Tuesday, August 20, 2013

51, 52, 53, 54

Not only am I thrilled to announce how close I am to my goal of 60 new things this year, I am also still giddy over how exciting my last 4 events were.  Here they are, sort of in order. 

51.  Beer Popsicles

I found this recipe for Cherry Lambic Cream Popsicles on my favorite food blog, A Cozy Kitchen. I used raspberry lambic instead of cherry lambic but boy-oh-boy were they scrumptious.  And melty.  Note: have napkins handy!

Boston Public Library Courtyard

Museum of Fine Arts Courtyard
As I stepped out of the library (no concert here...
just my beautiful city)

52.  Concerts in Non-Concert Places
In one week I saw three outdoor concerts but not at places that are regular venues for concerts.  I saw a young woman play the blues in the courtyard at the gorgeous Boston Public Library, a zydeco band from New Orleans at the Museum of Fine Arts, and (not pictured) a hip hop DJ on the deck of the Institute of Contemporary Art.  Culture + Culture = More Culture!

Goodbye Boston!

Hello Boston... from Spectacle Island!
53.  Spectacle Island (one of the Boston Harbor Islands)
Just like Seattle has the San Juan Islands dotting the Puget Sound, Boston has the Harbor Islands.  Unlike the San Juans, most of these islands are uninhabited and are simply a place to visit.  My friends and I took a 15 minute ferry ride to Spectacle Island.  This island boasts 5 miles of walking paths, a beautiful beach, gazebos for resting, weekly yoga classes, lots of fun activities such as hula hooping and kite making, and an unobstructed view of Boston.  Winner!

On your mark...

Get set...
Grab your partner, do-si-do!
Tuck and Roll...
For a back flip finish!

 54.  Flying Trapeze

Yep, that is what I did.  Somehow I wrangled 3 friends to join me in a 2.5 hour flying trapeze class.  When we sat down with our instructors, they outlined our lesson. "First, we will teach you how to grab the bar, then how to put your knees up, and then we will get a back flip in, and..."  You thinking what I was thinking?  Yeah!  Holy crap!  I thought for sure there was no way that on my first day of flying trapeze I would be doing a back flip.  I would be lucky if I could even hold on to the darn thing!  However, it turns out, the instructors were amazing and I had just enough courage to give it a whirl.  When all was said and done, I could do the knee tuck, the back flip, and grab onto a partner and swing.  Not bad, eh?  I also got these pictures out of it from the lady at the trapeze school.  It. Was. Amazing.

So there you have it.  Now, to make these last 6 items even more spectacular! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Honoring Others

As a teacher, I always feel like my best ideas are actually borrowed ideas from other people.  Tissue paper clouds hanging in my classroom?  Stole that.  March Mathness project?  Stole that.  Using pictures of kids in classroom posters? Stole that.  Like many teachers before me, and many to come, I am an idea thief.  However, last year, my coworker John told me that I wasn't stealing ideas, I was honoring them.  BAM!  It stuck!  Now I don't feel so guilty for honoring the work of other teachers.  In fact, there is almost a sense of pride.

When it comes to the kitchen, I honor all the time.  I wish I had been blessed with the gift of cooking, instead, however, I was blessed with the gift of enjoying delicious food and enjoying the process of making meals.  Take away the recipe from this Howe girl, though, and there will be a problem.

Right now, I am sitting in an empty apartment waiting for movers to come and haul my things away.  I have been so busy packing and planning for my next adventure that cooking has kinda gone by the wayside.  Sitting on the floor of my empty apartment though, I realized I haven't caught up with my favorite food blogs in a while.  I must admit, there is a little torture in browsing through the pages of these blogs with their well-photographed food while I stare at the boxes that hold all my utensils, plates, spices, and more.  There is not a chance I could make any of these dishes.

Luckily for you, that just means I am going to honor them.  Here are the blogs that I visit more than twice a week.  I get almost 100% of my meals during the week from these blogs and their archives.  I salivate over many of the recipes I am not yet bold enough to try. I share the dishes that turn out the way I think they should.

So, Howe does this girl cook?  She honors the work of others.  I am sharing them with you so you can honor them as well!  Now let's all send positive thoughts to the movers to get here quickly so I can go get something to eat! *update! it worked!  as soon as I clicked "post" the movers called to say they were 30 minutes away!

These homemade tootsie rolls came from A Cozy Kitchen

The Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pancakes came
from a Cozy Kitchen as well.  The robe came from Target.
The terrible posture came from my love of reading.

The Gardener's Cottage.  She blogs about being vegan, wearing amazing clothes that she gets dirt cheap, and renovating her tiny cottage here in SoCal.

A Cozy Kitchen.  I'm pretty sure she lives in my neighborhood because she tends to eat at all the same places I do.  Pancakes are her specialty and what ultimately led to me finding her but I really make almost every single dish she does.

Pink Basil.  I found her because she used to blog with the gal at A Cozy Kitchen.  This blogger has since moved to the east coast and in addition to food, she has been documenting the renovation (often times very real and very frustrating) of her grandmother's house.  I can't wait to see her new living room!

