Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year in Review!

This Year In Numbers: 

1 Etsy store opened! Create. Cook. Teach. Etsy has been doing well!

2 Rooms painted in my house- My bedroom and kitchen!

3 Weddings attended! Congratulations to Becka & Jack, Jocelyn & Sean, and Rhien & Emily!

I finished 4 credit hours to bump me up to Masters +15!

Top 5 blog posts of all time: Free Rewards &PBIS, DIY Crate Coffee Table, Fabulous 5th Grade, Back to School Activities, and Spicy Ranch Pretzels

6 races- 3 5K's, 1 mile relay, 3.2 mile relay, and a 10K!

This year marked my 7th year teaching! Where has the time gone?

8 Shellac manicures! I'm kind of addicted! My students even commented when I was between manicures, "Miss Cremer, I've never seen you with out Shellac!"

9 successful veggies in my garden: Cucumbers, Zucchini, Poblano Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, Grape Tomatoes, Serrano Peppers, Grafted Tomatoes, and Paste Tomatoes. (yellow squash and potatoes were a bust this year!)

I vacationed to 10 cities: Sacramento & Napa, CA, Gravois Mills & Shell Knob, MO, Chicago, IL, Las Vegas, NV and you can't forget the happenin' Kansas cities of Dodge City, Wichita, Cedar Point, and McPherson!

Attended a baby shower or sent gifts for 11 babies: Ellis, Jolie, Georgia, Ryder, Gavin, Silas, Scarlett, Ryker & Robin, and Micah & Noah! Yup, 2 sets of twins!

I read at least 12 books, which was my goal! Promise of Stardust was my favorite.

Watched 13 episodes, aka the 1st season of Orange is the New Black faster than I should have!

That was a challenge and took me way too long to do! Now off to do some organizing!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hot Sweet Onion Dip

I hosted our staff holiday party. It was an easy party to throw together, because everyone brought an appetizer and their own drinks! This dip was the favorite of the night! Drue brought it, and said it was easy. I made it to take to a friends house, I agree it's EASY!

1 sweet onion, chopped
8 oz. Hellmann's Mayo (it has to be Hellmann's because the other stuff separates)
8oz shredded cheddar cheese

Mix together, and bake for 20 minutes at 350*. Serve with Fritos Scoops.

Just for fun a few pics of my house set up for the party and the invitation!

I used wrapping paper as the table runner! Thanks Erica for the idea!!

Bottle Buddies

Every year, Shawnee Mission has an American Hero assembly. Students are asked to research and write an essay about their American Hero.  This year, I have a very creative class. They made these cute bottle buddies. They turned out GREAT! Every time I look at them, I see something I didn't notice before.

They are made out of a 2 Liter bottle and a Styrofoam ball for a head. They also make an egg shaped ball, that makes it look a little more realistic.  The bottle needs to be filled with sand, rocks, or water so that it doesn't get knocked over easily.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

White Elephant Ornament Exchange

For our book club this month, we decided to do a handmade/white elephant ornament exchange. 

I was looking for something to turn into an ornament and found these little white light bulbs that I have never used, they were here when I moved in. 

I thought it would make a cute snowman, and it did! For free! I just used sharpies to add the details and tied some ribbon on the top! 

Here are the rest...

Cattle Drive

As part of my birthday gift, my mom treated me to a weekend getaway.  We went to the Flying W ranch in the Flint Hills.  We stayed in a great little cottage, were fed great food, and then went on a 4 hour cattle drive! Here are some Pioneer Woman inspired pics from our trip! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

30th Birthday Wine Tasting

I really wanted to do a wine tasting for my 30th birthday. My friends Megan & Erica were kind enough to host and plan it for me!

Everyone brought a bottle, $15 or less, to share as part of a blind tasting. Megan wrapped and opened the bottles as guests arrived. Then when they were all wrapped, she stuck labels on them with letters. I wish we would have had people stick a label under the hidden label with who brought it and how much it was.

Then we each had these little cards that I made for us to fill out. There was a red version and a white version.

Once it was time for the tasting, we tried a little bit of each wine and ranked it on a 5 point scale.

In the end, our math teacher, added up all of the votes!

The winning bottles!!

Thanks girls for a great night!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Italian Beef Sandwiches

Another crockpot success! I love cooking in the crock pot on Sundays.  This time I made Italian Beef Sandwiches.  These ones were more like the ones I have enjoyed at Portillo's in Chicago. I had made the Pioneer Woman ones before, but the extra spices and chopped Giardiniera made them much better!

