Wednesday, August 31, 2011


"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18

"Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."
Psalm 30:5

I haven't really known what to write in the past few days. It has been a week of several accounts of sad news amongst friends. Our hearts are heavy for dear ones around us who grieve and are brokenhearted. We are reminded though that we do not grieve without hope and that God is near to those who are brokenhearted. We trust in the only one who truly comforts and the one who does all things well.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Strawberry Banana Muffins

I love muffins! I love the way they taste and I love that they can be thrown together pretty quickly. There are also tons of options as to what to put in them. This week I wanted to make some, but realized I didn't have any of my usual go to ingredients for them...blueberries, cranberries, or multiple over ripe bananas. I did have a carton of strawberries that quickly needed to be used up and one brown banana so these were created. They were delicious and pretty too!

Strawberry Banana Muffins
Yields 1 dozen

1 cup chopped strawberries
1 mashed, ripe banana
6 T sugar
1 3/4 cups flour (I used 1 cup regular and 3/4 whole wheat)
2 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
a few shakes of cinnamon
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 vegetable oil
1/2 t vanilla

1. Mix dry ingredients.
2. Mix liquid ingredients separately.
3. Add the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Fold in the strawberries and banana.
4. Fill a greased muffin tin. Garnish the top with a heart shaped strawberry slice and a sprinkle of sugar if you want.
5. Bake at 400 for about 18 minutes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


This week is proving to be a very full one as I anticipated! I have been doing a lot of this:

(I found the above photo on Pinterest and loved it...So carefree!)

I have been dancing in rehearsals for the school touring shows and also final rehearsals for Dance, Art and Music, the Sanspointe Dance Company concert that is happening THIS Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You should make plans to come. It is going to be a great show! There are a variety of different pieces and some great live music. You can get tickets online here. I really hope you can come! (And for those of you that aren't sure about sitting through an entire dance concert, it is only about an hour long :)

And now I will leave you with the funny quote of the day from Aaron's class. Just in case you have forgotten, this is what he looks like:

A student looked at him today and asked, "Mr. Long, do you have light skin?"
Another one chimed in, "Mr. Long, are you white?"

Hmmmmm, what do you think?

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Name for Mr. Parrot

Remember the pictures of Aaron's classroom and the parrot hanging from the ceiling?

Well, this past week Aaron asked his 3rd graders to write down some name ideas for the bird. He brought the little note cards home to share with me and we have had some good laughs over them. They are a funny bunch!

And now for your reading pleasure, here is the list (note: original spellings have been maintained)...

Prity Parot
Carl the Amazing Parrot
P.J. Mat Eater
Miss Rainbow Sassy Parrot
Nub Nub (student noted this is a girl name)
The Mistacle Bird
Roger J Willis
Zozo Eric Long

We are rather partial to Zozo, although Nub Nub and Beutanesha are hard to compete with!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Break

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I am having a summer break of sorts. This week I haven't had the twins to keep, classes to teach or very many dance rehearsals and it feels like my summer break finally begun, never mind the fact that it will be over with soon. I have been reading lots, hanging out with friends, seeing The Help (it was great, you should go! Take some kleenex along), walking to the gym that is so close and cheap, and just enjoying some down time. Hopefully I will be back at it next week with some posts.

I will leave you with a great recipe though that I promise won't disappoint!

Ham and Cheese Sliders
source: slightly altered from The Girl Who Ate Everything

24 dinner rolls, or really any good bread
24 pieces ham
24 small slices Swiss cheese
Mayo (the original recipe calls for lots of it, as well as Miracle Whip. I completely left them out and we didn't miss them)

Poppy seed sauce

1/2 T poppyseeds
1 T dijon mustard
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 T minced onion
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Place a slice of ham and a slice of Swiss inside of each roll (and mayo if desired). Close rolls and place them close together in a large baking dish or cookie sheet.

Whisk together all of the poppy seed sauce ingredients. Pour evenly over all of the sandwiches. Let sit 10 minutes or until butter sets slightly. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for 2 additional minutes. Serve warm.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Happy First Day of School

I just sent Ronnie off to his first day of 3rd grade. Ok, so not his first time time ever to 3rd grade, but his first day welcoming 22 into his classroom. (He looks a bit saintly with the halo around his head don't you think? I guess that is what putting up with so many 3rd graders earns you :)

We have been working hard to get his classroom looking great. Some awesome volunteers came on Saturday and fixed desks, wiped down surfaces, moved books and basically did whatever was asked. What a help! Aaron and I spent yesterday working on the door and bulletin boards getting it ready for back to school night (last night).

