Friday, March 11, 2011

a twist on bruschetta

Laura taught me how to make this (and her mom makes it for catering events) it is SUPER easy and I never bake/cook so you know even the simplest of minds can master this. ;) I made it for our teacher potluck and it was gone in 10 minutes! I really think this one's a keeper. Sorry I'm not fancy like most cooking blogs with pictures, but I think y'all can get it...;)

Broberg Bruschetta: 
My basic version is:

1 loaf French baguette bread
1 small package of goat cheese
4-5 ROMA tomatoes (yes, it makes a difference)
1 package fresh basil (fresh is way better then the dried stuff we have in the seasoning rack for this)
1 small package of Parmesan cheese (fresh is best and you can grate on top of, but if not get the tub that is pre-shredded)

1. Cut up the french bread into slices. Mix together garlic powder, salt, pepper and olive oil into a bowl. Brush onto each baguette slice. Cook at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. It burns easily, so watch it. You are just making it toasty. :)

2. Chop tomatoes and combine in a bowl with fresh basil and a little bit of olive oil and set aside.

3. Spread goat cheese on baguette slices.

STOP HERE IF YOU ARE MAKING THE NIGHT BEFORE! (**personally, I think it's better to let the tomatoes sit in the oil and basil for a richer taste over night..and don't put the tomatoes on untik you are ready to serve. Soggy bread is no fun**)

4. Once you are about to serve, then put the tomatoes on the toast slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grate cheese generously on top.

It's very easy! If you want to be fancy, you can save a few basil leaves for the dish you serve it on as part of the presentation. :)


Looks similar to mine- add some salt, pepper and a little fresh Parmesan and you are set! Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's rodeo season, y'all

I've always loved country music, but I used to really be into Texas Country in college (maaaybe had to do with going to a very "country" university) but had seemed to have lost that loving feeling lately. I need some new music to gear up for spring and summer. PLEASE give me suggestions! There are some bands I have seen live, but haven't taken the time to really download/buy their music. Here are a few oldies but goodies...

ANYTHING Pat Green- seriously. Well, I take that back. I haven't listened to his new, new stuff. But ALL of his old stuff is golden.
My favorite is...

Not the best audio, but I still love it!

Another favorite by Robert Earl Keen, "Feelin' Good Again"

Eli Young Band- "When It Rains"
(an actual music video- you know they hit it big!)

Loved singing this song in college...

so many to choose from, but Randy Rogers Band is another great band...
"This Time Around"

and another...their biggest hit to date
"Kiss Me in the Dark"

and I don't know how you can't tap your foot along to this one...
Stoney Larue- Oklahoma Breakdown

Reminds me of 2 stepping in college!

Now I gotta plug my friend Clint's band Emory Quinn. They play SXSW, Chilifest, Gruene Hall- and quickly rising to fame! Clint and I were class officers together and it's so good to see him (and Nathan) when they come to town. I hope to see them in Austin over SXSW. Here's a song from the 2009 Black Tie & Boots inaugural ball in Washington, DC.
Emory Quinn- Devil's Disguise

What are some other favorites? I need to get a playlist going! :)


Monday, March 7, 2011

let's go fly a kite!

Reason #137,243,247 that I LOVE Austin, Texas. The annual Kite Festival at Zilker park was yesterday, and it couldn't have been on a more perfect day! I felt very very sick, but I did not want to miss this. I went with Casey, Brooke, David and Steve and we met up with Steve's brother Tom and his wife Jacque and a few of their friends. Steve and Brooke did most of the kite flying- I was nervous that I would hit a small child or crash into one- so I left that up to Steve :) There were hundreds of kites there- some super cute ones! Brooke and I can't wait for another day like that so we can go fly kites without a million people around. Not only was it a gorgeous day, but it was a great day to people watch too. We saw everything- from dogs as big as me, to a cat on a leash. Interesting people in Austin! Here are just a couple kites pictures I took. I want to buy a kite now :)

Have a wonderful Monday!

Bon Voyage, Caitlin!

