Thursday, June 30, 2011

Home and Family Friday

Let the Summer fun begin!  I've officially wrapped up my work at school.  I'm ready for lazy days at the beach, flip flops and shorts weather, and s'mores in the backyard.  I love it when my biggest decision of the day is whether to go to an indoor pool or outdoor pool.

Happy Summer, Friends!

I can't wait to see the projects you have for us this week!  Last week I was truly amazed at the creativity.  I'm always impressed with the quality of the photos too!  Keep it coming!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Things That Make Me Happy When Skies Are Gray

We had a beautiful weekend.  The sun was shining and life just seems happy when the sun is out.  Well, the skies are gray once again.  I was browsing through pictures I took over the past two weeks and these just made me happy.

Happy Wednesday.
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And I Thought Jelly Rolls Were Just For Eating

If you're a quilter, you're probably thinking I'm a day late and a dollar short. I have never seen these spirals of beauty before! These particular quilt fabrics are by Moda. They have taken an entire line of fabrics, cut them into 2 1/2" strips, and then rolled them into this sweet little jelly roll.

Not knowing exactly what I would do with a jelly roll, I was thrilled to find a book with patterns specific to this type of fabric packaging.

Eeeeee! (That was a little squeal of excitement about my newest sewing project.)

Happy sewing!
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shrimp Carbonara

The Olive Garden coupon, in the Sunday paper is always torture to look at. I LOVE pasta and REALLY LOVE seafood. We don't go out to nice meals too often. (Yes, I consider Olive Garden a fancy place.) Olive Garden isn't in the budget too often. As a matter of fact, we usually only go there on Christmas Eve.

Well, when I saw the picture of shrimp carbonara, I decided to try my own version. Here's what I came up with.

I sauteed a clove of garlic and a little green onion in olive oil.
I added a cup of white wine and let it simmer, reducing it by half.
Next, I added a half pint of cream and a half cup of Parmesan cheese.
I chopped up a few tablespoons of fresh oregano and a few sun dried tomatoes for color.
Finally, I added the cheese tortellini and some precooked shrimp.
Salt and pepper to taste, and I'd say it was a pretty darn good knock off.

Craving satisfied.

Happy cooking!

Here are a few linky parties I like to participate in.
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Monday, June 27, 2011

Meet Cookie!

Friends, I'd like you to meet the newest member of our family.

This is Cookie.  She's an 8 week old Holland Lop and we just brought her home today.  My kids have been saving their allowance (and begging Dad) for quite some time. 

Cooper was nice to his new sister and was on his best behavior.  I finally got a turn to hold Cookie when my kids went to bed.  She's very cuddly and sweet!

Happy Monday!
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Home and Family Friday

Just one more day... I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

Link up those projects!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Berry Douffle

Friday night is Farmer's Market night at our local park.  It has been so much fun to walk to the park, hang out with neighbors, buy some fresh produce, and have some dinner.  Last Friday we bought some local  blackberry honey.

It just so happened, that my daughter and I had just watched an episode of Semi-Homemade which had a dessert that called for Honey.  We decided to try it out for our Father's Day dessert.

It started with butter crisp cookies and vanilla pudding.  The berry mixture included fresh berries, a teaspoon of vanilla, and a drizzle of honey.  We stirred up the berries and flavoring. Then it was time to layer the ingredients.  Cookie, pudding, berries, cookie, pudding, berries. 

My daughter named this Berry Douffle.  Her brother wondered if she meant Berry Souffle.  Nope. 

Happy Berry Douffle Day!

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Learning to Sew

I bought this book for myself at Jo-Ann's a few weeks ago.  I want to learn to sew more than just straight lines and simple home decor. One of the first projects in the book is a relaxing eye mask.  The objective of the lesson is to become comfortable with sewing curves, learning sewing vocabulary, and learning how to fill a project.  I thought my daughter might enjoy the project.  It was quick, easy, and a perfect activity for a rainy Saturday afternoon.

We printed the pattern from the CD that came with the book.  Then I showed her how to pin the pattern down so it doesn't slip while you're cutting.  I even let her use my Gingher scissors to cut out her fabric.  They are super sharp, so that part worried me a bit.  Usually when I sew with kids, I put my hands right over their hands.  Getting little fingers too close to the needle scares me.  This time, my daughter informed me that she had practiced with my help many times and she wanted to try without my help.  I turned the machine on extra slow and let her go.  She did such a great job! The curves were a little tough, but that's to be expected.  We filled it with rice and orange essential oil.

My sweet little six year old made her very own filled eye mask.  She's learning to sew!  This is a life skill I hope she will be interested in continuing!  For our next project, we'll either be making a tote bag or a belt.  I'll let her pick.

Happy sewing!
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Oh, Betty, You Are So Wise!

We had blueberry muffins for breakfast this morning. A like to take Betty's box of muffin mix and then put my own spin on it.  We use fresh blueberries instead of the can included in the box.  I also love to add a topping. 

Well, at the bottom of the box, there is a place for Betty Crocker's tip.  Betty's tip was to use an ice cream scoop for the muffin batter.  Now, I've heard this tip before, but never tried it.  Oh, Betty, this is brilliant.

I'll never doubt you again, Betty.

Happy baking!

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm Late!!! Home and Family Friday

Oh my!  I have a confession to make, friends.  I forgot about you.  That really doesn't make me a good friend.  I hope you'll forgive me. (Now McLinky is not working and I can't host a party without it!!!) I've been a little busy.  I have end-of-the-year-teacher-brain.  It's a disorder all teachers suffer from at the end of the school year.  In addition to writing report cards, packing up my classroom, continuing to teach kids, and keep my own home and family life together, we've had a couple of adventures.

Yesterday, we took 75 kindergarteners to the beach.  We had a blast!  It was a dry day, beautiful blue sky, and happy kids.  Happy kids + lots of chaperones = happy teachers.

We are very lucky to have some diver/friends who come out to the beach and bring up marine life for us to see.  It is such an amazing experience.

Can't you just hear the screaming kindergarteners when they saw this guy?

We went to Alki Beach, which is right across the water from Downtown Seattle.  The day started off gray, but the sun broke through by lunch.

One of the divers brought up a bottle.  If you look closely, you can see the baby octopus inside the bottle.  How cool is that!!!

There's that sunshine!  This seagull was waiting for our lunch scraps, but posed nicely with the Space Needle off in the background.
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They brought up several HUGE sea cucumbers for us to feel.  They are the most amazing animal!

Of course, there were lots of different sizes and shapes of seastars.

The tide was pretty low, so we found lots of hermit crabs on the beach.


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Then it was off to my son's end of the year party today.  It was a walking field trip to a local park. The kids had a great time with a scavenger hunt and playing on the playground.
Of course, there were also ice cream sundaes.
Kids love a build your own sundae bar!
I was in charge of helping with the tie dye station.

The end of the school year is near!  Then I'll pass Go and Collect my brain back.  Hopefully.

Sorry there won't be a party this week!  Hopefully I will be able to figure out what is going on with McLinky and we'll be partying like normal next Friday!


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Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Latest Goodwill Find

Don't you just love this? I can't tell you how excited I was when I saw this on the bottom shelf, with all of the glassware, at my local Goodwill. Here's the best part... $2.99!!!

Note to self:
Stop by Goodwill more often this summer.

Happy thrifting!
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sew Excited for Summer

I can't wait for Summer vacation to start.  I won't actually be done working at school until the beginning of July, but once it gets here, I have SEW many projects. I bought a new book with my 40% off coupon at Jo-Ann's.  It starts with beginner projects and gradually gets more challenging. One project at a time, this books helps to improve your sewing skills. 

I've known how to sew since I was little.  I remember making my mom an apron out of blue gingham when I was about 8 years old.  I remember sewing a project by hand with my grandma when I was 10.  Sewing seems like a natural part of home and family life for me.

I can't tell you how many different sets of curtains or valances I have made over the years.  I never do anything fancy, just basic straight lines.

Pillows are always a quick way to change the look of a room.  Two squares of fabric, some pillow forms, and a zipper is all I need.  Again, I don't do anything fancy.  I don't use trims or piping.  I think it's because it's not in my sewing comfort zone, so I just stick with the basics.

Quilting has always been my favorite way to work with fabrics.  I love putting different fabrics together.  What does it take to be a quilter?  You need to know how to sew straight lines. 

Common theme here?  I can sew, but it's simple stuff.  I don't push myself or try new things.  This is my summer to try a few new things with my sewing machine.  I'm SEW excited to get started.

Happy sewing!
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Porch Envy

You know that feeling you get when you go to someone's house and it's beautiful? You look around their house, just wishing your home was as neat, organized, sophisticated, or whatever the case may be. Then, you go home to your own house and look around. You start thinking your house is pathetic, filthy, and cluttered. In actuality, your house is probably great, but now you're looking at your home through dust-bunny-filled glasses.

