Monday, July 26, 2010


Easton Kelly Shanks, the name of my new little nephew! My big sis, Nicole, is going to be a mommy, and I can't wait for little Easton to come in to the world. He is scheduled to arrive on Jesus's b-day, but Nicole is determined to bring him in sooner or later than that date, and we all know when Nicole wants something, she figures out a way to get it. :)
I don't care when he gets here, I'm just excited to be an Aunt! I'll be throwing Nicole's baby shower this fall, and I welcome ideas for shower games and themes. I already heard a cute idea of serving beverages in little baby bottles! How cute! You can make ANYTHING cute when its little and revolving around an infant. Take diapers for instance. What's with those games where you put different things in diapers and ask your guests smell the buttocks portion and determine what the smell is. Gross!! But still most everything having to do with babies is SO cute!
Congrats Nicole and Stephen! See you for Matt's graduation this weekend! Love you already Easton! Can't wait to meet you!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ingles es muy deficil pero pan de calabacĂ­n es muy bueno!

I love being able to cook, bake, volunteer, and catch up with friends! This break has been awesome! So the past couple of days I've spent a couple hours teaching immigrants to speak English. At Sandy Spring ESL, volunteers are needed to dictate, review, and teach basic English reading, writing, and speaking skills to mostly spanish-speakers living in the Atlanta area. While slowly (and with much patience-- teaching someone a language when they barely speak it requires a LOT of patience), trying to teach my native language (and being thankful at the same time that I can interject spanish words to help clarify what I'm saying in English), I realized how difficult English is! I mean come on-- why are there so many irregular words that don't follow the general rules? Take plurals for instance-

Goose- Gooses, nope, it's Geese sorry. I have no good explanation for it either.
Person- we don't really use the word Persons much, nope the correct answer is People. Sorry, I don't know why.

Or what's with all the English homophones-

There- Their
Write- Right

Man, I never realized how confusing English was, but I guess I should probably jump on the English is Awesome and Easy to Learn band wagon since I'm about to teach adolescents how amazing and important it is.
Selfishly though, my future students will probably learn to work my soft side. This sweet high school-looking boy was my pupil on Tuesday, and he had to create sentences using verbs turned into nouns. Like, bake into baker or jump into jumper. Well, when he got to the would teach to teacher, my heart melted at his sentence and I knew I was going into the perfect profession. He was so excited that he thought of the perfect sentence, and he enthusiastically exclaimed, "You are the BEST TEACHER!" Wow, I'm a sucker for the suck ups!

Oh, and here's a great recipe I just made for the family-- A yummy and healthy Zucchini Bread 
I tried explaining the concept to Brooke, but she had never heard of such a bread product. Pumpkin bread? Yes. Carrot Cake? Yes. Banana Bread? Yes. But not Zucchini Bread. Give it a shot.

Zucchini Bread
3 cups whole wheat flour (this is the real healthy part-- you can use regular if you want but the whole wheat gives it a nutty flavor)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup of honey
1 cup of milk
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup butter (equals 1 stick-not as healthy)
2 cups zucchini- shredded and uncooked (get your veggies in a good way)
1.5 cups chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Grease and flour two small or one large loaf pan
3. Stir together first 7 ingredients and set aside
4. Place milk, eggs, butter, honey, and zucchini in a large mixing bowl
5. Add dry ingredients and beat until batter is blended. Add in walnuts
6. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Remove and cool on rake for 5 minutes. 

* Can be great warm with a little butter spread
* Be sure you don't put the extra zucchini peals down the garbage disposal or you'll clog it up in the pipe like I did! 
* If you run out of walnuts because you misread how many walnuts to add, you can also substitute sliced almonds, but the walnuts bites will be better in my opinion
*Remember to take a picture so you can show it on your blog before its all eaten!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Throw it together?

