Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Dream Reallized!

For our anniversary in October Ben bought me a lovely KitchenAid stand mixer at the local Target. Now, I've wanted one of these bad boys for AGES and I was so excited that all my (not so subtle) hinting had finally paid off! There was just one problem; the mixer he bought was white. I fully realize and acknowledge that in the grand scheme of things color shouldn't count because it doesn't change how something functions but what can I say, I wanted color! In all the time I've dreamed about owning my very own KitchenAid, I never once imagined a white one. Ben was his awesome self and didn't care if I returned the one he purchased if it meant I'd get the exact mixer I wanted. These is why I keep the man around! **Mwah, shmoop!** So I took the mixer back to Target and looked through the colors they had and was disappointed; it was the standard red, black, chrome which along with white were colors I wasn't interested in. There was a bright side to their not having a color I wanted... a gift card which I used to buy our Christmas tree and dresser (which Ben is attempting to assemble as I type!).

I looked online for several more weeks and didn't see what I liked for a price that I was okay with paying. Then QVC came in and saved the day! My mom is slightly addicted to the Q and has converted me as well; I find myself checking out their inventory especially for kitchen items and very rarely do I NOT find something I can't live without! About a month ago they had the KitchenAid Pro Version of the mixer on sale for a fab price and 6 easy pay (I love being able to spread the payment out), but best of all they had the color I'd been drooling over for months... tangerine. So without hesitation I placed my order and a week later this little beauty showed up at my door!

I was so excited that I could get her out of the box fast enough! Ben was pleasantly surprised with the color, but it's Florida Gators orange so I knew he would be! I had the perfect spot on my counter all picked out and don't ya know... she fits perfectly.

I like to imagine that the mixer and my awesome Kuerig (another fabulous Ben present) have long conversations about how happy they make me. I haven't used her as yet but I have all sorts of fabulous holiday recipes that I plan on whipping up and this mixer will save me so much work.

So dear readers, what should I make first? I was thinking about the chocolate peppermint crunch cookies I posted yesterday in my Edible Pinterest post. For those of you with a KitchenAid, what do you LOVE to make?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pinterest Craft Ideas (Edible Edition) and my 1st Link Up!

Yesterday, I shared some of the awesome Christmas crafts I've fallen in love with thanks to that pesky Pinterest. Today, I thought I'd share some more goodies but this time I'm going to focus on the edible! Without fail, the first thing I go to when I log-in to Pinterest is check out all the deliciousness on the Food & Drink page. I end up pinning a dozen things swearing I'll make them and when I do (which is maybe once out of every 10 recipes) they're amazing!

As you'll see shortly, I LOVE the combination of chocolate and peppermint! These flavors meld together is just such an absolutely perfect way. What I've never understand is society's insane instance on relegating peppermint goodness to the holidays! When I discovered that Coffee Mate had (finally) decided to sell their peppermint mocha coffee creamer year round I'm pretty sure I jumped up and down and giggled... a lot!

How could you not want to eat these?!?
These cookies look so amazing that I cannot wait to make a batch! Jaclyn over at Cooking Classy is the mastermind behind these Brownie Peppermint Cookies. The recipe is super simple and yields 3 dozen cookies.

Perfect for all of my cocoa loving co-workers!
I love the folks I work with but being a teacher means a lot of co-workers and a tight budget. That's why I love giving homemade gifts; I get to be crafty and thrifty at the same time! Plus, I've always thought there's something about a homemade present that is just so much more personal than running out and buying a bunch of random little trinkets. This peppermint hot cocoa recipe from My Recipes is just the ticket! And hello... how cute is it in a mason jar!

I. Want. These. Now!
I've been dying to make homemade marshmellows for awhile now but I keep finding myself supremely intimidated! Today I came across this recipe for homemade peppermint marshmellows at Jen's recipe is straight forward and looks really easy to follow. Once I get my hands on a candy thermometer I will definitely take a crack at these bad boys. I can already imagine them melting away in a cup of hot cocoa!
Would eating a peppermint mocha cupcake while drinking a peppermint mocha be overkill?
A wise woman once said "You can't buy love but you can buy cupcakes and that's about the same thing". And with these peppermint mocha cupcakes I think love is right around the corner. Naomi at Bakers Royale (which I just discovered and am obsessed with) took her inspiration from my all time favorite Starbucks beverage. You get it all in this little powerhouse; coffee, chocolate, peppermint and frosting. Hello perfection!