So, for the past week or so, Alison and I have been feverishly (and happily) planning our dear friend Caitlin's departure from the United States. Caitlin will be moving to Bratislava, Slovakia for a year working her next couple rotations with Dell. Caitlin has only been in Austin for a year, but has quickly become a good friend, so needless to say, we will miss her VERY much! She loves St. Patrick's day, and won't be able to celebrate it here with us, so we decided to throw her a surprise dinner party with a St. Patrick's Day theme! After a couple close calls, we *think* she was surprised! It seemed to be so- success! Alison and I should totally go in the party planning business. Here are some fun pictures from the weekend- Thursday night too as we celebrated the departure of our favorite Spartan!
pretty girls at peckerheads!
you can't leave the country without first riding a jackelope!
happy girl :)
other green side of the table!
britta and eags!
our guest of honor and her boy
cutest shamrock ever!
most of the group!
st patrick's day came early this year!
we'll miss you two!
love me some ms griffin!
shots, shots, shots!!
We will miss you!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

the tragedy of first position...

i saw this and could not stop giggling- she is so adorable (love that haircut!) and so persistent. this was totally me (minus the self proclaimed adorable part) but not very coordinated! Enjoy :)

great news!

Obviously nothing is finalized yet, but our superintendent posted this blog this morning:

Here is what it stated:

No Plans for School Closure for 2011-2012 with Current Budget Projections

Earlier this week, during discussions with the Board of Trustee on the District’s 2011-2012 Preliminary Budget, the topic of school closings arose. I want to repeat the message I said to the Board, and to the Austin community, during that broadcast and webcast Board Meeting: In this fiscal year 2012 budget, it’s not about school closure.

Assuming that our budget challenges do not become any more significant, beyond the $94.4 million budget shortfall, I will not recommend any schools for closure in the 2011-2012 school year. I will, however, continue to look for every operational efficiency available, if cost savings can be achieved. I anticipate that it will probably be in the area of  facilities about which we have already publicly spoken, such as the Alternative Learning Center building, the Carruth Administration Center, and other administrative buildings and lease spaces, portables, etc.

If, however, as the legislative session continues, AISD’s budget forecast worsens beyond the projected $94.4 million shortfall, the Board and Administration will have to revisit all possible options to save money, including school closings. We all certainly hope that won’t be the case.

In the meantime, and in light of the Facility Master Plan Task Force work, I continue to meet with individual campus communities and assure them, as best I can, that there are no school closures being considered for School Year 2011-2012.

And, finally, the Board of Trustees has the ultimate authority over any decision regarding school closures.

Thank you.

Soooo like I said, it's not final, but at least we have her supporting our school! Now we just need to kick butt on TAKS to prove we should be here! No problem :)

Great way to start the weekend!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

new beginning

It's no secret that Ms. Chapa is not the size 4 (sometimes 2...ugh) that she used to be. I was my fittest in high school (of course) and my sophomore/junior year of college. Then what happened? Oh, I turned 21. It's only been the past 2 years (and most recently past year) where I have been bigger than ever. I'm not obese, I'm just no where NEAR where I would like to be. I know it is changeable and I just need to put my pedal to the metal. I have been really inspired by two women lately. They don't know it, but they are truly the reason that I'm taking better care of myself and getting back on track. I knew I kept all those 4 jeans around for a reason...;)

First inspiring woman:
Ashley V! I have known Ashley since high school. When we weren't chasing after the same lame boy- we were cordial. It wasn't until college that we became actual friends! She came up a couple times to A&M  and every time she would make me laugh until I cried. Her dry, sarcastic witty humor is so contagious (to want to be around...not imitate!) and I really was so happy we were friends. We don't talk much, but almost every time I go home (which is never anymore...sad)  I hang out with her, Shirlee, Jessica and Lauren. I really honestly love those girls. They are exactly what you see. They aren't fake to me (I hope! haha) and really good friends. They are those friends that don't judge you, really listen when you talk, and are SO.MUCH.FUN. I will go a year without contact, but when we see each other, it's like nothing has changed. I want to go home! Anyway, Ashley was "the" hot girl in high school (and totally still is...but not in high school...that would be weird) all the boys loved her. She still is GORGEOUS (those eyes! I'm not gay, promise) but wanted to shed some drinking weight over the past year. Now, Ashley was not obsese, or even fat. I feel like we were similar body types- but now! Wow! She's a Skinny Minny, and she still wants to lose 15 pounds! She started at the beginning of January (like most) but has really kept up with it! I follow what she's doing on facebook almost daily- she's been working out every day (sometimes twice a day), eating less, and all healthy things, and....cut out alcohol. YIPES! So, I'm taking my shot at this starting Monday (2/28/11). I have exercized every day this week, and no alcohol, and no sweets so far! I have been eating smaller portions, and lots of fish, veggies, and fruits. So proud of Ashley. Once I get her permission, I'll post pictures that she has posted on Facebook- it's incredible the change! So proud of you Ash :)

Next inspiration- MOM!!
My mom is a bit older than me and Ashley, so it has always been a bit of a challenge for her to lose weight. Recently she has been taking up walking- and she has lost 30 pounds! She looks great. She's always been a pretty healthy eater, but now she's really cracking down and not allowing cheat days! (We've all been there!) She's still going towards her goal weight- but I know this is the thinnest she's been in years- so proud of you Mom! You always tell me how proud you are of me- now it's my turn! Maybe she'll let me post a before and after picture too :)

So, I'm in day 3. Today I have boot camp after work (I am walking so funny, the students think I'm crazy) which I'm not entirely looking forward to since Monday was 40 minutes of lunges, and lunges with weights and MORE lunges! But somehow I will do it and I will sleep goooood tonight! I hope that I can continue on this journey and I will  keep you updated on how it goes! I will post pictures once I get to my first goal weight! I'm excited, but I gotta get through the first two weeks- I hear those are the hardest! Any tips? I would love food suggestions and work out classes/exercizes!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm back!

Ohhhhhmygoooodnesss! February has been from HELL! So glad that it's nearing the end. I have been working non stop getting 7th graders ready for their state testing next week, aaaand I have my identity stolen so any time I DID have during the day was on the phone with my bank- Horrific.

Honestly, I have nothing to report other that never loan your information out to anyone you don't know. I have my debit card in my wallet still, and I never gave it to anyone. Some stupid hacker or rude bartender or customer service person stole my info. I guess there are just always going to be dishonest people out there. It was bound to happen one way or another. Ho-hum. All I know is, don't bank with Compass Bank (now BBVA Compass). I know identify fraud can happen anywhere, but they were so unhelpful, rude, and just...dumb. It happened February 11th, and I still don't have any money. Negative $800 to be exact.

It's only Wednesday, but I am SO ready for the weekend! I have some friends that will be in town, and I am looking forward to just relaxing and cleaning and having a good time! I think I want to see a movie tonight. We'll see how that pans out...

Hope everyone enjoyed National Margarita Day as much as I did!! :)


Sunday, February 13, 2011

happy birthday, david!

one of my very closest friend, david guy, turned the big dirty thirty this week! we had a really fun time planning his big day! we ended up renting a karaoke room at high ball- fun times! it was my first time to go, but i definitely want to go again soon! there was a lot of singing, drinking, and even a male genetalia cake (i won't post a picture of that haha) and nooo i was not in charge of the cake!

here are some pictures from the event:
party favors!

some lovely guests!

wooo party!

lovely ladies reppin' Annie's pub crawl

David and Jeff

the birthday boy!!!
Happy Birthday David!!

an update on the job front...

my, my, has been an interesting week. we knew the announcement was coming, but it finally came via email friday. it was nice hearing straight from our superintendent, and not from the media. here is the email that all AISD employees received and I highlighted some interesting parts....

February 11, 2011

Dear AISD Colleagues:


 I am contacting you because tonight the District will post for the public, as an Agenda Item for the Monday, February 14, Board Work Session, the list of positions that the Administration has proposed for elimination as part of a districtwide Reduction in Force.

