Friday, June 7, 2013

Well How have you been?

Ha ha.... Crazy how time flies right? A year has passed and I am newly out of school. First day of summer break! I feel it is starting out well already. It is funny because I looked at my friend's blogs and it seems like everyone has taken a hiatus from blogging. Most people just facebook what is going on with them, but I think blogging is fun because you can actually write out longer bits and those are sometimes the best part. I was reading through my past entries and it was really fun to read because I could feel my voice from the past. So I thought I would do a little compilation of all the awesome projects we did this year that I took photos of and remember. Each grade is assigned a continent to focus on and then each class in that grade has a country within that continent so I had to come up with different projects for every grade and every class for the last part of the year. That was fun and challenging.
Mexico Sun and moon 4th grade

Canadian Totem pole animals 4th grade

Jamaican masks 4th grade

Iguazu Falls in Argentina 2nd grade

Glacier in Argentina 2nd grade

Saudi Arabian rugs 1st grade

Solar system 3rd grade

Winter snow scene from Sweden 3rd grade( one of my favs!)

Australian dot painting kindergarten

Nigerian Batik 5th grade

Indian Elephants 1st grade

Polish scratch art 3rd grade

Egyptian hieroglyphics 5th grade

3rd grade clay monsters ( they love this project and I made them write and design what planet they are from and make a backdrop so he would have  a background for the picture.)

South American Macaws 2nd grade

Peruvian Ponchos 2nd grade

Chinese dragons 1st grade

Kindergarten owls

Van Gogh inspired still life 2nd grade

Expression masks 2nd grade

Taj Mahal inspired architecture 1st grade

Saudi Arabian mosque architecture 1st grade

Chinese architecture 1st grade

Chinese cherry blossom scrolls 1st grade

Monday, June 18, 2012

summer time 2012

Summer Time!

Well, School is officially out and thank goodness! I was getting pretty tired of it towards the end. I am enjoying my time off and Eleanor and I have been getting reacquainted which has been much more fun than I thought it would be. 

So what are your plans for summer? Do you just take each as it comes or do you script it out? As a teacher I've found that I thrive on schedules but not too much schedule. I've made up a list for the week and each day has a designated morning activity. 
Monday---Errand and clean up day
Tuesday---Toddler time class at the Rec center for Eleanor
Wednesday--- Wheel throwing class for me, Eleanor plays with cousins
Friday------Free day

I also make it a point to get up early. I've gotten used to 5:30 AM so I am keeping that up. I get up and go for a walk around the block. It gets my brain going and starts me off right. I tidy up a bit, read my scriptures, and shower. Then we have breakfast and I walk Eleanor to the park. In the evening we have dinner and then Eleanor and I go to the gym. It makes for a nice schedule. Warren is in summer school from 10:30 AM to 7:30 PM so it is mostly just Eleanor and I together. 

So what projects have you done so far? My tomato plants have been producing beautifully. Just the right amount to eat up and not go bad. I was extremely excited to find a Large tomato tucked in the corner as I've never had one produced before. My smaller tomatoes have been delicious to eat plain or popped into a salad. If you haven't planted tomatoes yet you can still plant them for the fall. Tomatoes have 2 seasons to them... May-June/July and September-November. Tomatoes will stop producing when it gets too hot at night. The temperature during the day doesn't matter as much as the temperature at night. So you could wait and plant a tomato plant that you can use in the fall as long as it will have some long hours of sunlight.

Have you tried any craft or fabric projects? I have this rocking chair that has been in our family since my mom was a little girl so It is about 50 years old and it was given to Eleanor since she is now big enough to use it. It was covered in a turquoise vinyl that had a couple holes and the whole thing looked a little worn out. So I enlisted my sister in laws help in getting some awesome gold vinyl and I was finally able to finish it over memorial weekend. Eleanor Loves it.

So what are your plans for the summer? I am going to be tackling the cabinets in my kitchen and maybe painting a pattern in the bathroom. I'll let you know if I have any fun crafts you might like to do. Hope your summer is going well!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Winter planting

It's Planting Time!!

Last year my garden was generally lacking in all ways, I think because I was just getting back into substituting and there was just a general craziness in my home so I felt no desire to work on my garden.

In our new and wonderful 2012 I am feeling much more proactive and interested in getting my garden going so here we go!
Some time last year I found a growing kit at a thrift shop so I decided to use that for my starters. If you are planting indoors for the first time and are low on money you can make your own growing kit by using egg cartons (thats what I did last year) and just add in a regular potting mix or one that is geared towards new plants. I like the kit because each little disc of dirt has netting to keep it together, also it comes with a lid. My sister did some of her own plants and then her cats ate them because there was no lid. If you are making your own you could just put some plastic wrap over that top. It helps to keep all the moisture in so you don't have to worry about watering them.

