Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Last Day of School

The 2011-2012 school year has come to a close.  I've survived my first year teaching Middle School Math.  It's been a journey...professionally and personally.  I've learned a lot about myself and Math.   I am looking forward to next year armed with experience and great expectations.  Above is a pic of me with "my girls".  They said they were all wearing dresses the last day of school, so I said that I would wear one too.  They were so excited that I kept my word.  It's the little things that sometimes make the biggest impression on middle schoolers. 

 This is me with the boys in my homeroom and below are some of me with students who wanted individual pics with me.  Sweet memories. 

Happy Summer!

~peace and blessings~

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Garden is IN!

Red, White and Blue Basket on the front porch

One of the raised beds with some plants in front and seeds in the back.

A view of both beds filled with vegetables and fruit...we have tomatoes, green peppers, hot peppers, lettuce, beets, jalapenos, cucumbers (two varieties), cherry tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini and peas growing.

~peace and blessings~

End of the Year Gifts for Teachers and Students

This teacher gift was inspired by a post on Pinterest.  Inside each can are m&m's and attached to the handle is a poem describing a m&m (Magnificient and Marvelous) teacher.  The printable is available here.  I used Recollections border stickers, some school stickers I had on hand and ribbons to decorate each can.  I bought the Party Size bag of M&M's at Walmart and was able to fill four cans with candy.  DD's teacher will also be receiving a gift card for Walmart.

Miss M and I decorated bottles of bubbles for her classmates.  I picked up 3/$1.00 bubbles at Dollar Tree and used printables from Amanda's Parties to Go .  We wrapped each bottle with a Summer wrap that we printed out on paper, then added ribbon and a  cardstock tag that says have a great summer around the neck of the bottles.  Miss M. signed the back of each tag with her name.

~peace and blessings~

Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies

Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies

I made my version of these cookies today for the family.  They are really soft and yummy!  I used a recipe from BruCrew Life as my starting point and changed a few things to make them a bit more WW friendly.  My changes make each cookie worth 5 points +.  The cookies are large and filling.

  • 3/4 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. reduced fat peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. egg beaters
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 small box vanilla pudding
  • 1 c. chocolate chips
  • 1 c. reeses pieces
  • In a bowl combine all dry ingredients and set aside. In a large mixing bowl cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars until fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and honey and beat again. Slowly add the dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix. Stir in the chocolate chips, reeses, and banana chips by hand.
  • Drop by tablespoon onto a baking sheet, leaving 2 inches in between each cookie. Bake at 350* for 10 minutes. Cool on pan for 3-4 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. Store in a tightly covered container. Makes about 36 cookies.

~peace and blessings~

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken

This recipe is all over the internet and Pinterest.  I used this recipe from Recipe Binder.

The kids and dh thought it tasted similar to General Tso's Chicken.  I think it was the sauce.  It was well liked by the family and will go onto the keeper list. ;0)  I served it with noodles and french-cut green beans.  I think rice and sugar snap peas would be great sides too.


4 large boneless chicken breasts
2 cup flour
4 tsp salt
4 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp ground ginger
2 tbsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground thyme
2 tsp ground sage
2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 eggs
8 tbsp water

Honey Garlic Sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
3 – 4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup honey
¼ cup soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce is best)
1 tsp ground black pepper


1. Place the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and using a meat mallet, pound the meat to an even 1/2 inch thickness. Alternatively, you can slice the breasts by placing them flat on a cutting board and using a very sharp knife to slice them into halves horizontally.

2. Sift together flour, salt, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, thyme, sage, paprika, and cayenne pepper.

3. Whisk together the eggs and water.

4. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then dip the meat in the flour and spice mixture. Dip the breast into the eggwash and then a final time into the flour and spice mix, pressing the mix into the meat to get good contact.

5. Heat a skillet on the stove with about a half inch of canola oil covering the bottom. You will want to carefully regulate the temperature here so that the chicken does not brown too quickly. The thinness of the breast meat practically guarantees that it will be fully cooked by the time the outside is browned. I find just below medium heat works well. I use a burner setting of about 4 1/2 out of 10 on the dial and fry them gently for about 4 or 5 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy.

6. Drain on a wire rack for a couple of minutes before dipping the cooked breasts into the Honey Garlic Sauce. Serve with noodles or rice.

For the Honey Garlic Sauce:

1. In medium saucepan add oil & garlic. Cook over medium heat to soften the garlic but not brown.

2. Add honey, soy sauce, and pepper to the pan and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.

~peace and blessings~

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Proud Mama Moment

I'm so proud of our son, Hunter!  He was given an award today for his 4.0 GPA in 7th grade.  We are so blessed to have a smart, funny and loving boy to call ours!

~peace and blessings~

Friday, May 18, 2012

Coconut Banana Muffins

Coconut Banana Muffins

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup coconut oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 18 large muffin cups with paper liners. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the melted butter and blend. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well. Don't overmix.
Fold the diced bananas and coconut into the batter. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each 1 to the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and serve.


~peace and blessings~

Monday, May 14, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 5.14.12

It's been a very long time since I've posted my MPM Menu.  I'm still menu planning, but just haven't been posting them on my blog.  This is my new start! 

Sunday~Happy Mother's Day!

Monday~Grilled Kielbassi, Creamy Italian Pasta Salad and Baked Beans

Wednesday~Annual Banquet for J's workplace

Thursday~Spaghetti and Baked Chicken Parmesan

Friday~Pizza and Wing Night (take out or homemade...haven't decided!)

Saturday~Pigs in the Blanket (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)

Have a great week!

~peace and blessings~

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Luau Birthday Party

We hosted a luau themed party for Miss M's 7th Birthday.  On the foyer table, we had a basket filled with leis and flowers for the ladies' hair.  We gave a lei to each person who came through the front door that was adorned with a wreath made of paper parasols. 

The countertop was turned into a Tiki Bar.  The sign is from Dollar Tree, as are the straws and "grass" skirts lining the counter.  We served Hawaiian Punch (Hawaiian Punch and Sprite combined) with Pineapple Ice Cubes and Soda. 

I filled Sand Buckets with "Limbo Sticks", Swedish Fish and Gold Fish Crackers for snacking.  I also made Hawaiian Pizza.  I forgot to take a picture of it and it was gone before I remembered! 

 Rainbow Fruit Skewers

Pina Colada Cupcakes (recipe to follow!)

Flip-Flop Birthday Cake surrounded in "sand". 

Doing the Limbo to Luau Party Music downloaded from iTunes.

The birthday girl swinging at the Pinata.  The Pinata was a hit with the kids.

Thanks for stopping by!
~peace and blessings~

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Miss M!

Our sweet girl turns 7 today!  She is a sweet, caring, smart and loving girl and such a blessing to our family.  She is so excited about her luau themed party tonight that she was up at 6:20 am!  Miss M loves to read, play school and with her Barbies, and is into singing and dancing.  She is in her third year of dance classes and enjoys performing for an audience. (She is a ham!)  I love her giggle, when she smiles and the little love notes she gives me.  She loves to help in the kitchen when I'm cooking and baking, and enjoys helping her daddy with lawn work.  She loves us all fiercely, including her brother who often picks with her, and we are blessed to have her!  I love you Maddie!

~peace and blessings~

Monday, May 7, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Gift Idea

 May 8th is Teacher Appreciation Day!  We appreciate our children's teachers so very much and are very blessed that their teachers are enthusiastic and caring.  This gift is for Mrs. Michelow, Miss M's first grade teacher.  I saw this idea on Skip to My Lou.  The printable is available on the site for free...which is always fantastic!  I purchased the stack of notes at Hallmark and it came with a matching pen.  DD picked pick because it is her teacher's favorite color, or so she tells me!

Sending thoughts of appreciation to all of the teachers in my former teachers and professors, my colleagues and friends.

~peace and blessings~

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Home Improvements

 While we were out shopping for the beadboard for the porch, I checked out some tile for a backsplash in the kitchen.  We decided to buy one 12x12 section of tile to see how if it coordinates with our kitchen.  I like the look of it, especially the metallic squares that pull out the colors in our hardware.  The board that matches the countertop will be removed before we add any type of backsplash.  Any thoughts on this tile?  (My photos stink, but you get the idea.)

 Onto the actual you know, we added a porch to the back of the house last spring.  Time ran out and we never did get the ceiling put up.  Today we purchased the beadboard to complete the ceiling.  Above is a before picture, below is the beadboard started.  J has decided to paint the boards before creating the ceiling, so the ceiling should be completed tomorrow or early this week.

~peace and blessings~

Luau Birthday Banner

 Today I made a Luau themed birthday banner for our upcoming party.  I used the Surf's Up Paper Pad by Recollections and Cricut Cartridges Jasmine and George.  The background is set at 4, the pink was cut at 3, and the letters were done in 3 with the shadow setting. 

I added a small flower from the George cartridge set on 1, and gave each a rhinestone center.  The birthday girl is pleased.

~peace and blessings~

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Luau Preparations Continue...

This is my attempt at the Umbrella Wreath.  I used a grapevine wreath I already had and filled it with umbrellas from Big Lots that I picked up for three dollars a box.  I used about a box and a half of umbrellas.  I'm going to hang it on the front door with an Aloha sign. 

These are my Tissue Paper Balls in our party colors.  I'm going to hang them from the porch ceiling above the table.  I'm praying for good weather, so we can party outside.

~peace and blessings~

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cross Lollipops

Tomorrow is the last day of Religious Education for the school year.  The students will celebrate with a final Mass and a party to follow.  Miss M asked me to make Cross Lollipops for the children in her class.   This idea is from Catholic Icing

To begin, buy several packages of Jolly Rancher Candies and lollipop sticks.  I bought 3 bags for 1.00 each and was able to make 10 crosses.  Each cross uses 5 candies.   I chose the original so the pops would have a stained glass effect.  The smoothies would probably work just the same. 

Heat your oven to 225 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side up.  Lay out the middle candy, with room to add the four additional pieces, on your sheet.  Bake in oven for one minute to soften. 

Remove from the oven and use 4 jolly ranchers to create the cross.  Return the sheet pan to the oven for another 5-7 minutes. 

Have your lollipop sticks (or wooden skewers) ready to add to the melted candy when you take it from the oven.  You'll have to wiggle the stick into the candy to make it adhere.

This is a photo of the candy right after I added the sticks.  Allow the candy to cool and harden, then remove from the foil lined pan and wrap in a cellophane bag with a ribbon tie...or just eat one! ;0)

Here are our finished cross lollipops in bags ready for tomorrow's party!

~peace and blessings~