Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Admit One. Ticket Shadow Box


I made this for my friend Emily who LOVES to go to shows of all kinds.  I bought a shadow box at Hobby Lobby.  Then I created this ticket on my Silhouette, using its trace feature.  Next, I cut it out using vinyl, and transferred it onto the glass.  

Then came the "handy man" part.  I drilled a few holes in the top, so I could fit the jigsaw blade into it. I made sure that I was far enough away from the glass, so it wouldn't shatter.  The frame I used had 2 layers of wood, I accidentally broke one off, and it made it much easier. So if I were to make this again, I would do that first! Then it was time for the jigsaw! I tried a few different shapes, but ended up with a long oval.  Finally, I painted it black to hide the slot and filled it with some popcorn and an AMC gift card! I hope she likes it! I can't wait to see it filled up! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas! 

I hope you all enjoy the day with your families! 

Stay tuned for my crafts that I made as gifts, that I couldn't post before Christmas! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Microwave Peanut Brittle


I made this last year as Christmas gifts for my paras and aides.  They raved about it! So I decided to make it again this year! I made 3 batches, in less than an hour.  It is quick and easy and does not require a candy thermometer, oven, or stove.  It is my kind of "baking."


Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup peanuts 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 t. baking soda


Directions: 

In a microwave safe bowl combine the peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, and salt.

Cook in the microwave for 3 minutes. Stir.

Cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the butter and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

Prepare cookie sheet with parchment paper, and have baking soda measured.

Remove from the microwave and add the baking soda stirring until mixed. IT WILL BE VERY HOT!

Working quickly, pour onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

When it is completely cooled break into pieces.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Life Changer. Emay's Salad

My friend Erin sent me this recipe a few months ago.  I decided I should try it. Here are her exact words:

Life changing salad that is. I'm not sure how kosher this is with everyone's various diets BUT it is my new obsession. No real measurements because that's no fun.

Chopped Romaine
Diced red bell pepper
Chopped red onion
Black beans
Corn (I sauteed some corn with cumin until it was a little browned...but grilling corn on the cob then cutting the kernels off would be even more delish!)
Diced tomato
Diced avocado
Toasted chopped walnuts (Add at end for crunch!)
Chopped cilantro


Dressing:
A few tablespoons of EVOO
A few minced garlic cloves (I LOVE garlic and this salad was pretty huge and I think I put in 4...so scale back if you aren't the biggest fan)
Lime Juice
A few dashes of soy sauce (I know, sounds weird, but it works)
Dash of crushed red pepper

SO DELISH!!! I grilled AV some chicken to put on top of his and he loved it. I think some sliced hard boiled eggs would be great as well. 




I cheated a little bit and bought the ingredients I could in the salad bar, so I wouldn't have to chop it all. I changed it a bit too. I added tortilla strips, and took away the walnuts.  I used grape tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes. I grilled chicken with "Arizona Dreamin" spices on it. In honor of her, way down in AZ! I also sprinkled salt and pepper over the salad in the end. It is pretty yummy, and pretty healthy too! 

I also made tortilla soup at the same time with the leftover corn, chicken, and black beans! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

LED vs. Incandescent Lights

We did a neat experiment this week in science.  We compared different kinds of holiday lights and the energy they used. I was blown away by how much less energy the LED lights used.  I didn't realize it was that drastic! They cost more, out of the box, but end up costing less to light up and last longer! They also don't get hot!

We went through the scientific method using a sheet that we have been using for all science experiments. I think my kids finally know how the steps and how to write a hypothesis!!! I provided them the pages suggested by the lesson plan to conduct their research, as well as let them read the box of the lights, and observe the lights. 

Activity Sheet and Directions from The Need Project: http://www.need.org/needpdf/decJanEE1105.pdf (pages 4-6)

Calculator: https://www.dom.com/about/conservation/holiday-calculator.jsp

Finally, we were able to do the experiment! They recorded their data and wrote a conclusion.  After they had their information down, they got to display it in a fun way.  I made light bulbs that had each step of the scientific method on it.  They had to copy their information into a final product.  Then they got to make a construction paper light bulb, and glitter glue the cover and make it fancy! I hung up the LED bulbs around the board.






Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Funnies

Nothin' funny going on here. I just have to remember.... 4 more days!
PS- This is my 100th post! WOW!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese- Quinoa Style!

I am trying really hard these next 2 weeks to use up things in my freezer and pantry.  I started browsing my Pinterest board and found a recipe for Quinoa Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese.  I almost passed it up, because I didn't have any chicken. BUT I did have leftover buffalo chicken that I had made in the crock pot a few weeks ago.  Double whammy! Using up freezer and pantry things! I had to adapt the recipe a bit, but it turned out pretty good. It is supposed to be healthier for you too...



Ingredients:
  • 1-1/4 cups quinoa
  • 2 T flour
  • 1-1/2 cups milk, divided
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup cooked Buffalo Chicken

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350*. Cook quinoa according to package directions and set aside, be sure to rinse and drain it first.
  • Whisk together flour and 1/2 cup milk in a separate saucepan over medium heat, till thick. Pour in remaining 1 cup of milk, and green onions. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to prevent it from burning, then cook for one minute while boiling.
  • Remove the pan from the heat then add in buffalo sauce and cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted then add in cooked quinoa and chicken, and stir to combine.
  • Pour into a non-stick sprayed casserole dish and top with another sprinkle of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Serve with carrots and celery left over from your Christmas Party veggie tray! 
adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Photo Booth

I decided at last minute to make a photo booth for my Christmas party.  I'm so glad I did! I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out a few shapes; I also found a few hats around my house to use as props.  I put up some wrapping paper on the wall, set up the camera on a tripod and it was ready! The pics came out great and it was fun!





I used www.iPiccy.com to make the strips! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Comic Dialogue


We spent a few weeks learning about dialogue in Language Arts.  Quotation marks and characters talking is very hard for my kids! They also like to use SAID a lot! We talked about the rules for quotations and other words we could use instead of said.  Then came the fun part! I let them pick a comic from the Sunday newspaper.  They then had to turn the comic into dialogue, using the rules we talked about.  They could not use the word said! They had fun reading the comics! I have it displayed in the hall and they enjoy reading their friends writings as well!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Spicy Ranch Pretzels

OMG, these are so good! They have a little kick to them, which you can adjust, but the hint of Cayenne makes it! They take a little time in the oven, but are easy to throw together. I think I might be making these this year for some of my co-workers!

Ingredients: 
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (more if you like spice!)
1 package Ranch Dressing mix (I buy this in bulk, 3T = one package)
1 bag of small pretzels

Directions: 
Mix oil, spices, and dressing mix together. 
Place pretzels in a large roasting pan and drizzle oil mixture over pretzels. 
Place in oven at 200* to roast. Stir every 30 minutes for 1 1/2 hours. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Funnies

With my birthday coming up, the kids are really fascinated with my age.  I usually give them the year and make them calculate it.  This year, they think I am already 29, because of the math. However, I still have 6 days left of being 28!

In 1st and 2nd grade, I got age ranges from 11-81.  This conversation is one of my favorites.


Kid - How old are you Miss Cremer?

Me- Guess

Kid- 40, 10, 20, 31, 23, 24, 25!! (higher lower game)

Me- Yes, 25!

Kid- You must weigh 25 pounds too, right?!?!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Italian Beef Sandwiches

Another Sunday Crockpot meal! Throw it in, its ready in time for dinner! Can't get easier!


Ingredients
  • 1 Beef Chuck Roast Whole, 2.5-4 Pounds
  • 1 can Beef Broth
  • 3 T Italian Seasoning, I used Penzeys
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1/4 c Water
  • 1 t Minced Garlic
  • 8 oz Pepperoncini Peppers, With Juice
  • Buttered, Toasted Deli Rolls
  • Provolone Cheese


Directions
Combine first 7 ingredients in crock pot.

Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or until tender with fork.
Butter the deli rolls and toast in the oven. Don't burn, like I did! 

