Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Teacher's gifts

I made Teacher Appreciation gifts for the girls' teachers. Sarah already gave Mr. Paul his gift but here is Madison's teacher's, Mrs. Pettyjonh's.

Some kind of cup or water bottle
Flavor packets for water
#2 Pencils
Pretty paper
Pretty String (I just used pretty yarn)
Pretty Scissors
Hole punch

The first thing I did was decide what I wanted to say. I found the pencil and Smarties sayings online by googling "teacher appreciation". The "thirst" quote was given to my by one of my students this year which is what got me started on these in the first place.
I just printed the quotes, cut my pretty paper with my pretty scissors and glued them on.
You will need to punch a hole on the pencil tag to string the string (:o)) through. I tied 5 pencils together with the string and then tied the tag's string to the pencil string. Got that?
Throw your flavor packets in the cup and put the lid on. The cup tag needs a hole on the top and bottom to fit on the straw. (You'll see.)

The Smarties tag says, "Thank you for making me such a smartie." I took 10 Smarties and rolled them in my pretty paper and tied the ends off to look like one GIANT Smarties. Then I glued my Teacher quote on.

 And put it all together to deliver.

Guaranteed A+

Monday, June 20, 2011

Best French Dip Sandwiches EVER

I make these all the time. So easy. So delicious. And it smells good all day!

Disclaimer: This recipe breaks the rule* about only using one dirty dish because you have to pan sear it before it goes into the crock pot. The rest is so easy and the taste is amazing so it makes up for the dirty pot.

*"I only have a few rules when making a crock pot meal: no browning or sautéing anything prior to cooking. Okay, I guess I only have one rule. The beauty of a crock pot is that meals made in it only require it to do the cooking. Why mess with a good thing by creating more dishes to wash?"
~Leila~ from Spinach and Skittles
She writes an awesome blog and just happens to be a personal friend from middle school (yes, I still have those pictures). She has tons of great recipes and recently took up marathon running. She inspires me to live healthier.

Back to the roast. 
~TIP: I use a crock pot bag so I never have to worry about the messy crock pot. I think it cancels out the dirty pot so the crock pot doesn't actually get dirty so it doesn't break the dirty dish rule. It also comes in handy to save the aju sauce. I just stab it with a knife and let it drain into a Tupperware to put into the fridge for later.

I got this recipe from one of my favorite foodie web sites, Our Best Bites. They have tons of great recipes that even I can make.

2.5-3 lb. beef roast
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper or House Seasoning from The Best Fried Chicken EVER
2 packages of dry onion soup mix
2 c. water
2 cans beef broth or I used 3 beef bullion cubes and 24 oz boiling water
6-8 hoagie buns
I use mozzarella but you could use Swiss, or provolone, shredded or sliced. Go crazy with it.

What to do:
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat while you season the roast with salt and pepper or House Seasoning.
When you drip a water drop into the oil and it "fries" your oil is ready.
Carefully throw (oxymoron?) your roast in the pot and let it get nice and brown. Just a quick pan searing on all sides to seal in all the juicy roast goodness. This is also going to get the succulent smells circulating (alliteration too!)  throughout the house. I wish I could bottle this smell so it always smells like I slaved the day away.

It already looks and smells aMaZiNg!

Then you prepare your crock pot. *Place crock pot bag in crock pot.*
Again, carefully throw the roast into the crock pot.
Add the water, beef broth and onion soup mix.
Set your crock pot.

I have a probe on my crock pot that allows me to set a temperature. When the food reaches that temp, my crock pot stops cooking and just warms the food until we are ready to eat. Can't go wrong.

When you are ready to eat, cut your roast however you want. I prefer to shred it while the Hubby prefers his cut into strips.
Open hoagie buns and put cheese on top.
Broil in oven until buns are toasty and cheese is bubbly.
Place roast on buns.
Ladle aju into a cup.

*I would have taken more pictures but they were eaten so fast I didn't have time. :o) Next time I make this I will snap a few pictures so you can see the finished product.
Don't worry; it will be soon! :o) 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Crustless Quiche

I love this quiche recipe because it is so easy and delicious. The hardest part is having to smell its deliciousness while it cooks.