A couple years back I purchased a container of small heirloom tomatoes at trader joes. It had probably 5 varieties of small tomatoes in it so I cut them open, squished the seeds out onto a paper towel, let them dry, and folded the paper towel up, placed it in an envelope, and wrote a description of the tomato on the outside. I have used these seeds now for two years and they have worked beautifully. Saved me a ton of money because seeds can get pretty expensive and here I was able to try out 5 different plants for 3 dollars.

The ones that seem to do best here are the yellow pear and the small cherry. So I planted mostly those. I tried out some flowers but they don't seem to want to come up. Then I am doing some herbs that I love, dill, basil, and cilantro.

With the discs, you soak them in warm water until they puff up to about an inch and a half. Place your seeds just below the surface of the dirt and then put your lid on and wait. It is that simple. I put colored toothpicks in mine so I would know whether it was a tomato, flower, or herb. It only took about 5 days for them to sprout. I waited an extra week before I took the lid off to see if my flowers were going to sprout but it doesn't look like they are going to.

I like to let them get a little bigger and then I'll thin out the extra sprouts, sometimes I transfer those extra sprouts into the discs that didn't sprout. I'll keep them inside, I can transfer them to yogurt containers when they get bigger, and then plant them outside around the end of march.

If you are growing tomatoes in a desert climate like Las Vegas, I'd recommend a book at the local library. The author grew tomatoes here in vegas for like 15 years and then she wrote this little binder book just about growing them here and how to do it. She recommends that once you plant them, you don't fertilize them until they give you some tomatoes otherwise all that fertilizer will be used to make the plant bigger. I definitely understood that my first year of tomatoes. My bushes got HUGE but with no fruit. So this year I will follow her advice. Good luck with your planting and let me know if you have any questions.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October Kettle Corn!!!

I don't know about you but I am a HUGE fan of Kettle corn. I love the sweet salty taste and the smell when you go to a fair and they make it fresh for you. Here in Las Vegas they just opened up a popcorn shop and it made me think of all the varieties of popcorn I love. (Warren brought some white cheddar home the other day and it was awesome)

They sell a pretty good kettle corn at Fresh and Easy and I've tried one brand from Smiths but I always eat it in like a day or two and now I have to buy more. So I thought, Why can't I make it? Does it require some special huge copper kettle pot? I didn't think so, therefore I did the best thing.....Google it. And Ta Da!! How to make your own kettle corn.

It pulled it up on with some pictures and step by step instructions. So, I wasn't feeling that great today and we stayed home from church so I figured it was the perfect time to try it out.

It came out amazing! Just as good as the stuff you get at a fair and better than the stuff you buy in the store. This is now my new favorite snack and I think I will make it as a little gift to give people for christmas because it was sooooo easy and it came out super good. I can see adding cinnamon to it or using brown sugar or maybe a little chili pepper so it is like sweet spicy popcorn. So cool.

Here is the basic recipe so you can try it out.

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
1. Heat vegetable oil in a large kettle over medium heat.
2. Then, toss in three kernels, and place the lid on the kettle.
3. Wait for the kernels to pop.
4. Once popped, quickly stir in the sugar, and add the remaining kernels.
5. Replace the lid, and listen for the kernels to start popping.
6. Then, remove the kettle from the stove, and shake to keep the kernels from burning.
7. Return the kettle to the stove for a few seconds; then, lift and shake again.
8. Repeat until all kernels have popped.
9. Then, salt to taste, and enjoy!
I got these salt and pepper grinders from costco that use whole sea salt so I put that on its finest setting and as soon as the popcorn was all popped I sprinkled that on and stirred it all up then added some more. You have to wait a few minutes for the popcorn to cool down because the sugar is liquid and has to cool. Someone mentioned that you can use powdered sugar so I'll have to try that next time.
 Hope you are having a wonderful fall season and a Happy Halloween!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

SummER Yumminess part 2

The same evening that I made the fig dish I also made this dish.

Spinach and Feta Pasta

In my bountiful basket I received a container of mushrooms, a large bunch of spinach, and 5 tomatoes on the vine. I knew I wanted to use all of these ingredients together because they complement each other so well so I found this recipe and tried it out. It was superb. A nice one pan dish that cooks up fast and gives you a healthy meal. So lets get on with the ingredients.