Pile the meat and peppers on the rolls and put the cheese on top.  If needed, put back in the oven to melt the cheese.  Serve with liquids from the meat.

adapted from Pioneer Woman

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Soup Swap

For my "Italy Friends" Christmas Party this year I decided we should do a "Soup Swap."  I did a little research, and sent out this invitation via e-mail:
 Soup Swap  

  1. Make 6 quarts of your favorite soup.  Make the soup a few days ahead to allow time to freeze.  Email us with the type of soup you are making so we will have a good variety.
  2. Label 6 freezer Ziplock bags with the name of soup, date, and any instructions needed to re-heat or garish the soup.
  3. Put 1 quart of soup into each bag, Lay the bags flat in the freezer to make them easier to store.
  4. Bring the recipe and the soups to our party.  One of the bags we will be eating/tasting at the party, so bring it ready to serve in a crockpot with any garnishes. 
  5. Each of us will come home with 5 new soups! You may want to bring a cooler to transport them to and from.  
These are a few tips and tricks I figured out as I was cooking.
  • Quadruple your recipe.  
  • Use a 6 Quart pot
  • Buy freezer quart bags
  • 4 cups = 1 quart
  • find a large measuring cup, or pitcher that can hold 4 cups. Ladle the soup into the measuring cup, and then pour it into the baggies. 
  • Release the air and lay flat. 
  • Lay it flat in a freezer basket or a box. 
  • If everyone lays their soup flat, it will be really easy to store! 
On serving day, everyone brought their soup in a crockpot ready to serve. I found that the small crockpots hold 1.5 quarts which was perfect, but the big ones worked too. I also bought bowls and little ramekins so we could do a soup flight and taste all of them. 
Here are the soups that we had: 


  • Indian Stew 
  • Cheesy Chicken Tortellini 
  • Italian Tortellini


  • **SORRY FOR THE FORMATTING! It did not like me today!**

    Chili 

    Ingredients:
    4.5 pounds ground beef, browned and drained
    2 large yellow (sweet) onions, chopped
         7 large green bell peppers, chopped
        4 celery stalks, chopped
        2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic (I use jarred)
        2 cans Ranch Style Beans, NOT drained (15 ounce cans) -I couldn't find Ranch Style so used Black
        2 cans dark red kidney beans, drained (15 ounce cans)
        2 cans Original Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chili (10 ounce cans)
        2 cans stewed tomatoes (15 ounce cans)
        4 cans plain tomato sauce (15 ounce cans)
        2 packages McCormick Mild Chili Seasoning (1.25 ounce packages)
    Directions:
    1. Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot.*
    2. Simmer for at least three hours (I let mine cook about 5 hours).
    3. Enjoy!

    Naughty Cornbread

    Ingredients:
    • ·      1 yellow cake mix
    • ·      2 Jiffy cornbread mixes
    • ·      Oil, milk, and eggs according to package directions
    Directions:
    Preheat oven according to directions on cake mix box. Combine cake mix and cornbread mixes in a large bowl. Add eggs, oil, and milk according to package directions (replace all water with milk). Mix together according to cake mix directions.

    Veggie Chili

    Ingredients:



    • 2 garlic cloves, minced


      1 large green or red pepper, chopped


      ½ lb. mushrooms, slicked


      ½ cup chopped onion


      2T oil


      1 28oz can crushed tomatoes


      11 15 oz. can tomato sauce


      22 T chili powder


      1 tsp. ground cumin


      2 15 ounce cans kidney beans, drained & rinsed


      1 ½ diced zucchini


      10 oz. pkg corn, thawed


      1 ½ C shredded sharp cheddar, divided


      1 ½ c diced zucchini



      Directions:  
    Cook and stir garlic, peppers, mushrooms and onions in oil 5 minutes or until tender.   Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder and cumin.   Heat to boil.   Reduce heat to low; add beans, zucchini and corn.   Simmer 15 minutes or until tender.   Add 1 cup cheese and stir until melted.   Spoon into serving bowls and top with remaining cheese.   Makes 8 servings.
    *we also eat with rice, sour cream and Fritos!

    Cheesy Chicken Tortellini Soup

     Ingredients:
    • 4 Tbs. butter
    •  1 diced onion
    •  2 diced carrots
    •  2 ribs celery, diced
    •  6 cups water (or chicken broth)- I usually use mixture of both
    •  12 oz. frozen cheese tortellini
    •  4 cups milk
    •  2 cups whipping cream
    •  1 cup Cheez Whiz (8 oz)
    •  4 cups diced, cooked chicken

    Melt butter in lg pot. Add veggies and saute. Add water (or broth) and bring to boil. Add tortellini and cook until tender. Reduce heat- add milk, whipping cream, Cheez whiz, and chicken. Stir constantly over low heat until cheese is melted. Simmer on low until heated through.
    I doubled the recipe for our soup swap.