These are too cute and I know they'd be delicious!
Apples are one of my favorite things in the world and as far as I'm concerned the world would be a better place if we all ate more apples. Now I realize apple drinks, especially warm apple drinks are associated more with Thanksgiving than Christmas but I'm a rebel and hopelessly devoted to apples.  To re-create these darling drinks you'll want to prepare your favorite apple cider; I love the idea of making a big batch in your crock pot and filling your home with that incredible smell. Then  you'll need to hollow out your apples, be careful with your knife and enjoy using a melon baller! Finally, fill the apple cups with your  apple cider concoction.  Thanks to Jamielyn at I {heart} Nap Time for tracking this gem down and sharing it with the world!

As a side note, stop by my awesome cousin Sarah's blog for a fabulous Sunday Funday link up party! I'm going in for the very first time; I feel like a real life blogger!

Pinterest Craft Ideas (Christmas Edition)


Pinterest is my favorite website ever! If that hasn't been made clear by now then you just have been paying attention! You can find anything and everything on Pinterest; heck you can find things you didn't know you were looking for but without which your life will never really be complete! Several weeks ago they proved their genius and added a "holidays" board and man alive has it been a wealth of inspiration for me. I thought I'd share some of the most fabulous things I've found thus far (yeah, that's right; I just dropped a thus) to help those who might not have found their holiday spirit just yet.

First up are these totally amazing glitter trees from the crafty girls over at Eighteen25. I love how simple these are to make. You take the cone floral forms (in whatever heights your heart desires) and coat them with spray adhesive. Once that's done all that's left is to cover the forms with glitter and repeat till thoroughly coated. I love that they used forms in varying heights as it adds depth and dimension and their color choices are spot on! That teal is so unbelievably gorgeous that I can't stand it! You can also find that adorable print (the true centerpiece of the photo) on their site as well; and get this... it's a free printable! The girls at Eighteen25 are just that cool. I fully intend on making these (minus the stands) tomorrow.

Anyone else dying over this mantle display?

Next up is something I don't think I'd ever have the nerve or patience to attempt but that reminds me of some many people I love. Plus, it's just so ridiculously cool! I give to you a Christmas tree made out of... books!!!! Patti over at Pandora's Box spotted this insane tree at her local Anthropologie which makes total sense because this is what those crazy folks do! If you're not familiar with Anthropologie consider yourself lucky; this site sells gorgeous clothes, bed linens and home decor goods that you would kill to have but at prices that make you (well me anyway) want to cry.
If only I had this many books!
Keeping with the tree theme, look what the marvelous Jen and her friends, over at Tater Tots and Jello whipped up! How cute are these cupcake liner trees!?! Uh, maybe so cute I literally ahhhed out loud when I first saw them! All you need to create your own trees is some 12x12 card stock, seasonal cupcake liners and tape! For (really easy to follow) step by step instructions pop on over to Tater Tots and Jello!
I am in LOVE with the cupcake liners the girls used. Too perfect!
I love my tree this year but every time I look at it I feel like something is missing and that something is a tree skirt. But not just any old tree skirt will do, I want one with charm and character. Unfortunately, those are really hard to find at the store without forking over a crazy amount of money. Thankfully, during one of the many hours I spent on Pinterest while home sick the last few days, I found this beauty... a no sew (can I get an AMEN) ruffled tree skirt. Chantel at Done Over Decor used a tree skirt she saw, on where else but Pinterest, as her inspiration. She used leftover fabric, burlap purchased at Wal-Mart and her trusty glue gun to cover up her old tree skirt. She's got great instructions for how to make your own at her site. Check it out!!!
Charming, clever, adorable
The last craft I'm going to share in this post brings me joy; pure and simple! I love how versatile you can be with this project; you can use wooden or papier mache letters and cover them with paint, glitter, fabric or scrapbooking paper. For the O you can re-purpose a jingle wreath (love those things in a way that is just so wrong) or create an awesome ornament wreath. No matter how you approach this, you're going to end up with something, well joyous! Kristina (whose work can be found at her Etsy shop) is incredible for dreaming this up. She's got some fabulous stuff in her shop, Something2beSaid, so take a few minutes and check her out!
Joy, it's one of my favorite words!
So many cute things and not nearly enough time to make them all! I hope you've seen something that puts you in the holiday spirit and maybe gives you that little push you need to be creative this season. I have some many other things that I can't wait to share with you so stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mount Rushmore

Over Thanksgiving break Ben and I took a marathon road trip to North Dakota and back. I get it, believe me I do, not many people would get super excited about going to North Dakota but I was thrilled! First, I was stoked to cross it off my States to Visit list (ha ha, beat ya Dad!) and second, I happy to finally get to see where Ben grew up. He sees my hometown every day so it was great to turn the tables on him. On our way out to NoDak we stopped to visit some friends in Bozeman, MT (where is was INSANELY cold) and Deadwood, South Dakota (another state crossed off the list, woot!). We got into Deadwood late and didn't get much of a chance to sight see but from what I could tell, they like their bars, casinos and Christmas lights! But before we hit Deadwood we made a stop; one I'd been looking forward to for ages!