Smitten Kitchen.  I eat A LOT of the food from this blog and I know a lot of other people use this one as well. Simple. Delicious.  Diverse meals.  I've been drooling over the espresso granita with whipped cream all morning.

Sprouted Kitchen.  She uses a lot of natural ingredients as well as in season items.  Her husband does all the photography.  I've made her roasted butternut penne with pistachio pesto about a million times.

In Jennie's Kitchen.  I stumbled upon this blog following a trail of other delicious food blogs.  What has made this one so unique is this young blogger lost her husband of 15 years suddenly last year.  Because I came to the blog well after this happened, I have been slowly learning about the journey she has been on, with food guiding her and her two daughters along the way. Heart wrenching and beautiful. It is more than just food.

Not Without Salt. All these bloggers have such clever names.   This is another one of the bunch.  She has a lovely variety of meals and dishes. 

Love and Olive Oil.  Another cool name.  This blogger also features food challenges for readers.  And tell me this Cherry, Hibiscus, and Goat Cheese Panna Cotta doesn't look divine!

Well, that's it folks. Now you know where I get my good ideas...for food!  Anybody out there have others I simply must check out?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

31 and 32

Phil and I...kickin' it ol' school since 1999! WWU!
This weekend I hit number 31 and 32 on my list!  The winners?  A visit to Joshua Tree and Palm Springs.  My good pal Phil came along with me...he has been very supportive of my goal.  Thanks Phil!
First stop, a real diner
Now entering...
This is a Joshua Tree!

This is the tallest Joshua Tree!

We can't believe it!!
What can I say...I have a thing for picking noses...
We are sooo excited to be at Joshua Tree!
So excited we can fly!
When the water runs dry...it is time to gtfo!

So we went to Palm Springs and saw this hottie...
And helped some dinosaurs clean their teeth
Squint and you can see me chillin!

Thursday, April 25, 2013


I knit something too.  He was started in Scotland, stuffed in LA.  He received the required amount of Nikolas James Pumpkinhead love. Just mailed out this little guy today...a week late.  Ok, now on to work...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Last week sucked.  I need a little moment of goodness so I am taking some time to update you on my list of 60.  (Can I add on there I've been abandoned by co-bloggers?  The other Howe Girls have apparently given up on blogging.  I suppose I should retire as well...but not until I get my 60 things!)

Today I reached my halfway mark...30!  When we last left off I was at 13.  I won't give you all the details because some weren't too spectacular (cracked an egg with one hand, for example) however here are some of my personal favorites.

18.  Flash Mob!  I participated in my first ever flash mob...it was spectacular.

22 - 25: All had to do with things in Scotland.  I didn't want to go overboard on listing every little thing, so I picked some really unique things.  Haggis.  My first dram of scotch.  Driving on the left side of the road.  Being in Scotland.
Loch Ness...sadly I did NOT have my first Nessie sighting

The fam and I at the Glenfiddich tour

My first tasting!!  I seem a little unsure...

Scotch makes us dance!

Driving!  Stick Shift!  Left handed! On the left side of the road!

MMMM, we love Scottish food, and each other.

26. Spa Day!  I spent a day at Glen Ivy Spa in the desert of Southern California.  I smothered myself in muddy clay.  It was heaven.

30.  Double Dutch!  I can jump rope like a pro, however double dutch has always been too hard.  A coworker and I decided to take this on together.  Every Wednesday at recess we are practicing with our kiddos.  Today I made it in and jumped and managed to get a spin move in.  Felt soooo good!

It was captured!  My first ever double dutch!!

Up to 30 now and it is about May.  I might make it!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Plus 2

This weekend, well, as of today anyway, I have added two more items to my list of 60.  So that brings me up to...um...

11. Ran a full 5K. 

We made a clever team name...
and team shirts

Dodger Stadium hosted the event

Go Team!  (My shirt was a tad
bit big)

I did it!!!!

Now, I have "run" in a couple of other races, so again I am pushing it a little with this one.  However, the first race was not a 5k and we ran/walked on purpose.  The second was full of obstacle courses and there was quite a bit of walking.  But for today's Color Run, we straight up ran.  No, wait, I'm lying.  We took a couple of second in the pink color zone to roll through some pink "paint."  You will still let me count it, right?  Thanks.

12.  Watched Groundhogs Day ON Groundhog Day!

The movie

I found this picture while looking for images of the movie...
don't you think it looks this groundhog is
busting a move...Gangnam Style??
I missed this movie in my busy life and on Friday I was talking to my kiddos about today being Groundhog's Day.  One little guy asked if I had seen the movie, I said no, he looked shocked...I swear these kids are more like adults than I am some days.  So, after my race, and a pretty long nap, I nestled in to watch the infamous. 

Hey Howe Girls, you doin' anything these days??

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Howe Girls Make Resolutions

One of my good friends, and mentor, is turning 60 this year.  I spent a week with her over my holiday break in Boston.  While I was there, we came up with a fun idea for her New Year's Resolution. The resolution?  To do 60 things in honor of her birthday!  (Full disclosure: this wasn't an original idea.  A good friend of mine made his resolution last year to do 100 new things so I just swiped his brilliance.  Thanks to him!)