    POTATO BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP

    Ingredients:
    • 1 1/4 lbs. (about 4 med.) potatoes
    • 1 tbsp. butter
    • 1 c. chopped onion
    • 2 1/2 c. boiling chicken stock
    • 1 1/2 c. broccoli florets, cooked tender-crisp or 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen broccoli cuts
    • 1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
    • 1 tbsp. sour cream
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    Directions:
    Peel potatoes and cut into 3/4 inch cubes; set aside. In a 2 to 3 quart saucepan, melt butter. Add onion and saute 5 minutes. Add potatoes and chicken stock. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook just until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
    Pour contents of saucepan into the container of a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth; return to saucepan. Add broccoli. Over medium heat, gradually add cheese, stirring until heated through and cheese is completely melted. Stir in sour cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 4.
    As a last step I added two packages of bacon that I had made into "bacon bits" to make it more of a loaded baked potato soup. I also would recommend using sharp cheddar. I accidentally grabbed mild and the soup felt like it needed something more.

    Tortellini Soup with Chunky Tomatoes and Spinach
    Yields 3 to 4 servings

    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    4 to 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
    1 can (14.5 ounces) low sodium diced tomatoes, including juices
    9-10 ounces tortellini (fresh or frozen), any variety
    1 1/2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
    10 ounces fresh or frozen spinach, chopped (if frozen, thaw and squeeze out excess moisture)
    Salt and Pepper, to taste
    1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

    1. In a dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Saute onion for 5-7 minutes, or until translucent.  Add garlic, and saute for 1 minute.
    2. Add broth and tomatoes.  Turn heat to high, cover and bring to a boil.
    3. Add tortellini and cook according to package instructions. 
    4. Within the last minute of cooking the tortellini, stir in Italian herb seasoning, crushed red pepper and spinach.  Taste, and add salt and pepper seasoning, as desired.  
    5. Serve immediately, garnishing each bowl with Parmesan cheese.

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    Baby Burp Cloths

    These are such a quick and easy gift to make for an expecting mom.  You can personalize them however you want, and there are so many cute fabrics out there to use too! They come in very handy! I have given a few as gifts, and they come back asking for more. So this time I set Erin up with 7! 

    First of all you want the flat fold diapers, not the gauze pre-fold ones, I have made that mistake before! Be sure to wash them first, they will shrink a lot.  If you don't wash them, the fabric will not lie flat on the diaper.  Next, cut rectangles that fit a little longer than the diaper.  Iron an edge around the whole rectangle.  Sew onto diaper.  I use white bobbin, thread, so that it doesn't show up.  

    I also sewed ribbon down the seams of the diaper for a few of them.  
    In the past, I have left the edges fringed too! It makes for an even simpler project.  

    The final step is to fold them and tie them up cute !

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

    Crock Pot - Pot Roast

    I love using my crock pot! Especially on days when I don't want to cook. This recipe was intended for a dutch oven, but I don't have one, so I adapted it for my crock pot! I was a little nervous at first, but it worked!


    Ingredients:
    1 whole 3-4 pounds Chuck Roast
    2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    2 whole Onions
    1 small bag of baby carrots
    Salt To Taste
    Pepper To Taste
    1 cup Red Wine
    2 cups Cups Beef Stock
    3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, or more to taste


    Directions:

    Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Then add a drizzle of olive oil to the bottom.

    Cut two onions in half.

    When the oil in the pot is very hot , add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Throw onions into crock pot/

    Next, put the carrots in, brown them for about 1 minute. When finished, add to crock pot.

    Salt and pepper the meat'. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Add to crock pot.

    With the burner still on high, 1 cup of red wine to deglaze the pan. Pour over roast in crock pot.

    Cover with 2-3 cups of beef broth or stock. You may need to stir up the pot, so that the liquid is covering the meat. Add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary on top.

    Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or until the meat will fall apart! Serve with Roasted Parmesan Potatoes!




