Monday, November 10, 2014

Pumpkin Beer Update 2014

Fall is slowly winding down but the weather has been perfect for my pumpkin beer obsession.
As the season changes, the leaves are now on the ground or already raked up and the limbs are bare but fall is still my favorite season.
Thanksgiving is around the corner and the pumpkin beers are disappearing but I wanted to share just a few more that I found this season to add to last year's post.

Last year, I decided I wanted to try the various versions that breweries had developed. (My friends must have realized this because one day I came home and found a gift on my front porch...thank you Beer Fairy!)

This year, I decided to continue to try as many new pumpkin brews that I could find from traditional to ciders to the specialty bombers. Eventually, I figured that I need to develop a favorite one for the years to come, and decided I needed to make I am sharing my personal opinion to what I have tried. I have planned to break down the reviews in categories of 6 packs, bombers under $12, and bombers over $12. 

If you have a favorite that I did not cover, leave me a comment. I am always open to try a new one out there.

My ultimate favorite is still- (stocking up on this one!)
Shipyard Brewery - Pumpkinhead

Some favorites from last year
A couple of new ones from this year...

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale-$9 a 6 pack
I only know Shipyard because of this beer. It is a nice balanced, refreshing beer. The spice is there and the pumpkin is evident without being too much. MY FAVORITE
Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin-
An intense version of Shipyard's flagship beer, Smashed Pumpkin is a bit on the high ABV side than Pumpkinhead, at 9 %. I only had one of these and never went back for it. I remember it having a little more pumpkin pie element to it.
Cambridge Brewing Company Great Pumpkin Ale-$10 for a bomber
The spices are subtle and the finish of the beer is dry. 
Southern Tier Pumpking-(Imperial Ale)
By far my favorite beer that I have found but the problem is that I can't find anywhere. This beer is the definition of pumpkin pie. It even has an almost creamy finish, like the butter of the crust is coming through.
Southern Tier Warlock-(Imperial Stout)
The darker counterpart to Pumpking. Lots of similarities and obvious differences. One thing that I feel that makes the most sense is drink Pumpking in October and Warlock in November as the weather changes.
Dogfish Head Punkin Ale-
Easy drinking but full bodied pumpkin flavor, not to spicey
Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale & Shocktop Pumpkin Wheat-
Easy drinking but not ones I go back for on a regular basis.
Harpoon UFO Pumpkin: Light on the aroma and spice, Harpoon combines pumpkin with the drinkability of a wheat beer. It works well, if that's what you're in the mood for. You could drink more than one of these and not feel like you downed a whole pumpkin pie. Not the best beer we tasted, but far from the worst.
New Belgium Pumpkick-(2014)
Last year, not a fan. It was light and the cranberry/pumpkin flavors did not seem to meld well. This year, it seems like a much different beer. Stronger pumpkin flavor with a bit of sour but not too cranberry tart. Really like this one, this year!
Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale-
Least favorite, honestly cannot remember much about this beer.
Samuel Adams Fat Jack-$8 a bomber
Surprisingly tasty compared to their 6 pack beers.
Uinta Punk'n Harvest Pumpkin Ale-
First pumpkin beer I ever tried, so I have to get at least one 6 pack a season. Definitely a real pumpkin taste. Spicy but mellow. 

Obviously, I cannot try them all but follow this link to Beer Advocate to see what others say my choices as well as others.

New one I just found this weekend-
Cambridge Brewing Company-
Overall a well balanced pumpkin beer. Cloudy, amber color. Made with sweet pumpkins which is a prominent flavor in this beer. Not to spicy but definitely pumpkin!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Happy One Year Blog Anniversary

It has been one year since my first blog!
Happy Anniversary To Me!
The experience has been fun to share but I wish I had more time to focus on it...
I have some new ideas coming soon to share my classroom setup and other teachery ideas, as well as non teachery topics!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Camping Comforts

As summer comes to an end, (aka school starts), I think about my favorite thing to do during the summer months-CAMPING! Through the years, we have backpacked and car camped. While car camping, we have definitely found certain things that make sleeping, hanging, and eating outside more comfortable for us, as well as our 4 legged family member.
Having a dog bed has been good for Sam but also keeps less dirt out of the tent. As well as having portable chairs are a must!
Bringing yard games keeps us entertained after hiking or whatever.
Pancakes! Easily done.
The hubby prefers the French press style coffee but I discovered this fabulous product this summer. The are other brands but having an iced latte in the morning is great!
Road trip grill us the best. It is compact and versatile with the griddle and grill.

I am hoping for at least a couple more camping outings before the cool weather rolls in.

If you have camping comforts that make your camping better, please share!


Friday, July 18, 2014

No Soliciting Cuteness

Guests are always welcome, but when you have the sweetest dog in the world who gets overly excited by strangers or line my friends with new babies, the doorbell can be your worst enemy!
Going through Pinterest or Etsy and seeing cute or funny approaches to "No Soliciting" signs, I decided yo make my own.
What my neighbors have on their doors looked to business like-
So I came up with this, which was super easy, cute, and affordable @ $9.00-
What you need:
5x7 frame 
8x11 scrapbook paper (should resist fading)
1 1/2 yard of 1 1/2 in wide sturdy ribbon
Hot glue gun
Picture hanger/nail/hook
I used a fun font and created a 5x7 text box to center to the sign.
I fed the ribbon through the picture for sturdiness, then hot glued the ribbon at an angle to tie a bow.
The sign is hung from the frame and then I pinned the ribbon just for show.
Now we will have to see if it keeps the surveyors, political peeps, flyer posters, and salespeople away!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Interesting New Way to Deal with Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs have intimidated me in my new skill of cooking. Thyme and Dill are my least favorite because I either get stems or waste the herbs, until tonight. Using an old gadget, hand held cheese grater, I got an idea...
Insert the stem of the thyme sprig through the fine grate and pull through. Super easy and with I would have figured this out sooner.
My pics are not great, but I got so excited to share!
You are left with a clean steam and a pinch of fresh thyme with no waste!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Salad

Easy summer salad that was a hit at the last BBQ we went to.
Watermelon, Mint, & Feta
1 small seedless watermelon
*I like cubes so I peeled the rind, cut the melon into slices! then into about 1 inch cubes
1 5 oz container of reduced fat feta (or whatever you like) crumbled
Fresh Mint leaves chopped 
Mix together and serve.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Throughout the years, I have commuted long distances in many directions for school or work. There have been three different types of routes. One route was down a canyon and through two towns for and hour and 10 minutes to go to college. Another route was three short turns and up a mountain, 55 minutes for work. Most recent route was a short drive to hit the interstate fir 32 minutes for work. Those commutes have given me plenty of time to think, which commute is a better commute? I would prefer to bike to work but since the decision is not always mine to make. 
The commute to go to college never bothered me too much because there was no real rush hour traffic because most of my classes were mid-day and if it snowed too much, I just stayed home.
My commute to work up to mountain town was pretty mellow. No rush hour traffic to speak of except a couple of cattle drives that slowed down traffic. The down side to that commute was wind and winter weather. Few snow days off to appreciate for safety reasons but there were few days when I felt nervous driving. The views were pretty awesome and a random moose would entertain me during the drive.
My most recent commute that was mostly on the interstate was my shortest commute but more obstacles. Rush hour was tedious at times and was unpredictable so if I was going to be late, I didn't know it. On snow days, the interstate would be pretty clear but slick because of the heavy traffic.
Now that it is summer and I don't have to commute, it has me thinking about which commute I prefer, shorter, longer, scenic, and I have decided that I would prefer to bike to work...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Favorite Snack

On a recent trip to Whole Foods, I got stalled in the entry as several people walked in at one time. I looked over and saw a bag of popcorn and thought it would be a great snack, then I looked closer...

It is the perfect little kernels just before they blow up puffy. My favorite!
There were a couple of flavors but I went with the basic to try it and now I am hooked!!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ready to get back to school...

I usually don't post about my classroom but I am super stoked about a couple of things! My position is an interventionist for first and third graders. I teach reading and math at various levels.
First my student display wall. My classroom is very bright and mostly in an owl theme. I wanted to create a display wall for student work using these owl clothespins/clips I found at World Market but they only had one 6 pack so I needed a new idea... My third graders are obsessed with mustaches, and while at World Market, I found mustache clothespin/clips. (They are meant for clipping gift tags to gift bags)
The Wall - Mustache Theme 
Fan "STACHE" tic Work
Close up of the mustache clips
My next fave is the board just outside of my classroom that greets the kids and any visitors that come by our room.
Next is my owl board to display STAR WORK, I had to use those owl clothespin/clips even though there were only 6. The focus of this wall is to showcase work where students show their best work! I change this board weekly. The kid have bragged to their home room teachers when I put their work up, so I think it helps to make them feel special.

My Word Wall for the first grade Sight Words.
Reading Boards-I teach two different grade levels and they need to use different resources. Some posters will stay all year where as others will focus on a skill we are working on at the time.
1st Grade
3rd Grade
Learning Targets
I was having the hardest time posting my learning targets so I found a board similar to this on Pinterest and decided to give it a try. 

You will notice the at the bottom a sign that says "Paper Jail" that is where my no name papers end up and if not "bailed out" they will be tossed out.

Other classroom shots...

Golden Globe Worthy-American Hustle

*update 3 wins at the Golden Globes!
Usually I do not get excited about the Hollywood awards shows but super stoked to see how American Hustle does collecting wins tomorrow night! 
First of all, the casting and costumes make this movie phenomonal! Christian Bale's combover and toupee combo were historically, well done, then there is Bradley Cooper's perm. Fabulous! The story follows a couple of cons who get caught and begin working with the FBI to bring down corrupt politicians of New Jersey set in the late 70s. The character development sucks you in from the beginning and I personally felt like the movie could just keep going. Very well done!

Photo courtesy of-

New Cooking/Shopping Challenge

Just like everyone else, the new year gives that motivation of saving money, eating better, and getting organized, Jeff and I are doing just that. Today, inspired by a recent issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray, we made a list and a menu for what we hope is for the whole week.
Off we went to Whole Foods and to Sprouts. We actually went to both stores because certain things were for quality and budget friendly. We are excited to put together meals with simple complexities versus our standard protein and veggie. 
Day one-the shopping $175.43 total + $7.85
Went back to the store to buy coffee and beans to go with the tacos.
The damage.
The bounty which includes most ingredients for the recipes on our menu as well as fruits, breakfast foods, and snacks.
I will continue this post throughout the week to share how we are doing!

Hearty Sausage, White Bean, and Spinach Stew 
(we swapped kale for the spinach, personal preference)
All ingredients were purchased on our shopping trip on Saturday.
Our version...(leftovers will be great for lunches versus sandwiches and frozen meals)
The recipe called for about 3 1/2 but it took more like 6 hours to get the beans tender...
The flavors are great but I think it will get better as leftovers.
Getting Ready for the Broncos game!
The Recipe
My version (pretty close)
Then we prepped for our weekday dinners...
Recipe using the beef we slow cooked the day before...okay it's not really a recipe but guides you towards a dinner idea.
My version (we have enough toppings left over to do this meal again this week)
The recipe idea...
My version, I served it with store bought pot stickers so I could have leftovers for lunch. We could not find wide flat noodles so we used brown rice pad Thai noodles. Very quick dinner.