6-8 eggs
3/4-1 cup cottage cheese
1-2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
8 oz hashbrowns
1/4 cup salsa
diced green onion
diced, cooked bacon

Heat oven to 375.
Mix all ingredients together and pour into Demarle mold. I think mine is the Sunflower mold. I use the ingredient measurement that is more (8 eggs, 1 cup cottage cheese, 2 cups cheese).

Cook for about 45 minutes or until the center is set.
This of course is the bottom. You flip it over...

to reveal this:

FYI: It is not burnt. It is crustless but gets a little "crusty" around the edges.

Father's Day Part II

Here is the second half of our Top Secret Father's Day Projects.

I got this printable from oopsey daisy. I think I may be addicted to blogs. I just can't stop looking at all the cool tutorials and such.

Anyway, I couldn't think of anything the Hubby needs; or anything practical that he wants. So we decided on this since he likes soda and mom has a blog addiction found more Father's Day printables.

Warning: I had a hard time finding a six pack of soda that is "regular" sized. There are lots of mini six packs and lots of 12 pack cases. You may have to do some searching but the finished product is pretty cool.

I had a hard time saving it for Father's Day because it turned out so neat.

I can't wait to see all the excitement when the kids give him this and this tomorrow morning.  :o)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Smile

Thank you for the little coffee cozey. It is too cute. I am using it to keep my hands from freezing this summer with my iced coffee.

I got this from two of my students (twins) as a year end gift. I will miss those kiddos this summer but I think about them every time I look at it. And every time I look at it, it makes me smile. :o)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Father's Day

We are hard at work making Top-Secret Father's Day Projects.

 Here is our first:



I got the printable from Big D and Me.
I am going to have to go check out the rest of their site. Looks like alot of fun!

Monday, June 13, 2011

I Love Coffee

Today is Monday.

I just thought I would tell you: I <3 Coffee.

Our Pastor once said, "Coffee is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy."

This is my coffee in my favorite cup that my cousin Merrylou painted for me.

 I can fit alot of coffee deliciousness in this cup. :o)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

To Neptune, Alice, to Neptune!

So I didn't post anything yesterday. I was tired worn out exhausted. I walked and Noah and the kids rode to Neptune for goodness sake! We have a Planet walk out by Fort Walla Walla. We recently discovered this path and are having fun walking it on the weekends.

The distance is to scale and has information about the "planet" at each sphere. Sarah really likes to compare the length of days for the planets.

This one is of us at Uranus. Haha. Yes, we do have the sense humor of 4th graders. They yelled, "Uranus!" when we took the picture.
As you can also see Benjamin is being Benjamin. He was not at all interested in taking pictures for memories or for Mom's blog for that matter. An older gentleman walked by and laughed, "I had four of them. There is always an independant one." 
There really is. There is ours...

Here we are at Neptune. Sarah wanted to go to Pluto. We couldn't even see Pluto. The Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are all very close. The rest of the planets are spaced quite a ways away. We only made it to Uranus last time before turning around. Hahaha! Sorry....

While we were out there we went across the road to Fort Walla Walla Museum. We love it out there. Noah and I are History dorks and the Fort Walla Walla staff have really made the experience kid friendly. Lots of things for the kids to look at and some hand on things as well. Last year they put in an awesome new playground. We have a membership so we try to get out there once a week or so. The living history programs on the weekends are great too. People dress up and act the part of interesting historical people from Walla Walla and the Pacific Northwest. Our favorites so far have been Joe Meek, mountain man (gee I wonder why) and Dutch Jo, Walla Walla's most prominent Madame.
Anyway, it happened to be Fort Walla Walla Days. All the people who play parts get together and create something that is almost like an old town. There are towns people, Military branches from history, fur traders and Indians, etc. Tents, cannons, wagons, etc.

Here are the kids in front of a Douglas Fir.

 Kids in the tee pee.

