Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fall Sangria, Glittered Bottle

Over the past week, I've tried a few different things to keep me going.

I know the narrative and quality of my posts are gone - my limited time puts posting at the bottom of my to-do list and I usually end up quickly getting it done and moving on to other things.

So I'll get to it.

Recipe 106 - Fall Sangria from
I still had some apple cider left over from my pumpkin cake with apple cider glaze, so this was a perfect recipe to pull up when I needed to bring something to a friend's house for dinner! I (kind of) followed the recipe on that required a mixture of apple cider, cinnamon sticks, hot sauce, white wine, and bourbon.
Well, I followed the recipe. Then I had to double all of the other ingredients and add a whole bottle of sprite to cover the overwhelming taste of the bourbon. Yech. I added cinnamon sugar to the rim for a sweet touch, and that was delicious!!!  If I were to do it again, I would follow the liquor-less recipe that I was looking for in the first place at howsweeteats. But hey, it was quite a drink.

Recipe 107 - Oreo Truffle Brownies from chef-in-training:
These brownies were a pretty good concept - Homemade brownies covered with a layer of Logan's desired Oreo Truffles, and a final layer of melted chocolate. Yum.  I followed the recipe given, and it was the first time I have ever made homemade brownies. I was hopeful when I tasted (consumed a good portion of) the batter and they were quite easy, but with the mixture of two additional chocolate parts, it ended up being too much chocolate for me. If I were to do it again, i would use a regular brownie batter.  I would have also used more cream cheese in the oreo truffle section to make them more moist. Finally, I needed a little more chocolate to cover the whole part. I think this one could be delicious, but I need a second shot.

Gift time! My roommate's birthday was last week, so I made this oh-so-simple glitter-covered liquor bottle from pinterest (link was broken).  I had already done the glitter scene with my glittered shoes and wine glasses, so I had a good idea of how to do it. I bought the alcohol bottle, covered the parts I didn't want glittered in tape, mod-podged the whole thing, added glitter, and waited for it to dry. I then added a layer of clear lacquer and let it dry again. I peeled the tape off, added a 'K' in gems for her name and a few gems around the outside of the labels, and that was it! I think this is a cute and easy way to give a regular bottle of liquor, and it makes a great souvenir for the recipient!  

That's all for now, but the holiday season is coming up and I will have some time off work!
Uh oh.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Snow White Apron, Book Purse, Raspberry Scones, and more recipes!

Hello everyone! The year is flying by and I'm still finding as many opportunities as I can to create.  Here are some of the things I've tried in the past month or so.

I'll start with the recipes:

RECIPE 100!!!!! Cheesy Cauliflower Puree from "I Breathe, I'm Hungry"

My friend Tiffany had made this cauliflower puree for a dinner when we were over at her house one night. It was surprisingly good! I love those vegetables that can pass as not healthy foods. I enjoyed these fake mashed potatoes.  They weren't as good as the real thing, but it was a good fake-out!

This is an interesting and surprisingly easy recipe.  I bought grapes.  I bought melon flavored Jello mix. I sprinkled some jello powder on top of the grapes. Instant 'candy'. Very yummy!

I was very excited to make this recipe... but I wasn't too impressed. I used oats, vanilla bean yogurt, raisins, and cereal.  I think I added too many oats because it was pretty dry. I might try it again with about half as many oats next time!

Recipe number 103: Raspberry Scones from Martha Stewart
SO Happy I made this recipe... I'm ready for England now!!!  Great scones are very rare to find in America, and I love making my own.  It was a very easy recipe, and the scones were great accompanied with nice hot tea.  All I need is a little clotted cream, butter, and jam to make a true cream tea. YUM!

Recipe Number 104: Healthier Stuffed Shells from Weight Watchers
I browsed through weight watchers recently and pinned a few of their recipes.  This was one of them.  The shells were delicious and Logan ate practically all of them :(  I found it hard to believe they were really only 5 points for 4 of them because there weren't many substituted ingredients compared to real stuffed shells, so take caution.

Recipe Number 105: Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze from noble pig
This recipe is sold as an extremely easy and delicious cake that you can whip up.  I love things that are easy and delicious and take as little time as possible.  I also love when I have an excuse to make something sweet to give to other people... and Halloween was the perfect time! I was looking for something seasonal to make for my class/coworkers and found this.  I doubled the recipe and made some for logan's office, too.  It was delicious, but I cooked it like 3 times as long as it said because it just was not getting unmushy.  It might have been the glaze seeping through, I'm not sure! I just kept cooking and cooking and it still ended up tasting like a delicious mushy scoop of cakey ice cream. It was good though! Recommended :)

That's all my recipes for now... Here are some presents!

My England friend Edie's birthday was last month.  I made her this apron.  We are both Disney geeks and it's what we bond over when we're together.  She's also a vegetarian so I'm thinking about sending it in a package with a vegetarian cookbook or something. I just love how it turned out! This was inspired by Disney's version of the same apron, shown here.

It was also my friend Melissa's birthday.  She's a book lover, so I made her this book purse:

There are various instructions for this online, but I kind of did my own thing since I was in a time crunch and didn't like all of the options.

That's all I have for now!!  Goodnight!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Glitter, Apples, and Quinoa

I told you it's never good when I have a day off! And I have another one tomorrow!!!  So here's what ended up happening last Monday on my day off:

I got glitter.  I got items.  I covered the items in glitter.  Observe:

UCF Black and Gold Shoes:

So I needed some great football season cute shoes, so I decided to take it into my own hands.  I took some black heels, some mod podge, and some gold glitter and went to town!


First, I taped around the area I was glittering so that it wouldn't get on the rest of the shoes.

Then, I modpodged the area I wanted glittered.

Finally, I added the glitter, sealed with a spray lacquer, and let dry.  Ta-da!   

I also did part of the bottoms...

College Wine Glasses:
Next, I took a queue from how easy it was to create my mom's birthday wineglass, that I decided I had to make more! Still going with the football/school spirit theme, I made these UCF glasses:

And some Florida Gator ones for my brother and his fiance:

Here they are all together.

My day's accomplishments.

I couldn't let crafts have all the glory, though, and I had some recipes I just had to try.  

Recipe number 98...  
Crock Pot Applesauce from mommymakesitbetter!!!
I LOVE applesauce, so I was super excited to try my own at-home version.  Plus, it involved the crock pot which I'm still trying to perfect.  It was a very simple recipe... the hardest part was peeling the apples.  And waiting, of course.  

I just peeled and cut 8 varied apples, threw them in the crock pot with a generous amount of brown sugar and cinnamon (I honestly don't remember the last time I didn't 'eyeball' something), and stirred frequently (every 20 minutes or so).  They cooked on low (150 degrees on this one).

After... oh, I don't know... an hour or so of cooking, they were getting very soft and yummy-looking.  Of course, I HAD to taste them every time I stirred them, and at this point I decided to stop and not let them get saucy.  

They were just to perfect... this soft but crunchy, sweet, moist apple dish.  It reminded me a lot of the apples you get on the side at Chilis or Boston Market... the kind you get and tell yourself you're being healthy because you're choosing the fruit.  Those.

And they were AMAZING! One of my best recipes yet! SO proud... and the best part is, Logan doesn't eat applesauce or anything close to it!! 

Alright... the last recipe I tried...

Recipe number 99 (I'm so close!)...

Baked Quinoa Broccoli Casserole from eatingwelllivingthin!

Yes, I finally hopped on the quinoa wagon.  Logan and I had been wanting to try it for awhile, and the only thing that was stopping us was the price... geez!  Plus the fact that I had a mental block because I was greatly embarrassed when asking the man at the grocery store for it the first time and pronouncing it quin-oh-ah.  Ack.

But I tried it, made this casserole, it was yummy (more of a side dish though), but I'm not raving about the grain.  It was just like that little start pasta.  I'll try some more recipes and see what's so great.

That's all I have for you now,  until my next day off!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

X is for eXcellent boy craft, Y is for Yummy Banana Bread Bars, Z is for Zzzz...

X is for eXcellent boy craft...

So, back to the baby shower.  It was a co-ed shower, where the boys were expected to each bring a pack of diapers.  It's a great idea, because then you can stock up on different sizes!  Well,  my roommate and I spent all week convincing our boyfriends to PLEASE to something cute and clever with their diapers... we saw this diaper golf bag all over pinterest and online for sale, but no tutorials.  It would be perfect for these boys because the daddy is their golf buddy!

