Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Halloween....way too late.

Happy Halloween! I know I'm really late, but I just thought I'd share a few pictures from Kelly and my fun Halloween. I didn't have a chance to post earlier because it was the end of the trimester and winding up a class and final grades and all that stuff keeps a teacher busy. And exhausted. Today was the last day and the grades are in and students, if you're failing it's your own fault because you probably didn't bother to take the final. Looking forward to going through it all again with you starting Monday. And you wore me out. I went to bed at 9:30 last night! Anyway, for all you non-students (I don't think I have any student followers anyway) I'll show you how cute Dani and Kelly Pirates are and how talented at pumpkin carving I was last month. Then we can start the real holidays that actually mean something tomorrow.

The blank canvas. ...and Libby.

Somehow Libby thought she was helping.

The finished product! It's a Jolly Roger and I didn't even use a pattern! Just thought I'd brag a little.

I put this one on here too because it shows the swords better. You have to admit I'm awesome.

Kelly and I entered it in the Primary Trunk-or-Treat pumpkin carving contest and as you can see, we won the most Aaar-tistic. Woohoo!
Since Kel and I are Sunbeam teachers, we ran the ring toss at the Trunk-or-Treat for all the cute little primary kids. Of course we had to wear costumes! Since we are lazy and cheap, and I had to make them, we went for the old Dani and Kelly standby...pirates!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Kelly Finally Joined the Blogosphere!

Hey readers, if you want to follow something that truly is delicious, check out my husband Kelly's brand new blog "Kelly's Belly"! He is an excellent cook and decided to share his delicious recipes with more than just me. Check out his stuff at

Friday, October 22, 2010

Meet Libby!

(hee hee, I blabberized our new cat!

Kelly and I got a cat! (Almost two weeks ago now.) She is the cutest, silliest, craziest thing I've ever encountered in my life. Poor Libby was 9 months old and a stray when the volunteer group who have a tiny room in our local Petsmart saved her. Since April, she's been living in a little kennel and only let out occasionally, but only in the tiny tiny room. She was sick a long time ago and got an ulcer in her left eye that left her a lavender spot and partially blind in that eye.

Kelly and I saw her through the glass and immediately thought she was adorable. She's a muted torti, which means she is striped gray and tan. She's about a year old now, but quite petite and a little bow-legged in the back. (It's cute.)

When we brought her home she explored EVERYTHING, including jumping in and out of the bathtub about 50 times. Now she's figured out that the longest stretch in our apartment is from the corner of the dining room to the bathroom. Everyday she runs laps from corner to corner a couple times. It makes us sad she hasn't had room to run for a long time. She is playful and enjoys batting at Starburst wrappers and carrying them around in her mouth. Sometimes she sits on our couch like a chubby couch potato, right on her kitty-bum with her back legs in front.

She likes our windows and sits behind the blinds of our sliding door to get a her spot in the sun, and every time we come home she comes up to the door and then goes after her scratching post that is right there. I guess it means she's happy we're home? We got a new vacuum and she LOVED the box and cardboard stuffs it came in...but didn't like the vacuum itself once it turned on and moved! Hahaha...she freaked out. It didn't help she kept trying to hide in the next place I was going to vacuum.

We don't let her in our bedroom. We call it our kitty-free zone when she's getting hyper. She is quiet all night, but when she hears our alarm go off in the morning, she starts sticking her paws under the door like she knows we're awake and she needs some attention. Everywhere we go, she follows us. When I am on the computer, she curls up in my lap or on the chair next to me to keep me company.

Sometimes when she is being especially cute, I call her Nermal. I don't really know why. I think it's something about how the back of her head looks?

It's fun having our little Libby as part of our family now.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Best Day Ever!

School was canceled today at about 9:30 because there was a gas leak in the building (it was bad! Just being in there for a couple minutes gave me a headache) and there's no school tomorrow because it's Primary election day! Sweet! Unexpected four day weekend!! So when I got home Kelly and I went out to breakfast before I dropped him off at school. I think this is going to be a good week.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Calling all Saucy Readers: I Need Your Help!