1 (8 ounce) package of pasta, I used rotini or you could do penne
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 C chopped onion (about 1/2 an onion)
3 C chopped tomatoes (make sure they are good and ripe)
3 cloves garlic minced(use your masher, Soooo much easier)
1 C sliced fresh mushrooms
2-3 C spinach leaves, packed(they cook down so if you have extra, throw it in)
Salt and pepper
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
8 ounces feta cheese crumbled
optional: italian seasoning(one that has a little bit of everything, I like Emeril's italian seasoning)

1. Get all your ingredients ready. Squeeze out your tomatoes because you don't want seeds in your meal. I minced my garlic and that is such a pain, just use a garlic masher. Make sure you rinse off your mushrooms and your spinach unless you buy that prepackaged spinach, which is a great time saver. The spinach really cooks down so you can add extra.

2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente; drain.

3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion and garlic and cook until golden brown (yum smells so good. ) Mix in tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach. Season with salt pepper and red pepper flakes. (you really need the red pepper flakes they add just the right amount of heat). I also added in a couple shakes of italian seasoning because it smelled like it needed some more seasoning. Cook 2 minutes until tomatoes are heated through and spinach is wilted.

4. Reduce heat to medium, stir in pasta and feta cheese, cook until heated through and then serve.

I made this with a caesar salad and the fig dish and it was an exceptional meal, if you want it to be a little more hearty you could add some grilled chicken to it.

Prep time: 25 min    Cook time: 15 min   Ready in: 40 min  Servings: 4-6 people

I wanted a beautiful picture of it all plated but we were hungry so we just got down to eating it. :)

SUMMER Yumminess

 Feels like it has taken me a month to really get into summer. I love summer because of all the wonderful produce that is available which really inspires my cooking. This past week I bought a bountiful basket and part of my basket were a container of figs. Now, I've never eaten figs before so I did a search on to check out some fun reviewed recipes. Figs are a savory fruit that are mildly sweet so they are better if you can caramelize them in some way. So I decided on a recipe of

Figs and Toasted Almonds Brie

I love to pair cheese and fruit together so I thought this would be wonderful. So here are your ingredients.

1/3 C Brown sugar
3 Tbs. water
6-7 fresh figs, stemmed and sliced into eighths
1/2 C toasted almonds chopped
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (14 ounce) round 4 1/4-inch diameter round Brie Cheese
1/2 tsp chili powder, or 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

1. Pre heat oven to 325 degrees F (165 C) If you have raw almonds, place them on a cookie sheet inside the oven. Check them in about 10 minutes, they should have dark spots and a couple might be splitting a little and you can usually smell them.

2. Slice the tops off your figs, rinse them in water and then slice into eighths.

3. Heat brown sugar and water in a small pan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add your sliced figs and cook for about 10 minutes until softened.

Optional ingredient: After making this dish I thought it needed a little something. I thought a little spice would be wonderful in it so you could add a dash of chili powder or a little red pepper. I think it would add a great depth of flavor to the dish.

4. Add the chopped almonds and vanilla.(you'll notice I used whole almonds for mine, it would be much better if they were chopped a little) Place the Brie wheel in a baking dish. (I cut off the outside crust  on my brie. I was also in a rush to find some Brie that wasn't super expensive so I bought a Brie log from trader joes and sliced off the outside crust. It needed more brie so next time I will buy an actual round.) Pour the fig mixture on top of the cheese and place in the oven.

5. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until softened but not melted. Serve with crackers. (I used ritz crackers)

This was absolutely delicious, it got rave reviews. I had some left over for the next night so I just microwaved it. It would be enough for 8-12 people or if you brought it for a party it would be perfect.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Make your own canvas

I've been cruising around on the blogosphere and I came across a great blogger who does all kinds of artistic stuff (which I'm always a fan of) and she had this great idea to change soap boxes into canvas. Canvas is kind of expensive and I have no money but I do have lots of little boxes from food and so I took her idea and used it to make my own art boxes. She uses soap boxes which is a nice idea since they are small and the cardboard is a little stronger but I don't buy soap in boxes so instead I used a fudge mix box and a barilla pasta box. I buy old books at the library store for like 25 cents and then you can use the pages. So here's a quick run through if you don't want to click on the link.

1. Find some boxes that can close up (my torn up cereal boxes Ella keeps ripping open, don't work)
2. Rip some pages out of an old book (book pages are good quality paper and the ink doesn't smear)
3. Use some masking tape to close up the box and reinforce corners to make it stronger.
4. Put layers of modge podge and paper on boxes.
5. Be sure to have a nice area of newspaper set down so you don't get modge podge anywhere.
6. You are done, let them dry and then add cool art to it. (I'll show you my completed art when I am done)

Love all the creativity out there, hope you all are doing great, maybe if I get going again I can get some more followers which would be totally sweet. Have an awesome Memorial Day!

(p.s. Awesome book to check out that gets you in the thankful for our armed forces spirit is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand)