I'm a REAL Texas Teacher!

Good news...I passed my Texas Licensing Exam for my (ready for this...)

Family and Consumer Science Composite 6th-12th grade Certification (quite the mouthful).
It started out rough this morning as I dashed out the door with a bowl of frosted mini wheats in hand (I know I know, it's dangerous to eat cereal and drive). I couldn't find the testing center for 10 minutes and I was a little nervous that they wouldn't let me take it if I was late. Luckily I actually made it to the testing center before the employees! The door was locked. (Which made me second guess myself again...did I write down the right address?) Then this lady carrying a trash can full of water bottles (I don't make this stuff up people) came to the door and unlocked it.

I was ready to sprint up the stairs, sit down to a computer, and get the test over with before all the information I had studied fell out of my brain. What did the employee do? She says, "just a second honey I have to go get the newspaper." Well by all means, you don't want to forget the morning paper.

Now we are upstairs and she says, "I have quite a bit of paperwork for you to fill out." I haven't even given her my name yet. I give her the form I printed out with my test info on it and she says, "Oh ok, this test...not as much paperwork as I thought." She hands me a slip of paper and says, "sign here." That's the paperwork.

I am now in the testing room, waiting for the 1980s computer to boot up (seriously I had flashbacks to MS DOS with this computer). And off I go! I'm focusing...I'm focusing...and then...what the? A guy sits down right next to me. Now I know I can't have the whole room to myself, but when there are 25 computers, do you have to sit right next to me?

Now I don't know what kind of test taker you are, but I was the kid that liked to be in the corner with my feet propped up on the desk next to me and no one around me. And here's why: not 5 seconds after he starts his test, he is reading his questions out loud. Seriously. I am sitting there trying to get through my 150 questions and I just hear this half whisper/half full voice..."welding style...inaudible...steel...cut through..."

Now I am distracted.

So I had to channel all my energies into remembering how I ever focused in high school with kids sitting all around me talking. Tunnel vision Jessica, tunnel vision. And I did it. I got through the test. I walked out to the reception area, eager to find out if I passed, and the employee handed me this:

But you know what? It doesn't matter how elaborate the message is (or isn't) the idea is still the same. I'm a real teacher now. :)


Guess Who Came to Austin...

Guess who came to visit me for my spring break...

My sis (we call her Bean) and my mom and dad (Babs and Kev)

They took us to Sea World

The roller coasters at Sea World were surprisingly good! Steel Eel and The Great White.

Going up to the top...

It was a quick visit but super fun! Thanks for coming to visit Layton family! (minus Stephanie, Brandon, Amber, Isaac, Alex, and Nathan) :)


A Recipe for Spring

I made this last night, it is one of my favorite spring/summer dinners (and one of the only times I can get the hubs to eat a salad for dinner). I designed it after the BBQ Chicken Salad at California Pizza Kitchen.

It's fun to make because a lot of it is not measured but added by taste or by eyeballing it (I have never really liked that phrase).

BBQ Chicken Salad
Serves 4

8 cups romaine lettuce - chopped
4 chicken breast halves
1 can black beans - drained and rinsed
1 can sweet corn - drained and rinsed
1 diced avocado
chopped cilantro
1 lime - quartered
4 corn tortillas
Olive Oil
1 cup BBQ Sauce
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
Ranch dressing

Preheat oven to 350, mix bbq sauce and brown sugar. Place the 4 chicken breast halves in a 9x13 dish and pour bbq sauce mixture over them. Bake for 30 minutes, turn chicken and baste, bake 15-20 minutes longer. Do not overcook, chicken should be moist. Dice when done.

As a side note: This right here makes some pretty good chicken. Sometimes I just make this and have it with garlic mashed potatoes and veggies.

Put romaine in a large bowl, add corn, black beans, avocado, cilantro, and the juice of 2 quarters of the lime.

Toss salad with dressing
Mix ranch, bbq sauce, and juice from 1-2 quarters of the lime to taste. It should be a pinkish brown color.

Using a pizza slicer, cut the 4 tortillas into strips. Fry in olive oil until crispy.

Add tortilla strips and chicken to salad - you can leave it on top for a prettier look or toss it in with the rest of the salad.



Sweet Spring

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:--
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

-William Wordsworth

Happy Spring Everyone!


Holy Wonderful

Listen, I just found something that could be so potentially hazardous and so dangerous...yet so wonderful. I never knew that this thing existed. I am quite nervous about how my life could change as a result of this discovery:

Click HERE

I think that I will make it this weekend. I will let you know how it goes.

Long live Dr. Pepper.



A little while ago, my friend Lauren had a birthday. I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday and she said, with a childlike face, "I want to go to Gattiland."
What is Gattiland? Gattiland is a wonderful magical place. It is a pizza buffet with all the pizza, salad, and desserts you could ever want. But wait, there's more...it is also a game center with all the old arcade games you enjoyed as a kid, air hockey, skee ball, basketball, and much more.
Before we headed out for Gattiland, we had to say goodbye to Julie's son Jaxon. But he was much too busy caluclating the profit margins from this years earnings thus far...
He took a break for a second to greet us with a smiling face
And then, I think he got a little slap happy (he must have been working too many late hours lately).
Anyway, we headed out and had a great night. We ate way too much pizza and played games like we were 8 years old.

Dave and Lauren's husband James playing a virtual shooting game

In other news: Sweet baby Nathan is home!! He is healthy and doing well. He had a scary 4 night stay in the hospital, but he is home and happy now. Thank you for all your prayers!


All my McQueen

My brother sent me this video of my nephews today. They decided that they wanted to showcase all their Lightening McQueen things.

Cute parts to notice:

1. Isaac's shirt is buttoned ALL the way up
2. He has his backpack on the entire video
3. At one point, they open a Lightening McQueen suitcase and what do they see? "Underwear!"
4. At the very end, after showing us the towel, Isaac says, "That's all today" like he is part of some kind of TV show.
(After you push play, it takes a minute to buffer)

I love imagination. I loved running around in the backyard of my house growing up, pretending I was a superhero, barbie, mom, dancer, gymnast, famous person, grown up, etc... (usually not all at the same time, but hey, I wouldn't put it past me).

Imagination is the best tool
for a kid in my opinion.
Next time I am home in Oklahoma, I will try to scrounge up a home video of myself and my siblings, playing in the backyard (which back then seemed like a 4 acre field full of wonder...it was actually about .25 acre).

In other (sad) news, my new 1 month old nephew Nathan is in the hospital. He has already been there for 2 nights, and it looks like he has to stay another night. He has a respiratory infection and he is on oxygen. I am so worried about him, please keep him in your prayers.

Thank you.