Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Simple Sweets for Teacher Appreciation

An awesome teacher can make ALL the
difference in a child's school experience.
I know that all too well.

When Sara was in first grade...the teacher said she was
a daydreamer and if she didn't learn to focus
she'd never be successful in school.
In first grade, people!

Did she know my kid?
My kid was smart...she was special. 

 I know, as parents, we all believe
our children to be special.

Because they are.

We don't want anyone to tell us differently.
But we're talking about a child who, from the age of three,
would go somewhere {a friend's home, church, public places}
and start rearranging items by size and color
because she was compelled to organize them.

My problem with this teacher was not that
she said this, but that she ONLY said this.
She didn't offer solutions or suggestions.
Thankfully, the school year was almost over.

In second grade, she met Ms. Chacon...the world's best teacher.

She looked at Sara and said...this child is bored...
she's not a daydreamer...
she just needs more work to do
and something to challenge her.
And that realization changed everything.

I'm not saying this teacher was a bad teacher...
I'm not sure how I feel about that.

What I do know...
teachers have a tough job and
sometimes they're just wrong.

They need all the support they can get
and a little appreciation goes a long way.

I've seen all the cute printable and fun teacher
gift ideas floating around the interwebs.

I love them all...but I never really had the time for that.

I believe a simple sweet gesture says Thank You
just as much...and they get to eat it.

Here I've included what we've done the last few years.

At the top were Pink Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
Sorry...I don't know if that's the actual recipe I used.
I used a small flower cutter on some rolled fondant and wrote
Thank You with an edible food color marker.

Did you catch that perfect packaging for portable cake?
Drop your cupcakes into a plastic punch cup...
wrap in a cellophane bag...tie a fork on with a ribbon.

Voila!  Cake to go!

One year we just did decorated cookies...
individually wrapped and tied.

Those are No Fail Sugar Cookies with some buttercream {with real vanilla}
and fondant rolled and cut with the same shape cutters.
Yes, these took some time...but I also made some cookie
bouquets for Mother's Day at the same time.

These cookies are great at keeping their shape.
And they're yummy, too.
More buttery than sugar cookies usually are...
which is a good thing in my book!

Then more cupcakes...in school colors...
with some awesome edible gold star glitter.
I didn't add the forks this time.
These were just triple chocolate fudge.

So, even if you don't have time to make a bunch of
super cute supermom individual teacher gifts...
don't forget to say Thank You to the teachers
and principals in your child's life.

Cookies (even simple chocolate chip),
cupcakes, a handwritten note...
Heck...I can think of 5 blogs off the top of
my head that have some cute printables!

See you next time!

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Today I am sharing a recipe I actually made quite some
time ago and never got around to posting about.

As a matter of fact, I can't tell you exactly when I made them.

But believe you me, I certainly remember
just how scrumptious they were!

I first saw the recipe in an email from Bakerella,
but as it turns out...she got it from Martha Stewart.

Who knows where SHE got it from. :)

As you can see from the top picture above...
you will make an epic mess making these cookies.

Trust me...they're worth it.

They even package well for giving to awesome
neighbors who let you borrow stuff!

Then they tell you things like:
well, if I'm gonna get cookies whenever you
borrow something...take whatever you want!

The ingredients are listed as in the original recipe...
you can see where I made a note of anything I changed.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled {I used semi-sweet}
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature {I used salted}
  • 1 1/3 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for rolling

1.Heat oven to 350 degrees. Chop chocolate into small chunks, and melt in a double boiler or in the microwave. Set aside to cool.

2.Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

3.In a separate mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add melted chocolate. With mixer on low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk until just combined.

4. {I don't think I did this next part...knowing me, I probably stuck the whole mixing bowl in the fridge for 45 minutes to an hour.  Impatience at its best.} Divide the dough into quarters, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.

5. Using your hands, roll the dough into balls about an inch or so wide.  If dough starts to get too soft or warm...stick back in fridge to chill. Roll balls in confectioners’ sugar again to coat completely.

6.Place the cookies 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake until cookies have flattened and the sugar cracks, 12 to15 minutes.

7.Transfer from oven to a wire rack to let cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Remember...it's nice to share. But I won't tell if you don't.

Have I convinced you to add some
chocolate cookies to your life?
You will thank me...I know it.

Leaving a trail of crumbs here:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Help Me ~ I'm A Plant Killer

I don't mean to be.
I didn't set out to commit floricide.

