Friday, November 7, 2014

Patriotic Popcorn...

True story! I'm now writing two blogs. 

No, seriously! Grant it, the other blog is specifically designed for the four high school classes I teach, but it's still a blog full of details on projects, assignments, and hand-on activities we are doing in class.

You should sneak a peak to see what we've been up to. Like the two-month long American Government project we just finished which entailed a mock election. The students were divided into three groups and they chose their own party name, wrote their own party platform, campaigned in the school, gave speeches, and held a presidential debate. And they did all this citing important current political problems that our own nation faces.

I have to brag and say what a FANTASTIC job they all did. They were extremely animated while discussing hot topics and ways that they should be handled. I see future political candidates in every one of them.

So really, click on over HERE to check out all we did and watch a six minute video that contains a rundown on the speeches and interviews about the project. And then come back here to try this recipe that one of my student's made for our election party held right after the votes were counted and the winners were announced. It's DELICIOUS and super easy to make.

Patriotic Popcorn
from Christiana

What You Will Need:
  • 1 bag premium white chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 bags of popcorn
  • M & M's
  • Sprinkles
What You Will Do:
  • Pop the popcorn and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Heat the chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • When fully melted, drizzle the chocolate on the popcorn.
  • Mix in sprinkles and M & M's.
Beware! This popcorn is completely addicting. I brought what was left home with me and set it on the counter. I was wondering how it was disappearing so fast...and then I caught my children running into the kitchen and sneaking handfuls. It was FABULOUS! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Organizing Your Littles Carry-All Caddy...

While thumbing through Pinterest a few weeks ago, I came across this amazing organizational idea using one of my Littles Carry-All Caddy from Thirty-One. Simply place six empty Crystal Lite containers inside the caddy either arranged like my photo above or the one pictured HERE. This keeps all my pins, pencils, dry erase markers and an eraser, and a glue-stick all in one place...neatly organized on the corner of my desk. It's within easy reach of the white board and where I grade my papers. Awesome!

What do you use your caddy for?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cheesecake Dessert Bar...

I don't think I've ever made a cheesecake that didn't involve the Jell-O "mix-n-bake". And really the only times that I've ever eaten a cheesecake that made an impression on my tastebuds were the three times I've eaten at the Cheesecake Factory....oh, in the span of about twelve years.

Yeah, it's been awhile.

So this last weekend I hosted a shower for my dear friend pictured in the One-Armed Photo post who is due in the next couple of weeks. Since it was at seven in the evening I thought it would be perfect to serve a cheesecake dessert bar. This basically entails making 36 muffin-sized cups of cheesecake, half with  an Oreo crust and the other half with a graham cracker crust. The "dessert bar" part is bowls filled with five to ten different toppings that people can put on their own little cheesecake.

I absolutely LOVED the cheesecake and will probably never go back to eating the boxed stuff again. I've also saved the recipe to either repeat the idea for another party or just to make a single one. It's good stuff.

Now let me share with you the directions....

Cheesecake Bar

What You Will Need:
  • 2 cup graham wafer crumbs
  • 2 cup Oreo cookie crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar - divided
  • 1 cup butter (divided), melted
  • 5, 250g Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese, at room temperature (this is important!)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 5 eggs
  • 5 or more topping -- see suggestions below
What You Will Do:
  • Bases:
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F - if using small jars (36) place on a cookie sheet. If using muffin tins (regular size) line 36 ups with a liner.
    • Mix graham crumbs with 2 tbsp sugar and then 1/2 cup butter; press 1 tbsp of crumb mixture into half of the jars or cups.
    • Mix Oreo crumbs with 2 tbsp sugar and then remaining 1/2 cup butter; press 1 tbsp of crumb mixture into remaining jars or cups.
    • Bake 10 minutes.
  • Cheesecake:
    • Reduce heat to 325 degrees F.
    • Beat cream cheese in a large bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add during the creaming process to evenly mix into cream cheese.
    • Add sugar, cornstarch and vanilla and continue to mix on medium until well blended. Add sour cream, mix well.
    • Break eggs into a bowl, break yolks and mix together slightly, add to cream cheese mixture with mixer on low speed in a steady stream just until blended.
    • Add 1/4 cup of this mixture to each jar/cup.
    • Bake 23-25 minutes or until center is almost set. Refrigerate 3 hours.
  • Topping Suggestions:
    • Traditional topping -- cooked fruits -- cherry, strawberry, blueberry or a mixture
    • Fresh fruit
    • Jams and preserves
    • Sauces -- chocolate & caramel. Try fruit syrups.
    • Cookie and candy pieces
    • Nuts -- regular, salted or candied
    • Whipped cream
    • Sprinkles
For my toppings I used cherries, raspberries, and strawberries; as well as chocolate, caramel and chopped up Snickers. 