This was my experience on Saturday morning. I went to pick my niece up from a sleepover. As I walked up to the front door, I fell in love with the pale blue steps and porch floor. There were rustic chairs and a cute, chippy, old bench as a coffee table. When the lady answered the door, I was just about to ask her if I could just have a cup of cocoa and stay for a while. I didn't know her, but I really wished I did so we could just sit for a spell on the front porch. (Doesn't "sit for a spell" just sound like something you'd do on a front porch?)

I had porch envy. I came home, and of course, I was looking at my front porch through cob web and yard debris colored glasses. I immediately started cleaning. First I got out the Oxy Clean and a scrub brush. The benches and rails all got a good scrubbin'. I swept off the porch and stairs, cleaned the pillows, weeded, and dead-headed all of the flowers. I even pulled the American flag down from the rafters in the garage and put that up on the house.

I still have porch envy, but at least I was inspired to clean up a little bit.

Happy cleaning, friends!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bloggy Friends are REAL Friends

Home and Family Friday will be below this post.

It's funny, when I started this blog I didn't expect to make new friends. I had read about bloggers who found new friends and a supportive community group through blogging. I didn't really understand how that could happen. I couldn't imagine having a "friend" who you had never met. Well, I was wrong.

There are certain people I feel like I know. We have regular conversations (through blog comments). I follow along with their home life adventures, challenges in life, and celebrations. You know... like real friends.

The beautiful tile (above) came in the mail for me this week. Rebecca, from This Present Life, saw it in a store and thought of me. Friends, I'm here to tell you that bloggy friends are REAL friends. As my friend Serena says, "Leave a comment below. Tell me what's going on with you. Like friends. Real friends. 'Cause that's what we are. Friends."

Thanks, Rebecca! I LOVE this! It is such a thoughtful gift. I put it in my kitchen and I'll think of you every time I see it. By the way, real friends send real-live thank you's, so a proper thank you is in the mail!
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Great Summer Writing Course

Summer is almost here!  My kids know that their teacher-mommy will have lots of "summer school" type activities lined up for them.  Most oldest will be spending time reading and practicing math facts.  My youngest has just learned to read on her own and can't get enough of it!  I also have some great sight word practice activities for her to work on.  Don't get me wrong, there will plenty of time for swimming, parks, zoo trips, and just taking it easy in the backyard.

This summer I'm super excited for summer school!  We are trying something new at my house. Through The lens is an online writing course for kids, incorporating photography.  My kids both enjoy writing and were excited about the idea of taking pictures to add to their journals.  I've shared about my love for keeping learning "real" and engaging for kids.  Mariah's Playful Learning website is just that.  It's real and engaging. 

I took an online course over at Playful Learning earlier this year and LOVED it!  Mariah and the group formed through her online course, inspired many of my projects over the past few months.

Remember the new art area?  The high quality materials have made a huge difference in my kids' excitement level when it comes to art.

The book slings I made were a hit with my daughter.  This was one of Mariah's  suggestions for creating a reading nook for kids.

The writing center was inspired by one of Mariah's links.

These are just a few of the many inspirations from Playful Learning.

My favorite subject to teach at school is writing.  I love teaching in a workshop model, having kids write books, poems, recipes, and letters.  I like to think I do a pretty good job at encouraging my kids to write at home, but there comes a time when my kids are done listening to mom's suggestions. I can't tell you how excited I am to see how they respond to this online course.  I would really love it if you'd join us!  If you have kids, between the ages of 6-12, go check out this course!

Happy writing!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

From Garden to Table

I absolutely love cooking with kids.  I cook with my kids at home and my students at school.  I recently found this cookbook, from DK publishing.  I love the concept behind this book.  It's all about teaching kids to grow something, and then teaching how to cook with the item they've just grown. 

My kids and I tried this recipe first.  It is a veggie frittata.  I must confess that the potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini were all store bought.  They have all been planted in our garden, but it will be a few months before our vegetable garden produces food.

My hubby loved the recipe.  It was light and just tasted healthy.  My kids enjoyed making it with me, but weren't fans of the finished product.  (For the record, neither of them really love eggs.)  I really enjoy the recipes and the concepts in this book.  This is a great way to learn about gardening and cooking all at once!

Happy reading, gardening, and cooking!
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