So my mom called me while I was grocery shopping and asked if I could "start" or "throw" together the various colored tomatoes in the fridge, add some fresh mozzarella and maybe add basil.... "like a big salad or something-- I need to take it to a party to feed like ten people! I mean if you can just get it started that would be a BIG help."
She was a bit rushed if you can't tell by the request. So I (also in a rush) chose not to use my recipe for homemade balsamic syrup from my Everyday Italian cookbook (which would have started my creative juices in the kitchen and I'd be late for my date), and instead did exactly what she asked. I chopped up various colored tomatoes including Roma, grape, beefsteak, off-the-vine, and yellow tomatoes. I coarsely chopped some fresh basil and fresh flat leaf parsley, diced up the fresh mozzarella (two packs of Sargento), add it all to the tomatoes and drizzled with already made Lite Balsamic and Basil Vinaigrette.
I did more than start the dish-- I made it, and I didn't even have time to try it, but a little bird called momma said it was FANTASTIC! I believe she said, "I love having someone who can actually cook and whip together something when I ask!" I don't think that was meant to jab Scotch. :)

No go whip up something easy-- Enjoy!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Music of the Night

I am one of those strange 25 year olds that some how has almost every song in Phantom of the Opera memorized. How could anyone like a musical that much? Well, my mother had an addiction to the beautiful broadway play when I was very young, and she used to blast the soundtrack in our house for hours.

So, when Brittany invited me to attend a showing of the infamous performance at the Fox with her mom, I of course couldn't resist. It was beautiful! The singing, the dancing, the special effects, the music!!!  Uhhh.... it gets better every time I see it. I miss my days of performance, but retain an overwhelming appreciation for the arts. Thanks Pink and Mrs. Taylor!!!  What a great night it was.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Last week!

Yay, I'm in the homestretch of my first graduate semester. It really wasn't that bad once I got a rhythm down and remembered how to open a textbook and skim the content-- skimming will be clutch in grad school let me tell you-- it started coming together.

I'm pumped to have a "summer" like the good ole days for the next couple weeks. No work or school. I plan to sleep, eat, catch up with friends, and stay up late playing kick the can with my friends down the street.

My little bro Matt moved back home too--- so it really does feel like a flash back, except instead of arguing over the remote...... well we are still arguing over the remote. Some things never change. But instead of discussing the possibility of him becoming a famous Rock Star, he's become a little more realistic in his old age. He's now surfing the net looking for any possible job in this economy. Matt Blair actually threw out the words law school and police officer. Mmmm hmmm..... I can't see Matt defending the law, but I think its hard to picture your baby brother doing anything by annoying you or asking you to play video games with him. :)   Gotta love him!

Enjoy your humid hair-ruining, cricket listening, firefly catching, lake swimming, pool diving, ice cream eating summer days!  Oh.... I hear the ice cream truck man right now. Gotta run!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

From Greenville to St. Simons...

I've had such a blessed couple of weeks getting to feel like I'm on vacation, and this is during school mind you-- it's been great!
Last weekend I accompanied Matthew to one of my favorite little cities-- Greenville, SC. It's just 2 hours from Atlanta, and we were only there for the day, but we couldn't stop talking about how it felt like we were on vacation. He had his local long drive qualifier-- which he WON, with a 400 yard drive and a brand new driver he'd never used! Crazy!  He goes to Regionals in Greensboro, NC later next month, and if he qualifies there, it's off to Mesquite again for the World Championship!
Well, the rest of the day was spent in the quaint town of Greenville. We saw a great movie-- Knight and Day (I was pleasantly surprise- it was hysterical!)-- visited my favorite coffee shop- Underground Coffee, had a great southern gourmet meal, and then stopped back by Underground Coffee before heading back to the ATL.
Then this past weekend we headed to down St. Simons with his brother, Kevin, to visit his family for the 4th of July. Matthew's mom fed us like kings everyday, we enjoyed some much needed relaxation and got some sun on the beach.  It was wonderful! Oh and I have to mention how awesome I was at this game of rolling a golf ball into a hole of sand. I beat Matthew 3 times! It was awesome!

Matthew wanted to beat me just once--but the CubBuster was too good!

Me with the Leggett Ladies. Gotta love um!

Matthew with his mom ready for the fireworks.

I didn't quite make this one, but we got to see the fireworks on the beach! This picture doesn't do the hour long show justice.

Welp...  only a week and a half left of summer classes, I can do it! Happy belated 4th!