Now, I am a history teacher, which means I nerd out big time over things that most people find not at all or only mildly interesting. Ben knows this about me and on our never ending road trip he was kind enough to indulge one of my long time history nerd wishes and drove (only slightly) out of the way so that I could see Mt. Rushmore!

As soon as you turn into the parking area you've got a great view of The Rush as I've referred to it in class; makes it seem way cooler which makes me seem way cooler! Once you enter the park (and get past the rest rooms, cafe and gift shop) you walk through a kind of archway lined with all 50 state flags. It took us a few minutes but we realized that the flags were in alphabetical order. I thought this was a really fun and interesting touch.
The flag archway.

The view from the upper deck of the observatory. They had those old timey coin operated viewing machines to get an even better close up but we didn't have any coins on us!!!
I have to admit that I was expecting something bigger. I guess all those up close pictures I've seen over the years distorted my expectations. Nevertheless, Mt. Rushmore is still really impressive! Standing in front of the presidents I found myself a little overwhelmed at all the time, thought and effort that went into crafty this monument. It really is a feat of human ingenuity, determination and perseverance.
George's is looking pretty good!
In 8th grade we study American history from the time of colonies up till Reconstruction after the Civil War. One of the resources I use in class is a great mini-series that the History Channel did last year called America: The Story of US. It is an absolutely fabulous look at our country's history from the earliest colonies through modern day. If you haven't seen it I urge to watch it and soon!

Poor Abe, so streaky compared to the others. But I found that kind of fitting what with his upbringing.
Anyway, in one of the episodes (the title of it escapes me at the moment) they detail the creation of Mt. Rushmore and wow is it wild! Men in harnesses dangled down the side of the mountain and drilled holes into the rock, then they shoved sticks of dynamite into the holes and scampered away hoping to be out of range before thing blew up. While this totally makes sense giving the methods available at the time it's still crazy to watch and ever crazier to think that people risked life and limb to carve the faces of our presidents into the side of a mountain!!!
I love Teddy's glasses and 'stache! It's all about the details, right?!?
I think what struck me most of all about Mt. Rushmore was how wonderfully close the carved faces were to those of the real man. You won't get exact perfection but the likenesses are just so dead on. The skill and precision it takes to accomplish something like is wicked impressive (to paraphrase one of my favorite history teachers, Mrs. Lise Pinkham).

Even though it wasn't quite what I'd expected I was still awe-struck by Mount Rushmore and am so glad that Ben likes me enough to so seriously indulge my nerdiness. I doubt he'll read this but if by chance you wander by kind sir, thank you again!

So here it is; question time! Have you ever been to The Rush? If so what were your impressions of it? What other national monuments have you visited and which ones stick out the most to you?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy Holidays

So... hi there folks. Long time, no blog. Now, if you'll be so kind as to indulge me I'm going to breeze right over the fact that I haven't posted anything in 3 months, saving the reasons why for another time. Instead I'm going to talk about pretty, pretty Christmas lights and decorations!

Over the weekend I finally worked up the motivation to pull out the ONE tote of Christmas decorations I'd had stored in my  parent's garage and sort through my goodies. Unfortunately, during it's time in the garage my tote was kind enough to play host to a mouse... who left me lots of little presents. How very "tis the season" of him. Luckily most of my stuff made it through the hibernation just fine. After a another trip to my parent's to pick out some of my ornaments and grabbing the rest of my totes from the storage unit I was ready to rock and roll. Or at least decorate!

The little snowman and gingerbread house are actually a salt and pepper shaker set!!!
I love decorating for the holidays. The lights, the snowmen, the trees; they always brings a smile to my face even when I'm in a terrible mood. I find such joy in going through all the holiday treasures I've acquired over the years and finding just the right spot for them. Over the last few years I haven't been able to decorate as much as I would have liked because my living spaces have been so tiny so I've been totally jazzed about gussying up the new place.

I might have a slight snowman addiction!
I think one of my favorite things this year was putting up our tree. I've had trees before but they were always little things, and usually consisted of metal wires and jingle bells. But this year I splurged and bought a 6 1/2 foot pre-lit tree at Target. I got some classic green and red glass ornaments and silver tinsle to go with the Coca-Cola ornaments we picked up in Minnesota when we stopped by to visit Ben's grandparents.