Some teenagers getting in on the old fashioned fun.

I hope this is an act and not the First Aid booth

This guy was really cool. As we were walking by he asked if we wanted a picture. Of course we would!
 "I want a gun too!"

A big thanks to:

And the kids always have fun on the toys.

 "Look at Mom. She wants a picture of you!"

I just get a kick out of this little seat every time we go. Do you see the tiny seat on the side of the wagon? I couldn't fit one tookis cheek on that little seat! I can't imagine riding all the way from Missouri to Washington on that thing. 

When we got home we everyone else played with the RC car. Duke loves chasing it but he knows he will be tempted to bite it if he catches it. He taught himself to run with the ball in his mouth and chew on it so he won't bite the car.

I couldn't even make it in the house. I just sat down outside.

I was dog tired.
 But it was a good day for dogs. :o)

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Sun Came Out!

Thanks for all your help singing Mr. Sunshine out; it finally paid off yesterday. Lots of sun. It got into the high 60's, maybe even into a low 70. Pretty warm for what the weather has been but not a normal thing for the Pacific Northwest. We are usually in the 90's by June.  Madison was "dying to death!" (of the heat) when we walked to the bus stop to get Sarah from her last day of Second Grade. Apparently Madison and Sarah are not used to this "heat wave" because when I kicked them outside to play in the afternoon they headed straight to Grandma T's house next door to cool off. Good grief!

Benjamin and I had other ideas however.

Like playing ball with Duke

Jumping on the Tramampoline
Benjamin found a new game to play on the tramampoline. He jumps around then touches Mom and...ZAP! I get electrocuted and he thinks it is hilarious! He yells, "Again! Again!"

And he is so cute I just keep playing along.

Spying on Duke under the tramampoline

It is a good thing the sun came out because that means it might be warm enough to switch to sandals for Benjamin. Have you seen his shoes? He wore the insides off from scooting his "blue car" down the driveway.

Or where ever else he can convince me to take the "blue car". When we go places in the van he yells, "blue car!" and we throw that in the van too. What's one more toy in there?
Benjamin four wheeling through the yard. FYI this is not the easiest way across the yard on the "blue car"

Nothing this kid does is the "easy way." Here he is getting off the tramampoline. He couldn't just go down the stairs, he had to go off the top stair. I snapped this picture right before he started yelling, "Mom! Mom!" And I had to rescue my Little Man.
So we decided to swing.

And the girls finally came out. Sarah took over the role of Family Photographer. I wasn't very impressed with the ones of myself. I am going to blame that on being ZAPPED for 20 minutes by Benjamin. I thought this one of Madison was cute though.

The girls think eating Smarties makes you smart so...We are going to bee eating Smarties this summer so we don't loose any of our nowledge we learned this skool year. :o)

I also got to go on a walk all by myself yesterday. I walked around Bennington Lake. It was so nice. A cool breeze and the sun was starting to set. I sat on a bench for a while and watched the water, the sun, the people, and nature in general. (I'll take my camera next time) It has been a long time since I have been able to sit and enjoy our Creator and His creations. Alone. Quietly. Without interruption.
Unfortunately, that was the last place I knew where I was. I spent the next 45 minutes lost on the trails. The sun was starting to set and it was getting cooler. Sometimes I couldn't even tell if there were people around anymore. I was thinking back to the cougars in town last fall. I did see a bunny and 3 deer. Pretty cool. I decided that instead of panicking I should be praying. So I prayed. I was shown several things on my walk:

1.) Trust in Him.
2.) Pray continuously.
3.) All roads lead back to Him.
4.) I can't undo what I have done but I can make different choices to get to where I need to be again.
5.) I cannot do this alone.
6.) Even when life is hard I still need to slow down and see the beauty in it.
7.) Sometimes life is hard because He is growing me to be exactly who I need to be.
8.) I am not alone. I am never alone.

I left the last two blank because I am still contemplating my walk. Because He is not done with me yet.

One of my favorite quotes:
The Lord loves you just the way you are; but He loves you too much to leave you that way.