Hello my faithful followers! The time has come for me to start a new blog...don't worry. You don't have to follow it. Here's what's going on: I am in a class at Hopkins called Paperless Classroom, the purpose of which is obvious, and I'm super into it for many reasons:

Reason #1: I'm all for going green. I threw out so much paper last year and hauled home even more to recycle, but I'd just rather not use so much.

Reason #2: They are severely limiting how much copy paper each teacher is allowed at my school. Basically I have 1,000 sheets to last me a month. I have 120 students every day in 2 different subjects, so even if I make class sets I still have to make 60 copies. Also, I already spend too much money on my classroom. I don't want to spend more buying paper.

Reason #3: I HATE HATE HATE waiting in line at the copier in the morning. I have much better things to do.

Anyway, so for my class, I need to start a new blog that is for the class, and potentially can be my teacher-y tech blog, but despite all my skills, I am having a hard time coming up with a name for my new blog. I want it to be something that works for a teacher, but still sounds kinda quirky and, you know, like me. So, now is the time dear readers to contribute! Your mission:

Give me names, or give me "F"!
(for not starting a blog)

(Heh, heh, get it? It sorta phonetically matches.)

Or to ask more nicely, please leave lots of comments on this post with lots of ideas for names for my new blog. The winner will get a fabulous prize! Which may or may not actually be fabulous...or even a prize...but um...I will dedicate my new blog to you! (it's okay, you still don't have to read it.) So, let the ideas pour in!

Many thanks,

Teacher Dani

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hey Look! I DIY-ed Again!

I know my titled kind of looks like I died again spelled in lolcat or something, but in actuality, this is not what I meant. I was, in fact, referring to the acronym* DIY--as in Do It Yourself, which I'm sure most of you know, since, as far as I know, my readers are intelligent people. However, there is always the possibility that a dummy looking for a new religion could happen upon my blog, and although disastrous events most likely would not ensue, no matter how dramatic that sounds, I'm sure that at least the explaining process to said dummy could be annoying. Just kidding. There are no dummies. I'm a teacher, so I truly believe that.

*Side note on acronyms: why do we use them so much? I really don't know. I especially hate it when the acronym is harder than just saying all of the actual words, for example, SYTYCD (standing for an excellent TV show So You Think You Can Dance) I mean, that just takes longer to think about than to just write out the whole thing, and saying it is even more ridiculous since it has the same number of syllables. Even worse is when people say the the letter 'W' instead of the one-syllable word it is standing for. This just goes to show that my teacher philosophy of "there are no dummies" is wrong. One further thought on acronyms and me: as a member of both TFA and the LDS religion, I cannot escape acronyms, no matter how stupid they are. Thank you for reading my rant. Read on.

Believe it or not, the point of the post was not to get into the finer points of dummies, teacher philosophies, or the nuisance of acronyms. The real point of this post is so I can show off my mad skills: I created/upholstered/tufted a headboard for our bed! I got into the other stuff because I am feeling particularly silly and hyperactive at the moment. So sorry.

Back to the masterpiece: It all started with a piece of plywood, lovingly picked out at Home Depot and cut to 3x5' by some teenage jerk who doesn't deserve the job. Nah, just kidding. He just bugged me by telling me Home Depot doesn't cut things for you just because he was feeling lazy and chillin' with his friends. Good thing I knew they did from a previous online check--and the fact he was standing right by the saw.

After I got the foundation for my headboard, I spent a long time at JoAnn's picking out the perfect fabric (black) and buttons (after asking four people, finally someone knew where I could find the ones you cover with your own material. Success!) And I found a 10 yard roll of batting for $9. Sweet! Oh yeah, and at Home Depot, I also bought a staple gun (and staples so I could actually do some damage with it, of course) so I could develop upholstering skills. Something no one taught me, I just DIM (Did It Myself--acronyms: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em/make up your own to add to the growing ocean called alphabet soup.)

So I brought my loot home, drilled six carefully-measured holes into the wood, cut as many layers of batting as I could (8), and got it and the material situated under the board and started stapling like crazy. I mean, I started professionally upholstering a headboard to go in the blank space at the head of our bed to add to our reading-in-bed comfort and overall feng shui.

Then I used the buttons that I covered in the aforementioned material and carefully sewed them onto the spots where I had drilled the holes, using another button on the back of the wood to keep it from ripping through the batting and fabric. So now my upholstered headboard is tufted (which is a fun word to say).