Not normally a tinsel girl but this year I'm really feeling it!
One tree might be enough for most people but let's be honest, I'm not most people so I'll have two trees thank you very much! I feel in love with this little neon green tree and super bright ornaments several years ago when a normal sized tree just wouldn't work. I set this up in what Ben affectionately refers to at the "man" room but since he hasn't taken ownership (e.g. put his darn posters up) I staked my claim! He acts like he hates the tree because it obscures the tv from his usual spot on the couch but he hasn't moved it yet so I'm calling his bluff!

Mini tree and yet another snowman... told you I had a problem!
When Ben and I moved into the house in July, I made what some called a "questionable" decision and put my massive dresser in the dining room to use as a buffet. Well friends, that questionable decision turned out to be genius because I'm able to display even more of my lovely holiday treasures! Oh and some totally adorable (if not a bit out of date) pictures of little E!!!

How adorable is little Evan?
Yup, even more Evan! And a musical Coca-Cola Santa!!!

I thought about swapping out my puppy poster but I love it too much! Plus the red adds a little something, don't ya think?
Ben, or my little Grinch as I've refered to him on occasion, was adament about not helping me put up the decorations because (and I quote) "if you put them up you just have to take them down!" Despite his bravado, Ben was a huge help in putting up our newly acquired Christmas village. Though his helpfulness might have something to do with the village being his and what not... Oh well, he's tall and can reach heights that even a chair cannot help me achieve!

When we were sorting through all the village pieces I came across the Drive In below and knew it had to come home with us. *Favorite Holiday Tradition Alert* When I was growing up, Mom made us watch White Christmas, and horror of horrors, sing along! I'm not going to lie but I used to dread it; however as I've grown older I realize what an awesome tradition it is and how much I enjoy watching the movie and singing along. Having the White Christmas Drive In is just so fantastic and will be a forever reminder of Mom and our tradition!

Snow, snow, snow, snow....

Letters from the (L)edge
 I'm not 100% finished but I really love coming home, snuggling up on the couch and just staring at all the pretty, pretty lights!

So my loves, what was your favorite holiday tradition growing? Is there a tradition you've carried into adulthood? Share please!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Baby did a bad, bad thing!

Several months ago I blogged about my failed attempt at making Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies. I have to say I was really bummed when they didn't work out because in my mind they were going to be EPIC and would transform me into some sort of kitchen diva! After the whole debacle I decided to step away from the stuffed cookie thing for awhile but today the urge struck. I was overwhelmed by the desire, nay, the need to make some sort of baked good stuffed with Oreo deliciousness so I headed over to my newest obsession, Pinterest, for some inspiration. I found the following, I made the following, I ate the following and I will be taking the following to school tomorrow!

All the images *as well as the basic recipe* were taken from, because I'm lame and left my camera at school. I attempted to capture a few shots on my phone but yeah, not so much! Amanda's site has lots of great recipes and photography, so you should take a few minutes and check it out!

So without further ado, here is what I found myself making this afternoon!! Chocolate Chip Cookie and Oreo Fudge Brownies!!!

How incredible do these bad boys look? They combine three of my favorite desserts so you know they're going to be fabulous! Thanks Amanda!!!
To get the ball rolling you need to make some chocolate chip cookie dough. I used the Nestle Tollhouse recipe because it is my favorite. Once the dough is ready get out a 9x13 pan and line it with wax paper; this will make removal from the pan so much easier. When the pan is lined, pour in the dough and spread it out so it covers the bottom of the pan like such...
Step 1: Cookie dough crust

Next, top the cookie dough with several rows of Oreos...
Step 2: Layer Oreos over the cookie dough
Whip up some brownie batter, according to the package directions and pour over the Oreos...
Step 3: Pour brownie batter over the Oreos.
Spread the brownie batter evenly over the Oreos. In her recipe, Amanda was very daring and added 1/4 cup of hot fudge sauce to the batter...
Step 4: Evenly spread the brownie batter over the Oreos and bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes

Bake these at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. These are likely to be some of the longest 45 minutes of your life but your patience will be rewarded with these...

I ate one and it was FABULOUS!!! These are definitely not something that you can keep just laying around the house so I plan on taking them to school and sharing the deliciousness with my co-workers.

If you make these I promise you won't regret it one bit! I do suggest that you wait for a time when you know you'll have a ton of people coming over otherwise you'll eat them all yourself and that would be a bad, bad thing!