Come on it! The 3rd grade is on the move. You will notice above, Aaron insisted that his set of wheels be more impressive than his students :)

2 new items that Aaron is most excited about...a stool to sit on AND more impressively a Smart Board. He is so pumped about the Smart Board, and rightfully so. It is neat to see how God is providing for RA.

Want to know a little more about the teacher? Just take a look at the bulletin board behind his desk.

This isn't a great picture, but I had to show the airplanes that made it into the decor. He plans to add more later.

That's it friends, a room ready for learning, challenges and fun.

I'll leave you with one parting shot: Aaron asking, or begging for your prayers today (and the rest of the year really).

Have a great first day of school, Aaron! I love you.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thrifty Thursday

Yesterday was spent running running errands and deal hunting. The heat was pretty unbearable, but it helps to have something good in the end to show for your efforts. I stopped in at 2 thrift stores. No finds at Goodwill. I spent a whopping total of 2.48 at Salvation Army on:

A brand new (still has the tags on it) NY and Co Shirt

a cute little lacey plate
(I am slowly acquiring plates for a plate wall collage I want to do)

I hit up Aldi while I was out. Sorry no picture to show for that trip...just some milk, eggs, produce, toilet paper and various and sundry items, nothing terribly exciting.

Last stop was Publix. They had my favorite $50 gas gift card deal going so I was able to get this

for $49

Found any good deals lately? Thrift store finds? If anyone out there is doing any of the drug stores, then write me some motivation. I haven't done my CVSing in forever and I am so not motivated to go, despite the fact that we are getting down to our last bottles of toiletries.

Monday, August 8, 2011

My, My, My Boogie Shoes

OK so maybe not boogie shoes, but Capezio is currently offering free ballet slippers...all you have to pay is the $4.95 for shipping! This is a great deal! Just go here and sign up.

Thanks for the tip!

Once you order your dancing shoes, go here and watch a video of Sanspointe rehearsing for the upcoming concert DANCE ART & MUSIC.

And then, since by this point you will be completely inspired, make plans to come to the Community Fest at Children's Dance Foundation this coming Sunday afternoon, August 14 from 2:00 to 5:00. It will be a fun event for the whole family featuring face painting, a moonwalk, dance performances including excerpts from the school touring show The Magic Circle (another chance to see yours truly dance), food, door prizes and a silent auction. The event is free too!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Friday Special

I am aware that it is not yet Friday, but I had to go ahead and share this great recipe. Taziki's is a local Mediterranean restaurant and one of our all time favorite places to eat. They have so many great things on their menu, but one of the best is the delicious "Friday Special," available on Fridays, of course, and then the rest of the weekend as well due to popular demand. It is a salad with penne pasta, chicken, and a delicious balsamic dressing. I have yet to meet anyone that tried this dish and didn't love it. I was so excited to find that the Food Detective from the Birmingham News was able to procure this recipe from Taziki's itself.

I made it for dinner and it tasted just right! It came together pretty quickly and easily. This recipe also makes a huge amount. Wahoo! We can eat on it for a few days!

Taziki's Friday Pasta
Source: Taziki's Greek Fare via The Birmingham News
(Serves 6)

3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
½ cup balsamic vinegar
Juice from one lemon
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 ½ cups blended olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
6 cups mixed lettuces
1 ½ pounds penne pasta, cooked
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, grilled and cubed
2 cups feta cheese crumbled
3 tomatoes seeded and diced
1 handful fresh basil chopped

1. To make vinaigrette: Mix thyme, shallots, balsamic vinegar, lemon, sugar, Dijon mustard. Slowly whisk in oil. Add salt and pepper.

2. Place about 1 cup mixed lettuces on each plate. Toss cooked pasta with 12 ounces (or to taste) vinaigrette.

3. Toss grilled chicken with 6 ounces vinaigrette.

4. Spoon approximately 3 cups pasta onto lettuce, then add chicken.

5. Top with diced tomato, feta cheese and fresh basil, to taste.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Book Review: In the Sanctuary of Outcasts

"A remarkable story of a young man's loss of everything he deemed important, and his ultimate discovery that redemption can be taught by society's most dreaded outcasts."

John Grisham's above quote really sums up the heart of In the Sanctuary of Outcasts. I can honestly say that this memoir by Mississippian Neil White is one of the best books that I have read in a long time. I laughed out loud on several occasions as I read it and was also moved to tears at other parts. This true story is full of entertaining, memorable, and touching characters.

Neil White was a highly successful Southern magazine editor whose life falls apart when he is sentenced to a year and a half in federal prison for bank fraud. He arrives at the prison in Carville, Louisiana to find that the prison is also the home to the last people in the US disfigured by leprosy. In this strange world of outcasts, White finds friendship and ultimately redemption.

I highly recommend picking this one up. You won't regret it!