Now, marvel at my beautiful tufted headboard:
Sorry for the spots on the lens. Anyway, my headboard! But I think our bed still needs some accessories, like some throw pillows...
...or Kelly. He accessorized our bed nicely, and enjoys reading while leaning against our new headboard.

Kelly is very nice and keeps telling me it's wonderful and looks professionally-made. So now I'm going pro. Just kidding. Kelly just lies to make me happy sometimes.

Thank you for reading my ridiculously silly post and letting me brag about my menial accomplishments. Hopefully the next post will be comprised of better stuff--like my birthday.

But to a more serious matter: I am awesome.
My staplegun madness!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

My parents bought Kelly and me a giftcard to Ikea for our anniversary because they knew we really wanted a dresser from there. We set it up and it looks so good! But the wall above it looked blank. Like the rest of the walls in our room. I decided that a mirror above the dresser would be a good thing, so I set off on a quest to find a suitable mirror. The result was a $10 mirror from Craigslist. Awesome. I drove down to DC and picked it up from an ornery guy who had a hard time with English, but I had my mirror. The only problem looked like this:

While it is kind of a quirky-cute sea green color, it was scraped up like crazy and didn't match anything in our apartment, especially our white-walled bedroom with black furniture and red bedspread and curtains, which was to become its home. A quick trip to home depot and that part of me that definitely comes from my mom remedied it, though. Two days of sanding, taping, and 3 coats of black paint fixed it. Mostly.
repaint mirror, refinish wood frame,
The only problem was when I took the tape and paper off the glass, the mirror reflected the unpainted back edge. Poop. So I got to work prying off the back which was stapled down by a crazy-strong giant, no doubt. Ask Kelly; it was quite a job. But I got it done, with some help from my trusty assistant, Kelly, painted the back, and cleaned off the mirror with a razor to get off the paint that Houdini'd through my tape the first time around. Fortunately, while the back had been haphazardly stapled on, there were these two metal bars that probably had been used to hold it to another (green, I hope,) dresser at some point and they were attached with screws. So I kept those, got out the handy drill that Kelly won in a raffle at our high school graduation party (I won a chair. It's still in Utah.) and fixed the back on way better than it had been! Hooray! I love that drill that Kelly won. He's never used it, but I sure do a lot. At least he didn't win a pedicure kit like his friend Aaron did. Ha ha ha. Anyway, back to my mirror. I hooked on some hang-it-to-the-wall-loopy-things (that's the official name for them, you know) and got it on the wall! Check out our awesome dresser with a formerly-scratched-up-green-mirror-that-is-now-new-looking-and-black!

I'm so awesome.

Oh yeah, by the way see those pictures on the dresser? Kelly and I also fixed some old ugly brown frames by painting the black, letting them dry, then painting a thick coat of red over the top, and then sponging it while it was still wet to make it look all cool and marble-y.

Then we stuck some of our baby pictures in them. Aren't we cute?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Kelly!

Kelly turned 23 last week (I'm kind of late writing this; it was on the 6th) and we had such a fun afternoon together! I did an excellent job at keeping his presents secret, if I may say so myself. I gave him Star Wars episodes I, II, and III (and I even watched all three with him in the following week.) He thought that was all he was getting. Then I carried out a bigger box and said, "I know you think clothes don't count as birthday presents, but I don't know if shoes count..." And he believed me!

Yeah, it was a Wii.

He made his AWESOME! I'M SO SURPRISED face, and jumped up and kissed me. Well, tried to kiss me--he more like bashed his face into mine and I ended up with both lips bleeding, but I don't care. He totally loved his present!

When I was in the bathroom checking out my bleeding lips in the mirror, he came to tell me that it only came with one controller but I could play first, but there was another present--Wii remote number 2! Woohoo! I know this is bragging, but I'm pretty awesome.

We played Wii Sports for awhile and I kicked his butt in bowling and boxing, and he kicked my trash at tennis and baseball, and we tied at golf. Then we had dinner at TGIFridays. So tasty. On Saturday we celebrated a little more and had a little cake with 23 candles! And he blew them all out on the first try.

But anyway, Happy Birthday Kelly! I love you!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Baltimore, D.C., New York, and two trips to Gettysburg.

Since it's been awhile since I've updated this (sorry/your welcome, depending on how you feel about my writing) I have a few things to write about.

About three weeks ago, Kelly and I went to Gettysburg in the pouring rain. It was so much fun! We stayed overnight in a cool hotel just to get away for a couple days and then the next day was packed full of Civil War stuff. Our first stop, tragically, was a crappy tourist trap "museum". I can't remember the name of it, but if you ever go to Gettysburg, skip the little museums and stuff on the main drag. We soon found out, 10 stupid minutes and 14 wasted dollars later that the place to go was the museum run by the National Park Service. SO COOL!

The museum was huge and awesome (and, unlike the other one, relevant to Gettysburg and the Civil War). The Cylorama, a huge 360 degree painting depicting the battle, is housed in the same building as the museum and is amazing! After filling our heads to the brim with all sorts of museum stuff for hours, we realized our stomachs were quite empty, so we left and had lunch at Dobbin's Tavern, which was built in the 1700s and was really cool and had delicious food.

After lunch, we walked around the Cemetery, also known as the place where Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address. We were soaked from the pouring rain by the time we got back to the car, but we decided to do the auto tour anyway. We just followed the road and signs and drove all over the battlefield. Since we were wet and cold, we didn't get out of the car, but it was cool anyway.
Pennsylvania Memorial in the rain.

Overall, our trip to Gettysburg was a lot of fun!

Last week was Spring Break. On Friday March 26th, right after school ended, we picked up my parents, younger sister, Cami, and Jimmy the stowaway puppet at the airport. It was so fun to see them! I miss my family so much; I just wish Kevin and Bryan could have come too. Over the 4 days they were here we showed them around Baltimore, went to DC, went up to Gettysburg with them, and spent a rainy day in NYC.
They found bad Jimmy stowed away in Dad's carry on!
He always came on trips with us when we were kids,
but don't let him drive! Jimmy is a scary driver.

On Saturday Washington D.C. was beautiful. The cherry trees were blossoming, the weather was beautiful, and people were flying kites all over the mall! We hoofed it all over the place and Kelly and I actually got some pictures taken together! It's hard to be in the same picture when it's just the two of you. Moms with cameras are nice to have around.

Kelly, Me, Cami, Jimmy, and Dad in one of the Smithsonian Museums

Capitol BuildingCami and the Washington Monument (Jimmy's in her pocket)
Kites!Chillin' in front of Obama's house...seriously, I was cold.

Cami enjoyed Baltimore's Inner Harbor a lot. We spent Sunday evening down there, and I think she got over her fear of scary Baltimore while we were there. We got there just before sundown and stayed until after dark and it was gorgeous.

Cami, me, Dad, Jimmy, and Kelly

Monday morning we got up early and headed up to Gettysburg. It was so fun to see my dad excited to see everything. He knows so much about the Civil War and he was sharing cool anecdotes with us all over the museum and battlefield. I know I'm a History teacher, but I studied modern European History. I teach U.S. History, but my class picks up at Reconstruction, so I don't cover the Civil War. I really don't know much about it, so it was really cool learning so much from my dad. We basically did the same things on this trip that Kelly and I did previously, except no crappy museums and no Dobbin's Tavern, but I enjoyed it so much more being there with my dad! We also spent a lot longer on the auto tour and got out of the car a lot. It also was not raining, which was nice. We spent a lot of time around Little Round Top and at the high water mark.
Walking into the museum with Jimmy stowing away again!

That night, Cami and I had a sleepover at my apartment. She chose a movie to watch (fittingly, Hairspray, in honor of being in B'more) and we stayed up kind of late. She fell asleep on the couch and I broke sleepover rules and went and climbed into bed with my husband.