***This is obviously a lighthearted and frivolous post on what is a very somber day for our country. I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who acted so bravely and heroically on September 11, 2001 and to all the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country in the days since. I'm a extremely grateful for your service and pray for your speedy return home! May you and your families be blessed!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pinterest Craft Ideas (Autumn Edition #1)

Pinterest. I've mentioned this super addictive site several times in my last few blogs and I'm going to mention it again today. A lot.Because I love it. I love it more than my luggage *said in a southern accent a la Steel Magnolias*

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the awesomeness that is Pinterest, allow me to fill you in. Pinterest is a virtual pin board that allows you to find, organize and share all sorts of fabulous things from craft ideas, recipes, home decor and even entire outfits! It is a complete time suck BUT you walk away with great ideas and a ton of motivation and inspiration. Here are a few Autumn draft projects I'd love to tackle in the next few weeks!

MUST make immediately!!!
How cute (and simple) are these yarn candy corns? I wasn't able to track down the person responsible for these or detailed instructions on how to make them but they appear pretty straight forward. You could use some of those foam forms or even some sturdy cardboard. I love the button tops! All around simple, inexpensive and CUTE!!!

Fabulous Fall Rag Wreath from The Simple Standard shop on Etsy
I am in absolute L-O-V-E with this wreath. At first glance I thought this was tissue paper but upon further inspection it is actually made out of strips of fabric. You can find similar wreaths (bummer but this wreath is sold out) on another favorite site of mine, Etsy in The Simple Standard shop. I'm sure this is much more time consuming then the candy corn cones but I still plan on giving this a shot!

DIY Halloween Light Garland courtesy of Good Housekeeping!
Most of us have strands of clear Christmas just lying around our homes waiting anxiously for the month of December to roll around; well here's a way to give those suckers a little more use! Grab some Dixie cups (mouth wash size), adorable scrapbook paper and those aforementioned lights and make the above now!!! Seriously... holy genius Batman! Or Good Housekeeping I should say.  I love this idea because it's going to be relatively inexpensive, super simple and easy to change up for the different seasons and holidays.

I'm in LOVE with Amanda Buccola's yarn wrapped letters!
I'm on a yarn kick; maybe it has something to do with my overwhelming desire to wear big, chunky knit sweaters even though it's still in the 80s. Anyway, I think these are too cute! Amanda at TheWhimsicle had these in her Etsy shop, and while they're no longer for sale I thank her for the inspiration with which they have left me. I love the color combination she used to declare her LOVE and think it would be just darling for AUTUMN or HARVEST or BE THANKFUL. Swap out the green and gray for black and you would have a fantastic palate for BOO or EEK.

Visit Itz Fitz over at Etsy for more insanely awesome yarn wreaths!!!
And here's some more yarn preciousness! In general I love wreaths and these cuties are not helping! Can you guess which of the four shown is my favorite? If you said the purple one, well... winner winner chicken dinner!!! Itz Fitz is the genius behind these gorgeous wreaths and her Etsy shop is chock full of even more goodies. Her creativity is boundless and gives me something to strive for.

Well there you go ladies, and possibly gents, a wrap up (heehee, that's funny cause some many of these things are wrapped) of some of the fab things you can find on Pinterest that you can either buy or make yourself.

Enjoy your weekend and I'll see you back here real soon!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

Today was one of those days that seemed to go on forever. You know the kind; nothing horrible happens and it isn't a crazy, challenging, hair pulling day but it just doesn't seem to end! And wishing it was over only makes things worse! Today left me with just enough motivation to go to Pilates (which was awesome by the way; thanks Anna) and absolutely no motivation to cook. Normally I'd suck it up and cook something but I decided to take the night off and indulge in a long lingering craving for Chinese food. As I sat on the couch eating my Sweet and Sour Chicken I decided it was high time to plan out the rest of this week's meals. I hopped on to Pinterest (seriously I'm addicted to this site and I will be a pusher and try to get you addicted too) and took a look at my FOOD! pins for some inspiration. Below I'm listing the tasty treats I plan on making this week! Enjoy!!!
How fantastic does this peach margarita look?
 Cheers to the ladies at We Are Not Martha!
To starts things off... a little summer refreshment! This peach margarita from the lovely ladies over at We Are Not Martha looks fabulous! I love peaches; they're so juicy and sweet and even better so refreshing! While this is a traditional margarita it can be made sans tequila; try some Sprite or sparkling water instead.

A jalapeno popper in sandwich form? Get out!!!
Ben loves jalapeno poppers so when I stumbled across this recipe, again from the crafty girls at We Are Not Martha, I got super excited!!! Probably more so than is ok because it is only a sandwich! But come on; how beautiful does this look! Thick, crusty bread, cream cheese, bacon and jalapenos. Mmmm, I just made my own mouth water. I think this is what we'll be having for dinner tomorrow!