2lb chuck roast (serves 5-6)
1 envelope Good Seasons Zesty Italian salad dressing mix
4oz pepperoncini, diced
8oz Giardiniera (Chicago-Style Italian Sandwich Mix) drained* I bought Mild, but want to try the hot!
14.5oz can beef broth
provolone cheese slices
hoagie buns

Place roast in crockpot, sprinkle salad dressing mix.  (Don't forget your crockpot liner!)
Add pepperoncini peppers, Giardiniera, and beef broth.
Place a lid on top then cook on low for 9 hours, or until meat shreds easily with a fork. 
Shred then place meat back into crock pot and cook on low for 1 more hour.
Split buns in half and toast in oven, add cheese and melt.

Add the shredded meat mixture on top. Top with cold Giardiniera.
*The version of Giardiniera I bought was packed in oil, drain it with a fork, before putting in!   

Adapted from: Iowa Girl Eats

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chevron Tree Skirt

Every year, I like to switch my tree up.  I have a bunch of colors of ornaments, and like to buy a few new ones every year to make my tree a theme tree.  This year I went for a red and green theme. I have a few tree skirts, but none of them matched my red and green theme. After a trip to Hobby Lobby in search of a tree skirt, I decided, I wanted to make my own.  I bought red chevron duck cloth and then went on a hunt for green pompom trim.  I ended up finding some at Joann's and had a 60% off coupon! So I think the total cost of my tree skirt was less than $20.

I bought a yard of fabric, but I have a tall and skinny tree. You could do this with more if you had a larger tree.

Then I folded it into a square, and used a pencil as a compass with a piece of leftover fabric.

Then I cut up one slit and cut a small circle out. (I wish I would have gone even smaller!)

Next I folded over the cut and center circle and made a nice edge.

Then, I bought 4 yards of pom-pom trim.  (I did a little bit of math finding the circumference of a circle with a diameter of 36 inches)

I sewed that all the way around!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2nd Annual Soup Swap ~ Tomato Tortellini Soup

This past weekend we had our 2nd annual soup swap! This is the 3rd freezer swap we have had, and we all look forward to them! It is a great way to have a variety of meals ready to go, without having to prep 5 or 6 different ones! 

The night of the swap we all bring our mini crock pots and try them all for dinner! 

This year, I took Tomato Tortellini Soup.  This soup takes 15 minutes to make, and is a perfect winter meal!

2 T. butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
48oz chicken broth
24oz good-quality marinara sauce (I used Newman's Own one time, and Cascones another)
3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
16oz fresh or frozen cheese tortellini

Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. 
Add onion then season with salt and pepper and saute until tender, 3-4 minutes, next add garlic and saute for 30 more seconds.
Add chicken broth, marinara sauce, and fresh basil. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.
Add tortellini to boiling soup then place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium, and then cook until tender (6-8 minutes.)

 To fill up the quart sized baggies, I used a big quart measuring cup, and added it to the frozen tortellini.   I did not cook the tortellini, because I didn't want it to get too soggy.  The heat from the soup will heat it up, and when you cook it after freezing it will cook it as well! 
 I put them all in this basket, not the best idea, they froze to the basket! 

This year we ended up with: 
Taco Soup
Potato and Broccoli
Mexi Corn Chicken Chowder
Tomato Tortellini
Indian Stew

Adapted from: Iowa Girl Eats

Monday, December 9, 2013

Peace, Love, & Santa

Here are this years kiddo Christmas shirts! I wanted to use my new glitter vinyl. The peace sign and santa details are in glitter, and the rest is red flocked vinyl.  The lone boy, Isaiah, got a Ho, Ho, Ho version, with no glitter!

Looking back, I wish I would have done them all in black, because the glitter shows up much better! However, I couldn't find the right sizes in either color! So I had to mix and match.

Beautiful E rockin the onesie!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Winter Signs

All of these signs are available in my Etsy shop! I had fun making them all! It has been so nice to have a few days off to craft!

I got this wood from my aunt.  She bought a new door and it was packaged in this pallet type wood. I saw it and knew that I needed it for signs! I used a variety of techniques to paint these.  Most of the boards started off with a coat of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  A few, I stained with leftover stain from my table project.

Some of them I made stencils, some I free handed, and some I used vinyl.  The Annie Sloan made it easy to distress.  I covered the all paint ones with her wax to add another element.

I also used Silhouettes double sided adhesive and fine glitter to make the HO HO HO sign!