I decided to honor her birthday as well and I have now made my New Year's resolution to do 60 things too!  Then, as I shared this with my mom, she insisted that I blog about it....and now she has hopped on the band wagon!  (Little Sister, you gonna join us?  Howe Girls Do 60 Things!)  In hindsight, it would've been better to start this in 2012, when I got to chill backstage with Aerosmith and Johnny Depp, have lunch with a secret celeb that I can't mention here, carry a float in the Hollywood Christmas Parade, and attend a black-tie event at Hollywood's famous Magic Castle.  However, I am up for a challenge!  Feel free to honor this brilliant idea...that I stole!

Oh, here are my rules.  The events can be planned or spontaneous.  I'm not too picky...it can be big or little but there should be a fun story to go along with it.  

1.  Photographed in the Celebrity section of the Boston Globe.

Granted, this picture was taken on New Year's Eve, but I count it because it wasn't published in the Globe until after the 1st.

2.  Bought an E-reader.

A Kobo to be more specific.  I was against these for years.  Then independent bookstores started offering the Kobo so I got me one from Porter Square Books.  It will never replace my obsession with real books but I am sorta loving it a lot, as the kind salesman at PSB warned me I might.

3.  "Ran" the stairs of Echo Park.

Echo Park is a neighborhood close to where I live in LA and they are famous for their hills...and stairs.  A friend asked if I wanted to give it a whirl, I said yes, I almost died.  Yes, I did walk a bit.  That is totally fine with me, it stays on the list.

4.  Visited Whittier, California.

You might not know this little suburb of LA but it is about a 30 minute drive east of where I live.  I count this because a coworker lives there and has about an hour commute each way with the traffic and I give him shit about it all the time.  Usually it goes something like this, "Whittier? Are you sure that even exists?" So I went.  Woohoo!

5.  Paid cash for an international flight.

Yeah, so I saved the money and used my debit card but that sucker did not go on credit.  For those of you who know me, this is a big deal.  I am the WORST with money and I am usually down to about a nickel left in my bank account at the end of the month. I would like to thank my last year's resolution, getting my ducks in a row, for helping me accomplish this.

6.  Was quoted in the LA Times.

This may be the year the whole world discovers me.  Recently, it was reported that Dunkin Donuts was coming to SoCal.  I despise DD and put up with it's nastiness when I lived in Boston.  I happened to be home sick on the day they reported it so I sent out my disappointed tweet to the world, the LA Times folks liked it, they included it in their paper.  That was about a week ago.  Yesterday, a parent of a student came up to me and said, "Hey, nice tweet in the Times."  Yep, I have arrived!

6.  Hugged the world's biggest tree.

It is HUGE!!!

Last weekend my college pal, Phil, and I decided to take advantage of the fact that we are both randomly located in SoCal and we traveled to Sequoia National Park.  While there, we met General Sherman, the tree in the world with the most mass.  (Something like over 2 million pounds.)

7.  Visited King's Canyon National Park

This is where I show my true ability to stretch my own rules.  King's Canyon National Park is just north of Sequoia National Park.  We visited both parks...I am counting both on my list.  Yep, I am.  At King's Canyon I visited the world's third largest tree, General Grant.  (Also known as the nation's Christmas Tree but I don't know why.)

8.  Went snow-shoeing.

I thought the snow-covered boulders in the
river looked like marshmallows

Those of you who know me know that in addition to being terrible with money, I also avoid most winter activities.  (I do live in the lovely/disgusting city of LA after all.)  However, while in the mountains last weekend, the opportunity to snow shoe presented itself and I said, "Oh hell yeah!"  P.S.  I had an amazing time and would definitely do it again.  Do I see a return to Buffalo in my future?  Ha!  No way!

9.  Drank a Hot Buttered Rum

Also included on the trip-to-the-mountains.  Never had one of these bad boys and I usually avoid rum due to an unfortunate experience in college (c'mon, we've all been there) but this sucker was delicious!  It may have been the stick of butter that melted in the rum...

10. Completed my first crossword puzzle without any clues!

This morning, for the first time, I achieved a goal I set out to reach last year.  My sister does the WaPo Crossword every day and last summer I jumped on the bandwagon.  I even started getting up an hour earlier every day to get it done before school.  Usually I try the "Master" mode, aka no red letters when you get one wrong, for as long as possible and then switch to "Regular" mode with red letters when I can't take it anymore.  Yes, I know this is cheating.  But today I did it.  High-five me!

So, that is what I have done so far.  Not too bad for the first month. I have a few things on deck that are planned.  Here are things you can look forward to seeing later:

1.  Disney.  Never been, gotta do it.
2.  Stay in a cottage in the Scottish Highlands.  (Remember that plane ticket?  It is for Little Sister's 30th birthday.)
3.  Drive on the left side of the road...while in Scotland.  Hehe.
4.  Run an entire 5K.  I have participated in races, just never ran the whole thing before.
5. Cupcake Decorating Class.  Just need to sign up!
6.  Learn to swim?  This is a possibility.  I haven't decided if I am going to but I think I kinda sorta maybe want to.