every person you see every day, no matter if you are dear friends or strangers passing each other in the grocery store. After a rough night at work last night, due to some immature guy who would not. leave. me. alone, I have compiled a list. A list that you should read & remember for the rest of your life. 

1. Say your "please & thank you's".

It's called manners people, use them. Say please when you are asking for something and thank you when you get it. It's not rocket science. 

2. Push in your chair.

You would think this one is common sense, tis not. I'll help you out. When you are leaving a table, simply use your arms in a forward motion to push your chair back in. Got it?

3. Put things back where you found them.

If you take something out, put it back when you are done. This will keep your life organized & your belongings where they should be. Last night I found one of our menus underneath the table. Really?

4. Don't ask strangers for their phone number.

Guys, do not ask random girls for their phone numbers 5 seconds after seeing them. You look dumb. I was asked if I would write my number on a guys tab. Sorry sir, I'm a little more classy than that & have a boyfriend. Nice try. I'll give you my therapists number if you want that, though? 

5. Don't propose to a person you just met.

If the only words you have said to a girl is "I'll have a tall Bud Light", I would say it is too soon to propose to her. I'm at about 3 marriage proposals in 1 month. First off, I know you're joking around, but never propose to a girl at a bar. Second, if you are going to propose to me, you better have a ring to prove it. Third, if you are missing more than 1 tooth, your chances of me saying no have skyrocketed. 

6. Say nice things.

When you say nice things, the world is just a better place. If the person you are talking to is getting red in the face & it looks like smoke might be coming out of their ears, I would zip the lip. This is extra important to remember when talking to strangers. I wish the guy I wanted to punch in the face last night could read this. After bugging me non-stop to give his friend my number, I said I was taken. He then went on to ask questions about my boyfriend & the night ended with me, in my car, doing the ugly cry. Long story short, don't be an a-hole. 

7. If someone does a good job, reward them.

Let the person know you appreciate what you did for them. Whether this is by sending them a card, telling them in person, or tipping them well. I haven't had one person tip me poorly, although there is that certain age group (my peers), who still think it is acceptable to tip $1-$2. I'll give them a break since most of my peers are either in school or paying off school loans, but when you are in a stable job & have a little more money, please tip better.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

it's easy

It's easy to take good pictures when your model is so. darn. cute!