We were convinced to make the boys do it, but the whole week went by and their eyes were glued to Halo while they hardly recognized we were speaking to them.

To my surprise, I come home from work on Friday night and there's Jony in the kitchen, attempting to stack diapers in a golf-bag like shape.  It wasn't as easy as it looked.  It took the whole house to contribute to make this look golf-bag-esque, but it sure was worth it! Everyone at the baby shower LOVED it and the boys won a prize :)

Y is for Yummy Banana Bread Bars...

My first week of school I wanted to make something for the staff to thank them for welcoming me.  I browsed through pinterest and saw these delicious banana bread bars with brown sugar frosting from Life's Simple Measures.  YUM!  They were absolutely amazing.  Extremely sweet with the brown sugar frosting, but amazing.  I love banana bread.  These were like cake. For breakfast.

Z is for Zzzzzzzzzzz...

Sleep. I'm trying to get it.  I'm trying to keep it.  Wish me luck.

Congratulations, you are now all caught up on my life.  But not for long... don't forget I have the house to myself today! I'm expecting Logan and Kelly to come home tonight with the house covered in glitter. Uh oh...

U is for UCF Wreath, V is for Vera Bradley Lanyard, W is for Word Wall

I actually have pictures for all of these! And they're exciting! Yay!!

U is for UCF Wreath...

If you remember last Christmas, I made two gator rag wreaths as presents for my brother and Logan's parents.  Well, I finally decided it was time to make a UCF one.

I made it in the same way as the gator ones, but with black and gold material instead of blue and orange (of course).  To summarize, this is how you do it:

Get foam piping from the plumbing section at home depot.  Cut it in half.  Put it in a circle, duct tape.  Cover the circle in ribbon that matches what color you would like to make your wreath.  Hot glue.  Find fabric in different patterns of the colors you want (I scour the shirts at goodwill).  Cut into strips.  Tie each strip into a bow.  Hot glue randomly (but strategically) around the front of the base.  Add ribbon to the back.  Add painted wooded letters to the middle.
I think I'll add these to my etsy store!

V is for Vera Bradley Lanyard...

I was becoming a teacher, and every teacher needs a good lanyard.  As usual, I wanted a vera bradley lanyard, but I can rarely convince myself to spend almost $20 on such a simple item.  Then I saw this picture from twopeasinapoddesigns and realized... duh! I could make it for free!  Even better, I had this old vera bradley purse that I used EVERY DAY and Logan was on my case about.  Ok, the straps were a little ratty, and it had a few stains, but it was such a perfect purse! I couldn't imagine just throwing it away, so I thought I would use it for the greater good.

So I did it. I carefully ripped the seams of my favorite purse.  I was shocked to see that underneath the first layer of fabric, there was a good 6 inches of another layer of fabric that looked brand-new! YES! So, I easily cut it apart, made some strips, sewed them together, and now I have a lanyard!  I  don't know if the site had a tutorial, but I don't really think you need one, it's pretty simple!

W is for Word Wall...

Another classroom design.  I got this idea from somewhere on pinterest (sorry!) and thought it was adorable and went so well with my classroom theme.  It's a vine growing up to the sky (like jack in the beanstalk) and it says 'Grow with Words'.  Each letter is on top of a leaf, and the words are being stapled next to them.  All I did was roll up butcher paper and staple it on the wall, it couldn't have been easier!

R is for Reading Center, S is for Sweet Potatoes, T is for Teaching

R is for Reading Center...

I'm very proud of my reading center!!!  I know that reading is the main focus of education these days, and a reading center needs to be inviting.  I worked hard to make my reading center inviting, defined, accessible, and organized.  This is what I did:

This is a full view of my reading center.  I have the space defined by a wall, a table, a bookshelf, a homemade bookshelf, and my crates.  I also added a rug that didn't have a home anymore once Logan moved in.  The back table is my listening center (on the other side), and I hung a tablecloth around the table to make a little fort for the students to crawl under.  I also have the beanbag in there.