Over the past two years, Austin ISD has already cut $27 million from our budget, by eliminating more than 100 Central Office positions and initiating other significant austerity measures. However, this year it has become increasingly clear that AISD will be forced to take many painful steps, in addition to those that we have already implemented, in order to balance our budget over the next two legislative budget cycles. The State of Texas faces a two-year budget deficit of approximately $27 billion, and state funding cuts to public education are projected to be as high as $10 billion over the next two years. As a result, at this time, the District anticipates having to reduce our annual operating costs by a minimum of $94.4 million, which is about 13 percent of the District’s operating budget. We are also facing significant losses of state and federal grants.

Since more than 85 percent of our operating expenses are personnel costs, it is not possible to make these reductions without eliminating staff positions. As we make these difficult decisions, we realize that there are names, faces, and careers behind these positions, and that makes this process gut-wrenching.

But unfortunately, there is no way to balance our budget without such steps. Last night, I notified the Board that, regretfully, the Administration has identified more than 1,000 positions that would be affected by a Reduction in Force. These include 771 campus-based and 246 Central Office positions, for a total of 1,017 positions, out of a total current workforce of nearly 12,000. These reductions will cause an administrative reorganization, which means that there will also be some new, re-tooled positions created, as we reorganize and restructure, for a more cost-effective, leaner model. The Board will consider these Reductions in Force on Monday, February 14, and is scheduled to take action on Monday, February 28. The reorganization is expected to be presented at the end of March.

Our primary goal, as we face this very difficult challenge, remains on providing quality academic instruction with more limited resources. Make no mistake: reductions of this magnitude will have a fundamental effect on public education as we know it today in Austin. But as we restructure, the District will make the most effective use of our more limited resources, and we will continue our efforts to improve student achievement.

In the months ahead, as the budget picture at the state level and the availability of other resources becomes more clear, we will do our very best to minimize the painful effects that this Reduction in Force will undoubtedly create. As we move forward, our Human Resources office pledges to work diligently with each employee whose position is eliminated. These steps include:

  • Each employee will be assigned a contact person from the Office of Human Resources.
  • A representative from Human Resources will meet with each employee impacted by the reduction in force, review the implications for his/her future employment, and deliver an official letter of notification.
  • HR will provide employees with information regarding the application and interview procedures.
  • The HR web site will be utilized to provide relevant information to employees regarding the reduction in force.
  • A list of vacant positions will be generated and distributed to employees. (umm what vacancies?!)
  • An external hiring freeze will be implemented in the employment areas impacted by the reduction in force. (there has been a hiring freeze already...)
  • HR will facilitate opportunities for employees to interview for vacant positions. 
  • HR will provide assistance for employees to obtain additional teaching certificates. (which what $$?)
  • And, an internal job fair will be held for employees impacted by the reduction in force. (our school goes through this process every year since we are on the brink of closing every year. this is a waste of time because principals are forced to be there, including the schools up for closure, and no one is hiring, and if they are, they are usually within the school already)

I appreciate the professionalism of the entire AISD staff, particularly under such trying times. Thank you for your understanding.


Meria Joel Carstarphen,


So basically, what I am seeing as that even though there are schools up for closure, they are pretending that they aren't. They have planned out which jobs they need to cut, and those principals will talk to those teachers as early as this week. They are hoping that they (for some miracle) won'e have to cut these positions, but more than likely, they will be cut. Even my tiny little school has positions that need to be cut, and we already got an email from our principal confirming that she will be calling people in to talk to them. All teachers will be finishing out the school year of course (which will be difficult to focus I'm sure) but at least they know now so they can start looking for new jobs...whatever that may be. I don't aniticpate them talking to us tomorrow, only because they (the board) have not voted on this to be official yet. Not to mention, Valentine's Day if you're single, and then notice that you are losing your about a suicide watch....geez).

Scary times ahead. I really have no idea what kind of position I am in, but I'm trying to remain calm, because I know I have a job until July at the very least. Pray for me and all those teachers losing jobs. I pray they keep the right people in their positions so the kids have the best chance of a great education and a future.

I will keep you updated...