What’s Up Wednesday – 1/31/18

WhatsUpWedUpdatedHi! I am joining Shay, Sheaffer, and Mel for What’s Up Wednesday this month. I’ll answer each of the following questions and a bonus question.  This month’s bonus question is: What’s your favorite soup recipe?


What we’re eating this week…

Sunday: I made a double batch of my favorite chili in my crockpot. It made enough for dinner and for some lunches this week.  The recipe is in the bonus question.  Monday: It was a teacher workday and my kids spent the day with Jeff’s parents.  I think they had tacos. Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner – bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches or omelets. Wednesday: I’m making meatballs with our last pound of ground beef from the cow portion we bought last year. Thursday: I’ll probably throw a roast in the crockpot.  Friday: Pizza, either I’ll make it with a ‘make your own crust’ pouch of ingredients or we’ll order one. Saturday: I’ll probably make some sort of baked chicken.

What I’m reminiscing about…

I am reminiscing about the trips that Jeff and I have taken together this year.  Our kids are big enough now that leaving them with their grandparents really works.  The kids love it, the grandparents love it, and Jeff & I love it too. I am trying to plan our next adventure together, but not quite sure where we are going or what we might do.  I’d love any suggestions for a fun couples adventure, with a good bit of lounging in the sun included 🙂

We went to Las Vegas in June 2017, Atlanta in December 2017, & Mexico in January 2018.

What I’m loving…

I have been loving treating myself to gel manicures.  I always get gel manicures from Thanksgiving to New Years because we have a bunch of parties and fun events where I want my nails to look nice. It’s such a busy month that I don’t take time to paint my nails in the evening each time they are chipped.  A gel manicure usually lasts 2 weeks before the grow out is just too much for me.  I extended my manicure time period this year because of our trip to Mexico and I just got my last one yesterday. I am loving being able to have dark nails without worrying about a chip.

What we’ve been up to…

We have been trying to get back into a routine after our winter break, snow days, 2 hour delay days, and scheduled days off from school.  It’s been trickier than I thought it would be.  My kids are getting bigger and more flexible/resilient with schedule changes but oh my goodness, that 5 day week just about took us all down last week.  Both boys are playing basketball and indoor soccer so that keeps us pretty busy on the weekends and some evenings.

What I’m dreading…

The cold, dark days of February.  We Parsons are outside people. We need that fresh air and sunshine is always an added bonus.  However, we are not people who enjoy cold weather.  That can make for a tricky combination in February in Maryland.  On the flip side, I love cozy blankets, snuggles with my kiddos, and reading in my comfy chair and the cold, dark days of February are nice for that.

What I’m working on…

I have a few things in the works at school.  I have author Ursula Vernon coming to school today for 2nd-4th graders, author Chris Barton coming in March, and I am planning our Dino Readers book for this year.  Dino Readers is a program at my school where the whole school reads the same book at the same time.  We supply one book for each family and staff member so that we can all have conversations about the same book.  There are trivia questions in school and suggestions for discussion questions at home for each chapter.  It really helps to create a community of readers at our elementary school.  I am also working on renewing my National Boards for Teachers this year too.  It has kept me on my toes but I really love my job. I am pretty sure I have the best job at any elementary school.


Ursula Vernon’s Dragonbreath Series


Ursula Vernon’s Hamster Princess series


What I’m excited about…

I am getting excited about hanging out with my girlfriends.  I had a girls trip last weekend with some lifelong friends and have another one planned next month with some friends I met through my kids.  I am also excited to host my annual Declare It Day brunch on Saturday.  I decided to run another half marathon and am excited to get into the training and run another one.  This is a distance that challenges me and forces me to focus some time on running, and I cannot wait!

What I’m watching/reading…

I just started The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanan.  I adore Sarah Pekkanen.  She comes to my local bookstore when she’s on tour and is always entertaining.  This is very different from her other books, but I am really enjoying it.


Greer Hendricks, Me, and Sarah Pekkanen at A Likely Story, the fabulous bookstore on Main Street in Sykesville

I am not sure what to watch these days because I finished season 2 of The Crown on Netflix.  Oh my goodness, it is sooooooooo good!! I may rewatch both seasons while I am waiting for season 3 to come out.  I do need to catch up on seasons 3 and 4 of Frankie and Grace on Netflix so that will probably be what keeps me entertained on the treadmill for the next week or two.