I have already discussed my crate seats, but just in case you were wondering, the idea came from theboutons.  As an update on them... the students sure have learned to sit carefully!  Each one of us has wiggled a little too much and fallen right in.  It kind of became a game for the students.  Then, when some of my more ornery students started trying to fall into them on purpose, a substitute for the classroom came up with a brilliant idea of flipping them over and placing the pad on the other side.  Now, our circle time chairs are upside-down crates with pads, but our reading center chairs are still the correct way.  They seem to be holding up pretty well in the reading center.  I keep the reading stuffed animals in there (thank you, Kohls), as well as some big books.  They are also used by the students as cages for their animals during playtime.

Next, I have this makeshift bookshelf.  Well, makeshift would give the impression that it is temporary, but this is as permanent as the students will let it be.  I got this idea from pinterest as well, but a little different.  It's from readinglady.  I just needed one more bookshelf and goodwill was clean out, so I made this instead.  The blue tubs hold the sensory materials for the students: squishy balls, theraputty, etc.  

We do have to keep a close eye on them when they are in the reading center to make sure they are reading and not playing, but most of them are pretty good at it.  I just took two plastic drawers and put a piece of plywood (spray-painted black) over the top.  It has completely come down once when students were pushing, and one student was pleased to see he could push down on the middle of the plywood and it would begin to crack (therefore gaining him all sorts of negative attention) but it's still standing!

This is how the books are separated on my bookshelf (the ones not in bins).  There are categories on the top, and alphabetical on the bottom.  These are just paint sticks from home depot with the names/letters written on them.  I love this idea from pinterest!

Finally, this is the outside of my reading center (the other side of the bookshelf... was very ugly!) Logan helped me make this sign inspired by pinterest. It's from clutterfreeclassroom

 Can you also spot my owl bookends I made last year?  That was right at the beginning of pinterest I believe!!

So there's a lot of fairy tale things I'm missing from my pictures that I've added to my classroom.  I'm thinking I'll have to do a whole fairy-tale theme post and show you everything! I'll work on that this week.

S is for Sweet Potatoes...

Yum yum yum, I love sweet potatoes.  I had to try these roasted sweet potatoes from fortheloveofcooking.  With honey. And brown sugar. Yuuuuuuuuum.  Mine definitely could have cooked a little longer, but they were delicious no matter what.  No picture, sorry! I ate them all up!

T is for teaching...

Oh yeah, I've been doing that too.  That teaching thing.  You know, the thing I've been preparing for since I was in 2nd grade playing teacher after school? Yeah, that. I can say this... I love when students make progress.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

O is for Oogling, P is for Present for mom, Q is for Quirky wine glass

O is for Oogling...

Oogling crafts online.  I'm plotting, planning, and preparing.  You should be, too.  I have the day off tomorrow and the house all to myself (and no masks to make). Be warned!!

P is for present for mom...

My mom's birthday was last week, so I got to make her some presents. The first one was this apron.  I made Tiffany an adorable apron last year for her birthday, so I was trying to go along the same lines but with a gator theme.  It didn't turn out quite as cute as Tiffany's, but I think I could re-make one and it would be a little cuter if I made a few changes.

Q is for Quirky Wine Glass...

I also made my mom a wine glass that says 'I teach, therefore I drink'.  Tiffany made me one of these for my birthday, and it was my absolute favorite wine glass.  It just made everything better at the end of a long day.  Then I was washing it one day and dropped it in the sink.  It broke.  Logan had to convince me it wasn't that big of a deal... but it was.
So I thought I would spread the love and make my mom one of these wine glasses, too.  Oh, and now that I know how I collected a stock of plain, large wine glasses so I can make all the glasses I want.  Hahahaha....

Ps. I made this with puffy paint (it doesn't wash off by hand) and a tutorial for glittering glass from

L is for Lily, M is for Meet the Teacher, N is for New Mommy Cover

L is for Lily...

Of course, Lily the dog is still a great part of our lives, and we love spending time with her!!

M is for Meet the Teacher...

Here's some pictures from Meet the Teacher.  I found some great ideas from pinterest, including these apples that have a poem: "An apple for the teacher/ is really nothing new/ unless when you remember/ parents are teachers too!"  and a cute packet that talks all about the classroom and me as a teacher.

N is for New Mommy Cover...