Baked risotto!?! Miracles do happen!
 Risotto. One of the most luscious, decadent and rich dishes ever known to grace mankind's palate. For all its deliciousness risotto is also UBER time consuming!!! If you've ever made risotto you know what I mean. An hour of standing over the stove stirring and pouring and stirring and pouring. You are the risotto's slave; it knows it, you know it and your frizzy hair lets the rest of the world know it.  This recipe from Dabbling in the Delicious, is amazing because 1) it tastes incredible and 2) it BAKES IN THE OVEN!!! No seriously, you bake it which frees you up for more important things like giving yourself a pedicure, watching a DVR'd episode of the Closer or taking a power nap.
Jen over at My Own Road had this fabulous idea.
Must say... LOVE IT!!!
Strawberries are a definite star of the summer season and I think twist on strawberry shortcake is genius! I dare you to go out into the world and find one person who doesn't love a kabob; especially when that kabob alternates strawberries with angel food cake and is drizzled with chocolate. If you don't like strawberries or have allergies try with raspberries, blackberries or even peach and nectarines.

Well there you go one and all, a peek into what I'll be serving up at home this week. Enjoy these last few weeks of summer and use as many of those gorgeous fruits and veggies as you can!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Tasty Recipe... for your shower!!!

I have a confession to make. Are you ready for it? I love lemons. There I said it. The smell is so invigorating and inviting and fresh and clean (oh, did anyone else have that Outkast song start running through their head?). I adore the many tastes of lemon; tart, sour, sweet. I also love how many uses lemons have outside of cooking recipes so, today I'm going to share one of those uses... SUGAR SCRUB!!!

Sugar scrubs are fabulous. They feel so luxurious, smell so fabulous and leave your skin feeling so soft. I've been interested in attempting my own for awhile now but thought, "naw, it'll be really hard and complicated and I have no time for that." Well, you know what? Sugar scrubs are like the easiest thing ever to make. No joke! So simple!

I found this recipe during one of my (way too long) pinterest browsing sessions. *Pinterest, for those of you who haven't already been seduced, is an amazing site that will be the subject of a future blog I'm sure. If you have like 4 hours to kill I suggest you check it out!* Okay, okay... back to recipe. This was taken from Under The Table and Dreaming blog, which has a ton of great ideas and is just all around adorable. The ingredients couldn't be simpler; sugar, olive oil and lemon juice. That's it! How easy is that. Chances are you already have these things at home!

Here's whatcha do...
1. Juice 2-3 lemons for a total of 4 tbsp lemon juice
2.  Grab a big bowl
3. Pour in 2 1/2 cups white sugar
4. Pour in 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (you can use light if you are put off by the smell)
5. Stir sugar and oil together well
6. Add in lemon juice and stir again
7. Scoop into a container with a lid that can be securely shut.

***This makes enough to fill a 12 oz. container, or two 6 oz containers and so on and so forth.

Lemon Sugar Scrub taken from
I love that Stephanie put hers in a mason jar, a perfect choice! And if I had mason jars in my home I would have done the same thing! Instead I put mine in one of those see through kitchen storage jars meant for flour, coffee or sugar, which technically this is so I'm golden!

The lemon scent is subtle, sweet and, in my opinion, absolutely perfect. Because this has oil in it, you'll have to remember to give it a stir on occasion. You'll also want to watch out for slippery tubs!!!

Please make this for yourself and for loved ones. It's instant cheer and a piece of summer that can last through those long, cold winters!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New (School) Year Resolutions!

Once again I've taken a long break from the blog to do lots of other things. I'm happy to announce that Ben and I are totally moved in and the house is almost set up to my liking! School has started and I'm having a blast reconnecting with my co-workers and catching up with my students. Moving up to 8th grade wasn't something I was thrilled about as last year wrapped up but I think it's going to be a blast. Ben and I have put his Big Green Egg (a giant ceramic smoker) to good use as we've hosted our first of many football Saturdays.  It's been a very busy August and September is shaping up to be crazy as well. I'm so excited for this year!

I've been making some New (School) Year Resolutions and one of them is to pay more attention to the blog. I started this to share recipes and what not and I've been a total slacker in that regard. Bad Megan! I think I'm going to have "spotlight" days where I highlight things I love, want, or just generally think are awesome. I'm open to suggestions of things you'd like to see on the blog; so don't be shy, share what's on  your mind!

Another resolution is to pack my lunch every day. I spent a lot of money buying lunch in the cafeteria because I forgot to pack a lunch last year. I'm not sure how well acquainted you are with jr. high cafeteria but to say it sucks would be a MAMMOTH understatement.

I am also going to work on being more organized; in my classroom and at home. I have an awesome "supply station" set up in my classroom and it's working out great. This was something I dreamed up because, once again, my room plays host to a giant printer which sits atop a giant desk with many pullout shelves. I'll post pictures when the super cute labels I ordered come in. The kids are loving because everything is in one place and all the goodies are store in brightly colored little tin pails.

Keeping with the organization theme, I plan on tackling the pantry and under counter cabinets. I've become slightly obsessed with Jen over at iheart organizing. In fact, she's the one designing my awesome labels. I can't wait to see how they turn out!!!

Alright, I'm going to play around with my new computer (big shout out to Mom and Dad for my awesome birthday present) and enjoy Ben and Brian's super witty banter. I'll be back tomorrow with a fun recipe. Enjoy your Saturday!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Can I sit down yet?

Hey all, sorry to have been M.I.A these last few weeks; I'm sure you've all been on pins and needles anxiously awaiting the return of my delightful wit and incredible storytelling powers. :)

When I last blogged the kids and I were about to make our way to DC. Needless to say, it was incredible! The kids had a great time seeing all the sights you could cram into 2 1/2 days; they went bananas over the Air and Space museum (where I spent the 90 minutes just sitting... it felt awesome) and thought the Declaration of Independence was pretty cool (Ms. Miller, you can barely see the writing!!!). I loved being able to watch their faces as we walked up the stairs of the Lincoln Monument and they took in just how enormous the statue of Lincoln is and their momentary shock and horror when they thought there might have been a typo carved into the wall of the monument. Don't worry, there isn't. We visited the Air Force memorial which made Robbie's whole trip, seriously have never seen that kid so giddy! And Kirby just about died when we stopped by the World War II memorial where he proceeded to bombard us with facts and figures about every aspect of the entire war! My girls are girls and thought our lunch at the Pentagon City Mall was the best because they could do some real shopping. I'll admit it, I speed ate my lunch so I could hit some shops... I missed that place!

I am so happy I had the opportunity to take such an awesome group of kids to one of my favorite places in the world and share my enthusiasm for our nation's history. That being said, I don't see myself doing this again in the next year or two. It was exhausting!!!

I realize that I devoted two fairly substantial blogs to the first few days of our trip and a paragraph to the last several but the details of the trip are starting to fade and I've been busy with some really cool things in the last few weeks.

My parents and I took a long weekend trip to see Ben and Michelle. It was so much fun visiting them and getting close to Moscow. Someday I will make it all the way there!!! I need to hit the bookstore and get some new Vandal gear!

Leah and I took a bestie trip to Boise where we spent time with our great girlfriends. Jerome made a brief appearance and it was so great to see her! Our little traveling gnome is enjoying her time in Wisconsin and has us thinking about taking a girl's trip to Madison. Bring on the cheese!!!

Last but not least, Ben and I moved!!! We packed up our tiny apartment and moved into a nice, big townhouse. And you know what, it's freaking fantastic! We have so much room that it's crazy! We have so much room in fact that we had to buy a new couch to fill up an empty room. The kitchen is crazy spacious compared to the tiny galley I had at the apartment so I'll be able to expand my cooking adventures and try out some new recipes! Never fear dear readers, I'll post lots of pictures!

The place is slowly taking shape and I'm hoping to have it set up and ready to show off before school starts; the couch should be here soon, I'm hoping to get our dining table out of storage in the next day or two and picture hanging shouldn't take too long and then it will feel like home!

Once the place it all put together I'll post some photos of the new place. And for those of you who live close there might just be a party or two to attend at the new casa! Keep your eyes post for the invites!

Alright my lovelies, I'm off to nap! TTFN!!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

And I'm Back!!! (Part Two)

Alright folks, let's pick up where we left off. As you'll recall the kids and I made it from Idaho Falls to Salt Lake to Atlanta with no trouble at all. Well as soon as we boarded the plane in Atlanta all our good travel karma must have been spent because things started to unravel and fast!!!

The plane was boarded and all the passengers were ready to go but alas the Delta control room, or whatever it's called was not. There was some sort of computer issue that the pilot kept assuring us would only take a few minutes to solve; we gave him the benefit of the doubt the first 3 times he said that... after that it was all the people around me could do not to start screaming "LIAR!!!" It is at this point that Alexis leans over the seat two rows up and across the aisle to inform me that she left her wallet with ALL her money and ALL her debit cards on the other plane! Ummm, WTF?!?! No that wasn't my response because you don't say that to 13 year olds but that's definitely what was going through my head and, according to the woman next to me, what you could read on my face. Instead here is the discussion verbatim
Me: "Are you sure? Remember how I told you to check all around you and in your bags to make sure you had everything before we get off the plane?"
Alexis: "Uh, yeah".
Me: "Well did you?"
Alexis: "I guess not"
Robby and Elijah in unison: "DUDE!!!"
Aspen and Shannon in unison: "Shut up Elijah!"
Me: "We don't say shut up! Alexis call your mom"
Alexis: Why?"
Me: "Uh, maybe because you have no money and she might like to know that"
Alexis: Blank Stare
Pilot: "Okay folks, we'll be taking off shortly I promise"
Me: "Alexis... call... your... mom... now............ (clenched teeth, deep breathes, imagining being on a beach with an INCREDIBLY large drink) NOW!"