    Adapted from: The Pioneer Woman

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    I Love Santa


    I made these cute little shirts using my Silhouette machine.  I just bought the heavy duty Wonder Under and then used my machine to cut out the shapes.  Then I ironed it all on! You can't get easier than that! I can't wait to see the kiddos sporting these! 
    Baby Reece ready to go see Santa!

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

    I needed a quick and easy side dish to go with my roast. This is what I came up with! They were SOO good, and I had everything on hand!

    Ingredients: 

    4 potatoes, cut in quarters (I used baking potatoes, but could use red)
    1t. Italian seasoning
    1t. garlic powder
    1t. garlic salt
    1 clove minced garlic
    1 tsp. salt
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    Sprinkle of pepper
    Olive oil

    Directions: 
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
    Wash and cut potatoes into quarters 
    In a bowl, place your potatoes and drizzle with olive oil.  
    Add seasoning, cheese, and garlic. 
    Toss until coated well. 
    Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with Pam.  
    Spread out potatoes on baking sheet, making sure that they are not on top of each other. You want them to get nice and crispy! 
    Bake 20 minutes, and give them a stir. 
    Bake and additional 20 minutes, or until they are crispy! 

    Monday, November 26, 2012

    Personalized Stationary



    I had each child draw their face and write their name.  I taped it all together and made a class stationary! I copy it and have the children write thank you notes to people who have helped our class with events or field trips! Now if only I could get them to write a friendly letter correctly every time! :) 


    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    NOEL


    Love how this turned out! I bought the N, O, and E at Hobby Lobby.  The O is actually a small candle holder.  I made the L out of scrap barn wood from my Mom's house.  I just cut 2 pieces and glued them together. I can change it to spell LOVE for Valentine's Day by adding a V! 

    Thursday, November 22, 2012

    Tis the Season

    This year I got a little anxious and set up my tree before Thanksgiving. Ever since I was younger I liked having a matching tree. My mom likes the hodgepodge look, but I am all for matchy-matchy.  I have had pink trees, blue and white trees, red and green trees, and this year I decided to tone it down and go more neutral.

    I got a new tree this year, a find from my grandma's basement! It is much taller than my old one, which means more room to decorate.  I bought 3 new shape ornaments, and a few more gold balls.  I also bought burlap ribbon and burlap to make my tree skirt.  I plan on making a few burlap ornaments too! Stay tuned!

    To make the tree skirt, I used my old one to use as a pattern. I just cut it out along the lines. I may add a ruffle to it if I have time!












    http://www.kellyskornerblog.com/2012/12/2012-christmas-tour-of-homes.html



    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    Farmhouse Table- Part 1

    When Erica moved out, I was left kitchen table-less.  I needed a new table, but didn't want to spend $1,000 on a table at Pottery Barn. I wanted a farmhouse table.  I decided I was going to build it.  I looked online and found a bunch of designs that I liked. I found a few that we would need to build from scratch. I also found a few that used an old table and just built the top.  I was at Salvation Army looking for a lamp, and found this table.  It was $70 and had 4 chairs.  I called Kent, sent him a text of the table, and he said yes. Do it. It would save us a lot of time. So I had my friend Megan come help me load up the table and chairs.  The table fit perfectly in my car!







     I unscrewed the top and was left with this.  So we measured and planned, and went to Lowe's to buy wood.  We "made the table" in the store and made sure we had flat boards that would fit well together and look nice.



     The corners were a little unstable, so we used some scrap wood and made the corner supports.

    We built some supports for across the table.  We screwed them in every 12 inches.

     Matt helped me cut the boards to my measurements.  Then it was finally time to screw them in! We started in the middle. We screwed them in using self drilling screws and screwed them into each support.




     We screwed some of them from the bottom, with the table upside down to make it easier to see!
    Then it was time to plane and sand.  We were a little nervous about getting the table flat and smooth. But this tool did some magical numbers! I found it in my parent's basement. It is old, but it did the job!



    We sanded and sanded some more.  However, the end boards didn't line up perfectly.  We needed to even it out so that the end boards would fit nicely.



     We lined up a board and clamped it. Then sawed off the edges to make it line up perfectly.
    We added the final boards on. They were a little wobbly, so we used the nail gun to secure these boards.  We sanded and used the planer again.  FINALLY it was ready to stain!! I used some tacky cloth and the leaf blower to blow all of the little sawdust off.