What I’m listening to…

I just stumbled across 90’s Happy Hour playlist on Amazon Prime and it is amazing.  Our kitchen dance parties have been fantastic with that as our soundtrack.  Alexa suggested that I try 90’s R&B, so I did.  Cue more kitchen dance parties.  All four of the Parsons love 90’s hits and we are sure to be dancing when they are on. I’ve also been listening to the performances from the Grammys on repeat.  Little Big Town, Childish Gambino, Chris Stapleton and Emmy Lou Harris (Seriously AMAZING), and Pink were my favorites!

What I’m wearing…

I haven’t taken many pictures of my outfits this week/month. I have been wearing the Old Navy pixie pants in many different prints, my Toms Leila booties in black suede, a lot of vests for added warmth without a full coat, and my Skirt Sports gym girl ultra skirts because I’ve been running inside.

As Luke and I were dashing through Target last weekend, we found this fantastic necklace from the BaubleBar collection at Target. It was perfect with my Pixie pants. It was a surprise warm day, in the high 50’s,  so I broke out my sandals!!

What I’m doing this weekend…

I am cheering on the Parsons brothers in all of their sports. We don’t have anything on the calendar for Saturday night so I’m planning on a just the four of us night at home.  The Super Bowl is Sunday so we’ll watch that even though our favorite Panthers (me), Falcons (Jeff), Steelers (Jack), and Jets (Luke) aren’t in the game.  Sunday is day 400 in my run streak so I’ll probably go for a longer, 4-5 miles, run to celebrate.

What I’m looking forward to next month…

THE OLYMPICS!!!!!! I cannot wait for the Olympics!  I have a countdown on my phone that I reset the day after the Closing Ceremony so I always know just how many days until the next Olympics.  The answer is 8 days until the Olympics start and 9 days until the Opening Ceremony, in case you were wondering.  I love the Olympics so much, and my family is just as excited.  Santa brought the Parsons an Olympics readiness kit this year with Team USA hats, mittens, jackets, T-shirt’s, etc. so that we are ready. I joke that the Olympics paralyzes me, but it’s pretty much true.  If the Olympics are on, the events are showing at the Parsons.  It has been a good warm up to watch all the Team USA qualifiers and I think we will be ready to earn our spectator gold medal in just a few days!!


My countdown from my phone

I am also looking forward to our pool board meeting.  We don’t meet from October to January. The first meeting in February starts that summer excitement.  We love our pool! It’s not crowded, only 300 families, and it has such a great community feel.  Our kids can always find someone to play with and its so relaxing for the grown ups too.


Our pool countdown. I restart this on Labor Day

What else is new…

Our boys are joining swimteam today. They swim on the team at our pool in the summer, but we are signing them up for winter swim. I am so excited! I was a year round swimmer for 10 years. I have the best memories and friendships from my time in the pool and I hope my kids get that too.

Another big new thing in the Parsons household is a major change in our diet.  Jeff is going through some testing but we are pretty sure he is allergic to wheat or gluten.  While he’s waiting for the appointment, he has decided to try to stay away from wheat and gluten.  What a challenge this is for me, the menu planner and chef! We love wheat and gluten and much of our family favorites include them.  So I am looking for any suggestions that are tried and true favorites to add to my repertoire.  Please leave links, recipes, suggestions in the comments!! I really appreciate it.

Bonus Question: What is your favorite soup recipe?

I am not a big soup eater/cooker but we love my Mexican chicken chili.  I brown 2 lbs of ground chicken and drain it.  Then I add taco seasoning, like you would for taco meat. I make my own, but any taco seasoning is fine. After that is finished, I throw it in the crock pot. I add 2 cans of drained and rinsed black beans, 1-2 cans of diced tomatoes, 1-2 cans of Rotel, 2 cooked packages of super sweet frozen corn, and any other salsa, tomatoes, jalapeños, etc. that I have in my refrigerator.  I let it cook in the crockpot until I am ready to eat it (at least 2 hours on high).  We garnish with a little shredded Mexican blend cheese and maybe sour cream.  It is delicious with Fritos (what isn’t delicious with Fritos??).  I hope you enjoy it!

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