After about four hours of sleep, Kelly woke us up and forced us to get ready for New York. Cami was so excited to go! We drove about 3 hours up to Newark, NJ and then caught the train into the city. We were hoping to catch a show on Broadway, but had no luck. Instead we nonchalantly wandered around Times Square in the rain. We soon got kind of ornery because we were wet and cold. Except Kelly. He's never crabby, and it was his first trip to Manhattan so he was excited to be there come rain, snow, sleet, or hail. Or hurricane, monsoon, transit strike, or blackout. Fortunately our Crouch luck didn't cause a catastrophe this time. The last two times the Crouches hit NY coincided with the blackout and then a transit strike. Rain wasn't so bad, looking back on it, though it was my least favorite trip there. We ate at our favorite Little Italy restaurant, De Nico, and rode the subway all over and did some 5th Avenue shopping. One of our last subway stops was in Battery Park, and we all waited by the stairs down to the subway (there was cover from the rain there) while Kelly jogged to see the Statue of Liberty through the thick fog. He was happy he managed to get a glimpse of it. We'll have to go back a warmer day so he can have a real New-York-touristy kind of trip.

It was hard saying bye to my family that night, since they were flying out early early the next morning. Hopefully we'll make it back to Utah for Christmas to see them and talk on the phone with Bryan who is on his mission in Hungary. (Well, he's still in the MTC right now, but he'll have been in Hungary for months by then.)

The last few days of Spring Break I tried hard to get things done...and failed miserably. I read a sweet book called The Guernsy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Sounds weird; it's not. It was wonderful! My mom bought it for me, and it was perfect! I enjoyed reading and napping and generally just relaxing for a few days. I don't really do that much at all anymore. Teaching and Hopkins classes keep me way too busy. Today was the first day back after Spring Break, and I have to admit, I was dreading it, but it wasn't so bad.

Now I just have to make it through Friday.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowday and the Smithsonian (one of many)

I know I haven't written yet this year, and I've been meaning to for about a month, but it is only February. There was no work yesterday and today because of snow! How cool is that? That never happened in Utah. I cleaned our home yesterday, so I will use part of my free time today to update my blog!

At the beginning of January, Kelly and I decided to go to one of the Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C. I didn't know this before moving to Baltimore, but there is not "The Smithsonian Institution" there are actually a whole bunch of museums about different things! (I guess I probably would have learned that eventually from Night at the Museum 2.) We went to the National Museum of American History and saw a lot of cool stuff!

Kelly was excited from the start, because right in first room there stood C-3P0. It was the actual costume worn by Anthony Daniels in Return of the Jedi. American History at its finest!

Mostly we saw a bunch of oddsy-endsy kind of things:
A Stradivarius Quartet

Apolo Anton Ohno's skates that he wore in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City

Kermit the Frog

Dorothy's Ruby Slippers
We also went to a cool exhibit about Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln's famous stovepipe hat. Last time worn: when he went to see a show at Ford's Theatre April 14, 1865.

A blurry picture of one of his suits

I can't remember if this was a lifemask made of Lincoln shortly before his death, or if it's his deathmask.

We saw some other exhibits too, that I don't have pictures of. We saw Julia Child's kitchen, but there were so many people, I couldn't get a decent picture. It probably got really popular after Julie & Julia came out. We also saw the gunboat they pulled out of the Chesapeake Bay that was sunk during the Revolutionary War. It was called The Philadelphia, and was sunk in 1776. It was found in 1935 upright with the top of its mast just 10 inches below the surface of the water. They raised the whole thing and now it's sitting in the Smithsonian.

There was a presidents exhibit we went to, as well as the Bradford Dollhouse. That was hard to get close enough just to look at it properly. All I wanted to do was stand on the step and stare at the miniature rooms. It was really cool.

My favorite part was the America at War exhibit. It had an part for every war from the Revolution to the present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, I spent the most time in WW2.
Some cool things we saw:
Some of George Washington's clothes

Cornwallis' sword that he turned over to George Washington

George Washington's sword

Some nifty stuff from Okinawa

All in all, we had a really fun time, and I should have taken a lot more pictures than I did. We didn't even get to all of the exhibits in that museum because it was so big. Next time we go, we're going to see the original Star Spangled Banner-- the flag Francis Scott Key was actually seeing when he wrote the national anthem.

If the snow would ever let up, we might actually get back to D.C. before March. I don't mind driving in the snow, and it's really not that much, but it's like everyone's IQ significantly drops when they see snow around here! Oh well, I'm enjoying blogging in my pajamas at 3PM. It's supposed to snow another 10-20 inches today and into tomorrow afternoon, so hopefully we'll have another snow day tomorrow!