It just happens.

For Valentine's Day my husband got me this beautiful Calla Lily.
I hearted it a whole bunch.

I did all the things it said on the little plastic
thingy that was stuck in the pot.

It was in a nice, bright spot.
I kept the soil moist but not soggy.

But now it looks like this:

The flowers don't turn colors and they usually shrivel up.
It looks horrible.

So...what did I do wrong?

Can any of you with a super green thumb help a girl out?

I do okay with my outdoor plants and flowers...
but apparently wasn't cut out for indoor greenery.
And I LoOoOoOve indoor flowers.

Thanks for any advice you can give!

Seeking "professional" help here:

The 36th Avenue

Friday, April 12, 2013

Mailbox Makeover Mania

Well, hellooo.
Hee Hee.
For some reason I was hearing that in my head like Mrs. Doubtfire.

Anyway...I don't know if you could truly call it mania,
or even a mailbox for that matter.
But it is a makeover...so it sorta counts.

This is a little project I finished up recently in my
ongoing quest to lighten up the living room.

Would you believe this  used to look like this ?
{pay no mind to our old beater jeep I often use to paint things on...including glitter :)}

I picked it up for a couple bucks at a thrift store.
I had originally intended to use it in my laundry room.

It was pretty nasty, so I cleaned it up really well,
then primered it.

Then I decided I didn't really like the whateveryoucallit
on the bottom...so I removed it with some trusty pliers.

I had to file down the rough weld spots,
then used some more primer.

To add some textural interest, I picked up this
decorative wood piece at Michael's.

I just glued it directly to the front of the box.

I knew I was going to distress it all once I painted it,
so just added black paint to the wood piece.

The whole thing got painted with homemade
chalk paint and then distressed lightly.

I added a coat of spray poly and called it done.

Now it graces this corner of my living room...
which used to look totally different.

Those picture frames got painted, too.

It took me soooo long to figure out what I was doing in this corner.
I love that this piece begged to go there.

The fleur de lis came from Hobby Lobby.
The paper script flowers and piece of ribbon
came from a local decor shop.

The curtains I made...someday when I get the
whole room finished, I'll show you how. :)

I am finally loving this corner.

However, this is how it usually looks...
this is her favorite spot.
I think she thinks that chair is hers and hers alone.

So here's my question...
what's the longest time it's taken
you to finish redecorating a room?

I got the slipcover for my sofa last October...
so that's when I officially started.
Maybe I'll finish before this October. :)

Have a fabulous weekend!

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Waxing Your......Mirror?

You can wax poetic...
you can wax philosophical...
you can be a waxing gibbous...
well, maybe.

But have you ever waxed your mirror?

I haven't used glass cleaner on this mirror for 3 months.
Yep...you read that right.

No, these pictures are NOT from 3 months ago.

The week of New Year's my husband was off work.
Not me...I had to work.

Anyway...I asked him to clean the bathroom.
I came home one day and discovered that the
bathroom mirror was all pasty-looking.

I said ~ What are you doing?
He said ~ I read this idea somewhere
and wanted to give it a try.

Well, he had applied CAR WAX to the mirror and
was allowing it to dry before buffing it off.

Sound crazy?
I thought so.

But now I could sing along with the Monkees...
{Okay...so I totally love the Monkees...don't judge}

{This is the wax he used...it's what we had...
he said the article just said to use a good quality wax.
He doesn't remember exactly where he read it.}

Once he buffed off the wax...
the mirror was so clean...and TOTALLY streak free!

He also applied it to the sink basins and counter top.
He wanted to test the results there also.

The sink was much easier to clean a few times...
but since it gets a lot more water usage, the wax eventually wears off.

The counter was the same way in the high use spots.
But it looked awesomely shiny for a while.
{to see how I painted this counter top and framed the mirror click here}

Now, to clean the mirror, I usually just rub it with a clean cloth.
If I need a little extra umph...I'll dampen the cloth slightly
then wipe it with a dry section.

It's really easy to keep it clean and streak free...
and that's saying a lot since although he is a rock star
when it comes to cleaning the mirror...
He's also VERY good at splashing water all over it.

How about you~
have you ever heard about doing this to your mirrors?
Are you gonna give it a try?
I think with results like this, we're gonna
try it out on the inside of the glass shower door.
Couldn't hurt, right?
 Have a fantastic weekend!

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