Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Five Dollar (almost!)Chevron Envelope Pillows

This was my first attempt at an envelope pillow.  I bought the chevron fabric at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon, so it cost me 5.39 for a yard.  Then I used pillow forms I had used for other pillows that are no longer in use.  So, 2 pillows for a little over 5 dollars.  Sorry the pics are sideways....I didn't realize there wasn't a memory card in my camera when I took them. 

Here's the back of the pillow...the envelope part.

Here it is on the red sofa in the playroom.  Since it was so easy, I'm planning on making two more in a coordinating fabric sometime soon!
Thanks for stopping by!
~peace and blessings~

Monday, June 24, 2013

Menu Plan Monday~June 24, 2013

Welcome to another MPM hosted by Laura at  This week's menu is planned for if we are home.  J is on vacation, so we're going to take a few day trips this week. 
Sunday~ We went to see Monsters University and ate out
Monday~Sloppy Joes, Macaroni and Cheese and Fruit Salad
Tuesday~Saucy Baked Pork Chops, Rice Pilaf and French Cut Beans
Wednesday~ Cheeseburgers, Oven Fries, Baked Beans
Thursday~Fajita Bar and Salsa Rice
Friday~Pizza and Wing Night
Saturday~ Hot Dogs with all the fixins' and Steakhouse Potato Salad (light version)
Have a great week!
~peace and blessings~

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My New Classroom

Today I went to visit my new classroom, at my new school.  I'm excited about teaching first graders again and can't wait to get started!  Above is what you see when you walk in the door.  Don't ya just love the windows?!  I'm thinking that I'll put my calendar area in that corner. 
This is a wider view of that same area.  I love all the storage under the windows.  I'm planning on hiding the stuff with fabric...polka dots, I think!
This is to the left of the door.  Student lockers, more storage and a bathroom!  Love that!
I love, love, love the whole wall of bulletin board space.  I need to decide what will be hanging there.

This is to the right of the door, with the lovely Laurie (who gave up time today to give me the grand her!) 

This is another side view.  It's quite a large room, corner spot with a view of the green fields and forest behind the school.  I can't wait to liven up the color scheme!
Thanks for stopping by!
~peace and blessings~

Monday, June 17, 2013

First Trip to Camp 2013

We finally made it to our camp last weekend.  The family loves our time together there.  It was a little chilly at night, but nice during the day.  On Saturday, we took our first excursion on the boat.  It was Karla's first time on the boat....she was more excited about the shadows on the floor, than having the wind in her face.  Our dog is a little odd.  lol  Above H is hanging with Karla.
Captain John
Miss M...just noticed the whole family is wearing something with Pittsburgh on it...Penguins, Pirates, it!
Finally got Karla to look at me! 
Leaving a wake behind us...
Then my camera battery died!  I did manage to get one pic of  a Father's Day gift for dh:

I saw the printable on Pinterest...then filled the bucket with worms.  It was fitting since they did do some fishing on Saturday.  Miss M was the only one who caught anything. 
Have a great day!
Thanks for stopping by!
~peace and blessings~

Menu Plan Monday~June 17, 2013

Welcome to Menu Plan Monday hosted by Laura at!  Hope you all had a great week!
We went to camp for the first time this year.  We had a nice time, ate some good food, and enjoyed some time on the boat, too.  We tried the new marshmallows made for s'mores.  They were almost too big.  lol  Perfect fit for a graham cracker square, but harder to roast over the fire for some reason. We decided we'll cut them in half next time.
On Father's Day, we rose early to pack up camp and head home for lunch with my family, to honor my Dad.  My mom made the traditional Italian Sunday Dinner...homemade sauce, spaghetti, meatballs, sausage, hard boiled eggs, homemade bread and salad.  We had a nice time.  Then visited J's Dad in the evening and watched a few classic movies with him. 
Here's our plan for this week:
Sunday~Dinner at Mom's
Monday~Slow Cooker Cube Steaks in Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Tuesday~Grilled Ham Steaks, Pierogies, Roasted Cabbage
Thursday~Chicken and Steak Fajitas, Salsa Rice, Grilled Veggie
Friday~Pizza and out or take out!
Saturday~Camping or Motorcycle Rally Food
Have a great week!
~peace and blessings~

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Cozy Nest

A robin built her nest in one of the ferns hanging on the back porch.  Aren't they beautiful?
~peace and blessings~

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Recital 2013

Miss Madison completed another year of dance classes with a recital titled "Forces of Nature".  Her class danced to the song Shine On Me.  It was really cute!
Miss M and H
Before the show
With my parents after the show

Miss M and I before the show....she's such a ham-bone!
Thanks for stopping by!
~peace and blessings~

Monday, June 10, 2013

Menu Plan Monday~June 10, 2013

Welcome to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm An Organizing Junkie!  I had hoped to be more on it this year with posting my weekly menus, but life happens, and I slacked in that department.  I still menu planned and followed it, just never found the time/energy to post here.  Since Summer vacation is upon us here, I am planning on posting weekly.  Here's our plan for the week:
Sunday~Festival Food at the Church Festival
Monday~ Crockpot Boneless BBQ Ribs, Macaroni and Cheese, Baked Beans
Tuesday~Roasted Lemon and Thyme Chicken, Rice Pilaf, Peas
Wednesday~ Crockpot Italian Beef Sandwiches, Oven Fries and Fruit Salad
Friday~Grilled Cheeseburgers, Potato Packets and Corn
Saturday~Kielbassi Sandwiches, Baked Potato Salad and Veggies with Dip
Have a great week!
~peace and blessings~

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Italian Cooking Class

Last night, I attended a cooking class offered by my alma mater, UPJ, at the local ethnic center.  Jill Varmecky, chef and restaurateur from Gia Visto Restaurant in Monroeville, PA taught the class. The menu consisted of Lemon and Thyme Roasted Chicken, Sweet Pea Risotto and Italian Trifle.  I rarely learn much at cooking class, but really enjoy cooking with a group of people, tasting new combinations and taking home some tried and true recipes to share with my family.
Sweet Pea Risotto

I have never eaten or prepared Risotto before last night.  It is a food that needs constant attention during cooking.  It would be a perfect side for any dish that is baking in the oven.  My group decided to leave our peas whole, but you can also puree them with a bit of mascarpone cheese and mix that in to your finished risotto.  Both ways are equally delicious.  We also cooked with shallots, another first for me, and I found them to be strong smelling, but not as noticeable as onion in a dish.

Sweet Pea Risotto

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots or onions
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup fresh peas
1/2 cup romano cheese
1/4 cup parsley
salt and pepper

Combine olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a heavy 4 quart pot over medium heat.  Add shallots and cook until tender, not brown.  Stir in rice and cook one minute.  Add wine and stir until mostly absorbed.  Add broth 1/2 cup at a time and continue stirring well after each addition, allowing the rice to absorb the broth before adding more.  After 15 minutes add peas.  Cook five more minutes.  Turn off heat.  Add 1 Tbsp. of butter, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Italian Trifle

For dessert, we made Italian Trifle.  It's a classic English dessert made Italian by the use of Mascarpone cheese.  It was really warm in the kitchen last night, so this dessert was a welcome treat because it had chilled in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving.

Italian Trifle 
 Box of your favorite brownie mix with needed ingredients
1/3 cup coffee liqueur or flavoring
1/3 cup coffee
8 oz container mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whipping cream
Chocolate Bar, chopped
Pecan pieces, optional
Prepare brownies according to package directions.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan.  Stir together liqueur and coffee.  Pierce brownie multiple times using a fork.  Pour coffee mixture over brownie in pan.  Allow to cool completely.
Whisk 1/4 cup sugar, mascarpone cheese, and vanilla together in a large bowl.
Beat whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture.
Cut brownies in small cubes. 
In six 8 oz glasses, place one layer of brownies on the bottom.  Spoon mascarpone mixture on top.  Repeat layer of brownies and mascarpone mixture. 
Garnish with chocolate bar shreds or pecan pieces
Chill until serving.

We also made Lemon and Thyme Roasted Chicken. I made this tonight for dinner. Here is the recipe for this easy, moist chicken.  The skin really helps keep the chicken moist and ensures that the lemon flavors the chicken. 
Lemon and Thyme Roasted Chicken
4 lbs of chicken breasts, legs and thighs with skin on
3 Tbsp of olive oil
Salt and Pepper
2 lemons, thinly sliced
6 small shallots, peeled and quartered
1 Tbsp. Thyme leaves
Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Toss shallots and thyme leaves in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl and set aside.
Rub chicken with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper.
Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil in baking pan and place half of the lemon slices in a single layer on top of the oil.  Place chicken, skin side up, on lemons.  Carefully loosen the skin on the chicken and slide remaining lemon slices under the skin.  Roast 20 minutes, remove from oven and scatter shallot mixture over chicken.  Roast chicken 20 minutes more or until internal temperature is 165 degrees.
~peace and blessings~

Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies

Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies
This is our new favorite cookie.  I found the recipe on Pinterest.  I changed the eggs to egg beaters and omitted the banana chips in the original recipe. 
3/4 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs or 1/2 cup egg beaters
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c.  Reese's pieces
  1. In a bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and pudding mix 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 and Reese's pieces by hand. (you can leave out the banana chips if you don't like those, or substitute pretzels or chips)
  2. 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.
~peace and blessings~

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Last Day of School 2013

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Today was the last day of school for our children.  Miss M is headed to 3rd grade in the fall with all A's.  H is headed to high school (!!!) with all A's as well.  I'm so proud of our children! 

Thank you for stopping by!

~peace and blessings~

Saturday, June 1, 2013

End of the Year Gift for Teachers

I saw this cute idea on Pinterest for an end of the year gift for a teacher.  I thought it would be a cute idea for my teacher friends after our long year.  I bought some orange goodies....

....and am going to fill some white paper bags with them, tie it up with orange polka dot ribbon and add the cute tag above.  It's from Coley's Corner.
Here's my version.  I used what I had on hand to avoid a 15 mile trip to Wal-mart/Michael's/JoAnn's.

The gifts above are for the guys I worked with...I'll miss them both!
Thanks for stopping by!
~peace and blessings~