This was fantastic! Enjoy!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

One-Armed Photos...

I don't do selfies.

Since a photo is worth a thousand words, let me just show you why I don't do them...
It never fails. My chin grows to twice it's size, my eyes look like they're ready to bulge out of my head, and my smile is downright creepy.

Now every once in a GREAT while I will attempt one just to see if my ability to take one has changed. One of these rare opportunities came just this last week while I was out to lunch with a dear friend of mine. She's home after being on the road these last few months raising support before her and her family head off to the mission field. She's also just three weeks shy of delivering her third child.

I graciously divulged her craving for cheese dip at our local Mexican restaurant. It was such a sacrifice, let me tell you. The sad thing is I think I ate more than she did...and I'm not even pregnant!!

We finished off our lunch with coffee at Starbucks, another GREAT sacrifice on my part. She wanted a photo of the two of us just to remember our time together.

She tried taking the selfie of us first. It was good but she wanted to try again.

Our heads kept getting lower and lower in the photo which caused much laughter on our part.

And then she handed me her phone.

My attempt turned out to be a picture of the ceiling was that bad.

So that's why in this picture I am making sure my head is in the photo...
Should have kept my chin down. At least this pose hides the double chin.

This photo also brought to our attention that after 20 years of friendship, in which she's always been blonde due to her Swedish heritage, my hair is now blonder than hers.

She also snapped a photo of our little tag along...'s now become one of my favorite photos. Those cheeks are just that kissable.

My, he's getting so big!

So here's to all you who are pros at taking selfies. May your photos be just as memorable as mine.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff...

When I was a little girl I have a vivid memory of a cooking lesson my Mom gave me. We were making a new recipe she found called Beef Stroganoff. Now there were two aspects of this memory that I remember most: 1) there were many ingredients as well as many different steps to this dish and 2) it tasted DE-licious! Creamy, flavorful, mouthwatering are all great adjectives to describe this dish.

Well, I had a craving this week for some of that Beef Stroganoff but due to budget and time restrictions I was really at a loss as to what to do.

Enter Pinterest. Probably never guessed I was going to say that, did you?

I had found a fabulously cheap package of nice stew beef while out grocery shopping the other day so I pulled my cart over into the frozen department, pulled out my iPad, logged in to the in-store wifi, and searched for "Easy Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff."

There are MANY recipes that you could use but I was looking for one that contained ingredients like cream cheese, sour cream, and beef broth. Below was my final creation...tweaked to my family's liking.

My six year old almost licked the plate...ok, so I almost did, too! Enjoy!

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

What You Will Need:
  • 1-2 lbs cube steak or stew beef cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup chopped onion (optional--I did not use this)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 14 oz. can beef broth
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered (optional--I did not use these)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
What You Will Do:
  • Cut the beef into 1/2 pieces and place in bottom of crock pot. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the can of beef broth, cream of mushroom soups, and Worcestershire sauce into the crock pot.
  • Cook on low 4-6 hours.
  • Add more salt and pepper as desired. I added some TexJoy for some added flavor.
  • Stir in sour cream and cream cheese thirty minutes before serving.
  • Serve over cooked egg noodles.
If you get a chance to try come this dish, come back and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Krispy Kreme Groupon Deal...

Yum! Head on over to Groupon to check out this awesome and yummy deal from Krispy Kreme: spend $8.50 for two dozen donuts (a $16.95 value) or spend $19.50 for five dozen donuts (a $42.45 value). Simply click HERE to buy. This offer expires 30 days after purchase with a limit of 10 per person.  It is not valid at any supermarket or convenience stores.

You can also sign up for Krispy Kreme's e-club HERE to receive an additional Original Glazed doughnut for enrolling, plus a free doughnut and small coffee for your birthday!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Our Journey of Love....

You may have seen this idea over on Pinterest before but once I saw this idea for a personalized work of art I just had to try it....
One heart is of the city where the love of my life and I were married; the second, where we spent our honeymoon; and the third, where we first lived.

Now there are different ways you can go about personalizing your own work of art showing your own journey of love. You don't even have to put your hearts in the same frame. One idea pictured had each heart in it's own frame. Another idea was a miniature cut-out of each state and not just the city. Most pictures were of where they met, where they got engaged, and where they were married. For me I needed three different hearts.  So here's how I did it...

To begin I found an old Rand McNally map at a thrift store and using a heart shape cut on a Cricut machine, cut out each city. Once I glued them on to scrapbook paper I wrote beside each heart why they were important and then added our names because it really did look a little bare. The mat and frame were purchased together for $8 at Dollar General.

Have to say this is one of my favorite pictures hanging in the den of our house. It's place of honor? Right next to our wedding photo.

To find more ideas simply check out Love Story Map over on Pinterest.
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