At this point I flag down a flight attendant and explain the situation and ask if I can get the number for customer service so I can do my part to get the wallet back. This is a 30 minute process which is fine because WE'RE STILL ON THE GROUND!!! Just a head's up; if you lose something on a plane you have to file a claim online. No one at Delta will talk to you about it, so annoying. I tell Alexis to call her mom back so I can fill her in on what I found out and she just stares at me. Aspen informs me that Alexis hasn't called her mom yet. This did not sit well and try as I might I could not contain the teacher face (very similar to the mom face but slightly less terrifying). Alexis finally pulled out her phone and called her mom and as you can imagine the conversation wasn't a terribly pleasant one for Alexis. I filled her mom in on where to go and what to do along with flight and seat numbers and told her good-bye. As I was hanging up, the pilot came on to tell us that we were cleared for take off and we'd be in the air in 5 minutes. Well that 5 minutes became 15 but whatever, we weren't at the gate anymore that was huge progress.

I have to stay that during our 2 hour delay the kids were wonderful. They didn't complain and they didn't annoy each other or those around them. They were complimented by the folks around us and I was offered many drinks (on the sly of course) because people think you need many drinks when they hear you're chaperoning 7 teenagers on a trip that last 5 days. I declined the beverages (regretfully) and focused on taking a nap.

Dulles has never been a favorite airport of mine but I was soooo thrilled to see it because it meant we were finally there!!! As the kids and I got off the plane we all waved good-bye and agreed to leave our bad travel karma on the plane. It worked because the rest of the trip went beautifully! We met up with the rest of our group, two schools from California and loaded onto the bus. Our first order of business was dinner at Cheeseburger Paradise (interesting place) and then it was off to Williamsburg to get a good nights sleep.

Day 3:
Our first full day of adventure and sight-seeing. We began the day in Jamestown and that was really interesting.  We saw replicas of the ships the men came over on and the village they lived in. We got a lesson in blacksmithing and learned how to make nails and unanimously decided that 17th century clothing wouldn't be fun to wear in 90 degree heat.

After Jamestown we headed to lunch in Willamsburg; we dined on ham sandwiches (thick, crusty bread that made me thing of Europe) at a darling restaurant called The Cheese Shoppe. The kids got a lesson in how small the world really is when our guide asked if we knew Marty Trillhaus, who local readers might know as the editor of the Idaho Falls Post Register. Somehow our guide (who's name I have managed to forget) and Marty are related, distantly. After lunch there was some shopping in the cute local shops and then it was on to Colonial Williamsburg.

The Governor's Masion

The oh so delcious Cheese Shop

Despite the insane temperatures and oppressive humidity we had so much fun at Williamsburg! The kids loved seeing the old buildings and learning about the history of the town and it's people. We saw several actors rehearsing new skits (Holy crap Ms. Miller! Those guys have swords!!!) and learned all about colonial wig making. The secret? Goat hair. Who'd have thunk? While in the wig maker's shop she asked my kids were asked which grown up was theirs and I nervously raised my hand. And then she said the magic words, "I don't say this often but you have such an incredibly well behaved groups of students. They were so polite and asked such wonderful questions." The kids were beaming and well, darn it, so was I. When we left I pointed out that what had just happened is why adults are always harping on them to behave.

There were a few more sites to see in Willamsburg and they were all really interesting but after the wig maker's they weren't highlights. Dinner however was about to become the coolest part of the day.

We ate at one of the dining rooms at the College of William and Mary and the kids were amazed because there were college kids there! And there were like 20 choices for dessert! And there was soda! And real plates! On the bus I established my second trip rule; When veggies are an option, you will eat some. And no, french fries and baked potatoes ARE NOT veggies. The kids took this in stride and enjoyed big salads and fresh green beans with their burgers and mac and cheese. Kirby sat down with an entire place of raw broccoli, color me impressed and his roommates fearing for the evening ahead of them.

After dinner we had a ghost story tour whose impact was lessened due to the brightness of the evening and then it was off for DC! FINALLY!!!

Alright, I will be back in a day or two to finish up the story of our trip but now I must prepare myself to make this...

Fig and Prosciutto Pizza, recipe and image courtesy of Yummy Mummy at