Another baby shower gift cover... Tiffany asked me if I would be able to make a homemade 'udder cover' for her (a breastfeeding cover) so I took a crack at it! It wasn't that hard, just sewing some fabric in the right places and adding some boning.  I found a tutorial to follow at blisstree.

I is for iPad, J is for Japanese baby food, K is for Keeping up with schoolwork

I is for iPad...

GREAT NEWS!  About 2 weeks ago I finally finished my iPad challenge through the puzzling piece.  I sold my 60th piece and earned my ASD classroom an iPad! I can't tell you how much it's helped our class.  Not just on the big things, such as communication and scheduling, but on little things too like showing pictures, reading interactive books, and playing educational games.  I'm so excited that this really happened for us, and I'm so thankful for everyone who helped out.

J is for Japanese baby food...

My friend Tiffany is in her last two weeks of her pregnancy, which means her baby shower has come and gone.  And what's a baby shower without adorable homemade baby gifts? One of those gifts I made for Tiff and baby Carter was this baby sushi from creative1dollar.  It's made from baby socks, washcloths, and toys from target.  I love it because Tiffany is my sushi friend, and it was a perfect fit :)

K is for Keeping up with schoolwork...

Yup, I'm still able to do that too! School's going great, and I'm soaring in grad school.  I'll have my doctorate before long!

G is for Girl Angry Bird Masks, H is for Hamburgers (without the ham)

G is for Girl Angry Bird Masks...

In the many etsy orders I received from these masks, I got a request for the female angry bird masks.  Unfortunately, I'm not personally a big angry bird buff.  The game irritates me when I can't figure out how to kill the little characters, and I give up after about 5 minutes.  So, I didn't know there were female angry birds!  I googled them and created this female angry girl bird mask as a mock up for the customer.  I can't wait for her to order them so I can make the other females!

H is for Hamburgers, without the ham (or sweet potato burgers)...

I've been wanting to make these sweet potato burgers (from dyln) for some time.  Logan's been begging me to. Finally, I got around to the process of buying the ingredients and committing.

They were extremely filling and we could each only eat one burger before we were full.  They were... okay... but I'll take the meat ones over the bean/potato one any day!

D is for Delicious Cake Batter Pudding Cookies, E is for Europe, F is for Fudge (Cookie Dough Fudge!)

D is for Delicious Cake Batter Pudding Cookies...

It was my assistant's birthday right at the beginning of school, so I had an excuse to make these delicious-sounding cookies from chef-in-training.  They were very yummy and a nice easy-to-bring-to-school alternative to actual birthday cake!

E is for Europe...

What else have I been spending all my non-craft/blog time doing?

Planning for Europe! Logan and I finally bought our plane tickets to visit Europe this year. We are so excited!  We're doing London, Paris, and Bristol (where I used to live).  LOTS of planning lies ahead, but I can't wait.

F is for Fudge...

Another birthday, another baked good.  It was our neighbor's birthday last week, and I browsed through my board to find this perfect recipe I wanted to try... Cookie Dough Fudge!!!  The recipe is from pink-parsley.  Oh, and that's my 97th recipe!!! Wooop! Almost to 100! (Remember how I wanted to do 100 recipes by the end of 2011? HA!)

Sorry for no pictures this post!  I need to stay on top of those pictures :(

C is for Classroom

I'm a month into teaching, and I finally am getting around to showing off my fairy-tale classroom!! There will be more posts later into the alphabet update, but here are a few sneak peaks.

My desk: Fit for a queen (see my tiara?)  I just covered it in pink wrapping paper, added a bow, and stuck on my name.  It's so much prettier than the ugly grey desk it was before!  Surprisingly, that wrapping paper is still holding on, minus a few tears here and there.

My rules and consequences.  My rules banner (which I believe I  showed off before) is one of my favorite parts of the classroom.  Each 'flag' has a different rule, and they follow the acronym: HERO (Hands and feet to self, Everybody shows respect, Ready to learn, On-task).

Here's a view of my finished classroom right before meet the teacher!

This is another one of my favorite parts: On the back wall you'll see a dragon breathing fire.  The fire has six hooks to hang up student work, and the sign on the top says 'work on fire'.  Logan helped me out with this one :)