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Blog — "Lilah"

Merry Christmas!

Heidi Shenk "Christmas" "Finn" "Lilah"

While our plan is to have a lazy morning with coffee, cinnamon rolls, and presents followed by an afternoon with family, I hope you to have a very Merry Christmas! Here are some of our own festivities we've added to our house (and lazy animals too).



We found a nest in our Christmas tree! A year of good luck!

Finn just couldn't help but play with the ornaments!



Cat streeeeeetch.

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A Few Things...

Heidi Shenk "Lilah" "punch list" "teaching" "weather"

I am noticeably more busy these days. I say noticeably because my posts are becoming more few and far between than they had been a month ago. After a delayed start of school this week due to power outages caused by Hurricane Irene, we're finally back in full swing as school started Wednesday. Since I've missed my punch list the last two Wednesday due to back to school events, I thought I'd stop by to share a few thing on this Saturday afternoon that I've been super excited about recently.

We've been making an effort to put to use the few vases we have. On a weekend trip to the grocery or farmer's market, we've made the point to pick up a small bouquet of flowers. Having the bright flowers certainly add some color and fun to the house.


The few days after the hurricane brought very temperate weather and lots of sun. With highs in the 70s last week, we were able to enjoy having all of the windows in the house wide open with lots of fresh breeze through the house. We weren't the only ones that enjoyed it-- Lilah loves sitting by the front window especially when it's open and smelling all of those smells she picks up with her nose.


Three days into the school year I can already say I am so excited to be teaching Social Studies again. Day three of teaching and I showed my students some photos of the Anasazi cliff dwellings in New Mexico at Bandelier National Monument. Some of them were legitimately excited about it just because I was excited to tell them about my own experience there. And teaching a skill like main idea didn't seem so dull to me considering I had the Social Studies aspect there. Thank goodness!

I've been working on becoming a morning person. How? By getting up at 6am and arriving at school by 7:45 instead of 8:45, the latest time I am allowed to arrive as the school day starts at 9. Three days in a row I've made it by 7:45. I'm quite proud of myself. The new schedule-- wake up at 6am and do yoga for half an hour (which also entails lots of love and morning greetings from Finn while doing yoga and can be a bit tricky). Coffee and breakfast for about 20 minutes and then off too the shower to get ready and out the door by 7:35. I have to admit, the yoga helps me wake up and by the time I get to school I feel ready to start the day instead of feeling overly groggy.

Weekend plans? Head to my aunt and uncle's place tonight for dinner. Tomorrow, walk down to the Inner Harbor to see if we can spot some car racing action. The Grand Prix has made its way to Baltimore this weekend and while I have some major qualms with the whole thing (and we're talking MAJOR as in who has the right to cut down 130 full grown trees from our downtown without resident permission?!) I still get back to my Indiana roots and wouldn't mind seeing, and hearing for that matter, a few Indy cars.

Hope you're all enjoying a long holiday weekend and that you all have plenty of opportunity for relaxation!

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Homemade Pesto & Grilled Salmon

Heidi Shenk "cuisine" "food" "Lilah"


Over the Fourth of July weekend, my aunt brought us her basil plants to plant-sit while she and my uncle took a family trip out west for several weeks. The basil plant, one sweet and one globe, started out fairly full, but by the end of July they were both huge. We used some of the basil here and there in our cooking, including grilled pizza with fresh tomatoes and basil leaves. But it seemed we could not keep up with the pace in which the plants were growing. Last night, I decided I would make some pesto with the ever growing sweet basil plant.


Since I decided to make pesto, Andrew fired up the grill for some pesto salmon-- one of my favorites ways to prepare the fish. It's a quick and simple recipe and you won't regret making the pesto from scratch.

Homemade Pesto

2 cups of packed basil leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts (walnuts work fairly well as a substitute if you can't get pine nuts)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
4 decently sized cloves of garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Pack the basil into a food processor along with the pine nuts.


Pulse the basil and pine nuts a few times until they're finely chopped. Add the garlic and pulse again. Slowly add the olive oil while food processing. Blend in the Parmesan and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Easy as that!

For the salmon, I like to make a little tin foil boat. I place the salmon in the center, spread the pesto on top, and squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the pesto and salmon. Pop it on a hot grill for 15-20 minutes, checking back frequently so that your salmon doesn't get too dry.

Finally, serve it with your choice of veggie, rice, or whatnot. We went with corn on the cob last night.

Yum, yum, yum! So tasty that even Lilah had to guard the grill last night in hopes that she would get a little morsel.

Unfortunately for her, she wasn't as lucky as she had hoped. :)

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This Week in Photos

Heidi Shenk "Finn" "food" "Lilah" "photography"

Finley arrived at our house Sunday evening...


Lilah gained a new best friend...


My new pots and pans and bakeware arrived. Goodbye old, crappy aluminum Club pots and pans from my college apartment days. Hello Le Creuset in Caribbean blue!


I made a new dessert-- the homemade version of Girl Scout Samoas...

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Sleepy Heads

Heidi Shenk "Finn" "Lilah"

In event you wondered why I was able to get through another day of my Design a Day Challenge, this will answer that question for you. This was my peaceful afternoon after a hardy party this morning:


Yes. I sure do love a sleeping cat and dog. :)

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